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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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Dinner Last Night at the NYSE

Thanks to my friends at Corante, I was invited to a dinner put on by Susan Bird for her WF360 Awards, at the NYSE HQ on Wall Street.

I was able to spend a few minutes at the cocktail hour speaking with Jeff Jarvis, Jack Meyers and Cynthia Ginsburg (see photo). (The entire photo set is on Flickr.)

We discussed TV, TIVO/PVRs and a bit about what people are watching, while standing in front of the new Fox Business Channel booth on the floor of the exchange.

Jeff, who among other things is famous for the “Dell Hell” discussion on his blog a few years ago, told me that in last week’s issue of Business Week he got a chance to interview Michael Dell (here on video) about how they’ve learned to listen much more effectively to their customers. Mr. Dell says in a very candid, bloggy way:

“These conversations are going to occur whether you like it or not, O.K.? Well, do you want to be part of that or not? My argument is you absolutely do. You can learn from that. You can improve your reaction time. And you can be a better company by listening and being involved in that conversation.”

Great quote, and an article worth reading whether you’re a competitor to Dell or a small business.

It’s always wonderful to catch up with Isabel Walcott (in black) and Francois Gossieaux (pictured here with me). They seem to be doing some interesting things at MarketHum. I hope to learn more.

I also got a chance to speak with Heath Row for the second time this week, as he had visited Social Media Club on Tuesday.

At dinner I was at the “Storytellers” table,
and met several interesting folks, including Susan Danish of the Association of Junior Leagues International. From their site:

The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

We had an excellent discussion on how many of the Junior League chapters are using social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace to connect their members. An example is the NY Junior League on Facebook (note, Facebook login required). Susan told me how the members are helping the organization to see the value of Social Networks and that the individuals involved are moving the organization forward and getting their message out in new ways.

I look forward to interviewing Susan in more depth to learn what new things are developing because of these social community connections.

One other unique feature of the evening was that WF360 had put cards from their “Leading Questions” series on the tables. As a group we discussed a few of them, and we received a copy of the set (along with some other nice schwag) in gift bags.

All in all a thought-provoking evening of good conversations.

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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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Social Media as Conversation

This morning, Jeff Pulver does a great job at summarizing what many of us in Social Media have been seeing for the last few years (Jeff included) – that the biggest attraction on the net is the Other People and the ability to Have A Conversation with them.

The Jeff Pulver Blog – Notes, comments and observations

Back in the day, Content was king, but in the world of social media communications, “the conversation” has taken the throne. Sure, content still matters, as does context, but for those of you who are looking to where the next mega trend on the Internet will be, I am placing my bets on something I am referring to as: The Conversation.

Jeff also notes: “By embracing social media, a business can shift from being a monolithic
company name or a branded product and transform themselves to a person,
an individual who advocates and evangelizes.” Exactly. This is part of what I do with companies all the time. By helping people learn to blog, to join Social Networks, or to help develop strategic plans on how to join the conversation, we are enabling companies to have a face – the face of the actual people who work there.

One PR agency asked me how they could write better blog posts for their clients. I told them to teach the client to blog instead. It is rare that someone can post for a company better than an employee who cares about the company’s mission, is seeped in their culture and is passionate about the company’s direction. That was me, back when I worked for Microsoft, and that passion coming through goes a lot farther than any amount of free copies of Windows.

As I start to receive feedback about my Podcast, which isn’t a business venture but is purely a personal and creative effort (see this post about A Chat and A Song) it is the feedback, the conversation that keeps my effort going. In the same way, when a company starts a group on Facebook to hear what people have to say about their product, or to gather their fans together, they’re gaining from the conversation.

In a sense, none of this is new. The ClueTrain Manifesto reminded us that conversations are what markets were always about. We just needed to find a balance. The old era of blasting messages is coming to a slow, lingering end. It’s time to learn how to have conversations. If you want to know more, talk with me, or with one of my many friends in the Social Media arena. I have a whole network of them.

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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.