Social software and online media

Analysis of social software, blogging, microblogging, and online media. Related subjects include:

February 9, 2008

The comprehensive guide to upgrading – or replacing – Twitter

Twitter is a rather new communications service, wildly popular in the technology blogging and podcasting communities. There are close to a million registered accounts or users, but I’d guess the active users number in the low-mid five figures. Even at that low usage, Twitter is on overload, plagued with outages and data loss.

Scaling Twitter is a huge challenge. Doing so will involve changing just about every aspect of what Twitter is. A number of commentators have suggested lesser fixes, but none that I’ve seen is apt to work. (Generally, they forget that UI options will need to change as usage grows.) However, I think I’ve come up with an approach that would indeed work, for:

The sections below cover:

Read more

February 5, 2008

Microsoft, Yahoo, and innovation

Bill Burnham argues that a Microsoft/Yahoo merger would drive down M&A prices. Marc Andreesen disagrees. His argument is essentially twofold:

  1. Microsoft and Yahoo were never more than a small part of the exit opportunity anyway.
  2. A merged Microsoft/Yahoo will be so slow-moving it will create more opportunities for competition than it destroys.

Andreesen certainly knows about slow-moving behemoths making wasted acquisitions; Netscape was acquired by two companies (AOL and Sun) that both dribbled away the parts they respectively acquired.* However, I think he and a lot of other observers are missing something this time — the Microsoft/Yahoo synergies are too large to ignore.

*The legalities of the merger were a lot more complicated than that, but in essence AOL got the “internet” piece of Netscape and Sun got the enterprise side.

Given the opportunity, here are some reasons I think integration would go a lot better than most people think: Read more

February 5, 2008

Sturgeon’s Law, and the future technology of social technology

Social technology has been hugely important to me since 1991. I met Linda on a Prodigy bulletin board. Blogging is crucial to my business. Mailing lists have led Linda and me to two vacations, most of our computer gaming, multiple TV shows (especially Buffy/Angel), and a whole lot of books. I find LinkedIn useful at times, and for the past few weeks I’ve been Twittering up a storm. My love life, work, and entertainment all are rooted in technology that gets people communicating with each other.

I’m not just saying that for street cred. My experiences also illustrate two important points – people use many different kinds of social technology, and social technology is very important to them. When you feel or hear negatives about MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog reading or whatever – those are indictments of particular services or technologies, not of online social networking in general. Read more

February 3, 2008

19 Microsoft/Yahoo synergies that could revolutionize the Internet

Many – perhaps most — commentators on Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo are thoroughly missing the point. The most interesting part of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo isn’t the horse-race retrospective “How did they screw up so much as to need each other?” It’s not the incipient bidding war for Yahoo. And it’s certainly not the antitrust implications.

The Microsoft/Yahoo combination could revolutionize the Internet. I’m serious. The opportunities for huge synergies might just be enough to blast the merged companies out of their current uncreative, Innovator’s Dilemma funks. Search is open for radical transformation in user interface, universal search relevancy, Web/enterprise integration, and just about everything to do with advertising and monetization. Email stands to be utterly reinvented. Portals and business intelligence have only scratched the surface of their potential. And social networking is of course in its infancy.

Here’s an overview of where some synergies and opportunities for a combined Microsoft/Yahoo lie. Read more

January 28, 2008

Forrester says 2008 is the year of enterprise social software

We all know how “The Year of X” kinds of predictions go. Still, when I read that Forrester Research says enterprises are ready to seriously adopt wikis and message forums, it made sense to me. Email threads — via Notes/Exchange or otherwise — aren’t doing the job any more. It’s time to go straight to communally-created web pages.

Personally, I think it’s also time to further replace email disasters, by having broadcasts over something like an enterprise version of Twitter. Clearly, enterprise Twitter would have to have a lot more tagging, group filtering, and automated censorship — ::sigh:: — than current public Twitter. But that all fits very well into the CEP-based architecture (or some near equivalent) that I believe to be the future of Twitter anyway. So would a complete integration between enterprise Twitter and point-to-point enterprise instant messaging.

January 8, 2008

A very fast splogger

The first post ever on Strategic Messaging went up at 2:49 am. Within four hours, I had my first splog trackbacks, all from the same site. The domain itself had just repropagated through DNS hours earlier, and had no incoming links other than Whois and the like.

Pretty impressive spamming. Not that it did him any good, of course, except insofar as he was stealing a bit of my content …

December 9, 2007

Russian chatbot apparently passes Turing test

Ina Fried reports of a Russian chatbot that sure sounds like it passes the Turing test. To wit (emphasis mine):

A program that can mimic online flirtation and then extract personal information from its unsuspecting conversation partners is making the rounds in Russian chat forums, according to security software firm PC Tools.

The artificial intelligence of CyberLover’s automated chats is good enough that victims have a tough time distinguishing the “bot” from a real potential suitor, PC Tools said. The software can work quickly too, establishing up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes, PC Tools said.

That said, threat reports from PC security companies are notoriously hyped, so I wouldn’t get too excited until there’s stronger confirmation. Read more

November 19, 2007

Beatblogging recognizes that communities take work

Beatblogging is a plan to let reporters build social networks out of their list of sources. On one level, that’s no different from setting up a forum to let readers post about stories. But of course there’s a big difference; the reporter is actively involved eliciting and acting upon content provided.

So I have a better, albeit immodest, analogy — Beatblogging is a whole lot like what I already do. Go to my search page and search on Olivier Jouve or Mary Crissey or Mike Stonebraker (most particularly) or Andy Astor or Bill Hobbib or Stuart Frost. You’ll find quite a bit of community participation from exactly the people who are my sources.

Could it be a lot richer than that? Sure. But these are busy people, watching what they say for marketing reasons, and in some cases competing directly with each other. It takes a fair amount of wheedling to get even as much out of them as I do. 🙂

Frankly, with all the blogs and home pages and so on people have today, I’m not sure there’s a point in building yet another destination social network. Fostering discussion on existing blogs and the like may make more sense. We’ll see.

November 7, 2007

The integrated marketing communications blog

Following up on a piece earlier this year, I just published a Monash Letter called “Online Marketing Shortcuts.” As always, it’s proprietary to Monash Advantage members, but I’ll share one key idea here. That’s the integrated marcom blog, which is pretty much the single most efficient thing a marcom department can do to communicate multiple messages to multiple audiences. Here’s a brief excerpt from the Letter:

Marcom does a lot of different things. But most of it can be categorized as the dissemination of four kinds of information and opinion:

  1. Customer success evidence – since everybody cares a lot.

  2. Technical strategy and theory – especially for high-end evaluators and influencers.

  3. Technical facts – for anybody who cares.

  4. Other kinds of facts and news (e.g. events, major executive hirings, awards, etc.) — in case anybody cares.

By a combination of original articles and pointers to pre-existing resources, one blog can provide major help in all four areas.

Most important, a marcom blog gives many opportunities to enhance customer success story-telling. For example, you can:

  • Call attention to stories you publish or place elsewhere (on your own sites, in the media, whatever).
  • Add detail and context to the stories you publish elsewhere.
  • Follow up when there are deployments or expanded usage at previously announced customers.
  • Summarize customer stories presented in conference speeches.
  • Allude to customer stories you’re not allowed to publish in full standard multi-page success story formats.
  • Aggregate information about groups of customers – e.g., ten installations over 50 terabytes or 15 sales to retail/CPG.
  • Point to information your customers themselves reveal.
October 23, 2007

FeedBlitz search is totally fried

If you take our integrated feed — and you should* — and you happen to pick the email option, that’s delivered via FeedBlitz. I subscribe myself, of course, and today I happened to check the option “Search Monash Information Services” (Monash Information Services is the name of the feed). That goes to this search page.

*That’s what this link is for. Or this one.

Curious to see how results compared to those from our own cross-site search, I tried a search on a company I write a lot about, namely “Netezza.” Nothing came up. Then I tried “Attensity.” Ditto. And “text mining”. Still nothing. In fact, there aren’t even any results on “Monash”.

I think some repairs may be in order …

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