I have a confession to make. Actually, maybe more than one confession. I don't like eating my own dog food. I'm a digital immigrant. I don't like it when technology interferes with my privacy.
All this came to light when, in service to researching the technology component for A Bigger Voice, I signed up for a Facebook account, finally filled out a decent profile for my LinkedIn account, and activated a Twitter account.
I immediately resonated with Seth Godin's blog posting on using social networking tools. In it, he says, "I don't use Twitter. It's not really me." I feel the same way. I'd rather blog than Twitter and email friends than post to their Facebook wall. It reminds me of why technology is useful only if it's used. Well, that may be obvious. But the using piece often means creating new habits. Ugh, change.
And yet, I know of people who are using these tools effectively to connect with their audience. Marci Alboher first alerted me to the use of Facebook groups to speak to your tribe. She has a Facebook group on "slashes," people who have more than one vocation for their work. Jeremiah Owyang has this posting about getting started on Twitter and the results of using Twitter. It's a way to further expand your network, instant messaging style, with a blogging flavor.
My cousin, who is thirty something, gave me a tutorial of Facebook. She goes to it to have fun--to see what her friends are up to, to take a mental break from work. I know that I'm a digital immigrant when fun and the Internet aren't in the same sentence. Research and the Internet, yes. Finding the hours of a store and the Internet, yes. Shopping and the Internet, yes. Entertainment, fun, and the Internet? That's not me. Okay, maybe I go to Zillow.com once in awhile and look up the value of my friends' houses. That's about as close as I get.
And finally to the point about privacy. In filling out my Facebook, I was faced with several questions that made me pause.
- Basics. Religious views, political views. That stuff that doesn't seem to fit into a one-size fits all box. Too bad we can't have a 20-minute discussion on this. Spiritual, no religious affiliation. Apolitical.
- Relationship status. Interested in.... Looking for....Well, yes, this is the stuff of dating services, which I hope to never need in my lifetime. (I'm betting that my husband stays in better shape than I do as we grow older. He's five years older than me.) Not that I have anything against online dating services. It's just not me. Status--Married, happily.
- Personal. Let's just say, I want to keep it all business. Favorite books, movies, music. Do I really have to think that hard and appear to be that interesting?
- Education. Okay, cut and dried.
- Work. Finally, something I want to talk about. Transitioning from solopreneur to entrepreneur, creating a new biz around A Bigger Voice.
Ironically, much of this info is probably gleaned over time in my other blog, Ordinary LIfe, Extraordinary Living. The difference is that it's on my own terms, not a check the box or a few characters to explain.
And while I am used to getting emails that someone has subscribed to one of my blogs, I was startled recently to get this email message from Twitter: "Joe Smith is now following you on Twitter!"
Okay, maybe it's all in how you say it.
For now, I'm hanging in there, empathizing with my colleagues who are resisting blogging or podcasting and realizing that I'm not all that different. Great tools, great technology, and sometimes, it's just not me.