Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Op-For on facebook

We've recently set up a facebook group for us and I'm posting to to discuss what we plan to use it for, address some concerns that have cropped up, and gather everyone's thoughts.

First off, is facebook a threat to the blog?

I think this is a valid concern, but one we can put to rest if we all make a conscious decision. Most of the uses I see for the facebook page are mutually exclusive to those of the blog. I'm going to outline them below.In order to keep the blog strong, maybe we could all ask ourselves before posting, would this work as a blog post, and if so, then post it here, and if not, post it to facebook?

Second, do we all have to participate on facebook?

I think it would be great if we could get all members on facebook so at least there is a little picture of you on the Op-For roster. But I don't think it should become one more thing that we have to constantly check. I'm imagining most of the stuff I will be posting to the facebook page is stuff you could safely ignore if you weren't interested.

Third, why facebook in the first place?

The reason for facebook is it offers a great way to do some things I wanted to do, but had no other good way to to do. I was on the phone with CR and wanted to trade some workbench pics back and forth and email just wasn't cutting it. I was considering Twitter but I had just joined facebook and a quick investigation showed facebook was really ideal for this kind of back and forth.

With the facebook wall, you don't have to save up something worthy of a blog post. The picture management is a million times faster and better than the painfully clunky blogger or yahoo! mail. Having the chat there in facebook is also convenient.

For instance, if I have just taken some castings of dungeon walls out of the oven and I know CR or someone might be interested, the blog is not a good place to share my progress. The conversation might not even make any sense out of context. And then if I want to follow up on that two hours later after some assembly work or something, I can't go back and add content to my blogger post, I'm stuck with having to make a whole new post. Eventually, I might want to make a writeup of the whole project and that would make an ideal topic for the blog, but until then I want to share NOW. And did I mention the picture management of blogger makes me want to cry, especially with my lousy connection speed?

Also, a lot goes on in the weekly games that doesn't wind up on the blog, and as I'm participating from a distance facebook looks like it can better keep me in the loop.

Another thing I've noticed is that it's hard to get a conversation going in using blogger comments. After about 5 comments, the conversation dies out. Facebook seems like a great way of carrying on more lengthy conversations, like, say planning of a convention game or an all day event.

Which brings me to another advantage, that Facebook has what seems like a great way to manage events. I managed last year's Necroday event with a service/site called Crush3r, which worked well, and I think I may continue to use it in addition to a facebook event page, but having a facebook event page seems to bring everything one step closer together. We can leave simple messages on the facebook wall like, "Painting up my Eschers this week" or "can't game until August, too much else going on."

The facebook page so far

So far four of us have joined the facebook group and already I get a great sense of it. There's a list of members with office titles, a wall to post whatever content you want, a fast and easy picture management where we can comment on pics, and a way to link to facebook events.

So those are my thoughts on it. Let's discuss it in the comments! What do you think, pro or con?


Op-For said...

I think they could work well together, facebook for the in depth planning, photo sharing, workbenchy stuff and the blog for the public face of the group, event information, battle reports, hobby articles etc.

Spooktalker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spooktalker said...

You said what I was trying to say better and in 1/10 the wordcount--brilliant. I have a problem being too verbose sometimes. Doesn't work on the web.

Op-For said...

So what you're trying to say is that my NetSpeak is DoublePlus Good?

Spooktalker said...

Big Brother is proud of you.

But you do see what I mean about it hard to start a conversation here, don't you?

Spooktalker said...

Well, all the crickets chirping here pretty much confirm what I said about not being able to start a conversation on the blog. Facebook it is then!

CB said...

So now on facebook all of my bazillions of cousins and old classmates can now be dialed in on what hobby project I'm working on! Viva la Facebook.

skywatcher said...

When you post something to your own page, does that get pushed to everyone that has you as a friend? Is there any way to isolate that to those gamer friends only (maybe a group)?

Spooktalker said...

Ok, from what I can see, Facebook is terrible at addressing your concerns, which are also concerns of mine. The more I look into it, the crappier Facebook appears to be.

When you post to the Op-For group, no, your message does not get shifted on your friends. BUT, there IS a line in your status that says "So and SO posted to the group Op-For". You may then erase that status-message manually, and erasing it does not erase the message you posted to the group. ALSO, you may set your facebook options so that no group posts ever update your status.

However, there is no way to have unique settings for each group. And there is no way to have each message posted to the group appear in your news feed. This is completely retarded. The only way to keep up with Op-For on facebook is to manually go to the group page every time you want to check.

The overall effect is that everything you post to the Op-For group page immediately gets lost, after which point there is no way to go back and find it. For instance, only 5 or so messages show up on the Op-For "wall" and the rest can only be seen if you scroll back. Which one of us would ever scroll back through these messages to find something we missed? None. And the same with the pictures. There is no means to search, no means to tag, and if you aren't one of the 5 newest pictures you will never get seen again. Add that to no editing features on the discussion board and a dozen other problems and you have complete failure.

I have revived my research into a dedicated, stand alone solution, and have many good ideas. I want to make something that will be great for everyone. Further discussion is needed.

Spooktalker said...

Also, when you post pictures to the Op-For page, I do believe that a thumbnail shows up in your status. I cannot confirm whether only op-for members can see this thumbnail (and the whole picture), or if everyone can. Being a member of Op-For, I have no means of checking the other. You would have to ask a non-member whether they can see your thumbnail when they view your wall.

Spooktalker said...

Again, there IS a way to set your options so these pics do not appear on your wall, and you may manually erase them.

Spooktalker said...

Krycek, I can't find any means of posting something to your own wall that is only viewable by a select group of users. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, I just can't find it. I see there's a means to categories your friends into groups, but I can't see what you do from there.

skywatcher said...

Spooktalker - FB does seem to have some limitations for me, I think shared with you and others. I want to keep updated on the newest posts/comments from the gaming group/community, but also am connected to friends, family & business people that I don't want getting pictures of my latest army list or war-priest. After using FB now I do see alot of neat tools it does have. The search continues.