I am excited to announce that we are hiring a Lead Developer at SocialFeet.com. I think the tech challenges are interesting, and that the financial upside is large. Here is a brief quote of the tech challenge:
From a database perspective, you have transient streams (not just persistent relationships), continuous (not one-time) queries, sequential (not random) access and unpredictable data arrival patterns. From a UI perspective, you have ajax-y goodness a la Google Wave to manage synchronous and asynchronous messages in a small, yet highly contextualized, footprint. We have to define new standards and APIs for activity stream capturing and publishing. And our service has to scale not just to the total number of page views on our network of sites but to the number of interactions on each of these sites.
To promote this, we’ve posted our job description at Craigslist, Techcrunch, LinkedIn and other places. I’m now blogging about it, and we’ve tweeted it and posted it to Facebook. But the definitive place to check it out and send people who might be interested is:
Key people from Youtube (Steve Grove), Facebook (Randi Zuckerberg) and Twitter (Chris Sacca) talk about “Government 2.0“. Very interesting commentary about who is driving the show: it’s Obama and then a bunch of small protestors, etc., from around the world. An interesting 50 minutes.
A good question at the end about what is the new role of the fourth estate. But no good answers to the problem of outreach vs. accountability.
Facebook has relaunched it’s homepage, and I think that it is a step backwards. Admirably, they’ve opened up their newsfeed and now it acts like a waterfall, displaying the most recent updates from your friends. But this design decision fails in a few critical ways.
1) twitter folks now DOMINATE the feed, since they are hyperactively engaged! I can only imagine how unfriendly the new streams and streams of #’s and @’s are to tens of millions of regular FB users.
2) It diminishes rather than highlights the great content like photos and videos that people post directly to Facebook
3) The featured column is really broken. It is highly promotional, and there is no way to get stuff to disappear on it.
There are a few good parts to the new format, including interesting ways to interact with the content in the featured column. But I hope that Facebook is listening to its users, because I have to think that this launch is largely a step backwards for them. (Someone on twitter responded that this mistake marks the beginning of the end for Facebook. I think it is merely a step backwards and not a complete failure. We’ll see.)
One twitter is enough! (And for many people, even one twitter is too much.)
So, I’m a month into my twitter experiment. (Plug: follow me at @weiks on twittter.com.) It’s been pretty interesting, although time- and attention-consuming. Here are some of the links that I’ve shared and tweeted about. (I got the idea from Andrew Chen.) I am not sure how valuable this post will be. I suppose if just one reader finds just one link valuable, then I know it will have been worth it.
A VC who still wants to invest in FB co’s (Dave McClure) link
The right way is to post your status updates to twitter. You can target only some to appear on FB with this app: link
Clay @shirky’s interesting historical analysis of the demise of newspapers link
At StephanieBamBam.net, I learned that Skittles.com has revamped their web site to be a weird social media experiment. Essentially, they are scouring the internet (in particular, twitter and wikipedia) for any mentions of ‘skittles’ and putting them, without any editing, right on their homepage. Indeed, when I clicked “chatter” on the site, one of the top tweets displayed was “Unicorns fart skittles.”
But the key thing is whether it sells more candy or not. As she says:
In the long run, is this going to make me buy more candy? Absolutely not. But I will be pointing to this as an example of UGC [user-generated content] gone bad for years to come. So for that, thanks Skittles!!
And she is quite negative about the experiment!
I, however, have a different take on the site. Although posters may be interested in seeing their tweets go on skittles.com, their messages are carried to their followers too. These messages far outweigh the exposure on skittles.com, and they are matched to their audience. I know that some of my readers, like Eric say, will *love* the title of this post. It will not reflect badly on skittles at all! And any negative connotation of “unicorns fart skittles” that one sees on skittles.com must be taken with a grain of salt.
I would be interested in seeing if the campaign has any impact on sales or not, because I am bit more bullish about the impact than Stephanie is.
Why are so many celebrities and public figures “wasting” their time on social networks? Disintermediation. Now, they can offer tidbits directly to their fans bypassing the gossip rags and traditional media. By offering the personal tidbits of their own choosing, they can simultaneously help satiate their fans while controlling the spin about their lives.
Is this disintermediation a good thing? My brother-in-law, Sam, is a sport reporter, and he was bemoaning the fact that Tiger Woods issues press releases directly to his fans through his web site but does not do press conferences. Sam worried that ultimately fans were getting a disservice because they lost the chance of indepth, knowledgeable follow up questions on potentially sensitive subjects. His concern translates into a more alarming question when we turn to politics. Can we really imagine a “Watergate moment” by a blogger?
At the present time, I think the disintermediation trend is very real. We are losing our traditional “fourth estate” in the process, and hopefully entrepreneurs will create new institutions that are native to the new media to speak truth to power.
At Nathaniel’s urging, I am jumping in a little deeper into twitterSpace. Practically, that means a few things:
1. I’ve added 67 people to follow (see them here but you’ll need to sign up with twitter first)
2. I’ve installed TwitterFox in order to follow the tweets in firefox and avoid needing another place to check messages
3. I’ve installed TwitterBar to make it easier to post stuff I find online in Firefox
4. I tried to install TweetSuite on this blog, but currently it isn’t working properly (tweets not appearing on this blog)
Here’s my first impression after 2 hours of twittering: compared to blogs, it takes navel gazing to the next level!
My mom forwarded me this column by Dave Carr about Twitter. It captures the essence of twitter: a confusing, time sink that can occasionally be invaluable. I created an account on twitter, savedemocracy, but don’t expect much activity from me right now.
I do, however, regularly update my status on Facebook and so far, I’ve gotten much of the value that twitter might offer from that.