Yesterday, I hit a milestone, of sorts. Over the past couple of months I’ve been on the road to one event or another. I’ve tried to keep up with my blogging, my emails, and my life in general, but things have slowly gotten out of hand. I climbed up to around 1400 unread emails. I haven’t looked at Bloglines in ages. My visits to NewsTrust are cursory at best, rarely resulting in a review. Yesterday, I looked at the pile of unread emails, and found the oldest date back for two months.
As I got through my emails, I try to catch the most important ones on as timely a basis as possible, put others pile up and some slip through the cracks. I can only spend so much time plowing through old emails, so I balance it out with other ways of trying to keep my figures on the digital pulse.
I often rant against those who spend all their time in the progressive blogosphere. I know how easy it is to do. If you make a concerted effort to stay on top of DailyKos, MyDD, and your regional progressive blogging community, there isn’t a lot of time to read much else. But there is so much more to read.
As I try to balancing things out, I sometime check Bloglines for other blogs that I’ve found interesting. I hop over to BlogExplosion to see where it will take me, and recently I’ve been exploring sites like BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog. All of this works together to create a complex digital palimpsest.
So, instead of trying to capture a clear picture of what I’ve been reading, I thought I would note random tidbits that have caught my eye. There are a lot of SAHM, and WAHM blogs. For those not up on the mommy blogging culture, that is Stay At Home Moms and Work At Home Blogs. These are all wonderful follow-ons to the fertility blogs and the pregnancy blogs. After delivery, there are the moms trying to keep passion alive, even aspiring to be MILFs.
As much as I love my wife and family, I do not describe myself on my blog in terms of whose spouse and whose parent I am, the way many people do, and I find Offsprung’s perspective particularly refreshing: “Welcome to the perfect online antidote to a parenting culture gone barking mad”.
I’ve always been interested in homeschooling. Learning is a life long activity and schooling should take place at home, whether or not kids are also being schooled elsewhere. Many people think of homeschoolers as the religious conservatives that don’t want their children in schools where evolution is taught. Yet I found a wonderful blog, Homeschooling Evolved. They have a link to a life-sized online whale. Another fun blog in this area is Fish Feet. She has a great graph of Global Tetrapod Diversity
There is more to schooling than just science. I find myself wandering through various blogs of freelance writers. Some are offering ideas to other writers. Some are writing about their own writing, or trying out new things. I remember stumbling across the phrase, “Butterfly effect in reverse”, and “Pinocchio’s now a boy who wants to turn back into a toy”. Then, there are all the discussions about 18,000 nude volunteers in Mexico City. Meanwhile, I read about people playing with the Hasbro Vcam Now 2.0 video camera and whether or not you can use a child’s toy to create art.
So, I’m catching up on my emails. I’m keeping my eyes open online, and I’m finding that just like in face to face experiences, I really, don’t know life, at all.
The other day I read that a bunch of my friends were moving from Twitter to Jaiku. I set up my Jaiku page and subscribed to the RSS feed of my Twitter page. I tried sending an SMS, but it never got through. I checked around. I then tried snowballing my contacts, and the only person I found there was Scoble, and he didn’t have any contacts there. So, I’m not currently using Jaiku in any significant manner.
However, it does have the nice feature of bringing in a bunch of different feeds, so I added Orient Lodge, Blip.TV, Flickr. Later, I read about someone trying to tie their Facebook status to their Twitter page, and I poked around a little bit on this. If you go to your Facebook status page, and change profile.php? to minified.php?status& you will get the minified page that has your statuses. From that page you get the RSS feed for your statuses, which you can subscribe to with Jaiku (or any other feedreader).
The next question became, could I subscribe to any of these via Twitter? One person recommended TwitterFeed. This raised a new issue. To sign into TwitterFeed, you need to use OpenID. LiveJournal uses OpenID, and I could have used that. However, TwitterFeed also pointed me to idproxy.net. idproxy.net provides a service where you can use your Yahoo! id as an OpenID. In addition, they have details on how to set up your own site for OpenID, using idproxy as the server. I’ve added that to Orient Lodge, so I can now log into sites using OpenID using Orient Lodge and Yahoo’s authentication.
I logged into LiveJournal, and that worked. I then started to set up ClaimID. I didn’t see ClaimID doing a lot for me, so I’ve left it with only a little information.
Back to TwitterFeed, I added Orient Lodge to my Twitter feed, and every time I add a blog entry on Orient Lodge, it is now showing up nicely on Twitter. I then tried to add the Facebook feed, but that isn’t showing up properly.
This weekend saw an explosion of Twittering for me. One group of friends were all down at SXSW. I’m getting lots of twitters from there. Another group is following John Edwards on Twitter. I’ve started to subscribe to breaking news alerts on Twitter. Then, there are friends that are twittering about the use of Twitter for non-profits, and the group of people just living their normal daily lives on Twitter.
So, what is this Twitter stuff all about? Well, put simply, you can IM, text message, or submit from the web, a quick message that all of your followers will see. They get a choice of seeing it either via IM, text message or the web. It is a pretty cool tool, but there are a lot of things I would like to see enhanced.
This morning, Steve Rubel noted that John Edwards was one of his followers on Twitter. Sure enough, Sen. Edwards has over 500 friends and followers on Twitter and he’s also following me. I figured it was time to get a little more involved with Twitter.
If I hadn’t of spent most of last week down in DC live blogging the Libby trial deliberations, I would be down there right now to participate in Freedom to Connect. Fortunately, it will be streaming online with a live chat back channel going on at the same time.
There are many aspects to our freedom to connect. Some of the bigger issues are things like net neutrality, municipal wireless and the digital divide. Yet there are other things that inhibit our ability to connect. How usable are communication tools to use? How well do they interconnect?