Having come back from a few days out of the office I missed some of the key tech headlines.
Never seems to fail. I used to try to keep up on vacation, but as so many of you readers reminded me, why take off if you're not going to at least make an effort to leave it all behind.
So what I missed in my mental absence was the discussion around Facebook Usernames, and the coming Oklahoma land rush for folks to gobble up their vanity Facebook URL.
First off, I've already got an identity on Facebook. It's called "Todd Watson."
There's 161 of us, and in spite of not having had a vanity Facebook URL up until now, everybody has found me just fine.
In fact, people whom I had hoped to have never heard from again have found me.
Now Facebook wants me to reserve a vanity URL so even more people from my past with whom I now have no common cause can track me down and remind me what a doofus I was in fourth grade?
But it gets better.
The new Facebook vanity URLs will be available starting at 12:01 A.M. Eastern time on Saturday, June 13th.
What is this, Ticketmaster in 1984 and I'm waiting for Van Halen tickets to go on sale so I have to show up and wait in line all night just to get a lottery number to wait and see if I actually get my tickets??
Hmm, let's see...my plans for this Friday night...yeah, finish work...head to the local brew pub and have a few pints of Guinness....come home and catch "Real Time With Bill Maher"....and, oh yeah, hang out until 11 PM CST so I can claim my Facebook vanity URL!
That is some serious living on the edge.
Count me ancient, but I kind of liked the randomly assigned number that has been my primary identifier on Facebook to date.
It's the closest thing to a prison ID as I'm ever to likely come.
Maybe I should get a picture of me in a zebra jumpsuit with my Facebook number firmly emblazoned across the name plate: "Facebook Correctional Facility"
Twenty years hard time for impersonating an IBM digital marketing dude.
Oh, for the record, my Facebook ID number is 665301006.
Try remembering that one next time you're in line at the deli or Baskin Robbins.
I don't know if there's any significance to the number.
I'm not sure if I'll ever actually be able to remember it.
But the fact of the matter is, it's mine and I don't have to compete with anybody else for it, including the other 160 Todd Watsons on Facebook.
The fact that neither you nor I can ever remember such a number simply continues to foster the notion, at least for me, that I can retain some semblance of random anonymity in this overly-connected world.
So, if, in the future, anybody asks me whether or not I'm on Facebook, I'm going to explain politely that yes, in fact, I am.
But that if you wish to be my friend, know that there are 160 other Todd Watsons on Facebook and growing, and to please...take a number.
Technorati Tags: facebook, identity management, turbotodd
I survived the sharks, the sea turtles, the anemones, and even a major election in Grand Cayman.
But I also survived being (mostly) unconnected and blogless during my scuba vacation.
I did so at the strong encouragement of several of my friends who follow this blog on the Internet Evolution site.
And boy oh boy, did they have some strong feelings about my not blogging during my holiday!
Auntie NoNo observed that "This is VACATION. This is not WORK time. It is meant as a time for bodily and spiritual rejuventation. Commune with the rays, not the hum of a hard drive."
DHCIR piled on, suggesting two blog posts would lead to three, three to four, and so on, and that I should get away from the "addictive" blah-gging.
Being the crowdsourced kinda guy I am, I followed the advice of the crowd and focused most all my attention on vacation and didn't write a single blog post while on holiday (well, not a work-related one, anyhow).
But also in the spirit of crowdsourcing, SteveGNYC remarked on Internet Evolution overnight that he would "love to hear from you upon return," specifically (a) that you did not become snacks for sharks" (we're okay on that front, Steve, unless I were writing this from the stomach of Jaws!), "but more importantly, (b) how did you feel not checking in, tweeting, blogging, calling, texting, etc.
Well, first off, Steve, to be perfectly honest, I didn't completely cut myself off.
Electronic communications are so integrated into my life these days, even though I didn't spend much time focused on work, I still used the digital media throughout my vacation.
My room had a powerful wi-fi connection in Grand Cayman, and it became my daily ritual to post videos I shot on my morning dives of the fishes and turtles up to Facebook.
By mid-afternoon, I'd have a whole peanut gallery full of commentary on my Facebook wall from friends, colleagues, family members, etc.
That was a whole lot of fun -- it was like all my friends were on vacation with me, looking over my shoulder and adding their witticisms via the Facebook comments feature.
Mind you, I'm very much a knowledge worker, but posting a video on Facebook doesn't take an excessive amount of knowledge (in fact, it's probably one of the easiest things one can do on Facebook!), so I didn't feel as though posting videos was treading anywhere close to work territory. And I got a real kick out of hearing from my friends in near real-time.
But Steve, to get more to the point of your question, I also felt just fine about not blogging for the entire week.
Auntie NoNo was absolutely right, vacation is just that.
If I'd have been posting throughout the break, that meant I would have had to have tuned into the blogosphere information flow on all things IT and digital media, which meant I really hadn't cut the umbilical cord.
As the old adage goes, a vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer. It should be just long enough that your boss misses you, and not long enough for him/her to discover how well he/she can get along without you.
Boss, I'm back, I'm blogging, and I sure hope you missed me while I was gone...even if just a little.
Round one tee times for The Masters have been released. You can see them here.
Apparently my tickets to attend The Masters got lost in the mail once again.
That's okay, my Sony Bravura HD demonstrates the blades of grass at Augusta National quite brilliantly, and I can make my own mint juleps in the kitchen without having to fight my way back to the concession stand.
This Thursday, in the opening round, Tiger Woods tees off at 1:52, and is partnered with Stewart Cink and J. Singh.
Just in case you were curious.
And as Tiger's score hopefully goes down down down, Facebook's continues to go up up up, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcing in his blog today Facebook's 200 millionth user.
Did the 200 millionth user get a free virtual beer or anything? Nothing??!
Maybe the option to revert back to the old Facebook home page, perhaps??! Doh!
Inquiring minds definitely want to know.
Of course, not everybody around the globe uses Facebook, as I found out last week during my Asian-Pacific travels.
Instead of writing a long blog post on the topic, developerWorks' Scott Laningham grilled me yesterday PM which resulted in this podcast.
Go check it out.
In it, Scott and I chatted about my impressions during last week's seven-day swing through Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan -- everything from economics to broadband and mobile use to China's "50 Cent Army," all in 14 minutes and 47 seconds.
Whew, no wonder I'm so worn out!
Technorati Tags: business travel, masters, facebook, scott laningham, turbotech
I'm suddenly not feeling so well.
As in, suddenly overnight.
I think all the running around South By Southwest may have caught up with me.
Which is a funny thing, because I didn't try to keep up with the 20-somethings and all the parties or anything.
I just went to the sessions like a good little student, took lots of notes, went out to dinner a couple of times with friends and colleagues, and then made my way back to the Turbo cave for a good night's sleep, each and every night.
So much for good behavior. If I'd have known I was going to get sick, I'd have stayed out all night at cool and hip digerati parties and completely worn myself out.
Okay, well it sounds good, anyhow.
I have exactly six days to get better before leaving for Hong Kong.
If I can't kill this illness by then, I'm sure 18 hours in economy class will do the trick. And yes, thank you very much, I've already started with the Airborn regimen.
Of course, Apple informs me I can now download "Quantum of Solace," along with other HD-quality movies, to watch on the iPod Touch on the way over.
But I'm not sure even James Bond can save us from a really bad April Fool's joke this year.
Conficker is a program that exploits Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities, and has allegedly infected over 12M computers.
John Markoff writes in the Bits blog that come April 1st, "the worm will generate 50,000 domain names and systematically attempt to communicate with each one."
Hopefully Cathay-Pacific's airline reservation system won't be one of those affected! I don't think hitchhiking from Hong Kong to Seoul is even possible, much less desirable.
Whatever happens, hopefully I won't end up in Montenegro, where the government has decided to block access to Facebook on government computers, according to TechDirt.
Look, I know the new Facebook page hasn't exactly been well received (Facebook's own polling suggests only 5% of their audience likes it), but isn't blocking access completely a little extreme?
Don't we want government officials everywhere to be able to send those cute little virtual cuddly things to one another?
Come to think of it, the new Facebook is kind of like traversing a government bureaucracy. You know there's a there there somewhere, but you just can't find anything.
Of course, even our own Uncle Sam is having some issues with the FB.
Another Bits post from this week indicated the Department of Homeland Security is having a tough go of it with Facebook.
"We have a Facebook page," an official from there said. "But we don't allow people to look at Facebook in the office. So we have to go home to use it. I find this bizarre."
Look at it this way: At least they're saving we taxpayers money on Uncle Sam's electric bill.
Technorati Tags: apple, business travel, james bond, facebook, social networking, sxsw2009
Okay, remember that post yesterday where I was completely cynical about all this Facebookin' and Twitterin' tomfoolery?
Well, apparently I'm not the only one.
My good friend Tiffany Tweeted this earlier, and I just had to share.
It's the Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application.
Whopper, as in Burger King.
Sacrifice, as in you have to sacrifice ten of your Facebook friends in order to get a free Whopper from Burger King.
NOW you know what to do with all those invites from all those elementary and junior high school people whom you never wanted to hear from again.
They're Facebook and Burger King Currency!!
Accept their invites ten at a time...then sacrifice them to the Whopper Gods.
First the Subservient Chicken, and now this. What ad agency does Burger King use again???
That's some pretty frickin' brilliant social media marketing that takes it full circle.
As to those of you of my Facebook friends whom I'm about to sacrifice...well, like I said, it's nothing personal.
I just wanted a Whopper for lunch.
Technorati Tags: burger king, facebook, lunch, social media marketing, whopper, whopper sacrifice
I was just reading on CNET earlier today that Facebook has now reached 150 million active users worldwide.
I'm pretty sure that a number of those that tipped the balance were people from my elementary and junior high schools that I was pretty sure I never wanted to hear from again, but they found me anyway.
I'm only partially kidding, of course.
I'm absolutely certain I never wanted to hear from them again, but they still keep sending those invites.
I joked on Twitter earlier this afternoon that everyone needed to stop Tweeting and Facebooking and get their sorry you-know-whats back to work, that we're in the midst of a major recession-bordering-on-depression and that we all must be fully productive!
But apparently talking to your elementary and junior high friends on Facebook passes for corporate productivity these days. In fact, only yesterday I was having a Facebook dialogue with some of my close friends from high school, and we were discussing the need for opening an online store where we could sell parachute pants and Spandex.
Hey, that's work related. At least for me, anyway. We were
talking about e-commerce. I'll have you know, those are
potential IBM customers.
So, fire away.
Send me all the virtual Facebook beers and glasses of wine and avatars and flowers you can find!
Send me invites to all the 80s movies quizzes and pictures of your skateboarding bulldogs and "Nader for CIA Director" virtual buttons you can.
Send me all the "I'm a Conservative and I Can't Wait for Obama to Really Screw This Country Up" Facebook group invitations your little heart desires.
I'll ignore most all of them, but don't take it personally.
No, if you really want to concern yourself with something that matters, take your digital self out into the sticks somewhere and help somebody's grandmother install that analog-to-digital converter on her TV set.
Because otherwise, she's not going to be able to catch up on "Lawrence Welk" or "Jack Benny" and soon.
You think I'm kidding?
Grandma in the sticks everywhere are seriously in threat of losing complete contact with the world via the boob tube starting on February 17th, the day of the nationwide transition to digital broadcasting here in these United States.
There's a video on the YouTube that demonstrates what happens when your grandmother gets run over not by a reindeer, but by a convoluted digital TV conversion box.
It's not for the faint of heart. But I was literally ROTFL bigtime when I watched it earlier this PM (Again, this is work related video consumption for me, because I HAVE to know what's showing on the YouTubes in order to keep up with my vocational milieu).
Grandmas everywhere are in jeopardy of entering a special kind of digital hell if somebody doesn't figure out how to mobilize the Geek Squad across the country, and fast!
Me, I think I'll just send grandma a virtual digital TV converter box on Facebook.
But I have a pretty good feeling she's going to ignore me.
Technorati Tags: digital broadcasting, facebook, grandma
Facebook is finally ready to expand its social networking tentacles beyond Facebook.com, the New York Times is reporting this morning, with the adoption of Facebook Connect by a number of partner Web sites.
This capability, announced earlier this year, will essentially let users take their Facebook data and use it on other Web properties.
Their identity (read: authentication, as well as basic profile information), friends, and privacy controls can be carried to and leveraged by other Websites, and in turn, it will allow those other properties to feed off the Facebook engine.
The Times story indicates that among those signing up to use the service include Digg, Discovery Channel, the San Francisco Chronicle, online video star Hulu, among others.
Though this is clearly intended to make the very popular social networking site even more social, it also seems clearly intended to identify more logical ways to monetize the Facebook juggernaut.
Advertisers haven't exactly flocked to Facebook in droves, and a recent IDC study observed that only 57 percent of users of social networks clicked on an ad in a social networking site over the past year.
By taking the Facebook profile data into other sites, Facebook is essentially opening the aperture of its ad sales opportunity.
But they're also running the risk of another privacy bungle, one not unlike the original outcry among college students when Facebook introduced the now incredibly popular NewsFeed feature, and more recently its Beacon advertising system.
For my money, education and a slow and steady approach wins this race.
Facebook needs to educate the market and its user base about the opportunity Connect presents to each constituency, one for selling advertising, and the other for enriching the Facebook experience.
By demonstrating how Facebook Connect can enhance the consumer FB experience beyond the site, Facebook can ease concerns about the use (or misuse) of their profile information, much as they smoothed over the initial concerns expressed about NewsFeed -- a feature which many would now consider to be the key feature that distinguishes the Facebook experience (I would be one among them).
Based on my reading of the Times story, the slow and steady approach seems to be the one that Facebook has adopted, remembering that friends in one's social graph are made one click at a time.
Technorati Tags: facebook, online marketing, privacy, social networking
I've had a long and storied career in the interactive marketing business.
I was interactive before interactive was cool. Way before.
But the best part of my career has been the incredible variety and diversity of very cool and very smart people whom I've met along the way.
From the agency partners to the other Web marketers to all the vendors and media folks I've worked with to all the various and sundry technology partners to all my vast number of IBM friends...suffice it to say I've been very fortunate and very blessed to have worked with and become friends with the caliber and number of people with whom I have.
Many of those friendships have continued long beyond their initial work scope (changing jobs, ended projects, etc.) and there are others who have faded into the distance, but whom I hear from now and again, and others whom I wonder what became of them.
So when I read on Networkworld today that nearly one in four businesses now block employee access to social networking sites -- sites like LinkedIn and Facebook -- I did a double take.
Are you kiddin' me?
You view social networking sites as a productivity killer? Really?
Look, I'll be the first to admit I like watching Tyson the skateboarding bulldog as much as the next person. Heck, I also just plain like bulldogs, so the fact that they can skateboard just makes them that much cooler.
So yes, there's some frivolity that goes along with social networks.
However, let me also point out this fact: Do you know how many cool and long-lost-friends-and-colleagues that I've heard from via Facebook over the last year. And that I'm still hearing from? People whose fate I had pondered? People whose advice I still valued, or whose expertise I still admired.
People whose talents and skills and knowledge whom I might be able to leverage on behalf of IBM again someday, and who, even if not, I was very happy to be back in contact with -- whether in a personal or professional capacity or both.
Online, what's personal is increasingly becoming what's professional, and vice versa. Locking down the bits streaming in from Facebook and other social networks may seem like a good idea at the time, but it's likely shutting down one of your employees' most powerful networking tools.
We're in a knowledge economy, people. And people and relationships and who knows what and who knows whom are an integral element of the knowledge economy value chain.
And you want to shut that down? Really? Seriously?
As Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, the consulting firm who conducted the study mentioned in the article, "...business should integrate social networking and other Web 2.0 tools 'into every facet of the organization, from marketing to internal employee communication.'"
For the record, we're doing that inside and outside the IBM Corporation, and never have so many communicated so much to so many with so much efficiency.
Yes, social networking requires some adjustments with how information is shared and with whom, although more of them are cultural and process-oriented than technological.
But if you really want to see your organization lose its vitality and productivity, go ahead, shut down the social networking Intertubes.
Pretty soon, you'll find yourself like Tom Hanks and his friend, Wilson, in the movie "Castaway":
Stuck on an island.
Wondering how in the world you can get back in touch with everybody back at the office.
Talking to a volleyball.
Technorati Tags: facebook, linkedin, productivity, social networking
So it may seem from this blog that I all I've thought about or contemplated lately is golf.
That's not entirely true. Golf has just been my escape from work, and the U.S. Open was sort of the icing on the cake for recent weeks, particularly after how it ended up.
I will say I was extremely proud of the USGA and IBM teams who worked on the Web site. I don't know any of them, but I thought they did a remarkable job, particularly for our first year out as partners.
I, for one, being the golf junkie I am, leaned on the US Open site extensively to keep track of all the action and to see the media highlights.
So, whoever at IBM was on that team, I hope you're getting some sleep now, but know I thought you all rocked.
As for the world of business and technology, the news bits have been streaming out so quickly it's been very difficult for me to digest it all, a problem I'm sure many of you have.
What's going on out there, you might ask?
LinkedIn took a $53M round from Bain Capital, and The New York Times reports that round puts their valuation at $1B. The company will apparently use that investment to make acquisitions and expand its overseas operations.
The average age of a LinkedIn user is 41, the report goes on to say. I'm 41, and I'm a LinkedIn user, so there you go.
But they go on to report that I'm less likely to build my digital identity around dates, parties, and photos of revelry. If that's another way of saying I don't post pictures of myself trying to one-up a fraternity brother on the beer bong, that's true.
But it also doesn't mean I'm a stick in the mud, either.
There was actually a great story about the continuing merge between the personal and the professional in the University of Texas local newspaper yesterday, here in Austin.
Entitled "Beware the Facebook Gap," it seemed to suggest blowback by college students reacting to increased scrutiny of their social networking presence by companies' HR departments.
Author Dustin Stonecipher, a history major at UT, writes that "...When a business users CIA-like techniques to obtain often out of context and private information, it becomes unethical and borderline illegal."
Stonecipher points out that "Facebook is "our space. It is not a resume, a grade report or a page in an online applicant pool," and yet "energetic" employers have found ways around these safeguards.
And yet he also cites a U.S. News and World study that indicated 40 percent of employers said they would take into account an application's Facebook page during their hiring process.
Stonecipher also points out that increasingly the growing openness of the Internet is leading to violations of the Equal Opportunity Act, where snap judgments can be made because of the vast, various and sundry personal information being placed online.
I have advice for both sides of this social networking coin.
Students, for better or worse, remember that your private behavior is now increasingly publicly available. The old adage used to go that you ought not say it if you don't want it to end up on the front page of The New York Times.
Insert "Facebook" for "The New York Times" and you'll have caught up with the virtual Joneses.
While I agree that such behavior ought not be used for the purpose of any type of hiring discrimination, particularly before the candidate has a chance to tell their side of the story, it's probably better not to arm the hiring committee with evidence that can only do you harm.
Read: Use the Facebook privacy features to hide those pics of you after several hours at the toga party, or better yet, leave them off the Intertubes altogether.
Employers, many of you were in college once. Remember that period of your life? When you had little responsibility, all the time in the world, and no microvideo cameras following your every move?
And, many of you lived in a time when the economics of distribution were limited to flyers that could be placed around campus.
Imagine your forays into the finer nuances of tequila shots being examined by your own organization's HR staff via a Facebook newsfeed and you'll get a sense of what these students are up against.
Give graduating students a break, and I'm not talking about the spring kind.
One incident on Facebook does not a college career make.
If every single student were penalized for the single "D" or "F" they made during their college tenure, many productive citizens would never have gotten through the first round of interviews.
For those getting similar treatment because they joined the "Students for Ron Paul" group (or "insert your candidate here")...
....well, let's just say I'm just glad my report card never had a Facebook NewsFeed...or my Animal House-ish "Delta" fraternity its own Facebook group.
Unfortunately, in the so-called "real" world, there's no such thing as DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION.
If there were, I'd surely still be on it.
Technorati Tags: career advice, facebook, privacy, linkedin, social networks
My mom has been recovering very nicely from last Thursday's double bypass, so much so that she was able to return home yesterday.
We did have a scare over the weekend when she went into an "atrial fibrillation." Her heart beat up to 200 beats per minute, and fluctuated dramatically.
Allegedly, this occurs in ~95% of heart surgeries. It took about five hours to bring her back into a normal sinus rhythm.
Despite the annoyance of a portable oxygen machine (although oxygen is a very good thing) and her lingering pain (which does seem to ease each day), Mom is now resting at home with her two male nurses (my dad and I).
I was supposed to have been in NY this week for some IBM meetings where we were going to be discussing the social media. As I related in a Facebook video to a private IBM group attending the meeting, I've been practicing what I preach instead of just preaching it.
Over the past several days, I was able to use both my blogs as well as Twitter to provide updates to friends and family, often from bedside.
The Twitter updates in turn updated my Facebook status, so that those folks who weren't following my Twitter stream could still get an update (which I needed only make once).
I also used Facebook to respond to friends who were checking in and sending their best, and, as is often the case with Facebook, even heard from some old friends with whom I hadn't communicated in a while.
And yes, I even rubbed two sticks together and sent a few old-fashioned emails (including to my mom's extensive list of AOL chat friends from around the globe).
To all of whom Mom says "hey," and she'll be back in the chat rooms in no time.
Yes, it is definitely genetic.
Technorati Tags: facebook, mom's surgery, twitter, social media
If you're keeping up with all this March Madness, there's never been a more fun and better way to keep up than the CBS Sports NCAA basketball "Official Tournament Bracket" application.
When it works.
TechCrunch reported on Friday that there were a few minor snafus with the application...oh, like the system not knowing that Texas A&M beat BYU (And I'll restrain myself now with the Aggie jokes, considering that I live in Austin).
Mike Arrington points out that "this is the risk that big brands take when they put an app out on Facebook." Risky business indeed, especially in a Cinderella upset year, which we seem to have at least some of this go round.
Me, I don't tend to get too worked up about these sorts of things -- unless, of course, they involve golf. Then you'll see my commenting on the Facebook group as well.
So for me, using the Facebook tournament brackets app was all in good fun and, surprisingly, I found myself leading my small circle of friends who had also downloaded the app (49 points at last count) and filled out their brackets.
Me, the guy who never even started a basketball game on his 8th grade team.
Alas, I did not have Davidson breaking out, and I certainly didn't pick Duke to take an early fall -- but my East and South brackets are poifect.
We'll see where they end up, but the data don't lie so far.
On the subject of nothin' but net data, Mediaweek is reporting that ESPN is cutting ties with Specific Media and other "unnamed" ad networks.
Why the change?
They're more about "arbitrage" than algorithms, which Mediaweek's Mike Shields explains "crystallizes a philosophical debate in the online ad sales industry."
There are those who want to do things the old way, he explains, with the direct selling of premium content brands, and then there are the geeks (NOTE: My phrase for the "math-loving crowd that favors automation and data. Yeah, Google and the like.)
I'm not so sure the two have to be mutually exclusive.
But if you follow the growth curve of Google's share price and compare it to that of most media companies over the last several years, I would submit to you that the geeks (and the ad networks) are leading in growth, if not in absolute $$$.
As Shields also observes, most large publisher sites are "swimming in avails" (available ad inventory) that they can't sell, with between 20 and 70 percent going unsold at any given time.
Ad networks help close those gaps and sell the remnant inventory.
Explain to me again why they wouldn't want to use the ad networks to offload that inventory?
Shields suggests a few reasons, including that large publishers see networks as profiting on "their" brand investments and "their" data, or that using ad networks devalues the power of content.
I think this could be penny wise and pound foolish. If these large publishers have excess remnant availability now, where does that 20-70 percent range slide when the recession heads further down the post?
No, it seems to me the order of the day for Web advertising is more data and more scale, not less.
Privacy concerns aside, the large ad networks deliver both, and the reach and impact of the network effect they can effectively leverage cannot (and should not) be ignored.
But what do I know? I had Duke in the Sweet 16.
I know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who says that Facebook is about to roll out some new privacy controls soon.
Like in the next day.
Caroline McCarthy's "The Social" blog indicates that the new feature will include the ability to control access to one's profile based on "social proximity" (Think six degrees of separation, a la LinkedIn).
So if I don't know ya directly, I don't have to reveal all my profile information to ya.
There's also talk about an IM client being revealed soon on Facebook.
But wait a minute, didn't AOL just spend $850M on Bebo so that they could link up the power of AOL IM with the reach of the Bebo network???
Well, yeah...but that is so earlier this week!
If you really want to know what's going on with your amigos, you can always revert over to FriendFeed, a "lifestream aggregator-turned-social network" says ReadWriteWeb.
Many have suggested FriendFeed is starting to tip, but as RWW points out, it's some serious information overload.
On the other hand, if you thought following your friends' on Twitter was fun, FriendFeed is all about following just about everything your friends are doing online.
Does that include following them as they exclude me from their Facebook privacy controls???
Technorati Tags: aol, bebo, facebook, privacy, search
Not wanting to be left out of the social networking tea party, AOL snapped up UK-based social network Bebo earlier this morning.
According to the press release, the acquisition "will give AOL a premier position in the fast growing world of social media with a network of approximately 80 million unique users."
The press release also points out that Bebo is "one of the leading social networks" in the UK, but ranked number one in Ireland and New Zealand!
This, of course, on the tail of Facebook's ever-growing internationalization strategy kicks in to (Spain, France, etc.) higher gear.
The asking price? A cool $850 million in U.S. cash., and building on the heels of Bebo's AOL IM interoperability deal.
But AOL ain't the only company around mashin' up IM clients and social networks.
Today IBM announced a new secure mashup technology ("SMash" -- GO IBM naming team!) that can pull information from multiple sources (Web sites, enterprise databases, email, etc.) to create a unified view of information.
Even non-technical folk like myself can use it to get insight on complex situation in minutes, and in a way that the distinct information sources from which the SMashup is drawing are secure and keep malicious code from creeping back into the enterprise.
Many more details to be unveiled at the International World Wide Web Conference at Beijing in April.
For now, you can learn more from the full press release.
Meanwhile, be sure to check out the "Combat Training for the Evolving Web Threat" interactive game at the bottom -- I killed a worm and four virii inside of a minute!
Technorati Tags: aol, facebook, internet_security, mashups, web two oh, social networking
The echo chamber is still reverberating overnight from the Sarah Lacy interview of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, even a scant 16 hours after the fact.
I was in the audience, and being both student and fan of good journalism, no matter what medium or delivery mechanism, I can only say I sat in the audience with some friends and colleagues completely stupefied.
Some have called it a train wreck. Others have used other choice words to describe it that I won't put into this family-friendly blog.
I would just simply describe the whole incident as a huge missed opportunity.
Here you have the 23 year-old CEO of one of the hottest Internet businesses going, with an audience that is both open-minded and curious about where the Facebook phenomenon is going and the opportunities it might portend for them as developers and producers of content, and that opportunity seemed to have been entirely wasted by the interviewer by making it all about her and little about Zuckerberg.
As a good friend of mine put in a rehashing of the interview over dinner last night, "it's like you had Marcia Brady interviewing Bill Gates."
Read Jarvis' post for the best post-game analysis.
Meanwhile, Twitter continues to be the effervescent community glue that creates the ties that bind here at SXSW -- and not just for the post Zuckerberg Q&A online ambulance chasing.
At dinner last night in South Austin's ever-popular Polvos, a dinner companion Tweeted that our party was dining at this said establishment.
About fifteen minutes later, an IBM colleague who happened to be monitoring my friend's Tweets appeared table-side to deliver his face-to-face regards.
At first, I thought we had ourselves a new waiter, before said dinner companion recognized the distinguished gentleman.
He explained how he had been monitoring our Twitter conversation and, because he lived about three houses away from the restaurant, thought he'd stop in and say hello firsthand.
We're most glad he did, and we're glad Twitter continues to demonstrate value beyond delivering rapid-fire news of disasters at South By.
Technorati Tags: facebook, bad_journalism, sarah lacy, sxsw2008
Didja see the Grammys last night? I made it about halfway through then realized that I'm woefully out of touch with modern music.
Dug that Circque du Soleil homage to the Beatles, though.
If you missed all the action at the Staples Center, Mahalo's Jason Calacanis found a few video clips on the Internets, including Amy Winehouse's satellite performance of "Rehab" live from London (Winehouse took the most Grammys for the evening, at five.)
The morning after, as the candles were burning out from the all-night Grammys after parties, I stumbled upon this story from the New York Times about Facebook's seemingly endless personal information misuse saga.
The Times' new angle: What happens to your information when you break it off with Facebook?
Apparently, not much -- including having your information not getting completely erased, even though that would be most peoples' expectation after deleting their account.
Speaking of Grammys, as one person interviewed for the story explained: "It's like the Hotel California...You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."
Says another: "...they save your information without telling you in a really clear way."
Facebook's explanation: Leaving some of that basic profile and historical information available in deactivated accounts makes it easier for former Facebookers to return to the fold and reactivate their accounts so that "their information will be available again just as they left it."
What, just in case one goes into Newsfeed withdrawals and is compelled to come back to Facebook?
May be. But Facebook may soon find themselves in consumer data retention rehab themselves, if they're not careful.
The way I see it: It was my information before we started seeing one another, and it'll be my information long after we're done.
Allow me to delete it, all of it, when I decide to leave -- easily and without a court order -- and you might just get another shot at me.
But hold my information hostage...well, that's just no way to treat a former customer, and I'll remember it long after you've allegedly deleted my account.
Technorati Tags: facebook, grammys, privacy, amy winehouse
What a difference a day makes.
This morning, Oracle announced (again) it was going to buy BEA...this time for $8.5B (last time they offered $17/share, this time $19.375...you do the math).
Sun announced it was going to buy MySQL, the open-source database, for $1B.
Twitter is back up and running after getting slammed by the virtual MacWorld crowd trying to spread the good news of the MacBook Air yesterday, although the Twitterati are shaking their finger and threatening mutiny.
To go where, might I ask? Pownce? Jaiku? Compuserve CB Radio???
But let's talk about the really critical news: The BBC is reporting that Facebook has been asked to pull Scrabulous!
Say it ain't so!
I, personally, won't be having Scrabulicious withdrawals, but I have select friends who play trans-oceanic Scrabulous games -- one letter per day -- who may soon be relegated to Facebook Solitaire, a fate worse than d-e-a-t-h.
I stand in solidarity with your Scrabulous selves, but completely understand Hasbro and Mattel alleging copyright infringement (for their original board game, Scrabble, the ownership of which belongs half to each).
But with 500K daily Scrabulous players on Facebook, couldn't a l-u-c-r-a-t-i-v-e d-e-a-l be worked out amongst the interested parties to score a Triple-Triple??!
Yes, Virginia, of course there's a "Save Scrabulous" group on Facebook.
You can join here. Wordsmiths of the Facebook universe, unite.
Finally, on the podcasting front, if you remember the early salad days of podcasting, once upon a time there was a great little podcast series entitled "The Future of..." put out by IBM that explored how technology will change our everyday lives.
Our corporate communications team has breathed some new life into the "Future of..." series, starting with "IBM and the Future of Medical Imaging" (something I've had direct experience with over these past few weeks), followed by the "IBM and the Future of Africa" and "IBM and the Future of Microfinance."
This podcast series was a big hit early on on iTunes, so break out that new iPod Touch, resubscribe. and get back to the IBM future.
Technorati Tags: database, facebook, open source, oracle, scrabulous, ibm, sun
Many kudos to my friends in the New York area who happen to be Giants fans, who whooped up on my Dallas Cowboys last evening.
I humbly eat crow before your feet as I watch Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson get on the plane back to Acapluco or wherever in Mexico it was from whence they came, Terrill Owens tearily feting them with his always emotional sendoff.
A good buddy told me in the NY area that he thought the Cowboys' problem was the ball snap.
That may have been a contributing factor, but I suspect the real problem was that there was no snap with the Cowboys in general.
Speaking of no snap, my DVR somehow missed recording the "60 Minutes" interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but thankfully BoomTown's Kara Swisher (who was also interviewed for the piece) linked the story in her blog this A.M.
Zuckerberg definitely looked the victim of some expert PR handling, but in the process, seemed to also have had the life sucked out of him.
Considering the passion around Beacon and other recent Facebook (dumb) moves, a little rationality could probably go a long way in such a piece.
Then again, a little more openness -- and, uh, maybe a smile once and again for the camera there, buddy? -- could also go a long way in endearing the 23 year-old-wunderkind's to all the fuddy duddys out there trying to figure out what this Facebook thing is, and to all the rest of us who would like to get a better idea of just how far Mark's willing to sell our personal information down the information superhighway.
Instead, Mark patiently and dispassionately explained that the site had to take advertising because he had 400 mouths to feed.
Yeah, well, you and every other advertising-funded startup along the Left Coast, Mark.
Leslie Stahl, 1, Mark Zuckerberg, 0.
Speaking of savvy PR moves, I woke up to a surprise pre-announce of IBM's 4Q earnings early this A.M.
Great move, Armonk! You go, team!
Get WAY out ahead of that Apple MacWorld Expo juggernaut which will inevitably suck the oxygen out of the corporate communicationsphere over the next several days (weeks? months?).
I will neither comment on nor elaborate about said earnings, but I will smile as I politely tell you that can find the details in the full press release here.
Technorati Tags: apple, digital media, earnings, facebook, football, dallas cowboys
Well, I finally downloaded Radiohead's new album "In Rainbows."
You know, the one I could have gotten for free if I could have gotten through on that nefarious Web site.
That's okay, it's now available for $9.99 on iTunes, and I had the whole album within a couple of minutes.
I thought briefly about ordering it via Amazon, where the price was $7.99, but then realized that would take a few days and would have interfered with my need for instant gratification, and anyhow, I'd already waited long enough.
So instead here I am, already listening to the second track, "Bodysnatchers," and must say I'm really digging it thus far. Hey, I don't listen to much radio these days unless it's on the Intertubes, so I hadn't heard any of the tracks thus far, and it really is kind of like being in a rainbow.
Just like until this past year, I'm sure none of the producers of "60 Minutes" had ever heard of Mark Zuckerberg.
But apparently reporter Leslie Stahl was able to track him down, and the early puff release from CBS informs us that Zuckerberg doesn't buy expensive clothes and sleeps on a mattress on the floor in a one-bedroom apartment.
Dude, what are you thinkin'? Buy yourself a bottle of '95 Krug, pick up a used Maserati (Just don't drink the Krug while you're cruising 101 in the new wheels, please)!
Cmon, you're the happenin' Web 2.0 geek, the new Bill Gates...go out and live it up a little, will ya?
As to the interview, the release indicates that Zuckerberg's committed to fixing his Beacon advertising system but admitted that it does need work.
What's more interesting about the interview is the fact that the bastion of old media reporting, representing a largely 50-60-ish demographic (and I'm a big fan from way back, the Jeffrey Wigand story being the huge exception, and therefore have always probably been an exception to their Nielsens), is turning to a figurehead of emerging new media to...do what, exactly?
Give Gramma a Facebook primer? Try to lure the young media back to the old?
Whatever the reason, kudos to CBS News for allowing comments on the press release.
One post by "Canaima" suggests that Zuckerberg may have a tall mountain to climb:
What I buy & when I buy it is my own business. Why should I want to broadcast it to anyone/everyone on Facebook or anywhere else, for that matter. It''s not like I''m getting some kind of discount to do so. I mean, what''s the incentive for me to do so? If a company wants me to broadcast that I purchased one of their products, then offer me a discount on the product. Otherwise, stick to your tradional ads, (De)Face(d)book. My privacy doesn''t come cheap, and certainly not free.
There's no better way to start the new year than a good blogosphere brouhaha, and Robert Scoble's Facebook data export escapades certainly served as a good launching point for such an incident.
Perhaps they might have picked somebody else with a little lower profile to go and shut down?
Turns out for the good, methinks, as it led to an interesting dialogue about who owns all that data floating around out there: the Internet entities or the yous and mes of the world.
I suppose it was inevitable such a discussion must emerge, and preferably sooner rather than later.
These NetCos are making millions of ad dollars off of yours and my information, leveraging our personal information to serve more targeted ads and hopefully, in the process, helping create a more efficient market between consumer and commercial enterprise.
I'm all for it. The more I watch Facebook blossom, and the more people I find on it, the more useful I think it is...and the more concerned I get about our individual and collective privacy.
Whose data is it, anyway, you ask?
I would argue at the end of the day that it's my data, and that I'm putting it on loan to these sites because it's a fair exchange for mutually beneficial value.
But as Nick Carr observes, none of us is in this alone: "...if you happen to be one of those 'friends,' would you think of your name, email address, and birthday as being 'Scoble's data' or as being 'my data.'"
Whose data, indeed? Calgon, take me away...and take my PII with you and put it someplace safe.
So I input my data into your engine -- and share my friends' data as well so that I can stay in better touch with my far-flung friends and colleagues -- and in return I allow the Facebooks of the world to make a little money by having access to that information to provide more targeted marketing.
But by putting a governor on the data export valve, Facebook (and others) seem to be saying they don't trust folks enough to intelligently handle their own information, even as I and others have spent hours inputting said information for the express purpose of facilitating that mutually benefical value exchange (and making them loads o' money in the process).
While I agree with Carr that Facebook has the responsibility to protect our information, Facebook (and others) should focus more on allowing portability of the most basic information (names, email addresses) so that I don't have to enter this information over and over and over and over again.
If they don't, I figure somebody else will.
Googleified tells us about the new Digg-style experimentation going on over at Google Experimental.
It involves allowing "some selected users" to "influence the search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results."
On any given SERP, a user will be able to move a search result to the top of the page from the bottom using an up-arrow.
Likewise, they can also send said listing down the page, if they don't find it as useful.
Me, I'll about social crowdsourcing myself, and am finding our own tagging implementations inside our Big Blue Firewall to be a nice antidote to not being able to find needed information otherwise.
I suspect social search could lead us in a similar direction.
But Google clearly has to give some serious consideration to a full-on rollout of using this tool on their core search results.
It would be too terribly enticing a system to try and game, especially now that you have a cottage industry of both black and white hat SEOs, and also with so many smaller businesses critically dependent on their long tail Google search results.
My advice: Keep it an experiment for a long, long time.
Meanwhile, Facebook's new advertising "Beacon" grows dimmer by the day.
I TOLD you in this blog many times before that privacy would be Facebook's gremlin, and that they should hire all the lawyers they could find.
Well, BusinessWeek's Catherine Holahan reported earlier that Facebook execs are "discussing changes" to their privacy-infringing Beacon ad system in the wake of "mounting criticism."
What, you mean all those thousands of bloggers and 40,000 Move On petitioners who are up in arms about having their every move tracked so Mark Zuckerberg can get closer to his $15B valuation mark?
The solution is so simple: Opt out instead of opt in.
I don't mind you tracking my every move so long as you give me the choice not to have you track my every move.
When in the world will Web companies get a privacy clue?
I'm a big Facebook fan and use it regularly. I'm rooting for them and sure hope they make the right decision here.
Give choice back to the people that helped make them who they are today.
If not, I fear they'll soon be making some new friends themselves in the social networking dustbin of history.
Technorati Tags: facebook, privacy, online advertising, social networking
Wired's Blog Network is reporting
that Facebook has caved into the demands of the growing crowds, and will soon the make the "is" in its now infamous status updates optional.
As in "Turbo is wishing the American Thanksgiving holiday would hurry up and get here so that he could eat lots of turkey and watch lots of football."
Apparently, over 500 anti "is" Facebook groups have sprouted up to fend off the often grammatically abused status.
Though I've tried to keep my own status updates as gramatically correct as possible, situation depending, it has at times been a bit trying.
So, "Todd is now glad 'is' will, as of tonight, not be a requisite component of his Facebook status, but hopes we quickly move ahead to some of the more important issues relevant to social networking. Is that okay by you?"
Meanwhile, for you Firefox fans out there, the Firefox 3 Beta 1 is now available for download, but recommended primarily for developers and testers and "intended for testing purposes only."
(I would presume that also, for grins, includes the testing of the new anti "is" status on Facebook.)
New features of F3B1 include improved security features, ease-of-use/installation, CSS and table rendering, and richer personalization via one-click bookmarking and smart search bookmark folders.
I'm not feeling well today, so I won't be coming into work...possibly ever again.
Instead of coming into the office and doing my job, I am instead going to spend most of my day posting embarrassing Tinkerbell-like pictures of myself on my Facebook profile -- which surely nobody, including my boss, will see -- just to see if I still have my job by the end of the week.
No sooner did I post it than the entire world has now seen my Tinkerbell picture and my lame excuse for not coming into work, and I did get fired!
I can't imagine how that happened, considering that I posted the photo of me and my Tinkerbell wand on a very public Web site to which scores of my friends and work associates subscribe.
Though I am now out of a job, I am already fielding phone inquiries from Hollywood agents who are sitting around with way too much time on their hands due to the WGA strike, and whom are interested in possibly helping me sell my life story.
The elevator pitch goes something like this:
Mid-level banker and rabid "Peter Pan" fan takes on Tinkerbell guise to help raise awareness around the globe of the significant risks associated with self-paparazzi-dom on Facebook, and soon, in a strange life-imitates art-imitates-life turn of events, finds himself starring as "Tinkerbell" in the Broadway revival of "Peter Pan" opposite his personal hero, Cathy Rigby.
Boss, are you sure you don't want to hire me back with all my newfound celebrity?
I might just be able to help offset some of those unsecuritized debt obligations you guys are trying to clean up from the mortgage debacle.
And look, I even have a wand!
Technorati Tags: digitollywood, facebook, online privacy, social networking
I missed the whole Facebook Social Advertising is going to save mankind bit back in New York City yesterday, but I'm LOL at some of the reactions, including Nick Carr's Rough Type.
I'm towards the opposite end of the country, in the lovely desert oasis known as Phoenix, wrestling with my own interactive marketing demons.
And as I still want to soak up other reactions, and have to run to a meeting, I'll keep my own observations brief for now, as I need to let the new Facebook social advertising platform soak in like a warm mud mask at some luscious spa out here.
Firstly, it didn't escape my notice the irony that just last week the Federal Trade Commission hosted hearings about surreptitious tracking by marketers on the Intertubes.
Second, I'm not sure what Facebook's marketing slogan is (do they even have one?), but I wonder if it's nearly as lofty a goal as Google's ("Do no evil") when it comes to its core business model.
Somehow, I imagine not.
I checked out The Facebook Blog to get the lowdown straight from the source, and I must say I'm really excited about the opportunity that I'm now going to have to connect with celebrities via Facebook.
On the plane ride out to Phoenix, I was just thinking to myself that my hair was getting a little dry and brittle, and wondering if perhaps Facebook just might come up with a new celebrity connection feature that would empower me to learn firsthand which conditioner Ashley Judd uses.
And of course, the advertising relevance whereby actions I take can be shared with my friends...well, let's just say that's one big cookie monster I think I might have to Delete with a capital "D."
I'd much prefer to keep my advertising experience up close and personal.
I'm already leaving ample digital footprints via my Google search query strings (the search history for which I've had turned off for over a year now!), and the idea that everybody and their grandmother will be able to start marketing to me via my Facebook bread crumb trail...well, it sounds good, but I also thought "1984" was a book of fiction by George Orwell until I suddenly found myself smack dab in America in 2007.
Remember that scene in "Minority Report" where the digital billboard automagically responds and changes content based on peoples' biometric scan?
I'm no Tom Cruise (although it's my understanding he uses Goldwell Definition Style & Shine Gel), but the lines between fact and fiction seem to be getting fuzzier and fuzzier.
Which is why I recommend to all my friends Dolce & Gabbana. Because the Dolce & Gabbana man is "a little hedonistic" but "pays considerable attention to details," and "loves everything that doesn't schematize him."
Including, of course, the new Facebook Social Advertising network.
I've always been more of a lover than a fighter.
Probably because in 8th grade I got whooped up pretty good by a 6th grader.
But that was a mere squabble compared to the seemingly imminent social networking street fight that's about to transpire..
On Thursday, Google apparently seems set to throw down with the launch of some new social media APIs.
Remember that classic street fighting movie, "The Warriors?" Well I'm going to reappropriate that line for just one quick moment:
"Facebookers, come out and play-ayyy!"
Mike Arrington with TechCrunch, Web 2.0 scoopmeister, indicated that Google's "OpenSocial" project will debut tomorrow, and will provide a set of common APIs that developers can use to create applications which will work on any social networks that choose to participate.
"Facebookers, come out and play-ayyy!"
Hey, I'm as Facebooky as the next guy (one who happens to be only three degrees from Kevin Bacon).
I'm really digging being able to get connected to all these people I really like. And yes, some who I wish had remained in my distant past.
Like really distant.
It should also be noted that I'm not on a developer, nor do I play one on the Web.
But if Google can help open up the life stream of information that has been so prevalent (but so proprietary) in Facebook -- profile information (the most critical), friends information (my social graph), and activities (news feed stuff) -- then I don't have to know Ruby on Rails to recognize that unleashing that information and making it available to the world can help prevent social networks from turning into the next walled garden AOL.
And guess what.
That incredibly valuable, extremely rich, most desirable demographic and activity information can then be redistributed and monetized on the backs of useful, functional, open consumer and business applications that could unleash a massive online advertising Renaissance that could make the first Web advertising boom look like one of Juan Pablo Montoya's first NASCAR pitstops: long, messy, and not very effective.
But first, we gotta have ourselves a good social networking street fight.
"Facebookers, come out and play-ayy!!"
It never fails.
Every time I catch a flight from Austin to NYC, or NYC back to Austin, some dramatic news is announced...or almost announced.
And I'm not talking about the kerfuffle
around Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University (Remind me never to get introduced anywhere
by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger. Ouch!)
No, I'm referring to the story
from The Wall Street Journal, and subsequent punditry in other parts of the blogomediasphere, that Microsoft was considering taking a significant stake in Facebook (up to 5%, according to the story).
Doggonit, and I was just getting to liking Facebook, too.
According to the Journal article, there's nothing less than the critical leverage point for the future of advertising online at stake:
"Whoever controls the technology platform for buying and selling online ads could hold tremendous power over the Internet industry for years to come -- much as Microsoft was able to use its Windows operating system to shape the personal computer."
Wow. And I just thought it was a really cool place to conduct surveillance on my online friends and tell everyone "Todd is not an ambassador attending the UN General Assembly while he's in NY this week, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn last night."
Didn't I mention a couple of weeks ago that Facebook would, in so many words, be providing the Internet Attorney's Full Employment Act of 2007 due to all the legal issues surrounding its business?
For example, yesterday's announcement
by the New York Attorney General's office that it was subpoenaing Facebook about how it protects its users, particularly those under-age, after a recent undercover investigation suggested Facebook's advertising and statements to users about the safety of its site are "materially misleading."
And heck, all that before I even knew
the Microsoft /Facebook M&A and anti-trust attorneys wing might have to be bolted on.
Hmm, maybe I should
go to law school, after all.
Facebook continues to dominate the headlines, with today's memes centering around money.
On the one hand, the BBC reports that Facebookers could be costing firms over 130M British pounds sterling a day.
Employment law firm (remember what I posted yesterday about Facebook offering full employment for lawyers???) Peninsula estimates that 233 million hours are lost every month as a result of employees wasting time on social networking.
"Why should employers allow their workers to waste two hours a day on Facebook when they are being paid to do a job?"
Well, first off, Mr. Smarty Pants lawyer, I'm not on Facebook two hours a day.
But if I were, fortunately for me it's part of my job to fundamentally and intrinsically understand the finer nuances and macro implications of both personal and business social networking.
But before companies go off and start blocking the Facebook IP address in their corporate firewall filters, they might want to wonder why there's no shortage of venture capital dollars chasing the Facebook management team.
Might Facebook be too corporately legit to quit?
As Kara Swisher reports in D: All Things Digital, Facebook's next round of dineros could be "well beyond its last $25 million one in 2006."
Somebody thinks there's some kind of there there.
Hey, I've still got the remnants of what was left in my dot com stock buying piggybank. Can I get buy into a little Facebook action? Can I, huh, can I?
Turbo officially proclamates that thou Facebookians should getteth while the gettingeth is goodeth.
As the economy slides up to the intersection of 34th street and 5th avenue in midtown Manhattan, where the downhill slide begins, the VC Dilbert pellets could start drying up faster than those blocked Facebook IPs.
Finally, speaking of New York City on this solemn day of remembrance, I just want to reminisce for a brief moment.
I visited the top of the Twin Towers twice during my time living in NYC.
The second and last time I visited there was around February 2000, just after the turn of the Millennium.
It was a freezing cold February day, but my buddy Ed and I braved the cold and the long ride to the top, as I had just taken ownership of my first digital camera and wanted to get some pics from the top of the world.
The pic attached below is one of those taken that bitter cold day in February 2000.
On a clear day you could see for what seemed like forever from the top of the World Trade Center.
In my memory, I still can.
Technorati Tags: 911, facebook
Yesterday was a great day for sports.
Tiger Woods won the BMW up in Chicago, continuing his momentum towards garnering the first FedEx Cup.
Roger Federer took his fourth U.S. Open in a row in straight sets.
Tony Roma and my Dallas Cowboys welcomed the Giants to Texas Stadium with open arms, particularly Terrell Owens (sorry, all my NY friends).
And Kid Rock took on Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee out in Vegas.
Not inside the ropes of the boxing ring at MGM, mind you, but rather in the audience of the MTV Video Music Awards.
Although judging from the commentary surrounding Britney Spear's return engagement, perhaps the MTV staff should have thrown up some ropes around Kid and Tommy and let them finish a round or two.
That would probably have been a might more entertaining than what was going on onstage!
Of course, if MTV celebrity fisticuffs aren't your cup of tea, know that there's also an interesting battle brewing online, this time on Facebook.
According to The New York Times, reaction has been building against an anti-Islam Facebook group, with some 58,000 Facebook members joining an opposition group which explains that, unless the anti-Islam group was removed, they were "quitting Facebook."
At last count, Facebook was garnering an estimated 100,000 new members a day, so Bob Metcalfe's network effect may deem the otherwise massive protest unnoticeable.
The Times goes on to report that Facebook declined to comment on the subject of hate speech, although one can imagine they can't stay silent for long.
Methinks this will likely be only one of many Facebook free speech discussions to come.
Anybody up for forming a "Lawyers for Facebook Free Speech Lawsuits" group???
Technorati Tags: digitollywood, entertainment, facebook, free speech
Hey, I feel for those of you in NYC today and tomorrow, what with the taxi drivers on strike and all.
What's most fascinating to me, though, is the rationale for the strike.
NYC wants its cab drivers to install GPS systems in their taxis, along with video screens and touch screen credit card processors.
The problem? These systems cost between $3000 and $5000, and an estimated of $100+ monthly fee, costs which taxi drivers fear they're going to shoulder most of the burden for.
Also of concern? The ability for taxi owners and dispatchers to follow the every move of their drivers via the GPS system.
"Hey Guido, what the ---- are you doing on the Gee Dubya when you oughta be out ta Newark by now?!!?"
My advice to visitors to NYC this week?
Get yourself a subway map, a bottle of water, and a Metro card, and don't be afraid to ask a New Yorker for directions.
Meanwhile, if you're concerned about being tracked via the Intertubes, normally privacy-friendly Facebook is making a really dumb move, one likely with the unadvertised intention of driving more subscriptions to its already fast-growing social network.
They announced on their blog overnight that they are making "limited public search listings" available to non-Facebook users.
That means soon you will be able to use Google and other search engines to find someone's Facebook profile.
To be fair, Facebook will allow one to control whether or not one's profile can be found via a public search
(Go here and uncheck the two boxes under the "Who Can Find Me in Search and See My Public Search Listing" section if you wish to be removed from public searches. I already have.).
But as Om Malik observes, this move turns Facebook into the "quasi-White Pages of the Web."
In so doing, they are diluting the power of an already very viral and useful social network in hopes of easily gathering compounded membership via the public search engines, and boosting their page views as they cast their eye towards the public markets.
Both of which I guess are hardly private affairs.
All I have to say to Facebook is that that is so 1999.
Or was that 1984?
Technorati Tags: facebook, nyc taxi strike, privacy, google, social networking
The New York Times' Ken Belson took a trip to examine IBM's vacation policy, which explains that "nobody's keeping track" of our vacation time anymore.
Well, that's true, although getting IBMers to actually take all their vacation time in a given year is like trying to get Microsofties to stop using Facebook.
TechCrunch's Mike Arrington explores in a post earlier today that on a percentage basis, 17% of Microsoft employees (over 13K) are active on Facebook, including several senior execs.
I'm not sure how many of we IBMers have staked out a camp on Facebook, although I've seen numbers that would suggest we're upwards of 14K population there ourselves (with over 450 IBM-related groups).
Maybe we could plan a vacation to Facebook?
Meanwhile, across the pond, the U.K. Trades Union Congress is advising companies that perhaps it's high time to establish some formal social networking guidelines, lest there be any cyberslacking going on?
One thing's for certain: Just as with vacationing IBMers carrying their ThinkPads and Blackberries to the beach, the lines between personal and professional are increasingly getting blurred.
It will be interesting to see whether or not a rush of employer-employee lawsuits will emerge over the public-professional/private-personal intersection in social networking-space.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to head over to Facebook to send somebody a fish for their virtual aquarium.
Technorati Tags: facebook, ibm, social networking, vacation
Robert Scoble clearly didn't have enough to do this weekend, so it seems he spent part of it with a camera filming himself
in front of a whiteboard.
Must see TV?
Actually, yes, if you're interested in the directions that search marketing and social networking may be headed.
In the three videos, Scoble deconstructs Google, techmeme, and Facebook -- what makes them work, and why -- and suggests that in four years, the people-powered networks of search tool Mahalo and social grapher Facebook could very well push the Google Goliath aside in favor of more integrated social search and networking.
Whether you agree with Scoble's thesis or not, he puts forward some provocative comments, such as "Google does not understand social behaviors," and also criticizing Google for not leveraging their own social networking engine, Orkut, in their own search results.
As I've started to use Facebook more and more, I'm realizing its virality and usefulness is
tied directly to my social "graph," the "friends" I'm linked to. And that is
something that is uniquely absent from the Google experience.
Also, now that the Facebook f8 platform is allowing applications to be submitted and integrated into one's Facebook profile, suddenly the noise and utility filter for accumulating applications is governed by your network.
Meaning, it's the idea of six degrees of separation evolved to some useful end. I don't need to traverse an endless listing of widgets and gadgets. Suddenly, I can get personal recommendations for cool new tools because my own network is providing them.
Example: If John adopts the new "Video" application on Facebook, and suddenly John's friend Suzy sees that John is using that tool, because Suzy trusts John she'll be more inclined to both learn about and install the new application.
And so on, and so on, and so on...pretty soon you've got a powerful and very personal network.
Personal trust equals action. And, as Scoble suggests, "Facebook has learned how to lock out SEO."
In this new socially networked world, the trust now comes from your network, not from Serge and Larry's beauty contest patent (SEO), a system around which an entire industry has sprouted and which, at the end of the day, comes down to gaming the system.
With the tipping point meeting the wisdom of crowds, however, trust trumps rock, paper, and
I know you, I trust you, therefore I'll take your advice and follow your lead instead of having some algorithm attempt to filter it all for me. It's the trust network.
Some are suggesting the videos are a long commercial for Mahalo
I'm not so sure Scoble likes Calacanis that
much, and in any case, the larger points ought not be missed by all the noise from the naysayers and piler-onners (including that incessant beeping on KyteTV where the chatterati comment realtime on the video streams).
As for me, I spent my Saturday afternoon watching da Vinci like flying machines fall off a scaffolding at the Austin Red Bull Flugtag
But I'm glad Scoble was so productive. I like what he had to say, although I'm still trying to connect all his dots.
As for Google, well...Scoble gives 'em four years to connect theirs.[Read More