At first I was hesitant about joining another online thing. (I was going to say "online community" but then I realized that at first I didn't realize it was one.) I mean, I've tried friendster, twitter, facebook, vox (which I've had a HORRIBLE time with, they still haven't addressed a very serious problem I had with them), even looked into dodgeball once upon a time, and still have a myspace and flickr* account.
What I'm discovering about 43 things is that it has been a surprisingly helpful, encouraging tool for me in accomplishing my life's goals. Hey- you know what? I think I didn't even really realize I even had goals in my life until I was given permission to list them out there. The website is completely ignorable, but can be set up to email you reminders about your goals if you so desire. There's absolutely no sense of obligation to sign in and check in on it (that sense of obligation is one of many negative feelings I've had with many other "social networking" sites), but when you do, you might be surprised at the completely random people from all over the place who are cheering you on. (To explain- people can "cheer" your goals, and if you've written an entry (sort of like a mini-blog for each goal) people can comment on them, or even just cheer the entry.) Or you might be faced with a friendly reminder that once upon a time you were serious about getting something done on that list.
The website is in cooperation with 43people.com (lists people you want to/have already met), 43places.com (lists places you want to/have already gone), allconsuming.net (lists items you are consuming in life, anything from food to books to concepts), and listofbests.com (lists lists people are keeping track of- a little trickier to get the hang of but still kind of cool). Once you have an account for any of the above, you have an account for all and can update all the lists however much or little you want.
Today a girl cheered one of my goals, and so I went to her list of 43 things. I decided to comment on her goal to "delete my myspace account." Below is an edited version of what I said to her about it, it is what lead me to write a blog here at Virtual Stink about how cool 43things.com is.
"I think 43 things is such a way better community than myspace. Any online networking site that is supposed to mimic you real-life relationships so precisely is kind of messed up- if you have it in real life already, why do you need a virtual model of it? It has its coolness, in that I happen to like models a lot- I think they are neat. But people get too wrapped up in it and make it more than a model.
43 things brings people together and into each others’ lives for different reasons. For example, things they have in common that they wouldn’t be as likely to discover they had in common were it not for the internet. It’s a totally unique community experience from real-life and is a network that, due to its uniqueness, has something fresh to offer a person’s life.
For instance, today I felt totally excited that my goal to [x, y, z] had been cheerd ;) (thanks!)- It’s not just a “good stroke,” like, validation for the things I’m interested in and like (which myspace TOTALLY is. I mean, it’s almost indulgent how good it feels to sign in to see the red “new messages!” or blue “new comments!” smiling at you. When you get comments or people tell you they like your pictures- mmmm, you go out commenting other people’s just so you’ll get more yourself), it’s a sense of support- even though I’m still the only person with that [x, y, z] goal, I still feel connected to a new person in a way I never would have otherwise.
Anyway, all this to say- I still have a myspace and check in multiple times a day. I’m not deleting it for lots of reasons. But I wish I could convince everyone I know to try out 43 things. It is so motivating and exciting to be a part of a weird network like this one."
*I will state once and for all for the record that I love flickr and have nothing against them at all.