This is probably stating the obvious, but I have a contrarian streak (although I always have a very good reason for my contrarian stance, unlike my Dad, whom I suspect of taking contrarian positions just to annoy me and others). So I find myself, say, supporting John Edwards rather than Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton, and having a "brand X" MP3 player rather than an iPod.
But just as often I end up following the herd, sometimes after initial resistance. For instance, I am now on the Ravelry waiting list, after holding out long enough to land as number eleventy-nine hundred (or so) in line. And I'm such an independent thinker that I apparently had exactly the same thought process as every other sentient knitblogger.
a) It's just another private club for the in-crowd. Phooey on them and their dumb club.
b) I don't have time for another bloglike thingy; I don't have time to keep up with the blog I have let alone uploading a bunch of photos to Flickr.
c) Um, well, I'm a bit curious, and I love making lists. It couldn't hurt to get in line and check it out.
And, perhaps prompted by Franklin's post, I remembered that I signed up for LibraryThing awhile back and decided to fool around with that a little bit more. And dang if it isn't fun and fascinating. I have wasted quite a bit of precious time this past week uploading titles and dinking around with tags. I finally "get" folksonomy--which is really quite valuable for someone who edits books about webby things. I'm so enamored that I paid for a membership and ordered a CueCat from the LibraryThing folks. (I am so old that I remember when the CueCat was foisted on the world, and like many know-it-all journalists, I sniggered.)
Amazingly, my very own CueCat arrived in today's mail, and I got to try it out with the LibraryThing site and some ISBN bar codes. Not foolproof and not always easy (in fact, it doesn't work on some bar codes; coated, shiny covers seem to work best), but it's stupid fun. I'm probably going to steal a lot of time away from housework this weekend to sit in the middle of my office floor and scan more bar codes, then write capsule reviews. (Edited later to add: The book detail pages are a geek's dream, and I just discovered the statistics page and the power-editing mode. I may disappear for days.)
Also this week I was surprised to find that many of my colleagues and friends have joined a club that I thought wasn't worth belonging to: LinkedIn. I don't know if it's a little trendlet that runs through offices like a wave, or whether everyone joins the way I did; after the third flack or marketing guy you don't know sends you an invitation to join his network you finally accept. In an odd coincidence, the day after I joined I find out that Jane—like, the person I live with—has a LinkedIn account, along with many of my present and former colleagues. So I've been having a very good time nosing into their networks to see how they present themselves and who they know. And I wonder, is this MySpace without the MP3s and the eye-scorching graphics? (Needless to say, I don't get social networking sites.) LinkedIn has done much of the difficult organizational work of old-fashioned networking, and it seems like it would be much easier to ask for an introduction from behind the safety of a computer screen. Of course it's likely to be wonderful fuel for my insecurities, too: Look how many people are ignoring my invitations!