Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Effects of Facebook Changes

“There's lots of stuff none of us have ever seen before. That's good in some ways, but limiting in other ways.” - Mark Zuckerberg

The founder of Facebook has just said it, there are still many changes that are yet to be seen so if people are already complaining about the layout changes, the privacy settings changes and many other changes that Facebook is going through, save your other feedbacks for the many other so called improvements. Facebook is like a baby learning and trying to crawl. Or should I say, a child that's trying to ride a bike or a car perhaps (with its rapid growth). The point is, we can't expect such a huge community to remain the way it used to be when you joined it. Everyday, Mark Zuckberberg and his developers are trying to find ways to improve and plan strategies on how to fully optimize the site and give its users the most satisfying experience.

Why is it then that we're getting more and more users are irritated with the changes than being thrilled with it? A lot of people are complaining about losing their favorite bookmarks (and with that I mean bookmarks to their favorite games and other applications) and some buttons are un-clickable lately. Well, I don't have problems with the new layout except that it's a little confusing. Aside from that, I think the over-all changes are fine. I don't have problems with the privacy settings changes because it actually gave me more security options.

Most of the time, people just complain just because a change would mean having the need to learn new things but little did they know that these changes will benefit them in the long run. Take the uploading of photos for example. I was shocked to see a pop-up bar when I was trying to upload a picture. It took like 5 minutes before I was finally able to upload a photo. But then when I tried adding another photo again, snap, faster than lightning!

So you see, we don't see the big picture yet, so save those complaints and keep them to yourselves until you finally see that all the Facebook changes are simply for the best.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Open Letter for Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mark,

Know things are well and even getting for both you and your creation. I am such a huge fan of Facebook that despite of all the changes that you're implementing, can't help but adopt to them and simply accept them. I've grown a considerable network of friends and relatives in your site that I just can't leave it. I will speak in behalf of your 350 million users about several things that we'd like you to take action with.

Please note that these requests and appeals have already been addressed to you through every possible ways your Facebook users could ever think of. However, it looks like they've never really reached you or if they did, they never really got your attention. Though you're assured that you're connecting us with our friends and relatives, you are not giving us the most comfortable experience that we could ever have. We know you can do better than that, you've actually already made them, you just chose to change them. Mark, we know that things need to get better, but are they? We've got several things we want you to focus on above anything else.

We've been struggling with how to contact you or at least your administrators. Some groups were deleted or suspended right away without even warning the creator of administrator beforehand. Just like you, groups can't just exist then disappear in nowhere. These groups, especially groups with causes, need to reach out to their members and deleting or suspending them right away will take away the real essence of
Facebook--connecting people.

I'm starting to wonder what exactly are your basis for suspending or deleting an account or group. I see pages and groups that are abused or corrupted with pornography. Take a religious group for example. The last time I visited, a link and a picture of a mocking pornography was posted by a "fan" whose sole purpose of joining the group was to defame and mock it. When I click report and heard that many other members did, it's still there. We understand that you've got millions of requests to respond to but it makes me wonder how quick it is for you to delete accounts and group when in this case your action took ages?

Split of News and Live Feed
I don't need to emphasize and elaborate on this. You know we simply hate the confusion it has brought us. Why can't you just simply let things be as they are or used to be? You're only making it difficult for us to really know what's going on with our friends!

Dislike Button
Not everything posted is "Like"-able. Though I personally do not see the great need for this button, you must have seen several groups requesting and appealing to have this button installed. Why don't you give heed to such a simple request. Few lines of codes for this function will make millions of users even more happy.

Mark, though I personally love it, some people just can't take it when all their contents could now be easily indexed by Google. We know about the deal you have with Bing and Google but please, don't compromise your user's privacy and trust just for the sake of profit. Without us, there will be no profits.

Mark, we need you to listen to us, the users. We understand that you can't simply implement everything we demand but please consider those suggestions, or more aptly, demands. We hope that you will really stick to your main goal of connecting people and not just connecting your investors. Remember that user experience and satisfaction is the main soul of your growth.

We look forward to see your response through the changes in Facebook. We know Facebook could be better. And please, don't break things too fast. Slow down and let your feet touch the ground. Being too fast might break you.

(on behalf of your 350 million users)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Facebook Privacy Settings Changes Were Carefully Planned

Just before I'm about to sleep, I see tweets saying:

"Facebook's new privacy settings' confuses founder Mark Zuckerberg",
"Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg gets caught by his own privacy settings changes"

and many other variety of mocking comments from users of both Facebook and Twitter about Mark's lack of planning or of his failure to realize that the changes that many people criticize about will also affect him and his private life.

Sorry to disappoint you all but Mark Zuckerberg, the King of Privacy, planned it all. He's just too brilliant and too wise not to anticipate what could happen if he implements a change. He's too clever that he knows this move will cause people to criticize him but will only leave them to murmurings but they will wouldn't leave his wonderful creation as they've already grown attached to it with all their relatives and friends growing on the said network.

Let me wrap up the great reasons why he did it on purpose.

1. More control of privacy settings

You remember the last time there were settings on Facebook that were changed and it got more than half of its membership to criticize the said networking site and their lack of proper planning? Sorry to disappoint you but those were carefully planned. Before a programmer codes a program, he plans the whole thing from the very beginning until the end. From the design until the implementation and most especially on the maintenance. Mark Zuckerberg believes in giving its users the capability to control their privacy settings more than anything else. The new setting may mean unexpected or great exposure in general or in default. But if we try to look at every options, we could still opt to the "Old Settings" or even individually choose whether a particular item or photo could be viewable to the public or not.

2. Business

I may not be the only one to think about Facebook being a great platform for business. With the current changes in Google search results favoring highly the social media inputs or real-time contributions from the users, Facebook has to keep up with the deals and trends. You must have noticed before that when you search for your name, you could barely see your Facebook account at the top result, right? Unless that's the only activity you have online. If your settings stay like your old one and most of your contents "hidden", search engine spiders won't be able to crawl them and pull them up in the search results. Thus, lesser exposure for Facebook. I hope you see the point that it increases the visibility for the businesses that engage into social media networking and for Facebook to be a favorite of internet marketers or business owners too. You see, with the ease in sharing that Twitter gives, Facebook has to catch up. Have you noticed that when you search your site, your Facebook fan page or group now appears unlike before? That is one of the many benefits of the new privacy settings. Visibility for your business on search engines and more patronage for Facebook.

3. Paparazzi

I always believe that Mark Zuckerberg favors being checked out as it is somewhat natural for him to check out on others when he started Facebook. With some parts of his profile accessible to the public, more and more people would like to know more about him and curiosity is best fuel in helping one to keep going. People would get curious and even talk more about him. Thus, more publicity for Facebook. See, the more we criticize him, the more advertisement through word-of-mouth, or in our case, word through blogs, he'd get. I know, he doesn't need more popularity as he already is popular but he needs constant changes and intrigues to keep the popularity burning. At this point, I couldn't think of any other social networking site that could top Facebook's popularity or to challenge it's status. Therefore, they need to keep themselves on top. Just like more celebrities that are considered to be already famous, they need new "issues" to keep them being talked about.

4. Reaching Out

Mark Zuckerberg has been criticized about not being collaborative and interactive with its users. Now, he just made a brilliant move by changing some of his privacy settings into public so we could all get a peek of what it's like to live his life. Through it, it will create a sense of connectivity and openness. Users will get to know more of the man who created such a genius platform for collaboration. Though he couldn't tweet with us all, he decided he can share some of his experiences with us through his photos.

Now, was Mark Zuckerberg a victim of his own plans? Definitely not! The current issues that we're facing, or we're trying to throw at Mark are not breaking him or his creation in any way. It's even stabilizing and strengthening him. Did Mark Zuckerberg made a mistake with the current privacy setting changes? Eat your heart out critics but it only helps me reach his goal of increasing the number of its members. Mark is just too clever not to realize the outcome of what he will do. Before a plan reaches the execution stage, thorough deliberation has been done inside the walls of Facebook and its advertisers. Therefore, anything Facebook does is well planned and not just by chance.

Here are just some of the pictures that became available to the public right after the Privacy settings changes.

He doesn't see the need to hide his teddy bear so Mark Zuckberg made some of his photos public.
Mark Zuckerberg and his angels!
Facebook: A place to show off your vacations.

Mark Zuckerberg with girlfriend, Prisicilla Chan

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Real Message Behind the Open letter from Mark Zuckerberg

So I'm a big Mark Zuckerberg fan including all his cunning plans. I am such a Facebook addict that even if it hurts me sometimes to see pictures that only break my heart and some other circumstances that Facebook put me into, I still love it. You know the same admiration I have for Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens though I decided long ago that I don't like what they do. It's like Rihanna's I hate that I love you so? Exactly.

I love Facebook but it's quite intriguing and funny to see this real message in Mark Zuckerberg's Open letter. (Warning: don't take this seriously)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put out an "open letter" to the site's massive membership on Tuesday, explaining the site's revised privacy controls that are finally going into effect after being announced this summer, and additionally announcing the milestone that the site has reached 350 million active users around the world.

But CEOs are notoriously deft with spin, and Zuckerberg is a clever fellow. So, luckily, CNET has translated his entire letter for you! In italics are Zuckerberg's words. Below are the ones we found to be an appropriate substitution after extensive research, experimentation, and a little inspiration from a fluffy-white-cat-stroking supervillain.

It begins.

It has been a great year for making the world more open and connected. Thanks to your help, more than 350 million people around the world are using Facebook to share their lives online.

What he means: "We are taking over the freaking world. Eat it, MySpace."

To make this possible, we have focused on giving you the tools you need to share and control your information. Starting with the very first version of Facebook five years ago, we've built tools that help you control what you share with which individuals and groups of people. Our work to improve privacy continues today.

What he means: "I KNOW ALL YOUR SECRETS. But I promise I won't tell that ex-girlfriend of yours whom you chucked onto Limited Profile setting after she dumped you even though I totally know you check up on her profile every three days because I know everything. Have you met my fluffy white cat?" OK, well, maybe that's a little bit fanciful.

Facebook's current privacy model revolves around "networks"--communities for your school, your company or your region. This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense that a student might want to share content with their fellow students.

Over time people also asked us to add networks for companies and regions as well. Today we even have networks for some entire countries, like India and China.

What he means: "Some of my Harvard classmates wanted to brag that they get to live in Buenos Aires or Sydney. Or that they wanted to find hot girls who lived nearby. That worked for a while."

However, as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we've concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy. Almost 50 percent of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system, then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their information.

The plan we've come up with is to remove regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy control where you can set content to be available to only your friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.

What he means: "I could be deceptively upfront and say that this was just getting messy and that it makes little sense for millions of you with only a passport in common to be grouped under the same label. But let's be honest. I am simply preparing you for the day in the not-so-distant future when you all willfully renounce your national affiliations and become citizens of the Grand Republic of Facebook. And I shall be your Fearless Leader. Did I mention I own a white fluffy cat?"

We're adding something that many of you have asked for--the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload. In addition, we'll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings. If you want to read more about this, we began discussing this plan back in July.

What he means: "It's taken a while to get this out of the gates. But you'll dig it. When we launched privacy controls that let you see who sees what on your profile, a lot of you already had big friends lists (because you are totally addicted to my brilliant creation). So we're making it all less messy. And now you'll also be able to be more specific about controls on content, like letting your mom have access to the 'note' where you talk about how much you love her chocolate chip cookies but not the one where you ask for all your friends' phone numbers because you got crunked and dropped your iPhone in the toilet.

More importantly, this means that I can hand-pick which of you get to see each video of my white fluffy cat that I upload. Wait till you see the one where he chases a laser pointer! YouTube would die for it!"

Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks we'll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You'll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you're finished, we'll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you're done you'll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.

What he means: "We know the indoctrination process can take some time. So we'll be patient with you, minions."

We've worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone's needs are different. We'll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you're sharing with online."

What he means: "The press loves to write about it when some numb skull puts all his Halloween party photos on Facebook and his boss sees them and sacks him. And that scares everybody and makes Facebook look less like the future of the open and connected social graph and more like an oozing vat of scandal and danger. I don't want that and neither does my white fluffy cat. So, please don't be stupid."

Thanks for being a part of making Facebook what it is today, and for helping to make the world more open and connected.

What he means: "My work here is complete. Now, Elliot, have you located the map of all the air vents in Twitter's new headquarters that are large enough to accommodate a mutant panther-raccoon hybrid?"

Disclaimer: CNET is unable to confirm whether Mark Zuckerblofeld, uh, I mean Mark Zuckerberg, actually owns a white fluffy cat.

Also, this post is not intended to be taken seriously.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Secrets of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates

In response to The New York Times article entitled Who’s Smarter: Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg? by John Markoff, I made a comparison of two of the world's most successful tech heads or technology leaders, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, dropped out of Harvard so he could pursue his vision of improving what used to be Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, dropped out from school with the same reason. These two visionaries and achievers followed their dreams and left what which is keeping them from reaching their dreams.

Mark just proved that history repeats itself when he became the second man to drop out of school, next to Bill Gates, whom later became successful. In life, success is not really measured by how much we earn but what we learn. It's not about doing something just for money but doing something that really makes you happy. It would be an icing to the cake if you do both though...

I DO NOT suggest that we drop out of school but if something is standing in the way of realizing our dreams that we know will make us happy, then why stay? Besides, being at school doesn't guarantee that you will learn everything that you will need in life. Being at school doesn't guarantee success later on. We get to pick up the pieces that will help us build our dreams, yes they start at school, we need to learn the basics but then sometimes if it's just delaying us from reaching our dreams, maybe it's about time to move a little faster, dream a little higher and work a little smarter.

Just as my favorite Sidney Sheldon character, Dana Evanston said,

"If something can stop you, you might as well let it go."

The secret to success? Pursue that which is make you happy and don't be afraid to take risks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mark Zuckerberg: Innovating and Inspiring

Who: Mark Zuckerberg
What: What?! You've been using Facebook and you don't even know who's the genius behind it?!
When: February 4, 2004
Where: Harvard dorm
Now: Palo, Alto
How: Start-up and development of Facebook

Here's the interesting part of the story. Mark founded Facebook together with his classmates, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes. The idea of Facebook came from an annual directory which most colleges and prep schools are publishing. They made an electronic version of this student directory then known as the Facemash, then "thefacebook" and eventually became the famous social networking site, Facebook. The site became a hit to his co-Harvard students as it allows them to compare students' dorm photos and works similarly to that of HOTorNOT.

The administration of the said school were not as enthusiastic and amused with his creation as Mark managed to "hack" and obtain photos of the students from the school's students information database. He faced subsequent disciplinary actions due to his actions and creation. Being a man who loves to create things, he was never undaunted. He continued improving the site together with his co-founders and in less than three months later (beginning of the summer) Facebook was launched. It started as with Harvard students taking it as the hottest thing. Later they spread it to other Ivy League schools which includes Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell and Yale.

In order to pursue the development of their project, Mark and his friends moved to the technology capital of the United States--Palo Alto, CA. You may not imagine how a company currently serving over 300 million users started with a humble small house. Well, from small and simple things, great things will come to pass.

Just like any other start-up companies, Facebook needed an investor in order for them to continue covering for their expenses and improvements. Mark met with Peter Thiel over the summer and later had their first office during the summer of 2004.

Mark Zuckerberg has a wide computer programming background and it's not surprising that he created such a networking site which would later become such a hit as he started programming when he was in middle school. He also developed a program which helps the workers in his office to communicate while he was attending Phillips Exeter Academy. He also built a music player named Synapse which uses artificial intelligence to learn the user's listening habits and a version of the game Risk.

What lack I yet?

1. Downtimes

Just like any other social networking sites with growing members and avid users almost every second around the world, what features or development does it lack? Lately, there have been successive attempts of DoS(denial of service attack) to both social networking giants, Facebook and Twitter. Many users have been experiencing downtimes and unable to log in to their sites. It is vital part of the service which Facebook has to continue to monitor and continually struggle to prevent.

2. Automatic Account Deletion
Many users have been rumbling as their accounts are automatically being deleted because of some violations to the Facebook Terms and Conditions without further investigations or giving the user the chance to defend himself or his actions. With its growing users, they should have a special team just for settling these increasing concerns. For such a huge company, they should also strive to improve their customer service and user interaction. Well it was a good move for them that they allowed the users to vote on the terms and conditions that they want. I guess it would also be a good move to know what the users concerns are.

3. Contacting

Did I mention that it's difficult to coordinate with them when you want to report bugs or spams? I think it is something they need to work on.

Mark Zuckerberg developed a project that changed the world and the way communication works. He pioneered and engineered a platform wherein everybody could interact and share their own ideas and implement them real-time. As he puts it, "If you're not breaking things, you're not moving fast enough".

Way to go Mark! Indeed as you said, "We still have a lot to build and do."