Bebo – Stay N Alive

Presentation Recap

3031057176_0a2290d8e8_o-1.pngI’ve had a presentation every week for the past 3 weeks. I shared with you my Facebook Development for Beginners Presentation, so you have the first week. Last week, I had the opportunity to speak in front of Ignite, Salt Lake City in front of about 100 or so people (so it seemed at least) about whatever I could teach about Facebook development in 5 minutes. It went amazingly well, and I’m surprised I was able to fit it all in within such a short time-frame. Among the other presenters we had talks about anything from photography along the Highway 89 corridor, to stopping an invasion of zombies (by Josh Coates, CEO of, to (my favorite, having lived in Indonesia as a child) Balinese Gamelan music and instruments. Thanks to Jesse Harding, Andrew Shafer of Reductive Labs, Bryce Roberts (who I heard helped get the idea going) of O’Reilly Tech Ventures, Pete Ashdown of Xmission (who treated us to a wonderful speaker dinner the night before), and all the rest (including The Leonardo for hosting it – I strongly recommend them for a conference after this event!) who helped organize this event. Oh, and I got third place in the paper airplane contest! (in the picture above)

I’m including the slides from my presentation below in case you want to see what was presented. It’s much better in person, and if you or your business would like me to present for you I’d love to talk with you about it!

In addition to Ignite Salt Lake City, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel with Steve Spencer of Twelve Horses and Melinda O’Brien of Acumen Biologics at the first annual Global Entrepreneurship Week Utah Conference. I was amazed at the turn-out and the only regret I have is that we didn’t have more time! In the panel we got to cover new marketing technologies and strategies. As a software developer I found it ironic that I was talking on a marketing panel, but that really shows you where marketing is evolving lately – an understanding of the technologies you need to connect people is crucial! We talked Twitter, blogging, went over creating a blog and Facebook Page, and covered some issues like #motrinmoms and the great campaign Papa Johns is doing right now on Facebook. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to come back next year! One thing I did notice about the conference is it was almost 90% men there – I would have loved to see more women! Hopefully next year the women bloggers of Utah can get the word out and we can get a more balanced group of entrepreneurs there.

My next presentation will be in 2 weeks, December 5 at the UTC PR Event, where I’ll be joining a group of traditional reporters, representing bloggers and speaking about techniques for approaching bloggers and getting your product or service in front of them. It should be a very interesting discussion, as I’m sure the techniques used to approach traditional reporters are far different from that of bloggers.

In addition, I have been recently selected to be a judge for the Bebo “Engage to Succeed Today” developers competition and will be selecting the best from among 250 or so apps (Bebo is my only regret for not including much of in FBML Essentials – the next edition will definitely include more of Bebo’s role in FBML). I’m in great company with Frank Gruber of Somewhat Frank and Dave McClure, Mr. Master of 500 Hats himself also judging the competition. The winner gets a free Lightscribe pen, along with accolades, and probably quite a bit of media attention. You can enter the competition here if you haven’t already. Contest entries will be judged in January.

Here are my Ignite SLC Slides:

Facebook Development in 5 Minutes[swfobj style=”margin:0px” width=”425″ height=”355″ src=”” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”355″]

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: facebook platform)

Photo courtesy Michael Calanan, Calanan Photography, LLC

Live Blogging the Web 2.0 Expo: Comparing Social Platforms #web20exp

Picture 8.pngUnfortunately I only have a Flip which gives me just 30 minutes of storage so you’ll be able to see the first 30 minutes below. I’m currently watching “Comparing Social Platforms”, with Dave Morin, Senior Platform Manager for Facebook, Allen Hurff, SVP Engineering for Myspace, Jessica Alter, Dir. of Platform and Business Development for Bebo, Patrick Chanezon, Google OpenSocial Evangelist, and David Recordon, Open Platform Lead for Six Apart. It’s fascinating to see the leaders of all 4 areas, including a developer standpoint from Six Apart all talking about ways to improve the Social Graph.

I’ll continue from where the video left off:

Allen Hurff said a great point when it comes to focus on Platform Development: “I love developers, but I love users ten times more”. That’s a great point and something we need to remember, and not be too demanding on as developers. In the end it’s all about the users of our applications.

Dave Morin talked about the Causes application. If the user can’t get the message to the friends that they care about such a cause, that’s bad and needs to be taken care of. Facebook is trying to focus on this, while finding balance with Applications that perhaps aren’t as impacting to ensure they aren’t being spammy and user experience is protected.

Patrick Chanezon says Google prefers the term “organic growth” to “viral growth”. Dave Morin brought up that ultimately, creating the best product is the end goal. Those applications that just focus on Viral growth grow fast, but ultimately die out. In the end you want the best experience for the user.

Dave Morin: “A lot of the times we’ll see viral but no ‘social'”. Being able to see what your friends are doing with your application, how they interact together makes it social and not just viral.

Dave Morin: Social Commerce is the future of how people do business on the web. Working on a commerce engine for Facebook. He likes the applications that are doing virtual currencies (I agree).

David Recordon: Building applications has to be easy. Extensibility is important. It has to be easier than it is today – if more successful than today next year, technology still isn’t easy enough.


  • Matt from SocialThing: will there ever be a premium model with guaranteed uptime, extended support, etc.?: Myspace says they haven’t thought of it. Facebook says they are committed to their platform – says it’s a good point and also haven’t thought of it.
  • How liberal are platforms going to be in sharing data?: Six Apart is one of the creators of the ATOM standard – bloggers should own their content. Facebook is committed to enabling people to take data where they want to. What exactly does “data portability” mean? Dave Morin posed that question to OpenSocial… “data portability” might not be the right word for it – “privacy portability” might be a better term for it. “It’s all about the user – it’s not about technology.”
  • What are the thoughts on creating an even playing field for viral channels?: Myspace will have a hard time

In conclusion it looks like the theme for this was putting focus on the users in the end vision, not the application. I’ll upload the video in a minute if it isn’t showing yet.

Bebo Announces Auto-play for All for Flash on User Profiles

Bebo LogoA really cool feature of the Bebo API is that, unlike the Facebook API, they are committed to allow autoplay on Flash widgets placed on Profile pages.  Facebook has turned off this feature, requiring users to click on the widget before it is allowed to play.  Today, Bebo became even more appealing by announcing they are going to allow the user to have preference over what autoplays and what does not.

On Bebo, Developers have the choice to have the sound on their Flash widgets play when the page is loaded, have the sound off when the page is loaded, or disable the sound entirely.  Users have the ability to disable sound entirely when they load pages:

“bebo users can opt to not autoplay flash content on profiles they view – if such a viewer is viewing a page then all sn:swf tags that requested sound=”on” will be set to “off”

Flash Widgets still autoplay, with or without sound.  The user then has the opportunity to turn on the sound with a little speaker icon in the upper-right corner of the widget.

I think this is a great way to prevent spam of music or other sounds playing as you load others’ profiles, similar to how MySpace does it.  At the same time, it stays flexible for developers in that they can have a completely running flash application (instead of an image, like Facebook), right as the page loads.  Apps like the Skype app for Facebook and my GrandCentral app actually have purpose with this method.

Why Facebook Did *Not* Release Their Platform Last Night

It’s all over the web right now that Facebook supposedly “released their platform last night”. I want to clarify the situation – Facebook did not release their platform last night! What Facebook did release, as the title of their announcement states, is a Javascript Client API library for Facebook.

First, let’s discuss what a platform is. A platform is simply this – an interface to a major website or operating system, of which Software Developers can write their own software for. Back in May, Facebook opened their platform for developers. They have also announced plans to license their platform to third party websites at one point in the future. However, after last nights release of a javascript library, I still do not have the capability to let other Facebook developers write applications, using the same architecture (think Bebo) as Facebook on my own website.

What Facebook released last night is simply a client-based API (that loads into the user’s memory) which has access to access Facebook Data for an application that already exists on Facebook’s systems. I am still tied to Facebook with this, it requires an application API key like all other APIs, and nothing has changed. In fact, the Javascript library is even more limited than the other, server-side APIs, in that I cannot upload Photos with the Javascript library like I can, say, in PHP or Perl.

What you can do is have access to an existing application on Facebook’s servers, and tie your external website to that application. This has always been the case with the Facebook API, and will continue to be in the future. iLike uses this with their iTunes application. We’re Related uses this in their registration process on the site. It’s just you can now do it in Javascript.

I was going to blog on this last night when the announcement came out, but the announcement last night does mean something significant. It means Facebook is starting to compete with OpenSocial. OpenSocial, a javascript-based library currently, gives you access to a library of friends on a single social network, only requiring static html to access that API, just like Facebook’s new API library does. What OpenSocial has that Facebook doesn’t however, is what they term the “Apache Shindig Project”. Shindig is a truly open platform, which does allow you to allow your own users to create their own apps on your site only, and even share them with other Shindig-supported websites.

I repeat – Facebook is not there yet! The announcement last night means Facebook is closer to competing with OpenSocial, but they are still just as closed as they have always been.

WordPress “Socialize Me!” Plugin Connects Your Blog

I’ve recently been looking for better ways to connect my blog into the social sphere.  I feel the easier my readers can connect with me, talk with me, ask questions, etc., the more personal my blog becomes.  You’ll notice I’ve added some pretty little icons to the right that show the networks I belong to and, if you’re on them, you can meet me there.  I will be adding more as I create new icons.

Today I came across a nifty new WordPress plugin from the guys at blah, blah! technology called Socialize Me!.  Socialize Me! collects your user names and profile urls from about 20 to 30 different social networks, and then detects if the users visiting your WordPress blog belong to those social networks.  If so, with some code you insert into your WordPress template, a message appears to those users notifying them that you also belong to their social network, inviting them to come visit you.

I have thus far been unsuccessful in testing this – I can’t tell if it’s because I already belong to the social networks, or if I’ve entered in the wrong information.  If you visit the Stay N’ Alive blog and see a message inviting you to visit me on any of my social networks, please let me know in the comments below.  You can try the plugin yourself at:

Jesse Stay is Now a Bebo Developer and Consultant!

That’s right – you may now add Bebo to my list of expertise. You may notice there’s a new category to the right – “Bebo”. The popular website, that I guess one could compare much closer to MySpace than Facebook announced late yesterday night that they were opening up their platform to developers. Before this, the platform was open to a small number of developers developing in a private beta of their application space.

Bebo Developer

I have started delving into their API, and I have to admit – I’m impressed! Their system is much more responsive than Facebooks (Facebook was recently rated as one of the slowest Social Networking sites), and in setting up a basic app, I have to admit it is a little more user-friendly than on Facebook. While it is much more user-friendly, Bebo has striven to maintain compatibility with Facebook. Almost every aspect of their API, from the API itself, to its FBML derivative called SNML is near duplicate. Bebo denies being the first to use the 3rd party partner-licensed platform Facebook is soon to release, but I have to admit, Bebo has done an excellent job at replicating what Facebook has done. If only Google could do the same with Open Social. Could this bring the developer community over to Bebo from Facebook?

Stay tuned – on we’ll be posting some white papers on statistics surrounding Bebo, demographics, traffic, users, etc. as we find them. My partner, Allan Young is hard at work putting those numbers together. In addition to that, I’m working on migrating the WWW::Faceboook::API Perl libraries over to Bebo.

On a side note – one ironic thing I found about Bebo is that somehow, my 84 year old Grandmother is on Bebo. She has been sick lately, so I can’t imagine how old that account is. How many people can say their Grandmother is their friend on a social network??? 🙂