Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why I Publish

In my previous post How I Publish, I outlined the various connections between all of the different services which provide a public view of me.

One item that I alluded to was the connection between and the FriendFeed and MyBlogLog aggregators. Initially, FriendFeed only listed the items that I loved - or at least some of the items that I loved (for some reason, some of the items never showed up - here's one that did). And MyBlogLog didn't show any of my stream at all, because it didn't really show streams.

However, MyBlogLog has now expanded its streaming feature, and at least some (again, not all) of the items that I play on are now showing up my MyBlogLog.

And, as I previously noted, I have created a feed in FriendFeed that lists all of my recently played items from

I announced this on FriendFeed:

I am trying an experiment. I'm adding a feed that shows *all* of the items that I play on, not just the favorites. I may or may not keep it. If I do keep it, turn it off if you don't like it.

But Andy C pointed out that it wasn't that simple:

OK. I'll bite. How do I turn it off ? I can't seem to hide that individual feed.

Andy elaborated at a "Ontario Emperor played Limp Bizkit" entry:

OK so I can 'Hide Ontario Emperor's Blog entries' but OE has 3 blogs and I am interested in 2 but not his musical tastes. What to do ?

After doing some research, I found out that Louis Gray had raised the same issue as a comment to a Steven Hodson post entitled "Butt Remover."

Now here's an idea... and I just wanted to make the comment on this post for example purposes... If for instance, I wanted to hide Steven's posts from this site, but not his other blog, that's not yet possible in FF. I can show all of Steven's posts from all blogs, or none (or those with comments/likes), but I can't self-select which blogs I want to see if he has more than one. Just another item on the low priority list.

But this raises the issue of why people publish the things that they publish. Alexander van Elsas:

Friendfeed and the like are [built] to save us the hassle of finding out what our friends are doing. They assume that it brings us value to sit back in a lazy chair to find out what our friends are doing. But the problem with that assumption is that it doesn’t bring us enough value....

By now each Friendfeed user probably has imported 10-20 RSS feeds and isn’t even remotely aware of all the stuff he is sharing automatically. Because of this lack of intention most of the shared stuff is worthless.

Van Elsas then talks about intention:

If I see something that I know my friend really likes and then share it intentionally with him, it provides us both with value. But if I spill my guts to the world without thinking about what I’m sharing it makes most of the things I share pretty worthless.

Precisely for this reason I believe that services such as Twitter are far more valuable than Friendfeed. If someone posts a Tweet, he or she is using intention. It is a conscious act to say something out loud. Does that mean all Tweets are valuable. Off course not. But if intention is there, then you will see value far more likely than when something is aggregated automatically.

Jason Kaneshiro had a different perspective on FriendFeed, but a similar perspective on intention:

[A]ll the services I have given FriendFeed permission to track do have an intent to share. I have my blog, Twitter, Disqus comments, Reddit, and Google Reader. Every time I make an action on any of those sites, I am thinking about the public nature and want the message to be read by anyone. So as far as I’m concerned, I feel “intent” is there.

This is opposed to what I don’t share. I don’t broadcast my Google web browsing history, I don’t have a “lifestream” in the form of a web cam strapped to my head that is broadcasting all day to FriendFeed, I don’t have my Amazon shopping history keyed in. About 1% of my life is on FriendFeed and about 10% of my web activity.

Kaneshiro then discusses the filter by feed service (referring to Louis Gray's discussion of it), but we've already noted that there is no option to selectively filter on blogs from a person. You either hide them all, or don't hide any of them.

Which brings me to my point (sorry, I guess this post isn't succinct) - what is my intention regarding the streaming of every song title that I hear on Here is what I said in a comment at van Elsas' blog:

I find myself using FriendFeed as a method of self-expression.

Specifically, I have included a feed of everything that I listen to on At least one person has pointed out that he’s interested in some of my feeds, but not that particular feed. However, this feed gives me the capability of commenting on particular songs, and it’s easier to do it this way than it is to create a blog post about a particular song.

As FriendFeed gets more granular in its hiding mechanisms (currently you can hide all “blog”/rss feeds, but cannot selectively hide some and read others), the system will become more useful.

Let me illustrate this ease of use. Last November, I heard an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer song on and was inspired. To get that inspiration recorded, I went to Blogger, set up a post, wrote a post, tagged it, and posted it. Kinda cumbersome. This morning, I heard a John Denver song on and was inspired. I went to FriendFeed, found the entry for the song, and wrote and posted a comment. A much easier process.

Now I will grant that the blog allows me to pursue ideas in greater detail, such as one of my Ulrich Schnauss posts. However, for the quick "this s0ng iz kewl" type of post, a comment on a feed works so much better.

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