Monday, December 15, 2008

Code4Lib: Reaching Users Through Facebook

Reaching Users Through Facebook: A Guide to Implementing Facebook Athenaeum

By Wayne Graham / The Code4Lib Journal / Issue 5, 2008-12-15

Facebook Athenaeum is an open source application that integrates library resources directly into the Facebook website. Facebook is one of the single most-visited websites in the world, and its popularity among college-aged students provides a unique opportunity for libraries to redefine how they interact with students. This article walks you through the deployment Facebook Athenaeum, and discusses some of the usage trends and pitfalls of deploying applications using the Facebook API.


In 2007, Facebook was positioning itself to overtake MySpace as the number one social website. Until this point, Facebook had only been available to higher-education institutions, but they were in the process of opening the site up to all users and rolling out an API to allow developers to create “useful” applications. Seeing an opportunity to provide our own “useful” social application, we set out to integrate an existing tool developed by Tom MacWright, a student at William and Mary, with our library’s RSS feeds and catalog/website search.

MacWright developed a nifty little application that allows users to click on a map of the library and generate an IM status link (or anything else that accepted a hyperlink) so your friends could see where you were located []. Swem Signal was used by quite a few students, and we even got the code donated to the library to run on our servers. After the Facebook API launched, we thought Swem Signal would be a really cool social feature to integrate into a library Facebook application. The real impetus, however, was to expose our search tools to users who may spend more time socializing than studying.




Road Map

What does the future hold for Facebook Athenaeum? Well, one of the features we want to work on is integrating with VuFind ( to pull search results from VuFind into the Facebook application. As VuFind grows to enable libraries to index and search more diverse content types (it currently supports indexing MARC content), all of this will also be directly available through Facebook. The other big item on the roadmap is to migrate the database storage from a relational database system to Facebook’s Data Store API. This will allow you to keep most of the user interactions directly on Facebook’s cloud, decreasing the number of resources this application consumes.


So, should your library have a presence in Facebook? I am perhaps biased, but I think the site provides a unique opportunity for libraries to redefine how they interact with students and how libaries can facilitate the interaction between students. I’ll be quite honest though, when the Facebook site first launched and I created my account, I really did not see what the point was, and I know I am not the only one who had this reaction. What brought me around was seeing just how many students actually use the site on a daily basis. Being able to interact with these students on a platform they are comfortable with seemed like a natural extension of what the library has traditionally done in developing its web content and outreach activities. We have further found that when we advertise an event on Facebook, we get far more participation than we do through posters, news feeds, and other outlets.

About the Author

Wayne Graham is the Coordinator of Emerging Technology at the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of Facebook API Developer’s Guide (APress, 2008) and contributes code to the Vufind and Solrmarc projects. Wayne occasionally blogs at, and you can always shoot him a note on Facebook.

Source and Fulltext


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Facebook Aims to Extend Its Reach Across the Web

NY Times December 1, 2008

Facebook Aims to Extend Its Reach Across the Web

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Facebook, the Internet’s largest social network, wants to let you take your friends with you as you travel the Web. [snip]

Facebook Connect, as the company’s new feature is called, allows its members to log onto other Web sites using their Facebook identification and see their friends’ activities on those sites. Like Beacon, the controversial advertising program that Facebook introduced and then withdrew last year after it raised a hullabaloo over privacy, Connect also gives members the opportunity to broadcast their actions on those sites to their friends on Facebook.

In the next few weeks, a number of prominent Web sites will weave this service into their pages, including those of the Discovery Channel and The San Francisco Chronicle, the social news site Digg, the genealogy network Geni and the online video hub Hulu.


For example, a person might alert his Facebook friends to the fact that he is watching a video on and invite them to join him there to watch together and discuss the video as it plays.

“Everyone is looking for ways to make their Web sites more social,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. “They can build their own social capabilities, but what will be more useful for them is building on top of a social system that people are already wedded to.”

MySpace, Yahoo and Google have all announced similar programs this year, using common standards that will allow other Web sites to reduce the work needed to embrace each identity system. Facebook, which is using its own data-sharing technology, is slightly ahead of its rivals.


This is where Facebook Connect could help. No money changes hands between Facebook and the sites using Connect, and executives are wary of discussing how it could bring in revenue.

But there are some obvious possibilities.

Facebook has detailed information about its users: their real identities, what they like and dislike and whom they associate with. With a member’s permission, it could use that data to help other Web sites deliver more personalized ads. Similarly, those sites could tell Facebook what its users are doing elsewhere, helping to make its own ads more targeted.

“It’s becoming very clear that advertisers don’t know how to advertise on Facebook,” said Charlene Li, an independent consultant and social media analyst. “But if you take a group of Facebook friends and put them on a travel site where they are spending more time and generating more ad dollars in a focused area like travel, that is an opportunity ripe for getting revenues back and sharing it.”


For now, Facebook is also carefully authorizing each partner in the Connect program and reviewing how it will use data on Facebook members and discuss the feature publicly. It plans to allow Web sites to register themselves for Connect, without having to seek approval, in the next few weeks.


When asked about the potential promises and pitfalls of Connect, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said: “We want to make the experience as lightweight and easy to use as possible. But we also have to make sure that people understand what’s going on and have control over it.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Forrester Report: Social Networks Should Find 'Significant Success' In Enterprise

Wikis, social networks should find 'significant success' in enterprise

Study says other Web 2.0 tools will take longer to be seen as cost effective by IT managers / Heather Havenstein / November 5, 2008 (Computerworld)

While enterprises face growing demands from employees for the Web 2.0 tools they use at home, IT managers continue to doubt whether most of them can provide business value to a company, according to a Forrester Research Inc. report released this week.

The report suggests that only two of the myriad tools commonly grouped in the
Enterprise 2.0 category -- social networks and wikis -- will find significant success in the corporate market over the next few years. Widgets, mashups, blogs, RSS and forums may find moderate success, while microblogs, prediction markets, social bookmarking and podcasts will have only minimum penetration in the enterprise, the report said.

"Wikis in particular have proven themselves to be successful," noted Gil Yehuda, a Forrester analyst and author of the "Forrester TechRadar for Information and Knowledge Management Pros: Enterprise 2.0" report. "For the most part, they have proven themselves more so than many of the other Web 2.0 tools." The report predicts that social networks will find corporate success as users seek to find out more about colleagues who create and use the corporate content they are interested in, he added.




PDF Available / Price: US $379


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Not All Social Network Users Alike – Four Types of LinkedIn Users ...

First Ever Public Study Concerning Business Oriented Social Network Giant

Stamford, CT – November 5, 2008 – In the real world, different business people conduct business differently with their own strategies and tactics. Online, business people use Social Network Services (SNS), like the highly popular professional networking site LinkedIn, very differently too.

According to Anderson Analytics, the company that conducted the study in partnership with, using state of the art predictive analytics software from SPSS Inc., LinkedIn users tend to fall into four major types:

“Savvy Networkers” (est. 9 million) are likely to have started using social networking earlier than others, are more tech savvy, and more likely to be active on other SNS sites like Facebook. Savvy Networkers have the most connections (61 on average) and are more likely than other segments to use LinkedIn for a wide variety of purposes other than job searching. Savvy Networkers have the second highest average personal income ($93,500) and may often have the word “Consultant” in their job description.

“Senior Executives” (est. 8.4 million) are somewhat less tech savvy and is using LinkedIn to connect to their existing corporate networks. They have power jobs which they are quite content with, and are likely to have been invited by a colleague and then realized how many key contacts were on the site and started building connections (32 on average). Senior Executives have the highest average personal income ($104,000) and have titles such as Owner, Partner, Executive, or Associate.

“Late Adopters” (est. 6.6 million) are likely to have received numerous requests from friends and co-workers before deciding to join. They are somewhat less tech savvy and are careful in how they use LinkedIn, tending to connect only to close friends and colleagues and have the fewest number of connections (23 on average). Late Adopters have the lowest average personal income ($88,000) and have titles such as Teacher, Medical Professional, Lawyer, or the word “Account” or “Assistant” in their job description.

“Exploring Options” (est. 6.1 million) may be working, but are open and looking for other job options often on, perhaps in part because they have the lowest average personal income ($87,500). They are fairly tech savvy and use SNS for both corporate and personal interests.

To find out which type you are most like, you may use the predictive tool available at Anderson Analytics []


Some of the findings include:
  • Most users connect to people they know, including those they’ve met only over the phone
  • Users like the professional and business oriented look and feel of LinkedIn compared to other SNS
  • Users tend to be more senior (56% are “individual contributors”, 16% are management level, and 28% are director/VP level or above) The majority (66%) are decision makers or have influence in the purchase decisions at their companies (decision makers also tend to be more active on LinkedIn)
  • And perhaps most interestingly, the greater the number of connections the greater the likelihood of higher personal income - those with personal incomes between $200K-$350K were seven times more likely than others to have over 150 connections!


Study Methodology

Total sample size of the study consisted of 65,873 records and provides statistics with an accuracy of +/-0.39%. Supplemental survey results represent +/-3.48% at the 95% confidence interval.

About Anderson Analytics

More than market research, Anderson Analytics is the first Next Generation marketing consultancy to combine new technologies, such as data and text mining with traditional market research. [snip] For more information, please visit



PDF Version Of Press Release Available At


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

AMI Partners Study: Small Businesses Embrace Social Networking In The U.S.

The number of small businesses using such services will double in the next 12 months, says AMI.

New York, New York—November 3, 2008—More than 600,000 small businesses (SBs, or companies with up to 99 employees) in the United States will deploy integrated social networking services in the next 12 months—up from about 300,000 currently, according to the latest study by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

In percentage terms, 300,000 represents about 5% of the total number of SBs in the U.S. "As social networking evolves, we can see the emergence of targeted offerings for business users," says Nikki Lamba, New York-based analyst at AMI Partners. "In order to attract a greater share of SBs, social networking services must provide customized services that SBs can leverage in order to realize their business goals."


The study also points out that over the next 12 months about 500,000 SBs will use social networking as a resource for advertising and promotional activities. As the number of social networking sites continues to multiply, particularly those aimed at SBs, the prospects of targeted advertising continue to remain positive. SBs can also tailor their social networking to create a stronger brand for their business and allow for communities to form around their product or service offering.

"As SBs struggle with the current economic downturn, business-focused social networking offers an effective, relatively inexpensive and lucrative opportunity to keep steady communication with existing partners and clients as well as incubating new relationships," says Ms. Lamba. "A growing number of businesses are already riding the wave and stand to gain from continued usage of social networking for business purposes. Those businesses not currently using social networking services will find that the resources available will be especially useful in competing under current market conditions."


About the Study

AMI’s US Small Business Overview and Comprehensive Market Opportunity Assessment study highlights these and other major trends in the context of current/planned IT, Internet and communications usage and spending. Products and services covered include established and emerging hardware, software, applications and business process solutions.

Based on AMI’s annual survey of SMBs in the U.S., the studies track a broad spectrum of issues pertaining to budgets, purchase behaviors, decision influencers, channel preferences, outsourcing, service and support. Also covered are detailed firmographics and critically important technology attitudes and strategic planning priorities. This data points to key opportunities and messaging hot buttons for vendors and service providers seeking to match their offerings to SB market requirements.

For more information about this study, AMI-Partners, or our global SMB research, call 212-944-5100, e-mail, or visit us at



Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Just Facebook: Online Social Networks For Libraries

I’m pleased to announce that a corrected / revised / expanded version of my pre-conference workshop presentation for Internet Librarian 2008 (October 18 2008) is now available:

_Not Just Facebook: Online Social Networks For Libraries_



While Bebo, Facebook, hi5, MySpace, and Orkut are among the better-known general online social networks, there is an ever-increasing number of online networks that have emerged for and within a wide variety of communities. Among many others, these include networks for academe and education (e.g., EduSpaces), people of color (e.g., Black Planet), Boomers (e.g., Boomj), business (e.g., Linked-In), LGBT groups (e.g., OUTeverywhere), religion (e.g., MyChurch), and researchers and scholars (e.g., Nature Network).

This workshop provides an overview of the more significant niche online social networks, reviews their common and unique features and functionalities, and considers the potential opportunities for wider engaged library outreach to these communities.


  • Web 2.0
  • Social Networking Services
  • Facebook
  • Librarian Facebook Presence
  • Library Facebook Presence
  • Facebook Library Groups
  • Facebook Pages
  • Facebook Applications
  • Facebook Apps for Libraries
  • NICHE Online Social Networks
  • Academe and Education
  • Books
  • Boomers
  • Business
  • Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender
  • People of Color
  • Religion
  • Researchers and Scientists
  • Second Life
  • Ning
  • Mega-Sites
  • News
  • Library Outreach

Demonstration (Ning)

This is a LARGE Presentation (204 Slides).

The First Half Is Devoted To Web 2.0/SNS Background and a Review Of Facebook (Slides 1-89);

The Second Half Is Devoted To Niche Online Social Networks (NSNS) (Slide 90->).


BTW: I am greatly interested in learning of Other Niche SNS /

Please Nominate Any And All As A Comment On The Blog Entry



Friday, October 31, 2008

Harnessing the Power and Potential of Social Networks

Harnessing the Power and Potential of Social Networks

Research and Markets / Guinness Centre, Taylors Lane, Dublin 8, Ireland / October 31 2008.

Todays corporations are keen to invest in promising social network technologies and services. IT departments are being called upon to help their organizations embrace this emerging trend. However, in order to harness the opportunities social networks present, you must first gain a deeper knowledge of social networks, including an understanding of how they work and their inherent power.

Harnessing the Power and Potential of Social Networks examines how social networks are evolving and discusses their power and potential -- things you need to know before you define your corporate social networking strategy. This report takes a comprehensive look at social networks and reviews some of their major applications. It then explores what social networks have to offer IT professionals, enterprises, and entrepreneurs. Finally, it discusses some of the limitations and risks involved with social networks, such as harnessing social networks for advertising.

This report will help you:

- Make use of social networks in your own organization for internal and customer-facing applications
- Explore the key characteristics of successful social networking sites
- Determine which approach to take when creating your social network
- Consider new value-added features and services that will be competitive differentiators for your social network
- Gain an understanding of the staggering valuation of sites such as Facebook
- Create a trusted social network environment
- Identify some of the privacy and security problems encountered by users
- Appreciate the draw of social networks for the individual, including the desire to develop ones own social capital for personal and professional goals
- Leverage social network analysis and the 'social graph'
- Identify how IT can help address the risks and challenges of social networks

Youll explore 7 key requirements to building and maintaining a powerful social network. Youll gain an overview of related 'social' terms that harness the collective contribution of users, such as social bookmarking, social citations, social computing, and more. And youll learn how to build the infrastructure needed for searching and mining information scattered in social networks.

Plus, youll discover how to avoid online manipulation, misrepresentation, and anonymous sock puppeting in social networks. And youll explore the dark side of social networks, including dangers, risks, and privacy and security issues.

Finally, this report looks at the future of social networks, identifying and discussing several yet-to-be explored trends and potential opportunities. It considers the emergence of A-list, invitation-only social networks and it explores various business and professional social networks, such as Doostang, LinkedIn, SiliconIndia, and others.

Table Of Contents

Chapter 1. Your Guide to Understanding the Evolution, Power, and Potential of Online Social Networks

- What Is Social Networking
- Platforms and Tools for Developing Online Social Networks
- Enriching Networks with Value-Added Features and Competitive Differentiators
- Features of an Effective Social Network
- Analyzing Your Social Network
- Application of Social Networks
- Understanding the Basics
- The Dark Side of Social Networks
- The Future of Social Networks
- Emerging Trends and Opportunities
- Social Networking and the Business
- IT Opportunities in Social Networks

Chapter 2. Can User-Generated Online Content Sell Your Product?

- Eric K. Clemons
- Rob Austin
- Tom DeMarco
- Ron Blitstein
- Lou Mazzucchelli
- Lynne Ellyn
- Tim Lister
- Christine Davis
- Ken Orr

Chapter 3. How Social Computing Is Redefining Content

- Documents
- Memes
- The Web as a Platform

Chapter 4. Mining Blogs for Business Benefits

- The Social Connection in Blogs
- Some Benefits of Corporate Blogging
- A Suggestive Approach for Blog Mining
- Vendor Scan



Electronic: EURO €261.00

Hard Copy: €261.00 + € 50.00 Shipping/Handling

Brochure/Order Form

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Network Citizens: Power And Responsibility At Work

Network Citizens: Power And Responsibility At Work
Humans are social animals, spinning intricate webs of relationships with friends, colleagues, neighbours and enemies. These networks have always been with us, but the advance of networking technologies, changes to our interconnected economy and an altering job market have super-charged the power of networking, catapulting it to the heart of organisational thinking.

Social networks are providing tremendous opportunities for people to collaborate. But until now, thinking has focused only on how organisations can respond to and capitalise on networks. This report argues that we have to look equally at how networks use organisations for their own ends. That is where the new contours of inequality and power lie that will shape the network world. We have to face networks’ dark side, as well as their very real potential.

Bringing together in-depth case studies of six organisations, Network Citizens maps the key fault-lines that people and organisations will have to address in the future world of work. Not doing so puts at risk the very qualities we had invested in them: openness, innovation, collaboration and meritocracy. Since networks can act for good or ill, incubating the talents and ideas of the many, or promoting the interests of the few, the need for a new set of responsibilities is growing. If we are network members, we must be network citizens, too.


Full Text Available At


News Coverage

BBC: Bosses 'Should Embrace Facebook'


Thursday, October 23, 2008

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology 2008 / Use of Social Networking Sites

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008 (ID: ERS0808)

Gail Salaway (EDUCAUSE) and Judith Borreson Caruso (University of Wisconsin-Madison) /With: Mark R. Nelson (NACS)

Introduction by: Nicole Ellison (Michigan State University)

CMS, Net Generation Learner, Social Computing, social networks, Student IT Competencies, Students

Documents Contributed by ECAR, Research Studies (10/21/2008)

Abstract: This 2008 ECAR research study is a longitudinal extension of the 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 ECAR studies of students and information technology. The study is based on quantitative data from a spring 2008 survey of 27,317 freshmen and seniors at 90 four-year institutions and eight two-year institutions; student focus groups that included input from 75 students at four institutions; and analysis of qualitative data from 5,877 written responses to open-ended questions. In addition to studying student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, the 2008 study also includes

A Special Focus on Student Participation in Social Networking Sites [CHAPTER 6]

Citation for this work: Salaway, Gail and Caruso, Judith B., with Mark R. Nelson. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008 (Research Study, Vol. 8). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2008)

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 / Executive Summary

Chapter 2 / Introduction: Reshaping Campus Communication and Community through Social Network Sites

Chapter 3 / Methodology and Respondent Characteristics

Chapter 4 / Ownership of, Use of, and Skill with IT

Chapter 5 / IT and the Academic Experience


Appendix A / Acknowledgments

Appendix B / Students and Information Technology in Higher Education: 2008 Survey Questionnaire

Appendix C /Qualitative Interview Questions

Appendix D / Participating Institutions and Survey Response Rates

Appendix E / Bibliography

Key Findings


Survey Instrument


PDF []


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Inmagic® Presto: A Social Knowledge Management Platform

Inmagic® Presto is a social knowledge management platform designed to improve productivity and effectiveness within information-dependent communities by leveraging their information and human assets.

Inmagic® Presto represents a fundamentally new approach to information and knowledge management by tightly integrating, into a single environment, a knowledge repository, information search, access and discovery tools and the “wisdom of the community.” Presto’s unique approach yields an ideal application platform for integrating “topdown” vetted information with “bottom-up” social knowledge to address an organization’s most critical initiatives that span functional groups.

Presto addresses initiatives such as:

  • Socializing and expanding libraries and collections
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Consumer insights
  • New product development and innovations
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Public and medical affairs management
  • Influence marketing
  • Intellectual property management and knowledge preservation

New Generation Knowledge Management

Recent advances in social media technologies have spawned new perspectives and approaches to information and special library management and a new generation of knowledge management. The foundation of this new generation knowledge management is the social knowledge network that combines important internal content with timely external data in a shared framework where communities can be created and the impact of the information enhanced. In this environment, organizations can achieve their information objective — making richer, more vibrant, responsive and high impact knowledge communities.

Platform for Enabling Social Knowledge Networks

With Inmagic Presto, our social knowledge management platform, information-dependent communities improve their productivity and effectiveness. Presto delivers this fundamentally new approach to information and knowledge management by tightly integrating, into a single environment, a knowledge repository, advanced information access and discovery tools, and the “wisdom of the community.”

Inmagic Presto enables the creation of social knowledge networks through a unique integration of content management, information management, and social management capabilities. Presto allows you to harness the power of the connected universe using new generation knowledge management. Presto’s unique approach yields an ideal application platform for integrating “top down” vetted information with “bottom-up” social knowledge to address an organization’s most critical initiatives that span functional groups.

The Industry's First True Social Library

The knowledge publishing and discovery capabilities of Inmagic Presto have been combined with rich library management capabilities to create Inmagic® Presto Social Library. Based on the advanced library asset management and workflow capabilities of Inmagic’s Genie technology and a social knowledge network platform, the Inmagic Presto Social Library enables organizations to fully leverage their knowledge assets, making them available for easy access, discovery and “socialization.” This seamless integration is the industry’s first true social library and creates a framework to expand the reach and content of your library.


Inmagic® Presto is available on a subscription license basis which means you are only buying what you need and your total cost of ownership is lower. In addition, Inmagic offers hosted SaaS delivery for customers whose knowledge management solution requires outsourcing. Our managed hosting services provide the stable yet flexible foundation needed for growing your social knowledge network.





White Paper: New Generation Knowledge Management: Social Knowledge Networks (Registration Required)


Webinar / October 7 2008 / 11:00 am PDT; 2:00 pm EDT (Pre-Registration Required)


Archive of Webinar NOW Available (10-7-08) for 90 Days (01-09) [64 Minutes]


Primary Discussion Document: Collaboration and Social Media - 2008

by Geoffrey Bock & Steve Paxhia
June 2008 / 132 pages

Collaboration and Social Media 2008 shows how social media, based on "Web 2.0" technologies, is approaching the tipping-point. First generation tools now in widespread use, such as text-oriented email, web sites, and shared workspaces, are soon to be supplemented by social media applications that incorporate blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, rich media, and other innovative technologies. The Gilbane research report predicts the transition from horizontal applications to vertical solutions, and offers a number of strategies to help companies with the tr

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

LASSIE Case Study 5: Libraries and Facebook

LASSIE: Libraries and Social Software in Education

Case Study 5: Libraries and Facebook

Jane Secker /London School of Economics and Political Science

January 2008

Funded by: University of London Centre for Distance Education Teaching and Research Awards

This case study explores the use of the social networking site Facebook ( as a tool for libraries and librarians. The case study was launched some way into the project following the growth and popularity of this social networking site. Many librarians have now joined Facebook for
purely social reasons, however it can overlap into the professional world as it is being used by several professional library groups and for promoting library related events. Facebook also has a number of library related tools which the project team felt were worthy of further exploration.

This case study is slightly different to the four other case studies, because we did not set up a specific library-related initiative in Facebook for use with librarians or distance learners. The case study is largely based on the literature and our own experiences of using Facebook. The reasons for this approach were twofold: partly because the use of Facebook accelerated phenomenally during the period when we were undertaking our research (March 2007 – January 2008). Early on in the project and at the time of planning the case studies we could not have anticipated the level of interest that developed in this social networking site. This was specifically a UK-based phenomena and largely driven by the extensive coverage that the site received in the mainstream media during the summer of 2007. It also did not seem appropriate to set up a project-related initiative in Facebook for real distance learners as we felt this should ideally be undertaken and maintained by a Library. We therefore have tried to document the experiences of libraries and librarians who have used Facebook and drawn on our own personal experiences of using the site.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"I'm Ready For My Close Up ...": Facebook - The Movie

'West Wing' creator may be writing movie about Facebook

August 28, 2008 (Computerworld) A new Facebook profile created for Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin claims that he has agreed to write a movie about the invention of Facebook Inc.'s popular social network.

"I understand there are a few other people using Facebook pages under my name -- which I find more flattering than creepy -- but this is me," the profile notes. "I don't know how I can prove that, but feel free to test me."

The profile says that Sorkin, who created the West Wing television series, has agreed to write the movie for Sony Pictures and producer Scot Rudin. Sorkin also admits on his profile that he doesn't yet know how Facebook works.

"I figured a good first step in my preparation would be finding out what Facebook is, so I've started this page," the page says. "Actually, it was started by my researcher, Ian Reichbach, because my grandmother has more Internet savvy than I do, and she's been dead for 33 years."

Sorkin goes on to urge Facebook users to send him questions and leave comments, which many have done. Sorkin has written two Broadway plays and several feature films, including A Few Good Men, Malice and Charlie Wilson's War.


"Aaron Sorkin prompts users to test to see if he is real in the group's description," he noted. "The only problem with accomplishing what would otherwise be an elementary task is that there is no way to 'friend' or send a message to Sorkin. The only other person that I know of that doesn't have a friend request in the directory is [Facebook founder and CEO] Mark Zuckerberg


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ryze: Business Networking

Ryze [] helps people make connections and grow their networks. You can network to grow your business, build your career and life, find a job and make sales. Or just keep in touch with friends.

Members get a free networking-oriented home page and can send messages to other members. They can also join special Networks related to their industry, interests or location. More than 1,000 organizations host Networks on Ryze to help their members interact with each other and grow their organizations.
Is this free? Yes. You can message other members, join networks, view member home pages and much more for free. We also have a paid service that lets you do other things like advanced searches for a few dollars per month, but you can do a lot for free.

Why is it called Ryze? Because it's about people helping each other 'rise up' through quality networking.

Where are Ryze members located? Ryze members are around the world, with more than 500,000 members in more than 200 countries. When you join, we give you links to several people in your country or state to check out.

Who are the people behind Ryze? Adrian Scott is Ryze's founder. Previously he was a founding investor in Napster, co-founded a startup called Applesoup/Flycode, and developed technology for companies like Charles Schwab and Bank of America.

How did you come up with the idea for Ryze? Our founder, Adrian, used to hold networking events in his loft back in San Francisco. He wanted a way for people to keep in touch outside of the events and as people moved around the world. He also wanted to make an easy way for people to remember their friends' backgrounds. (How often can you remember what companies a friend used to work for and where they went to school?) He also wanted to create a way for people to build their networks across geography.

How do you make money? Though our basic membership level is free, we offer paid subscriptions for advanced features like contacting distantly-connected members for a few dollars a month. It's a decent investment for people building their career or business. We also have some revenue from events we hold, and advertising.

Can my organization use Ryze to help its members network? Yes, your organization can set up a Network on Ryze to help your members connect with each other, and also help you recruit new members and publicize your events.




Video Tutorial

Windows Media (10MB)


Real Player (7MB)

[] to Buy Shelfari, A Social Network for Book Lovers to Buy Social Network for Book Lovers
By HEATHER HAVENSTEIN / Computerworld, IDG Monday agreed to acquire Shelfari, a social network for book lovers, for an undisclosed sum.

Amazon's acquisition of Shelfari means the site will likely make it a much stronger competitor to other social networks that focus on bibliophiles, according to some observers. In addition, Amazon earlier this month acquired online rare book seller AbeBooks, and gained its 40% stake in one of Shelfari's main competitors, LibraryThing. Thus, observers note, Amazon will have a stake in two competing social networks for readers.

Shelfari allows users to build a virtual book shelf to display the books they have read or want to read, along with the ability to provide reviews and ratings for viewing by others. The site also helps users connect with each other to form groups or provide book suggestions.

Josh Hug, Shelfari's CEO, noted in a blog post Monday that the site will benefit from Amazon's additional resources and expertise in building a platform where users can share ideas. [snip]


"Whether Shelfari goes mainstream will depend on how Amazon integrates it with its core business and with products such as the e-Reader Kindle," he noted. He went on to note that LibraryThing hopes to compete with Shelfari by providing a superior service to Shelfari. " [snip]

Stan Schroeder, a blogger at Mashable, added that Amazon turned its eye to Shelfari because it needed a book-oriented social network and acquiring Shelfari was the "easiest, fastest or least cash intensive" way to do it.

"I think that Amazon will actually help Shelfari to grow." Schroeder added. "It'll be much easier to build a community for book-lovers if you've got Amazon's huge user numbers and book inventory to help you."



Monday, August 25, 2008

Comparing Social Networking to Online Communities

Comparing Social Networking to Online Communities

By leelefever on December 7, 2004 - 9:08am.

Lately I've been promoting the possibilities of using social networking to bring managers together within an enterprise. Recently, after introducing the concept, a teammate said: This is just another virtual team/community collaboration tool we;ve seen a lot of those and they never work.

While my introduction to the concept surely played a part in this perception, I couldn't help but wonder about the real differences. What are the significant differences between social networking and more traditional online communities? How would I describe the differences?

In my mind, they are different. Social networking represents a related but significantly different animal than more traditional online community / collaboration tools. Before going forward in comparing the two, let me be more specific: I mean 'social networking' to mean sites /communities like Orkut, Tribe, Ryze, etc. I mean 'traditional online communities' to mean discussion or message board-based communities ... .

Following are the points that I believe make the biggest differences:

  • Use of the Member Profile
  • Identity without Collaboration
  • Explicit Relationships with Forums and People
  • New Forum/Group Creation
  • Network Centric Navigation


Client Video: LinkedIn

Client Video: LinkedIn
By leelefever on July 2, 2008 - 8:49am
Length: 02:29
Date Produced: Jul 2 2008
Views: 6894 reads

Notes: I've been a member of LinkedIn for years and like many members, I wondered how to get more from my connections. The company came to us to help address this question in video form. Ultimately, it's about uncovering LinkedIn's ability to not just connect, but get things done.


Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy?

Scientific American Magazine - August 18, 2008
Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy?
Young people share the most intimate details of personal life on social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, portending a realignment of the public and the private

By Daniel J. Solove

He has a name, but most people just know him as “the Star Wars Kid.” In fact, he is known around the world by tens of millions of people. Unfortunately, his notoriety is for one of the most embarrassing moments in his life.


For the first time in history nearly anybody can disseminate information around the world. People do not need to be famous enough to be interviewed by the mainstream media. With the Internet, anybody can reach a global audience.

Technology has led to a generational divide. On one side are high school and college students whose lives virtually revolve around social-networking sites and blogs. On the other side are their parents, for whom recollection of the past often remains locked in fading memories or, at best, in books, photographs and videos. For the current generation, the past is preserved on the Internet, potentially forever. And this change raises the question of how much privacy people can expect—or even desire—in an age of ubiquitous networking.

Generation Google

The number of young people using social-networking Web sites such as Facebook and My­Space is staggering. At most college campuses, more than 90 percent of students maintain their own sites. I call the people growing up today “Generation Google.” For them, many fragments of personal information will reside on the Internet forever, accessible to this and future generations through a simple Google search.

That openness is both good and bad. People can now spread their ideas everywhere without reliance on publishers, broadcasters or other traditional gatekeepers. But that transformation also creates profound threats to privacy and reputations. [snip]

Before the Internet, gossip would spread by word of mouth and remain within the boundaries of that social circle. Private details would be confined to diaries and kept locked in a desk drawer. Social networking spawned by the Internet allows communities worldwide to revert to the close-knit culture of preindustrial society, in which nearly every member of a tribe or a farming hamlet knew everything about the neighbors. Except that now the “villagers” span the globe.


Social-networking sites and blogs are not the only threat to privacy. As several articles in this issue of Scientific American have already made clear, companies collect and use our personal information at every turn. [snip]

The government also compromises privacy by assembling vast databases that can be searched for suspicious patterns of behavior. [snip]

The Future of Reputation

Broad-based exposure of personal information diminishes the ability to protect reputation by shaping the image that is presented to others. Reputation plays an important role in society, and preserving private details of one’s life is essential to it. [snip]

Some would argue that the decline of privacy might allow people to be less inhibited and more honest. But when everybody’s transgressions are exposed, people may not judge one another less harshly. Having your personal information may fail to improve my judgment of you. It may, in fact, increase the likelihood that I will hastily condemn you. Moreover, the loss of privacy might inhibit freedom. Elevated visibility that comes with living in a transparent online world means you may never overcome past mistakes.


This openness means that the opportunities for members of Generation Google might be limited because of something they did years ago as wild teenagers. Their intimate secrets may be revealed by other people they know. Or they might become the unwitting victim of a false rumor. Like it or not, many people are beginning to get used to having a lot more of their personal information online.

What Is to Be Done?

Can we prevent a future in which so much infor­mation about people’s private lives circulates be­yond their control? Some technologists and legal scholars flatly say no. Privacy, they maintain, is just not compatible with a world in which information flows so freely. As Scott ­McNealy of Sun Microsystems once famously declared: “You already have zero privacy. Get over it.” Countless books and articles have heralded the “end,” “death” and “destruction” of privacy.

Those proclamations are wrongheaded at best. It is still possible to protect privacy, but doing so requires that we rethink outdated understandings of the concept. One such view holds that privacy requires total secrecy: once information is revealed to others, it is no longer private. This notion of privacy is unsuited to an online world. The generation of people growing up today understands privacy in a more nuanced way. They know that personal information is routinely shared with countless others, and they also know that they leave a trail of data wherever they go.

The more subtle understanding of privacy embraced by Generation Google recognizes that a person should retain some control over personal information that becomes publicly available. This generation wants a say in how private details of their lives are disseminated.


Facebook rolled out these programs without adequately informing its users. People unwittingly found themselves shilling products on their friends’ Web sites. And some people were shocked to see their private purchases on other Web sites suddenly displayed to the public as part of their profiles that appeared on the Facebook site.

The outcry and an ensuing online petition called for Facebook to reform its practices—a document that quickly attracted tens of thousands of signatures and that ultimately led to several changes. As witnessed in these instances, privacy does not always involve sharing of secrets. Facebook users did not want their identities used to endorse products with Social Ads. [snip]

Changing the Law

Canada and most European countries have more stringent privacy statutes than the U.S., which has resisted enacting all-encompassing legislation. Privacy laws elsewhere recognize that revealing information to others does not extinguish one’s right to privacy. Increasing accessibility of personal information, however, means that U.S. law also should begin recognizing the need to safeguard a degree of privacy in the public realm.

In some areas, U.S. law has a well-developed system of controlling information. Copyright recognizes strong rights for public information, protecting a wide range of works, from movies to software.

[snip] To cope with increased threats to privacy, the scope of the appropriation tort should be expanded. The broadening might actually embody the original early 20th-century interpretation of this principle of common law, which conceived of privacy as more than a means to protect property ... .

Any widening of the scope of the appropriation tort must be balanced against the competing need to allow legitimate news gathering and dissemination of public information. The tort should probably apply only when photographs and other personal information are used in ways that are not of public concern—a criterion that will inevitably be subject to ongoing judicial deliberation.

Appropriation is not the only common-law privacy tort that needs an overhaul to become more relevant in an era of networked digital communications. We already have many legal tools to protect privacy, but they are currently crippled by conceptions of privacy that prevent them from working effectively. [snip]

It would be best if these disputes could be resolved without recourse to the courts, but the broad reach of electronic networking will probably necessitate changes in common law. The threats to privacy are formidable, and people are starting to realize how strongly they regard privacy as a basic right. Toward this goal, society must develop a new and more nuanced understanding of public and private life—one that acknowledges that more personal information is going to be available yet also protects some choice over how that information is shared and distributed.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Inigral Schools: Will Colleges Friend Facebook?

Will Colleges Friend Facebook?

As colleges have worked over the years to solidify their Web 2.0 presence and reach out to students where they’re most likely to congregate online, there’s often a glaring omission from their overall Internet strategies: social networks. That’s not so much an oversight as a hesitation, with many institutions still debating whether to adopt social networking capabilities of their own or grit their teeth and take the plunge into Facebook, with all the messiness and potential privacy concerns that would imply.

A new start-up company [Inigral: The Social Web for Education [] believes colleges’ wariness about joining the Facebook fray — despite the advantages they could theoretically reap from keeping tabs on alumni, soliciting donations and marketing to would-be applicants — leaves an opening in the market for an application that would combine the ubiquity of the social networking site with the privacy and authentication sought by institutions.

The result, Schools [] [QuickTime Overview] , upends the traditional application framework. Rather than make it available to anyone with a Facebook account, the service is based on partnerships with individual colleges that pay to allow their students access. The colleges then provide the company, Inigral, with constantly updated data feeds that allow the application to stay current with courses, clubs and other activities that students can join.

The application eases colleges’ privacy worries by adding an extra layer of authentication, usually using official student IDs or e-mail addresses, and adhering to any federal privacy restrictions.


Inigral initially began its foray into educational social networking by developing a Courses [] application, which it has mainly shelved to focus on Schools.

Beyond the basic functionality of allowing students to display to their classmates what courses they’re taking, they can join dorms or student groups — synced with colleges’ official data — and say which sports teams they play on. They can decide who can see what (for example, only true Facebook friends can see many details), including comments on how they’re doing in various classes, but stay assured that all classmates within the application have been verified as real.

In contrast to other applications that try to bring college classroom functionality to the social network, said Michael Staton, Inigral’s co-founder and a former high school teacher, Schools builds on the original campus success of Facebook, which replicated students’ real-life relationships. [snip]

“We think there is a lot of value, and universities are starting to realize this, in having students feel more connected to each other and to campus life,” Staton said. Rather than compete with course management systems, some of which are also migrating onto Facebook or inspiring independently designed applications, Inigral is attempting to encompass the college experience as a whole.


“It’s something that we’ve been looking at for a long time,” said Kevin Christian, the university’s director of strategic partnerships, of Facebook. “The higher ed community broadly has been trying to understand how best to utilize social networking as a tool to affect [our] campuses in a positive way."

The university, he said, is finding it can have the benefits of “living within the Facebook world” without ignoring “prudent concern to retain Facebook as a true social networking site.” Much as the university is planning to do with its new army of iPhones, Christian said some faculty members were planning on making use of the newly adopted technology in their classrooms.


Next spring, the company plans on rolling out a “bigger beta” of its application, Staton said, before doing a major launch in fall 2009. Beyond a core set of “really, really affordable” features, the company is planning on adding on extra functionality at a premium cost.


Campuses might ask, “’How much time and resources is this going take from us?’ Our answer is, none,” Staton said. — Andy Guess