Posts with tag "social media"

Are bloggers becoming your new news anchors?

FriendFeed discussion - click for larger view There has been a rather interesting discussion going on today on FriendFeed as a result of a post by Jason over at webomatica. In his post Jason primarily talks about getting some control back over the flood of information that comes his way via his subscribed RSS feeds, Twitter and FriendFeed.

For Jason this means doing some pruning of some 200+ feeds down to a more manageable count of 60. He reasons in his post that what he will miss from this pruning will be more than made up from his use of FriendFeed. Jason also made the point that for him FriendFeed is replacing his reliance on GReader to bring him what is interesting or important due to what he calls “…the social filter of other FriendFeed users“.

This got me to thinking about the whole world of RSS feed readers, Twitter, FriendFeed and Shared Links Feeds (SLFs) like Google Shared Links or Newsgator Shared links. Also included in the mix could be things like ReadBurner, RSSMeme, Techmeme and Digg. While all these forms of sharing information are typically lumped together as social aggregators meant to make the information consumer‘s life easier I have; as a blogger / content creator / content provider, begun to look on them more as tools instead of an end game.

As this tsunami of information keeps rolling over us at an ever increasing amount these aggregators have become almost indispensable for a lot of people but I wonder if at some point bloggers who use these new social media tools correctly will become the better aggregator – or better yet a personal news anchor for the people that read their blogs or follow them on the various social media outlets.

In the comments to Jason’s message on FriendFeed Mike McBride questioned my assumption regarding this news anchor concept suggesting that this idea was only recreating the role of a information gatekeeper which is what the whole idea of RSS feeds and blogs was suppose to get us away from

@Steve So instead of moving away from mass media, we just become mass media? I thought the whole beauty of RSS is that you don’t need gatekeepers any more, you subscribe to what you want to subscribe to, and follow what you want to pay attention to, apparently not.

AS valid as that concern is I don’t think it applies in this case for a number of reason. First off as I said in my reply to him that bloggers are essentially gatekeepers as it is. We become a gatekeeper; a word I really don’t like that much, the moment we get our first blog visitor or RSS subscriber. This happens because the reader or subscribe likes what he or she reads because it fits in with their own thoughts and feelings. As Greg Hollinsworth said in a post on How to Split an Atom

The goal of new media is to create information at a volume never before considered, allowing infinite vantage points for every possible situation. However, people tend to gravitate towards those who share their own worldview, regardless of its accuracy.

This is something that will never change it doesn’t matter the medium you use to share the things you find interesting whether it be by writing about it or posting about to a service like FriendFeed.

The other side of the coin however if the consumer of all this information and how they deal with this increasing amount of information. Granted as producers and aggregators of this information bloggers could very well be reading more into the situation of information overload than is needed. After all it benefits us to make our take on things that are going on but that doesn’t change the reality that people are trying to find more and better ways to deal with things that interest them.

For the consumer it is a constant battle to fine tune how they get their information after all they aren’t interested in dedicating as much time to keeping up to date as bloggers are. For them it is a matter of picking and choosing as quickly as possible so that they can go onto other things in their lives that are important. So things like FriendFeed serve a purpose but even there trying to parse through everything that is going on can be a difficult process not to mention time consuming as well.

Where bloggers can be the most useful to their readers and / or social aggregator followers is by learning how to use all the social tools available to us and basically act as a filter. After all this is our social network and it only exists because our readers / followers find value in what we bring to them whether it be through our blogs or on a social aggregator. We in effect become their news hub. We might be one of many but at some point they have developed a sense of trust in the news we send their way.

We have in effect I believe become news anchors providing our readers with a way to manage their daily information flow.

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Yo! .. 3rd party developers for web apps

If you are a developer of either desktop applications or some browser add-on that interacts with a constantly refreshing data source like social networks and the such here’s a hint for you.

1. Take a piece of paper

blank_paper

2. Take a pen or marker

marker

3. Write the following on the piece of paper

auto_paper

4. Get your stapler

stapler

and lastly #5 – Staple said piece of paper to your forehead

Is that simple enough to understand?

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Social media and the desktop developer dilemma

resources As the social media, social networks and aggregators of these services continue their relentless onslaught forward developers of desktop applications are doing an incredible job of trying to provide solid desktop interfaces to all these services. A good example of this is the large community of applications that have sprung up around Twitter and looks to be doing the same for FriendFeed.

This morning Corvida of SheGeeks had two excellent posts that took a look at the day’s news that twhirl had released an update that included support for FriendFeed. For those of you who don’t know the program twhirl is an Adobe AIR desktop application for using the Twitter service. In her second post about Alert Thingy should stay in it’s own lane she says the following:

On the other hand, I think it would be too much to place on the developers of Alert Thingy. By saying this, I am in no way attempting to challenge them. I’m just stating that the demands for having to keep track of two very different web services could result in serious backlogs and high demands by users.

As a previous developer of a desktop application for Twitter I know all too well the headaches that are headed a developer’s way as they continually try to keep abreast with new services that people want applications for. The debate of whether to support a new service with an existing application or whether it should be another stand alone application that they will have to continually update as new features are added to a service. Either way developers are basically screwed.

If they go the route of adding the new service to an existing application; such as twhirl has done, there are issues of how best to integrate the service into the existing UI and still remain useable. If they go the route of dealing with it as a separate applications they get flack from the userbase of these services about wanting a single interface for everything. Sure the single interface might be a great idea and definitely has its merits right up until users start bitching about how much of their system resources the application is using.

This is a big problem for developers because what users of these; or any multi-use application for that matter, service application don’t understand is that user interfaces are the most resource hungry beasts out there. As well you have to be able to have the code connecting to these resources on a continual basis in order to keep the data being displayed current with what is available from the service itself and this all takes up resources.

For Adobe AIR developers this is especially hard because the technology is still relatively new and as such is possibly still shaking out the platform which means it may not always be as lean and resource friendly as developers might like it to be. This doesn’t matter to end users as they see enormous amount of resources being used by these applications and they start raising a fuss.

In some cases they are justified as a lot of this resource hogging can be attributed to just plain bad coding on the part of the developer but sometimes there just is no choice in the matter. You as a user of these desktop applications that let you use the social networks and the such in a way that you like might not like seeing high resource usage but you know what – sometimes it just can’t be frikken helped.

I don’t know really which of the two different ways is the best for developers to deal with the issue of adding new services to their applications but I do know that if users of those services want desktop applications to use with them then at some point you are just going to have to accept the fact that the more services you add to the mix the more you are going to have applications that need resources to do the job you want done. Unlike Web 2.0 computer resource aren’t free and unlimited – they come with a price.

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From the Pipeline – 4.16.08

Wednesday = hump day – the middle of the week and the weekend quickly heading our way which makes wonders if we will start seeing the inkling of what this weekend’s bitchmeme might be about. In the meantime here’s a few things that caught my interest in today’s FriendFeed pipeline.

Bitching is the killer app for Twitter :: 37signals – David has a great post passing along why Twitter is the killer web app.

Role Model 3.0 – Are You The Latest Generation? :: Broadcasting Brain – a very interesting concept of the web, social media, bloggers and role models.

Delete It – Tips for Managing Information Overload :: Internet Duct Tape – Eric (aka engtech) with some simple tips for dealing with information overload we all feel at some point.

Real People Don’t Have Time for Social Media :: ReadWriteWeb – Sarah takes a look at what being involved with social media takes up of our time and asks whether real people could spare that kind of expense.

Alexa Overhauls Ranking System :: TechCrunch – Alexa the bastion of overrated rankings gets an overhaul and spin-doctors it.

TechCrunch’s DataPortability Conflict of Interest? :: The Drama 2.0 Show – some interesting questions being asked about the charity donations  to organizations that technically may not be charities.

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