Is Facebook creating better community or making our relationships more shallow?

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Facebook.   Jeremiah, Scoble, and Nick can’t stop talking about it.  Scoble recently called Facebook “the new business card.” For me, my excitement goes in waves.  I get excited about it and then I two or three weeks without using it.

I just wonder… is Facebook helping us to stay in touch with our community or is it making our relationships more shallow and voyeuristic?

A few weeks ago, I was saying good bye to one of my friends who was moving out of town.   I said something like, “We should make sure that we’re Facebook friends.  It’ll help us all stay in touch.”   So a good face-to-face relationship has turned into the Facebook Newsfeed and Wall posts?  Whats up with that?

There is the Facebook Platform which people are so excited about.  Just take a look at the top applications… Top Friends, Super Poke, Graffiti, Free Gifts, Fortune Cookie, and Horoscope.    While poking people can be fun for a little while, which of these Facebook apps really benefit my life in any way?  They don’t send me running to my computer when I get home from work.

I think Facebook Groups is probably one of the most underdeveloped features in the whole product.  For the most part, people don’t take advantage of the actual group aspects of the application.  Facebook Groups have become profile labels.  You can  be in the “I like naps” group.  This group doesn’t talk about naps or plan get togethers to nap.  It’s just a label.

The Facebook Newsfeed is cool but some people use it and some people don’t.  A lot of times the people that I want to hear from or about keep their updates private and so I’ll never see them.   I dunno.

Just so I’m not all negative… Facebook Events are great.  If I’m marketing a get together, it’s one medium for getting the word out.  For some reason, I still prefer Upcoming as a main marketing tool.   I like Facebook Photos but I feel pretty emotionally invested in Flickr.  I like Facebook Video, especially being able to send my long distance friend video messages.

I dunno….

Over the next week I wanna write a series of posts about Facebook.  I’m going to dive into more of the features.  I want to dive into the philosophy of Facebook and see if I can identify what about it is missing and were it could be improved.  I’ll also see if I can identify what type of social need its filling which is causing it to be so successful.

SXSW Panels That I Wouldn’t Miss (If They Got Accepted)

2008 will be the year that I go to my first South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference. I’m not really sure why I haven’t gone yet but I know I’m not missing this one.

I was taking a stroll through the panel picker application, where you can vote one which panels ideas (there are 688 of them… WOW!) you think look interesting and that you’d want to attend. I quickly started to see the names of people I recognized as well as my friends.

These are some of the panels ideas that stood out for me (NOTE: I voted for many more than this)…

What panels look good to you? Which ones would you be excited about? What ones do you think I should vote for?

Adobe’s onAIR Bus Tour Stops In Washington DC (Well Fairfax, VA)

So yesterday I spent the entire day (like 10 hours) at the State Theater in Fairfax, VA for Adobe’s one-day conference on the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) environment.   If you’re not familiar with AIR, it allows you to easily create cross-platform Web-enabled desktop applications.   They brought in their expects (on a bus) and talked about the technology.

With this event, I think that Adobe showed that they realize something important.  Developers play an important role in getting something adopted.  If developers aren’t behind the adoption of a new technology, chances are its not going to go very far.

Adobe went out of there way to lay it on pretty thick.  There was good free food and an ample supply of Red Bull.  They even were pouring free beer for a while. They passed out a bunch of free literature on  AIR. They had free t-shirts.  They had a game room setup.  They were giving away packs of O’Reilly books and even a copy of Adobe CS3 Master Suite.

They had free wifi, which unfortunately wasn’t very good. I think my iPhone got better  up and download speeds, which is crazy.  The wifi not working was good though because it encouraged me to pay better attention, although it would have been nice to download some of the apps as they were talking about them.

The AIR platform looks interesting.  I wanna start playing around with it.  It’d be fun to pick up a weekend, do some coding jam sessions, and see what kind of apps some of our local folks can come up with.  Who wants to do this?

One question I didn’t get answered was the accessibility of these AIR apps.  How well are they going to work with a screen reader?  Is there a mechanism for text resizing?  Is that something the application author would have to add?  Would WCAG be the relevant accessibility guidelines?

Another thing… I’d love to see Microsoft do an event like this for their Windows Presentation Foundation.

Sign-Up For MyBlogLog

One of my favorite additions to this blog has been my sidebar widget for MyBlogLog.    It makes such a huge difference to be able to put the faces with the names of people who read the blog.  It does a lot to contribute to the community feel.

Community is really what a blog is all about.  It’s building a community around a set of ideas.

So… don’t lurk in the shadows.  Sign-up for MyBlogLog.  It will allow you to get to know the author and fellow readers of your favorite blogs better.

What Online Television Shows Do You Watch?

One of the sessions at BarCamp DC that I heard a lot of buzz about after words was Joe Price‘s discussion of the Future of Television.  I’m bummed I missed it but I was facilitating one of the other rooms.

Joe and I talked after and we thought it’d be cool to get an online thread going about what kind of online television shows people are watching.

I watch (in no particular order)…

What do you watch?  Leave me a comment.  Write a blog post about it.    I don’t have cable tv so I wanna hear about what new shows I should be watching.

I’d love to hear from as many people as possible.

It’d be especially cool to hear from folks that were at BarCamp DC.  Matt, Jason, Jackson, Cindy, PatrickSamantha, Brian… tag you’re it.  Post about your favorite online tv shows and then tag  more people.

Maybe you don’t watch much online tv.  If that’s the case, post about why and what’s missing.  What would make it a better experience?