February 10

Facebook New Page Format – first tests

Today I got a chance to play with Facebook’s new page format – a pretty interesting change.  If you are familiar with how your profile has changed in Facebook you’ll find the new Facebook Page format to be familiar.  It has the same line of photos at the top of the page  – so if your Facebook page doesn’t have photos (this one didn’t) you might want to add some [what I did was actually take some screenshots of blog posts – as the Facebook Page that I was experimenting with is tied to a blog – http://www.godlovesandrew.com].    The overall layout of the page is much more like the rest of facebook – vs. the older format (I’ll include a screenshot below of the existing format).

One of the really interesting things was not about the format of the page – but what it can do now.  For the first time a page can now act more like a profile – in that it can “like” other pages and have a news feed of it’s own.  For example if you look at the sample screen shot I provided you can see how I “liked” 2 other pages -and this shows prominently on this Facebook page.  So this opens up a potential marketing tool – as you can like and interact with others pages.  For example you could “like” a fan page where your customers live – posting content directly on that page – but as your FAN page.  I know that’s a little confusing – but it’s closer to what some people have asked of me.  You still can’t directly interact with other profiles – which is what some people I’ve talked wanted to do (that’s why some businesses have used a profile instead of a page).

Overall I liked the change – I just had to come up with some photos quickly (and will need to do for another FAN page) for it to make sense.  I do think many business owners will really like the ability to like (that came out strange).  I also think a more consistent UI to the screens is a good thing – to make it easier for users.

December 15

Book Review: Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

I remember hearing about this Facebook a few years ago – wondering what it was.  I was talking to a marketing guru type person – who explained it was used more by twenty somethings. This was one of those moments where it was obvious I wasn’t as young as I used to be.  So basically I ignored it.

About a year later (maybe less – I’m horrible with time) a friend of my wife’s (of course younger just to again remind me) invited me to Facebook And I decided to try it.  I didn’t do much with it first – mainly re-connecting with old friends who moved away (that’s when I realized they have another kid).  I found it was interesting and incredibly time efficient to communicate what’s going on and learn about their lives.  I’m now pretty well addicted to it – checking it multiple times a day and helping businesses use it.
After using it for a while I really wanted to read the ‘Facebook Effect’ – to learn more about how the company came to be.  I’m glad I read it – as I learned some fascinating details of how it came to be – mainly just how well Mark Zuckerburg managed it’s growth.

Again I don’t like to re- hash the book – but talk about what I learned. One of the fascinating things is the network effect – how growth is nearly exponential – as well as the value it provides grows as well.  Facebook grew faster than they hoped – as it was useful to their users – and they wanted their friends to be a part of it – their real friends in lfe.

That was the other part of it – on Facebook you are you – not some persona or alias.  This changed how we interacted and how we behaved (unlike the comments on newspapers where you can anonymously be a total jerk).  So it makes sense that I want my friends online – to be involved in their lives.

Now that’s why it’s also addictive – as all your friends are on it.  It would be hard to go to a competiitor as your friends aren’t on it.  So they’re in a great position in that sense.  And frankly we also find it incredibly useful – it meets a strong need and want in our lives.

So in a way Facebook is our story – as we are a part of it.  What I find interesting is that this company grew because it worked for us – we made it grow.  So many companies spend money promoting their idea of what we want and fail.  I think finding what we want and meeting that is a much better way to go.  So what affect has Facebook had on you and your business?

June 2

Facebook Privacy Revisited May 2010

With all the talk lately about Facebook Privacy I decided to revisit my Facebook Privacy settings again.  I wrote about this back in December (frightening – only about 6 months ago) but needed to check again as they changed things again, and then again.  Unfortunately I think it’s going to become a way of life in Facebook

k to have to keep checking this stuff – as I fear they are on a path from private to public – as they can make more money that way.  Of course this is quite annoying to some of us – as it feels like a breach of trust. To see your settings hover over “Account” (on the upper-right part of the screen) then “Privacy Settings”.

One thing Facebook just recently did was publish a summary of your privacy settings – which is good.  On the right I’m showing my settings – which are pretty conservative.  I basically set most of my stuff to be private – i.e. only my friends can see it – as I use Facebook in a private manner (For public items I have a website, Facebook FAN Pages,  Twitter, etc.) – for me it’s me – only for my friends.  I would highly recommend that everyone review these settings very carefully to know what you are sharing – your posts, photos, bio, who can comment on posts, contact information, etc.

Continue reading

June 1

Block those annoying apps from your Facebook News Feed

If you’re like me you’re tired of seeing the 18,000th posting about what someone is doing in Facebook.  Silly me – but I want actual content from people I’m friends with.  The good news is you can quickly block an application – and magic – it disappears from your news feed.

Here’s the article I found that details how to do it: http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_to_block_facebook_apps_posting_status_wall.html The short version is you click on the app name in your news feed and then on the subsequent feed you “block” the application”.  So much better…

April 29

Book Review: No One Size Fits All by Tom Hayes & Michael S. Malone

I just finished reading “No One Size Fits All – From Mass Marketing and Mass Handselling” – by Tom Hayes & Michael S. Malone.  This book is about the changing marketplace – that mass media marketing will become less and less effective.  That the Internet is returning us to a world of smaller, more insular communities.  That companies need to change how the interact with customers – from telling them about their products to engaging in their communities.

Overall it’s a book worth reading – but it’s a little dry.  There is a lot of research that the author references to make his points – a lot of sociological research.  While I’m not fully on board with the author – I think it’s worth considering how the world is changing how to market to customers.

Like in some of my other Book Reviews – I will talk less about the book and more about some observations about it.  I see some of what the author sees – as the growth of online communities is large and growing.  I’m on Facebook a lot, read Twitter posts a lot and support a number of online forums (from a technical perspective).  I see trends in TV watching – that people are using the DVR, watching things online – that old days of everyone watching the same thing are over.

One of the fascinating things the book points out is the human need to form groups – to find a sense of community.  One of the things I find fascinating is how much money (hundreds, even thousands of dollars) people will spend on their hobbies.  I can’t imagine spending that much money (probably because I don’t have it) on a hobby – but I see it over and over across many hobbies.  I’ve often wondered why that much money is spent – is it just because they enjoy the hobby that much – or is it about a sense of community?  About how by joining other in that hobby – of that shared passion – they find identify and comfort in that shared community. Continue reading

March 4

Facebook is now core to my life

I just realized how much Facebook is integrated into my life now.  My dad just passed away (it’s still not real as we haven’t had the funeral yet) and I used Facebook to pass the word. In one sense it’s kind of freakish – as that’s an impersonal way to communicate.

For me Facebook was frankly a very efficient way to get the word out – to interact with people.  One of the reasons I like Facebook is that it allows you to connect with people in an easy way.   I can post one item about my life that’s share with so many people.  And it’s better than just a broadcast e-mail – as you can interact with each other.  I don’t want it to replace all relationships in my life – but it’s very useful for people who live far away.  This may make feasible to keep up easily with those friends that move away.

It may also appeal to the geek in me – which I got from my Father.  Writing something online seems so natural – so second nature now (isn’t that strange how quickly that’s changed).  Facebook also fills that asynchronous nature of communication – in that you can communicate with many people – just not at the same time.  That’s also why texting has become so popular – as you can better time manage your communication.

In some ways this makes the world so much more impersonal – but in others more personal.  I can understand the smaller items of your life by what you share – in ways we probably wouldn’t do otherwise.

This was pretty much a rambling – but that’s about the energy and intelligence I have this week…

February 26

Facebook without app notifications?

Facebook is reportedly turning off app notifications from the news feed: http://mashable.com/2010/02/26/facebook-app-notifications-gone/

What would Facebook be like without these – more usable or something?  Of course, I wonder then if I’ll ever hear from some people – as it seems that’s all I see is app notifications (those I haven’t blocked yet…).  I know Facebook apps are money makers – but they’re kind of annoying.  If I see one more Fishville notification….

February 13

Google Buzz: First Impressions

I’ve played with Google Buzz some the last few days and have some first impressions.  Frankly I’m still trying to find my equilibrium with social networks – the best way to interact with them.  I had heard about Buzz (from Twitter) so I decided to try it.  This involved doing something I hadn’t done for some time – log into Gmail.   I’ve never really been a Gmail user – as I’m used to my Outlook client and the multiple e-mail addresses I have.  In fact recently I merged 2 different outlook files together – plus and archive file.  I’m a pack rat when it comes to e-mails – keeping just about everything. Continue reading

February 10

Google View of the World?

The news about Google is starting to get interesting – in terms of the scope of what they are addressing now.  Google seems to be building a vertical stack of services to cover almost everything to do with the computer.  This goes back to what Jeff Jarvis said – Google makes money when we use the web (advertising, advertising, advertising) – and faster means more:

  1. Google announced today they’re planning on testing out a new 1 gigabit internet service (http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi) – so they could be in the neighborhood soon.
  2. Google has a DNS service (http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/) – the magic thingy that translates the names we type in into the numbers that define the internet.
  3. Google has Gmail – it’s free web-based e-mail service.  It has a corresponding calendar, contacts, etc. service.  One concept of calendars is you can share them – have group calendars, etc.
  4. Google has it’s Google Docs – word, processing, spreadsheets, presentation, etc. – so you can do those basics online. Continue reading