Friday 12 September 2008


I seem to spend a lot of my time using email and the internet. Whether at home or at work I seem to be pretty much permanently attached to a computer.

I increasingly find email an irksome way to communicate. Generally speaking the email system is overstretched. Example: at work they email server has a filter attached to it. Every incoming email is scanned and those that are flagged (whether it be for content or sender) are caught in the filter. On an average day between 85-90% of the email received by our company domain is rejected by the filter. Of the fraction of email traffic that anyone actually wants to read you then have all the other things that might go wrong. Often enough it will be wrongly stopped by a spam filter, or the person you are emailing's server is down, or the attachments are too large and it bounces back... and on, and on. It used to be that email was instant (like instant messaging) but it seems more and more frequently to take the same amount of time as posting a letter and having that go on a round trip.

I've increasingly been turning to other mediums to express myself online. First there was MySpace. MySpace and I didn't last. I got fed up of repeated Friend Requests from people I didn't know and from people who certainly would never be my friends if I met them socially. Next  I moved onto Facebook. Facebook and I still get on pretty well. Apart from a handful of people I met on Facebook via an MS group my Facebook rule is 'only people I know'.  I still find it an excellent way to keep up with friends who are spread pretty much globally. I have also tried Bebo (breifly, a long time ago) and Friends Reunited - their limited appeal (especially geogrphically) makes them not very worthwhile for me.

If Facebook is too much (all those irritating applications, and people constantly 'poking' you) then how about Twitter. It's pretty much the 'status' bit of Facebook. It allows you to 'Tweet' short bursts just about as often as you have something to say. You can also link Twitter to your blog so it tells the world you've made a blog post and you can share links that way (if you're using Firefox using a handy add-on).

It doesn't stop there though. There is a whole internet out there, and the best thing is to be able to share what you find and what you're doing with other people. There are lots of ways you can do this... the two that I use are Stumbleupon and Tumblr. Stumbleupon allows you to select interests and rank pages. Once you've installed the toolbar you can press a button and a page that matches your interests will be delivered to your browser.

Tumblr is like a scrapbook. It allows you to collect pretty much anything from pretty much anywhere and put it all together in one place.

This is scratching the surface. There are dozens (and dozens) of other sites. The best ones to use to get the most out fo the experience is to find ones people you know are using or recruit your friends to use them too. The whole community thing really enhances the experience... otherwise you feel like you are sitting talking to yourself!

So now, when I post a blog here on Blogger before you know it Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed all know about it! If I'm talking to myself it sure happens in a lot of places at once.