I Never Unfollow Anyone or Unsubscribe to Anything

Robert Scoble dumped 100k Twitter friends this week and says the improved signal to noise ratio has changed his life. I’m happy for him, but would never do that myself. (Note that I don’t have 100k friends or followers anywhere other than as a member of the ReadWriteWeb team and I don’t have to worry about the Direct Message spam on Twitter that he has had to deal with.)

I’m a big believer in oversubscibing and then creating groups based on priority and context. The people, feeds, or other sources in the big bulk group? That’s where all the more serendipity comes in; where I meet people and sources. I don’t worry about reading all that river of news, I just dip my head in it when I can. The really high-priority stuff, like the people Scoble is now choosing to follow back manually, I’ll put in a folder or a column or some place where I can read all of it. I think he’s going to miss out on the big public space that was his former list of friends, though. His wisdom about who’s worth listening to at all can’t help but fall short of the wisdom of fate, of the stream. That’s how I see it.

I’m here on Twitter, come be my friend. I might friend you back. Once I do, you’ll stay somewhere in my brain forever, too.

10th Largest Site Online To Launch Microformat Integration Network

As a part of my ongoing thoughts about blog post titles, I thought I’d see how much traction what I think is a very big story would get with a different headline. Instead of “MySpace to Unveil Integration With Sites Around the Web, Using Open Standards” how about we leave the tech-tarnished name MySpace out of it. It’s still the 10th most popular site on the whole internet!

From that story yesterday:

MySpace will announce in the next few weeks a major new feature being added to its MySpaceID product that will allow third-party websites to write updates into the MySpace activity feed just like Facebook Connect, but will also incorporate open semantic microformat code in order to comprehend what those updates are about and make more sophisticated update highlighting and recommendation decisions.

It’s a major move being worked on with both the Activity Streams and Open Social communities – it could push the rest of the web, outside of Facebook, in a direction that supports radical app innovation through the creation of a level playing field of readable data. And it could make MySpace a lot better, too.

“We don’t want to do anything without semantics, to be honest,” Monica Keller, group architect for activity streams at MySpace, told us by phone today. “We can’t afford to show a user content on their home page that they aren’t going to like.” At a time when MySpace is in serious trouble and trying to regroup, a home run by Keller and crew could make MySpace more relevant to people again and impact the rest of the web in positive ways radically unlike the impact of Facebook’s proprietary software.

Here’s the rest. Tell me, is this not a really big deal? Maybe people don’t have confidence in MySpace to pull such an ambitious plan off – but I suspect most readers didn’t even look past the company’s name.

Jetpack for Firefox is Cool

I don’t know why I hadn’t taken the time to look at it before but Mozilla’s Jetpack is really neat. (info:direct download) It’s a browser plug-in that you run little programs on top of that add functionality to your Firefox browser. It’s like a mix of Greasmonkey (see intro here if you’re unfamiliar, this is important) and browser plug-ins. It’s real easy to use but there aren’t a lot of Jetpacks that have been built yet.

Here’s one list of Jetpacks “in the wild.” There’s another on Userscripts that I’m going to go look at right now. I’ve been using this sidebar generator and this keystroke tab selector for a few days and love them a lot.

It doesn’t appear that this experiment has gotten much traction at all so far, but I’d love to be proven wrong about that. If you’ve got any thoughts about Jetpack, or any favorite ones, let me know.

Little things like this can make a very big difference in what you’re able to do efficiently on the web.

Nobody Wants to Read Personal Profiles About People They Don’t Know

Richard and I disagreed about what to title the post I put up yesterday, now titled Three Principles of Social Software Creation From Andy Baio. That’s pretty much the title he wanted and I changed it to that after just a few hours of seeing it go absolutely nowhere with the title “Andy Baio & Three Principles of Social Software.” I wanted to lead with the subject’s name, as the post is largely about him, and I think readers have been enjoying my profiles of individuals lately. Richard wanted me to lead with the key concepts, instead of with a name that relatively few people know. (Even Andy admits that!) I told him that if the post got less than 2k pageviews my way, I would admit he was right and I was wrong. I didn’t even give it more than a few hours before conceding defeat. The poor little thing is at around 600 pageviews after 18 hours right now. I should probably just let it go.

It’s also possible that it just wasn’t a very good post. Very few people shared it and that’s the key to getting traction, of course. It’s a shame because Andy Baio is a really interesting guy. You should go check out his blog and shared links.

We have found, though, that posts with titles that focus on people tend not to do very well with readers. Interviews, profiles, etc. Leading with company and concept names (How Urban Airship Saved Tapulous’s Bacon on iPhone 3.0 Day or How One iPhone App Could Save Public Radio) allows for some people profiling to go on and for readers to be receptive. I now concede that.