October 26th, 2005
It is interesting to sit on a blog post for 3 weeks, and see how well they age. Most age very badly, but some age badly for excellent reasons, i.e. the world changes. (politics are a great example of this right now, but that isn’t what I’ll be talking about)
Digital Lifestyle Aggregation: Using My Friends
I’ve had this persistent idea, nagging me, that somehow I should be able to use my Flickr contacts to filter the overwhelming amount of data that gets pushed at me, with the small idea being if I had a way to capture the del.icio.us accounts of all my various contacts, then I could at least build a smarter del inbox. I had started to sketch out a tool (I was thinking ning) called “theyisthey” to keep track of relationships I know between people’s various identities. (43people subscriptions are one step in this direction, and certainly an indication of how social software can be used for purposes more interesting them high score lists.)
Hear the Good News
Well we showed up en masse (Brian, Ben, Eric Hopp, Jared, Mako, Seth and I) to the Joshua’s Berkman lunch yesterday, and the most explosively interesting thing I thought he said (beyond some numbers which Brian wrote down) was that “networks” are in the works. A replacement for del’s broken inbox metaphor, networks are 1-way, opaque social networks that you can build to not only filter content, but also enhance it. (e.g. when tagging a link, see the tags and notes from everyone in your network who has also tagged this link, or install the Firefox plugin to see your networks notes on webpages in the wild)
(also count it, 5 Hampshire alumns in the house, we offered to make Seth an honoray Hampshire alumn, but he turned us down)
January 10th, 2005
One of the things I’ve always kind of liked about Netflix is the curtain of privacy it tosses around your viewing habits. It isn’t like you can rent porn on Netflix, but still you are alone with your tastes and indiscretions. Netflix is in a position to collect incredibly accurate information about viewing habits, because both renting and rating are done in private. Netflix Friends changes that dynamic.
With Netflix Friends you can see what your friends are watching and share your favorite movies with them.
Renting and in particular rating are once again performative acts. There is a real value there, and in services like Audioscrobbler, or All Consuming, or 43 Things, and even the undirected social network sites like Orkut or Friendster, and yet …
I mean, I already maintain a blog, do I really want to share what I’m listening to, what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m working on, and who I know? I don’t know. I just know that even though I’m flirting with Netflix Friends, I am very aware of the virtual clinking of coins, as I barter a little more privacy for a little more leveraged access to the network.
(I also predict that Netflix will over the next 6 months see an increasing disconnect between what people rate high, and what they watch, the Masterpiece Theater vs. Jerry Springer syndrome, and an associated degradation in the quality of their data.)
When Nielsen used log-books to gather information on the viewing habits of their sample families, the results were heavily skewed to Masterpiece Theater and Sesame Street. Replacing the journals with set-top boxes that reported what the set was actually tuned to showed what the average American family was really watching: naked midget wrestling, America’s Funniest Botched Cosmetic Surgeries and Jerry Springer presents: “My daughter dresses like a slut!”
update: tom is already experiencing the “social” side of it all.