Parker Ehret

digital polymath. problem solver. coffee drinker. beard grower. picture taker.
Lead Product Designer at oneID. Previously at Yahoo.

the social folder

"social". the name of a folder once riddled with pages of apps.

facebook, foursquare, path, google+, yelp, pinterest, linkedin, tumblr, medium, gowalla (RIP), flickr, snapchat, secret, jelly, poke, couple, rove, momento, tinder, vine, facebook messenger, ustream, klout, gonnabe, upto, telly, heytell, loopt, circle, circleme, everyme, groupme, what’s app, viddy, and most recently swarm, yo, and path talk.

three weeks ago, i decided to delete the entire folder and only download the apps that i felt i had to have.

this is all that remains:

image

until i researched past downloads to write the list above, i couldn’t even remember what was in that folder before the purge.

is social dying?

or, maybe i’m at a time in my life when i only want apps that actually provide me with real value.

facebook graph search

whenever a new concept, new app, or new feature is released that includes some new search function, I always try to do the same thing… I try to break it.

I don’t think I was the only person that was confused about facebook holding a media event to announce graph search. I didn’t get it.

as soon as graph search was enabled on my facebook account, I could wait to have another reason to hate facebook. then, it all I blew up in my face…

I couldn’t break it.

in fact, I immediately began to rely on it. within minutes, i realized that graph search is probably one of the most powerful search and discovery engines available today.

let me give an example:

"Thai restaurants in Los Angeles, CA that are liked by people from Thailand who live in Los Angeles, CA"

there is a fairly specific string of words needed to return the exact results that you’re looking for, but results are the most specific and most accurate that I’ve seen.

last year, I went to Austin, TX for SXSW and found a great coffee shop called Houndstooth. this year I had to go to San Antonio, TX for a weeding. I love coffee. as soon as I landed, I opened up graph search:

"Coffee Shops in San Antonio, TX that are liked by people who also like Houndstooth Coffee in Austin, TX"

sure enough, I got a short list of great coffee shops in San Antonio.

if you already have graph search enabled on your facebook account, here are a few thought-starters that will help you take advantage of the power of graph search…

"Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles, CA that my friends like"

Coffee Shops in Santa Monica, CA that are liked by people who also like Intelligentsia Coffee”

"Single girls who are friends with my friends"

…you’re welcome.

and, my personal favorite:

"Bars and Nightclubs in Los Angeles, CA that are liked by single girls that went to University of Southern California"

have fun.

videos are not photos

videos are not photos.

i’m beginning to think that i’m in the minority of people who understand this concept. 

photos are easily consumed. they don’t require attention. they can be enjoyed anywhere, at anytime, without being disruptive. they can convey everything that they need to communicate within a single glance.

videos are not photos.

more and more i’m coming across video apps and video sites, video sharing and video streaming, video with filters, video, video, video. yes, videos are the natural evolution from photos, the imminent successor, but they serve two completely different purposes. everyone is having trouble understanding why instagram got 100 million users in 2 years, yet similar services for video are relatively unknown. no one likes airtime, viddy never went anywhere, facetime and google hangouts require too much attention to be used regularly, and videos are usually passed over when coupled with a stream of photos.

videos are not photos.

photos provide an insight. a different perspective on the day, a captured moment, a quick snapshot of another part of the world.

videos are a storytelling device. they demand engagement. they require a specific environment. they allow you to transport yourself somewhere else and immerse yourself in that place for a short period of time.

stop treating videos like photos. stop trying to give these two very different mediums comparable functions. try to understand the beautiful purpose that videos serve, and cater to that purpose.

the re-invention of email [UPDATED]

for the past few months, i’ve been complaining about email a lot.  

people don’t respect email.

it’s used for communication, tasks and assignments, updates, news, sharing, etc.

it’s been around for 20+ years and hasn’t changed. every inbox looks the same and there’s nothing that categorizes email based on their different use cases.

i’ve been throwing around ideas of tagging systems that would allow a user to assign a task to someone that’s cc’d on an email. it would include the ability to highlight text and give it a specific attribute. then, once those things were categorized, those snippets would be organized into different action areas. once the email was sent, it would remain in the recipient’s archive, but the action items that were intended for the recipient would be placed placed in their correlating sections of a mail app.

things tagged “task” and “parker” would then show up in my “tasks” area. things tagged “update” would then show up in an “updates” area and be threaded. things tagged “sharing” would then show up in a “shared” area and could be used as “read later”.

then, no need to respond to every email, just mark it completed, and just as it is no longer an action item for the recipient, the sender would be notified of the status. 

as i’ve been throwing these ideas around, i’ve come across a few people who have recognized the same problems, and i couldn’t be happier that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

why am i writing this?

there are some huge issues with email, and it needs to change. there are people working hard to fix these issues. if we’re all aware of the problem, it will be easier to adopt a solution.

dotmailapp

mailboxapp

fluent

UPDATE: looks like AOL is getting in on the action, as well…

alto

tv subscriptions

for years now, i’ve been saying that tv networks should have the same subscription model as magazines. pay for a month, or pay for a year. only pay for the networks that you’d normally watch. premium and major networks would cost $9.99 per month and cable networks would cost $4.99 per month. those networks would be provided via individual mobile applications.

for the last couple days, i’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about takemymoneyhbo

…apparently, i’m not the only person that feels like this. people everywhere are wanting hbo to offer a standalone app, so much so, that a site has been created to show how many people are willing to pay a monthly fee for it.

can we stop living in the past? I have 500 channels, I watch 4 of them. this is ridiculous.