social networking

On journalists' & pundits' attitudes about new media: It's the privilege, stupid!

Plaque for Common Sense

For years now we've seen people entrenched in, married to, paid by or validated by old media attack new media, "those bloggers," Twitter, Facebook … the Internet in general. It's been fading lately as publishers especially have started to embrace and integrate new media into their publishing strategies. But there are still holdouts, many of whom seem not just ignorant but willfully ignorant.

Malcolm Gladwell's weak dismissal of "weak ties"

Gladwell's New Yorker article was the buzz on Twitter. One excerpt:

The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.

…proving that old media journalists are as adept as anyone in the straw-man rhetorical technique.

Syncing into oblivion

There were hoods over the parking meters. All parking near the building was reserved for special permit holders. My meeting was in two minutes and suddenly I was having to go hunting for parking in downtown Boulder for a meeting on the University of Colorado campus. This could take a while.

So naturally I wanted to call to say I would be a few minutes late. I pulled over and dug out my Droid. But when I opened up my contacts, I realized I had a problem.

Android 2.2, or the Twitter app I had installed, had synchronized all my Twitter contacts into my Contacts directory. That is thousands of people. And of course I don't know most of them personally, so all these entries had were avatars. What's more, when I found the contact I was looking for, the useful information — phone numbers, email addresses — was missing. Here I was pulled over, barely out of traffic, looking for a phone number and my "helpful" device had synchronized me into oblivion.

Thankfully the email app remembered his email address, so I dashed off a quick note that I would be late, and drove off to park.

Google Buzz and contacts silos (and privacy and spam)

Updated below.

So today's buzz is about Buzz, Google's new Friendfeed-kind of thing announced just an hour or so ago. Jeremiah Owyang blogged some quick thoughts, including this:

For consumers, the risk of privacy will continue to be at top of mind. Although the features allow for sharing only with friends or in public. expect more consumer groups to express concern. Overtime, this will become moot as the next generation of consumers continues to share in public.

Setting aside his prediction that privacy will become "moot" — which I don't believe is necessarily true, given that we're still in the bedazzled phase of experiencing social media's integration with our daily lives — as I look at my own use of Google, Twitter, etc., Buzz could turn out to be the means towards breaking down my contacts silos.

Previewing Google Wave and Twitter Lists

One of the wisdoms in web application development is "Release early and often."

Google and Twitter have both released software "tests" to select hundreds of thousands of users, both with the idea that there will be problems, but let people try them out, and then improve the software iteratively, based upon real-life user experience.

This is my first blush impression of these previews I've been privileged to explore this week.

Get on my Wave!

I've been trying Google Wave for this past week now. It's been a bit hard, since hardly anybody I know is on Google Wave, and of all the people I invited, only two have received invites so far. (I got 8 "invitations" that turned out actually to be "nominations" once sent. Sorry, Google, but invitations and nominations are different things.) So I've had only limited exposure to what Wave might offer. One on one, it's pretty much a glorified instant messenger.

Could I have my stuff back, please?

In the beginning, the world was offline. The past was just what we could remember. Conversations faded. Introductions to others slipped into the realm of unnamed faces and disconnected anecdotes. Jokes were heard and forgotten. Photos bleached out and negative film turned to dust. News clippings crumbled. Documents misplaced were unfindable. Address books lost were irreplaceable. What happened in Las Vegas really did stay in Las Vegas.

Then there was the Internet and all that began to change. The World-Wide Web came to be, and we all became potential publishers. With few exceptions in the larger-business realm, the first websites were no more than billboards. Then they were brochures. Then in the late '90s blogging began. In the '00s, walled-off chatrooms siloed off within services like AOL and Compuserve were replaced by more open communities ... and then social networks. (Walled-off social networks like Facebook opened up into full-blown social networks.) Before we knew it, we were emailing, chatting, shopping, researching, bookmarking, socializing, podcasting, showing videos, sharing, advising, asking, boasting, laughing, crying, raging, raving online.

Brave new world? The creepy "clowd" and the loss of privacy

I got a chill reading this post from Seth Godin:

So, very soon, you will own a cell phone that has a very good camera and knows where you are within ten or fifteen feet. And the web will know who you are and who your friends are.

What happens?

What happens is that you have no privacy. Seth sees a big upside.

See a dangerous driver? Send a video snippet to the clowd. The clowd collates that with a bunch of other shots of the same driver... busted.

Plurk, and the value of a website without much webapp support (or people)

I confess: I like Plurk. I like the timeline. I like the serenity of the GUI. I'm not sure how it would work with a lot of messages, but let's face it, Twitter's river of tweets can seem like a laundry list of random thoughts.

But there are two things that make Twitter better, despite its persistent performance problems and downtimes:

1 - Twitter has apps. I joined Twitter early last year, but I don't think I would be Twittering at all anymore if I didn't have Twitterific or something similar. I don't like to have to live on a website for high-traffic content. Now if Plurk had a nice desktop app -- preferably not requiring the clunky Adobe Air....

2 - Twitter is where the people are. Plurk has a nice GUI, but will people come? I've discovered some new people, but I don't know many people on Plurk. Cool GUIs don't quite make up for the lack of "social" in a social network app.

How free is "free"?

Is the future really free?

It seems we've entered an age where there's a land-grab happening for personal data and attention time. Look at all the web start-ups backed by venture capital. They aren't investing out of philanthropy. There's value there. YouTube is "free" but Google paid over a billion dollars for it. Why?

Here's a hint: It's not about the Tube.

Chris Anderson's Wired article was quite bold in its proclamations:

What's that nesting on your desktop?

Shelley Powers on discovering that Google Desktop has managed to install itself on her computer "like a benevolent computer virus":

Ew! Ew! Get it off me! Get if OFF me!

ROTFLMAO!!

Cyberbullies and Community Standards

It has taken me a few days to recover from the intense energy and excitement of attending, participating in and speaking at the OSCMS 2007 (and sundry adjunct events of equal intensity and delight), and so I've been publicly quiet so far about the obscene and possibly illegal cyberbullying that has happened in the past several days regarding one of my favorite bloggers, Kathy Sierra.

If you've somehow had your feedreader in the sand this past week, here's a brief snippet of what Kathy wrote about it on Monday:

We all have trolls--but until four weeks ago, none of mine had threatened death. (The law is clear--to encourage or suggest someone's death is just as illegal as claiming you intend to do it yourself).

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