I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to some form of community manged slow death. I joined a pod a while back and was pretty impressed with the design. It was very similar to Google+: clean, nice features, nobody home.
I've also joined app.net. The concept here is a social network that you pay for, so the owners are aligned with the interests of the users and developers rather than advertisers and lame brands. I wish app.net well, but it's not the future. Best case (and it's not a bad one) it could be the new WELL - a community that people care enough about to pay for (I was on the WELL in the early 90's, splitting the tab with a friend so our handle was abft, account built for two). If that is the direction it goes in then simply having a slightly longer post limit than Twitter isn't really going to cut it. And cool as it might be most people aren't going to pay for a social network.
Any attempt to displace Facebook has to solve the problem that anyone interested in sharing anything with anyone else is already using Facebook. The only platform that is in any sense comparable is email. So someone needs to make email into a social network.
This could be an interesting startup. Create some account - email@example.com - anything you send directly to that address is a post. Anyone you copy is a mention. Reply to a thread with this email address included and you're replying on the social network as well. Anyone copied on such an email gets invited to the network if they're not already.
You've got a killer viral component and an instant social network that is supported on every platform with no investment needed. Everyone has email, and everyone is a member as soon as they claim their email address or get included in a post.
Maybe someone has tried this already and I just haven't seen it. I'm half tempted to have a crack at it myself.
What would be more interesting would be layering a social protocol over email, and implementing that protocol by proxy on top of email providers that don't or won't support it. This creates a core social service practically out of thin air. Facebook and Twitter are the new AOL and CompuServe. There has to be a way to leverage email into a free and open alternative.
Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from MonoDroid:
Java.IO.File cache = ExternalCacheDir;
if ((cache == null) || (!cache.CanWrite()))
// no external cache
cache = CacheDir;
Java.IO.File tempFile = new Java.IO.File(cache, "temp.jpg");
using (FileStream fileStream = File.OpenWrite(tempFile.AbsolutePath))
_currentBitmap.Compress(Bitmap.CompressFormat.Jpeg, 85, fileStream);
Intent shareIntent = new Intent(Intent.ActionSend);
shareIntent.PutExtra(Intent.ExtraText, "Some text - appears in tweets, not on facebook"));
StartActivity(Intent.CreateChooser(shareIntent, "Share Image");
A fun mix of Java and C#. The directory got me to start with so check to see if the ExternalCacheDir is available and if not fall back to the internal CacheDir. Frustratingly Facebook doesn’t pick up on the text associated with an image regardless of the intent ExtraWhatever specified.
I've just released an updated version of Cleat that supports geolocation and timestamps. Cleat is my Windows command line client for Twitter.
I was very happy to see TechCrunch 2.0 launch today as Pando.
Much less happy with Paul Carr’s applause of Dick Costolo’s tweet that Wikipedia's support of Internet Blackout Day is “…just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish”.
Possibly a smart position for Twitter. It would be expensive to shut down for a day, and it’s hard to infringe copyright in 140 characters so of the many sites that depend on user generated content Twitter could very well be the least likely to fall foul of SOPA/PIPA.
And, you know what? He’s right. Whatever your stance on SOPA, closing down a global business to protest an American law is foolish.
It happens to be an American law that seeks to unplug foreign sites from the Internet, even if they’re not breaking any local laws. And then:
Arguing that a one-day closure reminds everyone of the importance of net freedom is like burning down one church to underscore the importance of the First Amendment for all of the others.
Really? Nobody is burning down anything. But if there was a potential law that allowed churches to be repossessed, say on the basis of claims of false scripture from other religions, without requiring a trial and say with a specific exemption that no legal challenge could be brought against any repossession made in ‘good faith’ compliance with the law then it might be worth it for a church or two to self-immolate.
The trouble with taking a political stance on one issue is that your silence on every issue becomes a stance.
There’s a difference between fighting an existential threat and throwing in the towel on neutrality. I’m very glad to see Wikipedia join the blackout.
Need to tweet from the Windows command line? Well, now you can…
My phone keeps running out of space. A little sleuthing under Manage Applications shows that Contacts Storage is using over 32MB. Can’t move it to the SD Card – I guess this makes sense, although it would be nice to cache some of the non-essential data there. I’ve no idea if this is a HTC problem or an Android problem (I have a HTC Aria), but some Googling would seem to indicate that it’s not uncommon.
In the People app choosing View from the menu allows you to pick which sources to use to display contacts. I had 5,854 contacts from Twitter, despite having configured the Twitter app to only sync with existing contacts. I also had a bunch of Facebook contacts, with the same configuration (existing contacts).
I tried deleting Twitter from Accounts & Sync. This warned that it would remove contacts (great!) but after blowing it away Contacts Storage had more than doubled to over 70MB.
Time to go nuclear. I backed up existing contacts and then deleted all data from Contacts Storage. My phone is happy again.
Contacts and sync in general is the worst part of the Android experience. HTC Sync is a contact-duplicating, pop-up-and-wave-my-arms-in-the-air-every-time-I-do-anything piece of Adobe Air uselessness. Google really needs a better answer for people who live in Outlook on the desktop. Or maybe they’ll eventually grind me down into GMail…
Give me an extra character for every year that I’ve been with Twitter.
Another extra character for every tweet that gets retweeted more than a couple of hops outside my social circle.
Ten more characters if I #AskObama and he answers.
I just got on Google+, and the Circles concept definitely moves the ball forward, but my heart sinks a little at having yet another disconnected social identity. It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again – social networking needs to be an open, core internet standard like email. You can live on Facebook, Google, Twitter, wherever but your social graph should be independent of any specific service.
I don’t mean this in any (well, OK, a little) granola crunching open source way. Companies should compete to the death on their social graph implementation and added value. But the actual data on who your friends are should belong to you and should be both portable and interoperable. I should be able to friend someone on Google from within Facebook and share core items in both directions. If I get fed up of Facebook I should be able to move my graph and central identity elsewhere.
We’ve got OpenSocial, strangely not mentioned in the same breath as Google+, and Open Graph which is open for things but not people. Also FOAF, XUP, and other possible foundational standards. Of course the barriers here aren’t technical.
Altly wants to be Pepsi to Facebook’s Coke. I’m waiting to see what it tastes like, but it doesn’t sound like they’re itching to change the game.
Diaspora is an interesting project, but running instances (pods) of a social network is the wrong level of abstraction.
Of course ‘owning’ the graph is tremendously valuable and it’s hard to see Facebook giving this up anytime soon. If Google really don’t want to be evil they should use Google+ to liberate us from the tyranny of walled social gardens. Unless it turns out to be another Buzz or Wave in which case it’s down to us.
I use Facebook for people I know well, LinkedIn for weaker ties and Twitter mostly for people I don’t know at all.
Over time though I’ve created identities on pretty much every network. With the increased interconnectedness of such sites when I stop using them I don’t stop posting…
I just discovered (in a spam filter) that someone was having a one sided conversation with me on Plaxo Pulse. I’m also actively posting (but not paying attention) on Buzz and goodness know how many other networks. I’m sure this inflates their active user count admirably but I’m now worried that undead me is being rude.
The social graph needs to work better in the other direction. Everything I post and comment on syndicates out like crazy but keeping track of responses just isn’t working.