Syncing contacts on Facebook appSince Facebook introduced the data-harvesting ‘Continuously Upload Contacts’ feature in settings, a change has occurred in the background (the Facebook API, for those inclined..) which prevents you downloading your friend list via a trusted 3rd party app.

In addition, the Facebook app itself no longer supports the older style ‘contact sync’ properly (or at all) on both Android and iOS.

In addition (and YMMV), the calendar sync no longer seems to work either. There is a workaround you can follow (link beneath), to create a Google calendar which syncs your Facebook contacts’ birthdays – and this is the primary reason for my post.

I used to rely on the app syncing calendar events to my phone, so that I could see at a glance whose birthday it is and send them my best wishes, but I’ve missed a few recently and now I know why.

I’m starting to wonder what benefit the native Android/iOS app is these days, versus good old mobile website access. I’m going to ditch the FB app on Android and start using ‘Tinfoil for Facebook’ instead, which looks and feels very similar but does away with the bloated spyware that the official app has become.

How to Create a Contact Birthday Calendar:

Tinfoil for Facebook:

iOS users can always ‘Save to Homescreen’ from mobile Safari when visiting

facebook engancha
facebook engancha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh dear.

Many bloggers and commentors have read Mark Cuban‘s recent blog about Facebook‘s edgerank story sorting algorithm.  One could argue that at the level of Cuban’s business, small problems become big problems quickly.  But, on Facebook as in most walks of life, being “large” does have some advantages.

One advantage is Facebook’s Page Insights.  Let’s take the smallest business.  In Facebook terms, it’s this:

  • a one person profile with no friends
  • one page owned/managed by that person with several likes
If you want to build up a following quickly, you need to build up some Likes.  Be Liked.  Or, at least, look like you’re liked.  You probably get the idea.  This is marketing, after all.
So, how about running a competition?  Provide an incentive for someone to come and “Like” you.  How about asking current customers (those who, presumably, like you anyway) to submit a review and hit “Like”.  Great.  
Except it’s not great, really.  To use Facebook’s Page Insights, you need 30 Likes.  Yes, it’s not a tall ask, but why?  The problems with Facebook for small business start with this innocent enough little idiom.  No, there should not be a 30-Like threshold to see who Like’d you.  There should be 1.
Facebook’s habit of making it hard to access and understand your own data, or data relating to you, stems from the misguided notion that building up more visible momentum in your brand’s page means you’re more like to find Facebook “sticky”, and consequently more important (vital, even) for the success of your on-line marketing.
Does Google Analytics insist that you have over 30 visitors per month to your site before it can be bothered to report this back?  
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I’ve never been one for uploading my images in different places.  I don’t upload images to albums in Facebook or into Blogger itself.  Instead, I prefer to centralilse all my image storage at Flickr Picasa.

The main reason for this is was that Flickr has been around a long time, is a veteran Yahoo web application, and has a great Javascript-based uploader which works flawlessly on Linux browsers – well, Firefox at least.  Unlike that stupid Java-applet attempt courtesy of Facebook’s programming team.  Sorry guys, “almost, but no cigar”.

However, given that Yahoo charges for something that is an added detour from something else (Google+) that is essentially free, it no longer seems necessary to use it.

So, when we see another wintry spell in the UK, perhaps I’ll take the aging Pentax *istDL out for another burn somewhere.

Or maybe I’ll cling on to the Samsung Galaxy S (mk1) and the ease of Android 🙂