Tag Archives: instant-messaging

Social Media Questions and Answers

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Social Media is a huge word in my community. It can be defined in a variety of ways. It’s a way for you to be yourself on the Web, using Websites that are available to upload pictures, text and more. I’ve been doing this long before there was even a Web, so I’ve looked at tools in a different way. Ultimately, I want people to know what I’m doing. If they choose to follow me, then I can in turn follow them, get to know them and be friends. I can’t possibly be on every Social Media website. I try to stick with the ones where my friends are.

I got an email recently from Amanda, who is doing a research project for school. She was doing some research on “YouTube celebrities” and came across my profile. She wanted to know if I could help her by answering a couple of questions in the form of a video message. Me? Do a video? Whatever gave you that idea?

  • How do you feel Social Media, such as YouTube, has affected your life? It’s affected my life in a very major way. It’s given me access to a gigantic audience, which amazes me to no end. If I was only publishing on my blog, I wouldn’t be reaching much of an audience. Most of the people in our live chat room wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t found me on YouTube.
  • How does it feel to be a YouTube celebrity, and know that so many people watch you from around the World? I don’t consider myself as a “celebrity”, and I never will. However, it’s very cool knowing how many people from all over the world… from all backgrounds… tune in to see what we’re doing. It’s great that we can maximize the number of connections between all of us. It’s not about “celebrity”, it’s about impacting people in a positive manner.
  • What would your life be like without Social Media sites? I’ve been doing things online for many years, way before these sites even came to be. My life would be the same, but I would unfortunately not be able to reach as many people. The really cool thing about this Social Media thing, is that others share my things. They may catch a clip of something really good when I’m not recording, and then upload it to their own site… or even send it to me to upload. Without YouTube, my life would be the same, but it wouldn’t be as much fun. I am grateful that YouTube IS there. It’s not about the site itself… it’s about the PEOPLE who are a part of it.
  • How do you feel about things like AIM, VirtualWorld… anything else Internet related? I think it’s great that we have so many options. I hate that the world of Instant Messaging is corrupt. I hate classifying my friends in terms of the IM service they use. Why can’t there just be ONE IM client, instead of having “AIM buddies” and “Yahoo buddies” or even “GoogleTalk buddies”. There should be an open, federated Instant Messaging application. Until then, we rely on things like Trillian, Gaim or Meebo.

I hope this helps, Amanda. Understand that once you put yourself out there, you’re out there forever. You don’t even necessarily own what you’ve put out there. Speaking of Social things… don’t forget to drop by our Live Chat Room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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Twitter Hacks

This one’s for Steve and Scoble. From fellow twitterite, Martin Broerse, comes this Twitter trick. The hack still in “alpha” stages, but essentially you can store and retreive data twittered to/from designated Twitter friends.

First, you’ll need to add two new friends to your list: qr and rq. Now, send a Direct Message to qr. For example: “d qr blahblah yaddayadda” (without quotes). You can retrieve the information entered for the self-defined variable blahblah by sending a Direct Message to rq, calling upon that variable. For example: “d rq blahblah” (without quotes) would return to you the value of the originally keyed variable yaddayadda.

d qr seattle.taxi 206-555-5555
d rq seattle.taxi


d qr licplate.cp YIU 922
d rq licplate.cp

If you’d rather push the data to the public, you merely need to add a “p” at the beginning of your Direct Message to qr.

Like I said, it’s a hack – but quite an interesting one.

Top 10 Things that Twitter Can Do

According to nobody, here are the top ten things that Twitter can do:

  • Balance the national budget
  • Detect the presence of anthrax
  • Bullseye womprats
  • Lower your mortgage payment
  • Find lost pets
  • Forge a parent’s signature
  • Slice bread (NOTE: rye only)
  • Debbie
  • Set us up the bomb
  • Cure cancer

Okay, so maybe some items are a bit of a stretch, but given the amount of (positive and negative) attention, you’d think something so simple was doing something truly radical. Here’s the podcast of twenty twitterers tweeting on why Twitter is (or is not) the second coming.

Instant SMS Friend Updates via Twitter.com

I did something I haven’t done in a while – opened up the toll-free line (1-888-PIRILLO) to enable you to record your thoughts on the latest Internet addiction, Twitter. According to the unofficial wiki:

Twitter is a way of life. It’s living with a publicity policy. It’s friends, Romans and country people the world over engaged in timely snippet conversations that fit into 140 character chunks.

According to the official site:

When you send Twitter a mobile text (SMS), it gets sent out to your group of friends and also saves to your Twitter page. Your friends might not have phone alerts turned on so they might check your web page instead. Likewise, you receive your friends mobile updates on your phone.

And according to my wife, Ponzi:

OMG! Thanks to Twitter, we now owe Cingular $1,402 for the month of March!!!

According to the rest of the world, Twitter… well, why don’t you just listen to what Twitter is (according to some of its users)?

Twitter: It's pissing me off!

Okay, yeah – so I’m kinda getting twitterpissed. There are a few people in twitterland who I thought were real-life friends, and even though my twitterings are at a minimum, and even though I had already added them as friends, they aren’t reciprocating. WTF is up with that? http://twitter.com/chrispirillo isn’t that difficult to find.

Not a minute goes by when I don’t see someone talking about twitter, so let’s just try to make this semi-interesting. I finally have 1-888-PIRILLO (1-888-747-4556) set up to ring directly to voice mail, so…

  • Pick up a phone (or Skype)
  • Punch in 1-888-7474-556 (1-888-PIRILLO)
  • State your name and URL
  • Answer today’s question: Do you love / hate Twitter, and why?

Anybody and everybody can participate. I’ll string together the voicemails and post ’em as soon as I have a few in the stack. C’mon, talk to us. I’ll ask a completely different question tomorrow.

BTW, Ponzi had added ~20 twitterfriends before she added me as a friend (and I only discovered she had a Twitter account after Jeff Barr IM’ed me about it). Great. Now “twitter” is a freakin’ part of our home vocabulary.

Miranda vs. Trillian

As reported tonight, I’ve switched from Trillian to Miranda (for several reasons). It’s been a pretty good experience so far, save a couple of random crashes. Here’s what I love about Miranda:

  • Active development community cranking out updates frequently
  • Slick interaction with popular and minor IM protocols
  • Polished skins are readily available through the directory
  • Fast startup and shutdown, relatively small memory footprint
  • My buddy list is transparent (read: no background)
  • I can see what IM clients and versions all my buddies are using
  • There’s a decent “Find Updates” plugin available
  • It’s a nice upgrade from Trillian 2.x’s feature set
  • Individual message windows can contain useful info
  • It’s open source – bonus!

Things I dislike about Miranda:

  • It took a full day to configure to my liking
  • Options are all over the map (in a disorganized config hierarchy)
  • no full support for Skype (read: Skype must still be open)
  • Skins aren’t applied program-wide (very frustrating)
  • I can’t undo a specific font change I made
  • You can’t set a universal buddy icon easily
  • User experience lacks the polish of Trillian’s
  • Some cryptic error dialogs
  • It was designed with geeks in mind
  • I’ve been having problems with MSN connectivity
  • Random crashes with no easy way of recovering open convos
  • I can’t access more than one account on any single network
  • It doesn’t auto-organize incoming IMs by preset protocol groups

I’ll stick with Miranda for the time being. If Trillian 4.x can lick the performance issues that dog 3.x, I’ll go back to it. No word on when the new version will be unleashed, though.

Google to Google, Dust to Dust

Does anybody out there use Google’s Hello? Hello!? Yeah, Hello – the photo-sharing IM service that integrates seamlessly with Picasa and Google’s Blogger service. Here’s the problem I have with Hello: none of my friends use it. My real question is: why isn’t Picasa pushing people to use Google Talk, instead – and why isn’t Google Talk incorporating Hello technology? Argh.

Is Windows Live Messenger Your Friend?

Sean Carver is a rock star. No, seriously – he’s one of the guys at Microsoft who has always listened to my feedback. Not sure he’s always able to push my suggestions through the pipeline, but he really does listen (and I wish I could say that about more people I kenw). Microsoft just launched v8 of their Messenger product. It’s good, and I’d recommend it over previous versions of Microsoft’s IM client, but there are a few things that are holding it back from being great:

  1. Yay: Cleaner, more efficient UI. I’m still not going to switch from Trillian 2.0, but I’m not immediately turned off by Windows Live Messenger’s interface. It’s still a bit laden with oversights, but not so many that it’s painful to use.
  2. Boo: Advertisement overkill. Seriously, can’t I just pay to remove all ads from all Windows Live / MSN services? That, to me, would be worth $100 a year. Enough with the upsells, man – some of us just want to connect with friends and co-workers.
  3. Yay: Yahoo! IM interoperability is coming. While this is a huge step in the right direction, I think more people would opt for the Yahoo! IM experience – which is far less annoying and contains fewer (if any) ads.
  4. Boo: I don’t use MSN Spaces, I don’t use Windows Media Player, I don’t use Windows Live Mail, I don’t use Windows Live Search – but that’s all I can get to through Windows Live Messenger (go figure).
  5. Yay: You can easily change the color of the window. Sounds like a minor feature, but try a few different colors on for size. It’s kinda nice!
  6. Boo: Tabs still aren’t customizable at ALL – it’s either all or nothing. The “love” tab shouldn’t show me a dating site, it should show me places where I can order flowers for Ponzi. That, and the Xbox tab doesn’t seem to be pulling in my Friends list? That, and the Games tab is throwing back a JavaScript error. That, and the scroll wheel won’t let you scroll up and down through the tabs list. That, and the eBay tab doesn’t load my personal page. That, and I think Messengers Tabs are still half-baked and 90% useless.
  7. Yay: You can import favorites from your del.icio.us account. Of course, I don’t use del.icio.us because they’re still blocking Gada.be – but it shows that Microsoft is willing to think outside their own universe (if only for importing).
  8. Boo: You can’t control conversation fonts. I hate when people use 84pt Courier New to send messages to me. They think it’s wonderful – I don’t. And now, apparently, there’s no way of turning that off? Gah. Big mistake.

There, at least my impressions weren’t completely negative – but as I mentioned before, I’ll be sticking with Trillian 2.0 for the time being (going on record as stating that Trillian 3.0 is a performance dog). Windows Live Messenger 8.0 is certainly an improvement over 7.5. No instant messaging client is perfect, but if I were Microsoft, I’d start paying attention to Google. They hired the GAIM guy for Google Talk, ya know? No matter, I’m glad that Sean Carver’s team got this one out the door – but I want them to invite me into their office to make 8.5 a little more power-user friendly.