Screen Hopping, The Endless Itch For Attention

The remote control and mobile phone have turned us into bored content hunters. We flip channels and websites hoping to find something that excites us.

Such rapid hopping makes another person crazy. Indecision creates frustration.

There’s simply too much choice on TV and the Web. Without a plan we scan content until we stumble upon something that grabs our attention. The final destination may be sports, music, movies, or the news.

The TV and second screen can compete for attention or be complimentary. Just last night I watched US play Brazil while keeping an eye on game sentiment on Twitter. Other times I’ll use the TV simply as background noise and the mobile or desktop screen as my primary focus.

Whether it’s one screen or two, browsing the TV or the Internet from our coach is an inescapable process. There’s too much content clutter that to our advantage/disadvantage can be viewed quickly.

Sometimes turning everything off to be happy is the only choice.

Is the Facebook Phone Really Worth The Time and Effort?

The Facebook phone make sense.

Facebook is a social ecosystem layered in with an app store, games, calendar, and a built in camera. It could push out an operating system today.

But it’s hardware that’s Facebook’s biggest challenge.

Just take a look at Amazon’s attempt to create a tablet. The Kindle Fire is no match for the iPad, minus the size and Apple is fixing that.

Building a phone is hard work with thousands of variables.

“You change the smallest thing on a smartphone and you can completely change how all the antennas work. You don’t learn this unless you’ve been doing it for a while.” (link)

Facebook doesn’t have any cellular product experience.  This is like Apple trying to turn Ping into a viable social network.  Stick to what you do best.

Zuckerberg has to ask himself if the mobile phone is really worth Facebook’s time and effort.

First Instagram, Then Twitter: Breaking News On Instagram

Instagram is for art. Instagram is for daily status updates. Instagram is also a news breaker.

Instagram is real-time just like Twitter.

In fact, Instagram precedes Twitter (No wonder Jack Dorsey wanted to buy it).  People are pulling out Instagram to document the story and then syndicating it to Twitter and other social networks.

People are taking on to Instagram to break news for 3 reasons:

  1. The Instagram app is fast.
  2. Community.  50 million users since we last checked.
  3. Beautiful stories.  As documented lately on the Instagram blog.

Twitter is for text.  Instagram is for images.  Facebook is for archiving and reliving experiences.

And Pinterest for the display.


How to Sketch Up Prototypes

Source: via Wells on Pinterest


Sketching or mocking up experiential prototypes and then testing them with consumers or potential partners, while also explicitly jotting down your operating and business assumptions and using them to discuss the business with industry experts, allows you both to pick a promising route to invest in the development sprint and to pivot with confidence.


A Pragmatic Review of Facebook’s Camera App

MG Siegler called Facebook’s Camera app “great.”

The app is well designed from the outset. But upon digging deeper there a few things that should be called out.

1.  The icon design is a carbon copy of Camera+.


This goes back to my argument that Facebook is not creative. It has a history of copying others and taking advantage of its masses

2.  The app has just as much utility as Facebook’s Messenger App.

This means some people will use it religiously and a majority will stick to the Facebook app to get their photo digest.

I won’t be using the Facebook Camera app other than batch uploading Instagram images.

3.  There’s a reason Facebook bought Instagram, not only for design and the community but also to serve us targeted us based on the images we love to capture. You’ll notice that you can’t upload any images through the FB Camera app without turning on location services first.

Robert Scoble offers deeper insight on image data mining.

Facebook is so massive and rich it can afford to put new products out there.  The camera and messanger apps are just the start of Facebook’s effort to slice up and mobilize its best features.  Some say the Facebook calendar will be next.

Selective Hearing

Our hearing sucks in loud places. What could be an awesome conversation goes sour. So we just give a desultory nod.

Seth Godin writes about the signal to noise ratio, using the nightclub as a metaphor for the constant loudness on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter and email and Facebook all have a bad ratio, and it’s getting worse. – Seth Godin

Some people don’t go on Facebook simply because there’s too much going on. It’s our friends but it still feels a bit spammy. Twitter is becoming that way too. And email is just the worst.

Godin suggests that we relentlessly edit our feeds, filtering the noisy friends and followers and focusing on the ones that are truly important to us. Everyone and everything can’t possibly matter.

I’ve personally cut my Facebook friends in half.  I should probably cut some Twitter too, especially as my interests change. My email could use some restructuring. I tend to rapidly delete email rather than spending some time setting up automation. I also get hundreds of RSS feeds daily that could use some trimming.

The central problem to editing is the fear that we’ll miss something. But multiple sources all say the same stuff. Everyone just uses a different headline.

We should all try to be better at curating our streams and deleting the unimportant.

Email Will Be Transformed

A social network for the office. That’s where it’s headed and I’m happy to hear an ex-Facebooker is working on it.

Office workers want easy to follow task lists for individual and groups, posts or DMs over email, and simple collaborative brainstorming and idea connecting sheets. A built in Pinterest masonry style page to share inspiring images would be beneficial too.

Email will be transformed. It’s a frustratingly beneficial tool, making communication easier and more burdensome at the same time. Google kind of solved it with Priority Inbox and automatic rules. Iffft is also a wonderful automation tool.

The new email ties old email, social, and instant messaging without leaning on one more than the other. In other words, the new email is a blend of Facebook, Microsoft Outlook, and Skype.  The calendar is also ripe for disruption.

It’s not always that glamourous.

“Twitter amplifies the excitement of live sporting events…”

Source: via Wells on Pinterest


That’s a shot of Thierry Henry scoring earlier this year on his brief return back to Arsenal.

Twitter is an incredible sports outlet.

It’s been my main source of sports scores the whole Premiership season.  I can follow the games in real-time and view instant highlights (thx Arsenalist) in my feed.

Twitter sports is a huge microphone for teams and fans alike, an incredible marketing tool for spreading awareness and creating excitement before, during, and after games.

I’m happy to see Twitter build relationships with leagues and teams to take advantage of this opportunity.  A NASCAR-Twitter deal was just announced yesterday.

Dick Costolo on the deal:

Twitter amplifies the excitement of live sporting events and gives NASCAR fans insider access to the drivers and teams they love…

With that said, I’ll be reading the Twitter stream closely today for the Champions League final.  The combination of player commentary mixed in with the voices of those I follow always make for an interesting conversation.

Sometimes the Twitter stream is just way more interesting than the conversations heard in the pub.

Enjoy the game.


Facebook, Just Like American Soccer

Curiosity and experimentation create innovation.

Innovation gets rewarded, at its peak today with the Facebook IPO.

But Facebook’s innovation all seems kind of robotic. Nothing truly innovative has really come out of Facebook the last couple years. All its innovation is copied (e.g. check-ins) and brought to its masses or simply bought.

Questioning the modus operandi is not in Facebook’s blood. It reminds me of an article I read this morning about an American soccer playing trying to make it in Brazil.

As we spent the next hour taking turns at bending kicks at an imaginary target, I was amazed at how enthusiastic he was about all the ways to strike the ball. The curiosity he had was startling. While I ran extra drills to sharpen certain movements, young Brazilians were always thinking of new moves that nobody had seen before. And because of that constant exploration, they never got tired of the game.

The key to success is doing the everyday things well but more importantly trying new stuff with enthusiasm. Boredom and emulation are the enemy.

Apple and Google enjoy the beautiful tech game more than Facebook. They are thinkers and pioneers bettering the world through product and interconnectivity. Facebook’s thinking is stale.

The real value in Facebook is having fun and acting unpredictably creative. And that starts with thinking differently.

Pinterest: International By Nature

Images are languageless.

With its masonry layout Pinterest turns images into stories. The layout of the board is just as important as the images in it.

Pinterest will expand outside the US faster than Instagram mainly because it’s less focused on original content and more focused on curation and sharing.  The “Pin it” button also feels like a piece the web browsing experience, as does Twitter on mobile.

Pinterest still needs some mobile work.  Right now an image pinned on the mobile browser redirects you to its app where it’s difficult to pin and credit the source.  All editing occurs on the desktop.

The Internet is a pinnable copy-paste machine. And the world could be Pinterest oyster.

Sit back and watch it grow.