Tala Ko

Posts Tagged ‘web

I ended my last entry with a cautionary remark about doing both integration and aggregation with your social networks.
To illustrate what would happen, let’s say you’ve integrated by configuring your Twitter to send tweets to Livejournal, and blip.fm to send blips to Twitter — effectively making LiveJournal an aggregator for both blip.fm and Twitter. Then you integrate further by setting ping.fm — say, in your excitement that such a service existed, you weren’t thinking — to post to Twitter, Livejournal, and Jaiku. Then — in more excitement — you set your Jaiku to aggregate LJ, Twitter, blip.fm, and ping.fm.
If you’re still with me, you’ll know that your LJ will now display blips, pings, and duplicate tweets, because of ping (hey, the web’s a musical place). And, your Jaiku will now display duplicate LJ entries (one via LJ and one via ping), triplicate tweets (one via LJ, ping, and Twitter each), triplicate blips (one each via Twitter and LJ, plus the actual blip) and quadruplicate pings (one each of the pinged services plus the actual ping).
Basically, whoever wants to know what’s new with you by going to Jaiku (first music, then rhymes with Jaiku; the record producer will be here any minute now) will read what’s up — two, three, or four times. More, depending on how many services you integrate and/or aggregate without thinking, (especially if your integrator can send directly to your aggregator). That’s what’ll happen unless either service is programmed to recognize and weed out duplicates.
If you don’t choose just one, these services that are supposed to organize for you will require some organization from you, defeating their purpose entirely.
I integrate Clipmarks into my LJ and WordPress blogs. For my clips to show up on Tumblr, without duplicating, I had to choose which blog Tumblr would aggregate: LJ, or WordPress? I chose WordPress because any Tumblr reader of mine wouldn’t really be deprived of a non-clip LJ entry.
Now, if I wanted Tumblr to aggregate Clipmarks directly, I would have to disable the integration with WordPress — but I don’t want to, because I think the clips are a great supplement to readers of my WordPress blog. You see? (I’ll understand if you don’t.)
To sum this second part up:
Web life with integration OR aggregation: Send a ping-like integrative post to everywhere you post. Log off. / Post on all your different networks, knowing it will all be aggregated later. Log off.
Web life with blind integration AND aggregation: Post and ping. Go to anything you’ve set to aggregate and delete duplicates one-by-one. Log off.
Web life with somewhat organized integration AND aggregation: Post. Take note of all integration/aggregation activity. Integrate those that aren’t aggregated yet. Aggregate those that aren’t integrated yet. Cross-post if you must. Weed out duplicates and fix settings. If you can’t handle it anymore, wait for the rise of a social network aggregator aggregator and sign up. Repeat. (It is now nearly impossible to log off.)
Before I close and go on to part three, I’ll leave you with these suggestions. How do you choose between integrating or aggregating?
Choose integration if you are a member of various networks and post the same content across all networks.
Choose aggregation if, like me, you post different content on different networks. Stop cross-posting selected content and just give each network your aggregator’s URL. To say any more at this point would be to preempt Part 3.
I’ve noticed that some form of online social network integration and/or aggregation is getting cooler and cooler. Given the nature of the Web, that little insight of mine is already old news to everyone else — that’s evidenced by the increasing number of services that offer some form of cross-posting, link-sharing, automatic-adding, or whatever they call it, to an online service that they don’t run.
Let’s examine this whole thing, shall we?
So I don’t confuse you (or myself), think of an integration service as one remote control that simultaneously changes channels for multiple TVs, so they all display your favorite show. Think of aggregation as the opposite — one TV screen that displays all your different shows at once.
Some sites offer integration alongside whatever it is you do there, making sure that whatever you post, upload, or clip there will also appear elsewhere. Want other people to read that CNN.com article? Look for the “Share” link at the bottom to send it through Mixx, Digg, Facebook, stumbleupon, del.icio.us, reddit, and MySpace.
Now similarly, some sites will aggregate for you, so that they automatically appear with other content you’ve already created there. For instance, if you have a Tumblr, you can set it to import your Twitter and WordPress content, and it will appear between what you tumble.
There are super-sites, however, that are devoted entirely to integration or aggregation. Ping.fm allows you to post content from your preferred location (browser, instant messaging client, mobile phone, etc.) to multiple networks. To make sure that everyone you know online — whichever social network they prefer — gets word of how you feel about school, what happened when you saw your crush at church, or this pervert who tried to feel you up on the train, send one ping.
An aggregation-only service like Jaiku or Friendfeed, meanwhile, is the catchall to make sure that (1) you keep track of what you’ve posted where and (2) everyone you know who’s online on any network can do the same. Remember that CNN.com article? If you Digged it, you also fed it to your Friendfeed, along with that blog post you made about the guitarist in the praise band.
To sum this first part up:
Web life before integration: Post a blog entry at Blogger. Log in to Livejournal; copy-paste Blogger entry so that LJ friends can read. Log in to Xanga; copy-paste Blogger/LJ entry so that Xanga friends can read. Log in to WordPress…

Web life after integration: Send a ping. Blogger, Livejournal, Xanga, etc. friends get to read.

Web life before aggregation: Give fellow Twitter users your Twitter URL. Give fellow Livejournal users your LJ URL. Give fellow Multiply users your Multiply URL…
Web life after aggregation: Give everyone just one URL (probably your Friendfeed).

Pretty handy, right? You’ve saved yourself time and energy; now you can log off and do something in the real world (which you will probably blog about later). Yay!
Please stay on long enough to get this warning, though, one I wish someone had given to me before I dove in: choose only one. It has to be integration or aggregation, one or the other, because doing integration+aggregation may send your offline life into a vegetative state. Things will get annoying, if not really confusing.
Stay tuned for Part 2.

Recently, I read some posts (1 and 2) by Larry Dignan on ZDNet. He had this to say:

The OS will never be totally irrelevant, but it will be increasingly less important. It’ll be plumbing.

He also introduced me to the idea of “the Webtop, which will deliver programs through the browser.”

Actually, the idea doesn’t surprise me. Sometime ago, I wrote that what I do in Ubuntu isn’t all that different from what I do in Windows. I consider my use of Ubuntu a show of support for computing freedoms, even though I as a non-programmer aren’t equipped to fully use those freedoms.

I could have gone further and said that what I do in Ubuntu isn’t all that different from what I do in Windows, because I can do most of what I need to do through my cross-platform browser, Firefox. Most of that work is done with Google apps, too: GMail, Google Notebook, Google Docs, etc. I also prefer the web-based version of Yahoo! Messenger because it’s nice and neat (and kind of a ripoff of Pidgin’s tabbed chat window, but hey). I just can’t use it at work because of the URL filter. :p

The point is that as long as there are browsers and browser-based applications (once I get the hang of a browser-based image editing app, I’ll be all set), it doesn’t really matter what OS I use. Except, as I said before, as a matter of principle. Principle behind the plumbing.

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The K2 theme has gotten wonky, so I changed to [ ]. Will fix the image header eventually. Any theme I try seems wonky, meaning the right-hand column appears at the bottom of the entire blog instead. Wish I could view it on the work computer to see if it’s just the home computer that has a problem. What do you see?

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I remembered this OS-becoming-less-important thing because we’ll finally be getting our own computers (which will run either XP or Vista) at the office soon. No more borrowing from the Tech department’s supply of standby laptops. No more putting my USB stick on the rack with portable apps; now it’ll be back to simply storing files. :)

A few posts back, I mentioned that I’d started work for the website of a local church. While on the job, I found a bunch of sites that were a great help to me, so I decided to share them:

The Internet Ministry Conference – site of an annual conference on, well, Internet ministry. Contains schedules, an insightful blog (lately, the topic was evangelism and social networking), and links to other ‘net ministry-related sites. The conference itself will have various talks on ministry, web design, and programming.

Church Marketing Sucks – all about improving the image of the church as presented through church websites. Points seekers to resources while providing its own tips and thoughts on making church marketing not suck.

Ekklesia360 – Content Management Systems for church websites. This isn’t just a great solution for the web-challenged; on the whole, CMS’s can save the web team a lot of time.

Circle Builder – Helps you build your own online community for your faith-based group. It’s open not just to Christians, but also to groups of all faiths.

Internet Evangelism Day – Like the conference, this is a project of Gospel Communications. This site has a lot of tips, tools, and articles about improving a church website’s writing style, navigation, design, and so forth. Ironically enough, I find IED’s site design a little dated, but that doesn’t diminish the value of the insight one can find on the site.

The next three links are examples of the kind of online activity that my employers want their church (can’t say ‘my’ church yet because I’m not yet a member) to eventually go into.

Lifechurch – A church that conducts its services online. Messages and music are broadcast live to 12 different locations around the US.

Truth Media – One-on-one counseling and sharing of the good news about Jesus online.

I’ll throw in just one more link: Relevant Magazine is something that I’d like to see for Christian youth here in the Philippines.

A little about myself, now. Yes, I am a Christian. I like the work I’m being asked to do, and I wouldn’t mind doing it for a while. It’s fun. And it’s nice to get the opportunity to show people on both sides of the belief gap that faith, science, and technology aren’t always a bad mix.

On another note, while working on some site content, I got the idea for a church group / ministry group that I’d like to see and join. I’d like to see a group that gathers to discuss advancements in science and technology in light of God’s Word and plan for the universe. To be more specific, it would be a faith-based group that isn’t afraid to talk about aliens, genetics, parallel universes, Mitochondrial Eve, and evolution. They’d geek out in order to (attempt to) answer the question, “If this is true about our universe, what does that tell us about our God?”

The group would also promote and participate in conservation activities, simply because human beings aren’t the only part of Creation of which God made us keepers. We have dominion over the earth in the same way that a good politician has dominion over his constituents – he’s the last to be served.

*dreamy sigh…* How awesome that would be.