I’ve been putting off talking about this a little bit as I haven’t been entirely certain what about it to write. I suppose I should concentrate on communicating to you what Faceey was meant to be about, the thought processes that were swimming around in my head 1 year ago and in the end what the finished product looks like and how it was planned to have worked.
Faceey was a project that I started working on during a period in my life that required a little bit of a distraction. I pooled a lot of energy mainly into a quest to better develop my skills as a programmer and so the idea for this project began to emerge. I think the design that remains now is the third edition or so of a couple of cycles or restarts I did on it.
Some allege it looks a bit like Facebook to which I assume no affiliation. I cannot comment on any supposed similarity to other social networking sites. It was released before Google+ which is a now spectacular social networking product and around the same time or just after the launch of Frid.ge which has been assimilated.
There are many key design differences between the way people on Faceey are meant to interact and the way people on these other social networking sites are meant to interact. Let me try and go into some of these differences for you now and the ways they would impact a socially minded person’s interaction on the Internet.
On Facebook someone would say they they are your friend and you would confirm or deny it. After the point that you say yes your content will be getting shared both ways. Your updates will start to appear on their page and theirs on yours. I think something Fridge, Google and Twitter have all been getting right that Facebook was missing was that the confirmation step doesn’t need to exist.
Any of these services use a subscription model instead.
You can subscribe to the updates of one person and they can choose to subscribe back to you or they might ignore you. It is proven to be a very easy to manage model which has had success dating all the way to when time was invented.
Before accurate clocks the time company would come around and tell subscribers what time it is. If you didn’t subscribe to the time, you didn’t get it because you didn’t care about it. The time company would try to convince you with better and better time keeping that a subscription was something that you wanted. Facebook would be more like if everyone was keeping track of the time independently and people would agree with who they wanted to talk about what time it was with, therefore all being completely wrong.
It was my intention to develop a product that makes use of the design of the subscription model, such as what Twitter uses. But completely turns this model on its head and distorts its design into something for which it was never intended to be used. Instead of people subscribing to you and receiving your updates, it is the other way around where people you subscribed to would receive your updates.
I believe it still stands up as being only product designed to work this particular way.
The psychological implication of this design decision was to be that in order for people to want to send their status updates to you, you would first have to make a name for yourself. The focus was to encourage full public release of every piece of valuable information that you had in order to garnish some attention and as a result have people want you to see their updates. You could reverse subscribe to anyone you wanted to and they would start receiving your updates. But unless they were blown away by the type of content you were putting out there or who you are, the idea was that they simply wouldn’t bother to send a subscription back. Or worse they would hide or block your updates from appearing in their feed.
I wanted the type of social network where celebrities would be drowned in everybody’s status updates and relative nobodies would be sending out status updates constantly about “hey everybody I’m that guy that did such and such” trying to impress.
This was the idea but out of people never understanding it or it not making any sense, it never caught on even remotely. It is more than one year later, there have been a total of 20 accounts made and about half as many status updates posted. It could be that the project lacked funding and real resolve to get popular or it could be that the project concept wasn’t really very good.
Features never got added to the product such as AJAX so that it would not always reload pages. I didn’t notice that the site was being visited without the cosmetic and convenience updates so I wasn’t able to convince myself to add any.
It should be the case that blocking content from users or hiding their content changes the places and ways that content appears for both. There are background processes that follow shared links and return page data such as a title and adding a picture. It normalises shared links and tells you who else posted things that were similar.
I was going to get involved into tweaking some of the ways people are introduced suddenly to each other on the site. I had an idea to offer reverse subscriber lotteries where people would pool their subscription to one unknown person in the lottery. One of the users would get picked and all the people in the lottery would then be reverse subscribed to that person. Things like this that would have influenced greater randomness and could have hopefully added a bit of fun to the social networking scene.
If I were to update the code today I would rewrite it.
At the time I wrote this version that I have released onto Github, Mongoid was brand new. This was the project that I learned how to use Mongoid and NoSQL databases. Technology moves at such a speed I feel like updating everything to the latest most powerful technology when you’re dealing with a user base as distant as mine was, is something which can only be benefited from.
I will hopefully come up with the courage to attack the concepts that I attempted to incorporate into this product again some time in the future.
I don’t know about how this source code is going to be used. It is released under GNU General Public Licence.
Thank you for reading about this incredible use of my time from a year ago.