The week began with me catching some playful hell for twittering while I was supposed to be “judging” my friends’ game of Trivial Pursuit. I only volunteered to “judge” because I was the fifth wheel and preferred drinking my beer, watching the traffic go by and offering an occasional opinion than committing to the game. Actually the fact that my co-workers were aware of Twitter was noteworthy (though none of them are active twitter participants). So here I am, surrounded by some very brilliant people who are always looking at new technology trends, but in this case not seeing the point of things like Twitter. If my awesome co-workers don’t get it, what’s the chances that unwashed masses will get it? Or, like, my family?
I told a co-worker that Twitter is my virtual water-cooler where I get a ton of info, sometimes amazing, often mundane. Other’s use RSS readers to keep up on what’s happening on the Tech world. Since I first signed up and discovered that most of the tech voices that I listen to or watch are on Twitter, Twitter has been my “RSS” feed. Besides the “A” list bloggers, I’ve “met” so many other interesting voices in tech and in church things and in education. And sometimes it was just the amazing serendipity of getting a notice that so-and-so is following your twitter and then checking out their website and discovering someone interesting that they’re following. For example, some time earlier in the year I got a notice that this “old hippy*” living in Maine was following me (*he’s probably younger than moi). When i checked out his website I found some amazing videos and found someone else he was following, a young journalist living in NYC named Alana Taylor who perfectly expressed this frustration of being alone in the Web 2.0 world:
I have a problem. I am addicted to social networking sites. But I have no one to social network WITH! All my friends (who are mostly girls) think Web 2.0 is a type of advanced cellulite-reducing body lotion. And when I try to explain what it really is, they get annoyed, confused, and impatient.
They don’t care. They don’t want to know.
Do you have this same problem? If you do, then I know exactly how you feel.
Like me, you have a lot of “real” friends on Facebook or MySpace, but none at all on the new start-ups like Pownce, Virb, BrightKite, FriendFeed, etc. Who is going to share pictures with you on Flickr? Who is going to recommend songs on Last.FM? Who is going to tell you about their latte on Twitter? How are you going to tell someone about ALANA TAYLOR??
You feel like you are in the dark, and there is no hope for you in the social online world.
Well, there is no need to get down on yourself just yet! Even as little as two months ago, I was exactly in your position. I figured “if my friends don’t do it, I can’t do it.”
So how can you go about making friends on the new sites? Here’s what I did: