Facebook, Privacy, and Logan’s Run

Logan Look! The Crystal! (courtesy http://www.crazy4cinema.com/)

Logan Look! The Crystal! (courtesy http://www.crazy4cinema.com/)

Facebook has been rolling out its yet-another-“why hello there, new privacy” settings to you and to me in various alerts and yellow dialog boxes over the last week, providing me the chance to once again wonder whether I like this constant opportunity to reappraise what I share with whom and when.

As often occurs to me when I’m thinking of gardens and walls like these, I think of Logan’s Run. As the Old Man says:

You know, they’ve each got three names. Yes. The naming of cats is a difficult matter, It’s just not one of your holiday games; You may think at first that I am mad as a hatter, When I tell you that each cat’s got three different names. See, they got their ordinary name and then they got their fancy name. And that makes two names, doesn’t it? And now it’s got a third name. Can either of you two guess what that third name is? Come on! Above and beyond, there’s one name that’s left over, and this is the name you never will guess. The name that no human research can discover, but the cat itself knows, and never will confess.

(Abridged from The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot)

It’s true. Like everybody, I have many faces. The Moya Watson you read here is usually carefully — sometimes even thoughtfully — crafted. I guess you could say this is my “fancy name.” (Though if you look to my earlier writings, they’re a lot more internal-monologue — imported from the nascent days of Blogger.)

Whereas, the moyalynne on Twitter is probably my “ordinary name.” This is my every-day “I’d rather be skiing than going to work” or “My daughter just said the most amazing thing” or “I just spilled my coffee”-silverware — and it’s published, for everyone, to see. It’s easy. Just like that.

AND THEN there’s Facebook. The Moya Watson on Facebook — like many — opens up a bit more in moments and images of herself and her family (usually ironically finding more nurture for this openness within the walled gardens of this closed environment). But she does this with people she knows, whereas with Twitter, she gets to meet people she never before knew.

Well, it was a somewhat easy distinction. Facebook, in starting to poke holes in that T.S.-Eliot-like interface, is drawing into a bigger Web of confusion. And the more we can tweak more of exactly who sees what and where (if we can fathom the Privacy Settings UI), the more the “Moya Watson of Facebook” finds she becomes an enigma.

It’s constantly strange to me when the freedom to just be who you are increases exponentially with more layers of protection. While no “social network” yet exists for the me inside my head, the name only I know and shall never confess, if it escaped it would probably — and then in that act itself — resemble little of me anyway.

At the present, I simply close those yellow alert boxes and find it’s too much worry trying to remain consistent and definitely too alienating for my psyche to have “the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload.”  I’m finding I worry less and less about when all these people converge, and simply just exist. Maybe even (gasp) not post.  It’s the  “Look at your palm! The Crystal! It’s clear!” moment.

Logan, look! Look at your palm. The crystal. It’s clear … We’re free! It must be

Sanctuary!

Outside?

Exposed?

And yet, I post.

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Wardrobe Wrap of the Web 2.0 Summit

Seconds away from writing a serious post on the Web 2.0 Summit last week in San Francisco, my head aches, I have a meeting in way less than an hour and a different project or three to manage, several other writing assignments, and I decide what’s important for the moment is to instead cover the wild whimsical wacky wardrobe world that was this year’s Web 2.0 Summit. Why do I feel compelled to do this? I have no idea. (If I don’t get that serious post up by the end of today, I’m probably abducted by aliens). And yet here I go.

Erin McKean's Tetris Dress

Erin McKean's Tetris Dress

First and foremost in any wardrobe wrap has to be a gigantic shout out to Wordnik’s smart and sassy CEO and co-founder Erin McKean who pitched a great high-order bit on the excellent Wordnik as well as their newly launched API for the English Language, ALL in her hand-made Tetris dress.

Then there’s John Battelle, who always looks particularly natty in his blue jeans, dangling this teaser of a surprise Google spot and entreating us to guess who it is based on the shoes alone. To which my handy Twitter-mate @UberShoeDiva (who does indeed have the UberShoes) responded thusly: “What is he *wearing* on his feet?? Those can’t be shoes. I hope not. I really hope those are just some edgy socks.”
(Those by the way are Sergey Brin’s Vibram Five Fingers )

And actually I’d have to say John Battelle came in tied for first place for best jeans this year – and you’ll just have to scroll through this really excellent session on Humans as Sensors to see why (catch Mobilizy’s Markus Tripp in his excellent jeans – or you can just get a hint of them here).

Brady and UberShoeDiva (AKA Jaimee Clements)

Brady and UberShoeDiva (AKA Jaimee Clements) cut it up

In the same video, know that no wardrobe wrap would ever be complete without a mention of @brady’s gorgeous purple shirt, green plaid pants, and blue shoes. Once again this goes not unnoticed by UberShoeDiva.

One out-of-character note for himself and for the summit was Mr. Tim O’Reilly — who was constantly seen sporting a SUIT, making you wonder if he or we all had been abducted by aliens.

Contrast this with the baggy-jeaned teens – at least the one who uses Blackle instead of Google (to save energy) – from the excellent What Do Teens Want? panel – and you get an idea of why I really love the Web 2.0 Summit among all other conferences.

"the Zappos guys"

"the Zappos guys"

And I simply cannot ever forget @lwaldal’s commentary of the “Zappos guys:”I’m sitting in the 3rd row and pretty sure that josh, liam, maynard and john onstage right now are all wearing the same shoes.” This observation even made Industry-Standard fame.

And finally, though what it has to do with wardrobe or what wardrobe has to do with anything I’m not sure, thanks to @lwaldal for pointing out “a chandelier for balloon boy” in this shot of how the Ballroom was decked out:

"A Chandelier for Balloon Boy"

"A Chandelier for Balloon Boy" - @lwaldal

The conference was jam-packed and a lot of fun but tiring, so this shot perked me up just when I needed it.

And now with that off my chest…

Wrapping the Web 2.0 Expo 2009: Web Comes to its Senses

My series on the Web 2.0 Expo 2009 is complete and all published over on the SAP Community Network. I point to each piece here and invite you to check out my favorite quotes and highlights below:

Web 2.0 Expo 2009 – Web comes to its senses

“Web 2.0 was in its infancy 5 years ago,” said Tim O’Reilly in his opening keynote at the recent Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. What has Web 2.0 grown into since its inception, and how has it gotten there? Is the Web getting any smarter?

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1957036&dest=-1]

  • How has the Web evolved the best? Start small, with a simple idea – then let it evolve
  • “We cast information shadows on the Web & sometimes there is no global identifier – but that doesn’t mean we can’t make sense of them”
  • WE create the meaning in all of these cases: we provide the combined sensory overload via the personal, mobile, local, governing, and community components that matter
  • The answer to Tim O’Reilly’s question “Is the Web getting any smarter?” depends entirely on us

Part 1: Sense of self

  • “We all used to play and tell stories,” began Nancy Duarte in her session “Tools for Visual Storytelling.” Somehow along the way we lost the knack of storytelling
  • “There are no visual business communication classes”
  • The key to overcoming presentation doldrums lies in “becoming a student of corporate story”
  • The importance of telling your own story is one big key to Web 2.0
  • “Those who tell the best stories visually are the companies that are going to win right now”

Part 2: Sense of presence

  • Mobile devices and your real-time presence make all the difference on the Web
  • “We are going to bring the net to everybody at every time everywhere.
    It is *all* about location – social location”
  • “The device, combined with service, combined with software on the device – all rolled together is key”
  • “These devices will become our agents and friends, support us with advice, be our friends”
  • Status is ubiquitous, but in fact chained to a specific moment in time”
  • Build something small, they’ve learned; listen in to tons of data; let it evolve
  • New integration technologies now connect sensor networks with enterprise applications to enable more responsive monitoring, reporting, and tracking of physical assets – carts, forklifts, palettes, computers, tools, mobile machinery, and even people – near real-time”
  • “What we’re most excited about is the thing that surprises us most: the Twitter mashups – what are people talking about?”
  • Who bears more and more of the key data to running the business — at this moment?  You hold this future in your hands right now: presently

Part 3: Sense of place

  • Exploring the profundities of “going local” on our shopping habits, our applications, and ultimately our very livelihood
  • “This weekend, you’re likely going to spend money, and you don’t know where it’s going to go yet. You’re at the beginning of the local search / sales experience”
  • “We get paid by Nordstrom for all the people we drive into the store”
  • Most of the search sites find only biggest stores. Search engines need to modify so small businesses can prosper
  • “If you’ve got your mobile phone, you’re out and about and ready to shop and buy, and you want it NOW”
  • You’re still looking for products, but you are in fact looking for nearest store to buy them in
  • Big Data is great, but the Web is personal

Part 4: Sense of governance

(Also cross-posted by request at MyVenturePad and GoverningPeople)

  • Government 2.0 — arguably the newest hottest Web 2.0 trend capable of touching all the online applications we use and design
  • The notions of open government data, crowdsourcing government, and turning government into an (actually!) innovative platform itself make it clear this is the part of the next biggest “Web 2.0 thing”
  • “Increasingly, it’s also about applying the principles of Web 2.0 to governing”
  • Open Government Data Principles created by a collection of open government advocates (including Lawrence Lessig): These principles “mean to government what open source meant to software”
  • Making data public is a political act in the first place
  • “Grab our data at Sunlight Labs and do something interesting with it”
  • Open data is not the only way the Web is opening up to “Government 2.0.” Government is also opening up to the use of the Web itself like never before
  • Flipsides to watch out for while using and designing for all of this open data include such topics as privacy, security, credibility, and not least — message control
  • “We’ve always been better at managing data than innovating with data”

Part 5: Sense of community

  • Community pulls it all together. Bridge the on- and offline in a great “embryonic mass movement for change”
  • Community managers — keys to success of online communities
  • “Groups are both part of identity as well as part of conversation”
  • “Social objects are the reason people connect — with each particular other and not something else”
  • “Knowing there is a community manager around keeps your community alive”
  • “People want to find each other and talk to each other. It’s really that simple. Support that. Start there, with conversation”
  • “Launch the smallest simplest thing, then measure whether the community asks for something else”
  • “Making people less afraid of social media is critical to your success”
  • “Social media is an ‘add on’ — not a replacement for but a complement to traditional press releases”
  • How can you tell if you have online community? Answer “yes” to “If this brand was a person, I’d be friends with it”
  • “Passion is one of the only reasons community happens”
  • “Managing large number of volunteers can be hard,” and the solution is to empower your audience and create ownership
  • WE together create the meaning in all of these cases: we embody the personal, mobile, local, governing, and community components that taken together represent the mass movements. And that, in the end, “is a prospect that invites our close attention and dedicated participation as technologists, businesspeople and — most of all — as citizens”

Web 2.0 2004-2009: from embryo to “mass movement for change”

My Epic Web 2.0 Saga…

… has only just begun.

“Web 2.0 was in its infancy 5 years ago,” said Tim O’Reilly in his opening keynote at the recent Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. What has Web 2.0 grown into since its inception, and how has it gotten there? Join me for my first in a series of posts on key themes from the Web 2.0 Expo 2009 in which I tease some sense out of all the sensory overload — launched today on the SAP Community Network:

THANK YOU!

The Curious and Somewhat Awkward Case of Social Networking Inside the Enterprise

Ross Mayfield

Ross Mayfield - Socialtext

Thanks to a great internal team at my company called SAP Research, we’ve been treated to a series of visits at SAP in Palo Alto from prominent Silicon Valley social media figures. Last week, we saw Ross Mayfield (Chairman, President & Co-founder of Socialtext — “The first wiki company and leading provider of Enterprise 2.0 solutions”) talk about “Putting Web 2.0 to Work; Social Software in the Enterprise.”

If you haven’t already noticed, “the old notion of the workplace is changing,” says Mayfield.

Employees aren’t punching time clocks anymore. Today, more employees are spending more time working remotely, and many of today’s companies have employees working together on the same projects from different corners of the globe in separate time zones. This creates changes to the way people work. …
Ultimately, the more effortlessly employees can communicate, collaborate and share new insights with one another, the faster an organization can respond to changing customer expectations and business conditions.

This “new world of the workplace” has ramifications that reach far beyond just how you gossip with your colleagues. For example, according to some, instant-messaging-like activity streams such as what we see in microblogs like Twitter have the potential to disrupt or even replace what we know of today as the supply chain. “Web 2.0 technologies re-shape the way Enterprises do business,” underscores Mayfield, “including how their employees communicate and collaborate and how these businesses interact with their partners, suppliers and customers. ” My Twitter-stream tells me this is also a point espoused by Twitterer Steve Gillmor –  in his http://www.techcrunchit.com/ blog.

While Mayfield makes a strong, easy-to-understand case for how transformative these technologies are to the Enterprise, he also expresses understanding for the common issue of Enterprise-internal social media adoption. Not only is it tricky to “keep your work identity separate from your personal identity,” it also can be seen as hard to open up YET ANOTHER channel when you’re already overloaded with your email inbox.

One key to this — especially internally — is to “use your own social network as the filter.” You may not have called it “social networking” before, but you have already been working this way since your first day on the job — and here I don’t just refer to engineer-hackers who have been wielding the backchannel for a number of years already through IRC and other chat functionality. “The way people solve exceptions is by turning to their internal network inside their company,” Mayfield continues. In some ways, the new media are merely underscoring the importance of the old notions such as influence and popularity. While that’s hardly news, never before has it been as easy to interact with — and add to — your social network, despite company, physical, and even geo-political boundaries.

Evan Prodromou - Laconica, Identi.ca

Evan Prodromou - Laconica, Identi.ca

As a case in point, in the same SAP Research series, a couple weeks ago, we got to watch another prominent social media figure, Evan Prodromou (the developer and entrepreneur behind microblogging site Identi.ca and its software foundation, Laconica) also hold forth about the point of this newish phenomenon of “Enterprise microblogging.” Prodromou’s bottom line seems to be that while microblogging is here to stay, Twitter may be a passing fancy, and the key is in opening up the infrastructure and providing the foundational tools. Drawing an analogy between how Apache was instrumental in pushing the Web forward, his open source Identi.ca / Laconica platform paints a future of “a different microblog universe” in which “the future is a federated microblogging world” involving “thousands to millions of microblogging services, all interconnected by an open protocol.” Calling Laconica “the WordPress of microblogging,” Prodromou says he hopes it will play the same kind of role “that Sendmail and Apache have played in their respective digital media.”

But Prodromou openly pondered whether the notions of influence, so key to external social networks, would be as relevant inside an Enterprise. While who’s “important” and who’s an influencer inside of your company may hardly be who you’re having cocktails with on Saturday night, who you “follow” and connect with via your internal social networks is going to be a growing trend to watch. Is everyone going to automatically be following everyone, or do you follow the “right” people? Are you yourself considered “an influencer” at your company?

One bottom-line of clarity for microblogging in the Enterprise upon which people agree is the ease of adoption. The biggest impediment to the use of social media (not just inside the Enterprise) is to ramp up users to the software. “Getting users to use social media is very difficult,” says Prodromou, but “microblogging makes this MUCH easier. If you can get people to use short status updates, you get a lot of the benefits of the Enterprise 2.0 idea without a lot of pain from end-users.” Concepts of networking, of groups, of following and followers and of influence – they’re all there as much as on a more intensive application such as Facebook or Cubetree, but all you need to do is write 140 characters every now and then about what you’re doing. “The training time will be about 10-15 minutes” to use microblogging.

In the end, whether online or offline, internally or externally, micro- or macro-blogging, it’s the “combination of people and tools that make up how this is going to work.”  The people — YOU — are the key to the transformation of any Enterprise.

Partially abridged from an Enterprise-internal blog post.

How to NOT advertise against yourself

Thanks to @qrty for this blog post today:

Masterminds Behind ‘Yes on 8’ Reveal How They Did It

I’ve spoken before of some of the tactics used online in campaign to pass Proposition 8, but at the moment I want to call out this one, as underscored from the Yes campaign in the above blog, and more specifically how to protect yourself against it:

A Google surge. You may remember that even gay websites running Google Ads were running ‘Yes on 8’ ads in the final days of the campaign. That’s the power of internet advertising dollars at work.

“As the campaign headed into the final days, we launched a ‘Google surge.’ We spent more than a half-million dollars to place ads on every single website that had advertising controlled by Google. Whenever anyone in California went online, they saw one of our ads in the final two days of the election.”

I was alerted to this tactic by the No On Prop 8 online community itself, during the last few days of the campaign.  Gay and straight people alike called out with concern about what was happening on their blogs. Many wrote to tell me how to defeat it, and I’m thankful that, because I was able to pass it along.

Here it is, courtesy of @calipidder — please spread it to anyone who has an AdSense account they’re concerned about now or in the future:

In your Google AdSense account, go to AdSense Setup -> Competitive Ad Filter. You can block ads from specific URLs or destinations.

In this case, the Yes ads came from “protectmarriage.com” – so that’s what you would enter in your filter list if you wanted to not serve ads from them.

Says @calipidder:

The only thing sitting in my Filter list is protectmarriage.com. I was so angry to see that on my site I took down the ads until after the election, PLUS I blocked it here just in case they kept running them.

Amen. And thanks again, Rebecca.

Serving the @NoOnProp8 Twitter community

Real-life stories from @NoOnProp8

@NoOnProp8 on Twitter

@NoOnProp8 on Twitter

Last night I tweeted my final tweets as “@NoOnProp8.” I immediately got so much good feedback and appreciation that I nearly regretted giving the account away (note: the account is not going away — Equality California will carry it forward to serve the marriage equality community).

However, I’ve had to accept that there is no longer a “No On Prop 8 campaign,” so to speak, or at least that we need to move on to different campaigns.  I’m also excited to continue to be working with organizations involved towards embracing and better serving online communities.

In contemplating all that great feedback, I decided that the best way I can show my appreciation for having been a part of this community is to share what I learned with you.  So here we go — what follows are my real-life “best practices” for building and engaging a Twitter community — I was originally going to say “creating a Twitter community” — but since a lot of it is just paying attention to the community that exists already, “serving” seemed better.  All of this is thanks to you, the community itself — I only had to tune in and listen.  I cull the main things I heard down into four easy themes: Inform, Engage, Listen, and Measure.

Inform

The  initial mandate of this official campaign channel was to point to all communications from the campaign, from press releases to videos. As the campaign, and the community, evolved, we loosened  the mandate with official blessing to push “non-approved” messaging that served the community. We still were sensitive to stay within the overall messaging parameters — by not spreading attacks of any kind or propagating violence, and by trying to remain compassionate, for example.  Here are the sorts of things we did and learned in the “inform” category:

  • Point to every “official” press release
  • Point to every blog post from “official channels” — such as from Kate Kendell
  • Point to every new video on the campaign’s YouTube channel
  • We’d also occasionally post “un-approved” more casual messaging, reacting to what the community was asking for more of (for example, connecting people at rallies while they were happening)
  • Use http://tr.im or other link-shortener to trim URLs (tr.im was a suggestion from @krabigail in the community!)
  • Don’t be afraid of over-tweeting — tweet multiple times throughout the day if you want — but try not to deliver 5 tweets at the same time. People will let you know if it’s too much (but not if it’s too little).
  • Let people know that we are people and tweet what is happening at campaign headquarters, in the city, personally — and include real names/Twitter names when doing this  (thanks to the blogger community, @QueenofSpain and more, for these tips)

Engage

When I really listened to what people were tweeting, responding, and direct-messaging, the “engage” part was really easy.  It did take a lot of time, however. If I could, it was clear I could have spent nearly the entire day working with Twitter and its community (but I had plenty else to do).

  • Follow back every new follower — also, direct-message at that time (NOT automatically) with thanks and encouragement.  May also use this opportunity to send a pointer to a current story or latest action or other item of interest, to immediately invite the tweeter to engage.
  • Respond to every direct message; respond to @ replies where it makes sense — where it adds a suggestion that serves the whole or encourages somethign everyone can do. (I @ replied people less frequently than I dm’d). Put another way: keep what’s relevant for the public stream in the public stream — direct-message people when it’s a personal conversation.  This is a point that I notice many business Twitter accounts doing differently, so I’m willing to adjust based on feedback.
  • Requests for promotion:  We got a lot of people asking to promote their own blog posts — which I appreciated — but generally I avoided using our Twitter for individual promotion — including self-promotion. I tried to keep that to my own Twitter account. However, I did encourage people to publicly “@” NoOnProp8 when they had a post – that way, it would appear in the public timeline.
  • Again, use our real names or individual Twitter usernames when engaging personally.  I suppose this is a bit like “self-promotion” — but people let us know they wanted to know we were people, so I would occasionally remind people who I was.
  • Ask people specifically to retweet sparingly.  People in general did a LOT of retweeting just on their own, which was GREAT, but I only requested it if something was REALLY important or time-urgent.
  • We also — and this is key to helping your friends and colleagues say the word “Twitter” with a straight face — used Twitter successfully as a donation channel in the campaign.  If you “try this at home,”  make sure you can track which funds are coming in through Twitter by through a parameter identifying the donation link.
  • “Mini-campaigns” for engagement — ask a question, and use tags plus http://search.twitter.com for a great way to surface results to everyone, providing visibility for people as well. Thanks to @Pistachio for setting the example here. It goes like this:
    • During the campaign, we asked “What are you doing today to beat prop 8?” and told people to “tag” responses by adding “#beatprop8”
    • At http://search.twitter.com/, search for “beatprop8” — http://search.twitter.com/search?q=beatprop8
    • After responses start to come in, you can then click “feed for this query” or directly “twitter these results” — which will twitter a trimmed URL to the search results. This caught on really well.

    Provide a place to just BE — if people are venting, let them vent; support; connect

Listen

This one is really key. You can tell from all the other sections that we got a lot of good things to do out of just listening.  Examples:

  • I noticed a lot of replies to @NoOnProp8 about rallies, so I began distributing information about where and how to connect with people. It was well received, so I paid attention to growing it even more.
  • Lots of people wanted to know how to volunteer, so we were able to hook people up to their local field offices this way — and also to get signs, which was a very popular request.
  • We also heard about several new house parties this way, and were able to connect people to their closest event.
  • Conversely, when I initially followed back all new followers with an “@” reply, the community also let me know that they didn’t like it — and I stopped.
  • We also learned about everything from polling place problems to the site being down to donation server problems, etc via this channel.
  • We corrected some messages that had some inaccuracies this way too!  Quick attention to the community’s response saved us from spreading any mistakes further.
  • Twitter knows no geographical boundaries — but voting does.  Nevertheless, we were able to engage globally with online momentum that in the end had an affect beyond just California.

Measure

This is part of listening — actually, part of all phases.

  • Keep track of follower growth. Good to keep a trend. Falling off? Change something. Great growth? Continue doing more of same.
  • Keep track of what people are talking about and note trends, feeding these back to official messengers
  • When you tweet links, running them through a trimmer like http://tr.im first is good for two things — shortening, as well as letting you track hits to that URL.
  • Use, and reuse, http://search.twitter.com — to measure what people are saying about / to / retweeting about your twitter account.
  • Note trending topics on search.twitter.com — the term “Prop 8” was consistently within the top-ten topics towards the end of the campaign.

That’s what comes to my mind and what I was able to track throughout the intense weeks of campaigning before the election, and in the couple of months since.  We had much, much success with Twitter and it was a great experience getting to know all 3,500-plus, but I’m sure I missed opportunities too. Feel free to add to the thread if so — and if you have any additional suggestions or feedback about what else we could have done or done differently.  And thanks, again, to you — the real heroes of @NoOnProp8.