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Taking Inventory

 

Part of my thinking about paying for stuff that I value has been an ongoing inventory of internet locations where I spend or have spent time. I found that there were a lot of them, mostly social networks or data services, and many that I haven’t used in quite some time – yet they’re out there, with my name or profile or other kinds of data attached. By and large I’m not interested in early invites or beta access or whatever goes over big anymore, but, man, I was once.

Where I can I am disabling or deleting accounts that I don’t use or that aren’t returning enjoyment or other value to me. I’m not trying to be an ideologue about it, and this isn’t meant to indict any of these services or tools, because I know there are lots of people who like – love them. It’s about simplifying my portfolio and increasing my focus.

So here’s the first, partial and draft iteration of just such a list:

  • Path is lovely but I suppose I never really connected with it. It strikes me as one of the nice experiences that didn’t garner enough critical mass among my friends or family to become a personal place.
  • I gave up on Glue a long time back, when I realized that it wasn’t truly doing anything for me. It was fun to check in to TV shows for a while, until I realized that I was checking in to TV shows.
  • I’ve been scrobbling to Last.fm since, I don’t know, 2002 or 2003? although my profile only shows plays since 2005 when they merged with Audioscrobbler. This is one I keep hanging on to, even though they’re now basically aggregating listening data for CBS and I very rarely use any actual features other than scrobbling (recommendations or “social”). I think I hang on to Last.fm because I still like the core element of logging what I’m listening to. I use Music+ on the iPhone because it has scrobbling built in.
  • Pinterest: I disabled my account. Somehow I’ll find another way to save recipies. Okay, that’s more snarky than it needs to be: I had fun here for a while but, as with Glue, I decided that the utility and pleasure wasn’t there for me, even though there are lots of pretty pictures.
  • I’ve been using Instagram less and less. No real reason. I like it, and enjoy the little community of folks there, but I have less time for it. It fit nicely into that particular moment, I suppose.
  • For a while I was a big Goodreads fan, but I didn’t update my reading there for a year or something, so I eventually stopped checking in there altogether. (I didn’t stop reading) (See also Readernaut and Zoomr and …)
  • I keep circling back to Flickr despite it not being cool anymore. For a while I let my Pro account expire, then I started another (failed) 365 and re-upped, and flirted with OpenPhoto. Flickr doesn’t meet all my requirements for a photo sharing tool that could basically be a back-end to a blog (so despite my best intentions I’m not experimenting with SmugMug), because it has “community guidelines” that mandate linking to images on flickr when displaying at other locations. But, I have years and years of photos and interaction there that I still love to revisit, even though my posting there has slowed to almost nothing.

This list doesn’t even include services that have since gone under or never gained any traction, like gubb.net – which I used once to send a Trader Joe’s shopping list to my dumb phone in 2007 – or Hunch or DoingText or Star.me or Amen. Nor does it include those forums where I registered to ask a question about compiling R for X11 on OSX or post a guitar tab; or a small raft of social data platforms like daytum. These are, I suppose, in a different category because they don’t even really take up any space in my online rotation any longer, though they do represent some of the long tail of my online history.

So where does this get me? Well, this is the first go-round. I suppose I should take a similar run at the the rat’s nest of RSS feeds that Google Reader is herding for me – but that’s another project for another day.