Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Syndication, Comments and Attribution

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

I write all of these posts on magicspatula.com, as I have been doing for about 5 years. In the last several months, I’ve found that a larger portion of my readership is through syndication through Facebook and Buzz. The clearest effect of this shift has been that the comments left are now divided among at least three places: the original post itself, the Buzz/Reader items, and the Facebook note. This isn’t really a huge problem, but it does cut down on the interaction via comment as well as make it a bit more work for me to keep up with (especially since I try not to be on facebook too much).

I wish Facebook did a better job of attribution when it imported my blog posts. You can find a link to the original post if you try hard enough, but it’s not obvious… several friends have mentioned “oh, I read that facebook note that you posted” which had me quite confused for a while. It’s quite understandable that they were mistaken this way, but for some reason it bothers me. Maybe it’s because I don’t want my mode of communication to be compared to Sarah Palin’s.

OAK

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I saw this ad on Facebook:

Over 6,000 people have liked Oakland International Airport?! I’m at a loss.

You kids stay off my lawn.

Micro-tasks

Monday, November 8th, 2010

In the last couple of months, I’ve been making an effort to avoid filling my spare moments with the distracting micro-tasks that have become so prevalent in the last few years. These are things like reading twitter messages while waiting in a line, checking in to foursquare when getting lunch with a friend or checking my email despite having just left my desk at work. I no longer have twitter and foursquare installed on my phone right now, though my email compulsion still needs work. My facebook usage has been quite rare for a while.

I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to start working on this. There are certainly plenty of studies that have shown little distractions like these to be unhealthy, but I think it was mostly just that I didn’t really like it when other people distracted themselves a lot around me, so I figured it was unreasonable of me to continue to act like that. If, for example, I go out to eat with a friend and sit down and tweet that I’m eating somewhere remotely interesting, the time I spend doing that is essentially a time in which I’ve decided that some group of people who aren’t present (and likely aren’t interested) is more deserving of my time than the person I’m sitting in front of.

Additionally, I’ve been working to switch to longer-form works (see my previous post on reading) and improve my signal-to-noise ratio. I’m still reading blogs, but I have pruned my subscriptions and I no longer make a strong effort to empty the queue regularly.

Making these changes wasn’t easy: I couldn’t help but wonder “what if I miss out on something valuable?” This was the same thing I wondered when I stopped using facebook regularly. Thinking a bit more about this, the thought seemed identical to that of a compulsive hoarder (I recently read Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things ). Hoarders often collect newspapers because they worry that the newspaper might have something of interest to them, so they must hold on to it in order to avoid missing out. They see the potential value without seeing the very real costs of this behavior. While I certainly don’t claim to have this compulsion, I can see some measure of commonality between their behavior and the fear of disconnecting online.

I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, and I think it’s been a positive change. It’s a bit hard for the first few days, but I think it was worthwhile. It’s hard to really gauge the positive effects, though.

Things the West *has* done to help

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

While I believe that Obama shouldn’t be doing much to “help” the Iranian demonstrators, there are plenty of meaningful things that have been done:

  • Foreign embassies in Tehran (Australia, UK, and others) are providing care for demonstrators. It’s been widely reported that demonstrators going to hospitals have been arrested by the Basij EDIT: the part about the embassies is a rumor, and has been denied by the UK and possibly others.
  • As was widely reported, Twitter rescheduled its downtime to avoid being down while Iranians were awake (at the request of the state department, too)
  • Facebook released a Farsi translation of the site.
  • Google added Farsi to its translation tools.
  • YouTube relaxed its guidelines for violence in videos coming from Iran in recognition of the media situation

Recommended: fbCal.com

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

fbCal is a no-hassle app that lets you see a feed of your facebook friends’ birthdays in Google Calendar or other calendaring applications. This is tremendously useful to me, because I only log in to facebook about once a week, so I otherwise tend to miss birthdays. It seems like this should be a feature of facebook itself, but I won’t get into that…