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Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 26/2009

“Welcome to the world of tomorrow!” No, that's not right. Let me try again: “Welcome to the world of the last seven days!” That sounds better! There's a lot to show-and-tell, so without any further ado, let's jump straight into last week's social media news.

The Future of Facebook

There's been a lot of talk about Facebook's future last week. Regular Geek views the new multiQuery API plus the profile search as two important steps in opening the walled garden:

There is a very strong feeling from developers that a closed system like Facebook cannot succeed. While I tend to agree that a completely closed system will have difficulties, Facebook has slowly opened up little by little to a decently open system. They still have some work to do before they become as open as Twitter, but the foundation has been started.

And Copyblogger, even goes a step further in explaining “How Facebook kills SEO”:

But the rise of Facebook creates a growing segment of the web thats completely invisible to search engines – most of which, Facebook blocks – and can be seen only by logged-in Facebook users. So as Facebook becomes ever larger, and keeps more users inside its walled garden, your web site will need to appear in Facebooks feeds and searches or you will miss out on an important source of web traffic.

ReadWriteWeb looks even further into the future. My guess is that scenario 4, “distributed social networking”, has a huge potential, and Google wave might give this a huge boost:

The next step after Facebook may be no social network in particular at all – it may be social networking as a protocol. A set of standards that let you message, share with and travel to any social network you choose. Suddenly all the social networks have to improve because they are competing on quality of service, over customers that have free will and are able to leave at any time.

From blogging to lifestreaming?

Blogging is dead – that's what they've been saying for a couple of years now. But is lifestreaming here to stay? Of course a social media feed is a welcome guest on many sidebars, and the time budgets are indeed shifting:

It seems as if blogging is becoming old hat, or at least evolving into something smaller, faster, and more portable. Im with Louis Gray, Im not going to give up my blog, instead, I think of it as the hub of content, and the rest of the information I aggregate (notice the Twitter bar up top and the Friendfeed integration below). To me, joining the conversation is certainly important, but it doesnt mean the hub (or corporate website) goes away.

19 Twitter apps compared

Mashable compares 19 twitter clients, from pro-dream-machine to keep-it-simple:

Now that Twitter is older than a toddler, you have a variety to choose from. From apps for groups, Mac and PC specific clients, and apps that let you do a whole lot more than tweet, you can use this guide to help you find the desktop client thats right for you.

And just in case you don't know what to do with these clients, take a look at his Mashable posting on twitter strategy..

The matrix tie-knot

I found Henry's video on Lifehacker – this one should make many Matrix fans quite happy:

If you're a very sharp-eyed fan of Matrix movie trilogy, you'll recognize the knot captured below as a rare specimen sported by “The Merovingian.” The knot itself didn't originate with the movie, and isn't rightfully named “The Merovingian Knot,” but the Ediety Knot. Still, it's nearly impossible to find any reference to it independent of the movie, so let's just keep the Wachowski-an etymology for now.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA-n2xkYX6s[/youtube]

It took me a couple of tries and my knot is still not perfectly symmetric – but I must say: great video-tutorial!

The cost, the pay-off, the quickie

The Cost (and Payoff) of Investing in Social Media sure is an impressive title. So there's no need for actual arguments, especially when the introduction acts as a series of climaxes:

But is social media right for your business? Could it be a free substitute for a traditional (read: expensive) advertising plan? How much time should be spent in the care and feeding of all those profiles? The answers may surprise you.

It sure did not surprise me – actually, I'd have guessed that the answer would be “maybe”. But one thing I do know for sure: SM strategy (read: social media. don't read: Sado-Maso) is not a series of quickies and requires careful analysis and planning. So this is probably one of the dumbest quotes I've read in a while:

Time is money, but Weathers says it's all about how you manage it. “Previously wasted down time like sitting in taxis for 20 minutes or standing in a bank line for 10 minutes is now spent on my mobile phone, bouncing between Twitter and Facebook. It's getting easier and easier, and for branding an entrepreneur, I think it's golden.”

While writing the occasional tweet on your way to the airport or answering Facebook messages via Smartphone-client is a great time-killer for geeks, this is not what social media marketing is about.

btw: bad, bad entrepreneur.com! Using a javascript that dangles with the contents of the clipboard when copy-pasting is just… not a good thing.

Most WordPress Themes suck!

And it's Blair Williams who claims that – author of the mighty and highly acclaimed Pretty Links for WordPress. Now we all know that good looks are sometimes sufficient for a night of fun, but if you're thinking about a long-term relationship, there are plenty not-so-visible factor to be considered: in the case of a WordPress template comment formatting, landing pages and many more are among these. In his post, Blair outlines the 10 most common issues with WordPress templates – definitely worth a look if you're thinking about switching!

I'll think a theme looks clean, beautiful and professional then I install it, have a look under the hood and realize that it has fatal flaws.
This really makes me wonder how many people are slaving away on their websites and blogs all the while their site is dying a slow death because of a WordPress Theme that they think is fine.

Brno comin' up

It's been a while since Sacha Baron Cohen shocked the world as Kastachstan reporter Borat. In his new movie he portrays a gay Austrian fashion journalist – I'm so looking forward to see this film – starting on 10th of July. The trailer is *very* promising:

Pic of the week

Man's Best Friend is the title of zedzap's bw-shot – very nice pic, no HDR this time :mrgreen:

hundewoche

Video of the Week

This movie has got it all: action, car stunts, daring love scenes… unlike the director of the latest Bond movie, Asim Varol did a great job:

And that's it – see you again next week! Thanks for you whuffies and never forget: comments and feedback make blog authors happy :mrgreen:

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Pownce shuts down – And the moral of the story?

pownce shuts downMicroblogging-platform Pownce announced its shutdown on 15th of December yesterday. The company was bought by Six Apart, the makers of Movable Type and TypePad. The team will continue to work for Six Apart on new projects – seems the company saw no light at the end of the infamous twitter-tunnel: while Pownce hat a couple of unique features to offer, the community never reached the critical size that turns microblogging-fun into a profitable business.

Pro-users who had to pay 20$ per year for premium features will be notified via e-mail, a new export features enables powncers to export their blog for future re-import into TypePad and/or WordPress, check the official pownce blog for details. My personal grief is strictly limited, as I wasn't a regular user. Why would I? Contrary to blip.fm I didn't see much value in maintaining a second microblogging account; Twitter is already consuming enough of my time. And I was not the only one to abandon ship:

I

Guest post by Kim de Vries: Your Friend has just tackled you

Kim de VriesBite, lick, or tackle them back, or click here to theorize about what this all means. I'm very happy to publish the first guest posting here on datadirt. Kim De Vries, who I met via Facebook, wrote a very interesting paper about the symbolic kind of communication we all know so well from social networks like Facebook. “He who never superpoked shall throw the first rock” – enjoy the reading! Dr. Kim De Vries is working at the California State University Stanislaus, you can reach her at kdevries [at] csustan.edu

Introduction

Though Facebook was initially the province of college students, it has become popular with a broad range of users since opening its door to anyone with an email address in September 2006. However, until very recently, most research on Facebook has focused on the student demographic rather than exploring how Facebook is growing into a massive online society that is inhabited by many different groups using Facebook in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. The academics studying Facebook generally join it and use it in order to observe students; now that more faculty are using Facebook outside the classroom, to organize events and to socialize, turning the focus to our own use of Facebook reveals that our own communities are being affected as well.

As of August 2008, Facebook is one of the most rapidly growing social networks, boasting 100 million active users, translated into twelve European and a growing number of Asian and African languages. The extent to which groups of people connected on Facebook can be defined as communities is highly debatable and a useful alternative has been suggested by Rieder and Sch

Twitter: cosmetic skin updates

While US, Indian and Australian users are still able to fully use twitter's great SMS features, European twitter fans dearly miss the fastest and most direct way to receive updates, a proven system that even works with a 10 year old mobile. I was pretty shocked about the seemingly impossible mission to find a partner for the European market, as one would guess that players like T-Mobile should actually be pretty interested in hugging twitter closely. And I don't believe that a few cosmetic design touches will make up for missing SMS support. I hope that twitter finds a way to enable short message service usage in Europe again, but on the other hand that's the best market-entry point for competitors, as long as they are able to offer SMS integration.

There's no doubt I like the new design – no major surprises in here, just a few investments into the future:

The most significant change you'll notice on the logged-in homepage (/home) is that we've moved the tabs that were on the top of the timeline to the right sidebar. We did this for a couple reasons. For one thing, it makes them larger targets and easier to access. But more importantly, it was an investment in the future. We plan to have more tabs, and we'd run out of room putting them along the top. This was the driving factor for this redesign, but you won't see all the benefits until a future release (hopefully, very soon!).

The completely unnecessary archive tab has been removed (finally – it showed exactly the same tweets that are listed on the personal profile page), some more Ajax is supposed to speed up page loading and the customizable design editor has evolved, featuring a couple of standard templates. The “fave” and “archive” icons have not disappeared completely, but they only become visible now when the mouse pointer hovers a tweet.

Like most power tweeters, I don't care much about those things – I don't know a single heavy user who is actually using the web interface, so the look of the skin is not really a big topic here. There's a large number of clients (from iPhone to Linux) available, and brilliant little pieces of software like Twhirl make twittering a lot more fun. I'm really curious about the new features, and I'm pretty sure the next release will not just be cosmetic one.

btw: Friendfeed bought some new clothes as well.

Get your very own Perpetuum Webile!

The social web is all about user participation, right? Well, maybe. Kind of. But the truth is that the web 2.0 these days is all about syndication: call it cross-, auto- or whatever-posting, feeds are running wild. Just take friendfeed: ff posts to facebook, twitter posts to facebook… soup.io, an Austrian Startup, also has nice and nifty auto-syndication features. The same can be said about tumblr. So what happens when you let these two mighty beasts battle, umm, I mean talk to, each other?

Would one achieve eternal RSS action Zen that way? Yes, it is that simple, actually – you don't even have to spend the best years of your live in a monastery:

  1. Set up an account at Soup.io, one at – and if you wish, one at friendfeed.
  2. Enter your tumblr username in soup.io's “external services” list, then enter the soup.io feed as an external tumblr feed. Optional: link both feeds to your new friendfeed account (rss sources).
  3. No third step, you're done: you just built your very own perpetuum webile!

What's going to happen? Let's say you post something on soup. It then gets repostet on tumblr, which again triggers a posting at soup which in turn… you get the point. And friendfeed documents it all. Ain't that great? Finally, the human factor has been eliminated from the communication formula. When I was a kid, one needed an analogue cam, a TV and a darkened room to achieve endless loop-back effects; the results were more vivid, and the visual far more interesting though than my perpetuum webile. I tried this, check it out:

perpetuumwebile.soup.io/
perpetuumwebile.tumblr.com
perpetuumwebile.tumblr.com

What really happens is rather boring though: after a couple of reposts the whole process comes to and end: virtual entropy is kicking in… no endless fun.

Can you think of any other such feedback-mechanisms? Of course I integrated my tweets, my friendfeed *and* my blog with my facebook accounts – now triple actions are swarming all around. A hash key as lowest common denominator could probably subdue the chaos – but for now let's rejoice and look forward to the age of machines that are almost as dumb as humans: a true scientific breakthrough.