Thursday, February 11, 2010

See All Of Your Facebook Friends

Just a quick public service message for you Facebook users out there. Most people have received the new user interface by now. I only just received it myself, so I haven't lived with it long enough to render judgment. However, one of the things I noticed right away (besides the fact that they broke the Blackberry app for a few days...grrrr) was that I was not seeing all of my friends' status updates. So, after remembering what they did last time, I checked and indeed they throttled back the number of friends appearing in the feed to 250. I'm not sure if those 250 are random or somehow ordered, but it doesn't matter because I want to see all of my friends. Let me make the decision about who I want to ignore, Facebook! ;-)

So, the resolution is quick and easy:

1. From the homepage, click the "Most Recent" link so you are seeing the real-time friend feed.

2. Scroll down to the very bottom of the feed and you'll find a link labeled 'Edit Options'. Click this link.

3. In the resulting dialog box, you'll see that they are setting the number of friends you can see to the default value of 250. Change this to a higher number, up to 5000, which is currently the maximum number of friends you can have. Click the 'Save' button.

That's it. Once you complete these three simple steps, you will be back to seeing all of your friends' farm updates, mafia scores, news on their pets, etc. On second thought, maybe you want to set that number to 0. ;-D

Pass it on...

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The WildFire Is Spreading...And It's Hot! Update Your Status Across Multiple Networks From Lotus Notes!

A new OpenNTF project hit the ground running today and it is hot! I installed it this morning and think it's a great piece of work. The project is WildFire, a Lotus Notes 8.5 sidebar application that allows the user to update status messages across a ton of different social platforms. Networks supported in this initial release include Facebook, Twitter, Lotus Sametime, Lotus Connections and many more! While this type of client for allowing simultaneous updates of your micro-conversations is not new, the implementation, interface and integration with the Notes client is top notch. Installation was smooth and it worked as expected right out of the box. Having the ability to selectively update given services or all at once right from the Notes sideshelf is a great value proposition, especially considering that it's free!

Here's a screenshot of WildFire from my Notes client with the services I've configured so far. I love the fact that you are not locked into a single instance of a given service. For example, I have my embedded Sametime client configured for 7 different communities, and if I wanted to, WildFire would allow me to update my status across all of those.

Configuration of WildFire is extremely simple. Once installed, the application options appear in the standard Notes Preferences dialog. You simply add a new service and select the Account Type (Sametime, Connections, Facebook, etc.). Each account type can be given a unique name and it is this name that appears in the WildFire UI. For a given account type, the credentials required vary somewhat, but it is all very easy to understand. You can also group your various accounts together (e.g. Personal, Work, Friends, etc.). This allows you to selectively send that hilarious, NSFW video to your buddies from school but not to your work associates with just a single click. I especially like how it pulls in your information for Sametime from the communities you already have configured. Making it easy to get up and running quickly is a great user experience feature!

To update your status, you type your message, select the service(s) you want to update and hit the Post button. Simple stuff, but the simple tools are sometimes the best. I believe I'll find this over time to be a big time saver.

Check out some other screenshots of WildFire:

So who is behind this awesome piece of work? It's available on OpenNTF, the Lotus Notes open source community, courtesy of ISW, a Premier IBM Business Partner located in Australia. Thanks to Andrew Welch, Adam Brown, Joel Thirgood and anyone else involved in this great project.

There's a lot to like about this application and if you use more than one of the many social networking tools out there today, it is worth your time to check out WildFire.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Twitter...Are We Doing It Wrong?

I should be spending a little more time preparing for the social software proof of technology seminar that I am giving the next two days, but instead I'm spending time reading blogs about social software. Hmmm...maybe that actually counts. :-)

There's been quite a bit of buzz about Twitter in our community lately.  Rocky asked what all the fuss was about a few days ago.  I saw Andrew talking about Twitter being used incorrectly on Twitter yesterday, which I thought was funny and ironic.  Today, he elaborates on those short points and says that we are using Twitter as a chat room and that we shouldn't be doing so.  I thought my comment might get a bit long, so I decided to post here.

Looking at Andrew's thoughts and some of the ensuing comments, my initial reaction is that you guys are all spending too much time looking at this from a tool and technology point of view.  Social software is about relationships between people.   Twitter provides a dead simple mechanism for people to expose bits and pieces about themselves that can lead to a strengthening of those relationships.  It has a singular let us learn more about others.  It may have initially been created to tell your friends what you are doing at this exact moment, but the community that has grown up around Twitter has fashioned a new use for it.  This is a hallmark of good expanded beyond the dreams of its creators.  The importance of the 140 character limit can't be understated either.  It encourages interesting ebbs and flows within a conversation or a person's thought patterns that you would not otherwise see if they had the ability to type free form.  It's a great way to fill in the blanks between e-mails and blog posts.

Twitter works because YOU have the say in what you want to listen to and how you want to participate in the grand conversation.  It's easy to filter out the noise and focus on what interests you.  With the rapid adoption of this model across other platforms, you are going to be hard pressed to get those who believe in it to leave.  I'm not saying that chat rooms don't have their place (they certainly do), but it's just a completely different paradigm.   I see Twitter as organized chaos that I'm free to jump in and out of at will, and there's something about that concept that appeals to me.  It's not about if we're using it for its intended purpose.  What matters is if it strengthens the connections I have to people I am interested in.  Does it help me build a feeling of community?  So far, the answer is yes.  Thus, I think our use of Twitter is just right.

Hey...if you want to follow me,  I'm chrisblatnick on Twitter.  See you there!


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