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?

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?

Chris Pirillo is wrong about best pocket video cameras

So, back when I got a Flip Mino HD video camera Chris Pirillo gave me a bunch of heck and said I bought the wrong camera. He reviewed the Flip against the Kodak Zi6 and the Creative Vado HD. He said the Creative Vado HD is the best. His videos sure seem to prove that, don’t they.

But after using all three for a week I totally disagree.

First, the Creative Vado HD videos won’t play on my Mac and can’t be edited by my new iMovie 09. HUGE problem. That alone disqualifies it from being “best.” But it also has a goofy USB dongle that just doesn’t feel well designed and a protuding lens that just doesn’t feel nice in your pocket. Now, I do agree that the Vado has the best video quality of the three but in talking to many people about the three cameras it isn’t enough better to make it worth dealing with, especially since these kinds of gadgets will appeal to a Mac-centric audience.

And how about the Kodak? I like this camera, but I’m a professional who does a LOT of video. Why do I like it? It takes regular AA batteries (it comes with rechargeable ones) but sometimes I do three or four interviews in a day and it’s nice to know I can just pop in some extra batteries if I run out of juice. The other cameras can’t do that.

The Kodak also has a closeup lens that has already gotten some use in my hands and the audio on the Kodak is slightly better than the Flip. Finally, it’s bigger than the other two cameras so is a bit easier to hold steady. Which gets me to why I like the Flip the best:

The Flip is the best because it is the best designed and smallest. It is — in talking with my friends — the most likely to end up in their pocket. A camera carried is a camera that is used and a camera that is used, even if it has slightly lower quality that some other camera, is one that’s better.

The Flip Mino HD is the best of the bunch for most people and you can now ignore Chris Pirillo.

FIRST LOOK: A "different question every day" Twitter: Plinky

Jason Shellen has seen the social media world grow up and has been in the lead group. He was one of the first employees at Pyra back when it started Blogger. After that got sold to Google he was the guy who came up with Google Reader (and kept pushing for it even after executives at Google told him the idea was lame).

Now it’s his turn to start a company and an hour ago they turned on their new service called Plinky. What is it? It’s riffs on Twitter and Facebook. Instead of asking “what are you doing?” it asks you a different question every day.

Yesterday I sat down with Jason and he gave me a demo and told me stories about his view on social media.

My account is at: http://www.plinky.com/people/Scobleizer

Current TV ushers in a new kind of newsroom: Tweet Filtering

Current TV's Twitter newsroom

US President Barack Obama saw a new kind of newsroom evolve during his inauguration here in Current TV’s San Francisco studios: a Twitter filtering one. The results were seen on Current TV’s video streams (they will repost portions of the inauguration speech soon).

See they push video out to cable systems all over the world and they wanted to do something different with Twitter: they wanted to include Tweets from around the world live on Obama’s video images. So, they setup this newsroom with 15 editors who sift through thousands of tweets every few minutes. They push Tweets from the back of the room to the front through an editing process, then one person pushes them up live to the screen. Here is video of Mario Anima, director of online community at Current TV, explaining the newsroom and giving us a tour.

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Kyte.tv goes 16:9 (video showing Opera's latest now up)

This week I’m doing a ton of HD testing. Here’s the first piece of that test and is my first FastCompanyTV video on Kyte’s new 16:9 format player (wide screen). Looks pretty nice, but wait until you see these videos on some of the other systems that support 16:9 AND high definition!

I met with a couple of geeks from Opera last week. They are the browser folks. But I bet you didn’t have a good look at what they’ve been doing lately.

Perfect chance to play with my new Flip Minio HD camcorder. You can buy this for just about $230. I don’t use any external microphones. No lenses or filters. Nothing but that little tiny camcorder. It is really wild to be able to get video out to the world. This is mind blowing. 20 years ago you would have needed a $200,000 set of cameras and a TV station to broadcast it. Now anyone can do it.

One problem I found is that with HD the file sizes are massive (these two videos were 1.1 gigs in my camera). I tried to upload it to Kyte? Failed. Facebook, too big. Viddler? Failed. Vimeo? Too big. YouTube? Too big. So, I went back and split it into two pieces. That took a little bit of time, but isn’t hard.

Anyway, here’s the two parts:

Part I, Opera browser updates (here is the same video on Facebook, so you can compare quality — the Facebook one is a LOT nicer)
Part II, Opera browser updates. (Here’s the same video on Facebook).

One thing, if you are using one of these small cameras you MUST use a monopod or tripod to get them steady enough to look good. By using a monopod with these videos they look much more professional than if I had held the camera with my hand.

So, what will I be testing out this week? Well, like my friend Chris Pirillo did recently, I’m going to be testing out several HD camcorders. The Flip Minio HD is the first one. I will also test out a Kodak Zi6 and a Creative Vado (Pirillo likes the Creative the best). I’ll let you know about those tests later.

Why all the focus on HD? Well, Facebook, Smugmug, YouTube, and Vimeo now support 720p HD video and next week I’m going to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and I can’t bring Rocky (my video producer) so I’ve got to be able to shoot all my own stuff and carry my camera equipment too. That means going with small cameras like the Flip I used last week with the geeks from Opera.

More over the next week or so as I learn more about the cameras and see if my results match Pirillos.

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Is text really king over video? Compare the results

Steve Rubel postulates that text is a lot better than video on the web.

Oh, really? Well, explain this graph from Compete.com that compares fastcompany.tv (my video blog) to techmeme (which only displays text and penalizes videos).

Truth is that if you want to build an audience on the web you must use EVERY tool available.

And I’m not taking that advice yet. Yesterday I joined Digg (I never used it much until yesterday). Tomorrow, YouTube (SEO’s tell me that doing YouTube well helps your search engine ranking a lot — Chris Pirillo has been playing YouTube like a fiddle and he’s rocking and rolling everywhere).

He’s right. Text is easier to consume. Easier to search. All that stuff. But here, let’s try something. You take 1,000 words to explain to me what the next game from EA looks like. I’ll do it in a minute or two of video. The video will beat your blog every time. Every time!

Text may be king, like Rubel says, but video is godly. My traffic curves prove that.

And we won’t even get into how Gary Vaynerchuk is using Wine Library TV — there is no way he would be even 1/100th as successful by doing just a text blog. Speaking of Gary, Troy Malone videoed our presentation we gave at CES last week about how to build a successful blog in a bad economy. Thanks for doing that! Lots of people said it was really great.