Musicblogocide 2010: Google shuts ‘em down

When Public Enemy released their classic hit Shut ‘em down, they were criticizing authorities. Yet recently, Google has given the track’s title a completely new meaning: without any prior warning, the company shut down at least six renowned music blogs hosted on Blogger/Blogspot. Or, as Paidcontent.org puts, it, “wiped them from the internet”: Read more

No bright future for Google Wave?

When Google launched their latest gadget “Wave”, everybody was so keen on getting an invitation – I’ve sent out about 60 invites via my blogs, yet I haven’t been using Wave a lot. Neither in the beginning nor lately: it’s lame (even when used with Chrome, large multimedia Waves are basically unusable on netbooks), it lacks a lot of important features and – most important of all – it’s generally quite unsexy, According to Silicon Alley Insider, I’m not alone with this opinion.

Their Chart of the Day clearly shows a rapidly decreasing number of users, even geeks seem to have abandonned the ship for now. It won’t probably sink any time soon, but it definitely won’t replace e-mail (that’s on of Google’s idea behind the system) in the near future.

This kind of launch scenario is pretty unusual for the big G: usually, when a new service gets launched, an immediate success story follows. Just remember Gmail or Analytics – those products basically took existing services like web statistics or web mail inboxes, improved them in a major way and gave them away for free: Gmail offers nearly unlimited storage, Analytics is a mighty tracking tool (I still prefer Clicky by far though – it’s all about the realtime), but Wave is actually the first genuinely new service which Google has ever offered.

So I wonder if we’re just witnessing a temporary decrease in usage numbers, or if Wave just offers the wrong bells and whistles. Because this might be the first #fail in the company’s history… So what’s your opinion on the future of Google Wave?

datadirt Geek Supplies: Background-Template for formspring

Foursquare.com is getting gold: hype-searching geeks are moving on, and these days their favorite URL is formspring.me: it’s a really simple q-and-a platform – kind of like Twitter, but without the 140 character limit. The service lacks a lot features, it’s still in a pretty early stage, which didn’t keep me from registering though: formspring.me/datadirt.

formspring.meThe setup just takes a minute: like on Twitter, there’s the avatar pic, the homepage URL, a short description and that’s it. When it comes to eye candy, formspring.me offers a couple of templates, but the more brand-aware user can also upload their own background pic – now in 2 minutes, because I’ve compiled a Photoshop-template that speeds up the process of creating a custom formspring template a lot. Read more

WBF2009 Day 2: The future of blogging

On Tuesday night, the organizers took us to a great traditional Romanian restaurant where I realized that one of my favorite non-beef foods, namely “Sarmale” (cabbage rolls filled with a special kind of cured meat), is a national dish here in Romania. We also got to watch a group of dancers and we even engaged actively in the action (poorly though, at least in my case :). Later that night we visited Planter’s club later. I must admit that getting up at 7 on Wednesday was quite tough, but as soon as the first session began, the fatigue vanished in an instant.

The second day of the World Blogging Forum 2009 started with Loic LeMeur’s view on the future of social media. Loic talked about current trends like the new Twitter list feature, social services like Google Latitude and a lot more – on the way to the Palace I did an interview we him, the video will be online asap.

Mathias Lüfkens from Switzerland, Social Media Officer with the World Economic Forum in Davos, stressed the importance of CEOs acting like journalists when using social networks. Mathias also said that the number of visitors on your own site doesn’t matter anymore, since you have to be at so many spots in the social web. I totally agree when it comes to PR, but this strategy highly depends on one’s personal goals: social media platforms are a perfect tool for driving traffic to any given site, so if you’re thinking about monetizing your own group, the funnel setup might look a little different. Mathias also enjoys Twitter a lot, especially since it works so well on mobile phones. And when he tweets, a lot of followers listen: The economic forum has 1.3 million (!) followers – this is what happens when you’re on the “Twitter recommends” list.

Dario Gallo is a journalist and Twitter celeb in Argentina. He gave his keynote speech in Spanish and I was quite surprised when he explained that blogging isn’t too popular in Argentina as the necessary tools (mobile media, internet access) are not widely available, at least not for free. But I strongly disagree with his tango-comparison:

Writing a blog is like writing a tango – to write a tango, one has to suffer.

Eric Dupin runs France’s most successful blog “Presse Citron” – last night, we did a bit of number-crunching – his unique visitor figures are most impressive, and he publishes 5-7 stories per day. I enjoyed his presentation a lot as Eric managed to explain the enormous power of crowd sourcing very concisely. Btw: there’s more to come from Mr. Press-Citron – Eric agreed to do a guest posting here on datadirt in the near future!

After the first coffee break I gave my speech about the future and blogging and the monetization of blogs – I stressed the following points:

  • Social media services like Twitter or Facebook are not a replacement for a blog. It’s dangerous to totally rely on third party services, because the only way to have full control over one’s contents is a self-hosted site.
  • Before you start using Facebook, FlickR and other publishing services, ask yourself the following question: “Do I want to get my content out to as many people as possible or do I want to drive as many users as possible to my own site?” This answer determines how to use these services, as there are various options: there’s a huge difference between using social media services as publishing platforms or traffic drivers. If the latter is your choice, use social media to tease people: upload some of your content and tell people that they will find more photos, videos or whatever on your blog. Using this “push-technique” can be immensely effective; I get about 1/3 of of my blog traffic via social media services, and I need to have surfers on my own site for brand-building, for increasing the number of RSS readers and for monetizing my contents effectively.
  • Banner ads are dead. Or at least dead-ish: more and more people use ad blockers, less and less click banners at all. The most effective way of monetizing a blog these days is affiliate marketing. The key factor to success is finding the products and services readers are highly interested in – and this requires a good deal of research.
  • Blog monetization is in an experimental stage. In a couple of years, more and more ad networks specializing in blogs will offer their services. Until then, it’s trial and error: try as many different ad strategies as possible, gather data, do some comparisons and then keep optimizing the things that work. There is not master plan – it really *is* trial and error.
  • “Disclosure” is completely overrated. It’s not important if payment or some other compensation is involved in publishing a post – it’s all about adding value for your readers. Do that, and your user base will increase. Don’t do that, and it’s going to decrease – we’re talking about a pretty self-regulatory system here. Monetization does not play any role in this part. And to me, the line between “editorial” content and ads never really existed, given that buying your way into the editorial part of any magazine is easy if you buy some of their ads (and in many cases, it’s even a prerequisite). So instead of worrying so much about (un)disclosure, bloggers should rather be keen on finding out which products and services add value for the user – readers don’t care if a posting is paid or not as long as it contains information which is valuable for them. This probably sounds heretical to many, but I strongly believe that users must learn to mistrust bloggers and to form their own opinion using various sources. Nobody is able to publish “the truth”, because there is none – there’s just a multitude of opinions and points of view. So in the process of forming their own opinion, users have to learn not to rely on one single source but to take full advantage of one of the main strengths of the net: It’s really easy to look up a second and a third opinion.

After my presentation, Ramon Stoppelenburg pointed out that blogging for him is all about sharing – not only content, but also sharing the money you make from your blog with your readers.

Pedja Puselja from Serbia not using blogs any more, he specializes in social marketing and is solely using Twitter and Facebook to market projects for his clients. Andrea Vascellari from Finland said that he’s usually quite reluctant to talk about the future (reason: the lack of a crystal ball), but I enjoyed his talk a lot – he has some very interesting ideas on how the web changes the relations between users and brands:

We live in the attention area – things are turning upside down. We see a shift from the traditional top-down approach to users actively researching information about brands and services online. The trust level with organizations is decreasing, while the trust level between individuals is increasing at the same time.

Online Journalism and civil society

Onnik Krikorian from Armenia opened the afternoon session about online journalism and civil society, followed by David Sasaki who promised a controversial speech (“controversy fuels discussion”) – and he kept his promise. His presentation centered on the following questions: What are the ethics of attention? Which are the determining factors that direct our attention? And controversial his speech was indeed – and I’m not just saying that because David pointed out that he agrees with me in that the main motivation for actively engaging in social media is self-interest. David also stressed the fact that even during the conference many of us were distracted, doing other things instead of really listening to each other. Self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing, but especially we bloggers tend to forget that the “notion of one’s own importance” is a large and determining part of the human condition. The means of creating images of self at have multiplied via social media – and I fully agree with David when he says that probably we should learn to listen to each other again – after all, that’s how empathy grows.

Jeff Jedras from Canada is an avid watcher of the blogosphere and he senses a lack of self-imposed regulation:

We as bloggers need to come to some conclusions – by now, it’s like in the Wild West: every person has got standards of their own.

I totally disagree with him – Jeff even proposed some badge for bloggers who abide by certain standards; I don’t think that’s a good idea, because there are only two options: either the badge is easily abusable by exactly the folks with low standards, or it ends in some kind of jury which decides about the “okayness” of blogs. Surprise, surprise: I’m not a big fan of regulation.

Jakub Gornicki from Poland, head developer at mixxt.com and co-creator of prezi.com, had planned to become a journalist (“and to visit a lot of press conferences including free food”), but at some point his focus switched to new media. He travels around with an 11kg bag and loves being able to produce any kind of media anywhere and recently started doing live online TV-shows. This kind of independence is especially valuable if you take a look at the poor guys producing content for old media: it’s really expensive to produce the stuff needed to fill the empty spaces in between the ads, the pressure increases while the lowered quality-standards are a media-fest for PR agencies.

Dvorit Shargal from Israel authors the velvet underground blog which focuses on media criticism. When she started blogging, she had no previous online publishing experiences yet still her blog became a huge success in Israel after a very short time. The main reason, she explained, was that journalists are dying for feedback (seems they got a pretty different type of journos in Israel). She started blogging anonymously yet strictly stuck to journalist standard – Israel obviously has some special obfuscation policy when it comes to military operations. Erkan Saka from Turkey and Petrisor Obae from Romania completed the session with their views on the role of bloggers in journalism.

The influence of blogs on the civil society

I feel a little guilty about this, but I have to admit that I wasn’t listening too closely to the final presentations, as two days of discussions and intense debates took their toll on my attention span – plus I missed Jakub Gornickis opening presentation. Helge Fahrnberger from Austria asked the participants if they had heard about the current student protests in Austria – about 10 hands went up. Helge explained the role of the internet (mainly Twitter plus a Wiki) in the organization of the protests: this was actually the first time that such a huge-scale protest was organized without relying on any kind of mainstream media, yet still the results and the visibility were overwhelming. Helge’s speech fueled the discussion, as there are obviously two different notions: some people believe that “slacktivism” is just a way of delegating responsibility while others think that social media activism will effectively change the world for the better.

Giovanni Ruggeri from Armenia gave his speech about the advantages of blogs (available technology, simple setup and so on) – he is very fond of the opportunities digital media offers to passionate communicators. Onnik Krikorian, born in GB and living in Armenia, had a couple of interesting examples about the use of social media in Azerbaijan and Armenia. He pointed out that social media is just one more tool and he recommends: don’t generally use it for everything. Use it when it’s appropriate.

After the end of the last session the last day of WBF2009 ended with a heated discussion about a “blogging constitution” which is continued on the wbconstitution wiki – join the discussion, we need to establish a broad dialogue as one of the main ideas is to find ways to mutually support detained bloggers all over the world.

More on the World Blogging Forum 2009

A lot of participants published photos, videos and reviews – last week, #wbf2009 even was the hottest trend in Romanian twittosphere! Andrei, author of the Swamblog, did an interview with me – we got a lot in common, not only topic, but also logo-wise. Welcome to the association of frog bloggers! :mrgreen:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mthQFYkGRso[/youtube]

Andrea uploaded his pics to FlickR, Chinezu and w2.ro published a reviews (in Romanian), Luca Sartoni uploaded a video about the event including various statements:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yPPwZHdFw0[/youtube]

More reviews: Daniel Bobe published an in-depth review of the event, Eric Dupin summed up our adventures in Bucharest.

Big up and thanks again to Mihaela and her team – the World Blogging Forum 2009 was an unforgettable, enthralling experience for me. Thank you so much for inviting me to Bucharest and I hope to see all of you again soon!

WBF2009 Day 1: Blogs, Citizen Journalism and E-Democracy

The first day of the World Blogging Forum 2009 was all about empowerment and influence: since 99% of the participants are bloggers it’s no surprise that we all agree on the total and complete deadness of old media – that’s just a question of the vanishing point. But how to harness the power of the web to strengthen the civil society in dictatorial states? This issue is far from easy to tackle!

Blogs and citizen journalism

Wael Abbass kicked off the first session: The Egyptian blogger and human rights activists pointed out the various problems bloggers face in Egypt: Mubarak does not use direct censorship but rather relies on “informal” methods of incredible pressure. “I’m almost out of optimism”, Wael said in his very moving speech, as even though police violence and torture videos have been leaked and published, the situation hasn’t changed at all – for 40 years. For us Western-European bloggers, the primary problem is how to monetize our blogs, while Wael has to struggle to just be able to continue his work – and when we talked last night, Wael explained that literally no brands want to advertise on his highly critical blog as they are afraid of the political consequenes.

Zhou Shuguang also has to face a quite restrictive government: China, famous for its “big Firewall”, does not fight the internet per se, but it’s doing everything to wall the garden – yet nobody is sure if blocking e.g. Twitter.com is a political or an economic decision, pushing national copycat-service. For example: the fact that Twitter clients work in China is at least a partial proof that the “censorship” is not just about keeping thoughts, but rather about keeping the competition out.

Jeff Jedras vom Canada, Michael Reuter, the Bavarian founder of Germany’s Yigg and Ramon Stoppelenburg from Amsterdam (“I’ve got a typical Spanish first name and a very typical Dutch surname – complain with my parents!”) run their blogs in countries where censorship is not an issue – but monetization definitely is. Michael thinks it’s vital to turn (political) blogging into a sustainable business as well, and I totally agree with him in that this does not have to go hand-in-hand with any loss of credibility. Ramon talked about his “Let me stay for a day” project which brought him to 72 countries via invitations of private folks:

And then it hit me – this is what the internet is really about, to get in touch with people. […] So I can travel and also have an opportunity to open the eyes of people who can’t!

This extension of virtual relationships to actually getting to know people from all over the world physically, to even stay at their place (Couchsurfing.com has about 2mio profiles by now) leads to a new quality of understanding, Ramon believes:

The more we share, the more we put online about each other, about ourselves, the more we understand each other.

Again: nobody in here (not even the Romanian president) believes in old media. They are slow, biassed and tend to overstretch the truth a lot – so it’s always a good idea to take a look for yourself if possible!

Dobó Mátyás from Hungary took a different approach: he stressed the importance of monetization possibilites, because in his opinion, economic freedom is the only safe road to stay free from interfering influences. I can hardly believe that it was me who had to add that money is not the only and not even the primary motivation for a lot of bloggers. The last keynote before lunch was very interesting: Andrea Vascellari from Finland told the story of his 5 minutes of CNN fame: after the infamous school shooting old media producers asked him to report, which he did and to interview people, which he denied:

I didn’t want to interfere with people suffering, and I’m interested in creating a better web, so I cannot apply traditional old media strategies.

E-Democracy | Blogs and freedom of expression

Giorgi Jakhai became famous in Georgia when he started writing about the Russian-Georgian war. In his keynote he adressed the question: What is freedom? Having had to leave his hometown due to “ethnic cleanings” during the war, Giorgi has experienced the situation of helplessness first hand and made distributing information about the war his mission.

Parvana Persiyani from Azerbaijan talked about the situation of bloggers in the Baltic states – even though the freedom of expression does exist in theory, the wrong blog posting can have dire consequences – like getting kicked out of the university. And it’s also about economic hurdles: if the price for internet access is too high, people simply can’t afford this kind of communicative freedom.

Moderator Dumitru Bortun, President of the Honorific Jury, Romanian Association of Public Relations , summed up the two keynotes in a very concise way:

Both participants take part in a war – an information war. And the keynotes help us understand how this war works. What can we learn from that? Any kind of democracy requires infrastructure (i.e. Greek agora), which is easily overseen.

The follow-up sepaker, Stela Popa from Moldavia, is an atypical visitor as she is not a blogger – but she is defending two Moldavian bloggers who got into serious censorship troubles and it was fascinating yet spooky at the same time to hear about the wicked ways of the Moldavian (jailtime) censorship. Speaker Luca Sartoni from Italy, who works for 123people (he seriously claims that the company helps people with “reputation management” when the whole business model is just aggregating unwanted spam) is convinced that democracy means circulating any kind of information, not just political programs.

After the coffee break, Romanian journalist Mihaela Onofrei, who has seen a fair share of conflict areas from Azerbeidjan to Afghanistan presented her Transnistria-project and talked about the role of bloggers in changing public images. Petru Terguta vrom Moldavia repeated the well-known plot of “evil government” – and once again the blogosphere played and important role in circulating and publishing the kind of topics which would not turn up in Moldovian mainstream press.

Onnik Krikorian was born in the United Kingdom, but moved to Yerevan in Armenia 11 years ago. In his double-role as a writer and photographer for mainstream media on the one hand and as a blogger on the other, he presented some very interesting insights in the Armenian media system.

My upshot of the first day: #intense #challenging #different Why different? Because I immensly enjoy getting to know so many people I usually don’t meet at the average 2.0 event. I’d like to say that I learned a lot and I laughed a lot, but even though the atmosphere was just great, there were not that many funny facts on such a serious topic. But the day brought an important insight for me: I strongly believe that we as bloggers, as part of an international network, do have the responsibility to figure out new ways of distributing information – not necessarily via a new hi-tech aggregator or via some complicated system, because maybe simply offering our blog-brothers and -sisters in dictatorial countries some space on our blogs to broadcast their messages might offer some relief as well as international awareness – I’ll propose that tonight and I hope we can figure out something out that helps our friends in dictatorial countries.

World Blogging Forum 2009 – The Opening

The World Blogging Forum 2009 has started today. In the morning, Mr. Traian Basescu, former mayor of Bucharest and now president of Romania, greeted us with a warm welcome; I actually expected him to just drop by for a couple of encouraging words, but Mr. Basescu obviously is a quite avid followers of the blogosphere and even pointed out that he prefers political blogs over traditional media as they are a lot less biassed.

wbf02

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Invitation to the World Blogging Forum in Bucharest

GermanThis posting is also available in German.

Just before I took off to Andalusia I got mail from Mihaela, asking if I wanted to attend the World Blogging Forum 2009 in Romania as a VIP guest. Yes of course! Flight and hotel room are already booked and I’m looking forward to a conference a lot! The guest- and speaker-list contains a lot of popular bloggers who I’m glad to meet face to face, plus it’s the first time I’m going to visit Bucharest. The organizers have invited the most successful bloggers from 30 countries to Romania to discuss the “ideas for a better digital world”:

The most influential bloggers in the world: The event brings together some of the most influential persons in the online media all around the world, in conferences and workshops aiming to establish clear parameters of the development of the online media.

World Blogging Forum 2009

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eBook: Chinese online markets and copy-catting

National markets beg to differ: it’s not only about languages, but about the subtle cultural differences which make the difference between top and drop. That goes especially for Asian markets. And there is another specialty about the largest Asian market: Chinese government strictly controls all internet access. This kind of censorship not only influences the political but also the economic sphere. Juergen Hoebarth, who knows the Chinese online market like the back of his hand, wrote a white paper about Chinese start-ups which is definitely worth a look (especially since it’s a free download!).

In Don’t forget China, Juergen talks a lot about the copycat situation – when it comes to net business, in many cases the copycat does a lot better in China than the original competitor:

As we can see in China there is definitely a copycat of every success story form the west and they are doing very well. This last case concerning the video portal sector in the Chinese market is really interesting, because it is a battle where an international site like YouTube has more or less no chance to win. Bureaucratic restrictions by the Chinese government just kick them out of the market. Once there is a copycat brand for a service that is better known, it is hard for the original to get into the market again, even when the restrictions are removed and an agreement is reached between Google, who owns YouTube and the Chinese government. The reason, for censorship at the moment, is that there have been regime critical videos between the millions that are offered on YouTube.

The Chinese government announced that in 2010, broadband net access will be available in every single village. If you’re founding an internationally oriented start-up today, you cannot afford to overlook China, argues Juergen:

As we live in a global world we are in a global competition as well, and so I would say the fast, smart and clever one will win the race and those who are thinking from the beginning on about a global strategy when they found a company will survive and if they are well prepared and know the rules of the Chinese internet market and adapt some issues, they definitely will have a chance to survive in this country as well and will not get kicked out as easily as the big global net giants have been before by their Chinese copycats.

eBay had to learn this lesson the hard way: after their total failure they completely abandoned the Chinese market. apparently, the company had overlooked two major problems: credit cards are not too widespread in China plus the direct contact between buyer and seller (via messaging services) is a vital trust-factor.

So if in the future you do not only want to reach Mary, John and Jack but also Bao, Fang and Wei, take a look at Juergen’s whitepaper: Direct Download: Don’t forget China

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 26/2009

“Welcome to the world of tomorrow!” No, that’s not right. Let me try again: “Welcome to the world of the last seven days!” That sounds better! There’s a lot to show-and-tell, so without any further ado, let’s jump straight into last week’s social media news.

The Future of Facebook

There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook’s future last week. Regular Geek views the new multiQuery API plus the profile search as two important steps in opening the walled garden:

There is a very strong feeling from developers that a closed system like Facebook cannot succeed. While I tend to agree that a completely closed system will have difficulties, Facebook has slowly opened up little by little to a decently open system. They still have some work to do before they become as open as Twitter, but the foundation has been started.

And Copyblogger, even goes a step further in explaining “How Facebook kills SEO”:

But the rise of Facebook creates a growing segment of the web that’s completely invisible to search engines – most of which, Facebook blocks – and can be seen only by logged-in Facebook users. So as Facebook becomes ever larger, and keeps more users inside its walled garden, your web site will need to appear in Facebook’s feeds and searches or you will miss out on an important source of web traffic.

ReadWriteWeb looks even further into the future. My guess is that scenario 4, “distributed social networking”, has a huge potential, and Google wave might give this a huge boost:

The next step after Facebook may be no social network in particular at all – it may be social networking as a protocol. A set of standards that let you message, share with and travel to any social network you choose. Suddenly all the social networks have to improve because they are competing on quality of service, over customers that have free will and are able to leave at any time.

From blogging to lifestreaming?

Blogging is dead – that’s what they’ve been saying for a couple of years now. But is lifestreaming here to stay? Of course a social media feed is a welcome guest on many sidebars, and the time budgets are indeed shifting:

It seems as if blogging is becoming old hat, or at least evolving into something smaller, faster, and more portable. I’m with Louis Gray, I’m not going to give up my blog, instead, I think of it as the hub of content, and the rest of the information I aggregate (notice the Twitter bar up top and the Friendfeed integration below). To me, joining the conversation is certainly important, but it doesn’t mean the hub (or corporate website) goes away.

19 Twitter apps compared

Mashable compares 19 twitter clients, from pro-dream-machine to keep-it-simple:

Now that Twitter is older than a toddler, you have a variety to choose from. From apps for groups, Mac and PC specific clients, and apps that let you do a whole lot more than tweet, you can use this guide to help you find the desktop client that’s right for you.

And just in case you don’t know what to do with these clients, take a look at his Mashable posting on twitter strategy..

The matrix tie-knot

I found Henry’s video on Lifehacker – this one should make many Matrix fans quite happy:

If you’re a very sharp-eyed fan of Matrix movie trilogy, you’ll recognize the knot captured below as a rare specimen sported by “The Merovingian.” The knot itself didn’t originate with the movie, and isn’t rightfully named “The Merovingian Knot,” but the Ediety Knot. Still, it’s nearly impossible to find any reference to it independent of the movie, so let’s just keep the Wachowski-an etymology for now.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA-n2xkYX6s[/youtube]

It took me a couple of tries and my knot is still not perfectly symmetric – but I must say: great video-tutorial!

The cost, the pay-off, the quickie

The Cost (and Payoff) of Investing in Social Media sure is an impressive title. So there’s no need for actual arguments, especially when the introduction acts as a series of climaxes:

But is social media right for your business? Could it be a free substitute for a traditional (read: expensive) advertising plan? How much time should be spent in the care and feeding of all those profiles? The answers may surprise you.

It sure did not surprise me – actually, I’d have guessed that the answer would be “maybe”. But one thing I do know for sure: SM strategy (read: social media. don’t read: Sado-Maso) is not a series of quickies and requires careful analysis and planning. So this is probably one of the dumbest quotes I’ve read in a while:

Time is money, but Weathers says it’s all about how you manage it. “Previously wasted down time like sitting in taxis for 20 minutes or standing in a bank line for 10 minutes is now spent on my mobile phone, bouncing between Twitter and Facebook. It’s getting easier and easier, and for branding an entrepreneur, I think it’s golden.”

While writing the occasional tweet on your way to the airport or answering Facebook messages via Smartphone-client is a great time-killer for geeks, this is not what social media marketing is about.

btw: bad, bad entrepreneur.com! Using a javascript that dangles with the contents of the clipboard when copy-pasting is just… not a good thing.

Most WordPress Themes suck!

And it’s Blair Williams who claims that – author of the mighty and highly acclaimed Pretty Links for WordPress. Now we all know that good looks are sometimes sufficient for a night of fun, but if you’re thinking about a long-term relationship, there are plenty not-so-visible factor to be considered: in the case of a WordPress template comment formatting, landing pages and many more are among these. In his post, Blair outlines the 10 most common issues with WordPress templates – definitely worth a look if you’re thinking about switching!

I’ll think a theme looks clean, beautiful and professional — then I install it, have a look under the hood and realize that it has fatal flaws.
This really makes me wonder how many people are slaving away on their websites and blogs all the while their site is dying a slow death because of a WordPress Theme that they think is fine.

Brüno comin’ up

It’s been a while since Sacha Baron Cohen shocked the world as Kastachstan reporter Borat. In his new movie he portrays a gay Austrian fashion journalist – I’m so looking forward to see this film – starting on 10th of July. The trailer is *very* promising:

Pic of the week

Man’s Best Friend is the title of zedzap’s bw-shot – very nice pic, no HDR this time :mrgreen:

hundewoche

Video of the Week

This movie has got it all: action, car stunts, daring love scenes… unlike the director of the latest Bond movie, Asim Varol did a great job:

And that’s it – see you again next week! Thanks for you whuffies and never forget: comments and feedback make blog authors happy :mrgreen:

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

This weekly round-up comes with a built-in 24 hours of delay, as the author was extremely busy during the last weekend launching the Austrian Internet Council [site in German]. This was an amazing proof of the power of social media: within the short time span of 5 days we our project was the cover story on ORF FutureZone, Austria’s biggest Tech News site. Crowdsourcing is great, but it can be quite time-consuming, especially when there’s a lot of interest and involvement. So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into this week’s hot social media topics!

Ignore everybody!

breas! Hugh Macleod of Gapingvoid published his first book titled Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity. Just ordered my copy – I’m looking forward to some inspiring quotes and cartoons:

The first rule of business, is never sell something you love. Otherwise you may as well be selling your children.

The Real Pip-Boy Deal

The Pip Boy saved me various time – while I was strolling through the post-nuclear wastelands of Fallout 3. But the nifty little arm-computer might soon enter real life: Engadget shows pictures of an impressive flexible OLED-Display:

The 4-inch organic electroluminescent display sports up to 1.67 million colors, QVGA (320 x 240) 100ppi resolution, and can be bent to a curvature radius of about 2 inches. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a must-have fashion accessory any time soon: while it’s perfectly appropriate attire for post-apocalyptic wastelands, we don’t know how well it’ll fly at the sorts of high society social events we normally frequent.

Seesmic Desktop: no Air required

TechCrunch interviewed Seismic founder Loic LeMeur – and the most charming Leena Rao managed to make the man talk:

According to Le Meur, Seesmic will soon be offering a browser based client. This offering is actually appealing, considering that Adobe’s AIR platform has some strange UI bugs and quirks and tends to use a good amount of resources on computers. And Seesmic will also launch an iPhone app, which is currently under wraps along with the web-based product.

Jeremy’s own Affiliate-Network

Jeremy Shoemaker has been writing about affiliate marketing for quite some time; but recently he launched his own affiliate-network and published a post about his experiences. I’m really curious about his plans:

Sure I hear you… your thinking “Why the hell would you pay people to sign up for a free course?” It’s a great question and I think when the dust settles around the shoemoneyx.com program I will write all about it, why I did what, and what exact effect it had. I do have a method to my madness but it’s not as many have guessed. We will see if it works but that is for another post

Twitter is becoming infrastructure

Regular Geek posted an interview view on twitter – his main point: Twitter is shifting from an online service to a basic infrastructure upon which early adopters are constructing an eco-system:

So, why is marketing and economy so important to Twitter becoming infrastructure? Without an economy building on top of Twitter data and functionality, Twitter would just be a toy. With people researching the data that is generated from Twitter, it becomes much more important. In order to monetize the system, they can sell the data, but monetization becomes much easier when you become ubiquitous.

Can’t argue with that – with all the various mash-ups and the growing interest in real-time search, it seems that Twitter is here to stay. At least for now.

Bing beats Yahoo

Microsoft’s new search engine hat a great start: TechCrunch reports that Bing overtook Yahoo – now the question is: will this trend last or will the wearer of the ancient headband #2 leap for a comeback?

The company’s analysis for Thursday finds that in the U.S. Bing overtook Yahoo to take second place on 16.28%, with Yahoo Search currently at 10.22%. For the sake of comparison: Google’s U.S. market share is pegged at 71.47%, and its worldwide share at a whopping 87.62% (vs. 5.62% for Bing and 5.13% for Yahoo).

Content ain’t king

“The idea that ‘content is king’ in blogging is total bullshit” says Viral Garden:

Every day I read hundreds of blog posts. And every day, I see dozens of truly GREAT posts that get no comments. Every day I see dozens of pretty good posts that get dozens of comments and have vibrant conversations.
The difference? Most of the bloggers that write those pretty good posts are also pretty good about leaving their blog and interacting with people on OTHER sites. They comment on their reader’s blogs. They tweet their links on Twitter. They are ACTIVELY social with social media.

Interesting thesis… I’d say that both factors come into play. Social media spamming will just piss people off unless you got some stories that are actually worth watching your moves.

Pic of the week

I admit: I just couldn’t decide between these two beautiful shots. A direct path was taken by eyesplash Mikul, it’s a free-handed shot. The seconded picture portrays a female lying wolf in the zoo of Zürich and was taken by Tambako the Jaguar:

picweekbird

picweekwolf

Video of the week

Boats are only people – pretty unreliable ones, to be exact. These love boat passenger are in for a wet treat – feel the pain of these great sailors:

This is the end – of this week’s round-up. Thanks for stopping by and offering me some of your Whuffies. Let’s do it like this: I’ll keep posting and you’ll keep coming back and drop a dime from time to time :mrgreen:

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

Step in, ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the weekly Blogistan-round-up! It’s my duty to entertain you (and sometimes maybe even piss you off), but who cares – it’s all in the blog, st00pid! From Google Wave to the sluttiest brides in 2008, the blogosphere is here to cover your every information need.

Google announces Wave

The buzz is on – Google has announced the release of their newest project called “Wave” later this year. The stakes are high, as Wave claims to redefine the way we communicate and collaborate on the web. E-Mail, contacts social networks – Wave will tear down the boundaries between documents and dialogue:

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Google posted a couple of screenshots, future beta testers can sign up here. This in-depth presentation from Google I/O waters my mouth; and btw: Wave will be completely Open Source.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ[/youtube]

So much for Twitter’s trending topics

“But all good things, they say, never last”, sang prince. And now TechCrunch is saying the same about Twitter’s trending topics:

Up until recently, Twitter’s trending topics – which are prominently displayed on their Search homepage and now also in the sidebar when you’re using the Twitter website – were an awesome way to get a feel of what was buzzing on the Web, in a way that virtually no other web service was able to do.

+

But then came the pirates and Michael is really pissed!

Today, when you look at Twitter’s trending topics, you’ll notice that the large majority of trends are memes started by a single user or a group of users, with the main goal offering entertainment rather than spreading information. That’s all fine and dandy – no harm in having fun – and I realize well that Twitter’s trending topics are not necessarily required to be giving you and me an overview of stuff that really matters, but I can’t help but think it’s a pity that that list is starting to turn into the top 10 of chain letters people used to circulate through e-mail messages in the late nineties.

Oh dear gosh, I wish more people would recognize that manipulating social media platforms is so much more fun than obeying their “laws”…

The real name problem

Many native Indians have names like “Robin kills the Enemy”. Their name is in their passport, the same applies to people with exotic names like Lisa Strawberry. But if your name sounds like made up (but actually isn’t), you might have trouble keeping your Facebook account. An article on Spiegel Online [in German] reports that a couple of users got deleted without any previous notice. Facebook’s policy requires you to use your real name, and with the ongoing success of the platform a lot of users are running multiple fake profiles with strange names. Removing these might be a good idea for FB in terms of scalability and reliability, but the collateral damage has become so big that the group Facebook: don’t discriminate against Native surnames!!! already has more than 4.000 members, among them the likes of Linnie Birdchief, Carl Fourstar jr. and Sandy White Hawk. Facebook speaks person Barry Schmidt admitted mistakes, and the said accounts have been reactived, but the waiting period is quite long as only 850 people are on the payroll of the world’s largest social network.

Russian investors buy a share of Facebook

New York Times reports that Russian internet investment company Digital Sky Technologies acquired 1.96% of Facebook for the sum of $200 million:

Digital Sky won because its founders Yuri Milner and Gregory Finger have strong experience running Internet properties in Eastern Europe and Russia, and “a deep, advanced understanding” of social networking technology, Zuckerberg said.

We all know that FB is burning money at an amazing rate, but Zuckerberg still plays it cool – after all, he is running the largest social network in the world. Yet still numbers have gone down: when Microsoft purchased 1.6% in 2007 they had to pay $240 million – during the last two years, the overall value of the platform has decreased from $15 to $10 billion despite the growth in user accounts.

Happy B-Day, Mr. Shoemoney!

Jeremy Shoemaker turned 35 this week – congrats, man! I love your blog and there you’re the person who taught me the most valuable lessons about online marketing and blogging – thx for your excellent posts and keep up the great work! You definitely got a fan in Vienna :mrgreen:

This week’s href=”http://www.shoemoney.com/2009/05/29/friendshirtme-free-shirt-friday/”>T-Shirt of the week is also definitely worth a look: it was printed by Friendshirt.me. And the comments say it all… when I saw this app I instantly had to order mine!

What is a Micro-Scobble?

Robert Scobble is a tech evangelist and twitter legend. Disqus blog published and interesting interview with man responsible for the tweet-frequency-unit “Micro-Scobble”:

I grew up in silicon valley, I had no choice. My Dad was an engineer and I grew up in Cupertino about a mile from Apple Computers. I had an Apple Computer in 1977, in my junior high I was in the first computer club , and I got a tour of Apple when they were one little building. So yeah, I’ve always been around tech.

My bride is not a slut. She just looks like one.

Judith sent me this great article – thx! Take a look at the Top 5 Sluttiest Wedding Dresses Spotted In 2009! Even though is nearly breaks my heart that Miss Carey is no longer single, I have to admit that with this elaborate sense of taste she’d get a job in any brothel in the whole world:

The Mariah Carrey slutty wedding dress certainly doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. Fully equipped with garter belt, stockings, and a main fashion piece better off worn under the dress or on the wedding night, this dress starts us off with its moderately tame slutty fashion.

Video of the week

This one goes out to the Open Source Community – I usually don’t publish ads as the video of the week, but in this case Redhead has done a fantastic job – and with over 3 minutes, in these short-clip times this is almost an online feature movie. Congrats to Peter Novak on this fantastic job!

Pic of the week

New to my weekly round-up: starting this week, I will publish a “pic of the week” – no special topics whatsoever. Since I started digi-SLR myself my appreciation for those perfect shots has grown immensely. Choosing the proper pic wasn’t easy at all, but this Manasquan Reservoir by Joisey Showaa is one fantastic shot:

manasquan

And that’s about it for this week – thx for visiting my blog, see you again next week!

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.