Facebook Responds to My Post – Well Not Really

A few weeks back I wrote a post about how Facebook is killing itself by messing up their traditional full stream of news from friends . Yesterday, Facebook announced a beta testing program that attempts to address the muddling of the friends stream of news.  The Blog Herald has an excellent piece on this beta program.

First, Facebook is testing a program from strangers (supposedly people and not marketers – but we know that will not last) to send you messages to your personal inbox rather than your “Others” folder. This is again an example of how Facebook is muddling their promise of connecting people for private conversations. Hey, if people can pay to send me junk mail can I pay to have it blocked? Facebook could add a paid anti-spam/junk mail option with an added option to block ads and paid messages. Could be worth more than a penny or two.

The second announcement is the one that responds to my earlier post.  Facebook is going to add a filter that they hope will direct all your real friend messages into you inbox and keep them out of the “Others” folder.  If this works, which I doubt, then we could see the return of the communications tool which we fell in love.  Also, if this works, do we really need a paid option?  My guess though is that the marketers will learn to game this system as well and that I will continue to miss out on the cute cat and baby pictures of my friends.



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Where Facebook is killing itself – Filtering the News Stream

Facebook’s success came from a very simple feature – the ability to see all of the cool stuff from my friends. Through all of the changes and features this was always the value. Over the past year or two I have been distraught at how Facebook limits what I see from my friends and family. I absolutely understand the limits placed on brands. However, leave it to me to determine the best updates from my personal contacts — WITHOUT having to bother with Friend Lists or other such silliness.

It seems clear that the reason Facebook is “helping” its users by showing what it considers to be the most relevant posts on your news stream is because Facebook wants to find ways to make money. Individuals are now encouraged to pay to have their own information guaranteed to show up in their friends’ streams. Ridiculous, this was and is the promise. Why should I pay for the fulfilling of the core reason to be on the service itself?

I expect brand to pay to appear in my stream. I have never enjoyed how a simple LIKE of a post by a brand or to their page resulted in a subscription to their feed. I think this was a mistake from the onset. There should have been a difference between saying you Liked a post or brand and the activation of a feed subscription. This is where Facebook is now headed for brands and is an excellent monetization strategy. However, it is a poor strategy to apply the same plan for personal pages.

The Review Conundrum
The biggest reasons why Facebook has not put his in place is probably because that to separate brands from people there needs to be some way to review and evaluate which category a page or profile belongs. With the hundreds of millions of accounts and even greater volume of pages this is a herculean task. But, without it, Facebook lumps everyone together under one set of assumptions and this cannot last for the long term.

I predict that unless Facebook comes up with something to restore the core promise of connecting individuals to one another in an unfiltered manner that Facebook is going to face an ever increasingly difficult effort to maintain its casual user pool. (l I think this is one of the reasons why Twitter was able to become so popular.) The active diehards and fans are sure to remain. They will figure out the myriad of ways to find the updates from friends and have active conversations. However, the more massive group of casual users (that Facebook will need to survive) is going to become disenchanted with a service where they miss messages from their friends and family. They will say, why bother and switch to an alternate.

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Which car should I get?

Which car should I get?

I am in the mood for a car to replace my 2010 Toyota RAV4.  Do I really NEED a new car.  No.  I just do not like the RAV4 and want to find something that I enjoy and will better fit what I think I would like to have.

Here are my so called needs.

  • Hauling found wood and other stuff – I am doing more and more wood working from found wood. This means I am keeping an eye out for old furniture, tree stumps, logs.  It ends up that most weekends I have the need/desire to throw something fairly bulky into the back. I want to be able to throw these in the back of my vehicle to get them home and still have room for passengers who have to wait around during my scavenging.  For example, I found a great log a few weeks ago on the way home from pre-school.  This was about 125 lbs that I managed to get into the back by rolling up a board I keep in the car.  How far am I going on this?  I am planning on keeping a battery power circular saw and other tools on the car to “assist” in my gathering.
  • The Kid – We have the one kid, but my plan is to be able to car pool and other activities and will proudly wear the tag of “soccer dad.”  For some perspective, I already have those silly stickers of a stick figure family on the back of my RAV4.
  • Family travel – We travel a fair bit to the Berkshires, New York, Maine and other places. The RAV4 is just about right for the three of us. More space would be nice and make it MUCH easier to travel with the extended family of one or two more adults.
  • Longevity – I want something that is going to be flexible to have as my car for 150K miles or more
  • It must be blue – This comes from Jacob whose only requirement is that I get a blue car.

I have narrowed my selection to three vehicles. I would get the AWD version of any of these selections.

  • SUV – Honda Pilot – This offers the most space in the class of SUV that I am considering. I do not like the egg shape of most SUVs and prefer this more boxy shape.  The third-row is usable for short distances by adults.  However, when the third row is up there is only minimal room behind this row.
  • Minvan – Toyota Sienna.  I find this has more room and the third row of seats fold flat for lots of room.  This is the only one of the options that has room behind the third row of seats when they are up.
  • Station Wagon – Ford Flex – I like the styling of this car that is high enough up to feel like I am driving an SUV.  The third row is usable buy adjust for longer trips.  There is some room behind the third row when it is up, but not much.  When the third row is down, there is a lot of room for stuff.

Which would you choose and why?



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Major news in SEO and Analytics

Google has made an announcement that is going to have massive impact on website analytics and SEO.  This announcement is that Google is no longer going to by default pass to sites the search terms people have found your site. This is going to be restricted from those users logged into a Google product and not delivered unless you have a Google Adwords account and campaign in progress.

The impact of such a move by Google to current analytical and SEO practices should not be overlooked. The reality is that Google is the only search engine that delivers a solid steady volume of valued visitors.  We know this because we can (not I should say could have – past tense) see the keywords used in Google to reach and travel through to conversions by every Google referral. Now, without an Adwords account and campaign, this data is only partial and will not entirely reflect the valued data from visitors who find the site from Google.

How important is this?  Massive! The measure of such keywords in often the primary KPI (key performance indicator) of activities to ensure the site is not only found, but clicked through in search results. Then, there is the discovery use.  We use these terms to identify those phrases that we are associated by the visitors to strength or reduce the association.  Without this data we lose some of the most powerful analytics in our tool chest.

Is this good for me and my clients? No. It restricts my practices and in the short term is going to alienate me from Google.  Is this good for Google? No, this is GREAT for Google.  This means that they are going to see an enormous growth in the use of Adwords simply so that sites can obtain this data. I image also that the newly announced commercially supported Google Analytics service probably will have this data available as well.

Here are a couple of good articles on this subject.  I am sure lots more will be published soon.


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Solving the WordPress IIS 500 Error for Image Display

For quite some time we had an issue where on an IIS server there was a WordPress 500 server error anytime we use the media Library to upload images. We set the permissions on the parent directory of the uploads folder but this would not resolve the issue.

It took a long time to figure out the issue and finally I found these posts that provided the immediate solutio – set the PHP/Windows temp directory to be accessible by the IUSR account.  Instant fix.  Thank you to all those who have provided the solution.

Now the request to the WordPress development team – include this in the notes or setup for Windows installations.



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