How can I save stuff on Facebook?

Facebook is a great service, no doubt. You can find a lot of interesting stuff each day (together with a greater amount of not-so-interesting items, the so called waste of cyberspace). I’m pleased by the fact that you naturally build a sort of story of your posts, in the form of a diary, with easy access to past years and months.

You may already know that you can also easily integrate your diary with information from the past, such as the day of your birth (that’s fine, at that time you was not thinking about updating your timeline with smart phrases such as I was finally born or similar amenities, but more probably Facebook was not accepting messages yet, simply because it still did not exist).

That’s fine, but what about saving an interesting post? With saving, I mean here, having a way to access that post also after some hours, or days, from the original publication. You can like the post, of course. But this does not solve your problem, it only allows you to be notified for comments, from now on. What about a great post with few or no comments at all? How can you easily retrieve a list of all your liked post?

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Nope. There is no way to do it (at my knowledge).

What to do, in the not-too-infrequent case in which you find interesting stuff you want to retrieve at a later time?

Have you experienced the frustration arising from your complete inability to find a given post, at a distance of just a few hours from when you red it? It disappeared from your timeline, that’s all.

You know, Twitter has its way to do it. Tumblr has its way to do it. You can simply mark the post as favorite: anytime, you have an easy way to access to your favorite posts. Facebook has no way to do it. It’s interesting that neither Google+ has its way to do it: too much shaped on Facebook style?

Anyway, I think am pretty sure that it would be a very welcomed feature. At the moment, when I find something that I do not want to loose, I’m forced to copy/past the text in some note taking app or website (like the excellent MomoNote). Not that I do not see the advantage of this procedure. But I also understand that it’s not comfortable, having to switch to another environment just to save an interesting piece of text, for example.

To be honest, there are workarounds already available: for example, if you use Chrome you can benefit of extensions like Facebook Favourite. Anyway, even if the idea is good, it’s still far from obtaining the real benefits of a native Facebook feature, and apart from that, while the extension basically do it’s work, there is (let me say so) great  room for further improvements.

To have a Twitter style manner to save post for a later usage, will be simply great. Let’s hope Facebook just realize it.

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Searching for prescient tweets…

Sometimes it happens. You browse the list of papers in astro-ph, as usual. Many papers are “obviously” rather boring (since they are dealing with topics you’re not interested…), but others worth a close inspection (maybe). Sometimes it happens, sometimes you find a paper that you “decide” you perhaps one day may want to read (leaving apart the fact that it will be actually read or not, in the future… probably not). Other times you stumble upon a paper that it’s really odd. Admittedly, it’s dealing with something outside of your research field, nevertheless you’re struck, you cannot avoid to be curios.

Surely one of the  “oddest” paper I managed to find on astro-ph is the recent “Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers” by Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson, two persons working int the Department of Physics of the Michigan Technological University.

In this ambitious work, they try to find evidence of people who have traveled (or will travel, depending on your point of observation) in time. And they use Internet for their investigation. Briefly, the point is to try to reveal persons who have traveled backyard in time. So, how can we discover them? See what they say:

Where a time traveler from the future to aces the Internet of the past few years, they might have left once-prescient content that persists today (…) Such content might have been catalogued by search engines such as Google (google.com) or Bing (bing.com), or remain in posts left on Facebook (Facebook.com), Google Plus (plus.google.com), or Twitter (twitter.com).

So the point is, to search for “prescient” content on Internet. Simply as that. In order to make this process as efficient as possible, the authors focused on a couple of keywords (or properly speaking, hashtags). One is “Comet ISON” and the other is “Pope Francis”. In both cases, the labels came into the public lexicon during the selected “search windows” (they span from 2006 January to 2013 September).

Comet ISON is a comet discovered on 2012 September 21 by International Scentific Optical Network. On 2013 March 16, Bergoglio, the newly elected pope of the Chatolich Church, chose the name  Francis. For both events, the authors speculate about the fact that there is little or no reason, for anyone, to use such terms on Internet before the events happened. Except – obviously – in case of prescient informations.

The paper is quite intriguing and – odd it may seems – it develop the investigation (a bit more complex and comprehensive in respect of my description, to be honest) in a credibile way  – if one can use this term, here. Moreover, it features a detailed analysis of the reliability of finding contents on the most popular search engine and social network, which is valuable di per sé. 

Anyway, no time traveler were detected. This by no means imply that there are no time travelers, as the authors point out. Maybe time travelers do not want to be discovered. Or, “it may be physically impossible for us to find such information as that would violate some yet-unknown law of physics”.

While it may be slightly disappointing, we can close with a smile, recalling the experiment made by Stephen Howking a couple of years ago: the Time Traveller Party …. I would not want to reveal how many persons come… but maybe you can imagine 🙂

What I like in Amplify

After just a couple of days,  it seems reasons are forming in my mind  why I think that Amplify is not “just” another social network, but it seems to show a good appealing (at least, to me)…

Here is my first thought…

  • the possibility of web site clipping & posting is great. Better than Buzz or Friendfeed
  • I like the “recommend” button. Easy and fast way to show appreciation of a post
  • I like the threaded replies (much better than “flat” replies as in FriendFeed or Qaiku). Identi.ca has also threaded replies but the strong limit in the length can heavily hamper the conversations
  • I like the fact that blog & microblog are kept together, the user can choose the right format for each post
  • I also appreciate than micropost are not limited to the too much abused 140 chars max. 500 is far better, IMHO; I’m tired of very short post 😉
  • Connection to other services is also a good thing. Just hope Amplify staff can add Identi.ca in a near future …

(more to come…)