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New on datadirt: Rate reader comments

Many Facebook users have wished for a dislike-button. But the biggest social network on the planet obviously doesn't want to start click-fights for popularity: “If you love something, like it – if you don't let it go”. I'll try a different approach and offer you the full binary options aka the two basic emotions: I encourage all readers to use the new “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” symbols below every single comment to express their opinion:
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Guy Kawasaki says: Follow datadirt :-)

Today I met Guy Kawaskai who is currently in Vienna to give a keynote at Schloss Schnbrunn tomorrow. Thanks to Guy and Zmari – doing the interview was great! Guy is not only smart, but a very nice person as well. I'll edit the video next week and upload our complete talk by the end of the week.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/6504946[/vimeo] Read more

Welcome to the new server!

My old rootserver has done a great during the last two years, but since more and more visitors are interested in my ramblings, it was time for an upgrade :mrgreen: I rented an Intel Quadcore with 8 Gigs of RAM at Hetzner (a relatively cheap and very reliable German provider) – this should do for the next couple of month!

During the last weeks there were a couple of downtimes due to server-overload – things should work fine again now. Thanks a lot to Gerald who helped me with setting up the new Apaches – and thanks to you, dear readers, for your growing interest. I'll keep my postings interesting and as always: feedback is highly appreciated!

The Twitter Auto-Follow accounts list…

The Twitter Auto-Follow List …is deprecated. When I started this project a couple of months ago, Twitter was in its early stages and far from being as spam-flooded as now. While the system worked perfectly for a couple of month, at some points more and more users began turning off the auto-follow feature as an increasing number of spam accounts became more and more annoying. Keeping in mind the current state of Twitter, such an auto-follow list doesn't make sense any more, so I decided to remove the list.

But the increasing success of Twitter did not only show us the downsides of tweet-spam but also produced a couple of very interesting mash-ups. In the Last weeks I found out that TweetLater Pro's brand-new “FriendFinder” feature and Pretty Link Pro's Pretty-Bar are the two most efficient strategies if you want to increase your followers with targetted micro-bloggers and leave spammers and feed-accounts out in the cold. Take a look, TweetLater, an online-mash-up service as well as Pretty Link, a WordPress plugin for using your own domain as a URL-shortener, are available in free trial versions:

tweetlater-250x250prettylink-250x250

For historical reasons…

…I've left the old text online. Thanks for visiting – I'll keep a sharp eye on our favorite micro-blogging service and I will keep you updated about my experiences (by now I run one of the largest European accounts with more than 30k followers. Feel free to follow me; I don't auto-follow any more, but I take a short look at the timelist of all new contacts and follow back everybody who has something interesting to say:

twitter.com/datadirt

Like all web 2.0 services, twitter works best on a give-take (reciprocal) basis. That's why I am starting this list which will help you to build a lot more twitter followers much faster than you usually could, and it's a great way to promote your own account, too! There are a couple of services out there that offer an auto-follow option meaning that you automatically follow every new user who follows you. This is a list of such accounts – which basically means that all you have to do is follow those guys and you are sure to increase your twitter-followership very fast, which is extremely useful if you start new accounts. Update: I have a done a major update today (2009-04-26) and split the list into three sublists: English, German and other accounts. This will make the list a lot more usable as it keeps growing and growing. Also, I've added a mini-FAQ: please read and save you and me some time.

To make targeted following a little easier, I added a couple of additional info. Every entry consists of a link to the twitter account, three tags that specify the general topical field of the account and finally and optional language entry which only applies to twitterers who are not tweeting in English. Being part of this list of course means that you will gain many followers yourself – the longer this list, the greater the gain for all tweet-geeks involved.

We’re in the middle of a re-vamp here!

Thanks for your patience, I finally found time yesterday to finish my new blog-template. To me, this is much more than just some graphical brush-up: my aim was to closely integrate my “non-datadirt” social web activities, to unclutter the design and to build a lean, xhmtl-valid and fast-loading template suitable for videos as well as for longer essays. The result you're browsing now is far from finished, there are still some details which await tweaking.

For now I just wanna thank all coders, geeks and programmers out there: since I'm using wordpress (and that would be a couple years by now), browsing the plugin repository for new add-ons is like shopping in a free gadget story. I really admire those folks who turn a brilliant idea into a great and easy-to-use plugin! datadirt is not just the result of my own work, and I'm well aware that I'm standing on the shoulders of web 2.0 giants. I'll try to give something back by reviewing some of these great plug-ins. And I wanna send out a very special THANK YOU SO MUCH! to Matt Mullenweg and the whole WordPress Crew and to all fellow bloggers from whom I learned so much – especially Jeremy Shoemaker for his great and inspiring postings and his insights on the web.

btw: This was really a hard one for me: I'm not a designer, and usually I'd simply hire a specialist for this delicate task, but since this is my own blog, I wanted ultimated control over the code (that's a real time-saver when you constantly add some bells and whistles) which meant that I had to do this myself. Frankly, I'm quite happy with the (temporary) results, and of course I'm very eager on your opinions. So pls let me know what you think about datenschmutz 3.0.

Microblogging-Ad-Time: Magpie sells tweet attention

mplogoAs social media services grow, they become more and more interesting for advertisers. Magpie, a brand-new “twitter advertising network” (and in no way affiliated with the RSS-parser library bearing the same name) is offering tweepers money to embed spam ads in their timeline. This sure was unavoidable, but at first glance, the European-based network is doing a pretty nice job.

Since I'm an online entrepreneur, I'm naturally very interested in new ways of monetizing my social media activities – but I would never recommend any service which I'm not a fan of, which ultimately leads to the one requirement that any ad network *must* take serious: I want control over the messages I'm sending out – whether to my followers on twitter or as banners on my blog. And Magpie takes this factor into consideration: every paid tweet can be pre-approved before it is sent out.

Psychologically, Magpie is doing quite a great job: new twitterers are encouraged to enter their username, based on which Magpie displays the amount which “could be earned” – I guess that this is a pretty rough and very optimistic approximation, since the systems tells me that I could make nearly 2.000 Euros a month. The tutorial video explains how the exchange of attentions actually works:

And how does it *really* work?

The sign-up process is really simple – advertisers need to apply for a dedicated log-in, twitterers have to deal with the ol' trust problem: Magpie requires them to enter their passwords; I hope that an authentication-token is on twitter's top priority list.

  1. You define a tweet frequency at which you will accept magpie-tweets for your Twitter account. Given your current tweet rate permits it, our service will try to find a matching magpie-tweet and twitter it. For maximum control, you'll be asked to pre-approve magpie-tweets.
  2. To help your followers recognize magpie-tweets, you can define a custom disclaimer which we'll happily append or prepend to all your magpie-tweets.
  3. Depending on the compensation model of each successfully delivered magpie-tweet you will be rewarded in cash.

That's pretty much all there is – and since the publisher's terms and conditions do not require you sell your soul to any kind of devil, I became curious and signed up, as it is possible to pause one's account at any time. I'm really curious if Magpie will be able to turn tweets into bling-bling or if users will rejects ads at all. This is what the dashboard looks like:

mpdash

You have to be aware though that Magpie is discussed quite controversially: While Marshall Kirkpatrick senses dark-side qualities and Dave Fleet feels abused, Studio Rizzn explains the truth about “evil Apple”.

What about the earnings?

Magpie is using PayPal, you have to earn at least 50 bucks to qualify for your first virtual paycheck. Besides from intercultural gaps (European users tend to be a lot pickier about commercial tweets and US citizens), I guess that Magpie's success will largely depend on the advertiser pool: if they offer enough interesting contents and manage to successfully pitch their system to the right advertisers, this could be huge. I'll try Magpie for the next two weeks and keep you updated, or you might want to start your own experiment: Sign up for Magpie

datadirt updates via twitter: @datadirtrss

dsrss-twittericon_biggerI'm not too big a fan of mixing personal twitter accounts with automated postings, so I set up a dedicated twitter account for this task. If you prefer to receive datadirt postings via tweet, just follow @datadirtrss. Of course I'll continue to use my personal acccount @datadirt for manual updates, while the frog-bot will send out automated updates via the new account.

Of course I set the profile to auto-follow – by the way, let me remind you of the twitter auto-follow accounts list, which keeps growing and gives you some instant followers (which is especially useful if you're starting a new twitter account and want to “polish” the numbers a bit: it's a psychological issue, as most users won't follow an account which has less than 10 followers).

If you run a WordPress blog and want to set up your own posting-bot, this is what you have to do:

  1. Set up a fresh twitter account.
  2. Optional: use tweetlater to set up account automation. (I highly recommend auto-follow for bot-accounts!)
  3. Optional: Upload an avatar, adjust the twitter colour settings and design your own background – you'll find plenty inspiration at twitterbacks.com.
  4. Install Alex King's Twitter Tools on your blog. The plugin automatically sends a tweet every time a new post goes live. (Optionally, you can can also use Twitter Tools to post an entry every time you send out a tweet and/or show the latest tweets in your sidebar.)
  5. Actually, there's no fifth step – but you need some followers, right? At this point you should think about how you can promote your new twitter-bot on your blog. Usually, it's a good idea to place a button in your sidebar.
twitscreen

So good luck with all your twitter endeavours – seems like building an additional traffic stream always pays off!

PS – Note to twitter-spammers: I realized that many accounts follow fellow tweeters who have their account on auto-follow. After waiting till they receive the follow-back love, they quickly unfollow. I regularly (about twice a month) go through my “following” list anyways – I simply used to kick out the bottom-feeders, but since many are trying more than once, I've started blocking everyone who unfollows me quickly after the follow. And I urge you to do the same if you want to keep your account clean.

Best/worst gadget: Carnival elongation till 31st of January

6fireAbout two weeks ago I started a blog carnival on the Best and worst gadget of 2008. Since a couple of bloggers didn't yet have time to finish their entries, I'm extending the deadline: the carnival now ends on the 31st of January. So if you want to come aboard, you can enter your posting until next Saturday. Obviously, not everything that glitters is gold – or even silver. But let's face it: the web 2.0 revolution has turned us all into beta-testers. But geeks usually love do-it-yourself attitudes anyways :mrgreen:

Thanks to everybody who has already entered a posting – I'm looking forward to the rest of the entries, next week I'm going to publish the results. This blog carnival will be held yearly in the month of January; after all, gadgets are geeks' favorite toys. And since first-generation-users are very likely to become beta-testers, there'll be plenty stories to tell.

This weekend: moving datdirt to a new server

I'm very happy that the number of visitors is constantly increasing on my English blog; during the last weeks, the site's overall performance has drastically decreased, so I will move the blog to a new server this weekend. Expect a few hours of downtime – currently, my sys-admin is working on setting up the new server. Thanks for your patience – things will speed up here, starting tomorrow – I promise! :mrgreen:

Blog-Carnival: Best and worst gadget 2008

6fireA new year has just started and I'm happy to invite all my readers to datadirt's first blog carnival: I'm curious about the new hardware you bought during the last year. Which shiny piece of technology is your favorite gadget, and which not-so-shiny one disappointed you? Feed the inner geek, write about satisfaction and disappointment. I'm sure that most of my readers experienced both scenarios, so let's just share them and spread the knowledge :mrgreen:

Note: This carnival is also available in German on datenschmutz.net

This blog has received a nice 5 during the recent page rank update, so I'm more than happy to give some link juice back. The entrance is wide open: chose anything that might qualify as a “gadget”.

Rules: There are no rules – except for the fact that I will list all entries on this blog when the carnival is over, so please keep me updated about your entries either via trackback or via comment. The best/worst gadget 2008 blog carnival starts today, 12th of January, and ends in two weeks on Sunday the 25th of January.

I'm really looking forward to your entries – here's my best and worst gadget selection:

My favorite gadget of 2008: Terratec 6fire USB

I'm quite satisfied with my new Samsung syncmaster screens, I love my Energy CB20 speakers and there's plenty more gadgets that come to my mind. But there's definitely a highlight: my new external soundcard Terratec 6fire USB is perfectly equipped for my needs and offers excellent sound quality. 6 analogue ins plus 6 outs in combination with the XLR microphone plug (including a switch for 48V phantom voltage for studio mics) guarantee versatility for all home-studio and podcasting needs.

The driver is stable (I'm running Vista64), the ASIO-latency is extremely low and the simple yet powerful software allows free routing of all available channels. Very good value for money – at Amazon, the soundcard ships for about 200 Euros. I don't dub my vinyl, but thanks to the routing-per-channel features the 6Fire easily qualifies for digital djs and home-producers. Cinema freaks don't need to switch soundcards, there's a digital 5.1 out as well.

My worst gadget of 2008: Logitech Z-10 speaker system

z10Combining amplified speakers with a slick and elegant touch-screen display sounds like a brilliant idea – in theory. But I do not even want to know about the fun Logitech's engineers had when declaring this piece of unfinished work: “Hey, we know that the touch-screen is not working well – who cares? There is not API or software anyways.” But that's not even the worst part: the speakers use USB to transmit music, which is not such a bad idea after all for laptop use, but the big big problem is this: as soon as the speakers are connected, every kind of internal or external soundcard is deactivated. Now ain't that great? I tried using the line-in, which renders all the additional touch screen functions useless and decreases the sound quality quite much. Since the product is way too heavy to qualify as a mobile laptop speaker, there's not much us for the Z-10 in my opinion. The sound is not that bad for speakers of this size – but the money is much better spent on a pair of JBL control speakers.

But now for your gadget-stories of 2008. Looking forward to your postings!

Welcome, dear new follower!

I recorded this 1-minute introduction video for all my fellow tweet-geeks: micro blogging is great, and it's even more fun if you can put a face to the name. So this is how datadirt (that would be me) rolls:

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ritchieI am a blogger and online consultant, but neither a lawyer nor a financial expert. Any kind of legal or finanical advice I might be giving on this blog is solely the result of my personal experiences. Always do consult an expert before making my rants and raves the foundation of your decisions.

Just to be on the safe (and realist) side you should furthermore assume that there is an ulterior motiv behind each and any outgoing link I put on this site – and that I, in some way or another, will benefit from it. It's generally a good idea to question *everything*. Gather information from various sources, come up with your own ideas, thoughts and opinions. And please, don't be ridiculous and trust some st00pid geeky blogger you've not even met yet.

~ritchie pettauer aka datadirt~

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