Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 26, 2009

A Facebook myth

Firstly, some myth busting. There is something doing the rounds on Facebook that caught me offguard during another frantic week. It was a message in Facebook from a friend saying:  “Facebook has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures without permission. If you don’t want them to be available for this: click on SETTINGS up at the top, next to the Log out link. Select Privacy. Then select NEWSFEEDS and WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACEBOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes”.

A few hours after changing the settings, I began to get the horrible feeling that this had all the signs of being an online hoax. Soooo, I did some research and quickly found that another netizen had beaten me to it and compiled an overview of the issue. Raj Boora in Canada has a great summary at Editing In The Dark and the main points are:

  • It is this false rumor
  • The advertisements that started these rumors were not from Facebook but placed within applications by third parties who misused profile pics – and Facebook stopped them.
  • Overall, it is not bad to raise the issue of privacy, as Raj points out, so it is one of the least harmful hoaxes out there.

Why do you go online?

The people at Ruder Finn, a PR firm in New York, did a small survey of 500 people in the US to see what they did online. You could choose multiple options and one option got a 100% score, can you guess what that was? That’s right, “passing the time”.

It is dangerous to read too much into such a small survey, so take the results with a grain of salt, however, it is still fun to read the list. Other notable results include:

  • 96% Educate self
  • 92% Connect with others
  • 89% Research

Intriguingly, “work (business)” was just under 70%, however we cannot tell whether many of the other listings were done in a work or non-work capacity, so best not to be too alarmed if you began thinking the whole internet thing had slipped away from being a business tool. Another strange finding was that only around 30% of users bought things or managed their finances online which seems very, very low compared to other data and anecdotal findings.

Some of the more novel choices were “escape” which 66% of users admitted to, “opine” with 62%, and “emote” with 44%. I think emote is a quaint term for whingeing, grizzling and taking cheap shots at others, however fewer people would selected the option had it been described thus. You can see the full table of results at emarketer.

Stuff to tweet

If ever you get stuck for something to opine or emote online, you can visit Stuff To Tweet for a summary of the dominant stories doing the online rounds. This site is a simple aggregator of the most popular tweets, bookmarks, videos, recipes, and news stories from a number of a-list and not-quite-a-list web properties. Here’s what I found preparing for tonight’s show:

  • From Digg: HP researchers develop a browser-based dark net – a dark net is a “veiled” network that is closed to outsiders and often used by businesses for transferring confidential documents.
  • From Delicous: Anti-Abuse Bus Stop Ad Only Batters Women When Nobody’s Looking – an Amnesty ad that has a camera watching people at the bus stop. When they look away, the poster shows a man hitting a woman but when they look back, the poster changes to a happy snap of the couple.
  • From Twitter: Bill Gates dumps Facebook – A little slip from Bill in India, quipping he gave up on Facebook because he couldn’t keep up with friend requests, running in the tens of thousands. Ironic because Microsoft  has a stake in Facebook. The story also mentions how he is not only NOT a 24-hour tech guy, but that “all these tools of tech waste our time if we’re not careful”.
  • From YouTube: A short animated video about Simon’s Cat in which it chases a fly and fails to get respect for its victory. Cat lovers will like it at
  • From Lifehacker: Top Ten Tips for Streamlining your Vacation – includes ideas like having a Staycation (in which you stay at home), prepare yourself with jet lag calculators, deal with information overload when you get back, streamlining your packing, etc.
  • From Recipe Zaar: Chennai chicken curry – delicioius!

You can check out the latest bits and pieces from the web at Stuff To Tweet.

Bundle wrapping

All the talk of holiday-making from the last website, got me into the mood for pursuing this handy site about bundle wrapping, otherwise known as the art of packing clothes into suitcases with the minimum of creasing.

It is way too complicated to explain in this entry, but you can find full details including a handy diagram at One Bag – a non-profit website by Doug Dyment, the go-light guru.

The basic principle is that hard folding causes wrinkles and creases, so by placing a core object in the bag that your clothes can wrap around, there is a greater chance of storing them without terrible creases.

Other items of interest on the site include:

  • The one-page traveller’s checklist
  • Information about travel bags
  • And scores of pages crammed with useful tips

Most illuminating is Doug’s antipathy towards luggage with rollers. He explains how adding those handy wheels and extendable handle increase weight of a bag by about 75% and decrease capacity by about half. His answer: learn to pack less and CARRY your bag. You can read more at his One Bag site.

Sean’s snapshot

Trust Sean to challenge a proverb, in this case, the one about curiosity killing cats. As this picture shows, curiosity can come close to killing cats but at least they get to go with a feast!

The stray cat looking for a feed
The stray cat looking for a feed