On any given day, I’m apt to communicate electronically via the telephone, an Internet VOIP equivalent, email, IRC, IM, Twitter, and I might even write a blog post, like today. Why all these silos? Shouldn’t these conversations be talking to each other?
Maybe, maybe not. They differ in their latency, reach, and persistence and, on another axis, in length of form. I haven’t thought this through very carefully, but it’s never bothered me much that the only place the streams mix is in my mind.
Right at the current time, my employer is shipping two products that, to some extent, can be seen as tools to get some of these things talking to each other: Buzz and Wave. I won’t be saying anything about Wave because I haven’t tried it yet.
So far, I haven’t been able to warm up to public Buzz. Since I also hated FriendFeed, maybe I’m just not the target demographic. FriendFeed brought home how important it is (for me at least) to select whom I listen to. The only communication medium I use that doesn’t give me absolute control over who can send me stuff is email; which has the excellent combination of display-just-the-subject and delete-unread. And I particularly like how Gmail lets you delete-all-unread in two clicks.
I choose to consume a lot of input, and that’s only made tenable by careful selection of sources. FriendFeed was always an uproar of people I didn’t know going on about things I didn’t care about.
In Buzz, the conversational trails are nice, so is the wild variation in length-of-form to meet the needs of the moment, and as I’ve said before, I’m very impressed by the basketful of wide-open Web-flavored holding it all together.
And you know, there is a group of people which has the characteristic that I do care about what they say even though I don’t know them. That would be my fellow Googlers. Particularly right now as I struggle to get up to speed on this huge high-velocity technology maelstrom. And particularly any who are working on Android.
In the two weeks I’ve been on board, I’ve found the Google internal Buzz to be immensely useful. With promiscuous abandon, I follow anyone who follows me or says anything interesting; exactly what I don’t do on any of those other networks. It’s not just educational, it’s entertaining and heartwarming in its vintage engineering conversational flow: Alternating waves of optimism, cynicism, and laughter.
I suspect there’s a useful place for one behind most firewalls.