The reluctant Web 2.0’er

Ever since the Internet came to my attention, I had a personal interest in it. This entailed surfing the web, downloading movies and music, reading in Usenet groups. All traditional stuff. Then came Web 2.0. And did things change? Well, yes: what was considered normal  to use did not seem normal to me. People asked me whether I Hyve (the activity to communicate and network through the Dutch social network site Hyves). Mmm, I didn’ t. “I’ll befriend you in Facebook!” someone wrote me. “Hold your horses, I don’t have a Facebook account!”, I replied. “Surely you use Twitter”, again someone else told me. “Nope, I don’t”, was my reply. This was some time ago. Not really interested from a personal point of view, that’s clear. Then again, I have my professional interests and found it necessary to experience myself to use Facebook, Hyves, LinkedIn, Twitter, Netlog, ResearcherId, Google docs, Zoho and the like. At first I only subscribed to see what the interfaces looked like, and what the applications could do. So, being a really really really passive participant. But, as often happens, one thing leads to another. Before you know it someone googles your name, and invites you to join his/her network. Well, I think it’s impolite to refuse an invitation, the more so because accepting these invites is merely a mouse click away. However, up till now I mostly accept invites from those I know. Recently I’ve been receiving invites from people unknown to me, and those that offer services that take relations to unwanted next levels. I’m sure you know what I mean. You don’t want to go there.

I’m still quite passive, only accepting invites, and rarely inviting others myself. There are those (even colleagues who shall remain nameless)  that compete with each other on who has the largest online network. This is quite similar as trying to get to most kudos on teen social network sites like Sugababes or Superdudes. But I digress…

Rereading what I am writing I must correct myself on my passivity in using SNSs: last week I even paid for a two year subscription of Flickr, the photo-sharing site. I ran out of the free online disk space. Since I have a website running at a hosting company I have ample disk space to construct my personal photo gallery. It would need some tinkering of the software and the online photo album would be a fact. But I didn’t. Instead I paid about 25 US$ for a two year expansion of the online Flickr disk space. Why? Web 2.0 is so easy to use and saves me a lot of time. And as we all know: time is money. And if I chose to setup my photo album I wouldn’t have time to post to my blog. And I know you don’t want me to stop my blog. So everyone’s happy: Flickr earned a buck, I can keep writing my blog and you can keep on reading.

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Maurice Vergeer

I am Maurice Vergeer, working at Communication Science department of the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands.