it's a brand new era, it feels great

Yeah, things happened and now it is a bunch of months later. I’ve had some thoughts kicking around that are finally starting to coalesce. Some of the thoughts are about all the “social media” that the kids are into these days, and some of them are about things that work and things that don’t.

It’s probably not one of my better qualities, but I’m usually pretty reactionary towards shiny new things. It’s a deep-seated suspicion of anything that gets very popular very quickly, combined with a grammarian’s mistrust of anything intentionally misspelled (flickr, tumblr, and so forth). This tendency is why I took so long to join flickr or facebook or basically anything else I currently use; it’s why I had a personal website for like eight years before I actually used actual software to power the posts instead of hand-coding each one in html like a crazy person (or a nerdy kid with a lot of free time). It’s also why, when I find something that works, that is not only new and shiny but also suited well to filling a need, I stick with it to the bitter end.

The bitter end for my old ipod probably should have been around when I graduated from college, at which point I had dropped it on too many tile floors to count. But it clung (still clings, as far as I know) to life. I had to reset it on three separate occasions, but the hard drive, despite the occasional ominous clicking, is still trucking away. The battery may only hold a charge for about 15 minutes at a time, but it was mine, dang it, and I wasn’t about to replace it with the next new thing that came along. Then I got an ipod touch for Christmas and I had to reconsider my love affair with this broken object that I’d fit more or less seamlessly into my daily routine for years. I was afraid that the new ipod, with its fancy color screen and wireless capability, would distract me from its primary task of holding and playing all of the music I want to hear. Sometimes it did; I played a few rounds of Katamari Damacy on it before it became unbeatably difficult for my uncoordinated self. But mostly it just works, and I recommend it to my friends and loved ones, even though I constantly try to conceal it on the el for fear that strangers will think I am one of those people who can’t loosen their grip on their iPhone.

The problem with scorning new things before I adopt them is that I’m constantly on the verge of becoming the thing I hated. While I certainly don’t hate iPhone users, I get frustrated with how ubiquitous the device is, and how reliant people can become on it. The same is true of Twitter: every time I came across an article about how it was the cool new thing that all the kids are doing these days, I became more determined not to be one of those people with their cool new shiny website. Certainly my propensity to be really prolix all the time and my burning hatred of text-message-speak contributed as well. (It is never okay to use “u” instead of “you.” Let’s all just agree on that and society’s decline will move just a little bit slower.)

Then, disaster: My dad joined Twitter. Moreover, my dad joined Twitter and started messaging my boyfriend. Obviously this could not stand unchecked, and it gave me a chance to see what the big deal was about, so I signed up.

I’m still not proud of it, but I like Twitter.

Sure, it’s not perfect, and there are a lot of obnoxious semi-literate people inexplicably using it to try to get laid, but that’s why I never look at the public timeline. Enough of my friends use it that if I post something like “What’s going on tonight?” there’s a good chance I’ll find something awesome to do. Because people I care about are checking it, it’s the new useful thing. Like everything else that ever gets any more personal about me than this site does, I keep it locked, but you can find me here. Suffice it to say I’ve updated there more often than I have here in the past few months.

The infrequency with which I find my way into the WordPress-updating corner of the internet has led me to consider that this might be a thing that’s outlived its use. I signed up for tumblr yesterday, and if I continue to like what I see over there, I’m going to make that my site-updating utility of choice here. Hopefully it’ll stick. Perhaps having something that lets you “follow” your friends all in one place instead of just passively linking to them will remind me who my audience is.

If you’re using tumblr or twitter or any other new things that you find useful, please comment and let me know where I can look at yours, and I’ll try it out for myself if I think it might fit. I’m trying to rein in my contrarian side: like all useful things, it’s nearing the end of its worthwhileness to me.

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