Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

12 Feb 2012 11:51


Politics: Forbes: Is Mitt Romney’s biggest problem his Facebook page?

  • Romney’s page on Facebook strikes me as particularly bad for a politician who needs to connect and for a campaign that is well aware of Obama’s social media pedigree. It’s almost as if the Romney team is not really trying.
  • Forbes contributor Haydn Shaughnessy • Suggesting that Mitt Romney’s real problem is his Facebook page, which, despite over a million fans, feels a little poorly-suited for its job. Shaughnessy got a couple experts on the beat to ask their opinions on Romney’s page, and their feeling was that he was lacking “genuine engagement” — focusing on broadcasting rather than communicating with readers. “If Romney or his team took 30 minutes each day,” claims social media expert Amy Porterfield, “thanking his supporters, commenting on their posts and listening to their concerns, he would not only have a keen understanding on what people are talking about, but he would also create solid, valuable relationships with Facebook users.” The advice here goes beyond hollow-seeming presidential candidates. It’s really good for anyone with interest in social media. (Edit: Per Josh Sternberg, Shaughnessy’s a contributor to Forbes rather than a staff writer.) source

23 Jan 2012 23:37


Tech: New bookmarklet turns Google’s unofficial motto against itself

  • “Don’t Be Evil” tool cuts back on Google’s self-promotion: Remember Google’s new social search feature? It features results from your friends — and Google+ accounts — before other results, even if the other social sources are more popular than the Google+ account. The new “Don’t Be Evil” extension “looks at the three places where Google only shows Google+ results and then automatically googles Google to see if Google finds a result more relevant than Google+,” according to Focus On the User. Would you install this? source

29 Nov 2011 00:37


Tech: Aw, Zucks. We’re hoping this won’t “poke” our portfolios too badly.

  • Want to own a piece of Facebook? You might be able to in the spring of 2012. It looks like, despite founder Mark Zuckerberg’s well-known resistance to the idea over the years, the company is on its way to its “initial public offering” — the sale of stock that a private company makes available to the public. (Groupon just had an IPO, and it hasn’t been going quite so well for them.) The social media trailblazers could raise as much as $10 billion from first-day stock sales; that would put the company’s total value at $100 billion. Not bad for a guy who screwed over most of his friends from Harvard (and a couple of Winklevi) to get there. source

10 Sep 2011 13:32


Biz: Early Web 2.0 site Meetup describes its roots — in September 11, 2001

  • One of the first real sites to take on social media in a tangible way — where it encouraged offline interaction as much as online — was Meetup, which started up nearly a decade ago. The roots? September 11, 2001. Really. “A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way,” noted CEO and co-founder Scott Heiferman. “So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and grow local communities?” Nine months later, a site which has proven an important tool for social and political organization went online, turning a negative into a positive — and likely building the roots for many social media sites that came after. A fascinating story. source

02 Sep 2011 00:24


Tech: Blog design engine Ownzee cool, but could use some structure

  • It’s like a visual blogging app. Remember a few months ago, when we featured a service called Webdoc? Well, we had a lot of fun with that. We saw a lot of potential for the idea of allowing people to design posts on the fly (sort of a next-generation Tumblr or Storify), though the service had a few things we thought it could improve upon. Ownzee appears to be using better, less-cumbersome technology for its format. Here’s a roundup.
  • The good First off, the wide-screen format appears to be using a rich-text editor reminiscent of Aloha, and appears to be easier to use. You can do cooler things with more real estate, obviously, though we think the font palette is a little lacking. (No Helvetica?) It’s clear that, though it’s similar to Webdoc, it’s built from a stronger starting point. As they improve the service, this will prove beneficial.
  • The bad Unlike Webdoc, Ownzee appears not to support external HTML or CSS, which would extend the format a bit. However, this wouldn’t be an issue if the service offered easy-to-build templates, so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time. As a result, the format lends itself less to doing serious cool things and more to being a social meme-maker like Canvas. It doesn’t have to be this way, guys!
  • The unfortunate Sadly, The dealbreaker for us is the price — we like the idea, but wonder if charging a $5 monthly fee for this is the way to go. Unlike SquareSpace, you can only do so much with the format in its current iteration, which makes the technology, cool as it is, a little less-useful. Our suggestion: Make it freemium, then offer InDesign-style design tools (grids, rules, extra fonts) for a fee. source
  • » Overall thoughs: There is a market for a good, serious, on-the-fly design tool that takes the lessons from CMS tools like Tumblr and WordPress and converts them to a totally-visual HTML5-only format. The thing that we see right now is not that tools like WebDoc and Ownzee are bad ideas — far from it — but that their scope is too limited. These design tools, while quite advanced, lack structure and full context. If we were Ownzee, we’d be looking to offer ways to quickly structure designs – say, grids, good templates, solid themes and ways to prevent end-users from repeating themselves — that would give it print-design-style conventions. This is why Storify (which basically does this with social-media storytelling) is taking off. Just think how much better posts like these would look if end-users had starting points. We’d certainly use something like that.

02 Aug 2011 22:46


Politics: More evidence that Newt Gingrich has lots of fake Twitter followers

  • At first, we actually thought it might have been a bug. We have seen some pretty low consumer ratios in our testing, but Newt’s was the lowest we had ever seen.
  • PeekYou CEO and founder Michael Hussey • Discussing (and possibly confirming) the rumor that Newt Gingrich has a lot of fake followers on Twitter. Here’s the thing, though — PeekYou noticed this on their own, weeks before it became a story on Gawker. The number — 8 percent real people — was so low that PeekYou actually thought it was a glitch. And here’s the interesting thing — according to PeekYou, if you take Newt’s fake followers out, Sarah Palin has more followers than he does. That’s kinda crazy, and PeekYou is doing some more research on the phenomenon for Mashable to figure out if the alibi we’ve heard about Newt’s follower count (that his follower count perked up once he was added to Twitter’s “suggested users” list) is plausible. source

02 Aug 2011 11:11


Politics: So, how did Newt Gingrich get all of his followers, anyway?

  • This crazy story’s been floating around the ether over the past day or so suggesting that Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff used a service to pay for most of his million-plus Twitter followers — a number which is ahead of every other presidential candidate besides Obama. But did he? A conflicting story’s been floating around suggesting that Newt has all those followers because he was one of the first Republican politicians on Twitter’s suggested user list, which to us sounds more realistic. No matter the case, the evidence is clear that Newt Gingrich is a social-media trailblazer who was one of the first politicians to use Google+. We’ll keep an eye on this one. source

04 Jul 2011 16:31


U.S.: Follow the leader: Joe Biden has an official VP twitter account

  • A few days after President Obama started tweeting, our VP is too. Well, it’s not really him, but it still shows how hard the White House is trying to reach people through social media. Sure, it’s kinda lame, but it’s also pretty cool – after all, they wouldn’t be trying things like this if they didn’t care, right? It’s also pretty interesting to note that Joe Biden had a Twitter account back when he was a senator, but it hasn’t been updated since August of 2008. source

30 Jun 2011 13:26


Tech: If you’re looking to join Google+, you’re out of luck for now

  • before People who were on Google’s new social networking site had the ability to invite their friends to join in. That’s good because it allows Google to test their new service on a smaller amount of people, but make sure that they still have friends to talk to.
  • now It should have worked, at least. Google had to shut down the invite feature because too many people were joining. That’s how popular Google+ is. If you’re looking to join, you’re going to have to wait for a little bit — they haven’t announced when invites will be back. source

28 Jun 2011 14:39


Tech: Google tries to expand its reach with social media

  • Google takes another shot at social networking. Google+ seems more serious than previous attempts, though, and they’re gunning straight at the Facebook market. They’re championing privacy as a way to get users to use their site — you can choose who you share with, rather than sharing what you’re up to with every one of your friends. There’s a few other cool things, too — we’re looking forward to the Hangout feature, which will let you video chat with up to 10 friends at one time — coming and going as they please. Don’t expect to go make your Google+ profile right now, though. They’re testing it right now and it’s invite-only. source