boutell: (shave)
One Post Wonder status update: I can invite people. Those people can accept their invitations and become mutual friends and see each other's posts.

Booyeah! So what's left before I can bring in alpha testers?

● 24-hour rule (that's where this started...)
● A way to follow a nifty person you discover through public posts or comments
● Edit friends
● Public/private switch for posts (right now they are all private)
● Profile pictures
● Limit the # of invites you can send
● A way to change your password

That will bring me up to the minimum feature set for folks to enjoy the experience. Then I'll welcome those who are still reading when they get to this sentence. You know who you are.
boutell: (shave)
I'm thinking about building a social network where you can only post once a day. You'd get a small number of indulgences, of course, in case you elope or your duck graduates. This would encourage less trivial posting and less obsessive reading.

I've been discussing the idea on Facebook, which is a terrible place to have an ongoing discussion, so I thought I'd post here.

I'm thinking there's a buffer where you can work on contributions to today's post, so if you get the urge to say OMG KITTENZ, you can add some KITTENZ to what you'll post later.

I think the special indulgence button needs to be a duck in a mortarboard cap.

The best actual-name suggestion so far is probably Andy Solberg's "broadside," which is currently a squatter domain; I might conceivably be able to buy it.

I whipped up a design sketch tonight which I kinda like (revised version; see also first version). It emphasizes the daily nature of things and tries to be uncluttered and focused on reading. Of course I haven't tried to add an interface for posting and commenting.

Here are my notes:

* No more than one post per day
* Unless you use one of your indulgences, which recharge slowly
* This is the WHOLE POINT so it should be featured right in the name. I was thinking "ourdiem" but that, and most reasonable plays on "day," are taken. "quotidious" is ridiculous... right?
* Just one comment per day per person on any given post
* Comments are always moderated, but make this wildly easy and automatically whitelist people you follow
* No "reblogging", but make it easy to share links in your daily post. Maybe even "pin" other people's posts to remark upon in your post later
* It's OK to edit a past post or past comment. If people are jerks with this feature don't follow them
* Yes to rich text, with one post per day you might want to embroider a bit
* One site-wide visual style. Facebook got that right
* Free, becoming free-plus-ads, with the option of paying to have no ads (if we ever get there)
* Responsive site (iPhone and Android friendly right off the bat), apps later
* Comment on a post without losing your place as you read your feed (LJ still gets this wrong)
* Writing prompts to help you get going
* Social contract: quotidious will be run by a "B corporation" as soon as possible ( ), or perhaps a nonprofit
* Want to log in with Facebook? Fine. Want to log in with Twitter? Fine. I don't care that I don't own you
* Privacy levels and circles (aka "custom friend groups"). We are not Tumblr
* NO aggressive invite feature, it doesn't work anyway, too many people don't know their friends' email addresses now because of Facebook. If you like it, tell somebody about it
boutell: (Default)
Reaction #1: "it's a price to earnings ratio of 100 to 1. That's completely batshit insane."

Reaction #2: "assuming Facebook's earnings are anywhere near their height is like saying 'OK, so you conquered the entire world and every army is prostrate at your feet, but you haven't looted any treasuries YET, so the whole thing was clearly a bust.'"

Reaction #3: "CBS is valued at 30 billion dollars. It was probably worth a lot more in 1985 although I can't seem to find a figure. Facebook is saying they are worth 100 billion dollars. They have one billion users, and they know WAY WAY WAY more about those users than CBS does, and they can market to them individually. 100 billion is about right for Facebook."

Reaction #4: "the usefulness of a social network is a function of the percentage of your peeps who are on it, becoming asymptotic as it approaches 100%. Everybody is on Facebook, therefore nobody will ever join a Facebook competitor, even if they would like to. They are only going to get bigger."

Reaction #5: "I encouraged friends to try an alternative social network. They replied that they did not know the email addresses of their friends and so could not invite them. Facebook is worth at least $100 billion."

Reaction #6: "Google is valued at $200 billion. Their business is also based on contextual advertising, and they know less about their users in some ways than Facebook does. They have tried and failed to unseat Facebook in social networking. Facebook is probably worth at least half a Google."
boutell: (Default)
I have to say, Facebook has been kicking ass for me lately. Pretty much the entire Philadelphia salsa scene has arrived on FB over the last six months.

This is huge because it's quite difficult to learn names on a loud, crowded dance floor! Suddenly I know who everybody is and have at least a little insight into where they're coming from. Suddenly I hear about parties. Etc.

Facebook's official line is that they are not a "social networking site." They are a "social utility." They make this distinction because the phrase "social networking site" is associated with sites like Myspace, where people tend to have lots of fakity-fake Internet friends (*) to whom they feel no real connection. Facebook takes a different approach, strongly encouraging you to connect with real people you know from high school, college, work and other social circles. They want to be seen as a tool that enriches and strengthens real-world connections.

Almost everything on Facebook bends toward this end. The photo and note-tagging systems are great for connecting things you share with the real people that are in them.

I did say "almost everything." Third party Facebook applications (like Superpoke) are not especially impressive in this department. Though I've written half a dozen, I don't use any third party Facebook apps at all myself. But this is partly because the built-in capabilities of Facebook are very complete and well-designed already. There just isn't much room for non-frivolous third-party apps.

Facebook's "suggest a friend" feature has been particularly awesome in the salsa scene, rapidly filling in the gaps and putting people in touch. My biggest problem now is pacing myself so that I don't "friend" people faster than I can truly connect names with faces. I'd like to get this right.

If Facebook needed a case study to prove that Facebook is a useful social utility and not an emptyheaded "social network," the Philly salsa scene would definitely fit the bill. But Facebook doesn't need case studies at this point, I suspect. The big bang has already happened, in scenes all over the country. And we're definitely richer for it.

At this point, speculation about What Could Go Wrong With Facebook is like speculation about What Could Go Wrong With Google. We love them, we really effing love them, but what if they someday woke up and decided to be evil (**)? So far, neither company is particularly motivated to be evil. But Facebook, unlike Google, hasn't felt strong pressure to be profitable yet. Time will tell.

(*) As opposed to real Internet friends! Yes of course meaningful connections can begin on the Interwebs. Stand down photon torpedoes.

(**) Facebook had a brief, dumb, ill-advised flirtation with evil when they offered "targeted advertising" in a way that revealed far too much to advertising clients. I much prefer the "thumbs up, thumbs down" system they have now which allows you to self-categorize by voting on ads... if you want to, that is. I do think that Facebook, like Google, should be able to use your profile data to serve you appropriate ads— there's nothing inherently evil about that— but only if they can do so without revealing your Facebook user ID to the advertiser.
boutell: (Default)
MySpace is talking big about supporting third party applications, like FaceBook does (because the MySpace experience isn't spammy enough already). And they have confirmed they are joining Google's OpenSocial platform. All of this came out in October and November.

Here in January '08, though, I can't find any indication that it is actually possible to install an OpenSocial application on MySpace. I just see other developers saying "well? Where is it? When is it happening? Whuzza?"

They are talking about a beta period with 1-2 million users. Seems to me I'd be able to find evidence that this has at least begun.

The only third-party MySpace "apps" so far work, just barely, by embedding HTML into your profile with no help from MySpace and quite a bit of hindrance. Although I hear they plan to stop aggressively redirecting outgoing links from MySpace profiles to MySpace's equivalent applications (gosh, that's friendly).

Now, here's the thing: I am a big geek and I spend a lot of time in the thick of things writing code that works. So sometimes I am not the quickest to notice the latest developments. And some of you (I'm looking at you, [ profile] nohx and [ profile] addienfaemne) experience the latst developments on the Intarwebs six months before they happen via the implants in your implants in your implants in your forebrains.

So if anybody should hear that MySpace applications have gone real— as in, they add an install applications button or similar— please let me know, huh? Because I'd like to be in on the ground floor of this particular elevator to stupidland.

boutell: (Default)
Unlike MySpace, Facebook lets you describe your relationship to a person in meaningful detail. That's a neat feature which distinguishes it from MySpace and helps communicate that these are not exclusively fakity-fake Internet friends (no offense meant, my beloved dot-dearest).

But while they have opened up their site to folks who are past their undergraduate years, and they do cover some adult relationships well ("I worked with them at company X"), they have further to go when it comes to expanding this set of relationships to cover what adults deal with. And I'm not even talking about stuff outside the mainstream here.

For example, any site that has a checkbox for something as trivial as "we hooked up" surely ought to have a box for "parent of my child." And yes, Facebook, you may call it "baby momma / daddy" if you want to be cute.

To be fair, they do have an option for "is in my extended family," which does feel appropriate.

Any other suggestions for situations Facebook ought to cover?


Apr. 14th, 2007 08:31 am
boutell: (Default)
Are you satisfied with the social networking sites (*) you use? If not, why not? What might they do differently in order to suck less mightily?

(*) MySpace and its ilk

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