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Social Network Exhaustion November 2, 2007

Posted by Tina Simmons in social networks.
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I’ve been using Yahoo 360 as my main social networking site these days, but Yahoo is going to eventually phase it out. My problem isn’t that 360 is going away or moving to a new system. It’s where to go. I’ve been watching where all my 360 friends are moving to, and I can’t say that there is really one compelling place to go. Everybody is drifting off to different social networking destinations, like LiveJournal, HoverSpot, and others. The places that I’m currently at are:

* Facebook (but I’m not really active here)
* MySpace (but very out of date – haven’t been there in a long, long time)
* Blogger (You’re reading this here)
* U R Not Alone (but I’m not terribly active there)
* A few others not worth listing…

My concerns about places like these, especially MySpace, is the ownership of what we post. I want to own whatever I say. I’m afraid that any of these places will try to assert ownership of whatever I post on them. And the more of these social networks I join, the more time I have to spend just checking up on what’s going on in them. Frankly, I’m suffering from social network exhaustion at this point.

I’ve been tempted to just put up my own web site, but how do I get people to visit it? What’s great about social network sites is having people find you while they’re looking for other things or people (and vice-versa). But – there’s no doubt about who owns what code.

What’s interesting to me is Google’s Open Social initiative – having a bunch of API’s that will allow these social networks to interoperate with each other. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t know if it’s going to get enough social networks to join. (Orkut is Google’s network, so it’s part of OpenSocial, but apart from Brazil it’s not really all that popular. MySpace is supposedly interested in joining this, too, but, again, I worry about them and copyright.). And isn’t this a little of what Yahoo is proposing with their new Mash web site? Don’t know, though, because Mash is an invitation-only beta.

So I’m still here in my Blogger blog and on 360 for a while. I might join LiveJournal, but only because that seems to be where most of my friends have gone. LiveJournal is so yesterday, though, and the interface is kind of awkward to use.

*Sigh* So hard to figure this out.

One trans community? June 19, 2007

Posted by Tina Simmons in Uncategorized.
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When I first started to come out I was searching for ways to get in touch with other transgendered people – crossdressers, transsexuals, etc. I lived under the belief that despite their differences the “trans community” was united by some intangible I couldn’t identify. One thing that was amazing was how quickly trans people accepted me – it was shocking the day that I was first added to someone’s friends list.

As the days, weeks, and months wore on I started to get a sense of something not quite right with my community view. But I persisted with the notion anyway, and even was taking to the practice I saw of calling some of the trans-people I met sisters. I did this to a very select few. And that intangible was a little smaller in my eyes but still real.

Time marched on. I started to see more divisions – some by economic situation (people railing against rich transsexuals or those who had easy access to medical support), and also divisions between crossdressers and transsexuals, or some people defining transgendered as a person who “chooses” to change their sex whereas a transsexual was a person who had no choice – their physical sex didn’t match their bodies. But despite these issues I still stubbornly clung to the idea that we are a community. Hey, we all face discrimination! Any of us could be fired if a boss didn’t like the fact that we were transgendered. The non-trans people mostly don’t see differences between us.

Some days the voices of division were quite loud to me. I started to question my belief in this trans community. The intangible was so small I started to doubt it existed. But I could see places where there were transgendered people coming together! This didn’t make sense to me.

After more thinking I started to realize – yes, I saw a trangendered community. In fact, I belonged to several transgendered communities, some of whom shared members (like me). UR Not Alone, the My Husband Betty forums, Crossdressers.com, Tri-ess, Renaissance, etc. Overlapping communities of trans people. And sometimes these communities come together, and sometimes they don’t, and people join and leave them as they see fit. And there are transgendered people who don’t belong to any of these communities and are alone (often closeted and in hiding, but not always).

I no longer believe in the transgender community. It’s not important. But that intangible does exist – our right to be treated with the same respect and dignity as people who are not trans. We have a right to live and work as ourselves and not be punished because we don’t conform to someone else’s views. After all, to quote Shakespeare (from The Merchant of Venice):

If you prick us, do we not bleed?/ If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you/ poison us, do we not die?