The beginning of 2011 brings in a few technological changes for me: I’ve sold the iPad that I bought in summer 2010; I’ve deleted my facebook account; and I’ve increased my twitter usage. Some of my friends have been asking me “why?” - especially about deleting my facebook account. So here’s a little piece about my “whys” and my “what nows.” Not life-changing stuff, really, but kind of fun to track if you follow tech trends.
Sold the iPad. At the beginning of summer 2010 I bought a netbook because laptops are heavy. Even though just about every man I talk to tells me that a laptop isn’t that heavy, I can’t agree. They are heavy for me and they are a pain to carry, so I was looking for a lighter device to throw in my bag for teaching and traveling. I tested the netbook for a full two weeks but returned it, in the end, because browsers don’t work on a screen that small. They don’t. I couldn’t get used to looking at that garbage. The graphic designer in me said “No way!” So I returned it. Then I waited and at the end of the summer I got an iPad. And I really liked the software. For a device that size, apps are a much better fit than internet browsers. No question. But I couldn’t get comfortable with the hardware. The iPad wasn’t comfortable to hold in bed, to read or watch movies on. And it was too delicate to toss in my bag to take to school. And then when I discovered that I couldn’t plug it into a projector and mirror my screen, for the classroom, well, that was the last straw. Would I pay $100 for a tablet some day? Sure. But not $500. No thanks. It’s just not for me now.
Deleted FB Account. This I did for a few reasons. Like many other critics of facebook, I don’t like that all friends are created equal. I don’t want my work friends to see my family stuff or my high school friends to see my work stuff. And even though you can go into your settings and make groups to filter who sees what, the default is that everyone sees everything and that got tedious for me. More importantly, facebook made me a lazy bookmarker and photo-sharer. I’d use it to bookmark articles several times a day with no intention to share them really. It was just easy to use from any device. “Oh, I’ll just post this article to facebook,” I thought, “and read it later.” And that worked well to some extent. I’d read the articles that I posted just about every night. But then when I wanted to retrieve something I posted a few weeks ago or months ago, that was difficult because my posts weren’t searchable. I had a RSS feed of my fb posts going to my google reader account, and that helped some, but, eh, just didn’t work. I needed something new.
I’m trying tumblr now. I don’t really understand it - like how to search stuff I’ve posted or how to use it from my phone, but we’ll see. And then the final reason that I deleted my facebook account is that I just don’t feel good about facebook as a company. I borrow this notion from Ze Frank who posted it on his facebook wall about a year ago. It stuck with me. This feeling is further enhanced by Douglas Rushkoff who is constantly using facebook as an example of the manipulative web, in his book Program or Be Programmed. So bye bye facebook. I miss it a little, especially seeing pictures from my family and close friends. But I’ll figure something out.
Increased Twitter Usage. There are a lot of things that I like about twitter, but can I just say, I follow WAY too many social media strategists on there. I have to fix that. But I do love that if you follow someone, they don’t have to follow you, and that if someone follows you you don’t have to follow them. It’s a subtle difference from facebook but a very meaningful one for me. In addition, twitter is a great place to share news and to set up news filters. I also love it for real time events. Hashtags are brilliant for that, if, say, you’re at a conference and you want to communicate with other conference goers in real time. But I’m missing a place to share pictures of food or good recipes. Still looking for that--twitter doesn’t feel right for that. And I miss my artist and musician friends who are on facebook. Twitter doesn’t really fit that bill either. Not great for sharing images of new paintings or short videos of musical performances. So I’m looking to fill those holes but I’m sure I’ll either find something or build something that fills them.
The internet continues to amaze me. And I hope that we end up doing something very meaningful with it. And by we, I don’t just mean the top 10% of the economic pyramid. Time will tell.