TAG: Facebook

The Golden Age of Design in Startups

Three bits of evidence: designer-led companies are being invested in, designers are increasingly wanted as founders, and design firms are being bought for their talent.

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Redesigned: Facebook Logout Button

A more accurate version of Facebook’s logout button.

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5 Reasons why Google+ is interesting UI.

The Google+ launch has been very positive for Google so far. I think it’s interesting from a UI standpoint for several reasons: 1. Andy Hertzfeld is lead Designer. This surprised a lot of people. Andy Hertzfeld is one of the original Apple Macintosh team members and is the lead designer of Google+, focusing on the […]

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Creating Engaged and Passionate Users, Part 2

Part 2 of an interview I did with Christine Perfetti on creating engaged and passionate users.

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Facebook Behaving Badly

Facebook continues its bad behavior around user privacy.

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Why Social Ads Don’t Work

There’s been lots of talk recently about the ineffectiveness of advertisements in social media properties like MySpace and Facebook. During their recent quarterly earnings results, Google explained that they are not making as much money from ads on social network sites as they had predicted. Even though this was a blip on an otherwise stellar quarter, Google’s stock took a serious beating.

Why is this so? Why is it that Google monetizes so well on Search while having a hard time on social properties? Given an equal amount of views on Google vs. MySpace, shouldn’t they be able to get about the same number of click-throughs and thus ad revenue?

The difference, of course, is that when people go to Google, they’re actively looking for something. That something isn’t on Google. They are performing a search activity. Thus their task will be to click on a link that seems to promise what it is they’re looking for. It may be the organic results, or it may be an ad that seems close to what they want.

When people are on MySpace, the activity they’re doing isn’t search. It’s something akin to “hanging out” or “networking”. Their task is almost the opposite of search. They are already on the site they want to be on. They don’t need to click on links to take them where they want to go.

In other words, the context is entirely different. When you’re in search mode, you are playing by different rules.

Social ads don’t work as well because people are being social, not searching for something.

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Why I’m excited about the Google Social Graph API

The Google Social Graph API is a new programming API that allows developers to expose social relationships embedded in web sites. What does this mean for regular folks like you and me? Read on.

Do you ever feel like your personal information is spread across the web in a whole bunch of separate places? An account here, a profile there? A friends list here and a friends list there? All your information, but in all different places all incomplete at the same time?

Google Social Graph API

The Social Graph API helps solve this “silos of information” problem by allowing people to write software that understands who your friends are. It does this by reading your web site or blog and making connections between the social profiles you have across the web.

For example, imagine you have a blog, which is your home on the web. You also have an Amazon profile, a Twitter profile, and a Facebook profile. So you have four profiles spread across the web, seemingly unconnected. Amazon has no idea who your friends on Facebook or Twitter are, and vice-versa, and this is a good thing from a privacy standpoint. These sites shouldn’t be able to find out everything about you with you giving them permission.

But what if you wanted these sites to know a bit about each other? What if you want to combine your Amazon book history with your friends lists at Facebook so that you can see what your friends are reading and let Amazon give you recommendations based on your similarity with them? Or, perhaps you just joined Twitter and want to know which of your Facebook friends are already there so you don’t have to go hunting for them? (see video) Here we see real-world examples of how cross-pollinating your personal information between these sites can not only be efficient, but desirable…

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Facebook, Lifelets, and Designer Responsibility

If you’re a regular reader of Bokardo then you know I think issues like the Facebook Beacon incident, the Facebook News Feed incident, and the Digg gaming incident(s) are big deals. (I’ve written about all three here on Bokardo)

The reason why I think they’re big deals is because they’re canaries in a coal mine of privacy, so to speak. What Facebook and Digg are doing (or trying to do) is exactly what everyone else will be trying to do (or having to deal with) in the near future. Why are Facebook and Digg able to do it now? Two reasons: they have flexible platforms which allow them to make changes relatively quickly and have big, savvy audiences who grew up with tech. Other social apps aren’t dealing with the same issues yet because they’re simply not innovating as fast as these two. But they will have to deal with them, and soon.

I was chatting with another designer the other day and we were surprised at how little we hear other designers talking about these issues. Why not?

It’s an interesting question.

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Facebook a wealth of data for researchers

An interesting article in the New York Times: On Facebook, Scholars Link Up With Data. It describes several research projects being done on the social network site.

Here are some interesting findings:

“Researchers learned that while people perceive someone who has a high number of friends as popular, attractive and self-confident, people who accumulate “too many” friends (about 800 or more) are seen as insecure.”

This is fascinating. People put real social weight on the number of Facebook friends you have, almost as if Facebook friends are a actual signifier of something. So even though we know that in many cases these aren’t “real” friends, we still perceive those people with more as somehow more popular, attractive, etc. This, to me, is just another signifier at how important social network sites have become. We are using them to gauge social capital.

‘students who reported low satisfaction with life and low self-esteem, and who used Facebook intensively, accumulated a form of social capital linked to what sociologists call “weak ties.” A weak tie is a fellow classmate or someone you meet at a party, not a friend or family member. Weak ties are significant, scholars say, because they are likely to provide people with new perspectives and opportunities that they might not get from close friends and family.’

Weak ties is an interesting theory because it explains why acquaintances (not necessarily friends) are so valuable to know. They give us opportunities that lie just outside our normal daily routine. Since we talk to friends often, we know most things they know, and so after a time our combined knowledge becomes similar. But acquaintances are always introducing us to new things, as they live in quite different worlds than we do. If Facebook is really good at making weak ties, then its worth might be more than simply cultivating the friendships we already have.

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Comic: Facebook Movie Quiz

Movie Quiz

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