Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Foursquare – why bother?

Jon Evan’s TechCrunch post Dear Foursquare, Gowalla: Please Let’s Stop Pretending This Is Fun pretty much sums up the way I feel about Foursquare these days.

… Because they’re not giving us any good reason to use them. Look at their web sites. Gowalla proclaims, “Discover the extraordinary in the world around you.” Foursquare says, “Unlock your city.” To which I say: “Oh, come on“ — and it seems I speak for approximately 96% (formerly 95%) of the population. I have no interest in enlisting in a virtual scavenger hunt, or unlocking merit badges — what is this, the Cub Scouts? — or becoming the narcissistic “Mayor” of my local coffee shop. Thanks for the offer, but I’m afraid I already have some semblance of a life.

… If they want to reach the majority who don’t care about making it to Mayor, they need to abandon their pretense of fun, stop pussyfooting around with silly slogans, and make their value proposition stark, simple, and profoundly unsexy: “Check in and get coupons.”

Like Jon, I’m an early adopter. I started checking-in to my favorite eateries and coffee shops long before Foursquare was mainstream (my Foursquare profile) and Facebook launched their answer to Foursquare – Facebook Places. Initially, it was just about staying current with trends in the industry and satisfying my curiosity. Eventually, the game mechanics caught on and I found myself looking forward to things like the Superstar badge. Today, I find myself wondering why I even bother.

Foursquare FacebookFoursquare really isn’t providing me with any value. It doesn’t help me connect with my friends, too few people in my social circle use it for it to be interesting on that front. It isn’t saving me money,  here in Eugene Oregon there are few vendors who even know what it is. I spent ten minutes trying to explain the importance of my Mayorship status to the owner of  my favorite Indian restaurant. I left that experience feeling a little embarrassed – I think he thought I was crazy – no discount, and no pat on the back for the Mayor. What am I getting out of this? I’m done with thinking badges are cool – well, mostly.

I expected Foursquare to pick up the pace after they closed the $20 million Series B round with Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. I’ve seen few new features, and even fewer business development deals since they put the money in their coffers? What are they using the money for? Is Foursquare adrift? Did Facebook Places pull the wind from their sails?

I’ve used Facebook Places and I expect I’ll start using it more in the future. Facebook Places is already connected to my social circle and Facebook Deals  (announcement) might just save me a few bucks. Right off the bat, Facebook’s value proposition is stronger.

If I were at the helm of Foursquare I’d be focusing all of my resources on doing as many national discount deals as possible. I’d make it supper easy for smaller vendors to claim their businesses and create special offers for their customers. I’d work to make sure Foursquare vendor profiles are well ranked in search results. Create the clear value proposition – and then make it easy for everyone to get a piece of it. If Foursquare can’t start providing their users with some value – they’re done.

Flickr Facebook Integration Disappointment

FlickrOn Thursday, Flickr, the popular photo sharing site, announced a new Facebook integration feature. I’m a Flickr Pro user and love the service.

We’re always looking for new ways to make it easier for you to share your photos and videos with the people who matter to you. Today, we’re launching a new and improved way to share your Flickr photos with your friends and family on Facebook! Just connect your Flickr and Facebook accounts and we’ll automatically send an update to your Facebook feed every time you upload a public photo or video.

I was excited to take advantage of this feature because I assumed it would be better than the Facebook import feature, which has supported Flickr for years. Unfortunately, Flickr’s Facebook integration is about as basic as you can get. Every image you post to your Flickr photostream is posted as an individual Wall update to your Facebook account. Unfortunately -  did I say unfortunately again? – for someone like me, that’s often uploading dozens of photos at a time to Flickr, this just don’t work very well – my Facebook wall was quickly transformed into a Flickr photostream.

You’d think that Flickr/Yahoo!, with the resources they have available. would be able to come up with a more full featured integration. There are dozens of Flickr Facebook applications out there written by individuals in their spare time that blow this out of the water. Like the title of this post says, Flickr’s Facebook integration is a disappointment. I’m really surprised Wired or ReadWriteWeb didn’t ding Flickr/Yahoo! a bit for this poor showing.

I think Flickr/Yahoo! spent more time writing the announcement blog post than their developers did working on the integration ; ) I wonder how many people hours Yahoo! spent pushing this through the bureaucracy.

Facebook Users = Country

How many users do you have? That’s a question you hear a lot in the Tech Industry. Most people are really skilled at creatively inflating the number because users = money, success, influence, and more. If you’re talking valuation in the Tech Industry it usually looks something like valuation = users * inflated user value.

Scanning my feed stream today I happened across a post by Mark Zuckerberg. If you don’t know who Mark is – well, just stop reading this and go back to work. Mark wins the award, IMO, for best answer to the "How many users do you have?" question.

"Today, we reached another milestone: 150 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook and almost half of them are using Facebook every day. This includes people in every continent—even Antarctica. If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria." — Mark

Here’s why I think Mark wins the award:

  • He says "actively" and then backs it up with "almost half of them are using Facebook every day" – most people stretch the definition of "active" or don’t even bother using it
  • He gives the number of users real meaning and context by creating a country for them which happens to be larger than Japan, and Russia
  • and it helps to have 150 million users

Nicely done Mark. Hats off to Facebook – a service I seem to be using more and more as friends of all kinds jump on the bandwagon.

More Photos on Facebook Than Flickr

I was browsing the TC feed this morning and was surprised to learn that Facebook is sporting twice as many photos as Flickr. Flickr just reached 2 billion photos – Facebook is sporting 4.1 billion photos. Facebook might have quantity but I’m sure Flickr wins on quality. 2 Billion Photos on Flickr.

What’s “Open Social” All About

If you haven’t heard about Google’s Open Social yet – you will shortly, it’s launching tomorrow. Mark Andreesen’s post today does a great job of summarizing what Open Social is all about. His social network company, Ning, is one of the participating “containers” so he’s a biased but I think his post benefits from his “insider” perspective. I’m interested to see how Facebook reacts. Will Open Social strengthen or weaken your Friendverse?


In a nutshell, Open Social is an open web API that can be supported by two kinds of developers:

  • “Containers” — social networking systems like Ning, Orkut, LinkedIn, Hi5, and Friendster, and…
  • “Apps” — applications that want to be embedded within containers — for example, the kinds of applications built by iLike, Flixster, Rockyou, and Slide.Source – BLOG.PMARCA.COM


Related and relevant:

Dare Obasango: OpenSocial: Google Proposes Widget & RESTful API Standards for Social Networking Sites “This is a brilliant move. – Dare Obasango”

Giga Om: OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook “OpenSocial attacks Facebook where it is the weakest (and the strongest): its quintessential closed nature. – Om Malik”

Anil Dash: Blackbird, Rainman, Facebook and the Watery Web “Think of the web, of the Internet itself, as water. Proprietary platforms based on the web are ice cubes. They can, for a time, suspend themselves above the web at large. But over time, they only ever melt into the water. And maybe they make it better when they do. – Anil Dash”


palmit.commentary post:
Friendverse Weakens

Updated 11/01/07

Mark Andreesen is back with another Open Social post today and this one includes an excellent screencast summarzing Open Social and what it’s going to do for social networks by providing a real-world example. Additionally, Google announced today that MySpace and Six Apart are joing the growing Open Social network.


TripAdvisor Buys Facebook Application “Where I’ve Been” for 3 Million

Wow, it looks like travel site TripAdvisor has acquired Facebook application “Where I’ve Been” from creator Craig Ulliot for 3 million. Less than two months ago Craig could barely afford to keep the app. up. “I have 250,000 users, now what?”

In what is by far the largest Facebook application acquisition to date, travel company TripAdvisor has reportedly acquired Where I’ve Been from Craig Ulliott for $3 million. — Inside Facebook

This acquisition is going pump a lot of developer talent into the Facebook platform. Congratulations Craig – the best programmer!

Friendverse Weakens


There’s a rift forming in your Friendverse and you need to close it before it destroys the social fabric that holds your Friendverse together. The Friendverse is the invisible bond that connects you with your friends – the people you really know, like, and trust.

friend n. – A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.

Yesterday, I was part of a blog conversation about the need for a standard that makes "Friend" lists more portable. Moving from one social network to another, Twitter to Pownce for example, can be a frustrating experience because you have to re-build your "Friend" list every time you move. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take your "Friend" list with you when you move to, or start ,a new social network? The experience is especially frustrating for the socialites that have thousands of supposed friends – people like Robert Scoble who boast "Friend" lists numbering in the thousands. Yes, a standard that makes these lists more portable would be nice but maybe we should be looking at the way we’re "Friending" before we start developing a system to support meaningless "Friend" lists.

I’ve received multiple "Friend" requests from Twitter users that have "Friend" lists numbering in the thousands. The same thing happens to me on Facebook. I completely ignore most of these requests because I don’t like the idea of "Friending" people I don’t know, like, or trust. I should be able to invite a "Friend" over for dinner. A "Friend" would come to my funeral. Don’t you want to know someone, at least a little, before you add them to your "Friend" list? I guarantee you this, Robert Scoble has people on his "Friend" lists that he wouldn’t associate with in the real world.

I believe my Friendverse should be based on real relationships, a true reflection of my real world social network. I think people with "Friend" lists numbering in the thousands aren’t respecting their Friendverse. Not respecting your Friendverse, letting that rift form, can have real world consequences. Your real world friends, that crucial support network, will weaken as your expanding and meaningless "Friend" lists consume your time, weakening your social network. Your real world friends will begin to question their value in your social network as they become one of thousands that call you a "Friend." If you have thousands of "Friends," what does that make them? A "special" friend, a "best" friend, a "real" friend? If you don’t give your Friendverse the respect it deserves you’ll end up with a very weak social network and few real world friends.

So perhaps we should stop looking for ways to expand and transport meaningless "Friend" lists and instead focus on building a meaningful and rich Friendverse. People we like, know, and trust.

comScore Releases Facebook Metrics


comScore recently released updated Facebook metrics. The 25-34 age group is growing faster than any other group – 181% year-over-year. Obviously, open registration and a very developer friendly platform are contributing to this growth. The Facebook crew has managed to almost double their unique visitors year-over-year – 26.6 million visitors in May 2007. I’ve started building my Facebook profile. Have you?


Youth rethinking communication habbits?

Some youth rethink online communications – Yahoo! News

"The superficial emptiness clouded the excitement I had once felt," Henderson wrote in a column in the student newspaper at Iowa State University, where he studies history. "It seems we have lost, to some degree, that special depth that true friendship entails."

Somebody gets it … will MySpace, FaceBook and the iPod still be cool next year?

Guy Kawasaki Interviews Kathleen Gasperini of Label Networks

Interesting perspectives on why young people (they don’t like the "teens" label) like MySpace and Facebook in Guy Kawasaki’s recent interview with Kathleen Gasperini of Label Networks – a research firm that helps brands like Apple and Pepsi keep up with the younger crowd. The interview pointed me towards the popular and expressive  MySpace Movie – funny stuff.

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palmIT is authored by Cale Bruckner [LinkedIn], President at Concentric Sky, and former SVP Product Development at Palo Alto Software.

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