re: awareness.

February 22, 2010

As much as I like my ambient awareness, it does have its limit. That limit was reached as soon as I opened Buzz.

I guess I always knew that only about 20% of my friends actively blog, tweet or otherwise broadcast their lives. That’s not many people to keep up to date on, and even then, I get behind pretty quickly. Buzz suddenly opened up this world to almost 100% of my friends – 100% of my closest contacts to be exact. So, unlike with Facebook, I feel compelled (or obligated) to read their posts. And having that awareness about everyone is a bit too much. In my opinion, it’s so much like other sites (Facebook, Twitter, Reader, etc), wouldn’t you have already joined one of them?

And then there’s the fact that I now have three forms of communication in one spot: email, chat, and updates. Email and chat have found their place in people’s communication paths. Email for long, non-urgent messages or anything you want to broadcast to large groups. Chat is for urgent messaging and one on one conversations. When do I use Buzz? It may be the one time I’ve seriously thought that status updates are absolutely ridiculous and useless (and maybe I should just quit Twitter).

But most distressing to me was that Google didn’t do what they do best. Organize. There was absolutely no organizational ability within Buzz. Instead, Google’s given this fantastically easy way to create and share without any ability to sort, filter, or otherwise organize the content I’m receiving. Why do I love Gmail? Because I don’t have to sort my own mail; I just search for things I need. Why do I love GChat? Because it saves all my chats in a searchable way. But Buzz – everybody and everything was all thrown together; it was like Twitter before they made their list feature. Except with Twitter, I don’t see your followers (thank goodness).

See, every time I checked Buzz (because it was telling me I had new items), it was always someone I didn’t know at all commenting on a post I’d already seen. I don’t care! And I definitely don’t need to be notified. It made it seem like Buzz was a big hit among my friends. But really, it was only two or three people I actually knew posting information and the rest was noise. Even worse, it was noise I had to scroll through in order to see my new items. Overall I’m gaining awareness (good!), but definitely not on my own terms (bad!). But it does make me want to create better content for anyone who does follow me.



  1. The problem for me is that I use my gmail account for everything. Which means that some of my closest contacts, and the people who have me as their closest contact ended up being folks I work with. For example, one of my followers is one of my advisors…

    This ultimately means I have to be super careful about anything I post on Buzz, which is just too much work. Hence, I will probably never use it except to read other people’s posts.

  2. Kai: The one thing I like about Buzz (that I haven’t seen since Plurk) is that the replies stay with the original buzz. I hate that on twitter the replies are not threaded to the original tweet. Perhaps the organization will come – doesn’t your BF work at GOogle? Perhaps he can pass your complaint on.

    Min: You can control who (of your contacts) can see your Buzzes. (I’m pretty sure)

    • I’m confident that Buzz has potential. As a new product, it can’t have everything, right? And I guess I never tried very hard to follow a thread on Twitter to realize that it would be super annoying. So I guess it all depends on how much you want to see an entire conversation.

      Also, yes, Min you should just block your advisors, etc. I think it’s better that way. Do you really want to know what your advisors might be posting on Buzz?

      • Well to be perfectly honest, I am a little curious…

        Also, isn’t it going to be obvious if I block him? Then he’s going to think “Hum.. what’s Min hiding? That’s so shady, I should fire him.” And then I’ll be homeless with a “Will code for food sign.”

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