There was a lot of information shared at the Facebook F8 Conference yesterday. And I mean a lot. It felt like Zuckerberg and his friends were just dropping bombs of information. First though, let’s talk about the Augmented Reality feature that he has brought to Facebook. According to Zuckerberg, sharing images and videos with our friends and family has become more central than texting. So they’ve enhanced what you can do with your camera.
First up, adding basic effects. Which sounds similar to other platforms we have seen, but what is interesting and unique about this is that you can add effects that are relevant to your current location. On one hand this is really cool. But on the other hand – how important are these effects to you? And does it really matter what your location is? Another feature will allow you to essentially add “stickers” to your image. But unlike any other platform, the stickers appear in 3D and can be animated if you want. Further to that, you can take a 2D image and add 3D depth to it. The example that Zuckerberg uses is taking an image with a couple of chairs and filling the room with skittles. It is actually kind of neat, but is a bit Photoshop-y in my opinion.
That being said, it is much easier to achieve than if you were to use Photoshop. Taking far less time and effort to achieve the same result. … Read the rest
In Light of Recent Events, Should Facebook Live Shut Down or should we do a better job of reporting?
Facebook has done it again. I’m hesitant to put the blame on Facebook completely, but I don’t know what else to say. It took Facebook almost 3 hours (some reports say only 2) to take down a horrific video of a person being murdered in Cleveland. Now I’m not blaming Facebook for the murder itself, obviously. But they need to take some responsibility for the posting of the video. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Several weeks ago, someone used Facebook Live to broadcast a sexual assault. How is this ok? And why isn’t it happening on other platforms, such as Instagram or Snapchat? While I can’t speak to the other platforms, it does make you wonder why this is happening on Facebook alone.
I don’t want to get into too many details of the Cleveland story, or even the sexual assault. Both were horrific, and the crimes themselves shouldn’t have happened. But what did Facebook do about them? They did respond to both, but it seemed to have taken them some time to get there. Which leads me to believe that there aren’t any safeguards in place to limit these kinds of incidents. But can they put something in place? It is rumoured that Facebook is looking into the ability to use Artificial Intelligence to understand what is in a video before it’s posted. But is that enough? And will it really even work? I’m not discrediting the technology, as I think that the capabilities are there. … Read the rest
What to Expect from the Facebook F8 Conference This Week
What can you expect from this year’s F8 conference? Considering it’s Facebook, the possibilities are endless. Aren’t they? It seems that they have their hands in all of the pots. Or maybe that’s just me. But it appears that they have gone from being a social network, to trying to be everything you could ever want in a platform. Which I’ve written about a few times over the last several days, and I think its relevant in this case as well. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t new. This has been happening for several years, but it makes you wonder what Facebook is, and what the plans are for the future.
Given today’s political climate, it’s expected that we will start to see Facebook attempting to put a stop to some of the less appealing aspects of the platform. The spreading of fake news, for example. It seemed that many of the alternative facts that we saw during the 2016 Presidential election spread through Facebook. Now one might argue that it’s not their problem. They are merely the information delivery system, but they themselves do not own the information or take any responsibility for disseminating it. And that’s a valid point, but how do you stop the spread of fake news? By not supporting a system that allows it to happen. Again, I’m not blaming Facebook by any stretch, but I think it’s their responsibility to figure out a way to stop this. … Read the rest
Silicon Valley is Lobbying the Government to Keep Net Neutrality
There is movement afoot by the current Administration to weaken rules around net neutrality. And the large web companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are lobbying the government to not let that happen. What’s the big deal, you ask? Well… if you read between the “government speak” lines, it translates into the possibility of you paying more to access the internet. Let me take a step back and explain what net neutrality is. In general, the regulations stipulate that all data should be treated equal. Meaning, if you are streaming a movie on Netflix, that data is the “same” as the data used to download a song from iTunes.
That definition in itself might be a little vague, so let me put it in these terms. If there are no rules around net neutrality, Internet Service Providers (like Verizon and Comcast) could charge you more to stream that movie, than it does to download a song. Net neutrality puts regulations in place so companies can’t do that. As an example – right now you might pay $50 a month and you get unlimited bandwidth at a specific speed. Without net neutrality, you might pay $50 a month to watch Netflix, and $10 a month to download music. Now, this is extremely simplistic and I’m not sure what the rules would look like, but you can see why this might be an issue. Right?
Further, you could see stipulations being placed in other areas. … Read the rest
Is Facebook’s “Town Hall” Going to Make People More Politically Engaged?
Facebook has recently rolled out a new feature called Town Hall. Which allows people to connect with politicians. When I say connect, I mean complain. Because what other reason do we have to connect with politicians? All joking aside, I really like the idea of this. The intent is to allow people to connect with their politicians to be able to provide feedback. The feature also gives you the opportunity to learn who your elected officials are, and reminds you of upcoming elections.
Which is all great, if you ask me. I like the fact that it gives a platform (for lack of a better term) to engage constituents. Sure, you have always been able follow politicians on Twitter and Facebook, but it sounds like this will give you the opportunity to interact with them. Or does it? One article I was reading indicated that it’s no different from the old-fashioned letter writing. The feedback/information (or whatever you want to call it) gets put in the queue and you may or may not hear from anyone. So does this really allow you to get closer to your politicians?
That remains to be seen, but it does have some other interesting features. Such as notifying you that there is an election, and urging you to get out and vote. Voter turn out is never as good as it could be. Giving people a false sense of who actually wins. Maybe they win with 51% of the votes, but out of how many? … Read the rest
The Reasons I Deactivated Facebook, and Why my Life is Better for it.
I have spent a lot of time over the years, justifying my reasons for leaving Facebook. Some were real reasons, rooted in truth, while others were a way to appease people and get them to stop asking me why. Regardless of my reasons, I felt like I was drowning in the Facebook Sea, and the only way out was to completely disconnect. I have left Facebook officially twice, for an extended amount of time. Once approximately five years ago, and then I pulled the plug again this past fall. You’re probably wondering why I got back into it in the first place? I was in the process of moving to another city to start a new job, and my coworkers insisted that it would be a way for us to keep in touch, and it was, but what I learned was that you will keep in touch with the people you want to, regardless of a social media account. Fast forward five years or so and I’m contemplating why I ever returned in the first place. So what made me want to leave Facebook in the first place?
It is a time suck.
Facebook, in my opinion, puts a damper on productivity. I am the type of person who could waste an entire day binge watching a TV show, so limiting my time in Facebook was proving to be difficult. Especially with the app available so conveniently on your phone. Deactivating my account might sound a bit extreme, and I didn’t do this right away. … Read the rest
We have heard rumors that Instagram was doing an update to its app. The wait over. The new redesign is not simply the app but the icon as well. The just released a major update to iPhone app is completely redesigned from the ground up today. It’s a pretty dramatic redesign but the new layout so far is universally praised by users. The new design is now available to all iPhone users.
“Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form” ~Instagram
We love the new layout. Instagram’s old look seemed out of date and didn’t fit with the clean look direction that iOS’s was heading. The modern design of iOS was in stark contrast to Instagram. The new icon is bold and does stand out from what was there before. Here’s a video showcasing the new look as well as some new features: