The only downside of the whole thing is the part where he goes on a broken spirited nihilistic rant about how hopeless everything is while suggesting I may be a social pariah for not having a facebook account.
He and I clearly have a somewhat different perspective on the world, but I am sympathetic to several of the issues he raises. It seems most of his despair revolves around the sense of having "lost" and being overtaken by events. He responds by saying screw it I just don't give a shit about my principles because they aren't working out for me. But the world ebs and flows, and more importantly it needs some people to take a few principled stands about what they believe in and remind people about issues even when not personally advantageous.
Consider what became of the 90's cypherpunk visions as they were soundly crushed by a new millennium bent on ubiquitous private tracking, massive government wiretaps and swiss cheese security. Who would have guessed such an ice age of uncoolness would thaw out in a world where wikileaks was the story of the year, people split dinner with me using money a russian teenager created using a cluster of high performance crypto gear and people organized revolutions online.
Giving up is boring.
I wonder what the survival rate is after being dry-humped by Scoble?
Plaxo is nowhere to be seen these days, so I guess the PR backlash against Facebook didn't give Plaxo the boost they needed.
Later on in the Gilmor Gang Scoble defended his actions by suggesting Facebook was just a Rolodex of contacts, and thus he has the right to export all the data of his contacts for his own purposes; pointing out that how is a crawler bot different from him copying over his 5000 contacts into Outlook one at a time (IIRC, Facebook displayed email address as an image on profile pages, so there'd be no paste).
Only today the story has changed that this was really Scoble fighting for the survival of the common web. That's an interesting position to take 4 years later. I don't recall him bringing this justification up before. Perhaps he has in closed networks like Facebook.
If that indeed was the true reason Scoble ran a scraper script against Facebook, then I'm surprised he went through so much trouble to get his Facebook account re-enabled, and then do nothing to safeguard his data against other Facebook reactions to future violations.
Now he's on Google+, and yet this Facebook data still isn't exportable, and I've not seen any complaint from Scoble about not being able to move all his contacts data from Facebook to Google+. I don't recall Scoble using "the common Web" as justification for uprooting from Facebook to Google+, or from moving away from his blog to Google+.
Not sure I approve of this revisionism. If an common Web is important, surely not being dependent on a closed platform is an obvious strategy?
My guess is someone pressured him to take a stand and he doesn't want to. Would he have really taken a stand 4 years ago? Probably not, Scoble needs his audience.
Yes, but Scoble explains why he doesn't complain anymore - because the time when it was worth complaining is over, and other tech influencers at that time didn't join Scoble in his fight. Now, I agree with Scoble, that it is just too late - Facebook will simply not allow you to export your social graph, and that's it. You can just waste your time complaining, or delete your account, but that's all you can do.
I'm not sure that's completely true. One could write a browser extension that extracted the data slowly over time and / or use a caching proxy in order to the same thing. I've been digging in to Squid to see how this might be done, but I've just started. Also, for those with smartphones, it seems like the way mobile FB apps integrate with address books might provide another way to backup one's contacts.
I'd believe that his actual motive was to port his contacts to some other network (kind of like how Facebook used to ask for your gmail password so they could spider your mailbox), but there was always a bit of outrage against walled gardens.
Sometimes policy fails us inspite of us having capable technology, but tippy-typing with our own little fingers on the keyboard can often work miracles.
It's painful, it sucks, but it gets things done.
I disagree. It's really not a big deal to be without a Facebook account.
I understand that leaving FB (or never using it) is not for everybody, but "ridiculous to even consider" goes way too far. I think actually it would be great for a lot more people to consider it, even if they end up deciding not to actually do it.
Facebook is used by everyone I know because it is convenient. It is easier to chat with people, message them, and post photos to them, on Facebook that it is to email individual people. e.g. if someone posts a photo we can all comment on it and discuss it together. With email this is not really possible.
The only reason a lot of my friends have email accounts is because they need one to sign up to online services like Facebook. They do not even check email. It is just a box with thousands of unread friend requests and spam messages. That is why it would be ridiculous to consider quitting Facebook for me. I would be cutting myself off. Obviously I would still keep in touch with friends via phone but we would engage a lot less.
In the end it depends on the ways people use it. If it's the only channel for communication, then you have to be in it.
Another question: do you really want to meet people who would exclude you from an event just because you don't have a Facebook account? Friends don't exclude friends...
Personally, I don't miss my account, but I can understand why others can.
I don't know, it's possibly a generation thing but I remember spending most of the nineties InterRailing around Europe and making lots of friends without even using the Internet at all. Snail mail and actually meeting real people are slow processes but they are so much more meaningful than Facebook.
I have a Facebook account that I use only for testing apps I'm working on. I stay in touch with my friends with all of the above means. Needless to say, our conversations when we actually meet in real life are a hell of lot more interesting than if we followed each other's life in real time.
in your example, can you explain how FB is better than AIM/ICQ or any other instant messanger in what you trying to do?:
FB and any other IM:
- accept people you want on your list, delete etc
- see whos up right now
- text to one or multiple users the same time (can FB do that), send photos, music, any files
I heard it so many times users saying they need facebook for this or that but in reality, they dont. Its like my sister says she needs to go to google to search for facebook to click on facebook link to go to FB.
Seriously, what makes Facebook more suitable than email to keep in touch?
The last time these people gave out their email address was in the early 2000's so I could add them on MSN. In the last 2 years anytime I meet someone new we don't exchange phone numbers or email addresses. They ask "Are you on Facebook?" and we connect there. This is becoming more and more common. I'm not saying that it is impossible to get by without Facebook just that it is more inconvenient. For me, giving up Facebook would have almost the same effect as giving up the telephone (for personal use).
But I want to know if there is anything genuinely useful about the form of communication that is Facebook. I think there has to be something, or it wouldn't have become what it is.
Maybe it's that the default mode of communication is spam. Maybe it's that what is said on Facebook carries less weight and hence requires less effort to say. Maybe it's that statements need no reply there. Maybe it's like the village square where people hang out so they don't feel lonely even if they don't have anything to say.
I don't know what it really is. But us hackers should ask the question because it might tell us what to create in the future.
If someone creates a new Facebook account or switches to G+, I'm not notified automatically either.
I'm glad that Facebook protects me from someone trying to do that with the data I give them.
FB are protecting you from your friends migrating away from FB. Right now that phone book and those pictures and those birthdays all act as a barrier to leaving FB. If it was easy for someone—who you have already trusted, remember—to download your name and phone number and birthday, they might leave and just call you on your birthday. Or send you an email.
FB has protected themselves. Which is their right, but given that the people you’ve trusted with your phone number can already copy and paste it, FB’s road blocks aren’t about your privacy, they’re about creating friction.
At the time of the Scoble/Plaxo scraping thing, you couldn't copy and paste the phone number. IIRC, it was an image of text, to prevent it from being copied. It could only be transcribed at that time.
Why not? Wouldn't the exact purpose be a determining criteria in that judgment? What if, for example, I use a smartphone that doesn't have an official Facebook app for it, and I want convenient access to my friends' phone numbers and emails from my phone, so I can call and email them. Assuming they actually are my friends in the first place, calling and emailing them is a perfectly normal thing to do. But why should I be limited by Facebook's constraints in terms of how I can access their contact info?
Use your imagination, and I'm sure you can come up with plenty of our perfectly valid reasons why somebody would want to use info about their Facebook friends, outside of Facebook's insidious walled garden.
I would have thought on HN people, would intuitively recognise "The illusion of anonymity" ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/4186206797/ on Facebook and social software in general. Any data you supply, can be bit toggled from private to public at the server.
The web has hundreds of thousands channels. Facebook doesn't own them any more than Google owns search - they are just better at it for now so more people tune in - build an alternative and they will come - slowly at first, but they will come.
Steve Case used to tell AOL employees, "What can you do for AOL that will get people to ignore Seinfeld after dinner and head straight for AOL?" https://www.google.com/search?q=steve+case+%22would+always+s...
However, I believe you are a minority. Few people think about creating something popular with the mass market. Most seem to want to build a "niche" product so they can buy their McMansion in the suburbs. Most people want to be engineers or entertainers, but not both.
But I'm sure that for social-net addicts this is all very serious indeed and I, or anyone else, shouldn't be taking this grave matter lightly.
The content is not indexable by search engines--true. But, while that is obviously a problem for search engine companies, that doesn't mean it's not "open."
In terms of getting data out, I had every piece of data I entered into Facebook before I entered it. I have my personal info. My photos and videos were on my cameras, phones, or computers before I uploaded them. The links I posted were in my browser history first. My comments were in my head before I typed them out.
Sure I don't have an easy way to export my friends' data, but that is not my data--it's theirs. Anyway if they are really my friends I can just ask them for their email address or phone number or whatever.
What am I missing? Facebook is a website that requires authentication to use certain features. So is scobleizer.com.
Sure I don't have an easy way to export my friends' data, but that is not my data--it's theirs.
That's arguable, IMO. If I have a list of my friends phone numbers and birthdays in a pen and paper address book, would you argue that I don't have the right to copy that book, or remix / reorganize / reuse the data in it, as I want (so long as I'm not violating my friends' rights somehow in the process, like spamming them)?
What we need is for Facebook / G+ etc. to adopt the work being done by the Semantic Web community and the Federated Social Web XG and open the "walled gardens." OR we need new platform(s) to emerge that do so, and for those platforms to supplant Facebook and the other centralized, dictatorial platforms.
When you've got detailed stats on hundreds of millions of users, and how they relate, yes, making money from ads is one revenue stream. The next will be selling that data back to us via nice database interfaces.
select * from followers_of_my_followers where birthday=today and interested in ('fashion','shoes','puppies');
follower.message("Happy Birthday from frobozzco! click here for 20% off our new hushpuppies in neon green!");
We could pretty easily do that sort of stuff today if there was more of an opportunity for extraction/scraping/mining, but that's generally discouraged by the big players, because, I think, they're going to sell it back to us on a per-use or monthly fee.
After all if Facebook is good to gain so much trust for all this, then it surely would be good to retain your continuing clientage(?)/usage?
What its doing by not allowing its users to move off its own cool-aid, is insulating itself from future backlashes from its users for various issues that may cause them from moving. It could be seen as FB protecting its own interest, but it looks more like a severe case of FB protecting its own future lapses. This majorly sucks in matters of trust. A trustworthy approach would be having courage to take responsibility for any future lapses if they may occur. And to be prepared to face the music. And making data accessible to users convenience is a sign of this promise.
You go get wasted on FB if you like, but I know whom (http://www.google.com/+) to trust and why.
They kicked you off for running a data scraper in violation of the terms of service you agreed to when signing up an account.
I take a few steps to maintain a modicum of privacy: I log off Facebook after looking at family and friend's posts, and I often run Chrome in Incognito mode because I think that it makes general web browsing a little safer.
In a search for privacy we are locking ourselves in other's walled gardens.
Want to plan a party? There's no protocol for that. We have email and calendars, but we don't have party planning. You can't fire up your calendar client and organize a party with. The best you can do is set a reminder for yourself and then invite others to share that reminder. No comments, RSVPs, etc etc.
Want to share a link with people and have moderateable comments? There's no protocol. Plenty of sites will do it, but none are interoperable.
You can lament the loss of the open web all you want, but if you aren't helping make these protocols a reality, you aren't part of the solution.
 To do this, your application has to request the email permission. There is no equivalent friends_email permission. See http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/api/permission...
With these posts, Scoble simply reinforces my personal impression of him as the Court Jester of the Internet.
its quite simple VB stand-alone (so they dont block one IP) application with IE window in it. you log in, and VB is scrapping all the data creating excel file with contacts, saving images organized in folders for other web import, etc). not that big of a deal, right?
Some of yo may remember an alternative to web called gopher..
It eventually died due to web being free and it not being free.
The form that is more'free'than fb as far as barriers, etc will out-compete fb.. DW, etc have very little to worry about as this changes rapidly and does not stay the same.
It just sucked compared to HTTP.