Craving intimacy in our social networks

It’s Ironic that Facebook is moving into a more public space occupied by Twitter and FriendFeed.

I think their jealousy of the hype that Twitter is getting might be leading them astray.

Why?

I’ve been asking “normal people” what they use. You know, people like my wife and her friends who aren’t tech bloggers and don’t pride themselves on using the latest thing. She is addicted to Facebook and is not interested in the public part of it. She doesn’t get Twitter and FriendFeed although she understands how I use those to talk with a large public audience.

She’s craving intimacy with her friends. She uses Facebook to talk with her childhood friends about the little moments in life that they will find interesting but that she doesn’t want open to a larger public discussion.

She’s not the only one craving that kind of intimacy. I’ve noticed it about myself too. Recently I started a private group for people I liked that I wanted to have a way to discuss things with just them. It never went anywhere, but I noticed that when we have small, intimate discussions that all of us have more fun and learn more.

Living our lives in public often leads to very weird behavior and worrying about what the crowd will think. That doesn’t lead us to a good place often.

I’ve often wished that FriendFeed and Twitter have more private spaces, or ones that have a better combination of public and private areas. The fact that they haven’t worked much on the private spaces (FriendFeed’s private groups are pretty good, but private messages get lost in the noise and there isn’t a good way to notify people that messages are waiting for them and Twitter’s direct messaging features are a total joke, unusable for anything group related and pretty unusable for anything else either). Now that Facebook is spending more effort becoming more public I find myself looking for some other system that provides that intimacy.

This week I’ll explore several, but one I found that is already gaining a devoted group of passionate fans is ThisMoment. They opened up for business last week.

Unlike with other experiments I’ve done on other social networks this one I’m going to keep just for my family and closest friends, but they have put up some interesting examples that are shared with the public. The founder, Vince Broady, put up a page of his Mad Max movie night. You can see here that the “moment” is intimate and the story told with both text and pictures.

Vince formerly ran Gamespot and entertainment at CNET and Yahoo and he — and a team of 11 loyal engineers — are building out this effort. I always look for good teams behind services (that’s why I got so excited by FriendFeed) and that’s one reason I’m excited about thismoment.

Anyway, some other examples. Even brands can use the more intimate approach. Here Road & Track is using thismoment to share moments of beautiful cars with its fans.

Here Stephen Blake recorded his experiences on Obama’s Inauguration Day.

Am I the only one noticing this trend? Is Facebook nuts for being jealous of Twitter and copying FriendFeed? Where do you go online to talk with your close friends? Are you looking for a better way?

Teaching unconferences to newbies, Cloud Camp style

Dave Nielsen, co-founder of the Cloud Camp series of unconferences (one was just held in San Francisco) gives me an innovative way that he’s found to introduce unconferences (video) to people who don’t know what those are. I like his approach because we all have to teach people who are unfamiliar with things we are building or talking about. I remember how hard it was to get many of you to try Twitter (although most of that hard work is conveniently forgotten today). Anyway, if you have a chance to participate in a Cloud Camp (there are two that start tomorrow in Portland, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio) you should do it. The people who went to San Francisco’s version praised it.

Drama vs. Helpfulness, how I will rebuild a friendship

Twitter. It almost means drama. Heck, for those who didn’t catch musician Wil.i.am and Perez Hilton going at it over on Twitter you can get a whif of the kind of things that seem to happen in our real-time entertainment-focused world.

I have drunk too much from that world.

It’s too easy to be nasty. To build alliances, mobs, and use them to hurt people. I know, I’ve been on both the receiving end of that and the giving end of it too.

But I’m going the other way. How can I be helpful?

Yesterday I reminisced about the good old days, when coders ruled the world, not drama. Code isn’t dramatic. It either works, or it doesn’t.

Code doesn’t incite riots. Code doesn’t call people names. Code doesn’t end friendships.

So, I’m leaving the drama world to those who want to use Twitter to riot, to harm, to hurt, or to cause a fight to encourage people to click on their links so they can get the page views and get paid.

Tonight a friend says he’s ending his friendship with me. I don’t care how or why, but I’ll work to be helpful again. I used to be helpful.

I used to help by being excited by seeing the coolest latest startups. I used to help by trying out all the latest technology and knowing more about how to use it than anyone else.

That is still there, but it’s been repressed by the real time world. The drama. The fights.

My friend is noticing the same thing, although he’s articulating it badly. So am I.

It takes two to fight, so now I’m off. How to be helpful?

Well, for one, have you tried Feedly? I’m playing with it and it is now my favorite way to read Google Reader’s feeds and tell the world about who has the best blogs. Yeah, it only works with Firefox, but most of you should be using that anyway. Would love to help out.

Anyway, earlier today I wrote that with every tweet we have a choice: helpful or hurtful. I’m trying to be helpful. Kick me if I’m not.

Excuse me while I try to patch up a friendship.

The future of TV:

Hey, I’ve learned you gotta write a catchy headline to even have a chance to get attention. Even then, this one will probably barely get noticed in the river of Tweets and other noise rushing by. (UPDATE: I changed the headline, cause many people complained about it).

But there’s a point here, over on Building43 we’ve been getting around and Adobe showed us Flash running on a set top box with full glorious HDTV. Did you catch that video? Probably not. How will you see sex in the future? HDTV, so the headline sorta fits. And, if you’re here for porn or something, sorry if I fooled you.

In the first couple of weeks we have a bunch of other videos over on Building43 that you might have missed:

Famous author Don Tapscott talks to us about growing up digital. He wrote a book on the topic and you might like his thoughts.

Mark Zuckerberg gives his first video interview in Facebook’s new building and gives his dad, a dentist, business advice.

Stu talks to us about Hadoop and building large dataset search engines.

Are you a famous person or a brand that wants to use Facebook like Oprah and many others do? Caitlin O’Farrell works with celebrities on their Facebook pages and she gives us her best tips.

Four Seasons has 82 hotels worldwide and Kelly Nelson is the first in the chain to get permission to use Twitter and other social networks to represent the brand. Hear her talk about the experience.

Luke Kilpatrick shows us how to create an iPhone mockup in Adobe Fireworks.

You might have heard that Zappos is cool, but after taking the tour you’ve heard nothing until you hear from the CEO in this conversation with Rackspace’s Chairman.

Uservoice is a cool startup in Santa Cruz. Why are they cool? Their service helps companies get closer to their customers. Here you meet the founder and get some insights into what makes UserVoice something that brands are praising.

You’ve probably heard of Fred Wilson if you’ve been on the tech and business blogs. He’s a New York venture capitalist who invested in Twitter, among others. Here he spends 45 minutes with me explaining what he’s seeing happen in the 2010 web world.

If that’s not enough we have blogs from Wes Wilson on branding, Bruce Hughes on small business weapons, Nan Palmero on simplification of technology and the role it plays in business, Michelle McGinnis (she played a huge role in our site’s design) talking about embedding FriendFeed, Michael Sean Wright made a video documentary of our launch party, and Guy Kawasaki talks about the new economics of entrepreneurship.

So, what’s next? Well, Rocky Barbanica is editing up a storm. This week we leave for London to visit a bunch of technology companies to see if we can find ways we can help your web business.

We’re specifically looking for people who can help teach other people about how to do the 2010 web. Are you interested? Please join our Building43 FriendFeed group and leave a note there or, if you want something a little more private, email us at contribute@building43.com

And sorry about the misleading headline, hope you found some sexy videos here anyway. Hey, to me ideas, technology, and geeks are sexy. I’m a geek, what can I say?

Crowd sourcing works, here's some examples

Ever use a crowd to learn something? I have. Here’s some of my favorite ones:

1. What Netbook would you recommend?

2. Examples of “now” marketing.

3. Teaching me about microformats.

4. Top apps to load on your new iPhone 3GS.

5. Favorite Twitter app for iPhone.

6. A bunch of people’s favorite web sites.

7. Tools people use to build 2010 websites.

8. Hundreds of people teach me about “leadership.”

9. What apps/services people think should be included in a list of 2010 web ones.

10. What to do if you see FriendFeed spam.

11. What to use instead of PowerPoint to give presentations.

12. What should CIOs consider about the 2010 web?

13. Interesting groups of Twitterers.

14. Should you use Disqus, Intense Debate, BackType on your blog’s commenting system?

15. What kind of mountain bike do you recommend for $1000-$1,500?

There are plenty of other examples too, but most of these have very good answers and are participated in by dozens if not hundreds of people each.

Have you found other examples of where crowds were used to answer questions and where the answers that came back are better than what you can find elsewhere?

The day Twitter kicked CNN's behind & @ev bought me a whisky

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Yesterday is the day when Twitter thoroughly beat CNN. Badly beat CNN. Embarrassingly beat CNN. And most other USA-based media too.

Over on friendfeed we’ve been talking about this for the past 12 hours. Here’s one thread on CNN’s horrid news judgment.

This second thread is interesting because of the number of interesting news sources linked to by various people. Don’t miss the photos and videos. Great examples of photojournalism.

ReadWriteWeb wrote a good post to CNN.

I’ve been clicking “like” on the best items about Iran that have come through friendfeed. The photo above I found on TwitPic here. Pulitzer Prize winning material.

OK, so last night something else really weird happened.

My friend Luke Kilpatrick (he lives a couple of blocks away from me) invited me down to the Ritz at about 9 p.m. tonight. He met up there with a couple of geeks. While there he introduced me to Philip Kaplan (the guy who started AdBrite and Fucked Company), Scott Raymond, and Rachel Luxemberg, who is a community manager at Adobe.

It was dark, so I couldn’t see who else was there around the fire ring out back.

Anyway, I was pretty passionate about this CNN story, since every hour we had been turning through the channels trying to learn about Iranian news (my wife is Iranian and hadn’t been able to call her relatives in Tehran). So I was telling Luke about how Twitter was totally kicking ass over CNN (CNN, when I kept turning it on, had nothing on and, instead was playing shows like Larry King Live with a couple of guys who build motorcycles).

That’s when I heard a voice say “what are you saying about Twitter?” I looked up and it’s Evan Williams, founder/CEO of Twitter. Oh, hi!

Anyway, I congratulated him on kicking USA’s media’s behind (CNN wasn’t the only one who wasn’t covering the Iranian protests). We talked about a variety of things, including family (he has a kid on the way, his wife was there too) and the future of Twitter.

We talked about why he isn’t going to sell Twitter, but I’ll let him explain that all in a blog post. We talked about Building43, which has gotten a good chunk of traffic, because his competitor, Mark Zuckerberg gave me one of my first interviews there.

He said that Twitter would ship more new features in the next few months than it has in years. Anyway, I talked more about the evening on friendfeed. We ended up as a group up in the Ritz’ bar where Ev graciously bought us all drinks. That’s how I got my whisky.

I do have to admit it was cool seeing @ev on the evening when Twitter kicked CNN’s behind. Welcome to the Twitter News Network.

Oh, this week should be fun. I’m headed to New York to be on a panel with CNN’s Rick Sanchez at Jeff Pulver’s Twitter 140 conference. I’m definitely going to bring this up with Rick (there’s tons of people Twittering about CNN right now, it’s a trending topic on Twitter’s search and there’s even a hashtag titled #cnnfail).

It is there that I found Steve Bennen of the Washington Monthly talking about CNNFail. CNET too wrote about CNNFail.

We lost a great developer…

Sanaz Ahari just sent me a Facebook message that Steve Rider has passed away, he died from pre-leukemia on June 5. He was diagnosed just a year ago. I interviewed him back when I was a Microsoft employee and he was doing incredible work, both back then and then at iLike.com. He was one of the most innovative people I met at Microsoft and was behind early live.com efforts.

Add to last weekend’s tragic death of Rajeev Motwani, who was one of the early people involved in Google and a well respected Stanford Professor, and it just makes me sad.

Today my work is dedicated to both of them. They both improved my life with their work, I wish I could come up to that bar that they’ve set with their all-to-young lives.