Permanent Record

Update. I added the following as a comment, but am pulling it up for those that might not see it otherwise:

What did we learn new about Facebook?

I’m feeling a little stupid right now. Maybe a little history is in order.

  • We’ve known since 2014, back when Five Labs used our Facebook posts to analyze personality, that when we shared our data with an app on Facebook, the app’s publisher gets our friends’ data, too.
  • It should have been obvious more than a year earlier, in 2013, when Wolfram|Alpha did its Facebook social graph analysis, but I didn’t draw the connection then.1I’ve been unable to determine if there is a link between Five Labs and Cambridge Analytica. Both Five Labs and Cambridge Analytica performed personality analysis using the Big 5 (OCEAN) personality traits. To my understanding, Five Labs did it first.
  • A couple of years before that, in 2011, one of my friends posited that the 2012 election would be about “winning the Facebook news feed,” though I resisted the thought.2Actually, I still resist. That’s why I did my Facebook Experiment.
  • And in 2009, I predicted Facebook selling targeted ads. How could it not?3This was tongue in cheek when I wrote it. Haha! I still think Facebook has a way to go before it implements all of my “plans.” But the point remains—does anyone think that Facebook doesn’t survive and thrive by selling ads into target demographics?
  • We know Facebook experimented with our moods.
  • We also know that Facebook studies our political views and manipulated our news feed so we saw news we agree with, with the goal of keeping us happy and on Facebook.4This doesn’t bother me. When I go to Starbucks, or the mall (yeah, right?), or the airport, I don’t mind that they try to provide a comfortable place that makes me happy. If they have reading material around, I don’t assume that I’m getting a comprehensive view of everything I should know. I wouldn’t expect it from Facebook either.

So tell me again what’s so shocking about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica? What new thing did we learn?

Btw, if you want to keep your data on Facebook more private,5If it’s on the internet, it’s not private. Regardless what settings you have, your information is no more secure than your least responsible Facebook friend on a bender early, early on a Sunday morning. there are steps you can take. Techlicious has a great walkthrough on Facebook’s privacy settings.

Is Blogging Old Media?

Ouch!1Credit: Geek and Poke “Time Flies” used under a Creative Commons license. I’ve only been blogging since 2004.2I attempted podcasting just a few months later.

I guess I need to remember that I joined MySpace and Facebook in 2006, and Twitter and Tumblr in 2007. Let’s not forget, Plurk, and FriendFeed around the same time.3Yeah, keeping track of how I connected all the social media sites got so complex I created a chart. Yup, that was years after starting blogging and years ago.

So, what’s the next big thing in social media? Where do you spend your online time?

Social Media Interaction

I asked a question on social media:

  1. As a tweet: Experimenting with a “spoiler” class for CSS. Does this work for iPad users?
  2. As an @reply on Twitter: @jabancroft Does the “spoiler” CSS work for you on your iPad?
  3. As a Buzz post: I’m experimenting with a “spoiler” class to hide content in a blog post until the reader clicks on it. I had originally thought of doing a “mousever” even, but was sure this would block iPad readers. So, all you iPad owners out there; does this work for you? Here’s a blog post that uses it:
  4. As a Facebook status: Any iPad users out there? If so, please go to this blog post of mine and let me know if the “spoiler” class works for you. In other words, can you read the blacked out text if you “click” on it? (Those of you on older browsers, you’re probably out of luck…)

The questions aren’t identical, but that’s largely because of the various social sites’ constraints: Facebook and Buzz allow for longer posts than Twitter.


  1. The tweet got a single response, but in reality, it was a response to a later tweet of mine. Regardless, it didn’t answer my question. That’s with 485 followers.
  2. The @reply got a response and it answered the question. Thanks, Josh!
  3. The buzz post sits quietly. This seems to be a trend on Buzz. No one gets interaction unless they have a ton of followers. I have only 64.
  4. The Facebook status got two responses, both helpful. I have 322 Facebook friends.

I get much better interaction on Facebook than anywhere else. I think it’s because I’ve limited my Facebook friends to people I actually know.

What about you? Where do you get the best interaction?

Use whatever social media you want. Feel free to u…

Use whatever social media you want. Feel free to use it on company time. Just use common sense and remember that if you publicly identify yourself with the company’s brand then act in a manner consistent with that brand. It’s in all of our best interests to do so.

Michael Hyatt

The above quote is somewhat out of context, though maybe not in the way you would suspect. Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, lists five reasons why your company doesn’t need a social media policy. Go read the list.

My Social Media New Year’s Resolutions

With a new year nearly here, it’s time to resolve to behave better on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and whatever other social media gets invented this coming year.

  • Ask, don’t tell. I’ll try to remember that I don’t know everything and act accordingly. I might even learn something.
  • Leave more comments. Bloggers put a lot of effort into their craft. A thoughtful comment can be the best reward. I know I appreciate comments.1Oh, that was almost a pitiful plea for comments, wasn’t it? ;-)
  • Respond. When someone comments here, I’ll respond. Same if someone @replies on Twitter or tags on Facebook. Not all responses need to be (or should be) in the public stream.
  • Less posting. That’s right — less. Less stupid stuff, less politics,2None? fewer links that die. And maybe a little more long-form blogging, though no promises there.
  • Less snark. Yeah, snarkiness is fun, and even funny sometimes. I’ll just do less of it. Or do it better.
  • Less complaining. Facebook will do what Facebook will do. I’ll just quietly sit in my corner blocking apps, ignoring page requests, and offer only helpful suggestions.
  • No drive-bys. Tweets and status updates I disagree with are not an invitation for debate or correction. People have the right to be wrong — even me.
  • More IRL. Online social media is fun and a great way to meet new people, but it’s no replacement for shaking someone’s hand, sitting across the table, and talking. More Tweetups, Ignite Portland, etc. I recently made my contact information easier to find if you’d like to contact me. Just check my Contact link.
  • Understand Twitter. Okay, that one’s impossible.

Are you making any social media resolutions? If so, what are they?

Facebook to Sell Targeted Ads in Your News Stream

Facebook will soon have targeted ads in your news stream. Why do I make this baseless1Okay, I got nothing… ;-) claim? Allow me to direct your attention:

Facebook has proposed an updated Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that bans sponsored status updates. That indicates two things:

  1. Facebook is contemplating commercial messages in the news stream.
  2. Facebook doesn’t want the competition. If anyone’s going to make money off advertising in your stream, it’s going to be Facebook. Don’t believe Facebook is looking out for its users in banning these third-party ads. Facebook is looking out for numero uno.

Facebook believes it knows best. They ignored all the complaints when they changed the user interface. Now, Facebook isn’t responding to requests to block quizzes in the news stream. What does this have to do with ads? Once again, two things:

  1. Facebook is good at ignoring what its users want. Ignoring all the requests for blocking quiz results is just good practice for ignoring all the requests they’ll get for blocking ads. If Facebook caves and lets us block quiz results, that will set a precedent for letting users control their news feed. They obviously can’t have that.
  2. Facebook wants these quizzes in our news streams. Facebook knows these quizzes make our news streams gutters of suck. If our streams get bad enough, Facebook knows we’ll willingly welcome anything for a break from the quizzes, even ads. We’ll be like watchers of reality TV, anxiously awaiting the next commercial break.
    Think about it. Facebook knows where we went to school, where we work, and our religion affiliations (or lack thereof). Facebook knows who our friends are and our relationship statuses. Facebook knows what we look like and where we live. Imagine looking in your news feed and seeing ads for:
  3. Weight loss programs. After all, your pictures show you’ve gained weight and you’re a fan of Weight Watchers.
  4. Hair loss treatment. Again, your pictures rat you out. If software can detect a face it can’t be hard to create software to detect bald spots. With a little tweak, the software would know from the baseball cap you wear in every single picture that you’re follicly challenged as well.
  5. ED treatments. Hopefully, your pictures don’t reveal your need for this product (please!), but a heuristic analysis of your age, relationship status, and your compensating automobile purchase (okay, your pictures do give you away) will still provide a reasonable target demographic.
  6. Plastic Surgery. Yup, blame those stupid pictures again. Try not to take offense when the ad specifically mentions your turkey neck, thick thighs, or flat chest.
  7. Divorce attorneys. At first, this seems a little harder to target. But take your relationship status, mix in a psychological analysis of your status updates and they might get lucky. Throw in all your  “private” messages and “discrete” chats with members of the opposite sex (or same, if your profile so indicates) that are not your significant other, and luck goes out the window. Facebook has you nailed.
  8. Religious tracts. Did you go to a religious private school? Unwilling to list your denomination? Are you a fan of an atheist page? Facebook knows and can sell targeted access to your stream. For an additional revenue opportunity, Facebook could up-sell these ads so they come knocking in pairs.

What ads do you expect to see in your news stream?