Archive for the ‘facebook’ Category

What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year I panned Facebook’s first foray into online advertising.  I think Facebook is starting to demonstrate to me that they can get advertising right. I live in the UK, my wife is Canadian and I have a lot of Canadian friends on Facebook. Could it be that I’m being targeted by an airline that flies to Canada from the UK?


I might be reading too much into this – it might just be a regular campaign targeted at UK residents. It is much more difficult to infer if a Social Network advert is targeted or generic. With Google Adwords everything is out in the open, with Facebook it’s kept away from our prying eyes! I’ve flown with Zoom before, so the evolution of this would be whether I could be included or excluded based on my email address.

Actually, I just got this Ad – so it’s obviously pot luck for a married guy in his 20s like me!

Not so targeted...


A Frame Changer?

I remember being introduced to the concept of framing by a friend a couple of years ago when discussing the US presidential elections of 2004.

The New York Times depicted similar intensity among Republicans:

In one recent memo, titled ‘The 14 Words Never to Use,’ [Frank] Luntz urged conservatives to restrict themselves to phrases from what he calls … the ‘New American Lexicon.’ Thus, a smart Republican, in Luntz’s view, never advocates ‘drilling for oil’; he prefers ‘exploring for energy.’ He should never criticize the ‘government,’ which cleans our streets and pays our firemen; he should attack ‘Washington,’ with its ceaseless thirst for taxes and regulations. ‘We should never use the word outsourcing,’ Luntz wrote, ‘because we will then be asked to defend or end the practice of allowing companies to ship American jobs overseas.’

I hadn’t been planning to write anything about OpenSocial and facebook. But as fate would have it, two of my regular podcast listens touched on the subject of developing for facebook. Having the concepts explained again in a manner that assumed no prior knowledge was refreshing and after a period of reflection, I thought I’d give my johnny come lately views.

It is easy to forget just how far social networking has come in the past year, it’s easy to forget that MySpace were tired of companies piggybacking off them, it’s easy to forget that no one had a platform that developers could use to integrate their applications into a network less than a year ago.

It was facebook that changed the game, but it is OpenSocial that is changing  the frame.

In the blogosphere, it’s been argued that OpenSocial is a facebook killer, that facebook will be forced to join OpenSocial, that developers will desert facebook based on numbers.
I think users might need a bit more convincing. In social networking, users are king and their network is facebook’s castle.

If you book them, they will come…

– Who are you?
– I’m Jim Morrison.
(Wayne’s World 2)

I was going to write a long post about my thoughts on Google’s Open Social anouncement. But I thought this article by

Facebook getting better at Adverts…

I complained about an advert Facebook served to me back in July. The advert wanted me to “scope out” people who would be “stoked” to meet me. I was greeted by the following advert by Facebook today…

Facebook Advert

This time they have used professional photography, but it still feels like my news feed… and I find this a bit deceitful. I’m not convinced users will want to share this advert (or any advert) with their closest chums. On the positive side, at least the advert is relevant this time (the link is for the UK site, not the US).

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…

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.