Julie D. Andrews
5 New Ways to Feed Your Online Addiction
There's plenty of things I can live without, and the Internet isn't one of them. That's thanks to these five things, which keep me coming back for more and more and more …
1. Twitter Perfect for: News junkies
Perfect for: News junkies
I never fully caught the Facebook bug, but man, did I ever get struck with Twitter fever. Being able to promote myself or my projects isn't the only reason why I love it so much. Rather, it's a place for me to stay updated with the most important news. Try it: Just find your favorite sources and follow them. Their tweets will appear on your Twitter feed, and never again will you have to check individual sites to get your favorite updates. It's heaven for news junkies.
2. Google Images Perfect for: The curious-minded
Perfect for: The curious-minded
Google Images is Google's lesser-known (but prettier) cousin. If the number of random words I ever type into Google Images could somehow be tracked, surely I'd blush at the sheer volume. I'm an extremely visual person; if my fingers are near a keyboard, and there's a word or person or place I don't know, GI is my go-to source. Whoever said answers have to be limited to words?
3. Apps and games
Perfect for: Those who love efficiency
Where there's an app, there's an easier way. Anyone with a smartphone, I'm sure, understands. Instant maps, run-tracking (iMapMyRun), calendar-mastering, barcode-scanning, Twitter, Text-to-Speech, Pandora, The Weather Channel … Angry Birds! And finally, my all-time favorite: Words With Friends, a digital version of Scrabble (the word-lover's obsession) that you can play wherever by connecting with friends from your social network (e.g., Facebook). Good luck!
4. Google Correlate Perfect for: Data-mapping nerds
Perfect for: Data-mapping nerds
It's a research nerd's dream. With Google Correlate, released from Google Labs in May 2011, you can find search patterns that correspond with real-world trends. The gist is this: You upload data that's charted over a certain period of time, and Google finds you matching patterns in search volumes. Of course, if you don't have data of your own to upload, you simply specify search terms, and Correlate calculates the trending pattern and shows you matching patterns. You can also compare search activity nationwide to that of a specific state.
This is what Google Flu Trends was built on -- the search terms correlated with CDC flu activity data were input into the tool, and it turns out the use of the search words "cold" and "flu" fluctuated in accordance with actual flu rates.
5. SoundCloud Perfect for: Pandora and MySpace lovers
Perfect for: Pandora and MySpace lovers
Nothing feeds a creative hunger for inspiration like a constant stream of yet-undiscovered, on-the-cusp music. That's what SoundCloud is. Founded in Berlin by sound designer Alex Ljung and artist Eric Wahlforss, this international space -- largely inhabited by electronic music producers and edgy DJs -- introduces new tracks and lets you share them.
It's slickly designed for easy navigation and experimentation, and it has an easy system (similar to Twitter) for following the musicians you adore. New genres constantly emerge and collide on this online audio distribution platform, where collaboration and distribution of audio recordings are key. It's creative. It's social. It's constant and, hence, wildly addictive.
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