Yesterday, while prepping the Thanksgiving meal, I began thinking about how I interact online has changed over the years. In the early days, it was primarily read-only consumption of Usenet groups and BBS forums (this was before spammers made these outlet unusable). Then AOL opened up its walled garden version of the Internet with slightly easier, but in many ways more-cumbersome access. AOL also served much the same function that Facebook does today – a place where everyone went to find/connect with people.
I quickly grew tired of AOL spam and set out to get my own dial up Internet connection through one.net. This made FTP and gopher much more workable and provided my first non-corporate Internet email address. At some point the guys who were running one.net lost their minds and got greedy so I dumped them an went with a national provider. Things then evolved from dialup to ISDN (!) and eventually to DSL.
Well, that is the connectivity side of the story. Now for the interaction side. In the beginning, I was also very careful to keep my name off of the Internet. Around 2005, I decided to try out this ‘blogging’ thing that had been going on for a few years.
The original intent of the blog site was to answer the question that I was getting more frequently regarding what I was doing, reading, listening to, etc. The Blogger site had very limited customization, but I customized it as best as I could. Then one day Google decided that to lock my blog for no reason and with no explanation. Shortly thereafter, I when with the self-hosted site that I use now.
As is typical, I suppose, blog postings were a mix of re-posted links with commentary and longer essays and/or rants on various topics of interest (to me anyway). I created a Facebook account about five years ago and didn’t do much with it until the last 18 months or so. Most of my online ‘presence’ was via the blog. I created a Twitter account in 2007 and experimented a bit with that off and on. I also had a Jaiku account and tended to use that more as it had a better interface (and a mobile client).
Of late, I have noticed that my online channels have begun to shift (or at least stratify). Links that I would normally post on the blog, I put into Facebook. Links that I would normally share via email, I began putting into Twitter. Email is for much more directed communications. I have never been much of an IM person. The blog is seeing fewer updates as a consequence – which may be for the better. My plan going forward is to create longer ‘essay’ posts for the blog and shift more of the straight link sharing via Facebook and Twitter.
I have been toying with the idea of using things like Pixelpipe to update multiple channels at one time but that almost seems a bit too indiscriminate, like a form of spamming. Rockmelt promises to make it easer to share on Facebook and Twitter in particular, but I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet to know what it can do.