Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Google Friend Connect and the Social bar

I decided to experiment with Google Friend Connect today, after seeing the “Social bar” being used on the Open Source Bridge site. I had even set aside some time to start writing some code; to my surprise, Google did all the magic for me, and it didn’t even take me longer than five minutes to setup.

It was as simple as setting up a new site, uploading two files into ~/www/, then editing my WordPress theme’s footer.php and adding the auto-generated code before the </body> tag (I did it after the <?php wp_footer(); ?> call though).

I immediately joined my own site. At first, I setup a profile, but then realised that I could import my profile from my usual Google one. Heck, I could even import a profile from Twitter! One thing I found odd, was that to edit my profile, I had to do it from the social bar itself (from the far left column).

Social bar
The social bar – click for a larger version

On the far left column, you can join the site, or edit your profile and settings. Next to that, you can see the activity stream throughout the site. Next to that, you’re given the option to add comments. And on the far right, you can see like-minded visitors who’ve joined, and even become friends with them.

What does the social bar do for me?

  1. It allows members to join my blog and be part of my community. Do you remember MyBlogLog (a Yahoo! service)? Well, Friend Connect allows me to have MyBlogLog type features, with no problem whatsoever.
  2. It allows comments from members. These can be fine grained comments – either for the particular page, or for the whole site. In my experimentation, I’m using it for the whole site naturally. On a blog, if you’re going to write a comment of substance, you’re going to do it with the commenting facility available on the blog – however, if you just want to write throwaway comments, one-liners, “me too” replies or have one of those “chatboxes” that blogs tend to have, you’ll find the Friend Connect Social Bar to be quite useful.

I’ll be the first to admit, that its probably not too useful for me, per se, but I can see its usefulness for sites that require a lot of collaboration.

Sites that I think can benefit from Friend Connect? Kenny Sia – the Chatterbox can be replaced with the comments in Friend Connect, and frankly all the one-liner comments will be better suited for the Social bar’s comments (maybe on a per-page basis?) – plus, he’ll get a “community” for free. LiewCF can also benefit – the “members” feature provided by MyBlogLog (he currently boasts 1,441 members) can probably grow with Friend Connect, and all those one-liner comments again, can go into the comments of the Social bar. Not picking on either site, but I think they can “socialise” their sites a lot better.

Colin Charles Agenda - Settings

MyBlogLog is kind of a walled garden. You need to have an account there (on Yahoo!). Friend Connect tends to be a bit more useful – you can either use a Google, AIM, Yahoo! or OpenID account to login (a lot of bloggers will already realise they have OpenID for free –, livejournal, et al provide this). I think it can be a bit more useful if it supported logins from Windows Live/MSN accounts too – after all, a large proportion of my non-geek friends are MSN users.

And if I join another community, that information is cross-pollinated to my other communities. As a site owner, you can even see “reports” of how social your site is, over time – this whole idea of data mining (ok, analytics) is highly useful.

What if you decided to use comments on your blog, for just that – comments. But use the Social bar to enter “blog suggestions”. Smells like Skribit, to some extent. Do I see myself keeping the Friend Connect Social bar at the bottom of my blog for long? Who’s to say. Let’s see if a community builds up around it. I think this will be most useful for sites that really want conversations amongst readers, something like the site, or other social sites.

Are you using Google Friend Connect? How? What are your thoughts on it? Don’t hesitate to share them in the comments (or via the Friend Connect Social Bar!).

Facebook kills

no longer listed as single... Facebook notifications People tend to be excited when a Facebook status changes. In fact, Facebook gives it a lot of prominence by embedding it on the start page of your friends.

This Facebook status message thing though, can cause a lot of misunderstandings. If you’re not listed as single, it doesn’t mean you’re in a relationship (it could just mean that you’ve stopped looking, decided to become a priest, celebrate celibacy, et al). Whatever.

For some, it can even cause death. Via The BBC, in Wife murdered for Facebook status:

A man murdered his estranged wife after becoming “enraged” when she changed her marital status on Facebook to “single”.

Fiona Cortese, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Richardson became enraged when Sarah changed her marital status on Facebook to single and decided to go and see her as she was not responding to his messages.

I’ve read about breakup’s on Facebook. I’ve read about people’s happiness on Facebook. But this is a first, I’ve read of a murder thanks to Facebook. Waste of a twenty six year old life. Bad social networking.

Tab sweep

PickupPal is an interesting concept. Its a web tool to connect drivers and passengers, to help carpool, in various towns, all around the world. This is something I wish I’d known about had I been in Melbourne. I of course only found out about it, thanks to the city of Ontario being silly, and fining them for unregulated transportation. I say fair game for all – this is like hitchhiking 2.0? Good way to make new friends, and I’m guessing it’ll work well, if you already enjoy things like CouchSurfing, for example.

Ordering pizza from Facebook?
Ordering Pizza Hut From Your Facebook Page? It’s on the Way is an interesting read. To know that Pizza Hut crossed $1 billion in online sales in the last 18 months is valuable – to know that now you’re going to do it from your possibly favourite website, with a viral widget, is even more valuable.

Imagine you ordering a pizza, it updating your Facebook status, and another bored friend isn’t sure what to eat in another timezone, and decides to order a pizza. Highly plausible.

Ordering via text/phone[web] (they seem to focus on the iPhone), also makes a lot of sense. Cuts out the need to speak to a human. Cuts out the waiting time.

Artist scatters a thousand of his paintings around London
A great social experiment? Adam Neate left a thousand of his paintings around London, for anyone to pick up. Some people are finding them and placing them on eBay, raking in up to £1,000. And Adam is happy about it – it’ll help people during the upcoming Christmas season.

Radar and Apple
Apple’s bug tracking system is called Radar. Its been notoriously kept closed, unlike most open source projects have. Read more about Open Radar, check out the Google App.

As technology enables people to do more, and more, companies previously setting up virtual roadblocks, will face competition from the community. A lesson to learn.

Friendster as an act of revenge

A recently jilted man, aged 27, decided to post information about his ex-girlfriend on Friendster. The Star reports:

In March he started his antics again, which she tolerated, until she started getting disturbing calls from men who had read the “invitation” for a life partner over the Friendster account, which had been created unbeknownst to her.

Get this. In recent times, there were 19 such cases, with 90% of the victims being women!

There’s just some irony in this (besides it being creepy – men, don’t be creepy!). Today it is your number posted on Friendster. Yesterday, it was plastering your number in some random toilet, with a sexy message. What will it be, tomorrow?

FriendFeed feeds that refuse to die!

For the last few days, I’ve longed to make FriendFeed useful, by attempting to remove my Tumblr and Jaiku feeds.

Apparently, I succeeded but the feeds would still show up. These feeds refused to die! Annoyed, I sent them some feedback.

Today I got a reply from Ana Yang at FriendFeed. It is acknowledged as a known bug, and they’re looking into it right away. Kudos.

So, here’s to FriendFeed fixing themselves. Great job, Chief Miscellaneous Officer :)

And to the rest following my feed, many apologies for the current duplication in content. Hopefully the shared items make up for it!

On microblogging (FriendFeed,

FriendFeed seems to be getting all the attention these days. There is now even a WordPress plugin, FriendFeed Comments that will help integrate your FriendFeed comments and more, with every post you make. This can be useful, as there are many times that people discuss a blog posting on Twitter.

Discuss is a broad word. Can you really say much in 140 characters? FriendFeed doesn’t have that limitation. And I’ve recently found out that I can make use of it in twhirl.

So I’m cleaning up my FriendFeed to ensure there is no unnecessary duplication. This means dropping Jaiku and Tumblr from the list of sites I share… However, I’m adding some “value”, by adding my Google Reader Shared Items Page (which I’m using more and more these days). So if FriendFeed proves useful, I might just use that wonderful WordPress plugin (nothing similar for Twitter from what I gather).

From what I understand, at least FriendFeed doesn’t go down often ;)

FWIW, it also seems that works with twhirl so I’m on that now too (as in beyond just parking my account there). I’m byte there. And byte on FriendFeed. See you on these new services too…