Lately I’ve been getting pretty sick of this influx of social networking apps–not their existence, but their names.
Flickr. Tumblr. Pownce. Reddit. Utterz.
Give me a freaking break. So now it’s the “in thing” to create an app and give it a name that omits or twists a letter around in a preexisting word? Thanks to Flickr, I can no longer type or read “flicker” without it looking strange. I’m sure that wasn’t what they set out to do, but now everyone is doing something similar and it’s crossed that line from being cute to being ludicrous.
And it’s cool that these apps have all been created out of a movement to connect people online further and to facilitate the faster retrieval of information, but after reading Jeffrey Zeldman’s article on the death of the personal website, I can’t get it out of my head when I think about all this stuff. I remember the days when I–when everyone I knew–would put everything up manually. Photos, current music faves, books we’d read recently, favorite bookmarks. But now there’s Flickr, last.fm, AllConsuming, and del.icio.us, and dozens of sites just like them. People embed these apps and applets into their personal sites–which have typically evolved into blogs–and so their sites have become a lot more effortless, and in some ways, a lot less personal.
I do have a Flickr account. It became a necessity in terms of uploading the 3200-plus photos I took during my two years in Japan–there was just no way I had the time to thumbnail them and manually code and update my website to host them. I will admit that I hesitated in signing up for Flickr, though, in the hopes that I could indeed do it myself. But with the exception of creating a del.icio.us account a while back and updating it maybe twice, I haven’t touched it. I also have an active account on Facebook, but that’s a little different from these labor-saving sorts of sites.
I’m the type of person who digs my heels in when some new, flashy item or fad comes along. IPhones? Pfft. mp3 players? Why, when CDs work so well? (I did give in and I own a Creative Zen 30GB media player…but I will never give up on CDs. The mp3 format is, by definition, quite lossy and compressed, and I can’t stand listening to a symphony or quartet or violin concerto when it’s all muffled due to minimizing the file size. I lament that stereo systems have become obsolete, and that I now have to shell out money for a home theater system to get the best possible sound when I don’t even own a TV!)
In terms of these “new-fangled” apps, I’m definitely digging my heels in. I know SXSW Interactive this year revolved around Twitter in terms of meeting up with folks, and since I left straight for Osaka from Austin, I couldn’t bring my laptop with me and missed out entirely on that aspect of the conference…and if I go again next year, I might sign up just to take advantage of that way to network…but only for that.
And whatever new websites I develop, I definitely won’t be giving any of them cutesy names.