Archive for the ‘socialnetworks’ Category

It’s so simple now…

June 30, 2007

From the “I wish I had said that” file comes:

“you do know that Facebook is AOL 2.0, right?”

Courtesy of Jason Kottke.

[via evhead].

If a Tweet falls in the forest.. do I care?

June 9, 2007

I think I’ve officially lost all interest in Twitter. At least for now. Granted, I only have 7 friends (and 8 followers), but either Twitter is busted or nobody in my tiny circle of friends is using it anymore. There’s only one who seems to be posting with any kind of frequency and he’s not even what I’d call a personal contact.

I have failed to see the usefulness (for me anyway) in this style of short message posting. And believe me, I’m all for useless but fun web services, but I don’t even find it fun.

I guess it’s no surprise that I haven’t posted a lot on Twitter – there are many things competing for my attention at the moment and it’s survival of the fittest. My lack of Twitter postings (or tweets or whatever you call them) are clearly indicative of how far down the ladder of interest it is for me.

I won’t close my Twitter account, but suffice it to say it will likely drop off my radar completely in short order.

In fact I think it’s in a race to the bottom with Facebook at the moment. 😉

Conversation with a Facebook Refugee

June 5, 2007

A friend of mine recently told me he was 'done with Facebook'. Naturally, I asked him why. He said that old "acquaintances" were coming out of the woodwork, and while it was great that his wife was (and still is) a Facebook member, he was uncomfortable seeing scrawlings on his wall from partners from days gone by. Clearly, he didn't want to deal with the potential problem of the 'crazy ex-girlfriend'.

He also lamented the fact that it became a way for friends and acquaintances to shoot cheeky responses around at each other. Now if you combine this with his demographic (mid to late 20's – very recently married – but very much a guys night out type of guy) you can safely assume the banter back and forth was not always G-rated (but probably quite fun.)

We soon got around to discussing the things people do and write on the web. And that while it might be fun to post outrageous things on someone's "Wall", you can't really count on being able to take them back. And further, you can't count on something you write (anywhere on the net) being really deleted or somehow disappearing into the ether after a year or two.

Now this guy is not that tech-saavy – doesn't blog, frequents YouTube but not Digg – you get the picture. So I thought it'd be fun to show him the Internet Archive's WayBack Machine. Needless to say he was amazed that so much of what has (and is) going on on the net is being archived and captured.

I have a feeling that most people in the mainstream who are now just starting to generate and publish (however inadvertently) things on the net, don't really get the potential permanence of it.

As I've said several times before, be proud of what you write (or at least not embarrassed) and you'll do fine. If you don't, you'll never know when it might come back and bite you.

ps – While I have never found Facebook very compelling, my interest in it is declining even further day by day. But then again, so is my interest in Twitter. But that's another story, for another post.

The bigger picture – Facebook? Uh.. no.

May 29, 2007

Kent Newsome weighs in even more on the Social Networking v. blogging issue. His last statement strikes a real chord with me:

“I think the social networking closed site as online Mecca story is a myth driven by people who want to keep the content producing public behind the walls so they can make money off of the content they produce.”

And while I’m not focused on making money on the content I produce (would be a nice side-benefit), I am interested in getting it out to the world – not to my fellow Facebook members or my MySpace friends. I want the meager contribution I make to be reachable by anyone wanting to read or watch it.

And the conversational aspect is no different. I want to hear from people interested in what I’m interested in, no matter where they are, no matter what their stripe.

I want to participate in the bigger picture – as Dave Winer put it the other day, “the wild wild web, the unbounded frontier”. Facebook, MySpace, Virb and the like, are definitely not the bigger picture, no matter how much money they make for their

Why Facebook and not blogs?

May 25, 2007

Kent Newsome asks the question:

“What is so much better about Facebook (and MySpace and other similar platforms) than an ordinary blog on a popular platform- say WordPress?”

I joined Facebook a little over a month ago – and while it does have it’s uses, it in no way would serve as a replacement for this blog (or blogging in general). To me it’s a completely different animal.

Facebook has put me in contact with two or three old friends (an old friend with whom I’d lost touch, one French teacher from high school and a former university house-mate of mine). The rest are people I already know and interact with. But that’s really the extent of it for me. It’s not a place I visit to learn anything new other than whether or not Joe OldFriend has kids or not or some other personal info people are willing to share.

But that’s just it. It’s all personal. It’s all relatively closed. It’s only as open as people are willing to make it. I don’t login often. Maybe because I’m not a social butterfly by nature. Maybe because it’s just been a series of ‘hey long time no see, what ya up to’ type private messages.

Sure, there are people who cross connect, join groups and share pictures and interests. If that’s what you’re looking for then it serves that purpose too.

Blogging on the other hand is much more expansive. And a lot more work too. But you’re opening yourself up to discovering many more new things and people (and being discovered by a much wider range of people too). It’s a completely different thing. If your into learning about new things, expanding your horizons and really participating in a global conversation then Facebook is not the place to do it. Granted it’s not meant to be, and frankly I get the impression that the vast majority of people there are not that lofty in their ambitions anyway – which is perfectly fine too.

Of course there are the more subjective aspects. Facebook is very constrained design-wise and not at all pretty. It’s a big step up from MySpace, but my home page seems like a sea of user names, widget headings and a big fat annoying ad on the left side, all drowning in a sea of too-tiny text. I imagine you can play with it, but every Facebook page I’ve seen is the same. It’s just too constrained for my tastes.

It’s also a closed system. So there is absolutely nothing that advances the cause of the most underappreciated internet technology – RSS. I don’t think Google can crawl Facebook and for some people that might be a good thing – if they even care. Maybe it’s only people who understand the value of a feed aggregator that will care about that anyway.

It still reminds me of It hasn’t added any value to my life other than reconnecting me with a few long lost friends. But a quick google search of my name could have done it a lot quicker. But alas, not everyone has a web presence and this might be the way in for the ‘great unwashed’. If only it wasn’t so closed. Maybe a buyout might go some way to solving this.

What is telling for me is that for each person I reconnected with, I always ended up telling them it was better to check out my family blog or this blog if they really wanted to see what I was up to. I’ve been really using it as a way to climb in there and say – ‘come out here and see what you’re really missing’.

Make no mistake, not everyone is cut out for blogging. Not everyone wants to write more than a few misspelled lines in a comment on someone’s ‘wall’. Not everyone cares about well designed pages, trackbacks or RSS. Maybe Twitter/Jaiku/Tumblr addresses all that.

To me, blogging is so open-ended and has so much potential in so many ways and Facebook has none.

I think the winds of change are always blowing too. There’s been Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and now maybe Virb or something else. Maybe it’s good you don’t put a lot of hard fought effort into your content on Facebook. You likely won’t be able to move it when you transition to the ‘next big thing’.

There’s some food for thought Kent. 🙂