Ressources for Parents and Teachers (ISL Talks on Social Networking) [en]

[fr] Quelques liens, points de départ pour mes deux conférences plus tard dans la journée (parents et enseignants, au sujet des adolescents et des réseaux sociaux comme Facebook).

I’m giving two talks today at the [ISL](, one for teachers and another for parents, about teenagers and social networking (that the request was specifically for “social networking” makes me happy, because we’re finally moving away from the whole “blog” thing). I think we’re moving away further and further from the “internet as library” metaphor, and the “internet as city/village” image is the one that most people are starting to have.

I have already gathered many links with useful information all over the place, but I think it’s a good thing to collect some of them here for easier access. If you’re reading this not long after I posted it, you’ll find a whole series of quotes in [my Tumblr](, too.

**General starting-points**

– my bookmarks tagged [teens](, [youth](, [fear](, [digitalyouth](, [edublogging]( (click on “related tags” at the top right of each page to explore more)
– search Wikipedia for [Bebo](, [Facebook](, [MySpace](, etc
– search [digital youth on Google]( for educational resources and research
– visit [Facebook](, [MySpace]( or [skyrock]( to explore or create a profile there

**Fear of sexual predators**

This is by large the most important fear linked to teenagers and the internet. Thankfully, it is much exaggerated and no more of concern than fear of predators *offline*. Three starting-points:

– [Predator Panic: Reality Check on Sex Offenders](
– [MySpace Banning Sex Offenders: Online Predator Paranoia]( (contains relevant quotes and figures from [a 2007 research presentation]( one can view/read in full online)
– [My Advice to Parents](

**The real issues**

You’ll see that these are much less “newsworthy” than sexual predators.

– privacy (in the sense of revealing too much about yourself or in an inappropriate context, which leads to embarrassement or social problems) — a look at Facebook privacy settings
– permanence of online media
– weakness of anonymity
– misunderstanding of how online interactions affect communication and relationships (“chat effect”, flame wars…)
– [slide-show of a presentation I gave]( about the kind of mischief teenagers get upto on blogs (what I managed to lay my hands on, with screenshots — no fear, it’s pretty mild)
– intellectual property (copyright)
– necessary to move away from a model of “education through control” as everything is available at a click of a mouse (age-restricted content like porn, shopping, gambling)
– rumors, hoaxes and urban legends (use []( to debunk them)
– bullying and many other unpleasant online phenomenons are also offline phenomenons, but sometimes less visible to adults; the core issue does not change — if these problems are addressed properly offline, then they will also be online
– [cyberaddiction]( is not common at all, despite what some articles might want to have you believe — unhealthy usage of the computer usually is not the problem in itself, but an element of a larger problem which needs to be addressed
– the jury is still out on [gaming]( — though it’s clearly not healthy to be spending *too* much time immersed in interactive virtual worlds when you’re learning to get to grips with reality, it seems that participating in multi-player online games [can have a significant positive impact]( on ability to work in teams and solve problems creatively

**Other links or comments**

– [Notes of round table discussion with 4 International School teenagers from the Geneva region](
– [blog of “web2.0-enabled” educator Ewan McIntosh](
– [blog of danah boyd, PhD researcher on youth and digital spaces](
– tip for teachers present in social networks where students are: make “public” part of profile “school-compatible”, don’t send out friend requests to students, but accept incoming ones (people outside the teaching sphere have similar issues between “personal life” and “business)
– the computer is not the only device which gives access to the living web
– [should parents spy on their kids online? (Facebook)](
– a good book for parents: [Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online](
– beyond teenagers, into business (there are many, but two pointers): [How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications](, and [The Cluetrain Manifesto](, a book that gives you the bigger picture

I will probably add to this article later on, following the requests made during the talks. If you want to suggest a topic or ask a question, feel free to do so in the comments.

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Flickr and Dopplr: the Right Way to Import GMail Contacts [en]

[fr] Il est maintenant possible d'importer des contacts depuis GMail (ou Hotmail) sans devoir divulguer son mot de passe, aussi bien chez Flickr que chez Dopplr. Génial!

A few days ago, I saw this ( soar by:

> Impressed by passwordless import at… – does anyone know if that’s a *public* yahoo API they use? want!

I immediately went to investigate. You see, I have an interest in [social network portability]( (also called [“make holes in my buckets”]( — I gave a [talk on SPSNs from a user point of view at WebCamp SNP in Cork]( recently — and I am also concerned that in many cases, implementations in that direction make generous use of the [password anti-pattern]( (ie, asking people for the password to their e-mail). It’s high time for [design to encourage responsible behaviour]( instead. As the [discussion at WebCamp shows](, we all agree that solutions need to be found.

So, what [Matt]( said sounded sweet, but I had to check for myself. (Oh, and Matt builds [Dopplr](, in case you weren’t sure who he was.) Let me share with you what I saw. It was nice.

Go to [the Flickr contact import page]( if you want to follow live. First, I clicked on the GMail icon and got this message.

Flickr: Find your friends

I clicked OK.

Flickr and Google

This is a GMail page (note the logged in information upper right), asking me if Flickr can access my Google Contacts, just this one time. I say “yes, sure”.

Flickr: Finding my friends

Flickr goes through my GMail contacts, and presents me with a list:

Flickr: Found your friends

There is of course an “add all” option (don’t use it unless you have very few contacts), and as you can see, next to each contact there is a little drop down which I can use to add them.

Flickr: Contacts

When I’m done adding them, Flickr asks me if I want to send e-mail invites — which I don’t.

Neat, isn’t it?

Well, the best news about this is that Flickr isn’t alone. Dopplr (remember Matt?) [does the same thing]( — and also [for Windows Live Hotmail]( now.

DOPPLR: Passwordless GMail contact import

*Note and question mark: I just saw [Dopplr announced GMail password-free import back in March](, before [Matt’s tweet]( Did Dopplr do it before Flickr? Then, what was the tweet about? Thoroughly chronologically confused. Anyway, passwordless import of GMail contacts rocks. Thanks, guys.*

**Update:** Thanks for the chronology, Matt (see his comment below). So basically, Matt’s tweet was about the fact that though GMail and Hotmail allows services like Dopplr and Flickr to access contacts without requiring a password, Yahoo doesn’t. Flickr does it from your Yahoo account because they have special access. So, Yahoo, when do we get a public API for that?

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Reading the Ofcon Report on Social Networking: Stats, Stranger Danger, Perceived Risk [en]

[fr] Le Daily Mail remet ça aujourd'hui, abasourdi de découvrir que les adolescents rencontrent "offline" des étrangers d'internet. Il va donc falloir que j'écrive le fameux billet auquel j'ai fait allusion dernièrement, mais avant cela, je suis en train de lire le rapport sur lequel se basent ces articles alarmés et bien-pensants.

Ce billet contient quelques commentaires sur la situation en général, ainsi que mes notes de lecture -- citations et commentaires -- du début de ce rapport de l'Ofcon.

I don’t know if I’ll get around to writing about the [teen cleavage scare]( before the story goes completely cold, but in my endeavour to offer a balanced criticism of what’s going on here, I’m currently reading the [Ofcon Social Networking Report which was released on April 2]( and prompted this new wave of [“think of the children” media coverage]( The Daily Mail is at it today again, with the stunning and alarming news that [teenagers are meeting “strangers” from the internet offline]( (big surprise). I find it heartening, though, that the five reader comments to this article as of writing are completely sensible in playing down the “dangers” regularly touted by the press and the authorities.

Here are the running notes of my reading of this report. I might as well publish them as I’m reading. Clearly, the report seems way more balanced than the Daily Mail coverage (are we surprised?) which contains lots of figures taken out of context. However, there is still stuff that bothers me — less the actual results of the research (which are facts, so they’re good) than the way some of them are presented and the interpretations a superficial look at them might lead one to make (like, sorry to say, much of the mainstream press).

Here we go.

> Social networking sites also have
some potential pitfalls to negotiate, such as the unintended consequences of publicly posting
sensitive personal information, confusion over privacy settings, and contact with people one
doesn’t know.

Ofcon SN Report, page 1

Good start, I think that the issues raise here make sense. However, I would put “contact with people one doesn’t know” in “potential pitfalls”. (More about this lower down.)

> Ofcom research shows that just over one fifth (22%) of adult internet users aged 16+ and
almost half (49%) of children aged 8-17 who use the internet have set up their own profile on
a social networking site. For adults, the likelihood of setting up a profile is highest among
16-24 year olds (54%) and decreases with age.

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

This is to show that SNs are more popular amongst younger age groups. It makes sense to say that half of 8-17 year olds have a profile on SN site to compare it with the 22% of 16+ internet users or the 54% of 16-24 year olds. Bear in mind that these are *percentages of internet users* — they do not include those who do not go online.

However, saying “OMG one out of two 8-17 year olds has a profile on a SN site” in the context of “being at risk from paedophiles” is really not very interesting. Behaviour of 8 year olds and 17 year olds online cannot be compared at all in that respect. You can imagine a 16 year old voluntarily meeting up to have sex with an older love interest met on the internet. Not an 8 year old. In most statistics, however, both fall into the category of “paedophilia” when the law gets involved.

> 27% of 8-11 year olds who are aware of social networking sites say that they have a profile on a site

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

I’d like to draw you attention on the fact that this is 27% of 8-11 year olds **who are aware of social networking sites**.

> Unless otherwise stated, this report uses the term ‘children’ to include all young people aged 8-17.

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

I don’t like this at all, because as stated above, particularly when it comes to concerns about safety one *cannot* simply lump that agegroup into a practical “children”, which plays well with “child abuse”. In the US, cases of “statutory rape” which might very well have been consensual end up inflating the statistics on “children falling victim to sexual predators online”.

> Although contact lists on sites talk about ’friends’, social networking sites stretch the
traditional meaning of ‘friends’ to mean anyone with whom a user has an online connection.
Therefore the term can include people who the user has never actually met or spoken to.
Unlike offline (or ‘real world’) friendship, online friendships and connections are also
displayed in a public and visible way via friend lists.
> The public display of friend lists means that users often share their personal details online
with people they may not know at all well. These details include religion, political views,
sexuality and date of birth that in the offline world a person might only share only with close
> While communication with known contacts was the most popular social
networking activity, 17 % of adults used their profile to communicate with
people they do not know. This increases among younger adults.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

Right. This is problematic too. And it’s not just the report’s fault. The use of “friend” to signify contact contributes to making the whole issue of “online friendship” totally inpenetrable to those who are not immersed in online culture. The use of “know” is also very problematic, as it tends to be understood that you can only “know” somebody offline. Let’s try to clarify.

First, it’s possible to build relationships and friendships (even loves!) online. Just like in pre-internet days you could develop a friendship with a pen-pal, or kindle a nascent romance through letters, you can get to know somebody through text messages, IM, blog postings, presence streams, Skype chats and calls, or even mailing-list and newsgroup postings. I hope that it will soon be obvious to everybody that it is possible to “know” somebody without actually having met them offline.

So, there is a difference between “friends” that “you know” and “SN friends aka contacts” which you might in truth not really know. But you can see how the vocabulary can be misleading here.

I’d like to take the occasion to point out one other thing that bothers me here: the idea that contact with “strangers” or “people one does not know” is a thing worth pointing out. So, OK, 17% of adults in the survey, communicated with people they “didn’t know”. I imagine that this is “didn’t know” in the “offline person”‘s worldview, meaning somebody that had never been met physically (maybe the study gives more details about that). But even if it is “didn’t know” as in “complete stranger” — still, why does it have to be pointed out? Do we have statistics on how many “strangers” we communicate with offline each week?

It seems to me that *because this is on the internet*, strangers are perceived as a potential threat, in comparison to people we already know. As far as abuse goes, in the huge, overwhelming, undisputed majority of cases, the abuser was known (and even well known) to the victim. Most child sexual abuse is commited by people in the family or very close social circle.

I had hoped that in support of what I’m writing just now, I would be able to state that “stranger danger” was behind us. Sadly, a quick [search on Google]( shows that I’m wrong — it’s still very much present. I did, however, find [this column which offers a very critical view of how much danger strangers actually do represent for kids]( and the harmful effects of “stranger danger”. Another nice find was this [Families for Freedom Child Safety Bulletin](, by a group who seems to share the same concerns I do over the general scaremongering around children.

> Among those who reported talking to people they didn’t know, there were significant
variations in age, but those who talked to people they didn’t know were significantly more
likely to be aged 16-24 (22% of those with a social networking page or profile) than 25-34
(7% of those with a profile). In our qualitative sample, several people reported using sites in
this way to look for romantic interests.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

Meeting “online people” offline is more common amongst the younger age group, which is honestly not a surprise. At 34, I sometimes feel kind of like a dinosaur when it comes to internet use, in the sense that many of my offline friends (younger than me) would never dream of meeting somebody from “The Internets”. 16-24s are clearly digital natives, and as such, I would expect them to be living in a world where “online” and “offline” are distinctions which do not mean much anymore (as they do not mean much to me and many of the other “online people” of my generation or older).

> The majority of comments in our qualitative sample were positive about social networking. A
few users did mention negative aspects to social networking, and these included annoyance
at others using sites for self-promotion, parties organised online getting out of hand, and
online bullying.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

This is interesting! Real life experience from real people with social networks. Spam, party-crashing and bullying (I’ll have much more to say about this last point later on, but in summary, address the bullying problem at the source and offline, and don’t blame the tool) are mentioned as problems. Unwanted sexual sollicitations or roaming sexual predators do not seem to be part of the online experience of the people interviewed in this study. Strangely, this fits with my experience of the internet, and that of almost everybody I know. (Just like major annoyances in life for most people, thankfully, are not sexual harrassment — though it might be for some, and that really sucks.)

> The people who use social networking sites see them as a fun and easy leisure activity.
Although the subject of much discussion in the media, in Ofcom’s qualitative research
privacy and safety issues on social networking sites did not emerge as ‘top of mind’ for most
users. In discussion, and after prompting, some users in the qualitative study did think of
some privacy and safety issues, although on the whole they were unconcerned about them.
> In addition, our qualitative study found that all users, even those who were confident with
ICT found the settings on most of the major social networking sites difficult to understand
and manipulate.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7-8

This is really interesting too. But how do you understand it? I read: “It’s not that dangerous, actually, if those people use SN sites regularly without being too concerned, and the media are making a lot of fuss for nothing.” (Ask people about what comes to mind about driving a car — one of our regular dangerous activities — and I bet you more people than in that study will come up with safety issues; chances are we’ve all been involved in a car crash at some point, or know somebody who has.) Another way of reading it could be “OMG, even with all the effort the media are putting into raising awareness about these problems, people are still as naive and ignorant! They are in danger!”. What will the media choose to understand?

The study points out the fact that privacy settings are hard to understand and manipulate, and I find this very true. In doubt or ignorance, most people will “not touch” the defaults, which are generally too open. I say “too open” with respect to privacy in the wide sense, not in the “keep us safe from creeps” sense.

This brings me to a comment I left earlier on [an article on ComMetrics about what makes campaigns against online pedophiles fail]( It’s an interesting article, but as I explain in the comment, I think it misses an important point:

>There is a bigger issue here — which I try to explain each time I get a chance, to the point I’m starting to feel hoarse.

>Maybe the message is not the right one? The campaign, as well as your article, takes as a starting point that “adults posing as kids” are the threat that chatrooms pose to our children.

>Research shows that this is not a widespread risk. It also shows that there is no correlation between handing out personal information online and the risk of falling victim to a sexual predator. Yet our campaigns continue to be built on the false assumptions that not handing out personal information will keep a kid “safe”, and that there is danger in the shape of people lying about their identity, in the first place.

>There is a disconnect between the language the campaigns speak and what they advocate (you point that out well in your article, I think), and the experience kids and teenagers have of life online (“they talk to strangers all the time, and nothing bad happens; they meet people from online, and they are exactly who they said they were; hence, all this “safety” information is BS”). But there is also a larger disconnect, which is that the danger these campaigns claim to address is not well understood. Check out the 5th quote in the long article I wrote on the subject at the time of the MySpace PR stunt about deleting “sex offenders'” profiles.

>I will blog more about this, but wanted to point this out here first.

Yes, I will blog more about this. I think this post of notes and thoughts is long enough, and it’s time for me to think about sleeping or putting a new bandage on my scraped knee. Before I see you in a few days for the next bout of Ofcon Report reading and commentating, however, I’ll leave you with the quote I reference in the comment above (it can’t hurt to publish it again):

Now, on the case of internet sex crimes against kids, I’m concerned
that we’re already off to a bad start here. The public and the
professional impression about what’s going on in these kinds of
crimes is not in sync with the reality, at least so far as we can
ascertain it on the basis of research that we’ve done. And this
research has really been based on some large national studies of
cases coming to the attention of law enforcement as well as to large
national surveys of youth.

If you think about what the public impression is about this crime,
it’s really that we have these internet pedophiles who’ve moved
from the playground into your living room through the internet
connection, who are targeting young children by pretending to be
other children who are lying about their ages and their identities and
their motives, who are tricking kids into disclosing personal
information about themselves or harvesting that information from
blogs or websites or social networking sites. Then armed with this
information, these criminals stalk children. They abduct them.
They rape them, or even worse.

But actually, the research in the cases that we’ve gleaned from
actual law enforcement files, for example, suggests a different
reality for these crimes. So first fact is that the predominant online
sex crime victims are not young children. They are teenagers.
There’s almost no victims in the sample that we collected from – a
representative sample of law enforcement cases that involved the
child under the age of 13.

In the predominant sex crime scenario, doesn’t involve violence,
stranger molesters posing online as other children in order to set up
an abduction or assault. Only five percent of these cases actually
involved violence. Only three percent involved an abduction. It’s
also interesting that deception does not seem to be a major factor.
Only five percent of the offenders concealed the fact that they were
adults from their victims. Eighty percent were quite explicit about
their sexual intentions with the youth that they were communicating

So these are not mostly violence sex crimes, but they are criminal
seductions that take advantage of teenage, common teenage
vulnerabilities. The offenders lure teens after weeks of
conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance,
adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to
encounters that the teams know are sexual in nature with people who
are considerably older than themselves.

So for example, Jenna – this is a pretty typical case – 13-year-old
girl from a divorced family, frequented sex-oriented chat rooms, had
the screen name “Evil Girl.” There she met a guy who, after a
number of conversations, admitted he was 45. He flattered her, gave
– sent her gifts, jewelry. They talked about intimate things. And
eventually, he drove across several states to meet her for sex on
several occasions in motel rooms. When he was arrested in her
company, she was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement

David Finkelhor, in panel Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization: Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths, May 2007

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FriendFeed Appeals to Women, Too! [en]

[fr] Quelques commentaires sur FriendFeed, un nouveau service de lifestreaming. Et en réaction à une liste de "blogueurs élite" quasi entièrement masculine, allez -- une liste de femmes de mon entourage qui sont sur FriendFeed.

*Scroll to the bottom of the post for **The List**.*

[Brian Solis on]( joins [Louis Gray]( in commenting upon the fact that [“elite bloggers” are joining FriendFeed]( in respectable numbers. [FriendFeed](http://friendfeed) is a lifestreaming service, which allows you to aggregate all your online presence and publications in one place.

The first such application I bumped into was [Suprglu]( (just checked, it’s still running, wow!), [two years ago]( I was happy with it for some time, and then disappointed that it had too much of a lag (they didn’t have much resources, at least at the time).

Then came [Jaiku](, which I liked, but I never quite got used to the layout and the fact that only titles were posted. [Tumblr]( entered my world at about the same time, and for a while, I wasn’t sure how to use both these tools without being redundant. I finally decided that [Tumblr wasn’t for lifestreaming]( At that point I was also on [Facebook](, and the newsfeed there was pretty nice as a lifestreaming service. Then the apps arrived and [things started to get ugly]( — but I still like my newsfeed, particularly as it does some editing for me (selecting stories I’m likely to find relevant, based on a magic mix of criteria including my “thumbs up/thumbs down” ratings on existing newsfeed elements).

Lifestreaming has two purposes:

– gather all my stuff in one place, so that I can point people to it
– gather all the stuff of all my friends in one place, so that I can follow them all together (this is more presence-like).

For the first, nothing beats (to this day) [Jeremy Keith’s lifestream]( in readability. I keep telling myself I need to [grab the code]( and do it for myself.

For the second, I’m ambivalent. I like jaiku, but I find it not very readable. The Facebook newsfeed is more readable and is edited down to a readable amount of information, but not everybody is on Facebook, and it’s not public. FriendFeed is promising, in that it’s rather easy to set up, but I don’t find it very readable, and it would need some editing features (so I can filter out stuff manually, of course, but also some automatic editing which I could turn on and off).

So, I like FriendFeed. I wish they’d make it easier to add people, though. One quick example. Here is a screenshot of the listing of my “followers” (=people who have subscribed to me):

FriendFeed - People Subscribed to Me

There is no indication of if I’ve subscribed back or not. Compare with Twitter:

Twitter / People Who Follow stephtara

This, in my opinion, is a user interface problem that has been “solved”. If you create a new social tool, please don’t give us an interface which looks like it ignores existing solutions to obvious user headaches, like figuring out if you’re following back people who are following you (there is a higher chance that the people you want to follow will be amongst the people follow you already).

So, I’m looking forward to seeing where this will go. As such, I’m not actually using FriendFeed so much as sitting on it, waiting to see when it becomes usable.

**Coming back to the two posts I mentioned at the beginning of this article**, my initial reaction while going through the list of “elite bloggers” using FriendFeed was “hmm, I’m not in it”.

Well, of course. I mean, I’m quite lucid about the fact that all this blogging and online presence does have at stake (amongst other things) receiving a certain amount of recognition — and although I’m reasonably good at not letting this kind of motivation drive my activities. But it’s there, somewhere in the background. I’ve talked about this a lot in French, I realise — particularly in [interviews I’ve given to the press](/about/presse) and [talks]( about blogging in general, but not much in English. Anyway, I’m not dwelling on this as it’s not my main point, but I always have this little secret hope (that I’m not overly proud of) that I’ll “make it” into this kind of listing. But enough with that.

My second reaction was: **where are the women?** Now, sorry to pull the whole “sexist” card — and those who know me are aware I’m far from a flag-carrying bra-burning feminist (though who knows, in another place and time, I might very well have ended up burning underwear in public) — but when lists of “influential/elite/top whatevers” show up and women are totally unrepresented in them, I think “ah, another guy who is mainly interested in what other guys have to say, and who might suggest at some point that we need to talk about the problem of ‘women in technology'”. *(Nothing personal, Louis — this is more about my reaction than about who you are.)*

So, in an attempt to encourage you to check out **some of the women in my world which I have found on FriendFeed**, here is a list of Some Women On FriendFeed. And yes, I’ve put myself in the list, of course. **Oh yeah, this *does* have a taste of linkbait.** But I won’t be offended if nobody picks it up. So, here goes.

– Ambiome / [Ambiome[Dot]Net](
– Cathy Brooks / [other than that…](
– danah boyd / [apophenia](
– Dannie Jost / [uncondition](
– Dori Smith / [Backup Brain](
– Emily Chang / [Strategic Designer](
– Gabriela Avram / [CONIECTO](
– Gia Milinovich / [Gia’s blog](
– Hillary Hartley / [static{fade}](
– Laura Fitton / [Pistachio Consulting](
– Lilia Efimova / [Mathemagenic](
– Lisa McMillan / [Lisa McMillan dot com](
– Nicole Simon / [Cruel to be Kind](
– Stephanie Booth / [Climb to the Stars](
[]( *whoops, sbooth, not steph!*
– Suw Charman-Anderson / [Strange Attractor](
– Tara Hunt / [HorsePigCow](
– Virginie Pfeiffer / [Mistress of the Web](

*Self-promotion: follow me on [Twitter]( or [FriendFeed]( and don’t forget to [blog about]( [Going Solo](, or even [register](!*

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LIFT08: Pierre Bellanger (Skyrock) [en]

[fr] Conférence de Pierre Bellanger, patron de Skyrock (skyblog), à la conférence LIFT08.

*Note: live notes, probably incomplete, possibly misunderstood. Intro: SkyBlog is the biggest blogging platform in Europe / SkyRock radio.*

LIFT08 022

Is going to speak about the future. Founder and CEO of — will speak about their vision of social networking, and why it’s the future.

Skyrock started as a pirate radio station. Became a national radio network after a few years. 13-24 year olds.

Blogging platform. Very basic, easy to use. Profiles. 2nd French site in page views. 1st French-speaking social network in the world.

Started the SN in 2002. Thinking about the next stages. Numbers:

LIFT08 025 Skyrock Numbers (Pierre Bellanger)

Goal: be the world teenager social network. For that, need to change constantly. Netamorphosis. Where do we go from now?

Understand what we are better. Need to go back to what we were, e-mail — the mother of all social networks. E-mail and the web gave birth to meta information. Search and social network.

SN is to mail what search is to the web. A new level of metadata, information about people.

Teenagers are extremely productive. Lots of contacts. The blog is a revolution, because it becomes your new e-mail address, your new digital identity. The centre of electronic exchanges. The social network is the future of telecommunications.

The value is shifting from bandwidth to programming code. Changing internet providers is much easier than changing your e-mail client. Same with social networks. Skyrock wants the social network to be at the core of all exchanges.

For that, important to think mobile. Go for IM rather than trying to stick poor web pages on that tiny screen. Merge the SN and the IM.

Social operating system.

*steph-note: snipping a bunch of technical stuff — too stressed by my upcoming Open Stage speech!*

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Being Lifter 20: I'm the "Star" Networker! [en]

[fr] Après LIFT l'an dernier, un questionnaire a été soumis au participants dans le but de déterminer quel impact la conférence avait eu sur leur réseau. J'y ai répondu, avec 27 autres personnes (un assez petit échantillon, à mon avis). Il se trouve que je suis la "super-réseauteuse" de l'étude. Quelques remarques.

Eleven months ago, I [participated and encouraged you to participate in a survey]( which aimed to map social networking between participants of the [LIFT’07 conference]( As I was browsing around after submitting my [workshop proposal](, I saw that [the report based on that survey]( had been published. On the LIFT site, you can see [screenshots of the graphs]( (yes, this is what I call a “social graph”!) before and after the conference.

Go and look.

LIFT'07 Network Mapping Report

Notice the node somewhat to the left, that seems to be connected to a whole bunch of people? Yeah, that’s me. I’m “lifter 20”. How do I know? Well, not hard to guess — I have a rather atypical profile compared to the other people who took the survey.

So, as the “star” networker in this story, I do have a few thoughts/comments on some of the conclusions drawn from the survey. Don’t get me wrong — I think it’s very interesting, and that we need this kind of research (and more of it!) but as [Glenn]( says himself in the [1Mb PDF report](, it’s important to bear in mind the limitations of this study. (All the quotes in this blog post are taken form the PDF, unless I say otherwise.)

> The limitations of this study needs to be understood before considering the findings: This
study maps networks from the point of view of the 28 participants. Consequently, it is
only a partial map of the networks established at LIFT07.

In this study, I’m the “star” networker: the person with the most connections before and after the conference.

> Before the conference, participant Lifter20 had the largest network (59 attendees)
which was increased by 25 attendees after the conference.

Bearing that in mind, I would personally have removed myself from the “average” calculations (I don’t think that was done), because I’m too a-typical compared to the other people in the survey. Typically, I would find it interesting to be given figures with extremes removed here:

> There was a large range in the size of the individual networks before LIFT07 (from 0 to
59) and a smaller range in the number of people added to networks after the conference
(from 0 to 28). However, on average, participants had seven people in their network
before LIFT07 and added nine more people after the conference – leading to the
conclusion that people at least doubled their network by attending LIFT07.

As mentioned earlier, 28 people took the survey. I know I’m not the most networked person at LIFT. In my “network of red nodes” (people not in the survey) there are people like [Robert Scoble](, Stowe Boyd, or Laurent Haug — who clearly did not take the survey, or I wouldn’t be the “star networker” here. So, they are a little red node somewhere in the graph. Which makes me take the following remark with a big grain of salt:

> Before the conference, several “red” attendees (i.e. those attendees nominated as
part of the network of the 28 participants) were significant relay nodes in the network
receiving considerable incoming links – notably the red node to the right of Lifter 12
and the red node to the left of Lifter 16. In both cases, the number of links to these
nodes increased after the conference.

What’s missing here is that these red nodes might very well be super networkers like Stowe or Robert. The fact they receive significant incoming links would then take a different meaning: only a very small part of their role in the global LIFT networking ecosystem is visible. (Yes, the study here only talks about a small part of this ecosystem, but it’s worth repeating.)

I think that most heavy networkers are not very likely to fill in such a survey. The more people you know, the more time it takes. I’m easily a bit obsessive, and I think this kind of study is really interesting, so I took the trouble to do it — but I’m sure many people with a smaller network than mine didn’t even consider doing it because it’s “too much work”. I suspect participation in such a survey is skewed towards people with smaller networks (“sure, I just know 5-10 people, I’ll quickly fill it in”).

Here’s a comment about the ratio of new contacts made during LIFT’07:

> For example, the “star” networker, Lifter20 has a ratio of 1:0.4. In
other words, for every third person in her existing network, she met one new person.
Whereas, Lifter18 had the highest ratio of 1:7. In other words, for every person in her
existing network, she met seven new people.

I think it’s important to note that, as I said in [my previous post about this experiment](, knowing many people from the LIFT community beforehand, the increase in my network (proportionally) was bound to be less impressive, than, say, when I came to LIFT’06 two years ago (I basically knew 3 people before going: Anne Dominique, Laurent, Marc-Olivier — and maybe Roberto… and walked out with *a ton* of new people). I’m sure [Dunbar’s number](’s_number) kicks in somewhere too, and I would expect that the more people you know initially, the lower your ratio of new contacts should be.

On page 8 of the survey there is a list of participants and the number of before/after contacts they entered in the survey. So, if you took the survey and have a rough idea of how many people you knew before LIFT, and how many you met there, you should be able to identify who you are.

This is interesting:

> The “star” networker, Lifter 20 had seven links to other participants before LIFT07
which grew to ten after the conference, giving her the most central position in the
network of participants.

So, basically, 10 people I know took the survey — out of 28 total. I know I blogged about the survey and actively encouraged people in my network to take it. This would skew the sample, of course, making it closer to “my network at LIFT”. If we know each other and you took the survey, can you identify which number you are? it would be interesting to put faces on the numbers to interpret the data (for me, in any case, as I know the people). For example, if you’re a person I brought to LIFT, chances are your “new connections” will overlap mine quite a bit — more than if you came to LIFT independently.

A chapter of the report is devoted to the “star” networker (in other words, little me).

> Interestingly, many of the
people that she connected to, both before and after LIFT07, were not part of the
networks of the other 27 participants of the study, indicating a certain isolation of parts of
her network.

> […]

> Before the conference, a significant number of contacts (35) of Lifter20 had no
connections with any of the other 27 participants of the study.

> After the conference, a number of contacts (14) made by Lifter20 had no connections
with any of the other 27 participants of the study.

The first remark be turned the other way: maybe all these “unconnected” people are actually quite connected within the “global LIFT network”, and it is the *sample* of 28 people who answered the survey which have isolated networks. Of course, isolation is a relative notion, but the way things are phrased here makes it look like I have an isolated network… which I don’t really believe to be the case — a great part of my network is actually very interconnected, only it doesn’t show in the graph because the people in question did not take the survey. Friend Wheel for Stephanie Booth - Facebook Friend Relationships My friend wheel (see screenshot) from Facebook gives a better impression of what it looks like. (No, no, I’m not taking this personally! I’m not.)

> Lifter20 shares a number of contacts with one other participant (Lifter13 – the blue
node horizontally to the right in the “after” diagram).

Who is Lifter 13? (14 before, met 7 at LIFT’07) Somebody I knew before LIFT’07. I’m curious.

I’d also love to know who Lifter 18 (the “booster” networker) and Lifter 11 (the “clique” networker) were, though the graph indicates I know neither.

In conclusion, I’d say this is a really interesting study, but the anonymized data would gain to be interpreted in the light of who the actual people were and what their networks were like. I think it would allow to evaluate where this kind of analysis works well and works less well.

I think 28 people is a rather small sample for such a study — it’s a pity more people didn’t participate in the survey. How could we motivate people to participate? I think one of the issues, mainly, is that people don’t *get* anything directly out of participating. So… maybe some goodie incentive for doing it, next time? Also, I remember the interface was a bit raw. What I did is go through the participant list and type the names. It’s almost impossible to just think back at “so, who did I meet at LIFT this year?” — either you’re going to take a stack of business cards your brought home, or you’re going to go through a list and see what names ring a bell.

Maybe the survey organisation could take that into account. Provide participants in the survey with a (searchable, ajaxy) list of attendees with checkboxes. Then you could add smart stuff to help out like Dopplr’s “travellers you may know” (based on a “contacts of your contacts” algorithm).

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Encore au sujet de Facebook [fr]

[en] An answer to Carlos's comment on my last post. The "interesting things" I'm waiting for us to be able to do with the new Facebook "friend lists" is to use them for sharing and privacy purposes.

[Carlos]( a laissé [un commentaire tout à fait pertinent]( à [mon dernier billet au sujet de Facebook](, et j’aimerais y répondre ici.

Tout d’abord, Carlos, merci pour ton commentaire — et ça me fait plaisir de voir que tu es d’accord avec moi sur l’ensemble. Voici quelques points de ton commentaire auquel j’aimerais répondre plus précisément:

> Même si myspace est à la ramasse, facebook ne va pas beaucoup plus loin, le seul + notable c’est d’avoir l’identité réelle des gens (pour autant qu’on joue le jeu) à la place de pseudos.

En ce qui concerne l’identité réelle, c’est plus que “jouer le jeu” qui est attendu de nous. Facebook a viré des gens qui utilisaient des pseudonymes — demande à kittenfluff sur Seesmic — et surtout, toute l’idée de Facebook étant de te connecter avec *les gens que tu connais déjà*, c’est un peu dur pour eux de te trouver si tu n’utilises pas ton identité officielle.

> Si tu en as l’occasion, je serais très intéressé d’avoir ton point de vue et de voir se developper ta dernière phrase “qu’on puissse faire quelque chose d’utile avec sa liste d’amis”.

*Oops. Voir plus bas. Les paragraphes qui suivent ne répondent pas vraiment à la question de Carlos. Voyez après le passage en gras pour la vraie réponse. Mea culpa.*

“Faire quelque chose d’utile avec sa liste d’amis:” c’est justement, à mon avis, utiliser facebook pour partager des faits ou actions réels, et agir sur la réalité. C’est la “réalité” qui est la clé, ici. Alors bien sûr, il n’y a pas que Facebook pour faire ça.

Tout réseau social le permet. Les blogs sont un réseau social, donc la structure est très libre. Avec mon blog, je partage avec mon réseau (les gens qui me lisent) mes pensées ou parfois les événements de ma vie. Idem avec Twitter. Idem avec Dopplr, Seesmic, etc.

Facebook permet de concentrer tous ces petits “actes de la vie numérique” en un seul endroit. Alors, bien entendu, mon blog aussi. Si tu regardes les sidebars, j’essaie d’y fourrer tout: mes [liens](, [Twitter](, [mes photos](, mon [deuxième blog](… et j’en passe. Résultat — on me le fait assez remarquer: c’est trop chargé. C’est pas fait pour ça. Je pense que 90% des gens qui passent par ici ignorent le contenu de mes sidebars. Je les laisse car je pense que ça peut avoir une valeur pour la personne qui débarque ici pour la première fois — mais clairement, c’est pas fait pour ça.

Sur Facebook, par contre, alors oui — c’est fait pour ça. C’est Facebook qui va se charger de rendre “les dernières nouvelles de mon monde” plus digest pour mes contacts. C’est un super-aggrégateur de news, si on veut.

D’un certain côté, il n’y a rien de révolutionnaire à ça. C’est d’ailleurs le cas pour beaucoup de ces “outils web2.0”. Prends Twitter, par exemple: il y a des clones partout, mais pourtant, c’est toujours Twitter qui occupe le devant de la scène. Pas nécessairement pour cause de suprématie technique, mais à cause de la communauté qui s’y trouve. Je ne vais pas quitter Twitter pour un concurrent, car tous mes amis s’y trouvent. Idem pour MySpace, idem pour [Skyblog]( chez les ados francophones. On reste à cause des gens.

Et Facebook bénéficie aussi de cette dynamique. A un moment donné, Facebook a passé le “[Tipping Point](” (un livre à lire, en passant) — et on va sur Facebook car “tout le monde” est sur Facebook. On va pas sur Facebook pour pouvoir jouer aux Vampires ou même au Scrabble, on y va car les gens qu’on connaît y sont déjà, et qu’on pourra donc partager avec eux facilement les nouvelles de notre monde, et organiser des sorties Karaoké ou des journées comme le [Website Pro Day]( Faire quelque chose d’utile avec sa liste d’amis, c’est ça.

**Mince, je viens de réaliser que je ne suis pas en train de répondre à ta question, que je viens de comprendre à l’instant.** Je ne suis pas encore réveillée, j’ai une excuse 😉 — désolée d’avoir réexpliqué tout ceci, que je réalise en fait que tu comprenais déjà. Arghl. Avec un peu de chance ce sera utile à d’autres!

Je reprends ta question, donc. **Faire quelque chose d’utile avec ses listes d’amis**, ces listes que Facebook nous permet de définir, quoiqu’un peu maladroitement. **La** chose utile, c’est de pouvoir utiliser ces listes pour gérer des droits d’accès. Par exemple: “les gens étiquetés ‘collègues’ n’ont pas accès à mes ‘status changes’ ou à l’album de photos ‘soirées’, sauf s’ils sont aussi étiquetés ‘amis'”. Ou bien: “mes ‘copines du jeudi’ ont accès à une série d’articles un peu salaces, mais personne d’autre”.

Tu vois l’idée? (C’est plus court et simple que ma “fausse réponse”, hein…)

> On nous a présenté de belles choses du côté de [l’OpenSocial]( qui permettra à un maximum de services tiers de s’intégrer aux profils et surtout de créer le lien entre les différentes communautés, mais on dirait que ça prend plus de temps que prévu.

> Vu les intérêts en jeu, je me demande jusqu’à quel point le mot “open” est bien choisi.

Ah, OpenSocial. Regarde du côté de [Social Network Portability](, une initiative partie du mouvement des [microformats]( OpenSocial va dans cette direction, mais il ne faut pas attendre de miracles pour tout de suite. Ces choses prennent du temps. Quand OpenSocial a été présenté, c’était quelque chose sur papier. Il faut maintenant que les divers acteurs l’implémentent, et suivant qui… ça va pas se faire demain.

Donc, je pense que là tu es un peu injuste et impatient 😉 mais si tu veux développer plus loin ta pensée à ce sujet, je te lirai avec intérêt. (J’avoue qu’en plus j’ai suivi d’assez loin la saga OpenSocial, laissant à d’autres le soin de s’en occuper.)

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Seesmic Addiction [en]

After the initial doubts, addiction:

I’ve lost count of the number of videos I recorded. I’m drowning in them. I’m afraid you can’t easily track them down if you’re not the lucky holder of a Seesmic account (it’s still closed, though they’re working on opening it — there are 15’000 people on the waiting list for invites).

I did a short piece on WoWiPAD. I talked about upcoming posts here on CTTS. I spoke against conversation threading. I participated to the collective dissing of the expression “social graph”.

I left a nice message for Loïc, in French, to tell him I liked his service (I usually complain about his stuff more than praise it, so it’s worth noting).

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Granular Privacy Control (GPC) [en]

[fr] Google Reader permet maintenant à vos contacts GTalk d'avoir un accès facile à vos "shared items" (articles lus dans votre newsreader et que vous avez partagés). Il semblerait que beaucoup de personnes ont mal interprété cette nouvelle fonction, imaginant que leurs éléments partagés étaient privés, et qu'ils sont maintenant devenus publics. Nous voilà encore une fois face au même problème: l'internaute moyen (et même le pas-si-moyen) surestime complètement à quel point les informations qu'il publie ou partage en ligne sont confidentielles. Au risque de me répéter: internet est un espace public.

Cet incident nous montre aussi, à nouveau, à quel point nous avons besoin de pouvoir structurer de façon fine (Granular Privacy Control = GPC) les accès à nos données à l'intérieur d'un réseau social. Facebook est sur la bonne piste avec ses "listes d'amis", mais on ne peut pas encore les utiliser pour gérer les droits d'accès.

In response to [Robert Scoble](’s post about how [Google Reader needs to implement finer privacy controls]( Let’s see what Robert says, first:

> Oh, man, is the Google Reader team under attack for its new social networking features.

> There’s a few ways I could take this.

> 1. I could call people idiots for not understanding the meaning of the word “public.”
> 2. I could call the Google Reader team idiots for not putting GPC into its social networking and sharing features.
> 3. I could call the media idiots for not explaining these features better and for even making it sound like stuff that isn’t shared at all is being shared (which absolutely isn’t true).

> I’m going to take #2: that the Google Reader team screwed up here and needs to implement GPC as soon as possible. What’s GPC? Granular Privacy Controls.

> Here’s how Google screwed up: Google didn’t understand that some users thought that their shared items feeds were private and didn’t know that they were going to be turned totally public. The users who are complaining about this feature assumed that since their feed had a weird URL (here’s mine so you can see that the URL isn’t easy to figure out the way other URLs are) that their feed couldn’t be found by search engines or by people who they didn’t explicitly give the URL to, etc. In other words, that their feed and page would, really, be private, even though it was shared in a public way without a password required or anything like that.

Robert Scoble, Google Reader needs GPC

Wow, I really didn’t think that this feature was going to create trouble. I was personally thrilled to see it implemented. So, here are two thoughts following what Robert wrote:

– I’ve noticed time and time again that you can tell people something is “public” as much as you like, they still don’t really grasp what “public” means. Because things are not “automatically found” on the internet, they still tend to consider public stuff as being “somewhat private”. This is a general “media education” problem (with adults as much as teenagers). So, Robert is completely right to point this out.
– GPC is a very important thing we need much more of online (see my SPSN and Ethics and Privacy posts) but I disagree with Robert when he says that Facebook has it. Facebook isn’t there yet, though they are on “the right path”. I can’t yet use my [friend lists]( to decide who gets to see what on my profile. That would truly be GPC (in addition to that, their friends list interface is clunky — I need to blog about it, btw).

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