Dennis Kneale and Saul Colt on CNBC

I was really curious about seeing this clip because I work with Saul and he's a really amazing person (more about that on Friday). The clip caught me by surprise as Bill came across very negatively and extremely ignorant. The reality is that social media is here to stay and will be a tool (just like email is) for many. As a business, it's definitely a tool that will evolve. I have to say that overall, Saul was really calm and collected while answering the questions quite articulately.

I want to start out by saying is that Twitter is just a tool. Different people use it for different things. There are so many different types of apps that have been created to leverage all the various aspects of this tool.
 
"That cartoon sums it up"
The clip starts off with the cartoon about someone tweeting inanely on Twitter. I've actually seen the full clip before on YouTube and it's very funny. It takes one common use of Twitter and completely exaggerates it. I have no problem with that. However, it isn't the only use of Twitter. To imply that it is the only use of Twitter is ignorant. It's like saying that the only way to start a car is by hand crank. I do write about what I'm doing sometimes as I've got my mum on Twitter and some friends who might find what I'm doin interesting. But this is the most basic form. It's quite true to say that the cartoon does NOT sum up the use of twitter in any means.
 
"Who would pay $700M for a one-hit wonder?"
I wasn't sure what Dennis Kneale meant by calling Twitter a one-hit wonder because it could mean either that Twitter only has one feature or that the company that developed Twitter only has one product. Either case, I'm not really sure what the relevance of the comment was. Personally, I view Twitter as a technology. It has popularized the concept of micro-blogging and in so many ways is not that different than Blogger not so many years ago. Twitter may have very few functions but different people have used it for different uses. Companies like Comcast have used it to successfully provide better customer support while others use it to disseminate information while others use it to look for trending information
 
"How many followers do you have?
The number of followers really isn't that important other than for my ego. Today is the first time when the number of followers exceeded the number I'm following. A proud moment but as Saul said – it's not particularly relevant. For me personally, it's the number I'm following. For me I am constantly looking for people to help me keep on top of tech news in particularnew web tech or mobile tech, finding out more about what goes on in the real estate industry or simply meeting new, interesting and very smart people. Fortunately for me, Twitter allows me to do all 3 rather quickly and effectively.
 
"Who cares?"
I actually loved Saul's answer to this question. It was a perfect answer; your followers care and no one is holding a gun to your head. If people start to be disinterested in what you're saying then, people will unfollow you. I don't take it offensively when someone does – it's just that what I write or think may not necessarily interest everyone. At the end of the day, people follow you for a reason. Frankly, I am honoured that anyone follows me at all but truth be told, I don't really know who they are most of the time.
 
"I read it in the newspaper"
I won't say it's archaic but I haven't bought a newspaper in years. Largely because I find other means to get information and Twitter is now one of the richest sources of information. In some ways, Twitter is provides a natural filter for information overload if used well.
 
"Where is the business?"
There is about as much business opportunity with Twitter as there is with Facebook. Both serve to a certain fashion the same clientele. It's another social medium to disseminate information. At the very least, it's a well known infrastructure. If you liken Twitter to RSS, can you imagine if someone pattented RSS and every provider had to pay a fee to use that technology? There is a business opportunity here for Twitter. It is the most well known medium for microblogging right now and there are many apps that have been built on top of it.
 
"The bloom is off the rose now – tweetwise"
The comment was a bit ironic because earlier on Dennis Kneale mocked Twitter as a one-hit wonder but in this sentence he says that Twitter is losing is lustre because it's valued at $700M. Twitter is a very simple piece of technology. There is nothing amazing about it from a geek standpoint; it can and is easily replicated. What is amazing about it is that it has won and continues to win the hearts and minds of many as a means to communicate with others.
 
"Twitter is an excuse not to read"
If anything, this comment goes to show the lack of understanding of how Twitter actually works and how people are using it. This is a classic case of either misinformation or misdirection. One of the most powerful things you can do in Twitter is the ability to hyperlink and most people use it to hyperlink to photos, videos and blogs that give others a much larger view of what's going on. The 140 characters is simply a summary to let someone know whether or not they want to follow up on the topic.
 
I don't watch much TV largely because I can get my information elsewhere in a much quicker fashion so I don't know if Dennis Kneale is generally ignorant and an ass but in this case, he was quite a bit off base. I'm not even that much passionate about Twitter other than it's a really interesting way of getting information. If interested in looking at other great uses of Twitter, check out Microplaza and CoTweet.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Bright Kite – Initial Review

I really like Twitter. It's one of my favourite things to do. It's a great way to keep in touch with friends and update them. It's fun to keep in touch with good friends like @camilleking and @michaelnotmike, or with people I haven't met like @digital_jenn. Sometimes it's nice to update friends who rarely respond like @arose12 although I know @arose12 reads my updates. At least that's half the battle.

I signed up with Bright Kite a few months ago with the intention of trying it out but never really got around to it. Bright Kite is a location based microblogging application. I guess the idea of a Bright Kite is the concept of using a "bright kite" to notify others of where you are. It's actually quite interesting and could potentially be useful.

It has the same features as Twitter which really are the ability to post messages, respond to messages, find and follow people. Another really neat thing about it is that you can send all posts automatically to Twitter as well. It's really a pretty smart thing to do given that Twitter is the behemoth in this space and for any other Microblogging service to survice, tbe ability to post to Twitter is a must.

The standout feature for Bright Kite is the ability to also post your location. I like the idea of being able to go to a spot and if my friends are nearby, I can be notified and perhaps meet up. It's also a bit scary because it also permits others to stalk you. Unlike other social networking tools, this is the one social networking tool that I am going to keep with a high security profile to. There are 3 basic levels of privacy in this tool: trusted friends, friends and everyone.

A few major downsides to this tool though. The first major one is that it doesn't seem to fully work through SMS in Canada. I seem to be able to receive notifications but don't seem to have the ability to send messages out. Another downside that I have is that it does not have a windows mobile client yet. I'm hoping that PockeTwit would integrate it with the current application because it actually covers most of the functionality already available in PockeTwit. However, for my use, there is the mobile web version of Bright Kite. Not great but in the mean time it's got to be good enough.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

PockeTwit – Updated Review

I’ve been trying to get into microblogging a lot more lately as I find the concept fascinating. My microblog platform of choice is Twitter. Not so much because it’s a great platform but rather because it’s the one used the most and it has some interesting attached sevices like TwitPics. The cool thing about Twitter is that I’ve met at least one person that we share some things in common like BSG and our interest in HTC devices. She goes by the id of digital_jen these days. Anyway, I’ve used different Twitter apps like Twitterfox, PockeTwit,  Digsby, Yoono, Flock and Twitterberry comes to mind but I always seem to come back to PockeTwit as one of my two favourite Twitter tools.

PockeTwit is a Windows Mobile client for both the full and smartphone devices. At first pass, PockeTwit seems quite unintuitive to use. It screens is looks like it’s laid out poorly and it doesn’t use the soft keys that is now common to Windows Mobile devices. It took me a while to figure out that the developer uses a different paradigm for PockeTwit. Once I figured it out, it was very simple to use and very intuitive.

The way I think about the User Interface for PockeTwit is that there are 3 screens or levels. The first screen is the system screen. Over here you can have the following options:

sshot002 by you.

Errors
This is a new feature that alerts you when you run into network issues. From what I can see, it appears only when it occurs.

Friends Timelines

This is the most common feature used for me as it displays all your friends’ tweets.

Messages
This filters out your @replies and direct messages. I believe that the convention here seems to only filter out if @[your username] is the first thing of a tweet. I noticed that when my username was used in the middle of a sentence, it did not show up. Not sure if this is a problem with the Twiter API call or a PockeTwit problem.

Search/Local
I thought this was neat. This was the only client that allowed a search function. I don’t use this as much but it’s nice when I want to try to find out if something I’m interested in is being talked about.

Set Status
This is used to publish your status to your Microblogging site.

Settings
You can set up your various identities such as ping.fm or identi.ca. Also allows you to set up whether or not you want GPS to be turned on automatically or not.

About/Feedback
Gives you the version you’ve installed and the ability to check for new updates.

Exit
Not too exciting. Exit the application.

sshot001 by you.

The middle screen is the messaging screen where it’s filtered by the first screen. I didn’t notice this before but there’s a really tiny indicator on the right hand of the screen that indicates how far down in your messags you are. Typically pick either Friends Timeline or Messages. Press Enter or the Action key on your device. This will update the middle screen and you can use your right arrow key to bring your middle screen into full view.

sshot003 by you.

The last screen interacts with the person associated with the message on the middle screen. So let’s say that the message was sent by @someperson. If you scroll right from the middle screen you could see @someperson’s time line, reply using regular twitter, direct message @someone, make that message a favourite message, go to @someone’s profile page on the web, stop following a person and minimize the application.

There are a few quirks with PockeTwit. For one, the errors page is very much an anomaly. When you click on it, it takes you to a page that looks very different from the rest of the application. Now that I’m used to the UI, it makes absolute sense albeit a bit inconsistent. While I was writing about how I use the app, it was definitely quite apparent that I couldn’t write consistent rule of thumbs to a new user. However, once you start using it, it’s quite intuitive. A nice feature that I would like to have is the ability to do a manual update on top of the scheduled update.

The shortcomings of the application are for the most part cosmetic. It is even made even better by the fact that you know the developer uses his application constantly. He is responsive to both questions and suggestions. A prime example is that someone suggested that ping.fm would be a great addition to the app and within days, it was added to the app. Caveat though, not all suggestions make it into the app but at least the developer will consider it and test it before deciding whether or not it gets added to the final product. One other major benefit is that the application is open source. Overall, I really like the application. It works well, the developer is quite interactive and responsive on Twitter,

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Digsby – Initial Review

digsby

I've always been an instant messaging fiend and lately I've found myself leaving the Trillian Astra alpha for Digsby. Lately Trillian has been a bit flakey for me. I had a really bizarre problem where whenever I have Trillian running and if I plugged in a USB device, Windows Media Player would crash. If you can follow that, you'll realize how bizarre it is. It took me a really long time to isolate that issue and that involved reinstalling the laptop. So I decided to give Digsby a try.

After all the random problems I had with Trillian, Digsby was a welcomed change. There's really nothing not to like about Digsby. Digsby was also a tool that more closely matched my life and interests. I love how it integrates all of my instant messengers and it also consolidates my social networks and emails all in one client. It's puts my entire communication universe all in one tool.
For the most part, Digsby works like most of the multi-headed instant messengers. You can log on to MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, and Jabber. It also includes integration with Facebook chat but it's slightly delayed especially if you have Facebook chat open on the browser as well. Although Trillian Alpha implemented the Facebook chat feature as well, I couldn't seem to get it to work without crashing. What makes Facebook chat integration important is really that it broadens the audience of the friends I can chat to. A lot of people who are hesitant to instant message using the traditional applications such as MSN or Yahoo are often more than happy to message using Facebook. Go figure. Both Pidgin and Trillian allow you to merge multiple contacts into one contact but Digsby is the only one that I've figured out how to priotize if a contact has multiple IMs. So for instance, if someone I know is on Yahoo, MSN and Gtalk but I prefer to talk to them on Gtalk whereever possible, I can make the individual's Gtalk client be the default.
Digsby built quite a powerful email client within it's product and the integration with the IM client is quite seamless. You can interact with any contact through email, IM or SMS from the chat window.

The way I set up Digsby is that I have my email and social network accounts show up as bars at the bottom of the IM client. When you hover on the account bar, it lists the last 50 odd interactions of each account. With the email accounts, I can mark an email as read, mark as spam and delete it.

Overall, I personally think Digsby is the new king of multiheaded Instant Messenger clients. It's done a great job capturing how people use it today by integrating instant messenger with email and social networks. It is the killer social networking tool of today.

Blogged with the Flock Browser