Archived entries for Social Web

Flickr Tips: Monitoring Comments and Configuring Alerts

Monitoring Comments and Conversations

After I used Flickr for a while, I started to pay more and more attention to the social and community aspects. I haven’t ventured onto the message boards or chat yet, but I enjoy leaving comments on photos and having conversations there.

In several instances, I’ve asked for travel advice and questions about the locations and people in certain photos. Other times I’ve inquired about the techniques used to capture wonderful photographs or after-effects. In all these cases, it’s easy to comment but it had always been hard for me to remember where I’d commented, and notice when a reply was posted.

Then I discovered the Photos you’ve commented on page. This page solves all those problems for me: in a clean way, it presents all the photos you’ve commented on. It’s ordered by most recent activity, so you see photos you’ve recently commented on, as well as those that have been recently replied to. It works great, and has encouraged me to contribute and participate even more.

Notes and also Comments are shown in this nicely-integrated view.

Configuring Flickr Alerts

The Flickr mailbox is OK, but it doesn’t’ really fit into my personal online workflow. I prefer to receive my notifications in email. To set it up so Flickr sends you email instead of only adding to your Flickr mailbox, click My Account from the top of any page. From there click Notifications from Flickr (which you’ll see on the right, under the Privacy Settings header) and adjust the settings. For the four choices on the page, I have “Yes”, “Yes”, “As soon as it happens” and “Yes please!”.

To modify which email address these messages are sent to, click “Edit your email address” from back on the My Account page. (I set up an Address Guard on Yahoo Mail, which allows you to create a unique mail address, which I use to keep “alert” messages like this out of my main inbox.)

If you haven’t played with Flickr for at least 10 hours, start now. You’ll discover cooler and cooler features the more you use it. In fact, this “discoverability” aspect of Flickr is one of it’s great strengths and attributes.

Yahoo! 360 Launch, with Overview and Thoughts

Yahoo! 360 launched and began its invitation-only beta period today. Yahoo! 360 is a new product that allows you to easily share stuff with the circles of people in your life. It’s a social site, letting your connect with family, friends, friends-of-friends, and new people with whom you share interests.

Eric has a nice post up called Why 360 is not a Blog, and Jason has some good comments on target audience complete with a plea to invite your mom. Troutgirl wrote a thoughtful piece too that’s well worth reading.

So far I’ve been very impressed. I guess I’m what Jason has called a capital-W Weblogger of sorts, but I recognize that this service is for a different part of my online life. Not necessarily a place to build my career, forward the Debate, or even publish my complex travelog, it’s instead a great place to spend time, share things frivolous and intimate with friends and family, and benefit from my off-line connection online.

I can only imagine that this will spread its reach and therefor its value. Already you can share quick blast messages and longer blog (or journal) entries, as well as personal messaging. Photo sharing is integrated, as well as your music from Yahoo! Music LaunchCast station. Groups are there, and definitely some other things I’m forgetting about right now.

One of my early favorites though is over in Yahoo! Local (the web’s best yellow pages and location based search). Here you can see your relationship to the authors of user reviews for things including restaurants, parks, dentists and mechanics. If you look around the Yahoo! network it’s easy to see many sites where Y~360 may add significant value. As I said in the comments on Troutgirl’s entry, I can definitely imagine sending a message to a friend (or friend-of-a-friend) that’s written a review to ask follow-up questions on restaurants, dentists and mechanics.

All and all, I offer an unqualified congratulations to the entire 360 team: Well done.

(And it’s LSM too! With Progressive Enhancement and Unobtrusive Javascript!)

Let me know if you’re interested in an Invite, I still have a few left.

Carpool Conversations Vol. 2

In the second installment of Carpool Conversations, we talked about the dynamics of communication and collaboration. This image is a visualization of our thoughts.

Thinking collaboratively speeds the development of an idea. Talking about a problem helps us understand the problem. Conversation and collaboration are important to the process.

Another thought we had, that’s not represented in the chart, is that “silence is a powerful tool”. It seems that speaking less sometimes gets better results, and that moments of silence are important. For one, it’s important to listen and it’s important to think, both of which are markedly more difficult to do while you’re talking. Secondly, repeating a point has the generally-unintended consequence of reducing the potency of the idea. If you keep talking after you’ve made your point, you have a tendency to stray from the initial message, thereby watering it down. At the same time, your listener doesn’t have a chance to absorb the idea. Know your message, deliver it as clearly, accurately and succinctly as possible, then allow it to stand on it’s own and flourish.

We didn’t get to talk too much today (no pun intended), because for some reason the traffic was sparse and we make good time north.

Stay tuned for Carpool Conversations Vol. 3.

Information Esthetics (i.e.)

Lecture Series One: March–July, 2005

If I was in New York this spring, I’d definitely check out some of these lectures. Looks excellent, and these topics and critical as unfathomable amounts of information continue to be made available to the world.

Making data meaningful—this phrase could describe what dozens of professions strive for: Wall Street systems designers, fine artists, advertising creatives, computer interface researchers, and many others. Occasionally something important happens in these practices: a data representation is created that reveals the subject’s nature with such clarity and grace that it both informs and moves the viewer. We both understand and care. This is the focus of Information Esthetics.

Information Esthetics, a recently formed not-for-profit organization, has organized a lecture series dedicated to helping this happen more often. World leaders in seven different aspects of sense-making have been invited to speak on topics from typography to visual perception, from charting to electro-mechanical engineering. The goal: to help expose the beauty experts see in their databases, better engaging their whole minds in interpretation; to help inspire art that’s not just decorated with data but makes the data readable, satisfying viewers’ minds as much as their eyes and hearts.

The format of the talks lets us explore more deeply than a typical panel or academic paper presentation. Each speaker will talk for a full hour, we’ll break for a half hour of fine spirits and snacks, then sit down again for an interview/chat led by series organizer and interaction designer W. Bradford Paley. The intent throughout is to delve into the implications these profound ideas have for human communication in general—but also to share some simple techniques that people can immediately put to use in their own projects.

The lectures will take place Thursday evenings in the Chelsea Art Museum at 565 West 22nd street in Manhattan. They are free with the discounted $3 museum admission, and start promptly at 6:00pm on these dates:

  • Robert Bringhurst, March 31 · Typography and layout

    The distinguished Mr. Bringhurst is perhaps the most recognized typographer, a published poet, and the author of the fundamental contemporary work on typography: “Elements of Typographic Style.” http://www.typebooks.org/i-r_bringhurst.htm

  • Judith Donath, April 21 · Social computing

    Dr. Donath’s group at the MIT Media Lab studies intriguing social interactions and produces some of the loveliest and clearest visual representations of these complex systems. She is a well-read and careful observer of fine art. http://smg.media.mit.edu/people/Judith

  • Ted Selker, May 12 · Situated devices

    Dr. Selker focuses on putting intelligence into everyday objects: his invention of the eraser-like IBM Trackpoint device transformed laptop keyboards throughout the industry. His MIT media Lab group continues to expand those explorations. http://web.media.mit.edu/~selker

  • Lisa Strausfeld, May 26 · Real-time charting

    Ms. Strausfeld is a partner in Pentagram, the respected New York design firm. Her dense, readable information displays are well structured, visually rich, and intellectually satisfying. http://www.pentagram.com/people-strausfeld.htm

  • Bill Buxton, June 16 · Supporting creative analysis

    Mr. Buxton is a musician, mountain climber, and interaction designer; former Chief Scientist of Silicon Graphics; and a well-known and controversial computer interface expert. He owns an art gallery in Toronto with his wife and has been developing user interfaces explicitly for designers for over a decade. http://www.billbuxton.com

  • Ron Rensink, June 30 · Visual perception

    Dr. Rensink is one of the world’s experts on “Change Blindness” a feature of the human visual system that allows major changes to happen unnoticed right in front of one’s eyes, allowing (among other things) magic performances to work. He studies human perception, discovering and sharing principles useful in design. http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink

  • Tamara Munzner, July 14 · Large data sets

    Dr. Munzner specializes in information visualization: showing complexities in subjects that range from genetically-determined phylogenetic evolutionary trees to environmental sustainability. Her work is informed by an eye developed under her art-teacher father, and often reveals structure more clearly as a result. http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~tmm

This lecture series is an Information Esthetics production, made possible by a project of Digital Image Design Incorporated. The talks are presented by The Project Room at Chelsea Art Museum by producer/curator Nina Colosi, and are supported in part by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University.

Generous volunteer efforts support Information Esthetics, including high-reliability Web site hosting by Michael Rosenthal, Web site supervision by Perry Metzger, and (soon) graphic design by Warren Kemp. Please contact i.e.director W. Bradford Paley if you would like to volunteer, be put on our mailing list, or otherwise participate.

If you go, please point me to your notes!

Yahoo! Research Labs Buzz Game

Yahoo! Research Labs and O’Reilly Media Collaborate to Introduce Tech Buzz Game, Inviting Participants to Predict Future Technology Trends Based on Popularity of Yahoo! Search Terms

The Tech Buzz Game is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends. As a player, your goal is to predict how popular various technologies will be in the future. Popularity or buzz is measured by Yahoo! Search frequency over time. Predictions are made by buying virtual stock in the products or technologies you believe will succeed, and selling stock in the technologies you think will flop. In other words, you “put your play money where your mouth is.

At the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference today, Yahoo’s principal scientist Dr Gary Flake announced, among other things, the Tech Buzz Game, which “leverages search query volume and frequency on Yahoo! Search” and puts that “buzz” in play in a stock market model. Using the 10,000 in play money that you get with a free game username, you can buy and sell shares of technology concepts like “bittorrent”, “podcasting”, “Macintosh Tiger”, “yahoo photos” and other things. Things terms are broken down into markets, which as each zero-sum-game distinct markets “Browser Wars”, “Mobile Development Environments “, and “Rumor Mill”.

Check out this and more at the new Yahoo Research Labs site that launched in conjunction with the ETech conference. You can also read up on this year’s ETech Conference, or read the Tech Buzz Game’s press release.

(By the way, as of this writing I’m in 9th place on the game’s leaderboard – out of 697 currently. We’ll see if my beginner’s luck holds out.)

buzz-game-2005031601-9th

Blogging and Culture at Yahoo!

Mark Jen was fired from Google for blogging. The is old news. What’s interesting now is that he reports on his conversations with two prominent bloggers (and yahoo employees) about blogging at work, yahoo’s policy/stance on worker-blogging, at last week’s 106 Miles community meeting. It’s nice to see that Yahoo gets blogs and blogging.

after dave’s talk, i met russ. he apparently had been doing contract work at yahoo and just recently joined there full time. i took the opportunity to chat with him a little bit; mostly, i wanted to know why he chose to join yahoo out of all the other companies in the area. immediately, russ focused in on the culture and working environment. i thought, wow, a place that’s working on bringing revolutionary web technologies to the masses and a great atmosphere? sounds like a dream come true.

then, i met jeremy zawodny. since my story had started making rounds with the press, i had been compared to jeremy and scoble, but i had never expected to meet them in person. we got to talking and he shared with me his experience at yahoo, which also sounded great. jeremy told me that yahoo is extremely blog friendly and that posting their personal work experiences was perfectly acceptable – given, of course, that confidential information and NDAs aren’t breached. i left with his contact info and an invite to tour the yahoo campus.



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