Tag: widgets

Who’s got the spam: MySpace or Facebook?

And what about the app providers themselves

Kristen Nicole asked: “When Did Facebook Get More Spammy than MySpace?” It’s all the buzz since the BBC reported that a widget third-party application can be used to gather personal data on its users – Facebook security.

Why there is an expectation that social network abuse wouldn’t grow inline with network expansion itself I cannot answer. Maybe it’s the morass of privacy settings available to the user – kind of like a security blanket even if you don’t have the time or the inclination to work through them all. Could it be the consistent public relations byline coming out of the organizations themselves? Or maybe it’s the constant buzz from the blogosphere and media. Personally, I expected the spam.

Nonetheless, I’m first to point fingers at the buzz. Quick and dirty searches for the two kings, associated with the word “spam,” produced the following results:

Not really much of a winner here. While even my own search results show Facebook in the lead, 10 hits to 2 hits, those figures are statistically insignificant. As is, I believe, the concept of spammers doing measurable damage inside the networks.

What I’d be more concerned about is this…

Facebook (and I’m sure MySpace) has the resources to put the kibosh on these issues (and Facebook is already claiming they pay careful attention to potential problems, although some of effort is aligned with natural attrition). But what about the application providers themselves?

The prevalent business model for the apps seems to be new media targeted marketing (i.e. internet advertising) – the apps/providers are collecting data…right? How good is their security? And how long before malcreants start mugging them instead of chasing their tails inside the fortresses?

Does “cleaning house” portend widget backlash?

VCs are doing it. Should you?

It’s pretty obvious by looking at these pages that I don’t have much taste for widgets. Now, it seems, at least one blogging venture capitalist is taking widgets to task – cleaning them out because they slow down page loading time. While I’d like to say I’m a trendsetter, alas it’s really just a matter of having no time and/or patience to find useful, easy to use widgets to slap on the site. The ones I have found that are useful simply take too much time to create and/or maintain.

[singlepic id=358 w=240 h=122 float=left]I would have commented on Mr. Wilson’s blog – maybe snarkily offering the New York venture capitalist my stylesheet – but the comment section didn’t load. I’m now wondering if it too is a widget of some sort.

I’ve cursorily seen a trend towards cleaner blog pages, and web pages in general. Even one of Mr. Wilson’s own investments, Tumblr, is built on the idea of clean, easy to read pages full of content originating from the owner. Yet, widgets seem to be growing and thriving in places like MySpace and Facebook (and yes, I know all the junk on Facebook pages are called “apps” – sorry, but they look like widgets to me).

Is there a shift in the midst – widgets coming off of personal/independent pages…finally finding their rightful place in social networks? Or are widgets beginning to join the ranks of the homeless?

UPDATE: If social network widgets can’t start producing real revenue, extinction may be the foregone conclusion.

Who’s take on widgets?

widg·et [wij-it] –noun
1. a small mechanical device, as a knob or switch, esp. one whose name is not known or cannot be recalled;
2. something considered typical or representative, as of a manufacturer’s products;

There are no widgets here, but that’s just personal preference (and the starkness is just a reflection of the owner). Some folks actually have a problem with them. Are widgets slowing down the web?

Maybe the bigger question should be whether they add any value to the user/viewer.

I’ll get all posts in here sooner or later

This website will eventually contain select contents of the previous Spamroll.com and Thoughtmarket.com blogs (the moment I find someone who really knows how to import the stuff), as well as all future goings on.

Meanwhile, I’ve chosen a sparse design for which tweaking will be kept to a minimum. The reasoning – many sites have more in the way of graphics, widgets and what-have-you for most people’s tastes (and dialup connections), yet the virtual gadgets continue to proliferate at an alarming rate. My question is…does anyone feel the glitter DOESN’T distract them from the content at hand? Personally, I can’t read half a paragraph of most blog entries without being tempted to click on some link, picture, or flashing graphic – I almost never finish consuming the content. But I guess it’s all good, if you own one of the companies making the bling.

Inspiration for the approach comes from the ideas of Edward Tufte, styling examples from plaintext.org, and the timeless wonder The Elements of Style.

UPDATE: One caveat – I reserve the right to throw some photos up.

OS X widgets need a calling card too?

Hot on the heels of revelations that Windows Genuine Advantage is doing a little more than its EULA says, someone may have found a similar occurence with the latest OS X update.

Apple’s new Dashboard Advisory, which attempts to authenticate widgets, seems relatively harmless (meaning it isn’t passing information back to Apple). Unfortunately, that isn’t the point. The issue is whether Apple is pushing the option without notifying the user and/or allowing them to turn it off.

This 10.4.7 user can’t validate any of this, as he hasn’t seen said feature “pop up” yet. But Ethereal may be running for the rest of the day.