May 28, 2007

Facebook News Mixing Desk

So the Facebook Platform has got me looking around their site a bit more... and just now I found this feed mixing desk:

Just like the Facebook Platform encapsulates the idea of application embedding that inspired my String'n'Glue Learning Environment, so this content mixing desk embodies something that's been on my wishlist for a long time...

Now I did think I'd written about this sort of thing before, on my original (now defunct) blog, Micro Info - but apparently not (unless the search is broken...)

The closest I can find is this: RSS Feed annotation Streams (as well as this OUseful post on Integrating Ad Hoc and Formal Communities). The implication here were patches for mixing in additional content to augment a particular target feed (more recently I've come to think of this in the particular context of elaborating an OpenLearn RSS course unit with additional materials).

The original idea, however, was more general and based on the idea of a mixing desk - taking in different feeds, 'amplifying' them a certain amount, adding in effects (annotations) or filtering them further, and so on to produce a final output feed mix.

[Update: found some of my thoughts on this topic on a mailing list archive: random thoughts on a feed mixing desk]

Anyway - Facebook have an implementation of sorts of this sort of model. Time to go play...

Posted by ajh59 at May 28, 2007 06:42 PM

A few thoughts, if I was designing a similar system. The one thing the mixing desk doesn't have, as far as I can tell, is any 'master volume control' - you can't alter the total output. I'd also want to have a keyword system - any story matching certain words to always be shown (or not).

Finer tuning on which friends turn up would be better - a 1 - 5 rating system?

The big limitation on usability (if you want to do exciting stuff!) is the lack of flexibility in arranging your page. I don't mean being able to change colour schemes etc - part of the appeal is the consistency when compared to e.g. MySpace - but being limited to fixed width columns, and not even being able to drag between them, is quite frustrating. It needs just a dash of Netvibes.

Are you on the OU Network? I'll look you up later, but it's blocked in my workplace.

Posted by: Richard at May 29, 2007 09:25 AM