Just finished reading that Twitter and Facebook drop their public pronouncements of RSS feeds for status updates, sort of. Twitter has hidden the old link that one needed to copy/paste to gather an RSS feed in Google Reader or Netvibes. Facebook has also hidden your status Feed. Is that a big deal, these sites are revenue driven now that they’re past the social networking infant stage – they both need to make money and they see the only way as making money is driving traffic to their site for their paid ads. What both Twitter and Facebook are doing are using API’s, essentially a separate standard for connecting to their web application (or website) rather than providing an open RSS feed. If you’ve grabbed the old Twitter feed, it should still work. For how long is anyone’s guess, but at least it’s something. As the web becomes more fractioned, with extremely large sites like Facebook and Twitter demanding innovation through their channels, and smaller sites using the power of the more open and transparent standards that have existed for many years, it will be interesting to see what happens.
It’s been a while, so it’s only appropriate that I start speaking again with a post on the Conversation Prism. It’s now up to version three, and this one is an improvement over previous versions – this one is more specific in it’s categorization. Gone are SMS/Voice from version 1.0, and it still doesn’t address the community based music genres like SoundCloud and Bandcamp – where I think important music conversations are occurring.
A couple of large tools are missing – Plurk, Netvibes to name two that come to the top of my head in a moments notice. While I don’t think the new category Attention/Communication Dashboards add anything to the conversation other than a central location to read distributed feeds, if you’re going to have it in there, Netvibes and Google Reader are the two top ones, to not mention them is a pretty large omission. Plurk was on the previous Conversation Prism 1.0, under the category of Micromedia, but could easily fit under Blogs/Conversation. Twitter is not really a Streaming tool, even their own description is Microblogging platform, so I quibble about the categorization of a lot of these tools.
Despite my criticisms, it’s a monumental effort, one that I might shell out $20 to put on my wall. In fact it would be interesting to get older versions and compare them side by side. Where’s my time machine when I need one?
I’ve been playing with Netvibes, after Howard Rheingold’s rave review of the site’s ability to help make sense of information abundance. It’s taken a while for me to cobble my sites together, and I’m still working through some more advanced ideas with the tool (integrating Reader alerts with it). I guess oneof the start up costs have been the time it’s taken to find all the feeds and add them to my Netvibes desktop. Previously I had worked with the Windows Desktop widget for RSS feeds that did an OK job – although it forced me to use Internet Explorer. I never really got into Google Reader, much like how I got into (and out of wave) after the fact. I like the idea of distributing my identity around a couple of sites, not only for redundancy, but for privacy issues as well.
Now that I’ve got a lot of feeds working into it – I feel like a quick glance and I have a brief understanding of what’s going on, and I think this sort of aggregation has a nice element of serendipity to it. Often I click on a posting I want more information about, click once or twice, and find something related (or entirely unrelated).