Mobile & Conversations
One of the great things about the web is the ability for people located all around the world to be having a public conversation in real time in a single place. We see that in action here at AVC with the Disqus comment system. But it also exists on Twitter, Quora, Stack Overflow, Reddit, Hacker News, and a host of other places on the web. This kind of open public discourse is quite important and leads to greater understanding and ideally a progressive society that moves forward as new ideas and new ways of thinking propagate.
As the web is increasingly moving to mobile, there are opportunities and challenges. The opportunity is simple. Folks don’t need to be in front of a computer to be able to participate in a real-time discussion. The challenges are harder. Who here has tried to comment on AVC from a mobile phone or tablet? It’s not as easy. And what would a mobile app look like for commenting?
Those who solve these challenges will be the leaders in real-time discussions in the coming years. Because taking our conversations with us in our pockets will be critical.
I say all of this because of an experience I had yesterday. I had to take my son to take a test yesterday afternoon. As I left our home, I saw a tweet from Dave McClure responding to my post yesterday:
yo @fredwilson @msuster ur missing main point on notes — big reason they’re used over priced rounds isnt valuation, rather synchronization
— Dave McClure (@davemcclure) September 8, 2012
I responded to his tweet and then took my son to his test. A half hour later, after I dropped off my son, I checked Twitter and there was a lively discussion brewing. I responded to a few tweets and started driving home.
Every twenty blocks or so I would pull over, check twitter, reply to a few more tweets, and then start driving again. By the time I got home a half hour later, there was a full blown Twitter discussion.
Mark Ury did us all a favor and Storified the discussion for posterity. Mark Suster also contributed a curated version of the discussion on his blog.
What’s the takeaway from this story, other than investors get pretty emotional about things like convertible notes, priced equity, discounts, and signaling?
Mine is that I could have never participated in that discussion in real time had it not been for the Twitter client on my Android phone. But it was simple, in some ways simpler than doing it on the web, in Twitter’s mobile client.
So it’s high time for all those companies out there that are in the business of hosting and facilitating live real-time public conversations to do what Twitter has done and make your products work well in mobile. If you don’t, others will.
Right on on this one.Outside of Twitter, Mobile is community and communications challenged. A function of input limitations. A function of creating context implicitly within the more intimate smaller screen.AVC is a sit down conversation to me cause Disqus is tied to a larger screen language format. Even sitting on a park bench, Disqus just doesn’t work for me on the small screen.This is a mobile language frontier to be cracked. With that language we can move beyond just actions to communications. Translating community to the small screen is the big dream to be actualized.
email helps me keep up with disqus on the road. that’s the feature i asked for them the day they launched (on AVC) and its is incrediblebut take the photos thread on friday – i couldn’t do that one via email because the photos weren’t in email
True…email are my ringtones with Disqus. Actually quite brilliant ones.But it’s more than the embedded graphics to me. I don’t want to just follow, I want to respond and participate. That’s the gap for me.
And along the same lines, “email overwhelm” could be dialed down significantly by a more mobile friendly email client. The iPhone doesn’t win on this one. (Maybe Android is better?)
I think the email thing is tied to keyboards (or lack of). I kind of want more fluid OSes that I can plug and play independent of phone/computer usage.
Yes. And also that the experience is merely a shrunk-down version of the lap/desktop experience…
For the first time, I finally understand why Google is developing a self-driving car. We shouldn’t have to pull over every 20 blocks to tweet or comment or post.#sentfrommobile #notdriving
better than texting and driving at the same timei hate it when i see people do that
Same. Though truthfully that isn’t the worst thing about drivers in NYC
And pedestrians who can’t disengage from their mobile devices while in a crosswalk are a whole different hazard.
Guilty of that *blush*
Did you ever happen to see that video of a man walking down the street to look up and see a bear in front of him? It was played on local news stations around the country. You wouldn’t want that to be you, that’s for sure.
illegal here & dangerous everywhere
I agree. That is such a death hazard. I guess they are willing to put their lives at risk.
more people are dying now from texting than from alcohol.This is a major major problem and only going to get worse.People like us need to think about building in an auto-mode where conversations are flipped from text to voice on our platform based upon a set of parameters that would allow us to conclude that you are driving.
i blogged about that last summer http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…i thought that would surface some backable dealsbut i haven’t seen anything as a result
there is one company locationlabs.com – i think @joelgrossman commented on this back then.they took a carrier focused approach. An Univestable approach from your firm!
that is for sure
We shouldn’t have to pull over every 20 blocks to look at AdWords.
Seriously. Only pull over to click thru.
I was just imagining the dialogue with Josh. “Uh, why are we pulling over?”Fred: “Someone is wrong on the Internet.”PS: Agree with this post 100%. What’s even more painful than commenting in the mobile browser is logging into Disqus on the mobile browser. Both mobile safari and chrome continually lose my login. Many a comment has never happened because of that.
@aaronklein:disqus Disqus uses a login cookie, and it usually never expires unless you clear your cookies. If you do not clear your cookies, you should not have a problem. My Android phone remembers my login cookie.
Yes, I know and I’m not clearing cookies. But it still seems to lose it every few weeks.I’m sure there’s an explanation but this doesn’t happen with mobile apps, period.
Myself as well.
Just logged in and out and my disqusauth cookie is set to expire in 1 month.
Maybe @danielha:disqus can help you there.Subject: [avc] Re: Mobile & Conversations
‘I was just imagining the dialogue with Josh. “Uh, why are we pulling over?”Fred: “Someone is wrong on the Internet.”‘I just laughed so hard.
Can’t take full credit for that one. It was a takeoff of an xkcd cartoon.
Yeah, along with “on the net no-one knows you’re a dog” – one of my all time favourites.
Ahh.. goold ole’ xkcd.. I haven’t read enough of those.I should add I pictured Fred saying that in a super-hero voice and he was wearing a tight outfit with a cape.. looking all dorky too, of course.
That’s why I was absent from the twitter debate for about 25 mins. I didn’t want to have that discussion with Josh so we went straight there
What do you think Josh would have said?
“What do you think Josh would have said?”Better yet, what do you think Gotham Gal would have said if she was in the car?Or if Josh relayed the story to her?Behavior could be a reaction to a perception of “judgementalness”. Depending on where and who raised you, it’s sometimes difficult to not feel you will be criticized  by someone for doing something or appearing to be obsessed with something. Being raised by judgemental people who were in my grill about everything I can certainly speculate what might be going on here.Obsessiveness though can be quite a feature and very helpful in plenty of cases. Also not giving a shit what others think (unfortunately this is pretty hard with family members I’ll agree..) I walked around part of the time I was at Disney recently by myself. I took pictures of a zillion things (example packaging in multiple ethnic gift shops at epcot) and it made me happy. Luckily my wife was somewhere else with the kids most of the time. She would have tolerated it, but I knew no bounds and didn’t want to hear anybody else’s opinion on how many pictures was enough.
I don’t know, but I always find it interesting what kids think about what their parents do.
nothing. he would have just looked at me like i had lost my mind.
Enjoy the moment.I remember driving my kid to school while she played Linkin Park and I was on the phone trying to hold a deal together. (Single mom, no backup. Lots of tradeoffs.)Today, I have a music awareness perhaps 30 years younger than me, and, thank the gods, a kid who just got off the phone with me because she knew I was the only one who would really understand.Sometimes you stay with twitter, sometimes you stay with the kid.”Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.”And sometimes you never know.The real point of my kid’s call to me tonight was that she wants to start her own business, and I might be able to understand. Maybe my time on the phone while she was a teenager, while she seethed for my attention, has turned around to where she gets it that there is a bigger world within reach.
i listen to the same music as my kids dopartly because i turn them onto stuffand partly because they turn me onto stuff
LOL….Anything other than their world is ‘lost your mind’ … and that is called “teen”.
“Someone is wrong on the Internet.”It’s positively required that you give this link, when making that reference!http://xkcd.com/386/
Ironically…I was mobile all day today. Talk about making the point of this post. 😉
Eventually I can’t survive off of just a phone because eventually I need to use a computer to maintain my website and do other stuff like that.
Yup. There are a lot of things that are a million times easier on my Mac. Mobile isn’t there yet.
And the screens are just too small.
But even the iPad experience doesn’t quite allow that level of productivity. It’s not just screen size.
And mobile OS’s are not that much designed for productivity. Plus I hate Apple… Wish you could run Ubuntu on a tablet, and dock it to a keyboard and mouse. A true tablet computer.
How about for family time, study time, sleep time, etc..? 🙂
I already get quality family time in the car without having to pull over. And the kids get plenty of sleep time in the car. ;-)But no one ever, EVER, studies in the car in this family.
Fair enough. I can see vehicle designs changing to allow for more interacting space, for more than just sitting, once self-driving cars are the norm – and especially collisions become mostly rare; It’s possible that’ll never be safe enough because of such things as deer, though one can hope..
I don’t think I will ever be comfortable with (in) a self-driving car. Software and hardware have been known to crash.
they’re working on a self-tweeting car now. you know, for kids!
I got around to installing Tapatalk a couple of weeks ago (sure, just call me late to the race Fangio. whatever..), and it’s revolutionised the way I participate in forums — so much more engaged. Powerful stuff.Now I want an engag.io app.
what forums can you participate in via tapatalk?
Their analytics says about 38357 different forums. I’m using it for the flying and archery forums I read, but it seems slightly skewed towards tech (I could be wrong).
thanks. i will check it out
archery, very cool!
great fun and makes me swear less than golf.
I grew up around archery. My dad wrote a column in an archery magazine in the ’60s, helped run competitive shoots, developed different types of shooting courses (not classes, but fields one walks from target to target), in addition to traditional shoots. Great times.
Do you still shoot?
No, although I’ve considered starting again (when I watch events or talk with those involved).I shot recurve and longbow when I was young. The day my first set of custom (aluminum target) arrows arrived is still a vivid memory. Only dabbled in compounds a little before I moved away from the activity. Now I’d likely need to shoot compound due to carpel tunnel syndrome and ulnar neuritis. Years of rock climbing, keyboards, building things, etc, have taken their tolls. ;)Amazing technology and gadgets associated with it now.
A little inspiration for you: http://www.youtube.com/watc…
Matt is amazing.My father worked with a man with a similar condition. I met him as child (maybe when I was 8 or 9 yrs) and remember being amazed by his abilities. He drove a custom fitted car, etc. I was very impressed then, and I appreciate that my father purposefully saw to it that I got to know that man. He was quite a character.
Smart to switch then.
About 38357?I appreciate that you’re trying to comment quickly, but I really wish you would be more specific, Cam.
I’m a very busy guy, Aaron.
Thanks Cam, we’re very close to releasing our HTML5 app for Android and the iPhone. You can see the beta version by entering http://engag.io/force_mobile and give it a drive. It’s streamlined for browsing and replying, and includes the usual engagio folder.
Replying from it right now!
It looks great!
I am biased but I think disqus has a pretty awesome mobile app it’s full featured and I’m dictating this right now from my mobile.
Well, not an app per se, but fully responsive HTML 5
i should try it againi tried it a while back but i couldn’t stick with itemail was way more efficient for me
Bias is fine. Disqus rocks.But on the small screen to me, just doesn’t work.One answer is that full blown threaded conversations just can’t happen on mobile. Not willing to accept that yet.
that conversation on twitter was incredible and it had multiple threads twitter’s UI is also very wonky for this sort of thing but i do think we can learn from the way they do things
Agree…Twitter is a one or few to many paradigm to me. Three or four participants, many watchers. It creates a ‘panel’ of sorts.Disqus and community is a more to many paradigm. Tens of participants, many watchers. That’s the big leap.
but anyone can jump into the thread on twitter and many didyou just don’t see that in the curated versions that suster and storify did
I’ll rethink the engagement factor. My experience with threads is that they hold together with less rather than more individual perspectives.Sure people chime in, to ‘like’ it but the best threads let the top voices drive the conversation.Why Disqus is magic is that by format, it democratizes conversation. Possibly that can’t translate down to more gesture based platforms.
i totally agree
problem to be solved.
True. I wished Twitter did a better job at piecing back the whole conversation including its few branches. I think they have improved from before, but can do a bit more there. That would fuel more lively discussions on Twitter, which is a natural medium for that.
same experience …… same frustration (and same goes for following tweets on mobile tweetdeck_)
75% of my comments are posted via mobile. Small keyboard and autocorrect are troublesome, but bearable most of the time.
‘troublesome but bearable’ is a poor platform feature ;)I get what you are saying of course but from a users’s perspective I would guard against looking at your tolerance and patience as indicative of a larger market. It’s just not.
I do leave shorter comments because of mobile that’s for sure
Absolutely….so I wonder if there is a ‘mobile shorthand’ that can let us develop a new language that exists at the intersection of input limitations and response?
Voice to text has to get better maybe will get mind to text soon
;))The continuum between conversation and gesture is where the answer lies.I don’t think you can move this Disqus conversation comfortably to a mobile sized screen unless there are different levels of response connected to your device.The winner will figure out how to make gestures as articulate as possible.
Gestures…hmm…that’s tricky. This forum is written word. Should it be informed by Fred giving the finger to the guy driving-while-texting?
Late to the party as always, but I think Windows Phone has a really great design approach with their panorama based views. Check out http://msdn.microsoft.com/e… to see what I’m talking about. I think you could have a main thread that goes down vertically with an indication of how deep each branch is and have the ability to pan horizontally through the panorama to dig into the branch (and back down when necessary). I think that UI could work really well. The trick is to have part of the text overlap on the screen so you know when you can pan right or down.
I’ll check it out.Thanks!
The voice to text part, even if solved, will not stop the way people write which is by seeing something and making changes. You are talking about the ability to speak exactly what you are thinking in a linear fashion. Non-linear is necessary for editing purposes.Most importantly when someone is speaking they are being heard in real time. So the flow is different then when you speak, it turns to text, and someone reviews as the written word.
True – never thought otherwise. But as stated elsewhere, I think voice-to-text as step one in writing out thoughts is a big plus when on the mobile device.
Court stenographers of course use a special machine. But you have to learn to use it. The chance of getting a sizable portion of the population to learn a new way of doing things (remember the Dvorak keyboard?) is pretty low. Not going to hit any tipping point for sure.
Yes of course and it depends…The entire world learned to us the iPhone ‘keyboard’ and it was anything by simple for many.Don’t underestimate the ability for transformative interfaces just because they are dramatically different.
“The entire world learned to us the iPhone ‘keyboard’ “They were already using phone keypads for the same with texting. I actually liked that better, but I have other reasons for liking the iphone. And I don’t text that much to begin with.Taking Fred’s thoughts as far as the “problem” that needs solving:”Mine is that I could have never participated in that discussion in real time had it not been for the Twitter client on my Android phone.”The point that I am making is that there isn’t a great need of the masses to participate in discussions  like the one that Fred is referring to. Maybe soccer parents discussing plans with a group of other moms or dads. Otherwise people can already text to each other directly for one to one things.My bias of course is that I am a really good typist and it’s second nature to me. In college I convinced a professor to allow me to take tests with a typewriter instead of handwriting. So having to use anything but a keyboard (and I am particular even to the type of keyboard I use) is restrictive. Taking, as an example, the amount of people that read AVC and rarely if ever post any comments as one data point.
We are going to have to disagree on this one.What happens at avc is certainly unique.To take from that that the mass market doesn’t have community and critical discussions around topics from their children, finance, neighborhood politics, health and on and on is just not true.To think that the majority of communications in the mass market are just ‘do this’ or ‘see you in 5’ is not my view.The market will decide of course as always.
exactlybut my post was not about disqus per seit was about the market as a whole
Understood, that was my seque.
So true. Early adopters will do that. Normals simply won’t.It’s like what Apple did for smartphones. My wife played with my BlackBerry once and said “NEVER buy me one of those. Ever. I mean it.”Until the first iPhone…then she said “you can pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
I have a trick when responding from mobile. I open the yellow Notes app, type my response there, then paste it on Disqus.
that tells you all we need to know about what needs to get fixed
I think the fixing is part of Disqus working better on mobile. I just typed this from the Engagio mobile app, and the window expands as I type.
I have felt the same way about this problem and solution, Fred.Flickr did a nice job with flickrmail with a variant of this: they provide a “preview” button and a “send” button. Preview how it will post, or just “ship it”. On the preview you can opt to edit or send. Simple but effective.
That seems a bit extreme to me.
I do it all the time!! Notes is a better editor. That little window in Disqus on mobile is good for 1 liners. Beyond that, you risk getting frustrated, losing entries, and sometimes it just stalls.
Embrace dictation.(Can’t believe I just typed that)
Maybe if you are an attorney. But not the way my brain works. I need to see the words and be able to edit. Quickly. Can’t do that on a mobile keyboard.
I feel the same, LE.
I disagree @domainregistry:disqus Granted, I used to think like that, but the way that Android works with voice2text, it’s surprisingly accurate, and it doesn’t auto-post. It fills in the comment box, and then I edit as needed, which is 10x faster then typing it all with fat thumbs. Editing or adding additional words by typing is still an option, so it’s definitely progress.I’m fascinated by the fact that most people are uncomfortable speaking into…..(wait for it)……their phones! How ironic, right? Think about your initial impression when I used the word “dictation”. (word association: dictation —> attorney). But in reality, all I’m referring to is speaking into a phone; something people have been doing since the phone was invented. 😉
As a mod, I hate it. It will update from this blog every 5 minutes. Kills my battery.(note, this doesn’t mean I don’t like you all.)
<3 u 2
You mean web app? I don’t know why but it can get seriously laggy on Opera Mobile, and for some reason the iframe of the initial Disqus load makes the page jump all the way to the top, and with no way to scroll back down. I have to refresh the page and keep holding my thumb near the bottom of the page until the thread loads. Then I let go and the thread appears fine. I don’t think a screenshot will work, and I have no way of taking screen video on my phone, at least not that I know of.If you can, try loading my site, as well as other sites, in an Android 2.3 browser. You’ll see what I mean. Reason why I use Opera Mobile some times.
Yes, I corrected myself in a follow-up comment. I meant the HTML5 web app/site.As for Opera browser, do you have a friend who can take a short video of the behavior you’re experiencing?
Oh, sorry. The scrolling issue is in the Android 2.3 browser. I use Opera Mobile if those issues happen constantly. But in Opera Mobile, the voting arrows and the gear drop down icons have display issues.And another thing, can you find out what is going on with the Disqus team? They appear to ignore ALL of my support requests (with the exception of one), and they don’t really respond to me on twitter. Dunno why, but I’m sending them valuable info.
Please don’t take it personally. Your feedback is incredibly valuable and appreciated. Apologies if not always acknowledged.
Think smartphone stats have hit around 35% for US (22% in Canada bc of our disgusting monopolies and pricing issues) which means that real discussions have finally started. It’s still getting minimal traction from a media dollars perspective (online is still behind what it should be and social is just starting to after all) but consumer behaviour is outpacing the traditional systems and structures. Trying to get people to think networks and one screen (whatever i happen to be looking at right now) is harder than you would think.
I tried to attach a nice graph but disqus seems to be broken — it just punts me to the top of the page (in all browsers I tried). Anyway… you can make your own graph here: http://www.thinkwithgoogle….Smartphone penetration in Australia is 52%, Canada 33%, UK 51% and USA 44%. There are some countries like Singapore, the UAE and Norway that exceed 60%.
seeing numbers all over the place — those are on the high end but wouldn’t surprise me.ps. they let you download the data set. that’s very cool. sending link around as we speak to my favourite media planners 😉
It’s possible — I own 4 of the things so am I a 1 or a 4? (I suffer from a nasty case of GAS :/ )
You have 4 smartphones?
Unfortunately pretty much no modern smartphone is dual sim, and the various voip solutions aren’t reliable enough, so that means 2. Then there’s the gadget acquisition syndrome.
its because you’re in Australia and the browser is upside down 🙂
and it rotates clockwise, too!
the *right* direction.
Typical northerner. My browser is up the right way — it’s you folks that are doing it wrong :P(I’m glad it worked on Friday).
🙂 funny you say “northerner” … I’ve had to put up with the canadian jokes for *years* ..now I take great pride and license in teasing my non-USA friends. In your case I could even say this shit rolls down hill! hehehe.[ps. i’m here all week ]
Then I’d better buy a rain coat cos anything above 38°S is uphill from me.
have a cite for the usage?
the Canadian data was Comscore but i don’t have a date on it (it was a few months back so i’ll assume it’s changed). US was Pew (again, probably changed — op, just checked and they r now saying 46%)
“I could have never participated in that discussion in real time had it not been for the Twitter client on my Android phone.”Is this a good thing?Yes, it’s true _now_ that you could not have participated without having a mobile-friendly client (Twitter for Android) using a mobile-friendly ecosystem (Twitter) on your mobile device (your Android phone). But seven years ago, the same discussions were happening, albeit slower, without the barriers to entry set forth by traditional media.It was called blogging.You needed a digital client (WordPress, Blogger, Typepad) using a web-based ecosystem (the blogosphere) on your computer. The topics of the discussions were the same. They were slower, yes, but speed comes with three prices: one, a lack of time to reflect by the speaker; two, there’s less nuance and depth in the posts; and three, the inability for those who are busy to participate.The revolution of blogging was that it opened the doors of the discussion to the masses. I think the mobile revolution is a meaningful step away from that.
twitter is blogging on mobile. that’s what i always so it as. microblogging.
Blog = “web log,” meanwhile Twitter doesn’t have a way to maintain a log of your tweets in any usable format. Maybe it began as a microblogging service of sorts (and I’d actually agree with that), but it isn’t one right now.And that’s only one reason.
http://twilog.org/DanDotLewisTwilog is a service that turns your twitter feed into a blog (unfortunately it’s only in Japanese).
Is it easier to learn Japanese or to wait for a new solution? 😉
With Twitter cracking down on 3rd party apps it might be easier to learn Japanese.
that is awesome. I’m going to start putting a link to that in my status reports at work.
That’s not entirely true. Sure, they could do a better job of search and getting to old tweets, but I’ve scrolled down and read tweets that were months old.
Conversations were originally contemporaneous and in person
Yep, and conversations have a lot of negatives. They’re exclusive, not inclusive; we speak first, think second; they lack permanency. Twitter is better on the first by a lot, as it eliminates the “in person” aspect. (And I’m sure many of us have been in real-life conversations, thinking “man, this is boring” and pining for a digital one instead.)But, discussions are not all conversations. Many discussions take place in manners which require a higher level of introspection and thought; and/or in situations where those assembled are not the only participants desired; and would benefit from some sort of cogent, permanent record. Shifting those discussions to a feed-me-now mobile system is bad.
I agree that you can ‘shift’ them to a more limited conversations but you need to have a more complete mobile language that let’s you participate beyond gestures or with more sophisticated gestures.
Sounds like you’re arguing against human nature.There’s definitely a place for well thought out discourse, as we’re doing here (at least I hope I am) in written format. But conversations in person have their place, I hope!
Bingo Jim – it is a trap to tell people what they should do rather than assist them with tools to do waht they would do
Well, yes, and that assumes you are in proximity to people who you would enjoy engaging in conversation.Someone mentioned yesterday that Fred and his VC buddies were a rare group.Likewise, although this group is inclusive of many points of view, social/ethnic backgrounds, etc., it takes a certain level of intelligence and curiosity about a range of topics to keep up with the conversations here, even for a lurker.Do you think you’d have opportunity for many conversations of this depth in a town of 4000? 400?I certainly feel more kinship with some folks who are hundreds or thousands of miles away than with my next-door neighbors or anyone down the street. Not to discount the value of anyone, … but how many people in Pecos, TX, can whip a Steiglitz photo of the Flatiron building out of their hip pocket?
Valid points you make. I wasn’t arguing against the discourse on this blog, or even against distance communications with like-minded folks. I just didn’t like the putting down of regular old-fashioned impromptu verbal conversation.
The McDonalds down the street is the closest for 35 miles in one direction, and maybe hundreds of miles down the Interstate to the west. That is truly the nearest coffee shop. Five or six guys over 70 meet there every afternoon to discuss the weather, crops, and oil prices. This is also interesting to me, but not as much as, shall we say, AVC.I love that one of the local women, who somehow can afford it, has opened a used bookstore. I do all my local business there to support her. Again, I’m not part of the bookclub, not because I don’t like the folks, but because we don’t have too many reasons to talk. And I don’t have the leisure they have, nor the background to become good buddies.On the other hand, I take every opportunity to introduce myself, remember a person’s name, and have some exchange that will make for a conversation starter in the future.I detest any whiff of elitism. But down to brass tacks, the kindergartner can’t converse on a certain level with the Ph.D. And, more realistically in the local environment, the person who whines about no housing will never see the vacant lots and empty houses that need a little cleanup. No point in a conversation.
Sounds like you’re somewhat isolated in the meatspace, not so much in cyberspace.
In person brings another sense of warmth though
And they still are!
I thought you were really really here! And now!
have you ever tried to mess with someone by going back and responding to an email from a year ago? 😉 ex. “yeah – thursday night sounds great for drinks ..so you then”
Can’t say that I have, but sounds like a good reverse April Fools joke.
I don’t understand your comment. It was a blog post on this blog that started the conversation.Then, someone 5,000 miles away wanted to add their voice, but for whatever reason they wanted to respond on Twitter on their mobile device. That started a new conversation in a new place.That’s a *decrease* in engagement?
To borrow from McLuhan: it is hot vs cold engagement
Which part is hot and which part is cold?
neither – it is about intensity of participation – some mediums are inherently “lighter” in terms of effort involved in reading/viewing and participating.Books are considered cold medium – more effort to mentally work through than tv, which floods the senses.So twitter and mobile might be a hot medium, whereas blogging and commenting might be cold when it comes to participation
Yes Dan, the conversation quality has degraded and the topics are going in circles.Also, still 23 million people unemployed, 360K people gave up their search for work last quarter. Many technological improvements that are fulfilling the need for a “fix of entertainment”. The zombies use to march off to the office. Now they zombie out on their entertainment devices.That being said, these technologies could be used for better things. Keep in mind it’s not appropriate to *force* people to use them for better things.
you should read this essayhttp://www.critical-art.net…
I don’t know about you, but I only use the web client on Twitter because the Android imo requires to many permissions.
that really bothers be about a lot of apps. I think that part of submitting an app the developer should provide a brief explanation for each permission they request.”we need access to your contacts for X/Y/Z”.”We need to know the caller ID of people you’re talking to because …”
Yeah that sounds like a good idea. I hope someone at Google is reading this. Subject: [avc] Re: Mobile & Conversations
As evidenced by Storify, that was an amazing mobile discussion. Yet, I think Twitter is easier with the 140 limit. So many amazing comments on this blog, and even this thread, are closer to 1,400 than 140.It would be interesting to see and compare an AVC comment thread where people only used their phones or tablets.*written via iPad
We can track that, I think.
That’d be interesting, but there are proxies for that already: political rallies. The masses need to speak in messages on oaktag and in chants. It gets witty — and shallow — quickly.
witty and shallow….that’s the quick slide of gestures on Facebook.
I use my laptop because T-mobile doesn’t offer adequate service here to fuel web access on my Samsung Galaxy. Could I limit my comments to the 140 limit?
Google Wave was trying to solve the real time conversation problem – then it flopped…
I don’t yet have a mobile device through which to comment on AVC posts.Why is it not so easy to do?
The takeaway for me is that phones need better keyboards and that I shouldn’t be with you in a car?
not so bad if you don’t mind stopping every 20 blocks
🙂 Just teasing as a nondriver!
Do you think that physical keyboards might re-born again with rise in mobile usage. I know that BlackBerry hardcore users still love they physical keyboard which still beats all screen keyboards. I used to have a BB and there are times that I do miss the physical keyboard
I seriously do. I also think that phones will become plug and play into various docking equipment/peripheries, and the OS’s UX will change as form values change.The best example I have seen in sci fi is in lab scenes in avatar.
Commenting on AVC on mobile is a very frustrating experience, particularly as this site often has hundreds of comments in dozens of threads. The text is too small to read without zooming in and out, the controls are too small, and threading doesn’t really work in a vertical space. These aren’t problems unique to Disqus, for sure, but commenting in general.Maybe Disqus should host a hackathon for its mobile site. Get a bunch of hackers together, open up the API, and see who can come up with the best mobile design for comments. That would be a fun Saturday.
that’s a fantastic idea
I second that. Disqus on my iPad is a painful experience.
What exactly is terrible? Maybe I can forward this to the Disqus team.
@eliafreedman:disqus”Maybe I can forward this to the Disqus team”If disqus on iPad is “a painful experience” disqus team should already know this and have a plan in place to improve or a reason why it’s not being worked on.If they don’t know it already, that means they aren’t doing the appropriate testing.
If iPad was a priority, there is no way the poor nature of its implementation would have missed scrutiny. Even when they fix it, as they seemed to have done today, they inevitably break it with the next few releases. I’ve grown tired of emailing the Disqus folks.
I never get tired of being a Disqus tester. I send them tweets, emails, and support requests regularly outlining new bugs and stuff like that. I guess you would say that I am enthusiastic about Disqus (I am actually).
+1 I gave up emailing Disqus ages ago
If they used it on an iPad, it would be quite obvious what the problems are. Apparently, someone is paying attention here as the problems have suddenly vanished. Don’t worry, though. They’ll be back. They always are.
What was the problems?
It’s not that I don’t like Disqus. I do. I just wish they would buy an iPad. Typing would either react slowly or not at all.
Some of the Disqus team members own an iPad. I’m sure they know about it. I’ll tweet @disqushelp:twitter for you.
I’m using voice -> text more and more. Either Siri is getting smarter, or I’m enunciating better. A mobile Disqus that would convert text -> speech and accept speech -> text would be very cool.
This is an area where the latest Android is great leaps superior to iOS (for now).Jelly Bean and ICS have hugely improved voice dictation that doesnt even require connectivity. I use it constantly, including right now . total game changer.Posting to Disqus however on a latest Android is a total s***show– totally to Fred’s point (Disqus needs to get this better). ( wow that’s funny android actually obfusc ated the word s***)
So you are saying that Disqus 2012 needs better performance on mobile?
hmm, that could be a way to put it. It simply misbehaves and is tough to use on even the latest model Android. I can hardly get it to work at all on Android Chrome, although the Android browser fares better. I also need to remember to be logged into Disqus in another browser tab before loading the page where the comment will go, which helps.
And by performance, do you mean speed as well?
much less of an issue to me. when i’m on ANY phone, I treat apps much more delicately, and reduce expectations, than i do on a computer. That’s partly because I hack most phones I get and push them to the edge!
I should try this. And that is amazing about the obfuscation.
there might be a setting where one can change that behavior.This functionality took an amazing leap forward about a year ago. The voice to text remains a complete joke on Google Voice, however. Phonetag had it a bit better when they were around, but also suffered embarrassing results.
yeah – that would be cool – and “audio reply button” … it could turn the audio into text and, optionally, save the original audio to sound cloud!
The audio part is no problem with tinyvox 😉 http://tinyvox.com/DjC
Yes I agree, when there is a lot of comments on mobile it can become hard to read. And it can also lag a lot depending on your phone. Perhaps this could be another feedback thread for @danielha:disqus
‘Does making money conflict with open?’Not everyone does it for the money.
I’m always shocked by how much I think on the road. Or in places where I wouldn’t expect, and then that I want to share it…
Creativity and those inspired moments tend to sneak into our conscious minds while we’re away from the normal grind. I’m sure that’s one reason I love my roadtrips.
True, though usually I am on the grid doing something random/going about day to day life and an idea just pops through…
Exactly. Those are the moments where our subconscious reaches up and touches the busy-busy awake mind. A good time to pay attention.Figure that the subconscious mind has been spelunking along, trying to connect neural passageways, and it just had a breakthrough, and can actually get through to you because you are distracted from your usual analytical state of mind.Pay attention. And those are great moments of insight. Be prepared to share.
Adding photos on Disqus mobile was impossible Friday. Had to go to the old laptop
I followed your conversation with Dave McClure yesterday on Twitter and it was great. It branched off at points and new conversations were started that left the main thread entirely. Those branches become difficult to follow.Usually when I find out that someone is involved in a conversation, I go to their profile and then click on “see all tweets” to try to find other pieces of the conversation that aren’t always pulled into the replies. If they mention another user, I click on that user’s name and go to their profile and then do the same thing. It’s a clunky way to follow a conversation.I agree that Twitter still doesn’t make it easy to follow conversations, although they’ve gotten better by including context above and below a tweet that has replies to it in the mobile app.Too bad that trying to sort and organize Twitter conversations into manageable threads likely violates the new Twitter API guidelines. We’ll have to wait to see if Twitter wants to solve this challenge themselves, but I’m not sure where it falls on their list of priorities.
These things are going to continue to be distributed and somewhat fragmented (and that’s a good thing)…which is why a MASSIVELY IMPORTANT part of the system needs to include simple ways for you to find these types of conversations, and even better have the ones you would really want to be involved in, find you.It’s important to be able to participate in real time, but it’s equally important to be able to refer back to these sorts of conversations over time (and for those that come after us to also be able to find and learn from these sorts of conversations).DISCLOSURE: In a nutshell, this is the core mission I’m working on.
gawk.it THE google of conversations. Good luck with your mission.
Fred, one of the reasons it is hard to comment here on a tablet (iPad) is that A VC crashes every time on iOS. Every time. I’ve mentioned it before but nothing has changed. Now you’re in good company- Wa Po crashes every time, as does Techcrunch. I blame it on the peripheral stuff like ad servers, but though I’ve written to various webmasters on these sites, nothing changes. That’s 87 million devices that your site doesn’t work on, mobile devices.
Comments also don’t work, and in fact only nominally appear, (not threaded and what seems like only the comments before the “more comments” button) on ios4 iphone.
So THAT’s where you go from time to time!
I often use the iPad for end of day reading/scanning comments
I first caught wind of that twitter conversation via the engagio dashboard.What we need is a Meme of Conversations around particular topics or issues so that users that are advocates and passionate about them get to see it all and participate more easily. Engagio is inching towards this vision, and that will be revealed soon.
it was a great conversation… fortunately I was on a beach in hawaii, not driving a car in manhattan, but glad to hear u didn’t get in an accident texting back to that whirlwind discussion!anyway that was a good romp, and agreed twitter an the Interwebs still blow my mind 😉
Exactly. The winner was Twitter as Fred later observed “Twitter won. yet another example why it rocks”, and I added “Entrepreneurs too won by listening & learning.”
Hawaii vs the side of the cross bronx expressway….like fighting someone with one hand tied behind their back.
A beach in Hawaii to 10th Ave in NYC!Wow
Fred Wilson gives new meaning to the “fireside chat”
Not sure if it may help anyone here, but my experience with real involved mobile discussion is that I need a big screen and a powerful input method. Android users could try Swype beta, it is really spectacular (at least on my Galaxy Note) and, without exageration, because I am a relatively slow typist, it is in many circumstances faster and more accurate than a full PC keyboard.
“Folks don’t need to be in front of a computer to be able to participate in a real-time discussion.”Yes they do, Fred. Smart phones, tablets, etc. are computers. They have a processor, short term memory, and storage.
i stand correctedbut i am sure know what i meant
There seem to be a few services cropping up trying to solve this problem. Branch comes to mind” so does Glassboard. Have you checked either of those out? What do you think?
Both of these have a private/exclusive element to them. I believe in the power of openness, randomness, serendipity and inclusivity, even if it comes with a bit of disorganization at first, that can solved by technology.
That’s true, although solvable. It strikes me that we are better off having one system that works across mobile and web effectively. Opportunity for you, William, with engag.io?
Yes indeed. We are hard at work on that specifically. It should become more visible soon. Thanks for the thoughts.
Here is what I found interesting about the twitter conversation yesterday (from a technical point). I discovered the twitter conversation thru Engagio by a comment that @wmoug:disqus mentioned on Disqus then went to Storify to read the story and then shared it via twitter. I love how the discovery process was made through Engagio but then also in the process featured other products and service each of which was serving a different but important function.
I did the same – thanks for sharing the storify piece
I read avc on the go and to your point, can’t participate. If I don’t get to comment at that moment, chances are I won’t comment at all. A lot of this can be solved with a disqus app where I can subscribe to conversations. But as Disqus told me via Twitter, its a ways away > https://twitter.com/disqush…
To summarize and storify even further:Dave McClure: “first movers take more risk & SHOULD get better pricing.”Fred: “al breaker for me. I would walk if anyone in a round was getting a different (better or worse) deal than me.”HN Thread commenter: “Simple question and Dave is totally right while Fred still lives in the past and ignores the basics of dealmaking.”Suster: “I would never as a VC fund a round and then expect somebody else to pay a higher price right after me. I also would never expect another VC to do that to me. We’re either “all in the round together” or we’re not.”The HN commenter is totally most likely wet behind the ears and doesn’t understand the nuances of this type of dealmaking certainly at a level of a Wilson or Suster. (Check his other comments on HN and make your own judgements as far as what he is doing now and how much weight to give his opinion.). He is just rehashing some “whole new ballgame Callihan” that we see from time to time from people who haven’t been around the block. I’m sure that Fred, who is already participating in deals, regularly, for many years, (as opposed to the commenter who I I will guess doesn’t) is well aware of how the game is played. And just like you can ask 10 doctors and get 10 opinions (or lawyers) it doesn’t mean they should be weighted the same. Right?Anyway, most importantly, they have decided that the strategy that they are using (and it is a strategy it has nothing to do with “doing the right thing” although it could be presented as such) works out better for them in the long run. Obviously. Or they wouldn’t be using it. The thing that people of lesser abilties are not aware of sometimes (they know what they read in books or online) is that people of a higher level of ability often break obvious rules and others never can quite understand why they do that, or why there is sometimes inconsistency in their thinking.There is a reason. Don’t be surprised if you can’t figure it out. But you should try hard to figure it out. (Otherwise, as the saying goes, you are the fool at the table). Take the example of a little old man who normally is a very poor tipper. But when the boys come to his house to shovel snow after a snow storm he becomes super generous. Why is that? Is it because he is appreciative of the work the boys are doing? Is it because he is happy to be able to get out of his house? No, it is because, mostly (and in addition to any other reasons given) he wants the boys to come to his house first after a snow storm and the best way to do that is to “shtup” them with a big tip. That tip makes his house first job of the day. Source: Little old man.
@fredwilson:disqus Just curious, when you reply to comments here do you reply via email posting or do you go to the site and reply on the web?
Email 90% of the time (including right now)AVC 10% of the time
on twitter – I think if you’re involved in the conversation its much easier than watching someone else’s conversation / thread. Of course, most of my tweets are internet filler so I can’t really speak with authority ;)I saw the conversation between Fred / Dave brewing ..but was unable to follow it easily and eventually gave up.
Screw commenting. If the web is moving to mobile, what will happen to shopping? I see that as a much larger problem to solve; facilitating commerce, not commenting.
No reason not to address both. People love to shop and love to talk
So as a venture dude, is that something you’re looking at? Teams with a tablet/mobile-first ethos?
What’s the best way to share something with you, Fred?
depends on what it isis it an investment opportunity?
It’s a team that’s built something with a mobile/tablet-first ethos. Depends on whether you think they’re investment-worthy, I suppose.
are they building a large network? http://www.usv.com/2012/05/…
They will die trying.
well then email me something about the team and project please
making it to your priority inbox, now that’s a lot of pressure fred. i’ll be in touch.
subject line helps a lot.”you asked me to send you an email” is a good one
Anyone else want a guest post + debate with Fred / Dave M – here on AVC?
If we are going to continue the debate it will be live on stage in front of a livestream and a live audience
I want to go to there
I second that motion & to include @bfeld
Wow, a live debate… Anything goes! 🙂
three is a crowdi’m happy to debate brad on a different topiconly i am not sure there is a single material thing in the tech/venture business that we disagree on
That’s why I was thinking about you/Brad on one side vs. Mark/McClure on the other. Dixon would be a great moderator.
then you have a panel and i don’t do panels unless i am begged to
In hindsight, I think you guys beat that topic to death. No point rehashing it, right? Unless, a twist might be to have a panel of entrepreneurs vote on what they prefer after hearing both arguments: a) sanctity of a round, or b) staggered and multi-point priced.
I’d moderate that after getting questions from the community at large, why not?
A debate would be interesting to watch.This stuff is an art not a science. And you’re not going to convince the opposing side to do it your way (and would you want to anyway?)Both sides have reasons for why and how they operate that are appropriate for them. Either side could show in the past that their strategy worked for them. And presentation and skill matter more than the facts many times.That said it would gather a large audience and would have other benefits obviously.
Nothing comes close to Twitter. Several years on am still in love with it. Unique.
Less years, still very much in love w/ it – very addictive for me
mobile is at the top of our mind at branch, but i often wonder if it should be (my thinking here: branch.com/b/mobile-is-not-… ). but @goldman feels like he can only start branches AFTER he goes to the gym, for fear of missing out on the conversation (since branch isn’t great on mobile).
Can you continue the discussion via email?
No (working on it) but the site is responsible and optimized for the mobile browser, so you can post from Safari on-the-go.
Screw conversations. If the web is moving to mobile, how do we plan on facilitating commerce?
I don’t know, but excellent question. The bar code scanners seem to be top of people’s minds right now….
love the storify link
What I would like to see is a mashup of Voxer, Siri and Disqus (or similar), whereby a voice recording is transcribed into a comment, but the recording is still available to serve the interest of both clarity and tone.Voxer has largely replaced texting for me, both because of convenience/safety, but also because of a higher information content based on the medium. If I’m mobile and someone I’m communicating with isn’t on Voxer, then I’m using voice recognition to dictate a text or email.I think a Voxer/Siri/Disqus combination would be helpful to online discussions, both to enable greater mobile participation and also to potentially keep discussions more civil.
“So it’s high time for all those companies out there that are in the business of hosting and facilitating live real-time public conversations to do what Twitter has done and make your products work well in mobile. If you don’t, others will.”It’s actually shocking that people have to be convinced of this. The amount of communication moving to mobile is obvious to anyone spending time watching the data.What is really interesting to me is the opportunity for businesses to participate in the shift to mobile. With such personal devices, the companies we do business with are in a great place to get more connected to their customers than ever before. You were willing to pull over to continue a conversation in front of your audience – more businesses need to figure out how to do the same.
I agree with the overall logic and argument, and as I read to the end, I wondered what could do a better job than Twitter for this use case — and I can’t think of one. The only improvement would be to reduce noise in conversations (like Branch approaches it), but for that content to be either SMS(140) or input via speech-to-text.
I can back you on the real time part. I can personally say that my usage of Disqus has gone up even more, and I use it a lot. Real time really does increase conversation, and you no longer have to refresh the thread to view new comments if you used the classic Disqus without an add on package.That brings me to another topic: Why does the classic Disqus not have real time added to it now as a standard feature? It makes no sense to have real time in one product and not in the other and both are free… Someone please [email protected]:disqus have you considered using a thread reload button? I suggest you look at that post on my website.
“public conversation in real time in a single place”Maybe in exists already today…..I for love to see people in political offices be required to use a platform like disqus to have conversations with votes about laws and legislation.#TuneIn&Comment
“I had to take my son to take a test yesterday afternoon”I recall you blogged earlier this year that your son had turned 16. Our oldest turned 16 earlier this summer and she recently went for her drivers permit. On Sat afternoon – the two of us went for a good 1.5 hr drive – country roads (I think in CT she needs to accumulate something like 40 hrs of drive time b/f she can get her license).W/o being totally naive, I was thinking what’s it like living in a large city and getting your license. I assume perhaps – your son got some driving time while out at the beach house?
yes, that’s where i teach our kids. the city is too harrowing.
The issue with many of the best commenting systems is that they’re tied to the post itself, and not the greater conversation. It’s a simple statement that unfortunately requires a complex solution. I’m a big believer in content shifting, and mobile will solidify this trend over time. I think the need or trend is shifting away from landing on avc.com or domains in general. This isn’t to say that internet growth won’t continue to add value to domains, but I think the deeper trend will lead us towards deeper semantic connectors. I’m also wondering about the role of mobile and how it is treated today. Although there is no doubt about it’s significance going forward, I think we will see less of the “mobile version” approach to thinking, and more about “mobile as an extension” of other processes. How might you consume this post in one medium and yet choose to answer twenty minutes later on another? How will your phone know what you watched on tv?As it stands, conversation discovery occurs due to an explicit invitation (email, @ reply, etc) or at an explicit locale (avc, a point in time on twitter, etc). It’s true that you may be looped in via your own comment, or if fortunate enough by whom you follow in common, but I think the next generation of conversations will bubble up to you. True value and rank can be assigned by what you read, where you’ve been, where a conversation starts, and how relevant the momentum is to you, your taste, and your social and business connectors.
lots to chew on in this comment. thanks!
@fredwilson:disqus That’s what Commons hopes to do with conversations about our neighborhoods and cities:http://kng.ht/OlWNIh
right. the jumping in from others helped me a lot to see where folks thought the discussion should go
Yup. Someone suggested to take it to Branch, but I think that would have stalled the discussion. Am glad it stayed in the wild.
and branch doesn’t have a mobile clienti couldn’t have continued to participate if that happened
The value of listening?
and Branch makes it more exclusive and would have probably gotten if off the radar. One could argue that Branch was loser in this process as these should be type of conversations they capture. Anyways, it is still early days for them
I think I chatted with about ten different people in that discussion. And only Dave and Mark were in the initial tweet
Yes, I fully realized the irony of the word “crash” when I used it.
LOL on the cow bell.