Facebook: The Biggest Bait and Switch in History?

[singlepic id=355 w=300 h=300 float=right]A blog post titled “FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK” calls Facebook’s ‘promoted posts’ strategy “the single most misguided thing a major corporation has ever deliberately done, bar none, in the entire history of American capitalism and the world“. Published yesterday, the post has now gone viral, probably due to so many users, bloggers and small companies being fed up with needing to pay for their content to appear on their fans’ pages:

“Facebook has taken a pee in their own pool from quite a lofty height, turning vast armies of ‘influentials’ against the company, people who are now making plans—born of necessity—to bolt from that pool and to stop putting any effort there. Furthermore, Facebook’s greedy grab will have the knock-on effect of causing many blogs to simply throw in the towel, diminishing Facebook’s own business ecosystem and Facebook’s value to its own users to the point where only Axe Deodorant, Taco Bell and Nike will be showing up in your Facebook newsfeed, which after all, is pretty much the sole point of Facebook in the first place!”.

Author Richard Metzger concludes: “They’ve deliberately broken their own product’s biggest selling point” and asks “Whose idea was that?

Read the eye-opening article here.

RSS is Dead – Twitter Killed It

When I first read Steve Gillmor‘s piece on TechCrunchIT titled “Rest in Peace, RSS” I thought it was moronic. After thinking about it for two weeks, I am not so sure anymore:

“It’s time to get completely off RSS and switch to Twitter. RSS just doesn’t cut it anymore. The River of News has become the East River of news, which means it’s not worth swimming in if you get my drift.
 
I haven’t been in Google Reader for months. Google Reader is the dominant RSS reader. I’ve done the math: Twitter 365 Google Reader 0. All my RSS feeds are in Google Reader. I don’t go there any more. Since all my feeds are in Google Reader and I don’t go there, I don’t use RSS anymore.”

Read the entire article here.

What Do You Get When You Mix a Brown Chicken and a Brown Cow?

Obama’s White House is really moving up the Web2.0 ladder. It started with the first presidential portrait taken with a digital camera, continued with changing the copyrights of released materials to a Creative Commons license, and now they started producing these cool video segments, edited for your short attention span and set to a funky Bow Chicka Bow Wow music. In this video, Van Jones, the White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, visits a local work site to get a glimpse at green roofing:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iYIY9XHOUg
Don’t cha wish your government was cool like this? Don’t cha?

You can get your White House dosage downloaded automatically to your PC or portable media player using Miro, a free and better way to watch TV.

Update: The White House just blogged about the subject on their own blog.

The Five People You Meet in Web 2.0 Hell

38-year-old Eddie is convinced his digital life would be better upon meeting five types of people and showing them the unexpected negative impact they have on others:

[singlepic id=60 w=320 h=240 float=right]The Under-Tagger – This guy would spend a week going through old video cassettes, finding the amazing CNN footage from 1983 he was looking for, but upon uploading it to YouTube would title it: ‘She Lied!’ and would tag it using three keywords or less, at least one of which is misspelled. The Under-Tagger assumes that since you can clearly recognize the people in the video, there is no need to be petty and elaborate on it in the title, description or keywords, and as a result of that no one can find his video even when searching for relevant keywords.

The Non-Linker – This guy would spend an hour blogging on a recent survey or commenting on an obscure news item, spewing lots of words and ideas without supplying a single link to the actual survey or the original news item. If this guy writes in a different language, say Hebrew, he would never consider supplying the English spelling of names of people or companies he writes about. The Non-Linker believes he is the alpha and the omega and thus his readers need not check out additional data on other websites.

The Voluntary Spammer – A relic of Web 1.0, this guy truly believes everything he reads in emails he receives, and feels it is his moral duty to forward them to all his friends. From a new computer virus and PowerPoint slideshows, to ladies dying from perfume spraying and cash giveaways from Microsoft, this guy assumes the newspapers do not report the big stuff, and that everyone in his contact list is interested in the small stuff. The Voluntary Spammer tends to get offended when you try to explain this to him over the phone, claiming he only wanted to help.

The Armchair Activist – This guy had joined dozens of groups on Facebook from curing AIDS to freeing Tibet, and truly believes he has done his part. Without once leaving his house or donating a buck to causes he really believes in, the Armchair Activist feels so good about himself he often tries to recruit his friends in the hope that AIDS would really be cured if only one million people click a button.

The BCC-Denier – This guy sends an invitation to his new exhibit by email, adding hundreds of people to the TO section, assuming that since all of them know him, they should all know one another. A direct result of this gross faux pas comes from recipients who RSVP by clicking Reply-All, and people who harvest email addresses revealed in the email for their weekly newsletter.

Library of Progress

I often criticize the Israeli Internet for being stuck in the 1990’s and not getting the jist of the net’s knowledge sharing nature. So much so, that I started thinking that maybe I come off as a crazed reprover in the gate, drooling and mumbling incoherently something about Web 2.0. Could it be that everyone in Israel is wrong? Is sharing not a Jewish trait?

Case in point: There are three extensive photo archives in Israel, the National Photo Collection, The Central Zionist Archives, and the Jewish National Fund – and every time I search one of them, I cannot help but wonder: Is that all I get?
A crummy search engine user interface – is that all I get?
A crummy photo-not-available-online result – is that all I get?
A crummy purchase-reproduction-by-email-only* – is that all I get?

Well, today, courtesy of the US Library of Congress I got my sanity check, and it came back in my favor:
The Library of Congress, established more than two centuries ago, is young enough an establishment to decide to upload all of its 14 million photos to Flickr – for you and me to use freely. Let me repeat that for you, to make sure you and me get it: I read today, on the library’s blog (that’s right!), that they started a pilot (currently only 3000 photos) in which users can freely search, download, caption and tag all the historical photos from the archives of the LOC.
Still waiting for the other shoe to drop? Looking for an angle? Trying to find out if the LOC have a secret money making mechanism? Matt Raymond, Director of Communications for the library, details their evil knowledge-sharing/knowledge-seeking scheme:

[singlepic id=21 w=320 h=240 float=right]We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured. If such information is collected via Flickr members, it can potentially enhance the quality of the bibliographic records for the images.

 

Why must we wait a decade before web trends make Aliyah?

Hat tip to TGrayImages.

* The Jewish National Fund is the only one that offers online photo purchasing.

Blogging: The Tipping Point

Update: This post discusses TipJoy, which has now shut down its service. More info here.

Most bloggers and small content-providers do not expect to earn money that way. They do it for the fun of it, writing about things close to their heart. But everyone needs to feel the love, and so bloggers take comfort in the rising number of visitors, the search terms that led visitors to the website, and by the comments left.

When that initial love fades, many bloggers post a PayPal donation button or an Amazon Honor System paybox, to allow readers to leave small cash tips as a way of saying thank you for the content provided. The thing is, as most people read multiple blogs daily, it usually takes an extraordinary event to make a reader step out of his comfort zone, login to his PayPal account and actually send a buck.
This is where TipJoy, an exciting new startup comes to the rescue: readers are not required to create an account to leave a tip, so the initial friction is removed. They just click the tip this button | TipJoy.com button and type in their email address, thus starting to build up an account debit – one single account for tips left in multiple websites. Eventually readers can pay that debit off via PayPal, although no one comes after you if you choose to skip out on the bill. Readers can also start to ask for tips on their own site, and anything people leave for them offsets what they have given to others.
That is the magical simplicity of TipJoy: Did you read something that made you laugh? Tip the blogger 10 cents. Someone posted a scoop you enjoyed reading? Click to tip them. At the end of the month, go to your TipJoy account, and pay your entire 3 dollar bill in a single PayPal transaction.

frgdr.com added TipJoy’s ‘tip this’ buttons to its posts. We’ll see how it goes.

Hat tip to TechCrunch.

Web 2.0 and Jerusalem Snow Alerts

Jerusalem is expecting significant snowfall this coming Tuesday evening, and so the director of the Naggar School of Art, a client of mine, has asked for my advice on how to instantly update the school website so that students will know if there will be any classes Wednesday morning.
Good thing Web 2.0 was around to help us out: the Internet in its current phase enables different services to interface, that is exchange data with each other, and that allowed me to make one school director very happy, as he is now able to text snow status updates from his cellphone, allowing the students to receive automatic updates by SMS, RSS, or by simply visiting the school website.

Here is a cool video explaining Web 2.0. You may need to watch it a couple of times to absorb all the information:

httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g
 
 
The CommonCraft Show has great videos explaining different aspects of Web 2.0 in plain English, so anyone (Yes, even your mother) can understand.

If you want to find Shahar Golan / frgdr.com around Web 2.0 you can read his FAQ here.