Playing with Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

Riding the rapids of social software

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the pace at which social software is developing? I sure do.

Just this week Bryan Alexander started a little e-mail exchange by asking if anyone on his list had heard of coComment!. Of course I hadn’t so I headed over to check it out and proceeded to sign up. In the middle of that process I saw a post about Stickam in my RSS reader and checked it out. It looked cool so I asked Bryan if he had heard about it and he hadn’t. Such is the way of social software.

So now I have an account at flickr,, coComment!, google, Technorati, TagCloud, am subscribed to about 30 RSS feeds and get about 150+ e-mails a day. This is nothing compared with the volume of mail and text someone like Bryan has to deal with everyday. I described my state of being as riding down a class five rapids in a barrel.

So how do we deal with this onslaught of information? RSS was supposed to be a tool to help manage the flow but for me it has only increased it. Bryan said it seems like there is a “current of centralism” in Web 2.0 and pointed to D’Arcy Norman’s site and sxore. My experience is not unique and I am waiting for the killer app to organize and control the torrent. Until that time I will continue my bumpy ride in the constant beta flow that is social software.






  1. Bryan Alexander Avatar

    Honestly, one way is for us to share our information and responses. I learn an awful lot from listening to you, Jon.

  2. Jacqui Avatar

    It seems so often that your posts directly relate to what we’re talking about in Digital Aesthetics.
    By the way, has Prof Havholm invited you to the chat/cell phone/im/etc extravaganza on Monday at 1pm? If not, I am, but you could ask him for the details.

  3. Jon Breitenbucher Avatar


    I have office hours at that time, but I can do IM with iChat.

    I also find that the things you post are very interesting. I try to look at your blog and Liz’s at least twice a week. It seems like there are a few of you who are really showing what blogs can do for a class. I enjoy it immensely.

  4. D'Arcy Norman Avatar

    I wouldn’t describe the EduGlu stuff as centralist at all. It’s about being able to pull distributed stuff together in one context. It’s more of an eddie in the rapids, than a collecting pool…

    Part of the problem facing the academic community is in making sense of what could be hundreds or thousands of feeds representing student and colleauge contributions to an academic experience. Stuff like EduGlu may eventually help manage the flow by contextualizing stuff and letting individuals mine the feeds for relevant bits.

    Or, it might fail miserably, and we end up reverting to WebCT discussion boards 🙂

  5. Jon Breitenbucher Avatar

    It doesn’t even need to be hundereds. We have a class of 20 using this server right now and it is already a chanllenge for the professor and students to stay on top of things. There are some students that are diligent and check the blogs everyday, but there are others …

    I’m supposed to go into class and talk about organizing and dealing with all the information. I put together some ideas in this post but I’m not really excited about any of the solutions. As I say, “I’m still waiting for the killer app.”