Merging internet personae, and the importance of relevance

As more and more of the internet gets hooked up, it becomes harder and harder to hide ;-). I now regularly (instead of occasionally) feel apologetic to colleagues and people I know through work for receiving my crime-fiction-related output, and to those I know through our shared reading tastes to be receiving scientific updates and commentary. It is all down to this "behind the scenes joining up" that is going on everywhere. 

I have been experiencing with interest all the ways in which Typepad, the platform that hosts Petrona, has been interconnecting me with Facebook, Twitter, Friend Feed, OpenID, the bit.ly shortener, et al. Most of the time I ignore this as to me, blogging is just something I do because I like it, I am not interested in going out there looking for lots of readers, "optimizing", wanting money or ads, etc. If people want to read what I write here, that is great, and even better if they want to interact about it,  but I take the line that they can find me easily enough if we share interests, the internet being what it is. Nevertheless, because it was easy to do, I did succumb to one of these offers last week and created a Facebook page for this blog. I have no idea what that is or what it is supposed to do, particularly as posts I write here are automatically exported to my Facebook account anyway (which saves me actually having to go there), but I was delighted [?] to receive an email from Facebook yesterday morning:


Share good news
"Hi Maxine,

Here is this week's summary for the Facebook Page: PETRONA

0 fans this week (2 total fans)
0 Wall posts, comments and likes this week (0 last week)
0 visits to your page this week (0 visits last week)".

Oh well, either I am doing something very wrong or something very right. (One, or maybe two, of those ''fans'  is me, I am sure. I suppose I should go and double-check to make sure I have not enmeshed an innocent Facebooker, one of these days.)

To date, I am with John Tierney, who wrote in the New York Times fairly recently that in effect people set up their own online "niche networks" by sharing articles that they have read and liked with each other. Facebook et al. do it one (closed) way, but I prefer the open, Friend Feed-style "personal" approach (an example is our crime and mystery fiction readers' group, in which 133 (as of today) people chat about a bunch of self-selected RSS feeds, basically). 

I agree also with the NYT point that much of the news and comment spread and discussed in this way, as well as much better targeted and trustworthy than what you stumble across on Facebook, is positive or constructive. It's a very good, efficient way to filter out not just what doesn't interest you, but a lot of negative stupidity and rubbish (if you don't like stupidity or rubbish). And filtering is the key to getting the most out of all the wonders the internet has to offer you, the individual, whether you are in solitary or sharing mode. It is certainly much more important to me than how many visits to my blog's Facebook page I get (which is just as well!).