I was reading a blog post from Suw Charman-Anderson yesterday about things to look for when hiring a Social Media Consultant and despite the fact that I neither wish to hire a social media consultant nor do I wish to be one (despite briefly thinking it was a good idea this time last year!) it did get me thinking. Mainly the question about how long have you been using social tools?
Suw makes a couple of good points “A good consultant will have been using social tools for quite a while, probably a year or two longer than they’ve actually been a consultant.” and “Equally, do not believe anyone who says they’ve been doing it forever. Blogs themselves are only ten years old. “
It got me thinking about how long had I been using these tools? I don’t really consider myself an early adopter in the purest sense of the phrase as I’m not some beta junkie always looking for the next big thing but I do seem to have been doing this stuff for a while now.
The first blog I can remember updating regularly was for a Sunday morning football club I founded back in August 2002. This was originally a Blogspot blog (which still exists pretty much) before we moved to a custom blog which was privately hosted and apart from a few pages at the Internet Archive is long gone.
I played around with blogs and social networks over the next couple of years (including Myspace which I never really grasped) before starting a personal Typepad blog in August 2006 mainly to blog about my holidays and use my (then) new Nokia N73 as my main blogging tool. This was also the time I started to use Flickr in anger (though I’d had an account for a while already). This blog lasted a little under a year (as I remember I decided not to renew the subscription with Typepad!) but has alot of photos and commentary from 2 great holidays as well as some fun photos and random notes from nights out so I’m glad it survived.
August 2007 was about the tipping point for me regarding social media though I think – I started to blog on work matters at JISC Involve (a blog platform that was very much my project at JISC), I started to actively use wikis at work – first MediaWiki and then Confluence (which has become a popular tool at JISC since I left). I also joined Facebook around this time and despite the backlash from early adopter types I still use it regularly as for many of my non webby friends it is their main home online. I also joined Twitter around this time but it wasn’t really until January 2008 that I really started to get my head around it. I’m still not sure I can explain why I find Twitter so useful but nonetheless I don’t think I could work without it these days. I started this blog about a year ago and have kept a pretty steady flow of posts going and I find myself frequently referring back to it as a reference.
I never really used Delicious (though have had an account for years) but have used Google Reader since it was originally released in Labs and have used the Sharing feature since then as my online bookmark tool.
So anyway I guess I have been messing with this stuff for a few years now even if its only been the last couple with any kind of focus.