Category Archives: Technology

Frictionless Sharing on Facebook: TMI

Frictionless sharing

causes Facebook friend fatigue. We all know that everything we consume is not worth sharing. Facebook introduced frictionless sharing in fall 2011 with several Open Graph apps that automatically share what you’re reading (e.g., Washington Post, the first on the scene, Digg Social Reader, Huffington Post), watching (Netflix), or listening to (Spotify, Soundcloud, etc.). paper coffee filtersWith social reader apps, content you may merely sample or dislike is broadcast to your friends. Friction can be good. It occurs between thought and action. Friction is a filter.

Many users don’t realize they’ve opted in. Considering the original content publishers’ goal of getting added exposure and user data, the apps are well-designed, opt-in gating content. Otherwise, the user has to search for the article their friend auto-shared the old fashioned way. That is just a lot more work, and we’re all so very busy, so users acquiesce and opt-in to seamlessly get to the story about Snooki’s baby weight. Frictionless sharing apps, like Facebook itself, spread because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Social Reader Apps

Washington Post Social Reader Facebook App

After opting in, you’re giving unpaid endorsements to news sources, and in exchange (a pretty one-sided exchange), they get your information: Continue reading Frictionless Sharing on Facebook: TMI

Facebook Camera App and Instagram

You can’t be everything to everyone.

“After the release of Facebook Camera, I’m even more convinced that Instagram could be Facebook’s YouTube — in other words, an acquisition that becomes monumentally important to its future, and helps it solve a problem it couldn’t solve on its own (like Google Video before Google bought YouTube.) Facebook Camera isn’t a bad application — it just isn’t good enough to compete with Instagram…”  -Mashable, Facebook Camera App: This Is Why Instagram Was Worth $1 Billion

Taxi Photo by chrisozer - Instagram
taxi photo by chrisozer - Instagram

People like Instagram because it is pure and focused. It is about communicating through visuals, shared interests, and seeing life through others’ eyes, especially strangers’ eyes. IG founded on photography of everyday objects with less focus on people. Facebook photos tend toward social life, usually posted with at least a subconscious intent of seeking attention or sharing one’s life: events, friends, parties, family, etc. Instagram allows anyone to make art out of food and buildings and flowers and hubcaps. No one wants to see that content clogging up their depressing Facebook stalking feed or wasting woo girl space (and there’s nothing wrong with that).Woo Girls Facebook photo

Instead of releasing Facebook Camera for iOS, Facebook should have already been working on fixing their horrible mobile experience (which they plan to post-IPO). Focusing on photos is practically a non-sequitur considering their fundamental mobile shortcomings.

Facebook should not try and own the iPhoneography culture that IG launched. Multi-photo uploads are nice but they should add this functionality to the gimcrack Facebook app instead of launching a separate photo app. This is cart before the horse. While Facebook Camera is useful for browsing friends’ photos, Instagram it is not.

Note: I have no problem with people not being artistic or pretentious on Instagram. But there’s a reason there are no #FBers, MeetUp groups, and Instawalks for Facebook.

P.S. A note about the power of words: Huffington Post published Facebook Camera: Company Launches iPhone Camera App on 5/24/12. They initially omitted a critical word, “acquistion,” from this sentence: “Facebook has said it expects the Instagram acquisition to close sometime this year.” Truth: Facebook has not announced that it will close Instagram. (Though I do see Facebook killing IG.) Thanks to Chad Thiele for posting about an issue much larger than my righteous indignation about photo sharing apps: carelessness in reporting that leads to misinterpretation of the truth.

Dying of Loneliness on Facebook

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman star died at 82 completely alone: Mummified body of former Playboy playmate Yvette Vickers found in her Benedict Canyon home:

With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship. Savage later told Los Angeles magazine that she had searched Vickers’s phone bills for clues about the life that led to such an end. In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and Internet sites.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman movie posterA great book about the breakdown of American community is Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. The author provides an interesting analysis about U.S. society during the last century and last 50 years. Of course this has implications for marketing. Putnam examines the causes and effects of the fact that in the 1950s, bowling leagues, PTAs, church groups, and general neighborly interaction was very popular, while nowadays we spend a fraction of the time we used to spend socializing (and voting or participating in community).

Vickers is not the first elderly person to pass away unnoticed.

But a less dramatic form of loneliness pervades people of all ages; it is disguised as complete connectedness.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? New research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.

Continue reading Dying of Loneliness on Facebook

Your Product Isn’t Safe

It was a jumbled Nappy mess. In 2002, the music industry was fumbling as online piracy and the loss of control over releases, quality, and theft threatened their bottom line. The major music companies couldn’t get their hardware and software silos to work together. In software, Sony and Universal had PressPlay and AOL Time Warner/Bertelsmann/EMI’s creation with RealNetworks was MusicNet. These were two of the primary subscription services. You didn’t own the music; you rented it. And most mp3 players were clunky, overly complex, and poorly integrated with software.

Florence + the Machine Ceremonials album coverApple had released the first generation iPod in 2001. But the 2003 release of the iTunes Music Store, introduced a new, consumer-centered concept for distributing music digitally. While artists frequently maintain that the proper experience of their music is to listen to an entire album in order, we all know that record labels typically release just a few good songs on an album. (Except for Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials, on which every single song is good (as far as the last five years are concerned).) Steve Jobs and his team at Apple asked why it had to be that way. Continue reading Your Product Isn’t Safe

Instagram Tips: Liking and Unliking

So you accidentally liked a picture on Instagram.

If I like then unlike a photo, will the user who posted the photo know?

iPhone home screen floating appsThis is a follow-up to my Instagram Privacy Tips and FAQ, which has received over 500 comments. The answer to this like/unlike mystery is worthy of its own post because it deals with the concepts of push (notification outside of the app) versus pull (user activity/refreshes within the app).

First, understand this: iPhone apps that you open then leave to use another app are still running in the background. To fully close an iPhone app, on the home screen, double click the home button. You’ll see a horizontal array of apps that are running (updated as of iOS 9.1). Swipe upward on each app to fully close it. (Battery life hint: close apps that you’re not using often, especially ones with location services turned on.)

Question: Can someone tell I liked their Instagram post if I unlike right it afterward?

Answer: Maybe.
Scenarios:

  • Recipient has push notifications on (regardless of IG app running or not): like notification received
  • Recipient has push notifications off and IG app actively in use: like notification received
  • Recipient has push notifications off and IG app open but not actively in use: like notification not received
  • Recipient has push notifications off and IG app not open: like notification not received

Continue reading Instagram Tips: Liking and Unliking