Smile! “Candid Camera” is back! Early in August, “Candid Camera” returned to the airwaves. You may say you’re too young to know what we’re talking about? It is one of the most memorable expressions in television history, and possibly even the English language. Continue reading
This article is contributed by Allen Peters.
For a long time I had wanted to run the London Marathon. It seemed like a great challenge, a great thing to say that I’d accomplished and a fun and historic event to be a part of.
The only flaw in my plan was the fact that it was so difficult to actually get a place. So many apply to run the Marathon each year, that most people would apply multiple times and still not get accepted. If you apply and get refused four times in a row then you get a place automatically, but that’s assuming that you haven’t given up on the idea after the second attempt… as I did. Continue reading
This article is contributed by Samantha Gray.
There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there who have made their way to the top without a college education, and that is something worth applauding. However, there is also a lot to be said for taking the time to grow personally and academically before trying your hand at entering the business world.
Almost any online service can be overrun by spam and Twitter is proving to be a lucrative field for such activities. Twitter Search that identifies Trending Topics is a major target here and very recent actions force the question: Should Twitter moderate Trending Tropics to prevent spamming?
This is the specific case that triggered this:
For the second time in a month, offensive terms have made it on to Twitter Trending Topics. In both cases, Twitter didn’t remove the offensive terms until after they spent some time at the top of Trending Topics. This time, the attack appears to have been carried out by the infamous 4chan group. ReadWriteWeb asks a legitimate question: Maybe Twitter Trends Shouldn’t Be Entirely Automated?
If you wish to do your bit in avoiding spam, then there is good general advice available on Avoiding Twitter Spam. If you suspect that a particular account is a spammer then you should report them to Spam Watch.
Saying no to Spam is even easier if you use the TweetDeck platform and use their spam button. With just one click, you can delete the message from view, block the user and report them to Twitter.
The tools for Avoiding Twitter Spammers are getting more effective all the time. Firstly, you can use Topify to give you more information on your followers, that will allow you to more quickly identify potential spammers. It is in beta at the moment so you will need to wait for an invite. Once you get the invite, Topify will ask for your e-mail and make sure it is you, then give you a new e-mail via Topify to enter on your Twitter account.
A more precise tool to identify spammers is TwitChuck. You simply fill in the name of the person you are wondering about, and TwitChuck goes through a surprisingly detailed list to arrive at their spam grade. Here is the information for bwelford:
Perhaps you should follow the TwitChuck recommendation and follow me.
I assure you TwitChuck has it right: I am not a spammer.
That thought provoking question came to mind after reading a UIE Brain Sparks SpoolCast entitled: Company Culture Meets Customer Experience with Brian Kalma of Zappos.
Brian Kalma is Director of User Experience and Web Strategy for the darling of Internet retail, Zappos.
On top of these duties, Brian also passionately supports social media outreach, where all employees are encouraged to look for comments about their company on places like Twitter and Facebook, and then actively engage with those customers, without oversight. For many companies, that would be a nightmare. Brian says it’s an amazing by-product of their dedication to their employees and their employee’s dedication to the customers. This is the basis of the Zappos culture, which Brian has to translate into content on their web site and use to drive sales.
And drive sales he has. 75% of their sales are from repeat customers, spending more than 2.5 times more in the following months than their initial purchase.
That is really impressive. But think on those words in the quotation: For many companies, that would be a nightmare. If your company is one of those, you might ask yourself one of the following questions to determine why you dare not follow the Zappos example:
- Do we hire the wrong people?
- Do we not train them well enough to deliver on the corporate values we care about?
- Do we manage them in a way that means they may not be wholly supportive of the company?
So many companies seem to need to closely control what their employees are allowed to say. The legal department may even rule on what outside communications are permissible. If you need to closely control what employees say, which of the three answers above is the reason for that. Whichever it is, it is an indictment of the management decisions that are being taken.
If control is exercised because it has always been that way, then you need to realize that the Internet has changed the way people and organizations interact. It’s time to move into the 21st century. If for no other reason, then do it to make more sales.
To an extent, Google’s dominance in searching the online world using computer-based algorithms is forcing us all to become more involved with words and text rather than images. Google and the other search engines have more problems with images so images tend to take a back seat.
That’s quite a difference from the physical world where seeing golden arches can instantly trigger a whole set of thoughts and appetites. Having a strong logo is a real advantage for a brand and a website, but the search engines don’t necessarily reflect that human reality. These somewhat perhaps tangential thoughts were triggered by noting that Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party and of the official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament has just had a book of his published. It is called ‘True Patriot Love’.
As might be expected from such an intellectual mind, the book seems quite cerebral. Perhaps it is best reflected in the words of his uncle, George Grant, who while living in England couldn’t deny the tug of home. “I love England and think it is the greatest country on earth – but Canada is in one’s heart – in a way that this country can never be.” Perhaps for Michael Ignatieff this has hit him when much older than his Uncle George, but he now realizes how obstinately Canadian he is at the core.
What patriotic symbols might one suggest to give instant association with Canada. Google of course brings us immediately to the Canadian flag in reminding us that NRC Science Protects a Patriotic Symbol. Of course it then reminds us of the comparative youth of our national symbol here in Canada:
The Canadian flag we know today was born in 1965. After a lengthy search and much debate, the red and white design with a single red maple leaf in the centre became our national flag, affectionately known as "The Maple Leaf." An effort led by the Department of National Defence to ensure all Canadian flags met the same standards became an issue of national importance, with many government departments getting involved in the project. National Research Council scientists stepped in to help make sure the Maple Leaf looked its best.
It hardly sounds a call to patriotic hearts to beat with fervour. The second Google choice for The Symbols of Canada is little better. In somewhat pedantic language, it suggests:
The symbols of Canada can heighten not only our awareness of our country but also our sense of celebration in being Canadian. The symbols of Canada are a celebration of what we are as a people.
If you compare that with what Google suggests for the patriotic symbols of the USA, you find much more stirring references, for example just check out the Symbols of U.S. Government. In particular you find much more enthusiasm for The Flag, which clearly has a much longer history.
The U.S. flag has undergone many changes since the first official flag of 1777. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act, which said that the flag would be made up of thirteen alternating red and white stripes and thirteen white stars on a blue field. Stars have been added to the flag as new states join the union.
If you are looking for patriotic symbols, then there are some good choices for American flags. If you want some more specific patriotic symbols, then you might consider Valley Forge flags or military patches. A good American flag store will also offer flagpoles and accessories and may even have a selection of flags from other countries. Check out what is on offer for patriotic symbols. You could be pleasantly surprised.
Perhaps the previous post about Google Profiles was read in the right places. Things seem to be happening. That old Sergey Brin profile has now been blocked rather than being deleted. For the rest of us, profile deletion seems to be on the way. Here is what is currently being displayed.
A Google profile is simply how you present yourself on Google products to other Google users. It allows you to control how you appear on Google and tell others a bit more about who you are. With a Google profile, you can easily share your web content on one central location. You can include, for example, links to your blog, online photos, and other profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. You have control over what others see. Your profile won’t display any private information unless you’ve explicitly added it.
At the bottom of the page, you will also find the following, which seems to be new:
You may also be interested in…
Other helpful articles:
Although the Deleting a profile page at the moment suggests you will find a link at the top-right of your Profile Edit page to delete a profile, that is not currently the case. Presumably that will be corrected shortly. See update below as of April 23.
The last link is of interest since it introduces the Google Social Graph (API). Here is how that page starts:
Build critical mass on your website
With so many websites to join, users must decide where to invest significant time in adding their same connections over and over. For developers, this means it is difficult to build successful web applications that hinge upon a critical mass of users for content and interaction. With the Social Graph API, developers can now utilize public connections their users have already created in other web services. It makes information about public connections between people easily available and useful.
It’s all fascinating stuff. Very much Work-in-Progress, but the best advice seems to be "Watch This Space".
Update as of April 23: The delete link has now appeared: at the bottom right rather than the top right, although the web page still indicates top right. Nevertheless we are almost there.
More and more people are aware of social media on the Internet. Everyone recognizes Facebook and Twitter. Another very popular social media service is Digg. This is a website where you can vote on your favorite web pages. A very significant change was introduced on the Digg Blog. It is called the DiggBar. Here is a short video that shows what it is all about.
The blog does list the advantages of the DiggBar and they are considerable. The DiggBar allows you to:
- Digg directly on the destination site: No more awkward toggling between the story page and Digg.
- Easily share stories: You can now create a shortened Digg URL to share on Twitter, Facebook or via email. You can also type digg.com/ before the URL of any page you’re on to create a short URL.
- Access additional analytics: See how many times a story has been viewed.
- View comments while on the story page: Clicking the ‘Comments’ button expands the DiggBar to show the top comment, latest comment, and most controversial without leaving the page.
- Discover related stories: Clicking the ‘Related’ button expands the DiggBar to highlight similar stories.
- See more stories from the same source: Clicking the ‘Source’ button expands the DiggBar to show you more Digg stories from that source site.
- Discover random stories: Click the ‘Random’ button and you’ll be brought to an entirely new, unexpected story.
- As always, let us know what you think. Look for the feedback button right on the DiggBar. Also stay tuned for some big changes to Digg search!
It is very user friendly and I think it will prove to be a real winner.
I became aware of it when someone sent me a message about an item by Nelson Williams entitled, Quebec Forbids English-Only Video Games in Favour of French Language.
Which only makes sense, because game developers are clamoring to translate their virtual worlds to French. The Toronto Star reports that a recent law passed in Quebec forbids the sale of English-only games if a French translation exists. This has caused a certain amount of excitement among retailers, similar to that felt by the dinosaurs right before the meteorite hit.
The Digg Shout I received gave the following link:
which produces the same article but with the DiggBar along the top of the screen. It is very intuitive and does perform extremely well.
If it is as successful as I believe it will be, then other services will undoubtedly be affected. Lee Mathews suggests that Digg’s new Diggbar will destroy other short url services.
It certainly seems that way. However in the short survey when they ask for feedback, I did recommend another URL shortening service, cli.gs. This is an excellent service which provides a host of other data and statistics. It was developed by my friend and co-moderator at Cre8asite Forums, Pierre Far. I believe he is currently on his honeymoon so this may be something for him to take up on his return.
Michael Arrington of Techcrunch seems to be very strong on the use of DiggBar and believes that the DiggBar Keeps All Digg Homepage Traffic On Digg.
I expect it to become my default short URL service on Twitter since it is so easy to create a short URL by simply adding Digg.com/ in front of any URL. It will redirect to a short Digg URL like digg.com/d1npNz, which is this story rendered with the DiggBar.
This will also expose a lot of new people to Digg since anyone that clicks on the link will see the toolbar wrapper with the view count, Digg comments and other information on the top. And it will also increase Digg’s overall traffic substantially – unlike other short URL services, Digg doesn’t simply redirect to the longer URL. It keeps you on Digg and shows any other site being pointed to in an iframe wrapper. You can get to the underlying URL by clicking on the X button on the top right.
Not everyone is so enamored by DiggBar Daniel Scocco feels that The DiggBar Changes Things At Digg (Some for the Worse). Check the link for the full argument but the gist of his concern is as follows:
Just head to Digg.com and click on one of the stories on the front page. With the entrance of the toolbar, you are now redirected to a shortened URL of the Digg story, and the content is presented inside an iframe. Here are some of the reasons, why webmasters and bloggers may be concerned:
- The iframe wrapping technique is quite old on the Web. It started in the 1990s, and many people got angry with what they called content theft.
- Digg takes space in the header, which is high value for advertisers. What if Digg started showing CPM ads there.
- The address bar no longer shows the URL of the original site so the SEO benefit is lost. Digg’s front page links are now redirects to internal Digg URLs.
Big sites like The New York Times may well have concerns.
Perhaps DiggBar’s most energetic critic up till this point is Michael Gray. He has a number of concerns and is particularly critical of the security aspects of the DiggBar. He shows How to Abuse the New DiggBar for Fun and Profit.
By framing everyone else’s website you never leave Digg, so the length of their user visits goes up, and it looks like their site is improving. They con more clueless VC’s that Digg is actually a valuable website so that they want to keep wasting money investing in it.
Although his post has some humorous elements, it does reflect serious concerns that many will have if the DiggBar continues to function without change. Hopefully from the feedback that Digg is receiving from all sides, they can identify and retain what is good. The more worrying aspects could then be modified or removed so as not to jeopardize the interests of so many others.
Keen readers of any of the SMM blogs will notice at the foot of the right sidebar a new feature. Each now has a Discussion ‘Wall’ provided by Google Friend Connect. This is Google’s attempt to get on to the Social Media plane. It has some serious catching up to do, given what Twitter and Facebook have achieved here.
Usually if a topic has developed a following, you will find some chit-chat on Twitter about it via a hashtag (#). The easiest way to check is via TweetChat. If you register there and check the FriendConnect room, you will find it is usually pretty quiet. If Google Friend Connect is to develop any traction, that is not a good sign.
Google is diligently working away on the Social Web and last week announced that you can Take your Google Contacts with you.
Too many of these sites access your list of friends by asking for your username and password so they can sign in as you and scrape your contact lists. The problem is that once a website has your password, it can access all sorts of data, not just your contacts. Portable Contacts to the rescue! Portable Contacts (affectionately known as "PoCo") is an open standard that aims to make it easier to access "who-you-know" information in a secure way — this means sites don’t have to employ the "password anti-pattern" of scraping websites.
That just did not seem to get anyone’s attention. Google announced originally that Google Friend Connect is now available early in December. Shortly after they announced that Google Friend Connect was integrating with Twitter.
This means that when you join a Google Friend Connect-ed site, you can choose to use your Twitter profile, discover people you follow on Twitter who are also members of the site, and quickly tweet that you have found a cool website.
No one seemed to get the message. More recently, Google has announced an Improved help forum for Google Friend Connect. It just did not seem to get the headlines.
Jordan McCollum of Marketing Pilgrim suggested that although Google Reader Now Hosts Conversations, Google is not building a social network.
Really. They’re not. They’re just adding features to every product ever made to enable you to communicate and otherwise share information among your peer group and store all your information in a centralized place. That’s soooo not a social network, so I don’t need anybody telling me about how Google Reader’s new comment feature shows that they’re a social network.
To an extent, that is confirmed in her mind by the way in which Google Friend Data Goes Portable. Clearly this does not in any way create a social network. All this does it to let you take all that shared information – including your list of contacts – and pass it among your peer group all over the web.
If Jordan McCollum is right, then these FriendConnect Discussion panels on the SMM blogs will never get used since they do not create social networks. It will be interesting to see what happens with them.
Twitter as Flashpoint for the Attention Economy is the title of an interesting blog post at Internet Evolution by Andrew Keen
"Attention Economy" was invented by the futurist Michael Goldhaber in December 1997 to describe a new arrangement in which the "flow of attention" replaced money as the currency of the Internet. Twitter Inc. – with its medieval-like armies of followers and followed – is a good example of how this new attention economy works. The value to us of Twitter is based on how many followers we have and thus how many people read our words. We all compete on Twitter for both attention and followers, of course, because time is finite, and there is only a certain number of people we can realistically follow and only a certain number of messages we have the bandwidth to read.
If you want to read more on the Attention Economy, then ReadWriteWeb has a good Overview.
As a pioneer of the Attention Economy, Twitter now is faced with the challenge of monetizing attention. For it to become a viable business, the VC-backed startup – which only just appointed a sales and business development team – needs to identify what it is, exactly, the company is selling.
Apparently Jason Calacanis with his 62,000+ fans is somewhat miffed that he does not appear on the Twitter suggested users list — a group of 20 A-list names given to all new Twitter users. So he has made a public offer of $250,000 to be included on the list for two years, thus suggesting a highly viable business model for the new attention economy.
Keen goes on to suggest that this is a radically more innovative business model for Twitter than trying to sell advertisements and sponsorships. I’m not so sure since I could not even find this A-list of 20 names. I could find some suggestions of others I might wish to follow in the Searching for People section. The following list of 115 such suggestions includes some of the A-list but again not Mr. Jason Calacanis.
There are other places where those who Twitter can try to be visible, for example Twitter Grader has its Twitter Elite Top Users list. It notes that these have earned respect and admiration for having the highest Twitter Grade. Their power and reach in the Twitter community is truly awesome. .. and that list does include Jason Calacanis. That is a free listing so perhaps this Attention Economy is not as monetizable as it might first appear.