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Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Facebook has yet again made a move for its users’ content.  This time, changing their TOS to assert that they own copies of any third-party content, as well as removing the clause that states that the granted license expires upon the termination of your Facebook account.

Facebook users have already started moving to fight back.

By the way, if you have not already figured it out, this is Facebook’s modus operandi.  In the still of the night, they swoop in and make broad changes, removing privacy and laying claims to your rights and contnet.  Then Facebook users rise up in an organized manner.  Then what happens?  Facebook makes some concessions to roll back a few of the changes.  A few people leave Facebook.  A ton more people sign up to replace them the next day.

You know what they don’t do?  They don’t go back to the “previous” state of Facebook.

This is the perfect power-grabbing scheme–lay claim to a bunch of your user’s rights/content/privacy/soul, and then when they complain, “give” some of it back.  But not all of it.  You’ll see this same method of power-grabbing in politics, business, religion, education, and anywhere else there are more than two people gathered.

For more on this, just watch the blogosphere in general–this story will be everywhere for the next few weeks.  Also, read Dr. Amanda French’s analysis of Facebook’s TOS in comparison to other social software sites.

Although I won’t turn around and delete my account tomorrow, I will continue to be careful in what I upload to various websites.  I suggest you do the same.

Pessimistically yours,


MPOW now has a Facebook Page and a MySpace account!  After having created the accounts, I have promptly handed them over to one of our younger staff members who loves technology and knows the local scene a lot more than an old fogey homebody like me.  After my Ask-a-Librarian group didn’t soar the way I would have liked after the initial marketing, I’m interested to see what the natural usage of the Wall and Discussion Board will be by users.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be speaking about Social Networking Sites to that other crowd–students. I have two workshops set up for Fall Explosion (our freshmen orientation) in which I’ll be teaching how to manage your online identity.

I’m actually finding this more challenging than speaking to librarians about social networking. Most of the time when I give Library 2.0 talks, the majority of the crowd is being introduced to it for the first time (beyond what they hear in the media). So after I do a little damage control regarding predators (with the data to back it up, of course), I explain how these tools can be useful for libraries. That’s the other defining characteristic–I’m telling librarians how to use these tools for work, not fun (although I personally find them a lot of fun). So I start from the basics and then talk about libraries. Piece o’ cake.

Not so with talking to freshmen. How many of them are already embedded in SNSes? I’m sure that many of them have been using MySpace (and perhaps Facebook) for some time. And yet some may have not. And for those who have, their various degrees of experience will mean that for some I will be teaching a lot of new material, and for others I’ll be rehashing stuff they’ve known for years. The solution? Tap-dance. If you have to rehash stuff, do it in a way that’s entertaining and innovative. I’ll try to throw in as many jokes, comics, pictures, etc. as I can to keep it light and entertaining.

Second, I’ll be speaking about how freshmen can manage their online identities (i.e. privacy). Not the sexiest of topics. I’m sure some of them have had their authority figures try to scare the crap out of them in the wake of the MySpace Predator scare (since fear is an easier deterrent than education). So I’ll be informing them about the instances of true predation, the statistical likelihood of predation and stalking behavior, and how to protect themselves (so that they don’t become that one-in-a-million). I’ll also need to educate them about the long-term effects of having an online presence (insert WayBack Machine here). I can’t wait to show them my web pages from college!

If you have any great ideas of what college freshmen should know about SNSes (or more ways to make it entertaining) let me know!

edit:  I changed the title because it was non-descriptive (in an attempt to be poetic).  Bad, librarian, bad!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been to the best conference in my expierience.

Unfortunately, I missed the first day due to my travel insanity (thank you Delta & Hartsfield-Jackson). I arrived late Monday night and was up early the next morning to dive in. I attended:

Challenges of Cyberinfrastructre & Choices for Libraries
Podcasting & Videocasting
MySpace & Facebook (presented)
Partnerships in Archiving
Web Presence for Internet Librarians
Technology Training in a Library 2.0 World
Training Tutorial Tour & Tips
Comparing Book Search Engines
Social Computing & the Info Pro

Rather than do a blow-by-blow of all the sessions I attended, let me tell you what I gleaned from this experience:

  • If possible, plan out every last little detail of your trip the moment you know you’re going. Get flights, hotels, restaurants, wifi access, and all that jazz done as soon as possible. And then immediately throw out all the plans (emotionally, at least), because it will all change the moment you leave your house.
  • The conference is about learning things, yes. But more important than that is meeting cool people–of which there were an abundance at this conference. I was able to walk up to any group of people and immediately start carrying on conversation about what we are doing well, what we want to change, and where we think all this stuff is going.
  • I’m not the only one with my attitudes/thoughts/opinions. A lot of folks share the same ideals about usability, accessibility, user-centered service, and the future of technology in libraries.
  • The vendor representatives will listen if you gripe about their databases–most of them gave me their cards and an opportunity to contact them for more support. They should be listening to us, their users, for what would be useful in their databases, and which parts of their interfaces suck.
  • There are a lot of non-librarians who are interested in our work, our needs, and our services.
  • There are a lot of awesome librarians doing some amazing things to provide users with tools and services that they need in innovative ways.

Videos are up on YouTube and pics are on flickr.

Everyone smile and say “Promotion & Tenure!” Go to flickr and note yourself in this photo!Smile and say,

Facebook opened its doors this week to the world. Of course, there were protests after the mini-feed scandal. But, of course Facebook users have been reassured that:

This doesn’t mean that anyone can see your profile, however. Your profile is just as closed off as it ever was. Our network structure is not going away. College and work networks still require an authenticated email address to join. Only people in your networks and confirmed friends can see your profile.

If and when users become fed up with Facebook (for whatever reason), they will abandon it. As danah teaches us, this happened to Friendster when it became too slow, and this may happen with MySpace in the future

In the mean time, administrators at various universities are still struggling to find the right way to “handle” Facebook:

  • many are ignoring it,
  • some are blocking it,
  • some are “spying” on it,
  • some are joining it,
  • and some are trying to replace it.

This last prospect is the one that intrigues me the most–if you can’t control the for-profit social network, create one of your own that you can control! Schools like Texas Tech are purchasing U.Peers, a social networking system run by GoalQuest (a strategic partner of NASPA).

I see a few problems here. One of the appeals of Facebook is that you can link to your friends at various universities and colleges. Since U.Peers must be purchased by the university, it leads me to believe that students can only link to other students at that university. Second, these closed social networks are often motivated by marketing schemes or fear–which leaves the users out of the design process. Third, we know that free, advertising-driven software works because it has to be user-centered to work. By having the university/state pay for the program, it could have a terrible interface, not do what the users want it to, and continue without updates or changes because the bill has already been paid.

But now, U.Peers has one-up on Facebook–it’s university only. Facebook no longer has the “just us” mystique that it had. Facebook users fear that it will become another MySpace, and only time will tell if that’s true.