Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook v slovenščini! (Facebook speaks Slovenian)

The big news of the afternoon is that now official, in the land on the sunny side of alps, we don’t poke anymore, but instead I now “dregnem‘ someone. This is part of the now unrolled efforts of Facebook to bring it into language that’s easier to understand to teenagers.

No more *poke*
No more *poke*

The effort was completely community driven, with local Facebookers providing translations and then voting on how good they are in order to ensure best ones win. I imagine there was a huge flame around *poke*. Everything was done from within the Facebook platform, using Translations application.

At this point there’s usually a huge backlash of Slovenian geeks who claim that everything IT related should stay in English. Given the fact that one of the biggest Slovenian sites is Podnapisi.net (Subtitles), there definitely is a demand for localized content, even though there is a vocal minority that seems to think otherwise.

Image by sitmonkeysupreme via Flickr
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Facebook as a giant relationship gossip feed

Lots of comments on realtionship changes
Lots of comments on relationship changes

I was looking at my Facebook feed today as a pattern suddenly occurred to me. From all the things people post to their account or change, almost the only one that consistently gets at least one comment from someone is when they change relationship status to a lower level. Going from married to single or declaring that it’s complicated.

A few months ago I speculated that it’s unfortunate that Facebook doesn’t allow you publicly lose a friend, but luckily enough it allows you to publicly dump someone.

As evidence I present this nice rendering of my Facebook time line of today.

I’m going to be short today and spare a lenghty rant about the importance of relationships in human society.

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WebCamp break out session #1 – Adoption challenges (for social network portability) and ways for solving them

Source: dsevilla @ Flickr

Adoption challenges (for social network portability) and ways for solving them;

source: WebCamp wiki

Disclaimer: this is a partly cleared transcript of discussion; I didn’t follow the authors of comments in order to be able to catch as much as I can. Correct me if I quoted someone incorrectly and please don’t be angry with me.

Present at the discussion:

  • Stephanie Booth, 8 years blogging, Freelance social media consultant, interested in blogging, and everything that’s online
  • Gerry Shanahan, boards.ie, social media things, side of things
  • Sven Latham, IT consultant, used to run blog directory, semantic web and social networking is definitly as one of the interests
  • Paddy Holahan, Mobile blogging, NewBay founder and CEO; looking at this through the eyes of the operator, integrating with all the social operators
  • Jure Cuhalev, Zemanta, wishing to integrate with others
  • Smitashree Choudhury, doing a Ph.D. in Social media, working with media stuff
  • Justin Tomboulian, Microsoft, lives in Kyoto, Japan – responsible for solutions delivery; part of the network that takes care of 80k users ecosystem; trying to solve big-company illness problems; internal private social network and return the learnings to the community
  • John Breslin, DERI, interested in porting of data, SIOC, data portability initiative

The topic is: “Adoption issues”; what prevents people from using new technologies? The discussion turns to the question, why the big guys (FaceBook, etc.) are not adopting these solutions. Can we show that if we have portability, we will have more users.

40% of pictures on MySpace were referenced through PhotoBucket, so this was their biggest weakness when being acquired. So MySpace bought them, but the question is – was this a good thing for users? It means that MySpace killed the data portability of PhotoBucket. If you are looking at the photo that is sitting in photo-bucket, but is embedded into MySpace -> is this real portability or just “view-ability?”

So what portability really is? Should we copy the objects, or just reference it? It embedding YouTube portability of the video?

Quick explanation of aggregation vs. federation. News reader is aggregation -> data is on the web site, and I’m using special glasses to take a look at the data; it’s an aggregated view. Federation Is actually about “moving” data around. “Aggregation does not mean portability”; Reflection from a startup point of view: API’s are part of the discussion about portability, and the question was – why would we let others user precious data that users gave us. “It’s ours”. The point that Stephanie tried to get across: if you make your data available to other services, then this data is more valuable to users since then it will be available as parts of other sites.

The discussion turns into the fact weather FaceBook keeps a copy of your data and if you can get it removed. The right to delete the data is fundamental part of data portability. “Who’s data is this blog post? Just authors or of everyone that was there”. It is also hard from technical perspective. It’s also noted that web pages are cached and it is hard to quickly remove it from Google cache. It can be months, or days. Is it your right to delete your comments on a forum and disrupt the community. There is also a question of deleting blogs and the comments with them. The content becomes “part of community”, and with the deleting of the blog you are also removing other peoples original contribution. Users bill of right is mentioned – http://opensocialweb.org/2007/09/05/bill-of-rights/.

What is the business model of “all these services”? “The because effect” – you do not make money with your blog, but because of it. The business models should turn more into that, instead of locking down the data to their islands.
What can you “bring” with you? Do you “move” -> delete original after copying; making a copy and having two copies; or are you existing in kind of a shared space that gets synced back and forth. Is business model – we are making money “with” the users content, not “because” of it.
If this content is great, then there must be money in that? Is that a good way of thinking about business models? The value of FaceBook is monetized eyeballs; they make money with branding ads since they actually charge according on time users spend on their site. They can’t make money from AdWords, they have to brand. These big sites do not have interest to open up their data until the competition comes. Using other big players in industry is possible for them to leverage their interest to make the data a bit more open.
What users want – is freedom of data; and companies want more face time, so there is no real interest for them to open data. “Is this similar to FOSS vs. proprietary debates”.

Data portability is a lot about business models. As long as business model issues are not solved, you can offer as much technical solutions as you want, you will not get adoption. “Users can vote with their feet”. Amnesty App – enabling users to migrate in one hop to another service. Static data formats are a problem, because we can’t know what will matter in a few years.

Ideal thing is that I have a store somewhere where I have all the information that I can allow others to read it. Who’s going to build it and the fact is that you can not design it correctly for the future. You could turn around it around and charge it to providers or the users, depending on the point of view on your data. What kind of business model is behind that?

Losing a Facebook/Orkut/Linkedin friend

Some time ago I read Cory Doctorows editorial about possible ways that your ex-coworkers will kill Facebook; because your colleagues and bosses will want to be friends on Facebook with their employees, and in process invade privacy of things they do in their personal life and would rather keep it private. Instead of denying their friendship request, they will either abandon the platform, or have more secret profiles.

Pondering this situation I quickly realized that some of the people who are my friends from Kiberpipa, are now my colleagues or in two cases, even bosses. This is why I decided to de-friend Andraž, who is currently leading development at Zemanta and I answer to directly. He was also conveniently sited at the opposite of the kitchen table, with Tomaž sitting in a middle, and being friend of both, able to monitor what is happening with our online friendship.

We tested the process on Facebook, Linkedin and Orkut, at all the times observing what kind of notification are sent to original actor, person that is being defriended, and mutual friend of both. Screenshots and details follow in the end.


In short: none of the networks notify the person who you defriended, or any of your mutual friends. The networks also do not present any obvious way to block the person from adding you as a friend again, and it also does not prevent you to add the same person back to your circle of friends.

More detail observation shows a couple of interesting points. Defriending process is very ascetic and does not help you fully express your reasons, as opposed to the process of friending that allows you to specify complex personal relationships. The person is also left with a short notice upon successful operation but is left wondering what exactly happens now. In my case this left me with a sense of panic because of the act of defriending person is something that should be a two-way communication, with me declaring the end of friendship and the other person acknowledging this; even with just an expressive silence. As such current social networkins fail at setting up a rounded online platform that would allow for proper inter-personal relationships.

Adding person again to your network just re-sends the normal invite without any special messages or warnings. It also does not seem that it has any effects on that person sending you a friendship request again.

What I would wish for

Going through this painful process of losing an online social network friend I do have some wishes how to make the experience better for all the parties involved.

I’d like to see ability to send some sort of notification to the person that I am defriending (in an optional matter), maybe even with a custom message. It would also be nice to somehow notify our mutual friends of that, probably the best way would be by the same event notification that lists new friendships in your network.

It would be also nice to have a bit more focus on having a vivid social life with ability to lose friends if you are inactive for long enough time, just like in a real life and this way stimulate and simulate real life.

Screenshots of the process


Defriending of a person is somehow hidden. You have to find them through your list of friends and then select Remove friend option.



Notification to me

A short notice on successful disconnect.

Notification to ex-friend


Notification to mutual friend(s)



Linked in also does not make it very obvious how to break connection. You can not do it from the profile page, but have to go to your “address book”, find the connection on that screen and remove it.





Notification to me

A short notice on successful disconnect.

Notification to ex-friend


Notification to mutual friend(s)



Googles social network has a similar concept of removing friends as Facebook. You find the person in the address list and select the delete option.




Notification to me

A short notice on successful disconnect.

Notification to ex-friend


Notification to mutual friend(s)