FIRST LOOK: A “different question every day” Twitter: Plinky

Jason Shellen has seen the social media world grow up and has been in the lead group. He was one of the first employees at Pyra back when it started Blogger. After that got sold to Google he was the guy who came up with Google Reader (and kept pushing for it even after executives at Google told him the idea was lame).

Now it’s his turn to start a company and an hour ago they turned on their new service called Plinky. What is it? It’s riffs on Twitter and Facebook. Instead of asking “what are you doing?” it asks you a different question every day.

Yesterday I sat down with Jason and he gave me a demo and told me stories about his view on social media.

My account is at: http://www.plinky.com/people/Scobleizer

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Welcome to Black January: Microsoft, Intel, IBM and others lay off tons

I’m tracking the dismal news on all the various blogs. This is the worst month the tech industry has ever seen. The bad news from Microsoft, Intel, IBM is all over TechMeme and TechFuga.

Wake me up when it ends. More later, but today there is some good news, just not enough to stop the tide of bad. A new startup, Plinky, will come out of stealth mode at 1 p.m. (we’ll have a video of that up on FastCompanyTV) and I’m getting around Silicon Valley and San Francisco starting at 9 a.m. at Seesmic, with stops in Mountain View to see something secret, and Sunnyvale. Back to San Francisco tonight for a Fast Company dinner event. Whew!

My heart goes out to all the people who’ve lost their jobs this month. What’s worse is it isn’t over.

Solution? Next week at the World Economic Summit my “Davos Question” is how can we create one million new startups with a failing/failed VC system?

That’s what it will take to repair the damage this month has done to the tech industry and our economy. Yes, the depths of our problems ARE that deep. Got any ideas?

Interactive blogging experimentation

I’m playing with a new technique of writing that I call “interactive blogging.” What is it? Well, instead of writing a post like I’m doing here and then publishing it after I’ve finished it, I post WHILE I’m writing my ideas on a topic. I’ll start a Twitter post like, but I will post it onto friendfeed. I’ve set friendfeed to publish to Twitter, but when it does it leaves a URL at the end of the tweet back to the friendfeed item. That lets me setup some interesting questions that I’ll write really quickly on. The advantage here is that I can see how people are reacting LIVE to my ideas. They often ask me questions and take me down paths I wasn’t expecting to go. Here’s some examples, wonder what you think:

I will discuss why I can never have another Diet Coke here.

Health privacy is dead. Here’s why.”

Too many choices at Best Buy. Photo and discussion.

Want a news tip? Amazon Kindle is sold out. Hint here.

@netvalar now wants to know about friendfeed’s rooms. Here’s why they are the coolest tool for Twitter users

“To new friendfeeders (there are thousands due to Twitter invites and follows), here’s what you need to know.”

On the other hand, sometimes you just need to do a really well thought out post and not have the distractions. Comments from other people are distractions and they can take you down paths that aren’t very productive and interrupt flow. You can see all that in the examples above. But they are fun to do because engagement from other people is fun and addictive.