UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

My Facebook Friends Do My Work For Me

Posted by Brian Kelly on 17 Oct 2007

Last week I wrote about my preparation for a talk on What Can Mashups Offer?  I was preparing for the JISC RSC 3.0 annual conference and invited readers to provide examples. I was pleased to receive a response from James Clay about the use of Yahoo Pipes at the ALT-C conference and, via the JISC Emerge manifestation of the blog post, further comments from Paul Mayes.

My Facebook StatusOn Sunday I was finalising my slides, and updated my Facebook status, inviting my Facebook friends to provide examples which I could use.

I received several examples later that evening, and by Monday lunchtime I had included examples in my slides from Jane Stevenson (showing how the Archives Hub uses Google Maps to show the locations of contributors to the Archives Hub service), Paul Hollins, CETIS (on mashups in Second Life), Mike McConnell (on outreach services to potential students at Aberdeen University) and several examples from Tony Hirst, Open University. In addition Mark Van Harmelin suggested Scott Wilson’s XCRI mashup examples, but I didn’t have a URI to hand when I finished producing my slides. And, for the sake of completeness, I should add that Sebastian Rahtz, University of Oxford, also provided – via email – a number of examples of the prize-winning mashups he developed for the IWMW 2007 innovation competition.

The various examples I used in the talk are bookmarked in del.icio.usand, thanks to another tool provided by Tony Hirst, a slideshow of these mashups is also available (as Tony described, a mashup of the mashups).

So thanks to my Facebook friends for providing these examples.  And for me, I’ve realised what a potentially valuable tool  the Facebook status can be – a simple request can result in useful feedback, without the intrusive aspect often suffered by those who complain of email overload. And unlike more open communications tools, I’m inviting feedback from a selected group of my friends, colleagues and contacts on Facebook.  Perhaps, in some cases, the most effective social network isn’t the open network but the trusted network?

And, as promised in my previous post about my mashups talk, my slides are available, with a Creative Commons licence.

5 Responses to “My Facebook Friends Do My Work For Me”

  1. Hi Brian,

    It was nice to meet you yesterday – a shame I couldn’t see your presentation (due to being ‘on’ at the same time). This posting (which came to me via James Caly’s Jaiku presence) has helped. Thank you.


  2. AJ Cann said

    I’ve had one success and a couple of failures with crowdsourcing projects this year. The success came from a group I had quite a bit of control over, although they worked independently and contributed thier ideas (= trusted network). The failures came from bloggers (= open network), who really had nothing vested in the projects I tried to get them involved in.

  3. Paul Walk said

    without the intrusive aspect often suffered by those who complain of email overload

    I think this distinction is a small one… I already suffer from overload of friends’ status updates :-(

  4. Jack said

    Facebook is out! MateCube is the new social networking hit!

  5. hey, this is great information have any more websites that i can go to for more great info? thanx

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