January 2011 – Stay N Alive

Privacy is Not an On and Off Switch – "Do Not Track" is Not the Answer

Victoria Salisbury wrote an excellent blog post today on “Who’s Creepier? Facebook or Google?“.  I’ve been intrigued by the hypocrisy over criticism of Facebook’s own very granular privacy controls when sites like Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, and others have an all-or-nothing approach with some things (location and email in particular) that are even more private than anything Facebook is currently making available at the moment (if you want some good examples read Kim Cameron’s blog).  The fact is that Facebook, despite the amount of private data available, will always be my last resort as a hacker when I want to track data about an individual online due to the granular control of data available, and lack of default public data.  However, despite all this, even Facebook isn’t at the ideal place right now in terms of privacy. The fact is my private data is still enclosed on Facebook’s servers, and with that, there will always be some level of risk in storing that data, no matter where it is.  So what’s the solution?

Browsers such as Mozilla and Chrome are now beginning to implement “fixes” around this problem of tracking data about users across online services (note my article on how even Wall Street journal is tracking data about users), called “Do not track.”  The extension, or in some cases native browser functionality, seeks to give users the option of completely turning off the ability for sites to track a user around the web, removing any personalization of ads and in some cases the removal of ads completely from the browsing experience.  This experience is fine and dandy – it gives the user an option.  But as my friend Louis Gray puts it, “all it does is ensure off-target ads with a crappy experience.”  It is clear an on and off approach is the wrong approach, and I fear those behind these extensions and browser integrations are missing out on an important opportunity.

So where can we go from here if “Do Not Track” is not the answer?  The answer lies in the problem I stated above – the problem being that individual user information is being stored on 3rd party servers, without the control of users and assumed risk of relying on a 3rd party.  We saw this as Facebook made a temporary mistake earlier in 2010 when they launched Instant Personalization on 3rd party websites along with other 3rd party website features, but in doing so accidentally opened up a majority of their users private information with little notice to users (I did get an email warning of the change, however).  Facebook quickly fixed the privacy problem with even better privacy controls than before, but by that point the damage was done.  It was proof positive that there is huge risk in storing private information on 3rd party websites.  The advice I give to customers and users and news organizations in interviews I give is, “if you’re not okay sharing it with the world, don’t share it at all, regardless of privacy controls.”  It’s an on or off solution at the moment, and I’m afraid there are no better choices.

There is a solution though.  Chrome, and Firefox, and IE, and every browser out there should be working towards this solution.  We need to take the granular controls that sites like Facebook provide, and put them in the browser.

Awhile back I spoke of a vision of mine I call “the Internet with no login button.”  The idea being that using open technologies (we already have Information Cards, for instance), the more private information about users can be stored in the browser, reducing the risk of that information being shared by accident with 3rd party websites.  Rather than something like Facebook Connect (or Graph API), for instance, a browser-driven version of OpenID would control the user authentication process, identify the user with a trusted provider (Facebook, Google, Religious institutions, Government institutions, you choose), and then be able to retrieve private information about individuals directly from the browser itself.

The fact is I already use tools to do some of this.  1Password, for instance, allows me to keep a highly encrypted store of my passwords, credit card, and other data on my hard drive and provide that data, as I choose, to the websites I visit.  A browser-native experience like this would make this process automatic.  I would specify which sites I give permission to have my data – name, address, phone number, email, location data, etc. – and I would also be able to choose what users have access to that data.  I could then choose to store my more public data on services such as Facebook and elsewhere, with the same option to still store it on my own hard drive if I choose.  With such a fine-tuned integration my more private information is completely in my own control.  My browser controls access to the data, not any 3rd party website or developer.

At the same time keys could be given to 3rd party websites to store my data on their servers.  In order to render that data, they need my computer’s permission to render the data.  The solution is not quite evident yet, but some how a trusted, separate service should be able to provide the permissions to render that data, and when that permission is revoked, all data, across all 3rd party websites, becomes disabled.  Or maybe just a few sites become disabled.  The goal being control is completely handled by the user, and no one else.  Maybe sites get disabled by my browser sending a “push” to the sites, forcing their data of mine to delete completely off their servers (or render useless).

Chrome and Mozilla have a huge opportunity here, and it’s not to provide an on or off switch for privacy.  I should be able to decide what information I want to be able to provide to ads displayed to me, and that data shouldn’t come from Facebook, Twitter, or Google.  My browser should be controlling that access and no one else.  Privacy belongs on the client.

I’m afraid “Do Not Track”, in the browser or by government, is no the answer.  There are better, much more granular solutions that browsers could be implementing.  It is time we spend our focus on a dimmer, not an on-and-off switch, for the open, world wide web.  I really hope we see this soon.

Facebook Quietly Launching Friendfeed-like Live Commenting

Tonight, in a moment of rare form, as I was singing Hakuna Matata on Facebook with Krystyl Baldwin and others (an occasion one must do often) I noticed a new feature pop up before my eyes.  Instantly, with no refresh of the page, my News Feed was literally singing with new comments.  It appears Facebook has taken its “Recent Items” feed to a new level, introducing a very FriendFeed-like live commenting system, also similar to Facebook’s new Groups and Messages system.

I’ve mentioned frequently here that Facebook, with its FriendFeed co-founder CTO Bret Taylor, and developers such as Benjamin Golub and others from the FriendFeed team, is quickly becoming more and more “FriendFeed-like”, gradually implementing all the features that were cool about the site FriendFeed.com.  One of those features was live, real-time commenting, where the comments appeared before your eyes without having to refresh the Page.  The live commenting, I’ve found, increases the engagement within the conversation because one isn’t stuck waiting for an email or Facebook notification notifying them to refresh the Page and find the conversation again to continue commenting.  The conversation just naturally flows, making conversation much easier.

Facebook seems to have launched this tonight, as I don’t remember seeing it before on the main News Feed.  This is a feature that has been already in wide use on Facebook Groups and the new, Facebook Messaging system that launched recently.  It seems natural that Facebook would extend this into other areas of the site.

It’s unclear whether this launch is just limited to a select group of users or whether this is widespread, but whatever it is I think it’s pretty cool.  I’m pretty excited to not ever have to refresh my News Feed on Facebook again.  Now, if we could just get FriendFeed’s search built into Facebook I’d be in Nirvana.  No worries!

FamilySearch.org To Discuss Living/Dead Relationship Technology With New RootsTech Conference

One of my favorite things to do is research my family history.  Even more interesting to me is the technology that can make finding and exploring your heritage even easier.  As a former employee of OneGreatFamily.com, a former Consultant for Ancestry.com and FamilyLink.com, and a current employee of the LDS Church (who owns FamilySearch.org), I think my passion has shown over the years.  In fact, I even have mockups from before Facebook was popular on a way to take my previous Open Source project, Jeans (the original platform for this blog, in fact – click to see my very first post!), to become a Family-oriented Social Network.  The fact is I love technology that brings us closer together, both in real life, and the life beyond.  That’s why I’m really excited for the conference FamilySearch.org is putting on for Technology professionals of all types called RootsTech.  This conference aims to discuss ways we can connect, in a better way, the living with the dead.

When you think about it, the process of connecting, throughout history, all the different types of relationships is fascinating.  Technologists, developers, and the like are only currently discovering the complexities of mapping out relationships as we work to sort out the living and their interactions on Social Networks.

Now imagine the complexity of going beyond this life to map those living with those who have passed on.  There are different historical relationship types to consider.  There is historical context to consider.  There are discovery aspects to consider.  FamilySearch.org claims to have billions of user profile records in its database (that’s at least twice the size of Facebook’s active user base!).

With the advent of mobile, social networks, new database technology, new hardware technology, we are now able to find ancestors and learn more about our origins in new and unique ways.  More information is available at our fingertips than was ever possible before.  We are able to collaborate in ways we were never able to before.  We’re learning things about those who have previously paved the way before us in ways we have never done before.  RootsTech, FamilySearch.org’s new Family History Technology conference, aims to get all the best minds in this industry together to discuss these challenges, and share new ways of approaching relationships and data archiving and retrieval in this life and beyond.

The conference won’t be interesting to just Genealogy professionals though.  The conference will be Keynoted by Shane Robinson, CTO of Hewlett Packard, as well as Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive.  It should be interesting to all technology professionals with an interest in organizing relationships.  We will have Unconference sessions with moderators such as Phil Windley, founder and organizer of the Internet Identity Workshop and others very involved in Semantic web technologies.  I will also be participating in Phil’s panel.

If you’re interested in any sort of relationship-oriented technologies, there will be a lot to be learned at this conference, and you’ll learn many new and creative ways to organize data and relationships.  I hope to see some of my Facebook, Google, and Twitter employee friends there.  So come on out, book a ticket, and come for what is sure to be a really interesting, and fascinating event centered around relationship technologies among both the living, and the dead.

You can register and get more information here.  The cost for registration is just $99 for a regular registration.  It’s $35 for students.  I can generally get a round trip plane ticket to/from California for around $200-$250 so it should be a fairly inexpensive trip!  Oh, and come say hi if you’re in town visiting.

This post is my own opinion and by no means an official announcement or declaration by my employer.  Family History is a personal passion!  That’s why I’m sharing this with you today.

Emailvision Acquires Social Media Marketing Company ObjectiveMarketer

I’m always giddy to report on people I know whose companies have been acquired.  Amita Paul’s ObjectiveMarketer announced today it has been acquired by Emailvision, a leading Software as a Service Email marketing company providing solutions to enable marketers to communicate more effectively.  No details were disclosed as to the amount of the transaction.

ObjectiveMarketer is just one of dozens of companies in Guy Kawasaki’s very successful Advisorship portfolio (“Guy’s Golden Touch”), currently and previously containing several Twitter and Facebook marketing companies.  One of the most recent successes in that portfolio you may be familiar with was CoTweet, which was acquired by the Marketing firm ExactTarget.  I’ve had the chance to meet Amita Paul, ObjectiveMarketer’s founder at BlogWorld a couple years ago, and I must say the acquisition is well deserved.  The acquisition is also near and dear to my heart, as my company, SocialToo, is also in Guy Kawasaki’s Advisorship portfolio in similar fields – it’s exciting when someone else in your field gets acquired!

The acquisition comes on the heels of many other similar acquisitions by more typical marketing companies hiring social media businesses to get a leg up on Social Media and stay competitive in their industry.  The first, more famous acquisition was the CoTweet acquisition by ExactTarget, which I mentioned earlier.  You may also be familiar with the acquisition of Nutshell Mail, the Social Media notification and summary email service, by Constant Contact.

This acquisition is exciting, as all of these acquisitions cross boundaries somewhat with some of the services my company, SocialToo provides.  To me it just gives even more credibility that there is value in Social Media Marketing tools and customers are willing to pay big money to manage their presence on Social Networks.  I’m excited for what the future holds.

Congratulations to who I’m happy to call my peer in the Guy Kawasaki “Golden Touch”, Amita Paul.  This is an exciting day for her and an exciting day for Social Media Marketing tools as a whole.

Looking for a Facebook Internationalization WordPress Plugin

The Coat of Arms of Indonesia is called Garuda...
Image via Wikipedia

As I’m writing my book, I’ve come to realize that a good portion of you that visit here speak another language.  In fact, Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian), Facebook’s 2nd largest market (Indonesia, with over 200 million population), just so happens to have a high ranking in the readers of this blog as well, at least amongst those of you who are Facebook users.

There’s a little known fact about me that you may not know – I lived 3 years as a child in Indonesia, and, while I have forgotten much of my Bahasa Indonesia (as a kid, I could speak somewhat fluently), I do pick up some here and there and I thoroughly understand Indonesia’s culture and would love to have more of you Indonesian readers and visitors have a more comfortable experience on StayNAlive.com.  I’ve wondered if it might be worth sending each blog post through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, pick a few of the top languages visiting here (including Bahasa Indonesia), and see if I might be able to have multiple versions, in multiple languages integrated into this blog’s design.  Then I had a better thought – Facebook has its own crowd-source Translation product, Facebook Internationalization.  What if I just used that, and allowed you, my readers to translate this blog for your peers and the translation could happen in any language, natively.  There’s one problem though – there’s not currently any WordPress plugins that do this yet.

So I’m giving the idea away for free.  Facebook has a whole slew of documentation on how to integrate Facebook Translations into a website.  I’ll also be including a chapter about how to do this in my book, which I have to focus on at the moment.  Because of this, I don’t have the time to write one myself, but I’d love it if anyone felt compelled to build a Facebook Internationalization plugin for WordPress that others could use.  If you write one, let me know, let me provide feedback, and I’ll integrate it into the design of this blog and give you as much attention as you need to promote the plugin.  If you know of such a plugin, let me know!

Auto-load on scroll plugin?

I have one other request.  I think it’s a waste of time to have to click to the bottom of a blog and click again to go through past posts from that blog.  I want my blog to work like Twitter.com, where if I scroll down, it keeps scrolling, auto-loading additional content the further I scroll.  Is there such a plugin?  If not, why not?  That’s another plugin I’d promote heavily were it to become available.

If no one jumps to the cause, I may just build these myself when I get some time, but I thought I’d throw it out there in case someone wants a fun project to work on.  I think they’re both pretty forward-looking plugins that would see a lot of use.

to End Poverty

If you’re wanting to do something good on January 21st and 22nd, save the date, book a flight and a hotel, and come to Utah for what is certain to be an unprecedented event.  The lack of precedence is perhaps not just because of its potential to make a big dent in poverty and homelessness, but perhaps also that it’s being organized by a High School Senior.

The Conference, called “Hacking Poverty”, or , as Zach Stay, it’s founder calls it, is a conference whose sole intent is to gather together developers to group together, come up with ideas, and build software to fight poverty.  Zach, who is also my cousin, hopes to organize groups around various software projects, create those software projects, and then release the code and technology as open source software that other Humanitarian organizations can then use freely.  The format of the conference is a lot like Phil Windley’s (also from Utah) Internet Identity Workshop, where ideas will be presented, and people can choose which cause they want to participate in and discuss as a group.

Thus far, several projects have been proposed:

  • “Building a Fighting Poverty Apps Store”
  • “Twitter GPS Locator App”
  • “First Aid App”
  • “Tsunami Twitter/SMS Broadcaster”
  • “Medical Twitter Broadcaster”
  • Medical “ChaCha”

You can read more about those over on the Hacking Poverty website.  You can also submit your own via their form.

In addition to the above, I plan to announce a new way I think can completely end Street Begging and truly feed and put a shelter over the heads of those that really need it around the world.  I’ll be announcing that shortly on this blog, and I hope to recruit volunteers to help with it at the Conference.  If you come for anything, be sure to come for that, as I’m sure it’s likely to turn heads.

Zach Stay has great blood, and it’s not from me.  His Dad, Tim Stay (my Uncle), is also one of the founders of Unitus, the micro-funding group which has made significant strides in fighting poverty in Africa and other areas of the world.  Zach’s got some of the best council around and its bound to show in this conference, and I can guarantee the conference will have an effect as a result.

If you get a chance, and you have any talent at all, come and offer to help.  It doesn’t have to be coding either.  If you can blog about the event, share it with your friends, Tweet about it, or share it on Facebook, that’s one step towards ending poverty.  If you have video talents and can help broadcast the event for people that aren’t attending, let Zach know.  If you have graphic design skills, or project management skills, or marketing skills, there is a place for you in these projects I feel.  While this is a conference for developers, I think everyone can have a role.  If you can offer something, please contact Zach and the Hacking Poverty team via info@hackingpoverty.org.  Or, at a minimum, donate to the event via this Paypal link.

If you can come out to Utah, or you’re already in Utah, come on out to this event on January 21 and 22.  The skiing’s great this time of year.  This is going to be a groundbreaking conference, which could be the start towards the end of poverty in the world.  Will you please join us?

Just go here to register. The conference is free!  If you need help finding a good hotel let me know in the comments and I can make several good recommendations.  If you need me to help you convince your employer to give the day off on Friday to attend, I’ll make a personal call for you – just let me know.

Thanks to Chris Pirillo and Kelly Clay for kicking this off tonight.  Check out Kelly’s article over on Lockergnome for more details about the conference.

Family Village – A Facebook Game I Can Get Addicted To

I’ve always avoided Facebook games such as Farmville, now Cityville, and other “Virtual Worlds” that seem to suck up your time while annoying your friends via your news feed.  The fact is that’s all they do – they fake a sense of accomplishment, suck up all your time, and annoy your friends, depleting your wallet as you go.  I just don’t see the productive use of them.  Networking? Hardly.

I just came across a new game, still in Alpha, that may change my mind on the subject.  The game is called “Family Village“, and it aims to turn a thing that can often sound boring to the typical Farmville player, genealogy, all of the sudden sound fun and exciting.  It’s something your Mom, and your kids, can be proud of.  The game is quite addicting!

Family Village rests on the goals and integrates with Utah-based FamilyLink, previously number one application in the Facebook Application directory, which aims to introduce you to your ancestors by helping you get to know and interact with the living individuals around you.  Family Village turns this premise into a game, pitting you against your friends and family on Facebook, where accomplishing simple genealogy tasks such as filling out your family tree earns you points and money in the game.  You’re given a character, which represents you, and you can slowly build your family as you’re able to handle by accomplishing tasks such as “street sweeping”, “stacking books”, and even “catching dreams”.  Each task earns you money and you can build houses and “build your increase” by accomplishing them.

One of the first tasks the game had me do was add myself and my wife.  As I added my wife, a new character was created for her, and I could assign a job and house for her as well.  Immediately, I was presented with a Newspaper front page of the day my wife was born, taken from FamilyLink’s archive of documents. (Paul Allen, founder of FamilyLink, and also one of the founders (I think) of Family Village, was also one of the founders of Ancestry.com)

At the center of your Village is a “Heritage Tree”, which grows as you add more people to your family tree.  Being new to the game, I’m still unclear if there are ways of importing other trees from services such as FamilySearch.org or Ancestry.com, but at a minimum, it forces you to go into your tree and collect information about each of your ancestors and family members, learning about each along the way.  I added my Mom and Dad, and it gave me the opportunity, using money I earned in the game, to “immigrate” them into the game.  Again, it found a Newspaper from the day my dad was born – pretty cool!

As more data is provided and more individuals are “immigrated”, you can visit your library and access documents FamilyLink has discovered for you.  You can create new homes for new families and individuals.  I assigned my dad a cardboard box and moved him as far away from my own home as possible, but still far enough to visit every so often with the kids. (Love you dad!)  He started out with a “Street Sweeper” job.

For those struggling to learn their heritage, Family Village may just make this process possible for the first time through a fun, enjoyable atmosphere.  Family Village reunites you with your lost and deceased relatives in ways you never discovered, and it happens as you’re having fun!  I can see countless hours spent in this game in my family.  I normally don’t subscribe to virtual world type games, but Family Village is one I can feel proud I’m addicted to.  I welcome any Family Village posts in my News Feed.

The game is currently in Alpha, and they make it clear when you start that there will be bugs, which there are.  Be patient and you’ll get through though.  This one’s worth any growing pains you have to go through with it.

If you’d like to try it out, give it a try at http://apps.facebook.com/myfamilyvillage?partnerid=staynalive.  This is one company, and one game I’m proud to share and promote.

Disclaimer: I was not approached to promote this, but Family Village is a Utah startup I’m impressed with and thought my readers should try.  FamilyLink is a former client of mine.

Miss Those Old Style Retweets on Twitter.com? Try This Kynetx Extension

One of my biggest annoyances with the new Twitter API has been the migration to the new “retweet” structure where clicking the retweet button pulls the person’s Tweet into your own stream, with the person’s name and profile picture attached to it.  The problem with this method is that it is not near as visible, especially on many clients that do not fully support this.  Using the old style, “RT @soandso such and such” is a much more effective medium in most cases, and, in my experience, results in many more people sharing and seeing your message.  Evidently I’m not alone, as Mike Grace, a developer for Kynetx, wrote his own extension for Firefox and Chrome, which adds a old-style retweet link next to the new-style retweet link, giving you more options in retweeting your friends’ Tweets.

The extension, built on the Kynetx platform, is just one of many useful extensions (including my “like” button extension) intended to bring more functionality, using a single extensions (and event-driven) platform to the sites you browse on the web.  According to Grace, “I got really sick of doing the copy and paste dance so I built a Kynetx app that adds the “RT” functionality that I want.”

So, if you’re looking for old-style retweets on top of Twitter.com, head on over to Mike Grace’s blog and download the extension.  I think it’s a pretty nifty extension!

Disclaimer: I have no ownership or interest in Kynetx other than I think they’re a really cool, Utah-based, technology startup that gets us much closer to the web with no log in button.  Oh, and they have great free lunches they offer to the public on Fridays – you should come!

How is Quora Able to Auto-Like Posts on Facebook?

I’ve been contemplating a way to get Facebook like buttons to work with a brand’s own look and feel, so when you like it on a 3rd party site, it automatically likes the same Page (via Open Graph Protocol) on Facebook.  This would be a User Experience Designer’s dream come true, especially those that I work with in my day job trying to design stuff that works with Facebook.  Today I remembered that there is a site that is doing just that: Quora.  The problem is there is no API method that currently allows Facebook developers to send “likes” to URLs or Pages on Facebook.

Right now on Quora when you click “up” on any answer on Quora, if you’ve associated a Facebook account with your Quora account you have the option, in your settings, to also “like” the page for the answer on Facebook.  Doing so shows a post in the news feed that says something like “so and so likes such and such an answer on Quora”, linking back to the answer on Quora.  The likes, via Facebook’s Graph API also go up with that click.  This auto-posting is probably also helping to contribute to Quora’s massive growth in such a short period of time.

I thought I’d try to hack it to see if I could figure out what Quora is doing.  I’m pretty sure they’re getting special access by Facebook to do it.  Right now when I send a “POST” method call to https://graph.facebook.com/likes, with http://pathtoanyurl.com in a “url” parameter (and a working, offline_mode, access token), I get a message back from Facebook that says, “App must be on whitelist”.

I’m assuming Quora is on a special whitelist for Facebook to be able to auto-like posts via Facebook’s API, something most developers on Facebook Platform aren’t allowed to do.  This would make a lot of sense, considering Quora’s own founders were also some of the original founders of Facebook and most likely have very close ties with the service and its employees.

Now I just want to know, how can I get this whitelist access?

If you have a better answer, answer here, on Quora of course!

Counting "Real" Likes on any URL – Evaluating the Salt Lake City vs. Fresno Campaign

Like ButtonIn the last week I saw one of the most amazing campaigns of unity amongst 2 communities, Salt Lake City, Utah, where I live and where I asked for your help, and Fresno, California. Both cities were entered into Walmart’s “Fighting Hunger Together” campaign in a race to get the most “likes”. The prize? 1 million dollars donated to the Food Bank of the community with the most “likes”. $100,000 would be donated to each of the next 5 communities with the most “likes”.  Thanks to yours, and others’ help, both Salt Lake City and Fresno seemed to take off the most.  Both cities launched media blitzes, a telethon of sorts, that telethon lasting more than 3 days, begging viewers, listeners, and readers to like their communities in hopes to rally the individual community to earn their cool $1 million towards the hungry and homeless.  I don’t know of a TV or Radio station in Utah that wasn’t talking about this every 15 minutes or so.  Campaigns were even set up to help people set up their Facebook accounts, and then close them when the campaign was done!  It was a Christmas Miracle to see both communities fighting so hard to win, Fresno outranking Salt Lake City by around 200,000 votes at one point, but Salt Lake City sprinting to the finish, obliterating the competition.  In the end, Salt Lake City rallied, soliciting over 5 million votes, completely overshadowing Fresno at second place by over 1 million votes.  The third place city didn’t even eclipse 500,000 likes.

The real story though is how each city grew their “likes”.  Walmart was counting “likes” by the total on the like button embedded in the website.  You can see that still on my previous article soliciting your help (click the link), something any website can embed using Facebook Social Plugins (I also included the HTML so others could embed it on their sites).  The “like buttons” tally votes by the number of shares of the URL, followed by the total number of comments on each share.  It’s hardly a count of the total number of people that actually liked the post, and some would argue, not a fair tally.  Fresno was even calling foul, perhaps out of jealousy, that Salt Lake City was using tactics such as creating Fake profiles, sharing the page thousands of times, and encouraging others to click through and like each share on the Fake profile.  Of course, Fresno was doing the same.  It was rather ironic that in the end Salt Lake’s total “likes” exceeded the total population of Utah as a whole!  I’m sure it could be possible, especially considering bloggers like myself were sharing outside of Utah to solicite votes, but hardly believable.  Of course, Fresno was in the same boat.

There is a way however, for anybody to get the “real” tally of votes for a URL with Facebook Graph API.  It turns out with Graph API you can pass a URL to it to get the ID and additional information about that URL.  So, without further adieu, here are the actual “like” counts for both Salt Lake City and Fresno:

Salt Lake City (click the link to see the Graph API response): 136,820 total likes (unique people)

Fresno (click the link to see the Graph API response): 89,578 total likes (unique people)

So, it would appear that, no matter how you “like” it, Salt Lake City still won the competition, fair and square.  In one of the most amazing feats of unity around such an amazing cause, I’m proud of my city because of this.  Salt Lake City gets social media.  We get how to rally, and we get how to work with each other to help out the homeless.  As a result, Utah’s Food Bank believes it can turn that 1 million dollars into 7 million dollars with the programs it has in place.  The 4th place city, Ogden, Utah will also get $100,000 – Utah Food Bank has pledged that the $100,000 from Ogden, along with the $1 million will get shared across the entire state of Utah, multiplied by 7 in helping the poor and needy.  Homeless from all over the nation actually flock to Utah because of our Homeless programs.  THANK YOU for your help.  I know many of you voted, and I’m sincerely appreciative for this.

If you ever need to tally the “real” likes for an Open Graph URL that uses the “like box” Social Plugin, use the technique I mentioned above – simply pass https://graph.facebook.com/http://pathtoyoursite.com to your browser and you’ll get the likes for your site.


If you want tips like just like this one, be sure to pre-order my next book, “Facebook Application Development for Dummies”.  Any “dummy” can understand cool stuff like this!