My New People Tracking System

I’m experimenting with a new system for discovering and getting to know important new people. I’m pretty excited about it. Of course it’s about Twitter because Twitter is paying my mortgage. I wrote a little song about it, goes something like this:

Just kidding, no song. I totally should write a song about it, though. If this system works well over time maybe I will do a little warbling about it after all. Thoughts?

5 Cool New Blogs You Might Like

I’ve been meaning to share links to some of the blogs I’ve been coming across a lot lately and really enjoying. Check these out, you might like them as much as I have been. Got suggestions for other blogs that readers here and I should be subscribed to as well?

  • Locationmeme is some good writing about the hot trend of social software based on location. See also Checkin Blog.
  • The Next Web is an up-and-coming tech news blog, a competitor to ReadWriteWeb. These guys are really, really fast on a story. Hopefully once they’ve made all the more of a name for themselves for speed, they’ll settle into writing more about what they think about the web. They’re certainly right in the thick of things online.
  • Mixergry is an awesome series of video interviews with entrepreneurs who have interesting stories.
  • Augmented Planet is all about Augmented Reality. I’m a big Games Alfresco reader, but Augmented Planet is looking like a regular must-read as well. See also Tish Shute’s Ugotrade.
  • Finally, these might not be blogs but they are some of my favorite news sources of daily information. Two iPhone apps that I’m just in love with. The app for Newser offers a great summary of top news stories. It makes really efficient reading. And my absolute #1 top new favorite? Etsy Addict!

Yup, those are my (roughly) 5 favorite new blogs. How about you? Anything you’ve discovered lately that is becoming a must-read?

What Did Zuckerberg Really Say About Privacy?

I just noticed some posts around the web questioning my characterization of Mark Zuckerberg’s on-stage declaration that the age of privacy is over. I left a comment on one of those blog posts that I thought I should post here as well. I thought pretty hard before posting that coverage of Zuckerberg’s statements that I did. I asked myself: is this a fair way to characterize what he just said? I concluded that it was and I stand by that still today.

So just for the record, here’s the rough transcript I posted last month of Zuckerberg’s literal comments, followed by my justification for why I’ve summarized them as I have.

“When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’
“And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.

“We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.

“A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built, doing a privacy change – doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.

Here’s why I believe he was saying, in those vague but important words, that the age of privacy is over.

Zuckerberg did say that the era of privacy is over, he just said it one step away from literally and directly. He said this: our new privacy stance (X) is based on where we think the world is today and if we were to launch the site anew today, then that policy (X) is how we would have launched it.

What is X? It is a policy wherein your profile photo, friends list and most importantly fan page subscriptions are irrevocably public and a variety of other types of user data are now by default public. He doesn’t say “the era of privacy is over” directly, he says “our new privacy policies reflect the way the world is today” – but the phrase “our new privacy policy” equals: no more privacy about some things and public by default on others.

It is a fundamentally more public position on privacy and one that Facebook team members have told me point-blank on a press phone call – yes, they are hoping to move people towards being more public and less private.

So let me know, am I mischaracterizing things? I don’t think I am. I don’t think I’m putting words into anyone’s mouth, I think I’m doing journalistic work interpreting the meaning behind public utterances regarding a topic I’ve been paying close attention to for a good while.

10 Articles I Was Proud of Writing in January

I was just looking over the archives of my most recent ReadWriteWeb articles and noticed there were a number of them I was quite proud of in January. I decided to highlight them here, in case you’d like to see any you missed.

I wrote 40 articles last month on ReadWriteWeb and these are the ten that I’d be most disappointed about seeing just roll down the stream to be forgotten about. I hope you find a few you missed but enjoy a second chance to check out.

Yeah, a bunch of them are about privacy on Facebook. But there are a number that aren’t about that at all!

Welcome to the Age of Robot Reporters

One hour ago, three emergency vehicles responded to a report of an unconscious person at the world headquarters of Nike Inc. in Portland, Oregon. How do I know? An automated form-pumping robot from startup company Nozzl Media told me.

Facebook’s 1st CTO Launches His Next Company (Screen Shots)

Adam D’Angelo was a programming genius who knew Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in high school, became the young company’s first CTO and has just begun to unveil his new startup company, Quora. Built by D’Angelo and a team of crack young engineers, Quora is a real-time enabled Q&A site. The company calls itself “A continually improving collection of questions and answers.”

How Chris Messina Got a Job at Google

Chris Messina grew up in New Hampshire, the Live Free or Die state. As a high-schooler in the early 90’s he held his school’s website hostage after being suspended for running an ad on it for a controversial gay rights group. Now Chris is nearing 30, today was his 29th birthday, and he just announced that he’s taken a job at one of the biggest, most powerful corporations in the world.

Why Facebook is Wrong: Privacy is Still Important

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told a live audience this weekend that the world has changed, that it’s become more public and less private, and that the controversial new default and permanent settings reflect how the site would work if he were to create it today. Not everyone agrees with his move and its justification.

PowerOne: This iPhone App Builds iPhone Apps

Elia Freedman used to have it made. He was a mobile app developer in the days of the Palm Pilot and he scored bundling deals that got his sophisticated calculator software into the hands of more than 15 million people. Differentiating his product from competitors “wasn’t something we had to deal with for years,” he says, because of the favored position his app got in pre-loaded bundles.

Now those days are gone.

The Facebook Privacy Debate: What You Need to Know

Facebook changed the world by helping 350 million people publish their thoughts, feelings, comments, photos, videos and shared links much more easily than ever before. It’s the King of social networking.

The network grew with a big promise of privacy at the center of what it offered: your information was by default visible only to people you approved as friends. In December that changed, in a fundamental way. We offer below a summary of the changes that were made and key highlights from the debate that’s raging around the world about privacy, public information and Facebook. Given the role that Facebook plays in so many of our lives, this is high-stakes stuff.

Why is Google Afraid of Facebook? Because Social Networking Could Soon Pass Search

It’s often said these days that Google and Facebook are major rivals, but how could that be if one is in search and the other, social networking? Traffic analyst firm Hitwise provided one very clear clue tonight when it published new numbers for web user activity in Australia. For perhaps the first time ever, social networking sites have surpassed the traffic search engines receive, Hitwise says. There is reason to question the company’s categorization of web traffic, but the trend is worth examining none the less.

The Era of Location-as-Platform Has Arrived

The mobile location “check-in” is fast becoming the hot new status message type online. It was only a matter of time until “where you are” became a platform to build added value on top of just like “who you know” has on social networking sites like Facebook.

Canadian newspaper chain Metro announced today that it has launched a deal with location-based social network Foursquare that will deliver location-specific editorial content from the paper’s website to users’ phones when they check-in near a spot Metro has written about before. The potential for services like this is huge.

Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Twitter Headquarters

The Westboro Baptist Church, home of the best known anti-gay protest organization in the US, led by Pastor Fred Phelps, has a new target for its public outcry. This Thursday afternoon the organization will be picketing outside the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter.

Privacy, Facebook and the Future of the Internet

Today is the 3rd annual international Data Privacy Day and a whole bunch of companies are listed on the organization’s website as participants. Google, Microsoft, even Walmart. Facebook is not listed as a participant and has stirred up a lot of controversy with changes to its privacy policy lately.

Thanks for checking those out. I hope you’ll come join me over on ReadWriteWeb where I write every day and every day try to write something I can be proud of.