Monday, November 19, 2007

On Facebook Fridays

Through reading Tony Karrer's blog eLearning Technology, I've come across this article about the use of Facebook within a company.

It describes how a company called Serena Software has "Facebook Fridays"

The paragraphs highlighted by Tony are worth noting.

"Each Friday, employees are granted one hour of personal time to spend on their Facebook profiles and connect with co-workers, customers, family and friends."

“Social networking tools like Facebook can bring us back together, help us get to know each other as people, help us understand our business and our products, and help us better serve our customers-on demand. A corporate culture that fosters a sense of community and fun will ultimately help us get more done. Companies that do not embrace social networking are making a huge mistake.”
Despite my enthusiasm for Web 2.0 I'm really not sure about this use of social networking.

It's Friday, so you will network, you will use Facebook, you will connect with one another and our customers.
  • What happens for the rest of the week?
  • What if I don't want to mix home and work?
  • What if I don't want to update my Facebook profile?
  • What if I don't want a Facebook profile?
  • What if I want a private life?
This initiative just doesn't seem right.
You will be "friends" because the CEO says so seems doomed to failure.
It's not team building, it's not creating a sense of community, it's not embracing social networking it's imposing it.

That's not how the world works

Friday, November 16, 2007

On Competition for Facebook?

I came across a post on the Allen Stern's CenterNetwork, in which he points to Matthew Buckland in South Africa, where earlier in the week Jimmy Wales made an interesting presentation.

This presentation has added fuel to blogosphere speculation that Jimmy Wales and his "wikia" organisation just might be preparing to take on Facebook and Google.

We shall have to wait and see.

Here are some facts about Wikipedia, highlighted by Wales in his talk.

  • "Wales said that by the end of 2007 there were now more than 2-million Wikipedia articles in english, but that this is less than 1/3 of the wikipedia content.
  • German and French are two big growing languages with more than 500,000 articles each.
  • Wikipedia spent around US$1-millon last year, and will spend about $2,3-million this year. Most of this comes from small donations and is a tiny amount of money if you think of the influence Wikipedia has on the world.
  • Wales says that according to Alexa, Wikipedia is now the 8th most popular website in the world.
  • Even in countries like Iran, Wikipedia is the 14th most popular site.
  • Despite Wikipedia being one of the world’s top ten biggest websites, it only has 10 fulltime positions, with most of the work done by volunteers all around the world."

As you think about those facts, watch anonymous editors at work at Wikipedia on this interesting mashup / visualisation.

The wisdom of the crowd in action!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Facebook Pages

I've been exploring Facebook and have come across an interesting development.
The search bar has acquired a new box, (which appears for some searches but not all).

Let me demonstrate; a search for Cardiff produces the following results :-

a box for people,
a box for groups,
a box for events,
a box for applications

and a new box for pages!

Explore the pages and you will find an interesting link to the Cardiff University Facebook page.
This page invites visitors to add Cardiff Uni to their organisations, and offers quick links to all of the major pages at the University Web site, including the research pages.

A quick scan of the help files explains that Facebook Pages are special.
(Curious readers should explore the help files at Facebook, where a mass of information about the new Facebook features may be found)
A musical artist, business, or brand can create Facebook Pages to share information, interact with their fans, and create a highly engaging presence plugged into Facebook’s social graph. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from users’ profiles, and optimized for these entities’ needs to communicate, distribute information/content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fans’ recommendations to their friends. Facebook Pages are designed to be a media rich, valuable presence solution for any artist, business, or brand that can be integrated seamlessly into the user experience with socially-relevant applications.
Right now at the time of writing Cardiff University has eight fans!

I think that Cardiff University is the first Welsh University to utilise the world of Facebook pages, kudos to the Cardiff Marketing or Web Development team for being quick off the mark.

As an ex student of Cardiff University, I'm going to become its ninth fan, (in the interests of research).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

On Truth, Google Ranking and a Meme.

As a result of thinking about the "This is the Truth" experiment on The Science Creative Quarterly, David Ng at World's Fair has made a suggestion for a new meme, to be known as the "I rank number one on google" meme!"

He says
"the premise is that you will attempt to find 5 statements, which if you were to type into google (preferably, but we'll take the other country specific ones if need be), you'll find that you are returned with your blog as the number one hit."
This is an interesting meme, the results of which reveal a little about how google works and a little about individual blogs.

A little effort, patience and exploring with produced the following number one hits for "On A Hill"
  • "on the playing of violins"
  • gradatim ferociter
  • bonk and flying fish
  • burnt pyjama story
  • facebook students and porn
You can find it all On the Hill!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Social Media Starfish

Robert Scoble created the Social Media starfish, Darren Barefoot improved on it.

It covers most of the social bases, but is already out of date.

By the time some of us adopt an application the rest of the world has moved on.
By the time established institutions adopt an application the rest of the world has moved on.

How are we to keep up?

Friday, November 09, 2007

On the Facebook News Network!

Enjoy. !!

via fimoculous

On Facebook, Advertising and Digital Clutter

If you believe the hype (and I don't) the world changed on November 6th.
Mark Zucherberg founder of Facebook made the announcement that had been expected for a long long time.

Facebook is moving into advertising.
He said
“Once every hundred years media changes. the last hundred years have been defined by the mass media. The way to advertise was to get into the mass media and push out your content. That was the last hundred years. In the next hundred years information won’t be just pushed out to people, it will be shared among the millions of connections people have. Advertising will change. You will need to get into these connections."
and I still don't get it.

Facebook Ads will have three components.

Social Ads ie personalised ads informed by member profile data,
(I guess its time to play with my profile)

Beacon (Ads) which will allow members of Facebook to announce to their friends that they are fans of a particular brand via their feeds.
(Now we shall discover who our real friends are!)

Insight which will provide advertisers with marketing data from within Facebook, ie social demographic information.

Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch was there, live blogging the event.
Here are his immediate thoughts
"This could be huge if done right, but it could also backfire badly for Facebook. If I start to think that my friends are advertising to me, I may no longer trust them (and, in fact, try to avoid them . .. by not logging into Facebook anymore). So the the trick is to make these appear to be genuine recommendations, and not ads. I am not sure how many people will be fooled by this, though. It risks turning something useful—the feed of my friends’ activities—into something spammy."
How true is that?

Much as I like my Facebook friends, I'm honestly not sure that they would consider their feeds useful. I don't.
I certainly don't want to start receiving advertising recommendations from them. I have enough digital clutter already. It's bad enough that I know when my friends are cooking, thinking or breathing.

Everyone, yes everyone should visit Nicholas Carr and read his thoughts on the "Social Graft"

I guess that anyone who still believed that Facebook had a future as a PLE, a VLE or as the next platform might be having second thoughts.

I hope so.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

On Surprises

Now here's a surprise.

It has been widely reported that .....
"Costly literacy schemes in England have not paid off, with children's reading skills barely improved since the 1950s, an independent inquiry suggests."
I could have told you that, as could any serving primary school teacher who was teaching before and during the introduction of the National Curriculum.
It's good that in Wales, in theory things are a little different.

You can read the same story; here at it's source, from the BBC and Reuters, in the Times and the TES, at the Guardian and at the Daily Mail.

It's worth reading them all just to see how the press deals with the report.

As might be expected Government spokesmen disagree with the findings.

On the End of the Week

It's been a busy week. I'm a little ashamed to say that I've neglected the blog. it's good to be back.

My trip to Dundee for the HEA Web 2.0 Day took three perhaps four days out of my work schedule; which has not been helped by it being half term. I had a good time North of the border and met several researchers working in my field who were interested in our work. It was good to be able to compare notes and experiences. My talk was surprisingly well received which leads me to think that I should work harder.

During the last month the hit counter has shown some interesting trends. I'm getting more and more visitors in search of information about deleting Facebook, a surprising number of hits in search of Facebook porn while the endless search for "gradatim ferociter" continues. Additionally the number of visitors visiting more than one page On a Hill has increased significantly. It's also worth noting that one visitor arrived On the Hill from Afganistan, via a microwave link; it seems that even in Kabul worries about Facebook led one Googler to The Hill!

The high spot of the week just has to be the arrival of my Macbook Pro.
I've spent far too much of the day loading Leopard, Microsoft Office:Mac and Firefox. Transferring information and data between two machines has led to me to consider the problems created by reading blog feeds on two computers. Much as I love sage (for Firefox) it may be that Google Reader will become my feed reader of necessity.

The problem now is what's to be done with my Macbook ............
Decisions, decisions!