BlogTalk 2010: Call for Papers, For You Too! [en]

[fr] Il est encore temps d'envoyer des propositions pour la conférence BlogTalk. Ne ratez pas cette occasion si vous travaillez dans le domaine des médias sociaux ou applications sociales, que vous soyez académique dans le monde des affaires.

Like last year, I’m on the programme committee for BlogTalk, the international conference on social software. BlogTalk was the first ever conference I went to, way back in 2004, in Vienna. It’s interesting in that it tries to bridge the academic and business worlds, with speakers and attendees from both sides.

We’re currently looking for people to submit papers on topics related to social software and social media. The submission date has been extended to 21 June 2010. You can submit the paper through the BlogTalk 2010 EasyChair site. More details are available on the BlogTalk 2010 Call for Papers page. There is also the later date of 7 July for those who want to submit demonstration or poster proposals.

If you are doing any work in the field of social media/social software and would like a chance to talk about it to a smart and diverse audience, I really encourage you to submit a proposal.

Invest in Social Media Training [en]

For all of you in companies around the world who are wondering what place to give social media — you’ve heard about it, you know there’s quite a bit of hype, but that you should be “doing it” — here’s a piece of free advice: invest in training your staff and providing them with the “social media” skillset.

The trend I see these days is companies and organizations hiring social media consultants, strategists, and community managers. They want somebody to “do their social media stuff”, and often this person is external to the company.

Take a few steps back and think about computing. Nobody today would even dream of hiring somebody into the company to deal with the “computer stuff”. Instead, employees simply know how to do things on a computer. Some more than others, I’ll grant you that, but “working on the computer” is usually so much part of the job description for any office position that it’s not even specified in the job description anymore.

A few years from now, it’ll be the same thing with social media. Knowledge workers will know how to write a blog post (or even open a blog and manage it to some extent), use a wiki, create an event on Facebook and use their network to promote it, set up a Twitter account and put a video on YouTube — just as your average knowledge worker today knows how to create a Word document, send an e-mail, search for something on the web.

You can wait until people naturally learn how to do these things, or the younger, more social-media-literate generation invades the workplace — but you can also speed things up by actively providing your employees with opportunities to acquire these skills.

And yes, shameless plug: if you’re looking for somebody to train your staff, this is clearly something I do (I’m working on preparing proper marketing material for my services these days, so in a few weeks I’ll hopefully have shiny handouts/PDFs describing all the things I do).

Musings on Twitter and [en]

Ever since the #fixreplies debacle, I have been distancing myself from Twitter a little. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still enthusiastic about Twitter, encourage people to join, and hope that new people I meet have an account there. But I’m slowly moving my eggs out of my one single Twitter-basket and starting to use

For those who missed it, the #fixreplies thing happened earlier this year. Twitter suddenly and unilaterally changed the way one viewed @reply updates sent by people one was following. Previously, there was a setting of sorts allowing you to control if you wanted to see @reply messages only when they were addressed to a person you were also following (the default), or if you wanted to see all of them (that’s the way it worked before Twitter “implemented” @replies, by the way, when it was just a user hack), or if you just do not want to see @replies (probably because you believe that “Twitter isn’t IM” or something).

Over the previous year, Twitter contended that the @replies setting was confusing (I think it was, but more because it was poorly worded than because the functionality itself was confusing), determined that for some obscure technical reason (we still don’t know which one, to the best of my knowledge) that the setting had to go, and noting that a full 98% of people were using the default setting anyway, they simply scrapped it.

Followed a huge uproar, lots of lamenting (by myself included), requests for Twitter to change things back the way they were — to no avail. Twitter apologized for the poor communication around the issue, told us they couldn’t keep the setting because the technical cost was too high, and basically suggested that they would offer grieving fans of that setting other exciting options to discover new users.

Only, it’s not just about discovering new users. It’s as simple as wanting to see all the tweets of people I follow, not just those Twitter considers relevant. In this case, they happen to consider that partial conversations are irrelevant. They’re relevant to me because they’re part of the lives of the people I follow (discovery of new users is just a really fun and valuable by-product of that).

So, enough of this already. The point here is that Twitter decides something, and Twitter does it. We are in a benevolent dictatorship position here, as we are for many of the tools we use online everyday. It’s a risk we take and I’m generally happy to — but when the benevolent dictator of a tool I rely upon as a backbone of my online life starts making changes that upset me, I start looking around.

Enter open source, interoperable standards, etc. is an “open source version of Twitter”, one could say (the engine running it is called Laconica) — it basically works the same way and has the same features (at first view in any case). Contrarily to the vague of Twitter rip-offs or clones we started seeing all over the place, the important thing to note is that this project is open source. I know I’m not an open source expert and I happily mix up things that are important distinctions for people who are more involved in the “scene” than I am, but here’s what it means for me, as an end user (fellow geeks, correct me if I’m saying silly things here):

  • people can contribute to the code
  • people can take the code in another direction if they’re not happy with what the main development group is happy
  • who knows, maybe some kind of plugin architecture will be implemented (this is a wild guess of mine)
  • it’s based on an open, interoperable standard
  • think “GTalk vs. MSN”

There are of course certainly a full pile of other advantages to Laconica (the fact that it’s decentralized for example) but I’ll stop there.

The big problem, of course, is the people. Most people are on Twitter. Today, I’m following 567 people and am followed by 2481 on Twitter. On, despite my best efforts, I’ve reached the staggering figures of 95 (followees) and 127 (followers).

So, should one “move” to

The answer is yes, and “move” is a bit of a dramatic word here. acts as a Twitter client, which means that all to notices you send through are automatically sent to Twitter too, and you can subscribe to your Twitter stream in You can in fact start using without abandoning Twitter.

Twitter settings -

The best way to do this is to register the same username on as you are using on Twitter (I’m @stephtara on both, here is my account on Twitter and my account on Head over to the Twitter settings tab to connect your accounts. will help you add people you know on both services.

Of course, there are caveats:

  • is not your favourite Twitter client (if you’re using something like Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop, Twitterrific, Tweetie, etc.) — I’m personally waiting for support in Seesmic Desktop and Tweetie on the iPhone
  • the site will sometimes throw errors at you (but on the other hand, Twitter is regularly down, isn’t it?)
  • “Twitter” and “tweet” are really the better names
  • it’s a tad more work than just continuing to use Twitter, but remember, you’re in the process of moving your eggs out of the proverbial basket.

I’m personally pretty happy with, and like the way it seems in active development (Twitter is too, but it’s a mammoth now that Oprah‘s been there).

I’m all the more happy now that I’ve read that Twitter plans to implement support for retweets, and that it seems this will happen by removing the “RT @whoever:” intro from the beginning of the tweet, and add that information in a small byline after the tweet. My semi-automatic screening of retweets from compulsive retweeters will be a thing of the past!

So, if you haven’t done it yet, go and claim your username on (you can use OpenID), follow me there, and nag me to follow you if I’m not but I am following you on Twitter.

See you on!

A Few Words About Google Wave [en]

I wanted to write this post yesterday, to keep up with my good resolutions, but time caught up with me and I had to leave my computer to go and enjoy some time on the lake (we finished 13th, and I had a good windy sailing lesson before that — thanks Dad).

So, as for most of you I guess, Google Wave came up on my Twitter radar these last days. I thought I’d take a quick peek, without spending the whole day on it, so I looked at part of the demo video (the first part, where the actual demo is), and read a few articles (CNET, Mashable and ReadWriteWeb — there are tons of others, but I’m on purpose trying not to be exhaustive in my research… fight that perfectionism!)

In one word? Cool.

I remember many years ago, how taking collaborative notes in SubEthaEdit during the BlogTalk conference in Vienna would every now and then drift into us chatting in the document. (By the way: I’m on the Programme Committee for BlogTalk 2009 which will take place in Jeju, South Korea, on September 1-2. Send in your proposals now!)

I also remember, how many years before that, ICQ introduced “real-time chat” (or whatever they called it), where you could actually see people type when you chatted with them.

And I remember the many many days I’ve spent in endless wiki conversations — I think one of the best ways I can describe Google Wave is to say it’s a very accelerated wiki page with bells and a touch of Facebook.

Google Wave is marrying e-mail and IM, and it’s a good thing. It’s recording the process of the conversation, which makes it easier for outsiders to jump in. It has private, it has public, it has text, it has rich media, it has profiles.

People say it’s a bit hard to get at first, and that, in my opinion, is another indication that it is something really new.

I can’t wait to try it. I get all excited when I think of it. These are my totally uninformed first impressions. Over the years, I’ve come to trust those — Google Wave is going to change things.

Unbelievable: Twitter Hides Partial Conversations AGAIN [en]

This morning, I see a small notice on Twitter once I’ve logged in: they’ve done a “small settings update” involving @replies.

“Small settings update”? You have to be kidding me. What they’ve done is once again removed partial conversations (@replies from people you know to people you don’t know) from the stream. Yes, two years later (I wrote Twitter: We Love Our Partial Conversations in May 2007, and they fixed it soon after), they’ve done it again.

Given Twitter Support is all but nonexistant nowadays (another sad turn of things) please join us on this Get Satisfaction thread to express our disappointment at the removal of the possibility to read all @replies from our friends.

Feedly: More Than a Newsreader, Maybe Your Search Engine of Tomorrow? [en]

A bit over a year ago, I switched from Google Reader to Feedly. I have a troubled history with newsreaders: I tend to not use them, partly because I don’t really read blogs. But I used Google Reader for some time, and then Feedly. I really like Feedly. Really. (Plus, it saved 4 months of posts for CTTS after the dropped database disaster.)

All this to say that for many months, I have not really opened Feedly, and I feel kind of sad/bad about it. Twitter and Tumblr are my main sources of “new information”, and I’d love to find a way to use Feedly in a way that works for me. But it just doesn’t seem to happen.

A couple of weeks back, I saw this tweet from Ewan:

Twitter _ Ewan McIntosh: Over the hols I managed to ...

He says that he has sorted his feeds into “30 must-read-daily RSS feeds, with the other 2000 sitting behind as personal search engine”.

Whee! For some time now, I’ve been convinced that the future lies with allowing search in subsets of the web. There’s too much stuff out there, right? Also, in this era of partial attention (which I don’t consider to be a bad thing, in the “keeping a distracted eye on” sense), you often end up trying to “refind” something you know you’ve seen (but where?) — just like I had to dig out Ewan’s tweet ten days after I’d seen it in passing.

That’s why I like Lijit, for example (I’ve put the search box back here on CTTS, by the way): it allows me or my readers to do a search on “my stuff”, including CTTS, Digital Crumble, Twitter,… Sometimes I know I’ve said something, but I can’t for the life of me remember where (see this? having to search your own words…)

Feedly is pretty good at allowing you to search all the stuff you’ve subscribed to:

feedly | explore facebook

It offers a mix of a little bit of generally popular stuff with “your sources”. I like that. So, I like Ewan’s idea of feed subscription as “add this to my search sources” rather than “oooh, I’m going to read this every day”.

I have to say I’m interested in hearing about how you use Feedly or Google Reader (particularly the social aspects) if you’re not a “religious-daily” newsreader enthusiast. There has to be something between “keeping up with my feeds” and “never opening my feedreader”.

A Few Words on the New Facebook Pages [en]

Facebook has recently made Pages more like Profiles. I’m frighteningly behind in keeping up with all this new stuff (bad, bad!) and I’ve only now had a chance to go and peek at the revamped Pages.

I was initially really disappointed by Facebook Pages. I remember when I started working on promoting Going Solo, I first created a fan page for Going Solo on Facebook. Not many people registered as fans. A few weeks (months?) later, I created a group, and lo and behold, people joined in droves. I realised that Pages weren’t really that interesting (they were far too static) and they didn’t allow you to invite people to become fans. Groups work well because you can invite people to join them (with the side-effect that we’re all swamped with requests to join all sorts of groups).

Back to the new Pages, the fact that they’re more like profiles has led me to create my own “fan” page. Now, it’s not that I consider myself a famous person or anything, but if I look at things coldly, clearly, more people want to be in touch with me than I can keep up with. I am a bit of a public figure in certain circles.

On Twitter, I have (today) about 2300 followers, but I follow only 500 people. On Facebook, I have about 500 “friends” (see a pattern emerging) and another 200 friend requests from people I barely know, don’t know, or don’t recognize. And that is after I went “overboard” about a year ago and started exercising way less restraint in who I connected to — because there was a business incentive for me to do so.

Initially, I kept my Facebook connections way more restricted than my Twitter ones. Facebook was “people I feel I know”. But that failed.

So I’m wondering: if I use a Page to stay connected to acquaintances, networking contacts, etc… will it change the way I connect to people with my profile? Will I be able to reclaim some “privacy” for my Facebook profile?

It’s way too early to tell. But I’m looking forward to experimenting with this and seeing how it goes.

FriendFeed's Missing Feature [en]

[fr] FriendFeed, c'est bien joli, mais ça n'a jamais pris chez moi. Une chose que j'aimerais pouvoir faire (gravement!) c'est de visualiser tous les éléments de mon lifestream qui ont bénéficié d'un like ou d'un commentaire. Ça, ça serait du feedback utile qui me ferait visiter le site régulièrement. Après, qui sait, du moment que je suis là... j'y ferai peut-être un tour!

Every now and again, I hop over to FriendFeed. A couple of times a month, maybe. I like that FriendFeed gathers up all my stuff in one place (mainly Tumblr and Twitter these days).

Stephanie Booth - FriendFeed

Why don’t I head over to FriendFeed more often? Well, to me, it’s a bit noisy, and populated with “Social Media Experts” (legitimate and less legitimate). To keep in touch with what people in my world are doing, I have Twitter. To stay tuned to what they’ve found or are publishing, there are blogs and tumblelogs. I guess I just haven’t found a place for FriendFeed. I don’t want to have to “dive in” and look at everything. I also regret that there is a tendancy there to “like” or comment based on the title, rather than reading the whole thing. It’s not a crime, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

I think lifestreams have three main purposes:

  • first and foremost, for the person “owning” the lifestream (it makes us “feel” good to know that all the stuff is gathered somewhere, that there is a central repository of our expression online)
  • second and secondarily, it offers a “starting point” for somebody who has newly discovered another person online: if I start on FriendFeed, I can get a quick glimpse of what kind of things they blog about, if they tweet, if they have a tumblr, etc.
  • thirdly, FriendFeed can serve as a more global “catching up” place for people like me who don’t really read blogs and are generally pretty bad at staying in touch, and who wake up one morning thinking “Gosh, I haven’t heard about Josh for ages, I wonder what he’s been upto?”

Unless there are people out there stalking me, I am probably the most interested person in my lifestream.

What would make me go to FriendFeed more? Make it more about me. Each time I go to FriendFeed, I head to my lifestream page to see if people have liked or commented upon my stuff. There is a link I want to click, but that link is unfortunately not there. It’s the link that would show me my items which were liked or commented upon by others. And maybe (why not?) give me an option to filter “only liked and commented upon items” when I’m in “friends view”.

Stephanie Booth - Stephanie + Friends - FriendFeed

And it’s all very nice to allow me to filter an individual FriendFeed by source, but how about letting me filter the whole darn mess of my “with friends” page to remove all the Twitter and Tumblr feeds, for example, as I already get them elsewhere? Or show only links?

Maybe the layout of the feeds could be improved — I find especially difficult to sift through the stuff I want to ignore as is. And as for FriendFeed through Twhirl, well, sure, it’s running on my desktop, but I never look at it because way too much stuff goes through it each minute.

Give me some control, please.

So, recap, here’s what FriendFeed could change to have a chance of getting more pageviews from me:

  • let me view just my items which were liked/commented upon (instead of just letting me see my likes and comments, which is good, sure, but doesn’t do the same thing at all)
  • let me filter out for my “with friends” page certain services, like Twitter and Tumblr, or view only one or two services at a time.

Thanks for listening!

Edit, 10 minutes later: a list of “people who are subscribed to me but that I’m not subscribed to” would come in handy, too.

Tumblr ou le proto-blog [fr]

[en] A brief introduction to Tumblr, which is a really great blogging tool. It caters to a completely different need than WordPress, in my opinion: share stuff you've found online, easily. Collect photos, videos, quotes and links in one place, with some nice social features that allow you to re-share stuff others have found -- and them, your stuff.

Je veux vous parler de Tumblr, parce c’est génial. Si WordPress c’est un peu la Rolls des services de blog, Tumblr en est le degré zéro. Pas dans le sens que c’est nul, non, mais dans le sens que c’est basique et pas prise de tête. C’est le retour au blog “bloc-notes”, après le développement du “blog-magazine”. (Hop, filez voir mon Tumblr à moi.)

Tumblr est prévu surtout pour rassembler en un endroit des choses vues ailleurs. Des photos, des citations, des vidéos, des liens& On peut y mettre son propre contenu, bien entendu — même des textes.

C’est le blog sans histoires, sans prétention, et sans fioritures. Tumblr intègre une dimension communautaire, donc c’est aussi le blog “ooh, vous avez vu ce truc cool que j’ai trouvé? et le poème sympa qu’a écrit Juliette?”

Je vous explique :-)

  • c’est gratuit, donc filez direct ouvrir un compte, qu’on puisse continuer
  • filez sur la page “goodies“, et faites glisser le bookmarklet dans votre barre de liens favoris
  • quand vous êtes sur une page intéressante, cliquez sur le bookmarklet — un clic de confirmation, et hop, c’est dans votre Tumblr!


Quand vous êtes sur quelque chose d’intéressant que vous avez envie de mettre dans votre Tumblr, cliquez sur le bookmarklet. Le bookmarklet fait apparaître une petite fenêtre pop-up et il essaie de deviner quel genre de contenu vous désirez publier:

Share on Tumblr

Si vous êtes simplement sur une page web, Tumblr va partir du principe que vous voulez partager un lien sur votre blog. Si vous avez sélectionné du texte, il va vous proposer de publier une citation. J’avoue que j’utilise énormément cette fonctionnalité:

Ajouter une citation à son Tumblr

Si Tumblr devine mal, vous pouvez simplement changer le type de publication. Il va sans dire que vous pouvez faire des modifications au contenu avant de le publier. Et si vous avez envie d’écrire une petite bafouille, utilisez le mode “texte”!


Tumblr, comme toute bonne plateforme de blogs qui se respecte, est un réseau social (à la facebook, si vous voulez, puisque c’est le plus connu ces temps). Vous voyez un blog Tumblr qui vous plaît? Cliquez sur “follow” en haut à gauche (ça rappelle Twitter, non? lire mon article pour plus d’infos). Allez, ajoutez mon Tumblr et celui de Michelle, au hasard, pour commencer.

Comme votre page d’accueil Twitter ou Facebook, celle de Tumblr vous montre une liste des dernières publications des personnes que vous suivez. Vous aimez quelque chose? cliquez sur le petit coeur en haut à droite de l’article. Vous voulez republier quelque chose dans votre blog? cliquez sur “reblog”:

Tumblr tableau de bord

Il va sans dire que Tumblr ajoute automatiquement un lien vers la source originale, tant lorsque l’on reblogue quelque chose de Tumblr que lorsque l’on ajoute un lien, un citation, une photo ou une vidéo.

Règles avancées?

Pour ceux qui aiment bricoler, on peut:

  • choisir le layout de son Tumblr, voire créer le sien
  • permettre à ses lecteurs de laisser des commentaires
  • utiliser votre propre nom de domaine (je planche sur la question pour mon propre tumblelog)


Tumblr est idéal pour un blog dans l’esprit “collection de choses un peu en vrac que j’ai glanées ici et ailleurs”. C’est très facile à utiliser. Ça va à l’essentiel. C’est sans prétention, ce n’est pas intimidant.

Laissez l’adresse de votre Tumblr dans les commentaires (qu’ils soit nouveau-né ou déjà bien rôdé), et je vous suivrai!