facebook developers – Stay N Alive

One Thing is Clear About F8 – the Focus of a Facebook Conference is on Relationships

I just finished my 3rd consecutive Facebook F8 developers conference. While I missed the first one (I followed it remotely though), the Facebook conferences I have attended thus far just get better year to year. This year was no exception. I noticed something this year though, reflecting on years past and other, non-Facebook conferences I’ve attended in the past. There’s one thing Facebook (and a lot of that credit, according to many Facebook employees I talk to, is due to Mark Zuckerberg himself) really, really understands is relationships. That understanding bleeds into everything they do, and that includes their conferences.

Looking at other, non-Facebook conferences I’ve attended, they try to get attendees excited by giving them freebies – a free laptop, a free tablet, or even a free phone or similar device. Attendees flock there out of hopes they’ll get to learn the latest things about the products they’re passionate about, but many also have in the back of their minds that, on their company’s money, they’re going to get something free out of the experience.

While the people attending may be focusing on meeting new people and getting to know their industry, the conferences themselves weren’t really designed around building relationships or networking. There are often closed room session, with single speakers in a very intimate setting designed around learning. The focus of most conferences is just that – learning. At Facebook’s F8 it’s different though – the entire experience is designed around networking. They’re designed around relationships.

From the sessions, all in open rooms that you can walk through from room to room, to the main floor, which stands centered amongst all the sessions so people can easily pass by other developers and Facebook engineers, everything is designed so you have to pass by other people in order to participate. Booths are set up around the conference where you can swipe a card that is tied to your Facebook account, and on Facebook it checks you in, or uploads a photo of you, and other things, showing you the other of your Facebook friends that are also there with you. Even the DJ booth is programmed so that when you swipe that card the songs are played by your Facebook likes and friends’ Facebook likes, making even the music experience a more social experience.

It’s not uncommon to see even Mark Zuckerberg roaming the halls, talking to anyone he has time for, and most of the executive team also make themselves available. In past years Mark has even brought his family to the events with him – yes, it’s a family event too!

My entire experience ended with a party, usually with a well known artist of some sort, but right in the main hall where everyone can participate (last night was an exception for me, as I was invited to another party, but Facebook’s still went on without me!). Delicious food is served by the wonderful chefs at Facebook, and participants are encouraged to celebrate with each other, and the entire Facebook staff and their families all come to join in on the fun with the participants. It is the epitome of a social event!

Having worked with the Facebook team over the years and having the privilege of intimate knowledge of how they work, there is one thing you quickly realize – Facebook gets relationships in a way no one else can understand. It’s a different culture and way of thinking than I’ve ever experienced. The best way to learn of this is by attending their annual F8 conference, where the same culture extends to the developers participating. If you haven’t been able to attend previously, maybe you can attend in the future. If not, at least be sure to check out the recordings of all the keynotes and sessions from yesterday’s conference and at least you can catch a glimpse. It truly is a unique experience I haven’t experienced anywhere else!

Disclosure: Facebook comp’d me a press pass for this since I’m an author of Facebook developer books and blog about Facebook. I’d say the same thing if I paid for the conference though. It would be worth every penny.

Facebook Asks for Developer Input on How to Improve Platform

I’m going to be interviewed by the Facebook development team on Monday. I want to give them the best answers that reflect the Facebook developer community. I’ve heard plenty of input for my “FBML Essentials” book soon to be published by O’Reilly, but now is your time to speak and have your answers heard by Facebook.

If you have suggestions for things you would like to see improved on the Facebook development platform, or just plain things that are nagging you, leave them in the comments and I’ll ask all those I have time for in my chat with them on Monday. In addition, what would you like to see in FBML Essentials? If you were to read a book on FBML, what is it you think is missing on Facebook currently? I’ll also see these get reflected back to the Facebook Development team. Add your suggestions to the comments and maybe we can start a discussion…

Please feel free to forward this on so we can get some quality feedback!

Utah Social Media Developers Garage Has a Mailing LIst

UTSMDG-general.pngI mentioned this at the Hackathon in March, but have not had the time to blog about it yet. Thus far all announcements for the Utah Social Media Developers Garage Meetings and Utah Facebook Developers Garage Meetings have been announced either through this blog, or our Facebook Group. I’ve now created a Google Group for us at http://groups.google.com/group/utsmdev. Please sign up there and I’ll issue all announcements via that list. Google Groups provides a more neutral ground in the sense that users don’t have to have an account to use it (to an extent), as compared to the Facebook groups. We’ll keep the Facebook groups around, and depending on membership I’ll still send announcements there as well, but I encourage all to sign up on the Google Group if possible. In addition, having a mailing list will allow us to have more of a discussion. This way if you are working on a project in Facebook, or OpenSocial, or even WordPress or Twitter or other APIs and you run into issues, you can ask the group and we can work together to solve the problem. I figure this way we’ll be able to all build a strong Social Media Development community here in Utah that others can rely on. Google groups will also give us a page we can tell others about the group, when the next meeting is, etc. If you have some graphics and HTML skills to help with that I am open to volunteers!

Also, I have created a Google Code repository at http://code.google.com/p/utsmdev/. For anyone okay with producing their code under the GPL, this will give you a place to store your code, and collaborate with others on the code, track issues, etc. If you want commit permissions to that repository please contact me and I’ll add you. As Google App Engine gets more integration into these things we’ll also set up a hosting option through Google App Engine to actually host your apps. Hopefully all these options will make it all much easier for everyone to get out and collaborate in their coding. It’s a good time to be a developer…

P.S. – We will continue on in our every-other-month meeting structure now, so our next meeting will be the second Tuesday in May. I’m working on a speaker, so if you know anyone or have ideas let me know!