Category Archives: social media

Net perceptions

I had an almost argument with my Gran the other day, it’s one we’ve had before because it’s a subject on which we both have strong and opposing views.

You see, I practically live online and that worries my Gran because she honestly believes the internet is evil.

That’s right; ‘EVIL.’

She truly feels that it’s the internet that has brought about the ruin of the community and the gangs of kids walking the streets. She feels that you cannot make a true friend online, that you need to talk “mouth to mouth” as she puts it, that you have to be face to face and in each others lives in order to truly communicate and form a connection to another person.

I’ve tried to explain social networking and the things I do online to her but she won’t have it, she’s seen the relationships of 2 close friends ‘ruined by the internet’ with partners finding fresher fish on the glowing screen – my argument is that those couples were obviously unhappy and that the internet just made it easier to part ways, it wasn’t responsible for the relationships failure.

She is adamant that I’m too biased to see the evil of the net for what it truly is – if she had her way the person responsible for this wonderful technology would be shot for crimes against humanity, I on the other hand am convinced that if she would just give it a try for herself she’d see a whole world of possibilities open up for herself.

Dad chimed in to agree with me on a couple of points, for instance, I’m betting that quite a few of those kids on the street either don’t have net access at home or are not allowed to use it – personally I’d love for our government to put the internet into every household for free, at least then some of those gun toting, knife wielding kids would find something of more interest to them than standing around street corners.

But Gran thinks that would make the situation worse, everybody at home ‘tippytapping on their keyboards, nobody talking..’ She just doesn’t understand what the internet is.

The thing is, I feel that people communicate more online than they do in real life.
My take on it is that these days people are just too wary to let down their guard to somebody face to face – at home alone sat in front of a keyboard it’s very intimate, it’s just you and a computer screen, you can let out your feelings and there is no feeling of condemnation from a monitor, the person at the other end has time to frame their reply in such a way that you’re not bruised by an unintentional snort of laughter or shocked gasp.
This monitor also gives you a feeling of distance that allows you to let down your guard some, it provides enough anonymity that you can let someone in further than you would in real life because at the back of your mind you know that it’s a lot easier to ‘walk away’ from someone you haven’t physically met if it all turns sour than it is to distance yourself from someone who’s in and out of your house and who knows all of your friends and family.

When it doesn’t turn sour you can give out real life contact details, perhaps you’ll meet up, perhaps you won’t but the things you’ve shared through the imagined safety net of partial anonymity help you grow closer and forge a bond until there’s no such thing as anonymity – you know each others secrets, the fears you can’t share with anyone else and everything that’s happening in each others lives.
That’s friendship.

That’s why I love social networking, it dissolves the constraints of time, it widens the net so to speak, it removes the obstacle of distance and allows you to find people with interest and opinions in kind. It allows you to find friendship.

Yes, there are horror stories, but there are always going to be horror stories, it’s a sad fact of life, some people are just downright selfish, cruel and in some cases; evil.
Online or off it makes no difference, we just have to use common sense and trust our intuition, take our time to get to know people and accept that sometimes we make bad choices – it’s how we learn.

That’s what I’d like my Gran to accept; that a conversation online is just as valid as one face to face.

A little less conversation..

I saw on this mornings news that we apparently lose at least one friend a year.
This means I must have been really careless along the way because I’ve lost far more than that over the last 4 years.. Meh, this move should rectify that little oversight.

What really interested me though were the little voxpops of people on the street choosing whether people were more or less friendly nowadays compared to years ago. Every single one of them stated clearly ‘Less friendly’ and on the emails a German lass said that English people were very hard to get close to.
So.. Is it a cultural thing, an age thing or merely editing and perspective?

I agree that people are far more wary of strangers these days, our much vaunted multi-culturalness has raised more barriers than it’s dissolved in my opinion. You can’t force people to be tolerant of the beliefs of others and anything ‘different’ will be viewed with either amusement or distrust. That being said, does that make us so very different from the generations before us?

I think not.
I believe that people were no more friendly 30-50 years ago than they are now, they just had a different framework in which to classify relationships.

Sliding morals are the smallest of changes we’ve witnessed as a community, the internet has made friendships bloom across the continents where before they would bloom through closer contact with a distant acquaintance. Yes, online people are a little less guarded than they are face to face – I’m not a psychologist so I couldn’t even begin to guess why this is so, but the facts as I see it show that we are not less friendly now than we were ‘then’ we’ve merely changed the ways in which we conduct our friendships.
City folk have always appeared less caring than country folk – that hasn’t changed. What has changed is that it seems less and less likely to find strangers talking to each other in a meaningful way; the conversations have dried up, unless it’s about the latest reality show (or comedy catchphrase) strangers of this generation find it difficult to connect to others through the spoken word.

Is that in part due to the deterioration of the English language? Is the language deteriorating? I’m not really qualified to say, but on this blog at least my opinion is the one that counts and I feel that it is.

What started as a slow take up of mashed up words such as ‘innit’ and the overuse and misuse of words such as ‘like’ has progressed into a whole new subset of the English language, ‘Americanisms’ abound and ‘ghetto speak’ has found it’s way into the mainstream. The ‘yeah but no but yeah’ generation are doomed in my opinion, even online the language is given less than the respect it deserves – txt spk is rife and I feel it is a real indicator of a persons personality, their age, likes and dislikes.

I know that if I comes across the profile page of a person using predominantly txt spk and capitols, I’m unlikely to have anything in common with that person – I immediately assume that under favourite TV shows they will list things like ‘Jackass’ ‘Bo selecta‘ and ‘Big Brother’ and that music will feature someone like the black eyed peas (the music is ok, shame about the fans) they won’t like to read and will make some kind of joke about the fact – as though this is the logical reaction to being asked for a book recommendation and they will say their favourite pass time is ‘getting drunk’

I dislike txt spk immensely.

On the plus side, the conversationalists are not going out without a fight – Theodore Zeldin (founder of the Oxford Muse) has organised a ‘party’ for his 75th birthday and anyone who can get there is invited. Sadly I only found out about this today so I’ll be unable to attend but for those of you in London today between 12:00 and 19:00 head over to:

3 Olaf Street
W11 4BE
Phone +44 20 7985 9600
Fax +44 20 7985 9671

All he asks is that you converse with a stranger on one of the topics on the menu. Sounds good to me, it’s free, there’s refreshments on offer and you get to have a proper chat – what more could you want on a wet and miserable afternoon in London?

Who do you follow and why do you do it?

I’ve spent most of the evening writing and re-writing a question on twitter over at the socialset blog and this post is kind of an addendum to it..

At first I only followed the person who had told me about Twitter (wagnerdepower) and I’d look at the public time line only occasionally; quite frankly it bored me – until Twittervision came on the scene.
That made it more interesting, I’m still not sure why, but without that perspective I’d have given Twitter up as a waste of time after the first week and would never have realised what a rich and wonderful thing it truly is.

While watching the public time line I found I was ‘favouriting’ Sizemores every other comment and so took the next step of actually following him, he was then the second person I followed on Twitter and the first person I have ever knowingly ‘virtually stalked’
(sounds bad but it’s the best phrase to describe how digital eavesdropping on perfect strangers can lead to googling and information collection – I would hasten to add that this was perfectly harmless and the poor boy can sleep in peace knowing I will never come calling in the dead of night – also that any bunny rabbits he may happen to possess will have no fear of the pot from me..)

I ‘met’ Nik aka Loudmouthman in a similar way. He was joking about internet applications and open source software with dungeekin, in order to follow the conversation I added them both, Nik was the first person I followed who not only acknowledged the fact, he invited me into the conversation (though to be fair it was under the mistaken assumption that I was somehow already connected to dungeekin..)
These days I mainly follow people who started following me first. When I get an email telling me about them I stop by their page and see if I can figure out why I caught their interest – some I follow back, others may instead find a new subscriber to their blog feed..
If the people I follow are talking to others on a subject I have an interest in, I’ll add the second person so I can follow the whole conversation. I do not actively seek out people to follow, nor will I blindly follow others purely because they have decided to follow me, advertisers especially get short shrift and will in fact be blocked by me completely – as will anyone from the porn industry (I don’t fancy having my avatar showing on their wall of ‘stuff’)

But I love twitter. It has literally opened up a whole new world for me. I have ‘met’ some intelligent and interesting people that may otherwise have passed me by – it’s almost like discovering the internet all over again! It’s a chat room/ message board/ forum/ blog all in one, it’s more immediate than any profile site and it truly brings the world into your front room as it’s happening. ..And not just your front room either, enable text notifications on your mobile and you can keep up with things no matter where you are – signal dependent of course πŸ˜‰

What more could you ask for from a social networking tool? Yes, it could do with a little tweaking to make it ideal for me. I personally would like the ability to file anything I mark as a ‘favourite’ into different folders – if that happened I’d no longer need delicious since I usually tweet interesting finds or articles, all I’d have to do is ‘fave’ ’em into the folder of choice and away I go.. But those kind of suggestions are another post *grin* I need to wrap this up and head for bed.

If you haven’t already tried twitter then Master K didn’t pimp it hard enough the first time around *chuckle* I’d hope I do better, just be warned; It’s addictive.

Social networking and web 2.0

You know, I’ve never ‘got’ the whole ‘web 2.0’ thing. I know there’s a big hue and cry about it, anyone who’s anyone in the net media seems to be throwing out kudos here and opinions there about it but really, it’s just another buzzword.
It doesn’t mean a damned thing – if it did the average surfer would understand what it means instantly – but we don’t.

Now, social networking – that means something. But maybe not the same thing to me that it means to all the people busy writing about it and congratulating themselves on their cleverness and insight (you know, the pro-bloggers who like to write about blogging and very little else) I know this will make me sound like a bit of a net granny but.. It wasn’t all like this in my day!

Aside from blogging, my personal use of the internet for surfing has not changed much over the last 12 years or so (my god, I just had to reckon that up.. Now I do feel like a net granny!) I first started using it on the manchester university computers while waiting for friends to finish up in the labs, they’d log me on and leave me to play – in fact that’s how I got my first email address. (password was ‘ouch’ lol)

That was me way back when (no need to try emailing it, I stopped using that particular address years ago – right about the time I left the band of the same name in fact) But that was what got me hooked.
Through hotmail I discovered the MSN chat rooms, they were a wonder to me – I still wriggle slightly in shame at my first faux pas. I’d been signed into a chat room and some people very nicely made me welcome, there was a little banter and I tried to join in by making a joke about the way somebody had used the wrong spelling of a word and so totally changed the context of what they’d said – the response was an apology for their terrible english – it turned out they were chinese, I was mortified – and astounded.
That was the moment I realised just how fabulous the internet was – I was communicating in real time with someone from the other side of the world. Ok, so I cocked up that first conversation but I learned very quickly and soon became addicted to the chat rooms.

My favourites were the abuse and hellifiknowquix rooms (The abuse room was a great stress reliever and the quickest way to meet people of a like mind *grin* you can tell a lot about a person from the way they both insult and react to insults) Anyhow in these rooms I met many a person that I went on to meet in real life (including a group of Portuguese people who invited me over for a very enjoyable holiday – but that’s another story) from there I was told about Uboot.

Now remember, back then mobile phones were not as they are today and as a poor student I couldn’t really afford one but online that didn’t matter – Uboot allowed you to save phone numbers and send free sms (they don’t allow it any more, now you have to pay for that service) so of course I signed up – it was a quick way of keeping in contact with my more affluent friends – and a way of meeting other people since it was also a profile site cum personal message board.

On Uboot I met several people, 2 of whom I’m still in irregular contact with today and it was these 2 people who introduced me to faceparty.
Back then it wasn’t quite the dating site it is now, it really was more like an online pub (an old mans pub where you can chat instead of shout over loud music) a comfortable place to put a little about yourself and connect with others who professed similar interests and mental wavelengths – the emphasis wasn’t so much on dating but on socialising in general, the instant chat feature was brilliant and made it a step up from uboot because it combined the profile/ messageboard with a personal chatroom feel.

My how things change..

I’m actually awaiting the next stage in the facebook phenomena because it’s really just a logical step up from all the other profile sites out there, it’s taken aspects of friends reunited, uboot, faceparty and myspace and mixed ’em all up in one place.
Sadly it too will become another dating monstrosity *sigh* It’s inevitable.
I’d like to think I’m wrong but I’ve been a member of several profile sites over the years and it’s distressing how few people join up that are simply looking to socialise as opposed to ‘meet someone’ – which brings me to blogs and twitter.

I’ve already posted about how I was introduced to twitter and how incestuous the world online seems to be, but twitter is something different – it’s a real meeting place.
With a blog you can follow a persons thoughts and get to feel that you know them, you form a relationship of sorts with the writer and through comments and a blog of your own you can interact and build upon that relationship over time (as I have done with at least three of you now reading this) The same thing can happen with twitter, but in a much more immediate way – and people are not really talking about hooking up for dating purposes on there (well, ok, some are but it’s inevitable that would happen, look at sms and the whole ‘dogging’ thing) on the whole, they’re talking about meeting to share interests in the same way people used to with me on faceparty before the meat market mentality took over.

It’s good to see that kind of ‘innocence’ back online, it generates far more enthusiasm over the long term than a flurry of dates ever could.

Now blogging is incestuous, the blogging ‘community’ or the blogosphere can’t really be described in any other way – my former post explains how I came to that conclusion and Rob Hinchcliffe highlights the downsides of that incestuousness.

Mind you, isn’t that how any form of networking seems after a while? Only people interested in being social and networking will do certain things and go to certain places – this means that after a while, if you participate long enough you’ll start to see all the same faces.
It happened on Mybloglog (seriously, go visit a few blogs and look at the pictures on the sidebar widget, 9 times out of 10 it’s the same people who appear before you) and you’ll find that most of the people you recognise from mybloglog are the ones found on every other blog networking site, these people then form cliques and..

Wait, we’re back in the real world again. Only it’s online.

I guess that’s what all those clever people mean by ‘Web 2.0’ it’s online mimicry of real life, people meet up, side off and form little groups all happy within their clique – whether you’re the geeks, the entrepenaurs, the writers, musicians or just people into cross stitch, you have your group and you’re happy to network within it.

To me ‘Web 2.0’ just means ‘its a small world’, online or offline people are still people and that’s something I think a lot of these clever writers forget.

RSS feeds

As most of you know I had this blog over at blogger originally, I remember when RSS feeds were the new shiny thing to come out and everyone was talking about ’em. At that time though, I didn’t pay much attention because I just didn’t ‘get’ what they were or what was so good about them.

In fact, my browsing habits have always been a bit ‘hit or miss’. If somebody interested me I’d bookmark them, if they interested me enough to keep going back I’d add them to my blog sidebar until such time as I lost interest – mainly because it was easier than sorting through all my bookmarks to find ’em. Once they stopped writing (as they invariably did) they were then replaced with whoever the new flavour of the week was – I admit it, I’m a flutterby.
The thing is, I then started reading some absolutely cracking blogs, but it seemed to be that as soon as I’d visited them a couple of times they’d slack off and either stop blogging completely or just take a month or so break.. I began to feel like a blog Jonah, that my mere presence was killing off any interesting writers within the ‘blogosphere’ (sorry Dan, I know how you hate the word) anyway, I cleared my sidebar and moved over here to my own domain and the joys of wordpress.

When I first started looking at feed readers I was a little put off at the thought of it all in one place, I actually like visiting the website of the person I’m reading, the layout, accompanying pictures, it’s all part of the personality of the writer and it helps keep me focused on which author wrote what I’m reading (I’m not very observant you see) and it looked so complicated – I don’t like complicated, I’m a typical end user – if I can’t point and click I’ll usually not even bother trying unless someone is there to walk me through it (well depending on my mood, sometimes I’m a stubborn cuss and will keep at something for hours before admitting defeat in a sobbing mess)

It was not long after moving over here that I decided to give in to progress and try out the whole RSS thing – especially since once again it was being made much of amongst the people I like to read. My sidebar was cluttered with links to seemingly abandoned blogs but this time I didn’t want to lose anyone in case they came back, from what I was reading RSS was the answer, I could declutter and still keep tabs on my former ‘blogroll’

The problem was, I still wasn’t sure exactly what it was – everyone was mentioning aggregators and feed readers and all manner of arcane sounding stuff, I just wanted something simple – I’d grasped that it was a way of keeping up to date with everyone and actually seeing who had a new post up without searching through all my links, I just didn’t know what I had to do to make it work.

Enter Google reader. Many people offered suggestions but most seemed to agree that Google reader was a good bet, Since I already use Gmail it seemed a suitable choice so I checked it out.
Basically, if you have a gmail account it’s simple; when you’re logged in just go to the ‘more’ tab at the top, you can select the reader on there, otherwise just search for ‘Google reader’ and sign up.
The tricky bit is adding subscriptions.
You need to find where the RSS feed is on the blog/ website you’re interested in and then copy that into the ‘add subscriptions’ box. On some sites you can’t miss it, on others.. Well, I can only assume that like the old me, the blogger/ webmaster didn’t see it as anything of any real importance so it’s overlooked or ignored.

I’ve gone from not knowing what an RSS feed is to being annoyed when I come across something I like and can’t find the feed link to add to my subscriptions (as the lovely Master K can tell you seeing as I nagged at him to sort one out for me for his blog *grin*) Fortunately most wordpress blogs seem to have them at the foot of the page so that’s usually my first place to look when it’s not immediately obvious, just click on the link and copy it into the reader and there you have it. No more missing posts! I think I’ll be loving Hot Karl forever for being the first to point me in the direction of Google reader *grin*

It’s not just good for keeping tabs on awol bloggers though, it’s also great when you have a site like lifehacker, they’re prolific posters on there but not everything they write is of interest to me – especially the mac stuff, you just skim the post headings and select what you want to read. You can either read it as an article in the reader or click on the heading and it opens a new tab (or window depending on your browser preferences) and you can visit the post in it’s home setting. Once you’ve scrolled past the new article in the reader the counter for that blog is re-set so that next time you log in it only shows you the new stuff, it’s quick, efficient and easy on the eye.

Quite frankly I think everyone should use a reader – and EVERYONE who writes should make sure they have an RSS feed that’s easily accessible, especially if they want to build up a readership. If you neglect your blog for a while then people stop visiting and forget all about you, but if they’ve subscribed to your feed, well, the second you start posting again they’ll be back because they’ll know about it.

All in all I now think RSS is bloody marvelous πŸ˜€

Random link love

Twitter is better than any of the social networking sites for finding like minded people to ‘talk’ to, it’s even good for finding random strangers to follow just for the sake of procrastination, The only problem is.. You then start ‘talking’ to those random strangers and develop a relationship of sorts.
As an example, when I first signed up with twitter I’d follow the public time line because of the novelty and a few comments piqued my interest enough to make me ‘follow’ a random stranger – that was Dan.

For a while after that it seemed everywhere I went online Dan of The wrong advices blog was a step ahead of me, he then introduced me to mybloglog and I amused myself by browsing the various blogs on offer there. I haven’t bothered with it for a while because other things caught my attention but today I was reminded of it (albeit indirectly) through twitter.

That’s right back to twitter. You see the person who indirectly reminded me of mybloglog was Nik aka loudmouthman, the guy who talked me into trying out ubuntu. I stalked him on twitter too – and it’s all the fault of Master K since he nagged me into signing up to the damned thing in the first place.

Anyhow, Nik posted a tweet linking to an online identity score (go ahead, just do it yourself and see what comes up, I apparently score ‘8’ both for my name and for rosevibe) It was while googling myself I came across this meme linking me.

Why am I linked on a blog I don’t recall stumbling across before? Because of You see how incestuous everything online is?

I met Master K through my original blogger blog several years ago and I count him a pretty good net friend due to our intermittent correspondence, he introduced me to twitter where I met both Dan and Nik, the latter being someone I greatly admire and can see becoming an RL friend in the not too distant future. Dan introduced me to mybloglog and Christy obviously found me there.

I wonder how long it would take me to find myself again just from following a random link from Christys blog? maybe someday when I’m bored enough I’ll have to see. For now, I have a meme to do – it seems only fair to do so after shouting to the world about it πŸ˜‰

These are the meme rules:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves which others do not know about them.

2: People who are tagged need to write in their own blog and post these rules.

3: At the end of your 8 random facts post, you must select 8 more people and leave a message at their site that they have been tagged….

Hmmm.. First of all, it’s going to be tough writing something about me on here that you guys don’t know about (or can’t find out by trawling the archives) secondly that rule #3 is just begging to be broken, I’ll not perpetuate I’ll just participate.

So.. My 8 random facts or habits:

  1. I do my best not to bend/ crease the spine of any book I read and make sure to use something as a book mark rather than bending the pages over or placing an open book face down and flat – I HATE seeing people vandalise books in this fashion.
  2. I struggle with verbal conversation most days as I only take in half of what’s going on, not because I’m not listening but because I can’t process speech quickly enough and end up skimming what people say. This is why I like karaoke nights so much, I’m not required to talk a great deal or follow a conversation but I can still enjoy the atmosphere, sit with friends and have a sing.
  3. I like going to the theatre on the rare occasion I can justify the expense.
  4. I like walking around art galleries and spend a fair amount of time looking at pictures online.
  5. I have been between 9 and a half stone in weight for the last 12 years
  6. I can keep a bar of chocolate in the house for over a month and not eat it all. As long as I know it’s there I don’t get chocolate cravings.
  7. I don’t like receiving ‘smellies’ as gifts, soaps and toiletries are personal things and I like to get my own.
  8. When I’m thinking I press my fingers together in the ‘excellent’ fashion of Mr Burns and I don’t even realise I’m doing it half the time.

The masks we wear

It’s odd isn’t it, that we can appear one way to to a vast majority of people online and yet somehow, should we meet those people, the way we appear is almost totally at odds with that former representation.

It can even change online, people who have multiple blogs for example, on one blog you may see that person as someone you’d love to know, and yet another blog could make them seem to have nothing in common with you and therefore not ‘worthy’ of your notice.

I was just thinking this as I browsed around mybloglog. We pick and choose the aspects of our personality we wish to show online and we pick and choose which online ‘friends’ complement those aspects best. I have made some good friends online over the last few years – at least I like to think of them as friends, we’ve spoken on the phone, exchanged addresses and there’s a standing invite to visit each other should the opportunity arise.

The thing is, despite the duration of those friendships, we know nothing about each other really.
I like to think of myself as a good hearted, pleasant easy going FUN lass – ok, I have a temper and I know I can be unreasonable at times, but who can’t eh?! That representation is reflected in this blog, but then I think back over my life, at work places and colleges and realise that, actually – I’m not that nice, I’m not that easy to get along with.. It takes a certain type of person to put up with me for long which is why I only have the one long term friend who remains in regular contact.

Kinda puts a new light on my online persona wouldn’t you agree?

Online I can be the person I want to be, we all can. I think that’s what makes blogging and instant messaging and forums so seductive, the reason why people can become addicted to a virtual life to the detriment of their real one. It’s not a new thought I know, but I’ve never put that thought into personal terms before.

I’ve never sat and thought, well, actually I am different online. I’ve always upheld the belief that I am ME no matter where I am or how I’m interacting with people.
Yet, today I admitted to myself that I do lie on here in a way that makes me seem a better person – I’ll omit the odd detail of something or censor myself, for example, if I’m having a crisis or I feel shitty I may throw up a happy happy joy joy post instead of how I’m really feeling. I may write something great/ intelligent and insightful on here – and then go to my cfs blog and whinge about how I’m braindead and can’t think.. Both of these aspects of my personality are there at the same time, yet someone reading only one blog would think that I’m either a total misery or an interesting person. It’s all perspective and the way in which we distill those personality traits. The danger lies in believing in the distilled version of yourself and forgetting about those unpleasant personality traits we live with daily instead of actively working to become that person we want to be.

I know I’m not there yet, my social skills are a tad lacking on occasion and I cannot wholly blame my illness for that, it’s a lack in me. Online I can hide that but I don’t live online, as much as I may wish I did, so while the way I write my blog will not change, I should really look at just what it is I wish to be and do something about it.

Blogging is definitely the new sex.

You see, my previous post was just a fly by thought, since then a few more things have occurred to me that tend to confirm that thought as a valid one.

I think there are three types of people where sex and blogging are concerned:

  1. People who prefer sex to blogging.
    These people may have a blog, but they’ll have been coerced into starting it by some friend or acquaintance, after a few weeks or months it’s fallen along the wayside as they concentrate on more tangible things – like sex.
  2. People who prefer blogging to sex.
    Within the blogosphere they are happy and to hit that post button brings a little frisson of satisfaction that’s hard to beat. Everything is seen with a view to how best to blog it and their reading list is ‘the length of a babys arm’ a social life is just something they have to fuel their incessant need to blog, they post from mobile phones, internet cafes and keep a wealth of posts to one side so that on the rare occasion their attention is claimed by something else, the blog will not suffer – and they’ll <em>always</em> be back – even after they quit and say ‘never again’.
  3. People who love both equally.
    These people tend to be the ones who combine both passions, yes, these are the sex bloggers. From dating advice to outright porn, these individuals are happy day in and out as they search for the perfect image to accompany the write up of their latest sexperience.

But wait, there’s more..

These are in fact the virtual equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease. Ok, Ok, ‘fact’ may be the wrong word to use for the pedants amongst you, but you have to admit it’s a decent simile; they’re pretty viral and they spread from blog to blog the same way an STD spreads from person to person, you show a little love, some intimate contact and look – a meme appears with your name on it.

People tart up their blogs with the most pleasing templates they can find and add many plugins and widgets (the virtual equivalent of make-up and plastic surgery) all with the aim of making them more attractive.. Why? so that people will visit and interact – some people even spend more time on tarting up their blogs than they do themselves (see person type #1)

The blogroll is almost like the notches in the bedpost with Technorati, Alexa and all their ilk reading like the HELLO! magazine of the blog world “..and look who’s linking up with rosevibe today..” even the link terms are sexually related (link-whoring, showing some link-love etc) so it’s an impossible observation to escape once it’s been pointed out to you.

Blogging is sex.

Now, this post may sound as though a great deal of thought has been expended upon the subject, that’s really not the case – I’m not a deep thinker *grin* but seriously, after reading this can you honestly say that at least one small part of you isn’t nodding in agreement? πŸ˜‰

Is blogging the new sex?

Seriously, that thought just raced across my mind as I was looking around for new things to put on my blog. (you know, toys as opposed to content – I’m selfish like that)

I know, I had a thought – roll out the flags! It’s probably not even a new one, I bet at least <em>dozens</em> of people have had it before me.
But just take a minute to look at the similarities..

Sex – better when someone else is interacting with you, blogging – better when someone interacts with you.

Sex – there’s always someone claiming to be an ‘expert’ telling you that ‘this is how you do it, these are the tools you need.. There’s books, videos, you name it and someone’s writing about it.. Oh wait, was that sex or blogging I was talking about there..?

I mean C’mon! People are making money blogging about blogging – does this make them the porn stars of the blogosphere? I’d really like to know, since blogging is turning into a major online industry (there was even talk of regulating it not long back and I daresay there will be again in the future) does the fact that I’m even writing this post make me some kind of minor ‘fluffer’..

The things that cross my mind eh?!

Facebook and SingSnap

..The latest things to keep me occupied online.

Facebook is probably something most of you already know about (and if so, why have you not invited me into your network *shakes head in disgust*) it’s a social network site but it certainly beats faceparty/ facepic/ lookitsme and the like hands down.
It has the option to create photo albums, leave ‘notes’ (very twitter like) and you can leave comments (like myspace but without the bugs and viruses) it’s a very friendly piece of kit and me likee muchly, I’ve also found several people on there that I lost contact with a while back through the groups option. Yup, if you’re not on facebook you’re wasting your time *grin*

Now, the really fun one.. SingSnap. It’s currently in beta testing but I have 10 invites going spare, any karaoke lovers in da howse? just leave a note in the comments and i’ll email you one. It’s thanks to Kevvybabes i know about this (and facebook for re-uniting me with him) basically it’s a site for karaoke lovers, you can choose a song from the virtual book (and it’s a biggie) if you have webcam set up you can record visual as well as audio but it doesn’t matter if you don’t, you then get to choose whether to save it as a public or a private recording and away you go.

Ok, so it’s not as good as actually going to a karaoke nor is it brilliant for showcasing your singing talents, it is a fun piece of software though and since it’s all online you don’t need anything beyond a mic and speakers, it also has it’s own thriving community on the messageboards and in the chatrooms, and if you happen to have a few buddies signed up and recording you can do duets and harmonised tracks – without even being in the same country never mind the same room.. For something this good in beta I’m interested to see how well it stands up when it goes fully live.

Just one piece of advice, unless they’re there to join in, don’t try recording with someone else in the flat.. Git. πŸ˜‰

The internet, it’s not just for porn anymore.

That post title cracks me up – totally ripped off from Master K but I’m sure he won’t mind.. You don’t right? You love me, right? ..Right?


Anyhow, since the title is there in all it’s statemental glory, I guess I should write something with a little relevence.
For me the internet has never been about porn, but there are others who would argue differently: See Youtube, because the damned link won’t work here GRRRRRRR

I know, Avenue Q has been done time and again – but I loved the Disney spin *grin*

Now, for the stat lovers amongst you, I found this delightful (ok, marginally boring) website and this page in particular answers the question “How do people use the internet in general” (Well in China and the UK at any rate) and I can tell you that nowhere is the word ‘porn’ mentioned.

There’s even a graph detailing every use they can think of:

Internet usage graph for china and the UK

Ok, so I know at least one of you guys will point out that ‘web browsing’ could mean ‘looking for porn’ but why should it? Especially with all the other wonderful things on offer, Ebay can eat up a whole chunk of your life as can twitter. But then a few of you literal and technical types will have read the whole page and point out that

0.5% of respondents claimed to use the Internet for video conferencing

Is basically another way of saying ‘webcam’ and we all know people who cam are dirty porn seekers..
Umm.. Not all people who cam, I used to use my webcam a lot when talking with people over the net – it was a kind of vetting process, if you can see who you’re talking to and also see a little of their surroundings, it’s easier to decide whether they’re a dirty liar or not, after all ‘Gail’ may have the biggest adams apple this side of Canal street and 15 year old ‘Alison’ from Canada may be a potbellied 45 year old chain smoker from wigan – you just never know..

I know a large portion of that web browsing is taken up with internet dating and profile sights – people are always looking for people, but that is still not porn.

Right i’m being nagged to get my arse off the pc, blogging has taken over my life the last few days and I need to pack for the weekend amongst other things – go on take the topic and fly with it, I bet you can think of many things better than porn for which to use the net.


I really need my mind to kick into fully functioning mode so I can update wordpress, add all the little widgets I’ve had my eye on – and more importantly.. Get my twitterbox up and running.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this but I think I’m hooked on twitter.
It’s just random people spouting random crap about whatever they happen to be thinking as they sit at the keyboard – or not, and yet I keep going back for more. I have zero interest in what joe bloggs ate for lunch, or even on the dilemma of susie neutrals wardrobe choices.. But I can’t turn the damned thing off!

You can twitter from your phone for the cost of a normal text (well, in the uk that’s the cost anyhow) I know – I’ve set mine up to do just that, and last night it was a lifesaver I can assure you. Sat in some of the crappiest pubs on offer in Swinton (and trust me, there’s more than a few) that little text function proved to be a wonder. No need to bother my friends who were undoubtedly out living it up themselves (or sleeping, it was kinda late) I could just vent online, from my phone.

I love it.

You know what I love even more? By following the links posted by other twitters who have managed to catch my eye, I can procrastinate even more than normal.

Who needs blogexplosion when you can twitter eh?!

Cheers K, I loves ya buddy *grin*

blogging – the effect

Hmmm… I started writing this blog because it seemed like a cool thing to do – I like writing but I’m not a writer so a blog suits me quite well.
But over the last few months I feel as though I’ve become part of a community, a small one sure – but a community nonetheless, it does make me get warm little dancey feelings to see people leaving comments – especially since after a while, these comments start to evolve into conversations and then into actual friendships. I may live on the other side of a vast ocean to most of you guys, but it doesn’t stop me appreciating everything you say – not only in my comments section, but on your own blogs – I’m not getting all soppy on you I promise…

I just went to Flirt’s site via Michelle they both play these ‘tag’ games and bloggers are clamouring to be the next noticed in the chain… It just made me think is all.
Just because we’re communicating via text as opposed to body language and speech, the one thing that remains constant is the need to be loved and admired – or at the very least, noticed.

When I first started blogging I’d thought this would be a great place to share my net travels with the 2 or 3 lost souls accidently stumbling across this page, over the last few months however, the only net travels I really have are other blogs and links they find – I’m too busy trying to organise the html on here or catch up on the backlog of blogs I’ve found to have time to look for things myself.

I’m still unsure as to whether this is a bad thing or not.

On the one hand, I get to see life through some very different eyes – it’s helped me cope with this illness in that I know there are far worse things that could happen on a daily basis than being exhausted from washing dishes.
I also think it’s reading all the parental blogs – like Mir and Dooce and Fej that helped me to see my childhood differently and lose most of the resentment towards mum that I’d stored up for so long about things she really had no control over.
Kids are hard work and I doubt I’d be able to cope being a single mum the way she did – for what it’s worth mum, I’m sorry I was such a little cow and I think you did a great job – even without a manual.

On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure if I’m ‘me’ anymore, and if thats the case is it because I’m too ill to do the physical things I used to like (yup I still miss Wing Chun, even if I had only just started really getting into it when this all kicked in) or is it because I’m so full of other peoples lives now that I’ve forgotton how to have one of my own – virtual or otherwise.

How many of you feel the same way? Or am I just being melodramatic again. Damn those 4 years as an luvvie – will I never be free of their insidious influence?
*cue Sarah Bernhardt impression…