» posted on Monday, April 8th, 2013 at 17:17 by Nigel
Read some of the reports around the web, and you’d be forgiving for thinking that Facebook has decided to charge people to send messages to celebrities. And, you probably think, that doesn’t bother you because you’re not the sort of person who does that.
But what they’re really doing is charging for communications to people who aren’t in your friend lists, and that has rather wider reaching implications; I responded to a blog post on the Which? website, and this is an edited version of my comment there.
I believe this is a dangerous precedent, and one that can make Facebook – and especially its ‘groups’ functionality, a lot less useful for a lot of people, especially small clubs, groups and organisations.
I run a club, which is a free organisation, with no membership fees. As well as a forum on our own website, we also have a closed group on Facebook where our members can also discuss and share information.
To ensure that it’s not full of spam, we approve each member who wants to join the group, and the details of the group indicate that people should message an admin with their membership details. However, the way the facebook groups interface works means that’s not terribly visible, and many people don’t. So, we’re often left needing to contact them.
One reason for that is that, by the nature of the group, many people may not be using the same name or email address on Facebook as they do on our private site. And, with a few thousand people in our club, there will be many whom we don’t know personally.
It is, of course, possible to simply add people as Friends – though Facebook has limits on how many times you can do that, especially if people don’t respond. Just as I might not recognise some of those wanting to join the group, because of a different name, they may not necessarily recognise me when I send a friend request. After sufficient people have turned down what may seem to them to be random friend requests, you end up blocked from sending any more, which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to verify membership of a group.
Another reason why we don’t want to become friends with everyone just to message them about group membership is the inevitable cluttering up of timelines, which then necessitates setting what stuff you want to hear from each person, and dealing with the almost inevitable further requests that you play some annoying game that they’ve decided to share with everyone. In short, it would create a lot more work for people trying to simply control who can and can’t join the group that we have on Facebook.
So, a consequence of this new policy, spun as if it’s only going to affect those who want to message celebrities, is that more and more, we as admins of a group, will be expected to pay to send someone a message to verify their membership of our club; I’ve had this message pop up a couple of times already, and my reaction has been to ignore it, and with it the Facebook member’s request to join the group.
I’m sure I won’t be the only person in this situation. Talking of it as a fee to message celebrities may well get headlines, but in fact like many such stupid ideas, the biggest effect will likely be felt by small organisations who will be penalised a bit at a time for wanting to reach out and contact people, whether over things like group memberships in my case, or because they want to contact someone who may be knowledgeable and able to help with a problem.
Yes, it is, so far, a small fee, but if I have to pay to message just one in six of our members, to verify they should be allowed access to our closed Facebook group, that would cost the same as several months of the hosting fees for our main web site.
This is, for many small groups, likely to be an annoyance, and drain on their funds or time, that goes one little step further towards making Facebook less useful as a way of keeping in touch with people, rather than more.
» posted on Friday, September 14th, 2012 at 11:35 by Nigel
London to Berlin by train, a set on Flickr.
Over on Flickr, you’ll find a few photos and notes about my recent trip to Berlin by train. It’s slightly off-topic for this blog, but if you enjoy travelling and hate flying, as I do, you might find some of the information useful.
» posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2012 at 17:35 by Nigel
I have a Google Plus page; like a lot of people, I don’t tend to go there that often, because I’ve not yet found anything compelling. And, thanks to the latest changes that Google has made, giving it a new look, I’m even less likely to go there in future.
Because Google has made it just too much hassle to log in to their site.
I have a couple of Google accounts; the one that I use most is the one for my AdSense account, but my GooglePlus page is actually a different account, with my Gmail address; I can’t remember exactly why that happened – I think at the time it was open only to Gmail addresses, or something like that. Anyway, AdSense is on my ‘real’ email address, and I seldom use Gmail anyway.
Until the recent change, this didn’t make much difference. I tend to be signed in to the AdSense account most, but when I go to Google Plus, there used to be, alongside the offer to create a G+ account with the account I’m signed in as, the option to switch to another account. I could click that on the dropdown, select the Gmail account, enter the password, and I’d be in.
Not any more. This screen is what I see when I try to go to Google Plus now, when I’m signed in to my AdSense account:
The only thing I’ve done to that screenshot is blur the email address; there are no links off the page that I’m hiding. In case it makes a difference – but G+ isn’t so crucial I’m going to change my browser to find out – I’m using Firefox on the Mac.
What’s missing? There’s not only no switch account option, but there’s also no sign out link. Google knows I’m signed in to an account that doesn’t have a G+ profile. It wants me to create one, and that’s the only option. The About Google+ link tells me how wonderful it is, and has more links to information about G+, and to Google’s main pages. But certainly within a couple of clicks, I can’t get to a page with a signout link.
So, what I have to do instead is go back to my bookmarks, or the address bar, and navigate back to AdSense, then click Sign out. And then come back to Google Plus, and type the Gmail address and password for the account that I used when I created my Google Plus page.
And, frankly, that just makes me think, “Why the hell should I bother?”
» posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 at 10:58 by Nigel
» posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 13:03 by Nigel
For those who want to read this blog on the go (and so I can keep things up to date more easily when I’m using my phone), I’ve installed the WordPress Mobile Pack.
You may see the mobile version of the site automatically, but you can also request it by going to gonedigital.tv instead of gonedigital.net
I think all the internal links have been fixed so you won’t accidentally switch format going from one page to another, but please let me know if you spot anything weird.
» posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 13:29 by Nigel
Just a quick note – as a result of this blog, as well as my work on Toppy.org.uk, I have been receiving an increasing number of questions from readers, asking for help and advice. Some of you will have been waiting a considerable time for a reply.
I apologise for that, but I must stress that I have limited free time, and so can’t guarantee a personal response to every enquiry – and even if you can find my phone number, please don’t ring me up and ask for advice with your PVR.
I will, however, be making an effort to address many of the questions emailed to me in a series of posts here shortly – but please remember that the simplest way to ask a question is probably through the comments on here, or via Twitter, as long as it’s not too involved.
» posted on Monday, September 6th, 2010 at 21:42 by Nigel
Apologies if you missed GoneDigital today; the server crashed and had to be poked with a stick, which was a little hard to organise from Berlin. I’ll be swapping over to a new server in the near future.
In the meantime, things should be back to normal, for the time being.
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