Parents and children alike will recall this simple but entertaining infant game. The parent asks the baby “how big (are you)?” and the two of them respond by raising their arms and crowing “so big!” in unison. Parent and child spend time together, smiles, laughter, and bonding ensue, and, in the process, the child learns a combination of social and physical skills.
My online experience isn’t all that different except I don’t need a parent to ask “how big” or any help realizing it is “so big!” In fact, it’s a good thing I have a full-time job that, by default, excludes a minimum of 40 hours per week from my on my online presence because it could easily become way “too big!” Here’s a rundown:
- Blogging – my favorite by far; it is simultaneously relaxing and challenging to put words together in a coherent and, hopefully, interesting way.
- Google Reader – I’m not a big fan of Google’s recent changes to this product (my advice: don’t fix it if it’s not broken!), but it is still by far the most intuitive reader product I’ve seen and is an easy way to keep up with online buddies regardless of blogging platform.
- Message boards & forums – I’m signed up for more of these than I can remember, but I only visit them if I am participating in site-sponsored e-courses or similar activities.
- e-mail – out of control: I’m always unsubscribing from something, but the only way I keep my inbox from making me totally crazy is by periodic wholesale deletes by sender, date, etc.
- Facebook – I’m there but not wholly committed; I check in occasionally to see what family and friends are up to, but I rarely post any updates of my own.
- Flickr! – count me in, though I have so few photos posted it’s hardly worth having an account.
- Pinterest – I’m there too but my neglected boards collect more dust than pins.
The most obvious omission from this list is Twitter. It’s possible I own the record for the shortest Twitter registration ever (it was recommended for one of the many e-courses I’ve taken, but I think I deleted my account just a few hours after I established it). It didn’t take me long to realize that (a) I will never, ever have enough to say that I need a frequent-post mechanism like Twitter and (b) it’s equally unlikely I can complete a thought in 140 or less characters!
This post is in response to a new weekly “Mind the Gap” writing challenge designed to let bloggers assess their responses to the posted topic. The current prompt questioned whether social media changed this year’s Olympic experience compared to previous years. Participants are invited to respond via blog post and the associated poll.
I’m cognizant of social media’s impact on the Olympics because I am a genuine news junkie. NBC and CNN are my constant companions: the first because it’s a long-time family favorite; the second because it’s what I listen to in the car. Both NBC and CNN used “tweats” and similar postings to provide a human interest perspective to their more hardcore sports coverage, but none of their social media features was so compelling that I actively sought out coverage of an event or an athlete simply because I heard about an associated Twitter or Facebook post. So I’ll be responding to this particular poll with “not at all,” hoping that I can report at least a somewhat “trendy” for some future topic.