Google+ vs Facebook

I have a G+ and Facebook account. Whilst I still log into FB to check on what friends are doing, I find the automatic upload feature to G+ incredibly useful so I’ve stopped uploading photos to FB. I think G+ is better than FB, like it’s circles feature, which FB badly needed for a long time. I don’t think the implementation is quite there, but it’s a logical and necessary feature.

I remember when most of the FB friends I have now were on MySpace and all had headache inducing, eye-bleeding home pages. I didn’t bother, but when FB came along and was relatively obscure I joined because it was a bit like LinkedIn is now, low key and mostly professionals.

Of course, G+ is always compared to this and I have also used the analogy when people say it’s not going to beat FB. However there are some key generational changes between now and then which put FB at an advantage to G+ now but the most important one is email.

Up until FB came along many of us were still communicating and relying on email for socializing and events. Whether you came from MySpace or were new to social networking, signing up for FB was made easy by the fact it would trawl your email address book and add your contacts as they joined – rarely have I had to look someone up in the last 5 years of using it. In any event if FB couldn’t read your address book, your address book was considerably smaller and more manageable than it is now and you could feed it in manually.

The difference now is that many people no longer store their contacts in their easily accessible email account – instead half of them are stuck in a proprietory FB directory because we reconnected with lost friends (and lost email addresses) this way. FB does not share emails and makes efforts to kill plugins that attempt to do this. FB knows that the key successful ingredient is email addresses, and being able to pair those up automatically.

This is the most likely reason why Google stopped sharing email accounts with FB, it’s the reason migrating out of FB is for the foreseeable future, difficult (I have family who don’t even log into their email accounts – my only way of digitital contact is via FB).

Facebook benefited from social networking virgins, and being able to trawl email. Email address books have migrated to Facebook accounts and therefore G+ cannot trawl for contacts in the same way. There are also less social networking virgins to plunder, and these people see it as a hassle to migrate all those photos and personal notes that they spent time uploading manually, despite browser tools that are available.

I really hope that G+ is successful in the long term, I hope it reaches that point at which the dam breaks and then all the FB holdouts rush to sign up because enough of their friends have left. But this is probably only going to happen when people stop sharing on FB. Even as a pro-G+er I have trouble not posting to FB directly – to get my friends’ reactions. We need more tools like Extended Share to come to fruition – and we need them to be automated, so that I don’t have to post something from my mobile or my tablet, and have to log in from a PC to click share.

This Year I Have Mostly Been Setting Up Forwarders…

Yeah, I can’t believe I haven’t done this before, either but now I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve elected to start off the new year by cleaning up my inbox – that means unsubscribing from services that I don’t use or read and also switching current services to a temporary email address through this domain.

The beauty is by using custom email addresses e.g. custom(at)wafitz.net I can later check and see who is selling my data to spammers. I also have an effective way of removing myself from mailing lists where unsubcribing is discouraged by stealth.

The very worst offender I have found appears to be http://www.advfn.com/.  I signed up to this website a long time ago to some financial info and it automatically added me to a dozen or so email subscriptions. Subsequent attempts to unsubscribe led to a weird non-functioning webpage that wouldn’t let me remove myself. Emails to their support go unanswered.

So I do the next best thing with ADVFN – I tell Google that their emails are spam. I mark all their emails as spam. Hopefully, if enough people find themselves in the same position as me do this, all of their email service will automatically be considered by Google as spam and they may then have incentive to change.

I do this with any services where they make it a difficult hurdle to unsubscribe. Just mark their email address as a spammer with as many email services as possible – if enough people do this – it will have an effect.

Slow Blogging

Imagine that!

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Neatorama/~3/WYwBDqNn8NI/
I’ve tried doing the whole rapid fire blogging thing. In the past elsewhere the most I could manage was 2 posts a day but the thing you find is you have little time for much else.

As my life has expanded, to take on important things like marriage, church, hobbies and work, blogging has become less important – especially when most thing I find can be condensed into a tweet.

I suspect a lot of bloggers who are slowing down are in the same category as me. Those that have not attracted big advertisers or have more important things to do in real life just don’t have the gumption any more.

And you know what, I realised a long time ago that I don’t have the time or attention span to take in all those 50-a-day bloggers either. Which is why I started cutting them out of my feed in favour of slower blogs a long time ago – advertisers take note!

Why I Still Use Facebook Despite The Issues

Over the past year I’ve agonised over keeping my Facebook account, but everytime I’ve considered deleting it I’ve come to the same conclusion – the benefits of having one far outweigh the benefits of not having a Facebook account.

Big Brother is Poking You

Let’s start with the negative shall we? First is privacy – Facebook is infamous for dicking around with users profiles and privacy settings. It should be on the tip of every Facebook users mind that what they post in private today could be on the front page of The Sun tomorrow. It’s something I’m concerned about and it’s likely if Facebook did not give me some measure of control over my privacy settings then I’d definitely look for an alternative.

Farmbook

Second, Farmville (and it’s ilk). Seriously I don’t mind if you want to raise your virtual tomatoes with your virtual seed that you bought with your virtual cash that you paid for with you real money. However, why does Facebook feel it’s important that I should know all this? I don’t care, I don’t want to know about your gold egg, your new apartment, your lost Koala, your bean crop or anything you spend mindless hours filling the bank account of some company you’ve never even heard of.

The Great Unwashed

Thirdly, popularity. Yes I appreciate most will not understand this one. Let me try to explain. When I joined Facebook it was little more than a listing site. You could post photo’s, a profile and maybe there was a few extras I don’t remember. Then a couple of years later came the MySpace refugees – and with them they brought their ugly profiles and ubiquitous junk plugins. OK so I was a Facebook snob, I never got into MySpace and I’m glad – I feel less dirty for it. Yes the MySpace crowd ruined Facebook – but I will admit I played some of the games to start with, I took part in the stupid polls and apps that desperately scream “define me”! It’s not something I’m proud of.

So why stick with Facebook despite these issues? Read on…

Continue reading “Why I Still Use Facebook Despite The Issues”

Gift Economies

A while ago I was inspired by a post on gift economies at Glocal Christianity. I was excited because both me and the wife have been slowly expanding and practising this in our own lives and now I had found a term to frame it.

I like freedom, as you can guess by the tone of my blog and I thought I’d share with you some of the ways we express our freedom through gifting and how you can too.

  • F/OSS (free and open source software) such as Linux, Firefox and OpenOffice.org.
  • Freecycle. This is great for getting rid of secondhand things quick or picking up some fairly good quality second hand items when you’re on a limited budget.
  • Geocaching. Whilst not strictly a gift economy (more a barter economy) it still has the principles of giving. Whenever I place a cache I personally give up ownership of the container and items since life’s too short to get hung up over an inexpensive item you place at risk.
  • BookCrossing. I’ve only put one book out there so far, but I have stack of others I bought recently in a sale that I do at some point plan on getting out there.
  • Creative Commons. Usually anything I put on the web I use a CC share-alike attribute. I don’t always put up an icon but the intent is there.
  • Giving generally. No website for this, just traditional generosity. Giving to church, giving to friends in need. We’ve even given a car away (to my brother), this was something I never saw myself doing before.
  • Giving Blood. Admittedly, I’ve only done this once, perhaps I need to be a bit less selfish and do it again when there’s next a blood drive.

Of course, there is much more than just the few examples above, there are other ways of giving we still have to explore:

  • Couch Surfing. Not sure we’ll ever get round to this one but I think it’s ideal for people who are unattached and have the free time.
  • OpenStreetMap. I have used OSM and have very good intentions of one day getting round to editing it to add our road which is missing.
  • Random Acts of Kindness. For some reason we haven’t done much with this but it’s something I totally want to get into. I’m waiting for the right day to come along where I pay for the next person in the queue at the petrol station.. that sort of thing.