Today's Internet: A Brief Study in Discombobulation
Another social media service blip has appeared on the cybernetic radar screen, but wait. Further investigation reveals that this organization has been around a while. In fact, it was established long before YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, LiveSpace, MyFace, LiveBook, so on and so forth. Formed in 1984 as a conference event with its catch phrase, "Ideas Worth Spreading", this outfit has evolved into a global cyber-conferencing platform comprising three facets: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Voilà: TED.
Well, it piqued my interest. Possessing an intrinsic tendency to get overly enthusiastic over new blogospherical goodies, I proceed to delve all the way into this. I want to live, breath and integrate TED into my everyday routine. But TED is not what this article is really about. Becoming excessively fomented about it, is.
Surely, many keyboard jockeys share the dilemma, that is, becoming so absorbed in a newly discovered online tech toy, that everything else becomes of trivial importance. Then the boredom sets in, the endeavor becomes tiresome, and the "warm fuzzies" begin to wear off, signaling that it's time yet again to move on to something new and refreshing.
Eventually, the progression dictates cycling back to revisit the old platforms. This pattern repeats until finally working oneself into a myriad world of social sites, blogging platforms, media sites and all sorts of cyber goings-on, not to mention the influx of strange new emails, advertising promos, and newsletters claiming that being a "subscriber of our services" entitles the recipient to these invaluable perks. These phenomena compound and eventually lead to a state of complete and total discombobulation.
Okay, this author is perhaps a bit "thrown off", though doubtlessly not alone with this conundrum. Experience has taught not to discredit gut feelings, because they usually end up having some merit. If feelings are not brought to the surface and expressed, there is no way of knowing whether they are commonly shared by others or not. That demonstrates the "social" aspect of "social networking" does it not?
All right, enough rambling in that direction. One objective of this piece is to suggest an approach to "grabbing the bull by the horns," in a technical sense. Make the Internet work for the common Infobahn surfer, as opposed to the reciprocal.
Here is a simple plan for gaining control of your internet presence:
- List every web profile from all blog platforms, social sites and cyber communities to which you've ever subscribed (according to your best recollection) and create a double columned matrix on paper using a pen or pencil. This will occupy one column.
- Create a similar list in the adjacent matrix column of clearly defined objectives and functions that you intend to project into cyberspace (i.e. support forum, genealogy blog or recipe catalog).
- Proceed to map each interest's entry to a logically corresponding web application, assigning each particular site a unique functional purpose, focus and identity. This effort may require additional grid columns between the two initial ones in order to organize a more siloed hierarchical structure.
- Applications may require modifications to conform to their newly assigned roles. Others may need to be redefined in order to clarify their mission. Some elements may need to be moved to a more appropriate venue, possibly requiring content forking, exporting, importing and/or conversion.
- Next, find a common entry point to organize and control navigation to all of these web entities, such as a home website page. Lo and behold, you now have your very own personal hub-and-spoke paradigm.
- The final step would be to enhance the social interactivity aspect of your network, which is a science in and of itself and includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), syndication, aggregators and the like. A plethora of publications pertaining to this area are widely available, or in systems design speak, "the issue is out of the scope of this unit of work".