Today I hit the first knot. The first snag. The first site I look at and think "I can't do this". The site in question is Linkedin and it's an online CV repository. Or Business Community, as it likes to style itself. The ads are for cars, the news is in American, and two (or possibly three) years ago it was being hailed as MySpace for grownups. It look like Friends Reunited and one glance at the sign-up has me starting to sing the "lie lie lie about my identity" song.
Sod this. I need something reassuring. Something cosy. Something fluffy. I hit the Wikipedia list of notable social networking websites in search of Web 2.0 Nirvana and find Dandelife.
After I've recovered from the shock of having my eyeballs massaged by dreamy green fields and nodding Dandelion clocks, and stopped boggling at how beautiful the web can look if you don't let people chose their own skins, I start poking around the rather bizarre set of functions, and rapidly discover the coolest thing ever. My personal timeline. Ah, sweet, sweet ego porn.
It has its own slang ("you have a new fan!"), a tidy feed aggregator, happy relationships with your twitters and flickrs, but none of this is as pretty or impressive as the timeline. That just rocks. And here! This is something the web can do for the world.
Think of a future with no bookshop units stuffed with thick shiny books covered with words like "uplifting" and "inspiring", jacketed with faces of ordinary people with awkward smiles whose stories you may wish to dip into, but don't want to buy and keep. Think of the trees. Think of the Oxfam Bookshop, bursting at the seams with unwanted publishers' makeweight.
And if you're thinking of writing the story of your life, do it somewhere searchable, rateable and easy on the eye. Don't do vanity press, do Dandelife.