– Stay N Alive

Stay N’ Alive Productions and Present Facebook "Chat-B-Gone" (#web20expo)

I’m sitting in here at the Blogger Lounge at Web 2.0 Expo, and have been working on a cool little gadget I think you may like. Mari Smith yesterday Tweeted that she and others wished there was a way they could “turn off” Facebook chat. Right now there are privacy controls to block people and keep people from chatting with you, but there is no real way to turn off the Chat feature in Facebook.

So I created a simple little Greasemonkey script (works in Firefox only, sorry) under the GPL v.2, in conjunction with‘s “Social Companion to the Web” theme, that I call, “Facebook Chat-B-Gone”. Go ahead and download and install Greasemonkey here, then click here to download “Facebook Chat-B-Gone”.

Enjoy! And be sure to sign up for for more cool “companion” features like this in the future!

Charlene Li and Max Levchin from Slide

Picture 8.pngI came in late for the Tim O’Reilly keynote, but Tweeted the highlights. The next keynote talk was a discussion between Charlene Li, and Max Levchin from Slide. Here are my notes:

  • Facebook is not a fad.
  • How do you make money and get a valuation of 1/2 million dollars?: “Advertising”. 2 different methods – advertising and direct-to-consumer sales. The next couple years will focus on the consumer sales.
  • “Juno” sponsored an action within the Super Poke app called, “Pregnancy Test”. Juno was utilizing Super Poke to draw a close reaction to the fans of the movie. Every “super poke” sponsorship has been a smashing success for the advertisers.
  • How do you acquire customers?: Precise measurement of users engagement within software helps to determine.
  • Is Privacy an issue?: Aided by the social networks. Determine who wants to see the ads and who does not.
  • With more users than some of the social networks (70 million users), how do you deal with the conflict?: Competition is for advertising dollars, also who engages the user.

I am very much not a fan of Slide. Their business model is what encourages that “bubble” atmosphere on the Social Web. It is my hope that they adopt their model and move away from pure advertising and spammy-methods of propogation.

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:

Announcing the First West Coast OpenSocial Hackathon

Utah Social Media DevelopersAfter meeting up with Bess Ho, founder of the Silicon Valley Web Builders and Facebook Developers Garage, we decided a joint hackathon, focusing on OpenSocial would be a great opportunity for both of our groups. So I’m proud to announce that next week, March 26, from 8pm MST to 1am MST the Utah Social Media Developers Group (formerly Utah Facebook Developers Garage) will be joining with the Silicon Valley Web Builders live via and Qik for a great night of OpenSocial hacking!

We’ll kick off the event with a presentation by Jason McGowan, lead developer at the Facebook App, We’re Related. He’s going to talk about some of the work they’re doing on OpenSocial. We’ll follow that with a presentation by Ted Haeger, Director of Developer Relations at Bungee Labs. I’m told he’s going to show us some cool new features of the Bungee Labs developer tools that integrate with OpenSocial, in a 15 minute timeframe. Bungee Labs will be hosting the event and providing snacks and drinks. Here’s Ted’s Bio:

Ted Haeger directs Bungee Connect’s developer program and leads Bungee Labs’ team of evangelists. An avid technologist, Ted is keenly interested in the rapidly evolving social dynamics and changes to human culture coming about as the Internet continues to develop. Prior to his work at Bungee Labs, Ted directed the open source advocacy program for Novell. He still keeps strong ties to friends throughout Free Software community and regularly speaks at various international and regional open source events.

The rest of the night will be spent just hacking and coding on OpenSocial, with the help of other developers there in both Utah and Silicon Valley to help getting started and continuing your development in OpenSocial. Both Google and RockYou have generously offered to provide Swag for the event (MySpace was offered the opportunity, but supposedly they “have already met their goals for the number of developers on their platform”. MySpace – the offer is still out there if you want it!). Thanks to them for their generous help in getting this event together. So the evening should be full of education, swag, snacks, and coding, a developer’s dream! If you’re a business that would also like to offer some Swag or something else contact me and we’ll add your name to the Sponsors list!

So if you’re a developer already or looking to develop in Social applications in Google’s Open Source platform, OpenSocial, come on over and code with us! Those interested in meeting developers are also invited. Bungee Labs, Google, RockYou, and my Social Media Applications Agency, SocialOptimize, will be Sponsoring the event.

Before coming don’t forget to sign up for the sandboxes you are interested in developing on – they often take a few days to get approved. You can find links to those environments here. Be sure to check out the tutorial here.

An interesting Fact – based on comparing numbers with Bess in Silicon Valley, it appears that Utah has the largest group of Social Media developers next to Silicon Valley on the West Coast. Our Facebook Group actually has more than they do! Let’s all get together and show the developers in Silicon Valley what Utah is all about! Please be sure to RSVP for the event on Upcoming or Facebook (join our group there!). You can find directions to Bungee Labs here:

625 E Technology Ave B2300
Orem, UT 84097

Orkut to Launch First OpenSocial Public Release February 27

A little birdie actually told this to me earlier, and I was going to blog about it tomorrow, but Orkut just confirmed it on their new developers blog. Orkut is looking to officially launch OpenSocial to the Public in one week – Wednesday, February 27.

Orkut is looking to release the final version of OpenSocial as Release Candidate on the Orkut developer sandbox this Friday, February 22. It will be released for developers to hammer away at for 3 days, and then will go back to Orkut for final QA and fixups. February 27 it will officially go live for the entire public to start installing Apps!

One feature that will be missing is user to user messaging – this is a very big feature that is perhaps much of the reason Facebook has gotten as large as it has. I am told in the first few weeks after launch that should go live. I anticipate after this launch, the public will get curious about Orkut and you’ll see their membership go up substantially – with a tie-in to Google it is sure to bring many of the current fans of Google into it’s ranks with the news surrounding the launch.

My Social Media development and consulting company that I co-founded, SocialOptimize should have an app released on the 27th. Keep an eye out for the “Know Your Neighbor” app when it launches!

OpenSocial is Solidifying the Days of the Rich Web App

Gone are the days of the traditional website, and in are the days of the Rich Web Application. OpenSocial is introducing a new era of development on the web. All OpenSocial containers at the moment give you one page, and one only (with the exception of the profile, or other “surfaces”) to write your entire web application. All development is required to be client-side, with loaded javascript or Flash at the load of the web page, with occasional calls back to the server to load bits and pieces of data. This style of web development has had a long time coming, from the inception of AJAX and the ability to dynamically load just portions of a web page from an external web server.

As OpenSocial and the social web move forward, client and server development will move closer together and soon you will be developing more and more on just one “page”, similar to OpenSocial. From now on, web apps will begin to move towards the style of loading the entire application on the first load of the page, and only loading pieces of that application as data needs to change. Javascript and Flash will play larger roles in development because of this, and as technologies such as Adobe AIR take hold, more of that development will move away from a traditional browser environment and onto the desktop. More and more desktop and web development will move towards “widgets”, and further away from “websites”.

OpenSocial is the beginning – I predict Facebook will be forced to implement something similar to keep up with OpenSocial. Currently the Facebook API is completely server-based. There is a javascript API, but the ability to create a rich web application like OpenSocial, the javascript and Flash capabilities of Facebook are simply too limiting. In order for agencies like SocialOptimize, my Social Media development and consulting agency that I co-founded, to more efficiently write applications across multiple social networks, we’re going to have to standardize on one method of programming. With the openness of OpenSocial, and ability to develop containers on the server side, we will work more and more to write code that lets OpenSocial code run on Facebook itself. Facebook may not implement OpenSocial, but we, as developers may very well!

Is OpenSocial and the new method of “widget programming”, the death of the Facebook API? Definitely not – OpenSocial itself lacks a rich tagging system such as FBML provides (pre-order my book!). As these systems move forward Facebook, OpenSocial, and others will be forced more and more to standardize across platforms. We’re in a completely new era of web development – gone are the days of the traditional website!

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!

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??? 🙂 — Your Companion to the Social Web

I’ve been working on a little side project lately, that I think will solve a lot of the headaches caused by lack of certain features in the Social Landscape. In the spirit of the book Jason and I are writing, my company, is announcing the beta launch of What is it? It is intended to be a companion to the Social Web – the features you can’t find in the social landscape you will find here. Will it replace your Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Plaxo account? Probably not, but it will make your experience in those Social Networks much better and compliment that experience.

Over the coming weeks (I have a strong release early, release often policy), you’ll see new features launched on the site that will make your Social experience better. The site is still very basic, but as a taste of what’s to come, for all those that sign up now we’ll enable auto following of all those that follow you on Twitter. Within the next week we’ll add the ability to blacklist those that follow you (so it doesn’t follow them). Soon after that we’ll add statistics, better bulk operations on your followers and following, and many more features. Soon we’ll start to incorporate Facebook data, linking your Twitter account with your Facebook account. After that, maybe Plaxo, or MySpace, or LinkedIn. These are all ideas of where we’re going with this.

So, I encourage all to register to find out what’s to come. Again, all those that register with their Twitter username and password will be automatically given auto-follow capabilities on their Twitter account! Keep following here and I’ll update as we progress.