Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Sick of Social Networks

I want to go heads down and just build some cool tools that are actually useful to and used by people. Real, live people, not talking heads floating through the blogosphere.

Just a bit of a rant that exploded out. Still actually have to do some work to accomplish this. I'm almost there for getting Flickr authentication integrated with Drupal.Probably some frustration with not having a job. So many side projects going on, but so little money coming in. Ironically, getting a full time job might very well mean the end to some of these side projects, but perhaps this is the kind of focusing and winnowing down that I need.

I had a long chat with Chandra on Flickr that was really great (she's Chandrasutra on Flickr). Chandra writes for Mindjack occasionaly. Something I might try my hand at as well, although I think my Search Engine Voodoo article would be better for a more technical audience.

Yes -- I need some more uninterrupted time to work on it. I might just start a book section and add to it over time. Perhaps a better idea than trying it all in one go.

Basically, just tossing some ideas back and forth about social software and personal publishing (I really am trying not to use the "b" word, because that's not what this change is about).

Today's web tools are finally at the same stage as the beginning of desktop publishing: anyone with an Internet connection and a browser can publish their own content on the Internet. Even better, tools like RSS for syndication/distribution of content means that this content can easily get spread around and read by multiple people.

With comments (and trackback and referer pages and all those other strange terms that don't mean anything to regular people), conversations can move and grow beyond the original post, creating a "web" that is exactly what the Internet was built for.

So don't get confused by the term "blog" or "blogging". It's not a way of life, it's not a skill given to some special few. It means an easy way for people -- individuals and yes, businesses, too! -- to put their own content on the Internet. No barriers, no scary codes to learn, just type into your browser and other people will be able to read what you write. Which might be teenage angst or it might be your next research topic or it might just be the specials at your store this week.

Update: something to further illustrate the broken-ness of many social networking sites today. Melanie McBride, a.k.a. Chandrasutra, contacted me via Flickr and mentioned that creating a LinkedIn profile might be useful (likely because of my job complaints above).

Well, I have a LinkedIn profile. Funnily enough, the id of my profile is 1746, and Melanie's is 191875. I can't "link" to either one, because you have to be signed in to the system to see the profiles. Also, I can't "connect" to Melanie within the system, either, because you have to know the person's email address. We "know" each other through Flickr, but I don't have her address (OK, LinkedIn recently changed this, giving you the option to try a direct connection -- still annoying).

I have long since updated my resume and general profile at other sites. But I have to go in and specifically update my LinkedIn one. I might even have "out of date" profiles scattered on other systems. Not a good situation.