Does Britney really want to get social?

There was quite the hullabaloo in the blogosphere and Twitter-verse over the weekend about pop princess Britney Spears launching a new blog-style website and setting up a Twitter account. Will Brit actually be posting messages to fans on Twitter? Unlikely, I would think — although not impossible, I suppose. Dave Matthews does it (at least from what I can tell this is the real Dave), and even shares his thoughts about personal matters such as… well, go read it for yourself. Other artists do it too, including Ben Kweller and David Usher (who has adopted social media with a real passion, and was our guest on a panel at mesh 2008 in May). And others too.

That said, however — and no offence intended to Dave or David or Ben — there are few stars of Britney’s caliber out there blogging and Twittering. And no, I don’t think Courtney Love counts, although some of her MySpace posts are a lot of fun, if a rambling stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness) is what you’re after. Among other things, it’s fascinating that Britney’s Twitter handle is @therealbritney, something I suppose is inevitable in a world of Fake Steve Jobs and characters from TV shows like Mad Men setting up Twitter accounts. Do people care whether it’s the real Britney? And how would they know, assuming they care?

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A look at Sharpcast’s photo software

Note: I’ve started doing weekly reviews of Web 2.0 tools and services for — last week I wrote about Writely — and this week I wrote about Sharpcast, an online photo-sharing service that offers automatic synchronization with your home PC.

If there’s one thing the Web has plenty of, it’s photo-sharing sites. There’s, of course, which was started by a couple of Canadians and then eventually bought by Yahoo, but also,,, and many others (interestingly enough, although Flickr gets most of the publicity, Photobucket is actually number one in terms of images and users, thanks in large part to the fact that millions of users of rely on Photobucket to host the images for their blogs).

So why would anyone want to hear about another photo-sharing site? Because a service called offers something a little different from the others, and that is automatic image synchronization between your computer and Sharpcast’s servers. In other words, it backs up whatever images you choose, and keeps the photos constantly backed up whenever something changes. You can also use the service as a standard image-sharing site for family and friends, but the synchronization part is the big differentiator between Sharpcast and your average run-of-the-mill photo site.

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