The Social Network
I saw the Social Network tonight. A good portion of the movie was a trip down memory lane. There were cameo appearances by LiveJournal, Linux, KDE (featuring Keramik window decorations), and Perl scripts. It's rare to see a movie in which they get the technical details right -- it enhances my own personal enjoyment of the movie.

Found out some other tasty morsels about Facebook. When they were at 200,000 users, they received venture capital funding of only $500,000. Wow. That is actually not a whole lot of money.

Looking at HootSuite, we're almost 2 years old -- and what an eventful two years it has been. Our current Alexa traffic rank is 447. at this time next year, it wouldn't suprise me if we're one of the top 100 visited sites in the world.

What makes us different from other social networking sites is that we're not, in fact, a social networking site. Rather, we're a site that connects to other social networks through their APIs. Hence, when you load up HootSuite's social dashboard, you can not only aggregate every social network, you can reply, comment, and update every one of them.

Now, here's where things get interesting. The game has changed completely since 2004. Back then, all you needed was a website. Today, you need a website and mobile clients. If you can't make an iPhone app, you should at least build a mobile-optimized version of your website that can transform into a mobile app. Think an SSB like Prism or Fluid but for your iPhone.

Others call me crazy, but the facts are in plain view. The traditional desktop as we know it is dying. Most of us saw the OX X 10.7 (Lion) preview. The Mac is turning into the iPad. And in the near future, many of us won't even own a laptop. Smartphones and tablets will be used by more people than desktops and laptops.

What's the killer app? Social networks, but more particularly, social media dashboards serving up social networks. One app that is the central hub for YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, et al. One app to rule them all.All immediately accessed with your phone or tablet.

The current valuation of Facebook is $25 billion. For the record, I don't think this valuation is based on hype. But Facebook is based on a different paradigm than what the reality is now. The new reality means that the emphasis is now mobility and portability. With this new reality comes great opportunity, and I'm just glad I'm getting in on the ground floor.

The beers' are on me
Today, I bought everyone at work beer because yesterday was a special day.

HootSuite became an Alexa 500 site. That means we're now more popular than TMZ, Gizmodo, and IBM. Next stop: LiveJournal, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

We've done it with little press but great engineering. And we did it in Vancouver, Canada -- far away from the twin centers of the universes that are Silicon Valley and New York City.

So yes, I'm savouring these beers right now -- for good reason. HootSuite is a big vision. And I'm proud to say I've been there when it all started to happen.

"Long Live the New Flesh!"
Damn it. I made the mistake of getting my wife to watch Videodrome. It was meant to be a precursor to a documentary I'm eventually going to show her: We Live in Public. My mistake was thinking that a work of fiction would be "gentler" on her than a documentary that shows some very traumatic footage.

Anyway, the whole thing didn't turn out well. The movie proved too much for her, and she ended up in tears. Not only did she find it difficult to follow, but she didn't like the ambiguous ending, nor did she enjoy all the abstract (i.e., McLuhanesque) themes. But what she really didn't like was the allusions to violence and brainwashing -- it ended up being a trigger for her.

Now, you're probably wondering why these movies mean so much to me. That's a heady topic, and one that needs a lot of explaining.

Videodrome, Media Literacy, and the Next Big ThingCollapse )

So I've returned to LiveJournal
So pinch me. I've taken up to LiveJournaling due to an obscure command line client called Charm that allows me to post to LJ through a Vim front end. Pretty cool, and quite useful.

The author of this client, Lydia Leong, is quite interesting. She's a Research Director at Gartner who has a background in software engineering. Her LJ account was started in 2001, so she must have created it before entering the corporate world -- at least that's my guess.

Which brings me to an interesting thought. As much as my job pushes me towards using Twitter and Facebook professionally, I keep returning to the geekier social media tools -- ones with a lot of history. That means Reddit, IRC, Usenet -- and now LiveJournal.

What's the big deal about that? Just this: as much as modern social networks pay my salary, they don't entirely feel "home" to me. And hey, I'll admit it. Once you use once social media tool, you've used them all. Twitter is just Usenet with a different protocol. But at the end of the day, it's all about the users and how they use it.

Every day on IRC, I hear someone complaining about those "damn" Facebook users. That Facebook users don't have a life, that telling people what you had for breakfast isn't that interesting. Fair enough, but what's to stop you from using Facebook to connect to people you find interesting?

Personally, I don't care what people use. It really is all the same. I just tend to want to express myself in ways that seem more like "me".

This is a test
This is a test of Charm, a command line LiveJournal client. I want to see if this will work.

A new evolution

I'm exhausted, terribly exhausted, but it's all worth it. One "tentacle" of my website is live with many more to follow.

Basically, I got a message board up and running. The topics are: futurism, tech, art, literature, and WTF. That's pretty diverse, i think. Here's the URL:

This is all part of a dream I have. I've always wanted to create a place for amazing content, and people who love amazing content. Never had the time nor the money to do it till now.

Eventually, there will be a content portal, wiki, blog, image host. I can't wait.

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This was inevitable
After registering myself on networking site after networking site, the inevitable happened: I registered a domain name. I'm installing a WordPress blog, a message board, a wiki, picture hosting, and Google apps.
Why am I doing this? Because it has all become unmanageable. Literally, I am active everywhere -- and there is nothing holding my activities together. What I should be doing -- and what I should have done all along -- is create a central hub so that people who follow me can make sense of it all.

So what am I going to be doing? A number of things. I think I'll migrate my professional blog from over to my personal site. The homepage will reflect what I'm doing on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. Also, I will have a message board up and running.

I get the feeling that LiveJournal is dying -- and I'm not the only one who thinks so. jwz is has been feeling it too. But still LiveJournal (along with Xanga) is one of the few platforms that generates a high volume of blog comments despite a (relatively) low level of traffic. The Facebook note app is pathetic and does not support either simple formating or HTML. Nobody wants it to be old school MySpace, but come on!

Finally, I don't care what people say, a personal domain will always be more trustworthy than a subdomain -- not matter the service. People just take you more seriously.

Today's Activities
A couple of things of interest happened today. Very good things happened, in fact.

I attended BarCamp. Probably the most productive, interesting, and educational conference I went to this year. Basically, it was the big get together for hackers, coders, designers, marketers, and enthusiasts. There was no pre-ordained schedule, if you had a topic you wanted to discuss, you could discuss it.
This may sound crazy, but after years of being around people who didn't "get it", I finally got to mingle with the crazy ones, the infidels, the mad geniuses. These aren't just people who use the Internet, they create it. I found out that one of the trustees of Gentoo lives here in Vancouver. I also found out about the Vancouver Hacker Space, and I'll definitely check that out.

The highlight was when a spokeman from TOR spoke about the wonderful humanitarian services it provides, and how it is furthering democracy in Iran. It is great to discover that privacy is alive and well on the Internet -- and so is human dignity. What a welcome contrast to We Live in Public.

Watched The Invention of Lies.
It's not by any means an Oscar winner, nor would I rate it as one of the "great" comedies, but it was interesting for its philosophy. Also hearing people utter what would otherwise be their most private thoughts was absolutely hilarious. The concept was great, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

It also made me think of religion, and how man people think the world would be better without it. However, as this film implied, maybe it's better to think about heaven than the other alternative: empty nothingness.

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Why I Have a LiveJournal
So I got a LiveJournal. Either this is a sign of my own narcissism or a furtherance of self-expression. God knows I've got enough blogs as it is. Why the hell am I doing this?

The reasons are numerous. First, all my other blogs are focused on things and not on me. It's either about pictures, or poetry, or social media. Nothing is about my own personality. Well, perhaps my Twitter account is, but how much can I really express in 140 characters?
Yes, there is Facebook, but Facebook strikes me as a platform to manage your real life presence rather than a place to express it. Besides, there's no place on Facebook for long, meandering thoughts on the current state of my life.  Thoughts get lost in the shuffle of apps.

Which brings me back to LiveJournal. LiveJournal is the poster child for angsty, emo, bizarrely emotional, and perverse personal blogging. It is something the cool kids did before MySpace. On top of it, the platform hasn't really innovated for the past 8 years. LiveJournal isn't much of an advancement over Usenet -- the advancement being heavy-handed moderation.

So here's to LiveJournal: a relic of social media times of yore. It's a community once popularized by teenagers, but now claimed by pro-anas, furries, and fanfic writers. Yet, to me it is an experiment in (belated) personal blogging
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Met an Old Friend From High School

Just saw We Live in Public at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Great film, I disagree with its assumptions, but that for a my wordpress blog.

After the film, I met an old friend in high school who I used to hang out with. Found out she got married to a woman, got divorced, and now lives in Vancouver's West End. Very interesting history, and I got her caught up in my own.

She's a very genuine girl, never sought attention in school, and was a math geek. Now she works in film and has found herself in the festival scene. Kind of wish I could hang out with her more because we always have deep conversations. That, and we have a lot in common.

However, as is true with most acquaintances, I don't think we will ever hang out. Too much of a difference in lifestyles -- even though I'd probably enjoy seeing her again. Funny how that happens.

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