Life is too short and technology is just too damned complicated

The internet is great. Competition is great. But sometimes it just all gets a bit too much. I’m very interested in the new social media news release concept idea – not because I think it will work at the moment but because I think it will be the future. So I’ve signed up to the Google Group – first problem. Most of my email lists currently use Yahoo, which works because I get digests or individual emails to my proper email address because it asks me which one I use when I subscribe. Google Group is a pain because it automatically sends them to my gmail account which I only ever use when out of the office and as a backup archive. There is probably a way to configure it to work properly, but why the hell should I have to?

And to make it worse I discover that Chris Heur, who is leading the project, has created “a Haystack where people can
list themselves easily to let others know about their involvement”. What the heck is that about? I’ve looked at Haystack before and got no further than clicking on the “Take a tour’ button before deciding it was simply too much effort to have to fill out yet another profile for no immediately obvious benefit. I’ve already done that on countless other sites such as LinkedIn, Typepad, Blogger, Yahoo, MySpace, OpenBC and lots of others. Haystack might offer something but it does a terrible job of explaining what it is. This time I’ve subscribed but don’t have the time or the inclination to go further.

Life is too short and technology is just too damned complicated. I don’t want more choice I just want stuff that is easy to use and does what it says on the tin.

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.socialmediaclub.org/ Chris Heuer

    I totally agree with you – just gotta start somewhere. Do you have some other suggestions? We are looking at People Aggregator and GoingOn which might be a slightly more integrated set of tools. With BrainJams we ran into this problem all the time as we tried to explain why we put photos on Flickr, Articles on our personal blogs and group insights into a Wiki. Why more people don't have great integrated products that make it easy to use is beyond me. Maybe Wetpaint could do it?

    The problem is that everyone will have their own preferences (which is perfectly natural). The most important thing is that we can all agree to use the same tools (including social bookmarking really) so we can make it work.

    As for Haystack – I look at it as simply a directory of people. I chose it because it is free, Chris Carfi explained it to me well and I did not want to get into the OpenBC, LinkedIn, Tribe, XYZ Social Network conflicts. In short, it seemed more vendor neutral. Maybe Chris can answer this better – because I think you are right with your suggestions.

  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    Do you not think that CrispyNews is a better, viable alternative (despite its less than gorgeous interface?)

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    Yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist writing about Web 2.0/social media and one of his questions was "What is your favourite website". My answer was it changes all the time but at the moment it is CrispyNews.

    For users it is so simple, although the behind the scenes admin needs some work. The potential of creating even quite tiny communities of interest is quite exciting.

    I wonder if they are considering creating a SuperCrispyNews which aggregates all the most popular stories from all the communities (opt-in of course) to create a competitor to Digg or Netscape?

  • http://www.socialcustomer.com Christopher Carfi

    Stuart, I'm sorry that you didn't feel that it was worth the time to fill out your profile in the Haystack that Chris Heuer set up for the New Media Release list. To answer your direct question: what we're trying to do with Haystack is create a super-simple social networking capability that organizations can easily connect to their web presence, to allow members of a group to easily find shared interests (if they have an interest in doing so) and connect with each other. We've also tried to make it easily customizable for the folks who are setting up the Haystacks. While this seems to be a trivial problem in small groups, the need becomes very acute when the group is large or consists of individuals who are running into each other for the first time (i.e. don't have an existing shared history).

    We're constantly (and I mean *constantly*) working to make the system easier to use and more intuitive. Every time someone such as yourself has an issue, we see that as an opportunity to learn something and to find a way to make the system even cleaner.

    I would be happy to give you a personalized tour, answer any questions you have and, most importantly, listen to your thoughts on ways we can make the system easier to use and understand. I can't promise every suggestion will make it into the product, but I *can* promise that every suggestion will receive our full attention and consideration.

    My direct line is 1-650-346-4406, my Skype ID is christophercarfi, and I hope to hear from you.

    Cheers, Chris.
    http://haystack.cerado.com/profile/2

  • http://leverwealth.blogspot.com David Phillips

    And then there is the need to keep up with all the latest fun. Simon Collister was fun today.

  • http://www.chrisheuer.com/ Chris Heuer

    If CrispyNews wants to be a DIGG competitor in the industry segments or on a more consumer level, would be happy to lend a hand to those efforts.

    In the meantime, Dennis, how did you imagine using CrispyNews? for sharing articles and bookmarks or for more general conversations? Am just working on a survey and a post with some questions on this subject – we just need to agree on the requirements, and then the tools so we can move forward. I am writing a post about this to the Google Group now which I will also link from my blog (goshgollygee, I wish this open ecosystem of tools were easier to use together)