Tag Archives: twitter

Twitter’s missing piece?

Twitter’s missing piece? It is missing the whole check-in piece similar to what Foursquare offers. I hear foursquare haters shout ‘No! I don’t care where you are!’ but please hear me out.  I don’t just mean for places but for events like concerts, conferences, topics, news pieces, emergencies, TV shows, movies and of course places and companies like Starbucks! Anywhere or anything you can start a conversation on.

Why? Well Twitter is where the conversation happens now. Having to filter topics or search based on hash tags is cumbersome and awkward. There are different hash tags for the same event, idea, debate or show. Often where I am or what I am watching is not the same as those I follow on Twitter . That is fine but it should be easier to connect with those people who are. I should be able to check in to any thing or place. e.g. a TV show Madmen. Twitter would then auto build a search\view and include all other tweets from others checked in here. I could make it geography specific if I choose.  There is no point in having a list with people from another geography that may be an episode or 2 ahead or behind in the conversation. Any tweet I compose when in this list\view is auto tagged by Twitter as a ‘Mad Men’ tweet and could be easily filtered for those who follow me but who are not interested in Mad Men.

If I return to my standard Twitter stream and tweet all is normal and my tweets are not tagged but as soon as I return to the Mad Men check-in the filters and tags are auto built into each tweet I compose. When I check out that list\view and all those auto built views and pieces disappear from my Twitter app or web page. I can check-in again in the future to re-create.  Mad Men may not be the best example but replace that with Presidential Debate, X-Factor, TED Conference, New Zealand Earthquake, etc…etc…

I think it would offer better options for companies or shows to ‘own’ their check-in areas and provide info and offers while not being able to necessarily filter comments or feedback unless profanity was used. This could also be revenue generating for Twitter. So e.g. your local book store wants an advertised tweet to display with the latest offering upon each check and it pays a simple very small fee as with promoted tweets per check-in.

I could talk and talk about specifics about how each piece should work but think it really would be a great facility and help to easily connect people across this great medium. There is very little new above. The problem is some of it is in Foursquare, some in Twitter and some in other apps that try to link your TV viewing with conversations. It’s disjointed and awkward. If Twitter offered it in one place it would a great addition to what it already offers us. I think Twitter should purchase Foursquare and incorporate it nicely into your current offering. It goes back to that comment on social media ideas and solutions – ‘Is it an app or a feature’ and I think Foursquare should be a feature of Twitter.  What do you think?

The internet filter bubble – be warned, be aware and be open

This is, in my view, one of the most important issues facing us and the web today.  It is quite simply the fact that info is filtered specifically for your viewing.  It is customised specifically to you based on a significant number of parameters.  You may think Google or others are presenting results based on your search words alone but they are not.  They are using your location, likes, history and many other pieces of data to present the information they think you want to see.  Unique lists for each individual, each of us inside our own little filtered internet bubble.  As Forbes said in their piece ‘Breaking out of your internet filter bubble’ it is not, or probably not, a conspiracy.  It is just companies trying to maximise return on revenue by keeping users happy.

So why is this a problem(read the Forbes piece!)? Well Eli Pariser says it better than I ever could so take the time to watch the video. It is only 9 minutes and explains this area very clearly and concisely with no conspiracy theory talk or beating up on the companies.  It is level-headed, informative overview of the topic.

However, aside from the Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others feeding us what it thinks we want to see we are also guilty of ‘filtering’ content ourselves.  It might be your subscriptions on Facebook, or the people you follow on Twitter.  Do you push to find people who are not like you? People and orgs you don’t necessarily agree with or even like?  If you politically are left leaning do you follow right leaning people\orgs or vice versa? Do you follow people\orgs across countries and continents and across religions and race? Do you follow non-profit and multinational for-profit companies?

Or like many of us do you surround yourself with like-minded people that have similar interests and a similar outlook on life? This type of place is a very comfy area in which to live and exist online with our believes and view of the world constantly re-inforced by those we interact with.  However it really is somewhat delusional.  It is not the real world that exists out there.  It is a bubble we have created for ourselves and one we can’t blame the big companies for.  Unfortunately for many of us it is a very easy place to end up without even realising it.

Advice?  The issue of advice for who to follow on Twitter, subscribe to on Facebook or blog to follow is an argument I seem to have over and over again.  Many advise us to follow and engage like-minded people, with similar interests, hobbies and pastimes.  I don’t necessarily disagree with that but it should not be the end of the advice.  I would also say to follow people outside your interests, believes, hobbies and pastimes.  Move around, pick a museum, a newspaper, a musician, a techie, a trekky, an arrogant politician, a radio station, a newspaper, a human rights leader, a footballer, a multinational CEO, your local pizzeria and a government party.  You might be surprised who\what you start to like and engage with and who can educate you.  Diversify your stream of information.  I don’t mean overload it with people you hate.  Be reasonable but step outside your known circle of people and interests.

The internet and what it offers us is endless as long as we don’t constrain it by staying in our comfort zone.  Get out there, explore it and burst your bubble.