social networking for the painfully shy

I’ve been experimenting with a handful of new social networking sites lately, seeing how they work for me, and exploring what they might do for my organization.

Brightkite is a location-based social network, in which you post your location when you feel like updating. You can also post photos, which is nice.

However, I am already in the habit of using for that, and I especially enjoy posting photos to utterz and then recording a brief snippet of what it sounds like to be in that place. Sometimes I narrate, sometimes I don’t. Mostly, I’m enjoying letting the sounds of the place tell the story without my help, if possible.

Plurk is the fallback twitter-replacement darling these days of the Twitter-obsessed. I signed on and poked around a bit, but, like most Twitterers, I am waiting for Twitter to get its act together and am loathe to leave until there is little doubt that isn’t going to happen.

Of these new tools, I’d have to say that Utterz is my favorite right now. I’ve had a great time using it to lifestream some of my recent travels, to my 15-year college reunion and then to Yankee Stadium in New York, and found that it fit pretty seamlessly into my life.

People talk about the barrier to entry for Utterz being as simple as (1) do you have a cell phone and (2) can you press the number 2, but I have found that all these tools have a hidden barrier to use, which is,

How much of an idiot do you look like while using it?

Of course, this differs for different people. Some people wouldn’t be self-conscious standing in Times Square and using semaphore to convey their deepest feelings.

But some of us feel self-conscious even using a camera in most situations (having grown up in a tourist area, I’m over-sensitive to looking like a tourist, even when I am one). So a successful application has to ask no more of me behaviorally than I would feel comfortable with in the normal course of life.

Utterz passes this test. I don’t feel conspicuous snapping a quick photo on my iPhone, it’s a piece of cake to email it to right then and there, and then I just have to call the number for recording an Utter (it’s saved on my favorites list).

When I am recording my Utter, it looks and sounds exactly like I am talking on the phone to a friend.

I love Utterz as a tool for conveying the excitement or unique feel of a special event, and hope to use it at some more of my organization’s upcoming events this summer — especially those involving live music.

If the demographic is right, I could see getting a core group of people at events using Utterz to broadcast little snippets of the sights and sounds of a major event. I think it’s a fun — and powerful, and easy — way to communicate what’s going on right now, right where you are.

In the meantime, I’ve also been learning how to use my new MacBook Pro to make movies with my Flip camcorder. It took a few weekends of serious research and trial and error, but i finally ended up with some video to share.

See what you think. I don’t think it’s all that bad, for a first try. (I could be wrong.


4 responses to “social networking for the painfully shy

  1. Nathalie Wilson

    Hi Beth –
    Great job on the video – you really captured the spirit of reunion – what an experience – thanks so much for putting that together.
    In the spirit of your talk, here I am, not lurking, but replying…
    And more thanks for your lecture – I’m applying many ideas to a new networking initiative for teens at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis this summer called Stage Door. It will be led by teens.
    Plus, I gave a Flip camcorder to my husband for Father’s Day – our first tryout captured David (turning 2 this month) cheering his big sister Caroline Rose in her soccer game – thanks for helping us post it so quickly and easily.
    Best – Nathalie

  2. Nathalie Wilson

    Ack! got a message with my first submission that I had already submitted something just like it – so I edited a bit to resubmit – now here we are with two posts! – maybe i doubleclicked – guess I’m learning as I go along – sorry to clutter up the replies…

  3. This is awesome Beth – makes me feel like I’m back on campus. And wonderful storytelling!

  4. Nathalie – so glad you liked it, and that you’re trying out some of the things we talked about at your theater! Let me know how things progress, I’d love to hear.

    Rachel – thanks! đŸ™‚

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