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1 Notes

The era of Facebook is an anomaly
Speaking to The Verge, author and Microsoft Researcher Danah Boyd put into words a feeling that many of us have had about social networking for a while: “The era of Facebook is an anomaly”.

"The idea of everybody going to one site is just weird. Give me one other part of history where everybody shows up to the same social space.
"Fragmentation is a more natural state of being. Is your social dynamic interest-driven or is it friendship-driven? Are you going there because there’s this place where other folks are really into anime, or is this the place you’re going because it’s where your pals from school are hanging out?
"That first [question] is a driving function."

With luck this idea will continue to propagate. It’s odd that our social  identities are locked into certain domains. Imagine not being able call users on other mobile networks. Why do we allow this in social?

The era of Facebook is an anomaly

Speaking to The Verge, author and Microsoft Researcher Danah Boyd put into words a feeling that many of us have had about social networking for a while: “The era of Facebook is an anomaly”.

"The idea of everybody going to one site is just weird. Give me one other part of history where everybody shows up to the same social space.

"Fragmentation is a more natural state of being. Is your social dynamic interest-driven or is it friendship-driven? Are you going there because there’s this place where other folks are really into anime, or is this the place you’re going because it’s where your pals from school are hanging out?

"That first [question] is a driving function."

With luck this idea will continue to propagate. It’s odd that our social  identities are locked into certain domains. Imagine not being able call users on other mobile networks. Why do we allow this in social?

1 Notes

Instant peeping
With the rise of social media and mobile location services, Instant Peeping acts as a realtime live experiment to generate greater insight into the what, where and when of posting habits.
Stalking places instead of people? interesting. Addictive. And kinda scary.
Check it out.

Instant peeping

With the rise of social media and mobile location services, Instant Peeping acts as a realtime live experiment to generate greater insight into the what, where and when of posting habits.

Stalking places instead of people? interesting. Addictive. And kinda scary.

Check it out.

3 Notes

Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion
That’s $73.68 per user. The value per user to Facebook is estimated at $1.21/quarter.
Panic buy?
Full story.

Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion

That’s $73.68 per user. The value per user to Facebook is estimated at $1.21/quarter.

Panic buy?

Full story.

2 Notes

How Twitter could challenge Amazon and eBay in e-commerce
The reported but still-unconfirmed news that Twitter is moving into e-commerce - first broken by Re/code - is baffling to most people.
There were unconfirmed reports of Twitter partnering with a New York-based startup called Fancy - where Jack Dorsey is an investor - and there was something about Twitter using Stripe for payments. These reports are also still unconfirmed, but they have been picked up by mainstream media.
Twitter has been in the spotlight after their first quarterly report as a public company (as we reported here), so one can take the company’s lack of denial as a reasonable indication there might be some truth to these reports.
Something was going on here, but what? This seems like an incredible stretch for a firm that’s currently known as the leader in real-time news; tracking celebrities, politics and stocks all make sense on Twitter, but buying shoes? Really?
Full article on readwrite.

How Twitter could challenge Amazon and eBay in e-commerce

The reported but still-unconfirmed news that Twitter is moving into e-commerce - first broken by Re/code - is baffling to most people.

There were unconfirmed reports of Twitter partnering with a New York-based startup called Fancy - where Jack Dorsey is an investor - and there was something about Twitter using Stripe for payments. These reports are also still unconfirmed, but they have been picked up by mainstream media.

Twitter has been in the spotlight after their first quarterly report as a public company (as we reported here), so one can take the company’s lack of denial as a reasonable indication there might be some truth to these reports.

Something was going on here, but what? This seems like an incredible stretch for a firm that’s currently known as the leader in real-time news; tracking celebrities, politics and stocks all make sense on Twitter, but buying shoes? Really?

Full article on readwrite.

1 Notes

Reservoir Dogs retold on Twitter in over 1,000 tweets
In a feat almost as complicated as the film itself, Argentinian advertising creative Jorge Zacher has tweeted the script of Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film Reservoir Dogs across 15 twitter accounts and 1125 synchronised tweets.
And just for good measure, he has done it in reverse order so that it can be read in its entirety on Twitter.
There’s an account for each of the film’s characters alongside a central narrative voice.
Someone’s got a lot of time on their hands.
@ReservoirDogs_

Reservoir Dogs retold on Twitter in over 1,000 tweets

In a feat almost as complicated as the film itself, Argentinian advertising creative Jorge Zacher has tweeted the script of Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film Reservoir Dogs across 15 twitter accounts and 1125 synchronised tweets.

And just for good measure, he has done it in reverse order so that it can be read in its entirety on Twitter.

There’s an account for each of the film’s characters alongside a central narrative voice.

Someone’s got a lot of time on their hands.

@ReservoirDogs_

2 Notes

Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do
Facebook’s team of data scientists have shown hard numbers that hint at budding relationships before the relationships start.
Two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease - presumably because the happy couple are spending more time together (and less on Facebook!).

The team have also provided insight into break-ups, in the last of a series of six blogposts that ran throughout last week on the theme of love.
More on The Atlantic.

Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do

Facebook’s team of data scientists have shown hard numbers that hint at budding relationships before the relationships start.

Two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease - presumably because the happy couple are spending more time together (and less on Facebook!).

The team have also provided insight into break-ups, in the last of a series of six blogposts that ran throughout last week on the theme of love.

More on The Atlantic.

1 Notes

I wore a tiny gadget that took a photo of what I was doing every 30 seconds
The Narrative Clip is a plastic square that’s bigger than a quarter but smaller than a book of matches. There’s a metal clip on the back for attaching it to things and it houses a 5-megapixel camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds. Tap it with your finger twice to take a picture manually.
Dylan Love wore one in order to review it for Business Insider -

"It’s fun to be able to look back through the Narrative app and know exactly where you were at 1:13 PM last Tuesday, or how funny-looking that guy from the subway was this morning.
"The negative aspects of the Narrative are mostly social. People will notice it on your clothes and ask about it, which puts you in the awkward position of explaining that you’re secretly photographing everything that’s going on."

You can read his review here.

I wore a tiny gadget that took a photo of what I was doing every 30 seconds

The Narrative Clip is a plastic square that’s bigger than a quarter but smaller than a book of matches. There’s a metal clip on the back for attaching it to things and it houses a 5-megapixel camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds. Tap it with your finger twice to take a picture manually.

Dylan Love wore one in order to review it for Business Insider -

"It’s fun to be able to look back through the Narrative app and know exactly where you were at 1:13 PM last Tuesday, or how funny-looking that guy from the subway was this morning.

"The negative aspects of the Narrative are mostly social. People will notice it on your clothes and ask about it, which puts you in the awkward position of explaining that you’re secretly photographing everything that’s going on."

You can read his review here.

4 Notes

If Facebook movies were more honest, they’d look like this

Tripp and Tyler, who most recently entertained us with conference calls in real life, have a fantastic new video poking fun at Facebook and our social selves.

Notes

Facebook estimates that around 10% of accounts are fake
Last week, during its fourth-quarter earnings report, Facebook revealed that it had 1.23 billion monthly active users, 757 million daily active users, 945 million monthly active mobile users, and 556 million daily active mobile users, just edging out India to make it the second biggest “country” on Earth, just behind China in population.
In its 10-K filing published on the weekend, the company estimated that in 2013, between 5.5 percent and 11.2 percent of these users were fake.
Despite this, Mark Zuckerberg appears pragmatic in the opinions Facebook has regarding forcing real identities online -
"I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things…
"If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden."
You can read the full interview with Zuckerberg on Businessweek.

Facebook estimates that around 10% of accounts are fake

Last week, during its fourth-quarter earnings report, Facebook revealed that it had 1.23 billion monthly active users, 757 million daily active users, 945 million monthly active mobile users, and 556 million daily active mobile users, just edging out India to make it the second biggest “country” on Earth, just behind China in population.

In its 10-K filing published on the weekend, the company estimated that in 2013, between 5.5 percent and 11.2 percent of these users were fake.

Despite this, Mark Zuckerberg appears pragmatic in the opinions Facebook has regarding forcing real identities online -

"I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things…

"If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden."

You can read the full interview with Zuckerberg on Businessweek.

Notes

The original homepage of “Thefacebook”
Mark Zuckerberg launched the social network 10 years ago today.
Via @History_Pics.

The original homepage of “Thefacebook”

Mark Zuckerberg launched the social network 10 years ago today.

Via @History_Pics.

3 Notes

Random red swings

What started as a fun experiment in Austin, Texas has turned into a grassroots project to hang this common playground fixture in surprising places all around the world.

Walk under a bridge in Austin, Texas, past a temple in India, or down a street in Thailand, and you’ll find a charming red swing (assuming it hasn’t been taken down by city officials).

Each is one of more than 200 swings that volunteers have hung around the world as part of the Red Swing Project.

The project started in 2007 when an architecture student in Austin was asked to design an urban intervention for a class.

"My idea was just to put out swings - like graffiti, just go out at night and see what would happen

"It was always meant to be this grassroots, anonymous initiative… magically discovering the swing and not knowing who put it there is part of the experience."

- Andrew Danziger

He started with five swings in different parts of the city.

Right away, it was clear that each swing would lead a different life. While trying to hang one by the university campus, Danziger was stopped by police, who reluctantly let him continue. The next day, the swing was cut down.

But across town, in a vacant lot next to a bus stop in a lower income neighbourhood, a swing that he hung the same night stayed up for five years.

What a lovely idea.

@paulrgn is a regular contributor to Found Things.

1 Notes

On celebrity, Twitter and the lost art of the hand written letter
Communicating with celebrities is very easy these days. This is largely a positive thing, as it allows fans to run their fingers through the astral trails of the stars they so idolise, and it can also be helpful to famous folk to have an open dialogue with their fans, knowing what interests and engages them.
It makes the previously compartmentalised concept of ‘celebrity’ more of a blurred line - following an actor or musician or comedian on Twitter shows us that they’re just people; they have expired milk in the fridge, they have plumbing issues, they watch EastEnders, they got stuck in traffic this morning.
It’s all very real.
The flipside of this, of course, is that a lot of people are arseholes.
Some fall under the cliched banner of being unsatisfied with their lot and jealous of the trappings of celebrity (money, big houses, widespread admiration and so forth) that throws the mundanity of their own lives into sharp focus, causing them to digitally lash out. But some people are just arseholes generally, who like being unpleasant to people because, well, that’s what they do.
And there’s a huge number of people shielded by the anonymity of teh internetz who define the term ‘keyboard warrior’; they say rude things that they’d never say to your face because, hey, you’ll never find them. 
An open forum is, to horribly mix a metaphor (and split an infinitive there, sorry), a double-edged sword. But for better or worse, the likelihood of a famous person actually reading something you’ve written is higher than it’s ever been.
Let me tell you about how I interacted with a celebrity back in the nineties, before all of this social media chicanery; the story of how I made friends in an analogue sense with the guitarist from The Saw Doctors.
Now, first of all, shut up, The Saw Doctors were properly famous. They were on Top of the Pops and everything. I know I spend a lot of time banging on about music and I like to think my musical tastes are pretty cool (of course, you’d only agree with this if your own tastes are pretty similar - that’s how music works), and I acknowledge that The Saw Doctors may not have been considered conventionally cool by my teenage peers back then - that’s kids for you - but nevertheless the story stands.
For the uninitiated, The Saw Doctors are an Irish folk-infused rock band from Tuam, County Galway. They’ve been going with various line-ups since 1986, and achieved bona fide international fame in the early nineties. I hate the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ (if you like something, you like it), so instead I’ll say that they’re a band I listened to when I was a kid as well as being obsessed with the likes of Green Day, Offspring and Terrorvision. Diverse tastes, etc.
My parents were big fans of theirs, so we went to quite a few Saw Doctors gigs when I was young. My dad’s friend David is a kind of John Peel character with an encyclopaedic knowledge of countless genres of music - plus a house full of records - and he somehow knew the band, so we usually ended up backstage after the show, our parents enjoying a pint with the lads while us kids pestered them for autographs.
Over the course of these various meetings, I became penpals with Leo Moran, guitarist and founding member of the band. He was just a nice, friendly bloke, happy to spin a yarn and shoot the breeze.
And no, there was nothing of the Operation Yewtree about it, get your mind out of the gutter. Innocent times, these were.
David and his family went out to Tuam to have a little holiday with The Saw Doctors one summer, the band happy to show them proudly around their hometown, jam a little with them, make them welcome. All very wholesome and pleasant.
Leo and I were penpals for years. I used to ask him questions about what it was like to be famous. I asked him about how it felt to be on stage, and on TV. I asked him what he liked about being in a band. “Making a living doing what I love, with my best friends,” he replied. That’s the dream, right there.
I asked what car he drove. I seem to remember it was a Rover 200.
In his letters he was friendly, humble, cheerful and chatty, and always said something along the lines of “well, come on, we’re not that famous really. We’re just some guys who play songs.” Removing the fame element, he was just a man in a different country with an interesting job, which was enough in itself to spark a conversation.
But what I really loved about the whole interchange was that every now and then I’d come home from school to find an envelope with an Irish postmark on the doormat, a handwritten letter inside offering a glimpse into an alternate reality.
It’s easy to collar a celeb on Twitter these days. Back in the nineties you had to put a bit more effort in, using pens and that.
People don’t write to each other very much these days. We really should.
When was the last time you checked the post and found something other than a bill, a bank statement, or something you ordered from Amazon…?
And when was the last time you received a handwritten letter from an Irish guitarist? They were good days, they were.
I’m old enough to buy Leo a pint now. I’m going to tweet this to him and see if he remembers me.
JuicyPips, direct from the mind of @denialvibes, is published weekly.

On celebrity, Twitter and the lost art of the hand written letter

Communicating with celebrities is very easy these days. This is largely a positive thing, as it allows fans to run their fingers through the astral trails of the stars they so idolise, and it can also be helpful to famous folk to have an open dialogue with their fans, knowing what interests and engages them.

It makes the previously compartmentalised concept of ‘celebrity’ more of a blurred line - following an actor or musician or comedian on Twitter shows us that they’re just people; they have expired milk in the fridge, they have plumbing issues, they watch EastEnders, they got stuck in traffic this morning.

It’s all very real.

The flipside of this, of course, is that a lot of people are arseholes.

Some fall under the cliched banner of being unsatisfied with their lot and jealous of the trappings of celebrity (money, big houses, widespread admiration and so forth) that throws the mundanity of their own lives into sharp focus, causing them to digitally lash out. But some people are just arseholes generally, who like being unpleasant to people because, well, that’s what they do.

And there’s a huge number of people shielded by the anonymity of teh internetz who define the term ‘keyboard warrior’; they say rude things that they’d never say to your face because, hey, you’ll never find them. 

An open forum is, to horribly mix a metaphor (and split an infinitive there, sorry), a double-edged sword. But for better or worse, the likelihood of a famous person actually reading something you’ve written is higher than it’s ever been.

Let me tell you about how I interacted with a celebrity back in the nineties, before all of this social media chicanery; the story of how I made friends in an analogue sense with the guitarist from The Saw Doctors.

Now, first of all, shut up, The Saw Doctors were properly famous. They were on Top of the Pops and everything. I know I spend a lot of time banging on about music and I like to think my musical tastes are pretty cool (of course, you’d only agree with this if your own tastes are pretty similar - that’s how music works), and I acknowledge that The Saw Doctors may not have been considered conventionally cool by my teenage peers back then - that’s kids for you - but nevertheless the story stands.

For the uninitiated, The Saw Doctors are an Irish folk-infused rock band from Tuam, County Galway. They’ve been going with various line-ups since 1986, and achieved bona fide international fame in the early nineties. I hate the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ (if you like something, you like it), so instead I’ll say that they’re a band I listened to when I was a kid as well as being obsessed with the likes of Green Day, Offspring and Terrorvision. Diverse tastes, etc.

My parents were big fans of theirs, so we went to quite a few Saw Doctors gigs when I was young. My dad’s friend David is a kind of John Peel character with an encyclopaedic knowledge of countless genres of music - plus a house full of records - and he somehow knew the band, so we usually ended up backstage after the show, our parents enjoying a pint with the lads while us kids pestered them for autographs.

Over the course of these various meetings, I became penpals with Leo Moran, guitarist and founding member of the band. He was just a nice, friendly bloke, happy to spin a yarn and shoot the breeze.

And no, there was nothing of the Operation Yewtree about it, get your mind out of the gutter. Innocent times, these were.

David and his family went out to Tuam to have a little holiday with The Saw Doctors one summer, the band happy to show them proudly around their hometown, jam a little with them, make them welcome. All very wholesome and pleasant.

Leo and I were penpals for years. I used to ask him questions about what it was like to be famous. I asked him about how it felt to be on stage, and on TV. I asked him what he liked about being in a band. “Making a living doing what I love, with my best friends,” he replied. That’s the dream, right there.

I asked what car he drove. I seem to remember it was a Rover 200.

In his letters he was friendly, humble, cheerful and chatty, and always said something along the lines of “well, come on, we’re not that famous really. We’re just some guys who play songs.” Removing the fame element, he was just a man in a different country with an interesting job, which was enough in itself to spark a conversation.

But what I really loved about the whole interchange was that every now and then I’d come home from school to find an envelope with an Irish postmark on the doormat, a handwritten letter inside offering a glimpse into an alternate reality.

It’s easy to collar a celeb on Twitter these days. Back in the nineties you had to put a bit more effort in, using pens and that.

People don’t write to each other very much these days. We really should.

When was the last time you checked the post and found something other than a bill, a bank statement, or something you ordered from Amazon…?

And when was the last time you received a handwritten letter from an Irish guitarist? They were good days, they were.

I’m old enough to buy Leo a pint now. I’m going to tweet this to him and see if he remembers me.

JuicyPips, direct from the mind of @denialvibes, is published weekly.

Notes

Comparison of Facebook to the growth of infectious disease projects the loss of 80% of all users by 2017
Facebook has spread like an infectious disease, but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions and, according to researchers at Princeton University, will have abandoned the platform by 2017.
The forecast of Facebook’s impending doom was made by comparing the growth curve of epidemics to those of online social networks. Scientists argue that, like the bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.
Facebook has survived longer than many of its rivals and predecessors and turns 10 years old on the 4 February, but the Princeton forecast says it will lose 80% of its peak user base within the next three years. John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler from the US university’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department, have based their prediction on the number of times Facebook is typed into Google as a search term.
The charts produced by the Google Trends service show Facebook searches peaked in December 2012 and have since begun to trail off.

"Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models.
"Ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other. Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest with the idea and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of ‘immunity’ to the idea."

Facebook reported nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users in October, and is due to update investors on its traffic numbers at the end of the month. While desktop traffic to its websites has indeed been falling, this is at least in part due to the fact that many people now only access the site - and the Internet in general - via their mobile phones.
Cannarella and Spechler used what is known as the susceptible, infected, recovered model of disease (SIR), which creates equations to map the spread and recovery of epidemics. They tested various equations against the lifespan of Myspace, before applying them to Facebook. Myspace was founded in 2003 and reached its peak in 2007 with 300 million registered users, before falling out of use by 2011.
So what do you think? Is Facebook still useful to you? And if so, for what?
You can download the full research paper here (PDF).

Comparison of Facebook to the growth of infectious disease projects the loss of 80% of all users by 2017

Facebook has spread like an infectious disease, but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions and, according to researchers at Princeton University, will have abandoned the platform by 2017.

The forecast of Facebook’s impending doom was made by comparing the growth curve of epidemics to those of online social networks. Scientists argue that, like the bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.

Facebook has survived longer than many of its rivals and predecessors and turns 10 years old on the 4 February, but the Princeton forecast says it will lose 80% of its peak user base within the next three years. John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler from the US university’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department, have based their prediction on the number of times Facebook is typed into Google as a search term.

The charts produced by the Google Trends service show Facebook searches peaked in December 2012 and have since begun to trail off.

"Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models.

"Ideas are spread through communicative contact between different people who share ideas with each other. Idea manifesters ultimately lose interest with the idea and no longer manifest the idea, which can be thought of as the gain of ‘immunity’ to the idea."

Facebook reported nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users in October, and is due to update investors on its traffic numbers at the end of the month. While desktop traffic to its websites has indeed been falling, this is at least in part due to the fact that many people now only access the site - and the Internet in general - via their mobile phones.

Cannarella and Spechler used what is known as the susceptible, infected, recovered model of disease (SIR), which creates equations to map the spread and recovery of epidemics. They tested various equations against the lifespan of Myspace, before applying them to Facebook. Myspace was founded in 2003 and reached its peak in 2007 with 300 million registered users, before falling out of use by 2011.

So what do you think? Is Facebook still useful to you? And if so, for what?

You can download the full research paper here (PDF).

1 Notes

A rubbish idea

Instagram is known for injecting a little warmth or interest to even the dullest of compositions, but Jeff Kirscher hopes it can, quite literally, brighten up the world with pictures fit for the bin.

His San Francisco-based project, Litterati, encourages people to photograph trash, give it a hastag and then dispose of it properly – and over 30,000 people have posted images of everything from plastic forks to stuffed monkeys.

Apart from the immediate impact of a social campaign to engage the public to tidy up after itself, Kirscher also hopes the data collected by the initiative can help cities by, for example, identifying litter hotspots and advising on bin placement. Or simply shaming them into action.

More details, including a surprisingly engaging pile of digital landfill, at the Litterati website.

@paulrgn is a regular contributor to Found Things.

2 Notes

The year in Kickstarter
Some great things happened thanks to Kickstarter in 2013. And some pointless but quite fun things.
Check it.

The year in Kickstarter

Some great things happened thanks to Kickstarter in 2013. And some pointless but quite fun things.

Check it.