Web 2.0 and Lifestyle 2.0 in NYC

ML Jan 26, 2006

I’ve lived in NYC for over a year now in this new job at the pr firm, Connors Communications, but I have hardly gotten out to see the city. It’s my own fault, but now that this MyLongTail project is becoming center stage, it threatens to swallow me up, and yet I want to get out and become a real New Yorker more than ever. So, I decided on a creative solution.

I’m not much for the bar and nightlife scene, but I am a fiendish coffee drinker. And this topic for a blog post is just a silly tangent, but I want to create the blog post to add some color and commit myself to this project. I have a plan. It addresses getting rid of distractions that threaten the MyLongTail project, forcing myself to get out and see NYC a little more. I’m one of the schmoes paying over $200/mo. for cable TV, plus premium channel, plus high-speed Internet, plus PVR. I have a laptop, but can’t reliably get onto the Internet when I’m walking around, because so many of the strong WiFi hubs are pay services. And I live on West 16th Street, not far from Avenue of the Americas, so I’m probably pretty close to a pay-service hotspot. I don’t really watch that much TV, and prefer buying the DVDs anyway, or using BitTorrent to pull down the latest recordings, which I only need the high-speed Internet connection to do.

My first inclination was to replace the $200/mo. charge with $15/mo. Verizon DSL, which seems to be the big deal right now. This would be contingent on being able to get Internet DSL without phone-service. From my Googling, it appears Verizon is being forced to offer that. I’ve gone wireless with phone using T-Mobile, because it gets me a decent voice plan and unlimited downloads for $60/mo. So, I’m already paying a pretty penny for phone and data. I see no reason to pay an additional $200/mo. for Internet. While the Verizon choice would  be economical, it wouldn’t turn me into that wireless warrior that I want to be, so I can roam from Starbucks to Starbucks during the course of the day, taking in NYC.

A little background on why that’s important. After over a year of a truly integrated lifestyle, living 6 blocks from work in the Chelsea section of NYC, I gained back almost 2 hours per day by getting rid of the commute, I find that I lost something of an inspired edge that I used to have. I isolated it down to the nearly hour-long car drive commute, where ideas were flying around in my head, processing at what must have been a subconscious level. When I sat down to do a project, it was almost like I had already discussed it in-depth (similar to this blogging). This applied to when I got to work, and when I got home at the end of the day (yes, I am a workaholic). But now, with my new integrated lifestyle, by going directly to the office environment with the distractions of the daily grind, home to the distractions of TV and cats, I lost that edge. I need to get back that edge pronto. And I might as well start taking in a little more of NYC in the process. We’re in the middle of winter right now, but it’s been unseasonably mild. Such walks will be invigorating, healthy, and provide good stopping points in which I can subconsciously process ideas, while motivated to my goal of feeding my caffeine addiction, which I will be better able to afford (even at Starbucks), having given up $200/mo. TV.

Unlimited national T-Mobile hotspot service with a 12-month commitment is about $30/mo. That’s way better than $200/mo. Time/Warner cable plus RoadRunner, but its contingent on me being able to pull in that signal from home. I may even take it on blind faith that I will be able to, and will either buy a fancy WiFi antenna, or follow one of the many instructions on how to build one from chunky soup cans or Big Boy tennis ball cans. Hey, I’m in Manhattan, and if you can pull in a T-Mobile hotspot from home, then you can do it here.

This blog post should also point out some points about corporate blogging strategies and SEO. Both quantity and quality of posts counts when it comes to SEO. Typically, you want to keep your posts on-topic to your site. But the occasional divergence, including humanizing the blog, spices up the average distribution of keywords that your site is targeting. While I’m not trying to attract hits of people looking for T-Mobile or Starbucks, these are both popular mainstream topics, which when mixed with all the other words mentioned on this page, helps to kick start the MyLongTail formula, which you will be learning much about in short order.

This post is also a good example of Web 2.0 thinking, how services can be mixed and matched to suit your customized need (be them XML Web services, or phone or Internet service). It has little to do with the service provider’s intended need. We’re free to mash it up as we like in order to pursue increasingly individualized lifestyle choices or program applications. Yes, as Paul Graham points out, Web 2.0 is a contrived buzzword to justify a new conference. But it wouldn’t have become so broadly adopted if it didn’t strike a fundamental chord. Like Reagan telling Gorbachev to tear down this wall, O’Reilly and Battelle are telling developers to tear down the walls around walled gardens of service.

I actually went ahead and posted that idea for a theme on John Battelle’s search blog, but I didn’t link it back to this post, because I’m not quite ready to be found by the spiders yet. Though, even providing this link out could start the process, because John might be running the Google Toolbar with privacy turned off, and look at his referrers. He also might have his log files or analytics reports findable by Google, leading a path here. Anyway, that just pushes me on with all the more urgency to my projects.

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