It happened yet again. Facebook saw yet another meme apparently meant to promote ‘Breast Cancer Awareness‘. When I logged into Facebook day before yesterday I was unpleasantly surprised to see some female friends put statuses like these
I was caught off guard and didn’t realize for a while and it got confirmed when I saw this
If you are a regular user of Facebook you might remember a similar meme that surfaced earlier this year. While this meme is apparently all about places where women would like to keep their *purse* and not where they’d like to *do it*, the last meme was about women sharing their *Bra Colour*. I’ll not get into the discuss if such memes actually help spread awareness about Breast Cancer or not but what interests me more is the the “how & why” of these memes.
One of the first Memes I encountered was during my early days of Blogging a few years back was probably “10 things you don’t know about me” or something similar. The sheer fact that a trend needs to grow viral in order to become a meme is an interesting thing and it is worth exploring what makes a meme a meme.
A meme is in a lot of ways like a viral (forward) email/sms as it has the essential elements required to sustain and grow itself. Going back to the ‘Made To Stick’ check list for an idea to spread, a meme should also have certain features for it to go viral. Ideally a meme should be
Simple (To ensure maximum participation. For ex: Colour of your Bra, Name of your first Crush)
Unexpected (One of the parameters for a meme is also how unexpected/weird/double meaning/out-of-the-ordinary it is. For ex: Where would you like to “whatever”)
Emotional (It should be able to elicit a connect emotionally. For ex: 10 Things you didn’t know about me, 5 Things I can’t live without etc)
Direct/In-direct call to action(A direct call like tagging people to do the same on their page/blog etc or an in-direct call to join them in the cause as in the case of Bra Colour meme)
Memes are a win-win situation for most users and the platforms(or the causes?) they spread in with users getting something different to talk/show off and the platform seeing more activity. However as someone interested in marketing I wonder if brands can leverage the meme phenomenon. Your thoughts?
that things started to fall into place. The info of this page (Electronics and Communication Engg. IIT Guwahati) reads
Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic. If you have a passion for Electronics and Communiation Engg. (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati), sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. You can also get us started by suggesting a relevant Wikipedia article or the Official Site.
Guess that says it all
Make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic (Regularly updated/active Content? )
Think of it, if there were to be a decently popular fan page(community page) on anything, say Yoga or Soccer then it would get updated regularly and would have tons of discussions going on it. This page on Soccer would have far more content than any other page on the same topic and it shouldn’t be difficult to guess the SEO juice it will derive and how advertiser friendly that page is going to be.
If you have a passion for Electronics and Communiation Engg. (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati), sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. (Wikipedia?)
Yes, another community driven page which could have a few administrators or content curators that’ll ensure that the activity on the community page is sustained.
So while everyone happily takes care of the content and discussions, facebook sells the ad space at a premium to advertisers and earns $$. That’s not it, to facilitate the creation of numerous community pages like the one on E &C IIT Guwahati, Facebook has started to automatically create community pages that are up for grabs and might be promoted via ads or news feeds in future.
So what do you think about this move by Facebook? Should Wikipedia be scared?
Update 1: There’s something more to the move by Facebook around Community Pages. Apparently they’ve started re-categorizing the generic pages(non brands/company pages) as Community Pages. Here’s an email I received about one of the pages I had created a while back
Clicking on the link(for mis-categorizing) leads here
Does this move worry all those who created pages around various social objects/activities? I think so.
Update 2 (1/5/2010):
While logging on to Facebook for the first time yesterday, I saw this notification
As expected Facebook is indeed on a big mission to turn all the information into community pages. So now all the interests, favorite shows, books etc in my profile are linked to their respective community pages.
Another social wiki in the making
Update 3 (23/8/2010):
Just saw this.
The community pages now also have a Wikipedia tab which pulls in all the information about the subject from Wiki. Let’s see how things shape up from here.
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 ?
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.
You know something isn’t write when #hiring is a trending topic on Twitter, especially when it’s Recession Time. That’s indeed the case. A quick click on the keyword confirms that, here’s what the search page of #hiring looked like
Out of curiousity I checked out the search page for the next trending topic i.e #tweemyjobs and here’s what I got
Yes, these two trending topics have been compromised/rigged/spammed and apparently there isn’t a genuine reason for them to be popular except for these bots. Also, if you take a closer look at the tweets here you’ll realize that the words contained in the kwip match the trending list, one for one. HOLY SHIT !! The whole trending list has been screwed badly. So as I write this post millions of users will be seeing the list of engineered topics spammed into attention. What this means is that it’s damn easy to turn the trending list upside down.
Thinking about this makes me wonder how come there aren’t any checks in place to catch hold of such things and control them ?
Not only this, there are other(un-related) people who also want to cash in on the eyeballs the trending topics get and to attain that goal they start using trending topics randomly in their posts to earn some extra clicks. For ex: the one’s here
We all love reading books and talking about them but at times we just cant get ourselves to read regularly or find someone to discuss the books we just read with. Keeping this thing in mind and kwippy’s wonderful conversational abilities, we’ve started a book club at kwippy. The concept is simple, a bunch of people mutually decide on a book, give it a read and share their views/opinions about it. The slight difference is that instead of discussing books in person, we’ll be talking about them online on kwippy. This will not only help us have better organized conversations but also to involve more people from across the world.
What better book to start the kwippy book club than Milan Kundera’s – The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
If you are into books, you are most welcome to join the book club. All you need to do is request for a kwippy invite here and start following the conversation thread mentioned below. In case you want an invite for kwippy, you can also drop a comment below
Warning: The content below might hurt your sensibilities as a Twitter Addict.
Twitter is the most popular microblogging service out there and saying its users swear by it would be an understatement. There are undoubtedly very few services in this space(or any other) that are this high on customer love and even fewer services which have an entire industry surrounding themselves.
There was a time when Twitter was experiencing major issues staying up/running and there was a spurt of other alternatives with some offering new features all together or some simply adding features that some Twitter users always felt should have been a part of the system, but none of them really caused a mass exodus and Twitter is now back with a bang and is growing like crazy.
Being a Twitter user myself and a passionate social media enthusiast I’ve always wondered what really makes Twitter click. Being the first kid on the block, being simple and neatly designed, getting attention from early adopters is all critical to get a service started but to keep it going is another ball game. Many other services in this space or other have most or all of these pre-requisites but Twitter offers something at which others aren’t any where close. Yes, I am talking about the “Ego-Massage”. Nothing works in web 2.0 like the Ego-Massage(EM). The more you offer(or happen to offer) it the more you’ll find your users going head over heels for your service.
While it cannot be said with certainty if the emphasis on EM was their right from the start or it picked up some time later or its all due to various 3rd party tools but its for sure one of the unconscious reasons that makes people stick to twitter, talk and care about it a lot. Lets see how it works.
1) Follow not Subscribe:
Let there be Followers
In Twitter if you have subscribed to someone’s updates you are following them and in the same way if someone has subscribed to your updates they are following you. Functionally they might mean the same but both words have way different associations, while subscriber is a neutral word a follower is certainly isn’t. 100 followers is not quite equal to 100 subscribers or 100 friends for that matter. Who cares about friends if you have followers ?
2) Follower Count does Matter:
Don’t believe anyone(leaving maybe Louis Gray) who tells you they are not bothered by their follower count or they are just interested in people they follow not the one’s who follow them.
This is the reason why there are numerous articles like this telling you how to have more followers on Twitter but hardly any on how to have more friends on Facebook or articles like this which highlight the pressure one feels to follow back their followers which basically is derived from the pressure to keep them pleased and ultimately keep them chained. While there were people loosing sleep over a drop in follower count(organic or courtesy twitter) some one saw an opportunity and thus there was Qwitter . A service that informs you every time some one un-follows you and the last tweet you posted before they un-followed . So now you can question people who unfollow you, seek reasons, introspect your tweeting and a hell lot more. The stage is set for an endless game.
Having lots of followers is one thing but what’s the point if you cannot carry the follower count as a crown and show rest of the world ? That’s what folks at twittercounter were smart enough to realize and their usage stats confirm this (In total we generated 171,281,809 counters since we started tracking). Hundreds of thousands of blogs now sport these.
3) Tools that Further Inflate your ego:
As if having a huge(and portable) “follower” count was not sufficient for one’s ego, somebody came up with Twitter Ratio. So now its not just about how many followers you have its also about your Twitter Ratio i.e follower/following ratio. Those who need constant ego massages can be found tirelessly indulging in maintaining( or should I say increasing) their Twitter Ratio .
Since more is always merrier especially when it comes to ego boosting we also have twitterholic . So what if you can’t be a topper when it comes to follower count or twitter ratio. You just might be a topper or a top Twitter user from your region, which most certainly adds to the ego.
Want to know you Twitter Influence ? You can apparently do that too, here
Whether you are own a company or love a product. Tracking what’s being said about your company, that product or even yourself on the web is quintessential. Quintessential because listening is the first step when it comes to using social media. Listening to what people(both users and nonusers) are saying about you amongst themselves is one of the most important ways to get feedback for improvement and this feedback is mostly genuine and frank and thus critical.
Here’s a list of tools/services that I use to track the buzz for kwippy
1) Google Alerts: Google alerts offer an easy and simple way to track what’s being said about something. To create an alert
a) Provide your search term.
b) Choose a type. You can choose from web, news, blogs, groups, videos and comprehensive. Comprehensive includes web, news and blogs.
c) Choose how do you want the alerts, via email or feed.
d) Choose how often do you want the alerts, as it happens, once a day or once a week.
2) Friendfeed Search: Friendfeed is an aggregator which supports more than 35 services including Flickr, Google Reader, del.icio.us and GetSatisfaction. A search on FriendFeed can tell if someone shared/bookmarked a blog post about your company or product or asked a question on GetSatisfaction and much more. Here’s a sample search query for FriendFeed search.
3) Twitter Search:
Twitter’s search is a great way to checkout what’s being said about your company/product in the twitter world REAL TIME. What’s even good is the fact the they also offer atom feeds for the search results which you can take home and play with. Friendfeed search and Twitter search will give you some repeats as some people integrate their Twitter account with their FriendFeed account. Here’s a sample search query for Twitter search.
4) Kwippy Search: Using Kwippy’s search you can track the buzz around you company/product on kwippy. Friendfeed search and Kwippy search will give you some repeats as some people integrate their Kwippy account with their FriendFeed account. Here’s a sample search query for Kwippy search.
5) BackType Alerts: Backtype is a service that helps you organize your comments that are scattered across the web. Using BackType alerts you can track what’s being said about your company/product in the form of comments. Checkout the alerts page here. Thanks louis for sharing this
We’ve covered tools for web, blogs, news, aggregators, twitter, kwippy and comments. These should be enough to keep you busy but if you still get time and want to go deeper you can try searching other platforms like rejaw, lifestream.fm , identi.ca and more.
This is not it, the sweet part is that you can use these tools in a myriad of ways. For example you can
1) Integrate atom feed of your Twitter search results to kwippy and follow them over your gtalk as mentioned here 2) Integrate your Google alert feeds with kwippy and follow them over your gtalk as mentioned here
3) Get your twitter search results emailed by using tweetbeep
If you’ve been using any/all of these tools, would love to know your experiences.
Twitter’s Track feature was one of the features which could easily classify as the “Holy Grail” of microblogging. Ever since it was released people loved it and couldn’t get enough of it. Tracking keywords that you care about and getting tweets containing them on your IM(and mobile) was simply terrific. But then like all the good things Track too came to an end. Folks at identi.ca tried doing track but that too ran into some issues and thus had to be taken down.
For those who’ve missed tracking twitter on their gtalk there’s a good news. We at kwippy have found a way around to track twitter via gtalk, just like before. So be it your field of interest, the film you like most or simply your name, now you can get notifications on your gtalk everytime somebody mentions them on twitter.
How it works ?:
Summize/Twitter search gives an atom feed for search results which can be integrated to kwippy, which has the ability to send updates/kwips via gtalk. Which means everytime the feed gets refreshed with new search results
the people who are following the user on gtalk will get the kwip.