The Interconnectedness of Information

I have been thinking a lot about information systems on the Internet, and how, more than ever, the way we use the Internet is getting more and more connected.

On the surface, this might seem obvious – one of the great early advantages of the Internet was the interconnectedness of information, using the now ubiquitous hyperlink. What I am talking about is more the interconnection of services that is becoming available, all dedicated to distributing your information when and where you need it.

I use many different web services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Jott, I Want Sandy, Gmail, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Google Reader.  The list could go on and on.  Although separate companies, they are slowly but surely becoming enmeshed. Information can be transferred from one service to another.  I can call Jott, and it will post a message to my Twitter feed.  That Twitter feed will update my Facebook. That Facebook update will send out an alert to Friend Feed, and so on and so on. I can cross-post information, or announce to one service when I have updated another, spreading my message across the Internet.

Some people are becoming concerned with this, fearful that all this information can become overwhelming.  Recently on Twitter the Queen of Spain posted this message that encapsulated things perfectly for me:

“So am I just the crazy one who’s never gotten an IM via AIM from facebook as a friend updated her status…?? “

All of these pieces of information are being filtered through several steps, passed around the Internet, and getting delivered to you in a variety of ways.  Yes, it can be overwhelming. More and more people are joining the conversation, more and more people are getting involved, and it’s a very exciting time to be part of things.

What is important to do is to find the tools that work the best for you, for your different needs. You don’t need to be involved with everything. I use Jott rather than Utterz, because Jott works for me. I use Twitter rather than Jaiku or Pownce, because Twitter works for me. If you try to do everything, yes, you can get overwhelmed. If you focus on the most useful tools, you can easily enrich your Internet experience.

I have mentioned some of the tools I find useful. What about you? What Internet tools can you not live without?

Won’t Get Fooled Again

In my exploration of social media over the past few years I have signed up to a variety of networks; Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, Pownce, and MySpace to name just a few. I use them to market my writing, make connections, and catch up with friends. Essentially, I use them to do the thing they were designed to do: connect with people.One of my earliest forays into Social Networking was MySpace. I have been a member of MySapce for a few years now, but I never really did anything with it. Most of my friends are not particularly tech savvy, and while I added a few people to my network, I never really invested much time or energy into it.Facebook, on the other hand, I came to more recently. Although I have been using it for a shorter time, I found it to be more useful; more of my friends were there, communication was easier, I liked the layout, there were a hundred reasons why I liked Facebook more, and it became my de facto social networking site. That it was ballooning in popularity is an obvious statement, and the media made reference to the upstart Facebook knocking MySpace of off it’s perch. MySpace was old and tired, no one went there anymore. Facebook was the place to be. When it came to marketing, spreading the word about my work, I naturally focused on Facebook. It was newer, fresher, more exciting, more people, a wealth of reasons, all backed up by media hype extolling the virtues of this site. But what is interesting is that the hype is not backed up by the numbers.Yes, Facebook is growing at a fast rate, and yes, MySpace numbers have stalled. But, if you look at the stats, MySpace is still on top, and by a huge margin:

I can’t help but wonder why MySpace gets such a hard rap from the media. There has been much written about the demographic of MySpace Vs. Facebook, with MySpace attracting “Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm.” while Facebook attracts “(t)he goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids.” MySpace is attracting negative press, and looked at as tired, finished, and no longer popular not because of the facts, but because of the bias.What’s most irksome to me is the fact that I relate much more to the demographic of the MySpace kids vs. the Facebook kids. Those kids are much more my people, and those are the kids that would probably be more interested in the sci-fi and fantasy writing I do. It would appear as though, lead by the media, I allowed myself to follow the herd at the expense of the actual crowds. It’s a mistake I hope I don’t repeat.What factors have informed your decisions in using social media? What attracts you to a site?