Where’s Colin?

Don't blog, just writeYou may have been wondering why there have been no posts since November. The simple answer is I am not blogging but I'm still writing...

I have decided to take a break from the requirements for perfection I place upon myself here and just give myself the freedom to write about anything, without pressure.

For now, you can catch up with me on Google+ where I am conducting a #write365 project to write something every day.

I hope to see you there.

Image by Sarah Reid

Where’s Colin?

Social thoughts.Comments

ThoughtsTowards the end of last year I rebranded the blog as "Social Thoughts" but little else changed. I have been periodically putting full posts on Google+ and then either reproducing, or linking to, them here but they are still all full length posts which take time to construct.

Recently, time has been at a premium and timely ideas have been going begging so I feel that it is time for a change of process to more accurately reflect the blog name.

From now on, as well as the full posts which you have come to expect, I will also be throwing in shorter, less structured "thoughts" similar to some of the items I have been placing on Google+ so that I can worry less about the form, grammar and structure and more about getting the ideas down before they go to waste.

I hope you like the change in pace - I think it could be quite productive.

Image by Untitled blue.

Social thoughts.

Coming soon: the Social Thoughts newsletter.

SubscribeI recently decided to move the focus away from the blog and treat it more as a repository for what I am writing. As such, new posts now initially appear over at Google+ to take advantage of the superior interaction we experience there.

To take this one stage further I have decided to start an email newsletter (an idea I have been toying with for a while) to go beyond the normal post writing process and look at things in a different way and, perhaps, from a different angle.

The newsletter will supplement both the blog and activities on social networks. There will be the obligatory round-ups of what’s been happening but I plan to throw in a lot more conversationalist stuff: ideas, thoughts for possible posts, perhaps some links to items I’ve found interesting recently – whatever seems to fit at the time.

I have been running the Colin’s Thoughts blogette (is that a word? it is now) over at Posterous for a while but will most likely move my thoughts away from there to the newsletter.

It’s all about you!

As ever, I want you to tell me what you want. Got questions to ask? Go for it! Want to know my opinion on something? Ask away. Want some clarification or explanantion on a post? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

If you sign up I want to make sure you get what YOU want and that it's not just all about me. I hope you get some value from this - if not TELL ME!

You can subscribe using the form at the top right of any page.

Coming soon: the Social Thoughts newsletter.

Android – time for a change.Comments

AndroidEver since spending three and a half years doing outsourced support for Microsoft I had always been a "softie" at heart - that much exposure can be akin to brain-washing and we always used to joke that I had an MS barcode on the back of my head. This attitude was very noticeable in that the original "Randomelements :: Blog" was self hosted on one version of Sharepoint or another (wow did it really go back to 2004?)

It was only natural, therefore, to move to the Windows Mobile platform as my smartphone of choice - starting with the Orange SPV550 and moving through a few other phones and OS iterations. Coming from that background I am obviously used to being able to install apps from anywhere so I resisted moving to the iPhone on a point of principal - the closed system with all applications needing to go via the App Store just seemed an unnatural barrier which you shouldn't need to rely on jailbreaking to get around.

There is not doubt that the iPhone (and now the upcoming version 4) was a gamer changer and a great device but one which didn't fit my needs or way of doing things. When my HTC Touch Dual finally died (after many, many flashes of custom ROMs) I spent a year with the Nokia XM5800 which, in all fairness, is a great phone but a bit bulky in the pocket so, the time came to move on - Gravity by @janole, however, is an absolute MUST for anyone with a supported S60 device.

Step up Android

I'll admit that I'm late to the party as far as Android is concerned but maybe that's for the best. I've entered the fold with the OS at v2.1 so never experienced life without multi-touch or the app drawer; instead I have the great looking Sense UI and a very stable, mature operating system at my disposal.

In a way the HTC Sense UI is almost like a homecoming having used TouchFlo/Manilla on Windows Mobile so my new HTC Desire was instantly familiar straight out of the box (OOTB).

Android v iPhone

With the inpending arrival of the iPhone 4, the debate over whether iOS or Android is better has been raging just as furiously as the Mac v PC argument ever did. Nowhere has this been highlighted better than Robert Scoble's post on Buzz. Robert has been extoling the virues of the Android OOTB experience: "all my contacts, apps, calendar items, and other things automatically synched without hooking it up to anything" but (despite using a gmail account for years) having all of my details in Outlook I did not experience this.

As you would expect, the integration with the key Google applications is pretty much flawless and all achieved by just entering your GMail account details as part of the device setup. Even those apps in beta are seamlessly linked to your GMail account - take Google Listen as a great example.

I'm a big @scottsigler fan (an original junkie) so setting up his podcast in listen was my first priority; after doing so I was surprised, nay, delighted to find that Listen had automatically added it to a "Listen Subscriptions" section in Google Reader. How cool is that?

Listen Subscriptions

All change

It is this flawless integration that has prompted me to change the way I do things. I have converted all of my contacts to Google Contacts and - wait for it - completely dumped Outlook as my email client; I just don't need it any more. Sorry Microsoft!

Dumped Outlook

It really is something to say that a phone has altered my behaviour but there it is. There are a few holes such as the lack of a native file manager but the Android Market is beginning to flourish and is populated with numerous, good quality, free applications to fill these gaps.

Android is here to stay and not just make up the numbers.

Image by scarygami

Android – time for a change.

I just bought a loaf of bread from Sainsburys…Comments

Impact...or, "What makes a good blog post?"

Yesterday, I entered Matthew Gain's competition to win a copy of the Problogger book

This was no ordinary competition, there was no right or wrong answer; he asked for our "most successful blog post and explain why" it was the most successful. This got me thinking.

What is "success" in this context? Is it simply the number of page views, or the amount of comments it spawns? Is it about re-tweets or Facebook likes? It could be, if that is what you are after, but I consider success to be the "impact" it has made.

Simple can be effective

My choice was (probably predictably) The 5 C's of Social media - my post from almost two years ago in which I laid out a simple framework for explaining what social media is: the five base opportunities it affords us.

Did it generate the most page views? No.
Did it spawn the most comments? No.

So why was it successful?

Yes, it was a "list post" and it had a number in the title - two common ways to draw in readers - but I believe the post was successful because of the simplicity of the idea. An idea that resonated, took hold and grew beyond its original intent because of the input of others. An idea that is still relevant today so, with a minor tweak, has demonstrated a longevity beyond anything I could have imagined.

The 5 C's has been re-used by bloggers, social media "experts" and trainers in one form or another in their own posts or materials over the past two years and continues to have an effect due to simple common sense.

I frequently write long, wordy posts but at the core of everything is usually just an idea - how well that carries over varies. We can get bogged down in complexity and the message is lost but a simple idea well communicated if often most successful.

So why the strange post title?

Sally, my wife (@SallyWalker), was hosting the latest edition of her Socially Sally web TV show and the topic was blogging tips - one such tip was to make an impact, both with the post title and the contents, and not to use titles like "I Just Bought a Loaf of Bread from Sainsburys".

Out of the blue an idea formed, a challenge for all those attending to actually write a post with exactly that title - a form of viral posting which, perhaps, can have an impact of all its own. As Sally says: "sometimes the crazier the idea, the more it works".

Image by bufivla.

I just bought a loaf of bread from Sainsburys…

A brand is a promise.Comments

ReliableI was driving home along the motorway last night and passed a lorry bearing the tag line "a brand is a promise" - it got me thinking.

A brand is a promise

It's like a line from an inspirational speaker at a dodgy weekend, residential seminar but it does have a very valid point.

Blogging is a strange beast, there is no contract between the blogger and the consumer but by setting out your stall and publishing a feed there is an implied promise that your brand will maintain a certain quality. That is why people subscribe to RSS feeds - they like what they have seen so far and sign up to receive more of the same; they are investing their trust in the author to deliver.

Blogs that fail to keep that promise will lose their subscribers as they move on to a more 'reliable' source and seek to control the amount of information they consume in these data saturated times.

Your brand

With this in mind, what makes up your brand?

  • Have you identified your voice?
  • What is your writing style?
  • What makes you tick and what are you passionate about?

If you can't answer these questions your brand will be incoherent and your readers will not want to subscribe as there will be no consistent message.

As for me, my voice is that nagging doubt that questions what we do and why we do it. My style is to step back and examine things from as objective a standpoint as possible and not be a 'yes man'. I aim to get people talking.The rebrand has allowed me to focus on my interests and explore them with a passion that was previously lacking.

Your turn

So, I ask you, what does your brand promise and do you live up to it?

Image by Eva.

A brand is a promise.

If I'm not a blogger then what am I?Comments

Blog handsOver the past month or so there has been a distinct feeling of unease spreading across the web with bloggers appearing to be increasingly insecure about their position in it. This first became really noticeable with the discussions surrounding the problem of fractured conversations.

Having their posts spread across the web by aggregation services with no control over the conversation and the subsequent arguments over commoditisation of content caused a number of bloggers to question their worth.

Louis Gray played devils advocate by suggesting that blogs had no inherent value and deserved no advertising revenue - the backlash was hardly surprising. Michael at Remarkablogger questioned the term blog asking if it was unprofessional and holding us back and I asked a similar question of the term social media.

Louis has now rocked the boat again by asking if bloggers should be accountable and display their stats - a sensitive issue with bloggers at the best of times. Bloggers are renowned for being stat obsessed; it's an element of vanity that goes with the territory of putting yourself out there but no-one likes to talk about it in public in case they are accused of bragging etc. 

Finally, Steven Hodson posted yesterday echoing the sentiment that blogging needs to be called something else and his post was the catalyst for me to write this - the straw that broke the camels back so to speak.

What is happening?

Are the majority looking at the likes of Robert Scoble and Darren Rowse and becoming jealous of the success (and consequently the income) they have received from blogging and related Activities?

Is there a fear of becoming lost at sea amongst the myriad of new bloggers appearing all the time,  many of which are perceived as adding no value to the conversation?

Is it a fear that other forms of media such as podcasting and video blogging as well as micro blogging are taking over? The two ends of the 'new media' spectrum are spreading further apart and there may be a concern that they are leaving a vacuum in the middle ground: the traditional blogging space. A number of bloggers seem to be increasingly precious over the format just as others are saying that this particular dog may have had its day.

Self preservation

Is the self preservation instinct kicking in now that blogging has gone mainstream and the elite are moving on to new things? Is this problem limited to just blogging? Look at the discussion recently around whether social media is going, or will go, mainstream - myself included.

Is this a cry for validation? A lot of people are investing a lot of time, money and effort in the web and perhaps the current financial climate has got a lot of people looking over their shoulder.

Where do we go from here?

If not bloggers then what? Self publishers, authors, writers, journalists, what? As Steven mentioned where is the line which means we have "outgrown the confines of the concept people have of blogging" - the old image of a personal 'web log'. As I said before, the term blog has become a part of modern language and everyone knows what one is, if we try to move the goalposts are we making a rod for our own backs?

What do you think?

Related Posts

Image by Kevin Lim.

If I'm not a blogger then what am I?

"Read and Comment" day.

Last week, Chris Brogan suggested that today, April 28th should be pronounced Read and Comment Day where we should all get out in to the blogosphere, find some good stuff and add your thoughts in order to progress the conversation. It's a great idea and I intend to do exactly that but, in a sense, it is a shame that we need such a call to action.

So, go on, get out there and participate.

"Read and Comment" day.

Just because you use social media it doesn't make you a social media user.Comments

SharingIn his post "The danger of social media falling in on itself" Steven Hodson argues that sites like FriendFeed could potentially kill the likes of Twitter or Flickr as more people interact with their contacts via the FriendFeed interface without actually visiting the source sites.

While FriendFeed happens to allow posting of messages and comments these are secondary to its primary function of being an aggregator and, as Steven says in a subsequent comment, FriendFeed could not survive without those services it aggregates; it would be self defeating for FriendFeed to kill other services unless it changed its own model.

Using Flickr as an example, FriendFeed could only compete if it allowed you to store your pictures on its servers instead. Even if this were to happen Flickr would still remain dominant as it has become the 'go to' resource to upload your photos; this is something that goes way beyond 'social media' users.

Task oriented

Admittedly, anyone who uses something like Flickr is technically a social media user but the majority don't see it that way - they are just looking for a way to perform a specific task such as share their images. Returning to Jim Tobin's post "Think Before You Ning" he states:

 "Nobody wants to join a social network – and they never have"

The point he was trying to make appears to have gotten lost somewhere in the discussion but is totally correct. People do not wake up one morning and think to themselves "I know, I'll join a social network today". Instead, they may think "I need to find a website which will allow me to upload my photos so the rest of the family can see them". Social Media and Web 2.0 is task oriented.

Of the millions of Flickr users - be they uploading content or searching for images to use - how many access that content via means other than the Flickr website? The answer will be an incredibly small percentage which illustrates that the average person is often not interested in the ecosystem that exists around the periphery of a service, only the core service itself. Once using a service they may become involved in the more 'social' aspect of it but this will be as an aside. Even Flickr itself has "Keep in touch" as the last item on its 7 point tour so little emphasis is placed on the social networking side of things.

Until the 'concept' of social media becomes ubiquitous, rather than those services we place under its umbrella, the services and web sites will remain predominantly isolated with only a limited subset of users making use of sites like FriendFeed.

Related Posts

Image by Andy Woo.

Just because you use social media it doesn't make you a social media user.

The lost art of listening.Comments

ListenBlogging is all about getting your point across and being heard isn't it? Actually, no.

As I have said before, the real point behind blogging is getting involved with the conversation which must be a two-way affair for it to work. As bloggers we become so caught up in our own opinions and the desire to get posts finished that we often fail to notice what is going on around us. We must always look at the bigger picture as it will undoubtedly affect the way we think about any given subject.

Cycle of conversation

I've been on many soft skills courses in my time which attempt to teach you how to have an effective conversation by recognising the different elements at work (the cycle of conversation) and how to use them correctly; when to step back or when to direct the conversation to where you want it to go. None of the courses I have attended, however, have focused on the listening part and used exercises to demonstrate the importance of this skill. They always focus on hearing the other side but not digging deep and really listening to what what is being said.

Hearing and listening are two completely different things. You can hear something but not take notice of it, you don't get an appreciation for exactly what is going on. Once you do take notice you start to listen and this is where you achieve real benefit from the conversation.

Blogging

With all this in mind, how does listening fit in with the blogging process?

We cannot simply throw words and opinions at our readers or they will not remain so for long. Our brand, and the loyalty it commands, is only as strong as our reputation and if we develop a reputation for being arrogant, narrow minded or egotistical we may as well just give up now.

In order to blog successfully we must be open to other opinions and influences which we can obtain from sources such as our reader's comments, other sites and blogs and our ever increasing circle of 'friends'.

If one of our readers has taken the time to leave a meaningful comment (not just the 'great post, here's my link' type) then we must show that we appreciate that comment by listening to it and responding accordingly which is why I say that we should be using comments to further the discussion.

While it is nice to get comments of affirmation it is equally important to receive those that are contrary to our position; these comments are the ones that make us think, make us re-evaluate our ideas, and cause us to understand what we say by having to explain and justify. We should, therefore, always encourage opinion by asking open questions. A debate doesn't work if you present your argument and then refuse to hear the reaction.

Networking

Every site that offers blogging tips will tell you to get out there, read other blogs and network with the authors. It may sound like a cliché but the importance of this act cannot be over emphasised. Other bloggers will be just as opinionated as you but their opinions will be different. By cross referencing a range of other authors you can establish a wider view, determine trends or even spark off a good healthy debate. Bloggers will always be a good sounding board for ideas and many will take those ideas and extend them into areas you had not considered - the converse is also true in that we take ideas from elsewhere and add our own take.

Just subscribing to a range of blogs doesn't work, you have to try to understand what makes that person tick and why they say the things they do - you can then gain an appreciation for their thoughts and writing style. In short, you have to listen not just to the words but to the meaning.

By getting to know some of your favourite bloggers using social networking tools you will enhance both the relationships and discussions you have with them which can only lead to better insight and, consequently, better blog posts.

In conclusion

The hardest part of any conversation is listening but do it well and it makes you more thoughtful, considered and productive.

Related Posts

Image by Simon Crowley.

The lost art of listening.

When to add updates or create new posts?Comments

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger posted a few reader questions around the issue of when to update existing content rather than create a new post. I commented at the thread but wanted to share my full thoughts on the subject here as well.

The relevant questions were as follows:

  • Is it good practice to continue to make improvements after I’ve hit the magic publish button?
  • If so, should it be obvious to readers that’s what I’ve done?
  • What about simply re-wording a sentence or changing the order of content around?
  • Should new related ideas always go in new posts, or be added as “updates” at the bottom of existing ones?

Blogging is constantly about making improvements or corrections, striving to produce better quality content and become a better blogger; part of this is communication. We use our blogs to communicate our thoughts and ideas to our readers - often in order to start a discussion. It is only natural, therefore, to want to provide the latest and best information we have to had so that the discussion can be enhanced. How, though, is this best presented?

Quantity, not quality.

We normally see those two words the other way round but, in the context of updating existing content on your blog I believe that you have to look at how much is being updated. We must consider if an update is merely a one point addendum or whether it warrants a new post of it's own - the quantity of the update is therefore most relevant as we can assume that the quality of the update is not being questioned or there would be no incentive to provide it.

A brief update of one or two sentences or a link to a relevant post on another blog is normally best handled as an update to the post itself. Anything larger is probably better served by a new post to prevent the original becoming cluttered. It will also be more productive with regards to enhancing the conversation as more people are likely to see and read it.

Making changes

Changing a post, as opposed to adding to it, is a difficult topic as has been alluded to in the comments on the ProBlogger post. I would tend to agree with a lot of what has been discussed there but to clarify here are my own preferences:

  • editing typos should always be done and need not (usually) be communicated back to the reader
  • if a typo changes your fundamental point (e.g. typing does instead of doesn't) it should be corrected with a note of explanation, using a strike-through if necessary
  • rewording content should generally not happen, especially if it changes how the post reads

It is always a good idea to go back over your old content to see if you can add extra value or even if the surrounding landscape or your own position has changed. We are continually being re-influenced by everything we consume or experience, we may therefore change our opinions accordingly. These circumstances would always warrant a new post which goes over your original position, explains your new one and what has caused the change.

Comments and surveys

As I have mentioned previously a good way to expand on a particular topic is to use comments as the basis of a new post whether they are other peoples comments on your blog or your own comments somewhere else. The comments on any post are just as (if not more) important than the the original item and it is the conversation that we all value. Using comments to further discuss as issue is one of the reasons why we are all here.

Sometimes it may not be relevant to update a post with new information but you may also consider that it does not warrant a new post on its own. Under these circumstance it may be a good idea to start a poll or survey to garner even more opinion to either support or argue against your new idea. Sites such as SurveyMonkey or PollDaddy are good places to start.

In conclusion

There are no fixed rules and each change or update should be based on its own merits but the one point I would stress is that, with the exception of simple typos, you should always inform the reader.

When to add updates or create new posts?

Permalink problems.

For some unknown reason the permalink structure on the blog became corrupted overnight so, while you could reach the home page, none of the post, page or category links would work (thanks to all those who got in touch to let me know).

The issue should now be fixed - I had to force refresh the permalink structure - but if you find anything that isn't working please let me know.

Permalink problems.

Fractured comments and owning the conversation.Comments

conversationThe discussion has continued around the issue of conversations prompted by blogs and where they should be held.

Back in February I discussed the possibility of being able to comment directly from your feed reader in my post "It's the conversation that matters". Now with services like fav.or.it and FriendFeed this is happening (we love choice) but the problem becomes how we keep track of the conversation when it is decentralised - or, as is now being said, when the comments are fractured.

The debate as to who owns the conversation has been rumbling along, Louis Gray says bloggers should be aware of where interaction could be taking place and engaging wherever we can. Sarah Perez echoes this by saying that "Thoughts, opinions, and conversations don’t belong to anyone, anywhere, at anytime" - perhaps a bit too far but I get where she is coming from.

Context

As I said previously, the argument for having comments centralised is context. Having trains of thought spread throughout a number of different services is not conducive to a fluent conversation so - rather than wanting ownership over the discussion - I personally would like all comments referring back to one place for the sake of context in order to aid the flow of conversation.

The problems come when different services do not integrate and each services ends up with its own thread relating to any given subject that does not refer back to anywhere else. Either all services should aggregate content from everywhere else (which isn't going to happen) or all comments should come back to one central location for the sake of clarity - the most obvious place is the material source: the blog.

This is why I get so excited over the potential of services such as fav.or.it. If RSS readers support comment pass-back then we can keep the choice of feed readers but allow any conversation to be visible in its entirety.

The advantage of now using one of the most popular blogging platforms means that you are more likely to have people design solutions to do what you want and, sure enough, Glenn Slavin has done just that with regards to FriendFeed with his FriendFeed Comments WordPress Plugin. Whilst still in beta this plugin checks for "likes" and comments to your post on FriendFeed and brings them in to your blog.

So now two sources of fractured comments can be drawn in to one central location. This is only the beginning and I hope that other services take note and follow similar lines or that developers work with APIs and aid the flow.

Related Posts
Fractured comments and owning the conversation.

Is fav.or.it a Google Reader replacement?Comments

favoritlogoJust before I went on holiday a discussion emerged around what the RSS feed service fav.or.it is or isn't starting with Louis Gray's post "Fav.or.it Beta Effort is Not My Favorite. Not Even Close". In this post he argues that fav.or.it is not living up to its initial potential citing a confusing interface, OPML import problems and "limitations" on the service in that you could only import 25 of your RSS feeds in to the system. Louis was also unhappy that any feeds imported were shared will all users of the service.

Mark Hopkins over at Mashable picked up on Louis' post and tends to agree with him but in less vociferous tones - asking the question "If you are seeing something that Louis and I are missing, please explain it to me".

Sure enough Nick Halstead, the mind behind fav.or.it, leapt in with both feet to show that Louis had missed the point, unfortunately the manner in which this was done may not have won him any friends - a fact which Sarah picks up on and explains the to-ing and fro-ing which have surrounded the incident.

What is fav.or.it?

According to Nick, fav.or.it is not a personal feed reading system - it is intended as a feed reading community where members add feeds which are shared with the community at large thus enabling users to discover more blogs in given topics. The other main focus of fav.or.it is the ability to pass comments made on fav.or.it back to the original blog post providing the blog platform supports the API but more on that later.

Louis may have got the wrong end of the stick by treating fav.or.it as an alternative to Google Reader but Nick has not helped in the matter. I have been testing fav.or.it and after a  new version was released which introduced new features was asked by Nick Halstead on Twitter if fav.or.it was a Google Reader replacement. I replied that I must be one of the few people that doesn't like Google Reader (I've never hidden the fact that I prefer Bloglines mainly due to the mobile view) but I said that I liked fav.or.it. Does that mean I think it could replace the Google offering? Not necessarily but the potential is there.

As currently packaged fav.or.it is not - and could not be - a Google Reader replacement so why then was Nick trying to pitch is as such on Twitter?

Selling your product

The key to launching any product - even one in a limited beta - is to market it correctly not just in getting the exposure it needs but in what you are exposing potential "customers" to. Fav.or.it seems to fail here as the message coming out of the camp is mixed or missing vital information.

If all you do is check out the fav.or.it website and read through the Overview and About sections you will be bombarded with great teasers about an integrated blogging solution (the feature which really excites me) but nothing about it being a news reading community or how that works - you can therefore understand Louis' frustrations with the sudden realisation once he has come to import his feeds.

I do indeed applaud the efforts that Nick and his team are making but feel that he is making a rod for his own back by not actually doing the selling correctly. Demonstrations at web 2.0 conferences may go off well but that is because you are talking directly to your audience, showing them how it works and fielding questions from those who don't get it. You can't do that with a static About page so need to be thorough in your description of the service or you will not catch the audience you intended.

The good, the bad and the ugly

I agree with Louis that the interface can leave you wondering what's going on and that "slices" are not handled in an intuitive way - I had to do things to understand how they worked rather than it being apparent or explained - there's the bad. The limitation on importing only 25 feeds could well just be to keep the beta under control so we'll let that slide for now. The ugly is definitely fav.or.it's handling of some feeds which I also noticed along with Louis. Take those operated through FeedBurner. As Louis says when you import a feed fav.or.it does not resolve the correct feed name - just says it is from http://feeds.feedburner.com - not good!

The good, however, is the comment handling which as mentioned passes comments back to the originating blog providing it is on a support platform or is linked in to the fav.or.it API - this feature alone made me seriously question hosting my blog on SharePoint and switching to WordPress which is already supported by fav.or.it.

The system works (albeit with a few glitches importing comments already on posts) and goes a long way to alleviate the worries bloggers have over the decentralisation of the conversation.

What next?

What does Nick need to do win over his audience? The way I see it there are a couple of options:

  • stick to the present product but market it properly - do not send mixed messages and fully explain exactly what it is/isn't
  • expand the present product by allowing more imports so that we can use fav.or.it as a true replacement of our current reader of choice 

Nick may be targeting the less tech savvy but his integrated solution really calls out to the more advanced web heads out there but if they cannot get all of their feeds within the system then a perfectly good feature will be going to waste.

Why not let those of us who currently use other systems to have fav.or.it as a personal platform? I hope the number of feeds you can import is extended - at the very least the import should check if the feed is already "in the system" and not have it count towards your import allowance. Personally, I can't see why you should get offended if the feeds you import are categorised and added to a database to allow others to discover them more easily but if people are concerned about it why not give us an option to opt out of the feed sharing?

The service needs a good mobile interface so that it can be used on the go - as I said, this is what I really like about Bloglines and is what keeps me there. If fav.or.it could match or better the mobile experience and give me integrating commenting to ALL of the feeds I want to
read then I would switch in an instant.

Your take

What would make you switch feed readers? Do you like what fav.or.it is doing or is it heading in the wrong direction?

Related Posts
Is fav.or.it a Google Reader replacement?