First we made NewsCloud easy to install, then we made it cheap, now we're making it free to get started building a social media community for your favorite topic, neighborhood, city or school:
The generous folks at Rackspace are offering six months of credited hosting (up to $250 monthly) for anyone hosting NewsCloud in the Rackspace Cloud through their startup program. Now, there's no reason not to try your hand at launching your own social media community.
While most content management systems are optimized around publishing, NewsCloud's features offer ways for your audience to participate and lead the site with user generated content. As activity increases, you can integrate advertising and paid content referral systems to capture new revenue streams. We also offer some innovative ways to populate your site with content from RSS and Twitter Lists.
I think Facebook will be pressured to add controls for users to limit the length back in history that different groups of people will be able to browse your Facebook timeline. Currently, anyone can browse my timeline's entire history on Facebook pursuant to my privacy restrictions. But, do I really want my next girlfriend to be tempted to browse the last five years of my Facebook timeline?
I might personally want to browse all ten years of my Facebook Timeline, but I might want my friends only to be able to look back 3 months. Maybe I'd allow close friends and family to browse one year back. But, I only want to show one month of history on my public timeline, or none at all.
The creepy thing is that advertisers still can electronically datamine/browse your entire timeline and everything Facebook knows about you.
Essentially, Facebook has to constantly battle against its very nature -- its supposed reason for existing -- as a friendly place for "friends" by conning those friends (and you) into "sharing" more and more, and by increasingly pulling intel about Facebook-linked activities (e.g., listening to music via Spotify, or reading an article off-site via a Facebook-linked app) into the picture of users it presents to marketers. It puts all of us to work (at $0 per hour) to increase its "engagement" scores because getting more and more people to spend more and more of their lives directly on Facebook -- or tethered to Facebook through an off-site app -- is the only way it can keep growing its advertising business and justify its valuation.
Meanwhile, as time spent on Facebook increases, media companies and marketers have fewer (and shorter) opportunities to engage consumers off-Facebook ... because there are still only 24 hours in the day.
If you Connect to Facebook on Yahoo! News, stories that you read begin to appear on your timeline. I clicked on the story headline Cain nearly quit campaign before Florida straw poll, calls Obama a ‘liar’, but a few minutes later, the headline "Cain nearly quit campaign before Florida straw poll, says Obama's rhetoric is 'bullshit'" appeared on my Facebook Timeline.
This highlights just one of the kinds of things that can happen when news sites start indiscriminately spamming my timeline with a list of every story I read. Will readers avoid stories like "Player's nude calendar defection irks Racing chief" in this new world of hyperexposure?
While we think applications like the Washington Post's Social Reader are a bit better than Social WSJ, generally it's a mistake for news organizations to spam a user's timeline with everything they read. We recommend stepping back to the standard of requiring the user's interaction to post items to their Timeline. Some readers may want to track their history for themselves, but it's really not useful to them or to their friends to share everything they click on - before they've even had a chance to read the story.
Facebook's Timeline is opening a Pandora's box of issues ... and we think October is going to be an extremely interesting month in social media. That's when more users will start to turn on their Timeline and get a sense of the deeply ingrained sharing implicit in the Timeline.
We're a free, open source, community engagement platform funded generously by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Our platform offers features that encourage engaged communities filled with user generated content such as sharing news, blog posts, photos & video, crowdsourcing ideas, favorite places and resources, discussion forums, classifieds and lending library for sharing physical goods, peer Q&A, et al. All of NewsCloud's features are tightly integrated to Facebook and Twitter. Learn more.
We agree with Owens: "Jump on in, the water’s fine."
By tangibly and transparently showing the power of aggregating all our online activity in an easily, browsable public place, Facebook's Timeline may sensitize casual users to impact of their use of such services.
Do you want to funnel in the parts of your life it hasn't appropriated already? Do you want it to transcribe all the songs you'll listen to, the restaurants you'll hate, the "illnesses you'll overcome" (an actual, bizarre event choice)? If the notion of the digitized self pleases you, Facebook is your best new altar.
If you find it depressing, demeaning, and superficial, then frankly, you should turn it off now. Zuckerberg wants Facebook to devour and digest the world, using your life events as its nutrients, the existential feces left behind fertilizing a high resolution, pristine Timeline. His appetite's only going to grow—the question is if you'll enjoy dining with him.
They like it but it reminds me a lot of Hannibal Lechter dining on Clarisse's colleague's brain.