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Social Networking

The UK Defence Ministry thinks terrorists will dance with you, have tea with your mum and babysit all thanks to social media

This is pretty amazing. The Telegraph has the story of the MoD warning servicemen and women (and their families) about the potential dangers of posting information to social networks. The videos are well done and do actually lead you to think before you post. However, they have conclusions which lead to far more important lessons.

Take the video above. Toward the end, as the tension builds, I'm expecting the sailors to get attacked, kidnapped, beheaded or something. Instead, the closing shot is of the servicewomen dancing with a fully-masked, fully-armed, presumed-terrorist. This begs much larger questions than "Did these ladies overshare on Foursquare?" Questions such as:

  1. What sort of security is the nightclub operating under? Maybe the MoD should do a public campaign about the dangers of shit bouncers?
  2. What sort of British sailor spots an armed terrorist and chooses to dance with him? Granted, a lot might have happened off-screen. Maybe the terrorist threated to murder every single club-goer if these sailors didn't dance with him. Maybe that's what he really wants in life, not money, not the release of a political prisoner. Maybe he just wants to feel sexy for once in his life.

There are a total of four full scenario videos in the series. Here's my absolute favorite.

I mean, that's just brilliant. If terrorists are providing free child care, we need to rethink this entire War on Terrorism thing from the ground up!

MySpace Begs Users To Log In With Threats Of Cancelled URLs

Oh how the mighty have fallen. I just got this email from MySpace
You're losing it, Baratunde Thurston! Your MySpace URL is about to be taken away, so you may lose it forever. This is the unique URL you chose for yourself (such It’s been some time since you’ve logged in and used your MySpace URL. You're holding a very valuable piece of MySpace real estate, which is the URL you chose. Since it doesn't look like you're an active user on this account, we will be resetting your username/URL so that someone else can use it. How do you keep it for yourself? Simply login to your account right now by clicking: That’s it! While you're there, check out the new feature that lets you automatically find people you may know. Just click the link: NOTE: We are only resetting the URLs of inactive accounts. We will *not* delete your account. We are simply trying to free up the username/URLs for people who actually want to use them. Thanks!
No, you're losing it, MySpace!  What happened to poor MySpace? Under the guise of helping me preserve my URL, MySpace is pushing an immediate boost in active accounts by using threats to force people to log in. Oh, and while I'm logged in, did I know that I could find other people I might know??? How pathetic. Here's a hint MySpace. If your service has to resort to threats to get people to log in, it's no longer useful.  I've always had a tolerate-hate relationship with MySpace, but as a comedian, it used to be king of the hill for me. I posted videos and blogs, networked with other artists and got lots of fan correspondence in the form of emails and comments on my photos, blogs, videos and wall. However, the past six months or so have seen MySpace become virtually abandoned. I still get friend requests, but the interaction died off a long time ago. No more comments, very few emails. I never liked the calendar and group systems, but I don't even get get spammy requests from bands and hot chicks anymore. God, how I miss ignoring communication from crappy bands and wannabe porn stars! I use to update my MySpace status now, but the entire MySpace newsfeed is a poor imitation of the actual interactive feeds of services like Facebook and Friendfeed. Every few weeks I'll check my friend requests and the few messages that await me, but overall I really don't have a reason to log in to MySpace. Until now. Because now, MySpace is threatening me. Now is a good time to let you all know where I do hang out online. My most active haunts in order are Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed. I'll see you there. Or else.

Facebook Page Activity Hits The Feeds!

Thanks to a conversation with Jon Pincus, I just found out that Page activity (beyond becoming a fan) will hit the facebook newsfeed for the following actions: commenting on video, posting to discussion board, posting to wall, posting a fan video.

What doesn't hit feed: inserting a posted item.

The big aha: if you are the admin of a page, your own activity on the page will not hit your feed. I had to de-admin myself to get this activity to show. Have a friend be your page admin

Facebook Privacy Violation: Secret Group Activity is Public!

I have also posted this inside a facebook discussion forum

this is a warning/plea for help

i created a secret group which means
"The group will not appear in search results or in the profiles of its members. Membership is by invitation only, and only members can see the group information and content."


I posted to a discussion forum and to the wall in this group. In both cases, the fact that I posted, the topic of my post and the name of the group were all revealed in my minifeed on my profile page. I confirmed that all this information is visible by friends of mine who are not members of the secret group.

What's the point of making a group secret, if your activity in it is blasted to the public? Does FB not know what secret means? This is a terrible violation.

Facebook Pages Finally Let You Target Your Update Messages!

Dude, we are winning this battle. Facebook is actually giving pages some power! First they gave us Poups by allowing us to merge our groups with our pages and thus avoid the frustrating fragmentation of our audiences. Now they've checked off another major issue on my Pages wish list:

Targeted Updates For Facebook Groups!

Check that out. One thing that made me angry is Facebook constantly saying they care about spam and are nervous about it and trying to stop it (to the point of censoring users), yet forcing Page owners to address every single fan with a message that should be regionally targeted. I like to send out updates about my shows, but that's usually in just one city (sometimes I teletransport). I've been hacking this targeting ability by using events under my Profile (not Page) to invite people in a city to a gig. Now I can target my messages. This is absolutely wonderful. This gives me more of an incentive to drive people to my Page rather than Profile. I still have a challenge in that area, but we're getting closer. Now if they'd just let us format the update messages... Thanks, Facebook. Sincerely.

Facebook to me: "Clean Up Your Room!"

Facebook Clean Up Your Profile, originally uploaded by baratunde.

If ever there were a sign that Facebook was growing up, this is it. Today I logged in and was told in no uncertain terms to "clean up my profile." I detected the silent subtext of "or else" with the hidden threat that I may not be allowed to enjoy a game of scrabulous if I didn't obey.

It's official. Facebook is my mom. But as soon as Facebook turned its back, I sooo stuck my tongue out in protest. <mutter>Tell me to clean up my profile. You clean up YOUR profile</mutter>