I’ve been harbouring nagging doubts of late about referring to myself as an ‘early adopter’ of web goodies.Â Reflecting on it the other day, I realised the full extent of my delusion.
I abused the computer science web server in 94 or 95 with multicoloured buttons and blinking text. Â Along with my geeky friends I could see a future in which everyone had their own home page on Geocities.
Then Myspace came along and Facebook chased it up.Â I was late for both.
It was an introduction to Hotmail from a non-geeky friend in 1998 that weaned me off university e-mail accounts and onto webmail.Â I later shelled out a couple of quid on eBay for a Gmail invite wanting to beat the inevitable rush.
Hotmail still trumps Gmail for numbers although ‘Facebook mail’ may ultimately bypass both.
From the Summer of 2004 I was tagging my photos in Flickr and bookmarks in del.icio.us.Â Both were giving me stuff of real quality and motivating me to contribute.
I got the Blogger hoodie when they sold out to Google and paid off their paying users in 2003.Â Five years later and most hardcore ‘bloggers’ are using WordPress (without switching to ‘pressers’).
Before Twitter had sprouted it vowels, I’d registered as the 3018th user.Â A couple of years — and SXSW events — later and I am now able to follow a selection of the local digerati.Â But most of my geeky friends are declining to tweet, or even blog.
Facebook is a one-stop shop mail, photos, videos, status, sharing are all made supremely simple whilst actually being technically sophisticated.Â Yet my adoption of it is only marginal at best.
If I search for “welcome to” in the subject line of my inbox I get 130 hits.Â I’m a serial tinkerer.Â An inveterate fiddler.Â A compulsive invite-requester.Â But I’m clearly not an early adopter.Â Rather than being further down the road I’m actually off the beaten track. Instead of being ‘ahead of the curve’ I’m actually zipping off it at random tangents.
There’s a small swarm of us in Brum who wouldn’t be without Flickr, Gmail, Delicious, WordPress, Twitter et al.Â We all get fantastic value out of these tools which connect, organise and inspire us to create.
Now, I don’t expect ordinary users to join us later on.Â And I don’t find that a problem.Â We adopt these apps whilst Facebook apps are adopting everyone else.Â We are motivated differently.
So what does this mean for the ‘social web’?