My blogging tools: Twitter, Blogger, Vox, Flickr.Thanks to The Day Job, I occasionally ask some odd questions of myself like "where's my identity being most self-shaped online?" though I probably express it as "shit, how many blogs do I have?"
Lately, it seems I've been mostly communicating and constructing identity in the following four applications, listed here in terms of frequency of usage, Twitter, Blogger, Vox, and Flickr.
Twitter - blog by phoneHave you tried it? I love it - the barrier to communication is low and, better yet, nearly guaranteed to reach its intended audience. It's easy to use for me because 1) I find it really easy to send a text message on the Treo 650 which I carry everywhere and 2) because Twitter works very, very well and 3) has a lot of people I know there. That's pretty natural as usage follows community
I also like watching the social conventions being developed. Users can often see messages structured as something like "From Tyler: I'm punching David in the mouth." where Tyler is a person who's using David's phone because he left his at home. I wonder if that convention is developing in the same way in other similar services?
Here's a point that's fun for me to consider: I'm blogging with Twitter more than with any other service.
Blogger - easy, low-hassle blogBlogger deftly manages my posts for massless.org and I'm grateful for its many features, notably its moderated comments, its ability to degrade to nearly any user-agent I'm using, and its templating language.
I'm still a legacy FTP user (meaning Blogger sends files to my web host) so I know that many of the Beta features aren't available to me. I'm especially interested in the flexibility of the new templating system and hacking on it mercilessly but, currently, this is only available for blogs on their dynamic publishing system. However, I'm at a ridiculously supreme advantage having been worked on large buckets of code for both Blogger and Reader so I might code something using the Reader API via a library I've created in PHP to update Massless with my regular Gmail login (a.k.a Google Account) so long as I can still easily manage comments and linkbacks. If that works (and after Google publishes the Reader API) I'll be happy to share as much of that as anyone would like.
Of course, by then Blogger might have other neat tricks rendering that solution moot.
Vox - blog for friendsFriends and other sources of inspiration have flocked to Vox and have been gracious enough to let me see their protected posts. Yup, usage follows community. But what hooks me, though, is how much I love the set of features and how well each has been delivered. Can't say it enough: the features are incredible - I especially like the Flickr integration, video hosting, and all of the well-executed details. Also, the templates are lovely and entertaining and incredibly easy to change.
Basically, I have a LiveJournal-like posting style environment now, which I love for all of the classic, oft-stated reasons: for its inspiring quick, transparent blogging which allows me to learn quite a bit more about people I know and like than I knew before.
Flickr - blog via photographyWhat would make me move from Flickr, my favorite photo application? Torture, I suppose. Not the garden variety kind, since I imagine I'd take a couple of wooden shafts under the fingernails to keep my account open. It's like the service is the software equivalent of Pixar: constancy in satisfaction. For me, geotagging is just one of a number of great features reaffirming Flickr's commitment to helping people and making a fun service. It remains among my favorite software apps I've ever used.
Summarizing...In years past, I think I was more reluctant to use a wide variety of web apps regularly for identity updates because of having to remember different usernames and passwords. Especially when using different computers (work vs. home / laptop vs. desktop) but the Google Browser Sync extension has neatly solved this for me. Thanks to the efforts of a lot of software makers, I'm really very happy with this set of options and since change isn't, like, a core quality of the universe or anything, I'll never contemplate new tools again, right?
Ok, after a moment's thought about it, I find I'm now curious if having an app (a listener?, a watcher?) or browser extension which stumbles with me from one online participatory context to the next and creates drafts of my activities (reading, writing, talking, watching, listening) as occurs and whose entries could be easily deleted or published at a moment's notice. Making that actually be uninvasive and comfortable would be an immense challenge.
I'm currently working on other things right now, though. Presumably, the Listener is a solved problem in a basement network somewhere, just awaiting some UI.