Social software and online media

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

August 17, 2008

A startup that could improve all our lives

Apostrophee aspires to hugely improve the experience of cyberspace, by applying grammar and spelling correction to online content, especially blog comments and forum posts.

Too bad the article is a spoof.

Reflecting on why it has to be spoof could be somewhat enlightening. 😉

July 20, 2008

Micro- and full-length-blogging use cases overlap greatly

Steven Hodson ranted on Mashable that Twitter is not a micro-blogging tool.  His case was, in essence, “Blogs are thoughtful and Twitter isn’t, so the two aren’t comparable.”  I disagree.  Hodson was over-glorifying blogging, while trivializing the broad variety of Twitter use cases.*  Consider, if you please, the following list of use cases that are met both by Twitter and by conventional blogging:

  1. Reporting on your life. By the way, I had a great first week in Grand Cayman, but now it’s raining heavily, which is a big part of the reason why I’m blogging.  Broadband is slow and my laptop is old, so being online is a bit frustrating, so I’m cutting a few corners in thoroughness.
  2. Expressing feelings. That’s pretty inseparable from #1.
  3. Bashing those who you feel need bashing. It works, too. 🙂
  4. Communicating news.
  5. Expressing analytical opinions.
  6. Promoting your services, opinions, and links.

*More precisely, Hodson was underrating the use cases for a version of Twitter that actually works, but I’ll try to refrain from posting at length again about that problem until I’ve looked into the changes at recent Twitter acquisition Summize.  That said, I think it will take Twitter quite a while, if it ever does, to recover from the terrible loss of momentum due to its lack of scalability.  Certainly my usage has dropped to near zero since the disastrous period in which they disabled the Replies search.

July 7, 2008

Communication, culture, and short text messages

Tom Davenport offers a lot of skepticism and a little hope about Enterprise 2.0: Read more

June 19, 2008

6 trends that could shake up the text analytics market

My last two posts were based on the introductory slide to my talk The Text Analytics Marketplace: Competitive landscape and trends. I’ll now jump straight ahead to the talk’s conclusion.

Text analytics vendors participate in the same trends as other software and technology vendors. For example, relational business intelligence and data warehousing products are increasingly being sold to departmental buyers. Those buyers place particularly high value on ease of installation. And golly gee whiz, both parts of that are also true in text mining.

But beyond such general trends, I’ve identified six developments that I think could radically transform the text analytics market landscape. Indeed, they could invalidate the neat little eight-bucket categorization I laid out in the prior post. Each is highly likely to occur, although in some cases the timing remains greatly in doubt.

These six market-transforming trends are:

  1. Web/enterprise/messaging integration
  2. BI integration
  3. Universal message retention
  4. Portable personal profiles
  5. Electronic health records
  6. Voice command & control

Read more

June 19, 2008

The Text Analytics Marketplace: Competitive landscape and trends

As I see it, there are eight distinct market areas that each depend heavily on linguistic technology. Five are off-shoots of what used to be called “information retrieval”:

1. Web search

2. Public-facing site search

3. Enterprise search and knowledge management

4. Custom publishing

5. Text mining and extraction

Three are more standalone:

6. Spam filtering

7. Voice recognition

8. Machine translation

Read more

April 25, 2008

Twitter is indeed replaceable

Dennis Howlett believes any hope of monetizing [Twitter] rests upon reliability at scale. He’s partially right. Michael Arrington disagrees, essentially asserting that Twitter has become an unshakable monopoly due to the network effect, but his reasoning is flawed. Read more

March 4, 2008

Over 80 percent of blog posts are probably spam

Doug Caverly highlights a Matt Mullenweg quote indicating that about 1/4 of all the blogs ever on were spam (aka splogs). Now, that’s probably a higher fraction than for the blogoverse overall, because:

But there’s one more factor. Splogs have much higher posting frequency than real ones. 10-20+ posts per day is not uncommon, and 50-100+ is not unheard of. That’s 5-10X the post frequency of even the more active human-written blogs. So let’s assume:

In that case, over 80% (and indeed probably over 90%) of all blog posts are made by machines rather than by human beings.

February 15, 2008

Six blind men and the Twitter elephant

I got a long email today from a Very Smart Person who asked, in effect “What is Twitter for? I don’t get it.” Coincidentally, Rex Hammock posted a good answer yesterday, albeit with a bad title that I won’t repeat. The essence was:

… the most amazing thing about Twitter is this: everyone uses it differently.

It’s a little like trying to explain the telephone by describing what people talk about on the phone. “Telephones are devices that teenagers use to spread gossip.” “Telephones are the devices people use to contact police when bad things happen.” “Telephones are the devices you use to call the 7-11 to ask if they have Prince Albert in a can.”

Like the Internet itself, Twitter is hard to explain because it doesn’t really have a point. And it has too many points. Here’s what I mean: All it does is provide a common-place to relay short messages to a group of people who agree to receive your messages. Here’s the second part of what i mean: When you stop thinking those short messages aren’t limited to “I’m about to get on the elevator” but can be eye-witness accounts of breaking news stories or bursts of business-critical intelligence, or warnings that a gun-man is loose on campus, or shared conversations about political debates you and your friends are watching on TV, the possibilities of what can be done using Twitter becomes amazingly confusing — I think in a good way.

I’ve recently put up two posts on Twitter use cases. For yet another — well, as Shakespeare didn’t quite say, a 140 character limit is the soul of wit. Here’s my (ever-changing) list of Twitter “favorites”. The humor ranges from the sophomoric to the erudite; there are some serious aphorisms as well.

February 13, 2008

More Twitter use cases

Monday, I posted about four Enterprise Twitter use cases. Episteme responds that that’s all well and good, but what’s really important is that Enterprise Twitter would lead senior management to communicate in a human way with the team. I agree completely, and think this is one of the big reasons Enterprise Twitter could be an improvement over email for many uses.

That post also illustrates a use of public Twitter. Read more

February 11, 2008

Enterprise Twitter

My long discussion Saturday of how to evolve (or replace) Twitter included a short discussion of what might be called Enterprise Twitter. Dennis Howlett just alerted me that there’s been considerable other discussion of the subject recently. For example:

Here’s my take on the subject.

I see four basic (and somewhat overlapping) use cases for Enterprise Twitter:

Read more

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