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!


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