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Posts tagged ‘social networking’

Building A Platform – Farmville Should not Take Down Facebook

I am joining a project at work that will revamp our intranet architecture and allow us to continue to bring innovative and cutting edge capabilities to our workforce. One of the issues that we’ve seen over the past few years had been that rich applications that have integrated with our portal have been too tightly integrated. In several cases, they have the capability to hog resources or even take a server offline due to a catastrophic fault. This is one of the areas that we want to prevent in the future and are working with our partners to articulate this desire.

This week, one of those partners was in town to talk through our needs and the analogy I came up with was that “Farmville should not take down Facebook”. That is to say the Facebook is an application platform that provides base services (demographics, content, wall updates, etc) to applications that can then use them to do interesting* things. This is similar to a corporate intranet that knows who a user is, what permissions they have, and what their demographic information is and then exposes those to applications and portlets based on their permission. In my current environment, there are some of these constituent applications that use the same resource sets as the portal platform and thus, they could negatively impact the performance of the intranet. In V.Next this should not be the case.

*Pre-emptive snarky comment: I do not consider Farmville or any of those games to be “interesting things”. In fact, I’ve never played a Facebook game. It’s merely illustrative of the type of Platform as a Service (PaaS) model that we are striving for.

Competitor Inc’s Social Media Lesson

Engaging your customer in a conversation via the Internet is great approach for companies to take when they are trying to raise awareness of their product and build a sense of community. Competitor runs a print magazine division and is also the parent of the Rock N Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon series. The race series has a presence both on Twitter (@rocknroll) and it seems many of their races have a fan page on Facebook. The marathon that I filed my 2010 Country Music Marathon Race Report on yesterday has its own Facebook page. I am sure when these outlets were set up, the content owner was thinking how great it would be and everyone could stir each other into a frenzy and increase signups.

Flash back momentarily to the days before 2004. This company and these events would have their own websites to broadcast information and might have forums where people could post comments. These facilities would be provided by the company, be hosted on the company’s servers, and the tone of the content would undoubtedly be monitored and if need be censored by the company. With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets – this level of control is gone. Given the lack of planning I described yesterday, I’m willing to bet no one at the Rock N Roll series planned for what would happen if the masses turned on them.

Seemingly, that is what has happened. There is little official comment on the Country Music Marathon race site. The results page, which did have open comments going, has had the comments purged and ability to comment closed. But there is no closing Facebook and twitter. Here’s a quick sample of what people are saying on the Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon Facebook page:

David Threm writes, “$100 for race entry 800 miles driven, $160 on gas $175 for hotel Being diverted at mile 21 in a slight storm and having finishers complete hours after I (any many others) would have, plus; no decent communication from race officials PRICELESS!!!”.

Mark Wagstaff shares my sentiments when he states, “Still upset. Still feel cheated. 20.5 miles only feels like 1/2 a marathon. It is the last 6 miles that is the difference between a marathon and a training run.”.

Amy Cox sums it up soup to nuts in her statement that “What a terrible experience. Traffic getting to the race was a nightmare, and I say this even though I live in Atlanta. Even though I only ran the half marathon, I attended the event with a friend who was running the full. It was announced that because of the weather, anyone not on time to finish the marathon in 4 ½ hours would be diverted at the 11.2 mile split. Why then was he diverted at the 21.5 mile mark? And the race was started 15 minutes early with no notification? And it was hours before we could get out of parking lot N after the race. We were only able to get out when we did because a private citizen took it upon himself to stand in the rain and direct traffic. There were plenty of police officers around bu

t they certainly weren’t directing traffic.I will not attend any more of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events.”.

And Jim Toel really sums up the root cause of this problem as communication. “I too was pulled off at 21 miles and I am very disappointed. More so that I have not heard or read any official comment or press release from the CMM people on how they intend to handle us. I understand I did not run a full marathon but I did not run a 1/2 either….. Unlike my official posted finishing time on the website. I really wish they would tell us what we should do!!!!!!”

We marathoners are a rare breed and a tight group. We’re crazy. And we’re also forgiving. At the end of the day, we just want acknowledgement and to know that we are heard. It’s a cliche, but after 48 hours of nothing official from race organizers, the silence has become deafening.

Clearly this is a public relations nightmare for an organization that wants to continue to bring in race entries and sponsors. How will they respond? We’ll have to wait and see. As I alluded to yesterday, most participants did the half marathon and thus were not affected. Even the ones still on the course 1 hour after I was pulled off (yes, I could’ve covered that 10k in about an hour). I am anxious to see their response and how this race is handled in the future.

Mapping Facebook to Real Life

The social software of the Internet has been a real curiosity for me over the past 3 years. People are essentially putting their entire social life on display without giving it a second thought. Things that were once kept amongst a close knit group of friends are now being shared with total strangers without a second thought.

Looking at this a step further, relationships are being built in cyberspace in ways that would NEVER take place in the real world. Could you imagine having a conversation with someone 140 characters at a time in real life? And what exactly does the “Poke” button on Facebook do? Here is a quick video showing you what real life would be like if it actually mimicked Facebook. Enjoy!

Privacy Threats Are Abound

Facebook quizzes seem relatively harmless. But a recent app the ACLU put together as a quiz demonstrates the amount of information you make available when you take the quiz to find out what Wizard of Oz character you are. The article cited below notes that “Once details about your personal life are collected by a quiz developer, who knows where they could end up or how they could be used. Shared? Sold? Turned over to the government?”

While these questions may seem alarmist, the report certainly sheds light on exactly what is private on Facebook – really nothing. You may think you are only sharing photos and information with your friends, but the reality is that you shouldn’t put anything on Facebook that you do not want shared with the entire world.

Read More -> Facebook knows too much, ACLU says in warning of quizzes

Be Careful With Your Online Footprint

There have been many articles over the past couple of years telling you to watch what you say online. The same holds true for who you associate with. Your Facebook, My Space, Blogger, etc. pages are burned into the archival powers of the Internet for years to come. You are leaving footprints every step of the way. Many have warned that this information may be used against you when applying for jobs. And that is true – I know hiring managers that will do a quick Google on your name before hiring you (note to self: take down picture of me & Michael Phelps).

We are starting to see incidents of companies disciplining employees for their online behavior. Offending postings don’t have to be made on your employer’s computers or networks and they may well be made during your personal time. While you may think the constitution protects your freedom of speech, it only does so to the extent that the government won’t stop you from expressing yourself. If the private sector takes umbrage with your words, they are free to dole out the discipline. It would be just like dis’ing your friend – he wouldn’t be pleased, why should your employer be any different?

A recent article expoesed this phenomenon in the world of journalism. A reported had sent ‘Friend’ requests to managers so that they would join his Facebook page. Only, they weren’t really his friend. In fact, one turned him in for his ciriticism of the company. A News Media Guild representative summed up the situation:


“We have seen about six Facebook problems over the last two months, with employees — maybe managers you have as friends — reporting potential issues to management,” union guild chief Kevin Keane wrote in a memo to union members last week. “You must be careful who you allow on as friends.”


To take it a step further, you need to really be aware of the friend of a friend concept and not put anything negative out on these social networks. I know you still will, but I at least warned you.

Read More –> AP Reporter Reprimanded For Facebook Post; Union Protests