I love my friends but why am I between them and you?

One thing that happened in 2007 is that we finally saw real value in having lots of friends on online services. Keep in mind that “friends” online aren’t quite like “friends” offline. First of all, they don’t take you to dinner on a Friday night like Rocky did. Second of all, you might never have met them face-to-face. But let’s leave that argument out of it for this post, OK?

The thing is my online “social networking” friends have added a great deal of value to my life. Let’s detail how.

1. On Flickr they bring me great new photos. I’m even using new software from Dave Winer to display their photos on my 60-inch big screen. Hundreds of new photos come every day from my contacts. My Flickr account is here and I am taking new contacts.
2. On Upcoming they bring me tons of new events. I have hundreds of friends on Upcoming and learn about events before anyone else. Turns out that if an Upcoming friend adds an event to their listing then it also shows up every time I visit the Upcoming home page. That’s why my event listing calendar is the best in the business.
3. On Twitter I have more than 6,000 friends (you can add me here). They bring me a constant stream of interesting stuff. Same over on Jaiku and on Pownce (on Pownce they even send me videos and music, among other things because they have a private file sharing system).
4. On Dopplr my friends tell me where they are going on business trips and I can meet up with them. You can follow my business travel on Dopplr here.
5. On Facebook my friends bring me a constant stream of applications (more than 600 waiting for me to try right now), videos, pictures, news, and other things.
6. On Google Reader my friends bring me a constant stream of great blogs and news items (more than 200 were waiting for me since 2:30 a.m. when I went to sleep). Even without you being able to see my friends, they do help me improve my link blog. You can join me on Google Reader at scobleizer@gmail.com.
7. On Yelp my friends bring me great restaurant reviews. I just joined Yelp, so haven’t written any reviews, but I’m here if you wanna follow along.
8. On Plaxo my friends’ stuff is mashed together in the Plaxo Pulse and they keep my rolodex up to date too.
9. On iLike my friends bring me new music.
10. On VodPod my friends bring me new videos. I just started on VodPod, but I’m Scobleizer there.
11. On Mahalo my friends bring me new information and improve searches. I just started feeding items into Mahalo here.
12. Over on Satisfaction my friends help me get customer support.
13. On Seesmic my friends send me video messages. I’m “Scobleizer” on Seesmic, please add me if you’re on that system.

I’m sure I’m missing some great systems that use friends. Are you using any?

But, I’m shocked that the industry hasn’t gone the next step: let me get out of the way as a gatekeeper!

See, I’ve brought together a unique group of friends. I’d love it if you could get to know them. See the events that they are telling me about. See their photos. See their news on Google Reader (although I am still getting tons of duplicates there, hope the Google Reader team fixes that soon). Learn about the restaurants they like, etc etc etc.

But I can’t. The only way I can help you get to know them is to manually share their stuff out. Even then, it’s pretty tough, particularly on sites like Facebook which really doesn’t like having stuff go onto the public web (like videos or photos).

If there’s someone who can solve this, and mashup all the feedback coming to me from my friends into something that looks like a Tumblr page, that’d really rock and be a useful resource for all of us.

Why do some friends’ networks add value? Because of their nicheness. My friends are all geeks. They care about tech. You won’t see quilting events come through my friends pages over on Upcoming. And if I ever saw something like that I’d remove it cause I’m about geeking out, not quilting (although I know a few geeks who are into stuff like that).

The stuff that’s coming to me from my friends is really high quality stuff. I just wish I could share it.

Well, until they allow me to remove myself, I guess I’m a gatekeeper. That makes me sad cause my friends are so cool!

UPDATE: over on Twitter Matt Galligan recommended Lijit, which does some of what I’m asking for here. I’ve signed up for that as well.

74 thoughts on “I love my friends but why am I between them and you?

  1. i want to be in stuff like this because iv waited all of my intire life i love bingo so i want to be in if bingo is on i will be so happy my mum wich is a nan now is on facebook
    iv been so happy in my life so can i be in one please im a fan of all kinds of stuff i am a princess now so can i please be in one if im not in im going into a differnt website iv got two babys two boys there are still a baby we go to tesco all of the time i go on lots of websites they are so good i go on them all of the time

  2. i want to be in stuff like this because iv waited all of my intire life i love bingo so i want to be in if bingo is on i will be so happy my mum wich is a nan now is on facebook
    iv been so happy in my life so can i be in one please im a fan of all kinds of stuff i am a princess now so can i please be in one if im not in im going into a differnt website iv got two babys two boys there are still a baby we go to tesco all of the time i go on lots of websites they are so good i go on them all of the time

  3. Wow. You’re excited about 200 news items in your inbox and 700 Facebook applications you have yet to try? You are an incredible loser.

  4. Wow. You’re excited about 200 news items in your inbox and 700 Facebook applications you have yet to try? You are an incredible loser.

  5. Robert, Re: #3, I can see how having as many Twitter contacts as possible brings you a stream of interesting stuff. Fab for you, given that your job as a commentator is to spot and comment on new and emerging trends. But many of us have a different day job, and we have less time than you. We love Twitter for the ambient intimacy it gives us. We follow less people, and want to see what the people we care about are saying – and this is getting drowned out because of the sheer volume of A-lister tweets.

    So here’s my suggestion. There’s nothing bad about you following as many people as you like, but I’m suggesting that you reduce your output (higher quality, less quantity). At times, it’s like listening to someone on a conference call (because we’re not following the people you’re talking to). Perhaps use Direct Messages a little more often?

    I think a new form of Twitter etiquette is developing – and A-listers who are commenting to everyone all the time will get frozen out.

    I’m drawing up a Ten Commandments of Twitter at my blog – comments, improvements and submissions welcome.

    http://philwhitehouse.blogspot.com/2008/01/tweetaholics.html

    Good luck for 2008!

  6. Robert, Re: #3, I can see how having as many Twitter contacts as possible brings you a stream of interesting stuff. Fab for you, given that your job as a commentator is to spot and comment on new and emerging trends. But many of us have a different day job, and we have less time than you. We love Twitter for the ambient intimacy it gives us. We follow less people, and want to see what the people we care about are saying – and this is getting drowned out because of the sheer volume of A-lister tweets.

    So here’s my suggestion. There’s nothing bad about you following as many people as you like, but I’m suggesting that you reduce your output (higher quality, less quantity). At times, it’s like listening to someone on a conference call (because we’re not following the people you’re talking to). Perhaps use Direct Messages a little more often?

    I think a new form of Twitter etiquette is developing – and A-listers who are commenting to everyone all the time will get frozen out.

    I’m drawing up a Ten Commandments of Twitter at my blog – comments, improvements and submissions welcome.

    http://philwhitehouse.blogspot.com/2008/01/tweetaholics.html

    Good luck for 2008!

  7. See, people get hung up on the “friend” word. Because if we just said “flows of human-guided information,” people would think it’s too cynical, and it wouldn’t really get at the point that there’s a living person with a personality driving the information, and yet, that’s what this really points to:

    In the first Web, we took what was given on the page, if we could even find the page. That’s why search was so vital.

    In today’s Web, we jetset around our own points of interest, and then share these up in such a way that other people with shared interest can benefit. It’s a human network effect.

    Today’s Web is people, and Robert’s near-the-end points about removing the gatekeeper after effects is truly where the next work is headed. Others have pointed at it, and I think it’s right. Faster flowing information, even if it’s dragging around ads for support behind it, will rule 2008-2009(ish).

    And you’re right: your Upcoming is the best in the business.

  8. See, people get hung up on the “friend” word. Because if we just said “flows of human-guided information,” people would think it’s too cynical, and it wouldn’t really get at the point that there’s a living person with a personality driving the information, and yet, that’s what this really points to:

    In the first Web, we took what was given on the page, if we could even find the page. That’s why search was so vital.

    In today’s Web, we jetset around our own points of interest, and then share these up in such a way that other people with shared interest can benefit. It’s a human network effect.

    Today’s Web is people, and Robert’s near-the-end points about removing the gatekeeper after effects is truly where the next work is headed. Others have pointed at it, and I think it’s right. Faster flowing information, even if it’s dragging around ads for support behind it, will rule 2008-2009(ish).

    And you’re right: your Upcoming is the best in the business.

  9. I think a similar problem is keeping track of my disparate online profiles. How do I keep track and archive in one place all of my blog comments, Facebook wall writings, message board posts, SMS messages, IM chats, etc. Even better, can it all be stored in chronilogical order? I fear that five years from now 95% of what I have written online will be forever lost to me (especially as blogs go dark and companies like Facebook go out of business).

  10. I think a similar problem is keeping track of my disparate online profiles. How do I keep track and archive in one place all of my blog comments, Facebook wall writings, message board posts, SMS messages, IM chats, etc. Even better, can it all be stored in chronilogical order? I fear that five years from now 95% of what I have written online will be forever lost to me (especially as blogs go dark and companies like Facebook go out of business).

  11. Christopher: you gotta point there. I hate the Kindle and it sells out. Same with MSN Spaces. Heheh. Can you define “real friend” to me? Just wanna know so I can count them up.

  12. Christopher: you gotta point there. I hate the Kindle and it sells out. Same with MSN Spaces. Heheh. Can you define “real friend” to me? Just wanna know so I can count them up.

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