A Few Words on the New Facebook Pages [en]

Facebook has recently made Pages more like Profiles. I’m frighteningly behind in keeping up with all this new stuff (bad, bad!) and I’ve only now had a chance to go and peek at the revamped Pages.

I was initially really disappointed by Facebook Pages. I remember when I started working on promoting Going Solo, I first created a fan page for Going Solo on Facebook. Not many people registered as fans. A few weeks (months?) later, I created a group, and lo and behold, people joined in droves. I realised that Pages weren’t really that interesting (they were far too static) and they didn’t allow you to invite people to become fans. Groups work well because you can invite people to join them (with the side-effect that we’re all swamped with requests to join all sorts of groups).

Back to the new Pages, the fact that they’re more like profiles has led me to create my own “fan” page. Now, it’s not that I consider myself a famous person or anything, but if I look at things coldly, clearly, more people want to be in touch with me than I can keep up with. I am a bit of a public figure in certain circles.

On Twitter, I have (today) about 2300 followers, but I follow only 500 people. On Facebook, I have about 500 “friends” (see a pattern emerging) and another 200 friend requests from people I barely know, don’t know, or don’t recognize. And that is after I went “overboard” about a year ago and started exercising way less restraint in who I connected to — because there was a business incentive for me to do so.

Initially, I kept my Facebook connections way more restricted than my Twitter ones. Facebook was “people I feel I know”. But that failed.

So I’m wondering: if I use a Page to stay connected to acquaintances, networking contacts, etc… will it change the way I connect to people with my profile? Will I be able to reclaim some “privacy” for my Facebook profile?

It’s way too early to tell. But I’m looking forward to experimenting with this and seeing how it goes.

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Retweeting [en]

[fr] Le "retweeting", ou l'équivalent chez Twitter du forwarding d'e-mails.

So, lately, when people have asked me for a hand with something, all I’ve had to offer (due to a very tight time budget) has been along the lines of “I’ll be happy to retweet it”.

I got a few (virtual) blank stares.

Retweeting is the Twitter equivalent of e-mail forwarding.

It’s used to help spread requests for assistance further, or let more people know about fun and interesting stuff.

How does it work?

You write a tweet. Keep it under 120/125 chars (to leave a little space for the retweeting).

Twitter / charbax: Looking for $1000 sponsor ...

Some Twitter clients, like twhirl, for example, offer a “retweet” feature: just hit the retweet button and the tweet in question is “forwarded” with a prefix (I choose “RT” as it’s shorter than “retweeting” and each character counts).

twhirl - re-tweeting

If your client doesn’t support this, you can always just copy-paste the tweet by hand. The format is:

retweeting @somebody: original twitter message here!


RT @somebody: original twitter message here!

If I retweet something, my followers get to see it too.

Twitter / Stephanie Booth: RT @charbax: Looking for $ ...

The big difference between forwarding an e-mail and retweeting a tweet is that when you forward an e-mail, you are the one who decides who it goes to. With twitter, your tweet is sent to those who have elected to follow you.

Hopefully my retweeting will help Charbax find his sponsor for LeWeb’08!

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Somesso – Thomas Power: Shedding light on social networking for your business [en]

James Moore: The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems (recommended reading)

steph-booth: he just said “web 3.0” — this looks bad


Startups, self-employed, corporate refugees.

History of the social media space: web 1.0: stuff steph-note: sixdegrees.com, geocities

“Find me!”

The internet is about managing people.

Web 2.0 is all about managing people. “Join me!”

Now, “Web 3.03: “Follow me!” steph-note: I am strongly against using “web 3.0” for this kind of stuff. It’s still web 2.0

Lots of tools emerging to help you manage your “following”. steph-note: I agree, but it’s still web 2.0

Socialmedian — calling it the cleverest thing after Twitter. steph-note: need to find some time to go look at it again; having a thought right now though: reading what your friends are reading is taking us towards homogenous thinking, where’s the diversity? — I agree of course we need those filters and use them myself, but there are implications.

steph-note: I agree with the “Find me, Join me, Follow me” analysis but there is not use trying to stretch parallels with web 1.0, web 2.0, and a bs web 3.0

A definition of network value: how much people talk about you when you’re not there.

Comparisons between networks are kind of pointless — they’re all countries in their own right.

Communication style is what makes us like a platform better than another.

4 colours for people/communication types. Important to take them all into account when communicating.

Thomas views subscription as taxation (“country” metaphor). 80% taxation revenue, 20% ads. The paying users are probably the best users of the network. He can’t wait for MySpace and facebook to introduce taxes/subscriptions.

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Qwitted Qwitter After Less Than 24 Hours [en]

[fr] Qwitter, un service qui vous dit quand on cesse de vous suivre sur Twitter. Très peu pour moi -- je viens de le désactiver après moins de 24 heures de service. Non pas que je ne "supporte" pas l'idée qu'on puisse cesser de me suivre (bon dieu non, c'est plutôt que je ne saisis pas ce que 1500 personnes y trouvent à recevoir quotidiennement mes mises à jour) -- mais simplement parce que j'évite d'ajouter à ma vie déjà suffisamment angoissée des sources de "négativité", comme la consommation d'indices de marchés boursiers ou de nouvelles télévisées ou non. (Il y a les gens qui ont des "problèmes d'angoisse", comme on dit, et il y a les autres. Ces derniers ont bien de la chance, et qu'ils s'abstiennent de commentaires simplistes, de grâce.)

I thought I’d try out Qwitter. Not that I’m that obsessed with who stops following me, but I thought it could be interesting to see when my Twitter behaviour made followers drop me.

Well, less than 24 hours later (and after only 2 people qwitting on me), I have decided to turn it off.

Of course, I know people unfollow me. But getting this kind of news in my inbox generates just about the same kind of “downs” as checking the stock market every 10 minutes (instead of once in a blue moon or even once a day) and watching the news on TV (instead of avoiding unnecessary focus on all the wrongs in this world).

So, no thank you, Qwitter. There are enough sources of anxiety in my life without me adding them just for fun.

“Anxiety” is a big word here of course — I mean, who cares about people unfollowing them on Twitter — but still, who has never felt the tiniest pang at losing something they had (or thought they had)? It’s quite clear from research out there (check out Predictably Irrational for example) that being given $1 and then having to hand it back leaves one slightly more unhappy than if one never had that dollar in hand in first place.

Of course, I could filter all the Qwitter e-mails into a folder and check on them only when I want to know when such-and-such stopped following me. But is it really worth the trouble?

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Mon article sur Twitter dans Le Temps [fr]

[en] I wrote an article about Twitter for a local newspaper. It was published on Monday, and I'm pretty happy about it!

Lundi a paru dans Le Temps Twitter, ou 140 caractères pour raconter sa vie, article écrit par bibi et dont je suis assez contente.

Twitter, ou 140 caractères pour raconter sa vie

J’ai écrit plusieurs articles sur Twitter ici, dès début 2007:

– [Twitter, c’est quoi? Explications…](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/15/twitter-cest-quoi-explications/)
– [Twitter, encore des explications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/05/22/twitter-encore-des-explications/)
– [Manuel de survie Twitter pour francophones](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/13/manuel-de-survie-twitter-pour-francophones/)

(Il y en a une pile en anglais, mais je ne vais pas tout lister ici — vous pouvez [faire vos propres fouilles](/tags/twitter/)…)

Il était temps que quelque chose paraisse sur papier.

C’est de la faute à Suw, qui m’a dit il y a quelques temps qu’une de ses décisions “marketing” était de proposer plus d’articles aux médias traditionnels. Du coup, je me suis dit “tiens, moi aussi je devrais faire ça,” et je me suis lancée. Pas évident pour moi d’écrire “pour du papier” (depuis le temps, j’ai l’écriture blogueuse) — mais bon, je m’en suis sortie. J’ai bénéficié d’un bon éditeur, ce qui était pour moi une expérience quasi réparatrice. Je suis assez possessive avec mes mots, et là, j’ai eu le plaisir de relire mon article après édition sans que ce qui avait été modifié ne me frappe. “C’est quelque chose que j’aurais pu écrire,” je me suis dit. Patte discrète de l’éditeur qui a su alléger, condenser, compacter, tout ça sans trahir mon style. Merci.

J’ai eu surtout des retours positifs sur l’article (mes amis sont gentils!) et je me réjouis déjà de refaire la pigiste une fois que mon rythme de vie (la folie depuis 3 semaines) aura un peu ralenti. Des suggestions?

*Pour me trouver sur Twitter: je suis @stephtara.*

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Twitter Stops Sending SMS in Europe [en]

[fr] Twitter n'envoie dès à présent plus de SMS aux utilisateurs basés hors des Etats-Unis, du Canada, et de l'Inde: trop cher. Oui, ça veut dire que même vos DM ne vous parviennent plus sur votre téléphone. Très déçue et embêtée par ce changement assez important dans l'intégration de mes communications online et offline.

This is a sad day. Twitter has just lost some of its value for me. One very precious feature of Twitter is direct messages. They allow a user to send a private message to another user.

I used to get these messages on my phone, directly by SMS. So, basically, this is giving the nearly 1’500 people following me the possibility to send me a text message without having to know my phone number of have it handy. All they need to know is my username, which is easy: [stephtara](http://twitter.com/stephtara).

Oh well, we had it coming. Sending out all these text messages was costing Twitter a lot of money, we know that. It couldn’t go on like that. They’ve just stopped sending out text messages from the UK number we non-US people use (via [The Next Web blog](http://thenextweb.org/2008/08/14/old-phone-user-so-long-for-mobile-twittering/)). You can still send messages by SMS, though.

However, this means that as of today, DM is not an immediate and secure way to reach me anymore.

This is a big crack in my online/offline integration. Twitter allowed my online world to reel me back in or contact me if necessary by reaching me on my phone. This is pretty disruptive and saddening for me.

Twitter tell us they’ll be working on partnerships with phone companies in various countries. You bet Switzerland won’t be high on their list, given the small market here.

And using data? Well, for one, it isn’t “push”, and for two, it’s still mighty expensive here. We don’t all have the data penetration the US has.

Losing “track” was already sad for me, as it allowed me to receive my @replies on my phone, ensuring I didn’t miss any. Now I won’t even be getting my DMs anymore.

And Twitter didn’t even send me a text to let me know — I could be offline in the mountains waiting for a DM that’d never come.

There is a conversation over on Get Satisfaction if you want to join in.

This is the first time a Twitter problem could make me consider switching to another service. The SMS integration was a huge selling point.

Update: I’m not complaining about the fact we can’t get/send SMS for free anymore. I think we were lucky to get all we did, and for so long (I’m amazed this didn’t happen sooner). What I’m really unhappy about though is that this announcement comes without any alternative. I’d pay. See this blog post for an example I would go with. I’m not saying either that I’m going to switch to another service. But the thought crossed my mind, for the first time.

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5 Lessons in Promoting Events Using Social Media (Back to Basics) [en]

[fr] Leçons apprises lors de la promotion de Going Solo:

  • communiquer directement avec les gens (messagerie instantanée, conversation offline, téléphone) est le mode de communication le plus efficace
  • ne pas négliger l'e-mail, les dossiers de presse, le matériel imprimable: tout le monde ne lira pas le blog ou Twiter
  • rien ne devient automatiquement "viral" parce que c'est sur internet: aider les gens à vous aider à passer l'info, par exemple avec un e-mail "forwardable"
  • aller où sont les gens, les retrouver dans leur communauté (Facebook, MySpace, Rezonance, LinkedIn... partout)
  • ça prend du temps... beaucoup de temps

J'ai été surprise à quel point tout ceci a été difficile pour moi, alors qu'une partie de mon métier consiste à expliquer aux gens comment utiliser les nouveaux médias pour communiquer plus efficacement. Une leçon d'humilité, et aussi un retour à certaines choses basiques mais qui fonctionnent, comme l'e-mail ou le chat. En récompense, par contre, un événement qui a été un succès incontesté, et tout cela sans le soutien des médias traditionnels (pour cause de communiqué de presse un poil tardif) -- mis à part nouvo, qui a répercuté l'annonce, mais qui trouvait que c'était cher!

One of the big lessons I learnt while organising [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is that [promoting and communicating about an event through social media](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/) requires a huge amount of time and energy. In this post, I’d like to share a few of the very practical things I (re-)discovered.

Even though part of what I do for a living is explain social media and its uses in marketing to my clients, I found it quite a challenge when I actually had to jump in and do it. (Yes, I’m aware this may sound pretty lame. By concentrating on the big picture and the inspiring success stories, one tends to forget some very basic things. Sending managers back to the floor every now and then is a good thing.)

The **main lesson I learnt** is the following:

– **1. The absolute best channel to promote anything is one-on-one personal conversation** with somebody you already have some sort of relationship with.

Any other solution is a shortcut. And [all shortcuts have prices](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/06/11/about-not-reading/).

This means I ended up spending a lot of time:

– talking to people on IM, IRC, and offline at conferences
– sending out personal messages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Anytime you do something to spare you this time (like sending out a collective e-mail, writing a blog post, or even tweeting — situations where you’re not adressing one specific individual directly) you dilute what you’re communicating. You open the door to:

– imperfect understanding of what you’re trying to say
– people not feeling like it’s really addressed to them (lack of interest, or lack of awareness that their actions are important to you)
– people simply not seeing it.

I have many examples of this. I created a [page with material people could use to promote Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support), in particular, [blog sidebar badges](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/badges-for-your-sidebar/). But not many people put them up spontanously, even amongst my friends. But when I started pinging people on IM and asking them if they would please put up a badge to support my event, they did it. They just hadn’t got around to doing it, hadn’t realised that them doing it was important for me, or it had simply slipped their mind. It’s perfectly understandable: it’s “my” event, not theirs.

Another example is when I started sending out my “forwardable e-mails” (lesson #3 is about them), most people stopped at “well, I’m not a freelancer” or “I can’t come”. It took some explaining to make sure they understood that the **main** reason I was sending them the e-mail was that they *might know somebody* who would like to come to the event, or who could blog about it, or help with promoting it. If I spared myself the personal conversation and just sent the e-mail, people were much less likely to really understand what I expected from them, even through it was spelled out in the e-mail itself.

And that was a big secondary lesson I learnt while preparing Going Solo: it’s not because people don’t get back to you, or don’t act, that they aren’t interested or don’t want to. The burden is on you to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

Let’s continue on to the next lessons.

– **2. Blogs and Twitter are essential, but don’t neglect less sexy forms of communication: newsletter, press release, printable material.**

The first thing I did for Going Solo was to create [a blog](http://going-solo.net) and a [Twitter account](http://twitter.com/goingsolo). Getting a blog and Twitter account off the ground isn’t easy, and it took quite a lot of one-on-one communication (see lesson #1) (and [blogging here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/)) to get enough people to link to them so that they started taking off.

But the lesson here is that **not everybody is on Twitter, and not everbody reads blogs**. We highly-connected types tend to forget that. It didn’t take me that long to get the feeling that I had “exhausted” my immediate, social-media-enabled network — meaning that all the people who knew me directly had heard what I was talking about, linked to stuff if they were going to, or registered for the event if they were interested.

So, here are some less “social media cutting-edge” forms of communication I used, most of them very late in the process (earlier next time):

– [an e-mail newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/going-solo-news)
– [printable (and printed) posters](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/more-cutting-edge-promotion-tools-posters/)
– a [press release](http://going-solo.net/press/) and other “old media focused” material

Some comments.

Our press release came out so late that we got no coverage at all from traditional media, bar [one exception](http://nouvo.ch/n-1279), which focused on how expensive the event was. This means Going Solo Lausanne is a great case study of successful event promotion entirely through social media.

When I [created the newsletter](http://going-solo.net/2008/04/30/going-solo-has-a-newsletter/), I spent a lot of time following lesson #1 and inviting people personally to sign up, through IM most of the time. I sent out invitations through the Google Groups interface, of course (to the extent that I got [flagged as a potential spammer](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/05/01/google-groups-pain-in-the-neck/)). But I also went through the process of inviting people directly through IM.

A word of warning about newsletters: don’t *add* people to your newsletter unless you’ve checked beforehand that they were OK with it, or if you have a *very* good reason to do so (they are the speakers/attendees for your event) — but even then, it can be risky. I was recently added to a bunch of mailing-lists without having asked for it, rather than invited, and I find it really annoying. It’s way more impolite to unsubscribe from a newsletter than refuse an invitation to subscribe, so adding people can put them in an embarrassing situation (be impolite vs. be annoyed at getting newsletters one doesn’t want).

– **3. Don’t expect “viral” or “[organic](http://epeus.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-organic-not-viral.html)” spreading of your promotion to happen, but prepare the field so it can: the forwardable e-mail.**

There is so much talk about the fact that social media allows things to *spread* all by themselves (and indeed, there is an important potential for that, and when it happens, it’s very powerful) — that we tend to expect it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t. And let’s face it, it’s not something that we can control (sorry for stating the obvious again, I’m doing that a lot in this post) and it takes quite a bit of skill to create the right conditions so that it *may* happen.

So, now that we’ve set our expectations, what can be done to *help things spread*? I mentioned having exhausted my immediate network higher up, so I needed to come up with a solution which would help me reach beyond it. How could I get my friends to mention Going Solo to *their* friends?

Of course, our use of social media in general allows that. Blogs, Facebook Groups and Events, sidebar badges… all this is material which *can* spread. But again — what about the people who aren’t bathing in social media from morning to evening?

**Back to basics: e-mail.** E-mail, be it under the shape of a newsletter, a discussion list, or simple personal messages, has a huge advantage over other forms of online communication: you’re sure people know how to use it. It’s the basic, level 0 tool that anybody online has and understands.

So, I started sending out e-mail. A little bit of *push* is good, right? I composed a rather neutral e-mail explaining what Going Solo was about, who it was for, giving links to more information, and a call to action or two. I then sent this impersonal text to various people I knew, with a personal introduction asking them to see if they knew anybody who could be interested in information about this event, and inviting them to forward the message to these people. Nothing extraordinary in that, right?

I of course applied lesson #1 (you’re starting to know that one, right?) and tried as much as possible to check on IM, beforehand, if it was OK for me to send the “forwardable e-mail” to each person. So, basically, no mass-mailing, but an e-mail written in such a way that it was “forwardable” in a “here’s what my friend Steph is doing, could interest you” way, which I passed along as a follow-up to a direct chat with each person.

In a more “social media” spirit, of course, make sure that any videos you put online can easily be shared and linked to, etc. etc — but that will be pretty natural for anybody who’s familiar with blogging and “being online”.

– **4. Go where people are. Be everywhere.**

Unless your event is already very well known, you need to go to people, and not just wait for them to come to you. If you’ve set up a blog, Twitter account, newsletter, then you have a place where people can come to you. But that’s not enough. You need to [go where people are](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/):

– Facebook
– Upcoming
– LinkedIn
– Xing
– MySpace
– Pownce
– Seesmic
– Existing communities big and small… (blogs, forums, chatrooms)

Again, this is a very basic principle. But it’s not because it’s basic that it’s invalidated by the magic world of social media. Where you can create an event, create an event (Upcoming, Facebook, Pownce, Rezonance — a local networking thingy); where you can create a group, create a group — I waited a lot before creating a [Facebook group for Going Solo](http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12748128087), because I had a [fan page for it](http://www.facebook.com/pages/Going-Solo-being-a-freelancer-in-a-connected-world/13470503249) already, but as you can see the group worked much better.

– **5. It’s a full-time job.**

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d spend *weeks* doing nothing else but send e-mails, update Facebook pages, blog, send e-mails, talk to people, IM, tweet, e-mail again… to promote Going Solo. It’s a huge amount of work. It’s so much work that one could imagine having somebody full time just to do it. So when you’re (mainly) a one-person shop, it’s important to plan that a significant amount of your time might be spent on promotion. It’s easy to underestimate that (I did, and in a major way).

Working this way doesn’t scale. At some point, one-on-one communication takes up too much time and energy to compensate for the benefits it brings over more impersonal forms of communication. But that only happens once your event is popular enough. Before you’ve held your first event (which was the situation I was in with Going Solo Lausanne), you don’t have a community of advocates for your work, you don’t have fans (you might have personal fans, but not fans of your event) or passionate attendees ;-), you don’t have other people doing your work for you.

At the beginning, every person who hears about your event is the result of sweat and hard work. Hopefully, at some point it’ll take off and you’ll start seeing more and more people [blogging about the event you’re organising](http://del.icio.us/steph/goingsolo+coverage) — but even then, it might take a while before you can just sit back and watch things happen. But in case this moment comes earlier than planned, you’re all set: you have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a newsletter. Until then, though, you’re going to be stuck on IM and sending out e-mails.

**A few last words**

I hope that by sharing these lessons with you, I’ll have contributed to making things a little easier for somebody else in the same situation I was. You’ll have understood that I haven’t tried to be exhaustive about how to use social media for promotion — indeed, I’ve skipped most of the “advanced” stuff that is more often spoken about.

But I think it’s easy to get so taken up with the “latest and greatest” tools out there that we forget some of the basic stuff. I, for one, was guilty of that initially.

Also, one thing I haven’t spoken about is *how* to talk to people. Of course, some of what you’re doing is going to be impersonal. Own up to it, if you’re mass e-mailing. Don’t pretend to be personal when you aren’t — it’s hypocritical, doesn’t come across well, and can be smelled a mile away.

I haven’t quite finished reconciling my practical experience with how I believe things “should” work. I’ve learnt a lot, but I certainly haven’t figured everything out yet. I would have wanted to do a lot more, but time simply wasn’t available, so I tried to prioritize. I made choices, and some of them were maybe mistakes. But overall, I’m happy with how things went and what I learnt.

If you have had similar experiences, I’d be really happy to hear from you. Likewise, if you disagree with some of the things I’ve written, or think I’m wrong on certain counts, do use the comments. I’m open to debate, even though I’m a bit hard-headed ;-).

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Twitter Metrics: Let's Remain Scientific, Please! [en]

[fr] On ne peut pas prendre deux mesures au hasard, en faire un rapport, et espérer qu'il ait un sens. Un peu de rigueur scientifique, que diable!

10.02.2011: Seesmic recently took its video service down. I have the videos but need to put them back online. Thanks for your patience.

Video post prompted by [Louis Gray’s Twitter Noise Ratio](http://www.louisgray.com/live/2008/04/whats-your-twitter-noise-ratio.html). I’m still [somewhat handicapped](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/24/the-neighbours-cat-won/) and [used up my typing quota this morning](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/27/diigo-i-think-i-like-the-idea-bonus-content-conversation-fragmentation/). corrections: measure time, measure **distance** (not “speed”) My graphs: Louis Gray's Twitter Noise Updates/Followers Ratio Zoom in to the beginning of the graph: Twitter Noise, extremes removed Attempt to spot trends: Twitter Noise Updates per Followers, annotated Not conclusive. See also: [Stowe’s Twitterized Conversational Index](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2008/03/scoble-on-the-s.html) — interestingly, Stowe became much more “chatty” on Twitter lately 😉 **Update: The Problem With Metrics** — a few thoughts on what metrics do to the way we behave with our tools. Confusing ends and means.

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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 (http://twitter.com/mattb/statuses/780694528) soar by:

> Impressed by passwordless import at http://www.flickr.com/impor… – 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](http://microformats.org/wiki/social-network-portability) (also called [“make holes in my buckets”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/13/please-make-holes-in-my-buckets/)) — I gave a [talk on SPSNs from a user point of view at WebCamp SNP in Cork](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/videos/35/) recently — and I am also concerned that in many cases, implementations in that direction make generous use of the [password anti-pattern](http://adactio.com/journal/1357) (ie, asking people for the password to their e-mail). It’s high time for [design to encourage responsible behaviour](http://www.disambiguity.com/design-ethics-encouraging-responsible-behaviour/) instead. As the [discussion at WebCamp shows](http://willknott.ie/2008/03/11/why-teach-a-man-to-be-phished/), we all agree that solutions need to be found.

So, what [Matt](http://www.hackdiary.com/) said sounded sweet, but I had to check for myself. (Oh, and Matt builds [Dopplr](http://www.dopplr.com/), 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](http://www.flickr.com/import/people/) 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](http://www.dopplr.com/account/invitations_via/gmail) — and also [for Windows Live Hotmail](http://blog.dopplr.com/2008/04/07/import-your-contacts-from-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](http://blog.dopplr.com/2008/03/18/easier-gmail-contact-import-without-passwords/), before [Matt’s tweet](http://twitter.com/mattb/statuses/780694528). 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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