Tag Archives: facebook

Idiots Gone Partisan: Facebook, Plutocracy and the Rise of the Cyber-Pundit

People say a lot of stupid stuff on the internet.  After all, that’s what it’s for, right?  The stupidity level rises significantly in election years, when scads of people who don’t really understand what they are saying begin to wildly post and share memes and blurbs spoon fed to them by their preferred plutocrat, who has cleverly conscripted them into some political war that, regardless of outcome, has little or nothing to do with the prospects of the person dutifully regurgitating such nonsense.  In other words, Facebook walls that used to be filled with posts about cats, photos of lunch and whatnot suddenly become a contest to see who can make the most factually challenged and outrageous claims about the rich guy they have been told they hate, while conveniently ignoring all the bad things about the rich guy they have been told they love.

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Prime example of a stupid Facebook post.

Wow, that photo suddenly made me rethink my entire philosophy.  My moral compass is spinning.  Not.  My moral compass is thinking that the Dalai Lama may be onto something, not because I am losing my religion (I’m holding on for dear life), but because somehow extremists have far too often been permitted to be the face of it.

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As an aside, if I were the leader of a religion (of any kind), I would be spending most of my time leading cease and desist efforts against the opportunistic zealots who, far too often, claim to speak for religion while simultaneously acting in ways completely inconsistent with it.  Unchecked, this hate-mongering will destroy religion (again, of any kind) from the inside a lot faster that any so-called competing religion will.  Fortunately, young people don’t generally drink the haterade to the same degree as some of their elders.  And more than they need to crap on others who don’t happen to share their beliefs, churches need young people.

Now comes some alleged study happily announcing that Facebook posts can influence election behavior.  Well, it might influence me to vote- solely to cancel out this guy’s vote:

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But it is never, ever going to convince me to change my ethics.  If anything, it will only add to my growing belief that the political party system in this country is broken beyond repair.  It’s not about issues any more.  It’s about how much you hate the other group.

I’ve been keeping a rough tally, and I’d estimate that 97% of the Facebook political posts I’ve seen criticize or make fun of the other guy.  Almost none actually discuss why the poster’s rich guy is better than the other one.  It is idiotic, and anyone swayed by this level of discourse will forget who he’s supposed to vote for long before he stumbles his way into a voting booth.

It’s clear to me that these posts are not intended to persuade.  They are merely cyber-tattoos, designed and displayed so people at the same extreme end of the so-called political spectrum can identify each other, congregate in the Comments, pretend they have the first clue what they are talking about, and revel in the camaraderie of extremism.  In order to stand out, to get noticed, you have to be more extreme.  Louder.  Angrier.  Dumber.

The same forces that have ruined our political process and are trying to corrupt organized religion (once again, all of them) are on full display on our social networks.  Maybe this sort of insanity will drive sane people to the middle and to the voting booths.  I hope so.  The problem is that, on Facebook and at the polls, no one cares about the middle.

We’re alone on there and out here.

The Essence of Facebook in 3 Easy Pictures

I’m participating on a social networking panel tomorrow at a conference here in Houston.  Someone suggested a PowerPoint sort of thing.

Here’s mine.  The essence of Facebook (and social networking in general), in three easy pictures.

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Facebook is like a transporter.  You can instantly interact with people in any location.  One of the best things about Facebook is that it breaks down the geographical barriers to communication and relationships.  And, of course, one of the dangers of Facebook is that it breaks down the geographical barriers to communication and relationships.

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Facebook is like a time tunnel.  You can not only connect or reconnect with people and places from your entire past, you are also creating a digital archive of your life.  One that can be viewed by you, as well as your future friends, business associates and employers.  Once you put something in the social stream, there’s no way to take it back.

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Facebook is like a bottle of tequila.  It will, over time, break down your inhibitions and, if you’re not careful, allow you to do things you shouldn’t.  Things that will get on the transporter and into the time tunnel, and follow you around the rest of your life (and afterwards).

That’s one powerful combination.  One that can be really fun and rewarding, and one that can be tremendously destructive.  The important thing, with transporters, time tunnels and tequila- and with Facebook- is to have a plan.  And stick to it.

Decide what your social networking goals and philosophy will be.  Ask yourself if those goals and philosophy will still make sense in 5, 10 and 15 years.  Ask yourself if social networking will increase your happiness.  Make sure it won’t end up feeling like a chore.

Then get to it.  Find old friends.  Make new friends.  Make it what you want it to be.  But remember that you are responsible for whatever it becomes.

Because as the renowned Southern philosophers The Drive-By Truckers have been heard to say:

You know the [Facebook] ain’t to blame and I ain’t trying to
It don’t make you do a thing, it just lets you.

(buy that great record at Amazon)

On the Need for a Social Sharing Pause Button

pauseAs I noted in Thursday’s video tour, I like Facebook’s new Timeline feature.  As someone who spends very little time on my or anyone else’s Profile (now Timeline) page, I do wonder how the new sharing features will be integrated into the News Feed page, where I suspect most people consume most of their Facebook content.

But, for now, let’s look at what works.  Let’s point out a bug that needs to be fixed.  And let’s make the case for a very important feature that needs to be added.

Music sharing via Spotify works great.

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There are the last few songs I listened to, via my Ice House Blues playlist.  If you’re on my Facebook Timeline, and you want to hear a song, just click the Play button, and off you go.

A similar music item gets added to the News Feed.

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You can visit the new Music app page, and see what your Facebook Friends have been listening to.

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No offense, dudes, but I either don’t know that music or do know it, and don’t want to hear it.  But to discover new music, you have to take some chances.  I’m going to pass on Tony Bennett, but a little further down the page Marshall Kirkpatrick was listening to some Patti Smith.

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So I gave My Generation a spin, trying to recover from my near-Tony experience.  A couple of interesting things happened.

First, a box popped up, asking if I wanted to sign in to Rdio, or play in Spotify.  I chose to play in Spotify.  And the song played, but not the Patti Smith version.  The original version by The Who.

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This seems like a bug in Facebook’s cross-platform music sharing service.

The other thing that happened is that the song showed up in my Timeline and in the News Feed.

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That’s cool, as far as Patti Smith or The Who goes.  But what if I’d clicked on something, you know, uncool.  I don’t really care if people see me listening to some weird music (especially after seeing what some of my Friends listen to!), but I’d rather not have all of my genre-surfing and rapid song exploration show up in my Timeline, or in the News Feed.

It seems to me that, if we want the Timelime to be our digital life archive, we should have the ability to take a digital time out.  I want to be able to temporarily suspend the automatic sharing of my music and other activity.  Then, once I’m done messing around, I’ll be ready to share again.

It’s not always about the Play.  We need a social sharing Pause button.

Un-Friendly: The Impersonalization of the Facebook Experience

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I’m not all that averse to change.  Heck, I just went all-Apple, and am completely happy with it.   But I really don’t like the new Facebook layout, and here’s why.

One, it took something that felt very personal and intimate, and turned it into a chaotic mess.  I use Facebook to interact with people in a more direct, personal way.  I have family, high school friends, college friends, grad school friends, neighborhood friends, tech friends and musician friends.  But unlike other online spaces, I only “Friend” people on Facebook if I have (or, in rare cases, want to develop) some meaningful connection to them.  As a result, Facebook has- until now- been like a cyber-kitchen table for me.  A place to go to relax, and see what my friends are up to.  Just the other night, I discovered one of my old roommates on Facebook, and we reconnected.  It was awesome.

But suddenly Facebook looks like a series of in-my-face billboards where people are tossing random stuff at me.  I want a chill conversation.  I am getting a flood of promotion- self and otherwise.

I don’t want a scrolling window/ticker where people “Liking” some link or complaining about this or that roll by.  It ends up being a cornucopia of banality, courtesy of the subset of folks who, to be blunt, need to use Facebook a little less.

Two, I detest the new emphasis on Subscribing.  I’m not going to subscribe to anyone at Facebook.  If I don’t want to “Friend” you- or you me- then I don’t want to see you on Facebook.  The suggested list of people to subscribe to just clutters up my screen and stresses out my mind.

I’ve been watching with mild curiosity as a couple of uber-marketers and over-thinkers discuss with themselves (literally)  how to turn their “Friends” into “Subscribers.”  In other words, to go from a kitchen chair to a pulpit.  It’s turning the Facebook experience into a frenzy, as people try to figure out how to get some imagined advantage under the new structure.

My “Friend”  (Facebook and otherwise) Robert Scoble was atither the other night about how Facebook is going to win the social war by appropriating the personal and emotional forces that motivate people.  With all due respect, there is nothing personal about this new Facebook layout.  And the only emotions it invokes in me are irritation and sadness.

We already have laundered spam, in the form of Twitter.  I frickin’ hate Twitter, precisely because it is a completely impersonal platform (brilliantly) designed to allow spam to be legitimized and served to millions who have somehow been convinced that it is good.  I really don’t want Facebook to end up like that.

It reeks of a traffic play, at the expense of the user experience.

I want my kitchen table back.

Is There Even One Decent Facebook App?

If there is, I’ve never seen or heard of it.

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I’ve largely come around on Facebook as the only efficient way to keep up with people who don’t share my love of things nerdy.  That includes about 99% of my friends and every member of my family over 13.

The fact is that Facebook is simply inevitable.  Resistance is both futile and isolating.

But Facebook has a huge problem.  No it’s not the fact that Microsoft saved Facebook from itself by taking the bait and grossly overpaying for Skype.  It’s the apps.

It’s the fact that none of them are worth a crap.  I have spent far more time filtering out stupid Facebook apps than I have using them.  In fact, I have 74 apps filtered out of my Facebook stream.  The list grows constantly.

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From Hearts to Hugs to Best Friend Quiz to Egg Buddies to anything Ville to Mafia Wars to various sweepstakes.  None of it is worth a crap, and all of it is junk.  Unless I want to become a mouse clicking zombie in service to some developer’s bank account, not one of them benefits me in any way.

It’s the fact that it seems like most Facebook apps  are malware.  I am now conditioned to look for a warning- “Do not click on this or that”- whenever I see an appish-looking post in my Facebook stream.  Facebook apps have the same trust level as links in spam.

It’s the fact that, even if an app is technically not malware, you have no idea what it can access, and what it, in turn, discloses and to whom.  You have more privacy at a nudist camp that you do on Facebook.

In sum, the entire Facebook app ecosystem is broken.

It needs to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.  There’s just no way to salvage any kind of trust out of the chaos that Facebook has created.  Facebook needs to take a page from Apple’s book and worry about protecting its users, not serving them up as fodder to scammers and shady apps.

It should happen.  But until people vote with their filters, it probably won’t.

How to Integrate Facebook into a WordPress Blog

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Following up on my surprising, even to me, change of heart regarding Facebook, I’ve added some more Facebook integration at Newsome.Org.  Here’s what I have done, how you can do it with your WordPress blog, and how your picture can instantly appear right over there.   ——>

Sharing

I’ve used the AddtoAny plugin for some time.  It appears at the bottom of each post and allows readers to instantly share my posts to Facebook (Friend me if we are), Twitter (follow me via that link) and just about every other social network, with just the click of a button.

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A couple of caveats.

I hate the way the plugin adds the marketing plug to the end of items you share on Twitter.  I always delete it before hitting the final Tweet button.

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Finally, be sure to add this important code to the Additional Options blank in the plugin settings, to avoid an annoying privacy glitch.

1. Open the AddtoAny Settings menu (found under Plugins)

2. Scroll down to the text box labeled Additional Options

3. Add the following text:

var a2a_config = a2a_config || {};
a2a_config.no_3p = 1;

Facebook Likes

It is much, much easier for a reader to Like a post via a one-click button than it is to go through the Sharing process.  For this reason, I think a Facebook Like button is a mandatory addition to blogs.

It’s not easy to manually add the required code to the various WordPress files.  Fortunately for WordPress users, there is a handy plugin that does it for you.  Why not test it out at the top of this post.  Come on!  It will be fun.

Facebook Activity

The third prong of my Facebook implementation involved adding a Facebook Activity widget that will show who has Shared or Liked my posts.  See the box in the right hand column?  If you click the Like button at the top of a post or Share any post via the AddtoAny plugin described above, your name and photo will appear in that box.

Right now, it’s all me, which is sort of lame.  So add your picture there and help beautify Newsome.Org!

It’s really easy to add this feature.  Just go to the Facebook plugin page, get your code and add that code in the desired place.  With my WordPress theme, it’s a simple matter of creating a text widget called Facebook Activity and inserting the code.  If you run into any problems leave a question in the Comments and I’ll try to help.

That’s it, for now.  Do you have any ideas for adding Facebook connectivity to a blog?

My Unexpected Defense of Facebook

Here’s a post I bet no one ever thought I’d write.

John Dvorak, whose articles and posts I have long enjoyed, sets forth a persuasive argument against Facebook.

I’m not going to try to summarize years of my posts and podcast rants, so let me just say for any new readers that I long held, and argued with anyone who would read or listen, that identical position.  I called Facebook the new AOL more than a few times (for the record, MySpace, not Facebook, is the new Geocities).  I protested over the walls.  I proclaimed that I would always keep my content out here, free, accessible and controlled by me on the wide open web.

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Then I realized something important.  Facebook and web sites are not an either/or equation.  Just because you use Facebook doesn’t mean you have to let your blog lie fallow.  Most of my content originates and lives here.  Some of it, I push to Facebook or Twitter (though I do not push my Twitter posts to Facebook and generally filter those who do).

But I have found Facebook to be a very fun and useful supplement to this blog, for two reasons.  It’s easy, and popular.

Easy, because it lets me post short thoughts and share items that don’t warrant a full blog post here.

Popular, because that’s where the people are.  There are tons of people on Facebook that would rarely if ever come here and leave a comment.  Many of them are not tech savvy.  Others are not particularly interested in the subjects I focus on here.

By using Facebook the right way, I can expand my interaction to another group of people, many of whom are real world friends of mine.  I can actually drive some traffic here, by sharing some of my posts here on Facebook.  And I can have more regular interaction with people.

John should give it a try.  If I can learn to like Facebook, anyone can.

If we are, Friend me on Facebook.

Why Facebook Groups Will Revolutionize Social Networking

The secret to an enjoyable social networking experience is the ability to properly manage your content.  Better content management control equals a better experience.  Despite the fact that it originated from a user-unfriendly design that was aimed at college kids looking to poke (online or off) each other, Facebook finally seems to get this, and they are constantly introducing new features that will serve both Facebook’s purpose (internet domination) and ours (a better user experience).

As I was dragged, typing and clicking, onto Facebook (Friend me if we are), the first thing that struck me was the sheer volume of posts relating to Farmville and other similar nonsense.  For a while I was amazed at the amount of gibberish that crossed my screen.  It was almost as chaotic as Twitter (Follow me), except that nothing else can be that chaotic.

Facebook filters were the first and biggest step in my Facebook content management initiative.  In one or two clicks I can forever rid my stream of Farmville and all sorts of other so-called games that inspire so many seemingly sane people to obsessively hunt for and/or give away livestock and implements (or whatever one does in Farmville) while the developers of Farmville undoubtedly pinch themselves repetitively on their way to the bank.

Filters helped me avoid much of the bad stuff, but I wanted a way to find the good stuff.  Like most people, my list of Facebook “Friends” spans various segments of my real life.  I have hometown friends, college friends, local friends, and tech friends.  Lists allow us to separate content into buckets of people, but separating content by person doesn’t work very well.   For example, if one of my college friends says something interesting about a tech topic, I won’t see it if I’m reading my “Tech” list.

We needed a way to manage content by topic.  The recently released Facebook Groups feature gives us this.  It’s really early, but I think Facebook has hit a homerun with Groups.  Here’s why.

They Are Topic Based and Deeper

As noted above, segmenting your Facebook stream into buckets of people is not an elegant solution.  Groups, at least the ones I am involved in so far, are generally topic based.  My  favorite Group so far is a tech group, set up by one of my Facebook friends.  It allows me to quickly consume lots of good, non-spammy content written by people who are invested in the topic.  Additionally, it allows me to share information and interact with a lot of people who share the interest but are not my Facebook “Friends.”  As long as the Groups can be properly managed (more on that below), I think Groups will quickly become the go-to place to discuss topics on Facebook.

Being topic based also helps reduce the amount of other content which, while not quite Farmville-stupid, isn’t interesting to me.   I’m primarily talking about party-spoon-fed political hate-regurgitation (I’m really bored with all the Obama-bashing) and supposedly, but not really, uplifting quotes.  If I can tune my Facebook content like a TV channel, my Facebook experience will be more efficient and more enjoyable.

All of this makes me think Groups will very quickly become the default Facebook hangout for most people.

In fact, I think Groups will eventually become the backbone of Facebook, content-wise, design-wise and revenue-wise.  Think about what topic-based Group pages will mean for advertisers.  Sounds a little Google-like, huh?

There’s No Imported Content Which Leads to More Interaction

Unlike my main Facebook stream, where many people import content they create other places (such as Twitter), all of the content in Facebook Groups originates from within the group.  I have actually filtered out real-world friends on my main Facebook stream because so much of their content is imported that they don’t even see Comments and stuff.  If we can’t talk, then all you’re really doing is spamming me.  That is much less of a concern within Groups.

Meaningful interaction is the primary mover for much of the internet herd.  And it is about 100 times better in the main Facebook stream than on Twitter, and it’s about 10 times better in Facebook Groups than in the general Facebook stream.  That’s a lot.  Of content, interaction, and potential ad dollars.

There is the Potential for Proper Curation

Over time Facebook is going to have to give Group administrators a way to police members and probably even membership.  Years of online community building has taught me that there will be a segment of any group (lower or upper case) who only wants to harass and/or spam.  This is an absolute.  It will, at least initially, be less of a problem in “closed” Groups, like the tech group I am spending a lot of time reading, but it will be an issue for all Groups.  Probably sooner than later.

Note that I said “proper” curation.  The one thing that will drive me away from Groups and possibly Facebook as a whole is if Groups become like merit badges, and we end up in some new Gatekeeper controversy.  Proper curation should toss troublemakers out, but not serve as an implement of exclusion.

Done correctly, however, Facebook Groups can increase the quality of content geometrically.  Quality content, properly managed is the holy grail of online communities.

Facebook has some work to do, but I think Groups are going to be huge.

And About Google.Me (or Leave My Email Alone)

As a brief aside, the only other platform that has the potential to create this sort of curated interaction is Google Reader.  It’s too bad Google has largely abandoned Google Reader in its now redundant effort to create a content management tool inside of Gmail (which was obviously done to co-opt the huge Gmail user base).  I’m so in love with Chrome, that I’d try like hell to support any sane attempt by Google at social networking, but I am not optimistic that Google is going to present us with anything compelling.  My one hope (and remember this) is that Google.Me ends up embedded in Chrome (both the browser and the OS) instead of Gmail.  By itself, that won’t guarantee success, but it would be enough to make me take a long look.  And to pull for them.

Facebook Etiquette: Cruel to Be Kind, in the Wrong Measure

I’m a little punch drunk and heart sore after reading another example of narcissism, hatred and polarization in America***.  The lack of self-awareness and empathy in this country is epic, and saddening.  We need to relearn logic and civility.  We need less hate and more love.  Less anger and more kindness.  It sounds trite, but it is absolutely the truth.

Which leads me to Facebook (if we are, “Friend” me).  I have learned to live with Facebook’s nonsensical organizational and navigational structure in the name of meaningful and efficient social interaction.  Unlike Twitter, which I completely don’t get, there is actual social interaction to be had via Facebook, largely because the non-nerds have embraced it.  This is good.  We also need less nerdity, but that’s a topic for another day.

One of the reasons people flock to Facebook is because Facebook imposes some rules that, at least in theory, improve the experience.  In general, I agree with this.  But Facebook’s sense of etiquette is odd, in at least two ways.

We Need a “Dislike” Button

Why in the world isn’t there a native “Dislike” button for Facebook posts?  Is it really a breach of etiquette to disagree with something?  Are we a nation of sissies or what?  How in the world can you even have a conversation when the only possible responses are to say yes or give a sermon?

Like our polarizing society at large, there are a lot of haters on Facebook.  Much of the hate is politics based.  I haven’t been excited about politics since Jimmy Carter’s acceptance speech (what a great night that was) at the 1976 Democratic Convention, so I generally ignore political rants.

What my conscience won’t let me ignore is thinly disguised racism or hate masquerading as patriotism.  There are a lot of what, at first glance, look like religious and patriotic gestures on Facebook that are actually the opposite of both.  I badly need the ability to succinctly register my disapproval of that sort of thing.  A “Dislike” button would do that.  Without one, I have to either ignore something I find offensive or write a Comment expressing my disagreement.  Writing a Comment is much more confrontational than simply “Disliking” something.  Plus, having “Likes” and “Dislikes” would allow people to quickly gauge group sentiment on things.

The absence of a “Dislike” button, which seems to be an attempt to encourage civility, actually has the opposite effect.  We need a “Dislike” button.  Etiquette demands it.

It’s OK Not to Be Friends

Facebook seems to think that we all have really fragile karmas.  Otherwise, why wouldn’t there be an option to say say “No” to a “Friend” request?  Sure, you can now say “Not Now,” but as TechSpot points out, this results in the bizarre situation in which the rejecting person’s public posts show up in the rejected person’s stream.  You don’t have to suffer the horror of someone saying no, but you get to be constantly reminded that they did.  Crazy, no?

I recently sent a “Friend” request to Craig Newmark.  He and I are by no means real world friends, but we have emailed a few times over the years, and have a lot of mutual friends.  I thought he was getting unduly crapped on over the Craigslist thing, and decided to reach out.  Anyway, he didn’t accept my request, which is perfectly fine.  The problem was that, because I sent a “Friend” request to him, his public posts started showing up on my Facebook wall.  Since he and I are not Facebook “Friends,” I was not able to comment on those posts or join in the conversation.  In effect, I was being excluded from conversations on my own Facebook wall.  Since there is, for reasons that escape me, no easy way to withdraw a “Friend” request, I had to block Craig and then un-block him, just to go back to square one.  This is perfectly illogical and unnecessary.

It would be so much more efficient- and so much less offensive for everyone involved- if someone could just say no to a “Friend” request, and have the requesting person notified.  If your sense of self-worth is dependent on whether someone accepts your Facebook “Friend” request, maybe you should step away from the computer.  Heck, I’ve had lifelong real world friends un-”Friend” me, and I still manage to get up and live my life every day.

*** For the record, I largely agree with the points Mike is making, if not the way he chose to make them.  Having said that, I also think our government and economy is generally set up to favor the super-rich over everyone else, and if there is a tax increase (which would be fine if used for the right purposes), the super-rich will figure out a way to avoid or recoup much of their losses, in one way or another at the expense of the rest of us.  John Scalzi, author of one of my favorite books, has the best take on this latest brouhaha.

The Holy Grail of Social Network Sharing: Single Clicks, Native Shares & Clean Streams

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I’ve been thinking about the distribution of my content across the various social networks.  My challenge is to use the social networks in a way that benefits me and my readers, while keeping control of my brand and managing my content at a central, owned-by-me location.  That location being here at Newsome.Org, and my primary distribution tool being the “Send to” feature of Google Reader.  I consume 90% of my online content via Google Reader.

Networks I Use

At this point, I use two primary social networks.

I use Twitter (follow me, if you’re interested in hand-picked links to good tech, music and life articles) as a largely list-and-search-driven resource for third party content.  You simply have to rely on lists and saved searches to manage what would otherwise be complete chaos.   Via Twitter I  give (via my hand-curated “Interesting” links) and receive (via lists and saved searches) links to stories of interest.  In other words, the “what are you doing” Twitter updates are of very little interest to me (mostly because, as we’ll see in a moment, I find Facebook much better for that sort of thing), but the pointers to news articles and blog posts are very much of interest.

I use Facebook (Friend me, if we are)  as more of an interactive, conversation stream.  I find the connections between people on Facebook much more meaningful, and much more enjoyable, than on Twitter.  In other words, Twitter feels like an internet creation.  Facebook feels more like real life.

They are very different things.

How I Share

Which means that content producers like me need to carefully decide what parts of our content get pushed where.  Until today, I pushed all of my Twitter content into my Facebook stream.  Primarily, this was to get my curated “Interesting” links into both Twitter and Facebook, via a one-click “Send to” Google Reader process.

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I would send an item to Twitter, which in turn would be  sent to Facebook.  It worked, but it was noisy.  There was too much static on the line.

For example, when I publish a new blog post, it gets linked in my Twitter stream, via the WP to Twitter plug-in.  Then, in turn, it would show up on Facebook, the same way.   Like this.

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But Facebook’s native sharing process produces a much better stream entry, with a thumbnail, etc.  It looks less spammy and more elegant, giving a result like this.

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Duplication and Dirty Streams

Which meant that I had to either allow duplicate new blog post entries in my Facebook stream (bad) or manually delete the automatic Twitter posting and then re-post the item using the Facebook’s native sharing process (inefficient).  Ultimately, I found myself rushing to Facebook to delete certain Twitter-imported items and replacing them with native Facebook shared links.  I felt like George Jetson on the treadmill, with no Jane in sight.

Then I finally realized I was doing it backwards.

The interactive quality of my stream (both incoming and outgoing) is better and more valuable at Facebook.  So that’s where I need to use the most care.  I very much wish I could one-click export selected items from my Facebook stream to Twitter.  That would allow me to pick and choose the links and other content that I wanted to send over the Facebook walls, without having to clutter my Facebook stream with a bunch of imported content.  But you can’t do that.

Tossing Twitter Out of Facebook

So I decided to cut the cord.  As of today, my Twitter feed is no longer pushed to Facebook.  Rather, my curated “Interesting” links will continue to be the most valuable part of my Twitter stream, and any of them that I want to also share in my Facebook stream will have to be re-shared.  This double effort will serve as a mighty filter on my Facebook stream, which is good and bad.  Good because the quality of the content will be higher.  Bad because there will be some interesting stuff that never makes it into my Facebook stream.

Call Me Percival

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Which leads to the search for the holy grail.

What I want, but have not yet found, is a way to share content from Google Reader one of three ways:

1. To Twitter (can do this);

2. To Facebook (can do this); or

3.  To both simultaneously, but using each service’s native sharing API (cannot do this).

There needs to be a way to select, slice and dice and distribute content via a Google Reader “Send to” (or the equivalent), which will send the selected content to Twitter and Facebook, simultaneously and separately (without going into one and then being imported into the other).  Another, likely easier to develop, solution would be to create an application that only pushed certain content from Twitter to Facebook.  It would be rules based.  For example, I could create a rule that would push any Twitter post that starts with “Interesting:” to my Facebook stream, but would not push other Twitter posts.

For me, this is the holy grail of social network sharing.  I thought perhaps Ping.fm might be a vehicle to do this or something acceptably close, but I don’t see a way to push the same link through Ping.fm to Twitter as a Twitter post and to Facebook as a natively shared (as opposed to imported) item.  In other words, it seems my ability to push things from my Twitter stream to my Facebook stream is an “all or nothing” decision.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to share especially interesting items twice, in order to keep my Facebook stream clean.  But I’ll keep looking for the holy grail.  It’s out there somewhere, or will be one day.