120 posts categorized "Facebook"

Facebook FINALLY Adds Sharing To iOS/Android Apps And Mobile Web

Facebook5 2One of the strangest things about using Facebook on a mobile device, either through Facebook's mobile website or directly through the mobile phone apps has been this - there has been no way to "share" links!

It has seemed a very odd piece to leave out, given that much of what goes on within Facebook is the sharing of links and other information.

This week, though, Facebook finally got around to fixing that. First, they updated their mobile website (m.facebook.com), as noted on Mashable and other news sites.

Second, they rolled out a new version of the iOS and Android Facebook apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Facebook noted all this in a brief news article on their site.

As a user of the iOS apps, I'm pleased to see this, and look forward to now being more easily able to share links and other posts in my Facebook NewsFeed. It's nice to see the "Share" link in my iPhone's feed:

Facebook share

Have you upgraded already? If not, look in your AppStore (on iOS) and get ready to finally start sharing...

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When Facebook Starts To Become More Useless - Irrelevant In-Feed Ads

Laundry ad in Facebook

Yesterday I started to see Facebook become more useless. There, right in my NewsFeed, nestled between two updates from friends, was an advertisement for a laundry detergent I could apparently get at my local Target.

This was not an ad on the side of my Facebook display.

This was right IN my NewsFeed.

This is very definitely NOT the kind of ads I want to see - this is junk polluting my NewsFeed. I want updates from friends, family and brands/companies that I care about.

I understand Facebook needs to make money. I understand this may be the only way they have to get an ad in front of mobile viewers. (I saw it on my iPad in the Facebook app that doesn't have ads on the side.)

I understand all that... but that doesn't mean I have to like it! :-)

When I posted about this on Facebook, friends commented that they have been seeing this for some time, and that it has to do with friends liking a Page. By this logic because someone somewhere in all my friends perhaps liked a page about laundry detergent, I am now subject to their spam.

Maybe that's it... or maybe it is just Facebook trying to offer any advertisers a way to reach mobile users.

Either way, with this kind of junk polluting my NewsFeed, Facebook just got a little more useless...

Want More Likes and Comments On A Facebook Post? Include A Photo

Would you like to have more Likes or Comments on items you post on Facebook? Perhaps for your company's (or client's) Facebook Page? It seems one tip is to make sure you include a photo.

It's perhaps a bit of a "DUH!" thing, but a gent named Max Woolf just provided some data to back up that idea. He downloaded all of Robert Scoble's Facebook posts (via Facebook's API) and then analyzed the data. The graph shows the trend quite clearly (click on the image to see the full version):

Scoble posts with photos 1

In every quarter but one, posts with a photo had a higher average number of likes and in most quarters had more comments than posts without a photo.

Now, granted, this is data for a single person's feed, but Robert Scoble creates a large number of posts and has a great number of friends and subscribers. (Max Woolf provides a link to the source data for those who want to play with the numbers.) It also just seems to make sense to me given my own usage of Facebook. My eye is naturally drawn to links or posts that have photos more than necessarily to plain blocks of text.

In the comments to Robert Scoble's sharing of the data, Max Woolf indicated that he performed a similar analysis on the TechCrunch Facebook Page and came up with a similar result.

It will be interesting to see if someone else does a bit more exploration of this topic to see how it goes with a larger sample size, but I'll expect the trend to be similar. Part of the strength of Facebook's new design is its emphasis on visual display... helping highlight the photos and images on your Timeline. There's really no surprise that photos will attract more likes and comments.

But it's always great to see some data... :-)

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Yea! Facebook's iPhone/iPad App Finally Stops Sucking!

Hooray! With an update today Facebook's iOS app for the iPhone and iPad finally stops being so terrible! Lately using the application on my iPad was an exercise in futility outside of just simple likes or comments. If I ever tried to follow a link, this was what usually greeted me:

Facebook ipad before

It would sit there and sit there and sit there... and often what I would do was hit the arrow in the upper right to open the link up in Safari on the iPad. The link would typically load almost immediately in Safari and I'd be reading the page. Then when I flipped back to the Facebook app I would just hit the back arrow to go back to reading the stream.

The ONLY reason I really continued to use the Facebook app at all was because it was easier to use than the straight Facebook website when it came to liking posts. In using the website on the iPad I often found I had to tap the "Like" link twice to make it work - or not. It was inconsistent, where the app generally always worked.

I just dreaded having to open a link in the app.

And then today with little fanfare outside of an update from Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook released version "5.0" of the iOS app through the AppStore:

Facebook update

Upon learning about the new release from my own Facebook stream of updates (thanks, Dameon!), I updated the app on both my iPhone and iPad and was immediately pleased by the performance improvement.

MUCH faster! Kudos to the Facebook team for making the application actually pleasant to use!

In a quick bit of usage there seem to be many other tweaks to the UI. One I found particularly pleasing was a numerical notification of new updates since the last time you refreshed the feed:

Facebook ipad new stories

I haven't yet used it enough to find new changes I dislike... I'm sure there may be a few... but at least the application now is much faster and more responsive.

Thanks, Facebook team, for getting this new release out!

And if you have the FB app installed on your iOS device, head on over to the AppStore to get the update!

What do you think? Are there still parts of the mobile experience that are broken? Will this new release make you want to use the app again? Or will you stick to the website?

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Oracle Buys Facebook-App-Maker Involver

Oracle buys involverIn an intriguing development today, Oracle announced that it will be acquiring Involver, a startup with a platform to help you rapidly build Facebook apps that work with your Facebook Pages.

I first experimented with Involver a year or two ago when I was trying to add some interactivity to a Facebook Page for my previous employer. Involver had some useful options and while the fit wasn't there with what I wanted to do, I did keep monitoring how they were evolving.

No terms of the deal were announced, although TechCrunch is naturally continuing to try to determine the cost. The TechCrunch piece also has some more information about other ways Involver has been used.

How does Involver fit with Oracle? As both the TechCrunch article and a Business Insider article note, Oracle just recently acquired Vitrue, another social media marketing/engagement platform and has made a number of other acquisitions in the "social" space. For their part, Oracle has published a presentation about Involver that shows Oracle's view of how all the pieces fit together:

Oracle and involver

Time will tell if the pieces do all fit nicely together, but in the meantime Oracle is clearly looking to be a player in helping enterprises connect with their customers over social channels.

Congrats to the Involver team and I do hope this all works out well for them - and for their customers.

P.S. Involver's Don Beck published a blog post providing their viewpoint on the acquisition.

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Facebook Adds "Close Friends" List To Help Sort Through The NewsFeed Overload

Facebook has long known that the "News Feed" can easily drown most folks and it would seem that they are trying yet another attempt at helping people see more relevant info. When I logged into FB today, I was greeted by this banner on the top:

Facebook close friends

I decided to play along and added a few people as "Close Friends". After hitting "Done", I wondered what would happen.

The short answer is... nothing.

At least... nothing visible. I was back looking at my News Feed as per usual. Presumably over time as I refresh the news feed the updates from these "Close Friends" will appear more often in my News Feed.

Naturally, I wanted to know where these "Close Friends" went, and I could see no sign of them in the column on the left side of Facebook. I had to click on the "MORE" link next to "FRIENDS":

Facebook 1

to get to a page of all my "lists" and from there I could click on "Close Friends" and view the list. Once I went through this exercise, "Close Friends" then appeared in the left menu inside of Facebook:


Once inside the "Close Friends" list I had a standard News Feed view of just the people I had added to this list... identical to the way Facebook Lists have always operated. There was this special note, though:

Close Friends

And clicking the "Learn More" link pops up a new wizard walking people through "Lists":

Close Friends 1

The wizard introduced me to the concepts behind Lists, mentioned "Smart Lists" built seemingly from commonalities between profiles, noted that I can keep my old lists I manually built and mentioned that I can target status updates to only specific lists. Although, unlike Google+ it seems you can only send a status update to ONE Facebook List (whereas you can include multiple Circles in Google+).

I'm guessing that perhaps Facebook felt the need to go through all of this because they knew that people were getting overloaded by their News Feed, but they also knew that many people were not using the regular "Lists" feature that Facebook rolled out some time back. With this wizard and the accompanying boxes promoting "Close Friends" they can perhaps get more people using lists.

The last page of the wizard somewhat bizarrely mentioned that I could easily "Go straight to photos and updates from the friends you care about most", using a "LISTS" area of the left sidebar that I do NOT have. Hmmm...

Close Friends 2

In looking around at settings, I can't see anywhere to enable this "LISTS" view. My left sidebar in Facebook consists of:

  • APPS
  • INTERESTS (if I hit the "MORE" link to display this)

No "LISTS" for me. Is there some configuration option I've missed? Is this "LISTS" feature still in the process of rolling out to people? Is it just some other randomness inside of Facebook? Or is really the "FRIENDS" part of the sidebar as I noted earlier? (Does Facebook need to update their wizard? or update my sidebar?)

To be honest, I don't know how often I'll really switch to the list view for "Close Friends" (wherever the link is found). I don't spend a huge amount of time in Facebook... when I dip in I usually just scan down through the News Feed. Now and then, though, I can see the value of the list.

What I'd like more is to know that all the updates and photos from the people I put in that list will appear in my regular News Feed. Facebook's annoying feature of only showing you some of the posts from people means that I do miss out on what people post. I understand that it's one of their ways of helping with News Feed overload... and perhaps this list will help in prioritizing what you see.

What do you think? Will you use the "Close Friends" list? Will this help you in working with Facebook?

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My Report into For Immediate Release (FIR) Podcast #646

In this week's For Immediate Release episode #646, my report covered:

If you are a FIR subscriber, you should have the show now in iTunes or whatever you use to get the feed. If you aren't a subscriber, you can simply listen to the episode online now.

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Video: Here Comes Another Bubble (The Richter Scales)

After yesterday's news of Facebook's acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion USD, a friend pointed out that perhaps the only response is this video from The Richter Scales... :-)

Note - the "credits" page has some interesting links to follow.

Wow - Facebook Acquires Instagram!

InstagramWow... here's one that I don't think most (any?) of us saw coming - Facebook has acquired photo-sharing service Instagram!

It's interesting to note Mark Zuckerberg's focus on the continued separate growth of Instagram:

That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

Time will tell how that will work out, but it will be intriguing to see what the acquisition enables on both sides. It will also be interesting to see the reaction of the Instagram user community...

Kara Swisher at AllThingsD and Emily Price at Mashable are both reporting that the acquisition price was $1 billion USD in cash and shares.

What do you think? Smart move for Facebook? Good or not so good for Instagram users?

UPDATE #1 - TechCrunch is reporting that Instagram received a $50 million investment with a $500 million valuation just last week. And the best response I've seen has to be this one by a woman named Tonya Hall on Facebook:

Remember this day. 551-day-old Instagram is worth $1 billion. 116-year-old New York Times Co. $967 million.

Crazy times, indeed!

UPDATE #2 - Interesting view from Om Malik - "Here is why Facebook bought Instagram"

UPDATE #3 - Some good answers to the Quora question about the Instagram acquisition

P.S. In full disclosure, I do have an Instagram account (danyork) but I have so far only ever posted one photo to it, preferring instead to still use Flickr, although that may change.

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Three Critical Reasons High Schoolers Should Restrict The Privacy Of Their Facebook Pages

Tonight purely by accident I stumbled upon the Facebook page of a student I know at one of our local high schools. I didn't know he was on Facebook but he had commented on a post in my NewsFeed by someone who turns out to be a mutual friend.

Curious to know if it was the person I thought it was, as his Facebook profile picture was not a photo of him, I clicked on the link to his name expecting to see the standard "basic info" you see for everyone and then the privacy message that usually greets you:


Instead, I saw everything...

Walls Wide Open

His Facebook "Wall" was wide open for all to see.  Anyone. I saw all his posts... all his photos... all the comments between him and his various friends. I clicked on the Info link and learned all about where he goes to school (which I knew), his musical tastes, the sports he likes, movies, television shows, games, religious views...

And I got to see all of his friends...

... probably a good half of whom ALSO had wide open walls.

In the course of maybe 10 or 15 minutes of flipping around, I learned a good bit about some of the region's high school age students, saw a whole bunch of photos, read a few conversations that probably weren't meant to be public (or at least to be read by 40+ year-old men sitting at home on their computers)...

...and generally got increasingly concerned about the amount of information these students were perhaps inadvertently disclosing about themselves and their lives.

Now, this is, after all, what Facebook seems to want. They generally default to public sharing, and so if you don't take active steps to protect your privacy, all your content will be shared with the world. And while some people are quite okay with that, I'm personally not.

If I could say anything to these high schoolers or their parents - and to all the others reading this post, it would be that there are three critical reasons why you might want to think about restricting your Facebook privacy a bit more.

1. Security

The most obvious one is the security angle. There are a lot of sickos out there. I've been online for now almost 30 years and I've seen all sorts of seriously warped stuff... information security has always wound up as part of what I've been involved with, and some of what I've had to do has taken me to seriously vile and heinous parts of the Internet.

There are warped people out there. There are thieves and scammers and fraudsters and perverts and others who prey on people online. They've always done this... Facebook just makes it ultra-easy to do. They can start commenting or "liking" your posts and photos. Striking up friendships. Sending you messages. Wanting to meet, etc., etc.

With your wall wide open, you are giving them all the info they need for "social engineering" to know exactly what to say to you. They know the music you like, the TV shows you like, etc. They've seen your photos, so they know what you look like, what you like to wear, etc. It's insanely easy for them to gain your confidence and trust.

You are also giving them your location. You are letting them know where you are, what you are doing. It's a wonderful way that your friends can know where to meet you (and it is. I personally use it that way.)... it's unfortunately also a way for a stalker to find you. And sure, it may not ever happen in your town/city, but why give out all this info when you don't really need to?

You also give away where you are not. Believe it or not, people's homes have been robbed after they were posting publicly about going away from their homes.

Location info... and really all this personal information... is really best shared only with those you trust.

2. Employers Check Facebook

The second reason to restrict your info is because if you are a high school student looking for even a part-time job, guess what that potential employer is going to do?

Yes, they (or at least the smart ones) are going to search for you on Google and Facebook and see what turns up.

In 2012, you're pretty crazy as an employer if you are NOT doing background checks on the Internet. Who needs to call references when you can just go to a search engine and learn more about potential employees than you probably ever wanted to know? (including all the "stupid sh__" they did last weekend?)

It's real. It happens. And stuff lives on in Google's caches far longer than you would ever think.

3. Colleges Check Facebook

In a similar way, college admission officials check Facebook. (Another article claims 80% of colleges use Facebook in recruiting.) Need I say more?

If you are in the process of applying to colleges, you probably don't want admissions officials reading your wall conversation with a friend where you are trashing one potential college and talking about another. Nor do you potentially want them seeing your writing, spelling, photos, etc. (unless, of course, it's awesome and might help you get into a school).

Managing your "online reputation" is something that you have to start thinking about NOW.

How To Close The Walls

To start, the best thing to do is to go into Facebook's "Privacy Settings" that, today, anyway, are found in the drop-down arrow next to your name in the upper right corner of the web version of Facebook:


Facebook unfortunately has a way of changing these settings around from time to time. But if you go down to "Privacy Settings" you'll get the window you see below, where you can make two important changes:

  1. Set your default privacy to "Friends".
  2. Change all past posts to be set to "Friends".


Note that when you click that "Manage Past Post Visibility" you'll see a window pop up that warns you that all posts shared with friends or the public in the past will be restricted. Then you'll get ANOTHER window just confirming that you really, really want to do this and warning you that you can't undo it and will have to manually change it on each post if you want to share those posts publicly again. Finally, you'll be able to change the setting.

You may also want to click "Edit Settings" next to "How You Connect" and restrict who can find your profile, who can send you messages, who can write on your timeline, etc. Here are my settings, which I have changed from whatever Facebook sets as the default settings (probably "Everyone" for all of them):


If you do these three steps,

nothing will really change for you on Facebook!

You'll still be able to interact with your friends. You'll still be able to write on each other's walls. You can still tag each other in photos, send each other messages, etc.

It's just that now when anyone who isn't your friend goes to see your Facebook profile... whether they are other students who aren't your "friend", parents of other students, potential employers, college admission officials... or sick creeps... or just random people out on the Internet... all they will see is this:


All that other personal information stays within the circle of the people you have accepted as "Friends" on Facebook.

And YOU are in control of what employers, college admission officials and everyone else sees.


  1. These privacy settings do not completely remove the chance your info can be publicly disclosed. Your info and photos go out to your Friends' Newsfeeds, and they can then in turn "share" your info out to other people... and somewhere along the way may be someone whose settings are more public. However, you are greatly restricting the potential of that with these settings.
  2. There's a separate conversation that could be had about how you could selectively post certain items publicly to create a public profile that would actually be positive for employers/colleges to see.  For instance, notes about awards you've won, volunteer activities you've accomplished, great photos you've taken or articles you've written, etc.  But again, you are in control of that information.

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