TechMan has never considered himself a social butterfly. In fact, wallflower might be a more appropriate term.
This social shyness may trace back to the ninth-grade dance when the gym teachers stalked the dance floors holding basketballs. This was to enforce the rule that boys and girls could not be closer than a basketball's diameter while slow dancing. Talk about emotional scarring.
What's past is past, but perhaps as a result, TechMan was not an early adopter of the new "social networking" Web sites.
Web 1.0, which emerged in the late '90s and early aughts, was about what you can do on the Web -- shopping, searching, banking. Web 2.0, the current phase, is about sharing your words, music choices, photos and bookmarks, and even reading lists, with others.
Granted TechMan does have a blog, (post-gazette.com/techman), the earliest manifestation by some of an ego out of control. But while some people blog about their daily lives, TechMan sticks to what interests him in the world of tech.
Here are some other "social" Web sites that TechMan has haltingly begun to use:
Twitter (twitter.com) -- Perhaps the most high-profile of the social Web sites, it debuted in 2006. The idea is that you can follow the "tweets," as the postings are called, of people you choose, and others can follow your tweets on the Web site or on mobile devices.
Tweets are limited to 140 characters and the service was originally promoted as a way to tell friends what you are doing at the moment. As a result, early Twitter was somewhat of an ego trip for the digerati.
But in concert with tinyurl.com, which can shorten long URLs, Twitter became more useful. Then news organizations such as CNN started using the service to distribute headlines, Barack Obama's campaign to keep supporters up to date and even the Mars Rovers (actually someone at NASA) began sending tweets.
So now even just following people on Twitter can be interesting, but as with all social sites, it depends on the quality of the people you follow.
Friendfeed (friendfeed.com) -- Friendfeed is an example of an aggregator site, where you can follow updates from people of your choice and their friends on various feeds (Twitter, Flickr and numerous others) all in one place.
Delicious (delicious.com) -- The idea here is that you can bookmark Web sites in this Web application and share them. Even if he doesn't share, TechMan finds it very useful to be able to bookmark a site on the Web and then have that bookmark available on any computer.
StumbleUpon (stumbleupon.com) -- Similar to delicious.com, but the hook here is that you are shown random sites in your interest areas and then bookmark them if you like them.
RSS feedreaders -- TechMan uses Google reader (google.com/reader), which is Web based. There also are readers you can download as desktop applications. They let you keep up with the latest posts on blogs you choose to follow.
Socialmedian (socialmedian.com) -- This is a news site where you can follow links to information on topics of interest. You join a network on various subjects (Apple, food and cooking, lifehacks) and then you can post links to content on that subject and read what others have posted.
Flickr (flickr.com) -- Probably the most popular of the photo sharing sites. Picasa (google.com/picasa) is another. Basically you post photos on the Web that can either be seen by anyone or just people of your choosing.
LibraryThing (librarything.com) allows you to share a list of books you have read or intend to read. You also can see short reviews of books.
Microsoft has turned its gaze to social Web sites. On the home page at its recently updated windows.live.com , you can aggregate feeds from various social sites. Google has a similar service called iGoogle at google.com/ig.
That just scratches the surface of Web 2.0 There's a ton of sites out there.
So TechMan has progressed to being a "lurker" on social sites, reading what others share but not sharing much himself. That would be too much like dancing closer than a basketball.