Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Facebook Timeline Is Coming, And It Scares A Lot Of People

Are you concerned?

The new Facebook Timeline is not the most popular feature that Facebook has ever introduced. Granted, it's well documented that Facebook users are often super-resistant to change, but for some the new Timeline goes beyond minor annoyances like crowded layouts and superfluous features. For many users, it's a real issue of privacy.

For awhile now, users have been able to access the new profile look if they chose to do so. But since it was still voluntary, many users just ignored it and went about their normal, everyday Facebooking. Facebook has always said that the Timeline would eventually become a mandatory part of everyone's Facebook experience, but it wasn't until last week that Facebook announced the switch to Timeline was imminent.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Timeline will be rolling out to everyone. Once your profile switches over, you'll have a week-long "grace period." During this week, your Timeline view will only be able to be seen by you - this gives you time to clean it up and make it presentable for mass consumption.

Personally, I kind of like the Timeline. I think that it's a much-needed upgrade of a fairly stale profile page. But then again, I'm not that private of a person and I don't really care about the skeletons from 2005 that the timeline allow people to dig up if they so choose.

Having said that, here's some news for Facebook users that have yet to switch to Timeline: it is quite overwhelming at first. I joined Facebook on Halloween, 2004 - and since then have amassed a shocking number of wall posts, status updates, photos, and shared links. And while I wouldn't call any of it embarrassing, there are some things that if they went away, it wouldn't bother me. A drunken photo here, an over-zealous political status update there - eight years of living publicly through Facebook is bound to reveal minor indiscretions.

But I know that I'm abnormal in the fact that I don't really care about all of that. For a large percentage of Facebook users, the company is crossing some lines with Timeline. The main concern is that Facebook seems to have adopted an "opt-out" strategy when it comes to information sharing. The Timeline puts everything out there by default, and it's the user's job to clean it up and make sure that they aren't publicly sharing something that they want to remain private.

Of course, this discussion of "private information" doesn't just include old, unearthed photos and statuses - but the series of "frictionless" apps that are going to be an integral part of the Timeline. These apps, like "social readers" and music apps like Spotify automatically share your activities with friends. Although Facebook has stressed that the Timeline doesn't disclose any more private information than the old profile and that all of the apps are voluntary, online privacy groups have voiced concerns.

One, for example, is the Electronic Privacy Information Center. They have asked the FTC to look into whether or not the Timeline violates Facebook's privacy promises, stemming from a previous agreement with the FTC.

"With Timeline, Facebook has once again taken control over the user's data from the user and has now made information that was essentially archived and inaccessible widely available without the consent of the user," they said in a letter, adding that Facebook "promotes oversharing" and wants users to "abandon restraint."

So, how do Facebook users feel about the Timeline? Is it just a bunch of isolated bitching, or is there mass concern? According to a poll by IT security company Sophos, a majority of people are apprehensive about the changes.

Over 51% said that the Timeline worries them. Another 32% said that they aren't even sure why they're on Facebook anymore:

What do you think of the Facebook Timeline?

Sophos admits that their poll might have involved people who are a little more concerned with privacy and security issues than the average Joe, but it's still a striking figure. With this kind of widespread apprehension, it's no wonder that scam apps have popped up all over Facebook offering to deactivate users' Timeline.

Facebook Timeline is like a time-travel machine for stalking.

Other than concerns about crazy stalkers and shocked family members having access to evidence of debauchery, users are worried about identity theft. Could a yet-to-be-vetted Timeline serve as a treasure trove for cyber criminals that use personal information in various unsavory ways?

Sure, but let's also think about it like this: Facebook isn't crafting stories out of thin air and using them to populate your Timeline. Anything that the Timeline shows from five years ago, you willfully posted (whether you remember it or not). Sure, Timeline kind of opens up old wounds in a way. Things that you thought buried by time are now prominently visible again. Old information is inarguably much more accessible with Timeline.

But if you shared it, shouldn't you own it?

And as far as the concern over frictionless sharing with new apps, the answer is fairly simple. If you don't want everyone to see what you're listening to with Spotify, don't connect Spotify to your Facebook account. If their recent actions haven't made it clear, Facebook is going all-in with sharing. That's what "frictionless" means - without impediments. The free flow of information has to be curbed by the user, if they want certain activities to remain private.

But the bottom line for some: Facebook is putting the onus of privacy control on the user by putting it all out there and asking everyone to do all the work in making sure their privacy concerns are met.

Will the forced Timeline cause users to jump ship? I doubt it. It seems like every Facebook change brings out the "i'm gonna ditch" threats. Despite this, Facebook continues to grow - because it has become such an important part of our culture. But there is quite a bit of hate out there for the Timeline, so we'll have to wait and see the reaction when it has finally rolled out to everyone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Google Privacy Changes: What Do They Mean To You?

Google Plus Strategy to get more Plus Clicks

All discussion about SEO seems to suggest getting Google Plus clicks will weight strongly for SEO rank - so how does one get visitors to click??? I visit websites all the time and it never occurs to me to click Google Plus icons if I see them. I look at my own websites and I don't see anyone clicking them. So, what is the attraction? How do we get people to click Google+ and what really is their motivation? If we set up some reward scheme, isn't that obvious and wouldn't it cause a flag?

As an example, I have this website where I've placed a Google Plus in the sidebar. I could probably make it bigger. I could probably put it in the body of the home page text, but really...

So, in theory I need to get some clicks. Can I click all my own websites so that I have at least 1 click? Or, would that be like clicking my own Adsense links?

Google Plus click exchange??? Well, it seems obvious that we could post websites here on WebPro with Google Plus buttons and then ask members to click each others Google Plus buttons. Would that have value?

BTW: If I was to click a bunch of Google +1 buttons for other webmasters more as a favour than a need, would that mess up my search results or cause some blow back in anyway?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Google's Algorithm Change: When Too Many Ads Attack

Does your site look like a telephone pole covered with ads?

If your site looks like one of those "Post No Bills" wall that's covered in assorted flyers, ads, and various forms of clutter, there's a good chance Google's new algorithm change will result in these ad-covered sites being punished, especially if the ad assault appears above the fold. News of Google's latest algorithm adjustment, something that's been hinted at before, was recently announced on Google's Inside Search blog, and the details are pretty straightforward, that is, until you ask "how much is too much?"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Are Google's Results Better Or Worse With Google+ Integration?

Either way, webmasters and marketers can't ignore it

Earlier this month, Google launched "Search Plus Your World". We'll refer to it as "SPYW" to save time. The set of personalization features essentially equates to Google injecting a whole lot of Google+ into Google search results. This has been met with widespread criticism that continues two weeks later. According to a lot of the chatter going on, Google has lost the respect of a lot of users, and even some of its alumni.

10 Essential Guidelines for Freelance Collaboration

Freelance collaboration is on the rise. Increasingly, teams of freelancers are now doing the work that in-house departments used to do. Graphic designers are now working on teams with writers and programmers.
But many freelancers are used to working alone. Collaboration definitely requires freelancers to make a few adjustments.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adding Over 2.5 Million Page Views to its Stable of Online Social Community Network Sites

MAS Media Inc., one of the largest owners and operators of online social community networks has acquired the large tech social community, ( from the originator of that social community on January 1, 2012.

"This acquisition helps MAS Media build to its current social communities in the Mobile space which include; and We think this is a growing and substantial market for consumers" said Phil DeLeon, CEO of MAS Media Inc. has tremendous inroads to Apple's iPhone market and offers users of those smart phones and those wishing to learn more about them an insight though regular blog postings, wallpapers, applications and more.

"Our ability to manage and develop on Apple's platform for mobile users – specifically as it relates to the iPhone and iPad developments is fantastic", DeLeon added. "Apple iPhone 3, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have allowed our bloggers and forum users the canvas to discuss among themselves the best Apple has to offer. Together with that, the iPad, iPad 2 and upcoming iPad 3 all are discussed in our communities", said DeLeon.

MAS Media plans to add more social communities in the technology field as well as other niche markets in its business plan over the next three to five years.

About MAS Media Inc.

MAS Media Inc. is a developer, acquirer and operator of an Online Social Community Network covering a variety of niche topics, however specializing in technology. The MAS Media network of social communities allows users to share knowledge, experiences and expertise with others who have similar interests. With well over 11 million page views per month and 600,000 members in its combined tech communities which include; ( ),,,,,,, MAS Media offers its visitors the ability to interface and communicate with one another on open platforms utilizing blogs, forums, facebook and other social offerings.

MAS Media takes great pride in providing safe, secure and professional original content through a host of distribution, which include; web sites, mobile and smart phones, tablets, television devices and other means in order for our visitors to share in this unique social experience.

MAS Media

Friday, January 20, 2012

10 Essential Guidelines for Freelance Collaboration

Freelance collaboration is on the rise. Increasingly, teams of freelancers are now doing the work that in-house departments used to do. Graphic designers are now working on teams with writers and programmers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brilliant Industrial Photography

The Industrial Revolution is a significant part of our history on this planet. It seems like a long time in retrospect, but only 100-150 years ago we were just kicking off the creation of American corporations and factories nationwide. Now we can see much of the remnants in heavily populated city areas.In this showcase I’ve put together 33 stunning examples of industrial photography. These pictures capture the essence of our industrial society as we move forward in the 21st century. These are very inspiring photographs and really make you think about our deep, rich history in these lands. As always let us know your thoughts or ideas in the comments discussion area.

Industrial Pipes

Sunset Over Industry