Friday, July 3, 2009

What Share-Type are You?

After participating in several social networks for a year, I’ve noticed that folks usually latch on to a trend in the way they post and the type of information that they share.

The first Web log began as a personal diary posted for public view. Media coverage spread like wildfire about someone making their daily activities, musings, and intimate thoughts available for anyone with an Internet connection to see. What soon became really shocking about the story was not that someone would place their diary in public view but that so many others would want to read it and were inspired to follow suit. Soon afterward, the cold terminology “Web log” gave way to the more endearing term “blog.”

As the number of blogs increased, new tools were developed to help folks keep up with posts on the blogs they regularly followed. One such tool is RSS feeds, which makes blog posts available for syndication and lets viewers create a virtual newspaper of sorts in a reader where they can peruse posts from all of their favorite blogs in one place.

But, having the time to read all those lengthy posts became a problem, hence the birth of micro-blogging on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, both of which constrain how many characters can be used for any single post.

There is a huge cultural difference emerging in what’s posted on a traditional blog and the type of information that appears on micro-blogs. Web log diaries were originally a form of journaling and the information was created with reflection on the day after the events were over. That has evolved into sharing whole ideas with others of like-mind or making announcements of news that the readers of that blog will find interesting. Micro-blog posts are more in-the-moment and only snippets of ideas or news can be shared. Because apps are available that allow folks to post from their mobile device, they often include pictures taken on that device too, providing a video diary of their activities.

What does all of this mean? Are we trading the sit-down dinner of a traditional blog for the fast food snippets of micro-blogs? Are we becoming addicted to sharing the mundane occurrences of our lives with the world? Or, do we now have a tool to respond as a global community to current events or initiate change? Most folks who use micro-blogs regularly are finding it to be a great way to stay connected with friends, family, and like-minded folks, especially if they are across the country or the globe. It is replacing phone calls, emails, and in-person visits. With so many posts, are we contributing to someone’s day or just making noise about what seems important to us at the moment?

Folks do tend to post information on these sites in a certain ritualistic manner. Following are a few of the share-types I’ve noticed. What type are you?

Here Now – shares the mundane, usually with pictures, of daily events.
Dear Diary – shares thoughts on events of the day.
Hey Lookie – promotes their latest offering.
Daily Quote – offers inspirational or thought provoking messages.
Dialoguer – posts conversation starters, usually in question form.
Grand Idea – posts a big idea one snippet at a time.
Linker – shares links to info they find helpful or interesting.
Muse – shares thoughts in beautiful prose style.
News Hound – posts breaking news on a variety of topics.

This is only a sampling of share-styles. You’re welcome to add to the list and post your comments.

Addendum to original post: Favorite comment from Eleanor Roosevelt said "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."


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