Connecting the dots: Social Networking Hurts My Head.

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Much like the 60’s, everybody’s on everything these days.  There’s tweets, buzzes, pings, orkuts, facebooks, myspaces, blah blah blah, ad nauseum.  And let’s not forget the countless blogs and feeds and streams of information constantly flowing in and out of our lives.  

Well, that’s how I feel about it, anyway.  I’m a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social networking avenues available to me.  All I really wanna do is update one simple interface and have it reach out to whatever/wherever everyone happens to be, because I know it’s important that everybody know what flavor ice cream I’m eating right now.
It’s that emphasis on how important I feel it is that makes me want to streamline the process so that I can spend the least amount of time possible in broadcasting my extremely interesting activities.  Logging into 15 different sites and updating status incessantly is just… consuming.  Time, spiritually, emotionally… the whole nine.  
Enter these feed aggregator connector sites like Ping.fm and Twitterfeed.  These are just a couple of the many, many, many sites dedicated to filling the role of “your one-stop shop for social networking and status management!”  These sites range from the fairly simple (Twitterfeed) to sites like Hootsuite that promote themselves as “professional twitter clients”.  Good lord, there’s a professional Twitter client?  Most of these sites let you interconnect feeds and read them, send them, blog them, push them, pull them… see, this is where my head starts to hurt. 
 
Getting them all to play well together… navigating the maze of connections to avoid things like double-posting or publishing overly-enthusiastic amounts of times is just painful.  Combine this with interconnecting a whole bunch of APIs that don’t wanna play together (even though they say they want to, it just doesn’t always work out.  No means no.) and I’m just like “maybe it’s not worth all this effort.”
But maybe it is worth all this effort… I must have thought so because I plowed through and signed up for some ridiculous amount of sites (which I have no doubt will flood me with plenty of ‘updates on how awesome their service is’ over the next year) in an effort to consolidate my modest little internetwork (that’s my phrase btw – you can’t steal it.  Okay, fine, you can steal it.)  
The final solution?  Twitterfeed to push my blog(s) to Twitter, and then push everything from Twitter out to things like LinkedIn, Buzz, Facebook (thought Yakket), etc.  Twitter’s interface is simple, fast, and easy, and there’s an app for that.  So that solves things nicely.  For now.  Until something breaks.
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Reconnection and recollection.

MySpace sucks for a lot of reasons, but I admit that recently I went on a tear through its newest (not really newest, but probably biggest) competitor in the FOAF scene, Facebook.  It’s not been so much a social service (like MySpace has become), but rather more like a LinkedIn on a less professional level.  I’ve run into and across a lot of faces and names that I haven’t been exposed to for many, many years (15 years in some cases!)

So it’s been kind of trippy.  People from high school (viva la Pine Crest), even people from Middle School.  All very jolly.  Some people look so grown up, and some people just don’t.  Some people have these super awesomely developed lives with kids, families, and all that crazy jazz, yet in my mind they’re still just teenagers.  It’s pretty weird how that works… I just see them with their younger faces on. 

In some cases, that’s just impossible (they just look all old and grown up and stuff).  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I find it most interesting when I reconnect with the people who still seem to be very much the same (in a lot of ways.)  I’ve been disappointed in some cases (interestingly odd priorities are the prevalent cause of that) but in most cases, the people I’ve run into have been extremely interesting.  And I’m enjoying the reconnection and (where appropriate) recollection.  Sometimes it’s cool to revisit old acquaintances and find out there’s more in common there than you might’ve though.  Sometimes it’s cool to reminisce about the ol’ high school crushes and find out how they’re doing today.  Dunno, but it’s been surprisingly entertaining.

So I was driving down the street with a buddy the other day, and we saw an old Porsche 944.  Something in my brain-memory-vault slid out, and I remembered Feinstein, who drove around in a souped up 944, all raced out.  He was into actually racing these cars (not just street-racing, but SCCA stuff) and was a genuine enthusiast, as I recall.  Anyway, I reminisced for a bit, then promptly forgot all about it.  A week later, Harry (a different, unrelated friend) sends me a link with the message “Guess who I found…”  Marc Feinstein now apparently runs a shop in North Cambridge, servicing german cars.  Kudos to you, Feinstein, for (as the article says) finding the way into the business of your hobby.