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Web Strategy Matrix: Google Buzz vs Facebook vs MySpace vs Twitter (Feb 2010) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing February 28, 2010

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Lack Of Signal In A Sea of Noise
There’s an incredible amount of media and blogger noise about social networks, yet most focus on “killer app” hype without an objective point of view.   My career mission?  To cut out the hype and help companies make sense of what to do. For those fraught with information overload, this definitive matrix distills what matters.

Situation:  New Contender Shakes Up Industry
Google has entered the social networking play with “Buzz”, and by the look of it, this time it’s for real.  There’s a lot of market confusion on how they could stack up, so here’s my take.  Let’s cut the noise and get to the heart of it with a comparison matrix based upon my insights talking to these companies in formal briefings, observations, as a user, my former research and dealing with the brands trying to reach them.

Executive Summary:  Brands Must Stay Focused On Where Customers Already Are
Google’s entrance causes media havoc but web strategists should stay focused.  Find out where customers already are through developing data around consumer behavior called socialgraphics.  Facebook continues to demonstrate a sophisticated marketplace for consumers and brands to mix about, however don’t discount MySpace’s active consumer base –but only if your customers are already there.  Continue to monitor Twitter and respond if customers are tweeting –but they’ve yet to indicate sophistication to help marketers, instead rely on third party tools and agencies to respond.  The feature set of newly spawned Google Buzz isn’t important, what matters is their ability to aggregate social content which will impact search strategy for businesses trying to reach consumers, read my first take analysis.

This scorecard has a limited shelf life, so I’ll likely create a new scorecard after future announcements from these players.

Web Strategy Matrix: Google Buzz vs Facebook vs MySpace vs Twitter (Feb 2010)

Google Buzz Facebook MySpace Twitter
One-Liner A dark horse that has big backing and access to existing platforms. A mainstay platform that needs to grow out of its shell. The MTV of this generation is at risk during an ugly transformation. Has opportunity to become utility-like infrastructure, but not a destination.
Vitals (see more stats) Estimated to sit on a user based of over 100mm active gmail users, they have access to the most popular webpage in the world, google.com.  Has access to mainstream users on Google.com and advanced email users on Gmail. Boasting over 400mm users in just a few short years, they’ve saturated Gen Y in US, and show global expansion at record rates. Recently reported at 57mm US unique users most of which are heavily engaged with site.  Has saturation of coveted youth, working class and small businesses within US. Although difficult to track, estimates indicate 75mm active users, but doubts are emerging about reduced rate of growth.  Usage by tech savvy, media, and celebs.
Strengths A large talent pool of engineers to pull from, Buzz stands on top of existing Gmail, mobile devices, and dominant search portal.  As Buzz grows, they can integrate with all Google apps –and aggregate the entire internet. Rapid US and international growth over last few years bodes well as quickly evolved feature set of platform and and FB Connect gain traction.  Attracts top talent from Google –which are quickly defecting. Big backing by a media giant, a super engaged audience, and rich history of reaching media starved young consumers. Has clinched adoption over media elite, celebrities, and tech influencers. Incredible media buzz, and easy-to-use features.
Weaknesses Late to the party, Google has had a series of social networking misfires from Wave, Dodgeball, Orkut their culture shows signs of becoming corporate –like Microsoft. Struggles with the conundrum of having promised users a ‘closed’ experience where to be successful requires them to be ‘open’. Historically poor track record in meeting privacy expectations of customers, and overall complex interface. Complacent: they really let themselves go. In the eyes of the tech world, they are becoming irrelevant or even worse, a niched media play –not even a lifestyle network.  This leaderless ship without a captain is undergoing radical internal turmoil and innovation has stalled. Although features are dead simple, they are now a commodity –status update features are ubiquitous. Mainstream users confused by how to get started. Overhyped, the infrastructure has shown strain.  Brands generally confused on how to interact.
Opportunity The more information users share, tag, or create, the more data is created on Google’s platform to organize, giving them opportunity to monetize. By integrating Facebook Connect everywhere, the service becomes ubiquitous, and therefore the default identity and default address book for consumer behavior. A few hours ago, the CEO Van Natta was let go. Now a new chief can step up, and lead the recently formed executive team, fostering innovation and solidarity. Must develop more features to increase the overall value of this utility of the this simple status messaging tool.
Threats Mainstay email companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL have already shown social features ‘bolted’ onto their email systems, and could pose threat, although success hasn’t been proven by any. Secondly, Facebook has made notions to develop an email web client “Project Titan” that will threaten tech savvy users competing for Gmail’s attention. Facebook is a conundrum as they must make experience open –yet this provides Google the opportunity to monetize as an intermediary. Social networks come and go, before MySpace was Friendster, they run the risk of becoming complacent, losing talent to Twitter and failing to innovate over the next few years. Self-implosion from internal instability causes stalls, forcing media brands to develop their own social networking on their own sites, rendering MySpace a duplicate. Worse yet? Cool kids jump ship, and establish a colony elsewhere, leaving MySpace a wasteland of clueless advertisers. Overhype from media leaves Twitter at risk for burn-out-syndrome like a Hollywood child star turned skid row.  Secondly, the more successful they are, the more strain it put on the already questionable infrastructure.
Marketing Platform Although not fully developed, expect advertising options to appear for brands who want to promote relevant ads wherever Buzz is located, especially on SERP pages Confusing and overly complicated, there are too many marketing options perplexing brands.  It’s not clear if brands should advertise, interact in pages, create widgets or do a combination of all. Strong and straight forward. Established team has cut deals with many media companies and has legacy culture of understanding media. Nascent. Although promises have been made for branded experiences, analytics, and other premium features, for most marketers it’s being treated like a chat room –not a marketing platform.
Future State Buzz will aggregate the voices of their users –and those of other social networks, aggregate and serve up monetization options. A communications platform for consumers and brands.  Expect Facebook experience to be in many public experiences and mobile devices. There are two paths: Integrate MySpace into TV and mobile devices or fade into pit of irrelevance like Friendster. Like gas, water, or power, Twitter is likely to fade into the background and become a utility that’s integrated into everything –someday, even your fridge will Tweet.
What They Don’t Want You To Know The collective already owns you –you just don’t know it yet. They’re trying so hard to shift from closed to open, and like a nasty divorce, it’s tearing them apart from users. Like an internal disease, the insiders are hurting, morale sunk, teams in disarray, yet they don’t want the public to know. Not sure what they want to be when they grow up.
What They Should Do Demonstrate success with Buzz, then quickly integrate into other tools like Search and Chrome. Kill off the confusing Wave, and consolidate teams and efforts.  Aggregate public content from Twitter and Facebook, intermediate them and monetize their own content. Get open now. Build a browser to quickly go transcend the web. Reward users to share more information in public like restaurant or media reviews in exchange for other values. Double down efforts on Project Titan email feature. Quickly establish a chain of command and execute based upon a single vision. Have regular talent turnover to avoid complacency. Develop a white label product that can compete with Cisco EOS, Kyte, Pluck, or Kickapps (Altimeter client). Develop a vision to become the dominant protocol over SMS, where teens and international cultures are already heavily texting. Continue to build out platform for developers to build on top of, becoming a data play, like a utility.

Everyone has a morning ritual, for me, I invest up to two hours reading, thinking, and blogging each morning. I hope this helps you cut through the noise –if it was helpful, please pass it on, email to colleagues, tweet it, and blog about it.

via Web Strategy Matrix: Google Buzz vs Facebook vs MySpace vs Twitter (Feb 2010) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing.


Twitter Acquires Geolocation Service Mixer Labs: Plans to Enhance Its Geotagging API December 25, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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geoapi_logo_dec09.jpgTwitter just announced that it has acquired Mixer Labs, the company behind GeoAPI.com. GeoAPI is a service that allows developers to easily add geolocation data to their apps. Twitter just launched its own geotagging API a few weeks ago. Even though a number of mobile and desktop Twitter apps like Seesmic Web and Birdfeed support Twitter’s geotagging API, only a very small number of users are currently making use of this feature.

According to Twitter founder Ev Williams, the company “will be looking at how to integrate the work Mixer Labs has done with the Twitter API in useful ways that give developers behind geo-enabled apps like Birdfeed, Seesmic Web, Foursquare, Gowalla, Twidroid, Twittelator Pro and other powerful new possibilities.”

geo_api.jpgIt’s important to note that the Mixer Labs GeoAPI is not tied to Twitter. GeoAPI offers tools like a reverse geocoder that can take GPS coordinates and turn them into human readable information and a service that can find media files and status updates related to a specific place on Flickr, Twitter or YouTube. Mixer Labs also offers an iPhone SDK. Judging from Twitter’s announcement, the GeoAPI will continue to work while Twitter figures out how to best integrate its current geotagging API with Mixer Labs’ GeoAPI.

via Twitter Acquires Geolocation Service Mixer Labs: Plans to Enhance Its Geotagging API.

Blogging Vs. Microblogging: Twitter’s Global Growth Flattens, While WordPress’ Picks Up November 25, 2009

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Only a year ago, the conventional wisdom was that blogs were dead and microblogging would soon replace them. Twitter was supposed to kill blogs because it’s so much simpler to publish one sentence fragment at a time rather than whole thoughts bunched together into what is known in the trade as “paragraphs.”

Today, blogs are doing fine, while Twitter is struggling with flattening growth, at least to its Website Twitter.com (clients like Seesmic and TweetDeck have seen no slowdown). The weakness Twitter has been experiencing in the U.S. since last summer is now finally hitting its worldwide visitor growth as well.

In October, comScore estimates that Twitter had 58.3 million unique visitors worldwide, down from 58.4 million in September. Meanwhile, WordPress.com gained 10 million unique visitors to end the month at 151.8 million—this is after going pretty much nowhere since March, 2009.

Of course, I am using WordPress.com as a proxy for all blogging here (I could have just as easily used Blogger, which is actually bigger with 291.7 million visitors worldwide. And Blogger saw a similar holding pattern since March, with a huge sudden jump of 18.2 million visitors in October

So is blogging back, while microblogging is on the skids? A one-month spike in the popularity of blogs doesn’t tell you much of anything, but in any case it’s the wrong question. Blogging never really went away, and was in fact helped by Twitter, which is becoming the preferred feed reader for many people (thanks to services like Twitterfeed).

And don’t count out microblogging just yet. Twitter is finally rolling out improvements to its site such as Lists and the new Retweet button. Once geo-location features kick in, Twitter’s growth could come back with a vengeance.

via Blogging Vs. Microblogging: Twitter’s Global Growth Flattens, While WordPress’ Picks Up.

Not Sure Which Twitter Lists To Follow? Listorious Has A Directory Of The Best Ones October 30, 2009

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Twitter Lists are rolling out today (although the feature is not quite turned on for everyone yet). The new feature lets users make lists of interesting people on Twitter, grouped together so that they are easy to follow.

But how do you find the best lists? Already, there is an independent directory service which is launching in tandem with Twitter Lists called Listorious. (Warning: it only fully works for people who have Twitter Lists enabled). Listorious offers a curated collection of lists across various categories such as media, humor, marketing, finance, and food. You can see the most popular lists, ranked by how many people follow them. It is also possible to search by tags, or just search lists in general.

So what are some lists you might want to check out? There’s Robert Scoble’s Most Influential In Tech list and another overlapping Tech Pundits list. I like this list of Venture Capitalists on Twitter. And of course, don’t miss out on following the entire TechCrunch Team with one click.

Listorious was developed by Gregory Galant, who is the man behind the Shorty Awards, which goes out to the “best producers of short content.” It is part of his company, Sawhorse Media.

via Not Sure Which Twitter Lists To Follow? Listorious Has A Directory Of The Best Ones.

Details on Twitter’s Imminent Geolocation Launch | Smarterware September 26, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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Twitter’s new geolocation support was supposed to launch for developers at today’s Twitter Conference in LA (which I’m attending), but it wasn’t quite ready yet. Still, Twitter’s platform lead Ryan Sarver announced several details about how it will work, at least initially, in a developer session. In quickly-jotted bullet points:

  • Twitter will soon be able to store location data–that is, latitude and longitude coordinates–on a per-tweet basis, and for your user profile.
  • Including location information in your tweets will be opt-in only. You will have to visit your Twitter account’s settings page on the web site to allow Twitter to store that data. It will not be enabled by default. Even if your Twitter client sends lat/log points along with your status update, if you didn’t explicitly opt into including that information, Twitter will drop it at the point of entry and it will not be stored or published.
  • Users won’t see any new features on the Twitter web site when geo launches except for the settings page where you opt in. Twitter is giving API developers a head start to display and transmit geo data in tweets in their apps first.
  • In practice, expect to see your Twitter client include a checkbox below the posting area labeled something like “include my location with this tweet.” If you check the box when you send a tweet but you haven’t given Twitter permission to store your location data, you’ll have to visit your settings page on the web site to do so.
  • Interesting: Twitter will scrub geo-data stored in tweets more than 14 days old to avoid subpoenas about a user’s location. They will outright delete the location information from their database, not just anonymize it.

  • While Twitter usually encourages application developers to cache data, in the case of geo, they recommend apps don’t keep historical location data so that developers don’t become a subpoena target, either. They also recommend “fuzzing” location and time data, so that instead of knowing that Joe Smith was at 8th avenue and 15th street at 2:11PM Eastern time on March 7, 2008, you only show that Joe was in Brooklyn on that day.
  • The geodata-scrubbing isn’t a permanent solution. Twitter is looking into ways to store this data in a “safe” way in the future, so Twitter won’t always scrub +14-day-old data, just at first.
  • Besides just using the free-form text field in the location field already available in your profile, there will be no way to tell Twitter you’re in a broad area, say, a city or neighborhood like San Diego. They will only take and store lat/long coordinates. On the front end, they may only display a broad area name, like a city or a neighborhood instead of a specific point, but they will store the specific lat/long coordinates.
  • Right now, Twitter does support some light geolocation functionality based on the “anything goes” location field in profiles. Try a search for happy hour near:11215 -RT to see tweets (minus retweets) about happy hour in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
  • Two interesting location-based Twitter apps available now: Happn.in, and Trendsmap.

This is pretty exciting stuff, if still nascent.

via Details on Twitter’s Imminent Geolocation Launch | Smarterware.

3 Rules For Social Media September 20, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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Matt Singley is talking about social norms and rules of interaction in social networks:

One of the wonderful things about social media is that it’s still a bit of the Wild West.  Sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, while all covered nicely with their Terms of Service Agreements, are really very self-governing in terms of what content is produced.  When I talk to thought leaders and everyday users of these spaces about rules and norms, the divide is evenly split, with half saying that there should be rules imposed, the other half saying that it’s free speech all the way.  I tend to fall into the latter camp, although I do have three rules of my own that I try to follow.  Why?  Because I really do believe in social norms, and even though we are interacting with people in a digital sense, we are still interacting…we’re sharing the space and I want to do my part to be a good person. […]

via 3 Rules For Social Media » Matt Singley | Social Media Optimization

Twitter API getting location data August 21, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Programming.
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https://i1.wp.com/a0.twimg.com/a/1250809294/images/twitter_logo_header.pngBiz Stone from Twitter has announced that the service will soon get a new feature in its API: the capability to optionally put geolocation data into tweets.

Currently, geo-focused apps like Foursquare must hack location data into updates by linking them to Web pages. Once Twitter lets developers embed geo into tweets themselves, a new and interesting world for developers will likely open up.

As Stone says in his post, “For example, with accurate, tweet-level location data you could switch from reading the tweets of accounts you follow to reading tweets from anyone in your neighborhood or city–whether you follow them or not. It’s easy to imagine how this might be interesting at an event like a concert or even something more dramatic like an earthquake.”

By having the geodata available only to developers, though, and not via the general Twitter.com user interface, the company may also shift the economics of Twitter a bit. If geodata in tweets can only be written and read by apps and third-party Web services, those services will become even more valuable, possibly kicking off yet another round of Twitter client battles. […]

via Twitter API getting location data | Rafe’s Radar – CNET News

Directory: 100 technology experts on Twitter | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com August 18, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets, Multimedia.
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One the most important — and most difficult — things to do when you first start using Twitter is to develop a good list of people to follow. You can check your friends’ lists of followers, watch for interesting people that come up in @replies, and look for personalities and brands who promote their Twitter addresses. But, it can take several months to build up a good list. For technology professionals, I’m going to give you a big head start.

This is part three of my three-part series on Twitter. Here are links to the other two parts:

Below is a list of 100 technology experts who are active on Twitter. This list is dominated by tech media professionals and pundits but also includes some CEOs, CTOs, and developers who are worth listening to.[…]

So here is the list, which is not ranked 1-100 but simply listed in alphabetical order. If there are others you think should be added to the list, make a note in the comments.

  1. Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) Editor in Chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail
  2. Michael Arrington (@techcrunch) Founder of TechCrunch
  3. John Battelle (@johnbattelle) Author and pundit on Google and Internet search
  4. Veronica Belmont (@veronica) Former CNET TV and Mahalo Daily host
  5. Randall Bennett (@randallb) Founder of TechVi; former CNET TV producer
  6. David Berlind (@dberlind) TechWeb Editor-at-Large
  7. Ryan Block (@ryanblock) Former Engadget editor and co-founder of GDGT (more…)

Facebook can’t have Twitter, so it buys FriendFeed August 11, 2009

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By most accounts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really likes Twitter. And as the 20-something CEO of a company that has raised over $750m, it’s only natural that he’d want it, literally. There’s just one problem: when Facebook tried acquiring Twitter earlier in the year, it was turned down. The reason: Twitter didn’t buy into the $15bn valuation Facebook was basing its share price on as part of the proposed deal.

So Facebook has finally done what many do when rejected: you settle for your second choice. And it this case, that means FriendFeed, which it acquired yesterday. […]

via Facebook can’t have Twitter, so it buys FriendFeed | Blog | Econsultancy

People on the Move in the Social Media Industry: August 7, 2009 August 10, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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Despite a downturn in the economy, we continue to recognize those moving in the social media space. I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:

via People on the Move in the Social Media Industry: August 7, 2009 « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing.