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The Face of Facebook
September 12, 2010 11:08 PM   Subscribe

“A lot of people who are worried about privacy and those kinds of issues will take any minor misstep that we make and turn it into as big a deal as possible,” he said. “We realize that people will probably criticize us for this for a long time, but we just believe that this is the right thing to do.” With David Fincher's scathing film The Social Network set to hit theaters on October 1st, reticent Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is interviewed by Jose Antonio Vargas of The New Yorker.
posted by cmgonzalez (67 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting article. Thanks.

I've read the script for The Social Network. It was pretty terrific.
posted by dobbs at 11:49 PM on September 12, 2010


Interesting piece, I quite like how the interviewer leaves Zuckerberg's essence as somewhat of an enigma. It's all too tempting when you're writing an interview up to put forward a post-hoc characterisation, or even raison d'etre, for something that may not be there.

Having those "theories" certainly makes writing the piece easier in my experience - and I personally find it often makes the reading experience an entertaining, if not thought-provoking one, however the flip side is you are essentially creating a character rather than a portrait when you do it.

It also dovetails nicely with one of the core identity issues, not of Zuckerberg, but of Facebook, namely: How well can you ever know a person? How wide is that gulf between what you know about someone, and what they are? What they say about themselves versus their self. How much charity and ignorance do you bring to your reading? Sorkin's quotes and discomfort illustrate this nicely.

Yes, a good piece; subtle, well-developed, fair.
posted by smoke at 12:02 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


President Josiah Bartlet [...] ponders whether he should seek reëlection.
The New Yorker continues in its crusade of enforcing the most idiotic use of diacritics.

What, pray tell, is wrong with re-election?
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 12:24 AM on September 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


What, pray tell, is wrong with re-election?
Seriously, if I may defend it for a moment, we have a few options for these words, right? reëlect, re-elect, reelect. The first one seems most elegant and has the most consistent application. Part of the point of having a style is not to have to make a decision about every single word; we can just follow the same rule with similar words. Probably no one would misread "cooperate" (we use a hyphen for "co-op"), but we'd have to reconsider all the co- and re- words, and different proofreaders would make different decisions, and it would be the end of civilization as we know it.
Source
posted by griphus at 12:45 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not just the diacritics:
The magazine also continues to use a few spellings that are otherwise little used, such as "focusses" and "venders".

The magazine does not put the titles of plays or books in italics but simply sets them off with quotation marks. When referring to other publications that include locations in their names, it uses italics only for the "non-location" portion of the name, such as the Los Angeles Times or the Chicago Tribune.

Formerly, when a word or phrase in quotation marks came at the end of a phrase or clause that ended with a semicolon, the semicolon would be put before the trailing quotation mark; now, however, the magazine follows the universally observed style and puts the semicolon after the second quotation mark.

The magazine also spells out the names of numbers, such as "twenty-five hundred" instead of "2500", even for very large figures.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:47 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reëlect is obviously stupid because "ëlect" is not a word. It's not logical and not intuitive and therefore nobody spells that way. Because nobody spells that way, it's not the valid spelling. Sorry New Yorker, but that's just not how language works.
posted by mek at 1:09 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, at least it's not Varietese. *shudder*

Also, the amount of talent involved in this Facebook movie is a bit baffling to me. I realize FB is huge and important, etc, but I still feel like it's as if Ingmar Bergman directed a tell-all behind the scenes movie about the Teletubbies.
posted by kmz at 1:15 AM on September 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Impressions of Zuckerman aside, imo it's Sorkin who doesn't come across all that great in this article. The movie just doesn't seem like a very artistically personal venture at all and strikes me as a piece of Hollywood machinery contrived at the Ivy.
posted by victors at 1:16 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


on post-preview-post:

OR:

Ingmar Bergman directed a tell-all behind the scenes movie about the Teletubbies.)

posted by victors at 1:17 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


He calls Facebook headquarters "the Bunker"?!?!?

What (other) Jewish Harvard Classics major would call his multi-billion dollar company's headquarters "the Bunker"?

Transparency, hell. Something deep and scary and utterly wrapped in darkness is driving this kid. I can't see as much as its barest outline, though.

I have my doubts that even he could articulate it, but whatever it is, it's giving me a chill not unrelated to the reddening of the leaves on the dogwood growing in my parking strip, I think.
posted by jamjam at 1:46 AM on September 13, 2010


btw, the most recent xkcd is not un-related to the IMs mentioned in the articles.
posted by victors at 1:57 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


What (other) Jewish Harvard Classics major would call his multi-billion dollar company's headquarters "the Bunker"? Transparency, hell. Something deep and scary and utterly wrapped in darkness is driving this kid.

Oh, come on. Hitler hardly has a monopoly on the word or object. Bunkers have existed for thousands of years, and most likely will exist for thousands in the future. Use something else to justify your judgment of Zuckerbergm as dark and evil.
posted by smoke at 2:04 AM on September 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


That was great. I liked the bit near the end where the author tells Zuckerberg of his sexual preference and Facebook outing him (and Zuckerberg's reaction). And the earlier line "We didn't create that - society was generally ready for that."

The naivete of the guy is, in my mind, easily the most salient issue. Privacy and security aren't necessarily just about yourself and whether you're a good or bad person, what your intentions are, or if you've got secrets, etc. It's equally, if not more, about other people and their intentions. That he doesn't see that Facebook's privacy missteps can actually put people in jeopardy and possibly mortal danger is incredible. His assessment that "society was generally ready for that" highlights his utter lack of empathy and how small his worldview is.

I can't wait to see the movie.
posted by Jon-A-Thon at 2:32 AM on September 13, 2010 [15 favorites]


Facebook is free AOL.
posted by Twang at 3:26 AM on September 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's something just off about Zuckerberg. Aspberger's maybe?

His girlfriend seems like a nice person.
posted by anniecat at 4:48 AM on September 13, 2010


I thought all those complainers where just 'bitches' (copyright Zuckerberg).
posted by lilburne at 5:19 AM on September 13, 2010


First he's nazi, now he's Asberger's? Sheesh, you people are getting an awful lot more out of this piece than I did.

I felt like the whole point of it was to illustrate the ambiguity of our personas - public or otherwise - and to highlight that what we may say quite casually can gain a weight unintended. What Zuckerberg says may or may not be indicative of his greater personality, but at the end (of the profile) he remains - as Morris, I think, said of Reagan - "unknown and unknowable".
posted by smoke at 5:35 AM on September 13, 2010


I realize FB is huge and important, etc, but I still feel like it's as if Ingmar Bergman directed a tell-all behind the scenes movie about the Teletubbies.

It's not about Facebook really, it's about the story behind Facebook.
posted by smackfu at 5:44 AM on September 13, 2010


The New Yorker's unusual spelling and typographical conventions may be a bit fusty and quaint, but there's no real reason to go nuclear on them. Jeez.
posted by blucevalo at 6:09 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reëlect is obviously stupid because "ëlect" is not a word.

You just made up this rule. New Yorker style may or may not be stupid, but not because of a rule you just made up.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:31 AM on September 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


people who are worried about privacy and those kinds of issues will take any minor misstep ... but we just believe that this is the right thing to do.

Mark used his site, TheFacebook.com, to look up members of the site who identified themselves as members of the Crimson. Then he examined a log of failed logins to see if any of the Crimson members had ever entered an incorrect password into TheFacebook.com. If the cases in which they had entered failed logins, Mark tried to use them to access the Crimson members' Harvard email accounts. He successfully accessed two of them.

Using other people's passwords is 'a minor misstep' if you are the one doing the deed, or is that just 'the right thing to do'?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:38 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


First he's nazi, now he's Asberger's? Sheesh, you people are getting an awful lot more out of this piece than I did.

To complete the baseless charges:
Zuckerberg is another Jew promoted and financed by world Zionism (which controls the CIA and all US Government bodies)

(thus proving that you can find anything on the internet!)
posted by rough ashlar at 6:41 AM on September 13, 2010


I barely use facebook, but I like it because my family now shares stupid online videos there instead of email. So by having and ignoring it I reduce one of the little aggravations in my day. I am a part of the socializing (sort of) and my inbox is cleaner. win/win/win
posted by MNDZ at 6:58 AM on September 13, 2010


Using other people's passwords is 'a minor misstep' if you are the one doing the deed, or is that just 'the right thing to do'?

Did you read the article? And the part where he says that people are judging him for his immature behavior when he was 19, and that he totally does not do that anymore?

Christ, I hope that my college behavior isn't taken as an indicator of every single fucking thing I do for the rest of my goddamn life. 19-year-olds are idiots. Zuckerberg is 26 and completely fine with admitting he was an idiot at 19.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:03 AM on September 13, 2010


that he totally does not do that anymore?

I get to hear how 'X doesn't do that anymore' and then its shown they do.

BP and the photoshopped pictures are a recent example few will get their noses outta joint of me citing as an example.

Christ, I hope that my college behavior isn't taken as an indicator of every single fucking thing I do for the rest of my goddamn life

I hope you'll be so understanding when Zuckerberg's Facebook data you entered into his system is used against you at a later date.

Ghost of Usenet Postings Past
posted by rough ashlar at 7:16 AM on September 13, 2010


Something deep and scary and utterly wrapped in darkness is driving this kid.

I can always count of MeFi for my daily dose of hysteria.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:26 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get to hear how 'X doesn't do that anymore' and then its shown they do.

That article you posted is from 2004. Zuckerberg was 20. Do you really think he's busy fucking with Harvard students? Or with anybody, for that matter? When he was 20 there was a social incentive ("abusing one's peers in college"). Now that he's 26 and worth a billion-odd and in a steady relationship and working at a job he loves, where's his incentive to fuck with people?

I hope you'll be so understanding when Zuckerberg's Facebook data you entered into his system is used against you at a later date.

Photos of me holding my niece. That's pretty much the ONLY kind of data on Facebook for me. That, and me skipping down roads, and me holding a camera. I get some deeply stupid people have idiot asshole friends who're willing to document them doing awful things and then upload the evidence online. I don't have friends that beshitted.

Thanks for the post, cmgonzalez. It was an insightful look into Zuckerberg's life. As a young computer monkey myself, he's been a long-time role model. Setting aside his fuckups and naivete, I love that he's continued to view Facebook as a personal project, something where he's attempting to create something cool that can change the world, and that the thought of selling his baby never crossed his mind. After a year and a half as a former member of YCombinator's Hacker News, I'm sick of how many entrepreneurs treat their product like a cash cow, make a shitty service that fills a social niche, make it big because their piece of shit is the only piece of shit out there, and then sell and leave the world with a "solution" that adds to the collective frustration of using an Internet made by people who really don't care.

Yeah, Facebook lurches around in weird directions and basically constantly pisses off its users, but I like that. I enjoy that it keeps trying new things, even when said things are insane. (I don't mind the privacy issues. Let the world know I enjoy Daniel Handler's novels. As long as my credit card information and social security number are off the site, there isn't anything on that site I mind other people having.) All of Facebook's attempts lead to occasional really cool things. I especially like seeing how every feature gets subverted by ADD-addled users who're just looking for a quick hit of activity to keep themselves amused. Watching Facebook try and isolate the users who compulsively hit the "like" button and separate them from users who earnestly attempt to connect themselves to movies/books/music has been fascinating.

It's a contender with MetaFilter for my favorite site ever. Yeah, it sucks ass if you use it wrong. Don't do that. Keep connected only to people who are active, intelligent participants on the site; jettison everybody else. Facebook friends are not real life friends. You can unfriend somebody and keep their number in your phone. That's allowed. Then, pursue lofty ambitions. I share short films and music with my friends nonstop; we talk about breaking news; we organize the sorts of events we'd never think of but for paying attention to our own streams-of-consciousness online. A friend mentioned offhand making yogurt in Massachusetts, which turned into a localized Philadelphian yogurt-making party where two friends of mine who lived nearby met for the first time.

Facebook should not be a timesink where you slowly drown in all the half-remembered named of your youth. It's a community like any other. What makes it great is that you control every member of your own community. Don't like a contributor? Kick them out! And you're left with a customized circle of the most wonderful people ever. (This works unless you don't know any wonderful people.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:27 AM on September 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Why would you use an umlaut on an e anyways? Isn't it only used on an i like in naïve because there is already a dot on the I?
posted by smackfu at 7:27 AM on September 13, 2010


The site is a directory of the world’s people...

What do we call the other 6.4 billion of us?
posted by klanawa at 7:33 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not about Facebook really, it's about the story behind Facebook.

Well, sure, but Wild Strawberries 2: Laa-Laa Boogaloo was also not really about the Teletubbies, but the story behind them.
posted by kmz at 7:37 AM on September 13, 2010


The umlaut is a visual orthographic cue to tell us that the vowel it hovers over should be pronounced independently of the vowel that preceded it. Hence, coöperation is pronounced 'co-op-er-a-tion' and not 'coop-er-a-tion'. Also, 'elect' is a word. The umlaut diacritic helps to disambiguate forms when you add a morphological process to it (i.e., 're') and multiple possible pronunciations result.

End derail. Sorry.

posted by iamkimiam at 7:52 AM on September 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


klanawa: I get the snark, but it is clear that Facebook is becoming a sort of de-facto "internet phone directory" whether we like it or not.

At a recent event I went to, people eschewed business cards, instead friending people on Facebook on their telephones. And these were people mostly in their 30's.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 7:53 AM on September 13, 2010


At a recent event I went to, people eschewed business cards, instead friending people on Facebook on their telephones.

Then carry a QR code of the data you want 'em to have and have them point their phones at the QR code.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code
http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/
posted by rough ashlar at 8:02 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then carry a QR code of the data you want 'em to have and have them point their phones at the QR code.

Dude, you know normal people? Like people who don't use computers and Internets and shit? You lost them at "QR". They hear that and go "Fuck that, are you on Facebook?" No pointing phones or nothing, just looking up people's names and adding them.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:07 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's nice that some of you feel you have nothing to hide, but until it actually lets you control who sees what information, it's not going to be a de-facto internet phone directory for the many, many people who don't feel that way.
posted by enn at 8:09 AM on September 13, 2010


I barely use facebook, but I like it because

The issue isn't whether or not Facebook offers a (sometimes) useful service. It does, in all kinds minor and major ways, hence the vast influence and popularity. The issue is completely about whether or not they can be trusted with all the personal info they've got at their fingertips. Or more to the point (and as the article points out rather well) whether they are mature enough to grasp the seriousness of the situation, and their responsibilities.

Personally, I've seen nothing to suggest that they can.

So I, a 51 year old who (theoretically) did all my stupid, careless stuff three decades ago, can carefully use Facebook for what it's good for (networking etc) and avoid anything that triggers my "caution" sensors. But 14 year old me couldn't have done this. Hell, I doubt 22 year old me could have, or even 27 year old me.

Yeah, it sucks ass if you use it wrong. Don't do that. Keep connected only to people who are active, intelligent participants on the site; jettison everybody else.

Rory, easy to say. But just as you say Zuckerberg shouldn't be judged by the idiotic things he did when 19, his company should absolutely offer the same protections. And it doesn't.
posted by philip-random at 8:15 AM on September 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Dude, you know normal people?

Dud, are you aware that they are quite common in Japan?

Like people who don't use computers and Internets and shit?

Then those people are not going to be on Facebook anyway - now are they?
Which is why you have these things called 'business cards'.

You lost them at "QR".

At the point where you have people using their telephones to 'friend people on facebook' you typically have phones with cameras, internet and internal phone databases. Most 'smartphones' have QR apps or the QR is built in.

Just because you have not seen a QR doesn't mean others have not.

No pointing phones or nothing, just looking up people's names and adding them

Right, because pointing a phone with a camera at a picture is *SO* much harder than pressing 777666777999.... all the time stating 'do I have signal'.

I suggest you buy/whip up a lighted picture frame to put the QR code in for the networking events. That way, people come up to you and ask 'what the hell is that' and you can explain its a QR code and then show 'em how to use their internet phone/camera to capture the data as most bars have low-lighting. *wink*
posted by rough ashlar at 8:20 AM on September 13, 2010


Rory, privacy concerns extend beyond "some deeply stupid people have idiot asshole friends who're willing to document them doing awful things".

As enn said,

until it actually lets you control who sees what information, it's not going to be a de-facto internet phone directory

As a member of a legislative agency, I must keep my public and private lives strictly separated (especially in regards to anything that may be construed as politically partisan). Facebook makes it pretty hard to do that, and it keeps making it hard to do that every time the privacy options change (and of course, new options always default to sharing more information rather than hiding it).

Some people have tried to make two different accounts- a "public face" account and a "private" account. But that doesn't work. Friends that find you online won't know which to account to "friend", and their activity will connect your public and private accounts.
posted by Jpfed at 8:22 AM on September 13, 2010


Back when I was doing immature stuff on the internet, they didn't even have privacy policies.
posted by smackfu at 8:38 AM on September 13, 2010


Rory, easy to say. But just as you say Zuckerberg shouldn't be judged by the idiotic things he did when 19, his company should absolutely offer the same protections. And it doesn't.

I agree. I've actually been thinking a lot in the last two weeks, as I'm settling into my college life and starting to work on a number of web design projects, how frightening parts of the Internet are for me. But Facebook isn't the worst offender by a long shot. Tumblr and Formspring are far worse. Formspring in particular because it essentially creates for each person a group of anonymous people who can say anything they'd like. I work at a camp with kids in grade school, and I'm actively disturbed by the things that I see. Thirteen-year-old girls being called a slut and asked about vaginal infections. People with recently-dead relatives being asked if they were involved in incest. (I'm deadening the language a bit; the actual posts were considerably more colorful and wretched.) I'd love to spend time this year thinking of ways to create people that safety net which they have in real life but not online.

It's a damned hard problem with no easy solutions. The easier the Internet becomes to use, the easier it gets to abuse.

I'm okay using Facebook, because my friends are my safety net. I'm at 34 friends right now and even that seems like a few too many. And the younger people in those 34 I try to watch, to make sure they're not getting into shit they'll regret. I wish there was more of a policy beyond "personal responsibility", though.

Then those people are not going to be on Facebook anyway - now are they?
Which is why you have these things called 'business cards'.


Yeah, but Facebook's not the Internet. Facebook is Facebook. My grandparents use Facebook. They sure as hell don't know how to use anything else, you know?

At the point where you have people using their telephones to 'friend people on facebook' you typically have phones with cameras, internet and internal phone databases. Most 'smartphones' have QR apps or the QR is built in.

I'm curious. I've seen those squares before. So they're like bar codes? You just take a picture of them and capture the information?

Understand that I'm limited to the culture around me. I've never heard of these before. I don't immediately get what you're talking about. But Facebook is as natural as breathing, so for me that feels more intuitive. Do I need to put this code on a card? Like, and carry it around? Do I display it on my phone screen?

I suggest you buy/whip up a lighted picture frame to put the QR code in for the networking events. That way, people come up to you and ask 'what the hell is that' and you can explain its a QR code and then show 'em how to use their internet phone/camera to capture the data as most bars have low-lighting. *wink*

I am so confused by this. Maybe I'm just not awake enough.

As a member of a legislative agency, I must keep my public and private lives strictly separated (especially in regards to anything that may be construed as politically partisan). Facebook makes it pretty hard to do that, and it keeps making it hard to do that every time the privacy options change (and of course, new options always default to sharing more information rather than hiding it).

This interests me. So you're talking about public face rather than private life, right? On Facebook, isn't that managed by creating a Page for the public face that anybody can see, and then restricting your private account so that nobody can even search for it? I know I went with that option at camp for a while: Campers could become a fan of me at their leisure, without interrupting my active Facebook usage.

Some people have tried to make two different accounts- a "public face" account and a "private" account. But that doesn't work. Friends that find you online won't know which to account to "friend", and their activity will connect your public and private accounts.

When college kids do that, we use a fake name or a nickname for the private account. So I'd go by Rorgy Manwich and tell my friends to find that. Or better yet, I'D find THEM.

If you have to use your real name for a private account, why not just tell friends to add the account with the more professional photo? Or else have them friend both and reject the private account? I'm not suggesting these as ultimate solutions — I really am fascinated by that kind of scenario.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:42 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious. I've seen those squares before. So they're like bar codes? You just take a picture of them and capture the information?

Yes. And the link in the previous post takes you to a generator. Type in what you want and you get a 2-d barcode called QR that has what you typed in.

Displayed on a CRT - hard to capture. But works fine on the LCD's I've tested. And printed on paper - 8x11 or a business card lets you track URLs if you encode for each event/contact.

I am so confused by this. Maybe I'm just not awake enough.

The *wink* should have been a clue about the humor. Yet, in a 'networking event' in a bar:
1) its dark and so using a QR code will need lighting.
2) Having some kind of hook helps have people approach you. A lighted up QR code on the table is such a hook.
I'll leave it up to the reader to figure out how much is humor, how much is observation or how much is best practice.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:51 AM on September 13, 2010


On Facebook, isn't that managed by creating a Page for the public face that anybody can see, and then restricting your private account so that nobody can even search for it?

Perhaps, I'm not sure. I'm used to the world of Livejournal, where I have a consistent way of interacting with an arbitrary subset of other users. Let us imagine that I were using a Page to interact with public-people and the private account for private-people. Would the Page have give me the same affordances for intentionally pushing information to others, while reducing the exposure to the risk (that a naive Facebook user like me has) of others pushing information about me?
posted by Jpfed at 9:09 AM on September 13, 2010


Perhaps, I'm not sure. I'm used to the world of Livejournal, where I have a consistent way of interacting with an arbitrary subset of other users. Let us imagine that I were using a Page to interact with public-people and the private account for private-people. Would the Page have give me the same affordances for intentionally pushing information to others, while reducing the exposure to the risk (that a naive Facebook user like me has) of others pushing information about me?

Yes. On a page, you control exactly what other people are able to do. You can stop them from posting pictures or even writing on your wall, so that the page becomes a way of exclusively pushing data to other people. Unlike a profile page, there is no "tagging" of photos, there are simply uploaded photos. So you're more simply able to control how people interact with you.

You can limit people like that with your profile, also; I had my wall completely disabled for a while. But on your profile it's a trade-off because you're preventing your friends from interacting with you. With a page there's less of a reason to worry about stopping people from posting, unless you also want to use the page to directly interact with people who might want to contact you. (Eric Whitacre, one of my favorite choral composers, does this with his Facebook page and it amazes me. Here's a world-famous composer, responding to the high schoolers who want to tell him they love him or ask him questions. It's marvelous.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:15 AM on September 13, 2010


klanawa: What do we call the other 6.4 billion of us?

The world's flotsam.

Rory Marinich: Now that he's 26 and worth a billion-odd and in a steady relationship and working at a job he loves, where's his incentive to fuck with people?

Where's any affluent, coupled person's incentive to fuck with other people? There are plenty of people who are wealthy, in coupled relationships, and have jobs that they love who fuck with people because they get off on it, because it tickles a funny bone in their subconscious, just because they have money and power and can, or any number of shadow-reasons.
posted by blucevalo at 9:27 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


On a page, you control exactly what other people are able to do.

This really does sound good- but do they change this behavior without notice, as they have with less scrupulously guarded accounts?
posted by Jpfed at 9:32 AM on September 13, 2010


Most 'smartphones' have QR apps or the QR is built in.

Yes, most smartphones have QR apps... No, most smartphones don't have QR built in. And telling somebody "Ok, just go to the App Store... Search for QR Code Reader... Add that app... Put in your password... Wait for it to download... Ok... Now load up that app and take a picture of this" - at a networking event? 99% of people are going to just say "Dude, come on. Just tell me if you're on Facebook, I'll add you"

Don't get me wrong - I think QR is awesomesauce, but for the vast majority of folks for whom FB has become a networking tool, QR is just well outside their abilities to comprehend.
posted by antifuse at 10:06 AM on September 13, 2010


"Dude, come on. Just tell me if you're on Facebook, I'll add you"

"And you know I'm super-serial about data security because I'm not on Facebook."

If its a networking event - Linkedin, in theory, a better choice.

In 2 days Diaspora is supposed to have its 1st public release - perhaps I'll stake out a place there.

Addendum (8/30): To clarify, September 15 will be our open-source developer release. At that time, we will open up our github repository, publish our roadmap, and shift our development style to be more community oriented.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:22 AM on September 13, 2010


Yes. And the link in the previous post takes you to a generator. Type in what you want and you get a 2-d barcode called QR that has what you typed in.

Displayed on a CRT - hard to capture. But works fine on the LCD's I've tested. And printed on paper - 8x11 or a business card lets you track URLs if you encode for each event/contact.


You're the developer in 1995 who told me, completely serious, that we didn't need anything in our application that would store email addresses, because "everyone" just remembers all of their contacts' email addresses. Seriously. It was 6 hours of fighting that no one would actually do that.
posted by micawber at 10:53 AM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: I'm excited about Diaspora, even though I don't know very much about it.

And I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out why Facebook does not allow you to have 2 pages or personas or presences, whatever you want to call it... one work (or school) and one personal.

It seems it would be straightforward to implement, assign people to a grouping, and they see a different wall or information based on it. Most of the heavy lifting could be done by the current security settings. Really it would just be wall behavior. Don't even have users choose, let their wall activity be autoassigned based on the friend grouping. My mom wouldn't have to pick which wall to write on. She would automatically be posted on my personal wall. My coworker wouldn't see what my mom wrote. They would only see the work wall.

What's the downside for Facebook except some coding? It's not like having 2 pages would reduce the amount of actionable information they have... if anything it would increase it.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 11:36 AM on September 13, 2010


Diaspora! I'm interested if their plan is leading them in a direction I'll want to follow. Exciting.

If its a networking event - Linkedin, in theory, a better choice.

The word "networking" leaves me cold. The people I've met have all found me in more dynamic ways — via a comment on a blog, or a discussion about an essay. I can't imagine going to a "networking event", unless that it's a party that just happens to have people there I'd want to keep in touch with.

I don't network when I want to do business. (Right now I'm involved in a two-man graphic design shop.) People find the work I've done, they write asking if I'm open for work, and we start talking business. I haven't gotten around even to launching a web site with a portfolio; I'm pleasantly surprised at how many people have written offering work without my attempting to look for it.

So if I want to talk to somebody online, it's either through email or it's Facebook. And Facebook is awesome at parties because I don't have to do it on my phone right then and there. If my friend Justin has a friend named Dave, I can look him up by first name on Justin's friends list and look for the picture.

Where's any affluent, coupled person's incentive to fuck with other people? There are plenty of people who are wealthy, in coupled relationships, and have jobs that they love who fuck with people because they get off on it, because it tickles a funny bone in their subconscious, just because they have money and power and can, or any number of shadow-reasons.

Completely true. But in this case I don't know if there's any proof of Mark doing that other than when he was in college and fucking around with other college kids.

This really does sound good- but do they change this behavior without notice, as they have with less scrupulously guarded accounts?

To be clear, this wasn't "change behavior without notice" so much as it was largely "introduce a policy for new accounts that nobody liked". Facebook originally let you make your profile public to either friends, or to friends-of-friends. That was the limit. So either I chose everybody who saw things, or friends of my chosen friends could also see. (Which was nice for things like classrooms, where I knew one or two people and that opened up all the other profiles.) Facebook introduced a third option, "Everyone", and made it the default for new profiles. Their assumption was that people didn't care about privacy as much as they did in 2004, when paranoia towards the Internet was much more rampant. But lots of people disagreed and Facebook did one of the about-faces they do once every three months. Foot-in-mouth and all that.

Their privacy settings were a clusterfuck, because Facebook has a lot of data and it's hard to make it all easy-to-control without the risk of accidentally breaking a privacy option they'd previously given. Even with their slow privacy redesign, one or two things got fucked up and they hastily restored those options. But now things are simpler, and hopefully simpler in a way that will scale as Facebook adds new features.

With Pages I don't see them doing anything even that controversial because Pages aren't intended to be social in the same way. A page is a one-to-all burst of information. People who subscribe to the page aren't doing so to have a constant exchange of information — in fact, you won't see their information at all. They're just there to see whatever that page broadcasts. So bands issue tour dates, Sarah Palin issues bullshit, but nobody's going to Palin's page and adding pictures of her smoking weed. This is different from a one-to-one friend relationship, where I might want to tag my friend in photos or notes. (I tagged a bunch today in a note I wrote about conceptually analyzing animated children's films, not because they were mentioned, but just to draw their attention. You wouldn't ever want to draw a page's attention in the same way, because it's not the same social structure.)

What's the downside for Facebook except some coding? It's not like having 2 pages would reduce the amount of actionable information they have... if anything it would increase it.

They've got most of this already. I can restrict which of my friends see which parts of my profile, on a name-by-name basis if I'd like. But what you're talking about, where you're creating granular profiles that sort friends into isolated groups, would completely alter Facebook's dynamics, in ways I don't think they want. Facebook's not meant to be a utility in the sense, say, Google Maps is; it's meant to be a social space. So I use Facebook not as an interaction management center, but as a place where conversations just kind of spring up on their own.

If all my friends were in groups and none of them could see each other, then I'd lose that circle. Suddenly I'd be coldly managing my various accounts. And where's the line drawn? If I update a status, do my friends see each other's comments? If not, do they see MY comments responding to their comments? Do I have to manually pick with every comment which group it's addressed to, so that they don't see hanging comments talking to nobody? If I'm tagged in a work picture can my mother see it?

It's a lot more effort than you think, because any system like that will have to permeate every available Facebook interaction, and Facebook's system of interactions is already very complex. The back-and-forth between comments and tags and conversations-versus-broadcasting is tricky to divide up into neat little groups.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:05 PM on September 13, 2010


> Why would you use an umlaut on an e anyways?

You wouldn't, in this case. It's a diaeresis.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:46 PM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're the developer in 1995 who told me, completely serious, that we didn't need anything in our application that would store email addresses

No I'm the one who would have told you you don't because that is what LDAP is for. Already and RFC by 1993. (RFC 1487 as my memory says)
posted by rough ashlar at 12:51 PM on September 13, 2010


Facebook not evil only because the lawsuit isn't decided yet
posted by rough ashlar at 12:54 PM on September 13, 2010


What's the downside for Facebook except some coding?

Well, Google allows multiple accounts in GMail, and all I hear is people complaining about it.
posted by smackfu at 1:38 PM on September 13, 2010


"When a teenager sees that their Facebook friends 'Like' an ad, it piques their curiosity, making them more likely to click the ad or visit the page," says Los Angeles plaintiff attorney John Torjesen of John C. Torjesen & Associates. "We believe it is a clear case of exploitation of children for the sake of profits."

Oh, come on. Absolute horseshit. Next thing you know there'll be a movement to ban children from talking about ads in school, because if you tell a friend about an ad, you're being exploited by the advertisers!
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:10 PM on September 13, 2010


Well, Google allows multiple accounts in GMail, and all I hear is people complaining about it.

Can you explain this, or is my sarcasm detector just miscalibrated?
posted by discountfortunecookie at 2:24 PM on September 13, 2010


because if you tell a friend about an ad, you're being exploited by the advertisers!

well, you are. Technically. Not that it should be banned from school. But there's nothing wrong with calling something what it is. That is, exploitation is using something (someone) for your gain (your ends). It isn't wrong necessarily but it very often is.
posted by philip-random at 2:56 PM on September 13, 2010


Oh, come on. Absolute horseshit.

The law exists because we are thinking of the children. The CHILDREN.

And weren't you saying something about the young needing protection from their own stupidity?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:02 PM on September 13, 2010


ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks

posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:16 PM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


And Kittens for breakfast finds the quote I was seeking for the win.

In case there was doubt about if someone should now trust the guy.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:28 PM on September 13, 2010


And weren't you saying something about the young needing protection from their own stupidity?

Kids talking about an ad isn't stupidity. On the one hand I'd be fascinated to see how a ban against letting kids be affected by ads would change the industry; on the other, accusations of child exploitation are overblown.

Kids making other kids feel like shit, and kids doing things that'll be recorded for a decade to come. Those are the issues. But again, I have a liberal stance towards advertising, and don't particularly mind it. YMMV.

In case there was doubt about if someone should now trust the guy.

Again. He said that when he was 19. I've said similar things about web projects I've created. When I launched a social network my freshman year of college and 10,000 people joined in a month, I cracked lots of jokes about selling them all out to Viagra. I suspect Zuckerberg wasn't being entirely serious there; even if he was, he was much much younger. Have you met many 19-year-olds recently? They kind of suck.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:56 PM on September 13, 2010


I appreciate a lot of your thoughts in this thread Rory, but have to correct you on one thing. The idea that those with ADD are "addled" users who are "just looking for a quick hit of activity to keep themselves amused" is pretty disparaging to those who have ADD. It might be useful to read up on the disease before making a comment that makes people who have ADD sound like addicted rats hitting the button to get another pellet. Living with this disease is no picnic, and dealing with people's ignorance or misinformation about ADD is even more frustrating than the disease itself.
posted by rmm at 10:00 PM on September 13, 2010


Now that he's 26 and worth a billion-odd and in a steady relationship and working at a job he loves, where's his incentive to fuck with people?

He had very little incentive to fuck with people when he was at Harvard (besides being an immature asshole). He did it because he could. I have plenty of (Harvard) classmates who also could have fucked with people, but didn't, because they weren't immature assholes. Also, why should I trust that Zuckerberg's become any more mature at 26 than he was at 20? If anything, he's significantly more insulated by his wealth from the consequences of his actions than he was at school. And his various pronouncements/actions re privacy and how much FB users should be willing to share with the world have shown he's down very little maturing since college.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:50 AM on September 14, 2010


"down" = "done"
wanders off to get coffee
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:52 AM on September 14, 2010


How many comments in and not even a nod to Anil Dash?
If you are twenty-six years old, you’ve been a golden child, you’ve been wealthy all your life, you’ve been privileged all your life, you’ve been successful your whole life, of course you don’t think anybody would ever have anything to hide,” Anil Dash, a blogging pioneer who was the first employee of Six Apart, the maker of Movable Type, said. Danah Boyd, a social-media researcher at Microsoft Research New England, added, “This is a philosophical battle. Zuckerberg thinks the world would be a better place—and more honest, you’ll hear that word over and over again—if people were more open and transparent. My feeling is, it’s not worth the cost for a lot of individuals.”
Good article, the Aeneid thing at the end is a character trait I find incredibly annoying for some reason. I've known a few people employ it as a way to get an intellectual upper-hand where the very idea of bringing up quotes from the Aeneid, in Latin no less, is incredibly sophomoric.

I don't think the enigmatic way that Zuck is presented here is a put-on at all. I think it is precisely the kind of creature you create when you give that much power and money to a kid in college. And then, after given all that, you have a bunch of lawyers go through what your personal conversations, written while you still in the dorm room? I'm surprised he didn't pull a Salinger and for that he has my sympathies.
posted by geoff. at 12:00 PM on September 14, 2010


. Also, why should I trust that Zuckerberg's become any more mature at 26 than he was at 20?

Mature? How about acting ethically? Any indication that he's more ethical now?

Zuckerberg thinks the world would be a better place—and more honest, you’ll hear that word over and over again—if people were more open and transparent

Then lets start with his life. Lets see him lead the open parade.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:31 PM on September 16, 2010


Sorry to open up an old thread, but I just watched the movie. It's terrific.

Mild spoilers.

The movie opens with a scene of Mark Zuckerberg being an asshole to his girlfriend, getting dumped, and then taking passive aggressive revenge on all women by creating "facemash", comparing the women of Harvard based on their looks. Throughout the course of the movie he doesn't look much better.

There's a disconnect between what Zuckerberg says to be true, what documents are available to the public, and what the movie portrays. This disconnect is the central theme of the movie.

Zuckerberg is quoted as saying don't put anything online you don't want shared. But what skewers him in this movie are things that he unwisely put online at a young age, while drunk (blog entries, emails, IMs, and other court supoenaed documents - the plot is framed by the Winklevoss and Saverin lawsuits.

At the end of the movie there's an exchange between an attractive attorney that Zuckerberg has a crush on and Zuckerberg himself. Zuckerberg says that what's presented in the court documents isn't him, that he isn't an asshole.

But it doesn't matter, it's out there. Like his ex says: "the internet isn't written in pencil, it's written in ink."

Our new world without privacy is played out in how Zuckerberg is portrayed by the movie.

Stupid things that he did as a 20 year old are recorded for enternity on the internet. He can't escape the one drunken coding project that makes him look like a bitter, misogynistic nerd. There's reality as Zuckerberg sees it, reality portrayed by the internet, and then reality filtered through the movie. Just like Zuckerberg can't escape the past self that's been made in fac-similie on the internet, we can't escape what we put online. If Zuckerberg doesn't like being skewered for things he did as a kid, then maybe he should rethink his ideas of privacy. Shouldn't you be able to escape your past, to a certain extent?

Anyway, great performances, great directing, great music. Loved it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:34 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


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