11 websites that should never, ever have a Facebook open graph read action that tells my friends what I am looking at on the Internet

  1. Gawker
  2. Deadspin
  3. Most other Gawker sites, really.
  4. Reddit
  5. TMZ
  6. Amazon
  7. Any website mentioning the name “Hunter Moore”
  8. Every alternative weekly ever.
  9. Yahoo News Slideshows
  10. YouTube
  11. Anything still hosted at a blogspot.com domain


Wanted: The Unfollowemator

As a Twitter user, I want a way to automatically unfollow users who mention specific terms with a certain sentiment, so that I can easily filter out people with which you just can’t argue.

Acceptance Criteria:

  1. This tool should use the latest version of OAuth to allow the user to connect their Twitter account to the application.
  2. This tool should allow the user to enter a keyword or keywords into a text field, then choose an emotional state (probably limited to positive/negative in the first iteration) to filter on.
    • For example, a user might search for positive mentions of “McRib”
  3. The tool should display a few example tweets, and a paginated list of users that will be unfollowed.
  4. The list of users to be unfollowed should include checkboxes, allowing the user to uncheck any box before confirming their unfollows.
  5. After confirming, the user should be presented with an option to automatically unfollow all users who match this query in the future.

A short list of things I didn’t post to social networks last week

While on vacation last week, in an effort to unplug, especially from the constant cycle of posting things on the Internet and eagerly awaiting validation, I spent a lot of time separated from my phone (no laptop present on vacation) and while I did *read* Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ periodically (often in the middle of the night while awake with kids experiencing their first serious Florida-style thunderstorms), I didn’t post or share a single thing.

Here’s a short list of the sort of thing I didn’t share:

  1. My pithy comment on your vacation pictures.
  2. Stars on your tweets laden with Rupert Murdoch + pie jokes.
  3. Pictures of my frosty rum drinks.
  4. Pictures of my child enjoying her ice cream.
  5. Pictures of my child enjoying her ice cream after falling off the bench she was eating it on.
  6. Pictures of other people taking pictures while holding up their freshly caught red snapper, fresh off the fishing boat, just before cutting out their guts and attempting to grill their filets.
  7. Snarky commentary on the foreign tourists burning their toes with charcoal while trying to grill their own catch by the marina.
  8. Pictures of the incredibly lush resort lobby.
  9. Foursquare check-ins at the resort, marina, restaurants, Whole Foods in Coral Gables on the way down, or any of the other semi-nostalgic South Florida locations we passed through, accompanied by appropriate photos of my kids in shopping carts or high chairs as logic would require.
  10. Facebook status updates about how my wife was at the spa and I was aimlessly wandering around in the incredible heat with both my children.
  11. Google Reader shares of your interesting analysis of the decline of Borders, News Corp, and/or Amy Winehouse.
  12. Plus ones.
  14. Stars.
I think that covers it.

I can’t believe I’m writing a blog post about Google+

Really. I’m more surprised than you are, I promise.

Also, I promise this will not be a blog post about “What news organizations can do with Google+” or anything of the sort. Promise. Will. Not.

So the thing that consistently confuses me about social products from Google is that as a user, I have truly mixed feelings about how much I want public and private in the Google universe.

On one hand, I have a rather public persona on the Internet, where you can find (tens of?) thousands of things I’ve said on Twitter or this blog, or links I’ve saved, or comments I’ve made, or in some cases, even news articles I’ve reported.

But what’s much slightly more difficult to find, unless you bother nosing around my screen names, or you’re a closer friend than the average blogger, is the sort of thing I say on Facebook about my family or people-I-see-in-person-lots friends, or pictures that I post of my kids.

And as usual, that’s what has me confused about Google+, which clearly aims to be a ubiquitous social layer to the Web, omnipresent in my browser as I use Gmail, Calendar, and Reader, on and off all day long, on my laptop and phone.

Do I use this for personal, old-friend conversations? That’s mostly something I do on Facebook these days. And besides, where are these things going to show up? On my Google profile? Which is the first thing anyone is going to see (I think?) when they search for my name? Yikes. That’s why I hated on Buzz: I couldn’t control what showed up on that very public part of my persona. Other people’s comments and conversations around links that I share are something I want people to have to click a couple more times (like on this blog?) to get to. That’s why I removed my Google profile and stopped using Buzz so quickly way back in the day when Google stumbled over privacy issues in social products.

Do I use this for professional, branding-related knowledge trumpeting and link sharing? (Yeah, that’s how I just framed it. It happens.) Not sure. Twitter still feels like the right place for that, from time to time, when I’m not busy desperately trying to sound more clever than I am in person.

Anyway, let’s put all that aside for the moment.

The feature of Google+ that interested me the most when I saw the demo, and still seems like the biggest deal to me? Hangouts.

Silly name aside, casual group video chat with a limited (ahem) circle of friends/colleagues/cats = a winning feature for me. The YouTube thing built into it is pretty awesome, too. This makes me want to set up circles for “Soccer Fan Friends” so we can open up video chat and watch USWNT and Copa America highlights together. Or commiserate/empathize over the Gold Cup final.

That’s about it — I don’t need another status app, or link sharing app, or blogging app, or curation app in my life or workflow right now — but real live connections with my friends and acquaintances around the world? I’ll take it.