Web2.0 Sucked The Blogging Out Of Me

Molly recently lamented that twitter has sucked the blogging out of her. I’ve been feeling the same way for some time, though I was never as prolific a writer has she is. Though for me I think it was Web 2.0 that has sucked the blogging out of me, and unfortunately the slow down isn’t all that recent.

Bookmarks hidden in one service, interesting news stories in another, photos and other content in yet another. I tried to remedy that with the creation of a tumblelog-like Place Name Where but I never did get it integrated into this site beyond tag searches and so it never felt like part of any discussion that might take place here.

So where to next? The basic tumblelog format doesn’t appeal to me, nor does simply putting a bunch of widgets on page or daily “this is what I bookmarked today” posts along side of any blog content. That kind of leaves most existing solutions behind. I’m not quite sure what form this site will end up in when I’m done or what purpose it will serve. But I do want to start playing again and posting more doodles or pieces of what I’m playing with for others to see.

In the mean time I also have a backlog of posts I’ve been meaning to write or finish writing, some even describing subtle features of the current design [open the site in a browser, not a feed reader and resize the width!]. I may revisit those ideas as a way to get some activity here again and get myself back into the habit of posting on web dev stuff.

Twitter Needs: Stalking

Twitter is all the rage these days, and unlike most services I toy with I found myself sticking to this one, using it often enough to develop a sense for the landscape and fitting in in my own way. Coupled with Twitterrific I find its a comfortable mixture of always on yet unobtrusive so its not a chore to use like some other communities [or other outlets, say, blogging perhaps! hah]

And for the most part I think its a perfect and simple service. I don’t really think Twitter or Twitterrific need to get tricked out with added features or bells and whistles, and I typically find myself thinking I would be less inclined to use a service it changed to accommodate some of the things I’ve seen proposed.

But let me shove that sentiment aside to add my own feature request to the mix. As twittered:

placenamehere thinking that twitter needs a new privacy setting so you can watch bots/corporate feeds without granting them the right to watch you

I figured I’d break out of the 140 character limit, as well as my privacy settings, to expand on that desire some. My twits are currently set so that only those I’ve added or accepted as friends can see them if for little reason then I don’t think what I post is generally meaningful to the world at large — hell, its probably rarely meaningful to my ‘friends’ for that matter.

Anywho, regardless of why I’ve chosen the setting I have, the setting is available, and the system does a pretty good job of supporting the notion that some people like a more controlled posting environment then others. Though twitter is set up with a simple notion of either being a friend or not, there are plenty of levels of granularity of friends and family and coworkers that could be implemented, but this isn’t a request to depart from the simple [that isn’t my intent at least]. At the core I’m happy with the singular flag to represent relationships, but as twitter has grown a new character type has appeared inside the space — the announcement service or corporate account.

One can now watch users like Twitterrific, Magnolia and WHATWG for updates on their services, or keep an eye on ‘celebrities’ like John Edwards. While probably not the original intent of the system, it seems to be more common every day, and I’ve found that with trivial information its a better forum then the alternatives such as an unread item in my RSS feed reader.

You see where I’m going with this by now, I’m sure. My desire to watch these very public and often shared accounts directly clashes with my desire to keep my own twitters private. If these accounts were individuals what I’m looking to do might be considered stalking. And even though I’m fairly liberal about who I consider my ‘friend’ [my list is filled with folks who are separated by a degree or two and sometimes three] opening that door and letting corporations in crosses a new threshold that I’ve been quite hesitant to cross.

How this new feature might be implemented I don’t have a strong feeling about. About anything that accomplishes the task would be ok with me. Two ideas off the top of my head would be a new account type for those registering not as individuals but as a service or product with its own set of privacy features, or a new ability to ‘stalk’ any public user without being their friend [I can so now just by refreshing the web page]. Not sure what the best, least disruptive implementation would be, just wanted to articulate the issue that I think needs to be solved.

Feeling Social

Broke down and responded to my umpteenth invite for Twitter. You can find me at http://twitter.com/placenamehere

Also trying out one of many MySpace clones called Virb which offers the ability to customize CSS and some HTML markup inside the profile pages and is generally much nicer then other offerings. Its still in beta though and I’m out of invites, but if you happen to hang out there already you can catch me at, you guessed it, http://www.virb.com/placenamehere.

Multimedia Sharing Site Treemo Launches

Does the world need another Web2.0 Community Video Sharing Massive Group Social Networking site? Treemo thinks so, and I might agree.


Joining the likes of Flickr and YouTube and a fairly busy marketplace is the recently launched Treemo. Though its a busy space, Treemo /is/ trying to change the status quo in two noticeable ways.

The first is that they’re paying strong attention to the mobile device market on both the contribution and the consumption side. MobileCrunch covers this a bit more.

The other twist is that the company seems to be very interested in growing a socially conscious community and have set up affiliations with a number of different organizations in an effort to keep its users involved in some things besides just sharing video clips from last night’s adventure at the bar.

The site is still a bit rough around the edges (I’d love to see a more detailed progress bar while I’m uploading 12MB videos from my F30, and a few other changes) but from what I’ve seen looked solid. Ultimately like any other community oriented site, the real test will be whether it gains enough momentum to become a viable destination.

[Also of note, Camino contributor Samuel Sidler is on the staff]

Introducing: Place Name Where?

A week or two ago I posted some comments about working with CakePHP for an upcoming project. Well, I’m happy to announce that that project—Place Name Where?—is up.

Place Name Where? is a personal information aggregator that tries to reverse the trend of decentralized content contributions that seems to be one of the core features of “Web 2.0” sites.

Web 2.0 is great, but at a certain point one can feel too distributed. You’ve got news stories here, pictures of your pet dust bunnies over there, and in the cellar you keep your favorite wines. Each service is kind enough to provide ways to include the content you added to their site back into your own site, but typically this is limited to a presentation that doesn’t go further then “hey, look at the last 10 things I did on this other site”.

The site works by regularly grabbing several feeds associated with my accounts on the selected services and then permanently storing a copy of the data on my end. Once I’m free of the restrictions of RSS feeds, APIs or JavaScript embedding techniques I can build much more elaborate views on the data like displaying recent activity across all services or looking up all things tagged with nhl regardless of the type of thing it is. I dubbed it a “Web of Web Things” after the discussions of similar tagging and aggregation of real world Web, or Internet of Things (call them spimes, blogjects, or whatever you’d like) by Bruce Sterling, Adam Greenfield, and others.

This aggregator isn’t intended to be a stand alone site forever—though it does work fairly well as such. I need to find some time to spend working on design and integration issues, but I hope it won’t be too long until the ideas behind Place Name Where? are integrated into this site and appear both in place of the current “link” lists as well as integrated into tag lookups and maybe search results.