In my NewsTalk 106 interview today, I referenced psychology student Gareth Stack‘s excellent article on Bebo for tuppenceworth.ie, where he compared the browsing and location of friends on the site to slot machine gambling. I thought it was a great quote, so had to mention it.
To refer to a comment from Mark Tighe about the search facility introduced in Bebo, I’ve used it and it is pretty poor… If Gareth’s comparison of Bebo search with “variable ratio conditioning schedule” is a deliberate ploy on behalf of the Bebo creators to inhibit searches and make you spend more time browsing for those elusive friends, it’s a darn effective one. Searches only seem to work on names, and even then there is very little relevant information about the person in the search summary apart from clicking on their links and finding out more. Compare this to sites like Orkut or MySpace and the search facility on Bebo looks positively stone age. How can I find all my ex-classmates from a particular set of years in NUI Galway without trawling through 50+ pages of profile summaries on Bebo? Not very easily, but it makes me spend more time on the site, reading more targetted advertising, and yes, there is a certain sense of achievement when you do eventually beat the system/slot machine and find that person/win that jackpot!
(Sorry I couldn’t recall your name in time for the radio reference Gareth, but I’d highly recommend that you all read the aforementioned article if you have any interest in Bebo or OSN [online social networking] sites in general. Instant success as Simon McGarr said; the article was written just one day ago, and so it found its way into the mainstream media very quickly!)
BTW, in case you’re curious, here’s what you see in NUI Galway when you try to access Bebo and its subsites 🙂 (unless you use a proxy of course).
The requested URL could not be retrieved
While trying to retrieve the URL: http://flickr4.bebo.com/
The following error was encountered:
- Access Denied.
Central access control has blocked this site which is of no academic value following complaints from a large number of students.
Generated Wed, 29 Mar 2006 20:03:35 GMT by cache.nuigalway.ie (squid/2.5.STABLE6)