MySpace vs. Facebook: Who Cares?

Danah Boyd published an article comparing the demographics of MySpace and Facebook. The conclusion? Geeks, jocks, and preps head to Facebook. Stoners, goths, and bangers head to MySpace.

So… Essentially all cliques are steadily moving into personal and social publishing spaces. And they’re finding where they feel most comfortable.

facebookers vs myspacers

I’m not seeing the problem. Do we really expect the various groups of kids to all flock to the same communities online? It sure doesn’t happen offline.

The key is that they’re reading and writing much more than they would have been without becoming active in online publishing. That’s fantastic, no matter where they do it. I’m quite sure there are large groups of kids who are most active in other online communities like Nexopia and the like. So what? The goal isn’t to collect them all into one big bin, but to let them find their voices, however they need to do that.

The take away message for me isn’t that there is some socioeconomic segregation of youth, but that we need to remember that not all youth hang out at the same place. This isn’t new. It’s been going on for decades (centuries)? but us “web 2.0” types seem to forget that it’s a natural part of being a kid, and assume that everyone’s playing in the same sandbox. That just ain’t so, and it’s not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. It just is.

Photo attributions:

Drupal Pet Peeve: Loose InputFormat Control

I screwed up in a big way on one of our higher profile Drupal sites. I had configured the default inputformat to include PHP execution, because there are a whole bunch of pages on the site that need to be able to execute PHP, and that was the easiest way to get it done. I was lazy, and didn’t follow best practices. And it resulted in a pretty open security hole, where anyone could create an account and then execute their own PHP (to do stuff like promote their account to Admin, delete the database, send emails, launch ICBMs…). Not cool.

Why was I so sloppy? Basically, I forgot that I’d left user registration open. The site is supposed to be a closed ecosystem, but with user registration enabled, it ain’t.

What I should have done was create a separate “über-inputformat” that included PHP execution, and was only available to admin users on the site. I would then have a separate, more limited inputformat as the default, perhaps with html tag filtering, as well. But here’s where I got lazy – there is no way for me to say “I know that ‘n00b’ is the default format, but I only ever want to use ‘über-inputformat’ so don’t make me choose each and every time I create a node”. Having more than one inputformat available causes the display of a new “input format” control in the node authoring form, and users have to first understand wtf that means, and then they have to figure out why they’d want to choose any of the available options. And if you’re creating a whole bunch of nodes with PHP in them, you have to remember to change each and every one to the “über-inputformat” inputformat, or the code won’t execute. pita.

Which brings me to D’Arcy’s Drupal Pet Peeve #2: Loose inputformat control. You can say which is the default, and then EVERYONE gets to use that. Then, you can add on other additional and optional inputformats, and enable them only for specific roles. But you can’t say that “n00b” is the only available inputformat for anonymous and authenticated users, and that “basic” is the only available inputformat for “members” and that “über-inputformat” is the inputformat to be used by default by admins.

As a corollary to Pet Peeve #2: TinyMCE ignores inputformats. If I have an inputformat configured with PHP execution, TinyMCE is completely happy to try to provide an editor for that, obliviously clobbering the code within the node. You have to go to your account and (temporarily) disable TinyMCE rich text editing before editing any node with PHP in it. It’d be really nice if you could tell TinyMCE to NOT kick in on certain inputformats…

Canadian eLearning 2007 Video Party: The Movie

Here’s the presentation, with the clips and selections Brian and I used during the welcoming reception for the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference on Tuesday. I wound up not recording audio during the presentation, so you’ll just have to imagine witty and entertaining banter and intros for each video. Brian was responsible for both the witty and entertaining portions of the presentation.

The video selections came to 48 minutes. We were given a 45 minute slot after the welcome reception supper meal. You do the math…

[flv:http://www.darcynorman.net/video/CanadianELearningVideoParty_320_240.flv 320 240]

Drupal pet peeve: cron.php

I hate that I have to manually (or scriptedly) call cron.php for every Drupal site I run. Even for multiple Drupal sites on the same server in a multisite configuration. Yes, there are ways to automate it, but eventually they fail. I just manually called cron.php on one of our main sites, after realizing it had silently failed for the last 32 weeks. Hundreds of reminder emails are being sent out now, for events that were held months ago. Yes, there are modules to have cron.php called periodically (poor man’s cron…) but they’re flakey at best, and risky at worst (there is a chance of overlapping cron.php calls if the timing is just right).

Anyway, there endeth the rant. D’Arcy’s Drupal Pet Peeve #1: cron.php