Reboot, and Facebook Privacy
After surviving the onslaught of my first three years on the tenure track, I’ve emerged from my hermit cave to find that my old web site just didn’t hack it, for a multitude of reasons. Hosting on a university server had its advantages, but was severely limiting–I needed something that would allow me to customize, install a CMS, query DB tables, etc.
I’ve also decided to get back into blogging about research-in-progress, and all things academia. I gave up blogging after arriving at ODU because I simply didn’t have the time for it. While things aren’t luxuriously languid by any means, I do find myself itching to pound away at the keyboard on the odd occasion to make some kind of technological or cultural commentary.
And so I’ve rebooted my web site, complete with a WordPress engine, making blog entries considerably easier than the tried-and-true method of FTP uploads. In the interest of streamlining all of the various social networks, I’ve also taken advantage of Facebook’s API and integrated the two into one sexy beast. It was a bit of a pain to get it working, since WP plugins can be hit-or-miss, but after some tooling around, I was able to get it up and running. So my blog posts will appear on my Facebook wall, and any comments or ‘likes’ generated on FB will be mirrored on my blog.
Convenient, but disturbing. I’ve had my problems with Facebook’s rather cavalier attitude towards user privacy, but tinkering with their API confirms my suspicions–in the name of total ubiquity, they’ve made it incredibly easy for any “developer” (read: code monkey hack like myself) to pull users to their sites. I imagine that it’s relatively easy to mine user information if so desired, based on stray comments and ‘likes.’ Scary.