Tag Archives: linkedin

Why the unread flag is becoming really important

William Hague responds to my request for information on our Libyan strategy...

Yes, it’s end-of-the-week bug-bear time. Today I’m going to express a slight irritation over the handling of unread flags for social media inboxes by my various smart devices.

Let’s take the example of a simple twitter @ response. In this case one I received from William Hague (good in itself) to a simple question I posed to him about Libya on twitter (‘Why are we there?’) during a demonstration of the power of social media. I saw his response appear on my Blackberry and I retweeted it proudly. That all went well.

However, what is less satisfactory, is that I was also notified about this tweet mention on my android phone (ok so maybe I’m on odd in having two phones) despite already having ‘read’ it on my blackberry. I also was notified when I opened my Ipad by the twitter app that sits on there.

I don’t want to have to read things twice or even three times to flag that I read it. It’s a complete waste of time.

The problem is that the unread / read flag (as so often used by email inboxes) is not shared by the API or is not handled correctly by the various client software.

This isn’t a problem limited to Twitter – I get frustrated having to ‘mark as read’ LinkedIn emails online that I’ve responded to via my phone, via email or on the Ipad, it’s also a problem with Facebook messages and notifications – the Facebook for blackberry app currently shows 23 unread messages yet when I look online I’m all up to date.

It’s a problem that unless addressed is only set to get worse as we get more platforms and more devices – I like the convenience of accessing social messages from various devices but this is an issue I just wish would go away.

So, if you’re implementing a social media platform then please make sure the unread/read flag is part of your messaging API. If you’re implementing a social media client application then make sure you take account of the unread/read flag (thank you Flipboard who are quite good at this!) and you’ll make the information stream a better, less frustrating place to be.

End of bug-bear. Have a great Royal Wedding weekend!

Real and unreal online

Georgia Horsley, the newly crowned Miss England, got caught out today by someone stealing her online identity with a fake Myspace page.

Is allowing this to happen the fault of the social networks or is it simply humanity’s common traits showing up again?

There have always been two ways to live your life – in the real world of relationships, work and family or in an unreal world of escape to drown your sorrows with drink, gambling or whatever you fancy.

Social networks simply mirror the offline world. You can choose to “escape” to another world where you take on a different identity – Second Life where you can fly (pictured), Worlds of Warcraft and online poker.

Or you can choose to make you real world richer by extending it with more online interactions. Facebook and Friends Reunited do this for your social life, Linked In brings you more business (or at least more job offers).

In the end, both will exist side by side – the escape with the reality. Which you choose is up to you. The social networks are just the platforms that allow us to do either.

Picture: Copyright 2007, Linden Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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