What is it about Facebook?


It amazes me how many people have said to me “I don’t get it” and “What is Facebook?”  Next thing I know I am receiving notifications and whether they get it or not, they are using it. In fact people are spending a fair amount of time every day using it. In December and January ‘Active Users’ exceded 8 million and page views were over 18 Billion in one month! No wonder Microsoft want in!

One thing that continually amazes me and many of the people that I talk to is that unlike many other social netowrking applications, people typically use their own names and provide incredibly detailed information about themselves that they wouldn’t dream of doing on other sites. They complete quizes and compare information with their friends such as their personal goals; would you ever, have you ever, personality tests, what music you listen to and much more. In effect giving people the ability to find out perhaps more about you than you know about yourself.

One thing that many people are still doing is collecting loads of friends like they do on sites where they might be a little more cautious. Perhaps as they play games and talk to people they are interested in or find attractive, suddnely they are laying their souls bare to total strangers.

Obviously this becomes hugely popular and various brands are starting to use Facebook as a way of marketing to and interacting with customers, for example when I search for Facebook applications I find a couple for BMW, 1 for Coca Cola, 37 for Microsoft, one for LG, 162 applications around Google, 12 for Nokia and the list goes on. I’m not making any judgements here, I love the idea of genuine personalised marketing. If companies can figure out how to market products and services that I am genuinely interested in, I am all for it and Facebook applications as marketing data acquisition tools make a lot of sense.

Many years ago I visited Arthur Anderson in Chicago and saw a demonstration of a retail system which kept images and vital statistics of customers. The concept was being able to send an email saying “Luigi, our latest summer fashion shirts are in and here are some pictures of what YOU would like like in your colours.” My future vision for that is that they will send that message with the image in a video so I can see a panorama on my mobile phone, only when I am in vicinity of the store and with an electronic coupon. The issues here are more about trust, but I’m getting into mobile marketing again and digressing as I am wont to do.

The thing I love about Facebook is that they have created an evolutionary product that keeps changing as more and more people add content and concept. You can look in the search area almost as you would in Google. Thinking about things I am interested in, I entered ‘song competition’ and found 19 events. I entered Texas Holdem and found 8 applications, more than 500 events and much more. If you are more of a golfing person, there are 47 facebook applicatins and countless events, the list goes on: politics – 95 applications, religion 25 applications, philosophy 25 applications, 14 applications for theatre and well I can go on indefinitely because while I write this blog, more applications are  being posted.

Then of course there are interest groups, discussion groups, activity groups, fan groups and being silly I even got more then 700 results doing a search under groupies!

I’m starting to get a picture of how much time this amazing environment can take up, but just as interesting how much, used wisely, Facebook could empower and entertain you. It can open doors and lead to all sorts of opportunities. Most of all, it is different. Most social networks are focussed around an activity or group, like photography, music, dating. Facebook is multi faceted and multi dimensional mirroring most people and having an endless array of new things to experience.

I’m still not sure that I can give an elevator pitch of what Facebook is.  I guess it can be whatever you want it to be and more. The question is what is it to you and what are other sites going to do to compete?

While this blog is starting to get a good following, I would love to get more readers and encouraging me to keep writing. If you feel that my blog is interesting I would be very grateful if you would vote for me in the category of best blog at the NetGuide Web Awards. Note that the form starts each site with www whereas my blog doesn’t and is of course http://luigicappel.wordpress.com.

Thanks so much for your support:)

Judder bars slow down traffic


The road I live on is fairly narrow and is often used as a shortcut from one suburb to the next. Boy racers like to race up the road to the intersection where my house is situated on a corner site, testing out their turbo’s. A few years ago I joined fellow residents in the street and called for a council meeting to do something about it. We asked for a couple of chicanes with side barriers, basically barriers that run at an angle to the road and force people to slow down to navigate around them. But no, North Shore City council decided to put in fairly long judder bars, that is they go up and the road rises for a bit over a car width and then they go down again.

Now 2 things happen, the first is that people coming from the intersection go reasonably slowly over the judder and then plant it going down the hill. The main casualties are pets, although there are accidents from time to time as they get to the first corner and meet someone coming the other way.

The other thing is people come racing up the road and either don’t notice the judder bar or forget it is there until they have hit it at speed, which is pretty silly because it is right before a T junction. Every night we hear the scrapes of car underbellies as their cars get gravel rash and houses on both sides of the road are showing cracks from the impact, although council denies that this is possible.

Last night at 4:30 AM I heard one of these crashes followed by some clattering. It was pretty loud and I jumped out of bed and raced to the windows to see if there had in fact been an accident. I didn’t see anything and went back to bed. This morning, I got a call to say come and have a look on the corner and you can see on the photo what I found. A rubbish truck had managed to fkip itself and land between 2 trees after knocking down a couple of signs. I hope the driver was ok.

It’s pretty obvious what happened. He must have been coming up the road way too fast, didn’t see the judder bar which would have been like a ramp for motor stunts. He would have been airborn on an angle as he realised there was a corner coming, started to turn just before he hit the air, landed on 2 or 3 wheels , overcorrected and flipped.

If we had the chicane we asked for, there may have been some damage to the truck, although only a fraction of what there was as you can see from the photo and the main damage would have been to the driver’s pride. But then I’m not a traffic engineer, I’m just using a little common sense.judderbar.jpgjudderbar.jpgjudderbar.jpg