How Many +1’s Does It Take To Screw In a Social Network?

Alright, let’s start off with where this article came from:

Jeremy BlantonJeremy Blanton – @jb140
RT @respres: “a social network isn’t a product; it’s a place” http://t.co/QVZlUdrA

I caught Jeremy’s RT of Jeff’s post a couple days ago, but I was out in Vegas for PubCon so my attention span was running a little short. But I read the linked article, and I knew I had to dish out a response. First off – I want to make it totally clear that I’m not a Google+ apologist. I’m not sitting around on Google+ waiting for new comments or likes. But to the same vein I’ve almost entirely stopped participating on Facebook too. I’m working on Dashter – I’m living in Twitter – things are good. Conversations abound (especially when you’ve got the right tools).

But this article (written by Farhad Manjoo @fmanjoo) just seemed so far off base I had to whip up a rebuttal – or at least a pragmatic alternative to the doomsday prediction he provided in his article.

What initially caught my attention to the line that Jeff quoted in his tweet was a strong disagreement that his premise is correct. Social Networks are places in as much as any website is a place. But social networking isn’t a place – it’s a process. It’s a verb. And because of that – the place is less important than the process provided.

Is Google+ A Dead Man Walking? Continue reading How Many +1’s Does It Take To Screw In a Social Network?

Make an Intro with your Twitter Follow

This post was generated by Dashter

Heaven is a CupcakeHeaven is a Cupcake – @heavensacupcake
It annoys me when someone follows you, so you follow back and then they unfollow! Not good twitter etiquette. :p

So “Heaven”‘s tweet here caught my eye, and I wanted to just share my thoughts on some Twitter etiquette that might go a long way towards building better relationships in your Twitter account. Obviously – playing counting games (like is described in the tweet above) is just silly. Un-following someone should really just be a product of their bad etiquette – not some sort of accumulation scheme.

Ahmad HammoudAhmad Hammoud – @Hammoud_
Twitter Etiquette 101: Never ask anyone to follow you.

On the other end of the etiquette spectrum are opinions like what Ahmad’s shared here, that you shouldn’t be asking for follows. I’m not sure I’d go with “never” when it comes to this sort of thinking – but I think it’s definitely true that you don’t want to harass people with suggestions that they follow you. Continue reading Make an Intro with your Twitter Follow

Beware Social Phishing

This post was generated by Dashter

Oscar GonzalezOscar Gonzalez – @notagrouch
@RossTeasley http://t.co/9ZXwoT9I – Please take a look at this guys. Pay attention to the URLs you click on.

The link provided goes to an image posted by Ross – with a very common phishing attack designed to snag login info from your Twitter account.

So why does it matter? It’s not like you’ve got personal information on your Twitter account, right?

The dangerous part about a site like Twitter is two-fold: Network effects, Twitter app access and short URL’s.

Network effects can be powerful: Your single account can be hijacked and distribute links to your followers (and random people interacting with your Twitter account) extremely quickly. Continue reading Beware Social Phishing

Welcome to iTwitter, Don’t Forget Your “Thank You’s”

I just got my first chance to play around with the new Twitter functionality in iOS 5 (aka iTwitter), and right off the bat – I’m thrilled! They updated the keyboard by adding an “@” and a “#” button, and the appearance / feel of sending images is good. It’s not texting or instant messaging, but it’s not emailing either. Sending a tweet is sorta like saying “Hey, here’s a thing!” and there’s even a cute “tweet” sound that chirps once you hit send.

As someone involved in the Twitter eco-system, I couldn’t be more thrilled with how easy they’ve integrated the little blue bird in to the iPhone. From a development perspective, we’re thrilled here at Dashter that the new iOS 5 integration uses the new Twitter “media” entity – because now these tweet’d pics are easily referenced from within the API. It’s very clean – and we can’t wait to show off how we’re taking advantage of this technology on our end.

But one other thing does come to mind with this level of integration: It’s one-way. Part of the beauty of Twitter is that you can post “blindly” to your followers – the expectation of reciprocation is low, compared to paired networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. But that also comes with the potential for people to forget that Twitter is a wonderful conversation medium. I liken Twitter more to a public text messaging service than a private social network. But with the ease of connectivity that is included in iOS 5, I think the potential is there for people to forget to participate on Twitter.
Continue reading Welcome to iTwitter, Don’t Forget Your “Thank You’s”

You Can’t Control What You Don’t Control

Over the past year, I’ve slowly but surely become a WordPress fanatic. My wardrobe now consists primarily of WordPress SWAG t-shirts, and my new business venture is built specifically to amplify WordPress.

I’ve attended 3 WordCamps this summer – San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (I would’ve attended OC but my lazy ass forgot to buy a ticket). I follow most of the WP core contributor team on Twitter, have met many of the Automattic team members over the past few months, and even had Matt himself punish me with a not-Irish car bomb shot in San Diego. I also attend the bi-weekly WP events here in Orange County at the OC WordPress group meetups, and enjoy the opportunity to learn and share what I’ve learned with fellow WP geeks.

Attendees at WordCamp San Diego

Today I caught a tweet in my stream that caught my attention (predominantly because I think the world of Jane and perk up any time she posts something to Twitter):

Jane WellsJane Wells – @janeforshort
DevPress, WPCandy, and Why I’m Now 80% Blonde: Part the First http://t.co/NM6JPCCc

At first I figured this would be a funny post – perhaps she’d lost a bet to someone and was forced to bleach her hair. The other side of the link, however, was hardly a cheerful post. Rather, she unfolded her side of a story I hadn’t even heard about until today. But once I got the grasp of what was going on, I felt compelled to share my perspective. Though I have no association or affiliation with anyone involved, as a “WP fanboy” and member of the community, I think I’m at least part of the target “community” that could potentially be affected by the discussion – so I might as well get in my $0.02 while it might be heard.

Continue reading You Can’t Control What You Don’t Control

Limiting WordPress Post Loading on Mobile Devices

Earlier today, I caught a quick post to the Orange County WordPress group by Priscilla Christian:

Priscilla Gary Christian

This guy is harshing my (responsive design) mellow. What do you all think?
http://www.webdesignshock.com/responsive-design-problems/

Considering I gave a quick chat on responsive design last night at our meetup, I wanted to delve in to the article and see what the big fuss was all about. Well, it turns out that several of the points were (rightly) targeted at load times and page optimization. Responsive design using media queries implies that you’ve using “display: none” or “visibility: hidden” to limit what’s being shown on the page – but as the authors pointed out – that doesn’t prevent the data from being downloaded. Hence, the bandwidth problem. The page might appear less bulky, but in reality the device / browser is loading just as much data.

So, that got me thinking about load times for mobile devices. If you want to reduce load speed, wouldn’t the easiest solution just be to load less stuff?

My solution is pretty straightforward, relatively un-tested, and I’m certain it’s not a good fix (for reasons I’m not even clever enough to think of) – but for the moment I think it’s not a bad fix. Continue reading Limiting WordPress Post Loading on Mobile Devices

Hail the Almighty Hashtag

Hail the Hashtag
Hail the Hashtag! Img remixed; original by Doug Ellis Photography

One of the things that I think Twitter deserves a lot of credit for is the inclusion of #hashtags. Without that simple technique – to add a “#” symbol on the front of a word or phrase, so much of Twitter’s value would not have emerged. But thanks to the inclusion of the self-managed, personally-generated hashtagging process, Twitter users around the world can anchor themselves to a wide range of conversations and communities. I think the best thing Twitter did was choose not to operate any sort of index, directory, or authority on hashtagging; but rather it’s part of the process of becoming a savvy user.

But hashtagging may be a little misunderstood, and is frequently mis-applied.

Brian VickeryBrian Vickery – @dbvickery
Don’t hashtag everything 😉 RT @albertqian: Add Data Common Sense to Your #socialmedia #marketing Strategy – http://ow.ly/5YpRq

I think Brian’s takeaway from the article (based in a large part off research & results from Argyle Social) is astute. Hashtagging is an art. It doesn’t take much to go from a nicely tagged tweet – accented with the right balance of hashtags and content – to become an amalgamated mess of pound-signs run amok.

Mario Dávalos P.Mario Dávalos P. – @davalette
Creating a #hashtag is not a brand strategy, nor adding # to every idea you have is not one either. Edit your ideas before you publish them.

Mario, I completely agree with your thoughts here. Continue reading Hail the Almighty Hashtag

Social Search might kill Google’s Integrity

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan – @dannysullivan
posted late yesterday, How Being “Friends” On Google+ Leads To Better Rankings http://selnd.com/o2m3mk – this surprised me.

Danny Sullivan’s article here stoked some interesting questions about Google’s search results – questions I’ve had for a couple weeks now, after experiencing “social search” modifications to my search results. My initial reaction was blase – so my search results would be tweaked based upon what my friends, followers, and social connections have marked. No big deal.

But the more I think about this, the more I think this is a HUGE deal. I think Google may be playing with their entire brand & business.

Think about this: Google has spent virtually their entire existence reinforcing the concept that they’re the information portal. Continue reading Social Search might kill Google’s Integrity

Google Plus Circles Visualized

Just playing around today, trying to better visualize Google Plus’ circles-based sharing mechanisms.

I’m still on the fence about how sustainable Google+’s circles will be in the long run. I’m comfortable with thinking that Dunbar’s number applies for individual one-to-one relationships, but how effective are we at managing groups of relationships? Paul Adams’ (@Padday) slideshare is one of the most traveled examinations of complex real-life social networks, and has been referenced by a ton of other sites when Google+ launched (not surprising since Paul is an ex-Google Facebook-er, and ergo as close to an expert on this stuff as it comes).

View more documents from Paul Adams
But more to the point – are “circles” effective and sustainable? Dunbar’s number assumes that we can manage 150 independent relationships, but how many simultaneous groups can we hold together? My guess is that the number is something on the order of 4-6.

Why do I say that? Total speculation – but let’s think about most peoples’ lives. We typically associate with only a handful of active groups at any given time. I’d guess that for most folks, those groups would be: Continue reading Google Plus Circles Visualized

Google Plus is …

I was going to write a pithy title for the article, and to kick it off I wrote “Google Plus is” and sat for a moment to let my brain figure out what was next. Turns out, it’s exactly what I wanted to say.

In case you were on a non-wifi airplane for the last 48 hours, yes, Google has a social network. It’s called Google+, which I think says a lot.

Google Plus is an all out effort. This ain’t Orkut. This ain’t Wave. This is GOOGLE with a freaking ‘+’ sign next to it. They’re aligning this effort at their core brand. If they botch this up, it’ll be a lot more difficult to admit failure and walk away.

Google Plus is missing the “Beta” tag. I’m just saying, I think my gMail account still comes with a Beta tag. Those guys love that tag. From a design perspective, maybe they’ve given up on labeling things as “Beta” and have just finally gotten enough people to believe the mantra: A Google product is never, ever finished. Continue reading Google Plus is …