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Social media engagement is not scalable

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Remember the polls on television that allowed anyone to call a number and cast a vote on political, national and other topics? Where did they go? You can scale a lot of things – usually it requires bigger budgets and/or change in technology. You can buy audiences and make your content reach almost everyone in the world who is connected to internet. What you can’t scale is conversation. It came to me looking at Facebook post published by news outlet – the Facebook post contained facts that contradict the post on publishers webpage. Some users had pointed this out, but no-one apparently follows those comments so it’s only a matter of time and critical thinking on users’ part when they’ll understand that being one of hundreds of commenters on a Facebook post published by page with millions of likes is like running with your head in the wall. The same thing happened to those polls – television viewers started to get the point that their call is lost and actually doesn’t matter. The same goes for twitter replies to accounts with millions of followers and other engagement forms on other platforms. Users will get to the understanding that nobody hears them – and then the engagement will go as well. In this case – if tree in forest falls and there’s no one to hear it, it doesn’t make any sound. Hope I made my point clear.

September 22, 2015

Facebook events is a half-baked product – here’s why

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I love Facebook events. They let me and my friends to create and organize events, to keep track of any changes etc. Also, Facebook events are a great tool for our clients who organize various kinds of activities. That said, Facebook events are terrible for events that last longer than a day or are a recurring.  The first problem with this is that when I mark that I’m going to an art-exhibition, the event shows up in both my facebook web-based and my sunrise calendar (syncs with facebook) as an all day event for months. Usually I fight the urge for a while, but at one point I just change my status from “maybe” or “going” to “not going”. Second problem comes up when I’m working on client accounts that are, for example, similar to theater. Creating the identical event for each evening is a tough task on its own, but the loss is that every theater lover only sees the friends as attendees if they’re coming on the same evening. This limits their knowledge of other friends who might have seen the same play on different day – therefore disabling any chances of extra word of mouth.

September 22, 2015

Foursqare, this is quickly turning creepy

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Foursquare, I have written some posts on you guys (How foursquare lost track and went for that “platform” thing) – it was a while ago, but in my opinion, still holds true. You know that you have done quite some things wrong – you tried to become a platform instead of just being a great tool, you took out the gamification elements – just to have them return (mayorships) and some other stuff. Growing up is hard – especially when you feel endangered by everything and everyone around you. That’s how it is for startup-ups like you. You fly or die. But after some right choices you had done lately, there’s again one that screams “Why? Foursquare, why???”. This comes down to safety – plain and simple. You have always emphasized that our checkins are private and we can always choose with who and how we share our check-ins. This is kind of unnecessary – suggesting random people to friend lists. I mean, of course, there are a lot of people that know the same people I do, but that 30 mutual friends don’t mean instant trust towards those people just because they are friends of my friends. Some people have smaller friend lists, some have larger – me, I have one that’s wider, but that means that I don’t post everyplace I visit. Some people have smaller communities and they act more freely. Now you’re just assuming that we’re ok with sharing our checkins with random people we haven’t even met. Ever. Don’t do this. Think about younger audiences as well – the ones who don’t think too much, but just act. Teenagers will use this feature as soon as they see a pretty face of opposite sex (or their own sex – I don’t judge). While we’re at it – some better ideas for implementation Event chat rooms – let us connect at places with people who are there – even the ones we don’t know yet. This would work as better option than Facebook rooms or hashtag for event. Think conferences, parties, festivals, etc. Temporary real-time sharing – just like Apple’s Find my Friends, but for groups and friends who aren’t exclusively iPhone users. Very useful on night out in oldtown or festival. Rich check-in history, background tracking – you have seen the Moves app that was acquired by facebook some time ago, haven’t you? They have done some very simple things regarding use of user’s location and activities. In some sense, it has taken away from foursquare (swarm0, because I can always check there when and for how long I have been somewhere. Good luck guys!

July 27, 2015

Olympics – participants per medal per country

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Since I don’t agree that comparing country results in Sochi 2014 by their population is fair, it was interesting for me to compile a table that represents the number of participants by country needed for one medal. Enjoy! These are the results after day 10 Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Winter_Olympics http://www.sochi2014.com/en

February 18, 2014

How everyone overdid the mobile video

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  Lately, mobile video is all the craze. Youtube is still the king, but Instagram, Vine, Mixbit (child of YouTube founders) and others are entering the field to compete for the title of next big thing in video. Well what at least some of them have gotten wrong – video shouldn’t be treated the same way as photos because it’s a completely different kind of media. The most important part – recording Video is the best possible way how to capture any process. Often, it’s difficult to predict how any process will develop. Think about baby’s first steps, sport performances, drunk friends, etc. And this is a serious dealbreaker, if you’re constrained by 15 seconds. Or six, if we’re talking about Vine. Such short windows are suitable only for perfect conditions & perfect filming skills, which just some of people posess. Couple of weeks ago Instagram introduced the option to import videos into the app. That’s a step in the right direction – it allows to capture moments in a way user is used to (in the built-in camera app, youtube app or any other) and publish only the part of the video that counts. Another problem which is solved by youtube (almost) – storing and managing videos. All these videos take up a lot of space. For example, 10min video on iPhone can easily exceed 1GB. Cloud storage is expensive and most people doesn’t have unlimited access to hard drives. That’s another problem that requires solving. Do videos need filters? It’s understandable why photo filters are such a big deal. They both help to cover up our lack of photography skills and to add a feeling to any picture. The problem with video is that it consists of a lot of pictures that usually are different from each another. There isn’t a filter that suits every picture and since video consists of a lot of pictures, it shouldn’t be treated as if every frame is the same. Well, one could argue that filter can still add an emotion to a video, but I strongly believe that quality comes first. Best mobile video browsing experience? None In my opinion Youtube is and will be the king of our personal videos. What they need is just a little fine-tuning on their mobile apps, their homepage and everything else. I totally get the fact that they want to have the best content, channels and audiences that reach well past millions. Personal videos and the ones which are created to be viewed by much broader audiences are very different. It’s a mistake to put both of these kinds of videos in one basket. Instagram is personal, but it’s hardly suitable for video. If Youtube could copy the simplicity of Instagram’s mobile app and help users manage their videos & streams better, they’d be unbeatable. The same goes for all the other new video services. Leave out filters and pointless editing options. Just let users to save their videos, cut them in couple of […]

August 19, 2013

Twitter, where are the analytics?

Twitter isn’t the only one to blame on this. There isn’t a social network which (in my opinion) would deserve a nomination for “complete and understandable statistics”. For twitter, there are three numbers I would like to see. Sources of new followers A lot of things would be more clear to a lot of marketers i they knew where their followers came from. For example- tweet box on company’s blog, follow button, pop-up window after tweeting company’s blog post, link from external source to twitter profile etc. Right now it’s hard to determine what impact other activities have on twitter follower numbers. How many followers have loaded my tweet There are various estimates about how many people there are on twitter, how many of them just read or how many actually have already abandoned the service long ago. Facebook has number “xxxxx people saw this post” which gives at least some insight on how many people notice brand’s messages. Twitter should do the same and offer insights on how many people have accessed (at least technically downloaded) any given tweet via web, mobile or API requests. Number of clicks on links It’s cool that twitter shorten links posted on their service. But it was much cooler if they also gave numbers on these clicks. I know, that other link shorteners offer this and there are plenty of workarounds for this, but still. It would just make everyone’s life easier. BTW, I would be happy to pay for such stats.

August 14, 2012

Social networks have some innovating to do in order to stay relevant

Social networks right now are huge. They’re everywhere, everyone is on them and there are some of them which are just starting out, going viral or becoming mainstream. And it seems that they’re here to stay, because we love to connect to other people, share and find interesting content. There is one part of previous sentence that (in my opinion) is overhyped – connecting with other people. I believe that it’s not about those connections we make on the social network; it’s more about what we can do with these social connections. I mean, there has to be a purpose, a reason. That’s why we go out and spend time with others. We like to do stuff and talk about it. And (again, this is my opinion which you can argue in comments) there always has been a very specific reason or unique feature for any social network’s success. For facebook (among other techniques they pioneered) it was photo sharing; for twitter it was the live & easy sms-like sharing; for foursquare it was the use of location & mobile; for Pinterest it was the the sharing of web visuals; for Instagram it was the mobile photo; etc. Some of these were better tools than the ones which existed before them, but others created completely new markets using new dimensions and resources. Every mainstream social network has been a tool (or service if you would like). A useful, social tool. And every day a lot of people around the world are working on apps, services, web solutions and other imaginable and currently unimaginable things that will disrupt something that we know right now and look upon as today’s disruptors. When tools become social networks, they have to become tools again – or there will be others who will provide better tools than the ones we have right now. By the way, we already have proof that this happens – Instagram was a threat to FB on mobile, FB killed MySpace and others. That’s why I believe that current market leaders have to invest vast amounts of resources in innovation – to be ready when they are hit by underdogs and (better) to create these new markets & tools by themselves to continue their dominance. You don’t see a lot of horse dealerships around today, do you? If you liked this, there is an article about the new look of Foursquare app which is based on this very same thought.

July 18, 2012

How Facebook’s unique visitor numbers could turn into self-fulfilling prophecy

This post is about: comScore have just released data implying that Facebook’s unique visitor numbers are dropping. See the TNW article here: http://tnw.to/l0JS If the trend of fewer unique visitors will continue, it can turn into pretty ugly scene in a very short period of time. Here are a few directions in which it could go down: a) Marketers stop (minimise) investing their dollars in Facebook b) Marketers start to push their brand fans for sales, to justify their expenses in eyes of their companies (users will really hate this) c) Other users start visiting less frequently (you hear that less people are using something, it makes you wonder) d) Content becomes less interesting, since anyone is leaving anyways (who cares about my actions here- everybody is leaving anyways) e) Everybody remembers the MySpace case and freaks out f) Everybody already is talking about how Facebook’s IPO flopped and the constantly bad press really doesn’t help their case Of course, maybe this is just an exception and Facebook has some cards up their sleeve. It might be the case. Maybe Facebook has a plan to turn into a permanent web “backbone” for user identities which collects their life stories from everywhere- in that case they could become an ad serving platform (since they would know their users really well). There are quite a lot of options for such a giant like Facebook. We’ll have to wait and see.

June 21, 2012

Simple and Unified Phone Rating System: A Solution to Android Mess?

Problem: In the good old days, when we had Celeron, Pentium II and other “newest and fastest” processors, 96mb RAMs and all that other stuff. That’s how it was like when I got my first computer. I was proud owner of PC and soon after that I was completely aware of my computer’s specifications, so I could buy games which were to run smoothly on my PC. At first, there weren’t games which didn’t run. But, as time went along, my choices were narrower and narrower. And that was ok, because that’s how things were supposed to be. Somehow we have reached the same situation in the market of smartphones, especially- Android’s. There is a ton of phones, each of them (for the most part) have different hardware, there is a ton of apps, which run or doesn’t run on different phones and then there are users who aren’t aware about which release of Android they have, which apps can they run and why something isn’t working. This is also a turn-off for developers. Creating an app for this volume of phones can’t be easy on anyone. All the different models, different Android releases, etc. How do we solve this? Actually, the situation with phones is exactly the same as it was with computers a while ago. The only difference is that Android versions come out at a much more faster pace than PC operating systems back then. That creates confusion for: Manufacturers- they have to think really hard about adopting new releases of Android for their older models App developers- they have to decide- how old Android’s should they support and after that- how to create an app which runs on as much phones as possible, but without giving up every last feature they could run on the newest Android and most powerful phones- where is that perfect balance? End users- how to know which apps will run, for how long, how long after purchase they’ll be able to use the newest OS and how every phone stacks against others I say- Android (Google & manufacturers) has to come up with grading and guarantee system which is universal and can be attributed to all phones. Apple has this easy- their phone models are so few, that they itself are the grade levels. Electronic appliances have universal grading system depending on how much electricity they use. And I believe that this can (and definetel should) be done for the sake of Android’s ecosystem. How exactly? First, the hardware already is graded in its own way. It has GB’s, MB’s, RAM’s and all the other specifics. Second, Google knows what are the minimum requirements for each (already released) Android to run smoothly. Third, Google knows what they are working on and what will be the requirements for the next OS- right now they’re releasing about 1-2 in a year and seems that they are moving towards releasing them less frequently. Fourth, developers know what resources their apps do require. Fifth, Google […]

June 19, 2012

How foursquare lost track and went for that “platform” thing

Second week of June came with a surprise from foursquare. Their completely redesigned app landed and had already some good reviews from people I respect- even before I had noticed that an update of foursquare is available. Since the first comments were positive, I overlooked the fact that it took me some time to find and do things, like, finding out who is near me, checking in and finding out where my friends are. A tool Foursquare always has been a tool. Of course, it is a great example of gamification and other things, but its sole task has always been to connect people via the dimension of locations. And they have been doing this really well- users (those who want to) can always check who is where almost in real time without creeping out others (everyone has the option to decide for himself who to friend & where to check-in). Platform Platforms are great, but they suck in and lose purpose. Tools, on the other hand, have clear purpose and they get out of the way when they’re not needed anymore. Facebook is a platform, foursquare is (or was) a tool. While Facebook controls our access to many services and tools which are built on top of it or have it integrated, Foursquare is the tool to use when questions asked are “Who? Where? Now?”. Stream of friend check- ins. Before, there were only check-ins, which took a lot less space than they do now- it didn’t have those updates about “likes”, approved friend requests and other stuff which is not relevant if user wants to know where are his friends, wants to hang out with someone who is nearby or just wants to check in. Those extra pieces of information are not relevant to someone who uses Foursquare as a tool for connecting with people someone knows. What surprised me most- the fact that I now see someone’s every check-in during the day. Before that- the news stream had only everyone’s last check-in. And that was really convenient, by the way. But I have to agree that I like how photos look in the stream- that’s a nice touch. Why I’m calling this a “platform thing”? People visit Facebook without a specific question in mind. They come there to see what their friends are up to, what their favorite brands and companies are doing, see some new pictures and to be in the know about what’s going on in the world. Since there are no specific questions which have to be answered to take action in the real world, Facebook can keep on sucking people in itself with help of other apps and developers. And it’s not a bad thing- that’s how it has developed over time- as a photo and news sharing tool for (almost) every topic imaginable. People come to Facebook for what Facebook has to offer. That’s what platforms do- they host activities on themselves to keep the online party going. And after the last […]

June 19, 2012