This or that?

After stuffing myself digitally, sampling each new email client or social media service to boldly make itself available, I am now attempting to put myself on a digital diet. What bests represents me? What best fits in with my online life?

Outlook vs. Gmail: Oh, this is a tough one. Gmail appeals to me. The ease of use is immense. It’s tucked right into my favorite search engine! However, I’m leaning more towards Outlook. The clean interface, the ability to access Twitter and LinkedIn updates, and the connection to the Microsoft brand are all alluring. Yes, with all the adoration that is heaped on Apple, I still remain a Microsoft chick. The reduced prices on software offered to students helped me cross the digital divide when I struggled financially. It cemented the idea of Microsoft as a brand “of the people” in my head. Heck, I still can’t afford the MacBook Air or iPhone that is seemingly standard for Apple enthusiasts. But I dream about the Surface, so no matter!

An interesting aside: I do not like the fact that logging into Gmail logs me into Youtube—and YouTube then tracks the videos I watch. I have no need for a viewing history. If I want to remember a clip, I’ll bookmark it. I am wary about why this information is being gathered and who it is being shared with.

Google Plus vs. Facebook: No matter which option is chosen, the result is terrible. The Plus interface is clunky and confusing. However, should one manage to get past initial set-up issues, the content found is generally superior to that found on Facebook and is geared more towards my specific interests. Facebook is NBC; Google Plus is Syfy. And just as everyone tunes into NBC, so is Facebook used by the masses. To connect with family members, coworkers, clients, and friends the network is required. However, the lack of control is infuriating! There remains no customization for profile pages, users can upload terrible photos of an individual and tag them for all to see, and one is subject to endless twinkling religious GIFs or bawdy jokes from relatives—all within view of one’s boss or potential date. I remain undecided. I suppose I’ll maintain an account with both and revisit the matter in a month.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn has no competition; I can think of no other organization that compares! Yes, there are other wonderful sites that help me gather news regarding the publishing industry, but LinkedIn allows me to learn from my peers. I check the site frequently. It’s great.

Tumblr vs. Pinterest: I’m surprised that Pinterest is so admired by women given what I find to be a complete lack of socialization. It’s no more than an organized bulletin board or Amazon wish list. I’m online to interact with others. And Pinterest does not provide me with that opportunity in the same manner as Tumblr. Though chaotic in regards to organization, the Tumblr design is much more open to online conversations, which I adore. And I can customize Tumblr in order to bring it in line with my own design sensibilities.

Tumblr is like flipping through television channels while at a boisterous party—a flood of images and comments at once. Pinterest is akin to flipping though a stack of magazines lent to you by friends. You see what interests them and can mark those pages, but there is little to no conversation taking place. Pinterest is media without the social. I’ll keep my Pinterest account in case changes are made over time, but Tumblr is where I will remain active. The popularity of Pinterest shows how we as a culture are dominated by the desire to consume and how we define ourselves by what we are able to obtain.

Twitter: There are those who use Twitter to promote themselves, but I use Twitter as a glorified chat room and wouldn’t have it any other way. I tried to alter the way I use Twitter by following companies and celebrities, but that grew tiresome quickly. Again, I want current topics and conversation, not ads. And unlike many, my Twitter account is set to private. I’d been followed by a great deal of people who chose not to interact with me at all; the voyeuristic aspect of it was off-putting. With a private account, I no longer feel as if I’m giving a speech or being used as a marketing tool with each tweet. Simply put, Twitter is the social networking service I use the most because the opportunity to socialize is the highest.

Nucleus vs. WordPress: Nucleus wins. Given that I have multiple blogs, there’s simply no other option! However, I’m fond of the fact that WordPress blogs can be linked to Klout. Impressive. Though my journal isn’t updated as frequently as my Tumblr or Twitter account, I still plan to use it to post in-depth comments on random topics—like this one, I suppose!