Archive for November 2007

built-in self-destruction

I promised myself that today would be a “get a jump on Christmas shopping, clean the apartment and study for my accounting final” kind of day. Therefore hours at my computer and blogging was not necessarily intended to be in the picture. However, I simply couldn’t resist sharing this interesting (and entertainingly written) article. Enjoy.

How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook

Columnist Cory Doctorow describes how Facebook and other social networks have built-in self-destructs: They make it easy for you to be found by the people you’re looking to avoid (courtesy of Information Week).

If there was any doubt about Facebook’s lack of qualification to displace the Internet with a benevolent dictatorship/walled garden, it was removed when Facebook unveiled its new advertising campaign. Now, Facebook will allow its advertisers use the profile pictures of Facebook users to advertise their products, without permission or compensation. Even if you’re the kind of person who likes the sound of a benevolent dictatorship this clearly isn’t one.

Many of my colleagues wonder if Facebook can be redeemed by opening up the platform, letting anyone write any app for the service, easily exporting and importing their data, and so on (this is the kind of thing Google is doing with its OpenSocial Alliance). Perhaps if Facebook takes on some of the characteristics that made the Web work — openness, decentralization, standardization — it will become like the Web itself, but with the added pixie dust of “social,” the indefinable characteristic that makes Facebook into pure crack for a significant proportion of Internet users.

world aids day :: restaurant campaign

Who doesn’t love a reason to grab a meal out – especially after a long week? Dine at one of the participating restaurants below in observance of World AIDS Day (this Saturday) and to support the work of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.

Avila (Saturday, December 1) prix fixe menu
Bambara Cambridge (throughout December)
dante (Saturday, December 1)
KO Prime (throughout December)
Myers+Chang (Friday, Nov. 30 & Sat. December 1)
No. 9 Park (Saturday, December 1)
The Fireplace (Saturday, December 1)
The Ruby Room (throughout December)
Silvertone (Saturday, December 1)

…fears not the chimerical precipice

Check out Aubree’s new blog. Most recent post is Smoke and Mirrors: EULAw and stay tuned as she seeks “to understand what virtual worlds can offer the world around her.”

Up Next: Free-market freedom of speech, and a revolution for Avatar Civil Rights in our future.

the facebook bridge

I’ve been trying to put a finger on my perpetual gravitation towards Facebook. It’s starting to feel a bit like a “bug drawn to light” route – and my intent is not to continue bullying this particular tool. But I think I’ve finally figured it out. Facebook provides context for a multitude of issues that’s far greater than Facebook itself and therefore enables conversations about privacy, digital literacy and responsibility with folks who may not have a connection point otherwise.

For example I have been able to tackle discussions regarding online issues with my family, friends and/or classmates (who have varying levels of technical knowledge, awareness and interest – or lack thereof), but do have an understanding of the basic concepts and controversies surrounding Facebook. Thus the perfect bridge is constructed for venturing into the larger conversation, and that conversation takes on a shape of its own based on the individual with whom I am engaging.

Part of what sparked such a self discovery was Doc Searls post entitled, Making Rules, II, it’s an entertaining and meticulously presented post that I encourage you to read.

That’s why yelling doesn’t work. What we need instead is to make tools that work for us, and not just for them. We need to invent tools that give each of us independence from vendor control, and better ways of telling vendors what we want, when we want it, and how we want to relate — on our terms and not just on theirs. As Neo said to the Architect, “The problem is choice”. That problem will be with us as long as that axe is in our heads.

Doc’s post fostered me to grasp what’s truly at play in regards to consumerism, the web and the rights we endlessly seem to surrender – and with that openned my mind to the greater contextual connections at play. So thank you!

digital privacy and facebook

Courtesy of the Digital Natives blog:

Building Walls in Facebook

There are, of course, still millions of college students who post anything and everything to their profile, with no qualms about who sees it. Call it negligence, call it expression, it doesn’t matter. What does matter, and what interests me, is the growing group of students who have taken control of their digital identity by using granular security settings; ones that allow you to control who sees what, on a per-person and per-item basis. Potential employers have been prowling Facebook for at least a couple years, so why the change now? It’s simple: they’re out of the shadows.

Do You Trust Your Facebook Friends?

As any Digital Native can tell you, the term “Facebook friend” has a meaning distinct from simply “friend,” and where you may care about the purchases of a real friend, it’s not the same with a Facebook friend. The second piece is about privacy, from both a legal perspective and in principle. Is there something uneasy about how Social Ads puts your face and name to advertise a product, even one you legitimately bought or proclaimed to be a fan of?

More about the Digital Natives Project:

The Digital Natives project is a collaboration between the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Digital natives, a term made popular by Marc Prensky, are young people whose use of technology is completely ingrained in their lives -they have grown up always-on and constantly-connected. Unlike those even a little bit older, these Digital Natives didn’t have to learn to “be digital,” they learned in digital the first time around.