Tag Archives: social media

Unhappy with social network real name policies? Do it yourself

Hugh MacLeod:

And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly.i.e. not waiting for the green light. In the blogosphere, the only light IS the green light.

This is something the people complaining about “real names” policies need to remember. If you’re posting content on someone else’s site, you’re playing by someone else’s rules. If you’re not happy about that, don’t keep asking permission – pleading with the king for a “fair” approach won’t get you far. Do it yourself.

Are your friends a filter or a firehose? Some musings on Twitter and FriendFeed

I was playing around with FriendFeed – again – and not seeing the point – again, when a thought came to me which I think encapsulates why I don’t get on with it, and why, in fact, I’ll never get on with it.

To start with, consider that social networks like FriendFeed, Twitter and Facebook are all being required to perform a very similar sort of task. The end product is a set of links, comments and conversations which should be relevant to me. That’s the key thing: Social networks should ensure, somehow, that things which reach me are relevant to me.

In FriendFeed, “friends” are actually a firehose. They’re the raw, unedited stream of information, which you then apply all the powerful filtering and management tools that FriendFeed has to. The end product, if you’ve set up your filters right, is all the stuff from that firehose that’s relevant to you.

That’s why FriendFeed perfectly suits Robert Scoble, who is, if he’ll forgive the phrase, the master of the firehose. Robert currently follows over 24,000 people on FriendFeed, and a lot of groups (which means he gets stuff from lots of people he’s not even following). That’s a firehose of information. The filtering, for him, comes after that – not before.

But there’s a different way of performing the same process: Make your friends the filter. On Twitter, I currently follow around 300 people, most of whom I either know from meatspace, have sparred with online for a while, or who are names within my industry who I trust.

Having a selection criteria, rather than just following anyone and everyone, turns my friends into my filter. I trust them to bring me information that’s important: I don’t need to filter them, because they never turn into a firehose.

This is why I look at FriendFeed and go “Huh?”. My friends, my human editors and curators of information, accomplish the same thing as the filtering tools in FriendFeed – they bring me information that’s important to me, filtering our crud. I don’t see that Patrick Swayze has (not) died: I do see the price and release date of the Palm Pre.

The question of which is a better approach makes no sense. For Robert, FriendFeed does the job. He wants to be able to take that firehose, slice and dice the massive stream of data that flows out of it, and find interesting stuff. FriendFeed is a data analysis tool, with “friends” as the source of the data.

My approach works for me. It brings me the information that’s important to me, in a timely fashion, because my human editors act as a filter, not a firehose. The big pool of data is their experiences, their lives, and they filter that for me.

Which approach will win out? Neither. I suspect that the firehose will be more popular with a small crew of geeks, while the “friends-as-filter” will prove to be more popular with everyone else. But we’ll see.

(Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives – http://flic.kr/p/59nVfL)

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Warning: This post contains strong language

You know what I’d love the BBC to do? More than anything else in the world?

Turn off comments on all the BBC blogs. And, by way of explanation, post this:

“Dear former commenters. We have decided to save the many millions of pounds per year it costs license fee payers to allow you to post your borderline racist, idiotic and vituperative comments on every single thing we write. Frankly, you are a bunch of cunts. Get your own blogs. Love, Auntie.”

I really don’t see why one single penny of my license fee should go towards allowing every little middle-Englander cretin and every woo-woo crystal-worshipping “concerned parent” to gain the tiny little bit of attention they get from their comments. If they want their voices to be heard, they should start their own blogs. As well as learning to write without using all caps, multiple exclamation marks, or the phrase “Nu Liebour”.