Keeping in contact with friends and Family at home and abroad

The often used line for people who sometimes quite vigorously defend (their use of) Facebook is that “It helps me keep in contact with Friends and Family far away (or overseas)!”

Here’s the kicker, People I firmly feel were already freely doing that across the Wider general Internet way before the likes of MySpace and Facebook ever came on the scene.

Many people had their own Personal Homepages (at their ISP, colleges or elsewhere) or Personal Blogs and people would find each other by way of any number of search engines of the time, go to their page and flick them an email or sign their ‘guestbook’. (I know I have reconnected with many people I’ve lost contact with this way.),

RSS and ATOM standards were common place where people could subscribe to each other’s blogs or web pages, using any number of RSS readers and be able to keep abreast with articles from multiple sources, be it from their friends’ blogs, News media publication, or elsewhere in one place, (very much, I feel, in the same way how Facebook’s “newsfeed” operates today, but with far more granular control over what you wish to see than the Facebook newsfeed of today ever offered).

Another often used excuse for relying on facebook is “How can I share my photos with my family and friends overseas?”, Facebook is hardly the only medium or tool to do this. Again, your own blog could fill the same role with NUI.NZ as being my living example.

It’s worth remembering that Facebook as a communication medium is entirely controlled by a single corporation whose natural overarching focus is to maximize profits for their shareholders and is not an inter-operable communication protocol with several (typically competing) providers like how Email is structured.

If some people are serious about reducing their reliance on Facebook, are concerned as I am about the increasingly centralization of power to a few for-profit run silos, and are in favour of supporting open inter-operable web standards, I would kindly suggest that a regular Blog could fill that role as the first stepping stone.

Setting up your own personal blog I strongly feel needn’t be solely the domain of I.T. geeks. There are now blogging services which make it easy to get started as it is signing up for a Facebook Account.

There are several different blogging platforms, including B2Evoluation, WordPress, and many others. WordPress as a blogging platform seems fairly okay in my opinion… if you want a quick start, then suggest as an initial starting point signing up for a free account at wordpress.com at least as a stepping stone to get you on your way (it is very easy to sign up, as easy as it is to sign up for Facebook or any other social network).

Once you outgrow WordPress.com and/or you get sick of the adverts, you can then fairly easily move off on to your own self hosted WordPress blog at any web host of your choice once you’re ready.

What ever blogging platform you eventually get going with (Preferably an open source one that allows you to self-host in the future if not now), you can simply post links on your social media profiles (Faceborg, Google+, etc) back to your blog / homepage and have your blog / homepage as your main (web identity) hub and point of presence on the Internet in which to syndicate / share your content from. Much like what I do with on my own Faceborg Profile.

Keeping in contact with friends and Family at home and abroad

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