I wanted to post something a little different today and look at how my use of technology has altered which, in turn, gives an idea as to how my perception of social media has changed.
This blog took over from the old Randomelements site which I had self-hosted on one flavour of SharePoint or another since 2003. I was also running my own Exchange Server and handling all my own emails. Initially, these endeavours were useful in that they forced me to learn: managing and maintaining a Windows 2003 based network and the related server applications but, once things were established and I was able to troubleshoot any issues that arose the learning stopped.
While other people were content to have their sites and mails hosted remotely I was dealing with everything locally just for the sake of it; being able to say I could.
I changed ISP and in doing so lost the static IP address I had been using. While dynamic solutions exist - such as DynDNS - managing things became a chore, especially when it became apparent that the IP addresses I was being assigned by the new ISP were on the PBL. Any change of IP address meant that I had to request it be removed from the PBL before emails sent from my server would be accepted by an servers checking the originating IP address. At the same time, SharePoint no longer cut it as an effective blogging platform.
Consequently, the move to WordPress and remotely hosted email have been made and life has been simplified from a technical perspective. Outlook and my phone are both accessing email via IMAP this keeping in sync and I have been able to shut down the server at home - it is no longer being used so why waste the power.
I was using technology at home just for the sake of it under the misguided impression that it made a difference but I still have full control over my blog and emails so what is the difference? I treat them now as a means to achieve something rather than as a focus in themselves, and this is how I see social media. Social media should not focus on the tool in use but on what that tool allows you to do so we must not get caught up in the trappings of the technology as they will distract us from our goals.