Brad Fitzpatrick (bradfitz) wrote in news,
Brad Fitzpatrick
bradfitz

Tracking stuff, Notifications, Messages... (new toy)

Hi. Brad here. Long time no post. Lately I tend to stay locked up in my cave hacking on stuff that's boring for most people, but I thought I'd emerge for this annnouncement... (and also because Krissy's on vacation. :-))

The feature...
We actually started talking about this feature 4.5 years ago and now it's finally going public.

Basically we're giving you the ability to set up notifications for all types of things on LJ. Track new posts, new comments, new friends, userpics, etc..

But carefully designed to be non-stalkery. :-)

Who can use it?
Permanent and paid have already been beta testing it, and we're opening it up to Plus users for testing today. We want to slowly ramp up the load on it, fleshing out any issues before we unleash it to all users. For more info on the different limits and options within each account level, visit the FAQ.

How's the new system work?
The new system works like this:

  1. See something you want to track. (post, thread, journal, etc...)
  2. Click this guy: Track this
  3. Choose how you want to get notified:
    • Message Center (always enabled)
    • Email
    • IM (future)
    • ...--... (future)
    • For total dorks: web service ping to arbitrary URL (future)
  4. Enjoy. Cancel or change notifications any time.

This doesn't seem like rocket science. What took 4.5 years?
Well, we didn't really work on it all this time. It's just been brewing and we finally snapped and said we had to build it. Once we got started, it went pretty quickly.

Doesn't this let people stalk me?
It would've been really easy for us to build a system to enable stalking but we took a lot of effort to remove all potentially creepy features out of it:

  • You can't track things you can't see, of course. (private, friends-only, etc)
  • Even though it's public, you can't track "all comments anywhere by user bob". Because that's a little weird. Maybe bob wants that, but for now we're focusing on things you can already add to your friends page, get RSS for, etc..

More to come...
We're not done with the feature yet, but we're putting it up because it's already useful for plugging a ton of LJ's notification shortcomings. Things to look forward to in the future:

  • Removing the old notification system, because right now they overlap in parts, and it's possible for you to get duplicate notifications if you register for subscriptions in both ways.
  • More optional notification methods: Instant Message (XMPP), Webservice Ping, ...--...
  • More trackable things, where creepiness doesn't apply.
  • Optionally allow your friends or anybody to track more stuff about you, that otherwise might feel creepy. (like any comment or any post you make anywhere)
  • AJAX-y interface for subscribing to things quicker in-page, without bouncing between other pages.
  • POP3 interface to the Message Center ...
  • etc, etc...

We'll be posting more about this in the future as we add more stuff. Stay tuned.

Enjoy!
Go track some stuff! We'll be listening to usability/feature feedback and requests. Let us know how we can improve it for you....

P.S. If you like something, give love to revmischa. He did a ton of the work on this project and needs hugs. :-)

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