Facebook: “It’s okay to spam your friends”

“It’s okay to spam your friends” may not be the company’s official strapline, but it certainly seems to be a key part of Facebook that spamming your friends with everything you’re doing is the way to stay “in touch”.

It’s a fine line to tread, however, and the recent additions to the newsfeed seem to be taking the site into a dangerous zone. On the one hand, the newsfeed does allow people to see what their friends are doing without having to put much effort in, and allows for all kinds of serendipitous discoveries. (“What an interesting group, I think I’ll join!” and “I didn’t realise you were interested in…”)

On the other hand, it can easily turn people off if the relevancy drops off and the volume becomes overwhelming. “5 of your friends received Funwall posts” is of no interest to me and although I can “vote down” the relevancy, I’m sure there’ll be some new fad next month that five of my friends will all happen to do at the same time and I’ll have to vote it down again.

The encouragement to spam is no more active than with application design. In fact: the viral nature of application growth, almost by definition, encourages spamming of friends as a way of surviving and spreading. “Invite 10 friends to unlock new gifts” and the like are usually enough encouragement, and somehow the “ethos” of Facebook means most of us have little compunction in at least spamming those closer friends. After all: they can always click on the “ignore” button.

We’ve experimented with the principle ourslves. Applications such as Which Dessert Are You? give the user a very basic reward for inviting their friends and that, in itself, seems to be enough to spread the application. The content, and usefulness, are both close to non-existent, yet the app is spreading at the rate of thousands per day.

It’s a simple equation: if each person manages to spread your application to more than one person it will grow. If it’s less than one, it won’t. On the plus side (from a commercial point of view) it’s a great environment to spread brand awareness by capitalising on the currently acceptable face of spam, but on the other it’s a challenge for Facebook to keep these invites and newsfeed messages enough on the side of useful (compared to annoying) for us to put up with it.

How to find Firefox easily in Task Manager

Often I need to kill firefox.exe so I’ve identified this simple way of finding it without having to sort alphabetically and scroll all the way down through reams of pointless, resource-sapping Windows processes (which are no doubt running “just in case” to shave 1 microsecond off an app I use every once 3 years… acrotray.exe, you know who you are). Anyway, here it is:

  • Open task manager
  • Sort by memory usage
  • It’s the stupid bloated fat memory leaking process at the top (but double-check it’s not photoshop.exe)
  • Kill kill kill

Hopefully this will be useful to someone else who also has their system ground to a halt just because they’ve left their browser on the same 40k static page for more than an hour.

Facebookster spam

Self-proclaimed Facebook development specialists Facebookster have been spamming blogs with a huge number of comments, including this one.

It really isn’t a good sign for a company to be reduced to barely ethical means of marketing, especially when the Facebookster spam messages aren’t even relevant to the posts. It’s just blatant commercial spam.

We need a stop Facebookster spamming us button on Blogger.