aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Facebook Questioning: Coming Out the Facebook way
A potential suitor I had scoped out for my nephew changed his “interested in” status on Facebook today. Having my nephew living here has given me some insight into how young people come out these days in this rural southern college town… They change their “interested in” status on Facebook!
There’s plenty of room for mystery in these declarations. They change with a frequency that baffles people of my generation.
My nephew has no clue about the Beacon debacle.
Beacon, you will recall, is the ad program that sends word of your web purchases from sites like Fandango and Overstock.com to be listed in your Facebook news feed.
That and the story on the lawsuit brought by former Harvard classmate associates questioning the provenance of Facebook - which has elicited further fumbling on Zuckerberg’s behalf - have convinced me that those questions are legitimate.
Earlier this week AdAge’s Simon Dumenco had a fun column suggesting other apps Facebook users will “love” one day. Here’s the first one:
Are you a closeted homosexual in a small Southern town? Facebook Questioning will automatically suggest to those friends and colleagues who are able to “read between the lines” that maybe you’re “questioning” your sexuality. It does this by comparing Beacon data with thresholds of what’s considered “normal” heterosexual behavior by marketers. “The purchase by an unmarried, middle-aged male of more than two movie-musical soundtracks or DVDs per quarter doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s gay,” says a Facebook veep. “But it will raise a rainbow-colored flag within our algorithm and might even help certain in-denial Facebook users with their own voyage of self-discovery. After a while, we believe that our users will fall in love with Facebook Questioning.”
So my nephew’s been reluctant to pursue that nice young man I’ve been encouraging him to get to know better because he had listed his status as “interested in women.”
Well this morning, my nephew tells me, he changed his “interested in” status from women to men. And listed that he’s “engaged to” a well-known openly gay local pleasure-seeker.
My nephew’s considering his next Facebook move. A poke? Some writing on the wall? Give a virtual gift? Ahh, youth…
Google’s Wiki variant
Google is testing a new Web service intended to become a repository of knowledge from experts on various topics, one that could turn into a competitor to Wikipedia and other sites.
If it attracts a following, the service could accelerate Google’s transformation from a search engine into a company that helps create and publish Web content. Some critics said that shift could compromise Google’s objectivity in presenting search results.
The service, called Knol, which is short for knowledge, would allow people to create Web pages on any topic. It is designed to include features that permit readers to submit comments, rate pages and suggest changes. However, unlike Wikipedia, which allows anyone to edit an entry, only the author of a “knol,” as the pages in the service would be called, would be allowed to edit. Different authors could have competing pages on the same topic.
Google said that a main idea behind the project was to bring attention to authors who have expertise on a particular topic.
Jimmy Wales said, “I’m looking forward to seeing what it ends up looking like.”
Yeah, me too…
New Coin: the Bush Doubloon
Via Blog for Democracy.