Friday Nov 02, 2007

Press conference access via Twitter

This only works if you have a proxy in the room, but it's a cool use of Twitter by Scoble to pull a physically distributed audience into a press release and give them a voice to ask questions:

" The hidden OpenSocial press conference (future of information sharing) by ZDNet's Michael Krigsman -- Google’s OpenSocial announcement today suggests changes that may improve the future of social networking (click here for Dan Farber’s coverage). Hidden from view during the press conference, an improvised parallel event arose spontaneously, raising deeper implications than the Google announcement itself. This parallel event offers a provocative glimpse into the future of collective intelligence, information ..."

Thursday Nov 01, 2007

MySpace to use OpenSocial

Scoble got the scoop straight from the Google and MySpace CEOs.

Do you think this will change the theory that suggest middle/upper class young adults build their communities on Facebook while young adults in the working class use MySpace (since there will be some who migrate from FaceBook to MySpace because of benefits of an OpenSocial network)?

Wednesday Oct 31, 2007

Open Social

Wow -- this sounds promising. Open Social, spear headed by Google, basically is an open API that enables developers to build containers and applications that can easily integrate with web sites. Similar to how any developer can create and deploy an application for use on Facebook, only there's one big difference...

...it's open for use on any web site. It's not only for proprietary use on a single website. A no walled gardens concept.

Per Marc Anderson's blog post:
"If you have a web site today, and you want to turn your web site into an Open Social app, that's perhaps even easier than "porting" a Facebook app. Just take your current HTML and Javascript front-end pages and create a version of those pages that use the Open Social API."

The launch is this Thursday, but it sounds like there's some baking to set in:
"The API has to stabilize a bit, and containers have to finish testing and validating their implementations. But public production systems aren't far off -- Ning, for one, will go live as soon as we possibly can, probably just as soon as Google finalizes the API."

Although there is no perfection in this world, folks seem hopeful with a "wait and see" attitude and lots of questions -- this one being a big one:
Dave Winer: "When Google makes their announcement on Thursday, the question they should be asked by everyone is -- How much of my data are you letting me control today? That's pretty much all that matters to anyone, imho."

Saturday Oct 13, 2007

"Online all the time..."

Ze wrote a cute social network tune.

Dammit! I miss the full-strength Ze. Please come back Ze. I'll buy a duck this time -- I swear I will!

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

Google acquires Jaiku

Details posted here. Good news for Jaiku. Congrats to Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen, Jaiku Founders.

I'm wondering if this will have an impact on Twitters's usage volume. Although Twitter has experienced growing pains that have manifested themselves in the form of site uptime/stability issues, it still seems to hold the not-so-secret sauce: critical participation mass. Or in other words, people hang out where their friends are -- if Twitter were a pub, there would be standing room only.

Quick update: I've mentioned ease of integratability before when talking about social networks & give a hearty +1 to Dave Winer's comment regarding the Jaiku news:
"The big win of course would be if Jaiku supported the Twitter API in a plug-compatible way. Then all our apps that work with Twitter would work with Google's new tool."

Thursday Sep 27, 2007

Why I like Twitter

It's brevity.

Tuesday Sep 18, 2007

Women in Technology aren't as absent as most think

One of my favorite female bloggers and Twitterers, Tara Hunt, wrote an excellent article on the perceived absence of Women in Technology.

The article has an impressive list of women in tech:
"Some of the hottest companies of early Web 2.0 (and before) have been co-founded by women: Flickr (Caterina Fake), Blogger (Meg Hourihan), SixApart (Mena Trott), Mozilla (Mitchell Baker), Guidewire Group (Chris Shipley), and Adaptive Path (Janice Fraser). An overview of current startups shows a seemingly endless list of women founders (and co-founders) including:

\* Mary Hodder: Dabble
\* Gina Bianchi: Ning
\* Ann Crady: Maya's Mom
\* Sandy Jen and Elaine Wherry: Meebo
\* Emily Chang: eHub/IdeaCodes
\* Xochi Birch: Bebo
\* Joyce Park: Renkoo
\* Jessica Hardwick: SwapThing
\* Margarita Irizarry and Monica Heitlauf: Scrapblog
\* Yael Elish: eSnips
\* Halley Suitt: Top Ten Sources
\* Elisa Camahort, Lisa Stone, and Jory DesJardins: Blogher
\* Ryanne Hodson: Node101
\* Ariel Kleckner Ford: CareSquare
\* Carla Morton and Cathleen Wang: BrandHabit
\* Sharra Chan: OrangeDoor
\* Erica Douglass: Simpli.biz
\* Lisa Sugar: PopSugar
\* Louise Wannier: MyShape
\* Beatrice Tarka: Mobissimo
\* Emily Boyd: Remember the Milk
\* Andra Davidson: Mothersclick
\* Eileen Gittins: Blurb
\* Rashmi Sinha: SlideShare
\* Julie Davidson: 30Boxes
\* Laura Scott and Katherine Lawrence: pingVision
\* Kathy Sierra: Head First Books
\* Gillian Carson: Carson Systems
\* Alex Vikati: CastTV
\* Vanessa Williams and Leigh Himel: Oponia
\* Dina Kaplan: Blip.tv
\* Rachel Cook: Minti
\* Amy Muller: Ruby Red Labs
\* D Millack: Zazzle
\* Ellen Miller: Sunlight Foundation
\* Linda Furrier: Podtech
\* Elizabeth Souther Tarbell: VivaPop
\* Maggie Fox: Social Media Group
\* Maggie Tsai: Diigo
\* Susan DeFife: Backfence
\* DiAnn Eisnor: Platial
\* Kim Polese: Spikesource
\* Angela Beesley: Wikia
\* Arianna Huffington: Huffington Post
\* Kelly Goto: Gotomedia
\* Merci Hammon: PMOG"
I like Tara's perspective on why she thinks Web 2.0 is conducive to feminine values. She says:
"If there is anything that the grassroots, collaborative modeling of Web 2.0 has taught me it is that for anything that was once thought to be a best practice, you can find better alternatives just by looking deeper. More and more people are doing this and realizing that the old ways of doing business inherited from Web 1.0 are just not cutting it in the more community-based, connected world of social networks. The more feminine values, such as relationship building, openness, and cooperation, are growing in popularity for everyone, not just the female entrepreneurs. Many of these values come from the egalitarian outlook of open source, but I also believe they are highly influenced by the diversity of customers."
The article is well worth a read -- and by far, the best answer I've heard to the question "Where are the women in technology?"

Friday Aug 03, 2007

#1 thing that would make me dump a social network site..

...like a hot rock: lack of openness/integratability with my other social sites. For example, requiring users to authenticate by default to \*read\* content on generally public social sites and and not opening up interfaces to integrate with other social sites is a major PITA for users and the first site that manages to effectively integrate my social network activities without limiting access to my friends social network activities, wins my sign-up.

People are getting fed up with shifting from one social site to the next and inevitably pitch camp where their friends are. Makes sense. But if sites were open and enabled \*easy\* integration (via open APIs & comprehensive UIs that enable easy use of the APIs, etc.), this wouldn't be an issue.

It'll be interesting to see what Plaxo releases on Monday.

Thursday Aug 02, 2007

Meet the Twitter Team

Scoble just posted a fantastic video of his visit with the nice folks who bring us Twitter.

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.podtech.net/player/popup.js"></script>

In the video, Twitter engineers talk about the importance and challenges of caching data for what seems to be a super simple application & touched a bit on scaling & how they were surprised by the usage spike. They also touch on how Twitter is built largely on RoR with many customizations and the use of Jabber.

Interesting video tidbit: Twitter gets 10x more traffic via the API than the website. One of the most common uses of the API is Twittervision. Info about the API is posted here. I'm wondering what the use cases are for companies like Sun leveraging the API? I see a lot of companies Twitter-izing feeds -- I setup a Twitter feed of Sun Blogs, but I'm sure there are interesting use cases for corporate uses of the API.

And if you're wondering why Twitter doesn't update your Facebook status, it's because the Facebook status API is not opened. So, if this is something of value to you, let Facebook know.

It's all about sharing and as Alex Payne, Twitter Engineer, says Twitter "Brightens your daily routine." I agree that sounds a bit corny, but as much as I resisted Twitter in the beginning, it's now one of the first sites I open in the morning and the last site I close at night. It has had an adverse affect on the time I spend blogging and feed reading, but I dig the brevity, efficiency and cross-functionality of it all.

Thursday Jun 28, 2007

Social Networks: Building community or building divisions?

Danah Boyd has an interesting/concerning essay about young American class divisions being mirrored through social networks -- she specifically focuses her findings of middle/upper class young adults building their communities on Facebook while young adults in the working class use MySpace. Per the essay:

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

As with all social networks, I wonder, are they building community or are they building division? One could argue that the generalized divided classes that Danah has observed are no different than communities formed on other social networks. For example, I've made new "friends" through Dogster with people who share my interest in greyhound rescue. Is building communities based on commonality such a bad thing? I supposed that all depend on the common topic, right?

Per the following quote from the essay, Danah's concern is the possible negative impacts on our society as a whole that could drive further division between classes:

I clearly don't have the language to comfortably talk about what's going on, but I think that this issue is important and needs to be considered. I feel as though the implications are huge. Marketers have already figured this out - they know who to market to where. Policy creators have figured this out - they know how to control different populations based on where they are networking. Have social workers figured it out? Or educators? What does it mean that our culture of fear has further divided a generation? What does it mean that, in a society where we can't talk about class, we can see it play out online? And what does it mean in a digital world where no one's supposed to know you're a dog, we can guess your class background based on the tools you use?

It's worth a read.

Monday Jun 25, 2007

And today's Twitter term of the day is...

...TwitterGram. OK, well, it technically should have been the Twitter word of the day last week, but I was on vacation most of the week. At any rate, a TwitterGram is basically an audio Twitter message.

Wednesday Jun 13, 2007

Roller 4.0 now live on blogs.sun.com!

In addition to migrating to Struts2, another cool feature of Roller 4.0 is it enables users to customize their blog theme image and 'About' blurb via the UI -- previously, this could only be done by hacking template code. This feature is hooked into four new themes. I just switched to the "Adept" theme. So crisp looking -- in fact, I wanted to name this theme "Crisp", but Greg shot me down. He did let me name the "Metro" and "Rain Forest" themes tho'! So, there's that. ;-)

Congrats go out to Greg, Rob, Matthew, Will T., and especially Allen for the Sun contributions to the release.

Tuesday Jun 12, 2007

dotSUB: Video translation via closed captioning

Strange that the issue of language barriers presented with social content in video form doesn't seem to be discussed much. dotSUB appears to have a sensible model.

Thursday Jun 07, 2007

How to disable YouTube's new related videos feature

Yesterday, YouTube released a new feature that enables one to watch related videos through embeded videos. I noticed this new feature when I posted a blog entry yesterday (& have since disabled it). Example:

related-videos






















I can see value in this new feature, but I don't like it for two reasons:
1. Videos I post on my blog are previewed and approved for posting on my blog by me
2. Videos I post on my blog are related to the blog entry's topic. In the case of yesterday's blog, the topic was the ask.com algorithm -- not random BBQ videos or other crap (which could be far worse than the topic of BBQ).

To disable this feature, you'll have to apply a minor hack to the embed code that you copy from YouTube. The hack is to simply add "&rel=0" to the end of the embed src URL.

related-embed-code

















I hope YouTube removes this as a default feature. Sounds like I'm not alone.

UPDATE: Per the YouTube blog this feature has been modified so related videos only play if the menu button is pressed. I still think the default should be for the related videos feature to be disabled and perhaps easily enabled without users having to hack the embed code, but it's good to see that YouTube is listening to their users feedback.

Tuesday Jun 05, 2007

Twitter via Skype

In four easy steps: http://www.pacificit.ca/article/319
About

Sr. Community Engineering Program Manager/Acting Director for Sun's external social networking sites (blogs, forums, wikis, etc.). Skrocki's personal blog, LinkedIn.

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