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  • TechNest Report | TNR » Posts in 'Social Networking' category

    Facebook Buys FriendFeed, Gets Ready For Battle With Twitter


    Facebook has announced its acquisition of real-time social network site FriendFeed. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

    This is unmistakably a move to become more “real-time” and more competitive with Twitter. FriendFeed never caught on with the mainstream public like Facebook has, instead being used by passionate tech fans the world over. The social network was the first to deploy true real-time updates – which didn’t require a page refresh to update information. It did so all while maintaining a very clean interface. Sites like Facebook regularly “adopted” (read: aped) these features.

    As part of the deal, FriendFeed will continue to operate on its own and all FriendFeed employees will join the Facebook team. Most importantly, Facebook will be able to call on FriendFeed cofounders — ex-Google executives – Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit. As Facebook realized the true power of real-time networks (real-time search), it tried to acquire Twitter. That deal fell through.

    I expect FriendFeed to operate independently for the next six months to a year, at which point the stand-alone service will be discontinued and FriendFeed’s features be rolled into those of Facebook. To become more relevant in the land of real-time, however, Facebook will need to do much more on the side of mobility, giving users a bigger incentive to plug information into the social network on their cell phones. Currently, Twitter dominates that space, with an abundance of mobile apps for multiple mobile platforms.

    Full press release: Read more »

    Posted in Acquisitions, Business, Decisions, Facebook, FriendFeed, Social Networking, Start-ups, Web 2.0

    YouTube on the big screen? Say hello to YouTube XL

    youtube-logoYouTube has just released YouTube XL, which is YouTube – formatted for your big screen.  Over the course of the last few months, competitors such as Boxee and Hulu have been increasing the quality of their videos, with Hulu on Boxee on Apple TV (did you get all that?) seen as the ultimate set-up in streaming on-demand web video.  Today, YouTube has upped the ante with its aptly-named XL version. Read more »

    Posted in Cloud Computing, Entertainment, Redesign, Social Media, Social Networking, User experience, YouTube

    Frame test – DiggBar: how much traffic does the DiggBar frame steal from your site?

    digg-barThe sole purpose of this post is to test the effect of site framing.  Specifically, we are testing the DiggBar and how a website’s traffic is affected by it.  We will report openly to the web community with the results of this mini-experiment.  Please follow the guidelines below.  This is the only way our experiment can work and for the results of this test to be accurate (very important):

    1. If you are logged into Digg, please Digg this story and visit it through the DiggBar.  Don’t click through to the original.
    2. If you are not logged into Digg, click through to the original story without the DiggBar.  Then go ahead and log in.  Digg the story but don’t click through a second time.

    We are basing the baseline (constant) traffic that we should be getting on the amount of times the post gets Dugg.  For example: if the post is Dugg 100 times and fellow Diggers follow the above instructions, we should be able to tell how much traffic the DiggBar added/subtracted from overall site traffic.  So if we get 90 pageviews, it would means that 10 pageviews were stolen from us by the DiggBar.

    Just in case you were referred here through a different site (not Digg), here is the link to Digg this post:

    Why all the fuss?

    As we discussed on the TNR Podcast over and over again (as well as countless others in the industry) we don’t like sites that frame other sites.  So we’re putting our traffic where our mouth is and want to find out what effect frames have on overall site traffic.  Frames are the underlying technology behind website bars such as the DiggBar, the Facebook bar, and the Hootsuite bar.  We’re starting our experiment with Digg (being the most tech-savvy place on the web in our opinion :) ) ).

    Since this is an open experiment the results of which will be available freely to everybody, we will post them on Sunday, May 31st, 2009 on the home page of TechNestReport.com.  We will be using the above instructions as the baseline of the experiment and will be collecting traffic data using Google Analytics.

    Posted in Cloud Computing, Digg, Experiment, Exteme Geek, Featured, Numbers, Social Networking, Web design

    Feeling the web’s pulse: Twitter-related buttons replacing buttons from other sites and social networks

    twitter-digg-buttonsAs Twitter keeps growing in popularity, more websites are getting “Twitter friendly”.  Whether this is adding a follow me button or ways to Tweet out the content, the web is getting more “Twittified”.  But where is the real news, you might ask?  Well when you put it that way, nothing here is “news”.  However, I think it’s sometimes healthy to take a step back from the hugeness of YouTube, new search engine launches, and social network acquisitions and take a look at trends on the web.

    The fact that just two years ago, all the rage was to add Delicious and Digg buttons is evidence enough of how fast the web moves.  But you probably knew that already.  What’s interesting, though, is that Twitter buttons have begun to replace social buttons from other sites as the most prominent buttons on the web.  Now that is real change.  When your social network was all the rage two years ago but now it might not even get a button on blogs across the web, it’s telling of not only how quickly the web moves, but also how fickle the web is: people are ready to hop on to the next new thing and leave whatever it is they were using before.

    Twitter-related buttons can be prominently seen in many places on the web now, especially on blogs – where it’s easy to implement with plugins and embeddable code.  But let me emphasize one last thing: I’m not saying that Twitter-related buttons are replacing buttons from other sites.  What I am saying is that Twitter-related buttons are replacing buttons from other sites as the most prominent, top-most, brightest social button on the web.  Take TNR, for example: we have a fairly large ReTweet button right at the top of our posts.  Readers can still Digg, Reddit, BuzzUp, add to Facebook, and even email our posts (as well as many other services) using the ShareThis link on the bottom of each post, but Twitter takes center stage.  What service will take center stage two years from now?  Talk to me in the comments!

    Posted in Blogging, Social Networking, Trends, Twitter, Web design

    Twitter redesigns its “new follower” email with a perfect mix of beauty and functionality – what happens to Twimailer and Topify now?

    Last week, I was checking my bacn account on Yahoo! Mail and noticed that Twitter’s new follower email looked different.  The newly-redesigned email (pictured below) sent out by the ever-growing social network is a winner – both from a design and a functionality standpoint.

    For starters, the new email that left Twitter labs has Twitter’s logo on it (something the old email was missing – pictured below) as well as the familiar “cloud” background – which makes the message instantly identifiable.  On top of that, the email now includes a lot more useful information about your new follower: the amount of followers the user has, how many updates the user has posted, as well as the number of other Twitter users your new follower is following, are all displayed to the right of the user’s Twitter avatar.  Rounding out the newly-redesigned email is a link to the user’s profile, a link to block the user, and a link to turn off email notifications altogether.  All around, this is a much-needed update to Twitter’s new follower email notification. Read more »

    Posted in Cloud Computing, Decisions, Social Networking, Success, Twitter

    Apple Push Notifications: the ultimate Twitter-friend test

    A standard iPhone notification window

    A standard iPhone notification window

    Now that we know what’s taken Apple so long to roll out its Push Notification Service (PNS), we can begin to look forward to all the new functionality  it will bring to the iPhone.  One of the most disruptive features that the PNS will enable is the ability to be notified of Twitter updates directly through iPhone’s standard notifications – all courtesy of iPhone Twitter apps such as Tweetie, TwitterFon, Twinkle, or all the other Twitter clients available in the App Store (iTunes links).  What does this mean for iPhone-using Twitterrers?  It means that Twitter updates delivered via SMS/text message are a thing of the past.  It also means instant Twitter updates.  And herein lies the rub.

    Given that Twitter users follow more than a handful of other Twitter users, it would seem problematic to receive all the updates of different Twitterrers at the same time – especially if the Tweets are in the form of an iPhone notification – it would be like getting 20-30 text messages at the same time.  In fact, it can very quickly lead to information overload – which in itself can cause headaches, screams for desperation, and the much-feared technology addiction so many of us try to avoid.  In either case, instant push notifications to the iPhone will cause a big shift in Twitter usage – leading users to carefully select which Twitter users’ updates they would like to be notified of on their phone instantaneously.  And from then on, the usage scenarios will get very interesting and – dare I say – new: whose Tweets will I pick as a Twitter user to be delivered to me at any time?  Why will I pick that particualar Twitter user?  What is that perfect Tweet-to-notification balance for a Twitter to be on my instant-notification list?

    What’s so colossal here?  It’s not immediately apparent – but its the fact that Twitter users will now carefully pick whose updates are actually important enough to interrupt them throughout the day via an iPhone pop-up notification.  In that regard, I can see only a few Twitterrers per user being on this super-important “instant update” list and these users will have higher levels of interaction with those who get their updates.  The opportunities for companies and organizations to market real-time (such as last-minute promotions) is greatly increased as well.

    What do you think?  Will the ability to get instant push notifications of Twitter updates to your iPhone change your following habits?  Will you follow only certain people or will you allow only the updates of a few be pushed to you and thus give them the ability to interrupt you in whatever you’re doing?  Talk to me in the comments.

    PS: the ability to receive push notifications via the Apple Push Notification Service will save money for the user (no SMS charges to worry about) and Twitter (same here – only for outgoing).  The carriers are the ones to suffer here.  I know this last piece brings tons of joy to some.

    Posted in Microblogging, Social Networking, Twitter, iPhone

    BREAKING: MySpace undergoes major redesign; now ad-free

    myspace-logoUpdate: leaked screen shots of the new layout are below the jump

    In an unprecedented move, MySpace has finally listened to the many complaints of its users.  The social network site has completely removed ads from all of its pages! Instead it will now offer a new premium web experience.

    Each profile will consist of a sleek, un-customizable design that is ad-free.  The site has also begun the roll-out of a new “add-ons” section.  An interesting add-on that caught my eye allows you to listen to your profile comments though a voice mail-like service via a new 1-800-MySpace phone number.  Each user each will be provided with a unique call-in PIN to access the new service.  Moreover, using MySpace “Phony”, currently in beta, allows users to call their online and offline buddies for a real life chat rather than chatting through text.  In an effort to increase the usage of vocal chords, the service caps out at 140 spoken words that users can send to their MySpace friends.  This revelotionary service allows just enough words to keep your voice from going extinct. Read more »

    Posted in Cloud Computing, Common Sense, MySpace, Redesign, Social Networking

    Playing around with Plaxo Pulse

    I’ve been testing (more like playing around) with Plaxo Pulse – Plaxo’s social-networking/life-streaming service.  I added the Pulse feed/badge on the bottom of the left column and depending on how it goes, it might crop up to the top of the page.

    Plaxo now solves one big problem: life feeds.  It takes all the web feeds of online services such as Flickr, Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, Jaiku, and so many others, and consolidates them into one life feed.  This way, my friends don’t have to go to ten different web sites and services to see what I’m up to: they can just go to one.

    I heard Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur talk about a similar service – Friend Feed – on Net at Night (episode 45) and I just happened to come across Plaxo Pulse before giving Friend Feed a try.  I will do so soon.  Also, Plaxo still does the thing that it does well at its core: connects you with people in your address book.  It takes this info and syncs it back to your address book on the desktop and mobile.  And it does this for other PIM data like calendars, tasks and notes.  Come to think of it, Plaxo is doing everything really correct here: it leaves an online version of the apps and gives you the ability to sync them up and down to your desktop apps while sharing all of this PIM stuff with your friends and colleages.  

    In any case, this entire social networking aspect is new for Plaxo and I really like it so far.  I will be writing more about it after I explore it some more.  

    Posted in Social Networking, Software, Status Update, Web 2.0
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