How to Be On the Internet When You're Not

I seem to be on the internet all the time. I’ve even been asked – and quite seriously – if there was a way to make my updates into a daily digest. (There is now, it’s called LoudTwitter, and I have it posting to my LJ account.) But this complaint is nothing new for me.

I’ve been running daily joke lists since about 1997. It grew out of a particular message board on a BBS system back when disabling the “blink” tag was a needed requirement.

Originally, I would just post jokes from my collection when I got a chance. But due to the craziness of my schedule – even then – I would end up posting seven to ten jokes in a huge batch, then nothing for a few days, then a while later would blast out another batch. So I wrote a program to help me space it out for everyone else. The same thing happened when I (informally) started posting online resources to a homeschooling mailing list. So again, I formalized the process into a daily homeschool resources list and blog and try to spread things out.

I can’t access the internet from work most of the time. Only when I’m on breaks or at lunch can I get online – and I can never get to Twitter itself. But when I’m at lunch, I don’t want to be blasting Twitter (and by extension, Facebook and Myspace since my tweets are mirrored in both places) with all three blogs I update, a Very Short Story, and any links I want to share all at the same time. Not to mention that I’m fond of eating lunch.

So I have tools. The Very Short Stories (and occasionally another observation that I find interesting) are sent by FutureTweets. I often write ten to twelve of these in one day, enter them all, and don’t write any more for a week.

I heavily use TwitterFeed as well. It looks through RSS feeds that I specify every so often. Some are set to every thirty minutes, most are every two to four hours, and one of them (the #music feed, which pulls from is only checked every twelve hours.

This also lets me share cool links on a delay. One of the feeds that Twitterfeed looks at comes from Google Reader. I can “share” articles from there – but it may not show up in my Twitter (Facebook, etc) stream until hours later.

This can make it look like I am online when I am not.

For example – I mark an item to “share” it at 0700 and leave to go to work. Twitterfeed doesn’t see it until 1000, then posts it to Twitter/Facebook/etc. I’m at work, and cannot access either Twitter or Facebook… but it can easily look like I’m getting around the rules somehow. Heck, I’m posting this just after 0630 local; it’ll probably hit Twitter and Facebook as a note (the two don’t happen on the same schedule) while I’m either on the way to work or actually at work.

Luckily, my supervisor realizes that I’m not stupid enough to friend her on Facebook and then proceed to publicly break company policy. It is, however, something to be aware of if your company has a restrictive internet policy.

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