Archive for July, 2007|Monthly archive page

Bad Facebook, Bad Facebook

I’m on Holiday so I’ll keep it short. I logged onto Facebook tonight and was greated by the following advert in my news feed: 


  • It was only a matter of time until this happend, but this ****** me off something else…. it is “my” news feed after all… I think injecting adverts into my news like this is pretty cheap and tactless.
  • Is this a targeted advert at me? If so, well done on asking a married guy if he’s tired of being single… get a grip.
  • Has someone “shared” this advert to me? Are they being compensated? If so, this is yet another privacy issue I have with Facebook.
  • Are the pictures of real Facebook users? Do they know that their picture is being used to sell some dating service through Facebook? Are they being compenstated? 
  • If it’s not real users, the advert implies that they are and in my book that’s wrong…

If I was paranoid…

Yesterday afternoon, I decided that I had grown tired of waiting on an invite for pownce and that I’d setup a twitter account – this was before the anouncement of a new investment in twitter.

This morning I have been greeted with an invite for pownce in my inbox.

Did someone invite me (don’t think so) ? Are pownce monitoring new users on twitter (unlikely)? Have pownce been holding back invites until the next big twitter anouncement (maybe)? Or is it just a coincidence?

The Facebook Problem

I don’t think anyone has had more column inches in the press or words in the blogosphere as Facebook. The majority of the last twelve months have been an amazing success as Facebook expanded beyond students and alumni allowing anyone to join. Yahoo apparently valued Facebook at upwards of… Finally, the opening up the Facebook “platform” to 3rd party developers resulted in even more positive press.


Brad Feld and Fred Wilson gave their takes on The Facebook Problem last month – I’d like to suggest a different Facebook Problem.

I’m noticing a growing sense of unease of what “Facebook” is for. Robert Scoble thinks it’s a business tool, Scott Hanselman uses it as a social tool (but thinks it might change), Mark Evans didn’t think it could be a serious tool last month. I like the idea of a LinkedIn/Facebook split, but as more people use Facebook as a business tool it raises privacy concerns for those who don’t view it in the same way.I discussed this with some colleagues this afternoon. We hadn’t added each as friends, yet they were genuinely shocked about the information I was able to access about them. The fact that the default privacy settings can allow non-friends to access your profile presents an issue for users when the Facebook world and real world intersect.   

As discussed in Slashdot and the Times; users can tag a photo of you and it is then associated with your account without permission. Granted, while you can remove the tag it’s hardly an easy thing to explain socially. I’m reminded of the saying “easier to apologise than to ask permission”. This type of content injection is not something I appreciate and I’d like to be able to turn it off. While the limited profile does give some control, I personally don’t think it’s quite granular enough – Bill Thomson hit the nail right on the head.


We should also beware of the threat impersenation presents; something that was fairly common on FriendsReunited.


Facebook needs a way to allow users to manage and segment their network more effectively – if they don’t someone will and I suspect we’ll be hearing more about the importance of privacy on social networks as it becomes the norm for professionals, parents and the public at large.

BA no longer the gold standard – I’m switching to BMI.

I was away on a training course this week in London. While the course itself was exceptional (more on this in a later post), British Airways was not.

 On the flight down, we took an extra 10 minutes to get away and experienced a further delay on approach. What really bothered me was the time it took to get my luggage. The passengers on the BA flight from Edinburgh reached the luggage hall and were joined by the passengers of a BA flight from Glasgow about 5 minutes later. Two sets of passengers of BMI flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh then joined us about 15 minutes later. Both sets of BMI passengers had there baggage and were on their way before a single BA customer had their baggage – Waiting an hour for baggage is not the sign of a gold standard carrier. These things happen and I had forgotten about them during the week as I was having a very productive week.

My flight back on Friday was dreadful. While I understand the weather could have an impact on operations, BA was unable to send the 1830, 1950 and 2100 flights off to Edinburgh before 2300. Earlier flights suffered similar delays. I discussed this in the BA lounge with one of my fellow passengers – she explained to me that a number of her colleagues had flown on BMI to Edinburgh and Glasgow and were home hours ago. The lounge was filled with colleagues, couples (including one with a new born baby), a rather loud stag party and Ming Campbell – it sounds like the start of a joke and I wish it was… My flight didn’t leave the gate until 2315, by the time I had my luggage in Edinburgh it had just passed 0100. The whole experience has left me feeling rather ****** off at BA – this was despite every BA staff member being very polite and courteous. 

 I’m not that fussed about the rights and wrongs of BA outsourcing parts of its operations or that they can’t seem to handle baggage; I’m interested in the customer experience. When I fly I want to get from point A to point B and I don’t want to hang around; I’m going to fly BMI from now on.


If you have a spare invite for pownce; why don’t you send it my way? 🙂

UPDATE: No longer required 🙂


I thought about holding out for an iPhone; but with no UK carrier announced and uncertainty over how well a non-tactile keyboard would work I’ve plumped for the Blackberry 8800. I’ve had the unit for two weeks and I have to say that I’m pleased that I’ve upgraded my mobile computing experience.Here are my initial observations:

  • Battery life seems good. Easily gets me through the day on my current usage.
  • I am using instant messaging more than I thought I would. The Google Talk for Blackberry application rocks. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have to pay for an application that uses MSN. I never thought I’d have to postpone an IM conversation because I have to change buses…
  • The Google Mail for Blackberry application is OK – although, I find myself using the native mail capabilities of the Blackberry.
  • Google Reader on the Blackberry… Well firstly they don’t have a dedicated application like Google Mail. For the first week, the mobile version didn’t seem to work at all. There are a number of usability issues. Firstly, you can’t share items. You can mark items to be kept unread which is quite neat if you want to review later – but it doesn’t move you onto the next item *sigh*. I hope the Google Reader team are looking at upgrading the user experience.
  • GPS is fun, Google Maps is much better than the pre-installed BBmaps.  Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz described it “as a thing of beauty”. I’m in Cardiff and London in the next month so I will need to give it a spin then.
  • I know a lot of people are happy about the Curve and the fact it has a camera. The feature that I’d like (or at least thought I’d like) is wifi… I think because I’m on an unlimited data plan I’m not that bothered by it.