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Facebook for Blackberry

Imagine my surprise this morning, when, upon logging in to Facebook with my Blackberry browser, I was presented with the option of downloading a Facebook for Blackberry application – written and signed by Research in Motion (RIMM), the maker of Blackberry. Well, hearing this was made by RIMM, I’m in.

It certainly makes FB much easier on the Blackberry. 7 Icons on top of the interface cover Status, Photos, Friends, Inviting, Poking, Wall posting, and Messages. As noted by some of the comments on the application’s page, you can’t yet get your messages from Facebook – only send new ones. You also can’t browse friends by picture, just by name. When you find a friend you want to check, you can ask for the full profile and see it, but in a pretty limited way compared to a web browser.
There were two messages when I first set up the app – and one was about what alerts you would get using it. I read them briefly, hoping to go back to them after exploring, but now I can’t find them. As far as I can tell from the application’s page, I’d just be setting up email alerts to the phone in some way – but poor interface design not letting me get back to those basic instructions quickly.
I eventually have figured out that my Blackberry’s main email address has to be the address that gets facebook notifications – then facebook messages will come to the FB app.

I see this application having serious potential, but right now it’s a pretty limited feature set. It is a great move on RIMM’s part. Back a while ago, Helio was touting connections to MySpace. Too little, too late from a marginalized phone platform. With this move, RIMM is making a huge statement about how they want to support not only the business Blackberry users but the cool, hip, smartphone audience. Well done.

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Blog Action Day – Talk about the Environment

While the Network News programs this morning did little more than pimp their own shows (CBS , ABC, I’m talking to you), people on blogs all around the world are making news with Blog Action Day. (Thanks to the never-sleeping Chris Brogan for letting me know via Twitter).

Today, 15,861 (as of this writing) blogs are participating, not counting this one.
Everyone is writing something about the environment, and trying to get some attention for the issues around it. There will also be donations to causes from Greenpeace to the Sierra Club. More about it on the Blog Action Day Blog. They’re claiming a reach of about 12 million people today. That’s better than the network news programs combined.

So, for my writing – just this. We took a simple action a few months ago, and replaced all our fixed lighting bulbs with Compact Fluorescent bulbs. And, our bill went down several dollars over the last few months. Is it the bulbs, or are we more conscious of not having the lights on? Who cares? We’re saving money and using less electricity. So that’s good for the environment and for our wallets. The one thing we couldn’t find is CF bulbs that go into dimmers. For some reason, Home Depot, Costco, Walmart, none of the big stores near us carry bulbs that work in dimmers. Our house was wired for dimmers in several rooms by the former owner, and that also can save electricity, but we couldn’t find those bulbs. Well, thanks to Google, today I found and I’ve got to figure out how big the bulbs are, and which ones are the substitutes, then we can buy some dimmable ones and save even more money.

So, that’s your environmental tip for the day. Try CFL bulbs.

And it’s also your Social Media tip for the day. If you want some attention, get a bunch of bloggers involved. I’m interested to see how this plays out in the main stream media.

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Why is there no spam on Facebook?

At a dinner the other night hosted by my friend Pip Coburn, someone (and I’m really sorry, I don’t remember who brought it up) commented “My MySpace profile would generate spam and email messages to connect to spam pages, but I don’t get any of that with Facebook. Why not?”

This is a great question. It almost seems obvious, and yet, I’ve never had this discussion before. I note Read/Write Web’s Richard MacManus had a discussion back in July about how open or closed Facebook is, and someone in the comments mentioned the lack of spam. And over on IT toolbox blog, Tom Olzak describes what he feels is spam: the feature many Facebook Application developers include in their applications that suggest you invite your friends to join in the app once you use it. Or, by design, you can’t use an app unless you get your friends into it. Bite any chumps, lately, zombie? Food fight anyone?

So, by his definition, the spam on Facebook is people sending you invitations to participate in applications, or in groups, for which you’re not really interested. I don’t do the Zombies, Vampires, Compare People or Top Friends apps. I don’t really have time to invest in those, and many seem a little too invasive. Quick story when someone sent me a “Compare People” request, the first question that came up was “who’s better looking?” – with a comparison of a Facebook friend and a picture of my wife, who had just walked into the room. “What’s that?” she asked. End of application. But I digress. Somehow, friends inviting me to try new toys doesn’t feel as much like spam or even Bacn as real email spam does.

Update: It occurs to me David Blumenstein had commented that because it was created for HS and College kids, Facebook would have to have protections in place to keep random email out, or it would die of its’ own weight. Also, he noted the protection of limiting invites for apps to 10 at a time really helps too.

It seems LinkedIn, which has almost no way to interact with other users except asking questions and seeing who knows whom to help you get a job, is now considering adding apps as well. As Saul Hansell (who was also at the dinner) writes in today’s NYTimes Bits, Dan Nye of LinkedIn

wants to keep these add-ons all business, unlike the unrestrained goofiness on Facebook, where programs let you turn your friends into vampires, draw graffiti on their pages, and challenge them to stimulating news quizzes.

They’re going to tightly control who can play in their sandbox, and, frankly, I think that’s a good move. As Facebook and LinkedIn become more and more useful, if they can manage to keep spam or Bacn down to a minimum, and really, truly enable interaction with friends, “friends” and business contacts, they will continue to gain value as replacements for the very broken email system that exists today.

Your friends have very little incentive to spam you. Invite you to play games, maybe, but unless you are closely connected to the body part enhancement community, low cost wrist time-piece community, or the African banking scam community, you may be safer communicating on Social Networks.

This is, of course, a first thought piece on this, late in the afternoon on Friday. Comment away and tell me if I’m missing something.

Bonus points: Plaxo should be the perfect social network, because my address book should be an exact match for my social network. What’s missing at Pulse? Are you using it?

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Doc is Mad as Hell, and He’s not going to take it anymore

Wow, Doc Searls is fired up about the potential Google phone, based on the Business Week story. Bweek talks about targeted ads popping up on your mobile as you go through the world, but based on your preferences and actual behaviors.

Doc’s take: He wants to tell advertisers what he wants, not be made into a profile:

Tools on my phone that let me tell sellers what I want, and on my terms
– and not just on theirs. Whether that’s a latte two exits up the
highway, next restaurant that serves seared ahi, or where I can buy an
original metal slinky…
I want to be able to notify the market of my shopping or buying
intentions without revealing who I am, unless it’s on mutually
agreed-upon terms….Quick, who wants their cell phone to be a “mini marketing machine”?

There’s more to read, and this is a great discussion about what Doc and others have been calling VRM, or Vendor Relationship Management – “the reciprocal of CRM or Customer Relationship Management. It provides customers with tools for engaging with vendors in ways that work for both parties.”

Worth checking out.

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If Supermarkets were Web 2.0 compliant

Excellent video, which might not be funny if you’re not part of the ‘in crowd’ for Web 2.0, but which appeals to my sense of humor. – Supermarket 2.0

(I tried to embed it but it is too wide….)