When Mike and Daryl and I met yesterday, our conversation revealed that we each have very different styles of surfing and using the various tools that are available to us. And that, I think, is one of the great values of getting together with other knowledgeable users. You get ideas about different ways of doing things, particularly if you don’t get hung up with trying to convert others to your style but rather learn from them about their preferences.
For example, although I had read about the blogging tool, Performancing, I had never bothered to download it or even to explore it very much. Since Mike had it on his laptop, I got a chance to see it for the first time and I was impressed enough to investigate it when I got home and download a copy. This is my first blog entry using it.
Mike, who is still using Firefox as his primary browser, had also downloaded Opera and he, of course, also has a copy of Flock on his system, though at the time he did not have the most current one. And the fact that he has several browsers on his system is to my way of thinking a good idea.
I know that some of my friends seem to believe that if God wanted you to have more than one browser on your system She would have installed them at the factory. In other words, they can’t comprehend why anyone would have two browsers, let alone several. I think the answer is as simple as the answer to the question “what would you do if the only browser you had went wonky on you and wouldn’t load web pages?” Having more than one browser is at least insurance against that possibility. It also gives you multiple options to see whether a problem may exist with a web page just because of the browser you are using. However, there are other good reasons for having multiple browsers too. For instance, I use Opera because it has a nice Chat capability that I use for irc chat. Since no such feature exists currently in Flock, which I use as my default browser despite its pre-release status, Opera provides that additional capability to me.
The three of us also talked about how we use tagging and bookmarking and that demonstrated that all three of us have different styles. Mike, for instance, makes heavy use of Bloglines to “cover” the web sites he wants to check on regularly. He considers bookmarks as only temporary pointers to sites that he might want to blog about, so he merely sends himself the links he finds interesting at his gmail account, where he keeps them until he has completed his use of them and then deletes them. It works for him, so who’s to say that isn’t as good a practice as any other. As I’ve reported before, I use FeedDemon as my RSS reader and because I own that software, I also have access to NewsGator, which is an online RSS reader that is now associated with FeedDemon.
Of the three of us, I seem to be the one who is making most use of tagging. Mike doesn’t seem to use it much at all, and Daryl uses it some but is skeptical about its trendy nature and possible tendency to fall into disuse at some point in the future. I, on the other hand, have about 350 tagged sites on my del.icio.us page and find it quite handy when I am traveling and want to help a friend or relative with their systems. It gives me a way to locate sites that I find useful when I am not at my own computer.
Daryl made an entry on his blog recently called “How I’m using Flock” that I found particularly helpful because it gave me ideas about how I might use it too. I am convinced there is no one right way to use the tools we have available to us, and that there is great value in meeting with other users occasionally to discover what practices they have developed. While it is possible to pick up such tips and tricks from web sites and forums, there’s nothing like a personal conversation and demonstration to help you understand what works.