I’m currently helping Fundly.com get the word out about an awesome Social Fundraising Video Contest running through the end of the month. Now is your chance to participate for a chance to win $1,000 for the nonprofit of your choice and to help spread the word!
It’s been a year since Facebook went public with a Developer roadmap which signalled a shift away from third-party app integration and increased importance on the Home Page news feed. Last October, the Facebook home page news feed went real-time, significantly altering the user experience to focus primarily on the Home Page, as opposed to profiles or third-party applications.
The latest platform change “coming soon” is a bigger blow to the personalization of the profile page. In the past months, we’ve seen all kinds of irritating warnings that Facebook would soon strip application Profile Boxes and to move these boxes to the tab bar. Now, these tabs are the next casualty.
This is unfortunate in that it limits not only the personalization of ones profile but also the effectiveness of calls-to-action that benefit from users adding custom tabs to profiles as if they were virtual lawn signs. I proudly display a “No on 23” tab in my profile (direct link), so friends and anyone else who lands on my profile page can learn more about an important proposition on the California ballot next Tuesday. It’s alongside two other tabs that are “soon” to be pulled by Facebook: Goodreads and Last.fm — services I use to track the books I read and music I listen to (respectively). I don’t care (or know) if many visitors to my profile even notice these tabs or take interest, however, it adds value as it’s an intricate part of getting to know me. Sure, books and artists that I have “liked” are listed in my profile, but there is nothing live or temporal about that data other than when (in real-time) I click like and it reverberates through my network via the news feed for 24 hours or so.
I’m betting that you also like the ability to integrate 3rd-party applications and services into your Facebook experience and as tabs or boxes on your profile page. Again this is not a sudden occurrence, we were warned a year ago, and more recently applications which depended almost exclusively on the Facebook Platform, such as Causes and Zimride, have gone entirely standalone.
Does Facebook have something in mind to replace this experience or do we just have to learn to accept a more dumbed-down, walled-in Facebook from here on out? What’s next for Facebook application campaigns based on profile tab proliferation, such as those created by PopRule and others?
It’s really just another lesson in why you should never but an exact public date on a launch. Of course in this case it’s the date for a “disappearance” or removal, but as I predicted last month and as has occurred in the past, Facebook is once again guilty of writing threats on innocent people’s walls and then neither following up on them, nor cleaning up.
Without meaning to be too critical — I’m just sayin’. And, as long as I can have this badge on my wall it would be nice if my friends could still use it to click through and learn more about the, uh, Cause!
Apps like Cow Clicker would seem to be proof enough that the Facebook application marketplace is ridiculously oversaturated, but no — even Facebook itself can’t seem to keep up with the glut of apps old and new.
Every few weeks I come across a Facebook App on my profile, a page, or elsewhere, that is littered with red ink. The most popular splotch tends to be the warning that the iLike player (also known as the Facebook music player in spite of being acquired by MySpace last year) will soon disappear from your profile page. It’s said that for almost a year and… nothing.
A few months ago Facebook teased new Eventbrite integration — actually incorporating the Eventbrite payment system into the process of setting up a FB event, only to quietly pull the feature (which was functional at best) almost immediately. And the months go by…
Now it’s Causes, a platform that has grown with Facebook from the start. (Causes co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker apparently plays a prominent role in the forthcoming Facebook movie – Justin Timberlake plays the part.)
Whether or not the profile box really disappears in a couple weeks likely won’t upset anyone too much, however, the ugliness of the red tape over the badge (and the persistence of the iLike warning) ain’t pretty. And what’s with covering the actual cause campaign with a “Keep Causes on Your Profile” badge? It only instructs the user to add a tab. Essentially this means that eventually…. we might be looking at forced scarcity of apps that we can include on the main page of our profile. We’ll just have to wait and find out.
Have you seen other apps out there with similar “red tape” or red ink that never seem to go away?
For the past two years, I worked to raise awareness and funds to help stem the pressing environmental crises of our time: water, energy, climate. It was a great and successful run and I felt extremely lucky to be employed full-time doing what I love in support of critical causes that I believe in.
But regardless of the focus of my efforts (or career), my pet causes persistently tug at my soul.
What do I mean by “pet causes?” It has nothing to do with pets. Or rocks for that matter.
photo by Claudio Gennari shared via Creative Commons license.
When I was a freshman at University of Iowa and finally arrived at the age of independence, I thought: “We’re on the verge of a revolution and I’m ready, along with my new-found peers and old high school buds, to take on the world and turn it on its head.” I was pretty much like every other 18-year-old in that respect.
But as we grow and the world around us invariably and abruptly changes in both inexplicable and awesome ways, we start to think we might need to guard or cherish that which we find essential, lest it gets taken from younger generations. After all, it doesn’t take a long time at university to realize that you’ve got it better than many.
What I saw growing up and discovering the world in the mid- to late-’90s was a U.S. carelessly at the top of its game on the verge of imminent denouement and with a widening gap between the haves and have nots. The dumbing down of our nation had begun spiraling out of control and it wasn’t even the Bush 43 administration yet.
I began to get angry about certain things that I was afforded yet others were not. Nothing extreme, nothing impossible, just middle class luxuries that I refused to take for granted and to this day hope to see universally available – at least on a hyperlocal level.
My Pet Causes:
- The Arts in Public Education
- Internet (specifically broadband) for All
Arts in Education:
I learned to read music at age five – piano lessons. By second grade we played the recorder in music class. I probably had a crush on my third grade art teacher. Didn’t we all?
But by the time I got to high school, art and music classes were already getting stripped from public schools thanks to a budget crunch. And they never would recover. Fast forward to 2010 and it’s beyond blaming TV, video games, or the internet. Creativity is going out of style. It’s no longer an option. This is bad.
Broadband for All
I’m sick enough right now about LA public libraries shutting down every Sunday and Monday. The fact that we can’t bolster our society by at least subsidizing access to high-speed internet is a goddamn shame. I’ve reported on all the OECD broadband surveys in which the U.S. consistently shows up in the bottom half. Obama has presented a plan. Let’s make it happen… and more.
What you can do:
A little bit goes a long way and just by reading this far, you’ve (at least subconsciously) helped my pet causes. Please visit the following websites for more info and to take action:
- Americans for the Arts – http://www.artsusa.org/ – and on Causes.
- Quincy Jones – “Arts Education in America“
- Digital Divide — Networkforgood, SpeedMatters.org
- The Atlantic — “Liberty and Broadband for All“
What are your pet causes?