Mining the social web with WeFeelFine and Twistori

May 14, 2008

the mysocialmap app

Back in 2006 I was working on a venture I called SocialNet (MySocialMap), based largely on research by dinah boyd and the Vister application she and Jeffery Heer put together. The idea was to build a icon based visual map of relationships across multiple social networks and layer this with a Taste Fabric styled algorithm. Users would be able to visualize their relationships across social networks (something still not done well) as well as discover their networks propensity to like anything from brands to movies. After a couple of successful beta applications the initiative got bogged down in a bunch of issues from vendor management to time constraints (not to mention SocialStream). I had to shelve it late last year after a ton of work and a couple grand in expenses with only a barebones prototype to show for it.

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Forrester 6 Steps of Social Media

June 5, 2007


Back in April, the much maligned, Forrester Research put out a report entitled Social Technographics, which took a stab at segmenting the social media audience. Mirroring the thinking of the good folks at Church of the Customer blog, Forrester offers 6 steps instead of the 4F’s suggested by CotC. The report helpfully points out that different folks are engaged with social media at different levels and engage in different activities (reading this makes you a spectator, writing makes me a creator). Lots of interesting information with no major surprises. One might question some of the definitions (is commenting on blogs really different from participating in discussion boards?) but overall this report is more believable then BSA’s fluffery about kids no longer downloading…

Facebook: Manufacturing Scarcity and Minting Money

April 12, 2007

Sold out! How do you sell out a digital product? Why would you sell out of a digital product that can be infinitely reproduced, distributed at no cost and sold at pennies per transaction?

A few weeks ago the queen of social networks, Chazbot, pointed out a new feature introduced on Facebook called “Gifts”. These are small graphics that you can purchase and give to a friend to place on their profile. Facebook is charging a dollar for each 73 X 62 pixel image, which seems pretty high for what can only be an impulse buy. Perhaps even more interesting then Facebook’s brazen attempt to monetize its user base is the method they are employing to do it. Not only have they set out to sell online nick-knacks to the digital generation at a hefty price, they have tried to mimic offline notions of scarcity to do it.

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Stats on Web 2.0 provide fodder for speculation

April 4, 2007

tall-data.pngHere are some interesting stats put out last month by the good folks at the University of Oxford. The survey is based on 1,369 respondents who where interested in the University of Oxford’s online and distance learning courses, but got sucked into taking a survey instead. The results may skew a bit techy and there are some other minor issues with the survey but who cares, its great fodder for though and speculation. Its a very good report which confirms some stuff I believed (people love Wikipedia) and challenged others things (only a fraction of people contribute content). Check out the TALL blog for the full report and some commentary by the author of the survey.


Twitter Getting Bigger then Reddit

March 16, 2007


While I was preparing another post I ran this chart in Alexa and was surprised to discover that Twitter is already par with Reddit in traffic and is clearly on track to overtake them. I compared it to Virb, Reddit, Vox and Multiply. Only Multiply had more traffic according to Alexa’s ranking. I never would have thought that a site where random folks post statements about what they are doing at any given moment would be more popular then a news site where you get actual information about whats going on in the world.

There is something in the addictive, low commitment, ad-free site that is catching on with folks. The question I usually get about Twitter is “whats the point?” And I generally give some glib answer about self-expression and users connecting with each other. The truth is I have no idea why Twitter has caught on. All I can tell you for sure is that its going to be bigger then Reddit by the end of the month and may surpass Multiply by the Summer.

There was a lot of talk about the folks at Obvious being crazy to give up Odeo for Twitter but as they said at the time it was the more interesting project. If your not Twittering yet check out the site and give it a try and see if you get addicted like so many others.

Digital Ethnography: The Machine is using US

February 7, 2007

GooTube isnt just the domain of scantily clad women, moronic teenage antics and copyright infringement. There’s gold in them thar servers and one nugget was sent to me by the amazing Phasing on Monday. It has captured the mood/feeling of the “whats happening?” crowd and offers some insights into thinking of the “whats next!” crowd.

Blog Castes: The Real Ranking of the Blogoshpere

November 7, 2006

In ancient India, along the scenic Indus Valley, someone came up with a system of social control so good it survives to this day. It was called the Caste system and basically it codified the privileges reserved for the in-crowd and the drudgery dished out to everybody else. While the Caste system is no longer socially acceptable in most places, in a few dwindling pockets, where the light of meritocracy has yet to shine, it thrives. Rural India is one such place. The Blogosphere is another.

Despite the thousand of years that separate the beginning of the Caste system in India and the beginning of personal logs on the web, there is only one major difference between the two systems; in rural India you can never change your Caste while in the Blogosphere it only seems that way.

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Sony Buys Grouper, Turner Peddles Ads

August 23, 2006

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that they were buying, one of the 30 plus UGC video sites attempting to unseat YouTube as the King of crap collection. The deal puts $65 million in the coffers at Grouper and CEO, Josh Felser, gets to keep his job. They say they may move the company towards advertising in the future but have no current plans to change the sites model or structure. You can read the press release here or just marvel at the word-smithing of Grouper’s CEO below.

“When you pair Grouper’s innovative video sharing platform on the web and the desktop with Sony’s connected devices and copyrighted media you create a dynamic and exciting environment for consumers,” said Grouper CEO and co-founder Josh Felser. “We have an opportunity, as part of the Sony family, to bring together user-generated and copyrighted content across platforms and devices for the first time.”

Someone need to let Josh know that for the last 10 years user generated content has been little more then copyrighted content flying across platforms and devices without the permission of companies like, say, I dont know, SONY. Read the rest of this entry »

The Long Tail of YouTube

July 4, 2006

(image from GapinVoid by hugh macleod)

Why is everyone is rushing to create the best walled garden for other peoples stuff? From their random musings, to their pictures and videos, it seems that everyone has bought into the idea that if you collect enough UGC (Unlikely to Generate Cash) a business will magically appear. The alchemist running UGC sites would have us believe that they can harness the magical powers of the Long Tail and transform UGC lead into advertising gold. While I’m no expert in the properties of power law distributions, nothing I’ve read about the Long Tail would indicate that a million audiences of one is the same as one audience of million. Read the rest of this entry »

Someone Keeps Stealing My Letters

June 26, 2006

screenhunter_003.jpgThere is a great game, time-sink, “work-day accelerator” that I’ve been using for the past few months to help while away the time between meetings. Its called “Just Letters” and the point is… well their really is no point. You move letters on a page and spell words or make short phrases, when you can keep other people from stealing the letters your working with. Great geek fun to be had by all. Read the rest of this entry »