Monday, 25 June 2007

How much online life can one person handle ?

It started with a blog. A presence definitely but gradually building up to interactions with others. Scary at first but soon became habit.

That led to a need for multiple internet-based email accounts. Personal ones, blog ones, tried a couple of providers. It turns out I find it hard to delete myself.

Then there was mobile phone blogging. Had a now-defunct Phlog account that I sent mobile phone pictures to until a combination of factors put paid to it - spam comments piling onto all the pictures and the mobile phone company helpfully adding borders to the pictures that enable email replies but also ruin the straight from phone compatibility. So it sits there but isn't being updated.

Flickr for photos. Useful particularly when blogger stopped allowing access to ftp.

And then people keep sending helpful links to try. Several accounts in existence that I don't use. Including Buzznet and Picasa and others that I forget. More recently its been Facebook - invited to a fellow blogger so I tried it. Almost immediately discovered a real life friend there. Its hard enough keeping up with friends in RL let alone keeping up with a network of virtuals as well. Perhaps its a step too far towards social-networking - it somehow seems too much like hard work. A little too interactive perhaps.

There are the things I do use. Like a not oft-updated Twitter, which I take to be more like old-skool blogging - more one liners, more directing posts at one another and writing about other people's writing. I find it hard to find something clever, witty and fascinating to say several times a day. And an obsession with Celebdaq where I have managed to make £70K in not too long a time - nothing like making money to keep you hooked. Wasn't so pleased this week to find I'd lost £6500. More of a game than an online life.

And finally Second Life. Here is an obsession if ever I found one. A whole virtual world. Full of freaks (well not all of them, some are just porn star wannabes or have tails and horns and wings) to chat to if and when they interact. You can make your avatar be anything and yet the majority look like american celebrities and goths. Spend most of the time there trying to figure out what its all for, collecting freebies, trying to make some cash (not sure why, perhaps it gives one a purpose) and trying to find something to do. Aimless wandering from place to place looking at stuff. Little interaction (honestly it seems easier to avoid it than having to interact with total strangers about some crappy digital art or something, although sometimes it is funny). Something very surface about it - its about looks, and chat up.

And so I think the blog is perhaps the most real - its about something, I can develop a voice that can have some consistency and be bathed in the truth if I chose - real me rather than pretend me. It doesn't require hours of online chatting to be effective or to build connections. Its not real time which helps.

I wonder if we should clean up cyberspace after self - sooner or later it will be clogged with inactive accounts - dead blogs, accounts and virtual lives.

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