Unlink

I’ve been tinkering with my blog and online profiles1 – Twitter, Facebook, and the like – for years now, attempting to find balance in what gets posted where and how its shared, if at all. For a while, lifestreaming was The Future, so I experimented with it right here on my blog for about six months. Then Facebook became the place to share, so I sent many of my online activities there. My next strategy for dealing with all this stuff is a different direction, however. To quote The Offspring, “You gotta keep’m separated”.

I made the mistake of auto-posting my activity feeds for the same reason so many other people do – it’s easy. Click a checkbox, type a username, then set it and forget it. But in this case, easy is also lazy. It gives me yet another excuse to not take the time to think and post about something that interests me and possibly the people I interact with on a given site. I lost sight of the fact that the point isn’t to make things easy for me, but to show respect to those who give me a slice of their limited attention.

The Unlink Your Feeds manifesto put it so well, I’ll quote a full page from it in full:

I have a vision of a new social networking paradigm. Handcrafted social networks.

I imagine a world where people take each network for what it is and participate (or not) on those terms. Instead of a firehose slurry of everything buckets, I imagine separate streams of purified whatever-it-is-each-service-does. I envision users that post when they’re inspired and don’t mind skipping a few days if nothing particularly interesting comes up.

I’m like Thumper’s mother. “If you can’t think of anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

I imagine people taking the extra 10 seconds to reformat a post for each service if the message is so relevant and important that it needs to show up more than once. I imagine being able to choose who I follow and what subset of their postings I get with a high degree of granularity.

There may come a day when this vision gets implemented on the server side. When all the social networks give me fine grain control for hiding subsets of the updates sent out by my contacts. But until that day comes, it’s gotta be solved on the client side.

Here’s the Plan

So going forward, here’s how I’ll be using each of the sites I post to. If you’re interested in following one or more, please do. You get my personal guarantee that, unless noted below, I won’t cross the streams.

  • berbs.us: The blog you’re reading right now is for longish form writing that requires me to get my butt in a chair and move the cursor to the right. If you visit this site directly instead of in a feed reader, it’s also why I stripped it down to a bare bones style that gives you no choice but to focus on reading.
  • Google Buzz: I’m still not sure how I’ll use Google Buzz in the long-term (that is, if it’s still around in the long-term). Right now I’m mostly using it to follow people in the technology business. For now I am auto-posting items I share out of Google Reader here, but I’ll reevaluate that soon.
  • Delicious: My collection of bookmarks I intend on reading or referencing sometime later – mostly technology related and, oddly enough, recipes.
  • Facebook: Where I occasionally check in on people I know offline. While I’m finding myself spending less time here recently, if you know me in meatspace, look me up (just don’t invite me to play Farmville).
  • Flickr: Where I post photos, mainly of the family. New ones automatically get shared out to Facebook as an alternative to their own photo tool.
  • Last.fm: A running history of what I’m listening to at home and on my iPod. I had been sharing this info out to other sites in the past, but now you’ll have to visit my Last.fm page if you’re curious about my odd choices of music.
  • LinkedIn: If you’ve worked with me, went to school with me, or are a friend, feel free to add me on LinkedIn. I don’t visit it much right now, but you’ll never know if/when that’ll change.
  • Twitter: Out of all of these on my list, Twitter is by far getting the most of my attention these days. It’s given me the chance to interact with a number of fascinating people all over the world. I regularly share links, pointed opinions, and attempts at humor, so follow me if you’re not already.
  • Tumblr: Looking back through my blog archives, I used to post a lot of links to videos, other sites, etc. Since I’m trying to keep the blog somewhere I work on long pieces, I created a Tumblr link blog as a place where I can quickly post things I find online.
  • Vimeo: If and when I have videos to share (again, mostly of the family), I do it at my Vimeo account. If it’s worthy, I’ll selectively share it elsewhere too.

  1. I refuse to call it Social Media. Blame the Social Media Experts if you want. 

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