Hoping for a Verizon Android Phone Soon

My phone account is up in May and in this day and age that's a pivotal moment - my decision right now effects the next two years!  What service and what phone do I go with?

I'm on Verizon, which is generally considered to have the best service but the worst options for phones.  Over the last few months I've had the opportunity to test the Google G1, which is on Sprint.  Since using it I can't see myself walking away from a smart phone with a tangable keyboard.  However, I don't want to be on Sprint, and the G1's lack of Microsoft Exchange support may be too much in the long run.  On the other hand, I love the application support, as minimal as it is compared to the iPhone.

So what about the iPhone?  It has exchange support, the best application platform, and is generally an impressive phone.  However, the touch keyboard doesn't seem like it would suit me; I type too much full content on the phone.  Also, Singular is still considered a questionable service.

So where does that leave me?  As boring as it sounds, I may just need to settle for a Blackberry.  Slowly the applications are coming, there is a full keyboard, and I can stay on Verizon.  It's not interesting, not boundry pushing, but it will give me the most capability without loosing the features I need (service, a keyboard, and applications).

Or, Verizon could put out an Android phone.  The Boy Genious Report is suggesting that the phone pictured above is a Motorolla Android phone that has been built for Verizon.  It is slick, has a slide-out keyboard, and runs the Android interface.  Right now it's a rumor, but if it's real then Verizon may just have me sold on a new contract.  If not, then the new iPhone that is expected to be announced in June at the Apple developer conference has a shot at moving me to Cingular, or I'll find the best Blackberry available at that time.


Why I Use Twitter, and Some of It's Uses Beyond the Status Update

Recently a bunch of friends of mine started pushing me to explain why I use Twitter, and to clarify how exactly it isn't a waste of time. They saw it as a watered down status update that is enough as it is on facebook. Below is my response, which I'm calling "Why I use Twitter, and Some of It's Uses Beyond the Status Update"

Its hard to easily understand Twitter without investing time with it. Twitter at its core is an information platform; twitter.com itself has little do to with what it can be or what it will become. Its essentially a decentralized communication system that is designed to pull in short messaging via many methods and allow the information to flow in just as flexible a manor. It can be communicated with via SMS, IM, RSS, web, or desktop application. In its simplest form it appears as a giant status feed, but its simplicity means that endless amounts of information will be pushed in and the power will come from pulling it out.

Things I have done with Twitter:
  • By using Twitter as a routing system I was able to text message Noor in India without incurring any fees. Sure you can email but she spent much less time on a computer there than she did on the phone, so texting was key to us keeping in touch.
  • By using Twitter I've participated in ad-hoc discussions with conference attendees around particular subjects at marketing conferences. Twitter made this possible even though people didn't know each other because we were all able to post messages, append them with hash tags (a name for short codes in tech prefixed with a # sign), and pull out feeds of any relevant posts via search or RSS. We even sometimes collaboratively take notes on presentations by using hash tags.
  • By using Twitter I have looked up feedback and reviews on netbook computers for Dannie, restaurants for myself, and more. 
  • I've also had discussions with people I've never met about products, news stories, and more by searching the public feed and messaging people I know have had personal experiences with those things.
  • I was able to follow live play-by-play of the 2008 baseball home run derby while we were all at ConeyIsland.
  • I learned about a major California earthquake last year 25 minutes before CNN broke the story on the web by following an alert of fast rising keywords on the Twitter feed.
  • I use Twitter to route messages to my blog, facebook, and other social locations all at once. Some of you may not feel the need to do that but I actively participate in many social web environments so scale is necessary.
  • I use Twitter to pass content to work message boards again by using hash tags. I can also use this method to update my to-do list, save pictures and text to word documents for storage, and much more.
  • I can learn about when the dessert truck or waffle truck move locations, when GMail is having service issues, when the NASA mars rover has a discovery, and more - all as soon as it happens.
  • I get CNN breaking news alerts, tech news alerts, even new york restaurant review alerts all in one easy to digest stream however I want it.
  • I can have discussions with entrepreneurs and marketing directors that I would never have access to.
  • I watched the election debates on CurrentTV spliced with filtered feeds of people's reactions and input to the candidates as they spoke.
This is still just a small sample of what you can do with twitter - it gets a lot more complex. The communication platform is leveraged now by thousands of companies, and over 10 million people or contributing information. Some of it useless but a lot of it is valuable. People contribute because they want there to be valuable content in the information pool - just like they do with yelp, or digg, or YouTube, or the tons of how to sites, etc. just like Bruce pointed out, you can post to twitter for the some reasons you can post to yelp, or anywhere. To get something out of it though you have to spend time and want to discover. You have to add a hundred or two people or companies that actually use twitter, not five friends who signed up once. You have to do searches for information, you have to post content so people want to engage you, you have to message other people and start conversation. I post normal life updates, but I also write mini reviews, post links to interesting content, post images, take notes on conferences, and more. you may have to use phone or desktop apps that make it easier to do all this. If you don't want to put in time, and you don't want to contribute, and you don't want to discover, then it probably isn't for you yet. You can go to CNN.com for your news (though I read today that people who follow the CNN twitter feed read twice as many articles a day on average than the people who go right to the website because they get more updates about new content and they are people who want to discover and consume more), and communicate with smaller circles of people. Eventually either facebook will finish ripping off the twitter features (its already started) or a product you like will come along and integrate twitter in a way that it works for you. But the point is - twitter isn't simple or stupid - and it will probably change communication and/or media consumption for all of us, in ways we don't even realize, if it hasn't already.


do we publish too much too often about our lives?

Recently I was at a bar having a very challenging conversation with a friend about the state of our lives now that we are connected in so many ways.  He looks at facebook and flickr and twitter and yelp and youtube and blogger (and more) and challenges me to explain just how life has gotten better now that I am actively recording, updating, blasting, publishing, posting just everything I do.  And not only do I do it, but I often do it in real time- as it's happening.  He thinks people like me have lost the ability to really enjoy anything because we are too busy recording everything and telling everyone about it.

Its a troubling question- mostly because I spend a gross amount of time and effort doing it all.  By some counts I'm active in over 40 social networks (depending on definition), and I'm often the one stopping to take out a phone or camera or,when I have nothing else, a pen and paper.  In my friend's estimation, this means I am not really enjoying anything as much as I could be, not getting as much out the moment as I could be.  I'm never as happy as I could be because at any given time I'm half checked out somewhere in my mind and being.

The more I thought about it, however, I simply couldn't agree with his assessment.  I don't agree because his measure of utility, his definition enjoyment, is too one demensional.  To him it seems you can only enjoy the moment you're physically in.  For people like me though, the moment itself is just the beginning. 

To begin, we do things we like, we enjoy it.  But then we record and comment on it.  We start to think about it deeper.  We revisit it, find more reasons to appreciate it and enjoy new levels of appreciation from ourselves.

And we start conversations.  We talk about our activities with other people, unlock things we didn't know, learn about things similar that we might like that we never would have known about.  Or we make new friends that we never knew enjoyed similar things.

And we enjoy the platforms we share on.  We explore them too, discover their value, help them to expand and grow and develop for the betterment of others.  We gain satisfaction and a sense of worth by contributing for society benefit.

In short, we take a simple moment and expand it into a cascading sequence of experiences that continue to enhance and add value to our lives.  While any one might be less than the other, together they may far exceed.

Post: I wrote this before seeing "we live in public"; i'l have to regroup and add more thoughts including response to the film