Behavior, Content, Money – 3 Things you should never give away for free!!!

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FOAF and the Facebook Death Star

Posted by bcmoney on May 18, 2012 in E-Business, JSON, Semantic Web, Web Services, XML with 2 Comments

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An updated SVG of the FOAF logo...

The Facebook Death Star

Since the February confirmation of the Facebook IPO, Facebook has continued to stagnate in user-base yet as an organization it holds no punches as it attempts to grow internationally, and its stock price continues to soar as Class A shares finally open up to the average person (major investment firms had first dibs at the initial Class A shares released during the IPO). Facebook founder and owner Mark Zuckerberg maintains 58% control of the company through complete control of Class C shares and veto power over all Class B shares. This is indeed shaping up to be a new Galactic (global internet) Empire, similar to that sought by a young Annakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. The new schematics for a seemingly unstoppable battle station would be the carefully-timed Facebook Timeline rollout along with Facebook Connect and OpenGraph protocol. So if one can draw vague parallels between Mark Zuckerberg and Darth Vader, who can play the role of the Emperor? An obvious choice would be early angel investor Petr Thiel of PayPal, but a more appropriate figure is Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose company owns approximately 2% of Facebook:

Symbolizing Facebook as the death star is hardly a new concept, just check out these previous references.

Enter the FOAF project and its RDF/XML data format for representing friendship connections in a social network, as well as personal interests and contact info. Although the FOAF file format is designed first of all to be machine readable, it is often desirable to be able to browse it as if it were a usual Web page.
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Cross-Platform Social Media Sharing Tool

Posted by bcmoney on February 1, 2012 in AJAX, JavaScript, Web Services with 2 Comments

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English: Infographic on how Social Media are becoming the new Mainstream Media

Image via Wikipedia

Social media has taken over the web (for now) and the name of the game is sharing, something legislation like SOPA and PIPA just didn’t seem to understand. Rather than figuring out a new economic model based on the reality of sharing on the web, that rewards this type of activity (which is essentially just a more trackable form of “word-of-mouth” advertising, the best kind of promotion for any product, service or brand), instead these legislative measures simply try to take us back to the stone-age by applying a “copyright theft” label to anything as mundane and innocent as posting a link to potentially copyrighted materials. Well, whether bureaucrats and greedy corporate execs approve of the idea or not, the culture of sharing that the internet has bred is definitely here to stay!

In these days of non-stop distractions and the constant bombardment of messages towards the average internet user, you (i.e. your website, or your brand) absolutely have to have a presence at least somewhere in the endless streams of information available via the leading social media sources. That’s not just the typical “Social Media marketer” hype but a sadly true statement. Believe me, I really wish it weren’t true, but just look at these figures and the infographic to the right showing time spent logged in to the major Social Networks and Social Media sites:

Here is where I should admit that I could have just started off this post with saying “use a third party sharing service” and been done with it. Let me clearly state now that yes, I do realize there are many services out there that can provide you this kind of utility out-of-the-box, within a few clicks and simply agreeing to their terms then completing the sign up. The two that come to mind are ShareThis and AddThis (both of which I have no personal interest or stake in, aside from having been a user of each in the past, on different sites).

However, with any third party service, you are effectively giving them access to your data, and depending on the amount of code involved in running their solutions, may also be opening up potential security risks by including third-party JavaScript. Last but not least, and most significantly, as with any third party service, you never want to rely on them too much. I’ve learned this the hard way, especially of late with Google’s increasingly frequent acquisitions of promising startups, which turn out to be buy-to-fry (as in buy to remove a competitor’s product from the market completely), or buy to discard (otherwise leave to collect dust or stop adding new features but keep a service running, in order to prevent any future direct competition). Two that come to mind are Aardvark (a community-powered Question & Answer service) and Apture (a community blogging and website enhancement tool), the former of which is still alive thus falls into the “collect dust” pattern, and the latter of which was discontinued to be integrated into the Google behemoth or lost to the annals of internet history forever.

Also, expect a similar post to this one discussing how to build a simple Apture alternative next month!
Sharing Tools and Badges are organized by content type below:
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BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money

The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:

1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.

2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.

3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.

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