Background: Leo Laporte got upset because his posts disappeared from Buzz and nobody seemed to notice. Adam Singer and then Louis Gray both responded by emphasizing the importance of blogs (where an individual owns and hosts her own content) over social media (where Facebook owns everything).
My Take: I think Leo's problem is bigger than that he lost everything he thought was on Buzz for two weeks. The real problem is that nobody noticed. Buzz, like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and every other social media out there, is a firehose of information. They're not designed to be read "cover to cover". Instead, they're designed for you to read what's at the top of the list, and keep scrolling down until you find something better to do.
I've said this before: We need a new interface.
As a content producer, I care about who receives my content (public, private, private to certain people). This is especially important if you consider my (anyone's) role as a content filter, and the increasing amount of data that gets shared. I only want to share with YOU the links I think YOU will be interested in.
As a content consumer, I care about the source and topic. I'm interested in a number of topics, but I'm not interested in everything YOU are interested in. I want you (or someone) to tag your items and I want a filter that allows me to ignore everything you care about that I don't.
I don't care about the length. I don't need posts that are 140 characters or less separated from longer posts. That's a stupid idea.
Are you listening, Google Me team?
As it is, social media is centered around which website you use (Twitter or Facebook or Buzz) and communication between those sites is limited. (I know, you can feed your tweets to Facebook or Buzz, and vice versa, but it's a pain.)
What if, instead of following someone on all those different sites, there were a place where all of a person's content is listed and sorted, and you could choose what to follow? Say, a personal profile site?
My Google profile sorts my original content by format (blog entries, photos, tweets, etc.), and Buzz items by type (posts, comments, and likes), but that's not very useful. If you're my dance friend, I assume you're interested in all of those things, but only a portion of them (those pertaining to dancing). Instead, my profile should list the topics I care about, and allow you to subscribe to all types of content on a particular topic.
Of course, I would be able to limit what you see using the typical public/private/private to certain people settings.
The other important step is to create a standard for comments, so that whatever program you use to read my topics, you can discuss them with someone using any other program.
Comments should be their own type of message, like a tweet, but have metadata that associate them with an original post (URL), and that limit who can view it. If I comment on a story, tag it with a topic you're interested in, and make it viewable to you, the original story would show up in your reader, with my comment visible. Similarly, you could comment, make it public to me, and it would show up in my reader, associated with that original story.
It would have to work with FB. That is, if FB is your preferred way of viewing the web, it should allow you to "friend" my Google profile, and choose which topics you want to hear about in your FB stream. Since FB is the "king", I have a hard time seeing them cooperate with this. But maybe if there were a FB app for it...
What do you think? Am I on to something?