Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another killer app for Twitter ...

... would be team celebrity stalking. They should crossmarket with Gawker Stalker.

SXSWi photos are up

Although they're not much to look at.

Enterprise dashboards and mashups

A natural fit. Okay, now add workstreaming ...

Mashups on Enterprise Dashboards - Is Mash-Dash the 2.0 of Enterprise Dashboards?

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Blogged with Flock

My lifestreaming experiment

My lifestreaming experiment is a lot less intrusive and a lot more hacked together than those I mentioned in the last post, but it's a quick-and-dirty proof of concept using my personal online presence. Basically, I just threw all of my feeds into the Drupal aggregator and made the stream my homepage. I have to say it does make my site more dynamic. Comments?

Added: I've moved the workstream (not really a lifestream after all) to a subpage so that I could advertise two important calls for papers on my front page. I've also added a stream from my Twitter account, but with some trepidation.


A little while ago I blogged about workstreaming, "the publishing of work-related activities and events to your remote colleagues, usually via RSS but sometimes in other formats and ways." My flagger pointed to a similar but expansive phenomenon, known variously as lifestreaming or datastreaming or lifelogging.

The idea is that we're online so much, and logging so much of our existence via separate services, that we should be able to compile a timestamped record of our online existence. And since that existence intersects heavily with offline existence, we can do all sorts of autotracking, providing a second memory of our activities. Emily Chang describes it this way:
For now, this activity stream idea is providing the start to a holistic view of my activity across online networks: both my own and the ones I use. In turn, this acts as a conduit for you, the reader. Rather than just a static “recommended links” page or a blogroll, the data stream opens up my activity to you in semi-realtime and at one website. I’ll continue tweaking the content, navigation, and layout so watch for changes. Let me know what you think!
I haven't yet let her know what I think, partially because I'm still thinking through the concept. On the one hand, this seems like a natural progression in the context of net work, in which barriers between work, social, and civic lives tend to fall and in which constant collaboration and communication become necessary for sustaining the sorts of boundary-spanning we have to do. Chang runs a web consultancy (among many other things) and it makes sense that clients, contractors, vendors, etc. know what she's up to. So tracking her location on Plazes, seeing her social chatter on Twitter, and viewing her planned events on Upcoming -- all in one place -- seems like a tremendous resource. Furthermore, a datastream like this obviates the need for other sorts of time tracking for projects; the data are all there, they just need to be tagged or otherwise characterized.

On the other hand, lifestreaming seems to be giving away a lot of privacy, and reviewing her datastream makes me feel like a stalker. I can't imagine sharing this much information with the world. But I suppose we all can and do edit what we feel comfortable sharing. Maybe I'll try something similar with the information I'm already putting out there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Twitter at SXSWi

One of the first things I noticed when walking into the lobby on Friday was a big screen showing icons floating from left to right, displaying thought bubbles. This display was courtesy of Twitter, a social networking site that consists entirely of redirecting IMs and text messages to group displays. In practice, this means that people would text or IM their thoughts to Twitter during the sessions and those thoughts would show up on the big screen in the hall outside. They would also be broadcast to friends of those people.

Great, but what on earth is it useful for? In a convention context, it could have been useful if I had been trying to coordinate activities with a small cadre of friends. Suppose that my friends and I are attending different sessions. If my session is not good, I text that fact to Twitter. If it's great, I text that instead. The result: we can loosely coordinate swarming without making disruptive voice calls or individually setting up texting lists. (SXSWi is much looser than academic conferences about changing rooms.)

But there's an analogous but much more direct application. Last night I was at the Lifehacker party and I started getting Twitter traffic reporting on the various parties. The traffic mostly had to do with (a) which parties were lame and (b) which parties had free drinks. Let's call it a "beer swarm." And this use was even better, since texting is much preferable to voice calls in a loud party context and since these texts are applicable to a far wider range of friends. There's your killer app. I don't think that Twitter will take off in an office context, but in contexts where you have to silently coordinate an all-channels network, it fits the bill.

Recovering from SXSW

I've been at South by Southwest Interactive since Friday evening, and am just exhausted. As usual, conferences that take place in one's home town are harder than conferences located elsewhere, since you have to make rapid transitions and divide your attentions. But I was still able to attend some great panels (and some not-so-great ones), meet some great people, and think a lot about the future of mediated interaction.

Since I won't be going to CCCC/ATTW next week, I'll be taking the next week and a half to digest what went on, summarize my notes, and add some thoughts on SXSW. It's a really interesting conference, with much more vendor stuff than you normally see at academic conferences, some surprising depth in some areas, and some surprising thinness in others. All in all, it was invigorating, and I'll probably go again.

SXSWi posts will be tagged "sxswi2007."