Tagged: facebook

How do you use Twitter/Buzz/Facebook?

No no, I’m not late to the party and I’m not asking literally how does one use the above mentioned services. Rather, I’m asking how does one put these various services to use. When do you post something on Twitter but not on Buzz, Facebook but not on Twitter; or do you post everything everywhere (ping.fm style)? I’m not a heavy hitter by any means and my usage of social networks is mediocre at best. Yet I myself confounded with all of the various services and their accompanying warts and virtues. Don’t you?

To help sort out my thoughts, I drew a picture (don’t you dare judge me for my lack of creativity!):


Below I elaborate more on how I currently use each of the services.


  • I tend to use it for technical and/or non-personal content. Things that I would want to publicize.
  • Unlike Buzz/Facebook, I don’t pay too much attention to who is following me. Most tweets are public anyways.
  • The 140 character limit is sometimes amusing, but often irritating. Are people still using regular SMS with Twitter?
  • Multiple startups devoted to managing Twitter “noise” is not encouraging.
  • @ replies are bandaid. Twitter is a broadcast-and-forget medium — I can’t have (or follow) a conversation on it.


  • Use it for sharing random, personal updates (or things I find interesting :p)
  • Mostly on because of network effect (read: don’t want to be left off the social bandwagon).
  • Like that I can “Like” most things and actually follow the conversation via comments.
  • Always worried if my privacy settings are working and if there’s a new “default” I need to worry about.
  • Pay more attention to who I friend. The noise level is still quite high despite that.


  • Usage domain similar to that of Facebook. Unlike Facebook, can choose to make posts Public.
  • Love the email integration. Conversely, API/clients still have to catch up to Twitter.
  • Supports likes, comments and “resharing”.
  • Privacy is modeled around my contacts (chat or otherwise), which seems natural.

I’m fine with using Twitter for all of my public posts. The main confusion lies between Buzz and Facebook. Facebook obviously has more social traction. That said, Buzz is just more convenient to use (because of the email integration mostly). Of course, all of the various connectors available (Twitter <-> Buzz, Twitter <-> Facebook, multicast via ping.fm or Chromedeck etc) make the whole thing even more confusing.¬†At the end of the day, I might just go back to not using anything on a regular basis.

How are you using Twitter, Buzz and Facebook?

Observations from The Social Network

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

The Social Network is rather like a fast paced documentary. The content, production value and background scores were great. I really enjoyed the bit around the Harvard boat race — a nice piece of whitespace in the movie :) But this post is not about these aspects; rather I wanted to make a few observations about the several tiny tid-bits of open source sprinkled throughout the movie.

  • wget makes several appearances in a short segment of the movie where Mark is scraping the Harvard intranet for the seed data for various precursors to Facebook. To my relief, everything I saw seemed very real and plausible unlike, say, the hackery mumbo-jumbo in Matrix or (gasp) Swordfish. Nonetheless, I did not see (and have not seen) any evidence that Mark Zuckerberg is the programming genius that most reviews and synopsis claim. Of course, programming genius has no correlation with being successful (read: being the youngest billionaire)
  • The usage of Emacs, Perl and curl were also faithful. The emphasis should be on Zuck’s intuition about the idea and his ability to prototype quickly. The technology itself was something any script kiddy could have come up with.
  • Zuck is shown running KDE 3 on his workstation. Again, the attention to detail is impressive. KDE 3 was around the same time as the early years of Facebook development.

The Social Network
The Social Network

There were a few more things, but I saw the movie several weeks ago and the details are fuzzy in my head. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the veracity of the movie’s substance, I found this Gigaom post useful.

A tale of status messages

It is fascinating how communication evolves. For such a long time, we stuck with email and there was hardly any innovation. Then twitter and friends happened with iPhone and other smart devices acting as a timely catalyst. The past year has seen an explosion in “micro” communication: twitter, micro blogging, tumblogs and the like.

Recently I have become aware of yet another such medium. I think it has always been around, but I feel only recently is it starting to shape up as a real communication channel. Yes my friends, I’m talking about status messages. From your gTalk status message to your Facebook status message — we now pay a lot more attention to them than we used to.

And it’s not just that I have started noticing them. When we travel, instead of sending out an email or setting up vacation replies, we update our status messages. If you are like me and leave your messenger on almost all the time, you get into a habit of noticing people’s status message. During the wild fires, a lot of people just communicated their well being and other updates via their status messages. Status messages can also be used to flaunt and impress. In fact, I have actually seen folks putting in that little extra effort to come up with “creative” or attention grabbing messages.

The fact that it is a one way, broadcast, asynchronous medium helps a lot. You don’t need to announce anything to anyone. You don’t have to wait for anyone to reply to you. You don’t even need to face the fear that no one might be interested in what you have to say. For many people, it acts as a light weight vent to let out their feelings and emotions, without the baggage of actually having a face to face conversation with anyone.

You know what would be cool? If gTalk or Facebook or my desktop IM client just keeps a history/timeline of my status messages. I think it will be a very different way of looking at our daily lives. What do you think?

Just found [[http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/11/status-update-f.html|this story]] on Wired. I had no idea that the mandatory “is” in Facebook status messages was such a huge deal!