My Use of Facebook and WordPress Intertwined

I’ve used Facebook for a long time and most of my friends are people who I’ve worked with or know in real life. Recently, I’ve accepted a number of friend requests from people I routinely interact with in the WordPress world. It was a tough decision and one I don’t take lightly.

For the past few years, I’ve kept Facebook at a point where the only people I’ve accepted as friends are those I consider actual friends and know in person. My Facebook feed is completely different from my WordPress persona. I share pictures of what I have for dinner, food I eat, things I discover, pictures of my dog and wife, etc. It definitely represents more of who I am as a person versus a blog or Twitter.

I’m on the fence whether I should allow so many people to see deeper into my everyday life. It’s something I’m struggling with. I don’t want personal Facebook relationships to creep into my work. I’m friends with some of the people and companies I write about all the time on a major publication. I certainly wouldn’t want a conflict of interest thing to come up or something more sinister.

Since accepting a number of friend requests from those in the WordPress community, my timeline has blown up. In several instances, I’ve removed their feeds from my timeline but have remained friends. This has given me the best of both worlds: Following the people I care about while showing everyone else what I’m up to.

We’ll have to see how this goes as a lot more people in the WordPress realm know what’s going on in my life. I know for a fact that at the first sign of a conflict of interest, I’m unfollowing everyone on Facebook that has anything to do with WordPress.

The last thing I need is a bunch of Facebook/WordPress BS in my Facebook life. No thank you!

Ohio Buckeyes Win

The Ohio State Buckeyes just won the first ever, college football National Championship. I sat at home alone, watching the game via a live stream on my Macbook Pro. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, it felt like I was watching the game with a group of people.

Twitter favorites and Facebook likes were given out in earnest as I mentioned the Buckeyes winning. Granted, a lot of my followers are in the Ohio area as am I. However, I just wanted to note how cool it is to witness an event alone in my home but in reality, connect in real-time with those who are watching the same event at the same time.

It’s a weird feeling knowing I’m watching and participating in an event at the same time as several other people as well yet, I’m alone. Thank you social media.

Facebook UI Annoyance With Videos

Thanks to my girlfriend, I’ve become absorbed into the Facebook culture. One thing though that really annoys me about their user interface is the publishing of videos. When I come across a cool video on YouTube that I would like to share, my immediate instincts tell me to click on the Video icon in Facebook. However, this is only for recording a video or uploading a video, I can’t link to a video. Instead, in order to link to a YouTube video I have to take the YouTube video URL and use the Facbook URL icon to share the link. This is annoying to say the least as it confuses my natural instincts and I always catch myself clicking the video icon before I click the link icon.

Oh well, just wanted to get that off my chest.

Email – Most Desired Service

A survey conducted by online usability and accessibility expert Webcredible has identified email as the most desired service for mobile phone users. When asked ‘Which service would you use on your mobile/cell phone if speed & quality weren’t an issue?’, 33% stated that email would be their number one priority. Social networking followed closely behind with 25% of the votes.

20% of those surveyed also highlighted a preference for using their phone to access local information about their surroundings and a remaining 13% said that they would use their phone to obtain travel and route planning information.

Trenton Moss, director, Webcredible commented, “The ease of use with regard to accessing email via Blackberry and PDA devices has certainly caused a ground swell in consumers who want the ability to email on the move through a basic mobile device. What I find interesting though, is the speed with which social networking is becoming a must have function on mobile.”

“Over the next six months I see a continued increase in the number of people demanding social networking functions through their mobile against those who consider email to be the most important. One of the driving factors in enabling this will be the usability of the site and the skill with which site developers transfer from PC format to mobile format. Facebook has already developed a very accessible and usable mobile version of their site, ensuring its members get their daily Facebook fix.”

Interestingly, just 9% said that they would like to be able to shop online.

Moss continues, “I think this is an unsurprising statistic. There are two main reasons why mobile users are skeptical about shopping via mobile. Firstly, usability is a massive function and one which is difficult to overcome if shoppers want to view a good quality image of what they are buying. Secondly, there is still great uncertainty among the public about data security of shopping through mobile phones.”

Webcredible surveyed 1010 mobile phone users and achieved the following results:-

* Social networks – 254 votes (25%)
* Travel information/planning – 135 votes (13%)
* Email – 335 votes (33%)
* Local information/whats around you – 199 votes (20%)
* Online shopping – 87 votes (9%)

Free Is Not Cheap

WinXtraLogo

Steven Hodson over at WinExtra.com has published an interesting piece that dives into the subject of how people could care less about their privacy. In my opinion, Steve hits the nail on the head on so many points that I wish I could copy and paste his entire post but that wouldn’t be right. But I will post a quote from his article which I think is the most important point he makes.

The idea that we have any say in what is done with our data once it is in the hands of companies like Facebook is ridiculous. In fact the moment you click on that submit button on the last page of the signup form you have given away all those rights – read the damn terms of service and you will see that. That clicking of the button is your electronic signature – you have just signed a contract … you get a bunch of bullshit free services in exchange for the company being able to do whatever it wants with that data. It is now theirs and any subsequent updating of that data is also theirs.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard so many people complain about Facebook and what they are doing with the data you have given them. I’ve given it some thought and have come to the conclusion that social-networks are nothing more than marketing data harvesters. Asides from having a ton of eyeballs to market to advertisers, most of the user’s on these social-networks provide accurate user data. The reason I believe this to be true is that, you want at least most of your profile to be accurate so your friends know who you are on that network. This accurate data makes for good demographics that the social network owner doesn’t have to work so hard to retrieve.

In the end, you’re not an end user. Your a pawn within a giant game called online advertising. If you don’t like it, don’t use the damn service. Here is a better idea, buy a webhosting account, download WordPress, and create your own social network that you control, around your blog.

Bugroff Welcome To The AntiSocial

I found this image and site mentioned on TheGlobalGeekPodcast blog and thought it was so hilarious, that I would share it here as well. It’s interesting that I just read a blog post over at ChrisBrogan.com that discussed the overall feeling that social media was nothing but a waste of time. Then, I took a visit to Michael Baileys site and checked out his post, showing off his ability to disconnect himself from MySpace and Facebook.

I smell a battle of all battles brewing within the interwebs. Social vs AntiSocial. Wisdom of crowds vs Wisdom of one. A realization that, just by having an account on all of these services that appear to be a boon for companies is simply not enough. Although you try and try to garner friendships online, nothing compares to a real-world friendship/relationship. Using Twitter and other social outlets becomes a fruitless attempt of being heard as you find out no one is listening because your’re seemingly not important enough.

Let me know what you think.

Click the image to see the full size.