Why I Use What on the Web

Facebook

I use this as my people memory. I meet folks at outings, bars, whatever, and then I can almost always find them on Facebook afterwards, especially in DC, since everyone uses it here. Since I have a poor memory, being able to look at someone’s profile (my visual memory is better than my auditory memory) lets me recall where they went to school, where they work, how old they are, etc. Anything I put onto my profile by way of apps helps facilitate memory.

LinkedIn

I use it as an online resume. People are more likely to have accurate work and education listings here, and if I were hiring people, I would like to make it standardized at my place of business.

Amazon

I shop for books here, and that’s about it. Just because I don’t buy as much other stuff as often. But I tend to use Amazon for reviews quite extensively. I also use it to remember past addresses of places I’ve lived or mailed to.

Google

My short-term memory. I tend not to remember anything but can google it in seconds. I use Google Docs quite often and that trumps the need to save files to Microsoft Live Mesh, which is pretty cool if you have anything you need to keep in its original format.

Twitter

Fast blogging. I get lots of ideas that I want to save that don’t go on IRC or into a full blog post, so they go here. Also, it’s a persistent record of conversations that are public…unlike IM.

Yelp

No close competitor for reviews of restaurants and bars and whatnot. Reaches scale well in big cities and is therefore indispensable for figuring out which places are worth going to. Also has a good feedback system between users.

Wikipedia

My learning memory. I go there to learn about a topic.

Flickr

Yes, I have to pay, but it has a nicer interface and you can add comments and notes and tag photos. Makes it slightly better than Picasa.

Shelfari

Just started using this to record all the books I’ve read and owned. I wish I could save quotes from books into this somehow without typing stuff in, but until digital readers become more popular, all those dog-eared pages in my books will have been made in vain.

del.icio.us

Not very wedded to this except there’s no good competitor (why can’t Google Notebook’s bookmarks act normally?) and it has good exporting/API/Firefox plug-in.

YouTube

The easiest way to find and watch videos. A huge library.

Bloglines

I don’t know why but I prefer it to Google Reader. Maybe because Google goes about things strangely and has to design its UIs its own way. Maybe just because Reader is not good enough to make me want to switch from Bloglines.

Mint

Can log into your financial accounts and aggregate all your financial data. Sends you a weekly financial update. Sweet! Easy to use. Categorizes your credit card purchases with few errors.

Last.fm

Good tools for aggregating the songs you listen to into a persistent list. I guess it works to find people who are compatible with your musical interests if you are looking to fill in gaps in your MP3 library. I’d much rather see what others listen to than to hear their “recommendations”. Music reviews are always the WORST.

TripIt

E-mail your itineraries to TripIt and it automatically loads it into its system. Then you can track your travels. Problems: who travels that much to find this most useful? Who has enough friends who travel a lot that sharing your details is useful?

Kayak

Search for the cheapest plane tickets. Has easy AJAX sliders to adjust your ranges on time and price. Fastest way to look through all the exhorbitant ticket prices that exist right now.

FriendFeed

I don’t quite see how FriendFeed is useful for commenting yet. I don’t like the layout. But it aggregates all your different online web activities into a feed that you can comment on. Some people are raving about it but I’m not convinced yet. I see why people use it but perhaps it needs the network effect first, with lots of my friends using it.

What’s Missing?

Where is the web site that lets you plumb the depths of human interaction and innovation and dysfunction?