Blog Archives

Developing the Open in Facebook’s Open Graph

As Chris Messina points out in this post, the new Facebook global Like button and the Open Graph Protocol benefit Facebook more than anyone. But if you get to Page 3 of ReadWriteWeb’s Definitive Guide for Publishers, Users, and Competitors, Alex Iskold talks about the Semantic Web becoming a reality. I believe that this enhancement of the metadata made available by web site developers hoping to take advantage of the “Facebook Juice” is where developers can start to really open up the Open Graph Protocol and use it for a business/financial advantage.

I’m looking, here, at the kinds of things people have built on top of Twitter, and I have to think that as more sites embed metadata in their pages, there will be a great opportunity for new services to use that data. I haven’t come up with anything yet, but it’s only been, what, a week? The slow, wooden wheels of my mind are creaking as they attempt to churn out ideas.

Things I Read Today [aka Links!]

Rachel at cre8d design bemoans the loss of long-form writing. The example is a book telling a story composed of emails. While I agree with the sentiment that the loss of long-form writing is just that – a true loss – I’d be interested in seeing the same book told through Tweets and TwitPics (or Facebook status updates and corresponding Photos).

Google is set to speed up Gmail. I’m only up to 16% usage on my Gmail account, but I certainly wouldn’t mind anything they can do to speed it up.

Tim Bray is now a Developer Advocate for Google – specifically the Android platform. I don’t have anything against Apple and the iPhone personally, but as a software/web development professional, I am definitely behind the argument that their gatekeeper/executioner style of running the App Store is dangerous for any developer involved.

AOL Lifestream Might Be Totally Awesome

…but I may never know.

Part 1: Shock and Awe

I made a decision to try to just focus on positive things with this blog, but given my previous obsession with Lifestreaming, I can’t help but comment on this.

I read about AOL’s Lifestream earlier today on TechCrunch who, rightfully, said that it might be what Google Buzz should have been. From what Michael Arrington says, it may be all that and more.

The problem is, when I tried to sign in using Facebook Connect (which I would normally say is a great use of social network integration by AOL), I get this:

Whawhawhat? Really? No, really?

I’ve never seen that permission asked for before, and I hope I never see it again. While Facebook may be the Walled Garden with Reinforced Steel and Concrete Walls, I kind of like it that way. I can post stuff that I know only people I’ve friended will see.
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Nels on UrbanDictionary.com

From the popular Facebook meme, here’s the definition of Nels on UrbanDictionary.com:

Do I Lose Geek Points Because I Don’t Like Real Time Communication?

I tried making this into a Facebook Status Update but it kept trying to expand itself into something more. So, here we are.

The beginning goes: Do I lose geek points because I don’t like real-time communication?

Of course, my friends on Facebook would need some explanation because most of them aren’t anywhere close to as geeky as I am… and I didn’t feel like trying to cram it all in to the Facebook character count. And even if I did post it on Facebook, well, how many people are going to see it? And there in lies the first crux of the post. The second crux is that I don’t like (and I’m sure many people can relate to this) the Information Overload that comes with real time communications.

First Crux

When you have something like Facebook that currently shows either a) everything all your friends have posted, or b) an algorithmically selected subset of the firehose, well, most people are going to opt for the second because trying to look at everything is pretty much impossible (especially without an RSS feed – even if most people still don’t know what RSS actually is).

Second Crux

Have you ever tried to follow your Facebook feed (or Twitter Stream) in real-time? It’s like watching a TV show that you really want to be good, but is mostly just crap punctuated by a good moment every once in a while. Me, I don’t watch TV shows like that. I want ones that are good all the time. Or, I want to be able to speed through the parts that suck, to read (and respond to) the parts that are actually funny/fascinating. Maybe it’s fun to watch, say, on Christmas or New Year’s Eve when all your friends are updating with what they’re doing. But then, guess what? Your status update becomes: I’m watching my real-time Facebook feed, because you guys are doing cool stuff and I’m sitting in front of my computer. Awesome.

Another Awesome Facebook Ad

No, not an ad for Facebook (like they really need that?)

This one is for EZTrader, who evidently makes options trading easy…

eztrader_as

As tempting as the %75 return per hour sounds, it’s really the strange punctuation and capitalization that made me question the quality of this company. Okay, no. It was the %75 return per hour.

I don’t think I’ll be opening an account with them any time soon.

Facebook may end my run as the World’s Greatest Copycheater

Not only can you now use the Lite Facebook Interface – i.e., the Twitter Facebook Interface – but Facebook is also said to be (slowly) rolling out @ tagging of people in Status Updates. I actually posted a Status Update a while back pondering if Facebook were to add that feature, thereby eliminating my need to ever use Twitter again. And now my dream (yes, it’s a pretty lame dream) has come true. Now I can just use Facebook for my “mass” communications until I’m famous enough that thousands of random people will want to read my thoughts 140 characters at a time. (Or they could just read my blog, I suppose)

Facebook-@

A Triptych of Facebook Links

First up: ReadWriteWeb calls out Facebook’s Twitter envy. I’m with them… Why does Facebook want to be Twitter? There is already Twitter. Twitter has a totally different core competency than Facebook. Why is Facebook trying to change their own core competency to compete with something that has such an unproven revenue model?

On the other hand, competing with Twitter has forced Facebook to open up it’s Stream with an API. Now, can I start liking my friends posts in the iPhone app? Okay, I know, really this move was made so that 3rd parties can develop (or add onto) their own apps to help Facebook be as cool as Twitter is with their API.

But beyond the arms race with Twitter, the stream API will open up the possibility for many new applications both within Facebook and outside its walls. An obvious one would be better filtering options for your activity stream. It would be simple to create an app that shows you the most liked or most commented on items in your stream, for example. Or now that stream can be plugged into various social search engines to give you socialized real-time results. Hell, if I could just search my own activity stream, I’d consider that a giant leap forward. But Facebook still only allows developers to cache data for 24 hours, so you wouldn’t be able to build a very powerful search engine or return results from more than a day ago.

Facebook has also become not just an OpenID provider (issuing party), but also a relying party. I believe they’re the first big site out there to do that. I’m not sure why all the others haven’t, because honestly, it’s kind of annoying to have 20 different sites that provide OpenIDs but if no one accepts anyone elses OpenID then it’s pretty much useless.

I’m glad that Facebook is opening up, but here’s a couple more things they can do to compete with Twitter (and/or make me happy):

  • Allow tagging of friends in status updates
  • Allow users to view a feed with ALL updates from ALL friends
  • Try to make more content viewable on a single screen of the iPhone app
  • Start rolling out vanity URLs to users in order of when they joined Facebook

Further Proof that People Don’t Understand The Internet

Even though the Update to this post on TechCrunch about Last.fm and the RIAA says that Last.fm hasn’t handed over any user data to the RIAA, um, guess what? There’s at least 3 different websites (and those are just the ones I know of) (that are pretty easy to find with a simple Google search) that will allow the RIAA to put in your Last.fm username and find all your other social profiles. Do you have your real, full name in Twitter? Is your Twitter username the same as your Last.fm username? Are you listening to unreleased tracks that you illegally downloaded (like, say, the new U2 album)? Busted.

See, I’d rather have everyone in the world know that I have listened to Hillary Duff (*awful BTW*), Mandy Moore, and Leona Lewis than to have the RIAA be able to easily figure out that I’m listening to music that I obviously should not have access to.

To their credit, TechCrunch does say:

Incidents like this highlight how the social Web can sometimes bite back if you are not careful. It also raises the issue of who owns all of this data about you and what they can do with it. Unfortunately, it’s come down to this: you really shouldn’t share any data on the Web you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing in a court of law.

Yeah, it’s sticky when it comes to things like photos you upload to Facebook. But, when you are uploading/scrobbling your music listening to Last.fm, I don’t think it’s sticky at all. To me, that is all public domain data. I know that anyone and their mother can look at my listening history. But it’s clear that some people don’t really think about that. Again, as TechCrunch puts it:

most probably never even considered it a possibility that individually identifiable information about their listening habits (legal, illegal, or otherwise) could be handed over to an organization known for taking consumers to court for file-sharing. What makes this even more egregious is that it appears to be absent any legal precedent (such as a pending lawsuit) for which Last.fm could at least hide behind as an excuse.

Really, though, the RIAA could probably hire a code monkey to create a script to pull all the usernames from Last.fm who have pre-release U2 songs scrobbled, then either pull their name from Last.fm (if available) or search for other publicly available profiles to find your full name, and the do a quick Zabasearch to find your home address and/or phone number.

Now, of course, I think the RIAA needs to take a chill pill with the whole lawsuit thing in the first place, but the point of this post (if you didn’t guess from the title) is that people don’t realize that something like Last.fm can make their illegal activity available for everyone in the world to see. The same concept is easily applied to people in networks on Facebook. You know how many people that I’m not friends with in the Chicago network have hundreds of pictures of themselves which I can see posted on Facebook? I don’t either, but it’s a lot. Granted, most of them aren’t doing illegal things, but I’m sure there are some pictures that they wouldn’t necessarily want a complete stranger who just happens to live (or say they live) in the same city to see. There’s a reason that bank robbers don’t usually just walk in and wave at the security cameras while pulling off their heist. Does that mean we all need to learn to think like bank robbers when using the internet? No, but you might want to think like that when you’re doing something you know is illegal.

Bonus Link: If you’re going to kill your wife and try to make it look like a mugging, don’t search for things like “Medical trauma gunshot chest”, “Immigrating to Brazil”, “acute blood loss”. At least, not on your home computer.

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Facebook has made everyone a blogger

And I’m willing to bet most people don’t even realize it.

Since Facebook added comments to just about everything that passes through the News Feed, it’s created a microblog for every member of the network.

I now feel justified laughing at people (at least, behind their backs) who thought I was weird for having 3+ blogs (and a Twitter, and Jaiku, and Tumblr, and Soup.io). Suckas! You’re bloggers now too!

They're All Gonna Laugh At You!

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