It’s your best friend from 5th grade’s birthday, and you almost missed it because you were stalking your 7th grade best friend on Facebook. The time is now 9pm, in your time zone. In a moment of freedom, you return to Facebook.com and notice the tiny birthday notifications in the upper-righthand corner. Is it too late to wish your 5th grade best friend a happy Facebook birthday? You race over to his page and try to say something witty. “Happy birthday bro-dude!” you write, crouched over your keyboard. You were on Facebook this morning but were way too busy trying to just catch up on the newsfeed-filtered news of the day and forgot to pay attention to birthdays. And now, you just feel sad.
In our information-overload culture that lives as excited, exclamation-point riddled posts on Facebook and dies as wish-I-hadn’t-said-that status updates that you later delete when, hopefully, no one is watching (but who knows who is watching, really), it is easy to miss the moments that actually matter, truly mean something.
So now to the point of my story: There’s an app for that, and it attempts to address some of the “too-many-friends” syndrome that some Facebook users know quite well.
Launched yesterday, TapJoy‘s Karma for iPhone app connects with your Facebook account and attempts to identify and highlight your most meaningful connections and their important moments. These milestones/moments include birthdays, new jobs, important events (moving day, birthday, art shows on my Karma app screen), other celebrations (engagements) and “tough days” (a friend’s dog died, a cat died, a fellow journalist died). The app implies that important events call for spontaneous gifts.
“We wanted to be able to connect to friends in those moments,” CEO Ben Linden tells Co.Design. “So this is an in-the-moment gift service.” To that point, he adds: “We grew tired of missing important moments like a baby or a graduation,”
For people who mix various communities on Facebook, this means that there’s an impulsive moment available anytime, anywhere, to buy gifts for your Facebook friends. There is a nice variety of potential gifts to give, including Vosges chocolate, whisky stones, a morse code necklace or handmade gourmet candies. If you don’t like the gift, you can exchange it for something else in the Karma app store.
Gift-Giving As A Quick Fix
Today, the beloved Leap Day, happens to be my Facebook friend David Ford‘s birthday. David is a Kansas City-based artist who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago. I explored the inner workings of his mind through a studio visit. (I also reviewed one of his shows for the magazine Art Papers.) In his work, David discusses his love/hate kinda relationship with this country, evidenced through the passionate, at times fervent brush strokes that slide across his paintings. His work juxtaposes classic American symbols with faux luxury moments to paint a provocative, oft-times paradoxical view of the American cultural landscape.
Your Face Here, 2008 (courtesy of DavidFordArt.com)
Karma app suggests Whisky Stones (™) as one of the gifts I could send to David on his Leap Day birthday. To do this, all I have to do is click through and select the gift and David as the recipient. Karma sends a text, email or Facebook message to him so that he will get it and open the (virtual) gift immediately. Then I have to ask David where he wants the (real) gift shipped. Instantaneous delivery! Karma achieved, momentarily!
But there is one caveat: The act of gift-giving through this means provides a temporary fix, not long-lasting satisfaction. The Karma app creators understand.
“We found ourselves relegated to a Facebook post or making a note to buy them a card at CVS and then we’d forget,” Linden said in an interview. “We’d feel really terrible about that.”
What this app also does is contribute to the strange cultural phenomenon of over-friending, which has essentially cluttered news feeds and caused bizarre overlap amongst Facebook users’ normally neatly segmented lives. It’s like the Seinfeld “Independent George/Worlds Collide” episode. It’s yet another reason Facebook birthdays are so weird. Not even Facebook lists can help truly manage the menagerie of friends one has. At the end of the day, sometimes defriending is the best option.
So what of the Karma app for iPhone? Yes, I implore you to try it, see how it feels. Tell me a story about it in the comments section. Like Facebook, it’s pretty good at identifying users you interact with often and are thus deemed important to you. Of course, it cannot read into the intricacies of human relationships. That’s something you’ll have to do offline.
Joe Brockmeier shares his strategies for getting the most out of Evernote. All of this and more in the ReadWriteWeb Weekly Wrap-up.
After the jump you’ll find more of this week’s top news stories on some of the key topics that are shaping the Web – Location, App Stores and Real-Time Web – plus highlights from some of our six channels. Read on for more.
Evernote is a tool for keeping track of, well, everything. At least everything as far as digital information goes, or information that can be digitized. Evernote comprises a Web-based service and clients for Windows, Mac OS X, mobile devices, and extensions for Web browsers. It’s a service I’ve been using for years, and over that time I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of the tool.
From the ReadWriteWeb comments:
Kathleen Krueger – Evernote is THE app for the poorly organized (like me). It makes it so simple. I use the email feature and the web clipper all the time. When I’m doing research on a topic, I collect webpages etc to Evernote so that everything is in one place and easily accessible. When I’m done with the project and no longer need the resources, it’s a quick delete. The search feature works great for those of us who can never remember where we filed something. I didn’t know about the feature for emailing direct to a folder using the @ symbol. That will help unclutter my catchall folder. GREAT post!
While as we mentioned earlier this month, Google has begun building out its own gigabit network in Kansas City, Chattanooga Tenn. already has their own gig network up and running and they aren’t sitting around just watching the packets fly by. This summer will see the culmination of a series of activities, including an incubator/accelerator program, a student-oriented hatchery program, and cash prizes for gig geeks galore. If you live there you probably already know about these activities, but if you are thinking about moving to where you can get faster Internet service, you might want to consider packing your bags this summer.
A Baltimore law firm filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against Facebook Friday, claiming the social network illegally tracked user activity on the Internet.
In its claim, the law firm Murphy P.A. said the company “repeatedly ignored” warnings from a user who noticed Facebook continued to track users’ activities on the Internet even after they had logged off. Facebook finally confirmed the practice in September and promised to make corrections within 24 hours.
From the comments:
Deane T Rimerman – I love this! Hopefully just the tip of the iceberg… Facebook’s unethical shell game of constantly changing my privacy settings every time they launch a new iteration must end. If I tell Facebook what my private settings are they can’t legally change them back to public just because they have some great new feature they want me to experience… A few more big lawsuits like this and Facebook’s IPO will be historic for what it didn’t achieve! Not to mention the FTC is already directly supervising them for a previous privacy lawsuit that Facebook thought they settled. Maybe If this keeps up the next generation of innovators might actually realize they are legally obligated to respect people’s privacy? Imagine that?
More Top Posts:
The design of the search page on Google.com is one of the most iconic in the Web’s history, but it’s in the midst of major changes. Google has redefined itself with Google+. Its notion of Web search as an index of pages has grown to include people, places and things. In addition to the search box, the page now has a share box. It takes great design to introduce all these new features and interactions to Google’s hundreds of millions of users. More
The morning after French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced he will run for a second term, several parodic Twitter accounts have mysteriously been suspended.
@_nicolassarkozy , an account created in September 2010 and clearly labeled as a satirical Sarkozy impersonation, was suspended on Feburary 16th. More
We message on Facebook but in-person I’m awkward and you’re shy. When our Twitter conversation went from @ messages to direct messages, you seemed more reserved and I felt more open to speak my mind. Let’s follow each other on Pinterest and share the pictures that are in our mind. I just want to be in your head. I just want to feel what you’re feeling. I want to be inside of you, truly. But in real life, I can barely look you in the eye. I know too much about what you know I know. More
I updated my Blackberry Playbook yesterday to the new OS, and I was struck with a confluence of ironies when it comes to the current crop of tablet computers: We have a company that made its name in messaging (RIM) that took a year to deliver a substandard email app to its tablet. We have a company that made its name in graphical interfaces (Apple) that doesn’t support many graphical websites on its tablet. And we have a company that made its name in online ecommerce (Amazon) that delivers a substandard Web browsing experience on its tablet. More
I just received surprise news that Bottlenose hit version 2.0. It’s an intelligent social dashboard, but don’t think “another social dashboard.” Here’s the breakdown: If you think in customers, use Nimble. If you think in interpersonal connections, use Engag.io. But if you want a social dashboard for ideas, that’s what Bottlenose is for. More
This year’s hottest new online service is undoubtedly Pinterest, the “virtual pinboard” website. Once a social site becomes popular with consumers, brands soon follow. In 2011 brands flocked to Google+ when it became the hot new thing. Now, in 2012, brands are beginning to make their way onto Pinterest. In this post we’ll look at some examples of how brands are visualizing themselves on Pinterest, along with emerging best practices. More
Over the past several years, the US Army has developed an exemplary program in exploiting numerous social media methods, and done so without a lot of flash, expense, or personnel. They have an engaged audience, numerous followers, and maintained a multi-pronged campaign into all of the major social media networks, including recent beach-heads in Pinterest and Google+. All this, and with a five-person team based in the Pentagon and without spending much in the way of budget too. They are a worthy case study for organizations that are trying to make their own assaults on social media and haven’t been as effective. More
- New Endpoint Security Tools From Webroot, Bitdefender, Norton
- Apple’s Messages Beta: Pretty Meh in a Mixed OS World
- Survey: 88% of Businesses Can’t Provide a Single Customer View
- Mozilla is Placing Itself in Position to be the King of the Mobile Web
- Options Evolving for Mobile HTML5 Developers to Get Paid
- A Year Later, the BlackBerry PlayBook is Finally Fully Baked
- Apache 2.4 Sets Sights on Cloud
- Xerox Goes Up Against RIM in ‘BYOD’ Mobile Device Management
- Private Clouds Shouldn’t Mean Secret Pricing
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While as we mentioned earlier this month, Google has begun building out its own gigabit network in Kansas City, Chattanooga Tenn. already has their own gig network up and running and they aren’t sitting around just watching the packets fly by. This summer will see the culmination of a series of numerous activities, including an incubator/accelerator program, a student-oriented hatchery program, and cash prizes for gig geeks galore. If you live there you probably already know about these activities, but if you are thinking about moving to where you can get faster Internet service, you might want to consider packing your bags this summer.
The GigCity, as they call themselves, will pay for up to ten people to move (up to $1,250, so travel light) and forgive $10k of your new home mortgage if you end up staying for five years. The catch? As long as you come from outside the metro area and buy something in one of eight close-in neighborhoods, you are covered by the program. Here are the FAQs on GeekMove, as it is called. The process seems fairly straightforward and includes a Skype conference call to make sure you represent yourself properly and are interested in the various geek-related activities. The Lyndhurst Foundation, a local non-profit, provides the funds.
In addition, ten other entrepreneurs will be selected for a special GigTank accelerator program. These entrants will get $15k in investment capital and the chance to win an additional cash prize of $100k. The application can be found here, but hurry: the deadline is the end of this month, and the program kicks off May 14th.