Google Buzz Day 3

I was already an avid Gmail fan and Gmail user so I didn’t have to do anything to join Google Buzz except click a large blue button when I logged into my email account after a very long day updating Apple iPod Touch devices.
The ease with which one can join Google Buzz has meant that in just 3 days lots of the people I follow on Twitter are already on Buzz, which if it were a human baby would still be struggling to breastfeed and may not have even had it’s first ever bath. Instead Buzz has grown up very quickly and become more like a grumpy teenager who looks to be developing into a far more promising adult than anyone would think on first appearances.
What am I talking about? Well I have to be honest. When I first saw Buzz and tried to interact with it I wasn’t exactly blown off my feet. It was great that Buzz is just one link below the inbox in my Gmail account but in aesthetic term sit looked more like an early 2000’s internet chat client full of text and blue underlined links than something new and fancy. Yes I could share links, photos and comments, but I can do that with all the other social networking sites I already use and they all look much prettier.
However, and this is the big but, I have grown quite fond of little Buzz in just a few days. It still needs more people to join the network for it to rival twitter as the first place I post a link or comment, but I am starting to see things about it that make me think I may have to reconsider my lack of enthusiasm on day 1.
For starters you can type more than 140 words. That may lead to long, meaningless diatribes plastered all over my Gmail page but I can always “Mute this post” if something looks unappealing. It is important to be concise, especially in these time poor times (excuse the lack of skilled prose on my part), but sometimes I have something to say or post that is just a tiny bit longer than 140 words. This is often the case when one tweet turns into a conversation and that is where Buzz gets interesting.
Twitter lets you reply to tweets and displays them on the Twitterstream but trawling through all the tweets clogging up my Twitstream looking to see if anyone did reply to a comment I made is not the most user friendly or instant experience. With Buzz the comments are posted below each Buzz post so you can get a conversation going about a link, comment, photo or whatever you buzz about, and it is easy to follow and join in. This functionality of Buzz is what I think will promote more involved social networking, where little posts can spark a long and enriching debate. I have always wanted the web to be about sharing useful knowledge and debating ideas and thoughts, and I still think it is one of the best ways to share ideas and develop one’s opinions on many subjects. A conversation full of links to articles, pictures, blogs or sites that reference the topics being discussed is a godsend for the less intellectually enlightened members of society, such as myself, who need to be directed to some evidence or references to know what we are talking about.
I also like the ability to post a picture directly onto a Buzz post, and not into another photo sharing site like Tweetpic or somewhere else on the web that distracts me from the post I was originally looking at.
Google was also quick to sort out the supposed privacy issues about other people seeing who you follow and chat to on your profile, which was a good sign from them.
Anyway If anyone else is starting to warm to Google Buzz and has any more hints about how to get more from it then please leave a comment! The more ideas we share the better.

I was already an avid Gmail fan and Gmail user so I didn’t have to do anything to join Google Buzz except click a large blue button when I logged into my email account after a very long day updating Apple iPod Touch devices.
The ease with which one can join Google Buzz has meant that in just 3 days lots of the people I follow on Twitter are already on Buzz, which if it were a human baby would still be struggling to breastfeed and may not have even had it’s first ever bath. Instead Buzz has grown up very quickly and become more like a grumpy teenager who looks to be developing into a far more promising adult than anyone would think on first appearances.

What am I talking about? Well I have to be honest. When I first saw Buzz and tried to interact with it I wasn’t exactly blown off my feet. It was great that Buzz is just one link below the inbox in my Gmail account but in aesthetic term sit looked more like an early 2000’s internet chat client full of text and blue underlined links than something new and fancy. Yes I could share links, photos and comments, but I can do that with all the other social networking sites I already use and they all look much prettier.

However, and this is the big but, I have grown quite fond of little Buzz in just a few days. It still needs more people to join the network for it to rival twitter as the first place I post a link or comment, but I am starting to see things about it that make me think I may have to reconsider my lack of enthusiasm on day 1.

For starters you can type more than 140 words. That may lead to long, meaningless diatribes plastered all over my Gmail page but I can always “Mute this post” if something looks unappealing. It is important to be concise, especially in these time poor times (excuse the lack of skilled prose on my part), but sometimes I have something to say or post that is just a tiny bit longer than 140 words. This is often the case when one tweet turns into a conversation and that is where Buzz gets interesting.

Twitter lets you reply to tweets and displays them on the Twitterstream but trawling through all the tweets clogging up my Twitstream looking to see if anyone did reply to a comment I made is not the most user friendly or instant experience. With Buzz the comments are posted below each Buzz post so you can get a conversation going about a link, comment, photo or whatever you buzz about, and it is easy to follow and join in. This functionality of Buzz is what I think will promote more involved social networking, where little posts can spark a long and enriching debate.

I have always wanted the web to be about sharing useful knowledge and debating ideas and thoughts, and I still think it is one of the best ways to share ideas and develop one’s opinions on many subjects. A conversation full of links to articles, pictures, blogs or sites that reference the topics being discussed is a godsend for the less intellectually enlightened members of society, such as myself, who need to be directed to some evidence or references to know what we are talking about.

I also like the ability to post a picture directly onto a Buzz post, and not into another photo sharing site like Tweetpic or somewhere else on the web that distracts me from the post I was originally looking at.

Google was also quick to sort out the supposed privacy issues about other people seeing who you follow and chat to on your profile, which was a good sign from them.

And finally, Buzz doesn’t seem to have any of those pointless and irritating time wasting games that clog up Facebook and make me want to get up and slap my friends who are grazing virtual sheep on pixelated binary grass. The less irrelevant apps on Buzz the better.

Anyway If anyone else is starting to warm to Google Buzz and has any more hints about how to get more from it then please leave a comment! The more ideas we share the better.

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Google Buzz

Having just spent the whole day syncing various corporate PR videos and apps onto lots of Apple iTouch devices (not for fun, but for a large multinational company’s annual conference in case you were wondering), I came back home to a googlemail account that was covered with this “supposedly exciting” message and uninspiring logo:
Google Buzz Logo
I had just read about Google deciding to “invade” (or should that be join) the over-burgeoning world of social networking gone mad. I actually read about it on Twitter and even though it did excite me for about 10 nanoseconds I did start to wonder how I could fit yet another social networking site into my already social network crammed life. And I don’t even have a job (yet).
I do love the internet, the web and all things tech, but even I have my limits (which will surprise many). That said I obviously joined, as I already have a Gmail account so I was already Buzzed up anyway. I am intriugued to see who will come out on top in the Social networking wars (here’s me hyping the mundane up again). I personally like Twitter the most as it basically gives me access to lots of links on articles about Technology, Culture, Politics and the news from a wide variety of sources. It would take me ages to trawl through all these various news and story providers but Twitter makes the job easier. I can also access it via my iPhone, and, not to put too crude a point to all this, since I spend a lot fo my time on the loo (I couldn’t think of a more sophisticated way to mention this) Twitter on my iPhone means I have access to the world and all its different events from different angles in the one place I need it the most. What else would I do on the toilet? I am always loathe to take a good book in there as books are sort fo sacred to me, and it would be like defiling literature. Anyway, my Irritable Bowel Syndrome problems aside, social networking does serve a useful purpose in my life, given my specific lifestyle. Yet even I don’t spend that much time locked away from civilisation to be able to go through every Plurk, Tweet, Facebook status update, Flickr update or Buzz that comes my way. I wish I did. I really love the way that social networking on the web connects like minded people who would otherwise never meet as they are separated by geography and other traditional barriers.
I was planning to write a blog post about social networking anyway, before all this Buzz commentary. The angle I planned to take was to discuss why I have more than one Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail account and how that connects with the myriad of different aspects of my personality. Social networking and the web in general allows me to share different parts of my life and personality with a diverse range of very different people. This gives me and my thoughts a great deal of freedom to express themselves. If I did not have this option all my thoughts would fester deep within me, like a swirling vortex of pent up frustrations, boiling and bubbling with rage until they erupted and offended all around me.
So maybe buzzing in addition to tweeting may help keep me a sane, normal, and probably more dull person in real life?
Who knows, I probably won’t have the time to even update my Facebook status with the fact that I am buzzing about twitter.
A lot of people have commented on how social networking has become overbearing and gone into overkill. To an extent I agree about the overbearing comment.  With all the social networking sites around one could spend all day every day just reading status updates (half of which are exaggerated half truths or designed to project a specific self image people want to create). I am already singed up for Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, Moolto, MSN Live, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, WordPress, Blogger, Library thing and Goodreads! They need one service that combines all of these!
I feel that it is up to the individual to act in a balanced and sensible manner (some might say I am expecting too much, given how humans often abuse advances in technology), when picking which services they use to communicate different types of messages and ideas. Of Course there are some geeks out there locked away in a room with wires attached to their internal organs from their computers who live for the next status update and electronic hit, but most people just use it to share their thoughts and ideas with like minded people.
It is hard to find like minded people who you click with in the real world. It always had been. Most of the people we are surrounded by are with us out of pure chance. They happen to be our neighbours, school friends and family. We have geography and maybe blood or language in common but often we don’t have much else.
Personally I have found sites like TED and Mashable to provide me with a very rewarding experience. I would never have discovered them were it not for Twitter. I have also got back into listenign to more music, and the joys of discovering new bands through sites like Spotify and last FM. I haven’t even joined MySpace but I know it has helped a lot of good bands break through. Twitter has also been a great place for aspiring and struggling writers to network with other writers and get useful tips and make valuable contacts. Like many things social networking can be a positive as well as negative force, and both those forces are at work in our lives.
I hope that I can find the right balance in terms of sensible social networking use, which I think I can, and use it to enrich my life instead of distracting me from facing life.
With all this in mind I will now post this blog onto WordPress, link it to blogger, post a link on Twitter, Buzz, Facebook and Plurk and check any comments on my iPhone, when I should really be finishing “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

XX Alone

I am sitting here in my dusty, claustrophobic study with web design books, magazines and course material strewn chaotically all around me imitating the disorganised mess that is my current existence. The dreamy, haunting sounds of English indie rock band XX are floating out of my tinny monitor speakers via the add filled yet free and therefore viable music service Spotify. I say viable as I am currently broke, in the financial as well as psychological state.

One could look back at my life and report that I am usually broke. It depends on how you define broke. However you choose to define it (in terms of more debt than savings or higher expenses than income or high income and high expenditure, take your pick) no one can deny the financial challenge that should be staring me in the face from a multi coloured array of spreadsheet cells in my Family budget file. As it is I am taking a leaf out of my wife’s book and resorting to denial. I should be downloading our bank account and credit card balances to these complex self made spreadsheets but as I know they will only paint an even scarier picture than the one they painted last Saturday, I choose to ignore our impending financial doom and instead surf the net joining various social networking sites such as Plurk and Moolta with my Second life avatar as I am feeling particularly lonely tonight.

The psychological breaking down and current loneliness has much to do with coming back from an insightful yet intensive therapy session to an empty, eerily silent house. The children’s toys are there, littered across the well worn lounge floor, but there are no children playing with them. The wok and saucepans are piled up on top of our ancient electric hobs and various utensils and ingredients are lying about but no one is cooking. The only sound in the whole 3 bed suburban semi is of my stress out pent up mind, swelling with conflicts, anxiety and confusion, overheating and getting ready to blow a gasket. I feel like a faulty Toyota in desperate need of repair just waiting to be recalled before my broken accelerator pedal drives me into a self destructive brick wall.

The loneliness can be attributed to my wife and daughter staying with my mother-in-law to comfort and support her, in deepest rural Woking. My father-in-law is still in hospital and still in a bad state following his major stroke last October. The air of empty silence and haunting alienation of this house is much better than the thick fog of depression permanently hanging over my in laws home as life gets harder and more emotionally and psychically challenging day by day. The financial costs of supporting a stroke victim are not low.

The financial burdens of a South west London suburban family with a mortgage, growing child, constant 70 mile round trips to Milford Hospital in an age of ever rising petrol prices are also becoming less and less compatible with my continuing unemployment. I got a job that would have plugged the outflow of cash for a little while, giving us breathing space, only to have the job offer callously ripped from me due to miscommunication between HR departments and the business managers who desperately needed me.

The spiral of increasing problems and stress has resulted in a sudden relapse of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I need to get some acid to pump through our lime scale ridden blocked up toilet discharge pipes before they overflow again (don’t try and visualise it, not a pretty sight, i can promise you.) My bouts of sudden inexplicable fatigue are also increasing. I am back to job hunting, but in this market it is even more depressing than it usually would be. I can’t tell my wife how broke we are. She doesn’t have the time, energy or motivation to read this blog so she will never know, unless the bailiffs arrive early. She will probably be in the hospital anyway so I will find a way to blag it.

It would be nice to hug her after a long, dreary day of depressing chores and job hunting and to snuggle up to a movie or Episode 1, Series 4 of Northern Exposure. As it is I am left to find some friendly conversation online with random geeks who like to create digital art and funny freakish animals in Photoshop and play Star Trek online. That would be one way of escaping my enforced isolation but unfortunately it seems that tonight even the geeks aren’t talking to me. So I have resorted to talking to myself by throwing a few thoughts onto electronic ink and composing this blog.

4 Diet Pepsi’s and many happy pills on from my fatigue relapse this afternoon and I feel myself drifting off into a surreal computer generated world where no one has cancer or strokes and being unemployed and geeky is a virtue not a mark of failure and anxiety.

On a lighter note, at least all my web surfing in the name of my web design course has lead me to discover this great website dedicated to the early 1990’s TV Comedy Drama Northern Exposure:

http://www.moosechick.com/

Second Life Home

Even Virtual Worlds have loneliness