Friday, 25 June 2010

Monday, 21 June 2010

Twitter’s a Memory Hole

“…it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.” – George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

This weekend, I opened up my Twitter account and read each message I had posted.

Then I deleted it.

And I kept reading and deleting until Twitter stopped showing me my messages – sometime around October 2009.

I started with more than 7200 ‘tweets’ and according to Twitter, I’ve 6,587 remaining.

Now if you visit /garrickvanburen you won’t see any of them. Seems as though Twitter has decided that anything I’ve written prior to, say, October 2009 is no longer available [1]. But – if my profile says I have 6,587 ‘tweets’ – where are they?

I even searched for them via search.twitter.com;

” Older tweets are temporarily unavailable.”

If they’re not accessible – shouldn’t the number be 0?

I’m completely fine with Twitter being temporary. I think it should be (that’s why I mass deleted them anyway). I don’t think Twitter should be indexed by Google or Bing or any other service. The question is – how long should a give ‘tweet’ be accessible?

Nine months seems as arbitrary as 140 character limit and killing off basic auth in August.

So, how long should a ‘tweet’ live?

If Twitter’s goal is to capture the zeitgeist in real-time, how long does it take for a moment to pass?

5 minutes? 1 hour? 24 hours? 1 beat?

Update 25 June 2010: As of this morning, my Twitter account reads ‘0 tweets’. Makes me feel that Twitter doesn’t see any value in keeping the old stuff around and accessible. Feels very Logan’s Run. Not sure how I feel about this yet.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Facebook is the Future of Television

“But in the meantime the Net’s going to look way too much like the last days of TV. Which it will be.” – Doc Searls

This morning, I heard a broadcast radio discussion on the future of television .

First off – the host made the assumption that cable television is some sort of necessity. Wow, if that’s the case – we’re living in the age of abundance.

Second off – I’m listening to this on the radio.

Isn’t that kinda like BP discussing the future of rail?

Either way.

In my household, chances are there’s a Facebook window open more often than a TV is on or a radio is on.

Facebook is compelling for all the reasons TV wants to be. Unfortunately – TV has a lot more work to do to make me care about characters. My Facebook (and I’m sure yours as well) is already filled with people I actually care about. People that impact my daily life directly – outside of Facebook.

The gulf between the stories, concerns, and issues my people and those broadcast TV, radio, or newspaper are publishing is wide, and growing.

It’s as easy to spend your cognitive surplus watching Facebook auto-update as it is watching the latest ultraviolent television production (broadcast or cable).

I haven’t even mentioned Facebook’s video support yet. 🙂

Update: Then there’s the bit about considering maintaining Facebook activity a part-time job in the same way TV is. 🙂

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Second Guessing Social Media Buttons

“What if I had put Myspace links on, or Digg links on my stories in 2005? When you go back through the archive those would seem crazy, almost defacing of the content. Don’t those things belong in toolbars or bookmarklets?” – Dave Winer

And that’s just one problem with the proliferation of ‘twitter this’, ‘Facebook like this’, etc buttons.

  • The problem from the visitors’ perspective;
    Either I know what the logos and links mean for those services mean or – I don’t. If I know what they mean – I’ve got a bookmarklet or other mechanism that I’m comfortable using (you know for all the other sites on the internet without the logos). If I don’t know what they mean…um…is this a conversation the website publisher wants to have?
  • The problem from the website publishers’ perspective;
    It’s either free advertising or a complete distraction from the website publisher’s core offering. Worse, it assumes the website publisher knows the services its best customers prefer. In my experience, customer preferences move faster than website refresh schedules – so by the time the ‘Facebook Like’ button is integrated in a useful manner – the visitors changed their preference.

Yes, this is a refresh of the “The Problem with Badges” essay I wrote in 2006.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Good Bye Neon. Thank You.

Moments ago, the tow truck from New Gate School dragged away our 13 year old Dodge Neon. This is the car Jen and I bought days before we were married and was our only car for 9 years.

Moving across 3 states. At least 1 cross-country drive. More iPod adapters than I can remember.

Cleaning the glove compartment was like high-speed review of all those years – through proof-of-insurance cards, garage receipts, and cassette tapes.

Three years ago (almost to the day) I asked, Which Car Should I Buy?. That was when our – then 10 year old – Dodge Neon had just surpassed the threshold where anything other the regular maintenance was no longer worth the investment [1].

When I originally asked about a a new car – I was envisioning a vehicle; equally compact, fun, distinctive, and with as much life in it. Something like a Cooper Mini, a VW Rabbit, or a Audi A3. But I asked you, because nothing called out ‘buy me’. What I didn’t anticipate 3 years ago was needing to fit 3 car seats in the PT Cruiser.

This week, we picked up the Neon’s replacement: a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan.

While it doesn’t fit all the criteria I originally outlined – it hits quite a few.

Plus one more I didn’t expect back then.


1. Shortly after this, it surpassed the point where regular maintenance was also no longer worth it. Issues left for the students at New Gate; dead starter, dent in rear fender, oil leak, missing hub cap, broken tail light, froze up rear brakes.

Shortly Over Part 2: Twitter Returns Long URLs

After maintaining years of awkward, inconsistent URL shortening behavior because of some vague argument about SMS capabilities – Twitter has announced links passed through their service may or may not be shortened to t.co.

“A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title. Ultimately, we want to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened link and lets you know where a link will take you.”

This is a win for the casual users of Twitter that still send & receive URLs through the service.

Shortly Over Part 1

Monday, 7 June 2010