Technology Adoption and Active Reading

Giving Diigo a fair shake. Turns out, it might be cool for active reading. I still have issues with it (comments are private by default and they don’t disappear on pressing "enter"), but the main usage pattern seems to make sense.
So… Actively reading this Dare Obasanjo blogpost about technology adoption. Found the link thanks to @audio on Twitter.
All of it is very "knee-jerky" («réactions à chaud»), on my part. I like that. More RERO. And more efficient, I think.

BTW, a major point developers should understand: users should be allowed to be lazy, sloppy, careless, and thoughtless. Can’t remember the term but Blacktree’s QuickSilver had a whole explanation about "not thinking." I think enough already that I don’t want to think about my use of tools while I’m using these tools. A good example of where a problem may appear: forcing users to add tags or forcing them to edit a preview version of their comments. I see why it would make sense to "incite" people to do this. But there’s a context for everything and forcing users one way or another is very patronizing.

  • tags: technology adoption

    • Pragmatists might be willing to use new technology, if it’s the only way to get their problem solved.
      • I try to adopt this strategy. – post by enkerli
    • Early Adopters are risk takers who actually like to try new things.
      • Of course, they’re the most vocal. Especially online. And the most fickle. – post by enkerli
    • Laggards pride themselves on the fact that they are the last to try anything new.
      • I do that a lot. The Swiss or Amish version of the "wait-and-see approach." Works really well with updates. – post by enkerli
    • they listened too intently to their initial customer base
      • This seems to be well-understood, now. Of course, it appears to be the focus of this post, but it’s probably not the most interesting point. – post by enkerli
    • heralded as the next big thing by technology pundits which actually never broke into the  mainstream because they don’t solve the problems of regular Internet users
      • Again, well-known. But good to keep in mind. – post by enkerli
    • aren’t many people who need a specialized feature set around searching blogs
      • And specialized searches have two unwanted side-effects: separate blogging from the mainstream and emphasize the echo-chamber effect. (This was well-discussed on TWiT, at the time.) – post by enkerli
    • Social bookmarking:
      • My sense is that it can still take off because the best solution hasn’t come up yet. Diigo (!) appears to be a good start. But there’s a lot which could be done to improve it. For instance, send pings or trackbacks when users comment on a blogpost. Importing RSS feeds from other bookmarking services should be (IMVHO) Diigo’s #1 priority. Making commenting more seamless with less button clicking would make the Diigo experience more bearable. Better auto-tagging and more obvious batch-tagging would also help. Some support for a kind of ubiquitous link clipboard would make it easy for both bloggers and "normal readers." Merging comment-tracking (à la cocomment) with Diigo’s approach to "highlight and comment" could really make sense. All in all, social bookmarking could be much bigger than it is but people do rely on it remaining geeky. I want it to be workflow. This is not a niche approach to social bookmarking. Even people who are relatively passive as readers (i.e., the statistical mainstream) would use social bookmarking if it’s really seamless. – post by enkerli
    • key technology which powers a number of interesting functionality behind the scenes (e.g. podcasting)
      • Excellent point. Podcatchers have it right, in terms of RSS. I sometimes wish RSS readers would be more like podcatchers and/or podcatchers could integrate more content types. Although… One reason podcatchers work for me is that I eventually found the right number of podcasts to subscribe to. I haven’t been able to do this with blogs and other non-podcast RSS feeds. – post by enkerli
    • RSS reader has not become a mainstream activity of Web users
      • Yup! I don’t use them. – post by enkerli
    • read so many blogs and news sites
      • Information overload (IO) in general is a big issue. Yahoo! Pipes could help, but I haven’t really been attracted to it enough to go on its learning curve (despite @ericbaillargeon talking about it so much). Some new RSS readers take a more radical approach to reducing IO, but they still don’t seem to work so well. I guess what I need is an adaptive RSS reader which will help me be more selective in the number of things I read. The reverse of StumbleUpon, in a way, though SU could probably help. Put simply, I want an RSS reader which "knows" me and which can help me decide what I want to do with a given piece of text: put on my "to read" list? Send to someone who might care? Keep on the backburner as a potentially interesting idea? Read actively? Blog about? Respond to? Send to my handheld for reading or listening while I do something else? Add to a "pile" with auto-indexing so the next time I want some info about this, the full text of the original will come up? – post by enkerli
    • How many people who aren’t enthusiastic early adopters (i) have this problem and (ii) think they need a tool to deal with it?
      • Well… I do have this problem and I do think I need a tool to deal with this. But RSS Readers don’t work, for my needs. My interests are too disparate, my attention to the blogosphere is too occasional… This is actually one context in which Twitter is helping me focus. – post by enkerli
    • harness the natural need of young people to express their individuality yet be part of social cliques
      • I don’t really like the wording (too fake-science-y) but I agree with the principle. We can probably now go into the "listening to what users need" tirade but I would prefer it if it were more ethnographic/insightful in terms of the relationship between technology adoption and innovation (invention+adoption=innovation), in social terms. It’s not a "natural need" for "young people." It’s "a common practise in a significant portions of different populations." – post by enkerli
    • flexible options
      • YES! Options, not features! – post by enkerli
    • solve problems that everyone [or at least a large section of the populace] has
      • Too bad it’s such an absolute/quantitative statement. Sure, adoption numbers matter, in meetings with investors. But what’s more important in terms of the adoption timeline may be based on the network effect and on the social butterfly effect. The same tool can be used differently by different people (unintended uses are the killer app?) if they already adopt that tool for some other reason. If it’s out of peer-pressure or just because of the invisible influence of an acquaintance, it still matters a lot in terms of making the thing "viral." We’re talking about networks, here, not a standardized population. – post by enkerli
    • Everybody wants to get laid
      • Cheap and misleading. – post by enkerli
    • are we building a product for Robert Scoble?"
      • Not a bad point and somewhat funny given the whole "make Robert Scoble cry" jokes of a few months ago. But, at the same time, Scoble is fairly good at being a cog in the wheel. People think of him as a direct influence on his "followers" (not just on Twitter). What seems to be more important, from his work, is that he has been able to get some people to think differently about some tools and companies. He’s definitely not like a journalist but it’s not accurate to think of him as the central point of a pack of geeky early adopters who would adopt those tools anyway. He’s someone who says a lot of things and some of them "don’t fall on dead ears" (is that the expression in English?). The reason he influences people, very often, is because there’s a fit between what he says and what people are open to hear. Not that he "says what people want to hear." But he says things which find a fertile ground, partly because those who first hear them run with it. Much of this about Scoble is "old." I get the perception that, at this point, he’s mostly getting "followers" who are following him because of his notoriety. Especially marketers and social capitalists. Problem with this is that these people don’t necessarily listen so much. They don’t really adopt. They sell. – post by enkerli

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