Tag Archives: Facebook

musings on privacy and sausages

Saturday afternoon I made some sausages with a mate.  Pork & Fennel, Chicken with Tuscan seasoning and Lamb with Rosemary and Honey.  And as always when we finish making the sausages, we BBQ them up for our families.  Delicious.  If you make your own sausages, you will never eat supermarket sausages again.  And on this particular evening we had a slightly  disturbing discussion, not around the sausages, but around privacy and the internet.

  • The mate, who I’ll call Jimmy, has rented a campervan to take his kids to outback South Australia over the holidays.  Clearly, his intentions had been picked up by his web browser (Google Chrome) and now when he surfs the web, he is endlessly served up advertising for Maui vans by Google Ads.  Unfortunately Google can only infer his intentions to rent a campervan.  Its not able to  determine that he no longer has the need as he has rented one.  This has both irritated him and creeped him out a little.
  • Secondly there was a discussion around search results.  As we use web browsers more and more to conduct our business, more and more information is collected about us.  This combined with search engine innovation means that every search we conduct is now being tailored more and more to us invidiously.  The end result is that if you and I both search for the term like say “ceramic tile suppliers” we are starting to get different search results.  None of us at the table couldn’t figure out how this wouldn’t kill a large chunk of business for those offering Search Engine Optimisation services, as there task becomes pretty much impossible  – if not pointless in the first place.
  • The third thing was discussed was that one of us at the dinner table, setup a Facebook account with a false name, using a temporary email address and connected to the other members of her family to see what would happen.  She hasn’t apparently responded to any offers or installed any apps.  It took a couple of months, but offers for goods and services have started to trickle in to her email account.  But chillingly some of them aren’t just spam, they are optimised to information from her fake profile, including the suburb where she lives.

Now I get the fact that there is no privacy on the internet, but I am starting to wonder where there is all going.  Especially when the comment was made, “You know we are still at day one of the internet”.     At least the sausages were good.

connecting social media

Bloody Social Media!

Having decided to have a crack at the Twitter thing I have run into the problem that my day can now be chewed up managing content online.

My main poetic activities now seem to be writing quick posts on what I am upto in LinkedIn then Facebook then  Twitter, or writing in depth articles for Digital Bottom Line which I store with other stuff at a wordpress blog called One Sock.

Since (according to my father in law) I am lazy swine, I decided to streamline things a little and thought I’d share the results.  The following solution allows me to enter content just once and then have the other systems pick it up and publish it.

iPhone to Twitter

Since I am out and about alot, I need to send Tweets from my iPhone.  I checked around to see what others were using and noticed that Tweetie seemed to get a run from the poeple I thought were early adopters of technology.  So I downloaded Tweetie from the Apple AppStore (note the hyperlink here is to the App Store) which is a free piece of software.  Now I’m not locked to a computer to when Twittering, which is important as mostly interesting stuff happens when I am outside the office.

Twitter to Facebook

Facebook has an Application that will automatically suck your Twitter updates into Facebook  Its at http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/ and seems to happen almost instantaneously.  If you click the Application button in the bottom left hand corner you can add it that way.  So each Twitter is automatically recreated in your Facebook profile.

Twitter to WordPress Blog

WordPress has quite a number of Twitter widget’s available.  I chose Twitter for WordPress as I wanted the twitter feed to be placed in my sidebar, not as a blog posting.  This is because I wanted Twitter to pick up my blog posts, and I didn’t want to create a circle of new twitter’s being picked up as new twitters. (could be fun though to watch a loop sending twitter, facebook and wordpress mad).

Blog to Twitter

I came across a website called Twitterfeed which is a free service that picks up blogs (or any rss feed) and posts them to Twitter.  Its pretty cool as its automatically creates an entry with title, opening words and a tinyurl version of the web address.  The only challenge with it is that you need an OpenID to log into Twitterfeed with.  This is free but potentially a bit confusing to setup.

Blog to Facebook

My blog posts don’t go directly to Facebook.  They do however get picked up by Twitter (see above) then Facebook picks up the Twitter notification.  ie because of my previous actions, my blog gets automatically posted to Facebook (via Twitter).

Blog to Linkedin

Linkedin now has a whole group of applications that you can plug into your profile.  Amongst the “connect your blog” applications is  My Blog at WordPress.com which you simply turn on, then enter the address of your blog. 

Twitter to LinkedIn

Because my status updates in Twitter and Facebook are normally of a much more personal nature (eg yesterday evening I mentioned I cooked up Kangaroo with a macadamia nut salad) I haven’t attempted to connect Twitter to LinkedIn.   At this stage its easiest if I keep LinkedIn as a business only tool.  However there does seem to be plenty of solutions for this as well.

My way is not the only way.  There are clearly heaps of ways of making this connectivity happen, with lots of gadgets that will do the same thing in slightly different ways.  The above pieces are just the first ones I tried that I could get to work.  Because I am lazy its unlikely that I will come up with a better solution since these ones seems to work fine.

Message for the  Father-in-law : I reckon I’m good/clever lazy not bad/stupid lazy.

consumer innovation

One of the things that I love about my iPhone is that is a fully fledged 16gb iPod as well as a multimedia device and phone.  Every time I go for a drive (or catch a tram) I am now entertained and or challenged by podcasts that I subscribe to (they automatically get downloaded to my phone).  My current passion is TED .  I have about 100 x  20 min lectures sitting on my phone waiting to be watched.  (When I drive I don’t watch, just attach my phone to my seatbelt near my ear and listen).

TED is the baby of Chris Anderson who launched magazines such as Business 2.0, and websites such as the games portal IGN.com. He is not the Chris Anderson who is the Editor of Wired Magazine and author of the Long Tail.  Which is just as well because if there was that much talent in one person its likely that they would be driven mad by their genius or at least have a serious drinking tab.  TED is about ideas that need to be shared in technology, entertainment and design.  for those without multimedia players or ipods, you can watch their videos on their website as well.

So this Thursday at the Churchill Club we are running a conversation on sustainable innovation inside SME’s so I went to TED to look for inspiration on questions and came across a fascinating piece by Charles Leadbeater Charles is a British Writer and Journalist who has some interesting things to say about user generated content and innovation.  Incidentally, Charles also helped Helen Fieldinwrite the columns that she turned into the book then film known as Bridget Jones Diary .

Anyway, Charles was banging on about the rise of the Amateur Professional  – which is how technology has allowed amateurs to produce content similar to what professionals were producing a decade before.  Think Blogs and Youtube.  But also think Robotics, Amateur Rocketry, Astronomy and variety of other areas.

The thrust of Charles speech that caught my attention was this was consumer generated innovation not supplier innovation.  The assertion is that innovation controlled by organisations will always be incremental and low risk.  The premise is that the company innovates and the passive consumers then consume.  Which leads to products such as this from Sony.  However when consumers are allowed to innovate, they can create breakthrough solutions which generate brand new businesses (eg the rise of MP3 as a format) or major new categories (60% of music sold in the USA is apparently RAP music, which couldn’t get backing by a label when it started).  This is because consumers aren’t locked into making profits, and don’t risk their career if solutions don’t work.

So how do you work with consumers to tap into innovations?  Google, Flickr and Youtube found a solution – create a platform for user generated content.  Lego found a solution, create a community that can use your products in ways you never considered then share the results .

Anyone can create the framework for a social network almost intangibly for free.  Recently I have been looking at Ning as a tool.  Ning is a platform for creating social networks.  They make their money by placing google ads on free sites, or charging you for value add services such as using your own domain name.  Ning offers the following features.  You can  :

* pick your own configurable design
* have an infinite number of members
* have a member activity news feed  (eg Brendan   posted a new picture)
* have members post interesting comments or web links.
* display RSS (news) feeds from other websites.
* have photo galleries
* have discussion forums
* upload videos
* have realtime chat
* integrate your Ning Social network with other websites such as
Facebook.
* have subgroups within your group
* have member Blogs
* create events and publish them to your network.

If this isn’t useful to someone wanting to experiement with social networking, then in the words of my father “I’ll go heave”.  Tapping into consumer generated innovation will create a really interesting aspect to Thursday’s Conversation at the Club.

the other networking

This morning I got a message from my niece on Facebook, two messages from colleagues on Linkedin , 1 SMS messages and a couple of dozen emails.  Which got me thinking about networking.  I use social networking tools LinkedIn and Facebook regularly (not heavily) but probably not the way most people think.  I tend to feel that social networking via computer isn’t the be all and end all, in fact quite the reverse.

There is an expression in the Army,
A smart soldier …
doesn’t stand when he can sit,
doesn’t sit when he can lie down,
doesn’t lie down when he can sleep.
(This makes lots of sense when you are finishing up a 22 hour day).

My approach to networking is similar.  In fact I might say:

“Brendan …
Doesn’t broadcast when he can send a personalised message
Doesn’t send a personalised message when he can call
Doesn’t call when he can catch up for coffee”

A major objective of business networking is to generate opportunities.  And opportunities are much more likely to come from a personal relationship.  Because if they’re not thinking of you, they’re not thinking of you.  Therefore I would much rather meet face to face with people over coffee than try to connect online.  Emoticons aren’t the same as body language :)

Gen Y may love tools like MySpace, Facebook and SMS but it appears that most still only have a relationship with an inner circle of friends (those they meet offline), despite the fact that they may be connected to thousands.   I feel that if they think Social networking is the only way to network, that’s great for me.  I have much less competition when I want to meet somebody new :)

So why do I use LinkedIn and Facebook?  A couple of reasons.
1.    Linkedin is a good networking metric – If my connections or friends hasn’t increased in the last fortnight it means I am not putting any effort into networking and I should pull my finger out.  This is also the reason why I don’t say yes to every friend request or engage in harvest networking (eg Toplinked) collecting 1,000’s of connections that I don’t know.

2.    It keeps  me up to date  – Its so much easier to connect with people over coffee when you know what they have been up to.

3.    On rare occasions I use social networking tools to make announcements.

4.    I don’t have all the answers so I like to be involved with trends to see where they go.  I have yet to use my LinkedIn connections to solve a problem, and am looking forward to see how that will turn out.

So I’d have to say that Social Networking tools are great, but shouldn’t be confused with actual networking.  Its hard to enjoy coffee over the internet.