On Likes, Faves and Sharing

I’ve been thinking a little more about what Jack Baty wrote about the notion that likes on social networks should be private.

Jack suggests that likes (and faves, and hearts, and…) should be visible only to the “Like-or and the Like-ee”.

For the Like-or, Jack’s approach allows them to keep a list of things they have liked, and to send a vote of thanks to the author.

The Like-ee receives said vote of thanks[1].

Personally I like the first part – a list of the things I have favourited in a service like micro.blog would be a useful thing. If there was a JSON/RSS feed, or if I could use an API to do something with things I favourite with a service like IFTTT, then I could do useful thing with those Favourited items, such as:

  • add them to a link blog
  • add them to a bookmarking service like Pinboard
  • append the item to a note or next actions list

These are good uses of Likes and Favourites.

The second part – the vote of thanks – could be a good thing, if (and IMHO ony if) that aspect is private as Jack suggested.

The problem I am seeing is that many people put very little thought into Likes ’and Faves.

Clicking a link to Like or Favourite favourite takes a single second, and even less thought. People do it routinely, move on and often give no more thought whatsoever to the topic.

IMHO, the best way of registering thanks and supporting the efforts of the author is to take a few moments and to write a meaningful reply — perhaps in a comment, or better yet perhaps by making your own (micro) blog post — and linking back to the original.

What I am suggesting is to take mindful action, expressing what it is you like in a way that gives real feedback to the author.

Sharing is important, because as micro.blog user John Johnston mentioned, curation is important. One of my key personal uses of micro.blog at the moment is as a link blog for interesting things I’ve stumbled on across the web[2].

Sharing has the potential of increasing the audience for content by exposing it to your audience, hopefully leading to healthy discourse about content and the ideas behind it.

The mindless liking of ‘stuff’ has the potential of a dumbing down thinking. By liking and faving we may well only be providing mindless positive reinforcement, and avoiding critiquing stuff.

Lets face it, a lot of stuff that is being shared on the web really needs to be critiqued.

Ideas get better, and the world gets better, when we, collectively, are willing to deeply consider and develop ideas, share those ideas and be willing to receive honest and considered critique.

Its nice to receive positive feedback, but it may not be healthy to receive only positive feedback.

Ideas need to be shared, and ideas need to be challenged.

Micro.blog users Jean MacDonald and Shannon Hager have both recently on undertaking what Jean referred to as a ‘Like fast’.

I think this has potential – let’s stop mindlessly liking stuff, and mindfully replying to, critiquing and sharing ideas.

Starting with this post.


  1. Not on micro.blog, where at the moment favourites are visible only to the Like-or.  ↩
  2. Of course, it goes without saying that sharing an idea for discussion doesn’t mean endorsement…  ↩
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Ello to the future of social media?

Thomas Hawk on his movement from Facebook to ello.

I’ve been increasingly disappointed with my experience on Facebook. I find that fewer and fewer of my friends are seeing what I post and engagement is increasingly going down.

I’m seeing more and more “sponsored” posts and advertising crowding out organic content, which probably plays a part in this…

I have danced with completely deleting my Facebook account for quite some time. There are a few reasons why I haven’t done so yet, but I view content there occasionally and post content there rarely. When I do post to Facebook its generally reposting from a blog post, or cross posting from my Instagram feed.

Again, Thomas Hawk nails it:

I feel respect for my content on Ello, which is shown large in full high res glory. This is why I put more of myself into my art and photography on Ello than any other site. The respect feels greater.

I am playing with ello too (find me at ello.co/desparoz and will certainly try out posting some images and words there to see what feedback I can get.

For me, for now, DesParoz.com remains my main venue to posting content (images and words), but some social media will continue to play part of communicating that – and will be an increasingly important part of the conversation that continues after the post. [1]

I have lots of questions about the future of Ello, but at this time Ello is seriously interesting.


  1. While comments are currently still enabled on DesParoz.com, I prefer the conversation to happen elsewhere – such as on the commenters own site, linked back, or perhaps now on Ello. I like John Gruber’s approach of keeping the site clean, an approach that sites like Re/code are now following.  ↩

DogHouseDiaries on social media’s simmering privacy policies

Social Media is an important way to interact with friends and colleagues, and in many cases, with colleagues, customers and suppliers. It can be a powerful tool, but it can also be an incredible productivity sinkhole.

It is also a fact that many of the major social media services have progressively and slowly evolved (eroded) their terms of service to decrease privacy.

Today’s DogHouseDiaries comic beautifully expresses this.

Personally I minimise my time on social networks, sticking mainly to Twitter and LinkedIn. I use Google+ and Facebook selectively, and then only in dedicated (read: sandboxed) apps, or in a browser that I only use for these sites. I don’t access Google or Facebook from my main browser.

App.Net goes free. Hopefully not into free-fall.

The Twitter-alternative social network known as App.Net (ADN) has gone free, in a way, as of today.

Launched initially as a paid service, ADN has had a special feel about it as the signal-to-noise ratio is excellent, with spamming non-existent, and actual conversations between what seem to largely be real people. The value proposition was that being a paid service, we users were the customers, not the product.

In the press release today, ADN founder Dalton Caldwell (@dalton) was almost apologetic in his justification for introducing free accounts. More importantly, however, he overviewed the ways in which the free accounts will be limited. Apart from having to be invited by a (paid) member of ADN, there will be other restrictions…

Free tier accounts are similar to paid tier accounts, but with a few limitations. These limitations are as follows:

  • Free tier accounts can follow a maximum of 40 users
  • Free tier accounts have 500 MB of available file storage
  • Free tier accounts can upload a file with a maximum size of 10 MB

Over the last few months, ADN has dropped it’s subscription price, and then added storage space for use with apps. It looks like they’re trying to get app developers to use ADN as a backend with a social network attached, rather than a Twitter alternative social network with a back end attached.

Marco Arment (@marco) sums up a key issue with ADN’s confused value proposition:

Worse yet, if I build an app that requires App.net, it still effectively requires a paid App.net account for my customers to use it, because the chances that they’ll already have been given a free-account invitation from another member are nearly zero.

A major problem with Twitter is that as a freemium service, we users are the product which Twitter sells to its advertisers. The signal-to-noise ratio is out of control, with a lot of spamming, and predominately broadcast based messages from various celebrities.

ADN offered us an alternative world, but it looks clear to me that this world has failed to get sufficient momentum. High profile users like Stephen Fry have dropped their accounts, and powerhouse users like John Gruber, John Siracusa and others have reduced their participation.

I suspect that ADN is confused about what their product actually is.

  • Is ADN a social media network? If so, where are the users?
  • Is ADN a storage platform? If so, what is the compelling proposition against Dropbox, Amazon S3 or CloudApp? And why would we pay for it in addition to the cost of the app?

I want ADN to survive and thrive. But as a founding user, I am not at clear anymore as to its value proposition. I hope that by going free, ADN isn’t starting down a path to a free-fall.

I am @desparoz on ADN. Come and say g’day.

AFR: Tweets, Facebook posts track fire hotspots

IMG_1135The Australian Financial Review has a good article describing the role played by social media in getting the word out about fire warnings during the potentially catastrophic confluence of weather we had on Tuesday.
As discussed in my post on the the NSW Bushfires and the Fires Near Me app, agencies like the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW Police, backed up by media like the ABC have used Twitter very effectively to get the word out. The RFS’ Fires Near Me NSW app served this purpose well, as did their website and the bulk SMS sent out to people in the areas declared to have a catastrophic fire risk.

So far, this situation has been dealt with very effectively by the agencies concerned, and I hope people will continue to use the tools and heed the warnings passed on.

Social Media 2013 Video

I’ve been a fan of Eric Qualman’s (T: @equalman) writings and videos on social media for several years now, and am happy to see his Social Media 2013 Video.

I love some of the quotes/stats from the video, including:

  • 1 in 5 couples meet online; 3 in 5 gay couples meet online
  • Every minute 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube

If you like Eric’s stuff, consider buying his book Socialnomics.

As an aside, I find it interesting that Eric is not yet on App.Net. It shows perhaps that ADN is still largely a geek thing, but it will be interesting to watch its trajectory…

Social Media Revolution 3

Its strange that in 2011 there are still businesses operating with the belief that Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ and more) are fads, and that social media doesn’t have a direct business role to play.

Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed Erik Qualman’s Social Media Revolution slideshow that he has put together with stats from (and presumably to promote) his book SocialNomics. He has recently released version 3 of this presentation and its well worth watching, and taking note of.



I guess that the businesses that don’t get social media are destined to be part of (or follow) the 40% of Fortune 500 companies that won’t be here in 5 years.

Social Media – Its a First Person Thing

Our new Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has started tweeting (@JuliaGillard), following on from our ex-PM Kevin Rudd (@KevinRuddMP). Where Kevin07 seems to speak for himself, dropping anecdotes and one liners, Ms Gillard’s tweets are clearly from a staffer. Consider these examples (the last three as of this writing):

The first is clearly written on her behalf by someone – either that or she’s speaking about herself in the third person.

The other two are in quotes, indicating she is quoting someone. Considering that she doesn’t cite who she is quoting, I can only guess that she is quoting herself. Again, either someone is tweeting for her, or she is tweeting in the third person.

Social media, especially Twitter, is first person communication. It is one-to-many and simultaneous many-to-one communications, and it is marked by personal, direct and to-the-point messages.

I think her tweeting style is wrong, and it is going to show the tech community that she is not in touch.

I would make 2 suggestions for our PM.

  1. Write your own tweets and do it in a personal manner; or
  2. If you can’t do that, make sure your staffers make it look like you are personally tweeting

If you can’t do one or the other of these, I’d suggest renaming your account to something like “TheOfficeOfJuliaGillard”.

Update 14 July 2010

Since the original post, PM Gillard has made 1 more tweet:

Today I announced the Education Tax Rebate will be extended to cover uniforms. We need to make education more affordable. JG

I don’t know whether someone gave her feedback along the lines of my comments above, or whether these directly got to her, but I do like that the most recent tweet is first person, and quite probably seems to be from her personally.