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You, the users, are just along for the ride. You’re just eyeballs. Body parts and ad-targeting data. Google doesn’t care about you at all. You’ve tolerated enough already that it’s pretty clear you’re not really going anywhere.

Marco Arment on Google’s latest terrible Google+ idea: Hey Let’s Make It Easier For Complete Strangers To Email But Totally Not Harass You

I did it. Day-to-day, I am Google-free. I’ve found alternatives for everything I used to use at Google and I am largely happier for it. My Google Apps account for personal work projects is still laying around, but it’s not doing anything and as soon as I’ve squared everything away, I will delete it.

You deserve better. We all do.

As you may have heard, Twitter went public last week, which means a lot of people are trying to figure out just what its IPO means for social media. Over at n+1, Benjamin Kunkel proposes that social media, by its very nature, cannot be profitable, and thus should be administered by the state as a public good.

wilwheaton

I think there’s hope in services like Path and App.net, both of which I am a fan and use daily. Path is a beautiful, simple service built by an ex-Facebooker who doesn’t want to sell ads or users. App.net has a lot of potential and is from an entrepreneur who’s done some great stuff. They are both supported directly by users.

App.net is free to use for the first 40 people you follow. If you want to follow more, you can pay very reasonable monthly or yearly memberships that include file storage for all the apps and services you can use on it. Path is free to use and sells premium memberships and digital goods like photo filters and stickers.

Yes, they both have stumbled in their own ways, but they’re doing it. They’re social media without the ads, creepiness, or constant need to go here and click that and stand on your head and do this other thing in order to opt out of some terrible new idea.

Give Path and App.net a look. They’re great, private, always getting better, and supported directly by users.

I made some big changes to Finer Things in Tech today. Like sit-yer-ass down big.

The /Follow page that lists all the social accounts I run for the site and sub-sections is much prettier and makes more sense, the Finer Things In podcast page now has giant subscribe buttons (I know, finally), and I am now experimenting with letting you use affiliate links when you submit a post.

Check out the full post for more details.

I made some big changes to Finer Things in Tech today. Like sit-yer-ass down big.

The /Follow page that lists all the social accounts I run for the site and sub-sections is much prettier and makes more sense, the Finer Things In podcast page now has giant subscribe buttons (I know, finally), and I am now experimenting with letting you use affiliate links when you submit a post.

Check out the full post for more details.

Episode 4 of the Finer Things In… podcast is out! [iTunes | Direct feed]

For a hair over 20 minutes, John and I discussed what I refer to as “Newsreaders 2.0”—this new generation of tools rising like a phoenix from Google Reader’s soon-to-be ashes. We get into why there seems to be so much interest again in a post-social-media world and what’s different this time around.

You can subscribe via iTunes or our direct feed. If you get a minute, please give us a rating or review in iTunes—they really help!

Episode 4 of the Finer Things In… podcast is out! [iTunes | Direct feed]

For a hair over 20 minutes, John and I discussed what I refer to as “Newsreaders 2.0”—this new generation of tools rising like a phoenix from Google Reader’s soon-to-be ashes. We get into why there seems to be so much interest again in a post-social-media world and what’s different this time around.

You can subscribe via iTunes or our direct feed. If you get a minute, please give us a rating or review in iTunes—they really help!

shortformblog:

Here’s what Google has in store for the Gmail inbox.

The new Gmail looks great and I’m jazzed to try it.

But I offer an addendum.

Instead of just sending them to the trash, mark the social and marketing messages you did not explicitly request as spam. The social folks already have a place to reach you, they don’t automatically deserve two. The marketing folks (speaking, partly, as one of them) don’t have a right to your attention. Far too many of them still need to learn these lessons.

The truth is, this should be our responsibility. Sure, we can pare down who we follow, but doesn’t that defeat the point of being in the great global conversation? Twitter genuinely needs better technology tools to help us keep up. It needs a better way to help us get in and out again and on with our day, without feeling like we’ve missed anything important. Its core strength is the realtime flow of information. But that can also be its greatest flaw.

Twitter’s Big Challenge: Too Much Twitter | Wired.com

Great piece by Mat Honan, with a proper and positive shout-out to Facebook’s filtering system. Many of us are drowning in “new stuff,” and most solutions—either walk away or follow less stuff—are way too binary. Part of the reason I like Facebook so much is that it does an increasingly good job of surfacing just the stuff you care about, and leaving the rest just a couple taps or clicks away if you actually do want to see it.

You also have tools to help teach Facebook and customize who and what you see. Are you really interested in most things a friend does, but the only photos they ever post are stupid Instagrams of their lunch? Ok, you don’t have to unfriend, just tell Facebook you don’t want to see their photos in News Feed (in fact, I think you can block their Instagram shots, specifically, but it’s been a while since I’ve had to do this). You can dial up and down the number of posts you see from each individual, from “only important,” to “most,” to “all.” That’s awesome.

This algorithmic filtering is a tool that more social networks, news outlets, and general services need. We’re all drowning in data, but shutting off each individual spigot is a far too heavy handed solution. We don’t need to cut those relationships, followers, and followees, we just need to temper them, like most things in life.