This is a guest blog post by Stephen Black. This is his story.
Do I want to treat Flickr as a serious base for showcasing my photographic works?
Or, do I want to use it as a base for experimentation?
Ask Chiaki Williams.
Do I really want my email addresses and more to be in the hands of some Ivy league whiz kid?
I scramble my name and Alps Bethneck is born. For my face, I use the skin I made for one my 3D characters.
Do I want to use Twitter to tell the world what Stephen Black ate for lunch or do I want to connect with an audience interested in art and creative writing?
The answer is @BookMerah.
It started in 2002
From Singapore I’ve watched the social media world develop its identity and characteristics.
I arrived here in 2002, as the debris from the dot com crash was still being cleared away. AOL was going strong and the books sold on Amazon were made of paper. I was the creative director for a company doing online video and games. I watched Friendster launch, and seemingly overnight, gain 3 million users. Blogs — “web logs” as they were first called, began to appear.
The constant parade of new verbs and nouns has been interesting: texting, “going viral,” mashups, memes, flashmobs, friending, unfriending, likes, retweets, crowdfunding, “add me,” rickrolling, circles, FollowFriday, hash tags, Pandora, Instagrams.
Often, friends from the “real” world gave me passage to the social media world. At the opening party for a machinima film festival, Jose Marques, a Portuguese venture capitalist friend, sent me an invite to Gmail. This resulted in the account which became the basis for my Google+ account. My G+ invitation came from Singaporean/New Zealand designer Shazanah Hassan, another real world friend.
Wikipedia is where I learned about from Tanja Sadow, the dean of a local jewelery school. One night in 2006, over Tiger beer and carrot cake at a hawker center, my designer friend Little Ong told me about Multiply. I opened an account as soon as I got home. Left Blank shared videos.
For a few years I compared what was happening in Second Life with what was happening with “my” 3D gamemaking software. My first podcast, audio interviews/explorations of Singapore combined with music, appeared on a music site run by Cosa Nostra. A story I posted on Digg in 2005 crashed the “interesting” get-paid-for content site I was briefly testing. Another friend, Dinnertube, started posting videos on Youtube in 2006.
I may have opened a MySpace account when it was still the talk of the digital town. It was likely in 2007 and I never really used it.
It doesn’t matter any more.
Most social media user interfaces remind me of miniaturized strip malls. When I finally became serious about Twitter in 2010, I thought the basic homepage was so-so. But Tweetdeck! Wow! It’s well thought out, sleek and Star Trekkish — part butler, part co-pilot.
I navigate the twitterverse as @BookMerah.
For writers and readers, Goodreads is a blessing.
I am ready to do the Tumblr thing.
Thinking about Squiddo.
Social media is my main source of news and information. Once as stable as shifting sand, social media is now a rock to be built upon. Even if Facebook et al. go the way of MySpace, their successors/the successful disruptor will be better organized and hopefully look more attractive.
I sometimes wonder if my social media experiences are typical.
How many accounts are set up under aliases? How many accounts are opened and then neglected? For writers and artists is it better to have an individual account or let the publisher/gallery/sales site handle it? If I just do what I do best, will the algorithms like me?
I am a 5 year old in the social media world.
A small percentage of the others living in this world are older. Most are younger and their social media births were likely much smoother than mine.
Regardless of the name on my account, regardless of where I am, I have a world of people at my fingertips.
So do you.