Social Networking

Not A Hoax

That’s an odd assertion for Trump to make.  Sure, he can make the argument that there was no collusion, but to say that Russia never bought ads on Facebook?  How would TRUMP know that’s not true?  Mueller isn’t saying it… Facebook itself is:

Under growing pressure from Congress and the public to reveal more about the spread of covert Russian propaganda on Facebook, the company said on Thursday that it was turning over more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads to congressional committees investigating the Kremlin’s influence operation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said during an appearance on Facebook Live, the company’s video service. He added that he did not want anyone “to use our tools to undermine democracy.”

“That’s not what we stand for,” he said.

The announcement that Facebook would share the ads with the Senate and House intelligence committees came after the social network spent two weeks on the defensive. The company faced calls for greater transparency about 470 Russia-linked accounts — in which fictional people posed as American activists — which were taken down after they had promoted inflammatory messages on divisive issues. Facebook had previously angered congressional staff by showing only a sample of the ads, some of which attacked Hillary Clinton or praised Donald J. Trump.

Facebook’s admission on Sept. 6 that Russian agents covertly bought ads on the site during last year’s campaign has brought intense scrutiny on the social network and on Twitter, entangling both companies in the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Both companies have turned over detailed data to Mr. Mueller.

I’m not sure “it’s a hoax” is the way to go. It happened. The Intel Committees have documentation, as does Mueller.  Soon, we all will get to see it.  Then Trump will have to move the goalposts.

Is WikiTribune The Answer To “Fake News”?

Nieman Lab:

Good things can happen when a crowd goes to work on trying to figure out a problem in journalism. At the same time, completely crowdsourced news investigations can go bad without oversight — as when, for example, a group of Redditors falsely accused someone of being the Boston Marathon bomber. An entirely crowdsourced investigation with nobody to oversee it or pay for it will probably go nowhere. At the same time, trust in the media is low and fact-checking efforts have become entwined with partisan politics.

So what would happen if you combined professional journalism with fact checking by the people? On Monday evening, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune, an independent site (not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation) “that brings journalists and a community 
of volunteers together” in a combination that Wales hopes will combat fake news online — initially in English, then in other languages.

The site is launching with a crowdfunding campaign to fund the first Wikitribune journalists (the default amount is $10 a month, but users can donate any amount they wish) “with the first issue of Wikitribune following shortly.” The Wikitribune page said that the goal is to hire 10 journalists.

The idea is that the professional journalists will be paid to write “global news stories,” while volunteer contributors will “vet the facts, helps make sure the language is factual and neutral, and will to the maximum extent possible be transparent about the source of news posting full transcripts, video, and audio of interviews. In this way Wikitribune aims to combat the increasing proliferation of online fake news.”

The Wiki concept is always interesting, but the old adage of computers remains true: “garbage in, garbage out”.  Crowdsourcing, as the article suggests, is not necessarily the best way to get at truths, and we just had an election where huge percentages of people swallowed false news line and hook.  So just how will WikiTribune deal with this?  Described above, it just sounds like professional journalists being edited by, well, everybody.  A lot of sniping about semantics.

And even if the changes are substantive, at what point in the never-ending editing and rewriting process does an article cease to be by the person who originally wrote it? The answer to this question will have to be reflected in WikiTribune’s design. If the model is anything like Wikipedia’s page history, the level of transparency that is necessary can make it incredibly time-consuming for readers to synthesize the true source of what they’re reading.

And suppose journalist Jones quotes Congressman Smith, and Congressman Smith wants to retract? Or alter slightly the words he said? He can just go into Wikitribune and edit.  And who is to say who is right?

Still, Wikipedia, despite having accuracy problems here and there, does actually self-correct over time, and that’s a good starting model. The question is whether or not “news” has the time for that kind of self-correction before it stops being news.

 

On The Ashley Madison Hack

So, a few days ago, the website Ashley Madison was hacked and its 37 million customers could soon have their data leaked online by a crew calling themselves The Impact Team.  Ashley Madison, for the uninitiated, is a site that lets spouses cheat on their partners — kind of like a match.com for adulterers. The Impact Team has threatened to release a huge trove of data beyond the snippets of information they already leaked from Avid Life Media, the owner of Ashley Madison and related properties Established Men and Cougar Life, if the cheating site was not shut down.

Why is Impact Team doing this?  Well, it seems they were particularly aggrieved at a service launched by Ashley Madison last year, promising it could delete users’ information so it was irrecoverable for $19. The hackers claimed that service didn’t do as advertised, and customers’ names and addresses were still stored on ALM’s servers.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” The Impact Team said in a notice alongside the leak, in which they also claimed to have taken complete control of ALM’s “office and production domains”, as well as “all customer information databases”.

If that is true, I think they have a point.

Now, I suppose the news of the leak is ho-hum news to a lot of people, but to 37 million — wait…. let’s just contemplate that number.

Wow.

Ok.  Well to them this is potentially… bad.  REAL bad.

What disgusts me are people like Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, who posted a message on his Facebook page about the matter Wednesday afternoon, stating:

The Bible says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” Ashley Madison, the website for people who want to cheat on their spouses was hacked this weekend. Their slogan is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Hackers threatened to reveal personal data related to 37 million users. I have news for all those worried cheaters out there wringing their hands—God already knew! His holy Word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Times may have changed, but God’s laws and standards never change—all sin has a price. The New York Daily News calls this an “‪#‎adultery‬ website.” Isn’t it a shame that immorality is such big business?

You know what?  F you, Franklin Graham.

Not being married nor inclined to cheat, I’m not personally affected by this hack, but it does establish a terrible precedent.  We don’t want to snicker at the cheaters who got caught because you never know what could be out in the dark hidden recesses of the web that reflects badly on you or. . .  and this is important . . . someone with the same name as you.  So I think we need to pay attention to this type of thing a little more closely.

Obama Tweets!

So this happened…

Former White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer thinks this is big news….

I think Mr. Pfeiffer is right. However, I expect that future Presidents, even Obama, will not be doing the actual twittering. That will be press staff stuff. Anyway, then this happened….

President Obama broke the Guinness world record for the “fastest time to reach 1 million followers on Twitter.”  The account reached 1 million followers within five hours of its launch, according to Guinness World Records. The record was previously held by actor Robert Downey Jr., who reached 1 million followers in a little less than 24 hours after joining Twitter in April 2014.

This awesome time-lapse graphic from Twitter shows just how quickly the president amassed followers from around the world.

Or you can look at this…

rate-chart-02-01-1940x1091

As of this writing (2015/05/20-10:30amEST), Obama has 2.18 million followers.

SOTU Review

I don’t mean to get all Aaron Sorkin on y’all, but this interactive analysis — compiled by Twitter and showing what people were tweeting about during the speech — tells me absolutely nothing about anything related to the speech or the United States or anything.  It just seems to be social media technology for the sake of social media technology.

Hashtag #Fail

I love spontaneous protests, particularly when they happen in cyberspace:

An exercise in social media outreach turned #epicfail Tuesday when users flooded the Twittersphere with some of the NYPD’s most infamous moments of brutality.

The NYPD, through its Twitter page, innocuously asked people on to post pictures of themselves interacting with New York’s Finest — complete with the hashtag myNYPD.

But instead of happy pictures of cops posing with tourists and helping out locals, Twitter erupted with hundreds of photos of police violence, including Occupy Wall Street arrests and the 84-year-old man who was bloodied for jaywalking on the Upper West Side earlier this year.

Just before midnight, more than 70,000 people had posted comments on Twitter decrying police brutality, slamming the NYPD for the social media disaster and recalling the names of people shot to death by police. It was the top trending hashtag on Twitter by late Tuesday, replacing #HappyEarthDay.

Police officials wouldn’t respond to questions about the negative comments or say who was behind the Twitter outreach. They released a short statement on Tuesday evening, when users were posting more than 10,000 tweets an hour.

“The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community,” said Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman. “Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city.”
Twitter users had plenty to say.

“Free massages from the #NYPD,” read one of the Occupy Wall Street tweets, which showed a young man being smashed into the trunk of a car by three cops in riot gear.

Nice PR move.

Goodbye Twitpic, Hello Vine

This morning, Twitter debuted a new app called Vine.  It works just like Twitpic (an app that allows you to attach pictures to your tweets), except that Vine allows for six-second loopable movie clips to be attached to your tweet.

So far, the results are…. boring.

Facebook Urges Users To Use Google Plus

Well, what else can account for their recent changes?

Take a look at your Facebook page today, and let us know if you laughed or smashed your screen. Facebook has changed its look, adding a “top story” listing of the newest postings by your online friends, and the reaction is … well, not warm.

The” top stories” on each person’s page, automatically generated by Facebook, are marked with a with a blue triangle. But some users are already taking exception to being told what they should consider the highest priority posts from their friends.  One annoyed comment on the Facebook blog: “Quite frankly I don’t want Facebook deciding who is most important in my life. I want my news feed to just go chronologically and if I want to hide posts from someone, I will. Stop changing.”

On Facebook’s blog this morning, people were voting against the changes by a 2-to-1 margin.

“Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook,” wrote Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager at Facebook, in a post on the company’s blog.

The idea, Facebook says, is that if you’ve been away from the site for a few days, you won’t be in danger of missing the most important posts friends put up. Though Facebook hasn’t provided details on how, its software will figure out which posts are most likely to be of interest to you, and keep them up at the top.

“News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper,” said Tonkelowitz. “You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top.”

The changes:

  • New posts that went up since you last logged on are marked with small blue triangles in the upper left, as if you had folded down the corner.
  • There’s a moving “ticker” along the right margin: “See what your friends are up to right now.”
  • Photos are larger.

Do you like that? Not everyone does.

The “top story” on my own page was a one-liner from an old college friend: “Packing my FB bags and headed for Google+. This sucks.”

 

Facebook Urges Users To Use Google Plus

Well, what else can account for their recent changes?

Take a look at your Facebook page today, and let us know if you laughed or smashed your screen. Facebook has changed its look, adding a “top story” listing of the newest postings by your online friends, and the reaction is … well, not warm.

The” top stories” on each person’s page, automatically generated by Facebook, are marked with a with a blue triangle. But some users are already taking exception to being told what they should consider the highest priority posts from their friends.  One annoyed comment on the Facebook blog: “Quite frankly I don’t want Facebook deciding who is most important in my life. I want my news feed to just go chronologically and if I want to hide posts from someone, I will. Stop changing.”

On Facebook’s blog this morning, people were voting against the changes by a 2-to-1 margin.

“Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook,” wrote Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager at Facebook, in a post on the company’s blog.

The idea, Facebook says, is that if you’ve been away from the site for a few days, you won’t be in danger of missing the most important posts friends put up. Though Facebook hasn’t provided details on how, its software will figure out which posts are most likely to be of interest to you, and keep them up at the top.

“News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper,” said Tonkelowitz. “You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top.”

The changes:

  • New posts that went up since you last logged on are marked with small blue triangles in the upper left, as if you had folded down the corner.
  • There’s a moving “ticker” along the right margin: “See what your friends are up to right now.”
  • Photos are larger.

Do you like that? Not everyone does.

The “top story” on my own page was a one-liner from an old college friend: “Packing my FB bags and headed for Google+. This sucks.”

 

Why Google Plus Might Be Better Than Facebook

I was burned by Google Buzz, Google's previous attempt at social networking.  The main problem with it… it didn't work.

Google+ is Google's next attempt at social networking, and although my invite hasn't arrived yet, everything I read about seems promising.  It has a cleverer, and to my mind, better approach…. than Facebook.  Here's a short list of factors that excite me:

(1)  If you're already a Google person, it is integrated well with what you have.  I have a Gmail account, Google calendar, use Google's Picasa for photo sharing, and I even have a Google voice number.  Google Plus integrates all this stuff.

(2)  Facebook's approach to the people in your social life is too digital — they either ARE your friends, or they're not.  Google’s Circles concept takes this into account.  With Google Plus, you have concentric circles of "friends" — some who have with whom you are willing to "share" more than others.  This is a huge advantage over the Facebook approach where (it seems) every one of your friends (no matter how remote) has access to everything you do.  But the Google Circles concept is also (if you think about it) more like life.

(3)  Facebook is, and has always been, JUST Facebook, but Google is closely tied to Android.  What does that mean — better apps.  That means Google Plus is likely to look and feel better at the cell phone level.

(4)  Google is, of course, the search engine king, and the Google Spark concept is the search feature of Google Plus.  Basically, it will help you find things to share better than Facebook, which doesn't "do" searches very well.

(5)  Your personal data might be safer with Google Plus.  Facebook is a young, fast moving company that has proved it to be cavalier in its movements, lacking in respect for user data privacy. Google on the other hand, is a far more mature company that is, I would argue, more trustworthy than Facebook. 

(6) There is a privacy level in each piece of content of Google Plus. For example; when we create a photo album, or write an article, Google+ give us a choice to that send that content only for our choice people. Facebook does not do this.

(7)  Facebook just announced a deal with Skype where they are bringing video chat to Facebook.  Nice, but Google is ahead of Facebook on that front.  Ad hoc group chatting is available.  

******

The obvious advantage to Facebook over Google Plus is that EVERYONE is on Facebook, and it is a true social network.  Right now, Google Plus isn't much of a network at all.  But if they play their cards right, you might see (in a year or two) a huge migration to Google Plus — thus making Facebook a high-end MySpace.  Wouldn't that be weird?

The Social Psychology of Facebook, or, Why Social Networking Makes You Feel Like Sh*t

Everybody is happier than you, you loser.  That's what a Stanford study, published in this month's Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, reports.  

As most people (and certainly those like me with social psych degrees) know, people always tend to think that others are happier than they are.  "The grass is always greener…." and all that.  

But the Stanford study seems to indicate that Facebook only heightens that sense.  By showcasing the most witty, joyful, bullet-pointed versions of people's lives, and inviting constant comparisons, Facebook appears to exploit that part of human nature in which we tend to see ourselves as the losers.  So says the study.

Slate picks up the story:

The notion that feeling alone in your day-to-day suffering might increase that suffering certainly makes intuitive sense.

As does the idea that Facebook might aggravate this tendency. Facebook is, after all, characterized by the very public curation of one's assets in the form of friends, photos, biographical data, accomplishments, pithy observations, even the books we say we like. Look, we have baked beautiful cookies. We are playing with a new puppy. We are smiling in pictures (or, if we are moody, we are artfully moody.) Blandness will not do, and with some exceptions, sad stuff doesn't make the cut, either. The site's very design—the presence of a "Like" button, without a corresponding "Hate" button—reinforces a kind of upbeat spin doctoring. (No one will "Like" your update that the new puppy died, but they may "Like" your report that the little guy was brave up until the end.)

Any parent who has posted photos and videos of her child on Facebook is keenly aware of the resulting disconnect from reality, the way chronicling parenthood this way creates a story line of delightfully misspoken words, adorably worn hats, dancing, blown kisses. Tearful falls and tantrums are rarely recorded, nor are the stretches of pure, mind-blowing tedium. We protect ourselves, and our kids, this way; happiness is impersonal in a way that pain is not. But in the process, we wind up contributing to the illusion that kids are all joy, no effort.

Facebook is "like being in a play. You make a character," one teenager tells MIT professor Sherry Turkle in her new book on technology, Alone Together. Turkle writes about the exhaustion felt by teenagers as they constantly tweak their Facebook profiles for maximum cool. She calls this "presentation anxiety," and suggests that the site's element of constant performance makes people feel alienated from themselves. (The book's broader theory is that technology, despite its promises of social connectivity, actually makes us lonelier by preventing true intimacy.)

Facebook oneupsmanship may have particular implications for women. As Meghan O'Rourke has noted here in Slate, women's happiness has been at an all-time low in recent years. O'Rourke and two University of Pennsylvania economists who have studied the male-female happiness gap argue that women's collective discontent may be due to too much choice and second-guessing–unforeseen fallout, they speculate, of the way our roles have evolved over the last half-century. As the economists put it, "The increased opportunity to succeed in many dimensions may have led to an increased likelihood in believing that one's life is not measuring up."

If you're already inclined to compare your own decisions to those of other women and to find yours wanting, believing that others are happier with their choices than they actually are is likely to increase your own sense of inadequacy. And women may be particularly susceptible to the Facebook illusion. For one thing, the site is inhabited by more women than men, and women users tend to be more active on the site, as Forbes has reported. According to a recent study out of the University of Texas at Austin, while men are more likely to use the site to share items related to the news or current events, women tend to use it to engage in personal communication (posting photos, sharing content "related to friends and family"). This may make it especially hard for women to avoid comparisons that make them miserable. (Last fall, for example, the Washington Post ran a piece about the difficulties of infertile women in shielding themselves from the Facebook crowings of pregnant friends.)

Read the whole thing.

Time’s Person of The Year 2010

Mark Zuckerberg.

I actually don't have a problem with Time's choice.  You got to give props to someone who comes up with something that 1 out of every 12 people in the world subscribe to.  550 million.  Yes, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism (but not any other religion) are each larger, but on the other hand, they've been around for thousands of years.  Facebook?  Totally non-existant even ten years ago.

The funny thing is, like the movie said, we still don't really know what it IS yet.  I mean, it is a place for people to connect.  Is that it?  THEN what?

On the other hand, maybe that's it.  When people hooked up to the Internet in the 1990s, it was a vast crowded oasis of, well, everything.  Too much of everything.  And Zuckerberg, in his own way, brought order to it — or, at least, to how we reach out to each other on it.  

So yeah.  Time's Person of the Year.  Why not?

Cartoon Character Facebook Meme

It started a couple of weeks ago on by Facebook users from Greece, who started posting pictures of their favorite childhood cartoon characters, simply wanting to remove all humans form Facebook profile pictures. It spread pretty quickly and Cartoon Network created a Facebook page called "Choose a Cartoon Character as Your Profile Picture for a Week" (Nov. 21 – Nov. 28). Since last week, the meme started to serve a greater purpose: raising awareness about violence against children or child abuse.

Which is nice.  I'm glad it has raised awareness about child abuse.

But…. I don't want to change my Facebook profile picture. Okay?  Can I do this without being thought of as being pro-child abuse?

Today Is Unfriend Day

Today has been designated by … uh…. Jimmy Kimmel… as the day when you unfriend people from your Facebook friends.

WHY should you do this?

Because you have too many friends, and you miss the statuses of friends you actually care about, because they get lost in a sea of Farmville updates from the kid who sat two rwos behind you in high school biology who you barely talked to anyway, that's why.

Common concerns about unfriending:

Question: Do they know if I unfriend them? (And, do they get a notification that I unfriended them?)

Answer: No. What happens when you unfriend someone on Facebook is that you simply disappear from their friend list (and them from yours). There is no notification given, no email sent. Both of your friend numbers will decrease by one (e.g. decrease from 1009 to 1008).

They might notice that their number of friends has decreased, but unless they go through all their friends to see who is gone, they won't know that it's you specifically.

Question: Will they still be able to see my updates? (And, will I still see their updates?)

Answer: No. You will no longer appear in their newsfeed and they will no longer appear in yours. They won't be able to post on your wall or send you a message (well, depending on how your privacy settings are set, they won't) – nor will you be able to post on their wall or send them a message (again, depending on their privacy settings).

People you unfriend are more likely to notice that you stop appearing in their newsfeed than they are to notice when you actually unfriend them.

Question: Can they try to refriend me after I've unfriended them?

Answer: Yes. They can send another friend request at a later date unless you have blocked them from friending you. However, at that point, you have the choice whether to accept the friend request, ignore it, or block them from friend requesting you.

 

Facebook Before Facebook

I'm really enjoying the series over at Mental Floss entitled "Talking Pictures".  The author, Ransom Riggs, has been collecting old photographs with writing on them, and now he's sharing his collection.

Today's installment is Glamor Shots and includes photos like:

Peggy Ruth was feeling purtty good that day.

More Talking Pictures include….

Times of Trouble
Haunting Pictures of the Dead
Love and Marriage
Hide This Please
Life During Wartime

Breakup Season Coming

You've probably seen this before, but I haven't posted it, so I'm here to fix that.

It's an informal study conducted by two guys at Information is Beautiful.  They basically did Facebook status searches for the phrase "We broke up because…", cataloged them, and plotted them out over a timeline, resulting in this graph:

Breakups_latest_640
You will note:

  • A big peak right before Spring Break
  • Most breakups are announced on Mondays
  • People like to start the summer being single
  • A big peak right before Christmas
  • The lowest day throughout the whole year is Christmas Day (because that's just "too cruel")

Anyway, it's that time of year for break-ups.

I should add that this data was compiled in 2008.  Now, Facebook is a young person's medium, and it was even more so in 2008.  So a lot of this data reflects the school year, and may not necessarily pertain to those of us beyond college.

Speaking Of Death….

It's going to be awesome in the future….

E-tombstone

Continue your life after death: instead of just simply visitng you at the graveyard, your freinds and relatives can upload photos, videos and stories to your tombstone and visit your personal webspace via bluetooth.  Yeah, it's real.

“The Social Network” Update

If you saw the movie "The Social Network" — also known informally as "The Facebook Movie" — you'll know that the world's most popular thing evah has been the subject of many lawsuits since its inception in 2003.

And the end of the movie, you are left with the impression that the lawsuits were over — i.e., that Eduardo Saverin received an undisclosed sum and got his name back on the banner as the co-creator of Facebook.

Then there were the Winklevoss twins (aka the "Winklevi") and Divya Narendra got their $65 million in settlement. They claimed to have created the idea and code for something called ConnectU, which was (in their mind) Facebook-like, and that Facebook founder Zuckerberg had stolen the idea and code.

The litigation never went particularly well for the Winklevosses.

In 2007, Massachusetts Judge Douglas P. Woodlock called their allegations "tissue thin." Referring to the  agreement that Mark had allegedly breached, Woodlock also wrote, "Dorm room chit-chat does not make a contract." A year later, the end finally seemed in sight: a judge ruled against Facebook's move to dismiss the case. Shortly thereafter, the parties settled for $65 million.

And that's basically what you get from the movie… roll credits.

Thesocialnetwork But no, my friends, the lawsuits continue.

You see, the $65 million settlement with the Winklevi was part cash, part securities.  $45 million in securities, to be precise.

The Winklevi later contended that the $45 million in Facebook stock was overvalued, and what they really were given as part of the settlement was only $11 million in securities.  So they're still suing Facebook.  AND they suing their original lawyer for malpractice, alleging that he failed to obtain recent valuations of Facebook’s common stock before negotiating the settlement.  And their original lawyer is suing them back, because he wants to get paid.

Anyway, this morning a court ruled that the Winklevi (who are still rowing by the way) still owe their former lawyer $13 million, his contingency fee for getting the $65 settlement.  And they have to pay up.

Fake Earthquake

If your Facebook or Twitter feed starts going off with buzz about a massive California earthquake in the next few hours, don't worry.  It's only a test.  A drill is planned by natural disaster experts at San Diego State University to test how social media would be used to respond to a crisis.

Unless, of course, there is an actual earthquake in California… which would be an unfortunate coincidence.

The Outage

Apparently Facebook was down for a couple of hours yesterday.  They say it was a database glitch, but I'm betting it's because two people poked each other at the exact same time.

The outage apparently caused Facebook addicts to roam the street in tears, shoving photos of themselves in peoples' faces and screaming "DO YOU LIKE THIS?  WELL, DO YOU?!?"

There are also scattered reports of Facebook addicts meandering into fields and farming the land.

Very strange.

Interesting Twist On Keeping An On-Line Journal

OhLife is an email-based private online journal site, where you can keep, well, your private online journal.

Once you sign up, every night OhLife emails you the question "How did your day go?" Just reply with your entry and it's saved instantly.

What's the interesting twist?  After you have accumulated a backlog of journal entries, OhLife will start to send them back to you randomly, so that you can reflect on them.  Like this:

500x_2010-08-23_112547

Pretty interesting idea.

Find out more at OhLife.

America: Where People Are Moving

An interesting interactive map here shows the migration patterns of people in 2008.  Click on any county, and it shows (in black) how many moved into that county (and from where), and (in red) how many left that county (and to where). 

Here's the migration patterns relating to Forsyth County, NC.

Forsycnty
Looks like this county had more incomers than outgoers, with most of the newcomers from New York, New England and Florida.

And if you click just about anywhere in California, you'll see that people are leaving it in droves.

Facebook Privacy Settings

Kudos to the New York Times for doing the heavy lifting and mapping out all the places on Facebook where there are privacy settings.

As they write, "To manage your privacy on Facebook, you will need to navigate through 50 settings with more than 170 options…"

The NYT came up with this graphic, which you will have to click to embiggen:

Fbpriv

Faisal Shahzad’s Online Personality

From NRO

A YouTube video claiming  credit for a “successful” bombing in Times Square was uploaded just hours after the failed attempt, to a web site created the day before.

The video was uploaded in Connecticut, where Faisal Shahzad, arrested last night at JFK International, calls home.

Like seemingly every modern-day terrorist, Shahzad has a Facebook page (I won’t link to it, but it is easy enough to find), and to be plugged in to social media broadly. This purported image of Shahzad comes from the social networking site orkut.com, which is popular in countries like Brazil, India, and Pakistan.

UPDATE:  Dude played Farmville on Facebook.  Says a lot.

Shahzadfacebook1

What Does Facebook Publish About You?

There's been some controversy about the new Facebook changes, and its impact on your privacy.  I touched on it here in this post.

Basically, Facebook made the decision to make some aspects of your Facebook profile available to, well, anything on the Internet — and vice versa.  For example, if John Smith posted a video from Youtube on Facebook — say, a "Single Ladies"/Mayberry mash-up — then Facebook could be making that posting public knowledge, so that Youtube (if it wanted) could program its website to say "John Smith posted this video on Facebook".

In more technical terms, Facebook has developed an API which allows programmers at others websites — any website, really — to pull chunks of data from your Facebook profile (your statuses, groups you belong to, things you have "liked", your pictures, etc.) and incorporate it into their own website.

It's not a new concept.  It's really just cross-posting.  Many people for example crosspost their tweets to become Facebook statuses or vice versa.  The only difference is that it covers more than statuses, and it allows people to reach in and grab that information, rather than you publishing it at places of your choice.

It's really NOT a big deal in my view because — and this is key — the API only grabs things from your profile that you have made available to everyone on Facebook (i.e., things not limited to your "network" of friends and family).  All you need to know is that if something is available to everyone (even non-friends) on Facebook, it is now potentially available to people who aren't even ON Facebook.

But this still leaves many Facebook users uneasy, in part because they don't know what things are open to the public.  So how do you find out what information Facebook is sharing about you? 

Fortunately, there is a handy-dandy little website which uses the Facebook API feature, and shows you just what Facebook is making public.  Simply go here and follow the instructions.  It's a non-Facebook site that grabs everything that Facebook is sharing about you.

If you think something is being made available by Facebook that you don't want to be made available, then go into your Facebook account, and adjust your privacy settings.