Eight

So today marks the eighth year I’ve done the blogging thing. I won’t go in to any great recap, as I did two years ago. (And I completely failed to note the seventh blogoversary last year.) Needless to say, some things have remained the same, and some things have changed quite a bit.
For one, I’m blogging less, mostly because of Twitter, and if you want to know what I’m up to, or what I’m thinking, in short snippets, you should definitely follow my Twitter account. For another, I’m paying slightly less attention to politics, which used to constitute a good amount of posts. Finally, some days, I just don’t feel like I have much to say in a blog form, so why bother with some drivel to the blog that’s better suited for the 140-character limitation of Twitter, or not for public consumption at all?
Still, I have hopes for more thoughtful posts. I just don’t know when those might begin appearing, though I can guarantee it will be some time in the next eight years… 8^)

Retrophisch v4.0. Or something.

So I got off my duff and finally got around to putting in to place the redesign (realignment?) of the blog that I’ve sat on for the better part of two years. Those of you who normally read the blog from the RSS feed can click over to see the new look. (If you care, that is.) Those of you who read the blog by actually going to it may have noticed the new look over the past couple of days. (Or maybe not, and if that’s the case, I’m left to wonder whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing.)
One thing you might notice on the main page is the Twitter section at the top, marked “Recently”. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you may have noticed that my blogging has taken a huge dive in recent months, with most posts consisting of the daily links posting from my del.icio.us account. The reason for that is I’m doing a lot of micro-blogging over on my Twitter account. I say micro-blogging, because Twitter limits each post to 140 characters. (This is largely due to the number of character one can put in to a SMS message, and Twitter has excellent SMS compatibility.) So now you when you visit this blog, you can also see my latest on Twitter.
There’s further tweaking ahead. I likely won’t leave all of those links in the sidebar. They’ll get spun off to a separate page, like the reading list and photos. I’d like to integrate a linkblog in to the main page, a la John Gruber and other bloggers, instead of relying on my del.icio.us account to automatically spit them out each morning. The linkblog would allow more immediate posting, and any comments about the link wouldn’t be limited to del.icio.us’s text field.
The biggest tweak, however, will be under the hood, as I upgrade to Movable Type 4. Hopefully, this will be transparent to you, dear reader, but will empower me and make my blogging life easier in the long run. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another two years for these various tweaks to be made reality.
I have quite a few people to thank for their input and help over the past two years. So many, in fact, that I dare not name them all here out of fear of leaving someone out. Needless to say, those of you who fall in to this category know who are. You occupy prime positions in my instant-messaging buddy list and e-mail address book. You are my friends, and for putting up with my endless questions of “How does this look?” and “What do you think of this?”, or the myriad times when I failed to even ask a question and just IMed you a link with no backgrounding of any sort on my part, you have my sincerest thanks.
If you absolutely hate the new look of the blog, well, that’s your opinion, and you should place any blame for your dislike firmly at my feet. If you absolutely love the new look, it’s because of the wonderful people, mentioned above, who took time out of their lives to share part of mine with me.
Oh, and if you happen to be nostalgic for the old look, you can still find it here, for a little while.

Twitter in Plain English

Whenever I bring up Twitter, I always get asked what it is. The best description I’ve mustered to date is “It’s a microblog”, which doesn’t fully do Twitter justice. Lee LeFever of the Commoncraft Show, has a easy-to-follow explanation:

So if you’re intrigued enough to check out Twitter, look me up, and feel free to follow my updates.

Social proprioception

Because I haven’t blogged about Twitter in a couple of weeks, here’s Clive Thompson on how Twitter’s creating a social sixth sense:

When I see that my friend Misha is “waiting at Genius Bar to send my MacBook to the shop,” that’s not much information. But when I get such granular updates every day for a month, I know a lot more about her. And when my four closest friends and worldmates send me dozens of updates a week for five months, I begin to develop an almost telepathic awareness of the people most important to me.

It’s like proprioception, your body’s ability to know where your limbs are. That subliminal sense of orientation is crucial for coordination: It keeps you from accidentally bumping into objects, and it makes possible amazing feats of balance and dexterity.

Twitter and other constant-contact media create social proprioception. They give a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination.

Twitter time

I found Annalee Newitz’s article on Twitter fascinating, including this breakdown of time:
+ Twitter time: every minute
+ Blog time: every few hours
+ Newspaper time: every day
There’s also a mention of “book time” in the one-line bio at the end of the piece, which I suppose one could translate in to meaning “every few days”, given how long the average person devotes to getting through a tome.
I also thought about how one might define the 24-hour news cycle. Would “CNN time” be defined as “every second”?