Category: Social Media

Browsing. Searching. Recommending.

Yesterday I tweeted a little prediction about the coming decade.

(I also posted it on Hacker News and a good discussion followed.)

This got me thinking about the web and what is the default action taken by most people on the web. The thing people do when they’re on the web. Of course people do many things on the net but there’s one activity that’s sort of the main task and this activity has changed over the lifetime of the web. The company that best provides the platform for this activity is the company that defines the web at the time.

I think you can simplify things a bit by saying that during the first few years of the web the main activity was browsing then it became searching and now we’re moving in to a web where what you do is recommending stuff to other people (or follow other people’s recommendations).

The era of browsing was the era of the portals and the browsers. The start page of the browser was the place to be. Netscape was first out but it was Microsoft (followed by Yahoo!) that ended up the winner by becoming the default platform where people did the browsing.

Then of course Google entered the stage and before you knew it we stopped browsing the web and started googling it – search was king.

I think we’re currently on the brink of the next phase: recommendation. This is the era of retweets, mobile social gaming and reputation systems. That’s why I think Facebook is in the best position to become the defining company on the web the coming decade. The entire web will become a reputation system and at the core of this is the successor to the Google Pagerank – the Peoplerank. To do this well you need the social graph that Facebook controls.

Of course we will still be both browsing and searching but the main activity will be recommending or be recommended stuff. We will walk around in a recommendation cloud bombarding us with information that people we trust think we should know about.

Perhaps I’m wrong about Facebook becoming the web leader this decade but I got a feeling the next phase of the web is recommending. The PeopleRank will come. Be ready.

You can recommend this blog post by tweeting about it.

The anatomy of being Hacker Newsed

Hacker News is one of my favorite news sites. Together with Twitter it has almost replaced by RSS reader as my main source for finding interesting stuff to read.

For those of you not familiar with the site, it’s sort of like Digg but focused on technology startups and, well, “hacker” news. Links can be submitted by anyone and every registered member can vote on a link. The links with the most votes end up on the front page.

That’s what happened to this blog post last weekend. The result can be seen above.

Since my traffic to this blog is modest to say the least (I’m not writing very often), the effect of the Hacker News front page appearance is pretty obvious…

But Hacker News was just the first wave of traffic. The second wave came from Twitter. Derek Sivers was kind enough to tweet my blog post and with roughly 200’000 (!) followers the link was mentioned and retweeted 96 times.

Best of all was all the comments and discussions around the post.

The link “only” got 32 votes on Hacker News but that was enough to stay on the front page for about half a day. I posted it Saturday late after noon, central European time so the timing probably wasn’t perfect if you want to maximize traffic (on the other hand it’s more difficult to get to the front page on a more busy time).

This blog is hosted on so unfortunately I can’t dig deeper into the visitor statistics but at least I can say with certainty that the amount of traffic coming from Twitter by far surpasses the traffic from Google, at least for now.

I’ve been on the Hacker News front page before but that time I “only” got about 800-1000 visits. As a comparision, I once had a Youtube video on the front page of Digg. It got about 35000 views, so Hacker News is still relatively small. On the other hand, it has exactly the kind of readers I want with this blog.

I’m really sorry for not having had the time to reply to everyone and thank everyone who retweeted but believe me, I’ve read it all and my heart is warmed by the response! Thanks everyone!

Btw, here I am studying the visitor stats together with a friend:

Twitter is my living room, Facebook my kitchen – how I use different social networks

I don’t remember exactly when I signed up for Twitter (my user number is 1756621 so at least it was back when Twitter had fewer than 2 million users) but I didn’t start to use it until earlier this year. Before that I got my microblogging needs satisfied by Jaiku, which Google later murdered made open source.

After having been through a couple of social networks, this time I wanted to try something different, so I set up two accounts. The idea was to have one for English speaking friends and one for Swedish speaking, to prevent pollution of the twitter feed and make a crude social segmentation.

After a couple of weeks it became apparent that this strategy didn’t work. I also noticed a change in my own tweets and the type of things I posted, as the number of followers started to grow.

The thing is, when you have 10 close friends as followers, you can post pretty much everything. They don’t mind. In fact, hearing about your indecision about what to put on your morning sandwich can make their day. It’s, after all, your friends. That’s what friends do: share everyday obstacles and stories.

The problem is: this sharing doesn’t scale well. It’s cute to hear 10 of your closest friends talk about their cats. It’s annoying when 400 people do it.

I also realised that Twitter and Jaiku are two very different services despite their apparent similarities. On Jaiku you often end up with long discussion threads such as this. They had depth. Twitter is short, fast, concise and to the point. It’s little fragments of insights, ideas, link tips and yes, one or two cat posts.

So, instead of having more than one Twitter account, I’ve decided to do the segmentation on the social network level. Right now I mainly use three networks and each network is sort of like a room in a house.

  • The kitchen: Facebook is my friends “people-I-have-dinner-with” list. On Facebook I’m a little bit more relaxed and post silly stuff like this:
    Facebook Status Update
    A rule of thumb is that everyone I friend on Facebook is someone I’ve met in person. Facebook is my private web feed.
  • The work place: LinkedIn is where I keep my professional contacts. Rule of thumb: people I’ve worked with or may work with in the future. More professional, a little stricter. Kind of my online resume.
  • The living room: Twitter is my general news feed and online conversation. I’m not even sure it’s a social network at all. It’s more of a discovery engine. It has replaced, or rather complemented, my RSS reader. Twitter is my public web feed.

Of course there are many overlaps between these networks and I’m sure my usage of these and other services will change over time (I wonder how Twitter will be used in the not too distant future when everyone from your fridge to your grandmother has a twitter stream) but right now this is how I live on the net.

These three rooms represents different parts of my personality and my life and I’m sure that division will not change, no matter what the Next Big Thing on the net is.

How do you use social networks? I know it’s common to post everything to everywhere, so am I wrong in dividing myself into different personas? What do you think? I’d love to know!

There’s also another dimension to all of this: the emotional bandwidth of the technology used. But that will be another post.

Emotionell bandbredd och Dunbar-tal

Emotionell bandbredd och Dunbar-tal är två riktigt intressanta begrepp. Fredrik Wass intervjuas i Svd om den “virtuella vänskapen”. I intervjun nämns just Dunbar-talen och emotionell bandbredd. Längre utdrag på Fredriks blogg.

Den som vill läsa mer om det här kan besöka GlocalReach-bloggen där jag skrev om båda sakerna för ca 1,5 år sedan.

Emotionell bandbredd och kommunikationsteknologi:

One way of understanding how communication technologies are different from each other is to measure their emotional bandwidth. This indicates the extent to which a communication technology can transfer emotional data.

Emotionell bandbredd och Bambuser:

Bambuser offers live broadcasting from your mobile phone directly to the web. You install an application in your cameraphone and as soon as you connect to the service, it starts streaming video directly to a Flash player so other people can view it as it happens.

The result? People start sharing stories and their everyday life. They film when they go grocery shopping. They film when they eat dinner. They film meetings and conferences. Some nights ago, a group of people had a pop quiz over Bambuser. People start experimenting.

They start playing.

An amazing difference if you compare to how video telephony was (never) used and I think the key to the difference is in the emotional bandwidth in audio vs video streaming.

<emSocial networking bortom Dunbar-talet 150:

These circles represents circles of intimacy and is taken from the book Evolutionary Psychology by Robin Dunbar, Lousie Barrett and John Lycett. It’s called the social whirl. The number in each circle is the approximate number of people within that part of your social network. In the middle is you, followed by your family and very close friends (about 5 people). The next circle is your sympathy group, 12-15 people with whom you have a closer relationship.

När jag läser de här gamla posterna blir jag än mer frustrerad över att vi inte kommit i mål med tjänsten ännu, men det senaste halvåret har jag varit tvungen att fokusera på andra saker. Pengarna tog slut, helt enkelt.

Vi har faktiskt inte stått stilla sedan dess. Steg för steg tar vi oss framåt. Vi kommer att lansera när du minst anar det. 🙂

För övrigt vore det intressant att veta var (och om) det forskas just nu om de här begreppen, emotionell bandbredd och Dunbar-tal.

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Design patterns för rykteshantering i communities

Eftersom jag har rötterna i software engineering är design patterns (“design mönster” låter lite fånigt så jag behåller den engelska varianten) ett välbekant sätt att lösa problem med. Vad är då ett design pattern?

Jo, det är en allmänt vedertagen lösning på ett vanligt förekommande problem. Dessutom brukar det vara formaliserat genom att beskrivas enligt en viss mall.

Yahoo! har nyligen börjat lägga upp ett bibliotek av design patterns. Här är ett exempel.

Via hittar jag också till den här artikeln som beskriver en rad av patterns relaterade till rykteshantering i communities.

Reputation Patterns.

Du hittar utförligare beskrivningar här.

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Facebook Garage in Stockholm

Annika Lidne talked about the flaws of Facebook.

I attended the Facebook Garage in Stockholm yesterday. Unfortunately I had had to leave after about an hour which felt even worse considering how many people was there that I usually only “meet” on the web. Always nice to meet people in person. Flesh over pixels, I suppose.

It’s fun to be physically at the event but it’s even more fun to bring your computer. Almost everyone is blogging about what happens, taking pictures and even streaming video live, like Björn Falkevik does pictured below.

Brit Stakston being Bambused by Björn.

The result can be seen here.

Just like other blogger-dense conferences like the Hej!, Reboot, LIFT and the Hubbub conference they are social events where the online and the physical world intersect.

It’s possible to follow the conference while not being there by using a computer since everyone is blogging, twittering, jaikuing, flickring, bambusing and so on and it’s also possible to be at the conference and not bring a computer, but the experience is more than doubled if you combine the two.

I think this in itself is worth investigating in search of opportunity clouds. Build software and/or devices that makes it easier to be offline and online at the same time.

I didn’t bring a computer this time, but I took a few pictures. You can find them here.

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Svenskt ord för “tribe”?

Malmöfestivalen, Svenska Akademien
Stamgemenskap framför Svenska Akademien

Seth Godins post om tribal management fick mig att fundera över en bra översättning av engelskans tribe.

“Stam” är den uppenbara översättningen, men jag vet inte om den träffar mitt i prick. “Klan” eller “flock” är andra alternativ men det förstnämnda ger associationer till brinnande kors och män klädda i lakan och det sistnämnda känns närmre djurvärlden än web 2.0.

Så, vilka andra alternativ finns? ger följande förslag för dessa tre ord:

folkgrupp, ätt, släkte, familj, klan, härstamning, djurstam, uppsättning, bestånd, besättning, grupp, klunga, skara, samling, hop, skock, hjord, svärm, stim, hord, stam, ätt, släkt, familj; kotteri, klick, gäng, lag, sammanslutning

Hm. Nja. Inget av dem känns rätt. Läge för ett nytt ord?

Tack till alla på Jaiku för förslagen!