After Facebook

After seeing The Social Network, I was curious what the other parties to the lawsuits were doing today. I can’t find information about what Tyler Winklevoss is doing, but this is what I could find on some of the other early facebook competitors & partners.

Cameron Winklevoss
Guest of a Guest
A site dedicated to promoting exclusive parties in New York. In their words: “Guest of a Guest New York covers the People, Places & Parties of Gotham; from the ballrooms of the Upper East Side to the barrooms of Downtown and all the hotspots in between. So come along for the ride and be the guest of a guest as we bring you the pulse of the city that never sleeps.” This seems to be the strongest of the post-facebook ventures, and you can see some of the facebook blueprint there – the exclusivity part, especially.

Divya Narendra
“SumZero is an exclusive financial utility focused on helping top tier investors share actionable ideas and grow their professional networks.” – No way to actually see how this works behind the scenes, so it’s working with the exclusivity factor, too.

Eduardo Saverin
Still owns 5% of Facebook, and made the list of American billionaires this past year. No word on other ventures that he might be pursuing, from what I can find.

Sean Parker
Still on the board and drawing a paycheck, although not directly involved after the cocaine party bust. And he’s now associated with Causes, which is connected into Facebook.

Business Insider has a list of 27 amazing things you didn’t know about Facebook – The List is culled from the book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.” Unfortunately the list on BI is one of those stupid articles that places each of the 27 items on a separate screen so you have to click through. I hate that shit.

Here’s an item I thought was interesting, though:

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga owner Mark Pincus own a crucial social networking patent – and that’s why they own some Facebook stock.

Given that these guys had some really bright ideas, I expected to see a bunch more creative stuff coming from them; maybe The Next Big Thing. I don’t see it there, though. But in hunting around, on a tangent I saw that Caterina Fake, the founder of Flickr was working on Hunch– I’d heard that before but hadn’t taken the time to figure out what it was. Very interesting – that actually could be the next big thing.

2022-03-12 Update: It was not the actual next big thing. I’d totally forgot I had an account there and can’t remember it. The site is dead; the URL isn’t even parked anywhere.
Continue ReadingAfter Facebook

STFU, Zuckerberg – On Facebook and Identity Politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

He believes that people should have a single identity: “You have one identity,” he emphasized three times in a single interview with David Kirkpatrick in his book, “The Facebook Effect.” “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Oh, fuck off, dude. When I want a lesson on ethics, I’m not going to consult the guy who’s openly exulting in selling people’s personal data to the highest bidder.

Pseudonyms and alternate identities have been always been a part of human culture, and for compelling reasons. The notion that Zuckerberg is going to enforce for all of humanity a criteria for identity and thus alter thousands of years of human interaction is hubris in the extreme.

Continue ReadingSTFU, Zuckerberg – On Facebook and Identity Politics

links for 2010-04-27

  • A very long article trashing social networking and how it's "affecting the nature of friendship." I disagree completely, but don't really have time right now to write out all the reasons why he's wrong.
  • "It can happen at the most inopportune moment: in the middle of a delightful conversation at a party, at a restaurant with new friends, while you’re lunching with co-workers, during a family meal. Someone makes a wild generalization about women who get abortions, and you’re shocked. You try to remain civilized but it’s difficult. To make matters worse, you’re not sure how to reply."
Continue Readinglinks for 2010-04-27

links for 2010-01-29

Continue Readinglinks for 2010-01-29

links for 2009-09-28

Continue Readinglinks for 2009-09-28

Goodbye, Twitter

There are lots of Twitter critics out there, and I have rolled my eyes at their criticism over the past several years in blog posts on this site. My opinion of most of their opinions has changed very little. I still believe most of them are wrong about their objections. For the most part, Twitter critics tend to fall into a couple of distinct categories:

1) Luddites.
There are some folks (even old, hardened, battle-scarred internet veterans) who just don’t get this social-networking thing. The don’t get why people want to have group conversations or connect with all of their friends online. Those folks are going be left behind in the technology gap just like non-internet users — folks who are now losing touch with cultural touchstones and missing opportunities to prosper due to lack of technology.

We’re coming up on a distinct generation gap between veteran internet users and a new generation of internet youngsters, and social networking seems to be the fault line between them. Interestingly enough, some of my co-workers are among the internet veteran/social network naysayers, which makes me realize that some of the online apps we build at work — with these folks — are in danger of being outmoded, dinosaur technologies because they don’t allow quality user interaction not just with us but with other users of our apps. That concerns me a lot.

2) Egotists.
You know exactly who these guys are. They find creative ways to make fun of the name “Twitter” and say things like “I don’t care what you had for lunch.” They’re the folks who don’t want to do something if they didn’t think of it themselves. If they had coded Twitter, they’d be promoting it on the farthest reaches of the planet, and they’re mad someone came up with something so popular. Give them a little more time, and they’ll be Twitter’s biggest users, and they’ll be purging their old anti-Twitter blog posts and pretending they took up Twitter at SXSW 2007 with the rest of us early adopters. I have a couple of friends in this category who now have more tweets than I do. I couldn’t get them to try it in March of 2007. Now they’re acting like they told ME about it.

I’ve found that the above two reasons tend to dominate critical thinking about Twitter and micro-blogging technologies, and neither of them are valid. However, I’ve discovered that, my enjoyment of Twitter and critique of the above criticisms of it aside, after 2 years on Twitter and 7,134 Tweets, I’m ready to pack it in on the Twitter app in its current form for a couple different reasons.

1) Distraction.
Twitter causes massive Continual Partial Attention. It’s not healthy, and it’s a serious problem for me. I get lots more work done at work with Twitter turned off. I get lots more work done at home when I turn off Twitter. And studies on multi-tasking show that people’s attention to detail and ability to do quality work suffers severely when they are subject to too many sources of input that take them off task. Mine most assuredly is.

I think that this is a drawback that could, with proper development, be overcome, either on Twitter or on applications that have similar functionalities. Twitter could adopt some way to “digest” tweets so you could turn off Twitter temporarily and yet scan tweets easily at later times. Or they could adopt some ways to mark tweets as “important” so you could see the tweets from your friend alerting you to a relative that just died, while filtering out the news about the celebrity that just died.

2) Micro-thinking.
When you have to parse every statement down to 140 characters, you throw out complexities, paraphrase, and, inevitably, make your meaning less clear. You start to think in simpler thoughts. After tweeting for so long, I find it to be a struggle to think things out and examine ideas in a more complex form. Hence the lack of longer writing on this blog. That is a trend I desperately need to reverse. The answer to that is to go back to the tool I use for complex expression – this blog!

3) Twitter-haste.
The immediacy of Twitter also means that my micro-thinking – my lack of reflection on and examination of the thoughts running through my brain – gets broadcast immediately. There have been times when I’ve tweeted something and immediately after realized the counter-argument to what I’ve just said, or realized the missing premise that invalidated the conclusion I just came to. Oops — too late.

I would benefit from a pause button on Twitter – a “Read that over – did you mean what you just said?” alert before my words get posted.

Not to worry, though – my every error has been pointed out by my twitterfolk.

4) Equality of Attention.
I know this sounds bad, but there are some folks who are your acquaintances for a reason. You have people you are close to whom you want to hear from every day. You have acquaintances who you enjoy spending some time with, but who are different enough from you that you don’t want to interact with them all the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s the nature of friendships. Twitter tends to flatten all that out. You get a lot more of your friends (good) along with a lot more of your acquaintances (not always good). And at times you discover things about your friends that make you want to turn them into acquaintances (disconcerting!).

Short of unfollowing people, there’s not really any way of filtering those people on Twitter. Facebook, on the other hand, lets you do this to a large extent. You can alter your “newsfeed” on your home page to see less of some folks’ status updates and more of others. You can increase and decrease the types of social information you’re getting from your friends. And you do that without their knowledge, and thus without hurt feelings. Allowing these tweaks means that you can control the flow of information to your computer and decline to listen to people who want to be offensive or intrusive without cutting them out of your life completely. In that sense, Facebook succeeds where Twitter fails.

It’s true that Twitter has been a really good thing in my life for a long time. I’ve learned lots of great things about my friends that I never knew before. But overall those benefits have been canceled out by the four drawbacks of Twitter I listed above. And for the past six months I’ve been struggling mightily with those drawbacks, torn about what to do. I think I’ve finally worked out how I really feel, though. I’m not giving up on social networking applications. I’m just rejecting one that doesn’t work well for me anymore.

span class=”hilightyellow”>2012 Update: Oh, you know I’m back on Twitter. I was gone for over 2 years, and I hopped back on when lots of celebrities were joining and we were using it more for work. My use of it has changed radically, though, to account for the difficulties I wrote about above. I have separate accounts: a public one for work, a closed one for friends, and a throw-away one for following celebrities. I don’t check Twitter for long stretches of time. I only look at my work account at work.

Continue ReadingGoodbye, Twitter

SXSW Interactive 2008

I’m getting final stuff prepped to take off for SXSW Interactive 2008 in Austin, Texas tomorrow. I’m going with three of my design team co-workers; one from here in Indianapolis and two from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

We’re staying in the Courtyard Marriott right next to the Austin Convention Center, so we’re in the heart of everything, which is pretty keen.

I went to the city-county building this morning and voted absentee for Carson for the special election next week, since I won’t be back until late Tuesday.

Attending this event last year was a huge learning experience for me when it came to site design work on the job. Over the last year I’ve had the chance to create some designs that I’m really happy with based on some design principles that I learned last year, so I’m excited to be able to go again and see what new things I pick up.

Ironworks BBQ

Photoset of SXSW Interactive 2007

Continue ReadingSXSW Interactive 2008

More Twitter Stuff

Now that I’ve reached a critical mass of friends who used twitter, some of the designers that I had added to my friends list back in SXSW are getting annoying. I kept a bunch of them because it was interesting to hear what they were working on during the day and how they approached design challenges. But I’m noticing an annoying trend – name dropping to tell how cool they are. If you have to tell me who you’re meeting at the googleplex, or what minor TV celebrity you’re live twittering a TV show with, you ain’t that cool, guys. Meh. Deleted.

Continue ReadingMore Twitter Stuff