Blog posts tagged "social"

KrazyDad: Mayor of the North Pole

February 16th, 2010

I’ve been blatantly cheating at foursquare for the past week … At some point last week, I devolved into a 12 year old hacker, and I spent many spare hours (and my computer’s spare cycles) abusing the system with a set of scripts operating fake accounts. Not only did I add new venues like the North Pole, but I started persistently checking into coveted landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty. – Jim

I would have thought that cheating at 4sq was so easy as to not invite this kind of concerted effort. Afterall cheating is implicitly allowed in the social contract of the site, a fact that may or may not have gotten lost as it expanded beyond the ex-Dodgeball early adopters, and the game mechanics forefronted.

I assume that Foursquare are carefully monitoring the return they get on the game mechanics, and at some point they’ll burn down the game, which was necessary to get the early adopters in the door, but which will forever strand the product on one side of the chasm, and move to a more utilitarian product — critical mass reach, social cascade ignited.

Raindrop, this mornings coffee shop conversation with my imaginary friend

October 23rd, 2009

I’m not really qualified to write or say anything about Raindrop, Aaron pointed it out to me yesterday, and I immediately got bogged in the marketing speak on the page. Still, I was sitting at El Beit this morning thinking that if El Beit was Ritual I could have struck up a conversation with person sitting next to me, and we could have had a conversation about our mutual inability to get past the marketing speak, and besides this whole “qualified” filter is a tension largely created by the professional blogging class, who are frankly boring as a sin, every last one of them.

So, once I got done talking (very very quietly) about how Raindrop sounds awesome, but also kind Chandler-ishly vague, I saw this Twitter from Sonny, “Raindrop is the innovative idea that Google Wave was hoping to be.”

Which got me all kinds of excited again. And also musing on the failures of Wave. Really hoping that Raindrop can be useful to me, whether or not you’re also using it, Google is qualified to build boil the sea solutions, but they lack elegances.

Just the name Raindrop sort of sounds to me like something that could build slowly to a crescendo, a “delicious play”: a tool useful long before its adoption curve cross the plane where its latent social dimension is revealed. (my imaginary friend is old school, he pointed out that IM tools successfully required people to opt-in to build value and they’ve done fairly well, to which I can only say times were simpler when ICQ was launched and we were all more desperate for better tools, and AOL already had a meaningful desktop internet install base they could upgrade largely in place)

And then Raindrop has all this buzz about personal/people centricity, but I’m worried not to see much acknowledgement on the failure of RSS readers. Its easy to get confused by the real time web buzz and think people actually want real time, comprehensive information. Fuck that. I want a tool that delivers meaningful, timely information, everything else is just anxiety producing.

Blaine has done a lot of good thinking, and talking, and not nearly enough good writing on the game changing, sea change that is the switch from pull-to-push, that perhaps the white-list vs black-list is the most important kladistic trait, and I’m wondering if papering over those divides in a single client misses the point. (Blaine useful refers to this as, “the total fucking brokenness which is email” or words to that effect) It’s something I’ve been meditating on a late into the night recently having just opened a new push communication channel on Flickr.

“Raindrop uses a mini web server” is also old school. Wow. There was a really wild and wooly bunch of apps being evolved at the end of the 20th century that largely died out, interesting to see that design idea still kicking out interesting creatures. (this is what Aaron calls the I-hate-to-admit-it-but-Dave-Winer-was-right principle)

And while I love to see Flickr get love, “flickr arrives, your messaging client should be able to show the video or photos near or as part of the message”, it really raises the question in a system of social object sharing, what is the object? Just the photo? Something else? (and smacks a bit of the one-system-to-rule them all, which is cool, but again, see Chandler, and Dreaming in Code)

What can I say, that’s the sort of thing my imaginary friend and I talk about. Now I guess I should go finish reading those docs.

When I say “FUD” …

October 22nd, 2009

"Flicker upcoming"? WTF? :)

… I mean Flickr/Upcoming/Delicious. In particular, I mean that brief moment of optimism in the Spring of ’06, on the roof of the Iron Cactus, at the Spread the FUD party, when it looked like Yahoo! had a wedge and the will to solve the social search problem, and magically, I might even get to be a part of that. I said in my cover letter (in silly flowery, cover letter speak)

“The next round of innovation will be about building connections. The explosion of voices, information and ideas is currently outpacing our techniques for coping with them. We need to be helping people and communities find new ways to connect, interact, and work together to make sense of this accelerating decentralization. Innovation has been blossoming at the edges of the Net since the beginning, but innovation is also moving back to the connecting nodes, like Yahoo.”

Which is much on my mind when I hear about Marissa demo’ing social search yesterday.

And I’m deeply puzzled (and not a little disappointed) that anyone would care if Bing or Google can search the public status timelines, if it doesn’t come with social context.

Now the question is can Goog shake their historied failure at all things social.

Photo from Jan Brašna

Twitter lists, creators vs curators, and who owns the meta-data?

October 16th, 2009

Flickr is a creators’ community. This informs a number of the decisions we make. Including the question of “who owns the meta-data?” (where own is defined as who can operate on it).

On Flickr a photo tag can be removed by a photo’s photographer whomever added it. And a tag only has a single instance. This is profoundly different then which is a curators community. On I can make any statements I want about an object in the world, and all the curators voice can be conglomerated towards consensus. Flickr privileges the creator, the consensus.

Even when we launch curatorial features, like the recent galleries launch, the content creator has final say about how their work is described, including membership in a gallery. You can not only remove your photo from a gallery, it can’t be re-added once you’ve done it, and you can block that curator from operating on your photos again.

This is all been a fairly rudimentary discussion by way of explaining my biases.

I’m excited by the Twitter lists feature, it’s a great example of enabling powerful interactions by offering stripped down bare minimum organizational tools. (in fact its almost identical to galleries in that aspect)

But interestingly, and frankly surprisingly to me (possibly given my biases), Twitter is positioning itself as a curatorial community, not a creator community. This might actually make sense in the sphere of social media experts, and their endless re-tweetings, but its a fundamental mismatch with my expectations as a very early member, and someone who isn’t trying to shill a product (beyond perhaps a slice into my own routine life)

Thankfully I was saved from having to make the effort (via buzz and meowrey)

From the Twitter lists beta

3rd Party Comment Systems

September 24th, 2008

Talk about from the everything-old-is-new-again dept.

Fred’s got a post up talking about the “mainstreaming” of 3rd party comment system. His graph compares their portfolio company disqus, with a bunch of companies I’ve never heard of.

Made me wonder what HaloScan was up to. Remember HaloScan? From back before Grey Matter or Blogger had comments? It popped up in that nasty little window, and generally sucked. And we all received early painful lessons in outsourcing control of pieces of your infrastructure. And then Moveable Type shipped with decent integrated comments (and just about the slickest looking admin interface anyone had ever seen anywhere on the Web) Apparently they’ve been acquired by this (js-kit)[] company. And their traffic is still growing!?!?!

Here’s a graph looking at disqus, HaloScan and js-kit:

With those numbers I’m not sure we’re talking mainstream here, though its interesting to see WordPress picking up intense-debate. I like WordPress’s corporate culture and they seem well suited for not stifling innovation in acquisitions.

But really all I wanted to say is whether or not this stuff is interesting to mainstream, as a hacker a 3rd party comment system is golden. Because we’ve all rolled our own blogging systems, and you either never built the comments, turned them off, gave up and went back to an off the shelf system, or are running some sadomasochistic social experiment. The great thing about decent 3rd party comment systems is you can go back to your bash/Perl/XSLT/file tree based system, and still have comments. (Leonard was the first alpha geek I noticed doing this)

And Disqus even has to start of a decent API. More focused at “forum owner”, individual commenters could use some love, and of course the whole thing could benefit from a standardized delegated auth model, but those are nits.

(btw. where are the Wikipedia articles on that early blogging era tech, our legacy is being lost! OMG!)

FriendFeed is too much info

May 2nd, 2008


One of the key topics (I think) in my Casual Privacy talk last week was the importance of “context” in privacy and sharing. That some people have trouble understanding how fundamental context is to all social interactions was my primary take away from SG Foo, and I’ve been preaching it quietly where I can.

All by way of saying, I made one of my rare visits to FriendFeed this evening, and I was reminded that I consistently regret it. Breaking down those contextual walls means I consistently like the people I find there less then I did when I was able to interact with them in isolated manners; fire walling the aesthetic from the technical from the political from the personal.

We need routing not aggregation.

Fire Eagle: Interesting Choices

March 5th, 2008

Fire Eagle

Other folks are talking about and writing about the long germinating, launched in beta, location broker from Yahoo’s Brickhouse, Fire Eagle.

I wanted to call out just a couple of the cool, and non-intuitve decisions they made.

Is NOT a consumer brand

Fire Eagle is a service for building and sharing location data. Its the application built on top of it that you’ll interact with, unless you’re building stuff.

Fire Eagle does NOT manage the social graph

Its a service for sharing your data with friends (or services, or your toaster), but it doesn’t know who your friends are. The social graph has been outsource. Best example of a small piece loosely joined I’ve seen in a long time.

Cares about privacy and ease of use

Ninja privacy is built in. But you don’t have to care. The TOS requires developers to discuss how the data is used. And privacy levels are front and center. And from day one data is delete-able, and in fact data is flushed on a regular basis.

Built on OAuth


2007 Was Not the Year of the Addressbook

February 28th, 2008
from __future__ import the_cloud |identity|
      if the_cloud.geolocator(the_cloud.dopplr, the_cloud.fireeagle).nearby?(identity)

Last year I wrote a SxSW Twitter killbot, but what I really wanted was the above. I almost wrote it, but there were one of two annoying problems, and I figured someone else would write it for me.

Its one year later, I’m starting to realize that I’m about to go into conference mode again, which on top of a sleep deprived delirium, and a certain disconnect form external data sources, also is the only time when I have Twits come to my phone. And I still can’t do the above! What have you people been working on all year! Don’t make me come back there and start a start up.

Other questions I’ve asked my addressbook lately, and failed to get a response:

Please partition my social graph into a Dijkstra Nikon/Canon split.

Does Bob like cilantro? And is Alice lactose intolerant?

Do any friends.known_vegetarians.have_yelp_reviews(Austin)?

Lots of others, all unanswered.


February 6th, 2008

Learned a new word tonight from MattB, SimonB, and Yoz.

A hashbot is a robot that hangs out on an IRC channel (hence the #) and provides a conversational interface to a resource.

hashbots are the ancestors of Social Software for Robots, and the idea of Twitter/YubNub as Web CLI.

Notes from Social Graph Foo

February 4th, 2008

Here is my quick dump of the notebook, probably useful to no one but me. Names mostly removed to protect the guilty.

I think “Social Graph” is kind of a dumb phrase to apply to the back question of relationships. I promptly re-dubbed the event “Social Foo” and thereby found interesting things to talk about. Kevin Marks proposed “social cloud”, clouds hide details. (operations people get hives when you talk about clouds)

XMPP, OpenID, OAuth are all going to be huge in 2008; DiSo, DataPortability, and Social Graph API aren’t as clear winners to me.

Bowling Alone misses the point. There has been a transformative change from groups to networks. Groups are just a funny form of network.”

“Differentiated role networks”. Differentiated roles, and the failure of monolithic identity and friending were one of the things I went to Sebastopol to talk about this weekend, the people who got it got it, and everyone else wasn’t interested in the hard squishy details of real community. I think this might be the side effect of running social software for social softwares sake vs social software as bath for social media object sharing.

“Relationships can be broken down into 5 types: emotional aid, sociality, major help, minor help, and $$$”

Note to self: try block modeling interactions in high profile/high turn Flickr groups. (central, utata, etc)

No one really understands user expectations. Privacy expectation is currently, “unstable”.

Huge conceptual issues with the difference between public information hand aggregated, and public information computer aggregated. Cognitive dissonance ensues.

Rules, games, and rulesets. Modeling of social software as games. Tension of implicit vs. explicit rules. Mag.nol.ia’s altruism game derived from the cracks board (witnessing altruistic acts is a public good, way to update the Mag rules of game to support this?), Satisfaction’s status update game. Hoping Teresa can bring the quality gaming to BoingBoing’s anemic community. Social games + adversting.

Parody/pastiche as lit analysis. Investigate for web.

Social networks need NPCs. e.g. the Instructables Robot.

Standards works should be done in small groups, with a clear need, that selectively grow the list of participants. No hierarchy of early/late joiners (aka OAuth did it right)

“Everything public” bores me.

Beyond LAMP.

Find a feed for Nathan Eagle’s research.

“locations rights management”

“trusts are largely not transitive”

Language communities are “small world networks”, partitions communities by language. 2-5 hops vs 8 in analyzed network.

The Plaxo way: “We gets ze data Lebowski”

“Twitter is my early warning system. My blood pressure has gone down over the last 18 months”

Identity and sharing can make everyone warm and fuzzy, but also came face to face with sobering consequences that kept me up at night with a bottle of tequila. Re-thinking proposed Flickr features.

Sharing from within Google Reader

January 4th, 2008

Collapsing the GTalk buddy list, and Reader sharing list was a serious blunder, and one that could use a bit more ink spilled about it. But one click sharing is one of my favorite Reader features.

GData Won’t Save You

Except there is a bit of a problem. I don’t really want to share with other Google Reader users, I’m not even sure I’m destined to be a long time Reader user. I want to share links the way I’m already doing it, through

No problem, Reader has an Atom feed of shared items. A really good feed, with the source info maintained, well formed, nicely done. Simplest thing in the world to parse the feed, and write the entries back to And I can tag any post in Reader, which is perfect, easy Ajaxy sharing into with a few minutes work.

Except for reasons I can’t fathom Reader isn’t including my tags in the Shared Items feed. Which all of a sudden makes my data feel a bit more locked up and trapped then I’d really like.

For Our Sins

Casting around a bit for a solution, I noticed the “Email” button, which allows me to send a link via email, along with a short note, and so “Email to” was born.

Super quick and dirty Perl script that:

  1. Parse the Google Reader HTML email for the relevant URL (no semantic markup, alas)
  2. Pull the link description from the subject
  3. Look for a line beginning “tags: ” followed by a space separated list of tags.
  4. Look for a line beginning “note: ” for the extended description.

Add the following rule to /etc/aliases file, and away you go.

to_del: | /home/you/

Takes 10-15 seconds vs 1 second to share, but much more flexible.

And Perl is still unbeatable when it comes to these kind of scripts.

Personal Data Stores and the Network

October 31st, 2007

Thinking about what “personal data stores” are going to look like, how this interacts with decentralized models for community services, (I swear I’ve written something more recent then 2005 on that topic, but can’t find it), mulling models for updating clouds, wondering if projects like G’s OpenSocial, and Portable Social Networks are a step forward or back, speculating that digital curation is a viable near future business model, and that individual curations would work well as shareable social media objects.

Nothing necessarily novel. Just where my head is at.