My third attempt at deploying HyperBowl as a Facebook app. The first two were via DimeRocker. This time around, I was just playing around with Heroku to try some Ruby on Rails stuff and I got distracted from my original goal when I found that the Facebook developer page has an option to automatically populate a Heroku account with an app template. So I just wedged a copy of the HyperBowl web site into a PHP template for a Facebook app. And by the way, I love using git to upload to Heroku.
Facebook ads are starting to freak me out. Check out this latest batch – I did look at a glassdoor employee review of New Relic. Bacon? OK, maybe I Liked a bacon page on Facebook (if they have some info on me and boxers, well…). Homeland? I just watched the final episode recently. That’s creepy. The Avengers? Did they follow me to that Vegas movie theater on opening week?
Here’s some evidence that whatever you add to Facebook stays there. When Facebook added their LinkedIn-like resume feature, I filled it out with my jobs. Then I removed it. But still, Facebook is displaying how many connections I have through them.
I’ve been using Mogl for a few weeks now, and really, just the cashback feature seems to make it worthwhile. The number of participating restaurants in my area was small, but seems to be growing. I also really like the meal donation aspect.
However, I turned off email notifications because I didn’t really care about how I just lost the number one spot at a nearby restaurant. It actually matters, since there is a cash reward, but still, don’t want to hear it. And I was exasperated to find Mogl posts on my Facebook wall for each of my dining events, so I turned that off, too (it didn’t help that each post started off with “Boom!”).
So here’s an example where “gamification” and social networking detracts from the appealing features – good old-fashioned cashback and donations.
A while ago my uncle gave a talk at MIT and remarked later on how MIT’ers often rebut each other’s arguments by saying, “that’s orthogonal.” It’s a succinct way of saying that your information is irrelevant to the main topic, with the additional benefit of proving you know linear algebra, and I’ve often felt like using that phrase, except probably no one will know what I’m talking about.
I do find that I apply orthogonality in how I use the web, in particular the social web. Facebook is for interaction with friends, LinkedIn to keep in touch with colleagues, twitter for public interaction, about.me as a central list of all my links, my own sites for blogging, writing and marketing. Sure, there is some overlap, I use Facebook product pages for business and and there is an intersection among my LinkedIn and Facebook groups, but surprisingly little, for example, between them and twitter. And part of that is despite their attempts to become the end-all and be-all of the web (I removed all my career description from Facebook and all the copies of wikipedia pages on Facebook are just lame).
I think this is why Google+ is so far unappealing. It’s trying to do something that is already done well enough elsewhere. The circles feature is a great idea – that’s something I wished Facebook had ever since I reached a combination friends, family and coworkers on it. But none of my friends are actively using google+. And as a twitter replacement, I only have five followers on google+ vs. over six hundred on twitter. If google made it easy to feed my tweets into google+ I would do it, but they don’t, and I won’t.
Google even fails to embrace the orthogonality of their own services in google+. I never let a lack of justification stop me from wasting time on a web service, so I spent part of a day filling out my google+ profile and found I had to upload photos and videos. I don’t use picasa, but you’d think that I could just link to my YouTube videos (or at least to my account like about.me does). And the usability leaves something to be desired. I hit Upload Photos, uploaded some photos, edited the album title, hit Create Album, then Share. Same for videos, except of course it took a lot longer to upload, and when I hit Create Album I realized I hadn’t changed the album title, hit Cancel, found all my uploads gone and there wasn’t an option to change the album title, anyway. I’m not going to repeat that process for my five followers.