In preparation for a publisher’s meeting later this month, I’ve been going over my blogs, website, goodreads page, facebook and so on–my web presence. It’s a funny term, that, for something that is ephemeral and yet remains forever in the virtual world. How many times have you ended up at that 404 page when a link leads to nothing or at a blog that hasn’t been posted to for years?
I’ve played around with the themes. You may have noticed that this one was blue for a while. On Saturday, A hesitantly mentioned to me that he liked the old theme better and I agreed, so it’s back. I discovered that I wasn’t seeing the themes quite the way everyone else did because I had Firefox set to over-ride page fonts with the defaults I’d set. When I changed that option, I discovered that the blue theme used an Impact font for the title. It had an impact all right. Yikes.
However, re-setting the themes came late in my webly endeavours over the past week. First I joined Twitter, which I’ve resisted for several years. Guess what? True confession. I like it! Here’s the reason. By subscribing to the NYT, NYRB and the Guardian, more to come as I explore this, I get headlines and links from a variety of sources in one place. I scan them and click on the links to read the articles and essays that interest me. Then I can easily pass them on–blogging if I have something to contribute, tweeting if I just want to share it. So don’t forget to have a quick glance at the sidebar to pick up the latest fascinating link.
Then I faced a dilemma which is a common one for anyone who uses more than one forum to communicate on the internet. I’m blogging, and tweeting, fb-ing, goodreading, and, you know, I’ve got a life too! The solution is to get these platforms to send information back and forth so that I wouldn’t have to repeat myself. But apparently fb and twitter don’t like each other, which creates a problem and an opportunity for yet more software and 3rd party sites.
There are a lot of social media aggregators (I learned that’s the term for putting it all together). I spent a week experimenting with various solutions and I’ll tell you the result of my explorations, but first I want to mention an interesting thingy I came across that you might not know about.
Flavors.me is a platform that feeds all of your online activity into one place. I have a tab at the top of my blog, “All in One,” that links to that page, which feeds my blog, goodreads, twitter and flickr streams to one place, neatly laid out by source. Have a look and tell me what you think!
For the purpose of streamlining my outgoing communications, it came down to HootSuite and Tweetdeck. I chose HootSuite because it’s a web application and so it isn’t using up computer resources. It’s easy to use and easy to get going. You just register and sign in, add your applications–Facebook and Twitter for me. You can organize your streams of information, so I have news media in one tab and people in another. When I find an interesting article, I can send it to both FB and Twitter at the same time. HootSuite creates the short link for Twitter and at the same time creates the appropriate type of link, showing a thumbnail and a few lines of the article for FB.
However, having done all that, I realize that what matters, in the end, is content. Without content, the internet is just so much gossip, which is why texting has overtaken email among teenagers. But I’m online for more. I want information, insight, discovery, amazement, echoes of truth, intellectual and emotional. I hope that I can contribute to that by what I write, too.
That has to continue offline–the internet is just the surface. To go deeper, I need books, reading them and writing them. I don’t hand write my books, but I do hand write notes and thoughts. My last notebook is nearly full. Here is my new one–which shares a theme with HootSuite, though I bought the notebook before I ever heard of an ow.ly url.
Wishing everyone good reading and good writing in 2011!