Trying to regain control of Facebook friending

June 10, 2008

I suppose you can call me a Facebook Whore. I don’t go out searching every day for random people to add, but I do accept all friendship requests. Well, pretty much all. My criteria for accepting are as follows:

1) I have talked, exchanged e-mails or met you.
2) We have “mutual friends.”

More and more people are now requesting and I have been accepting based on #2. It was cool at first, but now I’m seeing a new breed of Facebook networkers that start resembling LION except maybe these guys are more annoying. Not sure what to call them yet the term Facebook Spammers seem appropriate. It seems there are those who add friends by Facebook Whale proportions, then they go out advertising how many contacts they have to businesses and FB app developers.

“Look how many people I can invite to join your group or use your app on Facebook!!”

Yeah I know. What ecosystem is complete without spammers?

I don’t mind being marketed to. If you want to get to know me so you can offer me products and services that are relevant to my business and personal needs then please, it’s all right there on my feed. Please feel free to invite me to groups that you think would be valuable to me. Please invite me to view your application if you think this is something I could use. There’s a way to do it, and spamming me with random group invitations and application requests is definitely not the way to do it, and if you’ve offended me this way I won’t delete you as a Facebook friend. No. That would be way too easy and well…you just might try to add me again and then I’d have to deal with ignoring your invite.

I’ll make sure you delete me from your list by writing on your Facebook wall and your Super Wall and whatever other wall you might have for all your contacts and my contacts to see not just on your wall but also my feed…and I’m sorry, but it goes both ways. That’s the beauty of social networking, and if you haven’t figured that out then maybe you should re-evaluate your understanding of social media because you surely don’t get it. You’ve got your hundreds of contacts that read your spammy feed, and I’ve got mine that read what I have to say probably carries more weight because I don’t spam. I don’t take this lightly.

I’ve never been one to publish some sort of Friending Constitution. “Who do you think you are?”one might ask. Sure, I’m no Mark Cuban (his Facebook strategy post is really cool…thanks again, Mark) or Scobleizer and to that, I’d say, regardless of who you’re friending, networking involves interaction among contacts. You need to get to know your network and yes, it does take time and energy, but the payoffs from social networking that you keep reading about requires that you interact with your network. So. In the spirit of permission marketing…if I am permitting you to be my friend, please respect my friendship guidelines:

1) If you are adding me as a friend, please send me a note on why you would like to network with me. I don’t require that we have mutual friends, but if you can tell me why you would like to be my contact, I would gladly accept.


“Hi, my name is John/Jane Doe, we’re both members of –so and so group — and would like to network with you.”
“Hi, my name is John/Jane Doe, and we have several mutual contacts in the social media scene and would like to network with you.”
“I can haz fazebooq contactz” is a sure add.

This one works too: “Hi, my name is John/Jane Doe, and I am going to be standing in line starting July 1st and I heard you wanted one but too busy to stand in line, if you’d like I can pick one up for you since I’m gonna be there anyway.”

2) Please feel free to write on my wall or send me messages, but please try not to send me SPAM.

3) Please send only group invitations that you feel are relevant to my interests. I don’t really care about your affiliations, but if you are inviting me to “Super Duper Special Republican Fundraising Event With Special Guest Karl Rove,” you clearly have not taken the time to even read my profile.

4) Please do not send me invitations to random apps. Do you see any vampire stats on my page? Do you see any Fluff Friends there? Thank you. Now please look at what I do have. Those are the types of apps I look for.

5) I regularly share links and articles on Facebook. If you find them valuable, please feel free to comment and share with your contacts.

6) Please say hello once in a while.

7) Please feel free to make introductions.

8) I do not mind making introductions for you, but please ask for my permission before you drop my name to any of my contacts. It does get to me and I don’t take it lightly.

9) Please feel free to write on my wall, but please respect it.

10) If you need my help with anything, I would be glad to listen to what you need and see what I can do. Please write a note. That’s what social networking contacts do.

What I learned during my blogging hiatus

May 30, 2008

Not everyone understands LOLspeak. 

You don’t have to @people when you’re talking to them. 

Ceiling Cat is just another cat. Sacrilege! 

The world doesn’t revolve around Michael Arrington. 

The average person couldn’t care less about Viral Expansion Loop.

That I still hate the Kindle and there’s no angle that I can look at it from that will make it less fugly than it is. 

That I am still #1 Google search result for “AT&T hell.”

But there are still lots of people who come to my site looking for “Lego Cake.”  (My apologies for wasting your click)

That the average person you’ll run into at any given place (unless of course it’s a Tweet-Up or a MeetUp or a Lunch20 or the Apple Campus) has probably never heard of FSJ. Still? 

I learned how to properly pronounce Drupal. 

That I am still unable to define Web2.0 in less than 30 seconds. 



Be social to collaborate

August 17, 2007

I was having a conversation with timeXchange‘s Joe Piekarz today about social applications and how difficult it is to define it.
By the way if you haven’t heard of timeXchange, go check it out. timeXchange is a free online timekeeping solution that allows employees, independent contractors to enter and submit their time for approval to whoever needs to see them (a manager, the payroll department, client…and when I said “whoever,” it’s really “whoever” you set it up to be) so that you can get your paycheck. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

By Web2.0 definition timeXchange is what you would call a true social application. “Social” because it gives you the tool to easily invite other users to help you do whatever it is that you’re trying to do. And on the case of timeXchange, you’re trying to get paid for your work.

If you read TechCrunch or know who Robert Scoble is, you probably didn’t need that explanation. I don’t know what percentage of timeXchange’s target users (anyone who needs to keep track of time worked so that they can get paid and wants to be able to do it online…hmm…a majority of the white collar employed population?) fall under this category, but in the larger scale of things and I mean outside of the web industry, that’s probably a small number.

To those outside of the Web2.0 circle, “social applications” probably doesn’t go beyond MySpace and Facebook. “Social” = “Play” Which is a big problem if you’re trying to introduce “social applications” to the enterprise. “You want me to be social and use a wiki?”

I have no idea how the term “social” became the norm, but I think the more accurate word to describe these applications is “collaborative.” Is it because the social aspect of the application is what enables teams to collaborate? But how do you collaborate if you’re not social? You can be social and not collaborate, but you have to be social to collaborate. Therefore I think the word “collaboration” or “collaborative” is a more targeted and a much easier to explain word to describe apps like wikis blogs,, and timeXchange. Heck. I can even say LinkedIn and Facebook is collaborative because I’m collaborating with my network to increase my business contacts, find leads, jobs, expertise, etc.

So there’s my epiphany for today, courtesy of Joe. From now on I’m using the adjective “collaborative” instead of “social.” I just wish we had the conversation sooner, because that sure could’ve saved me a lot of time and breath and effort explaining the word social.

Update: The timeXchange blog also has a post about this topic.

LinkedIn Apps

July 10, 2007

There was much talk about the LinkedIn API not too long ago. The buzz has gone down quite a bit and as people settle into a wait and see state, I’m kinda wondering, ok, would an open developer platform make LinkedIn better than it is?

From a marketing perspective it would be great to see LinkedIn as another way to distribute content. And I know I’ve written before that LinkedIn isn’t really much of a use to me other than to search names for sales leads, but now I’m thinking, so what’s wrong with that? I think I’ve been conditioned to think in terms of “what else can I do with it?” instead of appreciating things that are good for one specific purpose.

I know. I know. They gotta do it or Facebook will steal the networking show and with social networking becoming more mainstream there’s definitely a chance that it would take LinkedIn’s “professional” userbase.

But the question again is…will it necessarily make it better?

Ok so LinkedIn just has to do what LinkedIn’s gotta do. But now, what sort of applications do I really want to see?

Would I really want to know how each of my 350 contacts are feeling at this time? (ok there’s really only 60 of them but one can always dream to be in the LinkedIn 500+ category…and there’s the question of how meaningful exactly are those 500 contacts?)

Do I really want to know show my favorite YouTube videos or my Flickr photos there?

Or my Twitter, Jaiku or Pownce posts?

Oh but hey. I think it would be really cool to share an events calendar there or see which events my contacts are going to.

And I wish I didn’t have a limit on “InMail.”

And I wish I could start a group based on common interests or professional affiliation with a calendaring thingie and an RSVP thingie.

Or maybe publish a feed there from my blog.

So I guess I’m kind of torn. It would be cool to see what kind of apps are developed for LinkedIn when the developer platform is opened up.

How to beat Post-Bubble Stress Disorder and have fun at Lunch2.0

July 3, 2007

There were some interesting points that were brought up in my previous post on Simply Hired’s Lunch2.0.

Water pistols and tie-dyes and how they can induce flashbacks of the dot-com bust.

I admit I suffer from this as well. But probably because I barely survived the Bust and dodged the Pink Slip bullet a few times. It’s irrational, I know. But I guess it’s like PTSD. Certain things trigger it.

If you suffer from Post-Bubble Stress Disorder and want to get back into the tech scene without flashbacks, here’s how I deal with it. It’s overly simplified, I know. You can write a book. But if you need a quick fix, think of three letters.

ROI. The companies that tanked back then had fun with reckless disregard when it came to cost and the simple question “what for?”

Now this post started with Lunch2.0 and Lunch2.0 it shall be — why I think Lunch2.0 is fun yet makes perfect sense.

1) Not to get all cheesy here, but for little investment, there’s lots of return for Lunch2.0. From a conversation I had with one of the founders, Mark Jen, it probably costs about $500 (sandwiches and salad) to $3000 (catered) plus swag (optional) to host one. The return? Blog posts (ahem), plenty of links (search engine optimization, trust ranking, etc), plenty of buzz, and lately, mainstream media coverage too. Here’s one from the San Francisco Chronicle, and another from the UK’s Financial Times. Think back 10 years ago, how much effort would it have taken to get the Chronicle to give you a couple of column inches because you were hosting a lunch?

2) If you’re looking for technical talent, Lunch2.0 beats any recruiting event out there. Both in price and in turn out. A booth at a job fair will easily run you $3,000. Plus swag. Plus hourly rates to staff the booth. And for what? It’s a candidate market out there. The best candidates aren’t trolling the job fairs. They don’t have their resumes posted anywhere. They are passively looking. They usually like where they are while keeping their options open. Lunch2.0 events are great places to not only meet them but also talk to them in a relaxed setting. You’re getting the real candidate there, as opposed to the ultra-polished suited up and well-rehearsed candidate you might meet at the job fair.

3) If you’re a huge company it’s a great way to get some blogger love. I don’t know about you. But I just won’t come and eat your food and then say nasty things. Even if I hated you (in which case I just won’t go), ok so I don’t like you that much, I’d at least say thank you. The food was great. I had fun. Now, isn’t that worth more and cheaper than say…paying $1500 to get your logo on a jersey in some sports event somewhere (yeah I know…for a cause, tax deductible, etc…but we’re talking returns, here, peeps…)? Not to mention that at Lunch2.0, you’re the only star in the event, versus having to share the same space with 10 other companies in that jersey you’re sponsoring for $1500.

So yeah. It is fun and sometimes even childish and quacky (as Pedro C put it in the last post) but just because it is what it is doesn’t mean we’re headed for another bust. Having barely survived the last one, I have to remind myself of that too sometimes. These events are not only sensible, they are actually cost-effective from a marketing standpoint. I have to keep these things in mind to ward off Post-Bubble Stress Disorder, let loose, and have fun.

Lunch2.0 at Ning

June 17, 2007

Went to Lunch2.0 at Ning last Thursday and as usual, had a great time.

Out of all the Lunch2.0s I’ve gone to I was looking forward to Ning’s the most because I’m actually a member of several networks there such as Ning Network Creators, Lunch2.0, World Wide Mac and the Recruiting Network, and one that I created as part of a project.

How active I am in those networks is another question. I accept almost all reasonable invitations to join a network, but never really participate except in a couple like Ning Network Creators because there’s definitely value to it. It’s where I get quick answers from Ning CEO Gina Biancini herself, and where I can communicate with her what kind of features I would like to see in their next release.

I joined Ning back when they barely had five pages of social networks back in February and now they have grown to about (if I have my numbers right) 40,000 social networks on just about anything you can think of.

Not sure how Ning’s volume compares with other white label social networking sites (Jeremiah Owyang has a running list of companies in this space) and I’ve looked at almost all of them. Now, I swear this is not the free lunch talking (the cold noodle salad with peanuts…whatever it’s called…was great), but comparing all the companies in that space in terms of ease of use, flexibility, pricing and features, I would say that Ning has the best product. (Someone remind me to post about what’s wrong with GoingOn which I’m not going to do here because this is a happy post.)

Oh. And it looks like Ning has a few more tricks. Just saw this today on TechCrunch.

Thanks again to Ning for hosting Lunch2.0.

Lunch 2.0 tomorrow at Ning

June 13, 2007

It can’t get more Web2.0 and SNS than this.

Tomorrow’s Lunch2.0 will be sponsored by Ning.

Location: Ning, Inc.
Address: 167 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 300, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Date: Thursday, June 14th, 2007. 12:00PM – 1:30PM

RSVP on the Lunch2.0 site.

Oh. And if you’re reading this, make sure to also go to The Chocolate Blogger’s site and bug him about chocolates!

Cisco New Media Summit

June 6, 2007

Went to the Cisco New Media Summit today. Thanks to the folks at Cisco for sponsoring this event.

It may not be a big deal to a lot of folks who came to the New Media Summit (judging from their badges most of the attendees came from large companies who probably have the budget to send their marketing folks to watch a panel discussion) but the event was free. (Ok fine it wasn’t free because Cisco’s achieving something out of this, etc, etc, must we always clarify that FREE isn’t truly FREE?)

I won’t summarize the event here only because others have already so just my two cents here and there. Check out these posts on the New Media Summit.

Jeremy Pepper was live blogging the event.
Jeremiah Owyang — Key Themes at the New Media Summit. Jeremiah was a panel speaker for Measuring the ROI of Social Media.

My Two Cents

The panel discussions were great and though they may be talking about different topics with each session the common theme seems to be that we are at the forefront of what may be the norm in marketing and corporate communications in the not too distant future.

  • There are no standard processes to measuring the ROI of social media YET because it’s so new. There was even a discussion there between Katie Paine and Jeremiah Owyang about whether we should even be measuring social media ROI in the first place. What is the value of a positive comment?
  • The fate of traditional media is uncertain. It looks like blogs and social media will replace traditional media but it’s still too soon to tell. I thought it was interesting that I happen to stumble upon Chris Salazar’s post on bloggers and journalists just as this discussion was happening.
  • The session of internal collaboration tools and strategies wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. I was looking forward to a discussion about other tools in addition to blogs like wikis, social bookmarking and crowd sourcing and other tools to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing within the enterprise, but instead it was more of a discussion on corporate blogging and conversations/collaboration that happen outside the firewall.
  • The last panel discussion was definitely the coolest because one of the panelists was an avatar on Second Life. I’ve always known of Second Life but have never been in there. I’m not sure why. Is it because it requires me to download the client? Is it because I’ve heard of some really bad things happening there? Not sure. But marketing/collaboration in the Second Life space is definitely something really new and it will be interesting what comes of it.
  • And I meant to ask (but didn’t remember the question until after the panel discussion), are these virtual worlds the next thing after social media sites? Will everyone do their 3d virtual thing on Second Life or will companies come out with their own branded virtual world a la Wells Fargo’s Stage Coach Island?

    It’s definitely an exciting time to be a witness to all the changes that are happening and having the medium to discuss those changes as well.

    And in true Social Media fashion, I’ll have to say here that even more important than the panel discussions themselves are the conversations that follow and the connections that are made after.

    I got to chat a little bit with Sun’s Terry McKenzie about the challenges that we are facing in the industry I make a living in (note to self: blog about some of that stuff on the other blog…), sat with the folks behind Cisco’s Human Networkprogram and Cisco’s Blogger in Chief (that’s what it says on the agenda) John Earnhardt, got to chat with Liz Guthridge and Jennifer McClure about the issues that social media poses in the staffing industry, and got to share a few thoughts with AMD’s David Kroll who was sitting behind me.

    Confused out of my mind

    May 29, 2007

    As I look for new products to use in my day job it seems I am having the same conversation on a daily basis. It’s usually one between me and a Web2.0 company. And it always goes something like this:

    Web2.0 company: We want to provide you this service for free.
    Me: I want to pay. Really. Please. Let me pay.

    I recently had this conversation with Alan over at BrightKite, when he asked if a text messaging service was something we’d be willing to pay for. I’m not sure if I answered fast enough. “Yes. Please. Charge us for it. We want to pay.”

    Not that I have the budget to burn. It’s just that – for reasons I just can’t understand – free is a harder sell.

    While I personally refuse to pay any subscription fee to use any service/application online, the enterprise is a whole different ball game and there are valid concerns for the distrust of free services.

    If they’re giving the service away, the belief is that they are not making any money (of course we know they get revenue through ads, though it’s still hard to make that case even with the newspaper analogy, because after all, you still pay for newspapers, never mind that advertising revenues are much bigger). And if they’re not charging for the service they are more likely to go under than a company that charges for services. So while the enterprise is willing to use Web2.0 companies for non-critical things (they’re critical to me as a marketer but not so to others: wikis, blogs, etc), it is an uphill battle trying to convince the enterprise to switch on other things, like say, project management software, billing-related/invoice apps or CRM.

    Maybe it’s me being naive, but I’m not sure when the word “free” became synonymous to “unreliable” or “un-secure.” Ok fine. There is that saying “you get what you pay for.” But with all the great applications and services in the Web2.0 space these days, that saying seem to apply less and less.

    You can try to explain the Google model all you want and it will be a waste of breath. They’d tell you that free is ok for personal e-mail. But not for enterprise data.

    And maybe this is why there are so many social networking and social bookmarking and social everything and not the “real” business applications are a little slower at catching on to Web2.0. No wonder there are those who still think Web2.0 is all about horsing around on YouTube, Twitter, Second Life and MySpace. Nevermind that there are really cool business apps out there like TimeX, Wrike and others. (Which might also explain why, while more than capable of larger-scale use, they are marketed more towards the individual user).

    It’s a tougher sell, I guess. Which really doesn’t make sense at all. Software is just a tool, and in a perfect world, choosing the service provider (people) should be more important than the application used to render the service.

    Too many times I see companies choose a service provider because of the software they use instead of their quality of service when it should be the other way around.

    It’s like buying an uber cool cell phone that’s rendered useless because of poor coverage.

    Not that paid applications are superior over free ones, which I totally disagree. I think by insisting on using paid business software the enterprise is losing out on the uber cool software that results from constant user feedback. Not that paid services don’t get constant user feedback, without going into several theories here, I’ll just say that true Web2.0 users feel the need to contribute through feedback.

    I’m getting dizzy thinking about what I just wrote. I think I’m gonna stop here. If anyone is reading this please feel free to enlighten and straighten me out.

    My first Lunch2.0 event

    May 23, 2007

    Just got back from my first Lunch 2.0 event. This one was at LinkedIn.

    Got to meet some of the engineers behind the popular business networking site and their community evangelist Mario Sundar. Had a chance to chat a little bit with my web strategy role model Jeremiah Owyang about my own web strategy challenges and was really tempted to do the Jackie Chan bit with Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki.No bull-shitake.

    I saw Justin from Now I know livestreaming is just another Web2.0 thing…I actually saw a couple guys there (the camera attached to the hat was a dead giveaway?) and while the concept isn’t exactly new to me, it was just kinda awkward. But I know that’s just me and I really can’t explain it. I even delayed getting some peanut butter brownies because Justin was around there and I don’t know why but I avoided the camera guy like the plague. Ugh. Not exactly Web2.0-ish behavior. I’ll try to do better next week at the Lunch 2.0 event at Netgear.

    Being totally new to Lunch 2.0, my boss and I had a discussion about how companies benefit from community events like Lunch 2.0.

    Boss: People who go to these events are probably already “in.” So if the goal is “to get more users” then an event like this wouldn’t help you achieve it because it’s like preaching to the choir.

    Me: Well, true. You are preaching to the Web2.0 population. A good percentage of which are bloggers. And considering that bloggers are the “new influencers” as opposed to traditional media (and you can even go on to say that some readers don’t even know they are reading blogs and not traditional media), Lunch 2.0 gives corporations a cost-effective tool to round up the “new influencers” in a casual, positive environment where there is plenty of good food to talk about.

    I also think Jeremiah’s post on Lunch2.0’s ROI was right on.

    The only thing I would suggest for future Lunch2.0 events would be maybe provide food that is more networking-friendly. Armadillo Willy’s catered today’s event and while the barbeque chicken was delicious, it wasn’t exactly something you could eat while you’re trying to mingle with people. It’s messy (forget about shaking hands) and it requires you to sit down. I come to these events to network. The food is just a bonus.

    (Oh but the peanut butter brownies were more than just a bonus. They were to to die for.)

    I definitely see the value in going to these events that I’m even planning on going to the LunchGeeks event tomorrow. I’m not quite sure yet, the geek theme is a little intimidating and I’m not sure I can carry out a conversation if people start talking code. I’ll sleep on it tonight, I guess.


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