Posts Tagged: FriendFeed

April Events, Podcasts and Classes

Uptown Uncorked has a lot going on in the way of lunch and learn sessions, networking events, podcasts and more in April. We want to achieve our goals of connecting people, improving how you use the tools you have and teaching you what you need to know to drive your self or your business to a new level. We will be bringing you more and more real life classes, podcasts and web based classes to help you stay informed and learn new things that will help you succeed.

POSTPONED Continuing the focus on hyper local learning and real time reaching out, we are starting Lunch and Learn sessions on some of the topics we get asked about the most. The first of these is on April 18th at Rick’s Pond View (no walk ins, EventBrite signup or email me if you need to pay cash at the door), and is a class on how to keep your kids safe online. (Hashtag #KIDSAFENH)

Also in the hyper local category is the next Social Media Breakfast NH on April 17th (no walk ins, EventBrite signup only). University of New Hampshire (UNH) has generously offered to sponsor this event. This, the third Social Media Breakfast NH, is all about education and social media. We will have two speakers, and then instead of a third speaker we’ll do an open Q&A that will allow the educators present to pick our brains and learn from us in real time. (Hashtag #SMBNH)

Another upcoming event is the next podcast: Topics on Fire, Episode 15: Inbound/Viral Marketing. That will be on TalkShoe next Sunday 4/19 at 10:00PM EDT. You can follow the call here to get a reminder when it will start sent to your email inbox. (Hashtag #TOF)Last Topics on Fire Episode was on Music and Social Media. Have a listen:

There are more classes in the lunch and learn series coming, and more events planned. Stay tuned as we keep finding ways to share knowledge with you and foster connections.

TweetDeck Essential in Controlling the Twitter River When Cross Posting to FriendFeed and FaceBook

Twitter is noisy. This is one of the things I adore about the service, the constant chatter. For others, that never-ending stream of information is a bit hard to take. These people tend to gravitate toward other services, like FriendFeed and FaceBook, for a more controlled experience.

Recent changes to both FaceBook and FriendFeed have rendered them much more like Twitter. I talk a bit about FriendFeed’s changes over on the TouchBase blog today, and Triston has discussed FaceBook’s ongoing upgrades here. One of the side effects of being more like Twitter is having an increased noise level in general on FaceBook and FriendFeed, and even more so from people who update to all services.

I use all three, and up until recently was unable to figure out how to satisfy my need to share some of my Twitter thoughts across the three networks easily without being a nuisance feed to my friends on FaceBook and my subscribers on FriendFeed. I tried auto posting my Twitter feed to my FaceBook status for a while, but what was slightly obnoxious before the upgrade quickly became unbearably noisy after it. I didn’t feed my Twitter posts to my FaceBook status for long, choosing instead to do manual updates. If you still do feed Twitter to FaceBook continually, I highly recommend you discontinue your auto feed to FaceBook from Twitter. I assure you, you are driving your friends nuts.

I was also feeding my Twitter stream to FriendFeed, a practice I did not stop until yesterday. With a list of people I follow and talk to in the thousands, you can imagine how noisy this was, and how annoying the @ replies were to FriendFeed users, as there was no way to pick and choose. Regardless, I use FriendFeed as a true content aggregator for almost all of my blogs and networks, finding Twitter a more effective place for me to make connections with people, so I let that one ride for a while. I kept looking for alternative solutions, but until this week had not found one.

TweetDeck has been my Twitter client of choice since I exceeded 1500 people in my stream (up until then I used Twhirl, an excellent program, especially if you manage several client accounts). By allowing me to sort, filter, and many other things, it does what I need it to do. TweetDeck released a beta upgrade recently that allows you to integrate FaceBook. More importantly, it allows you to pick and choose which tweets you send to FaceBook using a handy toggle switch to the right of your post.

This is huge, and solved my river of noise problem on both services. As a rule I tend to want to share a few tweets here and there with people on FaceBook and FriendFeed, and the type of tweets are usually the same. This means I was able to unhook my Twitter account from FriendFeed completely, and instead add my FaceBook statuses to aggregate to FriendFeed. Now I simply click the toggle when I want to share a post with all three networks to generate conversations with people in all three places. This sends my tweet to FaceBook as my status, and then to FriendFeed. Voila! Noise problem solved. Now my friends on FaceBook and my subscribers on FriendFeed only hear things that are valuable, and not hundreds of @ replies a day.

If you are a FriendFeed beta user, you can control the outgoing noise to Twitter as well, since courtesy works both ways. Next time you post to FriendFeed, if you are using the beta (which I highly recommend, it is much improved over the old look and feel) when the CC:Twitter toggle pops up, click “Settings” right next to it. Then turn of the default auto post to Twitter, and only click the toggle to send to Twitter once in a while. Both betas, TweetDeck with FaceBook and FriendFeed, allow us to all be more courteous and genuine with each other. That’s a good thing.

The Importance of Social Media Landing Pages

As someone who manually reviews each new follower profile to see what they are all about, I can attest to the importance of having a link in your bio. I know I am not the only one who is less likely to follow you back if I can’t see more information about you than a few tweets (And if you protect your updates and are not my social-media-paranoid real life friend, forget it. No follow.).

I use the link in your profile page to make decisions that your existing interaction level can’t answer. Others who are newer to social media use it to decide your trustworthiness and online value, or how interesting you are. Following someone has a bit of a cost to it as far as time – the landing page you link to in your profile let’s new followers know you are worth their time.

Many people panic when I tell them they need a link to a landing page. They don’t want to start a blog or host a web site. They don’t want to sell products online or fuss with a CMS system. They prefer more lightweight interaction online and don’t see the point in committing at that level. You know what? That is totally fine. Even so, you still need a place people can go to see another facet of who you are.

So how do you have a social media landing page if you don’t want to have a blog or web site? That’s easy – cross link to your other social media profiles, or to a social content site or social network instead.

Social content is probably the best way to handle the lack of a dedicated web site or blog. If you have a Flickr account for your photos, a Qik channel for short videos from your phone, or even something like an Utterli profile where you record your old, angst-ridden teen poetry, link to it.

If you don’t generate social content, you should. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s often free. It takes less time than a blog or web site, and it is maintained by someone else. You get a profile page in a very no fuss, no muss manner, meaning that updating feels more like play but is still effective in getting what I like to call “snackable content” out there for the masses to consume, discuss and pass along (with credit and link backs, is the hope).

If you are strictly a social network participant and have no desire (or time, in some cases) to generate any kind of social content, no matter how small, you can still make one of your social network profiles into your landing page. Just tweak the content a bit to make sure it reflects a wider amount of your personality or accomplishments, then link to the profile.

To make a FaceBook profile your landing page, you need to make the permissions on the profile public. That’s a scary thing for some people, and not without risk. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can create a fan page for yourself or your company and link there instead, thus controlling access to your private life.

Just because MySpace has lost its luster recently doesn’t mean it isn’t a great landing page, especially if you are a band/musician. The custom URL feature makes it easy, and you can upload links, content, videos, commentary and more with ease, keeping your content interesting for visitors from other sites, like Twitter.

Don’t overlook some of the lesser known or niche social networks either (iMeem, Strands, MOG, LinkedIn or even sites like FriendFeed). However you choose to get another side of your personality or your company out there, that link in your profile is key to getting more response to your social media activity. Layers are vital. Show yours off.

Does Today’s Facebook Really Help Build Relationships?

Facebook has certainly come a long way since its baby days, hasn’t it?  As one of the first college students to adopt the social networking platform, I’m all smiles when Facebook rolls out new changes.  At the moment Facebook is promoting its upcoming home page changes which will allow users to post content directly from the main page, bypassing the need to jump to one’s own profile.  I’m all for it.

And the most recent set of changes, namely the “like” function along with the tabbed news feeds, have certainly taken the social networking site to a new level.  A recent study by The Economist, as relayed by Overstated.net, suggests that Facebook is helping users make and build relationships that might otherwise not be built and maintained without the site.  Certainly, there’s a comfort level with and value to “friending” someone on Facebook, and then communicating and building those relationships.  

But being able to “creep” friends of friends’ photos, send harmless messages to users you don’t know, and meet new people doesn’t necessarily mean you’re building real and lasting relationships.  In fact, in my own observations I’ve noticed that many college students are more than comfortable accepting or sending friend requests to common acquaintances for the purposes of staying hooked in to what’s happening in various social circles, but when it comes down to spending time together in public…well, it isn’t quite as fun and social as it is on Facebook.  

That isn’t to say that “social” relationships can’t translate to the real world.  Far from it, I know first hand that all variety of connections and relationships can turn into real relationships.  However, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say thatthe new tools of Facebook, which increase visibility, transparency and connectivity are directly causing real relationships to sprout up like dandelions.  

Also, it’s probably time to dispel notions that Facebook is somehow cutting in on the good times had by Twitter and FriendFeed.  Yes, Facebook has replicated some of the functionality and environment of each respective platform.  But when push comes to shove, I think most folks will readily admit that Facebook is a staple of their social networking, and more importantly, that it isn’t the same thing as using the other two platforms.  Facebook is also not stealing users from the other platforms.  Like it or not, most folks use Facebook, and if they use other platforms, they interact in different ways on each.  

Facebook can’t be Twitter, and it can’t be FriendFeed.  I like to think that cultivating an involvement in social networking leads users to adopt additional, different platforms to fit their individual styles and desires.  I’m skeptical of claims that users might be starting out on Twitter only to drop their accounts once they discover the holy grail that is Facebook.  

Make your friends and enjoy your social networks.  Just don’t go banking on some study which suggests that the ability to stalk some random person’s photos will make them your bff.

So Your Parents Found You Online, Now What?

The moment has arrived that you’ve been dreading. Your dad left a comment on that photo of you in the lamp shade on your FaceBook wall. Your mom made fun of the outfit you wore to that party – the one where you took that picture in the bathroom mirror on your MySpace profile. Or perhaps the alternative happened, and you just added your dad as a contact on LinkedIn and freaked him out by being old enough to be in the real workforce. Maybe that cousin no one talks to anymore is taking revenge for the family snubbing by being a troll in your Flickr account comments. When your family and your social network use collide, what do you do?

I may make light of the problem a bit but it really can be an issue from all sides. Even the most tight-knit families are fraught with history and tensions that never really go away, and have a pile of minor slights that have had time to build up over the years between siblings, cousins, parents and more. One friend has horror stories of her parents airing their grievances from their divorce on her profiles. Another’s mother was upset at the photos she saw of her “baby girl” at a party online and didn’t speak to her for weeks. When these worlds collide it can cause lasting friction if not handled well.

The first thing for all sides to remember is that most social sites give you a way to control who sees what. Use these settings! Don’t be afraid to limit or block a relative (or anyone for that matter) who has trouble with the concept of personal space and privacy. If you want to try laying out what you expect from family members online before resorting to that, that’s fine too, but that may not be enough for those with no concept of how public their comments are making your private history.

The next thing to remember on both sides of the fence is to respect where someone sets their boundaries. If your family member takes the time to say to you “Hey, it makes me uncomfortable when you “friend” people in my life you don’t even know just to keep tabs on me”, or “I use this particular network for work, and I don’t want to tell this group of people this much about my private life, you’re putting me in an awkward position when you comment” then stop doing it, whatever it is, or accept the fact that you may get blocked or limited for your persistence.

When I say learn to use the privacy options on all of your social networks, I mean it. Even Twitter, the most basic of social networks, offers a way to block people. FaceBook offers ways to limit what people can see, group friends and family into types or block people, and it is customizable on a friend by friend basis, which is a nice touch. FriendFeed even allows you ways to block or put people in groups. Whether you get social on a business network like LinkedIn or a fun network like MySpace, take a minute to get private and set boundaries both verbally and virtually. Your relationships with those around you may be the better for it.

What should the offending person do if they get blocked? Nothing. If you get blocked, don’t make a public scene at all. It may come as a shock, but that behavior is what got you blocked in the first place. If you must comment at all, do so privately, and respect the answer you get when or if you are told why the decision was made. After all of that, if you decide to give each other a test run and allow all comments and interaction in the social media arena, here are some tips to possibly avoid a need for blocking or limiting in the first place:

1) Parents: friending your kid’s friends, whether you know them or not, to keep tabs on them is only acceptable when they are a minor and you are looking out for their safety. Once they are an adult, even if you don’t think they act like one, you need to back off and give your kids some space.

2) Kids: know that there are repercussions far beyond your parents being online for some of the things you post to your profile. Not only is your mom looking at your cleavage shots, so is your future boss, future husband (or maybe not, depending on those pics), clients, future kids and everyone who knows how to use Google. That limits the amount of indignation you should feel about comments you get, since you did choose to put that out there into the public domain.

3) Follow the person’s lead. If they were on the network first, look at how they interact, read what they post. If they are reserved, act accordingly and be reserved on their wall! If they are more personal, feel free to loosen up a little bit. If they don’t seem to have time to play games, don’t bombard them with game and application invites, etc.

4) Family secrets are never ok to post. ‘In jokes’ are not the same as secrets – those are often fine. But commentary on past poor judgements, nekkid baby pics, all of that should be left for emails, letters and the family photo album on the coffee table.

5) Keep the internet a no-nagging zone. Nudging, poking and messaging incessantly when your family member does not respond right away is not appreciated. They are probably busy. Relax. It’s the internet – it’s not going anywhere – they’ll get back to you in time.

6) Resist the urge to critique your family members choices. Often a social network profile is simply a sketch of person, not the whole person. If you think they are being inauthentic, tell them offline, not on their wall or comments. You may be surprised to hear the reason behind their holding back a bit of their private self if you open an honest, offline dialogue about. And think of it this way, you may learn something new and cool about that person in the process, just by being considerate.

If you have story to tell about family social media interaction gone wrong (or right – I have found some long lost relatives online and enjoyed getting to know them, myself), please tell us your story in the comments. Do you think I forgot a pointer? Tell us that too!

This post inspired by a Twitter conversation earlier today between myself and @PurpleCar 🙂

Mobile Social Spreading, but Still Stunted

I just got my first iPod Touch, and suffice it to say that I’m officially hooked.  In fact, I’m more than hooked.  In less than 24 hours, I’ve effectively decided that lugging around a Blackberry Curve with the wonderful Touch is too much, and that I need an iPhone.  Leslie called the iPod Touch a gateway drug, and I couldn’t agree more.

Of course, now that I have an Apple Touch device, my first move was to jump on the Apps store and look for all the mobile social networking applications I could find.  I have to say, I was a little disappointed.  There just weren’t the plethora of applications I expected to find.

That isn’t to say I didn’t find some great tools.  First off, the Facebook app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is simply stunning.  It is far superior to its counterpart for Blackberry.  If I wasn’t already a Facebook junkie (and I was), I’m probably a lost cause, as it will now be fused to my hip in waking and sleeping.  

I also found a fantastic Twitter platform called TwitterFon, a FREE app that, in my opinion, bests any offering I’ve seen thus far either for mobile phones or computer platforms.  You’ll probably hear me harping on “free” for quite some time, as I’m sure there are many great mobile apps available for all mobile phones, but it seems some developers feel the need to charge for their creations.  I’m all for paying for apps that are well-developed, but there aren’t any trial opportunities for many apps that could be very good…in that sense, developers lose out because many won’t be willing to pay for something they’re not sure of, and consumers lose out because they’re more apt to stick with free apps than apps that might very well be superior. 

Also, I installed the Yelp! app to my iPod Touch.  Though it’s far from perfect, it’s a nice addition to anyone’s mobile device as it offers great search and localizing functionality for finding activities, restaurants and businesses in your area.  Today I searched for Starbucks, and found one 1.5 miles away; when I clicked “Google Maps” to get directions from my house, Google didn’t know the location existed.  Luckily I already knew where it was.  The point being, it isn’t perfect but it’s better than not having it.

And yet, I still find myself less than enthused with the current plight of mobile social networking.  Why?  Because, dear friends, the mobile social networking world is in serious need of multiple cross-platform social aggregators.  By cross-platform, I mean available with every major cellular carrier in the U.S, and by social aggregator, I mean a platform that ties in most of the best and most popular social networking and media sites like Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and others.  Though it’s all well and good to update each application separately, it just isn’t time effective to type out the same message for all your different services. 

I was surprised to find no evidence of a FriendFeed application for the iPhone/iPod Touch.  Though it isn’t my favorite computer-based aggregator, I think it would be a huge hit on mobile platforms. I’m familiar with what is currently the most widely-used aggregator for the iPhone, Blackberry, and other platforms — Loopt — but I find it lacking.

It does seem to be a perfectly fine social locator that integrates Facebook and Twitter, but if that’s it, there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement.  If you can use it, give it a try and see whether it fits your needs.  But it isn’t the be-all end-all to me.  

There are options, and mobile social networking has certainly come a long way from where it was even a couple years ago.  But competition between developers, and more so carriers, has effectively stunted the growth and restricted the adoption of universal mobile social networking.  For now, the best offerings seem to be available on the iPhone and the G1 (T-Mobile), and some of Samsung’s latest phones with the TouchWiz interface have some interesting (albeit limited) social applications.  For now, Facebook and Twitter seem to be the two big platforms, and your best bet is to find an app that suits your needs for each of those platforms.

Facebook Ties up Loose Contractual Ends and Everyone Cries Foul…Why?

Today the blogosphere is all a’tizzy about Facebook’s move to claim all rights, past and present, to user-uploaded content.  And perhaps the reaction is justified; didn’t we already deal with Facebook on the privacy front just a short while ago with the whole invasive advertising debacle?  

If you haven’t heard, Facebook updated its terms-of-service so that all user-generated content, be they photos, videos, links or annoying graffiti art, essentially belong to Facebook, not the creators.  Certainly, in theory it sounds ominous and invasive.  But at the nuts and bolts, it really isn’t in much different from the norm, whether we’re talking Facebook or any other social media or networking site.  

Aaron Brazell over at Technosailer.com concedes, “This is fundamentally not all that out of sorts from what most services do when licensing user content,” but then goes on to state that he’ll be advising others to abstain from uploading content to Facebook, perhaps only excluding links.  That sort of play-it-safe attitude might suffice, but it seems counterintuitive to the ideals and goals that many of us in the social media world share.  

The real question I think we should take time to answer before storming the castle with pitchforks and torches is this:  what does it change?  If Facebook is just now putting to paper what has been largely accepted by everyone until now, what’s all the hulabaloo for?  

Let’s say that Facebook used user content in the past without having the express rights written into the terms of service (which I’m sure has happened).  If the user in question wanted to fight it, they could take it to litigation, and they’d certainly have a case.  But I haven’t heard much from upset users bemoaning abuse of their content.  And the only reason we’re hearing anything now is because it seems like a huge privacy issue, when in fact it isn’t. 

Facebook is nailing up a loose end that could have been the source of endless grief, and one that could have been exploited by a savvy user looking to make a buck off the social networking behemoth.  Twitter user @Nazgul makes a very good point in saying, “Just wonder if wasn’t issue of ‘How do we keep from having to pull an ad just because it shows screenshot of a deleted user.'”  I would add, how do we keep from getting sued when the odd situation arises in which a user objects to having his or her content used?  Express terms in contracts save a lot of time and money.

The way I see it, if you want to use Facebook, you need to know up front that Facebook could use your content.  But I’d venture a guess that most folks aren’t reading the terms of service as it is.  It’s only the social media and internet privacy people sounding the warning siren.  

And while it’s our responsibility to make it unequivocally clear what will and won’t fly to the less-than-visionary Zuckerberg, I don’t think this is one of those battles that needs to be fought.  Furthermore, what kind of job would we be doing by discouraging people from uploading their content to Facebook?  Are we really saying, “Yes, Facebook is the biggest and most-used social network, and you should definitely participate in the interests of advancing social media and your own brand/image…but scrapbook your photos and have get-togethers in your homes to share your video content instead of uploading it.”  

We talk about clouding and cross-network integration, and how amazing it could be if we just got the support of the general public behind it.  I use my Blackberry to update my favorite social networks all at once, and  I’m not going to stop doing so simply because Facebook did what any good business would do and put pen to paper to protect itself.  And I certainly won’t be advising anyone to hole up in a bunker socially just because Facebook’s looking out for numero uno.

Making sense of the space between Twitter and Friendfeed

Twitter and Friendfeed: two social micro-blogging platforms which people continue to compare and contrast, like both locked in a duel to death with one another. Recently, Dave Winer wrote a piece on the two platforms, likening them to the early computing platforms of Macs versus PCs. Dave suggests that Twitter is like the Mac platform: easy to use and adopt, but not as open or capable as a “PC” platform.

While I see the validity of this comparison, I’m forced to reflect on current trends in personal computing. While Windows might be a very open platform (arguably more open than OS X), the ease-of-use and attractive simplicity of Macs is winning over consumers every day. Similarly, though the iPhone has a rather closed GUI and platform, it is possibly the most popular smartphone on the market, even over competitors offering Windows or Linux-based operating systems boasting “open” operating systems.