54 posts categorized "Social Networking"

Ello Adds Feature To Share Posts Out To Other Social Networks

The team over at Ello yesterday added the ability to share out posts you write on Ello to other social networks. When you are logged in to Ello, there is now a small circle-and-arrow icon below a post: Ello sharing link When you click/tap the icon you get the typical kind of "social sharing" box that you see on many social networks:` Ello social sharing You click on the social network to which you want to share and you get the usual kind of sharing windows you see for that given social network. As co-founder Paul Budnitz notes, there was internal discussion about whether to offer this capability, but they decided:
On the other hand, we've have had many requests from Ello users for this function — especially from people who want to make Ello the central place for all their online activity, and need to post out to friends and followers who are still using other networks.

It will be interesting to see how widely this gets used and whether this is an incentive for people to use Ello as one of the places they primarily post content.

If you use Ello, what do you think about this feature?

UPDATE: The Ello team also released a wide range of other interesting features and fixes.

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R.I.P. Orkut, The First "Social Network" Many Of Us Used

Orkut logoI find it somewhat ironic that as many of us play with Ello, the newest social network to catch our attention, today marks the end of Orkut, one of the first "social networks" that many of us used. Google has shut it down, and the Orkut home page now is the home to the "community archive" of many of the group discussions that happened there over the years. A Google support page has more information about the shutdown - and how to export your data if you want to save it.

Orkut was quietly launched in late January 2004 ... ten years ago ... and I can dive back into Advogato where I used to write in those days and see that:

And... then that's pretty much all I seem to have written about Orkut... outside of a post in 2008 about Orkut planning to use OpenSocial (remember OpenSocial?).

And that's somewhat symptomatic of what happened to Orkut... other sites and social networks emerged that captured more of our attention. As the Wikipedia article about Orkut notes, the site became for a while a huge community for users in Brazil and also India... so huge in Brazil, in fact, that the site wound up ultimately being managed by Google's office in Brazil (and this is undoubtedly why the "community archive" appears in Portuguese).

But for many of us outside those regions, we moved on. Some to Friendster and MySpace... then to Twitter in 2006... Facebook... and tens of other social networks that are now lost to history... (ReadWrite has a nice timeline about the rise and fall of Orkut, including how Facebook overtook Orkut in Brazil in 2012.)

When Google announced back in June that Orkut would be shutting down today, it had been so many years that I couldn't even easily find my account on Orkut. With all of Google's various "accounts", there were a bunch of "Dan York" accounts... and my Orkut account wasn't among them. Obviously I'd missed that point in time when Orkut users were supposed to link their Orkut accounts to their Google accounts.

Still, it's worth pausing for a moment to remember Orkut. It was the first time that many of us dealt with "friends" and "fans". It's instructive to read this rant from danah boyd, venting my contempt for orkut... the whole "social networking" thing was so brand new in those days. Friendster was around, and a few others, but not many. Danny Sullivan's piece from that time is a good read, too.

And sadly, we never really got the "protocol for networking the social networks" that David Weinberger thought might arise (although there have been many attempts (recent example, the "IndieWeb", although that is more about linking publishing sites than true "social networks", but there is a 'social' aspect to it)).

R.I.P., Orkut ... you had a good run... and you helped introduce many of us to the concepts that would become simply part and parcel of the "social" world in which we live today.

UPDATE 1 Oct 2014 - Interesting infographic about the history of Orkut: Bye bye Orkut – A Look back into the History of Orkut

You can hear an audio commentary on this topic on SoundCloud:

Watching 'Known' Grow... via Github

KnownIt's kind of fun "watching" the Known publishing platform grow - and growing it is... each and every day in terms of new features and functions. Known, as you may recall from my recent post, is a new publishing platform available in either a hosted platform (withknown.com) or as software you can install on your own server. Last week I wrote about why Known and the "Indie Web" are so incredibly important.

But the cool part about Known is that like most open source projects it has an open issue tracker... in this case Known uses Github. The overall Github account is https://github.com/idno ("idno" was the original name of the project before they changed it to "Known") and you can find repositories there for the main Known source code (/idno) as well as various plugins that work with Known, themes and other materials.

But it is the "issues" that I find most interesting. If you go to:


You'll see all the currently open issues along with the ensuing discussion. Perhaps more interestingly you can see the closed issues at:


to see all the great work the Known development team has been doing.

Being a Github user, I have "watched" the idno repository and chosen to receive email notifications when there are new issues or new posts about issues.

The result has been a fascinating glimpse into the development process of the team... and it's just been fun to watch how they continue to build more functionality into the platform. Great to see!

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Why I Am NOT Always Okay Being The Product (Re: Facebook and Ello)

Shel holtz productSometimes I'm okay being "the product", sometimes I'm not. I just want the choice... and to know who has access to my data.

Today Shel Holtz published a piece on his blog, "You say I'm the product of services I don't pay for? I'm fine with that.", and after first replying to Shel on Ello and then starting to do so again on Facebook... I realized I needed to just write these thoughts down in somewhere more permanent (and outside the walls of social networks). You know... go "old school" and reply blog-to-blog like we used to do before social networks...

I certainly realize that you are always paying for services in some form, either directly in money or attention (i.e. watching an ad before seeing something) or through information that can then be monetized via some other way such as ads. I also realize there are hybrid services where you are directly paying for part of the cost while advertising (potentially based on your data) is covering the rest of the cost. This has been the model for newspapers and magazines for quite some time (and pre-Internet, of course). It's the model for TV channels now (since in at least the US you are paying for cable TV and being bombarded by ads). It's the model used for a zillion different services we all use every day.

I get that.

TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

I get that. And much of the time I'm perfectly fine with that.

I use Gmail, for free, even though I know that Google is reading my every message and mining that for data to feed into their AdWords advertising machine. Like Shel, I use some "loyalty programs" where I know that I am getting a discount on my purchases in exchange for giving them my data.

Going Too Far?

But... I start to get worried about how that data might be used by others. For instance, Facebook's new "Atlas" advertising platform launches today (see also "Meet the new Atlas") and so now ads based on our Facebook data will be displayed on other websites we visit and also within mobile apps.

To Shel's point... maybe that's a good thing. Maybe we'll see more targeted and helpful ads that we may actually want to purchase.

But... who else is learning about what we are doing and saying inside of Facebook... and are we okay with them doing so?

Maybe I've just spent so many years in information security that I'm wary. I don't expect that advertisers outside of Facebook would learn my exact information... Facebook is far too protective of the actual data (for their OWN reasons, not out of any interest in protecting me). But there are ways that information can leak... or that aggregate information can be discovered. Our web browsers and other devices can leak a great amount of information about what we are doing and what we are seeing.

I'm not 100% okay sharing all that data with others.

I guess I don't necessarily trust Facebook to be careful with my data.

Choosing NOT To Be The Product

Shel mentions network television in his post, and certainly I, too, have seen some amazing shows that came about through the support of advertising. Similarly, I'm been a long-time fan of National Public Radio (NPR) and while it does not have "advertising", per se, it has "underwriting" which to the listener may wind up being similar (just less obnoxious).

But I have chosen to NOT participate in that process much any more. Our family doesn't have commercial TV. We are a "cord-cutter". What "TV" we watch comes at us without commercials through live streaming services. We are paying for a subscription. An impact, of course, is that we don't get some of the latest shows... nor do we get the current sports games... because those are all still ad-funded.

We made this choice in large part because we were tired of all the advertising. (And there are some philosophical reasons why I think the fact that our kids are growing up without watching commercials is a beautiful thing, but that's for a different article.) I've given up on most traditional radio, too, including NPR, opting instead to listen to podcasts in my car or use Spotify (which I pay for) or other streaming services in my home office.

Similarly, I have chosen NOT to participate in some "rewards" or "loyalty" programs offered by some stores or services. Oh, sure, I'm in various hotel and airline "frequent traveler" programs because I perceive that there are benefits. I am also in one for my local hardware store because I get a discount and I buy a significant quantity of products to where I'm okay giving up my data for a discount.

But there are other stores where I am NOT comfortable exchanging my data for a discount. Either ones I don't frequent all that often... or just ones that for whatever reason I don't trust.

I don't want to be their product.

Returning To The Topic Of Facebook and Ello

Shel concludes his post saying:

Ultimately, being “the product” doesn’t bother me, and I’m not inclined to abandon a network that works for me for a new one just because it doesn’t have ads.

He is, of course, responding to the Ello Manifesto and one reason Ello is getting a good bit of buzz.

I agree that simply "not having ads" is not a great reason to move from one network to another. And I don't expect that I will abandon Facebook... I still find it useful and enjoyable.

But I find I don't trust Facebook anymore.

Granted, I never really have trusted Facebook since I started using it back in 2007-ish... but maybe it's even more the case today. I just worry about the large-scale data mining.

THAT is a good part of why I'm continuing my explorations with Ello.

I'm looking for a place where I can share information with others - and yet feel that the privacy of my conversations and data are better respected than in other social networks.

P.S. And yes, I do realize the irony that all my Ello conversations are entirely public, which means that all of them can be picked up by that other master of data mining, Google, as well as any other data mining service... very much like all my tweets can be picked up, too. That's okay right now because I'm not yet intending to share anything on Ello that I'm not comfortable being public. But I am interested in what they may be able to do in the future to allow more private conversations.

P.S. And I also realize that I'm probably in a very small minority who care about data privacy and that the VAST majority of people out there don't even remotely care about what is done with their data...

Photo credit: Shel's blog

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3 Quick Tips About Getting Started With Ello

Ello smileAs I've started playing with Ello, the new social network that many early adopters are experimenting with (and you can find me at https://ello.co/danyork), I've learned a few things that I thought I'd share in case they can help others who are getting started:


Ello allows you to do some formatting to your text using a subset of John Gruber's Markdown syntax. It's not the full Markdown syntax, but a good bit of it. You can read more at:


You can see some of my Markdown experiments in an Ello post.


You can use a wide range of emoji in your Ello posts. You may want to bookmark:


To use an emoji you just type the text in your Ello post, for example ":smile:" will give you a smile. I've seen many different emoji being used in posts.


C.C. Chapman clued me in that while Ello doesn't have a "Like" or a "+1" (yet, anyway), apparently the convention has developed that people will leave you a "bread" emoji in a reply to say they like this. So if you suddenly see comments with bread emoticons, that's what is going on. To leave one yourself, just type ":bread:" in the comments.

(And I'd love it if someone on Ello could explain how that convention came about...)
UPDATE 28 Sep 2014: @brdr on Ello says the 'bread' emoji usage originated with German Ello users and spread throughout the network.

Those are just a few of the things I've discovered in my playing around with the site. If there are other tips you've learned, please feel free to leave them here as comments... or leave them in response to the link to this post on Ello.

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Remember MySpace? Chart-Of-The-Day Shows That We Clearly Don't...

Wow... what a difference a year makes. This week a Silicon Alley Insider Chart-Of-The-Day clearly shows the demise of MySpace in terms of visitors:

Chartoftheday myspace

I can certainly count myself among that number. I do have a MySpace account, but I honestly haven't logged into the site in ages... maybe not even at all last year. (Ha! Actually, my MySpace profile still says I work at Mitel... and that changed back in, oh, October 2007! I guess it was a wee bit longer than a year... )

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Apple's Ping to Connect with Facebook? (iTunes 10 screenshot...)

With the announcement of Apple's Ping "social network for music" yesterday, I naturally had to download iTunes 10 and check it out.  Outside of finding that so far pretty much zero of the older artists I follow are on Ping, I was intrigued by this screen:

iTunes10-facebook.jpgOthers have noticed this, of course, and a Cult of Mac article about it has comments from folks who were able to link to Facebook to see if their FB friends are on Ping.

It's just curious, given the lack of Facebook mention in Steve Jobs' keynote yesterday and then Kara Swisher's All Things D article:  'Steve Jobs on Why Facebook Is Not Part of Apple’s New Ping Music Social Network: “Onerous Terms”' (And I'm somehow not surprised that Facebook had "onerous terms"...)

It would be logical if they did allow that connection... it's annoying to enter a new social network and have to, yet again, go through the process of connecting to people on the network.  This is why data portability matters, as I've written about over the years, and why we need projects like the DataPortability Project to succeed.  Upon entering a new network like Ping, I want to connect with my "tribe" very simply and easily...

Meanwhile, given that the bands I like, such as the Scorpions, AC/DC, Rush, etc., (or even Nickelback!) all don't seem to be on Ping yet, I'll just look at my blank page and wait for a few friends to show up on the service... perhaps I can find some newer music ;-)

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Re-examining how I use Facebook - and again the blurring of our lives

facebook.jpgWho do you "friend" on Facebook? And how do you resolve the tension between private and public interaction?

It's funny how synchronicity works some times. Last week I was thinking about writing a post about how my use of Facebook has changed - or perhaps will change... when a note in my Twitter feed pointed me to a post from Michael Hyatt called "Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy" which hit many of the points I was thinking about writing.


Hyatt, who is CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc, hits one of the central dilemmas relating to our online networking - the incredibly loose way in which we use the word "friend". Leaving aside all the English teachers rolling over in their graves at the way we are now using "friend" as a verb (ex. "I wasn't sure if I should friend him."), Hyatt provides a useful taxonomy of the types of people we interact with online:

  • Family: These are the people who are related by blood or by marriage. I have occasionally been too loose with term, too. I have used it to refer to close personal friends or even the “Thomas Nelson family.” But I don’t think this is accurate or helpful. It creates the illusion of something that is not true. From now on, I am going to use this word as it was intended.

  • Friends: These are the people I know in real life. They are people I have met face-to-face, enjoy being around, and interact with in real life. (These three elements are key.) Frankly, a few of these relationships started off online through Twitter. Over time, they grew and developed. Regardless, I have a few deep and significant friendships. But if I am honest, I don’t have many. I only have so much time available.

  • Acquaintances: These are people I have met online or off. I may know their name or even their face. We may even have been friends at some point in the past, but we don’t have an ongoing relationship. We only know one another at a superficial level, and that’s just fine. We just have to be clear that these are not are “friends.”

  • Fans: These are the people who know my public persona or my work. This is also where people get confused because the relationship is not mutual. For example, I am a fan of Chris Brogan. We have even met once. I know lots of stuff about him, because of his blog and Twitter posts. This creates the illusion of intimacy. If I am not careful, however, I could fool myself into thinking I have a relationship with Chris. I don’t. I’m just one of his many fans.

Hyatt goes on to discuss his decision to only keep as "friends" on Facebook his family and actual "friends". His acquaintances and friends he has moved over to a newly-created Fan Page within Facebook. Through this exercise, he has gone from having 2,200 "friends" on Facebook to down to 100. He notes these lessons:

    You have to understand the difference between friends, acquaintances, and fans.

  • If I try to be everyone’s friend, I will be no one’s friend. I must be deliberate and selective.

  • I will probably offend some of the people I unfriended. That’s okay. My sanity and real friends are more important than meeting the expectations of fans and acquaintances.

  • I need to be very careful who I accept as a friend on my profile going forward. Just based on mouse clicks, it’s three times as much work to unfriend someone as friend them.

The comments to both this post and Hyatt's earlier post about his dilemma make for interesting reading. How we relate to each other in online sites like Facebook is in my mind a key part of how we build our online identities as we all live in this increasingly interconnected space. As I wrote about back in January 2009 in a post "The blurring of our lives: Does learning info about co-workers via Facebook improve connections? Or feel creepy?", the different contexts in which we have traditionally interacted with people are all crashing together. The larger ramifications of this on a cultural level are still to be determined.



Now I'm obviously not the CEO of a publishing company and don't have quite the high public profile that Michael Hyatt has. But I do have a public profile... through my various online sites and blogs, my weekly reports into the FIR podcast, my fairly heavy use of Twitter, my very public persona for Voxeo in blogs and Twitter and various other ways that I generate content online. Will all of that online extroversion do come the many Facebook connections (and connection requests) from so many people. Through all of that, I've made some wonderful connections - many of which started online and grew to include face-to-face meetings at various conferences or events. Some of those relationships have remained entirely online but have grown to become what I would consider true friendships.

And yet in other cases I've received connection requests from people who "follow" me in some context... perhaps Twitter... perhaps FIR... perhaps my various blogs... and I haven't really known how to handle them.

Now I've always applied fairly stringent criteria to whom I accept connection/friend requests from on both Facebook and LinkedIn. A number of years ago, I wrote about how "promiscuous linking" weakened the "web of trust" within services like LinkedIn. And I've applied that in LinkedIn very strongly... with perhaps only 1 or 2 exceptions that were accepted in moments of weakness, I know personally and have interacted in some capacity with the 500+ contacts I have in LinkedIn. I don't accept someone's connection request unless I do know them.

On Facebook, it's been similar: I've been fairly stringent about who I accept as a "friend" - although I admit that in the early days I was a bit more open. I joined Facebook several years back shortly after it had been opened up beyond the college/university crowd and there was a good-sized group of us trying to figure out what this Facebook thing was all about - and also how it could or could not be used for business communication. So for a while, I was accepting many friend requests from people I knew only peripherally, many of whom Hyatt would have termed acquaintances at best and perhaps really more "fans". Add to that... all the people I know who are friends, but are friends from different contexts... and it gets interesting.

In the words of Facebook... "It's complicated."


Along the way, I've found that the way I use Facebook has changed somewhat dramatically. In the earlier days, I was exploring it mostly as a business communication tool. My updates... my applications... my notes... all of them were much more business-focused. (And many of my friends probably view my newsfeed today as mainly that... although I can assure them it was more so in the past.)

But somewhere along the way... perhaps sometime after I made my abortive attempt to connect my Twitter firehose directly into my Facebook status updates for a few weeks (resulting example (one of many): "Dan, we are friends, but man, your updates are killing me - you're making up over 90% of my news feed!"), I found that I wanted to use Facebook differently.

I have found that I want to retreat inside the walled garden of Facebook (even while despising walled gardens and fearing for the future of the open Internet)... that I want to share more private information with a smaller group... that I want to share photos, perhaps even of family... that I want to engage in deeper conversations with people I know well - and through that come to know them better.

In part, I'll credit my wife for some of this change. An artist whose eyes routinely glaze over when discussion turns to the online world I live in, she resisted joining Facebook for ages. When she finally did recently, though, she became a very active user... and in watching her interactions I saw more of the possibility for deeper interaction. It's been fascinating, really, to see how she uses it.


My challenge, of course, is similar to Michael Hyatt's: How do you create a private space in which to have deeper interaction while also simultaneously nourishing and expanding/growing your public persona and public interactions?

Like Hyatt and many of those commenting to his posts, I have a VERY deep and strong aversion to Facebook's terminology of a "Fan Page". I'm NOT a celebrity. I want people to be able to interact with me publicly... yet I don't want them to have to use the bizarre terminology of calling themselves a "fan" of me.

It's the word "fan" that gives me the most trouble.

Being a "fan" has an implied endorsement... a positive feeling. You are a fan of someone or something... you like it... you support it... you endorse it. It makes me uncomfortable.

The "follower" term of Twitter or "subscriber" term of Friendfeed are far less emotionally loaded.

Perhaps if Facebook, in their current lust to become Twitter, could move to talking about "Public Pages" and letting people "subscribe" instead of become a "fan", those of us uncomfortable with the current terms might more readily make use of the function within Facebook.


I don't know.

I do know that probably in the last year or so, I've become even more stringent in who I accept as a Facebook "friend". My criteria has become:

  • Do I know this person well?
  • Do I know them well enough that I am comfortable sharing with them personal information about myself?

If the answer to either is "no", then I either "ignore" the request or, in some cases, just park the request in my "Requests" area of Facebook waiting to make a decision.

This has from time to time put me in the uncomfortable situation where there have been people with whom I have peripherally interacted - and with whom I would perhaps like to interact more with - but with whom I don't yet have that comfort level. For those folks, I've perhaps tried to interact with them more on Twitter, where through @replies you can interact with people very easily without needing an established relationship.

As noted above, I don't like the "Fan Page" idea... and so I still don't know how to interact with those who want to engage with my public persona - and with whom I would definitely like to interact in that persona.

Or is perhaps the whole idea of private versus public interaction one I need to simply discard when it comes to Facebook?

We do, indeed, live in interesting times... and sorting out all these different ways of how we interact with each other in this blurred world will definitely take some time.

What do you do? If you have a public face, how have you separated your private versus public interaction in Facebook? Or have you not?

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Speaking tomorrow night at Keene Public Library: "The Big Disconnect - How Communication Is Changing All Around Us"

UPDATE: Just confirmed that the start time is 7:00pm versus 6, which is what I thought it was, but I was writing my post based on info on the library's web site. ;-)

If you are in the area of Keene, NH, tomorrow night, Monday, April 13, 2009, you are welcome to swing by the Keene Public Library at 6pm7:00pm to hear me speak on: "The Big Disconnect - How Communication Is Changing All Around Us" where I'll be talking about who the ways we communicate and the tools we are use are changing... basically the topics I write about here, over at DisruptiveTelephony.com, in my FIR reports and essentially in most of the other places I write. The full abstract of the talk is below.

This whole thing started off innocently enough. Another parent at my daughter's school knew about the kinds of things I do and asked if I would be willing to talk to the library board (on which she sits) about changes in communication technology. They are apparently doing some long-range planning over these next few months and she thought my input would be helpful. My first response was (and still is) to suggest they talk to my neighbor and long-time Keene resident Jon Udell who has, among other things, created the LibraryLookup Bookmarklet Generator. She appreciated that info but continued to also want me to talk to the board.

Given that this is the kind of presentation that I do on an ongoing basis anyway, I agreed. Then somewhere along the way it seems the library board morphed this into a public presentation... when she asked me for a headshot and bio for flyers, well, I knew it was getting a bit bigger... ;-)

Ah, well... it didn't and doesn't matter to me. If I'm speaking to five people or 20 and private or public, it should be a good conversation regardless. Having this presentation has also been helpful in that it has helped me synthesize some points that I'd been thinking about for some time into a more coherent form.

So at this point it's a public event to which anyone can go. If you find yourself in Keene tomorrow night, feel free to stop by. Here's the abstract of the talk:

Is the future of our inter-personal communication a 'tweet'? Are we going to become 'friends' with everyone through sites like Facebook? What are all these 'feeds' people are talking about? And what is going on with all these e-books?

We are living in a time of great change both in terms of the technologies and tools we use to communicate but also in terms of the changes those technologies are making to the fabric of our society. Traditional media outlets are under severe stress. Newspapers are folding or stuggling. Television audiences are fragmenting and moving online. Radio empires are collapsing. Email is dying under the weight of spam. Landlines are being cut in favor of mobile phones. In the midst of all this change, people are sharing details of their lives in social networks like Facebook and MySpace. They are 'tweeting' with Twitter. They are posting video to YouTube. They are collaborating using documents 'in the cloud'. They are networking on LinkedIn. They are blogging and podcasting. They are sharing and creating information in so many new forms and ways.

In this talk, communication technology expert Dan York will discuss these trends and technologies and look at how both the ways in which we communicate are changing as the underlying technology changes. What is fueling those trends? How are people changing the way they consume information? What does it mean for each of us as we blur the contexts in which we interact with people? What are both the challenges and opportunities for organizations and businesses? What are some of the societal impacts? What about privacy? (Or is there such a thing?) And how can people most appropriately participate? Come with your questions and join in the conversation about how communication is changing all around us.

P.S. I don't know that I'm entirely comfortable with the label "communication technology expert". I suppose some people may consider me that, and I have been working with online communication networks and tools for pretty much 25 years at this point... but from my perspective the more you know, the more you know you don't know...

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Remaining connected... to the dead?

Here's another piece to the social media/uber-connected-society puzzle we need to work out as we continue this grand experiment we are all a part of...
what happens to our social networking connections when we die?

Today a former colleague asked to connect to me on Plaxo Pulse, but when I approved his request, Plaxo Pulse put up an error message saying the connection couldn't be established right now. However, since the request message also disappeared, I decided to check my list of Plaxo contacts to see if this person was, in fact, added (he was, despite the error message).

In doing so, though, what did I see on the top of one of my pages of contacts but this:


Now, as many readers may know, Marc Orchant passed away back on December 12th. He and I had been corresponding via Robert Sanzalone's PacificIT Skype group chat and at some point in there while we in the chat were all trying out the new (at the time) Plaxo Pulse, he and I became connected there.

The Pulse connection, of course, survived his death.

Marc and I were not connected directly on LinkedIn, but I do note his profile is still there. If he was on Facebook, there does not seem to be an account there. The question remains, though, what happens to all of your connections when you die? Do you have a plan for someone to go in and remove all of your accounts? Or should they just live on forever?

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