Tag Archives: zuckerberg

Facebook Announces New Messaging System

As Mark Zuckerberg takes the stage today, one cannot help but notice how much more comfortable he seems than usual. He’s not stammering. He’s not hesitating or clearing his throat. He jumps right into an amusing anecdote to explain to us how he came up with the idea for the new Facebook mail feature… including gaining a few chuckles when he admits that he feels old when talking to teenagers. It’s obvious from his comfort level that he truly believes in what he and his team has come up with. He explains to us why “normal” email just doesn’t work any longer. It takes time to find someone’s email address. It takes more time to fill in a subject line, the body and a signature. There is a very distinctive gleam in his eyes as he begins to unveil his solution.

“Messages should be personal” states the Zuck. He strongly feels that normal emails aren’t personal. It should be a simple process. Over the weekend, most speculations were that Facebook would add a ton of features to their mail system. This isn’t true. Mark wants to take features OUT of the email process and make it simple.

There are three important parts to this new messaging system. Seamless messaging means that you can instantly and easily send a message to the people you need to contact. This includes various methods of communication, including email. Conversation history will be THE best way ever to quickly go back through an entire history between yourself and another person to see what you have discussed in the past. Your social inbox is simply the way you can filter through to find only the messages that you want to see.

Not having used it yet, I can only say that thus far, this looks to be a hell of a lot better than we expected from Facebook as far as mail is concerned. Are you going to be grabbing your Facebook email address today?

Facebook Won't Give up Your Wall

Recently, we were all overjoyed to learn that Facebook now allows us to download all of our information. With the click of the mouse, you can send your photos, comments and wall posts to a nice little .zip archive that can be easily downloaded to your computer – sort of. If you were a member prior to the summer of 2006, you will not be able to download your Wall posts. We all know that what goes on within your Wall is the most important stuff of all, so what gives?

As pointed out by Jason Kinkaid on TechCrunch: “While the site currently has over 500 million users, in summer 2006 the total was more like 10 million, so this only affects, at most, around 2% of the current userbase. And the Wall is the only feature that’s affected — your messages and photos are all intact regardless of when they were posted.”

The way things are handled on the back end of the site has changed many times over the years. It’s likely that Facebook simply hasn’t bothered to create the means to access these old posts seeing as how it affects so “few” people. Ten million isn’t a few, but I suppose it is in the grand scheme of things. If you scroll wayyyyyyyyy down your Wall, you’ll notice that anything prior to this time period doesn’t even begin to load – right on the site. It’s no wonder, then, that you cannot download the information.

Will we ever have this capability? It’s hard to say. If enough of us throw a fit, the powers-that-be may just listen. Stranger things have happened, right?

Should Mark Zuckerberg Throw in the Towel?

Things didn’t go well for Mark Zuckerberg when he appeared on the D8 stage two days ago. From all angles, he appeared to be fumbling his way through the answers he was giving. He broke out into a cold sweat and had to remove his trademark hoodie. Bloggers around the globe took stabs at Zuck and his team based on his performance. Today, I have seen several posts where people are beginning to wonder whether or not Zuckerberg should continue in his current role with the company he founded as a college student. Likely the most prolific comes from Shel Israel.

Shel unabashedly tells Zuck that it’s time he steps down from his cushy CEO position. The letter to Mark points out the areas in which he is sorely lacking and gives factual statements in support of the claims made. It is written simply – yet powerfully. In closing, Israel tells Zuckerberg: “the tech industry has a long history of young entrepreneurs who were challenged to grow as fast as the companies they had created. Some succeeded and are still at the helms of their corporate ships. Others did not and wisely stepped down to allow firmer hands to guide the ship. It is time for you to do exactly that, Mark. You will be remembered as a brilliant founder. You will have planted seeds to a mighty tree that will live on.”

My first reaction when I began reading was one of shock: who is Shel to tell Mark how to run his company? Who are any of us to give that piece of advice, for that matter? As I continued to read, I found myself nodding in agreement much of the time. Facebook has grown by leaps and bounds. No one can deny that. But has Mark Zuckerberg grown with it? Each of the points made in the open letter are dead on target. Facebook may have billions of users, but how many of those billions aren’t very happy with the way things are going?

For any company to continue to grow and thrive, the people at the top must adapt and change with it. A CEO may start off with a set of ideals and visions. Those tend to change as time goes by and the company is forced to do things differently in order to keep up with the ever-changing demands and needs of their customers and users. We’ve seen big changes and shake-ups within some pretty major companies over the years. Much of the time, they were done in order to help keep driving the companies forward.

Even if Mark chooses to remain in his current role, it would be a great idea if he were to include more people in his inner circle. Bring in some fresh blood, Zuck. Don’t only surround yourself with people who feel the same way you do about the issues you face. You need a team who will think outside the proverbial box, one who will help bridge the huge gap you have created between you and your users. You need people at the top who are going to ensure that Facebook remains the powerful force you have guided it to be by helping it to change to meet the demands of your userbase.

Facebook's New Privacy Controls

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that majors changes to privacy settings on the site would begin rolling out today. The world complained – and Facebook listened. Today, Zuck strode onto the stage at the Facebook headquarters in a grey hoodie to give those assembled the run-down on the new settings. To those in attendance, he appeared calm and confident. Somehow, though, I have a feeling that a bit of that cocky demeanor has shifted in recent weeks. Wouldn’t you lose a bit of your brashness if half the world was breathing down your neck? The changes outlined today are pretty major. That is an indication that Mark knows things were seriously screwed up, and he admitted as much during the press conference.

The changes to the privacy settings went into effect almost immediately once the live event started. As Mark reminded us of the Facebook philosophy that “the world is more open and connected when people are driven to share more,” millions of site users stared in wonderment at how simple it appears to be now. According to Mark, people want to share things… it’s human nature. Facebook wanted to make it possible for us to do so from the very beginning. He strongly believes that the best way to accomplish this is to give us control over what we share.

“We’ve gotten the sense that a lot of what we did – we didn’t communicate well and a lot of things got lost in that. We had to simplify controls and take things back to basics. Some things are valuable to share with everyone… but some things should remain private,” Zuckerberg stated quietly. His voice boomed a little louder as he said that it will eventually “get to a point where it’s so hard to control your information that people end up sharing far less, and that is something I never want to see happen.”

Beginning now, there are three major changes to the privacy control area on Facebook, all of which are outlined in a new guide on the site:

  • Changes will apply to all of your content retroactively. For example, if you change a setting today on your photos to only share them with friends, it will roll back and change all pictures you’ve ever posted to be only shared with friends.
  • These changes made today will apply to all new products going forward. If you later want to share your pictures with the world, you’re going to have to change the setting.

The default settings for all of your content can now be set with one single click. You will have “complete control over who sees your information,” says Zuck.

When it comes to your directory information, you will have less publicly available information, real privacy controls and the necessity for friends to find you. For third party apps, there is some excellent news: there is now one checkbox to turn off instant personalization. Mark says it would be “too confusing” to simply turn that off site-wide and start from scratch. Instead, you’ll have the option to click a box and opt-out of instant personalization. If you do, it will automagically delete all of your information from third party applications. This is fantastic news for many people out there who have been highly ticked off by the way their information was handled and processed by these apps.

All in all, the announcements are good. While Facebook didn’t switch everything to an “opt-in” process as many had hoped, they made every effort to keep their network of users happier.

Thanks to @scobleizer for getting this video of the press conference up so quickly!

Leave Your Privacy at the Door

As I sat here about to wind down for the night, I noticed a new post by my friend Robert Scoble. Robert began an interesting discussion on his blog to talk about Facebook and privacy. All of the points he makes are right-on, and I found myself nodding in agreement much of the time I was reading.

It gets interesting, though, in the comments section. As Robert is fond of pointing out, that is usually always where you’ll find the most relevant opinions and discussions on any website. For instance, Brandon Soucie points out that “when it really comes down to it, how “private” are your interests, favorite music, movies, books, etc? And in what ways can it be harmful to have this information publicly accessible?” So what if Facebook tells the world what music I’m listening to? You’ve been able to find that out at any time during the past three years by tuning in to my live stream.

Much of the information that is no longer private on Facebook are things you already talked openly about, anyway. We tell the world via Twitter where we’re at nearly every moment thanks to check-in services like GoWalla and Foursquare. I see people updating regularly when their Pandora station plays a new song that they enjoy. People recommend their favorite movies, books and restaurants all over the Web. Why, then, are you so shocked and pissed that Facebook is giving out this same information?

I’m not trying to claim that there shouldn’t be boundaries and limitations. If Zuckerberg suddenly decided to display my address and social security number all over the place, we’d have a huge problem. However, that information isn’t even listed anywhere on the site. Facebook can only divulge what we feed into it. I don’t tell the site what time of day I get out of bed. I don’t post on my Wall every time I change my underwear. I don’t even discuss what I ate for dinner, for frick’s sake. I still have control of my “privacy.” No social networking site can take that away from me.

If you want something to stay private, you shouldn’t be posting it on the Internet. Long before everyone “Liked” everything, that was a golden rule of being online. Way before the days of e-Wars regarding privacy and sharing, we knew in our little brains that there are some things we should just keep quiet about. At the end of the day, you are still the one in the driver’s seat. You are the only person who can decide whether or not something should be shared.

If you don’t like the way Facebook is doing things these days, you don’t have to be a member. Continuing to use the service while complaining to anyone who will listen is not the way to help facilitate change. As Robert says, look for the positives in all of this. Keep your secrets close to your chest, and run out to expand your music horizons.