Tag: facebook

I’m back on Instagram: here’s why

If you have been following me for some time now, particularly since April the 9th last year, you will know that I quit Facebook for Google+ indefinitely, and that I have also advocated for Twitter over Facebook. So when Facebook bought Instagram’s hard-earned community for a meager $1 billion, I quit Instagram as well.

But you had quit!

Yes, I had quit. I said that already, but if it is elaboration you are looking for, it is quite simple: I had certain re-defined aims in mind (see next sub-heading). And the solutions to problems that had cropped up were either easy or impossible.

The easy solutions include things like cat photographs (unfollow), overuse of filters (unfollow), plain terrible composition (unfollow) and generally unfollow. But there are some really talented photographers on Instagram as well, and I have decided to follow only those (read no courtesy follows).

Impossible solutions are usually associated with problems like Facebook, which I am not particularly fond of, and can proudly tell you I have not visited for nearly two years; and the troublesome terms of use which I have decided to be blind to. Want to use my photographs, Instagram? Go ahead. These are my experiments; my proper works lie elsewhere, out of your reach.

Re-defining my outlook on photography

For a long time I had a very specific outlook on photography. While I have not deviated from it, I have recently come to re-define it, shifting the emphasis from certain elements to certain others. (The exactness of this statement ought to be the subject of another article.)

So why would somebody (like me) who believes in hardly any positive ideas about Facebook and the way it treats its users, and somebody who hates ads during product usage, like any sane human, go back to Instagram, and that too after its infamous new Terms of Service?

As I said, the details of this re-definition will come in due time, but for now it is important to understand that I have decided to define myself as an eternal learner, a beginner and amateur just so I know and continue to feel like there is a lot of room for improvement — which is not half as fictitious as I make it sound, of course.

My first photograph shared on Instagram after my return.

Existing social/photography networks

I do do a lot of things outside my hobby of photography, studying physics and playing my violin being two of them, but my casual online social interaction is largely my hobby.

Like most photographers worth their salt, I have a large and decent network of artists I connect to here. And these artists are here mostly for my art. Injecting their stream with filtered, framed, square-cropped photographs betrays the expectations on which they have circled/followed/subscribed to me and will, in all possibility, end with me being un-circled/un-followed/unsubscribed to.

My point here is simple: with the limited control my phone gives me even over minor post-processing (yes, even Snapseed) and the force with which every service thrusts filters at me to apply, the photographs I would share from my phone will simply not represent my artistic intent fully.

Indeed, shooting, processing and uploading on my phone is a lot easier, but in this day and age, those photographs will hardly match the ones I shoot on my dSLR because of the lack of complete control during and after shooting.

A pure black and white experiment

So this why I took to Instagram; why I decided to tolerate their ads and the possibility that Facebook may get some (albeit a very limited amount) of data from my part and the possibility, however remote, that they will simply take my photographs, advertise and make money from it without being courteous enough to let me know.

My Instagram account v2.0, for lack of a better name

Instagram has a community, should I ever feel the need for one; and it has simple restrictions that appeal to my experiment: single crop (not multitudes of them like PicsArt), the possibility of no filters, and some really interesting work if you take the time to look around for it.

In other words, I can share photographs which are merely experiments and which let me shoot, without procrastinating, at any time, even if I do not have my dSLR handy, so I can shoot with a simple aim in mind: to improve my approach to making a photograph with a dSLR by shooting more often in general, and concentrating, not on apertures, shutters, ISOs etc., but instead on my trinity of painting aesthetics which I defined for myself years ago when painting was (as it still is) my hobby: composition, lighting and geometry.

To this end, I have decided to shoot only black and white, of course without lousy frames, and shoot as often as I can while still keeping things varied and interesting.

Follow me on Instagram if you are there too. Let us make photographs easier and more fun. But if you are interested in my more mainstream work, follow me on Flickr or circle me on Google+. And while you are at it, why not tweet with me as well?

So what are your thoughts: is Instagram still worth spending time on? Are there better alternatives?

Was there a better solution to my problem?

Google+ vs Facebook: 10 reasons why Google+ is far better

As PCWorld rightly pointed sometime out last year, the comparison of Google+ vs Facebook (which the masses generally draw) is an uneven one. Google+ is a far bigger picture for Google than one might imagine: my own way of putting it, as I have said to many of my acquaintances, is that Google is on its way to becoming a Skynet, although in a good way as things now stand.


This is part 1 of a 4-part article series on Google+. Read the others here:

For Google as a corporation, the Google+ Project is a landmark venture where they aim to bring together all their products, most of them the best in their niche, to make each thrive on the other and deliver an infinitely better user experience, centering on a users–you guessed it–Google+ profile.

Therefore a better way to put the tie would be, Google versus Facebook. Google+ simply isn’t one product anymore. In my opinion, it is quite ready to take on the Google Search robe as the corporation’s face on the Web. And the project has seamlessly integrated all Google products to such an extent, Google+, with respect to a given user, is really all of Google.

So let us see ten unique places I have spotted, over my stay on Google+ (and since I bid goodbye to Facebook quite a while ago,) where Google fares better enough than Facebook to convince anybody to switching to it. Personally, though, I recommend people not to switch: right now, only select people who share posts worth others’ while are populating Google+1and we do not want this becoming just another Facebook.

Without further ado, let us go through the ten key aspects I have in mind.

1. Google retains your privacy

I recall somebody once saying Zuckerberg (deserves a bravery award because he) values his privacy more than yours.

Facebook has a habit of compulsorily requiring you to make certain sensitive data of yours publicly visible. Google+ has no such strings attached. In fact, all Google requires you to adhere to strictly is that you do not pose as somebody you are not. Understandably, going against this rule will get you banned from all Google products, but I think it is a good thing considering that it will filter out those characteristic Facebook posters (who were probably once characteristic MySpace posters) who waste your time, right at the start.

In short, though, Google+ is designed to allow you to retain absolute control of your privacy at every point of usage, with both specific settings and general preferences.

2. You can say bye with a snap of your finger

No, really. If you have ever tried deleting your Facebook account, you will know exactly what  mean. It is impossible to fully delete your posts and updates. And pictures. And notes. And sensitive/embarrassing talk if any.

On Google+ you can use their Data Liberation tool to download all your data, pack up and leave Google+ without a public trace. And when I say all, I mean absolutely everything: your videos, Picasa web albums, shares/updates, contacts and anything else you can think of.

If you have not done it already, I strongly urge you to try deleting your Facebook account. Do not worry accidentally deleting it; you cannot delete in even on purpose.

3.  Better group activities

If there is one Google+ feature (apart from photo sharing) that beats every other social network hands down, it has to be Hangouts.

Have you seen what Google did with that poor web camera you get fit into your laptop? I have been invited to roughly thirty hangouts so far (not public hangouts, specific invite-only hangouts) and the interaction is just perfect. I will not be surprised if Facebook comes up with a counterpart, but given the present assets, it would not be hard to guess whose would be better–and who has a head start?

4. Professional setting on Google+

If LinkedIn spelled formal and professional social networking up to this point, I am beginning to feel Google+ will take over now.

Your profile on Google+ is slick, smooth, minimalist and you are in enough control to take out specific things and entirely hide unnecessary stuff. This, coupled with the fact that Google+ has a smaller user base of select individuals, makes way for recognition, good business exposure, personal/freelance popularity and so on.

If you have not begun to do so already, I recommend you harness the true power of Google+ in this regard.

5. Integration within the Web

Some may consider this to be the most important point so far, but I think fifth is where it should stand: but, yes, it is both important and vital.

When I was invited to try Google+ before it was released to the public, I had already begun using Google’s black bar on top without realising others I knew did not really have it on their accounts! The bar was a tad different then, but the concept remained quite the same even after development: to make your network accessible from any Google product at any time.

The way I see it, this would be over half our time on the Web. Consider Google Search, Picasa, Google+, Analytics, GMail, YouTube and any of the several other Google products you can think of. The slim black bar lets you connect to most of these–with specific focus on Google+–from any other product website.

6. Better network management

One thing I used to despise on Facebook was the way people there had (and probably still have) hundreds of so-called friends. If you  cannot recount the name of every single one of them, you might as well not add them. Friend requests and status updates were making and breaking jobs and relations–too much hold for a robotic binary programme, don’t you think?

On Google+ you can neatly organise your network into any number of categories, call it anything you want and share specifically, without wasting the precious time of those who do not give a damn about that particular update of yours.

This also nullifies my previous question, just in case you are still wondering. Google’s Circles is arguably their finest concept, mirroring daily life: how we make different circles of friends, meet and talk and share differently with each of them and so on. And Google+ allows you to bring that priceless habit onto your second life on the Web.

It adheres to the age old formula: replicate real life for the best results!

7. Better (best?) mobile application

Whether it be iPhone or Android or any other second-tier mobile OS, you have a Google+ application that stamps the rest to the ground.

Unfortunately, I got my Google+ Android app only a week before its public release and I did not have enough special time to appreciate its numerous, rich features fully. Over time, however, there are some things you will notice2.

Given that Android is also a Google product, the commenting, updating and other such features subtly integrate themselves into the design of the OS and make accessing Google+ a breeze unlike Facebook’s app, or instance, which requires you to access the homescreen repeatedly, for a lot of reasons.

8. Easy to search within Google+

Google’s third much hyped feature is Sparks. I hardly took notice of it before public release–and I doubt anybody else did–but the true power of Sparks became apparent only much later when a good lot of content had been shared. It was like a small, but equally intense, Google Search stitched into Google+ that allowed you to search your network with great ease.

While it is clear that Google’s previous stand as a search engine played a major role in this, what is more important is that this feature, which seems all so obvious now, had been overlooked in every other social network prior to Google+; and in my opinion, none–even if they do appear at a later point of time–will be in a position to beat Google’s Sparks simply because of Google’s leverage in the searching world online.

9. Better photo sharing and tagging

It is by no means an overstatement to say Google+ is the new photographer’s paradise. There was (still is) 500px, Flickr and so on, but Google’s policy, Picasa integration, tagging technology, viewing–and the elephantine photographer count that exists here–seems to have beat them all in one sweep.

I know many photographers who are leaving other sites slowly but confidently to back-file their entire work to Google+. As for tagging people, when I was on Facebook, many months ago, I kept stressing on a particular clause in their terms of use that said nobody could tag a user without their consent. But (rather intelligently) Facebook made no attempt to stop such tagging and it annoyed me severely. On Google+, however, tagging a person notifies them and the tag appears only if they concur. So that is bidding goodbye to childish tagging in unrelated and/or compromising photographs that Facebook came to be known for even if not quite publicly.

10. Google listens to you

That is right. Google values user feedback more than any other multinational corporation I have come across.

Know that little grey box that says Send Feedback on the bottom right? It is quite generally known that the only people who value feedback enough to actually change their site are those who run personal websites, blogs and such. But Google has taken things in good spirit, and that feedback form is actually more advanced than it seems at first.

You are allowed to highlight parts of the page where you plan to give suggestions, point out to errors etc. as well as black out any personal information you wish to keep hidden. Then you type in your suggestion and send it to Google.

Will anything happen? Trust me, they actually listen to you. As I said before, this might not exactly be what one would expect from a company the size of Google but there have been suggestions I have myself made and a number of them I have seconded or chipped into and these have actually been adopted as changes in Google+

It is fun to see your suggestion has been valued and things have been changed for the better. This also keeps with Google’s open-source spirit and makes the network one that is run by its users rather than an unseen body. Good uses people have been making of the feedback box is requesting for slight alterations to the existing Google+ terms of usage and there have been multiple records where Google has brought out changes.

This flexibility is by far the best reason–from a user satisfaction standpoint–to switch to Google+ and dump Facebook for good.

I am not in any way associated with Google or Facebook, and this review has been from a neutral standpoint. Clearly, I state that the scale tips in favour of Google as my list clarifies!

Before you leave, do not forget to join me on Google+ and circle VHBelvadi.com too!

  1. Statistics show 1. most of these are male 2. most are professionally oriented people 3. the users appear to have unanimously maintained a formal ambience around Google+ 4. there is less than even a fraction of the nonsense, cat jokes floating around on Facebook. If asked to put it bluntly, I think I would say, “Google+ is the Facebook for matured people.” 

  2. I only speak for Android phones, because I have never used Google+ on any other OS and have little intentions of doing so in the future 

Google+ Daily Photography Themes

A look at how photography on Google+ is organised by its unique daily photography themes. Also a quick list of the active daily themes on Google+. (Many thanks to Ray Bilcliff for the list.) Read more →

One fell swoop

How one wrong move on Google+ can help you lose half the Web

I left Facebook for Google+ a while ago, although not many have found doing that to their liking. While why anybody would want to remain with Facebook (except, perhaps, for its Pages feature) is beyond me. But that is another issue altogether. In spite all these indications, Google+ received positive reviews and reached 10 million sign-ups in no time. And yet one policy of Google+ seems to bother everybody.

The use of your real name

A huge lot of people get thrown out of Google+ for registering with fake names (including sugarguy postman and teddy teddybear which I came across somewhere!) All Google asks these people to do is prove that those names are really theirs; and since those fellows cannot, Google throws them out—they will effectively be barred from using any Google service under that name.

The funny thing is that Google’s services—although they began humbly as BackRub within Stanford compounds—have now spread all over the Web. They have their hands in roughly half the internet, from search engines to emails to advertising to website traffic analysis to blogging to browsers to operating systems to mobile phones to anything else technologically advanced that you can think of.

One name for all

The catch is that every man in his senses would connect all Google products to one account: one username, one password and (needless to say) one real name, one address, one company and so on.

In other words, this means that when you make one wrong move on Google+ (read their Terms of Usage: it took me a good half-hour) you will, often even with no prior warning, be disconnected from all your Google services. You will lose access to your emails, your advertising earnings (unless you have already been banned from AdSense, like me,) Picasa photographs and everything else you put up on the Google cloud.

And, considering you signed up with FunnyName FunnierName as your real name, you have no method to prove that that is really you.

Age restrictions

A 13 year-old kid from Norway, who had a two-year-old Google account was banned from using all services, almost overnight, because he signed up to Google+. It was clearly a violation of the Terms of Usage and Google cannot be blamed, but it ought to serve as a wonderful example for what I have been stressing all these days, since I got invited to use Google+ before the public release: this is no playground like Facebook.

As the G+ Insider points out, while Facebook asks its users to use their real name, it makes no effort to press this rule with gusto. However, this does not play a good role in other areas. As it turns out, Facebook is as lenient in all areas of its Terms of Usage (one I particularly despise is people tagging me without my permission, which, as of the date of this article, is a violation of their Terms of Use) that it becomes too much of a playground for kids.

No Playground

Those preferring to switch entirely to Google+ in this scenario are mostly nerds, as a recent survey pointed out, (which probably explained why I decided to switch,) and those who prefer a flexible Terms of Use (ever tried that Send Feedback button?) which restricts misuse, abuse and overly playful nature.

It would be like suggesting, “Let’s keep G+ clean.” And not full of everything that Facebook has come to be. In short, treading through Google+ will be a sensitive issue for some, while it will come naturally to others. Especially if you switched from long time pal Facebook, voluntarily.

Why I prefer Twitter over Facebook. And why you might want to.

Like everyone dedicated enough to technology to have multiple accounts on websites across the internet (and I refer to the years when the convenient Login with Facebook button was not around) I am an economical user of both Facebook and Twitter—and more recently, Google+, but let me not go into that right now.

Facebook was created to promote ease in linking with your friends and acquaintances and, as it later turned out, bosses and never-before-seen people. But I need hardly say that here considering there are people who make far greateruse of Facebook than I do—including my mother. For one, I do not put up photographs on Facebook; and, frankly, the only reason I am on Facebook—apart from to promote my website—is because, in society nowadays, to whose expectations you have to tiresomely bend, if you are not on Facebook you are unanymously considered technologically backward and outdated.

That said, I use Twitter more extensively. You will find the Twitter application adorning the home screen on my phone, and you will not find the Facebook application at all. That was just to give you a comparison. But many wonder why I am so. The point is simple: Facebook is an obligation, and Twitter meets my needs.

What Facebook is for 

Before you decide to skip this section, you might want to hold back and read through it. I am not going to give you a detailed picture of Zuckerberg’s magnum opus; instead, I am going to state my perspective of it and why it is of no use to me.

Everybody knows that someone (I do not wish to jog my memory at this point) gave Mark Zuckerberg a bravery award. It was because he values his privacy more than [yours.] Facebook was opened for elitists with a .edu email address but it has come far from there. Apparently, Facebook is to connect with the people you wished to get away from.

To hide my skepticism and bias, let me rephrase myself: Facebook is to connect with people. One connects with old friends and new enemies and unknown people who, clearly, are a far safer group to chat with. But that is not why I use the Internet. I use it—and in fact this is the only genuine reason I ever do anything—to expand my knowledge base. And, frankly, one fact strewn in between a hundred status updates that are of absolutely no use to me is a waste of time.

I do not want to know where one went or what one is doing when and how. That is not what Facebook is for, or is it? This is analogous to amateur tweeters (whom I followed for a period of two months as a little experiment I was performing—more on that later) who sit at the breakfast table and tweet what is on their plate; and then do the same thing again for lunch and dinner and a few more times in-between. Their followers, those who are not of the same feather, could not care less about others’ diet.

How many friends do I have on Facebook? 

There are, on the other hand, genuine pages that provide update after update of interesting stuff worth a read in the true sense of the phrase. These are what keep me on Facebook.

To the general public, my Facebook profile does not reveal how any friends I have (or who they are, for that matter) and this seems to catalyse one very prominent question: how many friends do I have on Facebook?

Fair enough, considering everybody is on a race to have more friends than the others and Zuckerberg and co. noticed this soon enough to put a limit to how many people you can call your friends.

But I never have answered the question. I have not dodged it either; I merely say, ‘no comments’ (or something to that effect.) Today comes the revelation. And, no, I do not have more friends that you. I have twelve friends on Facebook—including my parents, which means ten friends, really. And I only got the tenth one today.

Understandably, the follow-up question is why?

I believe—and ask anybody who is around me for quite some time—that the words we speak actually mean something. And every time we say friends, we spell responsibility. Needless to say, one is responsible for the friend one makes and one is responsible for the friend one keeps. The point is, I know many Facebook users who boast hundreds of friends on Facebook and they cannot even recall all their names (let alone other details.)

The way I see it—and the reason why I have so many friends on Facebook—is because, if I were to (say) alienate myself from the Internet for a decade, I believe these are the people that are worth remembering once I come back.

An honest question at this point would be whether I get any friend requests at all, or, if I do, what do I do with them. I ignore them. No, not literally; I do remember almost everybody who has sent me a friend request, but I click the ignore button just to prevent a piling up of my notifications.

Tweeting your way to recognition

Apparently, a school teacher in a wealthy suburb in the US (whose name he wished to be withheld according to an article I read recently) knew that his students all had Facebook accounts. They even had MySpace accounts; but when he mentioned Twitter, nobody knew what it was. They had heard of it, but the question still remained: what is it? And how does one work on it?

Surprisingly, this is true of many people. While everybody has heard of Twitter, and many have an account in it, not many knew how to use it to its full potential (which is far greater than one can imagine at first.)

Steve Thornton, in a guest article for Twitip, puts it beautifully: (pardon me for not resisting the urge to copy an entire section from his article. It just cannot be put in a better way!)

Let’s say you go to a wedding or other social gathering where lots of people know each other. The style and tone of communication there will be more like using Facebook; you chat with old friends and acquaintances, mixing and mingling in an intimate manner. In this setting, people tend to feel more relaxed and “in their element”. Conversations are familiar and center on shared experiences and connections.

Now, when you go to a large party or social event where you don’t know most of the people in attendance, you will use a very different style of communication, more like Twitter; you want to meet people and somehow make yourself known, stand out from the crowd, make an impression, self promote and make new connections. Twitter is like getting the podium and not everyone feels comfortable or knows how to stand comfortably in the spotlight.

In fact, almost all of us, when first approaching Twitter, tend to use it to post useless updates like “Going to lunch”, thinking of it as a another tool to communicate with friends, when in fact, it is more like stepping on to a stage, where you are communicating with an audience and quickly find that you need to find a voice and say something useful and interesting or quickly lose the attention of your audience. People refer to Twitter as a mini or micro blogging platform.

Why do I prefer Twitter?

If it has not already revealed itself to you, you might want me to expand on why I prefer Twitter to Facebook any day.

For starters, one cannot survive on Twitter if one does not post tweet regularly, and tweet things others will find useful, at that. You cannot, for instance, signal to the world when you had dinner and hope to get even half-a-hundred followers.

The Twitter community (so long as you do not build one attributing it to stuff like friendship and whatever else while sacrificing on practicality) is far more scientific—or at least serious—minded and the entire platform moves fast. One moment you have the limelight, the next moment somebody has it. And it is not the kind where you despise the thought of losing it. You are joyous and you have gained a lot from this transition.

Twitter is a cross between e-mail and blogs. You can share stuff, be it links, articles or even photographs, as the latest version allows exclusively; and you can tweet to get almost instant replies. Of course there is the Direct Message feature and URL shortening that most Twitter clients too have built into them.

When asked why they love Twitter, users say like “I can ask a question and get an instantaneous response”. They crave the ability to “tap into the collective consciousness” of others on the network, bouncing ideas off others with whom they would otherwise have no means of connecting. Twitter addicts claim it’s like the old fashioned water cooler, where people can gather to shoot the breeze on whatever topic is on their minds.

As Thornton puts it, “Twitter is like a communications stream you dive into for an invigorating swim..”

As one Mike put it, following Google’s successful search engine race back in the 90s, Twitter is most likely to win the race of the social networks and not Facebook, simply because it keeps things simple and does not offer too many choices.

The fact remains that Twitter is where you can build your personal brand. Although Facebook is not a platform any company would leave out in their ad campaigns, it is clearly Twitter that they use at a fast pace, all day long, reaching out to their fans in realtime. And for my own small part, I feel more at home in Twitter. After all, it is a mere 140 characters away!

Have your say below.


The Facebook Blue

I was making a few small edits to the style sheet of my website when a question that often bothered me popped up again. I am quite meticulous when I design (or rather re-design, for I do it over and over again) my website and make sure everything is just as I pictured it. In fact my own opinion is that the reason why so many people have badly designed or overly colourful and almost gaudy websites is either because they do not have a picture of what they hope their final product ought to be like, or because they cannot convert that mental image into CSS coding.

However, a seemingly trivial obstacle one might encounter during such coding is something web designers spend quite some time to understand: the colour elements. Simple probing into queries such as what colour combinations work best on the eyes, how colourful a website should be and what colour/s to use for various website elements will yield as varying a spectrum of answers as the colours themselves. Vandelay Design even has a study detailing the psychology and meaning of colours and how to choose them. The trouble is that this is more an issue of personal opinion than standard or social fact.

In spite of this, a recent study looking into the colours of the Web by ColourLovers, followed by detailed look into how the top 100 sites use their colours, actually gives us a verdict. Blue happens to be the most widely used colour, and, most importantly the colour proved to improve ease of reading and time spent on the site.

What is it with Facebook and blue?

A question I often asked myself was why Facebook was so blue-dominant. And it was not by chance because all the blue used, no matter in which remote corner of some vector graphic icon, was the same tone.

I actually first concluded that it was a tint rather than a tone, but as I inspected the hex colour code I realised it was more a greyed down version. I call it the Facebook Blue and it has the hex #3B5998.

For the reader who is unaware of tints and tones: there exist, in art, four styles of colouration of the basic colour wheel consisting of the basic/original colours (called hues.) This is a stage that comes even before mixing two colours to obtain a third, and involves either adding white to the hue (tint,) or adding black (shade,) or adding a mixture of white and black — grey — to the original color (tone, also called greying a colour.)

The Linking Paradigm

The very first instance of links coming up on the Internet saw the colour blue become synonymous for links. As it happens, this is still a predominantly used colour to denote links and even new users seem to understand the concept of linking through to another website when the links are in blue, as opposed to when they are red or green.

However, this begs the question as to which blue is the most suited?

An extremely dark shade of blue would make it hard to differentiate from the neighbouring text, which is most often black in colour. A very light tint would make it tough to spot in the first place. While the blue hue is, itself, the best suited, tones closer to the Facebook Blue have been all the rage — believe it or not, half the time with the website owners themselves not noticing the fact!

Take a look at the first Facebook, called The Facebook, which Zuckerberg & co. launched for lucky fellows with a .edu email address:

Now, years later, the designers at Facebook have chosen to maintain the same tone of blue:

Although the ColourLovers study I quoted above would suffice to understand why Zuckerberg chose to stay with the Facebook Blue, the actual reason is somewhat more surprising.

Why Blue?

Twig host Leo Laporte cites a New Yorker article that says,

Colors don’t matter much to Zuckerberg; a few years ago, he took an online test and realized that he was red-green color-blind. Blue is Facebook’s dominant color, because, as he said, “blue is the richest color for me – I can see all of blue.”

While that explains why Facebook stuck with their tone of blue, it still does not explain why other websites would find it advantageous to switch to/stay with blue — especially for links.

First of all, blue is the original link colour on the internet. It has been so ever since people began using the Web and it still is. Secondly, most browsers come with blue as the default colour to denote links on sites which otherwise have an undefined parameter for this. And, considering that more than half of the internet users around the world either do not know or do not bother to customise the default settings their browsers come bundled with, blue tends to remain the link colour.

Some link-filled websites, like Craigslist, have nearby colours like purple as their link colours and people seem to be well-suited to this. Also, some people argue that blue stands out. I beg to differ: colours like red and even orange outdo blue when it comes to gaining our attention; however, what they ought to say is that blue being a cool, dynamic colour makes reading through a website easy on the eye.

Think about it: my own website you are now reading from has predominantly blue links! As one, Emil Kostov, puts it,

Most colors distract and make the human eye focus on them while blue act as a transparent palette for 65% of time spending watching the main background aka index space. It is well known also that blue color is the nirvana for the brain.

And that is the story of Facebook Blue. What are your opinions? Do you fancy blue as the norm for linking on your own website? Do you prefer other sites switch to blue too? Or will red do?

From a (s)awesome Facebook status update

I think the makers of the film called the ‘Saw’ films by that name just so people could have the following conversation:

A: Did you see Saw?
B: Yeah, I saw Saw.
A: Did you see Saw 2?
B: I saw Saw 2 too.
A: Did you see Saw 3?
B: No, but I saw Saw 4.
A: What did you see Saw 4 before you saw Saw 3 for?

Your Facebook profile may be worth €15.000!

Quite a shocking revelation (or should I say calculation?) regarding the average Facebook profile:

Today, Cologne-based lawyer Christian Solmecke draws our attention to an interesting area of copyright: the social networks. Perhaps this article is especially relevant for parents of young surfers.

Millions of teenagers are currently communicating on the new social networks. Typically, they pimp up their profile with pictures of movie stars, music, songs or other copyrighted material. The German lawyer predicts chasing Facebook-profiles could be big business for companies or lawyer with an aggressive game plan.

While the general public is becoming more and more aware of the existence of legal limits to what they can and cannot do online, this doesn’t seem to apply to young people on platforms such as MySpace and Facebook.

Solmecke advises parents to take copyright violations seriously and to occasionally check their children’s Facebook profile, to see if their entertainment collection is growing out of control. Coming from a German lawyer, this parental advice seems slightly out of place. However, Solmecke predicts lawsuits against Facebook users that display “too much” copyright-protected content on their page. This would be particularly sad for the parents of young users, since the amounts of money in intellectual property cases often exceeds the average pocket money.

“Millions of people, especially kids, maintain a Facebook profile,” said the media law expert, “They do this for private purposes, but because they often display content to a few hundred friends, we reach the limits of what can be called private use of the footage.” According to Solmecke, it is just a matter of time before somebody argues that “Facebookers” should be treated as journalists. “If you look at the quantity and scope of copyrighted material that is posted without the blink of an eye, I’d say the average Facebook profile is worth as much as €15,000,- to a smart lawyer.”

Solmecke recommends Facebook-users (and their parents), to keep an eye on pictures of celebrities, YouTube videos, My Music Videos, lyrics and quotes of famous people. Although this seems feasible, it will undoubtedly be an arbitrary call to determine when the line is crossed. Let alone legal debates on the privacy and image rights of all people whose photo appears somewhere on the social network… In short, the advice from Cologne is: Pimping your profile is fine, but don’t exaggerate.

Article courtesy Future of Copyright. Read the original article here.

Three elements your blog can’t live without

Special thanks go to Angie Bowen of Pro Blog Design and Mark Thompson of 1st Web Designer for most of the resources cited in this article.

Blog design and beginner tips for blogging are a dime a dozen; so why would you want to read this? Because it is different.

Years ago, as a newbie blogger myself, it was certainly very hard to analyse and come to a conclusion as to what the most important elements in a blog design were. Indeed it was not until now, close to five years later, that I believe I am in a position to give a judgement on this topic and guide other bloggers, like yourself, in the process.

I used the term blog design. Now, even a one-day old blogger can tell you that the most important thing in a weblog is the content itself; but what he cannot possibly tell you is that if the blog does not visually appeal to a reader at first sight, statistics have shown that over 80% of potential readers simply walk away. Read more →

This is what Facebook is for!

The social world online, I believe, is divided into three categories: Facebook fanatics (who live half their lives on Facebook,) Facebook users (who know their limits,) and Facebook ignorant (Facebook? What is that?)

I watched The Social Network seven months after it was released (I got my hands on it only in May!) and thought the film was interesting and well-laid. The screenplay was Oscar-worthy but most of the story was made up–except Zuckerberg’s wardrobe which, he said himself, the film had portrayed correctly every single time. But the point in a film is that it has to entertain and The Social Network did its job well.

Who would have expected now, three years after the incidents in the film, that Facebook would become so entertaining to people? Read more →