My Super Secret Twitter App Revealed: Rout

With all of the fuss over Klout dropping their score, I’ve decided to reveal my super secret Twitter application: Rout.  No longer do you need to fret over low social media ranking scores.  Don’t like your Rout score?  Generate another one.  My score is 65.  No, wait, it’s 87.  No, wait, it’s 15.  No, wait, it’s 3.  THREE?!!!  Whew, 96.  As you can see, I’m extremely influential.  Rout is powered by a highly scientific process called Picking Random Numbers From

Generate your Rout score here.

Ok, obviously, this is a joke.  What isn’t a joke, though, is that I have a super-secret Twitter application under development.  I’ve been delaying it due to bug fixes and paid freelance projects, but I think it’s finally ready for prime time.  Or, wide-spread beta testing, at least.  I’m setting November 1st as the release date, so stop back on Tuesday for the real announcement.  Until then, have fun generating Rout scores!

Aloha Friday: Social Media Time Out

As you read this, I’ll be offline celebrating the holiday of Sukkot.  It may be a more minor holiday than Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, but I like celebrating these holidays.  Now, I’m not Orthodox.  I do things like take photos, watch TV and the like.  One thing I don’t do, though, is use my phone or computer.  I use the holiday as time off from anything work-related (which includes all computers as I program websites for a living and phones as I could otherwise take calls from work defeating the purpose of being “off”).  Instead, I spend the time with my family.  The forced time offline means that I interact with my family more.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Do you regularly take vacations from social media/computers?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #109

Aloha Friday: Three Years of Blogging

Tomorrow is my Blogoversary.  Since I usually don’t post on Saturdays, I’m going to celebrate it today.  It’s been a wild ride since the early days.  Back then, I didn’t post often.  Part of it was because I hated using WordPress’ Admin panel to edit blog posts.  Part of it was because I’d feel like my blog posts weren’t reaching anybody.

Over time, I found Zoundry Raven and then Windows Live Writer.  This helped with the composing of posts.  Suddenly, creating blog posts wasn’t a chore.  Recently, I even hooked my blog up to get mobile photos from my phone.  So now, instead of using TwitPic or a similar service, I can post a photo right to my blog while on the go.

As far as readership goes, I reminded myself that I couldn’t expect to open a blog and suddenly get thousands of readers.  I dove into the social media community.  I commented on other blogs.  Of course, I also tried to put only the very best content on my blog.  (It doesn’t matter how much “promoting” you do.  If the content’s not good, people won’t come back.)  Slowly, but surely, the number of readers to my blog increased.

I owe a lot of exposure to my wife also.  She got into blogging before me (well, at least under this pseudonym) so her “social reach” was far greater than mine.  When she promoted a post of mine, it went further than if I promoted it alone.  I believe the gap between us has slimmed a bit, though she still has over a thousand more Twitter followers than I do.

It’s been a wild ride these past 3 years.  I wonder what the next 3 years will bring.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What do you think the future of blogging/social media will look like?  Where do you think we’ll be in 3 years?

Don’t forget to enter my Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders giveaway!

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #104

Anonymity and the Google+ Circle

I’ve been signed up with Google+ for a few weeks now and it seems like an interesting service.  I’ll admit that I don’t use it as often as I use Twitter.  That’s mainly for two reasons.

First of all, I can update Twitter via SMS message, Seesmic Desktop program, API-powered tweet from my blog, or a bunch of other sites/services.  Google+ can be updated only from the Google+ website.  Assuming Google has an API planned, the amount of third party tools supporting Google+ should skyrocket upon its release.  Google has also been testing SMS updates, albeit in India which doesn’t help me.

The other reason I haven’t used Google+ much is more thorny.  You see, on Twitter and here I go by “TechyDad.”  When I first signed up for Internet services (decades ago), I didn’t really care about privacy and thus used my real name.  After I became a father, though, and after B began, I saw the value of anonymity (even partial anonymity).

Being “TechyDad” means that I can mention things in general without worrying that some stalker might track down where I live.  And remember, I’ve had an Internet Stalker before.  As worried as I was when the whole thing went down, I was comforted that it would be extremely tricky for her to pinpoint my address.

Proclaiming my real name to everyone via Google+ negates this anonymity.  Had Google+ been around during my Stalker episode, I would have worried that said stalker would take my real name, run it through some phone listing/lookup tools and (even though we’re unlisted) find our home address.  If someone who is even slightly unhinged finds that out, they might decide to pay you a visit.  Harassment over the Internet is bad enough.  Harassment that spills into real life is a whole different class of bad.

The thing is, though, Google could solve this easily.  They already have a Nicknames field.  Let people specify nicknames for themselves and assign those nicknames to circles.  Then, let people decide whether or not those circles get to see the user’s real name.

Suppose John Smith has three circles: Family, College Buddies and Blogging.  His family would likely want to see him as John Smith.  His College Buddies could see him under the nickname “Dunk” (earned during a college basketball game) but would also be able to see his real name.  His Blogging circle members, meanwhile, would only see him under the nickname “Dunkers Shame” which he uses to blog about various embarrassing things he’s done in his life.  His real name would remain hidden to everyone in this circle.

Under this setup, everyone wins.  Google would know people’s real names.  People who want complete anonymity could hide their name from everyone except Google.  People who want partial anonymity could have multiple identities for multiple circles.

There are bugs to work out, of course.  For example, what if one of John Smith’s College Buddies is also in his Blogging circle.  Would he see updates by “Dunkers Shame” or “Dunk”?  Would his real name be visible?  Would we need to set up a circle hierarchy?  (Name preferences from Circle 1 override name preferences from Circle 2.)   I’m sure Google could solve this dilemma.

Until they set up some kind of pseudonym/nickname feature, though, and let people hide their true names, I just don’t see myself using Google+ much.

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