Random Musings - One Year in the Soc-net

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One year ago, today, I decided to embark on a little experiment. The idea was to see if I could increase traffic to my blog and photo's as well as develop some idea as to what social networking is all about.

As a geek, I tend to shy away from things like Twitter, Plurk or Facebook. Instead I prefer my old standby of private mailing lists, forums and IRC. Hell, I still use newsgroups from time to time. While I may be an early adopter when it comes to technology, I had very little interest in social networks. On December 15th, 2008 I decided to take the plunge and see what the fuss was all about.

Most of my family and friends were already on Facebook, and other friends were using Twitter and Plurk. I wasn't quite ready to jump into something like Facebook, so I chose Plurk and Twitter first, later adding Facebook and eventually Flickr. I also resolved to update my blog on a regular basis.

After one year, I am not sure why I didn't do this sooner. I have developed some fine virtual friendships, as well as having added family I very seldom see or talk to. On the whole, it has been quite a pleasant experience.

The Statistics:

Here are just the stats. Since December 15th last year I have:
  • 143 blog entries (144 if you count this, traffic up 220%)
  • 109 Tweets
  • 1343 Plurks (& responded 10,569 times)
  • Uploaded 437 Pictures (and had about 2,300 views)
I signed up for Twitter not knowing what to expect. As you can see by the statistics, I really don't use it to much. Frankly it's just a way for me to follow certain tech icons and celebs. Even then, Twitter is a little too self absorbed for my taste.

I still throw out the occasional tweet, but, even then, I am not important enough to have much of a following and am not interested in using it to tweet blog updates. I think my favorite tweet this year sums it up:  Hellooo I shout to the twitterverse and the hipster digerati say "meh" and return to their iPhones

As a side note, Twitter is a great "opt in" tool for marketing. I set up a Twitter account for work and left a link on the front page of our website. I tweet about upcoming events, classes and school closures and we have had great success. The fascinating thing is that at least 75% of traffic I drive to the work web site is on phones, which has forced me to redesign and add mobile access to that website.


What can I say? Facebook is evil? Too easy. A timesink? Sure it is, especially those silly games. A family faux pas waiting to happen? For sure. It hasn't happened to me, yet. It is also a great place to keep up to date with your family & friends. I can't say that I couldn't live without Facebook, but it certainly has become ubiquitous as a platform for connecting with people.

It has also become a platform that is growing increasingly messy. Especially with all those Facebook game updates on the page, which I am guilty of, as well. And fake alerts. And stupid ads. Is it as spammy as Twitter? No, but it hasn't decreased the amount of internet pollution I have to deal with, either.

I have had a Flickr account since 2005, but let it languish after a brief flurry of use.  I moved on to Picasa Web, but found it, well, kind of quiet. I returned to Flickr in October of 2009, and it has been a very happy surprise. I was able to build up a contact list from existing Facebook and Plurk friends. I have found these contacts to be inspiring in my own work as well as very supportive.

Plurk has all the best things about Twitter with the best things about Facebook status updates. It is not bogged down with spam. It has become my "go to" social networking site. This is not to say it isn't prone to problems. 140 characters is great way to communicate concisely but it also a great way to miscommunicate as well.

As an up and coming microblogging platform, Plurk is prone to random weirdness and outages. Most all of my friends on Plurk are people I don't know in the real world, unlike other networks where old friends and family make up the bulk of my social networks.

My plurk network spans the globe. I love that someone, somewhere is getting up to say good morning or going to bed and saying good night. Some days my timeline looks like the end of The Waltons with so many people saying good night and good morning.

Clearly, Plurk has been my best experience in social networking this past year, which is not say my other social networking experiences have been bad. It has been very fascinating and a lot of fun. I look forward to the next year in the social net.


  1. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Great post! I feel the same about Plurk. I am glad I discovered it..around the same time you did! My anniversary is 05 December 2008. Where else would I have met such wonderful people like you! I cannot decide about Twitter..some days I love it...some days I hate it! Do I need to say anymore about Facebook than TIMESUCK!!

  2. I agree about Twitter and Plurk. I stay on Twitter for certain networking people, but my conversations happen more on Plurk.


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