Falling Off the Tech Curve

There comes a time in every person’s life when, try as they might, they just can’t keep up with the exponentially-increasing speed of technological advancement. At the tender age of 24, I have reached that point. Prepare yourself, dear reader, for my desperate cries of anguish and frustration caused by my inability to grasp Twitter and Google Wave:
TWITTER – You Don’t Know What You’re Missing
The thing about Twitter (from what I know of it) is this: It’s incredibly simple to set up an account, post a tweet, reply to a tweet, send a direct message, follow an individual twitterer, and retweet someone else’s tweet. What’s NOT so easy is finding the “right” twitterers to follow. Even more difficult (and my personal sticky widget) is finding out how to keep up with relevant information from people you’re NOT following at any given second and/or location. When the group in Moldova was protesting, how would I have found out about their organization? When Sully made his amazing water landing, how would I have known where to turn for the first twitpic of the downed plane? If there’s a tweetup happening down the street from where I am RIGHT NOW, how would I know? Plus, there’s the added creepiness of having to turn on location-aware features for the sake of connectedness. I may want to know what’s going on around me, but I don’t want EVERYONE to know where I am at any given time. Could tech-savvy thieves monitor people’s locations using Twitter in order to know when to rob houses? That doesn’t seem too far-fetched to me.
TWITTER – The Twitter Has Two Faces
The other thing I don’t like about this post-Scott McNeely (the Sun Microsystems guru who said “Privacy is dead. Get over it!) world we live in is that I feel I must have two twitter accounts: A personal account, where I can actually talk about what I’m thinking, saying or doing honestly, and a professional account, where I have to use twitter to “build a personal brand.” Since Twitter is the new Facebook, and employers used to discriminate potential new-hires based on whether there was anything objectionable in their profiles, the best way to throw attention off your possibly-objectionable honest feed is to create a slick, corporate-friendly decoy! But both need to be updated constantly to avoid suspicion, and that just seems an exhausting project. I’ve heard that there are some decent third-party applications for managing multiple accounts, but even with the tech difficulties out of the way it still seems like a lot to keep in your head at once.
WAVE – What The Heck Is It?
The problem with a lot of web2.0 software is that many of these programs can fulfill multiple functions, creating a staggering amount of redundancy. Google Wave seems like the amazing all-in-one application that aggregates all your other all-in-one applications together. It’s a chat client, a collaborative document editor, and a media sharing platform all rolled into one incredibly daunting package. Thus far, it has been my experience that Google Wave is the tool that everyone is excited to use, as soon as they can figure out why they want to use it. It’s the first program that has honestly left me dumbfounded, just staring at the screen as if it were written in cyrillic. SPSS was easier to figure out, and I’m not even a statistician!
(Video Game analogy: Wave suffers from Fable 2’s biggest problem: You have the ability and opportunity to do hundreds of different things, but no real motivation to do any of them. I CAN buy every building in the city, eat until I get fat, marry someone and have six kids, then brutally murder my wife, but why would I WANT to? Come to think of it, this was my problem with Second Life as well…)
WAVE – Nothing To Show For It
My other big problem with Google Wave (besides its redundancies and vagueness) is what to do with a Wave when you’re done. They say Wave is great for group projects, but unless you’re going to use a projector and a Wave-enabled computer to present your results you’re s— out of luck. There’s currently no way to export or print your Wave, so if you want to use it in anything outside of Wave you’ll have to copy-and-paste it into another program (and deal with the inevitable copypasta errors.) Seems awfully backwards and un-Google-like, doesn’t it? Where’s the Data Liberation Front when you need them?!
Leo Laporte wasn’t kidding when he said that 2010 would be the year of the app. Manufacturers are poised to add “apps” to cars, printers and even refrigerators this coming year. With so many apps and so many app services out there, it’s all a bit overwhelming. I can post status updates to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and Wave all at the same time, and have subroutines in place to repost each to the other, potentially flooding all of them with one post repeated dozens of times! To make sure everyone sees a photo I want to upload, it needs to go to Twitter (via Twitpic,) Facebook, Flickr and Picasa (perhaps even photobucket.) I access my email from Thunderbird, iGoogle, Google Desktop and Digsby (not to mention the occasional trip to Gmail itself.) I stay up-to-date on Facebook through iGoogle, Digsby, Google Desktop, Tweetdeck, and even Xbox Live. Twitter is provided to me through Tweetdeck, iGoogle, Google Desktop, Digsby and Xbox Live, not to mention my cell phone. If I ever wanted to chat in real time (i.e., not through twitter), I could use iGoogle/GoogleTalk, Digsby, Meebo (which contains AIM, Yahoo and MSN Messengers, as well as its own proprietary messenger) or Facebook Chat (to say nothing of phone text messages or XBox Live voice chat.) There are days when I really REALLY want to start some sort of connectivity feedback loop, one that would hopefully punish the web world for forcing me to integrate my life six times over for the sake of staying current.
If you’re a tech-savvy person, you probably are thinking to yourself, “This guy is an idiot. He’s COMPLETELY missing the point of these incredible technological advancements! How does he not see the right way to tweet/wave?” Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, enlighten me. This is a cry for help. I’d like nothing better than to be able to use Wave properly and be a part of the real Twitter community. Maybe if I do, I’ll have a better chance of understanding the next big thing.
If you haven’t experienced Wave for yourself yet, please let me know. I still have several invitations left.

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