Urban legend says facebook is listening

8409207368_b4acce604e_c_d

There so much talk about Facebook and other west coast megacorps (the 5 stacks) listening in on our conversations. To be fair its part of the reason why I don’t like Whatsapp who own and can do what ever they like to the metadata of your conversations. It’s all become a bit of an urban legend, but to be fair the megacorps are doing an incredibly bad job explaining how things are happening (little to no transparency, but to be fair it’s not fitting with their business model).

Even a recent episode of Reply All tackled this field – #109 Is Facebook spying on you.

You can look & listen to the rising concern the public have around their privacy; and the increasing number of stories. I you can’t help but think maybe there is a change coming? Or at least I’d like to think so… but its clear there is a lack of understanding of data by the general public.

For example

“One of the things that Facebook can do is if you like something, it can advertise that thing to your friends. So the brother-in-law obviously signaled to Facebook that he was into white supremacy somehow, and Charles’ friend was liking a lot of the guy’s posts, and they were friends on Facebook, so Facebook was like, “Alright, well, why don’t I advertise this white supremacist stuff to you.”

If you actually read the Facebook EULA, it actually says this but certainly not in such clear human readable words (its been a long while since I skimmed the FB eula, so may have changed – but doubt it). In my own experience, it’s also very hard for people to envision scenarios where the links matter, hence it may not be the actual data but the links between the data which suddenly make people worry and care; the data taken out of context. Most have no idea how many categories of data Facebook alone are sorting us all into.

This is hard to show and demonstrate without going; without going all black mirror or someones eyes glazing over. In my experience when talking about data most people shrug and say things like, “nothing to hide.”

Glass room recipt

During Mozfest this year I got the chance to walk around the Glass Room on Charing Cross Road, with the people at the ingenious bar giving out data detox kits. The kits are interesting because it’s aimed at a mass audience and the advice although simple is generally useful. I also found some of the installations good, especially the one where you are swiping through your facebook timeline (it was twitter for me) and 2 mins later, given a printed receipt of your work. (Funny enough, it felt like a lot longer than 2mins but then again, its not really the thing I do regularlly)

We certainly need more of this!

Hopefully more of these public interjections will start to move the discussion on from urban legends to a proper informed discussion about ethical data use. I believe FB and others are capitalising on the general public ignorance and its got to stop.

I wonder about the effect of Instagram on our minds

I have been having a discussion with Tim about Instagram recently. Interestingly its also the launch of Ingrid Goes West.

From tmdb

Ingrid becomes obsessed with a social network star named Taylor Sloane who seemingly has a perfect life. But when Ingrid decides to drop everything and move west to be Taylor’s friend, her behaviour turns unsettling and dangerous.

It doesn’t sound great, something like Friend Request and Unfriended.

Anyway…

I don’t use it because I have issues with the whole setup of instagram. Without going into too much detail, here’s the main points.

  1. I don’t agree with Instagram’s end user licence, which includes using your photos in almost anyway they like.
  2. I don’t like the creation of instagrams is all within the same app (for example I use a Plume on Android and Corebird on Ubuntu) to access Twiter and I create, edit and post to twitter not within twitter (it a important distinction)
  3. I don’t like the fact Instagram isn’t really public, indexable or accessible unless you are on instagram.
  4. I have a problem with filtered views of real life. Its bad enough that every photo you see has been doctored/photoshopped/filtered/algorithmicilly messed. But I don’t want to see them everyday.

Photoshopping

And the last point is a key one, as its clear there are serious problems with seeing this level of fakeness everywhere. Like it or not, it becomes normalised.

I hear some of you say this is no more than what Twitter or Facebook do/enable? and I would somewhat agree… but I have built ways to deal with this partly due to being able to use other apps or types of behaviours which run against the way it was engineered.

For example I don’t really look at the Facebook timeline, as I know its trying to lock me into a filter bubble, somewhat of my own making. Yes I could do a Robert Scoble and manage it into a better bubble, but I just don’t think its worthy of attention; plus Facebook doesn’t share this data in their data portability exports meaning all that work isn’t transferable at all. I know being without Facebook makes things very tricky but I can manage my activity within it right now, this might change of course as FB gets more greedy

Its easy to blame Instagram for all types of ills but its not solely them. Its a combination of Instagram and its share holders, the silicon valley push for winner takes all adoption of everything (dare I say anything about Uber in London) but most of all; ourselves for being suckers to peer pressure, advertising and patterns which are so established others are telling us exactly how they work!

We blindly follow suit without thinking about the long term effects. Mark Manson suggests the smartphone is going to be this generations cigarettes. When thinking about most peoples experience of the smartphone with Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp preloaded, I can’t help but think actually he’s got a good point. Its the perfect Black Mirror episode, total fantasy as Rachel said!

Black MIrror s3ep1

We seem to be playing with fire without a true understanding of the consequences. Even if we do, how do you make this clear to others who are suckered in? How do you make this clear in the face of peer & social pressure? How do we make this clear to the next generation, the ones born with visions of a unattainable perfection all around them?

I’m not a sucker and won’t be joining to be a poster or lurker just so I can scroll through my friends fake reality pictures.

Perfect 1000? is this really a thing?

perfect-1000

Ryan congratualted me on having 1000 facebook friends.

Ian did you know that you have exactly 1000 friends at the moment on Facebook? Any time you add someone you now are going to have to delete someone else to maintain this perfect number! … You’re part of an exclusive club!

I said “Ha! Is that really a thing?

Of course it’s a thing haha when you have the perfect 1000 why would you want anything else?

I have never heard of this and had not really noticed I was now at 1000 friends. I’m assuming this maybe fits with some of the stereotypical very mild traits of OCD, people think about? Same as when some people like solid numbers, absolutes, perfection? To me it makes no difference and I’ll carry on adding friends adhoc.

Ordinary life does not interest me

Ordinary life does not interest me

I wrote a blog about neurodiversity after Kate included me in a tweet about a mother and daughter talking on the listening project. My blogs are shared into Facebook and Marie added a comment, which was simply a picture.

That picture (same as above) spoke volumes. After looking it up, I found the source.

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.”

Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

This is something I absolutely subscribe to. You only have to ask friends about my dotted past and look at some of the friends I get up to shenanigans with. I never seeked to fit in or follow other people’s limited constructs of what I should or not do; and to be fair I’ve never been very apologetic about it. Of course it’s not all tea and honey, but it’s just the way I am. Said on the eve of getting undressed on TV.

Viewers might find this disturbing

Manchester Ferguson protest

The last 2 weeks have been difficult to take. Theres been too much I have wanted to say and so much I have wanted to do. I have been thinking and deeply worried we have taken a few steps backwards in evolution.

For me two videos have summed up so much, and I do worry they exist in spaces like Facebook.

Video one is the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man in St Paul, Minnesota. #Blacklivesmatter but you can clearly see this isn’t the case, in a city I have visited and actually enjoyed in the past.

The second video comes in the days after the EU Referendum or Brexit. It shows a racist tram abuse at 8am in the morning in Manchester.

Each person who filmed the killing and abusive attack, showed incredible bravery to stand up and put a camera in the face of such situations. If you are old enough to remember the Rodney King beating, its important to remember George Holliday who filmed the beating.

Peak inside BBC R&D via Facebook

LJ Rich contacted me asking if I was up for an experiment. Of course I said yes, and without really knowing a few weeks later I was roped into taking part in BBC News #24Live stream on Facebook. It was a bit of surprise but an enjoyable one, shame about the technical difficults at the start.
Unfortunately the only way to get the video out Facebook without hacking away at it, is to embed it complete with the javascript code. So enjoy it and flush your cache afterwards if you are not a FB fan.

 

 

We’re back!#24Live NOW: We’re taking an interactive look inside BBC Research and Development. Ever wanted to know what…

Posted by BBC News on Thursday, 7 April 2016

Data, dating apps and the harsh consequences of permissions

Tinder

Angie reminded me of something I forgot to wrote about many months ago. She pointed at BBC’s you and yours programme.

People who use dating apps to meet potential new partners have told You & Yours that they’re concerned about their privacy, after finding that Facebook has gained access to the details of people they’ve been speaking to. The names of people they’ve been matched with on the dating apps are appearing in their “suggested friends” on Facebook. We investigate how social media sites access our personal information and how users give their permission.

Yes, this isn’t new…! Dating apps like Hinge and Tinder use you as a matchmaker without your permission.

If you’ve got a robust Facebook friend list filled with single people who use dating apps like Hinge or Tinder, chances are you’ve appeared as a mutual friend between two different matches.

When your face appears as a link between people, you legitimize their connection. You become a topic of conversation, an “in” to launch a potential relationship.

Even if you don’t use these dating apps yourself, your personal information can still appear, because when your friends started using the apps, they gave the services permission to access their friend lists to display in-network matches.

There’s no way to avoid appearing as a mutual friend unless you unfriend everyone using these dating apps or delete your Facebook account. Even if your friend list is private, you’re still visible to these apps as a friend of a user who opted into sharing that information.

The potential consequences could be discomforting. Let’s say there’s a person on your friend list whom you added years ago and about whom you no longer know anything. If he matches with one of your good friends, she might decide to go on a date with him in part because of your online friendship, which can be misconstrued as approval from her social group.

The fact is Facebook has access to that data and when we install these apps, we are givng permission to them to do what they like with that data. Permissions is something which can add a bandaid to things but its not a permanent solution. I must find the bit in the FB EULA which says it basically snoop on and use the data requested from a 3rd party app. You didn’t think FB was doing it out of the kindness of their cold heart did you? Wake up and smell smoke. Its a harsh reality which I think people are still only just waking up to…. Linked data is still a concept which has really been picked up.

Graceful degradation of apps via permissions under android 6.0

Android 6.0 Marshmallow has a very nice feature, something I have been wanting to see more across all services and applications. Granular permissions, which can be applied and revoked by the user at anytime.

It was obvious that iOS had it right as far as transparent, granular app permissions were concerned, and Android Marshmallow admits as much, because it now has a very similar system. Permissions are asked for as and when they’re needed, rather than all at once during installation.

That gives you a better idea of what’s going on and also let’s you, for example, give Facebook access to your camera but not your contacts. If you want to check which apps have what permissions (and edit them), go to Settings: tap Apps then the cog icon, then choose App permissions.

Android 6.0 permission system
Why does BBC iPlayer Radio need access to my phone?

Since android 6.0 marshmallow, i’ve wanted to try out the app permission tweaker. I’m interested to see what happens when I block certain apps from key permissions. Will they explode will they gracefully handle it and still operate without it?
For example could I run facebook app and deny access to the internet, or local storage? OK that might be a little too far but what about facebook without access to the mic and camera? Surely that would work right?

So I tried it with the Amazon kindle app, which I always thought had too many permissions anyway. I mean why does the kindle app need access to my contacts and my telephone?!

Android 6.0 permission system

Haven turned them off, I thought I’d better see if the app still actually worked?

Android 6.0 permission system

It did! So I started revoking permissions from apps which I felt didn’t need the permissions. For example Fitbit, which I refused to upgrade in the past due to the permissions.

Android 6.0 permission system

Why does Fitbit need so many permissions anyway!

Android 6.0 permission system

Andorid warms me the app may break as its not written for Android 6.0. But it still works as I want it to., so this has to be a case of them over reaching with the data they want to consume?
Say hello to your new permissions Fitbit, and it works fine when syncing data from the Fitbit.

Android 6.0 permission system

Fitbit better get use to the sandbox I put it in, and they are not the only one!

Android 6.0 permission system
Android 6.0 permission system

This for me is a key part of the VRM infrastructure as Adriana said

If you cannot reject them, if you cannot actually say well, I’m fine with that but not with that, what’s the point?

Great to see it working as expected, graceful degradation of applications based on permissions. I might be able to install Facebook again.

Update

I installed Facebook messenger again with the permissions I felt comfortable with.

Then decided actually I want to break FB messenger as its meant to be written for Android 6.0, so denied it access to my location too.

Installing Facebook messenger under Android 6.0

I can say everything  works, and I haven’t seen any problems so far with my permissions. I did notice you can start to mess with the data usage too, which maybe a way to restrict network usage.?

On returning to facebook…

Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life
Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life – agreed!

Interesting to see my friend Oli returning to Facebook after his decision to erase himself from it. It almost sounds like he’s returning home?

Nearly 4 months later, I’m returning, in fact there’s a good chance you’re seeing this on Facebook. This is however not without careful thought.

Oli then outlines some good points including…

The feelings of being disconnected and isolated, are well founded, but its also very easy to get sucked into the timeline and up yourself. Its something I have avoided as I can just imagine how much time gets lost there. I wonder if the  Timeline is the new and even more destructive farmville?

As I said previously I removed Facebook from my mobile devices and only look at it every 2-3 days mainly for booking my place on Volleyball sessions (Yes so popular volleyabll is in Manchester that you can’t just turn up on the door). I also found the ical option useful for keeping me a breast of event/calendar invites. They show up on my calendar but then I have to go to Facebook to actually accept, decline or find out more.

I prefer to subvert Facebook than ignore it, which means I still don’t post photos or write new stuff there. Its certainly a dumping ground for things available else where online.

Oli isn’t wrong but there is a pragmatic way which involves having a account and using it in a smart way understanding the issues which come with it. Something like a drunk uncle at a family party, the one which nobody wants to be left alone with after dark I joke of course but if you ask me if facebook is equivalent to a creepy uncle? I would say that’s only the start of the comparisons. In years to come, (15 years I say) it will seem much like a crazy period of time where we didn’t think about what we trust so much?

It wasn’t so surprising to see him back… Although I still (currently) prefer Twitter (even with all the nonsense they have done to support their revenue growth).

A review of my 2014 resolutions

Its been quite a year for me, the odd google plus video above is just a tiny slice of my hectic but great year.

This year I thought I would do  something a little different following metadating and another year of the quantified self. Following a bit of a twitter chat with Herb and Zoe, I thought I’d give Stephen Wolfram a run for his money (not!) Here’s some of what happened this year.

I  spent 6 days, 10 hours, 50 minutes watching 213 episodes over the past year.

I spent 1 week, 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes watching 111 movies over the past year.

Top 10 artists I listen to this year…

  1. Digital Italic
  2. Twit.tv
  3. Mauro Picotto
  4. Placebo
  5. Marco V
  6. Simon Patterson
  7. Gaia
  8. 2 Many DJ’s
  9. Sander Van Doorn
  10. Ferry Corsten

So how did I do on last years resolutions?

Baking a cake

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    Yeah this didn’t happen unless you count north Wales as a different part of the world. Unfortunately the holiday to Jamaica didn’t happen when my parents moved house. I’m already looking at Tokyo prices for 2015.
  2. Use my Task list more
    Success, I certainly used it a lot more but I could still do with better ways to do offline tasks. I am intrigued about the differences between using task to remember stuff and tasks to refer to stuff.
  3. Bake a bloody cake
    Ahhhh! The cake is not a lie… Well Sarah’s Banana bread/loaf suggestion may did happen while I was down in Bristol with my parents. Yes its easier but frankly it removes the temptation to bake Victoria sponge’s all the time. Following instructions or a recipe is something I always found painful. However I’m finally going to remove it from my list! Not to say I won’t ever make one again.
  4. Ride the bloody Smiler
    Not only have I rode the smiler this year, I think in total I have done 16+ times (sorry I lost count of how many times now, should be quantifying my rides) and boy oh boy have I loved it. The longest wait must be 1 hour 20mins in the single riders queue. Next year I’m considering get another yearly pass because its been great fun riding in Alton Towers and Thorpe Park when it was April and May.
  5. Improve my circus skills
    This year was ideal for circus skills but I rarely went out and did any. I did make it to the Cholton Circus house event once and its in my calendar now at least. Maybe next year?
  6. Move away from GoDaddy
    I’m fully away from Godaddy. Moved my blog, emails and domain to hover and WPengine. Another one marked off the list.
  7. Surround myself in higher thinking
    This is certainly happening, I generally don’t watch much live transmitted TV anyway but this year I’m watching far far less. Generally I’m watching either on-demand TV shows or something educational from Youtube. The chromecast has helped with this I have to say, Xbmc is cool but the chromecast has made the process super simple. My podcast listening has increased too with things like Freakonomics. I also messed with my twitter followers a little, so generally I’m getting higher thinking stuff. My ianforrester account follows all my friends instead.
  8. Scooter into another country
    So May/June was amazing. I did the simple option of driving through Wales, although the mountains were incredible. but I clocked up 403 miles during that trip alone. Myself and Oli Wood are talking about doing something next year, so expect to hear more soon.
  9. Use social media to stay in touch with friends
    I started off well but then kind of lost my way in the middle of the year. I guess removing Facebook from my phone was always going to cause a issues and not enough friends use other platforms daily. I did do a little social experiment to see what I should do next year, around a Christmas card on G+ and FB.
  10. Pick up the family genealogy
    With the help of Sarah, my insane family tree is on genealogy.co.uk. I can’t believe how much they charge but we have identified quite a few of the family who are already using it and could take it onwards.
  11. Live the life I choose
    Dave commented on my thoughts about the hyperconnected world we are heading into.

    As I believe in the hyper-connected world we’re moving into. My bets are against hierarchy and traditional. Maybe there is a word which sums this up?

    My assumption would be something like dynamic linking. However Dave suggests that word I’m looking for is Heterarchy.
    …enough i hear you cry, how did it go this year?

    So this year I stuck to my principles and I believe are seeing signs which are fruitful. I reached out for better advice to better manage and use my dyslexia to further my own career. Also next year will be the 5 year anniversary of mybrushwithdeath.

  12. Sort out my love life and finish the book
    Been put myself out there and attended many weird and wonderful events. I also started dating different women again, hey you never know (opposites attract?) The book is still being written (slowly) but its more difficult as the dates I been on in 2014 have not been anywhere as bad, I’m also trying to remember some of the older dates. I could make up drama but everything to date has been written on top of the truth.

Banana bread

Black lives matter

Manchester Ferguson protest

Thanks to Anna who pointed me at the protest/march in Manchester for all the black people who have died in Ferguson, from police brutality over the years. It comes right after I wrote my own blog post about Ferguson following the guys on singleblackmale.

Its been 20 years since I took part in a protest, I decided after the crazy stuff which happened  during the Criminal Justice Bill protests. I was done, especially watching how the whole thing got co-opt by others for their own reasons

It was amazing, the organiser put it on Facebook as a open event and within 2 days, 300+ people had signed up. Its a true testament of what can be achieved with emergence and what a great reason to bring people together.

Manchester Ferguson protest

I got to St Peters Square where the protest/march started about 12:10. There were about 80-100 people hanging around. White Tshirts with victims names on them and signs with a number of different phrases on them. A few really great chosen speakers spoke and then we were off. We marched around Albert Square (where the Christmas Markets are, I think originally we were going to march through them but as I suggested security made it clear they don’t want us) down Princess street up Portland Street along China town and on to Piccadilly Gardens.

Manchester Ferguson protest

Once at Piccadilly Gardens, the microphone was thrown open to anybody who wanted to talk about Ferguson. It started well with a number of speakers including myself. However once again other organisations used the opportunity to co-opt the event to their own ends. It was shocking and at some points! It was shameful as the best intentions were rocked. Theres a rant on the facebook event thread which is full of fire but there are bits I do agree with…

…It really hurt to see the organisers visibly upset by the end. This is what happens when a group of concerned individuals take the initiative to organise a purely grass roots event unaffiliated to any groups, only for groups and parties to greedily swoop down on it and ruthlessly exploit it like vultures. Shame on you! This event was about Mike Brown and every other black victim of police violence, past present and future. NOT about your group…

 

 

Manchester Ferguson protest

Shame indeed, there was quite a few times when I thought about just going home, heck I had somewhere else (Sunday dinner at Jasmine’s) I needed to be. But this was important and I wanted to hear it through.

I did bump into a old friend and we got talking about what had happened and what we should take from it. I mentioned Ambient Belonging which recently came back up from a wired piece about a possible reason why women are not taking up roles in computer science. Ambient belonging I have never mentioned before on my blog although I heard it first in the video I linked to.

Manchester Ferguson protest

On the slight run back to the flat, I got thinking about Umair Haque’s Whats it means to change the world rant and how critical it is to have diversity in tech sector.  Ayesha Mittal and Naomi Nao Mi were able to organise using widely available services but could there be a startup which would make it even easier and better at prolonging the relationship beyond the one event? Or a better question who is working on systems and use-cases for them? I bet you Google, Facebook and the rest of the stacks certainly are not.

Manchester Ferguson protest

So I am glad I went out, even while I wasn’t really 100%. There was no police involvement, no trouble makers, no big opposition from Manchester’s Sunday shoppers. It was however, upsetting to see things co-opted as the young people just wanted to express themselves, their thoughts on whats going on and pay tribute in their own way…  The Ego of the organisations which tried to take over, was shocking and I’m glad they got the cold shoulder for their lack of respect in something more of a remembrance than protest. For example the socialist worker setup a stand at St Peters even when told to go away.

Ferguson has America corruption all over it and something we all need to tackle black, white, green… but today wasn’t about that… It was remembrance of the many who have lost their lives for their skin colour and the voices of the next generation. Why would you ever want to silence them?

Back to instant messaging

instant messaging sites

I bet the figure above has changed in recent times, as everybody turned back to messaging it would seem. Maybe realising that using social networks as a way to do instant messages is a bad idea (not judging, as I have been lured into a one 2 one conversation quite a few times over twitter).

I use to be a jabber/xmpp fan and when GTalk adopted xmpp, I was pretty happy. However over time the xmpp standard was built upon and in the end removed. I was one of those people who ran a client (pidgin) which supported multiple im protocols.

I considered installing pidgin again but I thought I’d give the alternatives a try. However Josh tweeted something which I wanted to consider when choosing a client and protocol.

Looking at the list I decided to try Silent Text/Phone from Silent Circle and Telegram. Telegram has clients across operating systems and devices, while silent text/phone is mainly mobile. Telegram also has the option of working within Pidgin if I decide to switch back.

For me its not that I actively want to hide secret messages, I just want the option to flex my privacy. Instant messenger for me is more private than social broadcasting platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Do I trust facebook messenger? Do I heck! I actively don’t have it on my phone along with the Facebook app.

I know theres rumors twitter are due to spin out their direct messaging part but looking at the rest of the crowd, are we really expecting twitter to adopt a secure and private system? Their track record hasn’t be bad. Actually there are twitter direct messaging clients which is cool but how many times has twitter changed the rules of the system, how long till direct messages are treated differently?

Do you want to join Scoblebook?

Robert scoble at London's Geek DinnerIts worth watching or at least listening to this week in tech. Robert scoble tries to explain the twisted logic of the Facebook algorithm live. For 40+ mins!

Scoble says… “Facebook is running away with the game!

Really? As Clayton Morris says, the amount of curation Robert needs to do is shocking… Out of the 1 billion people who use facebook, the percentage who use lists is so close to zero even Mark Zuckerberg admitted it was kind of broken (thanks Nicole).

Nice try Robert but I certainly won’t be following suit… I’m actually trying to get off it or at least using it as a dumping ground again.

Do you really think Facebook will be around in 15 years?

me on facebook

I still have this strange relationship with Facebook. I don’t really like it but I end up using it because lots of friends are on it and for them its a core part of the Internet (rightly or wrongly). My volleyball teams also use Facebook to book sessions (yes so popular is volleyball in Manchester) and I do get comments from many more friends when I post things into  Facebook.

In the past I used Facebook as massive dumping ground and didn’t really care to login. My view that Facebook is the modern equivalent of the walled gardens of AOL. Although I still stand by this, I have also noticed my usage increasing too.

So when I read the piece titled I Left Facebook, And You Can Too. I reflected on my own increase usage.

Imagine, for a moment, that you must quit using Facebook forever, starting right now. No more posting to Facebook or checking Facebook for the rest of your life. But don’t worry, you can still e-mail all those friends. Does that make you feel panicky? If you’re panicky, it’s a clue. Maybe you’ve been on Facebook for most of your life, so this kind-of-addicted feeling seems normal to you. It’s not normal. I was talking with a woman in her 50s this weekend, who said to me, “I wish I could quit Facebook but it’s so addictive: ‘Oh, this person said this, that person said that, and oh, this person is taking boating lessons, let’s look at all the pictures of the boat,’ and then before I know it two hours have passed and I don’t even KNOW the person taking boating lessons!” This is what it feels like when your connections with a platform are being strengthened, as opposed to the connections with the people you love: you can spend two hours on Facebook looking at the boating lessons of people you don’t even know. This is very convenient for Facebook.

I barely look at the timeline/newsfeed as I’m generally just looking at the notifications. I can feel the lure of the notifications in facebook, this is why I removed Facebook from my mobile phone and only had it on my tablet (plus it was a massive battery hog). Then very recently I removed Facebook messenger from my phone too.

One of the things I have been thinking about recently is, Facebook as a dating site? The evidence is lots of people meet through facebook and lets be honest, its not any worst than the dating sites? The same sites which say they don’t really know what they are doing

Anyway the question I pose, is if Facebook will be around in 15years? Their move to split up the mobile app is frustrating but I can imagine a Facebook dating app in the next few years. Along with their photos app (I said it first!).
The next 15 years, I expect it will still be around but I’m expecting the innovators dilemma to come into effect at some point. And even splitting up the experiences into more niches won’t save them.

Perceptive music and beyond

Pet Shop Boys at the Brits 2009

Media relies on the ability to engineer peoples emotions. This can sound pretty bad but all media from romantic comedies made for cinema to the old classics from Shakespeare. The effect of media and ultimately storytelling has always fascinated me and I’m sure its the same for most people. Its hardwired in to us as Jason Silva puts it.

The ability to engineer someone’s emotions is interesting from a story point of view. However if you add broadcast, you can do this to a nation or the whole world. But like the 10% of any audience, which are highly suggestible, how do you reach the others?

A 600,000 person study Facebook and Cornell University did a while back but recently came to light might have a clue about how. However there has been a major push-back on the study for ethical reasons.

Facebook’s controversial study that manipulated users’ newsfeeds was not pre-approved by Cornell University’s ethics board, and Facebook may not have had “implied” user permission to conduct the study as researchers previously claimed.

Starting from a different place is Moment.us.(little disclaimer to say I may be working with this Manchester based startup in the near future, but only because their technology is mind blowing)

Moment.us, tracks and follows the users media habits. It watches as you choose songs (bit like scobbling apps like last.fm) when you pick them and records the context of when. Like certain types of song when your going for a ride to work on a sunny day.

Our proprietary algorithm, contextual database, analytics, understanding of and expertise in media, technology and user behaviour. Highly relevant, hyper-personal, socially integrated, context driven mobile experiences for consumers and unrivalled contextual consumer data for commercial organisations.

A while ago we pitched a project loosely called In Tune at the BBC Radio One Connected Studio which we felt was very credible but unfortunately the judges disagreed. Maybe it was the way we pitched it but there was a lot of doubt we had the data to do what we planning to do.

I have seen first hand the data points and been amazed at what patterns of activity our music listening can reveal about ourselves. Imagine what you could do if you were have access to that data and could engineer the music and therefore the experience?

Interestingly Google is getting in on the idea as they recently bought Songza.