Steve Ivy: The Voice in the Stream

My thinking’s focused on activity streams lately, thinking of them as lifestreams – increasingly people are putting their lives online through various social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Also via blogs or similar structures for holding longer form content.

I found this post by Steve Ivy. He’s talking specifically about the third person perspective in autoposts that record users’ actions, vs content that users posts. Interesting point about Twitter – it’s mostly comments rather than actions (aside from location app checkins, e.g. Foursquare and Gowalla).

Steve doesn’t like the third person for these reports, but I’m not clear there’s a better way. Imagine a string of “I did this” posts – it’s more efficient and clear to say that “Jon did this,” rather than “I” with a signature or an avatar.

Good point about how the Flickr UI makes the third person reports less prominent, stressing their ambience relative to actual comments.

How much of this stuff do we really want to know? I want to have conversations with people online, I don’t necessarily care as much what they like or unlike, what they added to their Netflix queue, where they last checked in, what they scored on QRANK, etc. Well, actually, I do care about the latter, if they scored less than I did.

I don’t necessarily want these third person reports to go away – they add to the sense of activity, the life of the system. But I can see where it makes sense to turn down the volume on those things and stress comments.

Obligatory comment about Google Buzzzzz

I feel obligated to post about Google Buzz, as a social technology evangelist and follower of all things Google. It’s another way to post drive-by messages in random activity streams, conveniently integrated with  Gmail. If you don’t use Gmail, and especially if you’re already feeling deluged, this probably isn’t for you. I don’t think it’s a Facebook killer or Twitter killer – it’s just another example of Google acknowledging and implementing a communication pattern that many people find useful. It’s also another step toward the Google singularity, i.e. the plausible future wherein all the Google collaborative tools-in-development are integrated in a more seamless way. The great Google pie is still in the oven, and we find ourselves dipping our fingers into it – it’s very hot.