Monthly Archives: September 2007

social network for ninjas, brougt to you by askaninja.com

i just got an email from the folks behind one of my favorite podcasts, ask a ninja, and they’re launching a social network just for ninjas (and other cool people of course).

the social network is built on the ning platform and is an extension of the existing ask a ninja community. what this means is that if you have an existing account at either of those, you can use it to log in and start customizing your profile. to customize your profile, you begin by adding your email address and declaring your allegiance (the only two mandatory fields).

there are four main sections to the site.

my page

this is your profile page. this is where you can upload photos or videos, edit information about yourself, as well as see the latest activity from your friends and how they are interacting with your profile. you can also edit the appearance of the page and create and manage a blog.

members

the members page let’s you view snapshots of member profiles, which you can expand by clicking on them. you can also use the search box to search for members and invite your friends to join the network.

forum

this is where the meat of the conversation is taking place on the site. people can create and participate in discussions and optionally filter the conversation by ‘my discussions’. the section also includes a list of the most popular contributors.

clans

the clans section let’s you create or join a clan and view clan profiles. you can search clans by name or sort them by number of members or date of creation.

last words

on the whole it is a very simple social network (limited, perhaps, by the features offered by ning) but with a very viral theme. i look forward to killing networking with you soon!

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linkedin adds pictures – why it matters to me

i have to admit, when i read that linkedin will begin letting people add pictures to their profiles, i was excited. in fact, it’s surprising that linkedin profiles didn’t launch with pictures.

adding a profile photo is one of the most commonly requested features for the linkedin profile, primarily because many people (like me) tend to recognize their colleagues and classmates more reliably by face than by name. they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and with this feature we hope to make it easier for people to form richer professional connections online.

original photo: photoplasia

i read articles from hundreds of different blogs every week and talk to dozens of content creators everyday but the blogs that i keep going back to and the people that i have developed long-term relationships with are the ones with the most comprehensive about pages (online bios on their sites) and author profiles with pictures. knowing more about the author and being able to see the human being behind the content makes it the connection much more ‘real’ and inherently makes me more willing to embrace them and their content. similarly, photos on linkedin aim to help people connect by face rather rather than just name.

uploading pictures to linkedin is not to be used like similar features on facebook or myspace. make sure you make the best use of the tools linkedin provides you with to appear most professional.

we know that people take their professional reputations seriously, and as a result we expect linkedin profile photos to be professional in nature. however, we also hope that the wisdom of the millions of linkedin users will help us identify photos that violate that. similar to linkedin answers, members will be able to quickly and easily flag photos that violate policy for review.

not everyone is happy with the addition. allen, for example, wonders if the addition of photos will lead to discrimination.

  • Will employers be looking for the hottest cutie?
  • Will a fat man be passed over just because he is fat?
  • Will a woman who looks “old” be passed over?
  • What about race issues?

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real-time ‘tweet-search’ coming to twitter

word got out a couple days ago that twitter would be implementing a real-time search feature very soon. the feature will let you type in any word into twitter and whenever someone tweets something with your query words in it, you can choose to be notified via an instant message or a text message to your mobile phone. initially the searches will be limited to all twitter users but in the future you will be able to limit whose twitter history you search based on the people you follow/are following you, geography, time of the tweet, and so on.

i’ve been waiting for this feature for a while now. it makes perfect sense, just like searchable, persistent chat logs on instant messaging clients. every couple of days i find my self wanting to bring up a conversation i had with someone based on the topic (or keywords) we were discussing, and the same applies to tweets from my friends.

that said, there are a couple of concerns. first, and the concern i have right now, is how does my twitter privacy factor into this? will anyone be able to retrieve a tweet from me or can i choose it so that only my friends (not even followers) can search my tweets? second, matt brings up an important point: twitter is not the most consistently reliable service and this update will probably cause further disruptions.

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7 reasons why i thumbed you down on stumbleupon

when i’m in the mood to stumble, i usually go through hundreds of pages and photos in a sitting. it’s easy because a lot of the content i see on stumble, i have already either read in my rss reader or from digg/propeller/reddit. that said, i try to make a conscious effort to stumble my friends’ pages (by using the friends toolbar setting) as well.

here’s a look at some of the pages that always get a thumbs down from me regardless of how good the content is and who stumbled it.

1. pay-wall: if a page you have stumbled displays a pay-wall or expects me to register to view it, it gets a thumb down.

2. page no longer exists, has moved: this just makes sense because i don’t want my friends and followers to be spammed with pages that are no longer there.

3. other social submissions: stumbleupon is a site for sharing content. what this means is stumbling the pages where the content originated, not stumbling pages from other social sites (digg, propeller, reddit, sphinn) where you have submitted the original content. if you want me to vote on something that you have submitted on one of those sites, send it to me without submitting it to and clogging up the stumble index.

4. duplicate submissions or repurposed content with no insight: if you’ve just regurgitated information from elsewhere, please don’t submit it to stumble. it’s not always wrong to post some latest developments to your blog but if you haven’t added any insight, please stumble the original source and not your post.

5. improperly categorized or tagged content: i’ve set my preferences so that i only get pages and pictures, however because people incorrectly tag pages, i often get audio, video, or pdf files. i generally try to report these pages as incorrectly tagged and stumble them down.

6. auto-playing audio or video: one of the most annoying things on stumble is when people incorrectly tag audio/video and then have it play automatically as the page loads.

7. porn, la-la la-la, etc: posts where you are asked to thumb up if you want them to include adult video, or pages that say ‘end of the internet’ are submitted too many times and are equally annoying each time.

what are some of the pages that you thumb down?

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facebook im: how many levels of communication do we really need?

sam sethi got a sneak peek at a soon to be announced instant messaging client for facebook.

what i like about this facebook app is there is nothing to download or install, no registration and best of all, all of your friends in facebook can use it instantly.

first of all, you do need to register – with facebook – before you can use the application (remember walled-garden?), and if i’m not mistaken, you do have to add the application to your profile. second, how many levels of communication within one network do we really need?

facebook currently has three different ways you can communicate with your friends.

the facebook wall

the first method you can use is the facebook wall. messages posted on the wall are generally visible to all of your friends (though you can change that setting) and people can click ‘wall-to-wall’ to see a back-and-forth exchange between you and another friend. the wall is generally limited to text and link-sharing.

facebook messaging

facebook messaging can be used to send a private message to one user or a group of users and allows you to send text but also links, pictures, videos, and so on. these messages can only be viewed by people who they are sent to.

facebook status

facebook status messages are a micro-blogging platform unto themselves. they work just like twitter, and let you post what you are doing at any point, on your profile.

do we really need facebook im?

that really depends on how liberal you are with your social network. i, for example, (for the most part) only add people that i actually know and communicate with otherwise. because of that, most of the people on my network are also on my im list and only a click away. for many others, however, facebook im may be an easy way to reach out to people who they don’t actually know and wouldn’t be comfortable giving their email/im information to just yet.

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