Category Archives: socialmedia

Circle overload and the trouble with Google+

Google+ is about 1 week old and people are already posting stuff like “G+ for noobies guides“. I, for some reason, find this hilarious. On the other hand, I’m already starting to struggle with this wünder-socialnet myself.

The big problem right now is friend management. Google has this concept of circles. It’s based on this insight that people do have different sorts of friend relationships and that these relationships so perfectly modeled by the existing services like facebook, twitter, linkedin. There’s also, what seems at first, like a great drag/drop UX for managing G+ circles.

But there’s several problems with google+ circles.

  1. It’s labor intensive. You can’t just add somebody and be done with it, you have to cognitively evaluate what circles(s) each and every contacts of yours belong in, you then have drag each of them in there.
  2. Real world friend circles have fuzzy edges. Real human relationships don’t fit cleanly into one circle or another. And as an author, you can’t necessarily predict who will or won’t be interested in your musings. Is it really so easy to define who is a “friend” and who is an “acquaintance”? Does it often not depend on context?
  3. Just trying to remember who’s in what circle. Sadly, I’ve already lost track of who I have and haven’t added yet and to which circles. For better or worse, I have thousands of contacts on each of gmail, twitter and linkedin etc. So far I’ve added at least a few hundred to G+. As a result, I’ve already blown past my mental dunbar number of keeping track of who’ve I’ve added and who I haven’t to which circles etc. Every day I wake up and to another notice that x dozen new people have added me on Google+. I love you for following me, but fuck me if I can remember I’ve added you yet or not.At least with other social networks it’s a binary relationship. You’ve either added someone already or you haven’t. Here the current google UX falls down because it’s never clear from their suggestions of users if you already added these people once before or not.
  4. Scaleability and friend overload All of these problems with Google+ are exacerbated by the number of contacts you have online. Categorizing a few close friends isn’t too hard, categorizing a few thousand is an incredible chore. Google either needs to do a better job in the UX of bulk managing contacts, or we’ve got to just say fuck-it and blindly refollow absolutely everyone in one giant circle (essentially defeating the purpose of circles).

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like google+ to work out. I just don’t know if they’ve got the magic formula yet, particularity when it comes to have any more than a few connections. What does inspire me though is that g+ circles could rather work really much better in an enterprise context. In an enterprise context, circles are a lot easier to define, between teams, extended teams, communities of expertise etc. I’ve been waiting a long time for a decent realtime social sharing app for the enterprise and G+ might just have the right DNA for it.

Sadly though, for personal use, one week in and I’m almost ready to declare friend bankrupcy on google+. I just can’t find the time to keep up with the influx of people to the service.

If you’ve got any good tips for this G+ noob please do let me know.

Meanwhile, you are welcome to find me on google+ here. Do go ahead add me to your cuddliest inner circles.

photo credit: Andrew Kuo

Presentation: Design for an Augment Reality world

For posterity here is the slideshare version of my Augmented Reality talk, which I presented for the first time at Refresh Events in Toronto. As a first cut, this presentation represented more of a shotgun scattershot rather than a linearly coherent narrative of the various thoughts on this topic currently spinning in my head my these days.

For background this was the talk proposal. I think I got to most of this stuff.

How “Augmented Reality” and the mobile web changes everything

Mobile broadband access and ever-smarter phones are shaking the internet out its lofty cloud and bringing the web into the real world. As a result, the old “real world”, and many old ideas and many old business models will be running out of places to hide from the pervasive influence of the net.

Meanwhile, each of our smart phones are in many ways even better than the old clunky tools we used to use to surf the net. Our mobile devices are not only connected but, also bristling with sensors like radios, cameras, microphones, GPS etc. that can directly perceive and interact with the world around you. We’re reaching a point where it’s theoretically possible to point that device at almost anything: a landmark, a product on a store shelf, your friends or a crowd of people; and draw from the cloud and your social graph as much, or perhaps more, relevant information than you ever wanted to know. Oh, and the cloud will be watching you and whatever’s around you as well.

In the new augmented reality, the web surfs you.

The goal of this talk will be to provide you with a fast paced overview of what this new “augmented” reality will mean for how we socialize, for how we sell and market physical products, for architecture, for media and entertainment, for public policy, crime, privacy and, as well, few early signals for what might be the new killer apps.

If all that is not interesting enough, I will also bring free beer.

How did it go? I think it went well! thanks for all the wonderful twitter feedback. 100+ tweets and counting =)

wrongbutton @tpurves fantastic presentation! very thought-provoking. especially enjoyed social AR consideration and the notion of layering data sets

BrianSe7en @tpurves great job on the AR deck! somebody who “gets it”.. yeah!

danielpatricio @tpurves Great job on the presentation, it really inspired me and got me thinking. there is a lot of potential in our future

randymatheson @tpurves – inspiring presentation on Augmented Reality tonight at #refreshevents , a balanced look at what is coming in the next few years

sebchorney @tpurves Great job. Real value for me was the “example->implication” flow, and high-level summations/analyses/insights in your tables.

D_Hock Great #RefreshEvents tonight – seeing the crowd engaged by @tpurves‘ talk was truly fascinating.

malcolmbastien @tpurves Awesome talk. It’s clear you know your stuff and have done some deep thinking of its broad impacts.

nitchblog Amazing debate to end the night. Great discussions that brought us around the world and back! Thanks to @jkozuch + @tpurves #refreshevents

davefleet @tpurves is wielding a NFC phone. Love the potential with that technology #refreshevents

pinkbrickroad @tpurves so interesting/funny. Future is crazy. #refreshevents

josephdee @tpurves presentation has been kick-ass so far. Peeks into the future of mobile experience, which is making me grin : ) #refreshevents

AdamSchwabe I love hearing @tpurves talk tech. So intelligent and focused. Fast, well-read. #RefreshEvents

I look forward to presenting again the next revision. Contact or DM me if you’d like me to lead/present this discussion at a future event. Meanwhile enjoy:

Link: Audio track of my presentation (video coming they say)

Have feeds made the social web too meta?

Social media is getting way to meta

Meta-social aggregators like friendfeed and facebook are turning the web into a mobius strip with a snake in it that’s eating it’s tail. Wondering what would happen if I fed my twitter to my, friendfeed, to my facebook status and back to twitter again. But I don’t dare, I’m sure I would crash the internet.

Go ahead, leave a comment… anywhere.

It’s time to take “social” for granted

I would like to declare the social web officially invented already. Hoozah! It was a good, it was fun, like any tech boom, it made it’s share of wiz kids very successful and created a lot of value for the rest of us along the way too. Disastrous timesinks like Icanhascheezburger and Scrabulous not withstanding. Now lets move on.

The big deal in the late 90s was to have a business idea like “it’s a like giant petfood store but… wait for it… on the web

The big deal of this decade was “omg, it’s like [insert whatever here] but we’ll web 2.0 the hell out of it”

Here’s the news. This later idea is no longer interesting. It’s time is done. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still vast areas of everyday business, enterprise and government that still need to be beaten severely with the Web2.0 stick (even the Web1.0 stick would still help in some places). Rather, it’s now time to think of socialness and 2.0ness as “business as usual” in the IT industry. The substantive battle is over, this is a mopping up operation. And there’s a ton of rolling up the sleeves and value to unlock left to do in almost any vertical industry. [yes you can contact tom[at]thomaspurves.com to learn more about my agreeable professional services rates and lets get started]

Over time, the tools, tricks and interfaces for making social apps will continue to evolve. In much the same way that basic web interface design, SEO and architecting for scalability continues to evolve – as a specialist field, off of the main stage.

However, if you are the next young wiz kid innovator or trying to disrupt everything, forget about social. Oh sure, your app will certainly be social. But that’s just a basic prerequisite now, like an app being webaccessible in the first place is something we can take for granted. Social is no longer the goal onto itself, it’s the baseline from which to build on.

Rather than meta-obsessing over Social and talking about talking about social, it’s time that we all just got on to the next wave of using these great tools available to solve real human, consumer and business problems.

Next week: Building Web3.0, why it’s time to start taking Mobile for granted too…

Noise Aggregators

bored
Jevon has a great post up today on how the new trend towards social aggregators is missing the point.

I’ve called these things underpants business models. Collecting a lot of people’s seemingly-useless personal stuff in one place, but then, through some magical step 2, everyone profits. I, like Jevon, and everyone else, are still waiting for anyone to come anywhere close to step 2. Yet the aggregator startup fad just keeps coming. Everyone seems to be wearing them these days… Jaiku, plaxo, friendfeed, socialthing etc.

But, as Google has proved since 1998, there’s little value in aggregating the whole internet, but a lot of value to be created in synthesizing it. Aggregating random data easy. Relevant, human-interesting synthesis hard, but the only place where value is created.

What exacerbates the synthesis problem is that, often with these apps, even the underpants suck. Most of these sites aggregate feeds based on any/all of what feeds your friends have available rather than what’s meaningful. No thanks, I don’t need an unfiltered list of every single track you listened to in iTunes yesterday.

I think only facebook -in it’s heyday, before the application spam took over, and drowned out all semblance of meaningful social interaction- ever had it close to right. (The original) facebook filtered heavily and focused only a few relatively high-social-value feeds of information. Even this has been debated.

As Bruce Sterling put it a year ago following a lot of blogs/twitter/social-presence can be like watching someone getting beaten to death with croutons.

Or to keep with the cruder underpants metaphor: Nobody wants an experience that feels like drinking from the firehose social diarrhea.

Anyway, thanks to Jevon for pushing me towards getting down the real post I’ve meaning to write…

Coming up on ThomasPurves.com : Why the Social media is still absolutely important, and why it don’t matter at all. (a.k.a. How socialness is just one of many vital prerequisites, but not the point, of the future of software)

Facebook vs Twitter as latest refuge of the nerds

Mark Evans writes that he’s almost done with facebook. He’s not the first or the last to grumble about the blue book (see my post for example on “attention viruses”: Facebook Fatigue, it’s Spreading?.

As Mark says, is the facebook honeymoon ending? A certain schadenfreude [twopointoh-denfreude?] in me would like to claim it so (damn that Zuckerberg, so rich and so young).

Certainly, the “open” application platform (open crapplication platform?) has nearly been facebook’s downfall. A grand experiment in which Mr Z has learned that if you do freely open up your wildly successful internet platform to thousands of pointless, self-interested, attention seeking crapplets, that – like some epic biblical plague of digitally-winged attention locusts – tens of thousands of self-interested, attention sucking crapplets will rapaciously attempt to take advantage of your success. Who knew?

My facebook page looks as though seized by a grand mal craptileptic fit in spam factory.

Meanwhile, it gets worse, you just can’t hide on facebook anymore. Every ‘slackjawed acquaintance’ you’ve ever known is poking you now, biting you like a zombie or worse. Some of these people don’t even have any proper geek cred at all (the horror). I joke, but there is known problem of managing facebook if you are a highly popular person.

So anyway, the real nerds are going back to Twitter. [I don’t know where the actual popular people are going]

Twitter is safe. For one it does a lot less, so it’s as yet uncorrupted. And, lets face it, it’s really only the nerds who are on Twitter so far. Twitter is mostly interesting for who’s not on it (and it’s handy that you can discretely un-follow people if need be) and for the special culture and secret @ # language that has grown up around it.

I like twitter a lot, but know that facebook is working hard to put the wrong bits of toothpaste back in the tube, and will be doing a lot to, no doubt, be twice as big in 2008. And if the alpha geeks are turning away from facebook, maybe this means they’ve actually exactly hit it right, and made something everyone else can use.

When twitter too, jumps the shark chasm this year to general popularity, I’m sure the flighty geek-set be on to something else by then anyway. Mixin anyone?

You can add me on twitter here.

You can add me on facebook here.

LIFT08 Notes: Genevieve Bell, Intel, do our digital worlds require secrets and (white) lies?

Genevieve is an ethnographer looking at digital culture and the necessity of “lying”

45%5 of mobile users have lied about wherabouts in sms
100% of online daters lie about height or weight

James Katz says entering arms race of digital deception she locked herself out of flickr because she lied about her age and forgot which lie she told what might an ethnographic intervention yield here?

telling lies is always bad, most religions and legal systems are against lying but keeping and telling secrets is more ambiguous, and white lies are okay in some cases

hindu proverb “any number of lies is okay as long as the wedding still happens” we tell somewhere btw 6-200 lies a day some theorists argue that lying is necessary part of surviving daily life notion that all info should be equal and avail to all is a new concept are icts succeeding in part bc they facilitate our lying ways or because lies are needed to keep us safe.

Israeli researchers find that online deception appears to be an enjoyable activity. guild, fear, shame largly absent newer technology arriving that can’t help but tell the truth.

Do secrets and lies offer new ways to think about privacy and security. do our digital worlds require secrets and lies?

My reaction: Fascinating question for social media. We often argue that transparency and accountability are naturally beneficial to efficiency and effectiveness of organizations.

Sure, organizations tell lies or at lest partial truths all the time. (Sometimes it’s called marketing)

But are there other little white lies (not to mention secrets) that are essential keeping a company going?

Most social networking is also about self marketing as well.

Perhaps enabling benevolent/harmless “lies” is a key and subtle but important factor in the success of any social media?

Why doesn’t Flickr let you tag your friends in photos?

One of the favourite stories Facebook likes to tell is about their photos application. Facebook doesn’t even have a very good (by which I mean feature-rich) photo application. But what they will tell you is this. In just 6 months, Facebook’s photo application surpassed the usage all other internet photo sharing applications in the US combined. All this on the strength of one little, brilliant, why-didn’t-we-think-of-that feature called tag your friends.

In facebook you can tag your friends in photos, and when you do, they -and friends of that friend- are notified that a new picture has been posted of your friend. It’s great, it’s simple it’s been around now for a dog’s age now (in internet terms) so…. Why doesn’t flickr (the web’s original social photo site) allow you to explicitly tag your friends in photos too?

There can only be a few possible explanations why flickr doesn’t let you tag your friends, please choose your favourite:

(update: full text may not be visible in your feed reader click through to post the full post)

“…it’s critical to remember that these changes were happening for the first time ever, accelerating human life into the modern age at a pace that barely allowed time to gain vantage on the present before hurtling into the future, all the while changing the expectations of what that future might hold.”

In case you missed it, this is from a great post last week by Michele on the reaction of artists, crafts people and designers to the disoriented changes in, wait for it, Victorian england as spurred by the industrial revolution.

Textile factory

She is pointing out the strong parallels between historical change drivers like the industrial revolution, and our current digital age. In each case, major societal changes being driven by a sudden major change in an underlying enabling media.

server racks

“Arts & crafts was neither anti-industrial nor anti-modern, though it embodied a strong reaction against many industrial practices and encouraged individual handwork over mass production.” It’s a repeating theme, the idea of struggling to bring back some the human meaning and flavour lost from the shift from individual craftsmanship to the commoditization of the the industrial process – as well as to use these new tools in the best ways consistent with a designed idealism.

In the great post war expansion of the 1950s, the Americans invented spray-on cheese. Is this an innovation?

New media create whole new areas of possibility. But not all of these areas are awesome. As designers we feel the urge to try and “steer” these outcomes away from some perceived negative outcomes to other perceived “higher value” outcomes but is it like trying to steer a tidal wave?

Michele asks “i wonder though if our insights into the past can aid us in creating the future?”. I hope Michele will take a swing at that in her future posts, but for now, here’s my swing at it:

I have this “dead media” idea as a framework for understanding what happens next based on what is, has or will be about to obsolesced. You can understand some of what happens next by thinking about, if we adopt this new thing en mass, what will it displace? All new media displaces an old. (That is the definition of adoption.)

NYC streetsFrom a recent William Gibson interview:

…footage is of the last night that streets in New York were the way they were before everyone started staying home to watch television. All the footage that he’s been able to find afterward is dramatically different. It changed. It changed the night they turned it on. The night they started to broadcast television in New York, New York ceased to be what it had been before. Because everyone stayed home to watch television.

“It’s not that we prefer it, it’s not even that conscious. It becomes the nature of our experience. If it’s going to happen at all, it becomes the nature of our experience. If it doesn’t happen it just becomes one of those iconic retro-future images.

But if we do stop to conscious of it (this is roll of designers), we can foresee how new media will displace what we do now. Dead media is creative destruction. With every shift in media there is no perfect replacements for old archetypes, the new always has some new flavour (you may or may not like it), and some old flavours are always lost (the ritual of flipping the record, the character of cobblestones, front-porch social interactions before there was tv). Lost flavours are also an opportunity. According to McLuhan, every new media retrieves an older archetype or an older media, (just with a different flavour). To look to where new technology (or art or design) could be going (or to be at the forefront of creating it ourselves as designers), we just have to look at what has happened before. Lost flavours are the opportunity gaps of the status quo.

The new social platform of the internet is retrieving some of that experience of the streets of New York before everyone stayed home to watch television. Same archetypes just different mediums, different flavours. I feel like TV is almost a dead media now itself. What will bring it back?

But back to architecture and the design of things. The long trend of industrialization has been the increasing blandification of things. Ikea selling a billion of the exact same, minimalist kitchen widget. Spray-on cheese.

Just as the social internet has exploded the long tail of content like indie music and increasingly online video. I’d look forward to seeing how these models eventually spill over into the sacrosanct fields of architecture industrial design. Leading one might imagine to an A&C-like resurgence of individual craftsmanship, and a profound shift in flavour. Traditionally the constraints here have been around manufacturibality and economies of scale, resulting in : few designers, many copies made.

Sites like threadless.com are a weak signal of this already, as is lulu.com they enable peer-to-peer design production of physical goods. As manufacturing and distribution technologies change, I think we’ll more and more of this creep into other fields. Think how 3d printers could change the economics of distributing unique vs mass-produced goods. These days, you can 3d print a house you know.

What’s your take on Michele’s question?

I was joking that if Coehn Brothers took a swing at this question here is what they’d say. Forgive me if you haven’t yet seen the truly awesome (and surprisingly thoughtful) No Country for Old Men:

  1. In these late times we live in, it may feel that this is no country for old men or for their old ways.
  2. This impression is false, in fact the only constant is that it has always felt this way.
  3. You can’t stop what’s coming.

-fin

Link: arts & crafts revisited – shotfromthehip.wordpress.com

Previously on Thomaspurves.com: A Provocative List of Dead Media, Dead media workshop at Lift07, Deadmedia and the flavour of cities

photo credit: shorpy jamax

Facebook Fatigue, it’s Spreading

Attention Virus
Do you feel like the applications are killing Facebook? For all the gold rush and hoopla surrounding the Facebook platformitization, is it living up to expectations?

I don’t think it is. The world could use a great social operating system. But the best applications on facebook are still the original ones: pictures, events, the basic poke.

The facebook platform is still young. Only 4 months old. Lets hope that the good kids at FB find a way to reign in the social viral crapware.

And that’s what most of it is. Almost all of successful apps on facebook are distractions or “entertainment”. Or advertisements. The original facebook apps were about socially enabling the user. The new apps are about enabling their own propagation.

I’ve come up with a new term for it:

Facebook applications = Attention Viruses

They spread just like real viruses, through social contact. Their lifecycles are short and evolution is constant thanks to the rutheless pressures of competition on the open platform. App DNA is all about self propagation – and stealing away our attention fraction by fraction.

The same will go for OpenSocial apps as well once they get here.

We’ve seen this before. In the race to monetize a web property, the original value is corroded away. Remember when facebook was a revolutionary clean, sparce and refreshing change from the gaudyness of myspace and friendster?

The internet’s universal advertising model is partly at fault here. Sometimes I just wish that as users we would grow up, stop expecting everything to be free and pay a couple bucks for the tools we use and media we enjoy.

(We’d probably earn it back 10 times over in foregone distraction and unprocrastination) and the web would be a cleaner and more productive place.

Michele quit* facebook last week. Drastic medicine for sure. But her and good company are saying, I’d like to use facebook, I just don’t have the time for it anymore. Or time for it the way it’s become.

original photo: Marcelo Alves

*temporarily, she’ll be back at some point

Social Network Optimization is the new SEO/SEM

Or, how to buy friends and influence people:

“need someone with knowledge on how to post and title youtube videos and digg articles in a compelling manner… will be paid bonuses for results (ie getting on the first page of Digg, getting lots of viewers, comments, channel subscribers etc) in Youtube”NYCraigslist Posting
 
“We need someone with experience in adding friends via Friendblaster Pro or other similar applications to Myspace company profiles… We could pay by the friends. Say fixed amounts for every 500 friends. This is a lucrative position and would be long term. We already have a number of clients lined up.”NYCraigslist Posting
 
“We are looking for active Facebook users with lots of friends in their network. Since we are building a highly social app, it would be expected that you share it with your friends network…For current college students this could turn into a longer term campus rep position. “NYCraigslist Posting

 
The sharks are moving in. Buy your social network distribution now, while the kids are going cheap.
 
File under social graft. [tmJay Goldman]

 
thanks to M for the keen eyes and amazement.

Brand Awesomeness

Chris Matthews of Specialized has a great idea brewing about why Brand Awesomeness is the new brand awareness.

I’m not a big fan of “branding” in it’s classic sense. It seems to be relied upon too often as a crutch to support marketing efforts that don’t have a clear message, strategy, and direction. “Oh, this is more of a branding ad/email/website/billboard”…I’ve heard and read that often. In a world of connected customers, cheaper ‘no-name’ brands of high quality, and a whole lot of other marketing noise out there, does this really make any sense anymore? Or has it become a way to justify a poor marketing execution that merely follows tradition?

And so Chris introduces this idea of brand awesomeness. I’m sure you could think of a few brands right off the top your head that have high brand awesomeness. Let’s call this “unaided brand awesomeness”.

How are you tracking the aided and unaided awesomeness of your brand?

As Chris points out, in a world increasingly dominated by (inter!)-connected and increasingly advertising-jaded consumers, what matters for Brands is being part of the stories that consumers tell each other while the old one-to-many broadcast paradigm of Brand and PR building fades inexorably into the sea of background noise and filtered-out information overload.

Link: Designing Brand Awesomeness

ps. there’s a rumour Chris may be back in town to speak at our venerable alma mater sometime in the new year. Keep a lookout.

Google, changing of EnterpriseIT and I over at ITWorld

Had an interesting chat with Kathleen Lau at ItWorld Canada on Googles recent moves into the enterprise and the changing roll of IT in general. Here’s what I had to say:

There is an overall trend where employees are starting to either create or bring their own IT into the enterprise, said Tom Purves, co-founder of Toronto, Ont.-based provider of enterprise social media Firestoker. “They might make the decision to say ‘I don’t feel a need to do a business case to buy this software because it isn’t a $100,000-piece of software.”

Purves said with the commoditization of collaboration and communication tools, IT’s role will change, becoming less about everyday support, backups and passwords, and more about coaching users as to the best tools to choose to enhance their performance on the job. “There is an opportunity for IT departments to add a higher level of value because as much as Google is coming out with these tools, everybody else is coming out with great tools too.

….

Those IT departments that fail to realize their changing role either risk becoming redundant or having end users work around IT policies, said Purves. Besides, the business as a whole, will become less competitive and less nimble versus those who allow their employees to dabble in the myriad tools out there.

And on the individual level, IT department staff who recognize this inevitable job shift will ultimately advance their own careers, he added. ”

Read the whole piece here: Google enterprise exec predicts IT dept shakeup

The Case for Enterprise 2.0 Made Clear

A great catch by Bryce of a brilliantly deck on slide share hammering home the huge gap between the power of social media in the personal/consumer space vs in the enterprise/business world.

Of course it’s a lot easier to implement social media in the public/personal realm where confidentiality, key controls, petty office politics can be significant challenges. But it’s time we overcame them.

Are you in an office? Look your head over the cubicle and do you know what that guy two cubicles down actually does? how about the rest of the floor? how about the rest of the global enterprise, partners, suppliers distributors etc?

The Robotification of Usability Design

1998-2000 Human to web interaction, Web Usability, Human factors. The great bubble of Web-enabling networked databases and applications – like Online Banking, Amazon.com, lets sell pet food online etc. (eBay never heard of usability)

2001-2005 Website to robot interaction design, the golden age of Search Engine Optimization

2004-2006 Human to Human and social web interaction, funny how no one thought of this sooner. Web 2.0 and all that.

2007- Robot to Robot web interaction, Microformats, CAPCHA’s and RSS the carrots, sticks and duct tape of mashups. APIs and widget sandboxes of Facebook, Salesforce and google/yahoo/OSX desktops where our applets do our browsing for us and play -maybe- nice with each other. RSS made interacting with websites redundant, now robots will read our RSS for us too, sometimes with the aide of the ‘community’ acting as the proxy of intelligence.

In this scheme we’re somewhere between users and used. Human-mediated robot interaction etc. Which part of Artificial Artificial Inteligence (google it) becomes an oxymoron? It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Welcome to Web3.0.

Has Facebook killed blogging?

Have you noticed the blogosphere growing quiet? The pros and the a-listers and the corporate blogs are still at it as strong as ever. But tumbleweeds blow through the empty feed folders of personal friends. Flickr too is fading away. Maybe it’s just summer and we’re all outdoors, as we should be, instead.

But I think it’s Facebook, first twitter, but now much more powerfully Facebook is sucking all that personal stuff, all that social presence and ambient intimacy behaviour and desires (usecases for you techies) out of the blogosphere and in to it’s fearsomely purpose-designed boxy blue and white world.

There’s a flavourshift in the blogosphere. The olde flavour of blogging is leaving us.

When you think of it, (personal) blogs never really caught on anyway.

Compare this one data point, my blogroll: 21 my FB Friendlist: 249

Blogs as dead media. At least as we once (hardly) knew ye.

Blogs are for pros, facebook is for friends

blogs dead. long live blogs.

The Flavour of Cities – My deck from OpenCities

UPDATE: oh and my speaker notes are here on the slideshare page which might explain things a *little* more clearly.

A great commentary by Edward on the discussion that followed (thanks!):

“At the final session, insulated by a Creemore, it was interesting to think of as flavour as taste: in the look and feel and design and form and method and means of how we, for example create/make architecture. In other words do we permit taste to be acknowledged by sampling flavours and then understanding preferences based on this sampling? Is this an exercise in nostalgia or form of connoisseurship? We mourn the passing of a time-stamped culture and its intrinsic forms of expression its aesthetic? We contrast this with what might seem the harshness of the new. I like the new. You admire craft. Is there craft in contemporary design? Is contemporary architecture the triumph of pure design—conceptual as opposed to crafted? Even if we wanted to recreate or recapture neo-classical architecture would we not end up with kitsch? Something so artificial that it would be at once Disney. The time-sense, the aura of the object (the neo-classical bank building for example), it is irreplaceable ‘having-been’ or being ‘of the past’ cannot be replicated. And how do we assess what is going to be understood as valuable, beautiful and fabulous? Everyone I know under 15 in Toronto thinks the new Royal Ontario Museum Crystal is fabulous and when told some ‘grown-ups’ have divided opinions about it they are incredulous. What kinds of architecture tend to work and continue working? Perhaps buildings designed to listen to people and anticipate function (it was suggested that people refer to: How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built: by Stewart Brand) will last and be enjoyed: understood over time as beautiful.”

And this response from Kelly Seagram

Tip O’ the day. If presenting at a conference, ensure a wonderful turnout and a warm reception by simply announcing you’ll be kicking off your session by handing out a free beer to each participant. OpenSauce, because sometimes it should mean free as in beer.

OpenCities was a great event, you can find lots moar notes here.

And yes, that is a vintage glass plate photograph of Zepplin over Jerusalem that I’ve added to the cover. Flavour and dead media egads.