Thursday, May 8, 2008

Join the Conversation (Part 1) - What is Going On?

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a good friend about the difficulty of keeping track of people like me who switch to a different thing every week to publish pieces of their lives. With all of the social web services available today, you would think it would be easier to keep track of your friends and what they are doing. Instead, the gap between early adopters of web technologies and the average Internet user continues to grow, looking more like the difference between upper and middle class America.

I posted before about setting something up to alleviate the problem. I used Tumblr to aggregate everything I was doing online at the time. Tumblr was the first service I knew of that made that kind of aggregation easy, but the whole point of a tumblelog is to post little bits of information independently as you tumble across them. I began to see how others were using it to share entertaining and interesting content without spending time to explain every last detail in a lengthy blog post.

Around that same time, I started using Twitter, and again, I began using it in a very simple way. Eventually, I saw what was happening in the community around that service. A conversation was going on that I was able to listen to and participate in, and I have been hooked ever since. Twitter is micro-blogging... informally sharing little bits of information about what is going on as it happens to you or around you. The best analogy I have heard is that Twitter is like the water cooler for the Internet... people just congregate and talk about whatever is going on. Sometimes the conversations are meaningful; sometimes they are inane; but they are always relevant since you can choose who you listen to, unlike an actual water cooler!

Fast forward back to the present. I heard about a new way Internet people were carrying on the conversation, so I signed up and got my invite to Seesmic a couple weeks ago. Seesmic is still a very new (alpha) video sharing site. While you are probably familiar with watching user-generated video on the web via YouTube and other sites like it, Seesmic is a different take on video. While keeping up with the conversation today, I found this reference to be an accurate description:
And don’t mistake Seesmic for another YouTube. Seesmic is to YouTube what Twitter is to blogging.

So now you know what is going on. There is a conversation happening 24 hours a day that you are welcome to listen in on or participate in. The conversation can be as small/intimate or as large/open as you want it to be. Next up in the series... trying to keep up.
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