Is there such thing as Web 2.0 OD? I’m not talking about the spectative side of the Interweb, but rather, the participatory side. I’d like to consider myself a moderate user of Web 2.0 interfaces. I don’t have a YouTube account. I don’t dive into Google apps and Yahoo personalization offers. I do get out into the sunshine, ride my bike places, and interact with human beings outside of my apartment.
The other day, while making food in the kitchen, a room mate suggested that I make a web site for an idea I had just thought up (can’t remember what it was). I rolled my eyes. “Oh, no! Not another web site!” I got a laugh, but then tried to count off all the web sites I do have or administrate. Here’s the list: Happy Feet, Stencil Archive, Stencil Nation, Stencil Nation MySpace, Flickr, CELLspace.org, Sage in the Cage (which is down at the moment), and then online promo for CELLspace (about 12 events list sites, including Facebook and Tribe). This list doesn’t include a few other sites that I log into from time to time for other reasons. During the conversation with the room mate, I couldn’t remember all the sites I logged into to post content to. After counting about five sites, my brain shut down and the conversation moved on to other topics.
And I’ve been wondering since then if I’ve OD’d on social networking and blog sites. During my research for Stencil Nation, I remember checking out Jef Aerosol’s web presence. I think he has about five different sites where he posts photos, news, and sells his work. I remember saying to myself, “Jef sure must spend a lot of time online keeping these sites up to date.” This was before I took on all the CELLspace work and opened up my three Stencil Nation sites. I guess my load was manageable at the time.
Now, I’m finding myself online posting content at least two hours a day. I’m meeting people who have set up Second Life versions of their projects, making me think that there is NO END to the spiral of plugging in to the Interweb and getting your memebytes out there. Yesterday, clown/performer Joe Mama happened to be at stencil artist Scott Williams’s house when I showed up. “Scott! You need a web site to become famous!” Joe Mama exclaimed. “I already have a few,” Scott replied (one of which is his Stencil Archive). I instantly thought in my head “I can set up a site for him.” But I kept the thought to myself because I’d end up being its admin.
Sure Web 2.0 has good points. I got great photos for Stencil Nation thanks to Flickr. I’ve found a few old friends thanks to MySpace. CELLspace has its first up-to-date site since it had a site! But I’m beginning to feel a low level need to log in and update things to keep the interest up. My publisher is excited about the promo video I made and keeps suggesting that I put it on YouTube and MySpace. I didn’t make the video for Web 2.0; it will be viewed at a book convention on a huge screen. In tiny-screen land, some of the content will be lost. Do I really want to tweak it for online? One more thing to do and post all over the place?
When I hit the road for the book tour, will I plug in to ALL my sites while I’m mobile? The great/terrible thing about the Interweb is that I can easily stay hooked up anywhere on the Pacific Coast. My tour mate Chris Carlsson is currently blogging away while he tours his book in the North East USA. He’s posting photos as he goes along, just like millions of other bloggers are doing out there. Chris’s book Nowtopia has a bunch of great ideas for changing the world. One of them isn’t logging in to a dozen sites to keep the content stream flowing!
I guess some of you have noticed that I’ve been away from Happy Feet over the past few weeks. The book has really taken focus in my life. Years ago, I had to take the stencil out of Happy Feet because it grew into its own world and needed space. With the book promotions, the stencil side of my life has sprouted tentacles online and in my free time. Guess that’s a good analogy for CELLspace too. Events promotions prompts setting roots across a spectrum of the Web.
The kicker is that I’m good at all of this. It’s a love/hate relationship for sure, but I really do like promoting shows and books and my art. Today Jennifer at Manic D gave me a compliment. “This video looks fucking amazing,” she said. “I know that you’re always thinking about job prospects [since I’m not really making money for any of this online work], so I think your skills are highly desired.” Thanks, Jennifer.
Call me a promotions machine that runs on dreamdust. If I could have lunch with Bill Graham (RIP) and Chet Helms (RIP), I’d ask them all the above questions about my Web 2.0 addictions. I’m sure they’d have great advice to hopefully clear my confusions about the time I spend participating online. Being that Bill left an empire and Chet left a financial debt (but created amazing cultural histories), things would get heated fast while discussing my activities.
I’d then just sit there, with my pencil and note pad, taking notes from the masters. How un-Web 2.0 is a pencil and paper?