Social Networks

Entries related to social networks, group psychology, anthropology, and really any of the social sciences.

Attention Data

718 unread emails. Following 183 people on Twitter. 467 friends in Facebook. 102 of them have recently updated their profiles. 145 unread messages in Facebook. 567 unprocessed updates and requests. 298 RSS feeds in Bloglines. 128 friends in Second life. 58 friends and 179 admirers in MyBlogLog. 70 friends and 40 communities in BlogCatalog. Spock, Wink, Plaxo, Pandora. The list seems endless.

I remember years ago teachers asking for my complete undivided attention. Now, everyone wants my constant partial attention. It seems unmanageable. Beyond that, I want to get as much constant partial attention from others as possible as well.

To get other people’s attention, I make sure that when I do something, it gets out to various places. I send text messages from my cellphone to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook also feeds twitter, in the event that I put something on Facebook directly. Both of them feed jaiku. Twitter feeds MyBlogLog, Spock and Plaxo. When I put up a post on Orient Lodge it feeds Facebook, in a couple different ways, as well as Twitter and Jaiku. When I take a picture with my cellphone, it goes to Facebook and Flickr. From Flickr I can send it to Orient Lodge. When I shoot video from cellphone, it goes to Facebook, Youtube and Blip can send it on to Flickr and to Orient Lodge.

There are probably a lot of other connections I’ve established that I’m overlooking right now. Confusing? You bet it is. It makes it even harder to track what is where.

So, what gets my attention? Well, this shifts frequently. I’m doing a lot in Second Life right now. I have TwitterBox running so I stay on top of my incoming Tweats and Second Life IMs. I’ve been playing a bit with Spock recently. Mostly I see tweats there that I’m already seeing in Second Life. However, I do see people’s updates in Spock. My experiences with Plaxo Pulse are fairly similar.

Right now, the feed that probably gets the most data is my Plaxo feed. However, since it is listening to a bunch of different feeds, it gets redundant data. So, as an example, 18 hours ago, I put up my post about Clinton, Edwards and the FISA legislation. 17 hours ago, Twitter picked it up. Then Plaxo Pulse picked up on both the link on the blog, as well as the link in Twitter. Four hours ago Jaiku picked up the feed from Twitter and then three hours ago, it picked it up from my blog directly. So, the same key piece of information shows up in my Plaxo Pulse four times.

This illustrates a few different things. One is the latency that it takes for information to get out through the network. It illustrates the duplication of messages. Yet not all the messages are duplicates. In some cases I post a quick message in Twitter without posting a message on my blog.

So, how do we aggregate, sort, filter, and make meaningful all this information without introducing more latency? How do we add something new so that, for example, if I find a new friend, I can get him added in all my social networks, get his statuses on Twitter, Facebook, track his RSS feed and so on? And for that matter, how do we plug it into other systems, like Pandora so that if my friends twitter or write blog posts about music, I can hear related music? I don’t know, but it does look like as the data that comes at us starts coming more quickly, we need to come up with better ways of processing attention data. Perhaps most importantly, how do we do it in a way so that people don’t simply turn off their computers and communication devices and walk away?

Does Philip Linden need a Colgate Smile?

I’ve written articles about the Colgate Smiles in Second Life. I’ve written about the Second Life Banking Ban in many places, and recently about Philip Linden being sad. People have asked if I really believe that avatars need to be able to smile, that the Second Life economy needs banks, or why I was so harsh on Philip Linden. To me, it is all part of the same question; what is Second Life really about anyway?

Too many people view Second Life as a game rife with sex and scams that nonetheless is getting some sort of interest from corporations and educational institutions. Others are very happy with the types of role playing that Linden Lab allows them to engage in, as well as the commerce to buy and sell clothes, skins, and other objects to enhance their role playing and don’t really want to see it change.

I believe both perspectives are too narrow and overlook the real potential of Second Life and other virtual worlds to become the key platform for the Internet in the twenty first century.

Look, there goes a squirrel

When I have something important to work on and need a distraction, there are several places I go. BlogExplosion provides a never ending list of websites to visit with the promise of sending people back to your own blog. MyBlogLog provides ample blogs to visit. When you visit them, if they have the MyBlogLog widget up, it leaves your picture on the blogs you’ve visited, and if you’re lucky, people will click on your image and visit your blog. If I want to check sites that I’m following more actively, I check the approximately 300 blogs that I follow with Bloglines Then there are Twitter’s to read, conversations in Second Life to join in on, and if all else fails, you can always read your referrer log.

Playing with the MyBlogLog API

So, the initial glitches in getting me going with the MyBlogLog API have been resolved and I started kicking the tires with it. My initial efforts were to see who I have friended in MyBlogLog, and then checking to see if I am their friend on other Social Networks they’ve identified themselves as being part of.

Meandering through the online social networks

Yesterday and today, I continued to check to see if my access to the MyBlogLog API Beta had come through. I am hoping it will be soon and that I’ll get some time to experiment with the API. As I checked around I found Kent Brewster’s post about the MyBlogLog API

His post includes a script that takes advantage of the API to show Recent Visitors, with Tags and Social Sites. I was surprised when I first visited the site that for my profile, it said “No social sites found. If this is you, go add some now!”

So, I followed the link and looked at page where MyBlogLog users can identify the other social networking services they use. Their list had something like thirty-five different social networking services and I was only on about three quarters of them.

One of the services they list is Wink. I had tried wink before and it hadn’t worked very well. I stopped by yesterday and it was working a bit better. Wink lists something like fifty-two different social networking services. I wish I could just import those that I’ve already identified on MyBlogLog and then go out and start adding the rest.

Wink is still acting a little strange. It is supposed to have ‘activity’ but it doesn’t seem to find any activity from my sites. I was pleased to see that Wink tags links with the xfn tag rel=" me". This would make it easier for other sites to grab the information and related it. MyBlogLog does not use that, nor does Spock.

So, now, I’m juggling my lists of websites between MyBlogLog, which I’ve always liked for the community aspects, Wink, which seems pretty powerful and full featured, but just hasn’t worked well for me, and Spock, which I really like due to the emergent flexibility.

With all of that, I’m tossing in my MyBlogLog About Me widget in this post. Will I get around to adding it on the side of my blog? Will I use some script built using their API, or just roll my own? We’ll see.

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