July 17, 2009

This is my last post here - follow me to greener pastures

I just imported all of my posts here to my "other" blog, Intelligent Human Agent. I was feeling too fragmented having two blogs, and wasn't writing much in either of them. I want to change that, and focus my efforts on improving the Intelligent Human Agent blog. So, if you were one of twelve lovely people following me with Google Friend Connect, or if, for some strange reason, you had actually subscribed to my RSS feed, please come follow me ovah theah.

December 12, 2008

Spare Me the Gordian Knot - My Brain Hurts

Earlier this week Robert Scoble posted a tongue-in-cheek post, 10 Reasons Why Twitter is for You and Friendfeed is Not in which he suggested that Friendfeed required a bit more of its users because there are a variety of ways to use it, the character limit is much longer, and the search engine is more sophisticated, among other things.

In the comments on the blog post several people proclaimed that they preferred Twitter over Friendfeed because Friendfeed was "like trying to drink from a firehose," "distracting and crammed-packed," "too much info." Sorry, but all those things could be said about Twitter also. Plus, Twitter pretty much requires third party apps to make it more usable whereas Friendfeed has all the features built in to fine tune it to your needs.

The more thoughtful comments on Scoble's blog, and in a related thread on Friendfeed, argued that the two services meet different needs and shouldn't really be compared.

Twitter may be simpler to use as far as simply setting up an account and "tweeting" but it is quite counterintuitive to n00bs as far as participating in conversations. As Peter Elfland commented in the Friendfeed thread, "the tech aspect of Friendfeed might be more tricky, but I think the social aspect is easier to get for newbies" (by tech aspect I believe he means bringing in all your feeds from other services).

One thing that disturbs me, though, is that the option to send information two ways (from Twitter to Friendfeed and/or from Friendfeed to Twitter) makes the whole arena even more confusing for n00bs. Although I understand why Friendfeed felt the need to make this option available (more choice is better, and this would actually allow Friendfeed loyalists to use it as their main microblogging platform) it really does add to the chaos. The landscape could be much simpler if everyone would play nice and services would take a stand on their identity. Are they an aggregation service, a broadcasting/microblogging service, or a water cooler (place for conversation) service? Clearly Friendfeed has the aggregation and the conversation down, but adding broadcasting to the mix scares me. The widgets they offer are a cool way to push out the conversation - let's leave it at that. If social media services would stake their claim in one or two of the arenas (aggregation, microblogging, conversation) they would be able to hone the capacity of their features, fulfill a clear mission, and not tie their users' brains into Gordian knots.

December 6, 2008

Google Friend Connect Might Be Cooler Than I Thought

OK, at first this seemed pretty dumb. What does it mean, exactly, to "join" a blog? Isn't it more meaningful to show support by adding the feed to google reader, leaving a comment, or showing up as a visitor in the MyBlogLog (even though the latter is such a tongue twister it always makes me think of Bob Loblaw's Law Blog)?

But tonight I caught the first glimpse of some of the value. A Friendfeed post sent me over to Mashable to read an article called How To Get the Most Out of Friendfeed. While there I noticed a different post about Google Friend Connect and started reading it. In the comments someone noted they had gotten GFC running on their blog for tech volunteers, CodeKindness. This is definitely a topic that interests me so I "joined". Only two other people had joined. I decided to check them out. One had also "joined" Bwana's blog, and that reminded me that I wanted to do the same. How do I know Bwana? From Friendfeed, of course. Nothing earth shattering, but it was a nice little full circle of, well, connection and connecting. The bonus was that Bwana had a great article on Google Friend Connect himself. One that really delves into both the implementation and potential value for bloggers and communities.

December 4, 2008

Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too

Apparently I can't stop singing the praises of Friendfeed. The thing about it, and perhaps there are other lifestreaming / microblogging services with this same feature, but the beauty of it is that it combines synchronous and asynchronous modalities so seamlessly. Like a busy Craigslist forum, IRC, or live chat room, the conversation sometimes zips along at a furious pace in real time. But unlike CL, IRC or live chat, someone else can easily stumble upon that same conversation two hours later, or three days later, or four months later, and have something to add to it.

IRC and live chat rooms also sometimes move so fast that the conversation is fleeting and not captured for posterity (except by savvy users who may capture the stream for various reasons of their own, but rarely share it). Friendfeed, on the other hand, is creating an archive that lasts. You can have your asynchronous cake stashed away and eat your synchronous cake too.

Friendfeed is my new Orkut

I think I just figured out why Friendfeed is my new Orkut. It’s young, it’s new, and it’s richly populated with early adopters. I’ll just come right out and be a snob and say, most Silicon Valley types and early adopters are pretty smart. A large percentage of them are also witty, or funny, or nice, or all of those things. They enjoy socializing online. In the beginning, when Orkut was invite only, it was just such a precious jewel. The places I hung out there were not techie, but they were fun, funny, and sometimes the conversations took philosophical turns, or explored deeper issues. For a short period of time in 2004, I became addicted. Very addicted.

It also occurred to me, as I was trying to turn a thought into a 140 character tweet, but gave up and posted to Friendfeed instead, that we are an articulate bunch (both the original Orkuteers and the Friendfeed crew) and, although tweeting may have a Haiku-like place in this universe, we prefer a form of expression with less limitation.

Another thing I like about Friendfeed is that the design, in its spareness, celebrates the written word. Yup, Friendfeed is my new Orkut, but it’s so much more. It supports that perfect blend of professional and personal information discovery in a way that works for me. And it loads on my hopelessly ancient computer at home.

December 3, 2008

When Louis Gray Talks ...

Mike Fruchter did a guest post on Louis Gray's blog that mentioned me. It was the fourth in his series of "10 People to Follow on Friendfeed". The previous three were on his own blog - this one just happened to be the one that was hosted on Louis' blog. Consequently, in the last two days I got 51 new subscribers. Prior to that my rate averaged a little less than one per day.

To all my new subscribers, welcome. I'll try to keep the information flowing - check my "Likes" if you want to get a good sense of what interests and delights me. And please don't be offended if I don't follow you back right away. I look at people's feeds before I subscribe to them to see if our interests align. Right now I am subscribed to 158 people - an eclectic mix of librarians, nonprofit professionals, social media folks, and techies. Check them out - maybe you'll find someone fun to follow. Enjoy Friendfeed - for me it's the perfect window into the social web.

November 13, 2008

Nothing Was Deleted

This thread on friendfeed is hilarious. At first I was reading through it and thought I must be missing some private joke. Further down, Lindsey supplied the quote from two comments that had been deleted, and it all came together.

The delete function is supposed to provide some measure of protection. Did you suddenly realize that your clever retort is not so clever? Did you make a comment and then notice that someone already said the exact same thing? Feel silly, all of a sudden, saying "me too"? Delete is there to rescue you. Or maybe not.

Someone, somewhere has seen your comment. Or, if it's one of Lindsey's threads, perhaps hundreds of people have seen the comment.

Note to self: Do not rely on delete anymore.