Disclaimer: it’s supposed to be tsu, with a little macron over the u, but too bad.
I’ve hated Facebook for a long time but I spend too much of my life there. Most of us do. And as time goes on, there are more & more ads, no longer confined to the sides of the interface but now even clogging up our newsfeeds. And this is after the updated Timeline format which makes just a single post take up your entire fricking monitor so that you can no longer get an overview of what your friends are doing, but are instead forced to have only a single (or sometimes 1.5) post – super big & in your face – at a time. And then there have been all the privacy disrespects. Yes, I’m using a verb as a noun, & Facebook is the inspiration for this. There’s poetry in that, but let’s talk about Tsu.
Tsu is another social platform, in its infancy. Here’s a screenie of what the general interface looks like:
I like the green. Green is my favorite color. And speaking of green, Tsu’s selling point is that it will redirect 90% of the ad revenue generated by its user… to its users. So there will be no Tsu executive buying up $100m of transparency headquarters on Kauai any time soon. Like Ello, Tsu is by invitation only, but unlike Ello, Tsu is encouraging its users to invite their friends, & there’s even a financial incentive there: like many MLMs we know & disparage, members get a little kickback from the revenue made by friends who accepted their invite. Unlike all those MLMs, Tsu is only asking us to do something we already do.
I joined Tsu 2 days ago, following the lead of Local Man Of Tech Enlightenment Ryan Ozawa, who was one of my first friends when I first joined Twitter (another social platform in its infancy at the time) so many years ago. I emailed & FB’d a bunch of friends, almost all of whom immediately assumed I had been hacked. I’m still in the process of explaining to individuals that I really am moving to a new social network, while trying to convince the masses of distrustfuls (that’s right – I just used an adjective as a noun) that just because there’s money involved doesn’t mean it’s a scam. The concept is pretty simple. But it takes people awhile to get used to new ideas, no matter how simple. I get it.
In the meantime, Tsu leaves a lot to be desired in the mechanics department. Like, a lot. I’m well aware that Facebook & MySpace were glitchy & gangly like this in their infancy, & that this is how it is when you are the early bird, & because of the kickback thing, it’s good to be the early bird here. But fuck, man.
I had privacy concerns on Facebook, but settings could be adjusted. Tsu doesn’t even have any settings (they do… but they’re so basic that they might as well not even exist). You can’t even default your page to Friends Only. You have to manually designate every post you make as Friends Only, which is a pain in the ass, & then anything your friends post to your Tsu page will be default Public (they don’t get to choose) until you change it yourself. And obviously you can’t even consider being selective about audiences like you can on Facebook; we’re not even close to thinking about that yet.
It seems like a lot of people who join Tsu in order to make a buck off of it will want to make all their content Public. That’s fine. Just not me. Regardless of a paycheck, I’m still here for the actual networking, & my content leans more to the personal, which I think gives it a little more value. I’m not a fount of famous quotes or trending topics for indiscriminate public consumption. My interaction is specific, & personal. A platform whose direction is to encourage rampant visibility is not my thing. So it grieves me that there are not more privacy controls in place just yet.
For some reason, though, I don’t find this as offensive as Zuckerberg’s sneaky attempts to get everyone to give everyone else in the world their personal information. Tsu doesn’t feel underhanded to me, just undeveloped. I hope that more advanced & user friendly privacy functions will appear on the interface as the site grows, because the ability to post something to a friend’s page & feel safe in knowing that only those relevant will see it is actually more conducive to creating content. I assume that said growth is dependent on community building, so I’m still willing to give Tsu a good push, & I’ve brought over a few trusting friends.
Tsu’s notification mechanism is like my lovelife. Sometimes I get a notification for something, sometimes I don’t. It notifies you of comments on a topic but not of replies to that specific comment. You actually have no idea at any given time if someone is talking to you or if they got what you said. Sometimes Tsu shows me multiple notifications, & once I’ve looked at the 1st one, all the others have disappeared. I’ve tried pseudo tagging friends in Replies by using their @usernames, & some of them reported a notification, some didn’t. I pseudo tagged myself in a Reply & got a notification but the other person didn’t. This creates significant strain on interaction. I have to work extra hard to maintain communication. Ok, that’s enough venting. lol
10/23 edit: There is a Notifications link in the left sidebar of the newsfeed which shows a complete list of goings on. It is more reliable than the little notification icon at the top of the page, although items still disappear. Tagging with usernames seems to work now, & I’ve been told that Tsu is working on getting the Replies to count.
10/30 edit: Notifications are all jacked. Definitely worse than my lovelife. At least they’ve been working on it; I hope this is just an ugly stage.
You can’t put pictures in your comments! Ok look… I know this was a relatively new feature implemented on FB, but I really like making picture comments. Sometimes only a picture can express what you wish to convey.
There are no photo albums in Tsu. Frankly, I’m not sure we need them; I guess I just got used to having them. I post a lot of pictures. My content is actually mostly pictures. Without albums, I wonder how, 5 years from now, I will find that one photo of my dogs that I want to show someone. How will I find it in the big humongous sea of Tsu pictures I’ve posted? And then I remember I have all my photos organized in orderly folders in my computer. No biggie if there’s no organization here. Just weird.
It took me a few tries to figure out how to post a caption along with photos since the Title function offered when you upload a picture does nothing whatsoever. For those wondering, there is a space that says “Create…” above the picture just after you upload it; you can type text in there & it will appear along with your posted picture.
I am actually WTFing as we speak (that’s right; I just used an acronym of an exclamation as a verb). My friend Keegan just joined, & I posted a greeting on his page, to which he commented, & I commented, etc. I got notifications for the comments. When I view the post using the notification link, I see this:
But when I look at my newsfeed or Keegan’s page, I see only this:
I have noooooo idea what is going on with this.
10/30 edit: This seems to have been fixed. Knock on wood.
When I want to see my profile page, I click on my name at the top right of the screen. In FB, clicking your name shows you your profile. Clicking anyone else’s name shows you their profile. In Tsu, clicking my name shows me a drop down box & I can choose my profile from there. This is just slightly irritating. Why make what is probably the 2nd most commonly attempted action on a social network take 2 steps?
10/23 edit: You can access your own profile in one click via your profile name on the left side of your newsfeed.
Likewise, when I want to look at a friend’s page, there is nowhere to find a list of your friends on your newsfeed view. Unless your friend just posted something & they’re at the top of your feed (the newsfeed view is ridiculously large, following Facebook’s lead… one of the specific aspects of Facebook I would not want Tsu to emulate), you have to type your friend’s name in Search. If you want to see an actual list of your friends, from your newsfeed you must click twice to get your profile page, then click again to get Friends. It’s cumbersome. Tsu saw fit to put a completely uninteresting list of “trending hashtags” in the sidebar but nothing about your friends. And this is a social network.
10/23 edit: I also can’t find some of my friends by searching for their names. I typed in “Cary” just now & a whole bunch of Caryls & even a Ryan appeared in the drop down list. To get to my friend Cary’s profile, I had to click for my newsfeed, then my profile, then my friends list. I could have also gone through my tree, but the tree view is rather bulky & I’d have to scroll a lot.
No groups. No events.
Right now the entire Tsu population is divided up as my friends or not my friends. You need something to let us interact selectively, Tsu. We don’t socialize equally with every single person we know. My group of friends are not a general audience but many different groups of interest. This is not a one way broadcast. I still have to go back to Facebook for my band’s gig events & to talk to my friends in our gamer discussion group & to RSVP to other people’s events. I can’t plan my friend Keith’s birthday dinner on Tsu.
Although one of the things I hated most about Facebook was the installation of the tagging feature, since the initial frenzy, people have gotten less insane with the tagging. On Facebook I do not tag people in photos, etc. because I’m being respectful of their privacy – if they want a photo to be shown to all their friends, they can post it up themselves. I do, however, tag people in comments on occasion to get their attention.
The pseudo tags (I say “pseudo” because I’m not sure if these really do work as tags) are our usernames. My username is Laurlen. My friend Rob’s username is Slowslide. My friend Scotty’s username is sdsi68. On Facebook you type the person’s account name, which generally is the person’s name, so you don’t need to have mad memorization skills like Tsu is asking me to. And Tsu… just FYI, I have a lifetime account with Lumosity & I’m in the 30-somethingth percentile for Memory. So I am not having great success tagging people. Please. Help.
Anyway. There are more little user friendliness deficiencies, but Tsu is very new & I imagine the devs are all living off of Cup O’ Noodles right now. As I’ve said probably 100 times in the last 48 hours, I hope to see this site develop & grow into something more convenient & useful. But right now this is pretty frickin’ neolithic as things go.
Facebook, for all its disrespect of its users, already provides a stable platform, & has all the amenities that Tsu doesn’t have. And everyone is already on Facebook. Everything is already there (except respect). For some reason, though, I still want to give Tsu a try, if only to get me away from Facebook. No one saw the point of Twitter when it first started, but look how Twitter has evolved & grown. I think the idea of a social platform that gives back to its community — the idea of reaping some of the financial benefit my long hours of toil on the internet produces — is intriguing.
And the interface is green.
If you’re interested in checking it out with me, this is my invite link: http://tsu.co/Laurlen