No doubt some of you have noticed that I’ve expanded my online presence in the last week to include two new websites: Tumblr and Facebook.
Of the two, I expect Tumblr to be far more interesting and useful. Although I have not yet used it extensively, Tumblr, for me, is a place to stick things that I like and want to share and take up more than 140 characters (those things go to Twitter), but for whatever reason aren’t really blog material.
Facebook remains a mystery to me, but I decided it was probably worth establishing a beach-head and reserving my name on the site in case it actually becomes useful one day. I’m not really clear how it can become useful, but more on that later.
My current web/social media portfolio looks like this:
- This blog, That Queer Expatriate, is my main output for long form thoughts—a public diary of what I’m thinking about, doing, or whatever. It’s not changing. My general rule is that I only post to it once a day. Occasionally I might post two things in one day to it—but I try to do that rarely. I also do not feel compelled to post every day. Sometimes I’m just too tired to think. I also have the archive sub-site with stuff from my past.
- My Twitter, which I wasn’t certain about at first, is now important. I love the challenge of putting thoughts on Twitter in less than 140 characters. I especially love doing it without using abbreviations. Sometimes I can spend 10 minutes rearranging a sentence and thinking of other ways to express an idea before I post a Tweet. My general rule is that I try not to Tweet more than once every 20 minutes—if not less often. I’ve stopped following some people because they tweeted too much and made it difficult for me to keep track of the tweets from people who tweet less often. In summary: I <3 Twitter.
- My Tumblr, as I’ve established here, occupies a space between TQE and Twitter, and I don’t just mean alphabetically. It’s going to host things that I want to share with people but that I don’t think quite fit onto the blog for whatever reason. For now, it is a minor player.
- My Flickr, is where I dump photographs that I take. If you look hard enough there are a few things on there that I did not create myself. I don’t think I’ve posted anything like that in a couple years. The vast majority of photos published on my blog are hosted at Flickr, unless I have copyright concerns that prevent that from happening.
I have a couple other social media type places that I frequent, but those aren’t really in the main stream, so I’ll leave those out for now.
Now about Facebook: Given the company’s poor track record when it comes to both privacy and usurping copyright, for now I have only established a beachhead on the site. The very first thing I did was go into the privacy settings and make everything invisible to the world. I think you can find me, see my blog’s URL, see a messed up photo of me, and that’s it.
Since I’ve never used Facebook, I honestly don’t know what the Wall is, I don’t know how it works, I don’t know how news gets shared, and I don’t know specifically how copyright works, I am going to take baby steps on the site. I also don’t understand the “friend of a friend of a friend of a friend” stuff so until I do, don’t expect much from me.
Because I’m taking baby steps, I want to talk about friends first: With a few very rare exceptions, there is no way I will accept friendship requests from anybody who I have not personally met. And by personally met, I mean being in the same room and talking to each other. And on a tangential front, for now I won’t recognize family members as they have other ways to communicate with me (or not communicate with me, as the case may be).
Facebook is, as far as I can tell, about maintaining weak ties. I’ve never really been that good about maintaining weak ties. I have a few (right now the number is two) really good exceptionally close friends who I really trust with everything in my life. I also have a dozen, or so, really good friends who I trust with most things in my life, and then I have a circle of about 20-30 people who I call loose friends: people I like talking to and hanging out with and would do so more often if they weren’t so far away from Berlin. After that… well, then I’m crap.
I’m not convinced that Facebook is the answer. I like calling friends, I like sending postcards, and I like emailing. I just don’t get what “facebooking” means.