Saturday, December 13, 2008

Web 2.0 Ballroom

Before I begin again, let me put some things in perspective. I learned to type on a typewriter--a manual one. I’m no more tech savvy than the average person who texts via cell phone, answers email and orders stuff I don’t need on-line. With each new Web 2.0 site I interact with, I have to take time to learn its nuances. I get cocky, make mistakes setting up my accounts and then have to spend more time trying to get them the way I want them. It is an evolutionary process, but the beauty is that once the work is put in, Web 2.0 takes on a life of its own. That’s why they call it viral. People have started contacting me via social media for information, the traffic on my website is up almost 40% over the same time as last year. The amount of time visitors spend on my website is longer and I’ve been able share my experiences with people active in other media. I’m learning a whole new way to roll out my welcome mat.

One of my life philosophies was summed up best by Kurt Vonnegut, “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” Well, I’m dancing. I am increasingly fascinated by my own Web 2.0 ballroom experience. This parallel universe operates in real time, in nano second time delay, and in its own time. As I’ve blogged, branded, talked and tried, I’ve developed new relationships with people—some of whom I actually know in real time. Even though it’s a massive cyber party, it’s still driven by and about people.

My new dance card partners are Twitter, land8lounge, and Flickr. Sometimes these three twirl around the ballroom together. If I load my photos from Flickr to my folio in land8lounge they will post to Twitter. Imagine one big social media dance with me in the center—the belle of the ball for just a moment.

Twitter is fun, fast and fascinating. I flirted with it briefly this past spring, but I just started using it with any regularity. I’m floored by the amount of information that streams through in small bites. Since I communicate via text with many of my contractors and clients anyway, I can now Twitter them from my phone and PC. I follow a few people, blogs and websites and am followed by fewer people. It sounds like it could be vaguely creepy, but its not. If someone wants to follow me, Twitter will send me an email to confirm and I can decide if I want them on my cyber trail or not.

Using Twitter yesterday, I recommended a book to a friend who Twittered that he was vacuuming and then I viewed and was blown away by two amazing photos by fellow APLD member Greg Corman. The photos were streamed to Twitter when he posted them on land8lounge—the first was of a forest of Dragon’s Blood trees and the second, a stone wall in Yemen. All of this happened in 140 character tidbits. Twitter is a rich and varied experience--a moveable feast. A new friend, Chris Heiler from, and I are both APLD members, have real time friends in common, yet we’ve never met face to face. We Twitter. When I post this blog entry, since I’ve figured out how to make one of those tiny url’s, I’ll Twitter.

Next on my dance card is land8lounge. It’s a hip, hybrid professional/social networking site for and by landscape architects and designers. The wealth of information, visual inspiration, advice and international content alone is worth the time spent setting it up fully. My folio page was up for less than an hour when two people I knew in real time found me. I set up a group for APLD in a snap, streamed Miss Rumphius’ Rules, and was discovered by other members. I suspect I will spend more in the lounge than in other places.

As far as Flickr goes, I needed to crop some photos into squares, my photo program stinks and wasn’t letting me do it. Flickr provided the solution with ease. I had previously tried Google’s Picasa and didn’t really like it. I haven’t been able to upload the photos to Miss Rumphius yet, I get a funky message that I’m doing something wrong on that score or else Yahoo doesn’t want to play with my Google based blogger. I haven’t done much more with Flickr yet other than to edit pix to use in my updated portfolio, upload to land8lounge and to create sets of photos. I needed to do that anyway since my photo files are a disorganized mess spread over 3 different photo programs and various CDs. The fact that others can see my photos is kind of like cleaning the house when company is coming. You want to put your best foot forward. I want to explore setting up group portfolios on Flickr for people I know from other places so we can share images, ideas and connect visually.

I don’t think all of this is for everyone and I believe that eventually I’ll find some things more useful than others, but right now I’ve stopped being a wallflower and I’m dancing along on happy feet with my Web 2.0 ballroom partners.


Genevieve said...

I love web 2.0, too. I'm a little slow on the uptake - twitter in particular seems like a massive time-suck - but everyone who uses it claims to get more benefits than drawbacks.

But the fact that someone like me with uncommon hobbies can find other people to share them with online is just amazing. So many people bemoan the time we spend online, thinking we are giving something else up that is of value - but all I've given up is TV and old media like newspapers, and I've gained so many true friends and amazing insights.

Good post.

Chris Heiler said...


I do the same thing- quickly set up an account and then have to go back and update it later. I'm in so many places I forget what needs to be updated.

With Flickr, you can add watermarks and even a url to your photos using the free Picnik photo editing tool.

Oh yea, I think I enjoy Twitter the most as of right now.

Chris Heiler
Follow me on Twitter

VectorJess said...

Susan, Thanks for your blog post and thoughts here, and for your dynamic support in helping me find other APLD members who use Twitter.

Genevieve, Your comment on Susan's Web 2.0 Ballroom post helped me with the opening sentence of the article I wrote in an upcoming issue of APLD's newsletter, The Designer. Thanks. You helped shape my perspective and reminded me of how Twitter appears from the outside. :-)