Sunday, December 30, 2012

How do you use Social Networking?

Between Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (not to mention my RSS subscriptions), I have a lot of information coming at me, that is hard to organize sometime. I tend to compartmentalize my social networking. I think of Twitter as either real-time updates (when something important is happening in the world) or as a way to get interesting links to read. It's also obviously a great way to communicate with friends. I think of Facebook as like a Family or School reunion - simply a place to see what's going on when people I know in real life. Google+ is like a bit 'ol hobby club. There are lots of people on Google+ with a lot of interests, and it not only exposes me to new things and ideas, but lets me communicate with people who are interested in the same things I am interested in.

In regards to Twitter clients, I'm a big fan of TweetDeck. I have been since I first saw it. On my Windows and Linux PC's I use the Chrome App version, and on my Mac I use the version from the App Store. I still think it's the best twitter client for desktop use (and I've tried a lot over the years). It gives me everything I want; a real-time feed that auto-scrolls for my main timeline, and the ability to add and remove extra columns. On my phone (both when I was on Android and now on my iPhone) I simply use the default Twitter client. It works well enough, I don't need columns or anything fancy on my phone, just the ability to check tweets when idle or bored. When playing "catch up" for whatever reason, nothing beats the Twitter website. With it's Vim-like navigation shortcuts, it's a breeze to go through a lot of tweets from my main timeline in a short amount of time.

I use "Favorites" as a bookmark of sorts. I've always been unsure of it's intended purpose. Is it supposed to be similar to a "Like" on Facebook or a "+1" on Google plus (sort of like a "right-on!" or "I agree")? Is it supposed to be like "Bookmarks" or "Favorites" in a browser? I use it like the latter. If I see a Tweet with a link that seems like it would be interesting, and I don't have time to follow the link, I "Favorite" it so that I can see it later in TweetDeck and remind myself to read the link. It works out well because I'm usually on my phone (and on the go) when I favorite something.

The only time I use a "client" of any sort for Facebook or Google+ is using the default apps on my phone. I do use Google Talk, but I never sign into Facebook. I'm not much on instant messaging for idle chit-chat. Usually if I'm on my computer I'm doing something; not just sitting here waiting for someone to chat with. Signing into Facebook chat has always been a disaster. Besides, I suck at small-talk anyway.

We live in such a great time with the ability to communicate with large groups of people instantly. Although I think this is great, I still worry some about future generations (or even the kids of today). Are we losing the ability to communicate face-to-face? If you are in the same building as someone, I see no reason to use technology to communicate when you can simply talk. As great as real-time communication and Social Network is, we don't need to lose the ability or desire to have meaningful and intelligent face-to-face conversations.

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