I was having a chat with Kevin this morning, and realised that though the way I had organised my online presence seemed obvious to me, it could hold some interest for other people. So, for your enlightenment and enjoyment, I am sharing with you the secrets of my life online these days and how the different tools and services I use fit in.
The backbone of my online presence is my blog Climb to the Stars, which you’re reading. That’s where my thinking goes. This is, I hope, my contribution. I don’t write here as often as I’d like to.
Aside from Climb to the Stars, I have a professional website (a bit static and inevitably out-of-date, but it’s a start). I’m intermittently active on project-specific blogs of mine: Going Far, Going Solo, eclau, Coworking Léman. I’m also involved professionally on two blogs which aren’t mine: Fleur de Pains and the ebookers.ch travel blog, both in French. At some point I did a podcast with my friend Suw Charman-Anderson, Fresh Lime Soda.
As you can see, blogging in the traditional way is far from dead for me.
My photos are on Flickr (thousands of them), most of my videos are on Viddler (a few dozen). I use Skitch to take screenshots (= photographs of my life in cyberspace) but I publish them to Flickr too.
Another very important way of “being online” for me is Twitter. Using Twitter has brought about a change in my online habits: I’m on IRC way less than I used to (still there, on irc.freenode.net, but idle and disconnected usually) and I’ve more or less loss the use for my Cheese Sandwich blog, where I used to write more “uninteresting” and personal stuff. It remains online, of course, and every now and again I write something in it, but Twitter turns out to be a better outlet for these short snippets of life I used to post there. Another “new” tool (new in the sense that it wasn’t around when I started blogging nearly 9 years ago) that has also reduced my need for a second, “personal” blog is Facebook.
I know a bunch of techy-type geeks are poo-poohing Facebook now (after the honeymoon), but I’ve actually become more involved in it during these last months, as a greater and greater proportion of my offline friends (people who don’t have blogs, don’t IM, haven’t heard of Twitter) are joining it. I use Facebook and Twitter in parallel, but I guess for me the major difference between the two is that I reach a very different audience. Facebook also has some measure of privacy, and I’m connected to way less people than on Twitter, so you’ll often find me a little bit more personal over there. That’s also the reason why I don’t crosspost my status messages between the two services.
I chat on IM a lot, and now on Facebook too. For me, it’s the necessary one-on-one complement to the rest of my rather public life online. I don’t use Skype much (usually upon request, or for certain people I have on Skype but not on my IM list).
For many years now, I’ve been storing my bookmarks on del.icio.us. I’m not somebody who enjoys organising things in hierarchies, so the tag-based mess over there is fine for me. Feedburner inserts a daily summary of those links in my RSS feed. I’ve tried Diigo, and liked it, but for some reason it didn’t stick and got lost in a browser upgrade. Maybe I’ll try again one of these days. I have a very passive account on Last.fm, and the obligatory YouTube, DailyMotion, Dopplr (etc.) accounts, but I’m not very active on them.
I have a VodPod account which I use a bit like “del.icio.us for videos”, but which I’ve fallen out of love with because it keept logging me out and wouldn’t let me log back in (with OpenID) in the pop-up window. So much for one-click bookmarklet publishing. In the video department, I also have a seesmic account, where I am intermittently active. Huge bursts during a few days/weeks, and then nothing at all for month.
I’ve always wanted a way to collect all the stuff I do/publish online into a single lifestream somewhere. I’m not sure anybody would actually want to follow it, but I guess it helps me feel “whole” rather than scattered all over the place. I tried out Suprglu for this ages ago, and was happy with it until the service didn’t seem to be able to follow anymore. Then I used Jaiku for that purpose, and briefly Tumblr (but I was feeding Tumblr into Jaiku too, so it was a mess and I stopped quickly).
Friendfeed came along and seemed the ideal lifestreaming application. SocialThing looked promising, but like Diigo I guess, it didn’t stick for me. I tried being active on friendfeed, but it didn’t really stick either (a few things bother me: I can’t have a summary page with just the items of mine which were liked or commented upon; it’s also very “noisy” for me, in terms of the amount of data it displays, and it displays it in an incomplete form, forcing me to click and come back, click and come back& anyway). So friendfeed sits there, happily lifestreaming me to the world, and to the sidebar of Climb to the Stars.
One old obsession of mine has always been comments. Way before cocomment, I had a tendancy to keep copies of my long comments elsewhere, or bookmark them. I now use backtype to capture my comments. (I also have a Disqus account but it’s pretty passive.)
I’ve recently become much more active on Tumblr, where I have a tumblelog, tentatively named Digital Crumble. As with many tools, I had an account for a long time before finally “getting it”. I’ve found a good handful of interesting people to follow and reblog, and I use it to publish all sorts of random “secondary” content: short notes, my comments (imported via backtype), my screenshots (via Flickr), my collected videos (via VodPod, but probably in future directly through Tumblr). But mainly, I use Tumblr to publish quotes. I’ve always been a note-taker. When I read a book, it’s with a pencil. When it’s only, I highlight paragraphs I like and with the click of a bookmarklet, send them to Tumblr, complete with an automatic link to the source.
This is one of the reasons I use feedly as my feed reader (when I use one), as it allows me to publish quotes and annotations to Tumblr.
Digital Crumble is quickly becoming an important companion to Climb to the Stars: Climb to the Stars for my stuff, and Digital Crumble for things that others have said or created.
I will spare you the long list of services I have an account at but don’t use actively (plus, I’m sure as soon as I’ll hit publish, I’ll think of something I should have included).
I hope this little peek into my online life will have satisfied your curiousity about the life of the pink-haired online geek :-).