Cake
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    • Yeah, meeting Gideon was one of the great things that came to me from G+; and there have been quite a few other friendships. They are friendships of a new kind - friendships with people I never met face-to-face but I think I "know" them. I think like many coming out of G+, I don't want to give that up - that kind of community. It is perplexing how Google could not find a way to make a profit - they never even floated the idea of making it for pay, never even ran a single advertisement on the service. They had something great and they walked away.

      Well, we know what it looked like and now there will be bits and pieces of it all over the internet; a hundred variants will arise and some will flourish.

      Cake lacks some critical mass - there is not enough new content (or, equally deadly, there is content but it isn't apparent). IMHO, there needs to be an option to follow individuals. When you meet an interesting person, you usually cannot anticipate what topics they will broach - and why should you try? Just follow the person and . . .

    • Chris MacAskill

      That was an amazing read. Do you know him?

      I too have felt it was mismanagement from a company that knows how to manage a lot of things really well, like their maps, search and gmail projects, which blow my mind.

      I have wondered if the root cause that led to the mismanagement is a lack of love for community. They seem to love hard technical problems, but don’t have the same love we do for going online to talk about photography, food, movies, sports, games and gadgets. It’s what we do for fun.

    • Yeah, he was part of a circle of marketers that I got sucked into, which is how I met cool folks like David Kutcher and Mark Traphagen.

    • As much as I love Google (and believe me, that love goes deep), they are absolutely TERRIBLE at product management and marketing. Take Hangouts, for instance:

      - Comes out as an integration with Google+, and introduces the concept of public video conferencing as part of a social platform. AMAZING. Literally no else (to this day) does that.

      - Breaks Hangouts into its own separate product. OK, cool, I get it. Makes it easier to work everywhere. And by the way, OMG I DIDN'T REALIZE HOW MUCH I NEED A UNIVERSAL MESSENGER! Works on the desktop! Works on mobile! Works for business! So cool!

      - Removes Hangouts integration from Google+, effectively breaking public hangouts. Uh, OK, what the hell?

      - Releases the soon to be dead Allo and Duo, separating messaging from video calling (why?), and removing the universality of the integration (anyone can join a Hangout, without needing to be on Allo or Duo, or have a Google account at all).

      - Begins neglecting Hangouts, causing the mobile experience to start degrading (don't even get me started on how bad it's been lately).

      Like, seriously. How does the company that created Gmail, Maps, Calendar, and GSuite screw the pooch so hard on a great product?

    • In the short term, I’m moving most of my social network efforts to Twitter. Longer term, I don’t want to ever have to go through like this again — and I don’t want anyone else to either.

      I remember in the 1980s going to an IRL party thrown by a BBS host and having an amazing time with a bunch of like-minded souls who were into text-based thread adventures: you assumed characters and each post was a continuation of the story.

      BBSs died, I tried the Well, Reddit, blog communities, etc.

      The reality is that platforms die without warning and there’s no guarantee that you won’t go through a similar loss in the future.  You can hedge your bets by being on 15 different platforms, but I have enough trouble staying current with three (Twitter, Mastodon and Cake).

    • The reality is that platforms die without warning and there’s no guarantee that you won’t go through a similar loss in the future.  You can hedge your bets by being on 15 different platforms, but I have enough trouble staying current with three (Twitter, Mastodon and Cake)

      Yes, the bottom line is nothing lasts forever. Singer/songwriter Slaid Cleaves' 2009 record album titled "Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away" states the same idea a little differently. All one can do is move forward and do your best.

      For the internet based business, the best strategy is to have your own web page parked somewhere you can control and refer other social media sites back to your own home base..

      For the individual, we will always be trying to communicate with one another, however, the companies or services that provide the mechanism to communicate will always be in flux. In turn, the individual is having to constantly change where he/she is placing their communication efforts. As we may have to deal with the weather daily, so shall we deal with the life span of various social media.

    • Cake lacks some critical mass - there is not enough new content

      This is true. It's terribly difficult to overcome the chicken and egg problem when you're new and small and I think that's why the big networks like Facebook have such a stranglehold, it's where you get the most likes. It frequently takes a long time to build critical mass.

      Imagine as we do get critical mass tho, the conversations we can have. Victoria and I are getting ton of interest from notable people who feel they can't venture onto social media unless they are protected in some way, like via panel conversations. I can't wait to see what happens as our audience grows.

    • IMHO, there needs to be an option to follow individuals. 

      I’ve converted to the follow topics paradigm since I wrote this; however, you may find it helpful in following fellow Google+ refugees on Cake.

    • I still feel like Following a person is a necessary function. Google+ got it right on that front...follow a person's topics, or circle them for everything. Then browse hash tags for topics on a post.

    • I still feel like Following a person is a necessary function.

      Can I respectfully disagree? :)

      My own story on Google+ is that I was a relatively early adopter - but still a little too late to really profit from the earliest "connection land grabs" that took place in terms of first following whatever person had something interesting to say, and second sharing these connections with each other in form of "circle shares" (before that functionality became a spam vector and was eventually discontinued).

      G+'s model of unilateral following (I can follow you to see your public posts, but that doesn't mean you will see any of mine unless you are separately following me back) meant that, while I did have things to say, photos to post and stuff to re-share, basically no one would actually see that, because many of the active people already had their relationships formed and saw enough activity in their home or circle streams that they didn't feel the need to follow an additional voice.

      I was excluded from many conversations of the greater community for many of my interests - not because other people chose to not interact with me, but simply by design of the platform!

      This was bad for me, it must have been even worse for people who joined much later than I did - and it likely wasn't that great in the long term for the initial set of users either, because some amount of user churn always exists, and these users probably didn't notice the decrease in diversity of posts in their streams before it was too late.

      Google+ eventually added the Collections feature, which seemed to be hated especially by those earliest users, but which was a blessing for users like me. Instead of waiting for people to randomly notice my stuff in-between that of people with a much higher visibility (because more followers equals more reshares equals more post comments etc.), I could now basically have Google advertise to those interested in some topic where they would find my posts about it. Of course, the fact that many other people considered collections to be an unnecessary complication that they didn't need to use helped - a lot. ;)

      In the end, that feature turned out to not solve any problems either - but in my opinion not because it prevented people from following people, but because it was left incomplete. When collections were first announced, I really thought that a sensible next step would be to allow people to group collections and maybe share these collection groups with others and follow them. This didn't happen, so there ended up several dozen good collections about any topic X, with no real way for people to find all of them, follow all of them, and most importantly see all their content in one single location.

      On Google+, I would have loved to see something like "topic streams", where all the posts have a common topic because they were posted to collections about that topic. I feel that this would have helped out Google+ stand out from the competition, and potentially could have drawn in new users - both as readers and as content creators. I would have mostly used that over following individual people, and I don't think it would have made Google+ a "non-social" platform.

      Cake is not quite the same: There's just one single "container" for all posts about some topic, with no way for users to pick and choose their own set - but I feel that it is at least somewhat similar to the hypothetical "topic streams" Google+ could have had. For me, that's a big plus - but I'm afraid that allowing users to form personal connections while circumventing topics might take away from those. If any person can see anything that a couple of interesting users talks about, they might be less inclined to additionally follow certain topics and interact with new users in those topics.

      Bottom line: I definitely agree with the comment by @CadeJohnson that Cake currently lacks "critical mass". I don't agree with the idea to solve this by allowing personal connections, because that might damage the whole concept of having topics in the first place.

      Another idea would be to track what topics any user is most active in, and then allow the user to show this "Top 10" on their profile. My profile is currently set to private (because it is just a list of conversations, and I don't want random people to completely track my activity here) - but I would definitely allow a topic list like this to be available there.

    • Brilliant. I arrived at G+ just before circle-sharing ended. I actively built up a stream from shared circles and started pruning to fit my interests. I was really disappointed they killed that option. But I am more of a consumer than creator, though a prolific commenter. I never felt a need to command an audience - just get my fix of content. Of course if one wants to monetize content, that is not such a popular model. And if social media sites want lots of content-producers then they have to devise ways for that content to be discovered - by topic (for those fortunate enough to know what they're seeking), or by individual.

      How could I guess what Matt Taibbi will write about next if I don't follow HIM?

    • How could I guess what Matt Taibbi will write about next if I don't follow HIM?

      An equally rhetorical counter-question to this would be: "Why do you even need to know that?".

      Don't get me wrong, I'm not deliberately trying to be obtuse here. I had to look up who Matt Taibbi is - but if I got the right person, the most important fact to know about him right now is that he is a columnist. By definition, that makes him a person who is likely to write about a whole range of different (and ever-changing) topics.

      So, I think the implicit argument you are making is that Cake's current model really isn't a good fit for column-type texts where the author is at least as important as the topic they are writing about. If that's the case I completely agree with that - but I wonder if any online platform can be both at the same time, without one model of following content eventually taking away from the other.

    • well, newspapers have always mixed topical coverage with featured columnists. I still read some online papers that have the features mixed. Individual readers have to skip over the columnists they don't follow I guess. My experience of G+ was of a couple of thousand or so columnists - the combined effect was a good range of coverage of many interesting topics and a lot of novelty items thrown in. It is going to be hard to reproduce.

    • You put into words what I’ve been feeling about following on Cake but was unable to fully express.  When I read your description of Google+, I thought for a moment you were talking about Twitter with all the first on platform advantages and the follower mechanics nonsense to be noticed.

      If Cake makes following 500+ people an option, I will quit Cake.

      I like the inherent meritocracy of Cake: create great conversations and people will join in.  Write great posts and people will respond and engage in conversation with you. If my conversation is considered outstanding by Cake, it gets featured.

      At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone.  My guess @CadeJohnson is that you will find home on multiple platforms, if for no other reason than your 1,000 correspondents will end up settling on different platforms.  You may want to use a registry like appearoo to easily share your “forwarding addresses” to G+ friends before the shutdown.


      H/t: @RogerVerhoeven

    • If Cake makes following 500+ people an option, I will quit Cake.

      Good point making that limit a non-zero number. ;)

      "Following people" might be able to co-exist with "following topics" if there's a limit to how many people one can follow.

      If I recall correctly, Google+ imposed an arbitrary limit, probably for performance reasons, of 5,000 profiles that any single user could put into their circles. I always thought that following even a fraction of that amount of active users must be a chaotic mess - but some people I talked with claimed that this is exactly what they do, and that by some arcane voodoo of having dozens of different circles and sub-circles, they managed. I think that Google developers never meant for anyone to actually hit that limit, though. If people weren't meant to have more than 5,000 connections even on a "people-first platform", they should have much less on a "topics-first platform".

      On the other hand, too small of a limit might invite various forms of stalking behaviour. If I was able to follow just five people, and one of those was you and I ended up jumping into every single conversation you start simply because I see it prominently in my feed, you probably wouldn't like that. Neither would I.

      So, if following people ever becomes a thing on Cake, I'd like it if that number was "deliberately too small" to be of use as the only means of learning about new conversations. This is exactly the sort of context where I typically like to bring up Dunbar's number, so here it is:

      Whether or not the exact numbers are correct, the general idea of a "cognitive limit" to how many people one individual can form a personal relationship with seems to have some merits. If that cognitive limit is somewhere around 150, maybe restrict the number of people that can be followed to... 12-60?

    • I followed thousands on G+, but not as social contacts per se. Not to say these are accurate numbers, but to an approximation I post an average of about weekly or more - say ten days? And some people post even less - monthly? Then there are others who post daily or more. But if someone was saturating my feed, I tended not to follow them. I would say the average was about weekly. 1 post/(7 days per poster) x 2000 posters = 285 posts/day. I would check in about twice per day and see over 100 new posts waiting, on average. I could not read them all and would skip many - but it was a very rich feed; endlessly fascinating. I probably spent two hours daily just browsing G+. That does not include time spent moderating communities.

      I guess we each devise our own means of utilizing social networks. According to Twain, "it is the difference of opinion that makes a horse race!"

    • Godriguez (a.k.a. mark rodriguez)

      yep, the demise of hangouts was to me the biggest killer of G+. hangouts were what made G+ so special in it's infancy and what really drew me in as i was hanging out with multiple real people all around the world on any given day and they weren't able to hide behind fake avatars, it was true social interaction on a level never seen before

      for the first time, i actually felt compelled to want to meet the people i met online in real life (enter the world of HIRLing) and met so many lifelong friends because of it

    • Yep. I met a ton of local folks along the way who stuck.

      You, however, haven't been to any of my parties yet. I know it's a bit of a drive for you, but we're going to have to make that happen.

    • Godriguez (a.k.a. mark rodriguez)

      i agree we need to hang, it's not that far of a drive for me as i am only in brandon. i do make it over to st pete from time to time to see bands and for some of the art shows i have been in