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How do you manage your Social feed data? Social implications? Rules?

OR - How do you cope when "friends" bombard you with redundant/uninteresting/irrelevant information?

I'm curious. I know lots of prolific social-webbers are busily posting things by the hour and often by the minute. They utilize services like ping.fm for publication to multiple social broadcasting sites (twitter/plurk/identi.ca/jaiku/friendfeed/flavor_of_the_week) This allows people to post to their same message to all sites they are on. While very efficient for the broadcaster, it can wreak havoc on the data consumer (fan/follower).

In the beginning, people would use social broadcast sites like chat. As our networks grow our personal blabbering turns into a wide announcement of out of context/most likely misinterpreted public data. I know I am very guilty of broadcasting half thoughts. Sometimes I stop myself from posting because I think the audience is too wide to "get it". Other times I disregard this notion and post whatever I feel like. There seems to be no happy medium.

How do you cope with information overload or redundancy? How about the same thing typed twice or more on seperate networks and in slightly different words?

Is it a necessary evil? Is the noise necessary for generating thoughtful or interesting methods of information dispersal?

Personally my following of people on social sites expands and contracts depending on how busy I am. Since I can't "ignore" people on Twitter this often makes me look mean. When someone finds out I've unfollowed them I get sad little notes. It isn't meant to be personal but it is taken that way since we have limited methods of expressing ourselves through these new services. When we constrain our options from unlimited (friend, friend of a friend, co-worker, work friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband) to very specific, limited contexts and meanings each choice begins to carry and marry multiple meanings...

On plurk you have fans and friends. On twitter you have followers. On all those other sites, who can keep track? The thing is we have a lot of separate social contexts that social networks avoid emulating, and yet still end up encapsulating.

How do we handle this all?

How do you do it?

I am really curious and interested to see what you geeks think.

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Since I can't "ignore" people on Twitter this often makes me look mean. When someone finds out I've unfollowed them I get sad little notes.

I never figured this one out, which is why you won't find me on twitter. With multicast services like ping.fm the noise has become deafening.

The challenges are both technical and sociological. The technology is moving faster than our ability to create social norms for dealing with the problems you describe. Perhaps a ubiquitous system for communicating your current mental bandwidth (capacity for processing new information) using a desktop widget with workload and stress sliders would help. The social broadcasting systems could be made sensitive to your personal bandwidth. If people can see your workload and/or stress are currently 10 out of 10 they would be less inclined to take offense when you don't respond to inquiries or "unfollow" them.
> How do you cope when "friends" bombard you with redundant/
> uninteresting/irrelevant information?

I respond with pictures of Dick Cheney in speedos. They only do it once.
Cameron Souza said:
> How do you cope when "friends" bombard you with redundant/
> uninteresting/irrelevant information?

I respond with pictures of Dick Cheney in speedos. They only do it once.

A man posted a boring twitter to me once. Just once.

I want to see Cheney in speedos.

everyone@theinternet.com
Daniel Leuck said:
Since I can't "ignore" people on Twitter this often makes me look mean. When someone finds out I've unfollowed them I get sad little notes.

I never figured this one out, which is why you won't find me on twitter. With multicast services like ping.fm the noise has become deafening.

The challenges are both technical and sociological. The technology is moving faster than our ability to create social norms for dealing with the problems you describe. Perhaps a ubiquitous system for communicating your current mental bandwidth (capacity for processing new information) using a desktop widget with workload and stress sliders would help. The social broadcasting systems could be made sensitive to your personal bandwidth. If people can see your workload and/or stress are currently 10 out of 10 they would be less inclined to take offense when you don't respond to inquiries or "unfollow" them.

Ah... That's asking a lot.

We need something more passive... something contextual... able to understand what it means when I have 2533 unread emails, 254 open firefox tabs, 12 chat conversations going, 19 open applications it means I'm damned busy.

I agree about a desktop application, but only in the sense of aggregating a persons level of activity and inferring on what that means.

I would like a single location where I can handle all incoming social broadcasted messages, email, sms, im's, irc, and all messaging services or social sites (facebook, myspace, wordpress, blogger)... and where I can just say "LEAVE ME ALONE" without having to unplug the pieces or high noise generators.

It cuts both ways... I'd like someone who doesn't want to hear me discuss boring things to be able to mute me freely.
Eric Nakagawa: I would like a single location where I can handle all incoming social broadcasted messages, email, sms, im's, irc, and all messaging services or social sites (facebook, myspace, wordpress, blogger)... and where I can just say "LEAVE ME ALONE" without having to unplug the pieces or high noise generators.
So would I! Should this be a web application, a desktop application or a widget?
Eric Nakagawa said:
It cuts both ways... I'd like someone who doesn't want to hear me discuss boring things to be able to mute me freely.

Ah, and by including that in an awareness system / feedback loop we could maybe even learn something about ourselves? ;)

In general I find the simplified models for computer supported social interaction (CSSI) are inadequate to fully embrace the complexities of human social interaction, which is based on social skills most of us don't learn to master properly during our lifetime. Of course, one can argue that CSSI is another facet of social interaction and thus meant to add to it rather than mimic it. In any case I think most of us agree that CSSI is changing social interaction both wired and unwired.

In addition to a central application/widget to manage information to and from my various connections in various social network systems (given there were universal standards and agreements that made this possible) I would like there to be more filters on both my out- and in streams of information sent/ made accessible this way. I want more control over who gets/ have access to what information about me (e.g. more user defined faceted connections), and more control over what incoming information gets my attention (e.g. manually or automatically tagging postings with level of importance and/or intent so they can be filtered and organized according to the receiver's preferences and current availability). That way Eric can send his daily rambles to the connections who might find it interesting, and I could shield off Eric's boring daily ramble, but still get notified when he has major news.
The problem still remains: how does my computer know how busy / stressed I am? What about bio-sensors? :)
Viil: Of course, one can argue that CSSI is another facet of social interaction and thus meant to add to it rather than mimic it.
I think it is at least as much a new form of interaction as it is an imitation of traditional interactions. I remember reading about the awkwardness of social interactions when telephones were first introduced. No one was sure what to say when they picked up the phone. Alexander Graham Bell advocated yelling "AHOY!", which was eventually replaced by "Hello", a word not in common use before the phone was invented. People didn't know if it was rude not to pick up the phone if the caller suspected you were at home. Does this sound familiar? The technology also imposed restrictions to which people were unaccustomed. The inability to communicate via body language was heavily discussed. Even alerting the recipient of a call was tricky because the first phones didn't have ringers. The protocol was: caller whistles into the receiver, recipient yells "AHOY!"

Viil: The problem still remains: how does my computer know how busy / stressed I am? What about bio-sensors? :)
I think you have to rely on the user to communicate this explicitly via a simple UI like a slider. You may not want bio-sensors broadcasting to your customers that you are stressed out 95% of the time. They might think, "What is wrong with that Viil woman?", or "Should we be concerned about Dan having a high blood alcohol level while he is programming our flight control system?"
Lifestreaming crap is to the current internet what email jokes were to 1999.

Email jokes were all the rage back then and now you're kind of a dork if you incessantly blast all your friends with lists cataloging the 15 ways men and women differ from one another. Similarly, twittering that you just finished clipping your nails will increasingly brand you as a petty, importunate wretch.

Ultimately, Twitter, et. al. are going to have to introduce filters to let you put the crap spewers into one batch and the quality folks into another. Perhaps they could have a Manage Users section that would let you shut off updates from certain friends/followers. Or, just like some services have obscene word filters that ban curse words, the lifestreaming services could introduce a "boring crap" filter that would delete all posts containing words that denote information of a stultifyingly quotidian nature, like "cereal", "couch", and "twitter".
Viil Lid said:
Eric Nakagawa said:
It cuts both ways... I'd like someone who doesn't want to hear me discuss boring things to be able to mute me freely.

Ah, and by including that in an awareness system / feedback loop we could maybe even learn something about ourselves? ;)

In general I find the simplified models for computer supported social interaction (CSSI) are inadequate to fully embrace the complexities of human social interaction, which is based on social skills most of us don't learn to master properly during our lifetime. Of course, one can argue that CSSI is another facet of social interaction and thus meant to add to it rather than mimic it. In any case I think most of us agree that CSSI is changing social interaction both wired and unwired.

In addition to a central application/widget to manage information to and from my various connections in various social network systems (given there were universal standards and agreements that made this possible) I would like there to be more filters on both my out- and in streams of information sent/ made accessible this way. I want more control over who gets/ have access to what information about me (e.g. more user defined faceted connections), and more control over what incoming information gets my attention (e.g. manually or automatically tagging postings with level of importance and/or intent so they can be filtered and organized according to the receiver's preferences and current availability). That way Eric can send his daily rambles to the connections who might find it interesting, and I could shield off Eric's boring daily ramble, but still get notified when he has major news.
The problem still remains: how does my computer know how busy / stressed I am? What about bio-sensors? :)

Have you ever tried to make a joke on instant messenger to a single person, on a forum to multiple people, on your blog/website?

There are so many unspoken rules that it becomes almost impossible to make a joke without a following a certain pattern. It's almost like lining up the planets. Context is lost, information is limited and low... every bit of information carries multiple meanings... each word is loaded... irony is sometimes mistaken for typos. Making a joke online is hard, but to me it is a barometer for how successful a communication medium is.

We've been struggling with these fine lines for self expression versus communication for a very long time (even emoticons came with instructions). But the control of conversations are more and more becoming the responsibility of the "group". It is now almost an inherent responsibility that for services with large userbases. The good ones will add this, the bad ones will die and be replaced.

In his book "Here Comes Everybody" Clay Shirky makes excellent points about the shift we're going through... Although it reads like a history book, he speaks about power law distribution. Currently the current best way for filtering out the noise is by the lopsided heavyweights of the few. Our brains are still adjusting to this shift -- "top 5/10/25" versus "average" thinking. "Average" doesn't work nowadays... but on social broadcast sites you cannot at a glance tell what is good and what is crap.

Also, I think that there needs to be MORE control over feed output... if not for the masses, at least for the services most prolific users (top 10/100/1000). I can imagine this output being filtered dynamically... they'll be all pushed using the XMPP firehose... but can be silenced in whole or in part on the receiving end. The entire world is becoming a gigantic chat room... and our ability to /mute people without them knowing, or /ignore them and explicitly letting them know will add to our abilities for self expression and communication.

In the end though, to answer Mika's question: What it will take is functionality built into all aspects, the OS/apps on your computer, the os/apps on your phone, the websites you visit... if you observe where things are going with OpenID it is a step in the right direction, hybridized centralized/de-centralized user authentication. If you add that to cen/de-cen'd comments like disqus, your blog's(wp, tumblr, blogger, lj), your mobile apps that not only tie in but also generate its own feeds, feed aware mail apps (smarter consumption and aggregation), social broadcast and sub-aggregatators like Freindfeed + google + and a internet wide digg style karma voting system { OpenID + Disqus + blog-du-jour + mobile phone app + email/sms client + twitter/plurk + google + digg style karma voting + the same items but for business (corp email, yammer) } = will equal a potentially suffocating web of your personal interaction with everything everywhere.

To end finally I'll comment on Gabe's response about the endless amount of noise people post about things not irrelevant to us personally. In the case of twitter, if you could control the way/reason/context for how we are connected to someone either in groups (plurk calles them cliques) or by connection types (twitter = follower, plurk = fans/friends) and you include public channel this will add up to 3+1(for every new context/connection type) channels. Then a method for encoding/channeling messages while still allowing for mini-discussions IN CONTEXT bring people a step closer to emulating how humans currently communicate. (My biggest gripe with twitter is its lack of a method for nesting comments... endless @'s back to people is conusing, and for a busy person distracting. For the common user this only adds to the noise and frustration. Inferring context is a drain on energy and waste of time.)

This has all been said before... are you going to build it?

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