Facebook Timeline Thrusts You into the Participatory Web. Be Prepared.

Facebook has always pushed openness and sharing on its users and this latest innovation is bound to spark concern among users who wish to maintain significant privacy controls over their profile and presence. For users that embrace the increasingly open and social nature of the web, the distracting nature of Facebook is about to multiply exponentially. Below, an outline of what you need to know and tips to prepare and protect yourself.

Facebook Timeline
Facebook profiles are now personal timelines

Facebook‘s biggest and boldest move to date was announced last week at its f8 conference. Timeline is a complete overhaul of Facebook profiles and changes the way user behavior is reflected and shared across one’s network, or social graph. In essence, Facebook expects users to be active participants in the social web, actively sharing thoughts, photos, and more but also sharing semi-passively. What you’re listening to, reading, discovering and discussing across many websites can now be automatically archived on one’s Facebook timeline and published in real time to the Facebook News Feed.

Facebook has always pushed openness and sharing on its users and this latest innovation is bound to spark concern among users who wish to maintain significant privacy controls over their profile and presence. For users that embrace the increasingly open and social nature of the web, the distracting nature of Facebook is about to multiply exponentially.

Continue reading “Facebook Timeline Thrusts You into the Participatory Web. Be Prepared.”

Facebook Timeline Gives Away Your Age in Spite of Privacy Settings

Facebook Timeline revolutionizes profile as we know it, unfortunately at the expense of some pre-existing privacy settings and expectations.

facebook timeline age bug
Click to view full size

Facebook Timeline, announced this week at f8, Facebook’s Developer conference, revolutionizes the Facebook profile as we know it, unfortunately at the expense of some pre-existing privacy settings and expectations. Timeline is expected to replace all user profiles by September 30th (you can opt in early at the bottom of this page).

All users’ birth dates appear on a user’s Timeline regardless of settings. Even if you choose to disclose only the month and day of your birth (and not the year), your age can still be approximated as a result of its appearance in the context of the Timeline.

Continue reading “Facebook Timeline Gives Away Your Age in Spite of Privacy Settings”

Think LinkedIn is Free? You Got Sold!

It seems every social network overextends its privileges with users once a year if not more. In the past the culprit has most often been Facebook, changing its Terms of Service and upgrading its platform to create just a bit more vulnerability for its users. It’s become an almost humorous pattern of overreaching only to retreat slightly in reaction to inevitable user outrage.

privacyIt seems every social network overextends its privileges with users once a year if not more. In the past the culprit has most often been Facebook, changing its Terms of Service and upgrading its platform to create just a bit more vulnerability for its users. It’s become an almost humorous pattern of overreaching only to retreat slightly in reaction to inevitable user outrage.

Today LinkedIn pulled a Facebook.

LinkedIn launched its own social ad network, which utilized users images and profile information in advertisements that would be served on the site, presumably to their contacts. LinkedIn really should have seen this coming — a few years back when Facebook did the same thing it experienced a user backlash.

What’s the fuss? Social network users expect the opportunity to select whether their likeness is used for profit. In both Facebook and LinkedIn’s case, users were initially opted in to the ad programs by default.

Continue reading “Think LinkedIn is Free? You Got Sold!”

Opportunity Gap: Does it Exist in Schools Near You?

los angeles schools pro publica opportunity gap

Pro Publica has published a database that makes it easy for you to compare your access to quality education and at what cost in an effort to provide insight into the opportunity gap demonstrated by economic difference in the classroom.

The data for L.A.-area school districts indicates that the higher the percentage of students who get free or reduced-price lunches the lower the percentage of students who take at least one AP course. For example, 76 percent of LAUSD students receive free or discounted lunches and 16 percent take at least one AP course. The data flips, however, for Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified: 1 percent get free/reduced priced lunch, and 41 percent take at least one AP course.

Continue reading “Opportunity Gap: Does it Exist in Schools Near You?”

Once-Mighty Myspace Acquired for Measly $35 Million

Personally, I’ve had a Myspace profile seemingly forever, having joined at some point in 2004, having sensed early tremors of the first tectonic shift in social networking — the great exodus from Friendster to MySpace. I never used it much socially, especially after the great fake pornorific inbox spammings of 2006… I had already begun using Facebook at the time, gaining early-ish entry while a grad student.

myspace acquired by specific mediaAfter months in search of a buyer, Myspace has finally been acquired. In an email to employees late Wednesday morning, CEO Mike Jones broke the news to employees in an email late Wednesday morning, according to TechCrunch.

Specific Media will acquire the fledgling social network turned social entertainment site for $35 million according to All Things D.

“Today, we are announcing that Myspace will be acquired by Specific Media, one of the world’s leading online media and advertising platforms,” Jones wrote in the email addressed to Myspacers. “Over the next few days you will be hearing from the team at Specific, including their CEO, Tim Vanderhook, regarding their exciting plans for Myspace and how it fits in with the overall vision of their company.”

Jones indicated in the email that a significant reduction in staff was imminent, adding that he would be stepping down as CEO of Myspace after assisting with the transition to Specific Media over the next two months.

Continue reading “Once-Mighty Myspace Acquired for Measly $35 Million”

Gone: Application Tabs on Your Facebook Profile

Facebook application profile tabs gone

Last.fm, iLike, Networked Blogs, Causes and any of the hundreds of third-party apps you may have incorporated into your Facebook Profile page are no longer there. As I wrote about last month, Facebook’s customizable profile experiment was short-lived even if its demise took over a year.

Before this weekend, if you added approved third-party applications to your Facebook profile, many would have the option of adding to your wall or as a profile tab. The default selection would be to your Boxes tab. Today, even the Boxes tab is missing the apps that you used / played with / were annoyed by over the past couple years. From NY times Quiz, to How big of a Cubs fan are you?, To Myflickr, finetune, and everything else under the sun: Gone. Granted, the Boxes tab on my profile used to run on and on and pretty certain that nobody ever checked it out (myself included). Now the Boxes tab shows nothing more than I’m allowed to display on my profile tabs: the Facebook proprietary applications “Video” “Photos” and tabs for “Links” I share, “Notes” I write or import from this blog via RSS, Events, and Questions. The Boxes column is much narrower and ads have returned.

It’s been fun taking advantage of Facebook’s more open experiments over the past couple years but now our Facebook profiles have returned to their original states as rather vanilla bulletin boards.

That said, if I do want to customize my online profile and incorporate apps and even add raw html… there’s always Myspace!

Facebook Apps Soon to Vanish from Profile Tabs

This limits not only personalization but also the effectiveness of calls-to-action that benefit from users adding custom tabs as if they were virtual lawn signs

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.

Facebook app profile tab

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?

Continue reading “Facebook Apps Soon to Vanish from Profile Tabs”