May 16, 2013
After hearing a bit about Facebook Home, I installed it to give it a whirl. I’m not a fan of replacing my launcher with Facebook Home and didn’t think I would use it full-time. After trying it out, I’m still confident in my assertion.
After the first install, it does look great. When you have a high resolution, large screen phone, and the entire screen fills with a photo; it should be attractive. I think that’s one of the reasons why Flipboard is attractive. It feels intuitive to swipe through the photos and read the status updates, although it’s a bit slow – I might do it if I have nothing to do, but not if I just want to know what’s going on.
I don’t like how they made the app launching so minimalistic. It doesn’t scale if you have a lot of apps, and you seem to lose the advantage of widgets & folders. If you don’t use a lot of stuff, that might be for you.
But I think the main reason that I wouldn’t use it on my phone is because the photos that are displayed aren’t all relevant to me, nor my personal device. I have a lot of acquaintances on Facebook, and when their picture pops up as the default photo on my phone, it’s a bit weird. I think it’ll make sense for a tablet where it can work a bit like a photo album, but the phone just doesn’t seem the right place for an app like this.
September 19, 2012
I remember back in 2004 when US colleges were being added to the Facebook network, but UW was left out – back then, you couldn’t get an account unless you had an email address from a in-network school. Then UW was let in and I was able to join! I used Facebook frequently; daily but never playing any games on it – and I still do now. At some point, I mirrored each of my blog posts onto Facebook and considered it the social hub for my photos (since I could tag people and EVERYONE was on it so they could comment). But then gradually, I and other people lost interest in Facebook.
Now, while most people still have their Facebook account, it doesn’t seem like they are using it. There’s still a core group of people who (perhaps annoyingly, perhaps young) post their entire life on Facebook. They are the ones that pollute your news feed even though you don’t really know them! But I feel most people just lurk nowadays, and wish people Happy Birthday. That’s boring, and not worth checking Facebook all the time.
For me, I stopped posting photos on Facebook, I switched to Twitter for my status updates because Facebook is too slow on my phone (although they are sometimes mirrored onto Facebook), and may post a link or photo every once in a while. It’s more than some people, but less that what I was doing before. Maybe it’s because there’s not much interaction on Facebook anymore, but there’s not much desire or motivation to use Facebook now.
May 11, 2012
I haven’t been doing any on-the-side Android stuff much lately, but I did publish a new app yesterday. This one’s called I’M IMPATIENT and it fills a very specific (and annoying) niche for me.
I think the worst app that I use regularly is the Facebook app. It is very poor because every time you open it (unless you’ve opened it 5 seconds earlier), you have to wait 30 seconds for it to load your news feed. It has “improved” in recent versions, but it already has a horrible rap in my opinion. While waiting what must be hours of my life away, I’m always wondering why is it taking so long; is it downloading full resolution versions of all the photos on your news feed and then resizing them on your device? or is it because my network connection is not working correctly?
I don’t know the internals of the Facebook app, but I can check the latter – so I built I’M IMPATIENT as a tool I can switch to for 10s and have it monitor the network traffic in real time. There are a lot of apps that measure your overall data usage (for billing and quota purposes), but I couldn’t find one which will show my current, detailed usage.
I actually started working on this app in January, just putting the groundwork together to get the traffic data. Then I lost interest and the source code until earlier this month (well I never did find my original source). The app itself is fairly simple and didn’t take a long time to put together – at least the initial version; I’ll have to pretty it up and put more bells & whistles in when I feel motivated to do so.
March 6, 2012
I’ve been using Twitter a lot more this year, to such an extent that I don’t update my status on Facebook anymore (I just let Selective Twitter do it for me). The main reason for this is because it takes two minutes every time I start the FB app on my phone – even if I just multitasked away from it 10 seconds ok. This seems like a horrendous bug by Facebook and I’m not sure why it’s not fixed since it has very high visibility. I’m sure people have wasted thousands of hours waiting for Facebook to come up.
But my usage of Twitter has grown beyond a replacement for Facebook. I share lots of random thoughts on there now, some of which are mirrored onto Facebook and some not. I think I’ve found more use for it because not a lot of people check it – it’s not that I’m afraid of posting private stuff on Facebook, it’s that I’m afraid of flooding other people’s news feed with my updates. Instead, Twitter provides me with a corner of the internet to shout to no one – kind of like a micro blog. And so Twitter fills its intended niche in my online world now.
February 23, 2012
I started a Tumblr blog a year and a half ago as an easy way for me to blog photos from my phone. I didn’t want to upload my photos directly to Facebook because they would then be lost in the Facebook walled garden and I wouldn’t be able to post it onto my lifefeed. On the other hand, I can cross post Tumblr onto my Facebook feed and retrieve a feed to integrate into my lifefeed, so it worked out.
I haven’t been blogging on it too much, at least it’s not a regular schedule. But I’ve also meant to use my Tumblr blog to reblog interesting graphics that I find as there seem to be a lot of Tumblr blogs posting funny and/or neat stuff. That was the theory, but in practice, there are just too many blogs to follow and I can’t keep up with what’s new every day.
Recently, I’ve decided to ditch the effort of reblogging. One reason is above, but the other is because I’ve been following the popular shake on mlkshk for a few months now and it is much easier to find the funny, trendy graphics because it’s pre-filtered! I lose the ability to cross-post my reblogs onto Facebook, but it’s not a big loss for me. It might be for you though, so if it is then bookmark my shake (not sure why they’ve decided to not implement RSS).
July 28, 2011
Google+ launched this month with a lot of hurrah and hype, but after the first week of furious inviting, the excitement has died down and it is just another Google offering. I’m not surprised at all.
When people first heard about it, for some reason their expectation was that it will be a Facebook competitor. I don’t think that could be a fair competition because this is truly a David vs Goliath fight; but Facebook will be the benchmark in which G+ will be measured. In that view, Google Plus is destined to fail.
Facebook has the critical mass, and has succeeded because of that. It has attracted not just the bleeding/cutting edge tech folks, but regular moms, pops, and teeny boppers who don’t care much about computer technology. What incentive does G+ have for these groups? Increased privacy once they’ve understood how circles work. Great, but if they truly wanted this, they would have invested time into understanding Facebook friends lists.
Regular users don’t care, but privacy pundits say they should, and that the onus should be on the service (whether it’s FB or G+) to protect their users privacy for them. G+ accomplishes this, but intrinsically makes the service harder to pick up. In the end, the average Joe will look at G+ and see that they have to spend time to understanding the concept of Circles, and once they have they can start partially stalking a couple of their techy friends. That’s not a good story.
So I am not surprised that once the initial hype for G+ had died down, Facebook is still popular and still king. Sure, there are people using G+ now, just as there are people who prefer Twitter or MySpace; but I think it is a long long way from competing against Facebook.
July 26, 2010
If you read my lifefeed you might notice that often I would have an item with the same status from Twitter and then from Facebook. The reason this happens is because I have the Twitter Facebook app which automatically copies my Twitter updates and posts them as Facebook status updates.
That’s a bit redundant, and one of the reason why I don’t end up using Twitter as much as I could. The other reason is because no one pays attention to my Twitter so I might as well be talking in an empty forest.
But I think I’ve finally figured out why I would want to use Twitter over Facebook. On Facebook, my status gets spammed to all my Facebook friends, but it only gets to those people. Whereas my Twitter updates are unprotected, and most importantly, they are searchable. If I have 140 character tidbits of information that I would like the world to know, they should go on Twitter, while inside jokes should stay on Facebook. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize this.
June 21, 2010
In this wildly rambling article, which eventually you learn is about Zynga, there is the following quote from Clay Shirky:
Currently, Americans watch 200 billion hours of television every year, while the total amount of time the world’s Wikipedians have devoted to building the largest, most comprehensive open-source encyclopedia ever known is about 100 million hours.
That’s all and good, but with all 300 million plus in the US, you are sure to get a ton of debate and edit wars that would be counterproductive.
And who is Zynga? They’re the makers of Farmville…
June 18, 2010
I signed up and was accepted into the beta program for Facebook Questions. It’s a lot like Yahoo! Answers, except of course it is integrated with your social network (well Yahoo! has a social network thing too, I forget what is called now that Yahoo! 360° is dead). I don’t think the concept is revolutionary or even evolutionary, it’s just that Facebook has the critical mass to make it popular and successful.
To get into the program, you need to answer 3 questions in a non-spastic/crazy manner. Oh and you get to pick your own questions too! Here are the 3 that I answered:
Why is it necessary for the web to have multiple search engines?
The existence of multiple search engines provide competition which in turns spurs growth and innovation.
When there are multiple search engines on the market, each search engine is in a competition to gain and maintain users. In order to achieve this goal, a search engine has to provide additional value to end users beyond what their competitors can provide. This can be through a variety of means such as by being able to search more sources, or having a better understanding of the goals of the user. One example is when Microsoft Bing launched, they integrated a travel tab to provide searchers with quick travel information in order to accelerate the process of booking travel (source). This innovation targeted travelers using search engines and improved the user experience for those users.
If there was only a single search engine, there is no need for the search engine to continually improve its offering. The feature set and functionality may become stagnant for the end user. By having multiple search engines, a competitive environment can be fostered resulting in a larger feature set for the web searcher.
How is Foursquare different than other web/mobile applications?
Foursquare (http://foursquare.com/) is a mobile application where users can ‘check-in’ into real world locations and share this data with a user-defined set of friends. I consider Foursquare different due to the combination of the following reasons:
1) It is quite popular, having over a million users worldwide (source).
2) It is one of the first mobile applications that programatically extracts a user’s physical location.
3) Incorporated a social aspect and friends list
4) Incorporated a game aspect (e.g., badges and points)
Currently and in the past, there have been web/mobile applications that are either popular (e.g., Twitter or Facebook), or used a user’s physical location and had a social aspect (e.g., Gowalla, Dodgeball) but none of have combined all of these aspects. I consider Foursquare different because it has become successful while combining all of these elements.
If you had a choice of sleeping in in the morning, or getting to work on time, which should you choose?
I think it’s more important to get to work on time, but I do like to sleep in as well. How I get around this difficult choice is by getting as many things prepared for work as I can the night before. That means packing my lunch, figuring out what I’m going to wear, preparing breakfast and packing my work bag before going to sleep. Then, the next morning I can enjoy another 10 minutes of sleep before I have to wake up and go to work!
May 30, 2010
It’s been over a month since I launched my Foursquare Badges Facebook application, and the excitement has since died down. Both for me and the press. But surprisingly, people are still finding out about my app and using it (I have over 1500 users now). Facebook has their own data and visualizations about users, but I am also tracking this information on my side. For example I can tell that my growth rate over the last month has been like this:
There are a couple of peaks. On the 6th, my Facebook app was approved and included in the Facebook directory (meaning that a Facebook user can search and find it). Then on the 12th, Foursquare released their application directory and since then I’ve been averaging a good 40-50 new users a day!
In contrast, I also created a Facebook application for Free iTunes Downloads. I didn’t publicize it because it doesn’t really serve much of an advantage to the end user. However, users have been finding the app on their own and adding it, although nowhere near as well as my Foursquare one. I’m still waiting to break 100 users on my FiD app, but the user growth graph is more wild.
May 2, 2010
This month, I felt most of the important stuff that I did was at home or in front of the computer. I watched a lot of hockey and because of that got interested in playing hockey (on Xbox) again. I finished up my first Be A Pro season winning the Calder for rookie of the year! I also messed around with web stuff this month; I redesigned and updated my profile and portfolio on my name domain, and I played around with the Facebook API. The first thing I did was integrate Facebook’s newly announced Open Graph initiative into my iTunes site.
The other major thing I did was to create a Facebook application to display Foursquare badges. I started actively using Foursquare this month and combined my interest in it with a desire to play around with web APIs. My Facebook app is doing pretty well and has over 300 users now.
In world news, some volcano in Iceland with a long and difficult to pronounce/spell name erupted and caused havoc with air travel across the Atlantic ocean and Europe.
April 28, 2010
After I finished up my Facebook Application that displays Foursquare badges, I didn’t really advertise it. Actually I wasn’t sure what the load would be like on my server (and there is a rate limit on the Foursquare API which I wasn’t sure whether I would hit), so all I did in terms of advertising was to create a link and put up a new discussion topic on the Foursquare Facebook App profile. I checked a bit before going to sleep and I still only had two users (Pauline and myself).
When I woke up, I checked the stats again and was very surprised that I had over 160 users! I figured that very few people (but hopefully at least one or two) would read my discussion topic (and then only a %age would actually try the app). 160 was pretty crazy! After a bit of searching, I found out that Facebook Badges was tweeted by a popular 4sq blogger. This was then RT about 15 times during the day.
The whole embarrassing thing about this was that the tweet had linked to my blog (I guess because I put a screenshot up) post that I hastily wrote up. Oops, awkward intersection of personal and public life. It wasn’t even obvious that there was a link between the app and my blog, but I guess if you go through a couple of links you would be able to find it. Plus, my blog entry ended up showing up in the Google search for “Facebook Badges”.
That ended up being the most popular day ever on my blog I guess, although it was nowhere close to a /. effect. Here’s how my analytics puts it:
An interesting thing that I discovered was I actually got a lot of referrals from facebook.com. That was very curious because I didn’t submit my application to the application directory yet. So were people finding about it through their friends’ Likes and status? I later found out that the same 4sq blogger posted it on their page’s wall. 25 Likes and a few comments later, that explains most of my initial users!
April 25, 2010
As I am obsessed with Foursquare lately, I’ve been looking at how to do more stuff with it beyond just checking in (when I’m fortunate enough to have a data connection). I looked at the feeds available and was a bit underwhelmed because the data was quite limiting. The best part about Foursquares were the badges, and you had to work with the API in order to get that data. And that was intimidating.
On this lazy Sunday, I decided to finally take a crack at it. I had an idea, and a quick search on Facebook showed that no one had done this before. I wanted to take the badges that I’ve received on Foursquare and display them on my Facebook profile. This little project used a lot of new technologies that I haven’t really played with before: the Facebook API, the Foursquare API, OAuth, and JSON (or XML parsing but I decided I might as well try something new here too). Surprisingly, it was quite easy.
Using a Foursquare API library and some sample code, I was able to setup the authentication using OAuth in an hour. It was quite simple, and just works! Setting up the Facebook App was a bit more confusing but they weren’t really technical challenges but just understanding the terminology. In fact that, and coding the various possible user scenarios took the largest amount of time.
I finished my Foursquare Badges Facebook application in one day (and even had time to write this blog). I was surprised that the APIs and interfaces worked so smoothly together, I guess the maturity of web applications and mashups is quite far along. Maybe I should spend more time playing in this space again.
December 7, 2009
I have a lot of embarrassing notes as part of the over 750 blogs that I’ve cross-posted on Facebook Notes. It’s one thing to blog about esoteric and anal things that you don’t really expect anyone you know to read because they have to actively seek out the source of your drivel; it’s another to stand on a soap box and blab all over the news feed of everyone on your friends list about the minutia of your daily life. Since I try to blog every day (ok at least 5 out of 7 days), I end up doing a lot of the latter.
Now I figured out a better solution for this. There are some blogs that I don’t mind the exposure and for those I’m going to add them to two categories on my blog, and I’m going to ask Facebook to pull in notes only from a special Facebook Notes category. That should help me from making my dirty laundry too easily accessible to the world.
November 24, 2009
You won’t see me tagging posts with both Facebook and IBM much on this blog since it is not good to mix work and personal life. But this is an exception.
The moral of this blog is that you shouldn’t work at IBM, file a fraudulent insurance claim, and post pictures on Facebook! Ha, it wasn’t me though, which makes this story an awesome tag cocktail instead of a rant.
October 9, 2009
I’ve been importing my blog (my blog, not my lifefeed) into Facebook as Facebook notes since 2006. That’s some 750 blogs! I didn’t really do it to drive traffic, as I would very much rather people visit my blog directly, but just because Facebook had this facility in place. It was never really an issue since these Notes didn’t surface to other users – until recently.
With some recent changes of the News Feed, every single one of my blogs began appearing in other people’s news feed like dirty laundry floating downstream. Embarrassing? Slightly, but that is kind of what you expect for blogging publicly. Actually what I was more annoyed about was that this meant there were two copies of my blog, one on Facebook and one on my actual blog. You can guess which one most people read.
Then there is a problem when people start commenting. I want the comments on my blog where I can control the data, and not in the Facebook eco-system. There have been some attempts to write plugins to import Facebook comments into WordPress but they typically don’t work anymore since Facebook likes to update their HTML every once in awhile. I’ve been keeping an eye out, and I was lucky to stumble upon a new Facebook comments WordPress plugin before Facebook broke it. With this, I’m able to import all (40, yay!) comments from Facebook into my blog.
August 24, 2009
I am pretty impressed by the E71, but there are still some faults with it.
- There’s no facebook integration. If I had an iPhone or Blackberry, I would have a custom app for facebook. But now I have to use the mobile facebook page which sucks.
- The GMail app refreshes itself, and notifies you when there’s a new mail, but the notifications don’t stay on the standby screen of the phone. So if I miss the vibration or alert, then I wouldn’t know I have new mail unless I check the app. I could solve this if I use IMAP, but that’s not part of my browsing package
- There’s no good RSS application. I want to sync my RSS feeds and then be able to read the full articles without having to go online again. But all the readers/browsers either need a connection to get the entire article, don’t cache the entire article, or only show summaries of each article.
- There is no good IM application. I want to use two things, Google Talk and Skype. The only program that supports this (Skype really) is Fring, but it’s interface doesn’t use the limited screen real estate intelligently. Oh and I can’t logon to any IM over the cell network for some reason (i.e., I can only get on over wifi)
- The keyboard is not that easy to use. I haven’t had Blackberry practice, so maybe it’s the same. I find I’m using my right hand to type, while finger typing with my left; but maybe it will improve with practice and familiarity.
- No increasing ring. My SE had this nice feature where my ringtone would start softly and then if I don’t answer, it would increase in volume. This would prevent societal embarrassment when the latest Britney Spears song plays on your phone. I guess I’ll have to change my ringtone…
- There’s no way to quickly enable/disable 3G. Not a big deal, but usually I don’t need 3G on as it wastes battery power.
- 320×240 is not yet a standard resolution, a lot of apps (i.e., games) only support 240×320.
July 25, 2009
There’s a stupid poll going around Facebook which I, on principle of not using stupid Facebook apps, refuse to participate in. It’s a question of whether you prefer the old University of Waterloo logo or the rumored new one:
Frankly, I don’t think the new logo is that bad. It’s dynamic and modern, which fits with Waterloo since they have no real history to draw upon anyways (unless you count bad 60s and 70s architecture). I can’t say it’s too much better than the old logo, but it’s not any worse.
All the votes I see on my news feed are against the new logo, but then I only know alumni who have a long history with the old one so that’s actually not surprising that they would vote for the old logo. In fact, it is pretty obvious since the new one is not a marked improvement. Here’s a fun game, what are some similes that can explain why alumni vote for the old logo? Here’s what I came up with: Deciding between the logos is like a vegetarian picking between meat or veggies!
April 4, 2009
I’ve heard that Windows 7 has this funny limitation for netbooks – you can only run three applications at a time. On first glance, that is crazy restrictive (how many applications are running in your taskbar?), but if you define Application more concretely, I think it’s actually realistic.
In practice, I’ve been swapping between three things on my mini9: Firefox, Windows Explorer (although I expect this to decrease now that everything is setup) and my IM application. I’m using Miranda IM, which is similar to Pidgin in that you can use a variety of IM protocols, but with the key difference that I can fit more than 5 names on my contact list on my screen.
With my mini9, now I have 3 locations (mini9, desktop, work) which I regularly use IM on. I’ve already asked people to add two
MSN Live Messenger accounts so I think asking them to add a third account (fourth if they still have my deprecated MSN account) is a bit overboard! This is where Jabber, and thus gTalk, beat Live Messenger for me. Jabber allows the same account to have multiple “resources” so I can be logged on in 4 or 5 places, and when someone messages me, it’ll hit me in all locations!
Without this feature, Live Messenger is almost dead to me. Most people are already using gTalk (in addition to Live Messenger), and a lot of the people I previously added on Live Messenger I wouldn’t chat with anyways – Facebook is a better replacement when keeping up with those people.
February 5, 2009
There’s this meme going around facebook where you have to post 25 random things about yourself, and then tag 25 people. It’s basically 25 blog posts with only exposition! Well I did it for myself, and in case you don’t have facebook, here’s what I wrote:
- I don’t drink coffee. Ever.
- I am an INTJ.
- I used to have an obsession with Christina Aguilera. Although I wasn’t a groupie, and never bought her memorabilia (well…except for her concert DVD…)
- I have never, and don’t intend to go to a gym, even though I have easy (free!) access to 3 of them at my condo, my parents’ condo and at work.
- I’m too shy to take portraits, I can’t get past that it invades your privacy.
- I’m not an alcoholic, contrary to what many believe. I don’t know how they got that impression of me…
- I was bossy as a kid, but now they call this leadership and it’s supposed to be a good trait!
- I hardly watch movies, and I don’t watch TV. Gossip Girl’s got nothing on me.
- But I have heard a lot of the shows on TV right now, because I have to blog about them on my iTunes blog.
- If you asked me a year ago, I would have said Yahoo! would be a great company to work for (ahead of Google, MS, etc). Not so much anymore…
- I hate ketchup!!
- I’m Chinese but I don’t understand math. All I do is follow some steps and get an answer. Plug & Chug got me through school!
- I am really enjoying 80s music right now, which I find odd because I never listened to it as a kid.
- Of the four person types (analytical, driver, expressive, amiable); I think I’m an expressive type. Surprising to me too, I thought I would be an analytical; but I didn’t realize this until I analyzed myself.
- I consider myself a tech geek, but all I really want is a streamlined and simple cellphone that is small and has a battery that lasts forever. I don’t really need email or facebook on the go (I think).
- I don’t believe (or understand) the value of videos for archival or memory’s sake; I still think photos are more suited to my goals.
- I live for the present, not in the past nor the future (ok maybe I think a few days ahead – gotta have tp).
- I blog a couple of times a week, although I’m not sure who bothers reading it, but I personally find it fulfilling.
- I have a hole in one shoulder, but not in the other. I’m not sure why, but they both seem to be working alright.
- I am very meticulous and anal about my mp3 collection. I rip my own mp3s, tag them properly, add album art, rate them, and rigorously sync up my iPod to maintain accurate play counts.
- I have a strong attachment to piano music, probably because I played as a kid; but it is more enjoyable than other orchestral/classical music.
- I have a rock band and I have more fans worldwide than Canada has people. They even love me in Siberia!
- I stopped wearing a watch in high school because I didn’t like how “time” was controlling me. I kept looking at my watch to see whether I could catch my bus transfer, except it was pointless because I couldn’t will the bus to go any faster.
- I used to have wanderlust, which has since subsided a bit. I still think it would be awesome to travel the world with a laptop, camera, and the clothes on my back though, but I think I’d need some ninja skills to do it safely.
- Hamburgers are kind of like proletarian food but they are strangely fulfilling in more ways than one. Like the BK Mushroom & Swiss Steakhouse burger – so yummy. Who needs Winterlicious, when I can go to BK.
November 23, 2008
The last session was about how we, as young people can change the world. The first two sessions were by entrepreneurs. Patrick Lor spoke about how iStockPhoto became one of the top 500 web sites in the world, and was later sold to Getty Images. His presentation had a lot of images, which I bet he sourced from iStockPhoto (except a couple of Spongebob ones).
Both Patrick, and the next speaker, Andre Charoo gave some tips on how to succeed. Nothing new here though.
The next speaker was Chamath Palihapitiya, the VP of Growth, Mobile and International at Facebook. He spoke about how Facebook the platform was enabling individuals to create change. Ironically he used one of those 1 million people for xyz groups in his presentation.
Chamath was followed by Matthew Hockenberry who works on the OLPC project, but he also discussed a bit about his research area in trying to find multiple solutions to a problem – and sometimes finding solutions to other things in the process.
Eric Chivian was a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work on stopping nuclear war, and he was there to promote his new book on biodiversity. His talk gave a couple of anecdotes on how animals and nature have progressed medicine, and how the extinction of animals such as polar bears will cause potential cures to be lost forever.
The final speaker was Melody Hossaini who was a youth leader on Al Gore’s Climate project. She showed a lot of pictures of herself and used herself as an example of how one can be active and incite change.
Overall, this was the best session of the conference since it gave a coherent message of how we could change the world as young people. What I think was impressive about this event was the quality of the speakers. Although they were not A-list celebrities, at least they were B or maybe C list ones. Why would they come to an inaugural conference targeted towards young people? Who knows, but it was entertaining and worth the money.
March 5, 2008
I’ve had, in my back pocket, a spreadsheet that I’ve been meaning to blog about. But because I was lazy in copying, saving and uploading charts, I never got around to doing it. But now that Google Charts API is available, it’s so easy! I started constructed a spreadsheet from my Facebook friends list a couple of months ago in order to figure out some statistics which I could then use for bloggery analysis. One thing that I was worried about was that my list would lean heavily towards the last few years but surprisingly I have many people on my list from elementary school (and I wouldn’t say only my friends, since there are people who used to pick on me).
The first question I wanted to answer was where I met people. I broke it down into 5 categories:
- People I met in elementary school,
- People I met in middle and high school,
- People I met during university,
- People I met while working, either volunteering, coop, or full-time, and finally
- Other people I met randomly such as through friends, as part of an activity, or in my family.
Here is my nicely pie-looking breakdown:
I was really surprised that my friends from university didn’t dominate the pie. Everyone I met at university is online and technical, so they would be prime candidates for Facebook; yet after adding everyone I could find, I only met a third of my friends from university. Part of the reason might be because I met people who went to Waterloo during Coop, and they ended up in the Work piece. That is the main reason why my work group is so large, because I don’t go about asking people I work with what their Facebook account is.
In the future, I expect the Randomly piece to start increasing, since I’ve basically saturated the people I know or want to add or they are Facebook-holdouts in the other areas.
January 25, 2008
I’ve blogged about Twitter before, and still think it is kind of cool; but it has been on the back burner since Facebook is basically sufficient for everyone’s social networking needs. But I’ve been thinking of resurrecting my account recently, spurred on by a wish to broadcast a couple of fledging, one-line ideas that can’t really be expanded into a full blog.
The problem is that now there are too many methods to do the same thing. I’m talking about “status” messages. I can write a status message on my MSN nick, on my Facebook status, or on my Twitter account. Realistically what I want is to update it in only one place, which would be on my Twitter account because at least on there I don’t have to start all my updates with my name.
Which is the reason why I took a look at Twitterbook, and decided not to put it on a cron job to duplicate my Facebook status onto Twitter. Ideally what would work for me is if Twitter and Facebook statuses merged into some sort of status mini-blog. I guess I should wait for Web 3.0.
November 22, 2007
You may or may not be aware, but Facebook recently introduced a concept called Pages which is their take on advertising. Because they are a social network, there is of course a viral aspect to it. Instead of traditional display ads, Pages work by first getting a “fanbase” and then advertising to the fanbase’s friends in the form of “Kevin is a fan of [corporate product], you should check it out too!” showing up on your friends’ news feed. It is a bit insidious because Facebook takes advantage of your trust in a relationship to push a corporate agenda. That being said, the information online about Pages is a bit convoluted because they are trying to market the advantages to its users, as well as the conflicting advantages to publishers.
After being confused for a bit, I learned that anyone can create a page for anything — you don’t have to be a company, and you don’t have to have ads. So I created a page for Free iTunes Downloads. I debated whether I should advertise the Facebook Page on the blog or not; as I wasn’t going to pay for ads, I wouldn’t be using it to drive traffic. In fact, the page would only serve to boost my ego in being another metric beyond RSS subscribers to measure the popularity of FiD.
Eventually, I decided to blog about my Free iTunes Downloads’ Facebook Page, as I didn’t really see the harm in pushing it. In the course of a day, I went from 21 (how did I randomly get 21 fans?) to 342 fans; not as many as I had hoped since I hover around 190,000 RSS subscribers. However, my feed subscribers jumped up to almost 220,000 the day after! Of course correlation does not infer causality, but if the Facebook viral marketing was indeed the cause, I converted 100 subscribers for each fan!