I have recently got an Android phone, and this has got me thinking and experimenting with different ways of getting more value out of it.
So, in no time at all, I have signed up for all sorts of “Web 2.0” services. I’m now overwhelmed by them and forget what I have signed up for, and crucially with which name and password!
So which are the services and approaches that are really useful? What hints can the dear readers give me?
I see the benefits in blogging, though I haven’t been doing much of it. I have been using this Warwick Blogs, but I am wondering about using one of the major players in this field. Actually, I have had hidden blogs using both blogger and wordpress, and am much happier with wordpress. In particular, wordpress has an excellent interface to smartphones, at least my Android toy, which allows photos to be sent directly and short blogs to be composed fairly easily with the basic keyboard. What could go wrong if I transfer over? They must have a financial model which implies that at some point I may be asked to shell out for a “Pro” account?
I signed up to twitter for a very specific purpose: I was about to travel abroad during the Eyjafjallajökull Saga, and I found that the European weather authority was doing an excellent job sending updates on the status of various air spaces, which I could easily check at any airport on my phone. This seems like a very appropriate use indeed of the short and quick broadcast service. Since then, however, I haven’t seen the point of it. I have tried following a few feeds, but quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of messages, moreover as they are presented in a flat list. And the url shortening service seems to me quite irritating, as I can’t see which site I will be visiting until I get there.Posters seem to quite often be facetious and cryptic and therefore one has no idea really of what the bit.ly etc urls point to.
Facebook has certainly helped me get in touch and stay in touch with many aquaintances/casual friends/long-lost friends. But there is a constant battle regarding privacy, as Facebook interactions occur not only at the FB site but also any random site one is visiting, with popups encouraging more and more sharing. Ideally, I suppose one should not stay signed in but only sign in when visiting the FB site.
I have been using delicious for ages, and like it very much. The only problem is that now I have many many links that I keep meaning to visit but keep forgetting to do so, as there are so many. It has become a version of my desk, with piles and piles of papers everywhere. “One day, I will be organised!” But I haven’t used the social aspect of delicious – finding so-called neighbours: others with similar bookmarks, and using that to find more relevant information. It would be interesting to know if others actually use this.
The Android phone has got me to explore the sharing of files aspect, ie flickr, evernote, dropbox, and so on, which are very well integrated with the phone. Still trying to get experience with their usefulness, and looking for hints. Will probably post an update on these during the December hibernation period.
I am trying to avoid saying that I will never use the location-aware services like foursquare or lattitude – there may well be some as yet obscure reason I may want to broadcast my location. After all, the active-badge system which was running at the Computer Lab at Cambridge way back when, a precursor to all these, was certainly useful as a way of finding people.