Meet Me Online

December 17, 2007 at 8:22 am | Posted in Jessica, writing | Leave a comment

OK, I don’t mean ‘meet me’ in the literal sense, but in this month of favorites here at the Purple Hearts I thought I might throw out some of my favorite things found online.  As this idea could quickly digress into a long laundry list of links, I thought what I might do instead is list some my most favorite and helpful tools to organize the many places that so many of us visit on the web.   

Blogs
In thinking about this post, I went through my favorite blogs list and found that I frequent up to 66 different sites on a given day. With so many sources to keep track of, how do I know the number? I have all my blogs organized and tallied for me on one site – my one-stop-shopping for blog and breaking news feed organization. This site, Bloglines, is a free, online service that allows you to add, organize, read, save, and share blog and news clips. All you need is an email address to set up your account. In my bloglines account I’ve added sites that share information on sporting news, celebrity gossip, job search sites, other writer and agent blogs, french culture, photography, and other job-related associations. Bloglines not only keeps me sane, it keeps me happy. 

Web Sites
Social bookmarking is fast becoming another way to meet other users online and share information. Sites such as BlinkList and del.ici.ous make it possible for you to create a ‘portable’ list of web links. Instead of saving a website as a bookmark to your Favorites folder on your hard drive, you can now create an online account and have those bookmarks available and at your fingertips no matter which computer you may be using at the time. These sites allow you to store and organize links in your own personal online catalog to share with other users. I created an example for this post, so to view my links on del.ici.ous, go to: http://del.icio.us/jphearts. I set most of my bookmarks up with writing and writers in mind, but there are a few nods to museums, libraries, shopping, and food in there, too. 

Books
I’ve mentioned this resource on the blog before, but Library Thing is a site that allows you to create your own online library of titles and connects you to others who have reported reading the same things. It’s a great way to find similar books to ones you have already read and enjoyed. It’s like having your own personal librarian to give you reading recommendations! 

People
In this tangled web called life, it can be difficult to keep up with family and friends, let alone acquaintances and business associates. A number of social networking sites have cropped up in response to people’s needs to connect online. The most popular sites are MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but these are just a few of the many online options for making connections and maintaining contacts. With my mother hen hat on, I want to offer a word of caution before you consider launching yourself onto any of these sites – please know your privacy comfort level before sharing any personal information about yourself. I know this advice sounds unnecessary, but I’ve known a number of people who jumped onto one of these sites with both feet and only in hindsight realized some of the pitfalls. Assess your comfort level and boundaries before setting off on this online adventure. Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s not so easy to get any of it back in. (Mother hen hat now off ) 

Wikis
I’m going to take my definition of a wiki from the most popular wiki of them all, wikipedia:

A wiki is a kind of computer software that allows users to create, edit, and link web pages easily. Wikis are often used to create collaborative web sites and to power community web sites. They are being installed by businesses to provide affordable and effective Intranets and for knowledge management. The developer of the first wiki (WikiWikiWeb, 1995), Ward Cunningham, originally described it as “the simplest online database that could possibly work.”   

Because a wiki like Wikipedia is an open source document, anyone can get onto the site and make changes or add information to it . . . and those entries can be authentic . . . or not . . . depending upon the knowledge and intent of the person posting the information. I wanted to create a wiki for the purposes of this post, but I knew I wouldn’t have the time to create a good one, so I won’t post a link to mine . . . for now. But stay tuned! 

The web is infinite (I love Google. It’s so popular that it’s become it’s own verb. But to give you some context, Google searches less than 10% of the total web!) and I could go on and on, but I think this stopping point is as good as any. I’m always looking for helpful hints to get organized, especially in my online life, so please feel free to share any resources that you’ve found helpful. I’d love to hear them! 

Here’s hoping that your holiday planning is going well and is not too stressful. And in all your spare time, I hope you’re able to get some good writing done! 

-Jessica

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