Been an interesting week. Woke up one morning to see something called Buzz being talked about and turned out that it got enabled the next day morning. So pretty much woke up to it. While in most things you start up with nothing and build up your friends from scratch this came preloaded with people I had interacted with sometime.
The portly tax consultant who did my taxes in Australia 3 years back was now following me before he realized that he was following strangers and removed himself from it.
The feature itself looked cool. I could share photos and have them viewed properly, and videos and see them inline. Somehow it did not cut it with me and then I realized why. Most of it was already enabled for me through Gmail labs. They could have just gotten it to the next stage where I could view photos shared by people on picasa the way I could in Buzz. Youtube was already working fine embedded in gmail.
The thing that took the most hit is Google Reader. I had a handful of people following me and whom I followed. They shared interesting stuff there and I kind of got my daily dose of stuff from them directly. Its like they were my personal news site. And then Ashwinne left in a huff, so my share of comics is cut, and cut badly! And I don’t know where he’s sharing things now. Another was mostly quantity, but I do see his stuff there.
How am I going about it? Well, I was initially pissed about all those now following me without my knowing who or even being able to block them out. Google did fix the issue, but then I had to go and delete them myself. Also, most importantly, there is no approval process where I approve who gets to follow me. Its like the Twitter model which am not sure is a good thing. I even came across snap shots of Buzz conversations where random guys were posting on random girls’ posts with ‘You are so slim, what’s your email Id’ messages. Kind of made me wonder if its going to be like Orkut all over again, where at least they managed to introduce some privacy later on.
The more I think about it, manjunaths‘s statement to ashwinne‘s complaints on Buzz makes sense. “You have an option”. I wonder if privacy is a price we pay for being on social networking gigs, be it Facebook, Buzz, MySpace or Orkut. Maybe the best option which actually also makes sense in many ways is to not get into a place where you feel your privacy might be compromised. Let’s face it, we don’t pay a penny for these things. FB at least tells you openly to suck it up or get out with their constant design changes and also with the recent hole which left almost everyone’s profiles open to the world despite the in-numerous safeguards they had placed around it. LinkedIn that way is definitely one of the better networks, with the emphasis clearly on professional networking. You need more privacy or features, you pay for it. As simple as that.
The buzz around Buzz has definitely died down. At least I don’t see so many people coming up with new posts. I don’t do much on FB either. The quite peeks into pics of friends and commenting on what they have to say is all that I manage to do. Even when commenting on something, you realize that when you are saying something its not to a room with your friends in it, but with friends of someone else with whom you might be sharing a subset of friends. Weird?
Also brings into mind something a colleague said when I asked him if he was on FB. “I believe in maintaining a zero online footprint.” I wondered if he was just paranoid. Its taken me a while but I got it. It was just his personal choice.