Behavior Modification and Google’s Pursuit of the Star Trek Computer

Star Trek Kirk Communicator

You can comment on this post’s Google Plus thread here.

I haven’t blogged in some time, but this has been a growing theme for me, and it seems worth posing here as a benchmark, as these are deep, cultural and technology shifts worth talking about, especially in terms of human expectations of knowledge, and the promise of the internet. These are mostly thoughts posted at length, with some modification, on a Google Plus share of Mark Traphegan’s excellent blog post on Google Plus’s new Reach Numbers. One of the most interesting things he talks about is User Behavior Modification.  Mark argues that Google must provide quality results otherwise people will stop using its product.

Google needs that content; helping the world to find information is Google’s stated mission. And users, to varying extent, need Google to help their content to be found or made visible.

So users have a high incentive to do whatever it takes to make their content more visible to other Google users. But Google has a counterbalancing incentive to filter that content, and try to maintain high quality levels. Why? Because if they don’t, people will stop using Google.

Over the years, Google has experimented with various ways of gently–and sometimes not so gently–pushing its users toward practices that help Google to more consistently deliver better content. This is what I call Google user behavior modification (UBM).

read the rest

But, there is an alternate solution for Google to providing “quality” results.

 

Changing Expectations
What interests me is the most potent user modification that I’m seeing, which is the modification of expectation itself. Instead of Google having to do the heavily computational lifting of providing high quality content to everyone (the Star Trek computer, which knows all things), it actually makes much more economic sense if they can change the expectation and satisfaction level of users. This way Google can robustly provide a kind of McDonalds of products in the cuisine of knowledge and Internet consumption. We just need people getting hungry for McDonalds search and social.

How Search Has Changed

We’ve already seen it – dramatically I think – in Google SERPs. It is very odd to me that almost nobody is talking about the significant shift in search results quality over the last two years. Previously people would search, get a hodgepodge of results and then refine their search, and repeat. Google saw this process of search refinement as a kind of “failure” of the product, losing users in the process, when in fact it was producing a large group of users who became really adept at Googing, figuring out how to use keyword combinations and other cheats to wormhole through results and get fantastic, knowledge-rich pages. There were the Googlers, and then there were the not-so-Googlers. But what Google really needed was the not-so-Googlers, because Google primarily is a ad-selling company (somewhere around 60 Billion dollars a year, I believe). What was a rich and varied strength of the search product which produced an autonomy of users had to be changed.

The “Improvement” of the Algorithm – Reading Your Mind

The answer of course was an improved algorithm. We need an algorithm that can not only filter out spammy results, more importantly it had to read your mind and figure out what you really mean. David Amberland writes enthusiastically about this, and it is much celebrated. But there is another vector of solution that Google as been pursuing aimed to make the distance that Google’s IA dreams have to travel. What if Google was able to answer your question before it is completely formed or focused, in a sense nipping the flower of it in the bud? What if it gave you the experience of an answer, and experience that was “good enough” to stop you from re-querying?

Shortening Your Questioning

This is where the auto-complete started successfully steering you away from more complex query entries. You might have a pretty complicated, but still somewhat unfocused idea of what you are are looking for when you start typing, but as you start typing a much more simplified version of your question pops into view. This is great for Google because they don’t have to crunch such varied and lengthy queries, straining their computational and software limits. If we can get people asking the same, fairly simplified queries, then our job is easier.

Providing Satisfying Answers

Once you get people asking simpler questions you have to keep them from requery by giving them a satisfying end. A part of this is being able to “read minds” in the celebrated Semantic Search way, but an even bigger part of this is in providing “official” looking, pleasingly represented answers. This is where the Knowledge Graph comes in. The purpose of the Knowledge Graph, aside from moving towards the One Screen mobile need, is to just end querying. It is a counterpart of the simplification of queries themselves.

Playing With the Form of Results

If I’m not mistaken: You can see an even more aggressive version of these behavior modifying strategies in the way that Google is providing very different results in quoted phrasing. There was a time not long ago when you could very effectively requery by grouping words together in a phrase, and forcing the engine to push deep into its repository of pages. Now, instead, Google produces page results that simply do not contain all the words in your phrase…they show that one is missing by crossing it out. They are saying: I know you think you want pages with that phrasing, but these pages are much more popular even though they don’t contain the complete phrase…maybe you were mistaken in your query. Or even more forcefully, in cases of 3 word phrases they simply refuse to do the search itself, and remove the quotations.

I don’t know about you but I have experienced a dramatic restriction in results framed by date of publication. This was a very powerful research tool, and was invaluable when Google started pushing fresher and fresher content forward. If you wanted to know about a subject prior to the coloring events of 2013 you could just search pre-date. This option has been significantly curtailed. It’s as of the library of holdings, the history of the Internet itself has shrunk from view. In time the expectation of the fruitfulness of such a search will wither.

The Celebration of the Algorithm – a New Captain Kirk

There is in the Google Conversation community a kind of celebration of the Google Algorithm, a kind of Sci-Fi love of the kinds of things that Google is pushing for in terms of capacity. I’m a big fan of Sci-Fi and I could be capativated by the Star Trek computer as much as the next guy, or gal. But we are – I believe – turning a blind eye to how much Google (and Facebook to a lesser degree) is cleverly moving the goal posts, in a very subtle way. It would be as if Captain Kirk grew into the habit of only asking the computer how many people lived on the Cairn homeworld, or what time his Hangout with Federation Command was scheduled for. This dimension of behavior modification is immense, and even profound, given the promise of what the Internet hoped to be, a vast library of human knowledge, an infinite sedimented record of facts, activity and thought. What made Google Google was that it was a tool that we could use to navigate a very large, incredible and sometimes stormy sea. Part of what Google has been doing though, is shrinking that sea, and also encouraging us to maybe sail much closer to our harbor where waters are much more manageable and pacific.

How Google Plus Also Modifies Our Behavior

So this long digression into Google’s main property and service has to have something to do with Google Plus, right? From my view Google faced many of the same problems on Google Plus that it did in Search, and it has intelligently worked to solve them in a similar way. Initially it created a remarkable environment of thought and discussion, drawing powerful minds that just were not satisfied with Facebook social, wanted more depth than Twitter offered, and more speed and intimacy than blogging did. There was something Eden-like in how varied Google Plus was two years ago. Okay, everything changes right? But let’s think about these changes.

Much as Google Search had power re-Googlers and non-reGooglers, and the majority of users were not using Google creatively, they had autonomous power users on Google Plus, but also many more people were just putting their toe in the water; they needed to pull more and more people, and more and more content into the platform. They had to simplify it. Google had to produce a much more satisfying experience of it to a new user, especially if they were going to cut into Facebook. The marvelous eco-diversity of initial Google Plus was just too complicated, too varied, too dependent on the pre-existing relationships that power users brought into the platform fully formed (for me this was from Twitter). Add in that mobile use (which itself is a very simplified content use context) was becoming a dominant influence in Social, and you have extreme demands that Google Plus change dramatically.

The Algorithm Solution Again

Aside from very aggressive auto recommendation strategies for circling (which, parenthetically, were also amplified by its biggest proselytizing users in their circle shares), what really had to change was its streams. Popular content organized around simplified wants had to be pushed forward, otherwise Google Plus would just be populated by Social Media Pros and nerdists repeating how wonderful it is to each other. People need to see something engaging quickly when they come to G+, and in parallel they need simplify their expectations. When in the past inquiring users may have been in search of conversations or new ideas, but now one’s eye should search for a clever photo, an inspiring quote, a quirky headline. For the engineers at Google, if we can get people looking for the right kind of content on Google Plus we can get really good at delivering it.

Google Plus Has Improved

Google Plus has improved in some ways. Now older posts with some interesting conversation might be found by someone who hasn’t been on the platform in a while, for instance. But I don’t know about others, largely the substantive content I looked forward to in the past is simply buried in an avalanche of popular items and feeds. And even posters themselves have been slowly curved towards a different kind of content and expression. More than this, and with disappointment, the best Google Plus minds have focused their eye on the praises of the algorithm itself, instead of as members of the community and environment equally concerning themselves with the culture of Google Plus, what Google is creating by algorithm, through behavior modification of even its brightest members.

 

These are tectonic shifts in the very form of knowledge as it interfaces with technology, as important as changes in the form of the book.

Social Media Fatigue – Techniques and the Crush of Posting

Interest in Others - Keys to Social Media Fatigue

The Relationship Between Techniques and SMM Fatigue

Sometimes I back away from all the interesting developments and conversations happening in Social Media Marketing conversations and get an instinct to pull back from it all to re-distill what it is all about, some golden truth that drives the whole process. This instinct is pretty strong when it happens and I just know that I’m hitting on something important for myself and possibly others. Some might find the observation of this post trivial, but it hit me in a special way. When I got this truth, unfortunately, the expressed result was just one of those uber positive advice tweets that litter the Twitter conversation field, seemingly begging for a RT. It is painful to see the impulse to communicate come out so differently than my intent:

I, as many Social Media professionals do – perhaps especially those who work for multiple clients, alternating through diverse subjects and audiences – have struggled through Social Media Fatigue quiet often (let’s call it SMF). Sometimes SMF is in regards to a small task, sometimes it is with a process that has to be repeated over and over or even an audience or lack of audience. It just is the nature of the beast. Social Media demands the best of ourselves, an energy and positivity that when it gets externalized not only stimulates others, it also can awaken the best in us. But the most sensitive of us – and really all people – have serious need for downtime, for contemplation or silence, times when nothing happens. We require reservoirs to draw from. That is the usual model. We in Social Media are sacrificing our internal time for the good of a public outlay. And it is fatiguing.

Commerce, Tech/nique and Soul

Let me take a different tack onto this fatigue. I was busy commenting in a fairly abstract way on some concerns about Google’s increasingly intelligent algorithms presenting content that we may want on Google Plus. You can see the process of my thoughts in the comments on David Amerland’s post on Complexity. What it seems I was working toward was an idea that I pursued a few years ago, that Social Media was driven by a Gift Economy. Gift Economies have a logic that is contrary to Market Economies and there is a fundamental tension, if not conflict, between them, I believe. What struck me was that Social Media Fatigue is a product of this tension between the two. What do I mean by that, in what way?

For Social Media Pros, but also for anyone vested in their social media there is always the question of intention when posting. Where is the soul leaning when completing what is sometimes a very complex task requiring many dimensions of your person (analytical, aesthetic, custom-following, know-how, etc.)? We have been gifted with increasingly adroit tools that enable us to inhabit not only multiple platforms – each with their own sub-culture of behaviors and aesthetic – but also multiple facets of ourselves. Where is our soul when pushing through these advanced techniques, all woven together quite productively though our various devices? It seems to me that fatigue starts to set in most for me when my attention is mostly on the technique itself, just getting or doing it right…(and right includes innumerable of aspects of me expressing values that are important to me and brand). The advance toward techniques are a kind of human/cyber interface, a technique of being-human that marries actual technical devices, user UI designs and techniques of ourselves. The tech/niques come right out of the commerce frameworks of the platforms we are negotiating and the designs that support them. We are using tools that we have purchased or downloaded and increased our speed and thresholds of interfaces to thrive on platforms that themselves are driving a competition to spread as fast (and as deep) as they can. It is a heavy sea. We ride and push through these waves and frankly it requires a great deal of concentration and harvested authenticity.

As we face the fatigue though I think many of us counter this tech/nique fatigue by finding within ourselves a genuine (or authentically discovered) enthusiasm for what it is we are posting. And if not enthusiasm, interest. We oscillate between a thorough engagement with the technology and techniques and our soul reaching out to the content in a kind of (perhaps only momentary) embrace.

We try to fight fatigue this way.

SMF - Social Media Fatigue

In this model the interest in content can be fairly rich. It is a personal reaction or investment in what is being shared, or what is being said, a connection that is being made, a feeling to what the topic is. We respond authentically, if not creatively to what Facebook calls analytically “stories” and to commentary, and we move between that spike in enthusiasm back into techniques, marking and positioning our way as we go. Sometimes techniques themselves even become the content and we get a kind of meta-pleasure of teching the tech, techniquing the technique.

But I think that we’ve got it all wrong. There is to Social Media a core dimension that honestly gets lost as we bounce between content enthusiasm spikes and the labor of tech/technique. Those two poles are really what the Social companies are all about. They are busy pushing our “stories” and their supporting techniques because these are what is measureable, and these are what they have designed for their own success. If our souls try to fight SMF by this dichotomy we will only be eventually be drained. What is missing is the thing that gave birth to social in the first place…genuine interest in others.

Think about this the next time you post something. Think about this when you exercise a technique that dovetails audiences or streams. Who or what are you caring for? Where is the focus of your soul? If you are feeling tired, if SMF is getting to you it is very likely that you have lost your interest in others and have been caught in a binary.

Each and every person we connect to is not simply a node, they are a fathomless beacon -  a beacon of something we can be. Be interested.

******

epilogue thought:

I think key to this is something I learned from my wife who struggles with mental training stuff all the time. She is a pro Muay Thai fighter here in Thailand, having fought over 50 fights she inspires me. Expectation is 80% of motivation is one of the mental training adages she thinks about. When we think to do something what we expect plays a large part in our disposition to do it. When we do things through our interest in others our expectations are quite different, much more potent and liberating than those that come from acting out of content interest or the pleasure and accomplishment of know-how.

Vine is not Video – The Real Challenge of Instagram

I really don’t want to write this in a high-minded way, with references to Friedrich Nietzsche and the film making of Tarkovsky, but I’m afraid that is the way it is going to come out. What I really want to write about is how Instagram (nearly) ruined Twitter’s new “video app” Vine for me. But also I want to brush up against just what it is that Vine is, to think about it in a much larger context than the Facebook vs. Twitter platform user war that conditions most of the conversation. I want to think about what Vine could be, what it was that Twitter stumbled into, and maybe get a view toward a future for Vine that probably will never be.

Why Vine is not Video

Look at the Vine at the top of the page and I think right away you’ll grasp why Vine is not video…if this were a video (a still image with an arrow that you clicked on to to play, or worse, a video that started playing automatically), this would be a very bad video. In fact I’m not even sure that it is a very good Vine. But what it is is something different. It is an aesthetically new class of thing, because of its edits, its compression, but mostly because of its closure upon itself. Our e-eyes have been conditioned to be able to read these kinds of images easily due to the endless gifs that have populated forums, websites and social platforms for years, but this isn’t even really a gif, I’d argue, largely because it is shot as an mise-en-scene expression, a communication. Vines force a kind of dense rendering of a 6 second moment, short edit decisions (that can be exhilarating), a grasping of a scene in a kind of purity…because it is fated to loop endlessly ad infinitum. Of course Vinists don’t have to use them that way, but the form of the Vine invites it.

This is where we get the Nietzsche reference. Nietzsche had an idea he liked to think about called the Eternal Return, the notion that each and every moment of one’s life – given the infinity of Time – is bound to be repeated again…and again, and again, and again. He drew a kind of moral lesson from this, that one had to live one’s life with the bold affirmation that each of your life’s moments, even your weakest ones, were WORTH being lived eternally…

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’ [The Gay Science, §341]

This, at least for me, is what is so beautiful about Vine. It asks you to select 6 seconds that will be replayed like a prayer wheel in a kind of aesthetic eternity. Just as a photography magically seemed to capture the soul of a person, a moment…in a layer of frozen silver, Vines cup together seconds and circles them, creating an odd sort of energy that seems remarkably consonant with Twitter’s very abbreviated blogging itself. Twitter found something. If you make and experiment with Vines I think you’ll see it. In Vine you are clustering together motion, moments, compression and release, a constellation, and if you are doing it with Vine in mind you are doing with an eye towards eternity, how they fold back on themselves. You are not creating a linear exposition.

Edits in Vine

I mentioned it in passing, but there is also something going on in edit choices in Vine, the (also) compressed way in which edit choices have to be made with the live and lived subject right there with you. You have to feel its “time”, and dialogue with it in a way. What does that mean? This is where Tarkovsky, one of my favorite film directors comes in. I’m pasting this from their Sculpting in Time source, so I lowered the font color to ease the eye on the caps:

EDITING BRINGS TOGETHER THE SHOTS THAT ARE ALREADY FILLED WITH TIME. ALTHOUGH THE ASSEMBLY OF THE SHOTS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STRUCTURE OF A FILM, IT DOES NOT, AS IS GENERALLY ASSUMED, CREATE ITS RHYTHM. THE DISTINCTIVE TIME RUNNING THROUGH THE SHOTS MAKES THE RHYTHM OF THE PICTURE; & RHYTHM IS DETERMINED NOT BY THE LENGTH OF THE EDITED PIECES, BUT BY THE PRESSURE OF THE TIME THAT RUNS THROUGH THEM. EDITING CANNOT DETERMINE RHYTHM (IN THIS RESPECT IT CAN ONLY BE FEATURE OF STYLE); INDEED, TIME COURSES THROUGH THE PICTURE DESPITE EDITING, RATHER THAN BECAUSE OF IT. THE COURSE OF TIME, RECORDED IN THE FRAME, IS WHAT THE DIRECTOR HAS TO CATCH IN THE PIECES LAID OUT ON THE EDITING TABLE

TIME, IMPRINTED IN THE FRAME, DICTATES THE PARTICULAR EDITING PRINCIPLE; & THE PIECES THAT ‘WONT EDIT’ – THAT CANT BE PROPERLY JOINED – ARE THOSE WHICH RECORD A RADICALLY DIFFERENT KIND OF TIME. ONE CANNOT, FOR INSTANCE, PUT ACTUAL TIME TOGETHER WITH CONCEPTUAL TIME, ANY MORE THAN ONE CAN JOIN WATER PIPES OF DIFFERENT DIAMETER

Tarkovsky is talking about editing with real pieces of film laying on a table. He sees pipes filled with water under pressure (a remarkable analogy) when he thinks about joining them. The cuts in a Vine are experienced slices in an expressed scene or moment that one feels would give it enough life to live in a 6 second loop. The cuts are accomplished by feel. You have to create the time pressures, the hydraulics as the river of it is rushing past. A beautiful thing.

Hulk Vine

How Instagram (almost) Ruined Vine for Me

Back to the more personal story. I began experimenting with Vine partly because that is just what I do. I want to have first hand experience of new tools and feel their potential and limitations before making recommendations. I really don’t want to critique the app though, plenty to critique. Mostly I just wanted to play and discover, and what intrigued me the most at first for business was its embed feature. For those that don’t know, I live in Thailand and my wife Sylvie is a professional Muay Thai fighter here. So I get to experiment a lot with her social media in test runs before I bring stuff to clients. So I messed around with the app for about 2 weeks, and we put up a blog post that was just a variety of Vines, using different subject matter and techniques. I think it gives a kind of montage effect of what she does during the week: My Muay Thai Week: Experiments in Social Media and speaks to some of the blog embed potential for the app, though the post is a little extreme. The Vine at the top of this post is from a few days ago. For a little context it’s of Sylvie just after getting out of the ring after 10 rounds of serious work. It was meant to produce a kind of fragmented expression of her strength (she’s very small, but very strong), and some of her fans know about her Hulk and Wolverine Marvel character shirts as a point of reference. It was tweeted out mostly as test, without text. She only recently began her twitter account as Facebook, blogging and YouTube have demanded a lot of her non-training time, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to invest in another platform.

But the Vines were fun. They were easy to produce. They made novel content…and most importantly – as you can tell from the length of this post – they were aesthetically interesting. So what happen? Instagram. When Instagram swooped in with their video challenge the Social Media consultant in me had to use it. It had the well-known “improvements” to Vine (re-edit, longer play, etc). So we played with it. It was okay. The upload was murder on the 3G we have here in Thailand, it was something of a pain. But the biggest thing that happened was that Instagram made me lose interest in Vine. In fact it made me lose interest in both, which really surprised me. Part of it was that I really didn’t want to be part of an app war, even at the level of a user. I just don’t enjoy that aspect of tech and I read so much of it in the blogs I follow. But it was deeper than that, I think. Instagram video did something else. It convinced me that Vine was merely video…that when I was deciding to shoot a message that we might send to Sylvie’s fans I was choosing between two different video platforms. Do I want 15 seconds, and Facebook integration or do I want embeddable video and looping? Instagram made it a choice of video options, and for whatever reason the whole thing went yuck for me.

I’m not really sure what is going to happen. We’ve moved the Vine app on our phone over to Sylvie’s Twitter account instead of mine, so we can make use of it better. I’m still deeply intrigued by Vine’s aesthetic choices and project, but remain affected by the Instagram move. I suspect that Vine too will be fooled into thinking that Vine is video and we’ll be heading towards the video app wars (sigh). What I hope and think is that Vine should realize that its Twitter DNA is where it is at, compressed, shareable, consciousness-altering communications and processes. They had and have a chance to change thins. Move AWAY from video (linear, length), and towards the cycle.

Are Design Icons Close to Proto-Language Use?

image

Anchorage and Compass

In reading Reading In The Brain I can’t really get myself away from the feeling that I’m learning important perceptual and experiential truths that involve digital design when the author discusses how the brain divides up the workload of decoding written inscription, in a “pandemonium” of neuron hierarches. But in this passage above something else occurs to me. Because early art or even writing was not strictly “representational” there is this sense that depiction is more “operational” which is exactly what icons are. I’ve been captured by the design sense that in digital enviroments people often far less aware of where they are and what they should do than we think they are. Designers spend so much time slaving over minutia of a page, little aesthetics here and little asethetics there, it never occurs to them that people won’t know where the profile or contact button is. I put it over “there” it is obvious.

The first thing that faces a new user is orientation. Where am I? Am I in the right place? How do I move around? These things need to be very clear, and made clear very fast, even for experienced internet users. I can’t help but think that the anchoring operators of early cave painting are important lessons here. Icons, navigation, they draw on some of the most powerful dimensions of word magic. And even in sites that are inhabited by familiar, repeat visitors, the power of operator iconography (and calls to action) are things that structure and enable the flow of activity. Compassry is a neglected art in the world of digital design.

The Medium Isn’t Built for It – Google Plus Blogging Failure

Blogs are islands

Blogging and Not Blogging

It has been just about a year and a half since I began my blogging-on-Google-Plus experiment in outright earnest, leaving behind the sketch pad that is this blog and throwing myself into a Social Media future. As you might be able to tell from this blog I was never after “traffic” in the first place, or even “follows”, I just wanted a place where ideas could be ferreted out, and then hopefully discussed in the comments below. I’m very interested in pushing the envelop of what is conceptually possible in social media, and new tools are definitely part of the equation. I thought that the clever amalgam of Twitter, blogging and Facebook features that are somewhat absurdly (at least over-positively) expressed by Mike Elgan in the image below…

Image

…would somehow carry blogging to a new place. The truth of the matter is that Google Plus is none of those things that Mike Elgan says it is the equivalent of. It’s a completely different platform with its unique strengths and perhaps even more importantly, weaknesses. But most particularly right now, it is not a blog.

I’ve had a great many idea exchanges on Google Plus in my more than a year and a half there, and I’ll definitely remain there. But there is something to the Google Plus interface – perhaps it is its reliance on and an architecture built around a “stream”, perhaps it is because no comment has a permalink, and cannot be easily shared so there is no silent “listening in” by interested others, perhaps it is because posts themselves just wash away and very smart people just end up reiterating themselves instead of building on what they wrote previously, like a vast prayer wheel – there is something about Google Plus that is just not additive. Blocks (ideas, concepts, dialogues) just do not “stack” there, and as far as I can tell they don’t work deeply into concrete details, or propagate in rich variations. None of the things that I love about thinking and investigating happens there. Links aren’t really read, buzzwords buzz more like flies than like bees, and images saturate in a bombardment. The new layout didn’t help matters – I know why they did it – but it has been the case nearly from the start. This is not even to go into the inability for Google Plus to address all the other reasons a person might want to blog like SEO, brand discovery, domain authority, things I’m not interested in for my person. I should have much more to write about the Google Plus design weaknesses in the near future, I’ve thought a lot about why it just isn’t cutting the right swathe of cloth. But for now…

Blogs are digital islands, like coral atolls built up over 1,000s of years (words, titles, comments), they are archipelagos of digital life.

When I stopped blogging I also stopped most of my Twitter visits as well. I had a very nice community of thinkers and conversations going on in Twitter which I deeply enjoyed, and initially my hope was that the speed of Twitter and the richness dynamism of Google Plus would make a perfect pairing. But cross-posting was a pain, unwanted by many, and while in the first months I was able to transfer some of my Twitter community over to Google Plus and get more lengthy commentaries going, in the end it proved a drain. Twitter at the time was also under the assail of Triberr and other link spamming reach techniques as the Age of social media top 10 advice had come, it just seemed better to dive into Google Plus. Now that I have returned to Twitter I find it a link Land, perhaps the link Land I feared it would be, though already I’ve found some fast, informative conversations (one leading to the writers’s software Srivener that may just change my and my wife’s life – ty Brian Meeks & Rabab Khan) that simply could not happen on any other platform on the planet.

So this post is just to re-announce the opening up this concept space again. I just need it. I’m reading a fascinating book “Reading in the Brain” which I believe gives key insights on how the visual brain digests written material which may prove important for digital designs. That should be something worth sketching out. It may well be that I should take this blogging seriously enough so as to get my own domain, it always before seemed like just a private investigative thought corner, but perhaps things have changed.

I still direct social media for Tonner Doll though I am doing so from Thailand having moved here so my wife Sylvie could pursue her art to the nth degree. It is a superlative perspective on social media, as I am strategically engaged, though often I am operating at “off” hours from the west. It has given me a unique perch.

My blogging activities have moved

I should have put signposts up, but I was negligent because most everyone in contact with me knew of my experiment with Google Plus and the #otable hashtag on Twitter. But for some time now I have been “blogging” through Google Plus now, letting his space lie fallow. I could return here, but for now Google Plus has been the platform that needs investigation.

Look forward to seeing you over there: My G+ Profile

Invasive Species and Social Media – micro post

There was some resistance to the analogy of “invasive species” to possibly describe Triberr on Twitter today. It was a very interesting thought offered by @Karen_sharp in comments to my Ecological Argument post yesterday. I just wanted to be clearer on just what invasive species are to me.  Karen has pointed out that they are species that lack natural predators and therefore have an advantage in the competition over resources – in this case attention in the social media sphere.  And some expressed concern over the moral sense, the accusation that something or someone is trying invade or takeover. Both are interesting aspects. For me, I find invasive species scenarios fascinating. When a species simply overruns an ecosystem simply due to circumstance, through radical and unexpected introduction, issues of functionality and systemic cohesion really come to the forefront. Many of the great “successes” in culture, and crazes or trends can be considered invasive species from a certain perspective. It only gets complicated when we start valuing what has been changed by these great sweeps. Sometimes even ideas can be considered invasive species, perhaps necessarily so.