Archive for the ‘socialnetworks’ Category

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).

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.

Stating the Obvious

According to this report from the BBC; a PhD student at Berkeley has investigated the differences between the makeup of the user-base at Facebook and MySpace.

“Broadly, Ms Boyd found Facebook users tend to be white and come from families who are keen for children to get the most out of school and go on to college. “

I don’t have the time to read the paper, but can anyone suggest this is surprising? It wasn’t so long ago that Facebook was only for College and University students; this limitation on the initial population of Facebook would clearly have an impact on those attracted to that network. 

Social proof at it’s finest.


My on-line footprint consists of the following:

  • My profile on Linked-in – I’ve had a profile on Linked-in for a year or so. For a business focused network – I don’t think I’ve contributed to or received many benefits because of my membership, although my expectations for the immediate future were zero.
  • My Facebook account – I can find people going to the same events as me, I can find people with similar interests to me, and I can keep in touch with friends and family.
  • A couple of diggs 37 items dugg since I bothered registering. Digg is a nice site for finding news stories, but I find myself returning less these days and I put that down to Google reader.
  • An article and a few comments on Slashdot – looks like my account has been deleted.
  • Membership of forums – mainly sports and technology related.
  • Flickr – photo’s for friends and family around the globe. I like Flickr, but it is a pain to tag 300 freaking photos every month. Although some people will no doubt say if I can’t be bothered to tag it I shouldn’t post it to Flickr. I wish Yahoo/Flickr would solve that problem for me. Based on a small training set of say 20-30 photos; mechanical turk or otherwise it’d make me a happy punter.
  • My 11 month old son’s blog – someone has to type his babbles for the rest of the family…
  • Comments on others blogs – occasional comments on technical blogs like Jeffery Palermo and Scott Hanselman.
  • My tumblelog – my link blog available here and in RSS. A few months ago I read an excellent article about tumblelogs and tumblr. After about 30 seconds I had my low maintenance tumblelog up and running.
  • My shared items on Google reader –  available here and in RSS. Google Reader is my third most visited site after Google and gmail. Google Reader is excellent (but sucks on my Blackberry); I’m able to take RSS feeds from the sites I would visit every week and have new content from these sites pushed to one place. Not only that, I’m then able to share the items that I think are interesting with other RSS savvy people. I’m also able to consume their shared items – it’s solid gold.

What’s missing from the list? 

  • MySpace account – I missed the whole MySpace thing; partly because I was living under a rock and partly because none of my friends were using it and partly due to my age. (I’ll talk more about MySpace another day)
  • A blog – aha!

Why now? It’s clear that much of my footprint is a residual affect of completing another goal; as discussed with digg and Google reader I’m reading the work of others and approving it for others; with linked-in I’m building a trusted business network that others can see, with facebook my friends know once I found a new hot TV show.This blog is an effort to address what I perceive to be an imbalance – this is a conscious contribution to my footprint.