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Richard Clegg

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Socially networking [Aug. 5th, 2010|03:42 pm]
Richard Clegg
So, I finally got a Facebook, where I'm Richard G. Clegg (unsurprisingly). I resisted at first because I hate the way facebook is so very much a locked down garden. Then I resisted because I was hoping it would all blow over but looks like there's a few years of Facebook to deal with yet. I've not been posting to LJ too much recently not from any particular disenchantment but more because I don't have a lot to say recently. So, to summarise, I have an LJ (this), twitter (richardclegg) and facebook (Richard G. Clegg) on which I'm more or less active and an incredibly neglected website http://www.richardclegg.org. I also apparently have a myspace (I thin kits steer but I haven't signed in for 10 years) and, biggest surprise to me, a LinkedIn account -- didn't know about the last one until I got a friend request the other day. I suspect I signed up some time around the universe cooling after the big bang and then forgot it's existence.

I'm also going to start up a serious work blog as I don't talk about my work that much on here and it would be nice to have some record that I do things other than dive, drink and hang out in disgusting clubs. Anyone recommend some blog hosting software for Ubuntu? (Or general blogging software which will run on linux?)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rich_r
2010-08-05 02:55 pm (UTC)
I guess fingerd and vi is a little less functional than you'd like?
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 02:57 pm (UTC)
So many places just kept blocking finger. Frustrating!
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 02:57 pm (UTC)
And you just can't do social networking with "wall" anymore.
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[User Picture]From: childeric
2010-08-05 03:25 pm (UTC)
LinkedIn have started sending me friends requests, too, and my surprise was similar to yours, as I wasn't aware of ever having signed up to them.

It's possible that we all got memory-impairingly drunk and decided that the most exciting thing we could do was set up accounts on a social networking site for corporate types (surely urinating on walls or making prank phone calls would have been more of a laugh?), but I think it more likely that LinkedIn is just playing silly buggers.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 03:57 pm (UTC)
I think it more likely that LinkedIn is just playing silly buggers.

Oh wait -- may have been the same person. I bet they have some "upload your email address book" and some cunningly disguised "why not email all your friends about how great linkedIn is while at the same time trying to convince them they already signed up there" option probably renamed to "press this lovely button to continue" so as not to alarm people.
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[User Picture]From: drdoug
2010-08-05 03:58 pm (UTC)
Wordpress is good, whether hosted for you at wordpress.com (zero effort, max uptime) or DIY installed (can do more with it, but have to, IYSWIM). If you want more than that Drupal is full featured but has learning curve to match.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 04:01 pm (UTC)
Drupal is not so bad but I thought that was more general website than blogging? Our dive club website uses it but I didn't set it up. It's occasionally frustrating but mostly helpful.

Your blog is wordpress hosted and I've not noticed it being riddled with ads or really annoying in any way.

Thanks for the tip.
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[User Picture]From: nisaba
2010-08-05 05:12 pm (UTC)
Will's training blog uses drupal, but yes he has spend a few hours getting it set up just so.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 09:07 pm (UTC)
Fair enough.
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[User Picture]From: drdoug
2010-08-05 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Drupal is a Swiss Army Knife content management system thingummy. There are about three different obvious ways to use it to run a simple blog and countless less obvious ones. We use it for iSpot.org.uk tho with a lot of custom stuff added.

And yes, my worky blog is Wordpress.com hosted and I am frankly delighted with the service. If you want to
Customise and do Clever Stuff then it's not the right tool but if you just want to get a job done it's great.

(apologies if this is
Incomprehensible - am typing blinds)
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 09:08 pm (UTC)
I think then wordpress it is -- I'll just see how tricky it is to host.
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[User Picture]From: randomstring
2010-08-07 09:28 pm (UTC)
Wordpress is the right answer, though these days I'd not bother hosting it myself.

My work blog is on tumblr, but that has quirks (no trackbacks) that mean I can't recommend it to you.
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[User Picture]From: kissmeforlonger
2010-08-05 04:54 pm (UTC)
How on earth did anyone find you on Linked In?
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-05 09:07 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I *am* on linkedin you know.
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[User Picture]From: mjl
2010-08-05 09:12 pm (UTC)
Unless you are on there under an assumed name, or have become a lawyer, moved into the construction industry or taken up dry stone walling in Huddersfield, I don't think you are.
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[User Picture]From: thepaintedone
2010-08-09 09:33 am (UTC)
I have a sneaking suspicion that Facebook is going to break the social networking cycle that has been repeated every few years going back as long as I've been online. i.e. it is the new 'big thing' for about three years, then all the cool people wander off to something new and slowly the whole world follows them. (BBS>Usenet>Mailing Lists>Blogging>Livejournal>Myspace>Facebook)

What I have noticed with Facebook is that its popularity trancends its functionality. i.e. it is a demonstrably poor platform, with some horrible limitations to its functionality (can't edit posts, moronic word limits, etc) and has a shocking privacy record. With the possible exception of the picture tagging, I would definited say Livejournal is a better tool and I am sure there are many, many better platforms out there.

But, nobody is going anywhere because everyone is on Facebook. I beleive they recently passed 500 million users, which is an insane number of people, and I beleive that upwards of half the population of the UK is on it now.

What I have come to realise is that the value in a social networking tool is the social network, not the functionality. Hence a bloody awful tool survives because it has by a long, long way the biggest and best network. What's more, I can't see any easy way that a competitor could steal that network as its growth has been almost entirely organic.

The only other player in this space seems to be Twitter, but from what I can see (and i dont tweet) that seems to paralell Facebook rather than competing.

It'll be interesting to see how things go over the next couple of years, but I have a feeling that Facebook is going to pass the point where it becomes a defacto standard and nobody else even bothers to seriously compete anymore. e.g. like Windows on the desktop, MS office or Google.

Anyway, nice to see you over there. Funily enough, you and a couple of other die hards (and that bloody word limit) are the main reasons I still hang about on LJ. So by migrating you are putting another small nail in the coffin :o)
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-09 09:55 am (UTC)
it is the new 'big thing' for about three years, then all the cool people wander off to something new and slowly the whole world follows them.

I don't think so myself. I take your argument that "everybody is using it" but for a long time 100% of my social circle has had email (though some don't use it) but there has been a noted shift away from using it and in particular almost nobody now does social organisation via a mailing list. (That is, things like "Pure"). I don't expect a new thing will come along and twitter empty overnight but then, that didn't happen to LJ either.

I can't see any easy way that a competitor could steal that network as its growth has been almost entirely organic.

The point is that it doesn't steal, it compliments. Only a very few people got a facebook or a twitter and switched off their livejournal immediately. They decided that the facebook model was easier for what they wanted then.

What I have come to realise is that the value in a social networking tool is the social network, not the functionality.

Sure -- but you're making the classic mistake of "more" is better with functionality. Twitter thrives despite very low functionality (add, delete, follow, don't follow... um... and copy a message). I think rather that a social networking tool needs to do what the majority of people want it to and not too much more.

So by migrating you are putting another small nail in the coffin

Oh, I still use LJ but its days are pretty much gone. I never use usenet now and the BBS I used to love have all been switched off.

Twitter is a very different thing to facebook despite superficial similarity. It's a very lightweight thing, the information density is higher because of the character limit. Because of the one-way "follow" thing you can keep up with people you don't know but you find interesting without seeming like a stalker. It is also "default open" rather than "default closed" like facebook. Almost 100% people on twitter have what they say readable by the world -- that is the expectation. It is for things you want to say to the universe not to your mates that you trust.
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[User Picture]From: thepaintedone
2010-08-10 09:45 am (UTC)
I don't think so myself. I take your argument that "everybody is using it" but for a long time 100% of my social circle has had email (though some don't use it) but there has been a noted shift away from using it and in particular almost nobody now does social organisation via a mailing list. (That is, things like "Pure"). I don't expect a new thing will come along and twitter empty overnight but then, that didn't happen to LJ either.

This was my point though, 10 years ago the sluts and pures of this world where 'where its at' for online social networking (at least amongst the people I socially networked with). Then the likes of blogger and LJ came along and over a period of time the mailing lists died as people first dabbled with the new thing as a friend was there, then ran them in paralell, and finally more or less stopped using the old one. Happened to me and pretty much everyone else I know, albeit at different times and rates. Tha same process happened before that on Usenet with people going to the lists in the first place.

It is happening to LJ now. No, not many people have jumped altogether, but the posting volume is way, way down on what it once was and I'm pretty sure lots of people have accounts they dont read anymore. When I first got my FB account I kept both running side by side, over time I've moved more and more to FB, as that is where most of my friends are and not many people read what I put on LJ. The main use I have for LJ now is as an RSS agregator and one or two friends (one less now) who haven't migrated. I actually find this a bit frustrating, as the kind of involved conversation we're having here is much easier to do on LJ than FB, but c'est la vie. Next time my LJ paid account renewal comes round I won't be paying as I simply don't get the benefit anymore, and frankly there is pretty much only one person now who is only on LJ. If took the time to migrate my RSS needs elsewhere I doubt I would bother with LJ much in the future.

Sure -- but you're making the classic mistake of "more" is better with functionality. Twitter thrives despite very low functionality (add, delete, follow, don't follow... um... and copy a message). I think rather that a social networking tool needs to do what the majority of people want it to and not too much more.

No, I wasnt saying that a tool needs more functionality, but I actually find FB a pain to use and it has artificial limitations that annoy me. One simple example if the inabbility to edit posts, so if I make a typo or spelling mistake I either leave it there or delete the whole thing and post again. That's not increased functionality, its just a properly working system. But it's precisely because FB thrives despite not being all that great a tool (IMO) that I'm not convinced that it will be easy for anything else to replace it. In the past there were clear benefits to going to a new platform, e.g. Lj gave us friends lists and the like which mailing lists didnt have, the picture posting and tagging on FB that LJ doesnt have (that's what got me to go there), but I don't think it would be easy to make a new platform with same sort of draw.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-10 04:46 pm (UTC)
Tha same process happened before that on Usenet with people going to the lists in the first place.

Indeed -- but your claim was almost everyone uses facebook so it can't be supplanted. This is demonstrably false. Email is waning (not dead or dying but losing share) as the method of choice to communicate to individuals or groups despite the fact that in my social circle it's had almost 100% uptake for years. You can have everyone on board and still lose out to a more appropriate tool.

One simple example if the inabbility to edit posts, so if I make a typo or spelling mistake I either leave it there or delete the whole thing and post again

Twitter just the same. It turns out the ability to edit or delete is not something most users seem to want. If you ever looked at google wave that had some astounding feature -- real time edit, cut paste delete with multiple users and a versioned history. (So you can watch someone else type, delete and edit on the fly or revert to a previous version). Great tool for online colloboration and completely unused now. It turns out that most people really have no need for any of that though.

I have migrated my RSS feeds elsewhere by the way -- bloglines but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it but it is more useful than LJ for reading RSS feeds (incuding "save for later"). Google reader is useful too.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-09 09:57 am (UTC)
Incidentally, my personal theory is that social networks tend to become more ossified with age -- that is the sets of rules and conventions freeze in and it becomes resistant to change. The poor bastards on LJ get a tidal wave of complaint if they change the colour of the homepage so if they actually wanted to add or change functionality they'd be screwed. It's the opposite of innovation. This makes it hard to react and improve without alienating the user base. Facebook is reaching that stage -- if they make a significant change there's a significant user push back against the change.
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[User Picture]From: thepaintedone
2010-08-10 09:52 am (UTC)
But actually FB is very poor at listening to its users as it's correctly worked out that it doesn't have to. It has done the most outrageous stuff with privacy and security, buggered about with the interface and let all sorts of dubious application run amok, and while the knowledgable/vocal might make some noise, the vast, vast, majority of users are oblivious and wouldn't care if they were made aware.

From what I can see that only time it really starts to give a shit is when the mainstream media begins to take notice, which it cares about far more than user opinion. I'm somewhat reminded of Apple for some reason.

This is why I'm not sure that FB will be as easily or quickly replaced as its predecessors, as the vast majority of users on there only care about being connected to their freinds and couldn't give a fig about privacy, functionality or most of the other things the vocal minority (which includes me!) hop up and down about.

It may happen, but I think it will take a paradigm shift to do it. The rise of mobile internet might have done it, but FB seems to have pretty well entrenched themselves in there too so I think that particular boat has gone. What will be the next big thing beyond that? Who knows, but I expect it'll be a few years off yet during which time the monster that is FB is only going to grow ever larger.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-08-10 04:38 pm (UTC)
Facebook has just finished the period where it's "allowed" to change. The last time there was a major change a number of users kicked up such a fuss that it backed out some of them. The point where it cannot change at all for fear of user reaction is not far off. There's always a sufficient number of conservative (small c) users who will react badly to any change and social networks are unfortunately for the operators, a very good place to mobilise it.

Live journal has already passed that rigor mortis point where even the most minor and harmless change will face organised resistance. Facebook has pretty much got there. Twitter can still just about make changes without too much user push back. All IMHO.

The average user never has given a fig about privacy in the sense you mean here I think. Functionality is, as I asserted elsewhere, about doing what it needs to make most of the users happy, not about doing as much as possible.
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