Friday Aug 13, 2010

SocialChat on Apple

I was asked why I retweet my SocialChats en suite. It clutters the Twitter stream. Well, microblogging imposes a special style on text that cannot be represented properly otherwise. It is a medium of its own with a unique set of rules. Maybe I break expectations as I am not sending haikus every half an hour. Tweets are very condensed statements. Some are poetry. Some are fun. Some are hard facts and bear deeper insights. I try to ignore the rest.

Microblogging is also a special form of hypertext that comes close to (one aspect!) of Doug Engelbart's NLS/Augment, i.e. each sentence can be referenced. In Twitter each tweet gets an URL and you can quote and retweet it easily. This is not possible with any other widely adopted hypertext system. What's missing though, are display clients, that merge and revert the order of tweets that come in flocks. Then the reader does not have to twist her head around to read in sequence.

But hey, instead of talking about hypertext and the good old times, I wanted to post my OraTweets from today’s SocialChat on Apple’s hegemony. Read bottom up:

  • And one for the road: Google & Apple Common Brand Values at slideshare
  • Today you have social media getting more momentum every day. There you have to touch and move other people, to create an avalanche.
  • Apple got the press with the desktop publishing revolution. Hence, most of the news was positive news for Apple. That scales.
  • I guess you have to be "viral" by any means. Otherwise you do not get a big share of the cake.
  • Maybe Apple takes the mobile web. I don’t know. The battle is in full swing.
  • Apple is not web, is not search, is not enterprise computing, database, … what else? What else matters or will matter?
  • And Apple is of course desktop publishing. At least it ruled the 80s.
  • Let’s see. We had personal computing, personal information management, music, phone, video, TV, (it is getting weaker here)…
  • Yes, Apple is a fashion company and a design house.
  • But after that it is a fashion statement to own an iPad for instance.
  • Don’t get me wrong. The technology must be working and well designed. Very well designed!
  • Apple is a fashion company nowadays.
  • Maybe you can target areas where Apple products are not so strong yet.
  • Apple has so many loyal customers and fans. That's the difficult part to get the attention and awareness of the current customer base.
  • Technology must be working, useful and usable. But it is really a matter of brand perception.
  • I guess the question is how to develop such a strong brand like Apple, Google, Coca Cola, Levis, Starbucks, .etc.
  • I am on Apple since 1983; Apple //e, later the Mac. iTunes and iPod of course, but neither an iPhone nor an iPad yet.
  • Some of my SocialChat contributions on today’s subject: Apple…

(image source)

Friday Jun 19, 2009

featuring twittermeme


In a nutshell – You know digg? Now tweetmeme collects and counts all the links that are posted to twitter. And the little badge top right of this posting says how often this blog posting has been referred to.  Or you can click the green retweet button to simply create a simple tweet referring to this article. </nutshell>

TweetMeme Button tells how to add such a badge to your pages. For my Roller blog I had to edit the _day template and add the following code to the heading of each blog posting:

<div class="tweetmeme">
  <script type="text/javascript">
    tweetmeme_url = '$url.entry($entry.anchor)';
    tweetmeme_source = 'mprove';
##  tweetmeme_style = 'compact';  

The source parameter is your twitter name that is used for the composed tweet: 'RT @name title link (via @tweetmeme)'. Then the tweetmeme class is used to move the div to the right. It is defined in the stylesheet file:

.tweetmeme {
  float: right;
  margin-bottom: 3px;
  margin-left: 3px;

Happy retweeting.

PS_ already adopted by Think Thin, GullFOSS, Student Views, Reviews Interactive

Monday May 25, 2009

sweet microblogging

sweet beta logo When Peter approached me a few weeks ago to work on the UI design for the next release of Sweet, I had just started on twitter in order to understand what all the fuzz is about. Well, I cannot say I get it, but at least I got some interesting links that I had missed otherwise.

Now Sweet is our internal microblogging service, based on open source You can try out laconica at or take a look at the before state_

sweet user interface /before

It is not possible to significantly change a project in mid air – but this is exactly what I did by tweaking the CSS and a few images to create a pleasant and inviting design for Sweet. Note the logo (done with, the color scheme, the layout, the text counter, the tabs, the font changes, and the tag cloud in the after image. BTW_ the bird in the tree indicates that a tweet is also visible to the public on twitter.

sweet user interface /after

Paying attention to the 'design details' can even improve the usability of such a project. A professional design increases the perceived quality and therewith the user experience. Since the relaunch we have more users and we even figured out that there was another installation of laconica running inside Sun -- they are now planing the migration to Sweet.

All this took me less than a week. I learned a lot about dirty CSS hacks, and got in touch with 2 nice colleagues at Sun whom I never met in person. Peter was a kind of project lead, and Olof the engineer behind the curtain. And guess what, our main communication tool was... Sweet!

> internal URL:



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