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 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!).

5 thoughts on “Merging internet personae, and the importance of relevance

  1. Maxine – What an interesting post about the way different threads of the internet are joined together. I’ve actually found this merging helpful in trying to interact with others who are interested in crime fiction and crime fiction writing. Now that I know your blog has a Facebook Page, I’m definitely becoming a fan, as I am a fan, anyway : ).

  2. Apart from Facebook* I don’t have any moral objection to any of the social media – as you say you find what works for you and you use it to suit your needs as best you can. I don’t find twitter all that useful for my personal interests but it is quite handy for work stuff for example. Friend Feed on the other hand has not proven at all useful for work but it suits the crime fiction reading community very nicely and has become my preferred place to ponder such news, reviews and opinions as I need. Happily for me I don’t feel obliged to measure my worth in terms of number of followers/fans/readers because these numbers are, to me, quite meaningless.
    *You won’t be seeing me as your fan at Facebook because the place is a no-go zone for me. I simply abhor the way they handle the issue of privacy. On my personal scale of evil-doers of the world Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is at roughly the same bottm-feeding spot as Rupert bloody Murdoch.

  3. I am afraid I am a bit wishy-washy. Personally I prefer our FriendFeed room – it is a great pleasure to participate in the discussions there and find new crime fiction blogs etc.
    On the other hand I see Facebook as a useful tool. I may never become a ´real author´, but if I do, Facebook is an easy way to market my texts (without being extremely extrovert and pushy)

  4. Yes, I agree Dorte, I think Facebook can be good for marketing (my colleagues at work have a nice page there), and lots of authors — and I know the teenagers and twenty-somethings like it 😉 . But there do seem to be lots of “join 4700 other people who have a random cause of the day”-type things going on there, which I find tedious. I also don’t like being anyone’s or anything’s “fan”.
    I have read lots of bad things about FB and privacy, Bernadette, but because I don’t use the site for much I have let it all wash over me a bit.

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