facebook

In Defense of Facebook

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Let me start off by saying this: If you’re having trouble adapting to Facebook’s changes, you are going to have problems in life because in the whole scheme of things, this is nothing. When Facebook did the first major redesign of the site, there was mutiny; this is despite the fact that they offered the new version months before it went live to get feedback and help people adapt to it. This reinforces the fact that people are too wrapped up in themselves to realize what’s going on around them. Now, a second, relatively minor update to the homepage and friend feed and people are up in arms. And we were warned last week of this, with a diagram explaining the changes! I’m here to say the things that Facebook can’t say because they have to deal with PR: Don’t be such an idiot. Grow up and try it out before bitching.

If people actually took ONE minute to look around and check out the changes they would see they are much better, more organized, and more informative. You’re friends’ status updates are front, center, and updating live. To the left: options on feed filters- networks, and the ability to change between status, photos, links, events, and whatever else could update the friend feed. Anyone who says they can’t find anything didn’t take the time to look. To the right, the random popular stuff going on with your friends that used to be in the middle, and the day’s events right on top. A much better design choice in my opinion. On the profile, you now have three choices: Just you, Just your friends, or everyone. Simple. Let me repeat that: Simple. And then there are the people complaining it looks like Twitter.

Twitter is great. Why not borrow ideas from them? Especially because the statuses are updated MUCH more than just about anything else on Facebook. Why wouldn’t you want that stuff front and center. That would be like CNN not putting their breaking news on the homepage because Fox News already does.

All-in-all, you’ve got more information right in front of you. I’m already sick of reading status updates like this: “I F—– HATE NEW F—— FACEBOOK.” To me, that says you’re really F—– stupid, and are opposed to any kind of change, bad or good. Like I said, if 80% of the people complaining took more than a microsecond to look at the new design, they will see it’s much better. My friend Dan is the only one who gave me a valid complaint; as it turns out, he actually thinks before he speaks.

Facebook for Blackberry

FB App

About a week ago I downloaded the new Facebook for Blackberry application by RIM. The app allows you to get notifications on wall posts, messages, pokes, friend requests, etc. right to your blackberry in a nice, clean interface.

Overall, I think the app is really nice. I’m a bit of a Facebook addict, partially because I do business through it, but also because of the fun factor. With this app, I don’t have to go to Facebook’s mobile version of the site to send/receive messages and the like. The way they set it up was really nice too- you can change the notification settings in your sound options, like you would for your ringer, text, and email notifications. When you get a Facebook notification, the app icon appears at the time, next to where a text/email notification would go (pictured).

FB Notification

You can also have the app delete the email you would get, alleviating some of the pressure in my inbox.

However, every good thing leaves you wanting more. One thing I would really like to see is the ability to view the profile right from the app instead of bringing up the browser to view a profile. On top of that, there are pretty frequent requests for the ability to view your entire wall and inbox right in the app, which would also be a very nice addition. These three features would increase the functionality of the app exponentially. All-in-all, however, it’s a great app that broadens the scope of use for my blackberry If you have a Blackberry, I strongly recommend this app.

Go to Facebook for Blackberry

Scrubs Quotes App

Scrubs Quotes

I don’t do too many things on a whim, but the other night when I saw a group dedicated to having a Scrubs Quotes Facebook application developed, I couldn’t help myself. As a big fan of Scrubs, as well as a developer, I thought I might try my hand at it. I tinkered a little with Facebook apps and it seemed easy enough. I set out that night to do that app, and finished it the next day.

I figured I did not need a database for this project. Just a text file with a quote per line. I’d throw in some HTML when needed, and the last two characters of the file are the person’s initials. For example: Hey, Girl's Name - <strong>Dr. Cox</strong> pc. In the processing of each line, I use the initials to display the picture of the character in the profile.

For a project like this, following Facebook’s Step-by-Step Guide is all that’s necessary. Facebook provides great documentation on creating apps, and as long as you know some programming language, you should be able to pick it up pretty easily. For those of you who have Facebook, you can check out the app here. If you don’t have Facebook, I’ve provided screen shots.

In the near future I hope to add more quotes, and make it more user interactive by allowing them to add their own quote to their profile if they don’t want a random one.

Facebook as a Business Model

Facebook

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Facebook. They have a niche user base, their application is clean, easy to use, and has numerous built-in features. Now with the new Facebook Apps, people can add basically any feature they want to Facebook, assuming the can develop or know a developer. This has led me to think about the Facebook approach to things- the way they develop and the way the actually listen to feedback. Both of these things are very important in the development of a web application.

Looking at Facebook’s progression, it seems they did things the right way. They started off small. To use it, your school had to be added. It gave the basics of a Social Networking App. As they grew, so did their features. They added photo albums and notes. And not just like MySpace had them. The Photos are completely organizable and easy to use. And the notes- you can tag friends and import RSS feeds. When they added the mini feed (which I think people have come to like), there was some uproar, but the people at Facebook spent the next 2 days listening to people and making adjustments. Before they rolled out the new design, they got feedback. They really care about their users.

So how is this a good business model? Facebook knows that without users, they are nothing. So they want their users to have a good experience. And the best part is they are able to make money off of it in a non-intrusive way. Go to MySpace on any given day, and you will be met with an outrageous skin for an upcoming movie, full page redirect ads, or animated ones that are almost as annoying as the animated background your friend is using on her page. Facebook neatly integrates ads into the mini feed, and under the sidebar- and the sidebar ads are from facebook users. It’s a very neat an clean way to do things.

All in all, I feel Facebook is the benchmark of a good web application- it has the right features, a good user base and makes money.

New Facebook Features

Facebook Prefs

It’s been a short while, and I apologize for that. Right now it is crunch time in school with the end of the semester, and my primary laptop’s hard drive bombed on me (the third to do so on me, on as many computers). Right now I am on the back-up, which is not as good, which is making me less productive. But that is for another post. Now, I want to talk about a couple of new Facebook features.

The first is pictured above. I just discovered this a couple of days ago, but it launched in mid-November. The sliding bars allow you to indicate what type of stories you prefer to read and who you want to see less or more stories about. From a user stand point, the sliding bars are pretty cool. I frankly don’t care who is in a relationship, or who friended whom today. The “Read More Stories” about a particular person is kind of creepy. The “Read Less Stories” is nice. From a programmer’s point of view, the sliding bars are really cool. They look nice and are really easy to use. It’s a smooth interface and it auto saves. Well done Facebook Engineers.

The second feature is the Facebook Firefox Toolbar. This is a tool bar that allows you to quickly search Facebook, share websites you are visiting, and alerts you on New friend requests, wall posts, messages and pokes. It will also tell you when friends write a note, update their profiles, or when someone writes on their walls. You also have the ability to enable/disable features and add links to it. Over all it’s a nice little tool for the Facebook power user. I think this will make it so I am less often checking Facebook and more often doing real work. Later!

New Facebook Fun

Facebook

For all the people out there with Facebook, an online social site for college and now high school students all across America, it got some new features. CollegeV2 has an extensive write up on it here, but I wanted to add my 2 cents in.

First is the Facebook API. An API is an “Application Programming Interface,” which basically amounts to developers being able to use some of facebook’s programming to make their own 3rd party applications. What it means is (probably) a bunch of new websites and resources for those of us who have a facebook account. And if you are a programmer, you get the opportunity to create some of that 3rd party software and be recognized on the site. If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to help.

Joseph Casabona's Facebook profile

What you see to the left is a facebook badge. It is a little add on you can put on your website, blog (live journal, blogger, xanga, etc.), or even your myspace, and it displays whatever information you choose to display from your facebook profile. Mine will be added to the about page, and probably won’t change much. It also links directly to your profile.

Finally, Facebook Notes. It’s kind of like a blog, but they aren’t calling it that. You can write notes for yourself, about your friends (linking your friends in the note), add pictures, and import your blog, which I did. It seems like a pretty cool idea, and looks A LOT nicer than the MySpace blog.

That’s all I got! Let me know if you find anything new, or what your thoughts are on the aforementioned in the comments! Later!

The Facebook

I got it. Scranton finally got it. Read about it here. At first, I thought I was just gonna be a geek who is doing the facebook. But, I did a search for my high school, and alot of people came up. I thought that was very very cool. I will probably look into it more later. You can view my facebook here. Later!