Category Archives: friends

Wilkommen

Last night I twittered in German when I’d arrived:

Wilkommen in berlin. Sehr spät und glücklich mein schlafzimmer zu finden. Guten nacht twitternet :)

however when I got to Rezeption this morning, I really struggled explaining to the waitress what I wanted for breakfast (It didn’t help that I hadn’t decided).

and then this morning I listened at last to Stephanie Booth‘s babelfish presentation, which opened up lots of questions to me but reminded me of why all this multilingualism is complex. We think that we either know a language or we don’t, but as well as the continuous scale of fluency there is also the complicating dimensions of whether we it’s written or oral and whether we are transmitting or receiving. So my level of fluency in German (just one of the languages I pretend to know) varies depending on whether I’m reading, writing, listening or speaking – in fact it seems to me that *my* fluency is represented in that list in descending order, so I’m quite comfortable reading and making sense, but ask me to open my mouth and you get ummm errrr… silence mostly and a lot of hand waving.

Scaling Seesmic

Yesterday, I saw Loïc make a plea for people to come in & make video quickly to show to a journalist, Erika Brown, who he was talking to over breakfast.

So we piled in with gusto, naturally. This is not new. I’ve seen people ask for irc contributions, blog comments, blog posts using tags, tweets usually from the stage of a conference or a demo they’re doing somewhere, to show the network effect – that the net is alive and full of people and doing stuff all the time. I still think it’s cool.

Apparently later (according to Loïc’s daily summary) she was asking why we do this stuff – what’s in it for us. Good question. Don’t know the answer, but don’t think I’m not thinking about it. (BTW – I worry though that when someone outside the group asks “what’s in it for the people in this group?” they’re actually asking “and how can I exploit it in some way?” ie “What’s in this phenomenon for me?” but that’s a whole other lifetime’s blogging)

I have been thinking though about what happens when they try to scale seesmic up. Right now, there are two interfaces essentially – one is the public timeline with every post in it (though it can be filtered for friends and for my vids too) and the other is twitter which announces new videos if the user has provided her twitter details. I’m following this by tracking</a “seesmic” in twitter, so I see everyone regardless of whether I follow them in twitter or not (keep up!) *and* I see every other reference to the word “seesmic” too. Clearly I’m obsessed.

Now this is something we’ve seen before. What starts as a little trickle, becomes a steady stream, becomes a mighty torrent of unmanageable information. Weblogs.com started out like this but was in stream/minor tributary mode when I first saw it. Ah me, I used to love to sit at audio.weblogs.com late in 2004, CTRL+F5’ing to see what was new. When I joined twitter about a year ago I had about 10 friends and some of them were in way different time zones – minutes would go by without an update – now I have it running in my im window and it’s like a constant ticker tape – in fact it’s now going too fast.

Seesmic will (probably) follow the same pattern in terms of the increase in the number and rate of contributions. What I’m interested in, is what happens when seesmic becomes like audio.weblogs.com today. Now at the beginning, although there were some podcast directories, audio.weblogs.com was the best place to go because you could see everything and everything was worth at least a glance at the title. So what happens when the public timeline is whizzing past as fast as weblogs.com? What about when my friends list whizzes as fast as twitter. Well, I’ll miss stuff, that’s for sure, I’m missing stuff on twitter and in my feed reader right now because I’m writing, but the other problem is that while twitter can be scanned, if I want to find out what a seesmers just said, I have to click and open a video. The only way I can see is RSS (with enclosures, I think too – gulp!). This is why I’ve made a feature request for (at least) my feed, a feed of my friends and a public timeline feed. I also want to see feeds for particular tags. We can’t see this metadata at the moment, but I’m filling it in (are you?). And then I want a big tag cloud so that I can follow the zeitgeist of seesmic and dip into a feed based on tags. So I’m expecting that I will then subscribe to certain feeds and go to seesmic from time to time to dip into stuff that I’m not subscribed to. Oy! I think I might like to keep seesmic down to a manageable little community of 150 diverse international shiny new toy freaks :)

Now, this brings us back to Erika’s question: “What’s in it for us?” Why do I do this? Why am I obsessed with shiny new toys like this? Because I like being part of this little group – just like podcasting was 3 years ago. And I want everyone to have the chance to have this experience. Why do I choose some and not others. Well a big differentiating factor is in the previous paragraph – I’ll repeat it – I made a feature request and I’m sure it will be considered and may get somewhere if it’s thought a good idea by the community. Why am I sure? Because I made the feature request that we should have voting on feature request, and it was implemented. So now we’re voting on what things we’d like to see. That’s what’s in it for me, a small bit of satisfaction that an idea I had sitting at a screen in London could ping around the world and get created before my very eyes *and* I believe that I’m not special, if it can happen to me, it can happen for everyone, if they want it.

No screenshot to go with this, can’t be arsed to edit – is there a skitch clone for Windows?

How many kinds of cool

no publicityI’ve been a bit of a Matt Jones fanboy since about 2001 when he was at the BBC and running networking events for people interested in IA. His was one of the first blogs I saw, and didn’t even know it was a blog, just thought it was really cool. At the top it said “measure twice. cut once.” and I swooned.

I’m not such a stalker that I’ve been following his every move since then, but his presentation at Interesting2007 kicked ass too.

Last night I saw him wearing this t-shirt that says “wearing my twitter shirt”. He very kindly posed for a photograph, even though he must have known it that this stance would reveal his third ‘lady’ arm that protrudes from his right arm-pit.

FB photo fun

FBFriends @ 23/08/07Thanks to Friend Block I can see all of my 238 friends profile pics in one place.

Some observations (NB, I can’t count very well) I leave it to you to suggest interpretations:

8 have not provided a picture at all and so are represented by a ‘?’

3 are represented by hand-drawn caricatures of themselves and 1 has a Simpsons avatar.

There is one cartoon character (Pinky), one stuffed toy and one toy cartoon character.

There is one cat in sunglasses and one cat with the mouth of a shark. One person is a pair of Lions, possibly copulating.

4 have some other form of graphic design (I can’t think of a better description at the moment).

Four people have pictures of themselves further processed with an imaging tool.

10 people have included other people in their profile pictures mostly people with their spouses and children.

Four people have pictures of themselves as children.

One person has two heads (or perhaps two faces)

Two people have their names in the shot.

21 of those who have photographs of themselves have chosen monochrome images. Most of these are men.

Of those with simple headshots about 30 are not looking into the camera.

Around 20 have one hand up to their face in some way.

7 are wearing sunglasses.

One person has a parrot. One person has a snake.

Yes. These are my friends.

[UPDATE: Since posting, it has come to my attention that two of the monochrome folk have gone coloured *AND* both put on shades – co-incidence or conspiracy?]

Losing it

Still musing on the fear of “dark forces”, “bad people”, shifts in power, and similar trivia.

In sorting out the Podcast Archive I listened again to Johnnie at “Blogging, A Real Conversation” from 2 years ago. He started with something like this video (though we didn’t have Youtube in them days).

Johnnie used it to illustrate the illusion of authority. I guess I’m surprised at how many people are still yet to acknowledge their Ceaucescu moment.

Danger… Danger, Will Robinson!

BathroomI was writing a comment on the previous post and feeling constrained and then remembered “It’s my blog, I don’t have to use the comments if I don’t want to”. Which is kind of part of what I was trying to get at before. I also wanted to separate this out from the comments because I don’t want it to appear that what I say is directed at anyone who has commented on that post already or may comment there in future. OK, disclaimers and excuses and apologies out of the way.

This is what I’m happy doing:

I’m happy sharing all sorts of personal details and information about me online – in fact some people have said read my blog in order to find out more stuff about me. That doesn’t mean that I will share everything online. I’m not at all likely to publish my PIN numbers, passwords and the memorable information scripts to my bank’s security theatre. I’m not bothered about you knowing where I live, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give you a key to my flat.

That’s a fairly good summary of my privacy position. It makes sense to me. You may well take a different position on privacy. If my position doesn’t make sense to you, that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, it just means that we make different sense of the world. I know that some people feel uncomfortable about this level of openness.

I’m completely cool with you taking whatever position you like on information that you consider to be private to you. The potential for conflict arises when we share information but we don’t share a view on the appropriate level of privacy. You might try to shut me up. I may tell your secrets. Shit happens.

The question is, in a globally networked, hyperlinked, 24-hour world isn’t the inevitable movement towards a more liberal approach to this sort of privacy, simply because the cost of establishing and then enforcing the rules in an increasingly complex network of relationships is way too high (always assuming that enforcement is still possible)?