Contrary to all of the uproar this past week, I like Google Buzz, but with a reservation or two.
I like that Buzz is a version of Jaiku, which I love love love, that is attached to my Gmail & Latitude on my mobile phone. I like that most of the people I liked best on Jaiku are already on Google Buzz and are already my friends due to being in my address book. I really like that I am not limited to 140 characters, as I am on Twitter, and that to interact with Google Buzz I just need to log into Gmail.
Google did ask if I wanted to have Buzz attached to my Gmail account and I said yes. Google also asked if I wanted my Google profile public, which I edited and then made public and searchable.
My only but about Buzz is that it would have been much better if Google Buzz had asked if I wanted to make all my address contacts and Google Reader follows to be my friends in Buzz. I would like to have opted-in rather than logged in with over 100 people I was following automatically! 100! Woah!
I can’t really go unfollow them now. And by automatically having me follow the folks in my address book who are on Buzz, it took away the fun game of joining a social network where one has to search for one’s friends or other interesting people. Google took away the exploration phase.
Google, please allow for opt–in, not opt-out. And don’t forget to let us explore to find our own friends rather than finding them for us.
Tonight at dinner, Erika and I had a long talk about my Facebook post from last night: how each of us use it, why I hate it, and why it is the first social network site that she has really gotten into. We talked at length about synchronous vs. asynchronous communication, public vs. private, the open web vs. the closed web (like MySpace or Facebook), preferred modes of communication, and which worked better when. It was a great conversation over excellent food at Fu Rai Bo in West LA.
All the while we were discussing Facebook and styles of communication an early 20s-something couple next to us was on a date and the whole time the girl kept taking phone calls and texting, all the while she was leaning across the table to smooch the fellow. When they left, I pointed out the extreme difference to Erika.
Not once during dinner did either Erika or I touch our mobile phones, I did not take photos or check my email, she did not take any phone calls. We talked. Then again, we weren’t on a date, just having a fun debate over issues. Yet, the youngsters were completely ok with continuous partial attention and smooching in between communicative interruptions.
One of the things that Erika pointed out to me during our discussion, of which she should know as we have been friends for over 18 years now, is that if I strongly don’t like something then it is a guarantee that 80% of the rest of the planet will strongly like it. I have a problem with intuitively not being mainstream. Thus, if I don’t like Facebook, you should probably go buy stock in it. Well, if they were public that is.
I got home tonight and found this post over at The Spittoon and have concluded that I must not be “Miss Con-GENE-iality“:
If Facebook is starting to take over your life, maybe your genes are partly to blame.
While I am good at keeping up with a wide circle of networks, I don’t enjoy nor have I gotten sucked into Facebook. As I stated to Erika tonight, it really comes down to the open web vs. the closed web and how services like Facebook & MySpace encourage folks to remain in the closed web and get dumbed down by the confined space. Erika argued that folks like the convenience of the closed web spaces like Facebook & MySpace that allows folks to do everything in one place.
I don’t want the internet to become an slightly more interactive version of the brain dead Boob Tube (TV), but a place where folks can grow and become more creative and alive.
The synopsis of the very first ever Nokia Open Lab 2008 is below the “fold” (aka click on the continue reading bit)…
Wed. 09.10.08 and Thurs. 09.11.08 – Thus the Nokia Open Lab 2008 starts off with travel from Seal Beach, California at an ungodly hour of the morning on Wednesday (ie before 5am) to get to LAX in time for a 7am (!!!!) flight to New York’s JFK airport before transferring on to Helsinki via Finnair.
My neighbor Earl was so kind as to give me a ride to LAX before the crack of dawn even thought of getting up. The flight from LAX -> JFK was wonderful due to the lovely inflight GoGo wifi, as previously documented. At JFK, Micki and I stopped for lunch at an amusing “bistro” that was themed as a New York cop bar with the servers in fake police uniforms.
The plane ride from New York to Helsinki was uneventful, in that there was no wifi, and my poor rowmate, Rahul Nair, got a chatty Ms. Jen (sorry, Rahul…). But hey! Rahul was a part of the team that was responsible for Zonetag and Zurfer. Oh how I would have liked to have met him 2 years ago when I was working on the Around Ireland project. In my defense, it was an 8 hour flight to Helsinki and Rahul has been working in geo-location for a couple of years… ;o)
After many years of bulletin boards and mailing list and a few years of organized social networking like Friendster and MySpace, I have come to the conclusion that I hate Friendster & MySpace but I love Flickr.
On the old school boards and lists, there was, by and large, an equality of posters. If you posted and were a part of the conversation, you were rewarded with a community that you may not have in meatspace or tormented by trolls depending on the circumstance. On most of the current popular social networking spaces, like MySpace, it is too closed in concept & action, and too much like a high school meat/meet market.
Flickr is refreshing in comparison. Everyone who participates is a creator, not a lurker, not a troll, but an active participant who adds to the pool of photos. If you wish to make friends, you add folks who you like their photos to your contact list. And then you comment on their photos and they can comment back.
Community develops from Creativity. Lovely.