I'd already noticed the nicely minimal blue left hand border for the post that has focus in the Stream, but I hadn't noticed (until now) that if you change focus by manually selecting a different post (click or touch in its area) the blue border slides into position -- nice touch.
This approach, unlike others such as gplus.to (which is putting trust in an unknown entity), has the additional benefit of being easy to apply to multiple domains that can all redirect to the same profile.
Last month, Sitepoint painted a picture of Google Chrome's inexorable rise.
I've been a staunch user of Firefox as my 'go to' browser for many years. Despite dabbling with Chrome, and of course testing in it, I've stuck with Firefox.
This has been partly to do with add-ons, partly to do with what clients have been most likely to have installed instead of Explorer during the development phase of projects, but recently, if I'm honest, it's been mostly to do with the inertia created by using a tool I'm comfortable and familiar with.
But in the last week this has changed. And the reason?
I started using G+ in Firefox and it was and is fine in that browser. But I wanted to better understand how +1s worked and so installed the Google +1 extension, which is only available for Chrome so far.
Since then I've been using Chrome for G+. And then pretty soon I was using it for other oft visited sites. And now I really like Chrome and feel ready to make a more committed shift to it.
I wonder if others have had similar experiences, or will do.
And should Mozilla be worried at the halo effect of Google+ as yet another brick in the Google wall?
Great writing as ever from @GerryMcGovern in his latest instalment of NewThinking:
"There is one reason far more than any other why websites fail: They use the wrong words. They use words that are organizational; that are internal; that are focused on the needs and worldview of the organization. They try to dictate to customers in an alien language, and they righteously expect customers to learn their lingo."
It's interesting to see that Buzz and Google Reader results that predate the launch of G+ surface in such searches. So, to narrow things down to native G+ content, something like the following is better (though not perfect):
As you can see from the screenshot or by visiting her 'post', the Reader feed content is displayed with all its semantic richness intact: inline images, lists, code, the whole HTML kit and caboodle. More than can be said for this post!
I haven't quite made sense of this yet but it has interesting implications for people like +Kevin Rose looking to blog inside Google+, methinks.
"If blogs are turning into places for more thoughtful writing, rather than as the only place to share stuff, I think that’s awesome. We have a more diverse, interesting, textured set of web-tools than we used to. That’s good."
RESHARE: Kind of ironic (and wrong) that you can +1 this resharing of Faruk's post, you can +1 any of the comments that might be added to this, but you can't directly +1 Faruk's post from here, nor can you directly click through to it!
Reshared text: Dear Google+: please give credit where credit is due.
One of the best things about Twitter’s native RT system is that a Fave (“gold star”) of a retweeted tweet gets sent to the original poster, e.g. the person who initially shared or wrote the interesting/funny/awesome thing that you’re favoriting.
With Google+'s Share feature, +1s get appointed to the person doing the sharing. This is wrong. They didn’t put in any real effort, they didn’t come up with anything new, they just recycled something they saw and shared it with a larger audience. That’s great, but it doesn’t warrant more reward than the person doing the original sharing.
Google+'s +1 feature should go, automatically, to the person who originally shared (posted) something great. That way, value-appreciation is appointed appropriately, which makes people more likely to dedicate the time & effort to share things on Google+.
In other words, give credit where credit is due. Currently, Google+ does not support this simple principle.
This post was initially sent as feedback to Google
What an unholy mess of a site. Oh well, Readability (readability.com) to the rescue I thought. But unfortunately Readability couldn't parse the article.
I'm intrigued to know a bit more on why Readability struggled and then gave up (feedback sent), though I'm more just disappointed and frustrated that sites like eWeek continue to look and function the way they do. Shameful.
Here's what Readability said:
"Readability currently works best with pages that have a sizable amount of content to read."
RESHARE: Channa highlights the absurdity of the Z-list phenomenon (via +Robert Scoble)…
Reshared text: Over 37 thousand people are following (posts of) +Robert Scoble on Google+, mostly because of his amazing posts. But, he's just the top 5th followed person. +Mark Zuckerberg is the top followed with over 134 thousand followers, but not a single public post is seen so far from this user. Top 2nd, 3rd and 4th followed persons are all Googlers :) Source: http://socialstatistics.com/
The general lack of scope for semantic markup in G+ posts and comments is bugging the hell out of me
Things we don't have include:
* Titles (primary heading and title tag: everything is 'Post by [Name]') * Linked text (let's litter the stream with strings like https://plus.google.com/103363186582409589918/posts/SSHcym8ZStP [that's this post BTW]) * Blockquotes (or quotes) * Paragraphs (ooh, look at all those double <br> tags) * Subheadings * Lists (you know, like this one) * Basic and strong emphasis ( b and i are subtly but importantly different) * Inline embedded media
So, soon it won't be just us web and social media geeks here. Our other Friends will be here. And then maybe our Family, eventually. And they'll be geeks too -- in their area of expertise.
And then there'll be less parochial discussion of the mechanics and dynamics of G+ (which I'm guilty of) and more really interesting stuff from both our professional and personal realms. We'll all have the option to post:
1. Non-work stuff publicly 2. Work related stuff publicly (knowledge sharing and direct and indirect marketing) 3. Personal stuff with a limited share 4. Work stuff with a limited share (project/deal related stuff)
Stuff like 3 and 4 go straight to the relevant people so there'll be a high degree of receptiveness to it. But stuff like 1 and 2 is highly likely to be viewed as noise. Some will embrace the noise, some will tolerate it, but others will find it a real annoyance.
An example of noise of type 1 that springs to mind is all the people who are pissed at +John Gruber's baseball tweets…
In theory, the noise of type 2 problem could be solved by us creating multiple Google+ personas a la Facebook Pages. But doesn't that then fragment our identities in a way that Google+ could avoid, at least for those of us who are knowledge workers striving to be 'authentic' (http://goo.gl/JHdu6)?
Circles is a great idea but is it enough?
Circles is clearly the G+ big idea at this point in the 'Project'. But it provides a mechanism for filtering who we are listening to not what they are saying, so it doesn't solve noise of type 1 or 2 above does it?
All of which means we need the option of content filters not just people filters don't we, or have I missed something?
Reshared text: +Jochen Greif has come up with a unique way to separate your circles. Make sure to show him some love. This is his rather lengthy (but still useful) guide. I hope the tl;dr crowd will settle down and read the whole post!
Jochen's Tutorial for managing circles
For all of you having problems how to manage their circles, here's my current solution so far:
*AWESOME *Drafts ← *INBOX ← Following ← Google Inc. ← Interesting ← Tech Stuff ←→ Friends ←→ Mainz ←→ Opoloo → Business → Known people → PEN Read later Strikes
I guess that one needs some more detailled explanation, so here we go:
1. Use arrows to mark incoming and outgoing circles
Usually there are 3 use cases: (1.) Reading the stream (incoming stuff), (2.) posting and sharing to people (outgoing stuff) and (3.) empty circles for specific purposes.
So I prefixed all incoming circles for reading with a left arrow ("←", ASCII-Code 27) and all circles that I use to target my audience with a right arrow ("→", ASCII-Code 26) symbolizing outgoing posts. Also there are some circles that fullfill both purposes, managing my target audience as well as containing incoming "streamers". Those circles get the prefix "←→". Now we have the cases concerning all reading/writing covered.
In addition to the nice visual recognition for incoming and outgoing, the circles are automatically ordered, making it easier to manage your streams.
2. Sub-Circles and Container-Circles
As you might have recogniced already, there is a circle named "← *INBOX". This is a sort of container circle, which holds all people from my incoming circles at once. Optionally you can place individual people in here that don't fit in any of your other incoming circles. The Inbox is the main circle for reading my stream, filtering out everything that I don't wanna read contantly. Oh, of cource you can also exclude users from the circle ;)
3. Special circles
So far we've covered circles for reading your stream and circles for managing your target audience. But there's more you can do with you're circles:
AWESOME: This one is an empty circle, containing not a single person. It is used for collecting posts that are... uhm.. AWESOME! :) If you have a post that you want to keep over time - compare it to some sort of bookmarking - just share this single post with your *AWESOME-circle (or whatever name you will give it).
Drafts: You know the problem? Just writing a long post, and in the middle of it your Mom, girlfriend, or whoever calls and wants your attention. Damn. That's where your "Draft"-circle comes in handy: just share your unfinished post in this circle to finish it later. Remember to leave this circle empty, too ;)
Read later: Same situation as with drafts - you get interrupted and want to finish you're reading later, but without the need of searching it in the depths of your stream? Share it with your "Read later" circle, and do what the name implies :)
Strikes: Oh yes, this one is my dark side of circles. People that I followed earlier and are now spamming my streams with mindless stuff go in there. From time to time I examine the stream for this circle, and if the people in there keep spamming, they vanish from my circles completely or move to the blocked ones.
Ok, so far so good. I hope that I could give you some helpful tips or suggestions what you can do with your circles. More to come :)
Is it time to get cross about cross-posting again?
There's this new, sparky GFF with a cool circle of friends we all want to hangout with, but we want to keep our BFFs as backup – you know, just in case the new kid gets too possessive – so suddenly there's a whole new breed of pimps entourage of cross-posters in town.
But are they a 'good thing'? Just because you can doesn't mean you should, right?
+Mike Acton provided a great commentary on this below from James Lawson-Smith in which Mike said…
"Yes, be careful what you install. No, it doesn't matter that there is an API or not. If people are making malicious extensions do you think they'll magically stop doing that after the API is released?"
Reshared text: I have been seeing a lot of people promoting apps, add-ons and plug-ins for Google+. Now many of these may be harmless enough but it only takes one to ruin the whole G+ experience.
I very strongly advise against installing anything like this as Google have not yet released an API for Google+ so all of them are "Hacks" at best. Although it may be very tempting to install these, even if promoted by large prominent figures, please try to hold out for the official versions. It is a bit like buying a pirate DVD to find the back of peoples heads the whole way through the movie.
Now I am not saying that all of these add-ons are there to steal your info but do be careful in what you do install. This applies to all add-ons in general not just G+.
Reshared text: via a friend.. Don't like gay marriages? Don't get one.. Don't like cigarettes ? Don't smoke them.. Don't like abortions? Don't get one.. Don't like sex? Don't have it.. Don't like drugs? Don't do them.. Don't like porn? Don't watch it.. Don't like alcohol? Don't drink it.. Don't like guns? Don't buy one.. Don't like your rights taken away??? Don't take away someone else's.
What happens when we are free of such advertising, when the masses figure they can just use AdBlock, NoScript et al and enough of us renege on our collective Faustian pact? And what happens when advertising arrives here in G+?
We’re all just kindling for Google’s next fire and that fire is Sparks
Just been reading +Robert Scoble's post about noise controls with its 280+ (noisy) comments , and I'm struck by how many people are, like me, finding Sparks next to useless.
It is the natural home, though, for the content filters that everyone is craving. As Robert says…
"Google+ is already 2/3rds of the way there. Add in filters/content search and we'll be all the way there!"
Or put another way, Circles + Sparks + Search and we'll be all the way there on to a real winner.
Right now, Sparks is really lame – in stark contrast to how well Circles work (at what they are designed to do). Why is that? It surely has to be that Google has some great ideas about how Sparks is really going to work but it needed a whole lot more test data to work with that was richer and deeper than anything their alpha testers were going to be able to generate internally, and that wasn't just derived from what's already out there on 'the web'.
And that test data is us, people. We and our Circles of noise are the kindling.
Anyone got a match? Cos this fire needs starting soon before a chill sets in.
* I get GitHub conceptually and think it is awesome * I understand the lingo, mostly. I thought I understood the lingo * I want to use it: I'm trying
It's just a shame that it's so fucking opaque. I'm sure being a wiz with the Terminal is a bag of fun once you know how. It's great that http://mac.github.com/ enables you to bypass a lot of that. But still, I'm struggling. Guess I need to RTFM a bit more.
GitHub would benefit from not making newcomers like me feel like dunces
For those that don't know what GitHub is, here's some context in GitHub's own words…
"Git is an extremely fast, efficient, distributed version control system ideal for the collaborative development of software."
"GitHub is the best way to collaborate with others. Fork, send pull requests and manage all your public and private git repositories."
GitHub is a phenomenon
People like me wear the term 'geek' as a badge of honour (even though we know we're not proper programmers), so it's insulting to your pride when you decide you want to actually start using GitHub for your own repositories, and then find the entry points almost impenetrable.
I know I'm only GeekLite. GitHub has been built for geeks by ÜberGeeks who, it would appear, revel in using terminology that they assume doesn't need explaining.
Go to GitHub right now in a logged out state (https://github.com) and look for the 'New to Git' introduction piece, the place where a newcomer is walked through the terminology and how these entities and actions knit together into a basic process. A place that uses diagrams to make it visual so it's really easy to make sense of for designer coders like me (or just people short on time because, hey, good visuals work for all of us: http://5by5.tv/bigwebshow/16).
That's right, the Git intro is not there! (Or if it is, I'm damned if I can see it.)
The assumption is "You're a programmer, you're one of us, we don't need to explain any of this, right?"
The irony is that GitHub have produced a fantastic app in the form of GitHub for Mac (http://mac.github.com) that must have been designed purposefully for people like me. But…
1. It has no presence on the front page of GitHub's root domain.
2. The Mac app subdomain site has a Help tab that I just didn't see until too late, after I'd finally managed to get something up on GitHub.
3. When you look at the content of http://mac.github.com/help it still assumes you understand how the whole thing works and what the terms mean. Here's an example…
"By default, we encourage you to use the Sync Branch button. In one step, we'll bring in new changes from the remote and push any commits you haven't published yet. Behind the scenes, we do the equivalent of a git pull --rebase (but make sure to never rewrite merges)."
Terms like repository, push, pull, sync are pretty much self explanatory and the diagrams provided help make them obvious, but if you don't understand what is meant by commit (as I thought I did but didn't) the above statement becomes opaque. (And in any case I didn't discover that whole page until too late.)
The opportunity for GitHub
1. I know that the good people of GitHub don't intend to make people like me feel like dunces. On the contrary, they are clearly invested in reaching out to a wider audience of GeekLites like me, but they really need to have their comms for this new audience articulated by people who don't already intimately understand the product (the classic failure of documenting technical products).
2. They need to signpost this new offering on the main site.
3. They need to provide clear paths for their new GeekLites to progress from the desktop app to the Terminal if they choose to. An analogy is that I started out designing web pages in Photoshop, began dabbling in Dreamweaver (when it was in its infancy), and then made the switch to crafting code by hand. Not everyone wants to make such a journey but some will be intrigued by the power that lies in the command line (especially if they listen to +Merlin Mann: http://5by5.tv/b2w), they just need their hand holding.
An appeal to other GeekLites
If you've had a similar experience or thoughts, please add your voice to this.
A commentary on the dilemma that "we don't see our customers using our websites"… If your customer falls in the forest of your web site, it's your fault.
Since I'm a designer I can reflect this back on me… If I designed the interface and it's not usable, it's my fault.
That doesn't necessarily mean I failed in my duty of care or that I should refund my fees, because design is a collaborative and iterative process of discovery, implementation and refinement. But it does mean I should accept responsibility where it falls, and so should you.
If a customer has fallen the obvious next questions are:
1. Do I want this customer? (assuming you can even know who they are) 2. Is this customer or others like them worth the return on investment in supporting and acquiring them? 3. Do I have the resources to solve the problem?
Those are questions for you to answer in your context, but the stark reality of the web as a medium remains.
Which got me thinking, some kind of stats on posts and comments would be useful on each user's Profile page. Something like…
Joined: DD-MM-YYYY Posts: X Comments: Y
Jonathan has made an average of X posts and Y comments per day over D days
Reshared text: Google+ & Reciprocityor "Why Aren't You Following Me Back, JERK?"
Some super smart commentors in one of my previous posts (I'm looking at you, +Miami Tom and +Andrij Harasewych) brought up the issue of increasingly popular "Follow Lists" showing up on G+ and offsite (e.g. http://www.recommendedusers.com/bloggers/ - which, apart from suggesting people like Mark Zuckerberg who do not post any content, is a fairly decent resource so far). The debate seems to be about reciprocity. Miami Tom asked why he should bother following people who won't follow him back. I thought it might be helpful for you guys if I could explain my own methodology for following people.
At first, I added everybody I saw make a good comment or post. This is a good method for a new user because it will help plump up that lonely looking Stream. If you keep adding people you don't know who seem clever or interesting, you'll soon have more going on in your Stream than you can hope to keep up with.
Then, I started making Circles for reading instead of just for sharing. My Circles list looks something like this: read: tech news read: google employees read: photographers read: comedy ... share: irl friends share: houston (public) share: australian friends ... etc, etc.
I started organizing people into appropriate Circles, and removing people who don't post. If, while organizing people, I found that there were no posts (or no posts I was interested in), I went ahead and removed them. Why would I follow you if you don't have anything for me to read? It doesn't make much sense.
The above is a really basic explanation of how I approach following, but it's basic because it doesn't have to be something you overthink. I get more new followers in a day than I can hope to keep up with, so how do I decide who to follow back?
I still use your comments as a primary filter. When someone makes a comment on one of my posts that I find clever or interesting, I click on the person's name and glance at their posts. If they've never made one, I don't add them to a Circle. Why would I? I mean, it doesn't mean I don't find that person interesting. It means that person doesn't make any posts.
Remember that this isn't Twitter! You have to share something on Google+ to be worth following. Twitter is not something I ever personally got into, but after talking a bit with +Ryan Crowe about this reciprocity issue on G+, I started to understand what seemed to be upsetting Miami Tom.
Most of you know Ryan Crowe as +GPlusTips. He has been following the evolution of G+ for as long as I have. We're not the first generation of G+ users (that title is reserved for the likes of Tom Anderson and Google employees), but we're probably in the first generation of regular people using G+, so I consider him a great source (and so should you). He said something really striking to me today -- that "a compulsory followback mentality is what made the numbers on Twitter...sort of deluded."
Following does not automatically generate a sense of "I should follow you back!" on Google+, but it did on Twitter. This place is not Twitter -- if you enjoy what someone is saying here but have not said anything yourself, why would you expect to be put into that person's Stream?
Share stuff! Duh! I'll be totally into following you if you post ideas, stories, art, music, or advice. If you post about your pet turtle or your breakfast, or if you don't post anything at all...well. I mean. Don't make me say it.
RESHARE: If you are in the business of news or, more generally, crafting user experience you really should read this from Andy Rutledge.
Some choice excerpts…
“The employment of content design would be quite refreshing, actually.”
"Quality news requires quality presentation, free from the ridiculous array of experience-destroying marketing. Payment for the PRODUCT allows for this to happen. Experience-destroying penalties for getting the product for free create a broken system while at the same time destroying the value proposition for payment."
"…when context is taken into account, users are taken into account, intelligent business models are used, content is treated with dignity, and very basic development strategy is employed, something as crucial as quality news can be delivered in far better fashion than is typically done."