Share your dreams


Ever found that you're constantly writing lists of things to do, but never actually completing them? Not little things like doing some washing before you run out of clean clothes or taking out the rubbish before the bin really starts to smell, but big things in life such as learning a foreign language or seeing the world before it's too late. Perhaps you need the assistance of anonymous strangers to help spur you on, which is where social to-do list 43 Things comes in.

Pop to, have a browse through other people's personal aims, sign up for an account and get working on some goals. The idea of the site is to put you in touch with other people doing similar things, or those that have done the things you want to do, to provide advice and encouragement. It's like a carey-sharey support group, except without the hard plastic community centre chairs and awkward face-to-face emotional contact.

On the main page, you'll find a list of the most popular things people want to do at the moment. The bigger the font, the more people that want to do it. Currently "Travel the World" is just edging out "Wake up when my alarm clock goes off" (see FIGURE 1); hopefully that doesn't mean there are thousands of people snoozing in hotel rooms across the globe because they overslept on a round the world trip.

If you see something that piques your interest, then click on it to find out more. Last time I looked, a total of 943 people wanted to wake up when their alarm goes off - FIGURE 2. The page also revealed that 119 out of 152 people (78 per cent) think this is something worth doing and that people that want to wake up when their alarm clock goes off also want to "Stop procrastinating", "Spend less time fooling around on the Net and more time actually working" and, somewhat bizarrely, "Get a Gmail account".

So, presumably, if you already have a Gmail account, you're not an oversleeping, work-shy timewaster who puts everything off until tomorrow. Phew.

Scroll down and you'll find comments from other people trying to achieve the same goal, which may be useful or not. One user suggests that the secret to getting up in the morning is going to bed earlier (FIGURE 3). Thanks for that.

To help you along the way to achieving your goals, users are allocated a set number of cheers per day. See a task you consider worthy, you can spur that person on by cheering their goal. It may not sound like much, but strangely it works and lets you know that someone else, no matter how random, thinks that what you want to do is worthwhile.

As an example of the new breed of social sites, 43 Things can be both fascinating and mundane. It's interesting for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, if you just want to be nosey you can browse through and take a peek at others' hopes and dreams to satisfy your own curiosity. It also puts you in touch with like-minded people, who can offer help and advice in achieving similar goals.

Alternatively, if you just want cheering up, you can have a laugh at how seriously Americans take life sometimes.

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Will Head

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