Categories
Facebook Social Networking Sociology

Why Facebook Timeline is Not a Great Place for a Debate? (a.k.a. How to not suck on Facebook?)

With recent controversy raising in political field, I don’t go one day without seeing some debates taking place all over the internet.

Recently, I have had occasion to both observe, and getting involved in such incidents. In the process I’ve had to fire at least one person off from my friend list. I don’t know if I will even have chance of reconciliation, with realization of the great divide in the thought process making it unlikely amicable. Looking at few of my friends timeline, I still see fire erupting here and there.

While this article is revolves around how the interaction works in Facebook, the overall theme is equally applicable to all the social network systems. I hope you find the article interesting.

Seriously, personal timelines are not a great place for those debates!

One of your friend writes something controversial, or maybe they are just linking to some article of that nature. You have different take to that. So you are supposed to correct that person, right? Wrong! If you are coming from the standpoint of correcting someone, you are better off just leave it and go on with your day.

Motives? That doesn’t matter

So let’s decipher the reason behind why you are even bothering to correct them. While this is definitely not a comprehensive list, here are some of my observations:

  1. You genuinely feel that the person can be benefited by your corrected view. That you are strongly believe you are correct and you want to make sure others align with you.
  2. You are part of some cause (e.g. religion or political party) that you feel obligated to spread the world view as your cause see.
  3. You want assert yourself over someone. Because you feel you are better than other.

If you are #3, congratulations, you are genuinely nasty human being. Please go away and hide in a cave and please stay there for rest of your life.

There might be number of other reasons. But I won’t go into details, as it actually doesn’t matter at all, because…

Engaging in a debate on someone’s personal timeline is a no-win game

For any posts or comments you make, writing to someone’s personal timeline is like visiting someone’s house, and starting conversation. Therefore, depending on your relationship with said person, certain level of courtesy is expected. And even if you think you know the person, you may have to exercise extra precautions especially if you are trying to cross someone’s boundary.

Now, why I say that engaging in a debate on someone’s personal timeline is a no-win game? Because no matter how it turns out, you will become, eh, an asshole. I have deliberately used this strong word, because this is very appropriate representation for severity of infringement to one’s personal space. (Please do note however, that I am using this term to figuratively represents how equivalent their action can be described as, and definitely not meant to call any particular person this way.)

No matter how subtle you come into someone’s timeline to start making your point, you will become an asshole regardless.

You are essentially kicking the door open to someone’s house and telling them how to cook, do their laundry, and make their bed. Not a lot of people will find that pleasing, if not developing hates of lifetime against you.

You are not even correct!

And you know what? You are not even correct. Things are controversial for reasons. You may be standing on completely different ground. You are rude and inconsiderate if you are advocating your personal view as if it is their view.

Your arrogance will only buy you hates. You can’t convince other people to consider your view, unless you are willing to show compassion and actually understand problem as they see. You are not that important.

Don’t even come into discussion with assumption that you are correct, because you are definitely not, no matter how you put it.

Circle of the friends

One dynamic that differs drastically even when I compare Facebook timeline to someone’s house is when you are interacting someone on their Facebook timeline, you are not only dealing with that person, but you are doing that in front of many of the person’s friends. Imagine coming into the party full of people, you kick the door open, and start screaming why you are correct and the person is wrong. That’s simply nasty. You are essentially making the person look bad in front of others. They will have no choice but to take more drastic measure to shut you out completely, to protect integrity with their friends.

If you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all

You probably have heard this numerous time since your childhood. This, is the essence of how you should approach someone’s timeline. It is not your obligation to contribute your opinion to someone’s timeline. They probably don’t even want you there. So simply, just ignore, and mute. If you seriously can’t stand what they are posting, unfriend or block.

It’s actually safe to assume most people post items on their Facebook timeline to exchange information with people who are aligned with their position, and most of time, your opposing view is not welcomed anyways unless you are presenting them in extremely sensitive manner, and that’s very hard.

Don’t bother pushing your argument when you are not welcomed. Doing so will automatically make you a bad person. It doesn’t matter how valid you think your arguments are, more you keep trying, you will be breaking into the boundary of harassment, and that’s not cool. After all, you can’t change the world. Move on.

You are better off discussing your view with other friends of yours who share more similar view. Or maybe, try more public place like news media’s timeline.

There are of course, some conversations, particularly technical in nature, that tend to have more relaxed atmosphere that’s appropriate for open debate, but then that’s rarely controversial to begin with. (But interact with courtesy, and do note there are some pitfalls!)

Conclusion

Facebook and other social media systems enabled us to connect with many people close than ever. They have given me to meet a lot of great people as well as reconnecting with old friends otherwise impossible. At same time, sometimes we tend to forget there’s actual human being behind the screen. Your one keystroke, and one click can provide huge impact, for the good of society, as much as it can for exact opposite. Let’s work together to not be a part of the problem. Let’s try to not be an asshole.

Categories
Freenet Social Networking

Freenet’s Move to Social System

Freenet a “free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship,” is now making a move toward censorship resistant social networking system.

Freenet, essentially is a decentralized hard drive, with cryptographically implemented input and output controls — a person could push contents into Freenet, and other person can retrieve. With clever use of these simple systems, now BBS (Bulletin Board System), social network, and blog sites are emerging.

A BBS on Freenet is nothing new — external software called Frost is quite functional BBS that uses Freenet infrastructure. However, it has its own problem. First, it is external software. User has to go to Frost’s site and download the software. While not difficult, it introduced extra burden on users’ side that they have to have this software to access to the system. Secondly, Frost is not very resistant to spamming.

Freenet’s new Freetalk integrates to Freenet interface, and will be ready to use when Freenet is available. (as long as it is enabled.) It works right on a browser.

Freetalk on Freenet

Combating against spam on Freenet is somewhat contradictory, as whole point of Freenet system is resist censorship. Therefore, Freetalk (and other items I cover in this article) uses scheme called Web of Trust. Web of Trust may sound familiar with one who has worked with OpenPGP softwares. It is essentially, trust system based on how peers trust others. With this system, while spam would be there, spammers will (inevitably) starting to receive low score, and can be filtered out. One thing to note is that Web of Trust system, unlike with OpenPGP, is pseudonym. A person can have multiple ID under Freenet’s Web of Trust, but origination of messages can be verified under this system.

Using this same basic system, there is a system called Sone (Freenet link) which offers Facebook/Twitter like system that allows users to have their own time lines. Visitors will be able to interact with posts by commenting and liking, just like on Facebook. While offered by third-party, it is implemented as Freenet plugin, which can be also used right on Freenet interface through the browser.

Sone

Blogging on Freenet, called Flog is not new, but there’s now a helper application on Freenet called FlogHelper. This allows you to setup Flog, as well as managing posts within. Visitor can reach through Freenet’s address. The picture below is a Flog by the developer of Freenet.

Flog by Toad

With those tools now available, Freenet is becoming true communication site, and will hopefully be providing censorship resistant communication, especially to countries like China where strong censorship is in place.

Categories
Facebook Japan mixi Social Networking twitter

Social Network Analytics of Japan

Google Insights for Search reveals rather interesting fact about social network system’s in Japan.

Overall, Japanese social network scene is dominated by mixi, and Google Insights filtered to Japan do show that trend as well. (In world wide trend, mixi is nothing.)

Filtering the result to year to date 2009, it starting to reveal rather interesting fact.
The overall trend shows that mixi’s gradually losing its popularity, while Facebook is increasing, in Tokyo, Facebook already has surpassed mixi early June, and YTD average shows Facebook is already as strong as mixi. (and if this trend continues, by next month, Facebook will become most popular social network system in Tokyo.)

Tokyo’s shift in trend is unique, as even Okinawa, showing strong MySpace support than rest of Japan, although, mixi is still dominating the popularity there. (I speculate presence of US military base for high support of MySpace in Okinawa.) Okinawa’s overall trend has been following somewhat close to rest of Japan, but perhaps with Facebook and MySpace competing for shares.

Regional comparison for Facebook in major cities in Japan shows that overall popularity volume in Tokyo is much higher than rest of places. (and likewise, comparison with MySpace shows significance of MySpace in Okinawa.

So, it seems like, in Japan, many people are starting to migrate to something other than mixi, perhaps for the fact mixi’s more focus on mobile phone market (and especially, if they use carrier menu to access to mixi from their mobile phone, it won’t show up in Google Insights) as well as more push to Facebook from different sectors (for example, DSi support of photo upload to Facebook.) Somehow, this trend is showing in Tokyo drastically than in different places. This may be mean that there are more international relationship dynamic happening in Tokyo, requires more global communication. (mixi do not allow sign-up without Japanese mobile numbers now)

Categories
Japan mixi Social Networking

Policy Revision of mixi Starting Aug. 18

Looks like mixi‘s becoming anonymous social network site. There’s new policies effective August 18, among many other policy changes, they are adding following to the item 16 of the prohibited actions clause.

(16) Disclosure of a contact information of third-party or a self, which can be used to identify individual, including address, phone number, E-mail address, to the part of site that is viewable by public.

Notice by this, they are prohibiting disclosure of contact information about yourself. So, when did mixi become my babysitte

Categories
Japan twitter

In Japan, Twittering by Candidates are Illegal During Their Election Campaign

Yes, you heard it right, in Japan, their cabinet council determined that twittering by candidates during their election campaign illegal under Japanese Public Election Law, which classifies twittering as “election campaign by texts or graphic.”

This sounds really insane, but it is already illegal for candidates to even update blogs during their election campaign.

Why? Because their law is so outdated that the law pretty much allows only limited method of election campaign. What are they? They are posters at the designated board, limited number of fliers and postcards, use of cars with speaker to announce their name, etc.

Other than that, they are pretty much restricted to do anything to promote themselves. They have this kind of regulation, because apparently, having those allowed grants them unfair advantages over other candidates.

So, no, if you are living in Japan and happen to get voting rights in Japan, don’t expect to find useful information on the net.