A little progress has been made in the past few days. I have now seen other blogs and talked with my classmates, discussing what does and doesn’t work in blogs. For example, super dark colors are a no-no, as are boring posts. So from now on, I solemnly promise to avoid garish (I had to look up the spelling of that online- I was betting myself $5 that it was spelled with an oddly-situated “u” in the prefix) color schemes and boring topics. I don’t find my own ramblings to be boring, but that is what feedback is for, I suppose. Don’t burn me, please, but definitely do the positive reinforcement thing, and I will respond.
Blogs really have exploded as far as popularity goes. I remember a time when everyone was on those sketchy sites that ended up being magnets for pedophilic-types, and the sites themselves always encouraged people to have homepages with horrible color schemes and extra-noisy rock music playing in the background. Come on, people, I have iTunes for my music, you don’t need to share the love at full blast!
Hmm, after I continue to branch out this week and read blogging best practices ONLINE and not printed out in that Rettberg reading for class, I see that I am not supposed to talk about work in my blog. I freely admit to breaking that rule, and I likely will continue to. I am a fan of sharing lots of personal information, so I will do what I please. However, I will do it very carefully. I will always refer to my workplace as “Work” or “The Bank,” so as not to directly refer to it. (Yes, I do work at a bank. That much you have to know.) I have always written about my personal life online, but I give people fake names or other non-descriptive nouns in place of his/her/its proper name. After all, I have to protect my reputation, and in turn, I’d like to protect other reputations because mine is inherently affected by others.
The article talks about other nice things, but honestly, for someone taking classes in Emerging Media and Communications, I sure don’t know much. The idea of widgets is hard for me to seriously think about, simply because the word “widget” suggests something more out of a Harry Potter book than something that will enhance my blogging experience. Obviously, I get to the place where I can handle new technologies without snickering about the diction.
Oh, wow, there’s a bit in the reading about this thing called Open Diary, and they deleted your personal information when you tried to post it in the diarysite! What a wicked concept, that would save so many people from so much embarassment! Imagine if something like that were built into Facebook…well, something like that would never be built into Facebook because FB is all about sharing and connecting with people, and you can’t connect with people unless you share information.
I do think it is interesting that the other half of the article talks about Facebook allowing people to maintain social connections. My father was invited by someone he works with to get a Facebook account, and he was asking me what the purpose of it was. Initially, I told him the snarky answer, “To waste your time.” I immediately followed it up with, “To stay in contact with people that you don’t or can’t see in person regularly.” Provided he embraces it, Facebook will allow him to stay in contact with his family members and my cousins who live in another country. I don’t know how well that will work out, he seems skeptical of the whole thing. I will show him how I use it and see if it appeals to him.
The last part of that reading discusses four features of these sites: persistence, searchability, replicability, and invisible audiences. (Note: I like how this computer’s spell check underlined two of the above listed words. Clearly it is not caught up with the times…) Invisible audiences always weird me out. Do you remember AIM and Subprofile? Subprofile let you see which screen names looked at your profile. That was neat, because it told you if your Subprofile was worth looking at, but it also had some applications that would let you know how many times a certain screen name saw your profile. I looked at people’s profiles constantly because I liked reading what they had to say, but I suspect it might have weirded them out if they didn’t like me much and saw that I looked at the profile. Also, I would sometimes see random screen names on the log, and I just had to wonder how these people had my screen name. Thank goodness that fad is gone.
It also talks about self-documentation, part of what these sites offer a forum for. I am shamelessly self-absorbed, but I really do try to keep the self-documentation to relevant things and not the minute, boring crap that some people post. No one wants to know that I am headed to work at 7 am, nor do they care if I am headed to class or not. Responses result from posts with meaning: “Happy Birthday to me!” or “Alex Juarez’s Honda Civic got smashed by a truck today when she made an unprotected left into the bank parking lot. Was late to work and insurance said it was my fault. Got car towed and will now purchase a new used car. It was a hell of a Monday.” (Yes, both of these Facebook Status Updates are real.) Both of these posts netted at least 8 comments, something my day-to-day rambles do not receive.
And for the record, “skimming” the text is far easier to do when it is read on the computer screen, at least for me. I scanned right through those articles, something I would not have done had I taken the time to print them out, wait for the printers at the UTD library (by the way, avoid going at 1:15 PM and 1:45, the lines are horrible, and all the machines are occupied by incompetents that can not operate a copier), and then tried to staple together and either read at the Drive Thru at the Bank or read at home while eating Popsicles.
Nothing like trying new things to make life faster.