Maybe I’m…

I would add “…doing it wrong,” pace Randy Newman, but I wrote that post a few months ago.
And I was just pointed to a blog post (by someone I wouldn’t normally follow, but there’s a family relationship) about this person’s use of Twitter and someone else suggesting what tweets should and shouldn’t do. The blogger had an appropriate response, stated much more politely than I might state it–in essence, (a) there’s more than one way to use Twitter, (b) if you don’t like my tweets, feel free not to follow me.
In other words, someone proposed their version of The Rules for Twitter, and this blogger wasn’t buying them. To which I can only say, Hooray.

(There are seemingly endless sets of The Rules for blogging and other social media, and lately The Rules almost always seem to posit that we use these media to Build Our Brands–that the only legitimate motivation for a blog is gaining lots of readers and mindshare. “Pfft” is way too polite a response and my two-word response violates my own standards for this blog, so…)

But maybe I’m doing it wrong…

A few months ago–10 days after that earlier post, apparently (that is, on March 21, 2009)–I started using delicious. (I hadn’t seen the point of it, since I don’t really build an online bibliography–but after some other people were talking about it, I realized that I do have a use for it: to flag pages that could be source material either for the Library Leadership Network or for Cites & Insights.)
It’s working well in that regard. Instead of printing out a leadsheet (the first page, assuming the source plays nicely with Firefox) for later reference, I tag the page–and then, when I think I’m likely to be working on a topic, I’ll go through that tag, delete a few pages that I’m not going to use, and print leadsheets for others, then use delicious as a home for finding those items as I’m writing about them. Right now, there are 549 tagged items.
So far, so good–but if there’s a set of norms for delicious as a social medium, I suspect I’ve been violating it all along, and it’s getting worse.
To wit:

  • Some of my tags are meaningless to almost everybody else–e.g., miw, cifeedback, ir, mbp, lln, tqt. (Long-time C&I readers can probably guess what miw and mbp and tqt stand for.) Others are obscure but may make sense to a few other people, e.g. oa, oca, gbs–that is, open access, the Open Content Alliance, and Google Book Search/Google Book Settlement.
  • I delete items once I’ve written about them.
  • The newest violation of The Rules: When I do print off leadsheets, I modify the tag so that I know I’ve printed off leadsheets and won’t try to do it again. So, for example, 21 items tagged “deathprint” (which most people could probably figure out as “death of print”) became “deathprintx”–and then disappeared as I worked them into an essay.
  • I have yet to pay any attention to “popular” or “recent” tags–and I rarely pay much attention to the set of proposed tags for an item that come from everybody else.

In other words, I’m not a very “social” user of delicious. Such is life.
(If there’s one change in delicious I’d love to see but regard as unreasonable, it’s this: It would be lovely if delicious recognized that a URL was part of Bloglines or an equivalent service and pointed out that you’re not really tagging a page you can get back to. OK, so I’m an idiot sometimes…it’s just so easy to click on the square of squares up on the toolbar and tag away, not realizing that I haven’t clicked through to an actual post.)

Maybe they’re doing it wrong…

I encountered something today that, while minor, suggests that I’m not the only one with “norm” problems.
To wit: I wanted to unsubscribe from someone else’s Friendfeed account; they’re not really a friend or even acquaintance, and I found that 90% of their updates, while perfectly charming, were simply noise for me.
And I couldn’t find any way to do it. The mouseover menu doesn’t include Unsubscribe. I clicked on the person’s name, which brought up their profile–and there was no Unsubscribe option there either. Wha?
I temporarily dealt with it by removing them from all lists, including Home. Later, Iris Jastram noted (on FriendFeed, of course) that some FriendFeed styles actually hide the options from the profile–the Unsubscribe option still works, but you have to guess at where to click since there’s no text or box.
Went back, clicked on the place where I thought the Unsubscribe option should be, and got confirmation that I was unsubscribed.
This, to me, really does violate the spirit of FriendFeed–which, in this case, I’d summarize as “easy come, easy go.” It’s easy to subscribe to someone (unless they have a private feed), it’s easy to hide (most) aspects of overactive feeds without actually getting rid of the users…and it’s easy to unsubscribe from someone if situations change. Only not so much, if they’re allowed to hide that option.
This is really a FriendFeed issue, though. My subscription to Person X is part of my settings. It’s only secondarily part of Person X’s profile.
Minor stuff, to be sure. And I still don’t buy into The Rules…any more than I’m ready to add some badge to my blog. (Ah, but that’s another topic, one I might not get to for a while, maybe never.)

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