Friday, June 20, 2008

Michelle Obama May Understand Internet Traditions, But I Kind of Don't

I'm generally a pretty fast learner when it comes to technology, though I'm no Lifehacker addict like David and Mazi. But there are some internet things I just never got. People have explained them to me but I still can't wrap my head around them. Here are the top 4:

1. Podcast: My friend Matt once told me this is a big, long MP3. But I don't get it? Why would I want a big long MP3? Can't you just divide things into chapters like songs on a CD? And how and why do people create podcasts? Who uses these things? Help!

2. Twitter: I honestly cannot understand what a Twitter is. I feel like a Grandma in a Victoria's Secret. Isn't it just status updates? Why would you not just use Facebook for this? And didn't people get all weirded out by Facebook statuses when they were first implemented? As in - ew now everyone will know what I'm up to all the time! Why would you want to voluntarily feed into that with a website devoted to helping people stalk you?

3. RSS Feed: What does RSS stand for? I think this lets me read all my blogs at once, which actually sounds really nice, but what does it mean and how can I get one?

4. Digg: Is this kind of like the thumbs up you can click while stumbling? Why are people obsessed with getting "diggs?" What does this do for you? UGH! These are the kind of things I should be learning in college instead of the history of economic and religious development in Iran.



LOLSAM said...

i don't get any of those things, either! especially diggs. they seem to be everywhere, but i'm never sure if i should digg it or not.

Matt said...

podcast is still the only one i understand, if that makes you feel any better

`nk said...

A podcast isn't just a long mp3. It has to be a syndicated broadcast of some sort. It is also uploaded with an RSS file to a server so people can subscribe to your show. It used to be mostly radio stations that had podcasts, but many individuals, teachers, and corporate workers are starting to use them to create their own "show" that their friends, students, and team/group members can keep up with. Podcasts are also a nice way to reach an audience beyond the classroom, company, etc. A good example of all this is my high school's Humanities podcast, which featured students' slam poetry, music, and other projects. It was a way for students to listen to work from all class sections and an attempt to reach a larger audience.

Twitter's dominated by 30-somethings with a 9-to-5 job, i.e. people who are still unsure of joining facebook, who think myspace is too sketchy and outdated, and who are too busy to update anything more substantial but still want to be a part of the WWW in some way. But basically, it's just a way for people to feel like they still keep in touch with their friends/acquaintances without actually keeping in touch. And yet others treat their twitter more like a blog, painstakingly writing those little tweets with wit and social commentary. Conversely, bloggers embed their tweets into their blogs to give readers a more intimate look into their everyday lives (intimate because they're real-time updates) and to pretend to be more than just blog roll friends with fellow bloggers, because, *gasp*, they now know random, questionably noteworthy details from each other's daily lives.

And you probably didn't need all that information.

Mo said... is an incredibly useful website. Essentially, it is comprised of all the news that doesn't make it to the front page of major media outlets, or in some cases, any major media outlets.

Like Wikipedia, it functions mainly because of user-generated posts. Any user can post a story on the site and if other uses find it helpful, funny, interesting, etc. they can "digg" it, i.e. voting for it. The more diggs an article you posted gets, the more popular it becomes and the greater the likelihood is that it'll appear on the front page. There is a plethora of information on this website. Like wikipedia, some of it is entirely useless. But, there's a lot of great stuff on there, you just have to dig for it... (not apologizing for it)

Anonymous said...

How did the n+1 party turn out? We want live blog!

nina said...

Mo's description of Digg is great. As for Twitter, I loveee the site. It's a great way to find out what your friends are up to - people usually "tweet"/twitter really interesting sites and news as well (i.e. someone "tweet"ed about Tim Russert's death BEFORE any news outlet announced it). For a really simple and interesting explanation:

RSS Feed stand for "Real Simple Syndication," I think. I could be wrong but it's something along those lines. It basically lets you read all your blogs in one place - for example, with Google Reader. Google also has a great, quick tutorial about RSS Feed.

How do I know all this? From my internship :) Hope it was helpful.