One of the great things about digital is that it really helps to crystallize certain behaviors. This means visible, predictive intelligence online. One of the most sticky platforms still remains the ubiquitous Facebook, while Google is practically synonymous with search. While they both started off as very distinct entities, it seems that FB has evolved enough to actually start moving into the Search space.
Ever contemplate disabling or deactivating your Facebook account? You know what is top of mind of users when they worry aloud in the FAQ section of FB about losing their data from Farmville (or any other FB game, really!). This, instead of losing all their friends and contacts. This was a few months ago, when Farmville concerns were right at the top of the discussion topics.
It will be interesting when the games and virtual goods segment in FB grows. The question then is how this will translate in markets like South Korea, where there is an entire virtual economy flourishing. It is also a market where other global players such as Myspace, Youtube and even Google have either had to bow out or simply be content with a smaller pie of the market share. Will FB finally have enough clout to go against the likes of Cyworld?
Another question is what happens when (and if?) app revenues surpass that of Facebook?
Zynga (creator of Farmville, Mafia Wars and etc) which has 230 million monthly active users was reported to have revenues of $200 million in 2009. The WSJ says Facebook revenues could hit $710 million in 2010, so there’s still some distance between the two figures. Still, if a fair percentage of return visits are due to the addictive FB games, it remains to be seen if the gap will narrow.
Facebook: Your One stop Internet Destination
You’ve seen the stats. Early 2009, Zuckerberg quipped the most overused quotable line about how “If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria.”
Then, he was talking about 150 million people. It is now 2010. Techcrunch reports that Facebook now has something along the lines of about 350 million registered users, with over 175 million of them logging in daily.
That’s a whole lot of visits, a whole lot of eyeballs, a whole lot of power.
Enough power to simply change the FB layout AGAIN without word or warning. I hated it, but have since gotten used to it, since there wasn’t anything much I could really do about it (deja vu?). Everyone seems to have gotten used to the fact that we are all experimental guinea pigs, sigh and get on with our lives. And we still keep going back to the site.
And now, FB has its sights on Google, who apparently has 800 million visitors.
“According to Web measurement firm Compete Inc., Facebook has passed search-engine giant Google to become the top source for traffic to major portals like Yahoo and MSN, and is among the leaders for other types of sites.” – Source: SF Gate
You can also read more about how FB could kill Google here. The gist is that FB and Google are complementary for now (since FB is leading all those eyeballs to Google), at least, until unique visits for FB surpass that of Google. Microsoft last cut a (non exclusive)deal with FB in the last quarter of 2009 to include real time search results from status updates, but it remains unclear where FB may run with the search pie.
What are these sites to you?
Interestingly, at least for now, Google seems to resonate more with users in terms of the serious stuff – maps, translators, finance info, useful software like chrome/earth.. versus more of a slant towards entertainment and games on Facebook.
Many people still use the Google search bar as a place to type in URLs like Facebook.com (for reasons I can never fathom.. why they can’t type it directly into the actual URL bar is beyond me).
These results below do feature a bit on the importance of mobile as well – with the mobile related and FB lite mentions.
I’m still curious as to how all this will play out and how people will respond to all/any of these changes online… What will keep people coming back for repeat visits? Also, with all the talk on privacy and merging of identities on various platforms, something to explore in future posts!
More little tidbits from some great conversation in the past weeks….
The Apple folk just have a way of making normal features seem heaven sent. While people are pumping R&D into increasing megapixels, shiny new hardware designs (wow! 10 colours to choose from), Apple have managed to make a 2+ mega pixel camera phone (that still seems a tad bit laggy if you ask me) into the TOP camera phone on Flickr. Also, they made picking colours seem so yesterday (like the first generation candy coloured imacs). I can only imagine the gap between the ubiquitous iPhone and it’s other competitors from Nokia and Blackberry will widen, given that Flickr is coming to the App store.
Clear market leader!
Top camera phone is not interesting on it’s own, given that in most cities, within a 3 m radius on the train, one can probably spot at least one Iphone user. Given that most of them will probably be on data plans, this naturally leads to a lot more submissions from the hardware in question.
What is more interesting is that …on Flickr, the iPhone has been comparing pretty decently against the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. Now that, is a flipping DSLR from Canon, ten megapixel and all sorts of other great features thrown in….but the graph below shows the slowly dipping popularity of the Canon Xti. Compared against the rising love from netizens holding an iPhone, Apple isn’t doing too shabbily at all. The iphone is also the only cameraphone in the Most Popular Cameras mix.
*I wish the horizontal axis from the Flickr graph had some dates thrown in, so we could correlate that sharp spike with the release of the Iphone 3Gs, hypothetically or otherwise.
All this has some connotations for the camera market. Given that Flickr is (in my impression at least), a great community of artists and photographers who range from amateur, semi professional to professional, I do wonder how product lines will evolve in future. What will happen to the cameras that are in between (neither the powerful DSLRs for the serious photographers, nor quite as handy and functional as a camera phone)?
On another note, I have my thoughts about the interesting correlation between handset monopolies (aka sole iphone telco providers around the world) and bad customer service. But I will save them for another day. 🙂
…is a brain intensive process.
This was the first time I’ve tried to live tweet an entire 2 day conference, and I’ve found it was no easy feat…
A couple of the guys were remarking that it was pretty trying to Tweet, listen, synthesize and breathe all at once. Tiring yes, but I shall credit the factors that supposedly make females more adept at multitasking, and maybe the live blogging practice from Social Media Breakfast sessions. 🙂 Still, end of Day 1, we were Zapped with a capital Z, reflected in the more modest number of Tweets on Day 2, if you were following the live Twitter feed.
I love Tweetdeck. really I do. I’d never tried out the Twitter/FB syncing on Tweetdeck so something in me asked why not? I’ll show you why (not). See this, and multiply it a few times in length.
Basically, I spammed my FB profile with my Tweets. Horrendous. I’m sure I spammed the FB News feed of all my friends as well, giving them sure reasons to filter me out .. haha ( just kidding).
Anyway, by lunchtime of the first day, I decided this was not working (not as fun as I thought it would be, visually or mentally), so I stopped the simultaneous posting to both Twitter and FB, so my profile could breathe. Left a status msg linked to my twitter feed instead. The really un-fun part was having to go in and delete the posts on my wall..one by one. Didn’t quite erase them all… No more experimenting on this!
Lets try not to parrot
I also didn’t want to repeat every single thing that was being Tweeted, so the plan I had really was to watch the live feed and pretty much figure out on the spot the angles that each of the other people Tweeting were taking, and avoid posting similar thoughts. Not entirely avoidable, of course, since most good points are usually the ones that get picked up and Tweeted, but worth the effort and still manageable due to the number of Tweeters. Which brings me to my next point…
It’s a digital conference
…but where is the tech? went a Tweet that I saw. Should we hope to see more people actually getting their feet wet and using the tools that would help them understand the different aspects of how it could help them in their jobs better? Only a handful of people were live Tweeting, with the rest of the comments coming from interested parties not present at the conference.
Live event broadcasting
I can see why there is the debate over whether or not a portion of the presentation screen should be devoted to the live Tweets while presentations are going on. Possible issues I can think of are:
- It’s distracting : some people can’t listen and focus on the Tweets at the same time
- hijacking: some people mistaking the Tweet screen as a stage to send SMS-type msgs like on TV/ or saying something inappropriate.
The Tools are more powerful than you know…if used right
Some thoughts on the conference as a whole – It really would have helped if the folks organizing the conference could have confirmed the #hashtag, rather than the Tweeters finalizing it themselves. I saw Claudia taking the inititaive to try and standardiz the tag, but there was still some confusion and all conversation got divided mostly between @adtechasia (the official one) and @adtechsg, with a huge majority not even using them… so just adtech ought to return those results in Twitter search. The problem with the last option is that it returns all global adtech sessions – Twitter is now “mainstream”…hopefully digital marketers will make more effort to really utilize the power of the tools offered to them.
I found another Tweet about how Ad:tech singapore might end up as the conference with the most number of abandoned conference Twitter accounts ever amusing.
Having said that, it was very encouraging to see progress, however small, in terms of the ad:tech blog, using Twitter to get live audience questions during sessions ( although there was the query about why Wifii appeared to be cut off during sessions without a Twitter Q&A feature. Feedback off the Adtech Twitter stream should show lots of griping comments about a technology centric conference with no internet from both visiting and local delegates… ). Baby steps, but it can only get better!
Are you on Twitter? Drop a note to say hi if you were at Ad:tech too! If not, it would be cool to connect on Twitter anyway, or you can leave a comment here. 🙂
More up next on the Keynote Youth Panel session… and meeting Scott Goodstein (man behind Obama’s digital campaign)! I shall try not to fangirl too much.
My other posts on Ad:tech this year:
You can stay tuned through this blog’s RSS here!
Frankly, I’m fatigued by all this hype about Web2.0, and how it is being touted as being the ‘cure’ to everything except cancer. Coupled together with its initial links with the irreverence of Gen Y, I believe we are seeing trends of a different sort right now.
In a couple of weeks, I will be speaking at youth panel at Ad:Tech, moderated by the very awesome Graham Perkins. We talked about how it would be interesting if we could carry on a conversation without using some words like Facebook, Gen Y, Social Media, and how everyone and their pet cat is on Twitter. Would this little alternative game of Taboo be even possible, the way people are throwing these terms around lately?
Seriously, at the heart of it all, is communication, good old word of mouth, but through a new medium – the digital channel. It is less about trying to pigeon hole all this as merely a fad or something for “youths”, which is the natural inclination.
I am partially convinced that ironically, most of what we believe we perceive of this digital movement is shaped by the traditional media, dying or not.
A couple of ‘myths’ that are becoming old…
#1. “No one watches TV, anymore.”
But what would you define as TV? The last I checked, a little site called YouTube was garnering a healthy number of hits (though not making much money), as so was Hulu.com (last year they were touted to surpass Youtube in profits in 2009). I wish I wouldn’t encounter so much of the US copyright restrictions where TV viewing oneline is concerned. Nevertheless, looks like the lucky folks over in the UK will get some of the action from Hulu and UK TV shows on Youtube soon.
What they really mean is the weakening popularity of sitting in front of the classical definition of a TV then …and the old channels, but most of us are watching shows and content off our mobile devices, off our laptop and computer screens, and then some. In other words, people are still watching, just on alternative screens, and in fact, for longer hours since mobile allows considerable freedom.
Nielsen Wire reports that Americans Watching More TV Than Ever; Web and Mobile Video Up too.
#2. No one reads the newspapers anymore.
Again, I have my doubts. I’d like to rephrase that to no one buys the newspapers anymore. But they are still looking for news. I feel that the What’s going on? instinct is alive and strong. In a knowledge driven economy, how is it possible that news would lose its relevance? Again, it’s the physical form that is being affected, and perhaps the core of what was previously supporting the newspapers – advertising. The content is still valuable, and if advertising can no longer fund this content production, something else must come in. It’s unlikely that people are willing to pay in light of the other free versions available.
Here’s Google’s take:
On that note, I still read physical newspapers, when I have the time to plonk them on the floor and go through them. If not, I still take news from great publications like the Financial Times and the New York Times as being one up in credibility, while they may not be a “truthful” and “unbiased” as blogs, I believe that there are still some great lessons in analysis to be learnt from the seasoned journalists.
#3. This Web2.0 thing is so Gen Y, and ONLY about Gen Y.
I think this again, was a stereotype created entirely by the media. What probably happened was Gen Y was the first to jump on the bandwagon, being the digital natives they are. It is always then, easy to link the youth of that period to any new movement that arises because they are the natural adopters of anything that seems new and exciting. Right now, that story is getting old. Again, the media is beginning to spin another angle on what is happening, with articles like – “Mainstream Gen Y isn’t Buying Into Web 2.0” <!>.
One of the great things about the internet is that it effectively erodes any barriers of age, gender, race and so on. As such, if you look hard enough, you’re likely to be able to connect with just about anyone.
People who love deep sea diving. Check.
Grandmothers into floral arrangement. Check.
Teenagers that love rave music. Check.
Babies who Tweet before they are even born. Check.
The web no longer belongs to a single group of people. It should not either. Would love to hear your thoughts on this! 🙂
One of the things I feel about social media, is that it’s tools have been largely software driven. Most of it is accessed by a web browser, either on a PC or mobile device, but still, largely confined within a rectangular screen. You could have a Twitter account, but will you update from T-Whirl? Twitterfox? Tweetdeck? What you can do, and how efficiently you can do it, really depends a lot on the software that you have installed.
Looks like all that is about to change. What will the future be like, when social media applications become integrated into other types of hardware? Like….your car?
OnStar is a GPS-like system (and more) that isn’t in Singapore, but is in some of GM’s vehicles in the USA and Canada. The concept of GPS is nothing new, but what’s exciting is their newly touted Twitter integration. Seems like the days of being a potential road hazard for drivers who are also compulsive Plurkers or Tweeters are somewhat over. Onstar is going to have the technology that can convert voice into text, so that you can send and receive Twitter updates in your vehicle, hands-free. Pretty neat!
Being a pretty visual learner, experiencing+creating material through an auditory channel was quite a different ball game for me! Anyways, so here’s GennY (as christened by Kris & Yin), which will see different people behind each episode depending on availability. Broadly speaking, everything is Gen Y centric, but fluid in terms of the voices in each session. It’s also pretty much free for all, topic wise. Leave a comment if you’d like a certain topic to be featured!
Gen Y, who?
Incidentally, Walter over at Cooler Insights recently posted on Are we ready for generation Y?, which gives a nice take into the people that make up this cohort, and how they compare to the previous generations as well as their mindsets and quirks.
All props to Daryl for organizing this & coming up with the podcast notes!
* 00:00 – Krisandro starts us off – introductions all round
* 00:53 – The topic: How is Gen Y different in the work force?
* 01:28 – Will Gen Y mindset change during the recession?
* 02:26 – Gen Y has no qualms with changing jobs, even in a recession
* 03:39 – Perhaps Gen Y feels there isn’t enough recognition at work
* 05:08 – Did the media influence Gen Y’s outlook on life?
* 07:56 – How is Gen Y different outside the workspace in peer-to-peer interactions?
* 09:57 – How does online interaction affect offline interaction?
* 10:51 – Krisandro claims he’s 19
* 11:01 – Are there different norms that apply online and offline?
* 11:58 – Maybe it’s easier for us to verify if people are weirdos online
* 15:10 – Blooper
Daryl’s Post – Introducing the Genn Y Podcast
Krisandro’s Post- Introducing ‘The GennY Podcast’ – A Singaporean Podcast of Gen Ys about Gen Ys
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About a couple of weeks ago, I ‘quit’ Facebook. It was a transient Friday social experiment moment, so I’m guessing not many people would have actually noticed.
Number of hours it took before someone noticed: Approximately Six.
Number of hours before I caved in and realized I couldn’t do a lot of things that I wanted to while doing a cold turkey: About a day.
By Saturday morning, I was back.
Nevertheless, the process was an interesting one.
Here is the lesson, if ever you feel the need to take yourself “off the grid”, deactivate your account, don’t terminate it.
Termination is permanent, deactivation less so.
Deactivation: What happens
When you deactivate your account, you lose all the settings in your applications (no one told me about that!), but for the most part, most of the other services are up and running within hours (as promised).
The steps (should you want to try it):
Settings > Account Settings > Deactivate account.
When you click on the Deactivate account link, that’s when things start to get really interesting. Some kind of algorithm is running in the background to generate the names of certain friends, and photos of you and them, saying that they will “miss you”.
From what I see, the first round of visual emotional blackmail persuasion aimed at getting you to change your mind seems to feature those people that have communicated frequently with you, and the second round (when Facebook wants to ask you if you are really sure about deactivating) seems to feature those who have most recently tagged you. Either way, they know the people who are likely to matter more to you or have recently been in touch, and they’re making full use of it. Or so I assume.
Then, they proceed to give very logical reasons to try and solve the general issues that might prompt deactivation tendencies.
Amusingly, I noticed they took away the “Facebook is causing too much social drama in my life option“, because I saw it on the web when I was checking out what exactly would happen when I deactivated my account. I suppose there is either no solution, or no logical reply that could solve social drama.
My little experiment was before the entire fiasco about the Facebook terms of service, so it’s nice to know that they’ve dedicated front page space to address this issue right now.
Getting booted out of Facebook
On the flip side, involuntarily being booted out of Facebook is not impossible either.
Apparently, some power users of Facebook have been kicked out of their accounts for various reasons, mostly related to the immense amount of activity that their networks generated, or for having too many friends (?). It seemed the system deemed the level of such activity incapable of originating from a single user, and booted them. Just for laughs, it seems that accounts linked to fake names (of animals) are not spared either.
The SNS of Choice
My experience at a college in North America was that Facebook event invitations are the norm. In Singapore, such a mode of communication is becoming increasingly accepted and trusted, although there are still the select few people who will wonder how credible an invitation is if it is through Facebook and not the traditional channels like snail mail, phone, or direct email.
This article by Louis Gray seems to highlight exactly how pivotal Facebook is right now, with the young and old alike adopting it as their social networking site of choice. Personally, at this point of time, I would have to concur.
As an address book, events calendar, communication channel and so much more all rolled into one, it is just starting to get increasingly difficult to live without Facebook. Is it the same for you? Leave your thoughts!
In my previous post, I talked about how social tools on the web ought to be intuitive, because the adoption process would probably be largely self-driven.
“It just Works”
I hadn’t really noticed how intuitive the installation of programs on the Mac platform have been, nor truly appreciated it, until I recently had to deal with the Windows platform on a new netbook. Then it was back to the days of reading through the instruction manual, all sections of it. Not so much by choice, but more of fear. Fear that something would not work, should I miss a step.
Upgrading my Mac OS platform was not even that much of a hassle. Pop the disc in, and everything pretty much ran by itself. I had so many windows popping up on my (pardon the pun) Windows platform, it wasn’t even funny.
So much for the power of intuition and usability. Here is a link to some light reading about good usability by peterpixel, which has been sitting in my “To Read” folder for far too long! It is web design centric, but I believe the guidelines are useful information for anyone who wants to have a presence on the social web, be it on a webpage, blog or any other platform. Most of what he says is pretty generalizable to other purposes that you might have, and presented in a very digestible form.
Accessibility: Make it easy for us/and them
I’ve noticed that signing up for various social media services on the web has gotten that much easier, and shorter.
At the same time, there is still that issue of having to sign up for an account anywhere before one can proceed, and how much of an annoyance this is. This is so ingrained in us, that I felt really skeptical when Posterous listed their first step as “skipping the signup and account creation.” I felt truly weird, having no account, clicking on the login button and feeling relieved when they had an option to sign up for an account there. So, obviously I didn’t take advantage of the no sign-up needed, possibly because I didn’t exactly trust/believe it. Humans and their habits!
Forrester research tells us that required registration lowers online conversion rates. Their research was based on online shopping sites, so I do wonder about how translatable this would be to other social media platforms. Might be interesting to find out! The effects are probably different, depending on the carrots that are dangling at the other end.
Once again, community comes into play. It is probably much easier, and you will probably have more motivation to sign up for something that your peers are already on, because the crowd can’t be that far wrong…. right?
Here are the XKCD folks, being witty as usual.
There are 1000 applications being developed out there on the web. Which are the necessary ones? The ones that improve productivity? The ones that improve connectivity? These are the few stringent criteria that I put any application through before deciding whether to continue using it or not. One cannot be switching to a new tool that does everything but brush your teeth for you, each time developers release a new application.
Most university libraries have an insanely complex and comprehensive search system in place to trawl through databases and journals. I have yet to see one that is truly user friendly, fully utilized, and does not require some “training” of some sort. What is the point of all that power in the features of a tool, if no one understands how to harness it?
I believe most of the social media “tools” are self taught. No one really has the time to read through an 80 page instruction manual. Like my sad experience with Joomla, which touted itself as easy to set up but surely wasn’t. On the web, intuition rules. If people find the learning curve too steep, chances are, the application will not fly.
Remember, it’s not about the tools. It’s about the people. Ending off with this quote-worthy paragraph: