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Phone Cameras + Social Are Expanding the Historical Record

"There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy."

In a critique of the rise of Instagram (current photo sharing app du jour), Laurie Voss argues that the rise of cheap, low fidelity cameras on phones is undermining the data contained in them. And it’s not just that these pictures are lower quality now, it’s affecting their value for future generations:

With these rubbish phone cameras we take terrible photos of some of our most important moments and cherished memories. I am not complaining about composition and lighting here; I’m not a photographer. I am talking about the quantity of meaningful visual data contained in these files. Future historians will decry forever the appalling lack of visual fidelity in the historical record of the last decade.

I read that, and at first though, “Yeah, that could be an issue.” But then I realized that, well no, it’s actually the opposite. The rise of cheap phone cameras is actually increasing the historical record. This even has disruptive innovation undertones to it.

Why?

Picture = Moment + Equipment

When thinking about recording data for history pictorially, I consider two elements:

  • Moment
  • Equipment

"The line at 9 am at the Pleasanton @sfbart stretches for blocks. Huge crowd downtown today for #sfgiants parade."

Now moments are always going to arise. They may be significant moments, such as Janis Krums’ iconic picture above after a US Airways plan crash landed on the Hudson. Recently, the San Francisco Giants were celebrated for their 2010 World Series title with a ticker tape parade in downtown San Francisco. When I arrived at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART the morning of the victory parade, I was shocked by the number of people waiting in line for get to SF.

Just as important as the moment is the equipment. I’m not talking about the quality of the photographic equipment. I’m saying, “do you have something to take the picture?”

Before I got a phone with a camera on it, I had no way of photographing any moments. I could tweet about them, email a description of them and tell people about them. But there was no visual record at all.

I wasn’t carrying a camera around with me. Just not something I wanted to deal with as I also carried my ‘dumb’ phone.  And wallet. And keys. Just too much to deal with.

But a camera included with my mobile phone? Oh yeah, that works. I’ll have that with me at all times.

Which is a much better fit with the notion of capturing moments. They are unpredictable, and do not schedule themselves to when you’re carrying a separate camera.

As for the “quantity of meaningful visual data” being reduced, I think of it mathematically:

The X/Y variable represents the decrease in data per picture. If Y is the “full” data from a high resolution photo, then X is the reduced data set. The loss of scene details, the inability to discern people’s expressions, etc. Yeah, that is a loss due to low quality cameras.

The B/A variable represents the increased number of pictures enabled by the proliferation of convenient low quality cameras. If A is the quantity of photos with high resolution cameras, B is the overall number of photos inclusive of the low quality cameras.

Multiply the ratios, and I believe the overall historical record has been improved by the advent of phone cameras. In other words, “> 1″.

Sharing Is Caring

Something the higher quality, standalone cameras have lacked is connectivity. They miss that aspect we have to share something in the moment. The fact that I can share a picture just as soon as a I take it is extra incentive to take the picture in the first place.

I share my kids’ pics with family via email, and other pics end up in my Twitter and Facebook streams. You know how painful it is to upload photos from the camera and share them? Very.

Standalone cameras are like computer hard drives, locking data off in some siloed storage device somewhere. Good luck to historians in extracting that photographic data.

Convenience Wins Out

This is the disruptive innovation of convenience. People are swapping the separate cameras for the all-in-one mobile devices. And like any good low-end innovation, the quality will increase. Meaning more pictures with better detail and fidelity.

I mean, imagine if there were a bunch of phone cameras at Gettysburg?

Only known photo of Abraham Lincoln (center, without hat) at Gettysburg

We’d have thousands of pics, and it’d be a Twitter Trending Topic. As for the lower data per picture, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead. Phone cameras will enrich the historical record for future generations.

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Apple iPad and the Radical Innovation of Meaning

Ultimately, the iPad is a large iPod touch: a great device to draw your inspiration from, but perhaps not the seismic shift in technology that we were expecting.

Claudine Beaumont, Apple iPad review, The Telegraph

The much anticipated announcement of Apple’s iPad tablet was met with a resounding…”ho hum” or worse from much of the technology crowd. The biggest criticisms were its lack of key features (no Adobe Flash, lack of USB ports, where’s the camera?, etc.). Apple iPad as a technology innovation disappointment.

But with Apple, and Steve Jobs, that’s not really the point now, is it?

Sure, Apple has had plenty of technological innovations along the way. But then, so has its competitors. Yes, Steve Jobs is a showman, but that effect only lasts for MacWorld presentations.

No, what Apple does well is put forth “radical innovations of meaning”. That term is from Roberto Verganti, who wrote about the concept in his excellent book Design-Driven Innovation.

Apple’s skills with design-driven innovation are what will make the iPad a success.

Design-Driven Innovation: Innovation of Meaning

“Market? What market! We do not look at market needs. We make proposals to people.”

Ernesto Gismondi, Chairman, Artemide, Design-Driven Innovation

Verganti’s books builds the case for a different form of innovation. One in which companies tap the undercurrents of societal changes early, and create products addressing them. As Artemide chairman Gismondi puts it, these products are so different, they are akin to “making a proposal” to a market. They are not linear updates to existing products.

As Julian Bleeker notes in his review of the book, design-driven innovation is not a “follow the trends” approach. “Trends” are what any company can do. Rather, it’s deciding that conditions are right to introduce a product that plumbs changes previously unexplored in your industry.

Verganti describes this work as the radical innovation of meaning. Many purchases are based as much on meaning as they are on features. Innovation of features is an ongoing process for companies. But innovation of meaning is a stunted process for many firms.

Take a product that has an accepted use, a common set of features, and provide something new that turns the traditional meaning of the product on its head. In the book, he describes multiple examples of this, drawn mostly from Italy, his home country. For example, Alessi, a manufacturer of household items, successfully innovated the meaning of many common items. It introduced a series of playful characters that represented everyday kitchen items:

While it may sound trivial as you read this, this product line was an absolute gangbuster in sales. Alessi figured out that people still enjoyed playful experiences, even as adults. No one else was thinking this way in the industry at the time. But now the kitchenware actively pursues emotional design. It was no accident either. Alessi spent time researching changes in societal norms. That we still like to be kids was a change they saw (and one that many of us today take for granted).

Companies that do this well are both influencers and participants in what Verganti describes as the “design discourse”. This is an ongoing conversation with thinkers, tinkerers, researchers and companies who target the same evolving changes in societal context. Often, these are people outside your industry who are studying the same changes you are interested in.

It is by accessing these networks where companies can “see” evolutions of societal norms that offer opportunity. These are opportunities not driven by expressed consumer desires, but by shifts in cultural norms. Done well, companies that successfully innovate the meaning of products enjoy significant growth and profits.

Oh, and early on, these innovations of meaning can be slow to gain acceptance by the market. Explains the early iPod and Nintendo Wii reactions.

Apple iPad: What Is Its Radical Innovation of Meaning?

OK, if iPad is innovating meaning even more than it is technology, what meaning might that be? Here’s my best guess:

iPad is tapping into an emerging dynamic of a more interactive, tactile experience with digital technology and information. These interactions make technology less of an interface, and more of an extension of ourselves and our environment.

The tweets above are a couple that show the natural way children engage with technology. Given the iPhone experience, they turn around and want to apply it to other devices. Buttons on devices, our traditional form of interaction, are divorced from the screen. They provide a measure of distance from the digital experience.

Touch, however, represents a new level of intimacy in the digital experience. In technology terms, it’s just an alternative form of interface. Touch, mouse, tab, whatever. But touch is a vital human sense, and a core part of experience. It’s how we interact with others, how we shop, experience textures and so much more.

In terms of the “design discourse”, there are pointers of changes ahead in terms of integrating touch more deeply into our digital engagement.

Digital Wellbeing Labs: Responsive Feedback Behaviors

Designer Alexander Grünsteidl noted the impact of both the iPod and the Wii on our perception of how to interact with technology:

The Wii and iPhone, and before the iPod click wheel, have created a popular introduction to gesture based interfaces, demonstrating responsive feedback behaviours, applying “natural” physical effects like flipping and inertia, similar to the ones we are accustomed to in the real world, to improve usability expectations of an interface.

As new “cultures of use” emerge we are creating opportunities to form a language of gestures, similar to the conventions of “right-clicking” and standardised keyboard shortcuts.

Note the term “culture of use”. Not industry trends. Because the dominant form of interaction for computers and video games is still mouse and buttons. And consumers aren’t asking for touch.

But there is an underlying change in thinking about how people interact with technology and information.

Architectural Design: Digital Intimacy

University of Nottingham Nottingham UK student Stephen Townsend received a commendation in the recent President’s Medal competition in the U.K. His entry, Digital Intimacy, depicts a concept where interaction is built into the architecture.

If you notice the graphic to the right, you will see people reaching out their hands and interacting through touch. Townsend calls it the “kinesthetic interaction space”. Kinesthetic refers to a style of learning based on physical activities.

He designed this kinesthetic interaction space as a therapeutic solution for children with special needs. Here’s how he describes it:

The ‘Kinesthetic Interaction Space’ is conceived as an interactive architectonic intervention aimed at children with autism, providing sensory stimulation to assist with intervention methods and aid interaction with other children through shared kinesthetic experience. The focus of the thesis is on the development of dynamic material systems that could enable new forms of interactive environment. Architecture is conceptualised as an embodied interface and physical space has been fused with digital media in order to stimulate the imagination of inhabitants. K.I.S. is intended to facilitate playful explorations and fluid dialogues between people. The user learns to interact with their environment through an intuitive process, engaging the physical presence of inhabitants and forming spatial narratives.

While Townsend’s concept addresses children with autism, the underlying design is consistent with greater digital intimacy overall.

TEDEx Talk: Phones That Touch Us

PhD student Fabian Hemmert presented at a recent TEDx talk. He is working on a concept where phones include physical movements that better connote actions to people using them. In the video below, you’ll see him describe how the phone would shift weight in relation to changes in movement on a map.

As Hemmert notes, humans live in a physical world, one “which tastes good, feels good smells good”. He wants to design products that better integrate that experience.

iPad: The Future of Computing

Those three examples I just gave are part of a larger design discourse about the nature of digital engagement in our future. Are we “locked in” to the mouse and keyboard? Or will we continue to evolve the interaction experience?

In Wired, Brian X. Chen sees things similarly:

If you think about how a computer like this will impact people sociologically, suddenly the iPad is far more than a larger iPod Touch, as many have described it. It’s the computer for everyone: an idea Apple has been working toward for years.

That doesn’t mean the iPad will be the only computer for everyone and destroy every PC on the market, because that’s not even remotely likely. But it will introduce a significant new category.

They won’t live on desks, the way desktops do, and they won’t be carried everywhere, the way mobile phones are.  They’ll just be there, around the house, on tables and counters, the way today’s books, magazines, games, and newspapers are, booted up, ready to use.

Keep in mind student Stephen Townsend’s kinesthetic interaction space, built into the house. How about an iPad in every room of the house, ready to go? You can see thinking evolving on similar lines here.

I can see people becoming quite attached to their iPads. Their little units of digital intimacy.

Once you see where this is going, it should come as no surprise that Apple may be working on a larger version of its iPad, as a full computer. Steve Jobs is placing his chips on this radical innovation of meaning.

I’m @bhc3 on Twitter.

It’s an Innovation Geekfest! AT&T’s Tech Showcase

On Thursday, November 5, I attended the AT&T Technology Showcase in San Francisco. The Tech Showcase presents some of the latest cool inventions coming from AT&T Labs. Imagine a highly professional, well-resourced Maker Faire. AT&T calls the showcase, “The Art of the Possible”, stressing the experimental nature of this stuff.

While I’m not actually a geek, there were some cool things there. And notice the iPhone usage in these inventions.

For easy reference, I’ve included some anchor links below:

iPhone Microprojector

AT&T iPhone microprojectorThis was really cool. It’s a device that lets you broadcast video and images on any surface. You insert your iPhone into the microprojector and point it where you want to display. It uses three-color lasers to display images. With lasers, the image is always in focus, regardless of distance from the display surface.

The inventor stressed the medical uses of it. He showed how a brain scan would look. Doctors can view results on-the-fly, on any surface. This gives them the ability to react much more quickly to medical conditions.

But another guy watching this and I both had the same thought: this would be great for business. Sales presentations held on your iPhone. It also seems like something that work at trade shows.

And how about watching videos through your iPhone? Not on the small iPhone screen, but broadcast on a nearby wall or a screen in the back of a car seat? That would be pretty slick.

iPhone as Voice-Powered TV Remote

For the ultimate in minimizing the steps needed to find a show: the voice-powered TV remote. Here’s how I saw it work:

  • Say something like “basketball this evening”
  • System searches a show schedule for “basketball” instances
  • It’s intelligent enough to understand “evening” as a set of defined hours
  • Serves up a list of programs that match the voice-entered search
  • Pick the one you want, watch or record it

To use this, you need an Internet Protocol (IP) TV. For a demo, see MG Siegler’s YouTube video, taken as part of his TechCrunch coverage:

Ad Hoc Social Networking

Under the research initiative, “Just in Time Mobile Services”, is this wild concept.You ask total strangers to provide you with information about some location in which you’re interested. Here’s a process flow:

Ad Hoc Social Networking process flow

Say there’s some place you want to go to, but it can be hit-or-miss there. Maybe too crowded, not enough people, delay in some event, etc. You reach out this Ad Hoc Social Network. The Network system finds people who are in that location. They agree to answer a question. You check out the ratings for those people, select the one with a sufficient rating. You then ask them about the location. After they give you an answer, you determine whether the answer was good, and rate them.

All of this done anonymously.

Key here are the ratings. Your rely on those with better online reputations. As for incentives to participate, maybe there’s some lessons in foursquare (points, badges, mayors).

Internet Protocol TV

AT&T offers a digital TV content  delivery service called U-verse. It uses Internet Protocol to deliver signals, and competes with Comcast and other cable providers, as well as satellite TV providers. There are some cool experiments developed for U-verse, including a few they aren’t ready to make public.

Here are some of the cool things they’ve done in the Lab for IPTV:

Use iPhone pictures to find programs: The monthly U-verse guide provides information on upcoming programs, including photos from those programs. Use the iPhone to snap a picture of a program. Send it to the application in the  IPTV. The TV matches the picture from the iPhone to a program, and shows a list of upcoming episodes. Record the ones you want.

Twitter: Add a scrolling ticker to the bottom of your screen. You when this would be good? When BIG stories break that capture the nation’s attention. They invariably have # hashtags. Have a running ticker of hashtags across the bottom of your screen while watching live coverage from a new station.

Throw media objects from phone to TV: Say you have a video on your iPhone 3GS. With this app, you simply “throw” it to the IPTV. The video will be loaded to the TV, and begins to play. If you had an IP stereo, this would work for music.

FamilyMap: Want to know where your kids are? This app tracks the signals for your family’s phones, and plots their locations on a map. A FamilyMap. I’m going to remember this for my kids in about a decade.

Telehealth Remote Monitoring

At the World Innovation Forum, futurist Paul Saffo said that sensors are the BIG next technology wave. The telehealth remote monitoring project shows one way this will be true.

At the Technology Showcase, one Labs researcher showed off a sensor that tracks the foot signature of people (“smart slippers”). With four sensors in a slipper, it tracks the unique foot signature of an individual. The sensors will measure the footstrike, and provide data that can identify if something is off. If something is off, family and care providers can be alerted.

AT&T has a vision to develop sensors that can track a number of health related conditions. I took a picture of a poster that gives a high level view of their direction. Notice the age demographic of the couple under “You” to the left of the picture:

AT&T Telehealth Remote Monitoring

This is an area of growth, not just for AT&T, but for the technology industry overall. The New York Times just ran a story about this topic, Watch the Walk and Prevent a Fall. The article noted:

Researchers are beginning to apply the digital tools of low-cost wireless sensors in carpets, clothing and rooms to monitor an older person’s walking and activity. The continuous measurement and greater precision afforded by simple computing devices, researchers say, promise to deliver new insights on risk factors and tailored prevention measures.

If The Graduate were remade today, the man at the graduation party would whisper “sensors” in Dustin Hoffman’s ear.

GeoCasting

Finally, I took in the GeoCast demo. What is GeoCasting? It allows you to communicate between mobile handsets without the need for a cell or data network.

Sort of like an updated version of walkie talkies.

This is essentially a very localized peer-to-peer way of communicating. It relies on sensing nearby phones. The use case demo I saw related to public safety. Imagine there is a disturbance of some type on a college campus. School authorities would have access to a broadcast application, which would localize instructions to students on the campus. If you were inside a building where the disturbance was occurring, you’d get one set of instructions, perhaps telling you the safe way out. If you were on a different part of campus, away from the problem, you’d get instrucitons to stay in your room and lock it down.

GeoCasting is an innovative way to localize information out to mobile handset holders. One could see interesting commercial applications for this, such as retailers sending messages to consumers nearby.

Good stuff coming from the AT&T Labs guys. Look forward to some of this becoming commercial. I may seriously have to get U-verse TV when it becomes available in my neighborhood.

My Ten Favorite Tweets – Week Ending 041709

From the home office at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco…

#1: Our long national nightmare is over… @aplusk is the first to hit 1 million Twitter followers http://bit.ly/qMUDN

#2: Watching Larry King show about Twitter. Sean Puffy Combs stresses that if you want followers, you have to have something to say.

#3: My co-worker just noted that @oprah ‘s first tweet was all CAPS. No need to shout!

#4: One thought about the celebrity attention Twitter is now getting. Watch for increased spammers creating accounts to @reply us to death.

#5: Reading: Purpose-Driven Social Media is Key to Elusive ROI http://bit.ly/18voKY by @MiaD

#6: New Spigit blog post: Corporate Innovation Is Not a Popularity Contest http://bit.ly/27omc7

#7: http://twitpic.com/3c9y9 – Noting this for posterity…my blog hit top 10K in Technorati. Even got a little badge.

#8: My son Harrison turns 5 tomorrow. I’m making a card for him with PowerPoint, iPhone pix, Google images and my HP color printer.

#9: The marshmallow Easter peeps…I find myself not sure I’m really loving them as I eat one, but then I strangely crave another right after.

#10: When you hear Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”, do you think of The Sopranos, or the Facebook crew’s video in Cyprus?

My Ten Favorite Tweets – Week Ending 032009

From the home office in Manhattan…

#1: The unintended meme….cisco fatty http://tinyurl.com/d5dzdc

#2: RT @jenn bah. “cisco fatty” is no “I KISS YOU”, Kids on the Interwebs will meme anything these days. When I was young, we used 2 meme uphill

#3: “Twitter Most Popular Among Working Adults” Nielsen February stats http://bit.ly/CQRty

#4: Reading about WordPress’s new microblogging offering ‘P2′ http://bit.ly/zPf9B Looks great, perfect for internal company tweeting

#5: Reading – SXSW – Jumping Sharks, Hunting Snarks, Punting Sparks and Something Stark by @freecloud http://bit.ly/Ocm

#6: Wondering which will be cheaper for wireless…3G iPhone tether or an EVDO card?

#7: Reading: Spigit Launches New Version Of Idea Generation Innovation Software on @techcrunch http://bit.ly/1aoLVS

#8: The Schwab commercials with the people who have been turned into animation are oddly compelling. You just stare at these real-life cartoons.

#9: Grey’s Anatomy, finder of cool music at a level comparable to Apple commercials.

#10: I didn’t know there was certification for such a thing: The Life Coach Institute http://bit.ly/uhNzH

Getting Overly Focused on Your ‘Regular’ Blog Audience

This week, I had one of those “lucky” blog posts, How Are Enterprise 2.0 Vendors Pitching Web 2.0? Using Wordle to Find Out. What do I mean by “lucky”? It caught the eye of someone, which led to all sorts of goodness. I’ll come back to this.

The path of success for the blog post was different than some of my other more-read posts, by which I mean FriendFeed. If I go back to the posts which have gotten the most views – direct and syndicated – FriendFeed has been incredibly important to making that happen.

So naturally, if a blog post doesn’t get a lot of uptake there, I think, “well, not one that resonated a lot out there.” In fact, I sometimes feel lulled into a sense that FriendFeed is pretty much the barometer for how a post is viewed out there:

  • Get a lot of Likes and comments on the feed URL or someone’s share? Rock on!
  • Not too many people care about the post? Take satisfaction in your own writing and move on.

That sense isn’t wholly without merit. FriendFeed has a lot of smart, engaged people who love a good discussion piece.

But I can see how sweating that too much might undermine your sense of blogging. I’m thinking of those for whom blogging lost its luster recently, such as Colin Walker. He also became fatigued with social media.

The absolute greatest thing about FriendFeed for bloggers is that you “know” your readers. You see what they think in their comments. You get feedback via Likes. You follow them elsewhere on FriendFeed and gain an understanding for their perspectives and interests.

That feedbback loop can be a bit double-edged. Over time, I’ve developed a pretty good sense for when a blog post will work well inside FriendFeed, and when one will get a lackluster reception. I plow on with my posts regardless, because I write what interests me. But that sense that something will receive limited interest can be a touch dispiriting.

But then you get these out-of-the-blue successes, these “lucky” posts, and you’re reminded that there are readers all over the place, not just FriendFeed.

I’m going to describe three blog posts that really got me a good reception, only one of which was a FriendFeed-only phenomenon.

Three Blog Successes

FriendFeed ‘Likes’ Compatibility Index: I start with a blog post that achieved success within my favorite haunt, FriendFeed. And no surprise. It was about FriendFeed, and it caught a vibe that was powering FriendFeed. We were all meeting really cool people there, and this was a way to find even more users with similar interests. Between my feed and Louis Gray’s share of the post, there were 79 Likes and 68 comments. Plus action around many other shares of the post. And the post led to a really cool app produced by felix.

This post brought home to me the power of FriendFeed. For me, it’s still something of a benchmark for uber successful posts there. Outside of FriendFeed? Not a lot of clicks.

Should I Buy the Apple 3G iPhone or Nokia N95?: Written from the perspective of both a smart phone and Apple luddite, this post examined what was known about the two smart phones. It got a good reception on FriendFeed. Then the post was picked up by MacSurfer.com. I don’t know that site, but it apparently has a lot of readers. Because a lot of them clicked through on MacSurfer’s link to my blog. Since then I’ve enjoyed some nice search engine traffic thanks to that link.

Suddenly, I found a completely different audience than the social media friends I have on FriendFeed. Apple fans.

How Are Enterprise 2.0 Vendors Pitching Web 2.0? Using Wordle to Find Out: Published this past Monday, the post got a comparatively small reception on FriendFeed. As I mentioned before, you develop a sense for what blog posts will play well on FriendFeed. I kind of knew this one wouldn’t. My enterprise 2.0 posts usually are smaller affairs there. That’s cool. I write those posts anyway because I work in that sector and the subject interests me.

And then luck struck again. The post caught fire with the enterprise 2.0 crowd. Enterprise 2.0 A-Lister Dion Hinchcliffe tweeted my blog post to his followers. Views started picking up. He then asked to publish the blog post in Social Computing Magazine. I said ‘yes’ of course, and it was the lead story for the day.

Again, I found a whole different audience outside FriendFeed. Enterprise 2.0 professionals.

So What to Take Away

I write this as a reminder to myself that there are a lot of audiences out there, and that it’s easy to fall into a pattern of focusing on what your friends on FriendFeed find interesting. If I wrote exclusively about enterprise 2.0, might I question whether anyone cared based on lower response levels on FriendFeed? And I wonder if other bloggers feel this?

As Colin felt the burn-out from social media and blogging, the thing that was best for him was to take time off. Another person who shares some of Colin’s feelings is Alexander Van Elsas. For Alexander, rather than step back from it, he has established himself as The Guy Who’s Questioning This Whole Social Media Thing.

Louis Gray had nice advice to bloggers verging on burn-out: Relax, Bloggers: Nobody Is Keeping Score, and There’s No Quota.

To that I’d add this: Stretch your creative limits. Maybe you were on a tear for a particular topic, had some success, and now find the well running dry and reader engagement dropping.

Time off is certainly a good remedy. But how about another idea? Writing something different. Try a new set of topics. For instance, perhaps there’s a tangentially related set of topics to social media. Cloud computing. Data portability. The bases for human interactions over time. Enterprise 2.0. Or go well outside that. Energy. Politics. Parenting.

Sure, you may not get a lot of clicks. Maybe the reserve of “conversation capital” you’ve built up will be quickly depleted. However, you know that’s a real possibility because you’ve switched directions on your audience. That gives you the mental safety zone to experiment and to get the creative and analytical juices flowing again.

Remember why you started blogging in the first place. Explore topics that interest you.

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Getting+Overly+Focused+on+Your+%E2%80%98Regular%E2%80%99+Blog+Audience%22&public=1

My Three Nits with FriendFeed’s iPhone Interface

On my recent trip to Hawaii, I had a chance to road test my brand spankin’ new 3G iPhone. My web surfing largely consisted of FriendFeed. So I had a good chance to try out the iPhone interface for FriendFeed.

Overall, it was great experience. The links, pictures, comments and Likes came through well. But a week of living only with the iPhone did make me see some things that could be improved:

  1. The text input box on the iPhone and the Web interfaces have completely different purposes
  2. It’s too easy to inadvertently hide or Like things as you scroll the page with your finger
  3. Refreshing the FriendFeed page is a pain because you have to scroll back to the top of the screen (if you don’t know the iPhone “tap” trick)

I’m no UI expert, I certainly don’t have the UI chops of FriendFeed’s Kevin Fox. But why not dive in and see if there are ways to improve things?

Inconsistent Input Boxes Lead to Embarrassing Mistakes

Both the FriendFeed web UI and iPhone UI have text entry boxes at the top of the screen. But the text entry purposes are completely different:

On the web, the text box is to perform a search. On the iPhone, the text entry box is to post a comment. But people used to the web interface and the search box have made the mistake of a search term being posted to FriendFeed via the iPhone. Three examples:

  • Robert Scoble’s ego search for “Scoble
  • J. Phil’s search for “recluse
  • A European blogger also did an ego search for his name (since deleted)

A different mobile app, FF To Go, has a similar post box at the top of the page, as opposed to a search box. After Thomas Hawk’s wife Mrsth made a similar mistake trying to search for “thomas hawk“, FF To Go founder Benjamin Golub commented:

Sorry; many people make that mistake, any advice on how I could help that not happen again?

To which FriendFeed user Madsimian replied:

@bgolub The problem is simply that the normal web interface has ‘search’, not ‘share’, on the homepage. I’d change the link to ‘search’ for a link to ‘share’, and make the text box on the homepage search. I’ve done what @mrsth has done, twice.

Making the iPhone interface consistent with the web interface would help. On the web, you have to click “Share something” before posting a comment. Why not have the same approach on iPhone?

Accidental Liking and Hiding

As you scroll down the screen, your finger can accidently tap the hide or Like links for a given post. I did this while in Hawaii. Hugh MacLeod tweeted the German word for blowjob. I had no intention of Liking that (really!!!).

Yet a subsequent scroll down the page showed that I had Liked that entry. Which meant people who followed me also saw it, and saw that I Liked it. I quickly un-Liked it.

I also noticed hidden entries at the bottom of the page that I didn’t remember ever hiding.

I commented about this on FriendFeed, and Ben Hedrington noted the same issue:

Done it a number of times… hid Marshal K for a bit, sorry Marshall! Seems like it needs a solution.

How about this? Dedicate a strip of white space on the side of the screen for scrolling? No links appear in that space. I know the space is already cramped, but perhaps a centimeter-wide strip could be carved out?

Refresh the Page from the Bottom of the Screen

Once you’re to the bottom of the page, there’s no obvious way to refresh the page. So you scroll all the way back up to the top of the page. This is something that others have noted as well:

  • Justin Korn: “On iPhone particularly, but would work/be helpful on main as well…a back to top/refresh button at the bottom of the page. On iPhone it is REALLY a pain to scroll all the way back up to the top just to refresh.”
  • Andrew Burd: “I would love a “top of the page” button on the bottom of the iPhone interface. I wear out my scrolling finger trying to navigate between the rooms and my friends area”
  • Mike Reynolds: “New FF on iPhone: “Best” page needs a “go to top” link at bottom of the page. Otherwise, I have to scroll all the way to the top.”

However, it turns out there is a way to handle this. You simply tap the top of the Safari browser on the iPhone, and it automatically returns you to the top. Works just fine.

This nit is an iPhone buyer education issue. But if iPhone buyers regularly fail to know about this option, FriendFeed is one of the sites that would benefit from having a return to top link at the bottom of the page.

*****

So those are three things that occurred to me during my week of iPhone-only access. Still, the iPhone interface was great for FriendFeeding, and AT&T’s 3G coverage was just fine around Honolulu.

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22My+Three+Nits+with+FriendFeed%E2%80%99s+iPhone+Interface%22&public=1

Weekly Recap 072508: Twittering into the Mainstream

Twitter got some big play this week: 2 good, 1 bad…let’s start with good…

USA Today had a nice feature on Twitter, Twitter took off from simple to ‘tweet’ success…this quote from the article really gets it right about Twitter these days…

Twitter has become so popular, so fast, that keeping up with its fast-growing user base is a real issue. So many people now use Twitter to update friends that the system often crashes.

The outages are the markers of a company that is experiencing success beyond its expectations…

The New York Times ran a story about how companies use Twitter, blogs and other social media to keep up with customer issues and questions…

If you’re scoring at home, that’s two mainstream, huge-circulation newspapers writing positive stories about Twitter this week…if you wonder a couple years from now how Twitter became so mainstream, remember weeks like this…

But not all was well with Twitter this week…the company inexplicably chopped off subscribers from every user…there were a lot of pissed Twitterers…people threatened to leave Twitter…but when the followers were restored?…

Temporary retraction .. comes back up 50 more followers ? I can’t help it … it’s sticky”

Twitter’s je ne sais quoi

*****

I’ve never said jailbreaking

*****

SmugMug seems to have figured out FriendFeed’s visual dynamics…SmugMug pictures come thorugh big, bright and beautiful on FriendFeed, especially compared to Flickr pictures…

SmugMug pix on FriendFeed, courtesy of Dave Cohen:

Dave Cohen SmugMug Pictures

Dave Cohen SmugMug Pictures

Same pix, this time Flickr on FriendFeed:

Dave Cohen Flickr Pictures

Dave Cohen Flickr Pictures

Great advertisement for SmugMug…and the little guy is cute regardless of the photo service…

*****

Noticed a change in my Google Reader shares these days…I’m tending to share blog posts that I haven’t already seen a few times on FriendFeed…that means fewer TechCrunch shares…more emphasis on those nuggets that haven’t seen wide circulation yet…

Figured people were seeing the big blogs enough already…

*****

I got to do a guest post on Louis Gray’s blog this week…really good reactions out there in the blogosphere, which was great…blogger Barry Schwartz thought enough of the post that he wrote his own post in response, Am I Losing the Connection?

Unfortunately, Barry got the author wrong…he overlooked the “guest post” announcement at the start of the post, and naturally figured Louis wrote it…from Barry’s post…

  • Louis Gray wrote a blog post named Bloggers’ Interactions With Readers Decrease With Prominence
  • Louis Gray documents what are “interactions:”
  • “It’s these two dynamics that cause some bloggers to head onto the next stage,” explains Louis.

Sigh…I am happy the post resonated, but it’d be nice to get a little recognition…so I left a comment on Barry’s post a few days ago:

Barry – glad you liked the post. One small correction – I actually wrote that particular post. Louis was kind enough to let me guest post on his blog.

As for losing your connection to the industry. Look to people like Fred Wilson and Louis Gray as examples. I don’t think any blogger should feel the need to connect with every reader. Just like connecting anywhere else – pick your spots, right?

Despite the comment, Barry hasn’t updated his blog…Barry – you’re losing touch with your readers!…

Well, I’m not alone…Rob Diana wrote a piece on Louis’s blog, Can Microblogs Just Talk to Each Other?…Dave Winer thought it was Louis’s post…such are the benefits and perils of guest blogging…

*****

According to Allen Stern, Mahalo employees are busily writing articles for Google Knol…Unsure of Google Knol’s future impact on his company Mahalo, Jason Calacanis is making sure they have plenty of articles with links pointing to Mahalo pages…

*****

Plan to buy an iPhone this week, if they have inventory

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Weekly+Recap+072508%3A+Twittering+into+the+Mainstream%22&public=1

The New Facebook Newsfeed: Slow. Over-engineered. I Like It.

Facebook recently rolled out several changes related to activity streams and commenting. As TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington noted, these changes represent the “Friendfeedization” of Facebook. The changes include the ability to import activities from other services (e.g. Twitter, blogs, Last.fm, etc.).

Before looking at these changes, let’s take a moment to understand Facebook’s market position. Recent numbers indicate that Facebook continues its tremendous growth. Mashable’s Adam Ostrow reported that Facebook had a terrific June in the United States:

According to Nielsen Online, Facebook swelled to 29.2M unique visitors in the US, up more than 10 percent from May.

It’s clear the site continues to do well with larger numbers of mainstream users. But among the tech cognoscenti, there is a different view of Facebook. Dave Winer wrote this on FriendFeed:

Am I the only one who doesn’t give a flying fcuk about Facebook?

There were a number of concurring comments. And that’s fair. I really haven’t been on Facebook much in the last several months.

But Facebook is definitely working to improve the experience on its site. Now one might argue that with mainstream users’ growth, what do they need to do? From my perspective, they need to make the site more interactive.

So we have the new changes. Let’s look at them.

Services Import = More You, More Activity

Definitely a component of the FriendFeedization. Having been on FriendFeed for several months, I’ve gained a healthy appreciation for others’ content: Flickr photos, Last.fm music, blogs, tweets, direct posts of cool and funny stuff. It really is like people are TV channels on FriendFeed.

Bringing these into Facebook is a great complement to the usual apps and group joining that seems to dominate the newsfeed. It will be nice to see more of the things my friends like.

Hopefully it will help the level of activity on the site. Compared to FriendFeed’s Mississippi River of content, Facebook is a quiet brook.

Newsfeed Rules Make the Activity Stream Pretty Quiet

Facebook has rules that govern what content makes it into the newsfeed of members. This is a difference to the wide open flow of Friendfeed. In FriendFeed, users control the noise. In Facebook, the site controls the noise. And according to TechCrunch, those noise control rules will be updated. It will be harder for many apps’ activity to make it into the newsfeed.

Great for managing those annoying app updates. But not so good for fostering increased interaction around users’ activities, as only a fraction of them will get through. A half-commitment to lifestreaming.

Maybe it’s just me, but my newsfeed is dominated by Facebook photos. Keep those in there, but I’d like to see a greater variety of entries show up.

Commenting = Great Addition, Wish It Was More “In the Flow”

This is the most direct FriendFeedization feature: commenting on the activities of friends. I really love this feature. Previously, it was see something in the newsfeed, then go post a message to the person. Nice that it’s all bundled together now. Conversation around activities.

I already received some benefit from the feature. I now know of a website that will tell me where iPhones are available. How’d that happen? I commented on an item on my Facebook newsfeed:

My friend Amy isn’t on FriendFeed. But her status update, my question, and her response, are exactly the kinds of interactions that regularly occur on FriendFeed.

One observation about the commenting. After someone responds to a comment on their entry, the ‘comment’ button disappears. No chance to follow-up commenting in the main newsfeed. You can see this in the graphic above. There’s no ‘comment’ button to click.

You can go to the user’s profile page and post a follow-up comment. So it is possible to continue the conversation, but Facebook takes it out of the newsfeed flow.

One other point versus FriendFeed. In Facebook, you get notifications of comments on an item. This contrasts with FriendFeed’s “bounce to the top” approach of seeing new comments. Notifications are just fine for me.

Facebook Is Still a Little Strange to this FriendFeed Addict

FriendFeed is very good with presenting content and letting users make quick interactions around it. Facebook isn’t quite that. Consider this exchange. My sister had an update in the Facebook newsfeed from one of her apps. Here’s how that conversation went:

My sister’s update: Helen has updated the Cities I’ve Visited map, by TripAdvisor.

Me: Which city?

My sister: Which city, what? ;-)

So I’d have to add the TripAdvisor app to my profile, then navigate over to my sister’s profile, and figure out what my sister updated. Painful.

Facebook Is Slow and Heavy

Facebook is very slow. Every page takes forever to load. Facebook’s slowness is a restrictor plate on interactions there.

Robert Scoble talked with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about this, and posted this comment on FriendFeed:

Mark Zuckerberg and I talked about FriendFeed today. He says he likes the search engine here. Explained that Facebook’s scale is slowing them down. Says that 90 million users make things go slow.

In that FriendFeed thread, Duncan Riley points out that Google Search is lightning fast with billions of users. But to be fair, Google Search doesn’t need to access everyone’s individual rules, settings and apps loaded specifically to everyone’s page. Doesn’t make the slowness any better though.

Facebook Status Updates Are the Best Comment Fodder

The status updates are great because they provide a natural basis for conversation. The things people do are those things which they’re most likely going to talk about. As the experience with my sister’s TripAdvisor app shows, commenting on actvities with apps is a little more painful.

One of my friends did include a blog post about Pandora and the iPhone in her newsfeed. I clicked on that, read the post, and came back to the newsfeed to make a comment. Felt very FriendFeed-ish.

I ‘Like’ the New Facebook Newsfeed

All that being said, I do like the new newsfeed.I have a whole circle ofd friends who do not hang out on FriendFeed. And the stuff that makes up their streams is different from those I follow on FriendFeed.

It’s a slower pace over on Facebook, but that’s OK for what it is. I use FriendFeed to learn information and points of view. I use Facebook to keep track of all those other little life details.

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22The+New+Facebook+Newsfeed%3A+Slow.+Over-engineered.+I+Like+It.%22&public=1

Should I Buy the Apple 3G iPhone or Nokia N95?

I’m in the market for a new phone. And I’m pretty damn easy.

Apple has now released the next version of its phone, the 3G iPhone. With all the buzz around it, it’s hard not to consider buying one. But before taking the plunge, I wanted to understand what I’m getting myself into. I also wanted to consider what many people claim is a superior phone on the market, the Nokia N95.

But first, about my being pretty damn easy…

I’m a Mobile Phone Luddite

When I bought my current mobile phone, I really didn’t want all the fancy stuff. Just the ability to talk to someone. And that’s just what I got with my Nokia Sprint phone, pictured below:

Not much “smart” about that phone. Just cheap and functional. Any phone that does the things I list in the picture above will be a quantum leap forward for me. Obviously, I’m no early adopter.

Hence, I’m easy when it comes to smart phones.

Apple iPhone vs. Nokia N95

The crux of the argument seems to boil down to this:

  • 3G iPhone offers a superior web browsing experience
  • N95 offers superior camera and actually has video

Oh, there are other things…

Apps for the iPhone are supposed to be really cool. But I’m really not interested in Tap Tap Revenge. One thing I learned from Facebook is that most of these little apps grow boring quite quickly. However, there’s always the possibility that some interesting app will be developed.

There’s also Apple’s closed platform and restrictive DRM, which means all development requires approval of Apple. But considering that I’ve been using a phone without anything that would cause such concern, I’m mostly unconcerned about this as well.

The Knocks Against the iPhone

Here are the the biggest knocks I’ve seen on the iPhone. Gotta know what could ruin my day if I buy one.

Short battery life. This consistently comes up as a negative for the iPhone. It sounds awful, especially in comparison to my current lowly Nokia phone. The battery on that phone can last for days. But it sounds like any 3G smart phone may suffer a similar battery life issue. Here’s what GigaOm said about the Nokia N95:

The battery on this device [Nokia N95] simply sucks. It doesn’t even last the whole day, and that is when you are using it in GSM mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS turned off.

Apple does provide tips for preserving battery life. In addition, Cyndy Aleo-Carreira reports that a simple change to one feature – push email – can dramatically improve battery life.

Crappy camera, no video. There’s no getting around this one. The iPhone’s 2 mega pixel camera is woeful compared to the N95’s 5 mega pixel. Here’s a picture that Fred Wilson took with the N95:

Look at that quality! And with two young children, I think great pictures would be nice. Not to mention the ability to do easy video.

Forced to go with AT&T. This is a big one for many folks. They don’t like AT&T for whatever reason. AT&T appears to have good 3G coverage in the San Francisco Bay Area. But outside the region, coverage gets dicey. As Robert Scoble tweeted about his drive from southern California back to the Bay Area:

Out of the past 7.5 hours of driving we have had 3G for less than an hour. AT&T needs to do a much better job at coverage.

My Sprint phone actually has pretty bad coverage inside my house. So I’m not sure AT&T can get much worse, unless I was unable to get any signal. I did ask about what happens when 3G isn’t available on FriendFeed (comment on Scoble’s tweet). Here’s what Zach Flauaus said:

The iPhone’s priority is 3G, then EDGE, then GPRS. Aka: Fast, ehh… And “Oh hell no!”

So even if I can’t surf the web, I get a phone signal. OK…I probably can live with that.

The new apps crash the iPhone. Let me repeat that: NEW APPS CRASH THE iPHONE! Tim O’Reilly describes the laments of iPhone users and their crashing phones. He includes a Summize Twitter search for iPhone crash. The search reults are frightening:

  • “so it seems writing mobile applications is not such a trivial task. On the iPhone they crash like crazy”
  • “first iPhone crash since I restored it 4 days ago, I guess my strategy has worked, and coincidently it crashed on a newly installed app”
  • “Experienced my first iPhone app crash tonight. Screen turned black. After a few tries the phone came back to life but I deleted the app.”
  • “Just had my first iPhone app crash. Facebook!”

Sounds like it’s best to avoid putting apps on the iPhone for the time being. But I am hopeful about  downloading some good apps down the road.

No copy and paste. Honestly, this one doesn’t bother me so much…yet. The iPhone doesn’t support a clip board to copy things you find. My initial reaction is “so what?”. But I”ll probably want that. One example: wordpress.com’s new iPhone interface. You can post blog entries from the iPhone. As you can see in this post, I’m a huge fan of copy-n-paste. Not having this feature could chafe.

The Nokia N95 Knock: Web Surfing Is Bad

The N95 does include web surfing and email. But this is what I’ve been reading about that experience:

  • “@Jonathan – does Nokia have a decent web browser?” – Yolanda
    “@Yolanda, no, it’s crap. But there’s Opera mini (http://operamini.com) which is somewhat decent.” – Guillermo Esteves (link)
  • Question: “If you could only take one device to a tropical island would it be a smartphone or a laptop?”
    Robert Scoble: “Assuming I am going on vacation to get away from it all? My Nokia N95. Good camera to take pics and videos of me drinking MaiTais. GPS so I can get around. But hard to use for Web and Email so I am not too tempted.”
  • “After seeing, feeling & experiencing the Web on the iPhone, I Know I need one, even though I have an N95 (hate it for browsing)” (link)
  • Yes, I borrowed a friends N95for a day and they had my Blackberry. Phone quality is important to me with a hearing aid. The web browsing sux on the N95, phone was ok. The camera and video were way cool though, nice but not necessary toys.” (link)

iPhone Gets Some Real Love Though

I’m impressed by the number of people expressing their affection for the iPhone, despite its limitations.

Ryan Spoon blogged: Confessions of a Blackberry Addict – I’ve Moved to the iPhone 3G

Yahoo EVP Jeff Weiner was raving to Tim O’Reilly about his new iPhone, urging him to write something that explains why the iPhone is such a paradigm-shifting device.

Gina Trapani of Lifehacker wrote this in a generally negative piece on the iPhone: “But Mobile Safari’s tabbed browsing convinced me to trade in my principles for convenience. This job requires me to be online everywhere I go, and as far as I could see, the iPhone was the best way to do that.”

And here’s the Twitter search for “love my iPhone“. Look at all that love!

What About You?

So I’m close to making a decision. My use case is more web browsing than picture/video taking. But there are definitely issues with the iPhone.

If you’ve got thoughts about the 3G iPhone or the Nokia N95, I’d love to hear ‘em.

UPDATE: ReadWriteWeb covers the Apple vs. Nokia issue this morning as well here.

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Should+I+Buy+the+Apple+3G+iPhone+or+Nokia+N95%3F%22&public=1

Weekly Recap 071808: Define ‘Frienderati’

Literati means intelligentsia…

Intelligentsia means…a social class of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them

Guy Kawasaki’s at it again…he rolled out his latest list of the “Top” in a medium, this time FriendFeed…his Frienderati lists ~100 people on FriendFeed and their 5 most recent entries…I actually follow a number of the people on his list…

But something’s not quite right with his list…Frienderati is a derivative of the term literati…look at that definition above…Frienderati should have a hand in the “development and dissemination” of culture on FriendFeed…

But many of them don’t…Shey Smith wrote Frienderati: Making it Easy to Find Popular Inactives in which he questioned the “-ati” credentials of Guy’s list…his title hits the nail on the head, inactives…

There’s Amber Mac, listed as a “new media journalist”…her FriendFeed stream is all Twitter, and she has 3 comments and 1 Like all time…Paul Kedrosky, “investor, writer, entrepreneur”…he streams his tweets and blog posts…2 comments, 1 like all time…Rebecca Briggs, “helping the world heal from the inside out”…tweets and blog…has never commented or Liked anything in FriendFeed…

The best has to be Guy Kawasaki putting himself on the list…nearly all twitter, which he only added on July 4th…2 comments all time…and there are others with similar levels of inactivity…

In what universe are these people the ones that develop and disseminate the culture of FriendFeed? They barely know it!…Two things at play here…

  1. Guy wants to make sure there are known personalities on his list, because you can’t just have a list with us regular folk who actually are part of the culture
  2. The lifestream aggregator part of FriendFeed is still important. Frienderati looks at FriendFeed as a simple aggregation of the streams of Important People, not as a place of interaction.

The nice thing is that FriendFeed makes it easy for n00bs to find interesting people…friend-of-friend and comments can help users get beyond the Important People…

*****

I’ve never said meh

*****

Mattel, maker of Barbie, won its lawsuit against MGA, maker of Bratz. Mattel alleged that Carter Bryant, a designer at Mattel, created the Bratz concept while under contract for Mattel. Two  pieces of evidence…

  • He used a discarded Barbie body and Ken boots to mock up a concept of Bratz (via LAT)
  • He used a Mattel notebook to write about the Bratz concept (via WSJ – subscription)

I don’t disagree that employees are obligated to provide value to their companies…but the actions of Carter Bryant are probably similar to those that a lot of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have done…imagine if all the big companies came down on ex-employees for taking ideas they started while employed and building their own companies…

*****

Noticing increased use of pictures in FriendFeed direct posts…they really make a post clickable and interesting…I did a quick survey of 100 FriendFeed direct posts in my ‘Friends’ stream…46 of the 100 direct posts had pictures…

And the pictures really work…they tend to dominate the poor text-only links…however, a bunch of comments on a text-only link still is the #1 draw for me…

*****

Interesting comment by Wai Seto regarding the iPhone’s too-short battery life and AT&T…

On the power issue, I have learned that handset receive and transmit power is actually set by the network over the air. The base station can tell the handset to tune down or up real time. The rumor is because AT&T coverage is not very good (not enough base stations?), so they set this setting very high and drain most of their 3G devices pretty quick. The power setting at AT&T is believe to be higher then European operators.

I looked at Wai’s LinkedIn profile, he’s a software architect at Nokia…so I’m thinking he knows what he’s talking about…

*****

Possibly the cutest baby picture ever…

Uploaded to Flickr on July 16…by July 18, it already has 10,732 views…

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Weekly+Recap+071808%3A+Define+%27Frienderati%22&public=1

Weekly Recap 071108: iPhone’s Big Gulp of Humility

Today was Apple’s big day, the release of its new 3G iPhone…geeks lined up days beforehand…stores were full of new iPhones…money was burning holes in pockets…the doors opened…customers rushed in to be the first ones to have the shiny new gadget…they claim their iPhones and go to activate in-store, an Apple requirement…and…the activation FAILS

Damn, that sucked

Apple is a company that has been on a hot streak for a while…here’s a quote about them from a recent Fortune article:

Apple requires a special kind of workforce. The place is divided by product but also by function along what COO Tim Cook calls “very faint lines.” Collaboration is key. So is a degree of perfectionism. Apple hires people who are never satisfied.

Today’s activation flub has got to be eating them up sumthin’ fierce…Apple has worked hard to achieve and maintain its air of excellence and coolness…

Fake Steve Jobs recently retired from his blogging…but surely this is too delicious to not write one more post…

All that said, Robert Scoble gives the new iPhone a thumbs up

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Loren Feldman is currently following only 3 people on his Twitter account…he unsubscribed from everyone he was following…wow…he does say that he will be on FriendFeed going forward

I’m not comfortable damning this guy, as I’ve never heard of him outside of recent events…he seems pretty tightly wound and people describe him as funny…he messed up with TechNigga…I’m willing to watch what he does going forward…and was this really Wayne Sutton commenting on Loren’s blog?

Thanks for the official statement, continue to create videos and I hope everyone from this situation has learned something and does not stop the future of sponsorship from other national outlets with the online video blogging community. I’m looking forward to your next project.

If that’s Wayne, wow…

*****

I’ve never said meatspace….

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Lots of discussions this week about the fast growth of subscribers for big name people on FriendFeed…Allen Stern does a nice job of breaking it down in this video…the issue is that same people tend to show up in two key places on FriendFeed…(1) the first 12 subscriptions listed on users’ Me page…and (2) the same 9 people are often displayed on the recommended page…shaking things up on those listings would be nice…

For my part, I was really surprised at the number of subscriptions (~100) that occurred because of Mike Fruchter’s post about ten people to follow on FriendFeed…thanks for the shout-out Mike…

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Two young women keeping it real out there on FriendFeed…Mona N and Michelle Miller

Mona is a geeky gal who also attracts attention from the fellas…Hao Chen declared:

Ahh…Mona just overtook Robert Scoble as my #1 person you find interesting.

Michelle is irreverent, keeping folks entertained with updates about her dates with The UPS Guy…her blog post describing their first date was What Brown Did for Me

*****

On Twitter, there are two ways to broadcast a blog post:

  1. Tweet a link to your own blog post, usually including something like “blog post” so people have a heads up its your own post.
  2. Tweet the word “reading” and the name of the blog post with a URL. This lets people know that you’re reading someone else’s blog post, and you like it enough to tell others about it.

Jason Calacanis tweets “reading” for his own blog posts. Huh? Reading? He wrote it! Here’s one example:

Reading: “Official announcement regarding my retirement from blogging.” (http://tinyurl.com/5zae7s)

Don’t hate the playa, hate the game, I guess…

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Digg founder Kevin Rose provided a great example of changing the name of blog post during its submission to Digg…

Here’s Allen Stern’s post, referenced earlier, about the ways in which A-listers quickly accumulate followers:

  • “FriendFeed Follower Patterns Exposed: How Jason, Mike, Loic & Robert Get So Many Followers So Quickly (video)”

Here’s how Kevin Rose submitted Allen’s post to Digg:

  • “The politics of Friend Feed”

Call it social media attention optimization….

*****

See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Weekly+Recap+071108%3A+iPhone%E2%80%99s+Big+Gulp+of+Humility%22&public=1

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