Facebook Connect & Facebook Share

There is a difference between using the “fb:share-button” (XFBML) tag for a Facebook Connect site and using Facebook Share.

When using the “fb:share-button” tag on a Facebook Connect site, it is important that the site takes into account the Facebook login status of the user. When using Facebook Share, it is not necessary. If the user is not logged in, the user will be prompted to log into Facebook before sharing can occur.

Trying To Code
What I Learned Today

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Who Is The The Greatest Person On Facebook?

Inspired by a comment made by Uzyn:

Now have fun trying out usernames like facebook.com/sexyguy /toosexy /toocool /machoman and look at the profile pictures.

Picture 7

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I know they are supposed to be called Vanity URLs. But seriously people… Seriously?

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Anil Dash Foretells The Aftermath Of Facebook Vanity URL Launch

Anil Dash of Six Apart foretells the aftermath of Facebook Vanity URL launch.

A first wave of “It’s alive! Go get your name!” posts go up on various technology blogs, noting that the service is running a little bit slow. None of these posts mention that you can also register a real domain name that you can own, instead of just having another URL on Facebook.

A white guy named David discovers every variation of his name on Facebook is already taken, and finally reconsiders the condescending contempt he’s always had for black people who give their kids unique names. This tiny bit of racial reconsideration is the only unequivocally good news to come out of the Facebook Usernames launch.

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Singapore Sucks And I Can’t Marry You Cos You’re Not A Virgin

Came across this Facebook Group – Singapore Sucks. The reactions over at Stomp are interesting.

Does Singapore suck? It has its ugly sides. It also has its charms. It really depends on what is important to you. Do other countries suck? Possibly? Of course? Just follow the news a little more. Travel a little more. You are definitely sure to find something about some countries, if not all countries, that you don’t like.

Are these foreigners on the mark when they say Singapore sucks? Their opinions are quite funny because most of the stuff said are familiar.

My country can be ugly.

I think there is almost no government in this world that value foreigners as highly as the Singapore government. Hell, there probably isn’t a single government that gives its citizens the impression that it values foreigners more than its own citizens. What really interests me is whether other countries face this possible little inconvenient problem we have with foreigners – that for all the welcoming we do, there is no country that is more hated by the foreigners she so badly desires and welcome.

Are Singaporeans generally ruder than people in other cities? Possibly – I haven’t live in any city long enough to know that answer, much less all the cities.

Here is something interesting. The older generation always, in their reminiscences, seem to convey the impression that things were much simpler in the past and people, as neighbors, were much nicer.

Things have changed and part of it is due to our relentless pursuit for economic growth. In that pursuit, we have made certain decisions, done certain things that has changed our society. Individually we have possibly become different. But hey, you know what, as a society we have more foreigners.

What sort?

Would it be presumptuous to say the sort that go where money can possibly be made.

Seriously, if Singapore is as bad as some say it is, so culturally devoid of any soul, so morally reprehensible that our citizens have no sort of decency and courtesy, so politically backward that no one has any sort of personal freedom, then what would attract scores of foreigners.

I’ll be so bold as to make a few guesses – Money; the chance of economic prosperity; the opportunity to rape another developing country for whatever resources it has.

Don’t kid yourselves. Corporations didn’t come here because they wanted to help Singapore develop. Expats weren’t sent here to help our citizens develop.

Better pay. Better job. Different lifestyle. Tax incentives. Parking of money.

Notice a trend?

Maybe Singapore is so terrible NOW because of all the foreigners. We could possibly have, unfortunately, attracted all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.

We are all connected.

This reminds more of a little joke:

A guy said to a virgin girl, “I love you a lot. Don’t you love me? What’s wrong with having sex if we love each other.” The girl was moved and lost her virginity to the guy. After the sex, the guy turned to the girl and said, “We have to break up. I can’t marry a girl who is so immoral and not a virgin before marriage.”

Singaporeans, this is not an absolution of our complicity in this matter. It is up to us to set our own priorities. To start changing what can be changed. To start attracting the people who want to be here for the right reasons (we probably have to decide what these right reasons are).

And let this be a lesson to Singaporeans. It is stinging when we open our home to outsiders and they eat our food, steal our cutlery, have their way with our women and then proceed to piss on our beds. It is, to put it mildly, rather rude of them.

Let us not be like that and if you really look in a mirror, we have been rather poor travelers and guests ourselves.

And oh, foreigners who think Singapore has nothing to offer, maybe you got to start hanging out with different groups of locals.

Further Thoughts:

Singapore has always had foreigners. Even my paternal grandfather was a foreigner. The better life for people arriving then would be food, security, shelter and material possessions like clothing. It has remained so. And the new foreigners we are attracting, while different in degree, probably have similar definitions of the better life.

It is up to us then, who have due to the blood, sweat and sacrifices of generations before us, to build a different better life, if we want to, so that generations after us will move up the hierarchy of needs.

Maybe Singapore was never meant to be a country – she should have just remained a port and an administrative outpost. Someone once commented that an individual’s destiny is determined by genes. Similarly the reason for Singapore’s birth will chart an immutable course for us into social and cultural oblivion.

singapoe_sucks

Musing about Life
On Singapore

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[Murder He Wrote] The Facebook Murders

I started watching the series Dexter over the last weekend. Lead investigator FBI agent Lundy taught me something – every serial killer has a pattern. Which is interesting considering there has been a spate of murders linked to Facebook.

Recently, there was a spate of murders where the victims were tertiary educated early 20s ladies. Investigators had been able to approximate the time of death for these victims when they realized the killer(s) was updating the Facebook status of the victims just after the murder.

For example, after Melody Chen was murdered, her status was updated to, “Melody is so dead…”. Her friends showed the customary concern by twittering, smsing and posting wall messages like, “hey babe, you ok? hang in there k, things will get better…..

“Funny he should say that, ” Detective A said about the wall message by John Lim, “considering that the killer strung her up from the ceiling fan with a rope around the neck and tried to make it look like she had committed suicide.”

Some other choice Facebook statuses:

“Celine is lying on her desk feeling like a knife has stabbed her in the back.”

“Christina is on her bed. She feels so suffocated.”

“Jamie is in great pain. She is dying inside.”

The two detectives while checking out the laptops found at the scenes realized a pattern. The murder victims were real Facebook junkies.

“Don’t these girls realize that they should set a password for their screen saver?” asked Detective B.

Which is so besides the point, considering they were dead. What the detectives did learn which was noteworthy was that the murdered victims all had two friends in common.

The suspects were narrowed down to a guy and a girl. Or so the detectives thought.

It turns out both suspects had rock solid alibis.

Damn.

Further investigations on the logs contributed by the Facebook admins led to the case breaking clue – there was a particular female user which had been heavily visiting the profile pages of the murdered friends of the female suspect.

The detectives and the Facebook admins decided to monitor her activities online. They noticed a sudden spike in this user’s viewing of the profile page of another friend.

“I think I smell a murder, ” says Detective A.

They laid a trap for the murder suspect using the potential victim as bait. They were right and apprehended the suspect just as she was about to slit the throat of the bait.

The trust of these ladies was so easy to gain. Everything about them is online on their Facebook page. I know their birthdays, their hobbies, their likes, their dislikes, the relationship statuses, their friends…

I’ve seen their photos. I know where they have been, who they hang out with. Gaining entry into their room, their homes was so easy. All I had to do was use Jane (the original female suspect) as a conversational starter.

Damn that Jane. I killed all these people cos of her. Friends she calls them. FRIENDS!

You know what are friends. Friends are people who have been there when your dad died. Someone who accompanied you for every single hospital visit. Someone who has bled with you, cried with you, laughed with you, experienced every fucking roller-coaster emotion with you and more. Friends are those who will be there with you.

Friends aren’t the people who cam-whore with you. Not the ones who just follow you because you’re showing your fucking cleavage in every single photo. Not the ones who post wall messages just to keep some fucking trivial tenuous connection with you.

Friends are the people your parents know. The ones you trust enough to open up your family to.

Friends…. I killed those girls because damn it, they are the kind of people that debase the meaning of friendship.

Everyone is a fucking friend now. What happened to the word ‘acquaintance’.

“She has a point, ” said Detective A to Detective B, “we’ve worked together for like 3 years and you haven’t even met my family. I don’t know a thing about you.”

“So what are you saying? We aren’t friends?”

“I’m saying you and your family is invited to dinner this Saturday, ” said Detective A.

Stories

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Who Is Sarah Lacy? Hint – She Is Smoking Hot…

Top story on Techmeme now is about how the interviewer Sarah Lacy did such a terrible job with Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook. The most important thing about this breaking story – Who is Sarah Lacy? Actually, the most important thing is – Is She Hot?

Yes, she is.

Anyway, following the common trajectory of most online, and to a certain degree all Silicon Valley related stories, let the backlash against Sarah Lacy backlash begin.

Michael Arrington defends Sarah on Twitter here and here.

What Really Went Wrong with the Zuckerberg Keynote at SXSW — Hint: Sarah Lacy isn’t the Problem

And showing that she isn’t just hot but sassy – her twitter response.

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Facebook To Google: Don’t Let Me Join Your Club. Who Cares… I’ll Start My Own

For the past two weeks, I was in camp having my reservist training. Managed to follow some of the tech news via Techmeme. Learned that Bebo established their own platform that was similar to Facebook’s to embrace Facebook application. Today, I managed to log into Facebook and I saw this post. Whoa! Ever since Google launched OpenSocial, there has been speculation if Facebook would open up and join Google’s initiative or even be allowed to join. Well, I guess Facebook just decided to start their own club. OpenSocial is a work in progress and Facebook already has all those developers and applications, so would it be Facebook that makes Social Open? Well, Facebook might be in a better position to ensure that applications for social networks can be written once to run anywhere (i.e. standardization) but would the resulting social network landscape really be open especially since it seems social networks would have to license the Facebook Platform methods and tags.

It would seem that Facebook’s strategy is to control the other social networks’ platform efforts to ensure their Platform’s relevance while Google is trying to create the environment for collaboration between social networks to establish a standard for applications on social networks.

Same Difference?

Tangled Web We Weave

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Why Facebook Is Bad For Friendships

Facebook as a piece of technology is amazing. As a site that purports to be a social utility that connects you with the people around you, it does just that. It is the ability to fulfill this purpose well that, to me, makes Facebook bad for friendships.

Firstly, weak ties have a place in society. Mark Granovetter in his book “The Strength of Weak Ties” explains how weak ties help spread information to individuals that are not accessible via strong ties.

The problem to me is that while Facebook becomes an effective tool to manage those connections with people that are weak ties, it also creates the danger of making more ties weak.

Take for example birthday wishes. It used to be that the only way to wish a person ‘Happy Birthday’ was to be physically with a person. Then there was mail, so now cards could be sent. Then there was the telephone, so a call just needed to be made. Then there was email. Then there was sms. It became progressively easier to show ‘we care’ as long as we made the effort to remember. Now, even the effort to remember is not needed as Facebook does it for you. Someone left a comment on an earlier post that seemed to indicate that the lessening of effort needed somehow results in the decrease in sincerity. I’m not sure if this is always the case. The message may be of a medium that is easier to use but that does not always make the message less sincere although it can be argued that the medium used is the message.

Granted then that using a medium that takes little effort on your part to communicate with your friends may not always be indicative of a lack of sincerity, how would Facebook be bad for friendships?

Before I go further, I would like to assert that the use of the word ‘friend’ to describe everyone on your social network by sites like Facebook increasingly blurs the distinction between what is an acquaintance and friend to generations that grew up with the Internet. I would like then to make another assertion – that such a distinction is actually important for the proper functioning of society and we are all worse off with the lost of that distinction.

The reason why Facebook is bad for friendships is the use of apps like ‘SuperPoke!’ and ‘Gifts’. ‘SuperPoke!’ is an application that allows you to specify ‘actions to be taken against a friend’. ‘Gifts’ allows you to give a virtual present to a friend which will result in an image representing the gift appearing on the friend’s profile. These applications allow you to do something to show the friend that you are aware of that individual in your online social network if not your life as well as a reminder to that friend that you are still around (i.e. keeping yourself in view). It is as much about the giver as it is about the given.

The problem of the use of such applications is that friendship becomes mediated by a form of media. When I was in Primary School, my friends were classmates and people that I played with after school. We were friends because we were being friends. We did stuff that friends did together. We stood by each other. We encouraged each other when exams came up…

When Friendster popularized online social networks, friends became a collector’s item. Granted that there were always those sort of people who just had to or seemed to know everyone and kept count in that ‘blackbook’, collecting friends became something everyone engaged in naturally by the use of online social networks. While not everyone took it to the extreme like those who seem to max out the number of friends they can have on an account, online social networks brought the concept of ‘having friends’ to the foreground of our consciousness.

Now, with Facebook and similar applications, we have reached a stage where it isn’t just about ‘having friends’ but ‘appearing to be friends’ not just to ourselves but to others in the network. Such applications then work against us. They reduce what could have possibly grown to strong ties to weak ties because little effort is made beyond connecting over applications like Facebook – it is just that easy. The sadder thing would be if existing friendships become reduced because instead of making the effort to meet up and really talk and spend time together, we put that off because being able to connect over Facebook deceives us by making us feel that the existing state of the friendship is healthy and that amount of interaction is sufficient.

Of course, it would probably not be superfluous to point out that I’m using a Timex definition of friendship in a digital age.

Friendship is being redefined by how we use technology. The question then is this – is that a good thing?

Musing about Life
Tangled Web We Weave

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Just 1 Thought About Facebook Develope Garage Singapore

You can read about what happened during the event at E27 and Sg Entrepreneurs.  I just have one thing to comment about the night and that is what I learned about Trey who is the programmer of the F8-winning application.  He isn’t a computer science student nor a computer engineering student.  He is majoring in philosophy.

When he shared this about himself, I started wondering about the oft mentioned lack of innovation in Singapore.  And I wondered if it is because students in Singapore are not interested in knowledge across domains.  In other words, are we too specialized?

In NUS, we are made to take modules outside our faculty as part of the university requirements.  Most of the people I knew in Engineering would try to bid for the easier modules – the non-Arts faculty modules.  There was the general consensus that Science modules would be easier for an Engineering student, followed by Business, then Arts.

The friends I had in Arts would try their best to stay away from Engineering modules and go for the Science or Business ones.

There is a tendency to choose the easiest possible module from another faculty with interest in a module sacrificed as a result.

Of course, not all NUS students are like that.  There are those who do choose a module out of interest and worry about grades later although I cannot help but feel they are the minority.

What are the backgrounds of the people interested in being entrepreneurs in this Web 2.0 phase?  More importantly, do we have cross-domain knowledge?  Do we pursue interests outside the domain we are supposed to specialize in?

Why would that be important?  There are many reasons, but one of them is that a problem in one domain can be abstracted such that solutions to that problem which have been solved in other domains could be applied to it.  Increasing our knowledge in other domains adds to our arsenal of problem solving tools, tunes our pattern recognition and trains the abstraction of problems.  These can help us in being more innovative.

I wouldn’t presume that it was Trey’s philosophy background that helped him in being the winner with his application.  But maybe, just maybe, it was because he wasn’t in a computer science course that he didn’t have the ‘we must add more features’ hang-up that programmers arguably seem to have.  Maybe, just maybe that helped him spot that application which was simple in concept and technicalities but was what people wanted and needed.
It is time for us to step out of our little circles.

On Singapore
Tangled Web We Weave

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What Facebook’s New Ad System Might Look Like.

allfacebook shares Facebook will be launching their new ad system.  This will be the next step after the improvement made with Facebook Flyers which has been argued by ReadWriteWeb that it might not be something Google should be too worried aboutValleywag talks about Google’s ad system being about servicing expressed intent, while Facebook’s is to service latent intent if not create intent.

What would Facebook’s new ad system look like?  These are my thoughts.

1.  They target you based on your preferences.

With the information entered onto your profile page, they already know a fair bit
about you.  Advertisers can already use Facebook Flyers for what looks like highly
targeted advertising based on preferences which could be revealing latent intent..

2.  They know your relationships.

How does the social graph help in advertising?  It can be used to infer behavior,
intentions and preferences.  How?

Say I have a friend who puts that his interest is rock climbing.  He is connected to
a lot of people whose interests are also rock climbing.  One of his friends has not
put rock climbing as an interest.  Basically, this friend has not bothered with
putting much information on the profile page.  Now, this friend and the one who
likes rock climbing have common friends where a significant percentage of them are a
subset of those who do like rock climbing.  Facebook could infer that this friend
also is into rock climbing.

How about behavior?  This can be inferred by the events you get invited to.  Say
friend A gets invited for lots of events.  They fall into two categories – tech
conferences and clubbing.  But my friend only invites me for clubbing events.  My
friend probably would do so because he as a friend knows I find tech conferences
boring with the lack of hot babes (although I am going to try to score brownie
points by saying Singapore females geeks are HOT ).  So this relationship and how
my friend and I interact using Facebook has revealed important information that can
be used for targeting.

So maybe on a Wednesday morning I might not have any plans yet.  But Facebook knows from the invites that I have been accepting from my friends that I tend to go for clubbing on Fridays but not on a Wednesday.  But what if there is a really good deal for a Wednesday clubbing event?  Or say that it is a Friday morning.  The intent to go clubbing that night is already there.  Why not target it?  Facebook would have the information to allow advertisers to do so.

3.  They already know who the influencers are.

Who are the ones who pass on messages?  Who are the ones who consistently invite
people?  Who are the ones who share stuff?  Facebook already knows that.  More
critically, who are the ones who get their invites accepted?  Who are the ones who
get clickthrus on what they share?  Also, who are the ones who share new stuff as opposed to who are the ones that just pass on stuff.  Now based on relationships and interaction between people, Facebook might be able to deduce who are the innovators or early adopters.
It won’t be too hard to imagine that targeting the influencers and innovators/early adopters with a well constructed message will probably help advertisers achieve better results.

Well, Facebook’s social graph can help provide that information for that extra edge in targeting.

4.  They already know the statistics about the different demographics.

Granted not the whole world is on Facebook, but the number on it is pretty big.  I don’t think it would be too presumptuous to say that major political decisions have probably been made polling less people.  So Facebook is able to establish profiles of different demographics.  What could they possible do with that information?

a.

Sell the aggregated information without revealing individual details to marketing people.

b.

Use that information to target ads off Facebook.  Put a code on your website and tell Facebook what your website is about.  Facebook could use information on your website to deduce the possible profiles of your visitors.  Based on the demographic of the visitors to your site, Facebook could use the aggregated information about the different demographics to know what sort of ads your visitors might most likely be interested in.  They serve relevant ads based on that information.

5.  They know what people are currently interested in.

Related to what people currently put on their profiles, the events they go to, the groups they join and what people share, Facebook will also be able to understand what is the currently hot trend or topic.

Possibly more interesting is when individuals change their profiles.  What is removed?  What is added?  Does this change happen just at the individual level or is it happening across groups of friends?  Across networks?  Across demographics?

Facebook is a data miner’s dream.

Tangled Web We Weave

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