All you need is:
- a twitter account (of course)
- follow @MiamiTwits
- send a direct message to the group (e.g.,
d MiamiTwits Hello Miami!) and it will be automatically broadcast to the entire group.
All you need is:
d MiamiTwits Hello Miami!) and it will be automatically broadcast to the entire group.
This is the first article of a series I’ll call GoogleTrending, where I use Google Trends to compare search terms and come to usually preposterous conclusions based on the trend charts. I hope you enjoy it. Share your favorite trend comparisons -or suggest ideas for new posts- using the comments form below.
MySpace seems to be losing steam as Facebook skyrockets. Facebook should surpass MySpace as a search destination by the end of the year.
Click on the image to open the actual search on Google Trends.
I wrote this as the introduction to a report I presented a year ago, after attending the Forbes MEET conference, and was surprised at how relevant it still was… so I decided to share it with my blog readers.
The traditional media outlets were used to managing an industry of scarce resources, which they owned. Acting like toll booths, they decided what got published and what didn’t. The Internet put an end to this system, giving everyone an effective distribution channel. The bottlenecks have disappeared. Anyone can post their opinion to a blog, a video on YouTube, and even distribute their band’s songs. MediaSnackers are an example of the way users are adapting to this new way of creating and consuming content.
Although traditional television will continue being relevant for a while, an ever growing number of users will opt for the freedom of deciding how, when and where to consume media. The need for watching live television will still exist, given people’s need to socialize around shows (the so called water cooler effect), but users will increasingly satisfy this need with their online friends (via Twitter, for instance).
In a world of easily accessible, unlimited content, the role of editors is ever more important. We need trustworthy recommendations in order to find quality, relevant content. As the value of our time increases, so does the need for editors or editorial systems we trust. This applies for all kinds of content: news, software, music, games, videos, etc. Services like Digg, even with all their faults and growing pains, are a possible solution.
When agencies like Reuters can distribute their content to every news show in the world, the value of those news falls (as they’re no longer exclusive to any one show). Newscasts and newspapers need to take advantage of their local presence and knowledge to cover events of real relevance to local consumers. The tendency is towards hyperlocal: the neighborhood, the county, the municipality. The Internet is the ideal medium to distribute this localized content. Likewise, users have begun to engage in Citizen Journalism, using blogs, videos, podcasts and any other distribution technology to give their opinions, make their complaints public and comment on the latest events.
In the next couple of years the Internet will be connected to the rest of our homes. Already, content that’s available on the Internet competes with television shows, and soon watching an Internet-available show on our television sets will be a simple matter of pushing a button on our remotes. YouTube, CurrentTV, Google Video, to name a few, will have a permanent home in our high-definition televisions. Traditional media networks need to make an effort to distribute their content through the Internet (see Hulu), create Internet content that supports and extends their TV offerings (see Heroes) and, more importantly, begin to compete against themselves in this new arena.
What do you see as the future of digital media?
A Spanish-language version of this article is available at Technosailor.com, where I write a regular column. Disponible en español en Technosailor.com, donde escribo una columna regularmente.
My first post is about Facebook, Google’s OpenSocial and the social network nightmare we all face when joining a new network and having to recreate all our existing relationships.
Click here to read the post and practice your Spanish!
Twitter just unveiled a new feature that allows you to track any word when it comes up in a public Twitter conversation. You could, for instance, instruct Twitter to let you know every time your name comes up in a conversation, or your hometown, favorite band, or latest trend you’re tracking.
Currently, tracking only works through Twitter’s web and IM interfaces, which turns out to be a good thing.
This is how I’ve set up tracking:
It just occurred to me, while writing this post, that you could set up a nice stock tracker using this system. Simply enter the ticker symbol of whatever stock you’re interested in and see what the Twittersphere spews out. I’m gonna try it out and see what people are twittering about my favorite stocks.
What about you? How are you using Twitter’s tracker?
A friend recently asked me about ways his clients could use the power of social networks. As I was explaining to him the nuances of socnets as marketing tools, it occurred to me that Twitter could be used as a powerful marketing weapon. Imagine being able to immediately reach your clients with breaking news at zero cost.
Here are some examples, for different industries:
In this context, it’s no different than an RSS feed to which your readers subscribe – except that Twitter is somehow more immediate, and more personal than an RSS feed. Twitter, you see, is a two-way communications medium, whereas RSS is one way.
I searched the internet for more examples of people using Twitter in this context. One company using this is Woot.com, a website where you can buy items at ridiculous prices during a short amount of time (and very small inventories). I subscribed to Woot’s Twitter feed to check it out: Woot broadcasts the latest deals via Twitter. If you’re into the whole Woot thing, you’ll want to be informed as quickly as possible about new deals, as they usually go quite fast. Receiving a short tweet (that’s what a Twitter message is called) on your cellphone or Twitter app is preferable to constantly checking the Woot home page. After all, some of us have work to do.
Woot’s Twitter solution is as simple as it gets. You subscribe, you receive a tweet every time a new product comes up for sale (or when a product sells out). It’s one way (you don’t get to talk back), but who wants to talk to an automated script anyway?
Guy Kawasaki also uses Twitter as a marketing tool, this time to advertise new posts that appear on his Truemors website. But he sends too many tweets throughout the day and he won’t automatically add you to his list, which means you can’t talk back to him.
Robert Scoble, of Scobelizer fame does get it. He doesn’t send too many tweets, and he will automatically add you to his Twitter list if you add him to yours. Seems to me like the right thing to do. I certainly don’t want to be listening to someone’s tweets if I can’t reach back to him when I want to follow up on something he said.
NBC’s Jim Long uses his Twitter account to share behind-the-scenes looks while he’s off on secret media tours to Iraq or following President Bush to Australia. Though he won’t automatically add you to his list (so that you can tweet him), I get the feeling he would if you ask nice enough (and I suppose Guy Kawasaki would too. The problem with this it that you need to be able to contact them through some other means, as it’s not possible through the Twitter interface). Jim does, however, post a little too much as he tries to keep the conversation on a very personal level. [UPDATE: Jim’s mentioned on the comments that he does automatically follow people on Twitter.]
Here’s a short list of Dos and Don’ts if you plan on using Twitter as a marketing tool:
What about you? How do you use Twitter?
Facebook has announced that it’ll let users organize their friends into groups with different privacy settings for each group. This is one feature I’ve been waiting for since joining Facebook and that would allow me to add even more friends and acquaintances.
Currently, I keep most of my professional friends/acquaintances on LinkedIn and my personal friends on Facebook. I’d like to add more people to Facebook, since I find it much more useful and easy to use than LinkedIn, but Facebook lacks the necessary privacy levels to make this viable. Right now you can choose two types of friends, those who can see your full profile and those who can see only your limited profile… which works to a certain extent. Ideally, you should be able to group your contacts into say, Family, Work, Friends and assign different levels of access to each group. I’d also like to be able to select to which group something gets posted (so that I can spare my friends from enduring my technogeeky posts).
LinkedIn is much less interactive than Facebook. It’s sort of like fishing… you throw your resume into LinkedIn’s pond, sprinkle some connections and questions & answers to chum the waters, and wait for the fish to bite. Facebook, on the other hand, is like your cool younger brother. It lets you show off your cool videos, your awesome collection of links or even those photos from twenty years ago you found at the bottom of a drawer. You can also, if you so choose, sit back, relax and enjoy the view – popping in whenever you feel like it. It certainly offers a much more relaxed atmosphere than LinkedIn.
But can Facebook make the transition to a more professional network without destroying it’s relaxed, youthful qualities? Will you stop using LinkedIn (or Facebook)?
Chime in below with your thoughts…
Now that you’ve got yourself a digital camera, what can you do with all those wonderful photos? Here’s a list to get you started:
These services allow you to upload your photos, share them with friends and family, tag them, make slideshows and send them out for printing:
Flickr – Owned by Yahoo!, Flickr offers both free and premium services. You can tag your photos, add comments to any part of an image, create sets, collections, slideshows, print out photobooks, postcards, snapshots, etc.
Zoomr – Think Flickr, but map centric. Zooomr offers nice photo storage functions, closely integrated with geotagging (placing your photos on a world map) and e-commerce (selling your photos) functions.
SmugMug – SmugMug is a wonderful website for storing your images. It’s fast, well supported, and offers plenty of sharing options, including making photos private and password-protecting them. There’s even a special offer for Yahoo Photos customers who are looking for a place to store their now orphaned images.
Photobucket – Photobucket also offers tons of features including easy options to share your images online (particularly useful for bloggers and photographers sharing their photos in online discussions)
Shutterfly – Primarily a photo-printing business, Shutterfly also lets you store your photos, create photobooks, postcards, share your photos, etc.
These services will let you upload your photos and edit them online. Useful if you don’t have an image editor on your computer, or when you need to quickly edit a photo while at a cybercafe.
Picnik – I was impressed by this one. Picnik will even let you play with their software without creating an account (Scrapblog will too), a clever way to let you try Picnik without forking over your personal information. Slick looking, fast and powerful. Worth trying, even if just for fun.
LookWow – Java-based online photo editor. Will let you apply effects to an image, undo, compare and save.
Snipshot – Another really good looking online photo editor. Not as powerful as Picnik, but worth trying.
Phixr – Has a nice set of tools, but took forever to load.
MyPictr – Quickly create image thumbnails for online social networks. Upload your photo, crop the area you want to keep (usually your face), choose the network you need your photo for and MyPictr will spit out your image in the proper size and format.
Quick Thumbnail – Great when you need to quickly resize an image. A useful feature will resize your image to several sizes at once (i.e., 25%, 50%, 75%)
ePassportPhoto – The Internet equivalent to a passport photo booth, it will format your picture so that it can be printed and cut into six passport-ready photos. No more paying $8 for 19 cents worth of prints. Make sure your photo is passport-worthy before uploading.
BigHugeLabs – Do almost anything with your Flickr images. Calendars, frames, print-out projects… too many to list.
Scrapblog – Online scrap books. A wonderful service by my Miami friends. You can give Scrapblog a try without creating an account (you can create an account later and recover your trial project). Connects directly to your Flickr account, so using your existing images is very easy. Amazing flash-based interface will leave you wondering what else is possible on the Internet. Let your inner Martha Stewart run wild.
Spell with flickr – A fun service that will turn any word into its Flickr image letters.
Photagious – Online Slideshows, themes, editing, text, unlimited uploads. Should probably be listed under “Organize and share them” but their slideshow functions are in a league of their own.
Riya – Although it’s been transformed into a “visual search engine,” you can still access their original image storage and sharing service. Riya’s technology will let you search for items containing similar items to a reference image. It will also let you identify a person in an image and find additional images where that person appears.
PikiStrips – Turn any image or images into comic strips, with text balloons and special effects. Look through the earlier examples uploaded into the system for the better quality stuff. It seems the latest ones are mostly people making gang signs.
You don’t need a GPS to map your images online, though one certainly helps. These services will let you identify the geographical place where each image was taken and show them on a map.
PanoramaBuilder Build panoramic images by stitching together your photos. Now you can pan around a place as if you were (almost) there.
Virtual Panorama Tours on Google Maps – A list of panoramic images overlaid on Google Maps. Mostly used for real estate.
Panoramio – Map centric photo storage and sharing. Geotag your photos, correct photos others have wrongly placed. Panoramio photos are regularly uploaded to Google Earth so that other Google Earth viewers can see them by activating the Panoramio layer.
Mpix – Photobooks, Cards, Magazine covers, greeting cards, calendars, bookwrap, tickets, puzzles and statuettes (these last ones you HAVE to see… worth every cringe-inducing penny!)
QOOP – Photobooks, postcards, mugs, stickers, canvas prints, mini photobooks, shirts, hoodies, mousepads, calendars, greeting cards, etc., directly from your photo storage account. Works with most popular photo storage sites.
Flatenme – Create customized children’s books with your little rascal’s image in place of the book’s hero or heroine.
The Rasterbator – An application which creates rasterized versions of images. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into enormous (or smaller, if you prefer) posters. See website for details.
Microsoft Research Group Shot – MSR Group Shot helps you create a perfect group photo out of a series of group photos. With Group Shot you can select your favorite parts in each shot of the series and Group Shot will automatically build a composite image. Erase someone in the background, fix faces with eyes closed, etc.
Fascinating! Content Aware Image Resizing – An amazing image resizing algorithm. Watch the video and rest easily knowing that the scientist behind is already working with Adobe on the next Photoshop.
Improve your photography with classical art – An interesting technique that uses traditional classical paintings to correct the light and color of your photographs.
Automator Actions: Photoshop Automator Actions v3.5 – If you’ve got a Mac and Photoshop, these scripts might make your photo-editing life a bit easier.
These programs will help you manage your entire photo library on your PC or Mac. Most will allow you to do minor editing, cropping, resizing, color correcting and printing. Easily upload your images to your favorite online photo storage service.
Picasa – PC/Linux photo management, also includes online photo sharing for anyone with a Gmail account.
iPhoto – Mac photo management. If you’ve got a recent Mac, then you have iPhoto installed already.
Apple Aperture – Professional photo management for Mac.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Professional photo management for Mac and PC.
2007/10/01: Make that 34 Fun Things to Do With Your Photos Online. Abhiram Sarat of flauntR sent me an email highlighting their quite promising online photo apps:
flauntR one-click effects – Online photo editing and effects. Includes uploading from your computer or flickr account and is nice enough to include sample images to play with. You can try out the apps (currently PhotostylR and PhotoeditR, soon PhotoprintR) without registering.
Eons is a social networking website aimed at the over-fifty crowd, headed by the founder of job-site Monster.com. After raising $32M, Eons is now cutting it’s workforce in half – not exactly a measure of success.
In his article, Lunn touches a point I’ve been making for a long time: people gather around content, not around demographic variables (see “The Advertiser’s Dilemma”, “Rethinking Ratings” and “Why Google Should Buy YouTube” for my previous articles on content-centric ratings analysis).
Lunn think the problem lies in Eons’ strategy to connect people around age, a traditional demographic variable, and not around content or common interests. He’s hit the nail squarely on the head:
“…people want to connect around content, not around age. Connecting around content is what Blogs do. You connect on something that interests you. (…) As you get older, you get a more varied set of interests and human relationships across all ages.”
Demographic variables allow advertisers and their clients to easily target their products to artificial segments of the population that probably have very little else in common, other than age/sex/location. In a small-town-world these variables may have been good enough to create desirable advertising targets, but we now live in a connected world where people of all ages and genders interact and share common interests on a scale seldom seen before.
And while you can still use demographic variables to target your product, you’d be missing a much more interesting target, one capable of creating die-hard fans and viral awareness of your product, by ignoring content-centric connections.
As for social networks, look at the successful ones and the “glue” that keeps them together:
Building a social network around content will not magically make it successful, just like putting wings on a box won’t make it fly; but those wings sure help once you put the rest of the airplane together.
The following chart is an example of how people of different ages, genders and cultural backgrounds gather around common interests (caveat: networks are not drawn to scale, connections do not attempt to imply actual traffic for these sites, and age/gender/race were limited by the avatar icons I could find on the net).
The Content-centric Connectivity chart highlights two key ideas:
There will always be products that need to be targeted around demographic variables (e.g., feminine products, some toys, acne-medication, denture products), but the opportunities and tools for expanding your product’s appeal have never been this good.