Reblog: Chipping away at Facebook’s stalker-friendliness? Introducing post-tracking in groups

July 15, 2012 at 4:06 PM (Social Media) (, , , )

This post originally appeared on my agency’s blog, RaceTalk.

This week, Facebook announced an update to Facebook groups:

Facebook groups are spaces where you can share things with the people who care about them most. You can use groups to connect with important sets of people like your family, soccer team or book club.

Starting [July 11] when you visit a group, you can view who’s seen each post. This way you can stay updated on the group’s activity.

For example, in your soccer group you can post the new practice time and then see who got the update.

A short update and a generally quiet one, to be sure, but it’s still generating a bit of a stir, mostly along the lines of “ZOMG SOON I WON’T BE ABLE TO CREEP MY EX’S FACEBOOK PAGE ANYMORE BECAUSE HE OR SHE WILL SEE IT! CAPS LOCK!” Fair enough. Facebook may roll this feature out to more of the site’s facets – like who has viewed your pictures from that fun, albeit maybe a little shameful, weekend in Key West. While I won’t be thrilled either, let’s be honest: if that does happen, everyone is going to talk about how terrible the update is, threaten to quit Facebook and join Google+ for real this time,* and then everyone moves on with their lives (and another tumbleweed skips across Main Street in Google+).

Let’s back up for two seconds. Number one: Facebook hasn’t done this yet. Chill out! Number two: as TheNextWeb points out, in theory, we are, in fact, friends with our Facebook friends, so who cares, right? Number three (and perhaps most importantly): there are privacy controls to consider! Generally, when we publish something to Facebook, we want folks to look at it. Or at least some folks (see my above example about Key West photos). For the folks we don’t want to see everything, add them to a Facebook List. In case you’re not familiar, it’s the same idea as Google+: select who gets to see what updates. Maybe your friends, but not your coworkers are allowed to check out all the shots you did while you were in Key West.

As for who you’re creeping on Facebook… That’s another issue. Again, IF this feature hits Facebook Profiles, there’s a chance that they’ll follow the LinkedIn and online dating model of “I can’t see you if you can’t see me.” Many sites force a two-way street for non-paying members, where they have the option to browse anonymously on the condition that they can’t view who is visiting their page. I’d hope that Facebook would follow suit. If not, then you’ll just have to censor yourself. Do the photos and wall posts from your ex’s new significant other bug you out? Here’s a crazy idea: unsubscribe or unfriend.

But again: let’s cross that bridge when we get there, shall we? Unless you’d like to speculate in the comments, that is!

*I actually do try to use Google+, even if not often. Circle me!


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Facebook: Social Wal-Mart?

March 24, 2011 at 2:00 AM (Happenings, Musings) (, )

Last week I had the privilege of writing up my first post for my agency’s blog, RaceTalk, entitled “Facebook: Social Copycat Extraordinaire?”  In it, I discussed how Facebook has gone ahead and tried to not only emulate, but own the best of every facet of the internet out there: video-sharing (YouTube), a free marketplace (Craigslist), a real-time news feed with the ability to tag friends (Twitter), check-ins (Foursquare), and most recently – at the time – deals (Groupon).

Are we counting down until we get Facebook credit gift cards like these in our birthday cards from Mom?For now, at least, the latest addition to the Facebook family is Facebook Payments.  As the company stated, “As is common in many company structures, we have established a subsidiary called Facebook Payments Inc. that helps handle payments to developers related to our Facebook Credits program.”  Even the title of the source article, “Watch Out PayPal, Facebook Is Getting Serious About Payments,” plays into my little conspiracy theory quite nicely.

Think about it: who else do you know tries to offer everything, and as a result, is somewhat frighteningly overwhelming?  That’s right: Wal-Mart!  What are your thoughts on the constantly growing Facebokolis?  Can it support its expanding palate of offerings indefinitely, and if so, can it beat all its original sources of inspiration?

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Monitoring Facebook Relationship Statuses: Update

February 28, 2011 at 3:21 AM (Musings) (, , , )

Good news: Facebook Breakup Notifier has been shut down!  Bad news: a creepier one has taken its place.

WaitingRoom is even more straightforward than the Breakup Notifier: select your crush who is, again, sadly spoken for. WaitingRoom sends that person a note saying he or she has an admirer . . . you know, in case that person was having second thoughts about the current relationship and just needed encouragement.  In the event that said crush ends things, 48 hours later, he or she will find out the identity of the admirer(s).  Oh, and the crush doesn’t need the app to receive the notifications.

Again: gross!  As one of my friends had responded to Breakup Notifier, “If you want to creep, you have to work at it.”  This is subtle home-wrecking, and generally unsettling.  Even if you were into this, suppose you get your WaitingRoom note that someone thinks you’re awesome.  You go ahead and cut the cord, expecting it to be that smoking hot guy/gal you met at your friend’s party, only to find that it’s that creepy individual who always manages to find you at networking events.  Serves you right . . . ?

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The Creepiest Facebook App Yet: “Monitoring” Relationship Statuses

February 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM (Musings) (, , , )

Yup.  Those of you with crushes coupled with stalker-like tendencies can rejoice: you can now be notified via Email as soon as someone’s relationship status changes on Facebook.  Aptly named Facebook Breakup Notifier, the app is pretty straightforward: log-in, select your friend(s) who are tragically spoken for, and wait for that glorious little notification Email that gives you the go-ahead to move in for the kill.

Facebook stalking to the latest extreme!

Yikes.  This is one of many reasons why I’m glad I don’t share my relationship status on Facebook.  I don’t even know where to begin on this one.  It’s an unsettling reminder that thanks to social media, information barriers are gradually melting away.  As a result, in my humble opinion, so are human courtesies.  We spend so much time tethered to our screens that we often forget to socialise in real life.  You know, with the people sitting next to you at the bar.  Communication has largely slipped into an “at my convenience” mentality.  We send a text message rather than making a phone call. We check a Twitter or Facebook feed to see what a friend has been up to, rather than asking.  And now we can even monitor relationship statuses of people who we might want to target for the next romantic venture.

If you care that much about someone, wouldn’t you find out soon enough if he or she is available because you talk to them, oh, I don’t know, regularly?  I would imagine that a breakup would surface in conversation fairly quickly.  Oh wait, you don’t talk to this person regularly?  How do you know you’re interested in the first place?  The extent to which technology manages to delude us continues to baffle me.

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“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Twit-ter . . .”

April 6, 2009 at 7:44 PM (Musings) (, , , , )

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Twitter is “a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices” (  As one Tweeter put it (whom I can’t remember, so unfortunately I can’t credit him or her), “If blogs, Facebook statuses and chat rooms were to have an orgy, Twitter would be the love child.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Below is a screenshot of my Twitter Feed:

My Twitter Feed.  Good stuff, right?

I love Twitter – as you may notice from that little section on the right – and find it useful for getting PR news, Boston news, friend news, promoting my blog and friends’ events, and chatting with my friends.  However, occasionally all the Tweets I receive can be a bit overwhelming (as one Twitter glossary phrases it, “Twitterhea”), so I’ll use TweetDeck to filter mass Tweets relevantly.  I was not thrilled when the new Facebook homepage took on a similar look:

Suspicious resemblance, no?

I have decided that there’s too much going on with Facebook for this layout to be a good idea.  For starters, I don’t care about all of my friends on Facebook enough to know about each of their updates (and considering some of the mundane things I post on Facebook, I’m pretty sure many of my Facebook friends could say the same of me).  For the entree, Facebook has so many more features than Twitter.  I can’t even remember what the old Facebook looked like before the News-Feed debuted, but I do recall that few users considered it an improvement.  However, at least the News Feed offered updates that may have been more interesting than “Chris is buying socks… finally.”  I could see what events my friends were attending, who had added a new mutual friend, and other stalkeresque such-like.  I doubt Facebook will revert back to the News Feed, but perhaps it would consider an option to filter updates, because, really, who cares about that guy who sat in the second row in freshman year biology that no one ever actually spoke to?  For Pete’s sake, he claims to have lost a contact lens!

Today, I decided to toodle through TechCrunch and discovered that yet another social networking site had fallen in-line with the Twitter doctrine: FriendFeed.  I don’t use FriendFeed, so I can’t comment extensively, but it looks like it could be TwitterExtra:

Come on!  It doesn’t even limit you to strict, 140-character copy!  And what’s worse, according to TechCrunch, the page updates constantly.  Again, it looks like FriendFeed offers too much to benefit from the Twitter layout, but not having an account, I can’t comment with confidence.  TechCrunch posted a video of the “short version” of the demo they saw, but when I saw that it was 17 minutes, I decided that I had better things to do.  However, I will post it below for those of you who have the time and interest.

In the meantime, I have to say that Twitter, although subject to the sarcastic criticism of folks like John Stewart (unfortunately I can’t remember the episode where he poked fun so I can’t link to it), is on the rise.  Less and less frequently do I receive the response “What the [expletive] is a Twitter?” when I mention it, and more and more often do I see and hear it referenced on the rare occasions when I’m near a television set.  And now, it’s even leaking into other social networking sites.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the up and coming social networking deity:

Today’s Tunes
“The Melee,” Beastie Boys
“Drink Whiskey and Shut Up,” Brian Setzer
“Falling In Love At a Coffee Shop,” Landon Pigg
“In the Light,” Led Zeppelin
“The Boy’s Doin’ It (Carl Craig Remix),” Carl Craig & Hugh Masekela
“Standin’ Round Crying,” Eric Clapton
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” The Rolling Stones
“Zoot Suit Riot,” Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
“Plastic Stars,” Freezepop
“Closer,” Joshua Radin
“The Ballad of John and Yoko,” The Beatles

Fun fact: I didn’t realise that linking back to TechCrunch’s post would earn me a spot on the site (if perhaps only briefly).  Check it out!

I'm famous!  I'm famous!  Okay, not really, but it's still cool to see.

Don’t worry: I promise I won’t let it get to my head (I know it was automatically generated). This time.

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