27 September, 2009

Of pages and spaces

I’m all spaced out.

Well, I’m not really. Come to think of it, I just joined MySpace, so I should be anything but. Or does everyone think that an old fart like me joining MySpace means I’m spaced out? I don’t know, to be honest.

I’m on three other publically accessible blog sites, blogger.com, spaces.live.com and bebo.com, but I’ve found that of the four blogs I write semi-regularly for, only two of those can be directly posted to by using Writer. The other two blogs require that I use the browser and go directly to the website to use their web-based editor, or use a third-party plugin from ping.fm. One thing I’ve got quickly used to using in Writer is the three tabs where a post can be edited, or previewed as it may look on the site itself. Works well for spaces.live.com (of course, Microsoft do both Windows Live Writer and live.com) and blogger.com (which has a publically available API), but doesn’t seem to work at all for whatever Bebo and MySpace use as their non-publically-available API.

So. Apart from the evil chickens that say that “Facebook and MySpace are alien conspiracies to steal your soul”, a recent quote from IRC, no less… How do I get my blogging goodness all in one window? Simply put, at the moment, I don’t. I have to duck and dive amongst Writer and web pages, hopefully being able to cut-and-paste from the main two blogs that Writer does support, into the two that Writer doesn’t know how to write to. To add to this, bebo has no significant ability to format text; there’s no html encoding (that I know of), so no headers, emphasis, or italics. Thankfully, MySpace is a bit better in that regard.

Those were the days, my friend

Being online as long as I have been, I’ve seen a few changes. I started hearing about MySpace quite a while ago, but saw no real need to join it. I felt the same about Bebo—it was a thing that young people were a part of. Then I started getting involved, and taking a look at what you could do with Facebook, Bebo, MySpaces and Live.com. I’d already got to grips with blogger.com, due to it being a simple (at the time) blog-hosting site. The other three are anything but. In fact, to this date, Facebook users don’t even have their own blogspaces, even though MySpace (a comparable service) provides blogs to its users. I can’t say I’m one of the most “connected” people I know, even though I have a twitter feed, MySpace/Facebook/Live.com/Yahoo.com/Bebo pages, and others in addition. I don’t tweet from my cellphone, and in fact the only reason I had to use my cellphone recently in correlation to a social networking website was to get verified. Yes, Facebook uses SMS to make sure its users are real people. I’ve no idea who actually paid for the service, though it possibly turned up on my bill.

Your circuit’s dead, can you hear me, Major Tom?

Even with being available on multiple sites, like many other people I get the impression that very few people (aside from those I tell, of course) are even going to know I’m now a Live Blogger FaceSpacer BeBopper Tweeter unless they stumble across me in a “Oh, I’ll just see whose page I can randomly scan for” frame of mind. Frankly, who of us wants to do that? Surely we have better things to do than that? Well, apparently not—as it would appear, in a recent study, university (and college in America) students were apparently more wrapped up in their social networking lives than they were in their real-life courses, so much so that in some cases their grades were adversely affected, and in some even more extreme cases, their attendance at those courses. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just sit on a Pak’n’Save (a local supermarket) checkout for six months just so they could afford enough money for their computer instead of wasting tens of thousands in government student loans for courses they had trouble completing.

So. What do people most want from these social networking sites? I believe it’s to feel as if they belong. It’s not necessarily the geeks and geekettes that have the highest attendance either, as social networking sites play to normal people more than the average geek. After all, the geeks are possibly too busy retrofitting Linux to Granny’s 12 year old computer. And the largest base appears to be the 18-30 age group, as they’ve been the ones most exposed to it from a young age.

What ever happened to the time when late teens were seen sucking down sodas and bragging about their hot wheels? And actually spending face time with their peers?

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