Your Online Identity is as Permanent as a Tattoo

The digital age is here and technology is increasingly finding new ways to improve, measure, and interact with our lives.  Can you remember what it was like to organize an event without Facebook?  Can you remember what it was like to mail real photos to your grandmother in the mail instead of online?  It gets harder and harder everyday.

The digital world is keeping track of us.  Facebook has admitted to tracking your browser history even when you are not logged into Facebook.  Google indexes every tweet, every public Facebook post and every photo it can find of you.  Yahoo!, AOL, and your ISP are all joining in.

Have you ever thought about what it take to delete that awkward photo of you taken at a party one night which a friend put on Facebook?  How about that not so nice tweet you accidentally said your mind in about your boss?  What we post online is as permanent as a tattoo.  Check out the TED Talk below for more:

The Problem of Facebook Only Updates

There is an assumption in our society that everyone has a Facebook account.  The reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth.   Here are some points on why putting all of our eggs into Facebook is a HUGE problem:

  1. If Facebook is the only place companies go to send updates, this would mean Facebook is a monopoly and needs to immediately be dismantled.
  2. Facebook has not demonstrated that they have our societal values as a priority.  The purpose of Facebook, especially now they are public, is to profit from the data their users give them – for free.
  3. Facebook is just like any other web site and experiences outages (accidental and caused by hackers) more than the radio or other forms of media.
  4. Is Facebook really the best “platform” for dispersing information?  What about email, weblogs, and other systems?  Diversification ensures survivability.
  5. People, like myself, who don’t find Facebook as beneficial as having true one on one contact, are left in the dark.  One could argue this is discriminatory toward those who choose more personal relationships.
  6. In the end, the electricity goes out, so does Facebook and a bunch of other things.  Ink or pencil and paper will survive.
  7. There is very little in evidence that shows Facebook is beneficial to company revenue.

I hope this gets you, the reader, thinking about the role Facebook should play in our future.  I would argue that any business or entity that only offers updates through Facebook are just being lazy and not investing the true potential of their business.

As a solution, members of the media and anyone trying to disseminate information to the public should follow an example from Lois Capps:

“Please keep in touch with me through my website, by liking my Facebook page, following me onTwitter, or sending me an email.”

Website updates along with Twitter updates and  blog posts should not be overlooked and replaced with Facebook, period.  To do so is lazy.

The Rise of Social Gaming


Yesterday, I posted an infographic illustrating the relationship between Facebook and Zynga. Today I found a glorious graphic that illustrates just how hot social gaming has become. Zynga has more than double the revenue generation of the second place developer, Playfish. I didn’t know that virtual pigs and tractors were so popular and people are willing to pay for virtual stuff. Now THAT is fascinating human behavior!

The Drainer: The Overzealous, Not So Positive Facebook User

Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and your peers.  We all know that and we all use it in very different ways.

Recently I was reminded of a particular type of Facebook user that I termed The Drainer.  This user has the following characteristics:

1) Fires off status updates in such rapid succession that your feed is full of their updates.
2) Always comments or likes almost every one of your status updates, links, etc.
3) Their comments are expressing an opinion that criticizes you for your actions (feels like being scolded).
4) They often miss the point of your update which proves they are out of the loop.
5) They often sound like your mother when they offer advice.

These are the people that kill a great conversation.  For Instance, you make a status update about how great a party it was, but that you were feeling a little hung over.  All of your friends are commenting on the fun time they had and then the Drainer hits, leaving a smart-ass comment about controlling your drinking and how stupid it is that you are hung over.  That just kills the conversation right there.

While it is possible to block them, blocking seems extreme since they do, on occasion, contribute some meaningful status updates.  Telling them nicely offline to keep their opinion to themselves might be possible but the drainer might take it the wrong way.  I decided to just ignore them and continue interacting with my "friends."

This really boils down to Facebook etiquette: 

1) I only comment on status updates that I can add value to or offer support of. 
2) If I can't find anything cool to say, I will simply "like" it. 
3) I keep my comments positive and will only criticize if I can offer them a reasonable and meaningful solution.
4) Respect your 'friends' privacy… always commenting/liking on everything is like calling them every ten minutes to tell something, which is a great way to be unfriended.
5) Think of every comment as a broadcast to the entire world, saying negative things only makes YOU look bad to the world.

Has anyone else experienced the Drainer?   Any further etiquette rules to share?

Facebook Matures with Lite

Are you a Facebook user that hates getting sucked into using those senseless apps that your friends use?   If you are like me, Facebook always came across as childish and less meaningfully sharing oriented.  After using Facebook and becoming "friends" with some app lovers, I gravitated more toward Twitter, where the mature crowd hangs out.  

Well, now I have reason to take another look at Facebook.  Facebook Lite is much more Twitter like, with a simpler gui and far less clutter. The best part, Apps are NOT allowed!  Facebook Lite – Goodbye Facebook Applications

If you want to check it out, head over to

Let there be rejoicing and cheers in the streets!