Tag Archives: facebook

Once upon a Facebook…

I finally shut down my Facebook account. For years, I’ve said, “I hate Facebook. I love Twitter. I only use Facebook because I have to because I work on the Internet and it’s one of those things that you just have to do.” Well, you know what: No, you don’t. If I have a client who needs to know something about Facebook, or needs to set up a Facebook page, or needs me to set up an app for them on Facebook, I can easily set up a temporary account that has absolutely nothing to do with me to do so. If people want to find me and connect with me online, they can still do it through this site, my Twitter, my Flickr, and my Google+. Or they can always shoot me an email at ck at sampletheweb dot com or call me on my cell. All this information is public for a reason. I’m reachable.

Facebook was something that was getting between me and my effectiveness. It was a full on distraction. Every time I looked at my phone, there was another Facebook notification that I had no interest in seeing, but which I needed to go see in order to get it to go away. I changed my settings multiple times and this kept happening. Not only that, but the same messages were waiting for me on Facebook in the browser and Facebook on my iPad mini the next time I went to those devices.

The one thing that I ever enjoyed on Facebook were the pictures that my brother and his wife post of my nephew Emmett, but Kristin can show me those whenever I want to see them.

So after a multitude of years being enslaved to Facebook, I’m free. I was able to download all my data before killing my account and it all now lives here:

http://media.sampletheweb.com/facebook/html/profile.html

It’s much cleaner than actual Facebook for anyone interested in taking a walk down memory lane.

For my part, I’m more interested in the now and the future than the past. Facebook is the past. Onward.

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Rumor: Apple is building a social network. Reality check: Who cares?

iFriendFeedMG Siegler over at TechCrunch has posted Apple Planning Some Super Secret Social App? with an iFriendFeed graphic (pictured with this post), in which he points out that this is entirely a rumor, but also wonders if the possible pressure of Apple entering into FriendFeed’s space could be part of the reason that FriendFeed just sold to FaceBook.

Reality Check

As I just noted in my Google Reader Shared items stream: Apple sucks at web services. Apple is, and always has been, primarily a hardware company. Here’s Apple’s timeline of web services: free iTools became paid for .Mac became rebranded-because-it-wasn’t-selling MobileMe and it still sucks and the vast majority of users who are locked in to paying $99 a year for the mostly useless service are locked in because of that early @mac.com email address that was originally free that we all signed up for and which Apple subsequently switched over to pay. The other users are the ones who read all the great Push iPhone integration stories and think, “Ooooh, that sounds nice!”

Also, take a minute and poke around iTunes and the iTunes Music Store and App Store. This is quite possibly the thing that Apple has built that is most conducive to being social and it entirely fails to foster any sort of community. It only contains reviews. [UPDATE: I just noticed the stories that have been circulating about the new version of iTunes being more social. I don’t think it will succeed because of the track record Apple has with these types of endeavors.]

There will be no FriendFeed competitor from Apple and if it did come to fruition it would be a trainwreck, not something to push FriendFeed to sell to Facebook. More likely, it would serve to legitimize FriendFeed’s space and rev up the buyout price or persuade the FriendFeed team to stick to their guns.

FriendFeed sold for two basic reasons: because they liked the idea of building something that would be used by a broader audience, and they liked the idea of making some money for a change. Like they did (and two things they most likely miss from) when they worked for Google. Plain and simple.

Bye-bye, FriendFeed! See you in Facebook

iFriendfeedEveryone’s third most popular status update and conversation platform, FriendFeed, is being acquired by the second (or first, depending upon who you ask): Facebook. (More details can be found over on Obsessable). Facebook had already been mimicking some of FriendFeed’s features in its stream of updates, so the move makes sense. As FriendFeed never managed to really challenge Twitter, it also makes sense for them to sell to Facebook, but, for all you die hard FriendFeed fans, I seriously doubt that the site will continue on in its current form for long past the transition. Notice this carefully stated bit from the official FriendFeed post about the acquisition:

What does this mean for my FriendFeed account?

FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being. We’re still figuring out our longer-term plans for the product with the Facebook team. As usual, we will communicate openly about our plans as they develop — keep an eye on the FriendFeed News group for updates.

What about the FriendFeed API?

The FriendFeed API will also continue to operate normally. As above, we will let you know as we settle on our plan to more fully integrate with Facebook.” [Emphasis mine]

Notice that the FriendFeed team is already separating themselves from their product, referring to FriendFeed as FriendFeed.com and linking explicitly to it in that way.

This was really a people acquisition on Facebook’s part more than anything else. Sure, Facebook could have continued to build all the same features that FriendFeed has into Facebook, but instead of guessing about how it all works, why not grab several of the talented FriendFeed individuals, many of them former Google employees, to become core members of the Facebook team?

What will be interesting is to watch and see what Google does now, as Google had been adding several of the FriendFeed features to Google Reader and has been trying to do some sort of social network thing through its Google Friend Connect product (which I recently removed from this site due to its lack of activity). It could push Google to move ahead with wooing Twitter some more, but given the recent murmurings of anti-trust investigations and the challenge that the recent Yahoo and Bing deal poses for the search giant, I’m not expecting them to do so. Still, interesting things are afoot…

I wonder what the price tag was. [UPDATE: looks like it was $50 million in stock and cash.] Everyone is talking about it.

Update: Om has a really good post about why Facebook wanted FriendFeed. I think it still boils down to “for the people,” but Om’s post highlights why those people are desirable and why it’s a good fit for Facebook’s needs.

Review: Booyah Society

Review: Booyah Society—FREEBooyah Society
Released: July 24, 2009
Developer/Distributor: Booyah Inc.
Genre: Social Networking, Rated 12+
Version 1.0 tested on a 16GB iPhone 3GS


I was reading through my feeds while waiting for Weeds to start tonight and spotted this Joystiq post about a new iPhone app and social network that is getting some attention, called Booyah, that is free, plugs in to Facebook and Twitter and allows you to track your life achievements with a cute, customizable alien-esque avatar as if life is one big game. Interesting.

Several months ago, Barb and I actually discussed what it would be like to build something like this that was both a game and a social network and then watched in horror as viral hashtag-based games emerged on Twitter cluttering the airwaves. What I think Booyah is doing really well is matching the normal activities that you already report on via your status updates on Twitter and Facebook into an achievement-based game.

A lot of you may be sitting there thinking, but who wants to play a game based on regular life activities? To which I reply: remember a little game franchise called The Sims?

Anyway, I think this is brilliant.

Here’s a link to the official Booyah site and here’s a video tour of what it’s all about:

If you want to see more of what Booyah looks like, I’ve included a gallery of 66 screenshots taken from the application at the bottom of this review, including all the customization options available for your avatar, as well as all the various category views and different controls.

Basically, it’s a 3-D avatar-sporting status update application (you can actually flick your finger across your avatar and spin him in a nicely animated dizzy circle) that integrates with both Twitter and Facebook, but lacks some of the basic killer-twitter client features like tracking replies, DMs, retweeting, and the ability to reply to others. However, it appears to manage your Facebook status updates from you and your friends like a champ, with replies and even number count of replies viewable in its news feed. Additionally, it has it’s own location-based service with a global view via which you can track all the activity of other users of Booyah.

The main thing that Booyah adds to updating your Facebook and Twitter statuses—besides the awards, accomplishments, and game play—is the ability to categorize and track your updates. The categories include: Food & Dining, Fitness, Entertainment, Shopping, Work & School, Arts & Culture, Social, Travel, and Passions. I don’t see Booyah replacing either Facebook app or any of my Twitter clients on my iPhone, but I definitely see it as something fun that I’ll use to supplement those clients whenever I’m on the go and have something I would normally post that fits into one of these categories.

Also for all of you who are worried about flooding your social networks with Booyah achievements, you select whether or not you want to post each item to Facebook and/or Twitter via checkboxes, so you could simply update on the Booyah network and no where else if you liked.

In any case, it’s free, so I highly recommend that you check this interesting twist on status updates out if you have an iPhone or iPod touch.

Review Rating: YAY!

Continue reading Review: Booyah Society

DiggBar: First signs of Digg losing relevance to the realtime crowd

Digg has bait-and-switched its entire userbase by first offering the DiggBar as a URL-shortening service, but now redirecting all DiggBar created links to the Digg URL for the story, rather than to the root story and the word on the street is that the change is here to stay. In mid 2006, when Jason Calacanis, myself, and the Netscape team relaunched Netscape as a social news site, having the title links in our stories go to our permalink pages (which is pretty much the widely adopted internet standard) rather than to the source story was one of the largest criticisms hurled at us by the Digg crowd, who called us a Digg clone (ironic since by the same measure Digg is a Slashdot / Delicious clone). The other critiques were that we paid people to submit cool stories, and that we had a sidebar functionality via which you could view the source site in a panel on the right while maintaining access to our site in a sidebar on the left. It was a sort of NetscapeBar, if you will, and it had more functionality than DiggBar, although it didn’t shorten URLs.

diggbar

In any case, AOL made the mistake of moving Netscape off to Propeller after Jason and I left, and the Netscape brand is nearly fully dead at this point, being simply another skin to AOL’s portal. So it’s been interesting to me, watching Digg begin to copy things that we did early on at Netscape. If we were ever a Digg clone, we were a clone of this future Digg that finds itself no longer king of the world of internet clicks and is therefore making choices that are clearly against its previous stance on “how things are supposed to work” all to try to remain relevant and continue to gain and grow its pageviews. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that Digg still commands a hefty audience and has had continual growth in audience, but if you look at charts like Compete and Alexia, you can see that what once was a steep upward trajectory has started to approach something closer to gentle incline recently. Add Twitter next to Digg in those services’ comparison charts and you’ll see why Digg is scrambling to remain relevant and continue to increase pageviews.

I never hear about stories breaking on Digg anymore. Digg was *really* hot in 2005-2007, because the crowd voting on stories acted as one of the quickest filters of all the noise and propelled stories that we should be reading into the limelight in what was very close to realtime.

However, now we have Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed. People don’t have to vote anymore. They simply Tweet or update their statuses, and, behold, there are trending topics with trending links. Digg is starting to be undone by realtime.

Yes, Digg is still huge. But it’s no longer the media darling it once was. Twitter is the new media darling. I doubt we’ll see Kevin Rose on the cover of magazines again any time soon.

Thanks for reading my rambling. You should really digg this, Prop it on Propeller, and retweet it too. ;-)

More discussion about this here…