Social Networking Accounts Helen Has:

  1. Facebook – check it all day. Love the simplicity and cleanness of it. Love the applications, a lot of people would disagree with me about this.
  2. Myspace – used to check it all day till I found Facebook. Got sick of all the huge ads and crazy, extra cluttered layouts. Got especially sick of all the spam friend requests. My cats have at least 800 more friends than I do, all other animals, so I am not alone in my crazy!
  3. Ning – participated in a lot in grad school as part of the LIS Students group. Allowed us newbies and soon to be newbies a place to vent, get job interviewing advice, etc.
  4. Virb – never heard of it? You may never again, I was part of the beta for this group and it still doesn’t seem to have taken off.
  5. LinkedIn – this is more for professional networking. Links people through jobs and professional association with each other. Also not very popular yet, but soon.
  6. Always Illinois – alumni of the U of I social network. I signed up so they’d stop emailing me about it and it’s alright. I’ve only checked it once.

These are only using the most narrow definition of social networking. I could have included Flickr and such, but 6 is enough.

I think I probably stated my case for Facebook in the last post…oops.

This whole experience got me thinking about the concept of privacy on the internet. Cathi Wilkin’s wrote a post recently about Anonymous posting. I noticed it because I realized that I myself had been posting anonymously by accident (forgot to change a setting from my screen name to my real name). I have always thought that when commenting on other people’s blogs, you owe them the opportunity to respond to you as a person. I always sign my name to blog comments (except, of course, those of you who got celestihel…by the way, that was me).

But for the rest of the illusion of anonymity on the web, I choose to be private. All of my social networking is private, and for now, I’m not advertising my name all over my blog much either. Why? Because I may not necessarily want everyone I’ve ever known to be able to know me again. They know I’m out there and that’s close enough!

Also, I was once applying for a job and did a little egosurfing to make sure that if they Googled me, I knew what they would find. There was my Myspace page, a totally fun and unprofessional endevour between myself and friends, available to anyone. What might a potential employer make of that information? It also shed a little light on how some former acquaintances tracked me down, unfortunately.

So there it is, we all choose at what level we want to just put ourselves out there. But when it comes to actually commenting about other people’s opinions, I think it’s important to own it. As for my own opinions in this blog, for now, I think I’ll let you all know who I am and leave it at that. Hypocritical? Maybe, but you can’t make me!

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Originally uploaded by CelestiHel

I had no idea how fun Flickr was. I’ve used Photobucket for years just as a place to store photos on the web for easy sharing and I assumed Flickr was that plus just a little something extra. I read through some of their tutorials and explored a little before I signed up and uploaded eleventy million pictures of my cats.

Helen’s Flickr

I found it a little irritating that in order to have a Flickr account, you have to first join Yahoo!, unless I have grossly misunderstood the sign up process, but assuming that I haven’t:

I understand that this is how these things are done when a service is bought by another service, but I don’t have to like it. This is just the sort of thing that has people concerned about the potential Microsoft/Yahoo! merger. The article I point you too is an interview in Bloomberg with Google, so please understand that when I say people, I do not mean Google (as an empire, this should worry them). What I mean is people like me; what if I don’t want to join Yahoo or generally dislike Microsoft products? I guess it could be argued that you put misgivings to rest and join or go without, but is anyone really comfortable with those kinds of options?

Moving on. Next I joined groups for each of my cat breeds and one for rescue pets because I am totally broken. I couldn’t figure out how to add pictures to those groups’ pools. While I was looking for instructions, I had a thought: maybe the Vermont 23 Things had a group we could all join. I searched and a few libraries/states did, but not us. So guess what? I made it! Because there were no pictures (and mine were still living on my camera) there was a handy link to the instructions for linking pictures to a group. Hooray!

I spent a long time figuring out the API for the linking tool to my blog. I don’t know what happened, and sometimes that just happens with technology. I just kept trying and eventually it all worked out. There’s a lesson in there somewhere I’m sure.

Lastly, I added some friends who have Flickr accounts to my contacts list. This is like citation jumping. You find a friend on there, then you add them and look at their contacts. You add common friends. Then those friends contacts and so on until you run out of steam. I only mention it because a lot of folks who are new to social software don’t know about this handy method for getting connected. So there you go.

I will say that I long for a tool in Flickr for importing your email contacts and checking for them in Flickr’s database, like LinkedIn and Facebook have. It’s just nice to be able to easily connect with people you know without having to jump through hoops to get there.

I remembered there being a widget for Flickr in WordPress. I added it to see if it would display my pictures, but it displayed random pictures only. I’m sure there’s a way to tweak this but I’m going to save it for thing 6 because I’m all learned out for the time.