From the category archives:

More Emerging Technologies

Wired calls it a trend: notebooks with service plans

by Jason Preston on December 16, 2008

Blogging has done a lot to extend the idea of mobile technology. The desire (and growing ability) for people to post from anywhere about anything has led to technologies that happily support the blogger addiction—for a small fee.

I predicted a few years ago that laptops would be sold in the future with cell-phone like data plans attached. After all, the gap between the phone and the computer is getting smaller and smaller as technology moves forward.

Wired has called it the next netbook trend. On the one hand, I think it’s cool that we’re seeing more modular connectivity, and it’s going to open a whole world for bloggers and small business people to be on the move while keeping track of their blog.

On the other hand, it’s a bad pricing model for the consumer.

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Three Four Great Articles About Facebook

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 24, 2007

Every morning, I go to my RSS reader and pull out a few tasty chunks of content: usually about ten out of 500 or so items. I open each in a tab in my browser, then I go through the list and decide what to do with each of them.

This morning, three of my nine tasty content chunks were about Facebook. And I decided that I should post them here:

Update: Whoops! I forgot to list Dave McClure’s insight: it’s the feed, stupid!

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What Features Would Make Facebook Groups More Powerful

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 23, 2007

Jeremiah Owyang asked his Twitter network this late last night.

I’d like to be able to import RSS feeds and post items to a group’s page. Sharing content with people who share your interests is one of the best features of Facebook and it should be extended to interest groups.

What features do you think Facebook should add to groups?

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Quality Over Quantity: How to Build Your “Friend” Network on Facebook

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 22, 2007

When I was first getting into social networks, I noticed that a lot of people I knew had hundreds, even thousands of “friends.” I asked one girlfriend about how she knew all those people and she explained that a lot of them were just random strangers. This was especially true on MySpace.

Apparently, the number of people you count as cyber “friends” is a metric of your popularity. For many, it’s a manifestation of the same phenomenon that leads people to conduct smear campaigns before prom court is announced in high school.

Having never been terribly popular in school — hard to believe, I know, but true — I was pretty much oblivious to this phenomenon. Until recently, the only people I was friends with on Facebook were folks that I had met in real life. Since then, Robert Scoble has convinced me that it’s alright to friend — it’s a verb now — all comers. It’s a good way to reach out to your readers. Robert uses his Facebook as a hub to organize the copious content he produces all over the Web.

This raises a lot of questions about privacy and control over personal information. But those issues aside, it also brings us back to the hyper-friending phenomenon:

How many friends do you really need? Don’t the quality relationships matter more?
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Tracking the Influence – the Conversation Index

by Jason Preston on August 22, 2007

white paperA few days ago (I know, I know, I’m late to the party again. I prefer to say “fashionably late”…) Jeremiah posted a link to a white paper (PDF) he co-authored, titled Tracking the Influence of Conversations. It covers a lot of important concepts about measurement online, and how metrics are going to change—how they must change—going forward.

It’s well worth a read, especially if you’re new to the scene.

Going through the list of “important attributes” the panel came up with for measurement, I was unsurprised to note how many of them were in many ways completely nebulous. How do you track relationships? or relevance?

One of my favorite ideas is Stowe Boyd’s “Conversation Index,” which is a concept that’s very familiar to me. I started blogging in 2001 on LiveJournal, and on LJ there were two ways to figure out how important someone was: the ratio of friends (so, how many people read you vs. how many people you read) and the ratio of comments (how many comments have you made, how many have you received).

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Facebook is not always a waste of time

by Jason Preston on August 20, 2007

The Sydney Morning Herald proudly proclaims Facebook to be an office time-waster that costs Australian business $5bn annually:

Richard Cullen of SurfControl, an internet filtering company, estimates the site may be costing Australian businesses $5 billion a year. “Our analysis shows that Facebook is the new, and costly, time-waster,” he said.

The report calculates that if an employee spends an hour each day on Facebook, it costs the company more than $6200 a year. There are about 800,000 workplaces in Australia.

Needless to say, that’s playing fast and loose with the numbers. Of course the article goes on to quote Office Space-like employees who “averaged about 15 minutes of work per day,” (though, interestingly enough, this particular person doesn’t credit Facebook for her off-time).

Internet time-wasting is no doubt something that’s here, and should be kept in check, but this story smells a little bit like hyperbole to me.

Yes, there’s unproductive time spent on Facebook. Of all the social networks, it is the most college-oriented, and college is famous for nothing if not procrastination. But experiments have shown that a little bit of time spent engaging on Facebook can lead to some incredible ROI, or some great community and awareness building.

If you’re in the business of having customers (get it? that’s everyone), don’t be so quick to write Facebook off as the devil. If your team is on Facebook, chances are your customers are, too. Don’t throw that connection away if you don’t have to.

If you’ve ever spent some constructive time on Facebook, leave a story or a link in the comments (I know you’ve got at least one, Jeremiah).

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More Facbook news: feeds are popping up and and content is popping out

by Jason Preston on August 16, 2007

facebook feedsBoth Dave Winer and Fred Wilson are celebrating the first signs of an open Facebook: feeds that let you subscribe to Facebook content from “the outside.”

As people have wisely cautioned, however, a little access to feeds doesn’t mean that the platform is “open” yet, nor is it likely to be as open as some would like in the near future. But it is a sign that the people running Facebook are still trying to make something that people can use, instead of something that traps them into it.

On the internet, being able to use something means being able to pair it with as many of the hundreds of other services out there. Facebook status messages and Twitter. Facebook tags, Technorati Tags, FlickR search. The list goes on.

I’m interested to see what happens as Facebook grows more and more into a platform within the web (the web OS?), but in the meantime, I’m going to go subscribe to some feeds.

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Facebook Works to Keep Early Adopters Happy by Launching an iPhone Compatible Service

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 15, 2007

The social utility Facebook anounced today that iPhone users can quickly flip through their Facebook contacts in an EDGE-compatible, easy-view application at iPhone.Facebook.com.

The “geeky, soon-to-be-loaded executives of Facebook” — as Steven Levy so aptly called them in this week’s Newsweek cover story — may not always listen to their users. But with this newest development, they have hit a home run.

This move reveals the big strategy in Facebook’s effort to remain eternally relevant. They are trying to become the “Facebook Killer” rather than letting a new service come along and siphon off all their early adopters. To keep those early adopters — a.k.a. people who use Facebook and would spend $650 on a 1.0 phone from Apple — happy, they’ve launched a widget that will keep us engaged with Facebook longer.

Bravo!

Update: Here are some other sites with great insight on the Facebook for iPhone:

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Human Resources and Facebook: A Practical Application

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 14, 2007

We’ve got a “blogging for talent” session coming up at the conference this September. Social media and recruitment is a huge deal, but it goes way beyond blogging.

Here’s a great idea from ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett about how companies can use Facebook’s platform as a recruiting mechanism.

Cool stuff!

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What Kind of People are on MySpace vs. Facebook?

by Teresa Valdez Klein on August 14, 2007

Over the past week and a half, Steve and I have given several PRWeb sponsored Webinars on monitoring the online buzz via RSS. Toward the end of our latter two talks, I got into how you can bring your Google Reader shared items feed into Facebook with this nifty little widget by Mario Romero.

As soon as I started showing the inside of Facebook, a bunch of questions came in from participants who wanted to know all about the difference between Facebook and MySpace. I told them that they’d drilled down into one of my big biases, which is namely that Facebook kicks MySpace’s patoot.

It seems like every marketer and their mama wants to understand social networking systems. This is the main theme of the commentary on Sean Bonner’s great article responding to danah boyd’s article on the class differences between Facebook and MySpace.

[Please note that Bonner's article may not be entirely safe for work, or even open behind some office firewalls. This is because it's hosted at SuicideGirls.com, which purveys high-art pornographic images alongside social commentary and discussion.]

My short answer to our webinar attendees was that marketers are remiss not to have profiles on both sites. But I think that Facebook is stronger overall for business networking.

What do you think? Have you used MySpace or Facebook for business? What have the results been?

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