Google Reader is becoming more than just a reader. With it’s addition of social features like comments and Likes, it’s taking on more of a social-aggregation service. It’s not perfect, nor do its social elements make a great social networking service. Still, its search options continue to expand and third-party applications make sharing easier.
So far, Google Reader offers two features which allow you to follow the lifestreams of other users and burn feeds for searches in other services. Currently, the options are limited, but since they both include Twitter, you may consider using Reader to house your monitoring activities (not to mention you can backup your own Twitter statuses, since Twitter at this time isn’t very reliable for that).
Here’s a quick screencast demonstrating more of Google Reader’s search features (open in full-screen for better viewing):
By the way, I set up a Twitter account – @PhilFeed – as a place to port my shared items and other findings around the web. Rather than blasting my followers on @PhilBaumann, you can opt in to follow @PhilFeed and you’ll get those items in your tweet stream (jut know that it’s not a very social account).
I’m curious to see if Google Reader will add more services, like FriendFeed or Posterous.
Ian Rosenwach has a brief post RSS’s potential in which he points out how building a few social features around RSS technology could propel it into a huge micro-content social network.
I don’t know if the RSS brand will ever get much larger than it is in among the tech community, but I do think as a feature it will be one of the largest components of communications and social relations. Twitter is catchy. RSS isn’t.
Twitter is really simple syndication – way simpler than RSS. A tweet is both the feed’s title and subject. It’s two-way headline news.
If developers can derive inspiration from the social features of the two-way Web and fold the ingredients into RSS, RSS may at last achieve the public awareness it deserves – regardless of whatever its called. Maybe Twitter is what most people will call it.
Twitter enables us to dip into global brain pool (both bright and dim). If we could get deeper into the pool in a quick, consolidated and easy way with the rest of the dynamic Web then we could see a whole new kind of web evolve: a vast active living intelligence system.
Yesterday I attended and presented at one of the Cool Twitter Conferences at the Harvard Club in Boston. Arranged by @bobfine, it was an intimate conference in which I got a chance to meet and learn from a diverse group of smart people who are leveraging social technologies in novel ways, including: a filmmaker and activist, musical and fiction artists, a law enforcement social media strategist and a viral marketing scientist. We all know Twitter is hyped – but that’s OK. So was the Web. It was refreshing to see a wide variety of users interested in Twitter.
It could be said that Twitter is a sort of social protocol – similar in its fundamental nature as TCP/IP. It’s creating a network of human servers and it’s disrupting the traditional Web. Healthcare has a long way to go in exploiting this new organism, but it’s finally gotten interested. I’m hoping more healthcare professionals jump into the pool.
Speaking with @DanZarrella, we discussed Susan Blackmore’s Meme Machine. In a sense Twitter is a meme machine: it’s a communal mechanism of idea viruses. It’s the Web version of a black hole’s Accretion Disc, sucking in everything from the various places around the Web and spitting memes back out to other areas.
Here’s the list of the speakers and others I met at the conference:
- @FourthFiction – Constantine Markides, founder and host Fourth Fiction, the first blog-based literary reality show
- @fitzroy – Filmmaker, professor, internet media technologist & strategist, the New England Institute of Art
- @joselinmane – Internet Marketing Consultant
- @ericschoenfeld – Senior Associate, Boston World Partnerships
- @lawscomm – Lauri Stevens, Principal Consultant, LAws Communications and Department Chair of Web Design & Interactive Media, New England Institute of Art
- @bournesocial – Michael Bourne, VP Account Director, PR & Social Influence
- @dharmesh – Dharmesh Shah, Chief Software Architect & Founder Hubspot, TwitterGrader
- @DanZarrella, Viral Marketing Scientist, Hubspot. Author of forthcoming book: The Social Media Marketing Book
- @DavidGerzof – President, BIGfish Communication (spoke about differences between Twitter & Facebook)
- @AndrewConnelly – Director of Business Development at Glogster
- @7chrishayes – Founder & CEO of Simple Math Music, independent artist, concert promoter and label owner
My presentation was focused on the healthcare uses of Twitter, which was essentially a extemporaneous mashup of presentations you can view on SlideShare.
As silly as it sounds to have entire conferences and workshops on Twitter, they’re really are important functions. For as simple (almost idiotically so) as Twitter is to use, there’s a lot of discussion about its uses across a wide array of fields. We can have discussion online all we want, but until we meet in person to hash out these things, we won’t get to where we need to.
Here’s the live Twitter stream via FriendFeed for the event (search hashtag is #ctc):