One of my wonderful Facebook friends, who I actually met first in real life (he goes to my school) is social enough to send out “extremely funny” messages to all of his friends on Facebook. Truthfully, I didn’t even want to see the joke he sent to his 20-something friends in the first place, but one message is enough to ignore.
One of Facebook’s cute features allows one to have large threads that multiple people can reply to, even if some of the initial recipients of the first message are not added as a friend to any other person in the thread. This could translate into the thread continuing to be replied to for months, which is what is really bothering me.
Facebook doesn’t really want to help stop what it, in effect, spamming of friends. You could consider this feature to be some type of friend spamming mechanism, since every time a member of the message thread replies, you get an email from Facebook announcing it. As I found out, there isn’t even a way to unsubscribe from the thread – so if your friend’s friends are abnormal and find that a multi-recipient thread is the way to chatter about useless topics, there isn’t even a way to pull yourself out of the madness.
Here’s an email exchange I had with Facebook support:
from Facebook Support
reply-to Facebook Support
date Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 7:26 PM
subject Re: INBOX: A thread is sending me unwanted messages
Unfortunately, the ability to remove yourself from a thread is not yet available. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for the suggestion. We will certainly keep it in mind as we continue to improve the site.
Thanks for contacting Facebook,
—–Original Message to Facebook—–
From: Michael Perlman (****@gmail.com)
Subject: INBOX: A thread is sending me unwanted messages
User id: 516******
Description of problem: One of my Facebook friends sent a message to all of his friends (including me) at the time. Now, people originally brought into the thread are still replying, and I continue to receive unwanted messages (and emails from Facebook telling me about the replies, as a result). Is there a way that I can be removed from the thread?
Browser: Opera/9.50 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en)
—–End Original Message to Facebook—–
Supposedly, Facebook is known for being super-sensitive to some types of misuse of the site (case in point: Robert Scoble was suspended from Facebook for testing an unreleased data-mining tool from Plaxo, and many others have been kicked for sending a few too many messages or having too many friends), but from my experiences, they are way off bat in terms of keeping users from annoying each other.
All of the buzz in the social communication world these days goes to Twitter. From MacWorld to SXSWI, people have been tweeting about anything and everything going on in their lives. The main goal of Twitter is to have people share their current action or thought in a 140 character message (the specific limit is set to allow use of SMS for sending updates and receiving updates from friends). In reality, Twitter is much more: a communication platform (“@” replies and direct messages), a publishing platform (integration with Seesmic and Qik; plugin for WordPress; or simply posting links to user content), and an avenue for meeting people through (check out your friend’s replies to his/her friend’s tweets).
The Lowdown: Basics of Using Twitter
The essence of using Twitter is quite simple. Sign up, give them your phone number, IM network ID, or both, and send a message to the service that tells your friends what you are doing.
Now obviously, most tweets aren’t directly saying what a person is doing. They could describe what he is thinking, who he’s speaking to, what funny picture he took recently, what video he uploaded or just watched on YouTube (and for the latter of those, as well as links to any site, Twitter integrates the TinyURL address shortening service), or just the fact that the person is awake.
Twitter for Interactive Communication
Much of the fun in Twitter is having conversations without having to set up a new environment for the “conversation instance” – no need to set up a chat room in AIM or the like. Just preface your thought with the “@” symbol followed by the name of the person you’d like to direct your thought toward. As a result, the person you addressed will receive your tweet, regardless of whether or not he follows you on Twitter. In essence, you can start a conversation with any person or group of people who is/are member(s) of Twitter.
The Addiction to Twitter
Part of using Twitter is being constantly involved. It’s quite obvious that if you tweet once a month you will end up being immensely un-popular within the Twitterverse. What many people end up doing is tweeting about anything and everything going on in their lives, in some cases almost every few seconds. In return, that person’s followers will reply, and make their own tweets, etc. There is a certain element of fun involved with being constantly updated of what your friends are doing. For me, there is so much that I almost got my phone taken away by my principal for receiving a text message from Twitter during school hours (despite that, of course, I receive dozens of them a day from those whom I follow). No wonder they call people like me Twitterholics…
Impact of Twitter on “Traditional” Social Networking
Twitter redefines social networking as we know it, mainly because the service primarily provides us with real-time updates of the things that our friends are up to. It’s provides a somewhat more personal relationship with people who we don’t actually know personally, because, essentially, we can have a one-on-one conversation with them without actually developing a real relationship.
Also, and this is strictly IMHO, the randomness of Twitter gives us a sense of relationship building. For example, I’ve been following Daniel Brusilovsky on Twitter essentially since I met him, and through both “@” replies and direct messages (a feature available to friends who follow each other), we’ve developed a much stronger relationship with each other.
In other words, Twitter provides a platform for connecting with people, not just “meeting” them. The terse nature of tweets makes forming connections faster and easier, and the real-time functionality brings us closer to those with whom we communicate.
Over the past few months, the Educated blog hasn’t seen many changes. However, behind the scenes, I have been working on two new projects, both of which I hope see great success, and I’ve also been working with some new people. This has got to be one of the best points in technology, and I’m certainly catching up with it.
The first new enterprise I’d like to introduce is the MichaelTech Podcast. Podcasting has only made sense to me for a relatively short while, during which I’ve listened to several tech podcast, like Leo Laporte’s This Week In Tech (TWiT), and Daniel Brusilovsky’s Apple Universe. Both producers have shown me the ropes (although not necessarily personally), and given me at least the technical skills required to record, edit, and publish podcast episodes.
Joining the MichaelTech Podcast is a companion blog. On the WOrdPress.com-hosted blog, I will be writing about recent tech stories and product releases as well as my own articles and tutorials.
Speaking of podcasts, I’ve joined Daniel Brusilovsky’s network of sites as the typed content editor. Most of my work in that area revolves around the fact that many people who write online don’t have particularly expansive writing skills. To make it short, I read over Daniel’s blog posts before publishing, edit them for spelling, grammar, and tidy up the HTML formatting in the posts (I keep telling Daniel that the Qumana blog editor for Mac OS produces atrocious HTML). It’s work that I’m quite sure is appreciated by both Daniel as well as all visitors to his sites.
Finally, live media has also taken a place in my mind, mostly thanks to Chris Pirillo’s 24/7 live broadcast. As you can see in the header navigation tabs, I’ve added a live page to the Educated Network site. That special page displays my UStream.tv broadcast channel, as well as a live chat room (powered by the WyldRyde IRC network) that anyone may participate in. If you’d like to join the chat, all I ask is that you follow WyledRyde’s community guidelines, which includes keeping the conversation clean and peaceful.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned more about IRC and the UStream.tv service, thanks to the constant live stream that Chris Pirillo runs twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. While I’ve been watching him and participating in the chat room, I’ve seen many people ask some common questions about Chris Pirillo, his background, and his office setup (including computer gear, furniture, and seating). Perhaps it would do justice to the community if someone pointed out a few key facts.
- Chris uses the free program for Mac OS X called CamTwist to embed the chat in the video. The chat is rendered by an IRC client for Mac OS called Colloquy, and is embedded in the video stream using CamTwist’s picture in picture functionality. Both are free programs.
- Ponzi is Chris’s wife, and Wicket and Pixie are his dogs.
- Chris used to host of several television shows on ZDTV / TechTV / G4TV, most notably the show Call For Help, in which Chris managed to produce several bloopers (which made it to NBC’s 100 Most Outrageous Moments).
- In general, Chris is an all-around computer geek/nerd/[choice of related adjectives]. He produces videos via his live show, runs the blogging network LockerGnome, and does a lot of other stuff I don’t quite know about (but still tech related). Type “what is chris” into the chat room at live.pirillo.com (minus the quotes) to get the official description.
- Chris’s current computer setup includes a Mac Pro (with dual Intel Xeon quad core processors, of the January variety), two 30-inch Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP monitors, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mac mini (which is used solely for broadcasting the live video stream, and is connected to its own DSL internet connection).
- Bonus #6: Chris’ chair is a Grahl Synchron 8. It’s outrageously expensive, as Chris tries to describe on video.
For comments or more questions, join the chat at live.pirillo.com or drop Chris a line at firstname.lastname@example.org (his public email address). “We’ll ‘e ya later!”
Jai Nischal Verma from Blog Oh Blog is holding a contest, with the prize being a free, custom-designed WordPress theme. All you have to do to enter the contest is write a blog post describing the contest and linking to it.
Now that 2007 is slowly rumbling to an end, I’ve glanced back at all of the amazing breakthroughs that have been made over the course of the year. Microsoft released Windows Vista; Apple released the iPhone, new iMac and new iPods; and many other new products and services have emerged.
Web Worker Daily would like to know why…
2008 will be the Year of the Web Worker
In response, I’d like to say that 2008 will be the Year of the Web Worker because the office will be everywhere, Continue reading »
Tonight I will doing maitainence upgrades to the Educated main site (the front page and the blog, but not Michael P. Web solutions or Mesivta of Roslyn). If things look jittery, come back later and it will look much better.
The search giant Google added a new lever of search to their offerings today. As I opened the company’s Google Reader service, I noticed the new search field in the upper pane or the interface:
Whatever Greasemonkey script was previously used to hack a search field is no longer necessary. The new option allows you to search and aspect of your feeds (starred items, folders, etc.), and even works in Opera (I’m a big Opera devotee, so, you know).