Gamer Social Media


Love for Anook


So anyone who follows me probably knows of my love of twitter.  Over the years it has become the only major social media network that I really interact with on a regular basis.  Technically I have Facebook, and G+ and essentially an account on every single social media network because I am always curious about the next big thing…. but rarely do they actually make an impact.  What has happened instead is that I seem to have become more and more entrenched in niche social media.  Firstly I have to talk about my love of Anook.  When this site first launched it confused the hell out of me.  In fact I was shooting off my mouth like I often do on twitter, complaining about me not really understanding its purpose….  when the Anook account started messaging me trying to explain it.  My attachment to this network is entirely thanks to one man, Lonrem the social and community manager for the site.  The site itself does a lot of things…  but it also has so far to go before it “grows up” into the site that it could be.

I have a long list of things that I would love to see on it, but I continue to use it as it is in the hope that someday the rest of the world will realize just how special this network really is.  It is built on a strange dynamic of forcing actual interaction with the site, rather than allowing folks to just auto post content.  This is cool because it means that folks are actually there and posting and commenting… but the negative is for content providers like myself it is frustrating to have to do extra work just to support them.  Each week when I publish AggroChat I go out and manually syndicate the content to our AggroChat Nook.  The first change I would love to see is for them to integrate with RSS feeds the same way they do with YouTube and auto format a post in a way as to showcase blog content.  The other big one for me is that their system only allows you to tag one game per post… and you all know I cannot seem to make single game posts like ever unless it is an impressions piece. In any case…. the community on Anook is amazing because Lonrem works his ass off to keep it that way.  Spammers, Bots and Trolls do not last long because the network is curated by hand.  I just hope that they get the funding to expand features and integrate with more things.

Slack: Private IRC Thingy


The next social thing that has taken me even further away from traditional social media… is Slack.  It is kinda hard to explain just what Slack is, but I tend to think of it as a private social network.  On one hand it is almost like having a private IRC server, and on other hands it is like having a private version of google drive or dropbox.  I was originally introduced to the tool through the staff who uses it for coordination of articles and such.  I then started using it at work with my own development team, and we have pretty much switched to communicating exclusively through it so that if someone tags into a discussion late they can use the channel backlog to catch up on what is going on.  Finally I convinced the AggroChat crew to start using it to discuss and coordinate things during the week, and from there it kinda grew into me being in a huge number of private slack groups each of them with their own dedicated focus.  The end result is that I use other media less and tend to use slack as my key focus.  It has a bunch of benefits, like the fact that this site is largely used for business purposes around the world, and as such happily passes though most corporate web filters.

What slack does extremely well is text chat, and while they can integrate with a dozen other things and are even starting to move down the voice chat path…  they are the king of text allowing you more options than pretty much any other service.  For programmers this is amazing because it allows you to post snippets of code and then have it formatted and color coded for the language you posted it as.  This is huge when collaborating on development, and we even end up using this from time to time among the AggroChat crew.  You can also see in the above image that we have it integrated with twitter so that anytime someone sends a message directed at our AggroChat account it shows up in a specific channel.  The feature we have really gotten addicted to is the custom emoticons and I am not sure what I will do without my Vault Boy Thumbs Up icon to use as a reaction.  The piece of the equation that most people don’t know is that the team behind Slack… is Tiny Speck the company that built the amazing 2D MMO Glitch.  They essentially took the robust chat infrastructure behind that game… and turned it into a business product that honestly makes me feel a little good inside to be using.

Discord: New Voice Contender


Over the years we have shifted back and forth between the three major voice providers for gaming purposes:  Teamspeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.  Each of them has their own positives and negatives.  They all share a big negative however in that it requires you to either find someone willing to host a server for you, or pony up for server hosting costs.  For years during World of Warcraft raiding, I just ate the cost of a voice server because it was something like $45 a quarter.  However that still adds up over time, so when we were offered the Alliance of Awesome Teamspeak server I jumped at the chance to jump to no longer having to pay this fee.  That server has been awesome and we record AggroChat from it every Saturday night.  However deep down inside… I know that someone out there is having to foot the bill for our fun… and it kinda bothers me.  Recently a new app called Discord has somewhat taken the gaming world by storm.  In so many ways Slack and Discord seem to spawn from the same desire… to have server less communication for their users.  Slack went in the direction of replacing IRC, Instant Messenger and Email…. and Discord went down the path of trying to replace Teamspeak, Ventrilo and Mumble.  There is a huge bit of overlap between the two technologies but for the most part Slack is my daytime network, and Discord is rapidly becoming my night time network.

What is extremely awesome about this is that each game community seems to be adopting Discord, and I now have large communities in Destiny, ESO, Rift, and The Division that are focused that one game.  We recently shifted to using this as a World of Warcraft raid for the Stalwart casual Wednesday night raid and it works wonderfully.  The stability of Teamspeak has been a little questionable of late, and we went through a night where everyone sounded like robots.  This lead us to fire up a discord, and in a few minutes we were all able to chat happily with little to no lag.  There are some caveats here that I feel like I should talk about.  The web client is awesome for text based chat, but if you intend to use it long… I highly suggest downloading the client for your desktop or mobile platform.  The web client push to talk only works if you have focus on the web page…. meaning as soon as you alt tab into your game you can no longer speak.  A side note… if you are not using push to talk…  please god use push to talk.  I raided for years with folks who didn’t and really… we can hear every sneeze, fart, and kid yelling in the background.  I would absolutely jump from Teamspeak to Discord entirely… but as of right now there is no good means of recording a channel.  I’ve bumped the feature up on the request list, so hopefully maybe someday someone will see fit to do that.  Mostly I hate Skype with a passion and would love for Discord to really take over the podcast recording world.

Other Stuff

The thing is… these are the three services that I have now become extremely comfortable with and have integrated into my life.  There are so many others out there like that I have yet to really see the personal benefit of.  Then of course there are all of the services like Steam that we all use… but don’t really use like social networks.  Recently I have somewhat been forced to use Band because it is what my Destiny Clan switched to using.  It seems to have really great scheduling options, but pretty shitty chat or at least it is shitty if you are not using a mobile client.  I try and do everything I can through desktop or web based clients because nothing makes me a sad panda like typing on my phone. I am horrible at responding to non-critical text messages because I really hate the process of typing even with swype on a mobile device.  I know my wife uses the Google speech to text functionality a lot, but nothing makes me feel more of an idiot than talking to my phone.  So in the end… I put off responding to as much as I can until I am sitting back down at a keyboard again.  So I’ve showed you mine… what services do you now use that you cannot give up?  I am curious how these niche media sites are reshaping the way we interact with social media in general.



The Kerfuffle

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Getting Out

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For the last few days we have more or less been stuck in the house.  We had quite literally three and a half days of nonstop rain, that then turned into ice, sleet and snow.  Yesterday however we were getting to the point of being stir crazy.  It is funny how much different you feel about your home when you feel like you can’t or at least shouldn’t leave it.  I can happily stay home for days on end without leaving… but the moment I feel like I am trapped there…  I start to go stir crazy.  So as a result my wife and I had decided that yesterday we would get out regardless of how cold it was.  Admittedly cold for me is sub freezing…  not necessarily the negative temperatures that the rest of my readers might consider cold.  We essentially had one task that needed to get done, and a bunch of other things that we sorted out somewhere in the middle.  My wife’s tribal tag was due, so we had to trek out to the small town that has a Cherokee nation tag office, and what I thought was going to take fifteen minutes ended up taking close to an hour because they were short workers due to the holiday break.  After that we grabbed a friend and went out looking for post holiday clearance bargains….  and the strange hair stuff my wife uses that no one seems to stock.


At the first place we stopped we managed to find both the hair gunk, as well as clearance Legos.  At some point I had picked up The Phantom ship from Star Wars Rebels for cheap…. I want to say something in the range of $8-10.  Then I had seen The Ghost a handful of times marked down but always passed it up for this reason or that.  I had been kicking myself for not snapping it up when I saw the stores start to close it out, but apparently the target we went to somehow managed to still have one after the Christmas rush.  Better yet it was marked down by like $40 making it the best deal I had seen on it yet.  What I am really curious about is whether or not The Phantom will dock with The Ghost like it does in the television show.  Some googling makes it seem like that is the case, so I am really hoping.  My big problem with my Legos is finding a place to display them after I build them up.  This is one of the big solutions I need to figure out for my office.  I thought about some sort of shelving on the walls, but finding a way to make it somehow immune to cats jumping up there and knocking everything around is always going to be a problem.  When we went out to eat yesterday I snapped a photo of what was a broken “legal age of drinking” sign in the bar area.  Apparently we are super hardcore here in Oklahoma as we seem to allow newborns to drink.

The Kerfuffle

Something is going on in the WoW twitter community, and to be honest I am not entirely sure what is up.  I’ve tried to piece things together as best as I can, but the root seems to be that two different groups are fighting… and it somehow is over the #warcraftpositivity hashtag.  What has been so damned odd on the outside looking in is just how many people who are apparently not even involved in the initial kerfuffle are getting pulled into the fray.  I had things I was going to say, but honestly I am not even sure if it matters.  It just really sucks to be on the outskirts and watching two different groups of friends fighting over something that was supposed to be a good thing in the first place.  Essentially while the Internet is a huge place… when you are mostly hanging out in a small corner of it there are going to be times when you keep running into people that for whatever reason you do not get along with.  At this point you can do one of two things…  you can make a big deal of it and get upset or you can just accept that these people still exist in the world and there is nothing you can do about it.  Your friends can still be your good and true friends… and still like this other person.  Sure it is awkward as hell to be part of a sequence of messages that include this other person… that might have you blocked and as a result you are only seeing part of the conversation…  but at the end of the day no matter how much you huff and puff there isn’t much you can really do about it.

All of these things tend to start with a difference of opinion, and then it gets inflated to the point where it is a verbal war.  Well meaning people get in the middle of issues that don’t actually involve them, and as a result it becomes a “thing” that seems to leaving everyone scratching their heads as to what exactly happened.  I was not even really on social media that much over the holidays, yet I still seem to have gotten wrapped up in it as I got some random un-follows from folks loosely connected to the mess.  I’ve used twitter since 2009 and in that time I have found less than a half dozen folks that were not bots getting auto-blocked from reporting spam…  that I actually found vile enough to block.  There are some folks and hashtags that I have muted in Tweetdeck but that is an entirely different story.  Basically it takes a lot to get me to block someone, and I try my damnedest to never act based purely on third or fourth hand knowledge.  I am not big on the shunning of people for a reason  that are not deeply personal to me… and even then while I will never forgive some people, I can still functional and interact with them in a generally friendly manner.  I hold some serious grudges against a few individuals based on my interactions with them in WoW, but I also knew that at some point because of mutual friends I would have to keep interacting with them.

WoW Community

The problem is… that due to events like this happening with a frighteningly regular frequency, the WoW Community has developed this reputation of being like a middle school lunch room.  At times this is absolutely a fair assessment, but it is also a shallow one.  The players who are online and interacting on a regular basis do not represent the bulk of Warcraft players.  Most people just want to log in every night, and decompress while killing internet dragons… and don’t really reach out much past their own guild or immediate circle of real life friends.  I’ve heard the WoW Community referred to as Toxic, and this is also I think unfair.  Sure this particular community has some problems, but those problems are only really noticed…. because it is so insanely huge still.  When you are part of the largest MMO community, even single problem is going to be magnified through sheer numbers.  Sure there are more assholes in WoW, because there are far more players there to interact with… and the folks that hang out in trade chat and heckle other players…  seem more noticeable when you have a hundred on a server… instead of just having two or three in other games.  The same goes for the twitter presence, because the wow community as a whole out numbers pretty much every other MMO gaming community I am part of combined.

What gets lost in the noise is all of the positive things that are happening behind the scenes.  There are people who are doing a lot of good and putting a lot of actual positivity out in the world.  Just because a handful of miscreants takes offense to that, and decides to derail something….  doesn’t mean that it was a bad thing in the first place.  The truth is… were it not for the fact that I was on twitter and interacting with a handful of the folks connected to the events…  I probably wouldn’t have even known something was going on.  Both House Stalwart the guild I founded back in 2004, and Facepull the horde side guild I am finally getting to do awesome things with…  are both doing amazingly well and thanks to the holiday break have more smiling faces active and happy to be in game than I have seen in a long time.  That is what matters in Warcraft, not the bickering or the name calling that seems to be happening somewhere in the ether above the actual game.  I think those of us who are watching things seemingly burn down around us… need to remember that in a couple of weeks time no one will remember what the hell actually happened.  Things will keep moving forward the way they have always moved forward, and people will still keep being awesome all around the community.  So my hope is that if folks still cannot get along after all of this…  that they just quietly disagree in their own corner of the twitterverse, so that the rest of us can continue having a happy place to rest our heads.

Week In Gaming 12/5/2015

Sunday Madness

Today my posts and the AggroChat podcast are coming out a little late, because reasons.  My wife has this thing at church this morning, and stuff was not going very much as planned.  So instead of wrapping up the podcast when I got up, I went into the mode of attempting to support my wife as she flailed around the house trying to get everything ready.  I don’t really do the religion thing, but it is important to my wife so I’ve always attempted to support her in whatever way she needs.  Normally speaking I would have been further along in the podcast creation process by the time I slept last night, but instead I decided to have a knock down drag out fight with Amazon.  There is an item that starting last Tuesday, has been updating daily to tell me it would be there by 8pm the next day.  This has drug on for several days… and the FedEx tracking that I finally received shows that there is no way it is going to be here until sometime at the end of next week.  Needless to say I was more than a little perturbed, and ended up trying to get to the bottom of it.

Where I feel bad however is that I know I took out some of my frustrations on the agents that were working the case.  I realize why companies hide their chat functionality, but overall it is a horrible practice, that only leads customers to be pissed as hell by the time they FINALLY get a hold of a person to talk to about their issues.  I know I probably came off as a mad man, but seriously…  I’ve been an Amazon customer since around 2000, and been a prime member for I think as long as the program has existed.  I keep that active so that I can have items here in two days… and there have been a lot of times in the past where they actually have it here next day.  Since the swap to using the US Postal Service however, I have had several delayed orders… and this one just seems to be another in that line of problems.  The worst part about it is.. that after spending over an hour last night trying to get someone to tell me where the ball was dropped…  no one seemed to have any answers.  I did however get two months of prime added to my account apparently to appease me, so I guess that makes up for some of the frustration.  I have no doubt that the item will arrive and be just fine… but man this situation has been annoying.  It is nothing nearly as bad as Tam and Amazon quite literally losing his shipment.

The Week of Warcraft

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For the most part this was in fact the Week of Warcraft as I am attempting to play both characters on Argent Dawn Alliance side… and the joined The Scryers server Horde side.  This means  there are two different communities that I am trying to be an active part of, and as a result pretty much everything else I am doing has fallen by the wayside.  Part of my Sunday ritual is to go downstairs and watch a sequence of television shows until ultimately it is time for bed.  However during this sequence I got pulled into the Horde side guild raid with my friends in the awesomely named Facepull.  Between some gear upgrades from drops and some crafted gear by the amazing Brerhoof it took me to around the 670 range.  Now after some LFR this week I am sitting at 679 so a stones throw away from 680.  I have two parts left to do of LFR and my hope is at some point before this evening I can actually get them knocked out and will hopefully see some more upgrades.  My lowest piece on the Paladin is his necklace which is still the level 640 boosted green gear.  In theory if I get lucky I could get a baleful item to drop while I am doing dailies… which I also need to do at some point.  I have everything enchanted and gemmed… at least with cheap enchants and gems so my performance as a whole should be better tonight… that is if they still want me to come and pewpewpew things.

Then Wednesday night I was invited to raid with some twitter folk that I have known for ages.  There I brought my Alliance Warrior Belghast, and similarly have made some jumps in gearing as the week went out.  I started the week at 680 and have bumped it a little bit up to 684.  This is still a long ways off from the 705-710 range that I need to be in order to really function in Heroic for the Friendship Moose fun, but whatever I am enjoying the process.  In both cases I was mostly a fly on the wall as the raid went about their business, but I could see myself enjoying both situations greatly.  It is my hope that in both scenarios are am invited back for future weeks, and in spite of my crummy gear I still managed to end up I think 3rd in total damage done for the raid.  My burst dps is still on the weak range, but I am throwing out a lot of total damage which still is nice.  Gladiator is such a fun spec that I am really going to hate losing once the expansion ships.  I guess there is hope at a later date that they might revive the spec, but I seriously imagine it was just too hard to balance when it essentially took all of the same gear that tanks did… which means that my overall survival is among the highest of the dps classes.  In any case I am having fun… and that is what really matters right?

Reaching Diamond City

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The original plan for this week was to record our final Fallout 4 show last night, and because of that I felt this overwhelming need to have completed the storyline.  This means that a good chunk of this week I was pushing hard to get through the main story, and I have to say… it was some of the most miserable I have been playing Fallout ever.  My play style is very much a “forget the story exists” method, where I wander aimlessly and go explore whatever happens to suit my fancy.  This means there is a lot of ADD induced gaming as I see what that building over there in the distance is, or go explore that wrecked vehicle there because it looks interesting.  The result is that I spend a lot of time playing, but not a lot of time getting anywhere specific.  With the severe content density that is the Commonwealth, it means I had at 70 hours not gotten anywhere vaguely close to Diamond City.  I knew where it was, but I was busy wandering around the Cambridge area and exploring lots of little nooks and crannies.

Instead this week I forced myself to follow the storyline, and while it is really awesome… and there are lots of interesting characters… the entire process feels forced.  I mean it IS forced, because I am trying hard to play in a style that is not natural to me.  I talked about this for quite a bit on the podcast last night, but essentially most of the time I don’t like it when games end.  In Mass Effect 2, I enjoyed every moment of the side missions… but it felt like all of my fun was being sucked down a drain the moment I started that sequence of events that lead to the end of the game.  I want these worlds and settings.. and characters that I have created to essentially live on forever… and the sooner I “beat” a game… the sooner that fun for me is over.  I think in part this is why I like the MMO so much, because my characters never have to go away… they just keep going on and changing and adapting as new content is released.  So as it looks like we are pushing off the Fallout 4 show a bit…  I am going to try and find a happy medium where I alternate between following story… and also spending some time following my heart.

Of Social Networks

A New Challenger Awaits

Yesterday morning I rather easily allowed myself to get  talked into a brand new social network account.  Over the last few days there has apparently be inordinate amounts of buzz surrounding the self proclaimed “Anti-Facebook” known as  The folks behind it posted a rather lengthy manifesto talking about their high minded ideals.

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

Yesterday evening it got me thinking… do we really need another social network?  I am a sucker for all things new and more than anything I accepted the invite as a way to go ahead and sign up and claim @Belghast like I have done so many times in the off chance that I want to use it.  This morning I thought I would talk about the various social networks that I use and what they mean to me.

The Network I Care About

During the launch of many of the social networks I dabbled in them, but the first one I found myself using on a daily basis was Twitter.  When I entered the world of games blogging it became my front doorstep allowing me to communicate and collaborate with other bloggers.  It doesn’t hurt that the WoW Blogosphere has such a tremendous twitter presence, but even after fading out of those circles I stuck around and found new cornerstones of the non-Warcraft landscape.  Over the years twitter has been a source of much enjoyment and much frustration, but at the end of the day it still remains one of my primary means of conversation with a lot of people that I care about deeply.  Ironically I would not likely be as connected to twitter today, were it not for the fact that my wife found such deep and meaningful connections there before me.

There is something genius about the sheer brevity of the 140 character limit.  It is just big enough to express a thought, but too small to go into much detail about it.  I’ve found the more I blog, the more I need my social interaction to be in small bite sized chunks.  So right now Twitter fits me perfectly.  There was a time when I was not blogging when I craved something more.  Ultimately if it is going to be a long discourse I end up posting it here, and simply echoing it to all of my networks for the sake of stirring up discussion either in the comments here or in the threads I post them  there.  The biggest problem I have with twitter is the fact that it is a very closed community to anyone who did not get in on it early.  It also frustrates me that I have friends who cannot get the name they want because someone who doesn’t use twitter at all and never has, camped it years ago.

The Network I Had Hope For

When Google Plus rode into the social network scene I latched onto it with both hands.  It was telling me everything I ever wanted to hear and more.  I shuffled into that network during a period of time when I was not blogging at all.  I’ve always found that I craved dumping my thoughts to the page, and need it as some sort of mental reset button.  Google Plus became this reset valve for me and I essentially started blogging regularly through the network.  The early days were pretty great when the only people that were on Plus were the people who cared enough to be on  it.  There were some really valuable networks of gamers and geeks to be found there, and it reached a critical mass around the launch of Star Wars the Old Republic.  Folks used it as a way to find other guilds and collaborate with them for events bigger than themselves.

Then Google opened the flood gates, and the awesome people got diluted by a sea of all the frustrating parts of the internet.  I watched awesome women go from being able to start genuine conversations about things… to having to constantly fend off the sexual advances of men making inappropriate comments in their threads.  I watched the people I cared about on the network slowly taper off their usage or retract into private circles.  Something happened for me at the same time… I started blogging again and more regularly, and my need to dump out my thoughts onto social media changed.  I started to favor brevity again, and as such retreated back into Twitter.  I still poke my head into Google Plus a few times a day because there are people I do care about that use it as their primary network, but I just don’t feel nearly as engaged as I once did.

The Network I Wish More People Used

When Anook launched it was yet another website that I signed up for but had no real use for.  I simply didn’t get it.  I expected it to be Raptr, but I saw none of the automatic games tracking hooks that I had come to expect.  In a moment of frustration I exclaimed to Twitter that I didn’t understand what was so great about this network, and why various people were using it.  At that moment as if by magic one of the hardest working community managers I have ever met appeared to explain.  The fact that he dealt with my frustration and quite frankly abrasive commentary… and stuck around to try and explain the mission statement in earnest says a lot about his character.  Lonrem explained that what they were wanting to create was not a new Raptr but almost a Facebook for Gamers for lack of a better description.  I made it my mission to start trying to use the site, and I have really enjoyed the interactions I have had there.

In fact I use Anook often enough that I have started to fear that people might think I was somehow being paid by them.  Truth is…  no one is getting paid, not even the amazingly hard working community manager.  This is very much a grass roots by gamers for gamers network, and that is why I have latched onto it so hard.  The problem is that right now it is inconvenient, and simply doesn’t play nicely with other things.  I can’t automagically syndicate my blog posts each morning to it, and there is no mobile client which for most of us is the real killer.  The thing is… I believe in its mission and I want to see it grow so I keep trying to force feed it to people.  I just wish it was a more active community, at least more active by the corner of the internet that I really care about.  The biggest feature for me is the Nooks themselves, because it allows you to carve up little communities related to the games you play but still all be in the same broad network.  I would really love it if more of you became active participants in what could really be an amazing community for gamers.

The Network I Actively Despise

Once upon a time there was this fledgling social network called Facebook.  At the request of some friends I signed up for it, and I somewhat enjoyed the interactions there.  There were these cool apps that let you do interesting things like draw pictures with other users, or make interesting buttons and post them on a virtual bulletin board.  It was a fun place full of light hearted interaction.  Then something changed… the world found out about it.  Over  a series of months it found like everyone that I really didn’t care about knowing still existed found me.  There is a weird social pressure to accept an invite from people you don’t even like.  I unfortunately did this over and over until my Facebook was full of things that frustrated me.  Essentially it became all too much like High School all over again, as the majority of the people who tracked me down were folks that I went to school with.  I decided I did not need that negativity in my life, and went through the overly difficult process of actually deleting your facebook account not just cancelling it.

The problem is in this world… not having a Facebook account can be a severe detriment.  There are lots of things that can only be reached THROUGH Facebook.  There were various contests and product giveaways that I wanted to participate in, and they all required that I have access to that network.  As such I started a new Facebook account connected to my blog, with the express purpose of only ever friending other bloggers or gamers.  It is pretty much a broadcast only medium for me, and I use it to syndicate my blog posts for the people who use Facebook as their social network of choice.  It is an account I really wish I didn’t feel like I needed to have, but until companies stop focusing so heavily on Facebook…  it will remain there.  You can follow me and I will likely follow back, but just realize that everything you are seeing is an echo of either Twitter or my Blog, and I don’t actually log in and interact there.

The Network Of Lofty Ideals

Now it brings us full circle to the network that started this present discussion.  Right now I have not made up my mind what I think of Ello.  There is a lot of what they are saying in their manifesto that I really do like.  The problem is the realist in me also thinks there will be a significant degradation of those ideals over time.  Google Plus started out this awesome place to interact with other like minded individuals… but mutated into a frustrating mess that is for some reason integrated with the world possible place on the earth for discussion…  Youtube.  At some point they have to stop being a boutique network and think about becoming a business… and I simply don’t see that their feature focused approach is going to bring them enough operating capital to stay afloat.  Granted the premium thing might work, especially for a niche site like Anook.  I would totally pay money to unlock more automated functionality to make my life easier.

For the time being I am using it… because to be truthful it is the new trendy toy.  I have a very small group of friends there, and for now it is a cool place.  The problem is that there are literally no privacy settings of note.  You either have a fully public account or a fully private account.  As such I think that everyone is posting very censored bits of information until they figure out how things like that will work.  Basically I would not post anything there that I would not also post on twitter or publically on Google Plus.  The design ethic pisses me the hell off to be truthful.  There is minimalism… and then there is crippling minimalism…  and Ello tends to be the later.  I’ve learned over the years that I am really just not a fan of minimalist design at all.  Give me lots of buttons and gadgets that let me configure things until my heart is happy.  For the time being I am somewhat rationing my own invites to the network until I see just how limited they end up being.  It feels very much like those early years of Gmail, when you had to know someone in the know to get access…  which has its positive and negatives.  Folks seem to be broadcasting, but not that many people seem to be actually interacting.