Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Ping.fm And The Social Media Duplication Problem

July 25, 2008
Ping.fm

I just got a beta signup to Ping.fm, so I’ve been trying it out over the past half hour or so. Essentially it posts a message to all your microblogging/status update services at once from one place. Here’s my first post:

“hoping I’ve successfully added my identi.ca account to ping.fm”

And indeed I have! It’s easy to set up. Now it’s just a question of deciding (carefully) which services to use it for.

And herein lies the rub. Because my use of ping.fm and other social media/web 2.0 services raises a related problem which could soon make signing up to any more services counterproductive: that is the problem of information duplication, also “noise“.

Every time I update ping.fm, it sends that update to Facebook, Twitter, Identi.ca and Tumblr (at the moment). However, I’ve set up twitterfeed to post all my tumblr updates to Twitter, so that will repeat information on Twitter - not good. To make matters worse, Twitter and Tumblr posts also appear on my Friendfeed, leading to further reduplication of information.

And so on. It turns out – surprise, surprise – that the more social media/aggregation services you use, the more complicated it becomes to manage your online lifestream.

Happily, you can customise Ping.fm to a certain extent to ensure that only certain types of update are sent to certain services. So you can, for example, set ping.fm to only sent status updates to Twitter, Facebook and Identi.ca, whereas microblogs and blogs are reserved for WordPress and Tumblr.

This is good to an extent, but it does mean you have to think carefully about the services you use if you’re into lifestreaming on Friendfeed etc. and you don’t want to piss off your followers.

How about you? Anyone else who compulsively signs up to new web 2.0 aggregation services and gets deluged by repeat info – leave a comment and let me know how you deal with information overload.

Official Facebook App Cleaner Coming Soon

January 14, 2008

I blogged about the Clean Profile app last week, but now Facebook have made their own announcement:

Hide Facebook Apps: Official Tool Coming Soon (Read/Write Web)

This is the official response to the growing user base which feels Facebook has become far too cluttered of late, with new applications springing up every day, and many people adding indiscriminately. The sheer number of new applications — in conjunction with the dubious spamming tactics used to proliferate them — has become a well-documented nuisance among the Facebook community.

Although it’s obviously welcome news that something is finally being done, I can’t help but feel that Facebook is coming at the problem from a strange angle. Instead of allowing the end user to decide how much clutter they want to view on friends’ pages (as per Clean Profile), the official response puts the onus on the clutterer. It’s an opportunity for users to “clean up their mess” effectively.

The idea is you will create an “extended profile” into which you can shove all the application junk you rarely use, leaving the default profile as a clean, quick-loading summary page. That’s the plan anyway… I suppose time will tell how well this works. What’s certain right now is that application developers are (understandably) not impressed, since this move will inevitably curtail their market-spread.

Clean Up Your Friends’ Facebook Profiles

January 5, 2008

Clean Profile LogoClean Profile (found via Mashable) is a new Facebook application which allows you to view any of your friends’ profiles without hundreds of crappy applications cluttering everything up, slowing things down and generally making life unpleasant.

Let’s face it, although I love wading through reams of forwarded posts on Super Wall Pro Elite, growing flowers, fish, ninjas, pirates, zombies, vampires, hugs, gifts and on and on as much as the next guy, I would hate to think I was in any way imposing my lack of style or design prowess on any of my good Facebook buddies.

Facebook application bloatEnter Clean Profile, which has the potential to silence all those boring old farts who can’t cope with today’s brash, bold profile pages crammed full of application goodness.

It’s not quite there yet, since you can’t currently view mini-feeds. You’ll also have to click a link to view wall posts, but there’s no denying that this could become a lifeline for all those contemplating leaving Facebook because of the epic levels of bloat on some profiles.

By the way, you can click here to visit my clean profile. Enjoy!

Facebook Mobile: The End For Twitter?

December 16, 2007

Facebook logoThis week, I started using Facebook’s excellent mobile service. It’s really simple to set up — just enter your mobile number on the website, then confirm with the code Facebook texts you.

Using Facebook mobile, you can write on any one of your friends’ walls, send a private message, or update your status wherever you are from your phone with simple text messages. You can also visit Facebook on your mobile for free until the end of 2007 at m.facebook.com. Best of all, the service is completely free besides the standard network charge for a text message. The downside is that it’s currently only available on the O2 network in the UK.

I wonder whether the massive (and rising) popularity of Facebook might unseat Twitter as the leading way to update friends on your status when you’re on the move… If Facebook mobile is to catch on, though, it will have to spread to other UK mobile phone networks.

Facebook Opens Up

September 6, 2007

Okay, everybody and their uncle has blogged about this, so why not? It’s even on the Beeb:

Facebook Opens Profiles to Public (BBC)

Facebook2Facebook has made its search function public. What does this mean? Well, right now, it means that anyone can visit Facebook.com and search for members. Previously, you had to register to view search results, but Facebook now wants to give people who have never visited before the opportunity to stalk “find their friends”.

But that’s only half the story: in just under a month, people will be able to find your Facebook listing from widely used search engines like Google and Yahoo. At a stroke, Facebook has cut out the middle-man “people search engines” I blogged about just a couple of weeks ago.

They’ve also added fuel to the fire of the long-running debate about online privacy. Blogger Om Malik has weighed in with his opinion — his feet are firmly in the “bad idea” camp:

“Think broadly however, this is yet another small step in the overall erosion of personal privacy, thanks to the ever growing popularity of the social networks. I don’t like the direction where all this is headed… We are slowly leaving digital litter all over the web, and some day it is going to cause problems.”

To be fair to Facebook, they do allow you the option to opt out of any of this. In fact, by tweaking a few options on the privacy page, you can make your profile so private that not even your friends can see it! Personally, I’ve opted for a halfway-house: I’ve removed the ability to search for my profile from Google etc., but left it open to anyone visiting Facebook’s homepage. However, I think Facebook’s decision to make the default option the least private is highly dubious: i.e. if you do nothing, then in one month anyone can search for your profile from Google.

Facebook Ate My Scrabble

August 24, 2007

From the glut of applications to flood the Facebook market recently, Scrabulous has been — for me — one of the most fun.

Scrabulous 1

The premise is simple: play Scrabble online and (preferably) win. It’s a classic formula. But of course, this isn’t really Scrabble™-Scrabble, it’s a popular word game in which each player is given a rack of seven letters of varying points value, and players take turns to build words on a grid in which certain squares give bonuses. See? Nothing like Scrabble™

Right, as long as the Hasbro representative has clicked elsewhere, we can continue.

Scrabulous is a perfect fit for the Facebook platform. It’s simple but addictive; it allows several players at once; and the interface is highly intuitive. Unfortunately, it’s been plagued by instability problems pretty much since day one, and this has caused me more than a little consternation. Even today, as I was about to make a slick triple-word score move, I encountered the ubiquitous error screen yet again.

The good news is that it seems to have overcome many of the long-term outages that were common as recent as a couple of weeks ago, and the developers seem genuinely committed to making things work. So if you’re into words, or if you just want a marginally educational way to while away your lunch hour at work, I’d heartily recommend Scrabulous. But get in quick before it goes down again:

Scrabulous 3

Facebook Now Being Used To Solve Crimes

August 2, 2007

The Register is reporting that a Londoner who was a burglary victim has turned to social networking nirvana Facebook to help catch the perp:

Victim turns to Facebook in hunt for brazen burglar

Jackie McGeown is using a picture taken by an innocent bystanding builder on his mobile to publicise the alleged ne’er-do-well’s nefarious deed, and to help catch the crook:

“Users with tips on the possible identity of the burglar can pass on leads via Facebook. McGeown said: “Maybe he’s burgled you. Or maybe you’ve poked him on Facebook. If you know who he is, let me know!””

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the first of what will surely become many Web 2.0 social networking detectives, simply join Jackie’s Facebook group — DO YOU RECOGNISE MY BURGLAR? — and get poking!

Hoping to pip everyone to the post and win the glory, even though I neither live in London nor care particularly about whether or not Jackie finds her burglar, I’ve scoured Facebook in an attempt to find said group, so far with zero success. If anyone does find it, or else finds out that this is all a (not so) elaborate hoax, leave a comment below.

An Unmissable Facebook Resource

July 26, 2007

Still on a Facebook tip this evening, I’ve recently come across AllFacebook.com, which is essentially a one-stop-shop for everything connected to the latest web 2.0 social networking phenomenon. It’s a regularly updated, well-written blog with intelligent commentary – not just mindless Facebook fanboyism, in other words. See this post, for instance, about Facebook’s propensity for releasing poorly tested new features on a regular basis.

What’s particularly useful about this are the reviews of the applications: with so many already available, it can be hard to pick your way through to find the gems. AllFacebook.com certainly makes it easier. Check out their award for the slickest application – TouchGraph – which is a visualization of your friend network:

How To Close Your Facebook Account – The Hard Way

July 26, 2007

Have you ever wondered what happens to all your personal information if you want to get out of the social networking machine? Steven Mansour found out the hard way when he tried to close his account on Facebook:

2504 steps to closing your Facebook account (via Digg)

The article is by turns hilarious and sinister. It turns out that Facebook don’t close your account at all; they merely “deactivate” it, but keep everything (photos, wall posts… everything) on their servers in case you wish to reactivate in the future. That’s very thoughtful of them, but it potentially means an unsuspecting punter could leave Facebook, unaware that their personal details are still being held.

Facebook2If you think that’s crazy, read the rest of the post to find out the ridiculous hoops you have to jump through to finally get them to delete the account. Not that I’m thinking of doing anything of the sort; I’m enjoying Facebook very much right now, and the recently released applications have the potential to make it the next massive web phenomenon – effectively an online operating system.

However, before we all jump headfirst onto the next big internet bandwagon, it’s worth knowing how the company behind it all operates. It wouldn’t surprise me if Facebook made a U-turn on this non-deletion policy once this news spreads.

More Web 2.0 Social Networking

March 17, 2007

I just joined Facebook, the latest web 2.0 social networking site du jour, and I can’t help but think, how much social networking is too much?

To be honest, I hardly do anything with my myspace site these days, but it’s useful for keeping up with gig dates for local bands. Speaking of which, I’m off to see one of the best bands to grace the local music scene in years this Tuesday (at least, I think so). The Eye Jab – check them out, kids – mix angular, Smiths-esque quirkiness with a good nose for melodies and thoughtful, occasionally profound lyrics. They’re all under 20, too. If these guys don’t go on to Great Things™, there is no justice. 40mph is clearly the win on so many levels.

But back to the social networking.

So, now that I’ve got a presence on myspace, flickr, del.icio.us, and facebook, how am I going to keep up to date with all my friends paging me and messaging me every minute of every hour? Well, I probably need some kind of meta-social network engine which mines all the data from every web 2.0 site I’m a member of, and displays it in one simple-to-use at-a-glance page. In much the same way as popurls and original signal keep me up to date with the latest web buzz. There’s probably something like this out there already, but maybe it’s better if I don’t find out about it…

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