Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Confessions of a Web 2.0 Addict

I’m trying to remember how it all began. I think it started innocently, as these things usually do. I went to a St. Louis Publishers Association meeting, and Bob Baker, the speaker, was doing a presentation on something called “social networking.” It was intriguing but confusing. Even with the handout, I had no idea what he was talking about. “This is Web 2.0,” he said, if one can actually speak in italics. “If you’re an author, you must have a presence on the Web.”

I got the idea that a website is not enough to create that presence. Apparently, one also needs a blog, podcasts, a newsletter, an identity on Amazon, and memberships in such things as Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Gather. I’m not much of a joiner. I was overwhelmed.

I don’t remember when I attended that presentation, but I know it was pre-twitter. Since then, I’ve come a long way, baby. I have two blogs, a newsletter, and lots of memberships. I started a group on LinkedIn; I have a page on Facebook where my daughter’s friends write on my wall; and Amazon is #1 on next year's marketing plan (podcasting is #2). But what really blows my mind is the amount of time I spend micro-blogging on twitter. You’d be surprised at how much you can say with only 140 characters. Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but I was.

You can probably tell that I’ve jumped feet first into Web 2.0, astonishing young and old alike with my computer prowess — young being my daughters, who think I've lost my mind, and old being my contemporaries, who agree. What nobody told me about blogging and tweeting and joining is that they are seductive and addictive.

They are not just a part of marketing; they are a way of life. All day long and into the night I hear twitter making bird sounds as it informs me there is a new tweet on my TweetDeck. My e-mail is full of the latest blogs on blogging and tweets about twittering. I am constantly updating my e-mail list and planning my next newsletter or blog post. I have printed out so much advice on how to do it all better; I could start my own recycling plant. Only as I write this do I realize how far gone I am.

I am truly addicted, and I have no idea how Web 2.0 addicts recover. Everything I read tells me to blog and twitter more, not less. I guess I’m lucky because I don’t send and receive tweets on my iPhone or Blackberry, only because I don’t own them. But it’s only a matter of time.

It is almost midnight on New Years Eve of 2008. I’d love to say I’m resolving to cut down in 2009, but I'm not sure I can. This is bad, very bad.