Social Media Top 5: Welcome to the Hotel Cali-Facebook

Welcome to the Hotel Cali-Facebook

“You can opt out any time you want….”

When Facebook Groups came out, it intrigued me (ok, partly because it’s my job). I was also pretty miffed pretty quickly, for reasons that have been well-documented:

  • People can add you to groups without your knowledge or permission. The “opt-out/your privacy doesn’t matter because we think you don’t care” attitude of Facebook has risen again, just as it did with the emails for Fan Page admins and countless other FB “features.” Forget that I didn’t mind the particular groups people added me to (unlike,say, Jason Calacanis, who was quite hilariously added against his will to a joke NAMBLA group); I’m waiting for Facebook to do something that involuntarily adds me to something I absolutely want no part of. Opt-out isn’t good enough. Facebook Places is bad enough, but at least Facebook asks permission when someone wants to “out” me on Facebook as being in a certain location.
  • Opt-out part II: I instantly started getting emails – dozens an hour – for every single notifications for all the groups I was force-added to.

I think you get the picture. There are certainly other gripes, many of which are easy fixes. The worst I can say about those is that perhaps Facebook could have dealt with them after some Beta testing, before we all had to deal with bugs and then a universal constant-changing of the interfaces as Facebook fixed them in real-time. Oy.

That said, I wondered, in the back of my mind, if my hyper-connected social media self was being a little too critical too quickly. That was one reason I held off on this post. Then Augie Ray of Forrester Research wrote this post that captured, in a way, what I was thinking: we “social media professionals” may jump on perceived bad features, but in the end we are not the intended audience, particularly for Groups. If the general Facebook audience uses them, then great. We need to decide if these features are interesting or useful for clients or ourselves (jury is out), and that’s fine, but it’s irrelevant to so many Facebook users.

Just fix the privacy-invading crap, and we’re good.

And one other thing- kudos to my friend Christopher Penn for cutting through the mess to acknowledge those who thought he was worthy of inclusion in Groups (apparently the NAMBLA jokesters left him alone.

My Avatar is Sacred (Mind the Gap)

I noticed some friends change their avatars on Twitter to some weird, generic-looking logo. Then I realized they were protesting The Gap changing their logo to well, a weirdly generic-looking logo (they used this site to deface their own Twitter presence).

My avatar is sacred space; I have an identifiable picture of myself so that if I meet people at events, they recognize me. That’s important. Whether or not the Gap wants to be boring is not. This is not to say the “greening” of avatars, or adding pink ribbons for breast cancer, etc, is not honorable, but still…

If you see me defacing my own avatar, it will definitely be for something a lot more substantive. In the meantime, can someone tell me what “Morrison Fit” means for Gap jeans? I tried some on and I didn’t look a thing like Jim Morrison

URL Shortening is an Unholy (not to mention Un-Islamic) Mess

It always struck me funny that Libya controlled one of the more popular Web domains, the “.ly” domain. Now that the Libyan government has actually shut down one of the domains (, apparently because of objections to the content, based on Islamic Law.While we have all gotten used to services like, especially due to the convenient “adverby” sound of the domains, I suppose it should not surprise us that there are some hiccups. Perhaps we should be surprised it took this long for a small country to try to exert some control over its country’s domains. (Hat tip to Andy Sernovitz).

Lessons From an Online Cause Marketing Fundraiser

A nice, brief case history (via Beth Kanter’s blog) of lessons learned from an online fundraiser. Read all the points, but the heart, to me, is the first: “Build the base first.” no networking without a network, true.

History of Social Media Boo-Boos

A bit of same-ol same-ol, (and probably posted already by many of my friends) but if you want them all in one place, here you go:


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