Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Let the Navel-Gazing (and Grumping) About Vanity URLS Begin–Can Facebook Soothe the Savage Media?

coolpl8z_lol-failjpg

Exactly how is the introduction of vanity URLs on Facebook going to go?

At 9:01 p.m. PDT on Friday, the giant Silicon Valley-based social-networking site will allow its 200 million members to log in and claim a friendlier username for part of their URLs instead of the long string of gibberish that is now there.

That a lot of sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and others already allow you to do this is not really the point.

But, because it is about people’s names and because it is certain to be chaotic in its execution, I think we can pretty much slap the moniker “URLgate” on this one and just call it a night.

Nonetheless, in an email tonight inviting media to an open house to see its new HQ building in Palo Alto, Calif., the PR team at Facebook–which often gets into hot water over various public snafus that arise at the young company with regularity–is mightily trying to make nice with journalists to perhaps head off any bloggish bellyaching.

They wrote: “We wanted to let you know that we decided to reserve usernames for the key journalists and outlets we work with. Look out for an email from someone on the communications team with more details.”

Firestorm of disgruntlement from those who did not make the list sure to follow? Of course!

In any case, my top preferences?

Http://facebook.com/internalfacebookmemostoboomtownstat

Http://facebook.com/dontmesswiththeswishsherylandelliot

Http://facebook.com/findmeontwitter@karaswisher

And, if you want to read a very funny take on the gathering Facebook username–yes, FU!–storm, read Anil Dash’s great spoof post on the issue.

My favorite fake prediction Dash makes is one that you just know is going to come true:

“In response to the growing buzz on Techmeme about ‘The Facebook Debacle,’ [Facebook CEO and founder] Mark Zuckerberg posts on Facebook’s blog with the news that the company has created the Facebook Username Dispute Resolution Community.”

[Photo of the vanity license plate above, courtesy of COOLPL8Z.com.]


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work