This would probably be the first sighting(for me at least) of a Twitter equivalent of an Orkut
Update: Sighted another ‘frandship request’ (Thanks @jasdeep for the hat tip)
This would probably be the first sighting(for me at least) of a Twitter equivalent of an Orkut
Update: Sighted another ‘frandship request’ (Thanks @jasdeep for the hat tip)
Have a look at the Twitter search result page below.
Can you see something missing ?
Ever since we had search.twitter.com ( I think after the summize acquisition) I’ve always wondered how come there isn’t a link to go back to the Twitter home page from the search result page. Though it makes PERFECT sense that there should be a visible link to the main page on the top section of the result page or at least the Twitter logo should redirect to the main page , none of them exists.
Instead they have a inconscpicous little “Twitter Home” link at the page footer which I bet would be hardly used.
Thinking aloud, could it be that ever since Twitter acquired Summize they never really thought of putting the Twitter homepage link which was missing in Summize(it didn’t need a home page link as it was just a search tool and search can be done the search result page too).
For those of you who joined the Social Media bandwagon late, here’s what Summize looked like.
(Image credits http://www.flickr.com/photos/toprankblog/)
familiar to the F? 🙂
What do you think about this, a missing chunk of usability resulting from oversight or something else ?
I was in for a little(or is it?) surprise while surfing yesterday. I stumbled upon a blogpost that mentioned new changes with Scribd and on checking the site, here’s what I found.
Act 1: Scribd
Looks familiar ? You bet it does.
The latest changes seem straight from Twitter’s design books. From Tweeting err Scriblling box to follower/following it all traces it’s root to Twitter but that’s not it. Another there’s also a conscpicous attach button(in white) down left. Clicking which leads to
So now scribd users can scribble updates and also attach scribd documents(there’s or someone else’s) to them.
Reminds of Pownce ? It does to me.
Here’s what a scribble looks like
A user profile page with scribbles looks like this
These are some of the efforts taken by team Scribd to make their platform more social and as mentioned in the blog post, there’s more to come.
Act 2: Slideshare
While uploading a case study I compiled on Slideshare yesterday I happened to notice a change in their terminology too.
Follow ? Wasn’t there a different name to this till some time back ? Yes, before being followers they were contacts.
These changes are part of the new profile design change. Interestingly unlike the scribd blog post on new changes, the post at Slideshare blog doesn’t mention the change in terminology and apparently the changes aren’t mentioned anywhere else either. I couldn’t make out if there’s anything more to the ‘following/follower’ change than terminology as the functionality remains same.
So now users can follow other users from Sribd and Slideshare respectively.
At Scribd, we believe that the written word is no longer static; the next major evolution of the “print” medium will be social and readers will contribute to authors’ never-finished works that evolve over time.
As stated in the opening lines of their blog post, Scribd probably has a few things up their sleeve about the whole making ‘Scribd Social’ campaign. While having ability to post updates/scribbles and attach files should see an increase in public interaction amongst users it’s the idea of having followers and followees(for lack of a better word) in both Slideshare and Scribd that intrigues me. Friends or Contacts are NOT same as Followers and these terms shouldn’t be used loosely, especially when they have been around for some time. Also, in Slideshare’s case I particularly don’t see ANY need for this change(same goes for Scribd BTW).
Did I hear someone say in Slideshare the term follower is apt because you get to see updates of your contacts( or whatever) on your home page ?
Right, since you see small updates about activities of your connections in a feed on your home page and get to see their latest slideshows on your page, ‘Follow’ is the best way to describe your relationship. Duh !!
Going by this reason since you can see latest photographs from your connections on Flickr, why not start the follower/following game in Flickr too ? The point in case is simple, follower/following works for Twitter because there the MAIN activity is to subscribe/follow what other people are upto, which isn’t the case with Scribd or Slideshare(or is it ?) . You might want to know what your contacts uploaded but that’s a seperate thing and a small part of the whole thing.
Going by the fact that people on any social network want to stay updated about their connections should we just have followers and following on every social site ? Also, think from the point of view of an existing user who had spent some time on a site making contacts/friends for some time and come one day he gets to know that now he doesn’t have any contacts but he’s following the same people. I certainly wouldn’t like that abstract change. Will you like it?
Would you like if you wake up one day and see that you have no friends on Facebook but people you follow and people who follow you ?
Any guesses how much time does it take for a typical user to figure out @replies ?
Curious about how many people feel the same way when they use Twitter for the first time, I ran a search on
“what is twitter” and here’s what I found
This is the reason why Twitter’s audience retention rate(percentage of people signing up who return the following month) is 40 % (via Nielsen)
While we wait n watch what (if at all) Twitter is doing about this, Let’s see
what you think can be done to improve their retention rate ?
Twitter being spreading like wild fire is under a lot of experimentation for marketing and since there isn’t a way to advertise or sponsor stuff “Mentions in Tweets” is the way to get eyeballs along with “Treding Topics” and a few other things. Also, since the trending topics started appearing on every user’s home page, the desire to find a spot among top 10 has soared.
Want to get visibility on Twitter ? Get trending, and the way to be trending is by having enough mentions in tweets.
Add this desire to be mentioned in as many tweets(interesting or boring, happy or sad, sensible or nonsense, related /unrelated to the product or company) to the fact that most people will do just about anything to win something for free (especially if it doesn’t ask them to get up from their chairs) and you get a viral campaign like moonfruit‘s.
Apparently there was a similar campaign by SquareSpace a month back but it failed to make it big because it wasn’t offering the phone but a $199 worth gift certificate but I am not complaining as atleast with SquareSpace’s campaign I got saved from the heavy spam attack that Moonfruit campaign led to. For me the moonfruit campaign is no different from one of those spam attacks in which people randomly started adding some keyword in every tweet, which eventually led to those topics/keywords being in the trending list.
It’s not that I hate all twitter campaigns, for ex: I appreciate Tweetboard’s campaign, asking people to request for Alpha accounts for their service by tweeting(just once) in a given format instead of submiting their email id’s
Now that’s a creative and non spammy way to market using Twitter.
Getting back to #SquareSpace and #MoonFruit campaigns, I’d say this isn’t a particularly good way to market because
1) It’s spammy and so all over the place. More than liking I’d hate if everyone in my stream started putting a random keyword in their tweets. There chances of winning something are a lot less than chances of loosing a few followers/friends. I certainly wouldn’t appreciate my company name in tweets like this
2) It’s not a scalable model: While SqureSpace, MoonFruit and a few more might be able to get some eyeballs because of these campaigns I strongly believe this won’t be a scalable/easily followable model as if more companies start doing this then we’ll have a spoiled twittering experince and almost all the trending topics would be full of these promotional keywords which certainly won’t be liked by Twitter and it’s users and would invite some fixes to avoid such things, which’ll in effect led to a reduction in such campaigns.
3) I doubt if there’ll be significant value addition due to such campaigns: Though some of the statistics could look great after such a campaign I doubt if there’ll be a real value add for most companies that do such campaigns. For ex: I doubt if there’ll be a significant increase in moonfruit’s business or more people will start interacting with @moonfruit etc. Most probably the gift hungry crowd that gathered at their doorsteps would move to a new free gift location in no time, shattering their false hopes.
That’s how I feel about various marketing campaigns on Twitter, what do you think about them ?
A random click on the my follower count link revealed that there has been a nice upgrade on the follower list page, a quick look around shows that following list page too have been similarly upgraded.
Here’s what the new follower and following pages look like
As you can see, the expanded option is full of details about the person and also has a lot more actionable options. Previously there just used be two buttons follow/unfollow and block.
This section can be divided into two parts, the one on the left(shown above) now has the following details
1) Full Name
3) Last Tweet(with Tweet Stamp)
The option to see persons last tweet is definitely a great add and is a bit helpful in deciding if the person is interesting or worth following(or blocking for that matter). A quick look at your followers page(for their last tweets) can sorta help you decide which one’s are worth following back.
The second part(on the right) looks like
These details are for a person who is not following me and I am not following them either. Therefore the options are limited to send him a reply(or mention as Twitter now calls it), start following them or block them.
While these are the options I get for someone who is following me but whom I am not following
Did you notice the extra option here to “Direct Message” the person ?
A neatly designed feature pack, lets to take a lot of action calls from right there. This should definitely increase the usage for newly added features(here) i.e mention and direct message.
There’s another small update(if I am not mistaken) the URL for following page is now /following, it was /friends earlier.
Also, these changes are not just limited to your pages, these changes are for any/all list pages you view.
A few things that these changes imply
1) Neat and more usable design
2) Easy call for actions(@, dm etc)
3) Better spam detection(last tweet)
So, how do you find these new changes ?
Got to know about Social Gaming Summit 2009 from Twitter and was hooked on it immediately. The tweets didn’t come often but were pretty interesting none the less. Here’s a summary ala Twitter Style for those who missed the action in real and on Twitter.
You can also download the presentation here. Let me know how you found it
Ok, before I start. I am not sure about you but I love the title of this post 🙂
Despite beind sold err reminded weekly by @Mashable
I never really got FollowFriday and I don’t think I will. As Damien Basile puts it nicely
Let’s relate follow friday into offline terms. You’re at a party (I know, because social media is one big party) and someone walks in saying that everyone there MUST know Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane. Now that’s not exactly social is it? The person literally just disrupted the party to tell everyone who they SHOULD know. It doesn’t matter if you know the disrupter or not. What matters is that the disrupter decided that their opinion was worth more than yours. They didn’t think of you first.
this is, what it is. A real life equivalent of #FollowFriday and what follows would be(in a party)
1) Person ‘A’ announces/broadcasts to their set of friends to know a guy(actually a bunch of guys). Mind you it’s a generic broadcast message thrown out blindly and you can’t avoid it.
2) Person ‘B’ (who has a seperate set of friends) broadcasts to their set of friends to know a guy(actually a bunch of guys). Mind you it’s a generic broadcast message thrown out blindly and you can’t avoid it.
3) Person ‘C’ on receiving the broadcast from Person ‘A’ makes another broadcast to his/her set of friends to know a guy(actually a bunch of guys). Mind you it’s a generic broadcast message thrown out blindly to everyone and you can’t avoid it.
A ripple effect sets in where everyone in party forgets what they were talking and start making these broadcasts but that’s not it
4) Person ‘D’ thinks of this as a nice way to gain attention from someone they’ve been following(a bit better than @repling) so they make a generic broadcast to their set of friends to know this guy.
5) Person ‘E’ feels they need to return favor to Person ‘B’ who recommended them so he/she makes a obligatory broadcast to his/her set of friends to know Person ‘E’.
6) Person ‘F’ starts feeling leftout as everyone else is busy recommending people but nobody is recommending him so he makes a couple broadcasts to know x,y,z hoping to catch someone’s attention and get a ego massage err recommendation in return.
These are some of the things that happen when everyone in party starts recommending everyone else and in no time the party is a mess with loads of noisy reommendations doing rounds.
Coming back to the T-World, not everyone is happy with #followfriday
some people start taking #followfriday too seriously
and for some it’s added pressure/responsibility/obligation
A few questions for #FollowFriday junkies
1) Aren’t you following people you are for a reason? Aren’t they all interesting, useful or helpful ?
2) Why wait for a day to recommend people ?
3) Why recommend even a day after ? Or is there a deadline for recommendations ?
Love #FollowFriday or Hate it ? Tell us why
The invention of a tool doesn’t create change; it has to have been around long enough that most society is using it. It’s when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that the really profound changes happen.
Social Software has been around for quite a long time for us to ask the question “how has its use changed us” or rather “how is excessive use of social software changing us”. To crowdsource views , I asked this question on the social networks I use i.e LinkedIn,Kwippy, Twitter and Facebook. While a lot of people took the question in a different light and shared how is social media helping them etc, here are some of the interesting replies(network wise)
“While I was a very private and secretive person before, I’ve found that opening up on social media via non-threatening means has given me the ability to be more open in my real world relationships” – Shamoz Shah
” With increasing interaction over social media my faculty for thinking and rationalizing has increased. Because of my writings, discussions, posts I have a ready audience who interact. As a result of it I get motivated and write/discuss/post more and it’s a cycle. It has definitely improved my writing skills, thinking skills, rationalizing faculty (being open to various thought processes).
In negatives, I have become more reclusive because I am glued to my computer for more number of hours. Impacted on eye-sights (natural I suppose).
Thirdly, the anonymity provided by cyber-media and through certain Social Media sites, such as ‘fropper’ you tend to fantasies or possibility of personality distortion.” –Devasis Chattopadhyay
“I communicate more. Like now. It is good that this communication is non-intrusive and you have more choices to connect personally or professionally.” – Bama Ramesh
“The thing I noticed I started doing more and more, is to double check if I am not offending anyone with my replies / posts. I’ve learned that there are some quite sensitive topics, where it is not appreciated if you express yourself in a frank way, even if there is no purpose in attacking a certain group” – Ives De Busser
Sushaantu Mathur repeated the same thing – “Living an online life just makes you more accountable in public eyes”.
Shawn is right when he says “Social networks have lessened my patience a bit . Think about how fast information flies around the web and the speed at which we receive breaking news. When we’re plugged in, we’re able to get what we want almost instantaneously. I have to sit back at times and remind myself that many things in life don’t work that way”
“Bigger bags under my eyes!” – Mark Porter
“The evidence we do have from reliable studies is that social networking software is helping people become more social. The most active people on Facebook, for instance, are the most active socially in the “real world”. And as some of the answers on this page suggest, people who have social fears or difficulties are finding that online social networking is helping them overcome such issues.
Overall, it is clear to me that social networking software is a substantial help to people. It deepens existing relationships, makes people more social (not less) and helps individuals with social anxiety come to terms with their condition.
So, I’d encourage people to use it even more.” – Graham Jones
“My friends don’t tell me anything directly anymore. I constantly hear “Oh, you didn’t see my post about it on myspace?” and “Well, I invited you on facebook!” I can’t keep up, frankly.” – Tarasa
It definitely has. Soon there will be internet/social media rehabs! – Riputapan Singh
The virtual world has made me more real. I was in an island before, now i know of the ocean. – Harish Iyer
“Its ensured my ‘breaking news’ sources are not the newspapers or the websites anymore. Also, I am more clued into ur life” – Asfaq
To each according to their own, while for someone it’s about opening up more, for someone it’s about being more visible and ultimately more accountable. Here are a few inter related ways in which I think Excessive/Continued use of social software is changing us.
1) Increased thirst for knowledge:
The use of social software has not just helped us meet new people easily and regularly or stay in touch with old friends. It has made us more hungry for knowledge/information. Thanks to the exposure(over ?) of information on most social sites(think no of hyperlinks/update in your twitter/friendfeed stream) and various social pressures of sorts, most of us have become addicted to know more and more.
2) Increased Voyeurism:
Facebook Feeds and Twitter Streams are best examples of the increasing levels of voyeurism as a side effect of our increased usage of Social Software. People who replied to my question on various social networks, directly or indirectly touched upon this facet. It’s a lot easier to keep an eye on what’s going not just in one’s personal life but in their overall/complete life. The underlying principle of social networks is to keep people in your network updated about what you are doing. So not only your actions but those of your friends that invole you(for ex: you being tagged by someone) will be broadcasted to your entire network. Such things further fuel people’s voyeuristic tendencies. Whose single or whose relationship status just went to “It’s complicated” was never more visible or sought after.
3) Increased Sharing:
We might not realize this but due to easy of sharing and the culture(s) of most social sites, we are increasingly sharing more stuff with people in our online circles. Hyperlinks, songs, videos, pictures,news we now share pretty much everything that we get our hands on and like(dislike too in some cases). “Sharing anchors community”, while most of us don’t realize this consciously, we have a sense that sharing adds value(or gets you attention) and thus you’ll find more people over sharing than under.
4) Increased Transparency:
It is one of the interesting ways in which social software is transforming us. What started of as a small change with people starting to share more about themselves and other people, things they know has gradually raised our expectations to the level that we now demand more and more transparency/openness from our friends and others on the network as if it’s our right to know what they are upto. Not only this we now expect much more transparency from public organizations and governments.
5) Compulsive Broadcasting/Life Streaming: Everyone’s an exhibitionist
If you are active user of facebook, kwippy and twitter like me chances are you too might have those moments when you are out somewhere doing something and you think in terms of what should be a relevant status update for it. For ex: While watching a movie, I tend to think and come up with the most relevant update for this experience, which in a sense distracts me(as I divert my attention from the movie to say updating my Facebook Status that my friends can see) from the experience. That’s not it, this habbit of continously throwing up on the web what ever comes to your mind is a really addictive habit but not without any side effects.
6) More Social:
If man was a social animal before than he’s now become a social beast. There will be very few people who would feel/say that they’ve become less social after using social software because the whole set up is geared to make you socialize. You get social objects which act as ice breakers, you get automated updates on people’s activites and a lot more. It is really difficult for someone to not make new friends or to not get more involved with one’s existing friends.Friends of Friends are now a lot more discoverable and accessible thus adding more links to your network.
7) Bloated Egos:
“Social Media is all about your ego” casually remarks a friend and I won’t say he’s completely wrong. Being in the space for about four years now and you sorta know what works for Social Software and what doesn’t. It’s not just Twitter or Facebook ,every social site that you use or have used has some inbuilt features to let the system massage your ego(think featured users) or let other members of the system massage you(think testimonials by friends). Be it the follower count, number of retweets, number of comments and likes your posted items receive, it’s all a big boost to one’s ego. It’s human, whether you like it or not most people prefer sites/networks/people/lifestlye(online or offline) that massage their egos to those who don’t. I believe if there’s something called a threshold or default level for bloated ego then we’ve left it miles away as a result of excessive usage of social software.
8.) Rise of the Marketers:
You are a marketer deal with it. That’s indeed the case, with the tools we use and how we use them we all are much better positioned to spread the word about ourselves or our products. Though the scale at which we all do things may vary we all atleast are better equipped than what we were before social software.
These are some of the ways in which social software has changed us. How do you think has social software changed you ?
Despite being a cool service with a solid team behind it, I’ve always looked with skeptism at any talk about FriendFeed going mainstream. Before talking about FriendFeed or any other service going mainstream it’s imporant to be clear about what going mainstream really means.
Crossing million mark for number of users ? Regular mention of the service in mainstream media ? Presence of brands and celebrities on the service ?
To each according to it’s own, for some a service is mainstream if all their colleagues have accounts on it while for some a service is mainstream if national daily/magazines talk about it regularly but, for me the parameter that can help to decide if a serivce is mainstream or not would be by seeing what % of people who go online regularly( excluding the likes of those who check their emails only when someone informs them over phone about a new mail) are using it. While fixing an exact % would be a bit hard, lets say roughly that a service that manages to get 1/5th of the regular web users is mainstream.
Coming back to FriendFeed, a service started by Paul Buchheit(creator of Gmail and the guy who gave Google it’s Don’t be evil motto) . No matter what it means to people, for me FriendFeed is an aggregator for various social services, a mighty good one at that. For the uninitiated , it’s a service that lets you store and share your activites across various social platform. Be it bookmarking on delicious, uploading a picture on flickr or posting an update on twitter, FF captures it all and more.
Whether FriendFeed will go mainstream or not is just one part of the problem, if FF does go mainstream when will it happen being the other. If this post by TechCrunch and this traffic comparison with twitter are anything to go by,
the chances of FF making it big(at least in immediate future) are kinda bleak, here’s why
1) Friendfeed is catering to a need that isn’t really there yet:
For most people who are still learning their ways around blogs, nings, and ims, an aggregator like FF is not really a need yet. Don’t believe me ? Ask around. There are lots of reasons for this including the fact that most people aren’t on that many services that they need an aggregator, and not so interestingly using a service like FF increases the time needed instead of decreasing it. By opening another channel for my content I need to pay attention twice as much, which isn’t cool for many.
2) FriendFeed isn’t simple or intuitive:
Call me what you want but I honestly feel that the idea or the implementation(if it’s possible for such an app) isn’t for the simple minded. Getting people who can’t seem to get enough of poking or taking “what fruit are you quizzes” to start using FF is a mammoth task. Did I hear someone say, FF isn’t meant for them ?, that’s mainstream baby.
3) FriendFeed isn’t strongly positioned:
How a service is positioned in a segment/sub-segment is extremely crucial in determining if it will be BIG or not. The fact that it’s first in the game or that it doesn’t have to worry about other services stealing their thunder(traffic) is quite important in determing the course of action for its future. What features to add/remove, how to design/not design, what should be the core offering or target audience etc could be some of the difficult decisions if you have to look around before deciding anything. While FF might not agree but quite a lot of people think FF is trying to go Twitter way(at least in terms of looks) and in this pursuit might have hurt itself. The fact that after doing an upgrade users aren’t sure if the changes are useful or not tells a lot.
4) Information Overload:
Filtering might be the next cool thing but not for mainstream noobs. Look around, do you seriously think the guy sitting next to you or on the other side of Facebook/Myspace/Orkut would need to see what you are doing just on delicious and what your other friend is doing just on flickr, maybe that too with just a particular tag ? No, I don’t think so.
Most people (including me) stand a good enough chance to be overwhelmed by the amount of information that starts flowing on your home page. Now that you’ve invited the problem yourself, you are expected to fix it but either reducing number of people you want to subscribe or doing selective/service based subscription.
These are a few basic reasons why I think FriendFeed won’t be going mainstream in the immediate future.
What do you think ?