My Digital Life
Where and how I spend my time online
My most-used sites:
- www.facebook.com - Keeping up socially.
- www.wikipedia.com - Satisfying my search for information.
- www.discogs.com - Keeping track of my music collection and buying albums.
- www.yahoo.com - E-mail.
- www.amazon.com - My first choice for online shopping.
- www.eBay.com - My second choice for online shopping.
- www.allmusic.com - Where I read critical reviews of music.
- www.avon-schools.org - Assignments and grades.
- www.rottentomatoes.com - Where I read critical reviews of movies.
- www.youtube.com - An endless sea of music and more.
More than any other website, I spend a great deal of time on Facebook. Typically, I'm chatting with a friend or two using the IM function. Thanks to Facebook, I keep in contact with people who I don't see very often, like my cousin Michael, who lives in Michigan, my friend Seth, who lives in West Lafayette, where I moved from years ago, and my friend Giulliano from Florida. I even have some friends that I met through Facebook due to similar interests, such as Giulianno. In addition to keeping in touch, I post much of my daily activities on Facebook, mostly related to my exploits in music; I often post the songs that I listen to throughout the day as well as bands and acts that I discover. I get on and use Facebook everyday. Without Facebook, I'd feel pretty lonely.
My biggest hobby of all is listening to music. This means that to organize my music, I must obtain a massive amount of information, and most of that information I obtain from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is, in reality, a more reliable site than it is given credit for. Sure, anyone can edit it, but incorrect and dubious information is removed constantly to keep pages credible. Beyond simply finding information, I also spend a good deal of time editing Wikipedia, typically in the music department, since there are many topics that either do not have pages or are missing details. So, I obtain information on a topic, then either create the page or add the information to the page, sourcing it, of course.
Where Wikipedia may have holes in the music department, Discogs almost always does not. This website contains an immense library of music information in every genre. When I don't find an album or a band on Wikipedia, I find it on Discogs. Like Wikipedia, anyone can edit Discogs (once they have set up a free account), and all editing is subject to citation. Also, users on Discogs can "add" albums to their "Collection" that they have in real life, right down the the specific pressing. There is also a "Wantlist" to keep track of albums that a user wants. Messages are then sent regularly to the user of albums that have been put up for sale that are in the user's "Wantlist", as is also and online store for albums and such. In my experience, there are typically more items for sale and better deals on the hard-to-find items on Discogs than on eBay or Amazon. There is also purchase history for each album, showing how much it has sold for before. This gives a user a good estimate on how much an album is worth, should they want to sell or buy. I find myself spending a lot of time on Discogs; I've even found a few great deals!
In today's world, it is essential to have an email. It's needed to set up an account on almost every website, and while it's not used to get in contact informally as much as texting and social media, it is the preferred medium in the business world. I have my email on Yahoo! Actually, I have two email addresses: one for my personal use, and one for more formal use. I use and check the former nearly every day, but I somewhat neglect the latter. In addition to using the email, I like to check the daily stories and articles on Yahoo! They're sometimes poorly written (it seems any biased person with substandard grammar can get a job there), but often interesting nonetheless.
As a music enthusiast, I have thousands of songs in my music library on my computer, but I also like to have physical copies of my music, too. When I look for the best deal on a CD, the first place that I go is Amazon.com. My main reason for this is money; all CDs sold on Amazon, no matter who's selling them, have the same lowest shipping price: $4 (though it used to be $3 before the USPS raised shipping prices over the summer). This applies even to items being shipped from overseas, as items coming from overseas are often shipped with other Amazon items that are en-route to either a customer or a warehouse. This is not the case on Discogs and eBay, where a CD shipping from overseas often has a price above $10 and records $18! Not just anyone can sell on Amazon, either; you must pay to become a selling member, which means that most items being sold are being sold by businesses, not individuals. This makes me more secure when making a purchase, and is a main reason why Amazon is my first resort to online shopping.
One of the most notable websites in the realm of online shopping (and innovators in the "bidding" mechanism), eBay is my second option when making a purchase (typically for music) online. However, one thing that sets it apart is that there are many more unique items on eBay than Amazon, specifically, music memorabilia. Posters, shirts, and other things of that nature that a someone only has one of is much more likely to end up on eBay than Amazon, but bidding can drive up prices if multiple people really want something. I've tried to sell on eBay before, but I had no takers. Maybe someday I'll cash in, but for now, I use it to keep an eye out for unique items.
With a vast amount of music but limited time, money, and storage, I can only own so many albums and listen to so much music; it must be good, at least. What Allmusic.com does is review music and give a star rating out of five, and I've found it to be the most accurate to my own opinions over the years. This is because there is not just one person writing reviews from an objective standpoint, but a large team of writers giving critiques. For example, the person who reviews a heavy metal album will not be the same person reviewing dance music. Since I like both of these genres and countless more, it's quite useful. There's also an average of user reviews by those who (like myself) have an account on the site. When I buy an album, I really like to hear it in its entirety the first time I listen to it. So, it the Allmusic rating and user rating is high, I can trust that my purchase doesn't go to waste and I can listen to it in it's entirety without making sure it's good enough to buy first, making it a very handy tool.
While music may be a huge part of my life and time spent, school and grades are also pretty high on the list, so I find myself on the high school's website pretty often. I really like the Powerparent tool; sometimes I end up checking my grades multiple times a day. This is a bit excessive, of course, but I'm always on top of my grades this way. Additionally, the assignment guides each teacher has is quite convenient as well, especially for a forgetful (and at times, neglectful) person such as myself. In fact, I've been much better at doing my homework since I've used the school's website more.
While not as much as I enjoy music, I enjoy a good movie from time to time, and just like with music, I'm determined to steer clear of poor quality material. In contrast to Allmusic, Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus as their main "score"; reviews compiled on the cite are deemed either "fresh" or "rotten", resulting in a percentage. A percentage above 60 is considered "fresh", and bellow 60, "rotten"; the more reviews a movie has, the more accurate the score. For example, if a movie gets six good reviews and seven negative, the movies percentage is 46%, and therefor "rotten", but that's not many reviews, so it's not necessarily a bad movie. The name that the site gives this tool is "The Tomatometer". Not all movies bellow 60% on the tomato meter are bad, but they generally are worse than those above it. After I see a preview for a movie, I'll keep tabs on it's score and see if the opinion I forged from the preview was just, or if I should give it a second opinion. Of course, my predictions that the next action-packed brainless shoot-em-up movie won't score highly is normally correct.
While many people enjoy watching 30 second cat videos on Youtube for hours on end, I find this aspect of Youtube meaningless and annoying. However, it's a great tool for listening to music that I don't have in my digital library. When I hear about a band or DJ or artist, I go to youtube and see what their biggest hit is. With a little exploring, I can see if I want to look deeper into their discography, or write them off as not for me. I have a Youtube account, but I don't upload much; I view, rather, listen.