Current Projects – Stay N Alive

New Series: Social Coding

I’ve been contemplating for awhile now a good way to share what I know about Social Software Development and helping business owners, marketers, and developers learn how to set up their own social apps. Especially for developers, I know there are many out there looking for howtos and ways to learn more about starting their own App, promoting it, and getting it off the ground. As the author of FBML Essentials, I feel I am well suited for the task so in the next few days I’m going to start doing howtos and overviews on how you can get your own Apps together. If you’re “the business type”, I may get a little technical on you, but I do recommend you keep watching and forward these onto your IT personell – your CIO, CTO, and the like should read these so they can learn what’s possible to integrate into your existing environments. I’ll also try to throw in a little goodie here and there for “the business type”.

So, I’ve created a new category to the right, “Social Coding” – if you want to track just that, click on the category name and add it to your RSS. I’ve also started a new FriendFeed Room where those involved or that want to get involved in Social Coding can discuss, learn, and talk with each other. You can subscribe to that here.

Let’s start by going over the types of sites I could cover. Here are just a few – let me know if you have a particular interest in learning about how to code for any one in particular:

  • Facebook
  • OpenSocial
  • Google Friend Connect
  • Twitter
  • FriendFeed
  • Pligg
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • WordPress
  • MoveableType
  • Google App Engine
  • Bungee Connect

Stay tuned! I’ll keep posting news and other rants as we go forward – I’ll just be adding in some good howtos at the same time. Oh, and if you’re a developer and would like to do a howto in your preferred language for us, contact me – I’d love to let you do a guest post.

Improving the Twitter Web With SocialToo

socialtoo.pngI have a sincere favor to ask of you. Would you, if you have not already, go to and sign up and help me out in my cause? Share it with others, blog about it, Twitter it – this was written for you. Today, I launched something special on, something that I hope will make a better environment on Twitter. It only works if lots of people use it though.

Today I launched an intelligent blacklisting feature on After registering and logging into your SocialToo! Dashboard, you’ll see a text box where you can enter twitter screen names you would like to blacklist. For each “spammer” you see, or individual you simply do not want to follow, enter their Twitter screen-name, and when a certain percentage of users on all blacklist that same user (we have a unique algorithm that determines that, based on crowd-sourcing the definition of “Spam” on Twitter), we add that name to a global blacklist on When anyone chooses to auto-follow those that follow them on Twitter using the SocialToo! auto-follow feature, now those users will never be followed. You can now ignore them forever, hindering their reasons for being on Twitter! is a project I term, “the Companion to the Social Web”. After registering you have options such as the ability to automatically follow those that follow you on Twitter, add an automated message that gets sent to users (via dm) after they follow you for the first time, and on Facebook, redirect to your Facebook profile via More features are being worked on for multiple social networks, and the idea is to find all the needs that just are not provided by the traditional Social Networks, and make them available to the public. If you have a need let me know. All scripts that run behind the scenes at I am releasing on a single-user level via Open Source (GPL v.2) so you can run it on your own server should you desire.

The final feature, released today, is this Global, Intelligent, blacklisting feature. This feature, to me makes much more sense than services like, since rather than depending on ratio only, we’re depending on actual user definition, by the masses to determine who is a “spammer” on Twitter. I’ll look to also integrate with’s API in the future, and maybe even contribute back to it as we grow, but this is the start of something big. This is truly a Groundswell opportunity (I’m reading Charlene Li’s book right now) that you can be a part of.

SocialOptimize Announces the "We’re Protestant" Facebook App

0248-0604-0914-1708_TN.jpgYesterday’s announcement of the Catholic vs. Protestant App on Facebook, if you didn’t try to install it, was intended to be just an April Fools joke. I’m proud to announce a new App however which isn’t a joke. I’d like to announce that we’re now launching a new compliment to SocialOptimize‘s “Holy Rolls” line of religious community applications. I’m titling the app, “We’re Protestant“, in harmony with the current Apps, “We’re Baptist“, and “We’re Catholic“. “We’re Catholic” is currently the largest group of organized Catholics on Facebook at near 45,000 users. It is my hope that “We’re Protestant” will even further exceed that with a much larger American following.

Are you Protestant? This App is intended to be your App, and should entitle you to identify yourself as a Protestant to all your friends on Facebook. We’ll continue to work to give you more ways to live your religion on Facebook and other social networks and share that with your friends. Currently, you can pick your favorite verses from the King James version of the bible, display those verses randomly on your profile, as well as list other friends who have added the application and are Protestant. Some future considerations will allow you to track churches you’ve attended and friends from those churches, as well as sending Prayers to others.

We will also be working on some complimentary applications that fit well with almost anyone who is religious. While the “Catholic vs. Protestant” App was intended to just be an April Fools joke, I think there is strong potential to enable peaceful discussion between religions, and on the other hand, allow you to test your knowledge within your own religion and compare it with others in yours and other religions to see which religions know most about their own faith. You should see that, and a few other similar apps in coming months.

The greatest feature of this launch is what we did behind the scenes. Now, the Holy Rolls suite of community applications on Facebook and other social networks is a complete, consolidated, code base. With just a simple change to the database we can now quickly, and easily launch more community apps. Expect to see We’re Jewish, We’re Islam, and maybe even We’re FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster) soon. Even bigger news is that we can now expand this to more than just religion – imagine a “We’re Snowboarders” app, a “We’re Quilters” app, and others. If you currently run a website outside Facebook and would like to bring your community inside of Facebook, or have an existing Facebook App you’d like to integrate into our platform please talk to me. We are truly at the cusp of a huge group of niche communities we can bring together and include common functionality – contact me if you’d like to join or compliment what we’re doing!

Are you Protestant? Add “We’re Protestant!” here:

I’m On Facebook–Now What??? Makes the New York Times

IOFBNW in NYTimesMy Google Alerts notified me yesterday that the book I wrote with Jason Alba, “I’m On Facebook–Now What???” was featured in the New York Times.  The New York Times was interviewing my co-author on new ways to find a job if your current methods aren’t working.  It was a brief mention, just stating Jason was the co-author, but a mention, nonetheless!  Now to just make that best-seller list!

Want to learn more about what you can do with Facebook?  Check it out on our Facebook Page and become a Fan!:

Announcing – OpenSocial News and Reviews

OpenSocialNow.comI’m proud to announce a new website I’ve been working on.  You may have heard me Twitter about it a few times.  The site is called OpensocialNow!, and will be your source for OpenSocial News, Reviews, and info.  We’ll cover the Orkut launch, the Myspace launch, Hi5, and LinkedIn, as well as general things you can do with OpenSocial.  This is the first blog of its kind, and as OpenSocial launches in the next week or two I’m sure you’ll see many more like it.  It’s my hope that you’ll subscribe to the site via rss and make it your Official source for all things related to the popular social networking platform, OpenSocial.  You can read more about it right on the website here:

Oh, and stay tuned to  I have one more big announcement about a change in the OpenSocial launch coming up tonight!

Jesse Stay is Now an OpenSocial Developer and Consultant! – My Orkut Hackathon Experience

OpenSocial Hackathon, San FranciscoThe past 2 days I had the opportunity to join the Google OpenSocial developer team, along with other Silicon Valley and nationwide developers to celebrate the soon-to-be launched Orkut release to the public of OpenSocial apps at the Googleplex in San Francisco. The event started with an overview of OpenSocial, and went over some of the resources available to OpenSocial developers as well as a quick, “Hello World” example of an OpenSocial app on Orkut.Following that, it was up to the developers to code away, chat and meet with each other, ask the Google OpenSocial development team questions, and move forward, very fast on their apps. The goal was that by the end of the day, your OpenSocial application would be in a state, with the encouragement and approval of the OpenSocial team to be submitted to the Orkut directory. Those submitted yesterday would be available upon launch of the OpenSocial directory. (yesterday was the deadline for those to be included at launch, but you will continue to be able to submit throughout the launch)

While there, I was able to meet Adam Glickman, notorious for following perhaps the most people on Twitter, at 7000 (Adam, I should note that I have you beat in number of updates!). I also met, and chatted for a bit with Bess Ho, founder of the Silicon Valley Facebook Developers Garage, the Silicon Valley Web Builders, and a very strong evangelist and organizer of Social Media events in the Silicon Valley area. She was there developing her own app. We talked about collaborating further on some events between Silicon Valley and Utah in the future (stay tuned!).

The big buzz around the event was how one could better migrate a Facebook app to OpenSocial. One person pointed me to OpenSocket, which is intended to be code you can install on your Facebook app, essentially making it a container for OpenSocial code. So, in the future, ideally you would write your code in OpenSocial, and when you’re ready to port to Facebook you would simply place it on top of the OpenSocket container. I think you’ll see more things like this as OpenSocial launches. I’ll talk more on my opinions of why Facebook will need to implement OpenSocial in some capacity in a later post.

What I was most impressed with, is that with all those developing applications for OpenSocial, the theme for the hackathon was simplicity. Every single app demo’d that was going to launch on launch day was extremely simple, with plans to build on it further down the road. There were former Facebook developers, Google Gadget developers looking to make their gadgets more viral, as well as people completely new to developing for the social scene which demo’d their apps for the rest of us. I saw a drag and drop “Top Friends”-type app which will be called, ironically, “Facebook”. OpenSocial is really cool in that, because of Caja, you have much more flexibility with your Javascript than Facebook. Facebook (the site, not the app) should really look to implement Caja into their apps to keep security, while allowing flexibility within the app. Another group of guys from Idaho and Utah were developing a “date ideas” app. Some other guys were developing a really cool slide show app with some neat viral twists. It was also fun to see the mashup of different other Google APIs into the OpenSocial APIs. Each presenter got to take home a very cool OpenSocial T-shirt.

The event ended with a really great presentation from the project lead of the OpenSocial team – you might remember him as the Indian guy from the Campfire video at the OpenSocial launch. He showed User Experience and UI from a Google experience, with some really great tips on how to make your apps better. He suggested using the Orkut locality settings to set everything to a different language, and then seeing if you can navigate your app in a language you can’t understand. He also suggested breaking up your app – if it is 2 different ideas in one robust app, he suggested breaking it up into 2 different apps. He had some very interesting tips that I’ll try to incorporate into my own apps.

As for what I did? I wrote an app that allows you to track a group of people geographically close to you, send updates back and forth to that group, organize and collaborate, and find more people that are geographically close to you. I call it the, “Know Your Neighbor” app. I demo’d it at the end of yesterday, and got my cool T-Shirt to take home. Everyone had great response, so I have hopes it could be a hit. Then I submitted the app to the Orkut directory (ironically, Google uses the same “forms” system I talked about earlier for the app submission process. They are just collecting the app submission data in a Google spreadsheet somewhere), of which it will appear on the day of launch.

Look for the “Know Your Neighborhood” app on Orkut when it launches! As the other platforms launch I will be rolling it out to those platforms as well. SocialOptimize, my Social Media Development and Consulting Agency does OpenSocial development too – look us up if you would like some help building an OpenSocial strategy at your company!

Amazon, the Social Network?

Did you know Amazon has a Social Network?  In fact, it’s pretty robust!  In Amazon, if you click “(your name)’s Amazon”, then “Your Profile”, you have the option to set up a profile, including a biography, information about yourself, and get this – a list of all your friends currently on It can show your recent purchases, your favorite items, your wish list, and more. It even gives you a blog in which you can send messages to those that are friends with you. You can also import your own blog’s rss into the blog feed. Amazon has even MySpace beat, with an activity feed of recent activity by your friends.

The real power comes for authors. As an author, I can have people add me as a friend, and I can keep an open dialog with my readers. I can introduce deals, notify when new editions of the book are released, and more. You can see my favorite books, movies, and music, my wishlist, and my biography. You can also see the other books I have written. Amazon also lets you verify through a publisher or agent that a book was written by you, so your books on Amazon can link back to your profile.

Amazon has quite a tool here that I wouldn’t put past them building on in the future. If you think the MySpace OpenSocial announcement was big, imagine if Amazon were to embrace an API such as OpenSocial. In the USA alone, Amazon has over 60 million members in its network. Each one of those members is tied to a bank account of some sort and has probably bought something at some point from the site. Add to that the existing APIs Amazon provides, allowing users to query the Amazon database, associate affiliate IDs and sell items based on commission, Amazon could have the first proven revenue model for a Social Network.

Amazon and Google aren’t the best of friends. Would Amazon embrace Google’s OpenSocial, or create their own as they have through Amazon AWS? Visit my Profile and add me as a friend on Amazon!:

Jesse Stay's Amazon Profile

The Book is Off to the Press, but Wait — There’s More!

I'm On Facebook -- Now What??? - Order Today!I’m extremely happy and relieved to say that “I’m on Facebook — Now What???” is off to the press, and the eBook is now available for purchase on the site.  It has been a long time coming, but we’re finished!  “I’m on Facebook — Now What???” is now officially one of the first books of its type available for sale, anywhere.  Jason and I are pretty proud of that, and hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed writing it.  If you’ve pre-ordered an eCopy, you have probably already received it, or will receive it in the next day.  Purchase your copy here!

We love reviews!  If you have a short review, we’ll post a link to for the book as soon as it is up, and you can post your reviews there.  The more reviews we have there I am told increases our visibility on Amazon, so feel free to write one up, but save it for when I post it here.  Also, you may start blogging about the book now!  Our publisher has a terrific affiliate program, so if you’d like to make a little money off of your review in your blog, you can do so here.  Also, don’t forget to add yourself as a fan to the Facebook Page, and subscribe to our blog at!  Thanks again to Jason for his hard work and example in writing the book – he has been an excellent co-author to work with.  Also, thanks to Lorenzen and Scoble for their great contributions to the Foreward and Afterward!

Wait, there’s more…

I’ve had so much fun writing this book, that I’ve decided to write another one.  Today, I just signed a contract with O’Reilly to write what will be probably the first published manual on Facebook FBML.  It will be a “small animals” book, which means it won’t quite be a full sized book, but it’s not quite a Pocket Reference either.  It will most likely be called, “FBML Essentials”.  So, if you’re a developer, anxious to develop Facebook applications, stay tuned!  I will probably be putting together a separate site for that book too, similar to what we have done for  Please, feel free to share below your frustrations with Facebook development – I’d love to hear the most common complaints and perhaps resolve those in the book!

O’Reilly is also helping me get to Graphing Social Patterns West (no one has invited me to speak though, sorry – I am open for speaking engagements while I’m out there though!) March 3-4.  If I get any other appointments I might leave earlier in the week, so feel free to book me for your user group meetings, radio, TV, podcasts, or whatever while I’m out in the L.A./San Diego area (that is my home away from home, as my grandparents live there)!

“I’m On Facebook — Now What???” Available for Pre-Order!!!

facebook442.jpgJason and I are excited to announce that HappyAbout has launched their Pre-order page for “I’m On Facebook — Now What???”. You can order it here:

The Paperback edition will sell for $19.95, but all those who order now get a 15% discount, making the book just $16.96. The eBook can be pre-ordered for $11.95. We are anxious to get this out to print quickly as one of the First books of its type on Facebook, so order quickly!

In addition to that, today we received our Afterword from Robert Scoble. Robert’s experiences with recently having his account closed (and re-opened) on Facebook are perfect timing for why this book was written. We are excited to have his contribution! Thank you Robert, for the hard work and time, even in the process of having your account closed by Facebook, CES, being so sick over the last few days, and switching jobs, that you have put into the Afterword.

Robert’s Afterword completes Lee Lorenzen’s Foreward for the book that we have already received. Lee, founder of Adonomics and Appaholic, and well known expert on the subject, is known for predicting that Facebook will be worth $100 billion, and thus far his prediction is very much on track! Thank you again Lee and Robert for such great additions to the book!

Again, order your books today!

UPDATE: Are you a blogger? HappyAbout, our publisher, has a great affiliate program! Sign up here for a commission when you blog about the book!

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??? 🙂