just a dude abiding

on being an internet luddite

Welcome to the blog of the world’s only web programming Internet Luddite (as far as I know). Why would any sane individual who makes a living working on and with the Internet describe themselves as a Luddite? It’s simple. Despite (or possibly because of) being one of the most technically capable people in my social circle, I’m often the last to adopt the newest online service and in some cases I’m actively campaigning against them.  It’s to the point that people have quit sending me invites, friend requests, pokes, or whatever.

I don’t actively maintain a facebook profile.  I have one, but it was setup by my wife, and I don’t login regularly.  I don’t have a myspace account.  I don’t follow anyone on twitter.  I don’t have any delicious bookmarks.  In fact, I’ve all but avoided almost all of the social networking services out there.  I just recently started subscribing to and following RSS feeds.  This is my first real blog.  

I’ve been developing web sites and web applications both as a hobby and a profession for about six years.  I wrote my first blog engine probably in 2003 for a very web 1.0 social site.  I wrote an RSS feed parser/generator around the same time.  I’ve built large enterprisey applications (boooo), and am about to launch a light and lean Web 1.99 application (stay tuned for details!). So why haven’t I latched onto the Holy Grail of Web 2.0, the social network?

I’m a simple person.  I’m not an extrovert.  I value my privacy.  Most importantly, I’m lazy. My experiences show me that the current crop of social networking applications, don’t fit my needs.  Most of them have too many features (facebook, myspace), have poor track records with privacy (facebook, myspace), or require a time investment to keep them from overwhelming me with data  (facebook, myspace, twitter).  The other major issue, which really is at the core of a lot of the privacy problems I have with these services, is that they assume that I want to share some or all of my data with others.  If I wanted to share my links, my photos, or my documents with others, I’d use something simple and direct, like IM or email.  I know, how quaint!

So what applications and sites do I use then?  I’m a fan of what I’ll call “Fire and Forget” services.  RSS readers are a good example of this, I subscribe to a feed, and the reader keeps track of everything for me.  It doesn’t email me everytime every blog I’m subscribed to changes (unless I was to set it to do so), it just sits and waits for me to come back.  I can skim over them, read them, or mark them all as read and move on.  Managing my RSS list can be done at my own time.  Most importantly to me, I can handle each message individually, or choose to ignore all of the changes and start with a blank slate again.

My favorite social services, are ones in which the social features that I use are almost exclusively anonymous.  Last.fm music suggestions have brought me to a variety of music I wouldn’t have ever found otherwise, but it does so without requiring a huge commitment from me.  I install their application, and listen to music like normal.  When I decide I want to check my recommendations, I can play them at my own leisure.  Amazon’s “others who bought this also looked at/bought…”.  I’ve found great music and books this way as well, typically without ever being logged in.

Well there’s the brief bit about who I am, where this blog came from, and what you can expect.  Thanks!

–Your friendly neighborhood Luddite.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention, that the term Luddite may not be as well known as I had previously thought.  For a bit of background check out the article at the repository for all the world’s knowlege.