How to improve meaningful social interactions on the internet?

Posted on 2022-03-30

Internet Video Chats Are not Great, How to Improve?

Perhaps we could make video chats more like the good parts of in person social interactions?

Could I make it more like meeting a friend while out on a walk?

For that approach, I’d want to build a “friend-finder” where you click that you have an hour free, and any of your friends can one-click jump into a video chat.

Several people have said they would value a serendipitous low-friction video chat organizer thing.

Could I make it more like an in-person conversation?

fix the network?

I could decrease packet loss and latency by writing user-friendly network testing tools.

The goal there would be to figure out if the user device is overloaded, or the WiFi is too busy, or the user ISP is dropping packets.

If the goal is low latency peer to peer connections, perhaps a VPN like WireGuard (TailScale?) would help with that? I will elide technical details of NAT traversal for voice calls.

Perhaps network problems aren’t visible to end users? I’ve heard WebRTC has some sort of statistics reported, and my previous job experience with VoIP suggests that’s RTP based reporting.

fix the user facing experience?

Sometimes I’m in a video call with several users and one of them is much quieter than the others, and my brain listens to the loudest person first.

Perhaps a volume equalizer audio mixer would help there?

Or what about just improving the inputs and outputs?

I recently bought a better microphone to record a podcast episode, and noticed that improved the way other participants experienced our video calls. I used headphones on video calls so I don’t have to worry about echo cancellation. I do not yet have a real camera, but I have seen the benefits when others used them.

So perhaps a webpage that lists these recommendations and links to a youtube video that shows the experience with and without each?

fix the USER?

I personally have so much going on in my head that it’s hard for me to remember to STOP TALKING and listen.

Maybe conversational training would help people like me? I could put a card in front of my screen that says “ask the other people about themselves”.

Music Consumption Group finds

Today I’m obsessed with several ambient music tracks that were submitted at Recurse Center’s Music Consumption Group.