To continue the conversation about Facebook and to respond to Daniel’s comment, there is a way in Facebook that you can control the level of noise in the News Feed.
From the news feed, you can click “Preferences.” You’ll be presented with some sliders. There you can choose how much of what story types you to see. These look cool but you can’t really tell if they have any effect or not on what stories are present.
You also have the option of seeing more or seeing no updates from certain friends. This seems like it could be more useful.
While it’s good to see that Facebook has some preference options like this, I’d really like to see something more.
During my tenure on the Michigan State University Web Team, we were just starting to talk about how we could take the online campus map to the next level, throwing out ideas and developing prototypes.
I am very happy to see that today they have launched the interactive campus map (http://maps.msu.edu/interactive/). It mashes up the building data with Google Maps. Users can easily do things like search for specific buildings on campus or look for all of the campus parking spots.
Kudos to the team! It’s exciting to see this site out in the wild. I look forward to hearing what type of feedback they get.
The mobile phone is hands down one of the most ubiqutous devices ever made. If you have a message that you’re trying to communicate over the Web, it’s a medium that you can’t ignore. The problem is that the medium is new enough (at least within the United States) that most of us don’t know enough about it.
Well this week Web industry luminary Cameron Moll released his book “Mobile Web Design.” The book is a great high level introduction to the Mobile Web and how to develop for it. It’s available only in PDF and costs $19.
Pick it up right now!
Have you read the book? What do you think of it?
There is this really cool conversation going in the blogosphere right now about real friends vs. online friends and how they’re played out in social networking applications.
Facebook has allowed you to stay in touch with more than just your close day to day friends. It has given you the power to track and keep in touch with your whole friendship ecosystem. It allows you to keep in touch with everyone from your best friends to the person you met a conference once to your long lost friend from third grade.
The thing is for the most part all of the relationships are seen as the same in Facebook. This makes it incredibly hard to filter out the noise and just hear the signal because you have this constant stream of everyone’s activity.
Robert Scoble has very elequently stated in some recent videos how Facebook knows who you’re close to. They can tell you interact with, message, poke, attend events, went to school with and so on. You think they could put in some type of automatic filter that allowed me to see my close friends more prominently then the person from the the conference who I don’t really talk to or know that well. The thing is… they don’t have this feature.
Facebook should be using all of this activity and attention data to shape how we see the dat that is being presented to us.
Right now there is a Facebook Application where you can choose who your “Top Friends” are (which I still think is a dumb idea). I’d love to see an application which would show you who your top friends are purely based on the history of all your interactions on Facebook.
The Digg community woke up this morning to a new design of their favorite Web site. Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka announced the redesign as a step toward allowing them to add new features like Digg Images. (Big whoop! Geeks will be voting on their favorite lolcat. It’s nothing that exciting.)
I was kind of hoping that we’d finally get OpenID support at Digg but alas alack no such luck.
Has the excitement around OpenID fizzled out? It just seems like there aren’t many big companies with are following through with their support of the technology. It was kind of hoping that support at Digg would help to keep the torch going.
Tonight, we continue our walk through Facebook, looking at what it has to offer.
In today’s active global society, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on with all of your friends. Facebook is ingenious because its convinced users to record their social history in one central location. That social history can then be easily exposed to those that are within your social network.
Within Facebook, this was first done with by getting a very high level view of what friends had changed their profile. Later, Facebook added the ever infamous News Feed, which makes every change within a users social history available for public view. As we all knew this caused a outcry.
During the outcry, users finally started to realize the level of detail that they were exposing to their friends. Now instead of just exposing less of their social history through Facebook, users decided to just hide themselves from the News Feed. It’s entirely possible that there could be things happening with your friends that you don’t know about because all you’re doing is paying attention to the news feed.
What if I wanna expose my social activity history to some people and not to others? One of the biggest added values of Facebook is being able to see that aggregated view of your entire network’s activity. If key people are being hid, it makes it less useful. The thing is I’m forced to treat my long lost friend from 5th grade the same way I treat my best friends. There is no way you can choose who you expose information to.
I think so much could be done with the News Feed. I’d love to see it be rethought or redone.
I’ve really enjoyed the conversation that has taken place around Robert Scoble’s videos on, “Why Mahalo, TechMeme, and Facebook are going to kick Google’s butt in four years.”
The basic idea is that the Web has gotten too big and Google doesn’t have the power to sift the crap out of its search engine. Scoble thinks that with things like Mahalo‘s human-powered search and Facebook, we’ll be able to better understand what sites we should trust and what sites our friends trust.
While this is interesting, haven we forgotten about Google Web History? Maybe no one else uses this, but it allows Google to keep a history of the sites that you go to which in turn helps to customize your personal search.
The argument could be made that just the act of surfing the Web will show some types of implicit endorsement of some pages and not of others. If Google knows what pages you click and and how long you stay there, it can also understand what pages resonate with you. Google doesn’t need systems which give more explicit endorsements of Web pages, like Yahoo has with Del.icio.us.
What do you think?