Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ruminations on Internet Acquaintances

Web 2.0 is supposedly all about social interaction and connections. Through this blog, Jaiku, and Twitter, I'm exploring how true that is, or isn't. I started Jaiku, Twitter, and Blogger accounts on a lark. At first I figured (rightly so I'm sure) that I was just sending my blatherings out into the ether (hence the name of this blog). I figured that I would just be that tree that falls in the forest that no one ever hears. There appeared to be no point to this, but I decided to stick it out for awhile and see what happened. Well, what happened was that I've acquired my first "follower/friend" on Twitter, my first comment to a post on Twitter, and my first blog comment. Cool, I guess. Actually, I'm not sure what to make of it, but let me explain.

I received a direct message on Twitter that I'd been added as someone's "friend." It was not a name that I recognized. Naturally, I checked out her Twitter page. It turned out my new "friend" was a woman stationed on an Army base in Korea. I decided that since she was following me that I'd follow her too. I've since learned she's married because she mentions her "hubby" from time to time. Her bio says she's a soldier but I haven't seen any particularly soldierly posts yet. I messaged her back thanking her for adding me and wondering why anyone would want to do that. She replied that she'd seen me on the Twitter public page and just thought I might be interesting. Fair enough I replied, and we've left it at that. Now a few times a day I get to find out what some lady stationed in Korea is up to and vice-versa. I'm not sure what to make of it yet, but it is different.

About the same time, I got the first notice of a comment to a post of mine. Most nights I walk my English Springer Spaniel, Holly, just before I go to bed. I mentioned this several nights on Twitter via my cell phone. Well, one gentleman commented that my life sounded a lot like his, as every day he started and ended the day walking the dog. His life does sound a lot like mine. And maybe that is part of the point here ---- we're really not all that different and we all have many points in our life in common. The Internet and these social networking sites just make that more apparent. Maybe the long term consequence of this will be a more peaceful world just as international trade reduces the likelihood of war as countries become more interdependent. But maybe I think to much.

That same day (when it rains it pours) I got my first blog comment. It came from our family friend, Regina. She posted a comment to my favorite movie review sites in which she suggested a movie for the family. Thanks, Regina!

Today, I apparently kicked off some discussions when I mentioned that I was watching the Veronica Belmont Prize Fight between Jaiku and Twitter. Twitter beat Jaiku by one point! I said that I smelled a rat. Apparently, this got people's attention and kicked off a flurry of comments. That was kind of fun! You have to keep in mind that Veronica Belmont appears to be a Twitter fan although her "Buzz Out Loud" podcast has a Jaiku channel. On the other hand, Leo Laporte is a Jaiku fan and I suspect if he were to compare the two that Jaiku would win. I, however, am what Leo calls a commitment phobe. I belong to both and have my Twitter feed show up on Jaiku. He says that if you do that you're just "mailing it in" and not participating in the community. I disagree and like that my Twitter posts will appear in Jaiku.

By the way, if you want to check out what I'm doing on Jaiku or Twitter, there are links to both on this page in the upper right corner.

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