August 4, 2014

What makes an online community work

Amy Jo Kim

Amy Jo Kim

Why the best social networks must grow organically

Target audience: Community manager, marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamWay back in 2000, Amy Jo Kim wrote the book on best practices and strategies on how to start, build, grow, and maintain online communities in Community Building on the Web : Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities.

If you can find a copy, buy one. Everything Amy Jo Kim recommends can be mapped perfectly to Web 2.0 and social network services — namely, her belief that communities need to grow organically and not be rigid, planned, communities. That is, more like London than Paris. Continue reading

April 17, 2013

3 ways to tap into customized news & information

The power of the crowd (Photo by laffy4k, Creative Commons)

With Sulia, Flipboard & Twitter, it’s never been easier to keep abreast of topics that matter to you

Guest post by Brian Blondy

brianblondyCrowdsourcing and aggregation are two key functions for the modern distribution of real-time content within the online news industry. If used properly, each is a powerful method for processing and delivering your interests in a clean and concise manner on information networks like Twitter, Flipboard and Sulia. To maximize the potential for how you follow the issues you enjoy hearing about, both must be embraced and utilized to supercharge your knowledge of online news.

You should know that visiting particular websites to keep up to speed about a specific topic is almost essentially a waste of time. Web surfing is inefficient, time consuming and runs the risk that you may not actually find what you were looking for. These days, one article or one opinion is not enough, especially when you’re making a concerted effort to find information on the topics you care about most. Instead, you need to tap into crowdsourcing to target your precise interests online. Continue reading

June 6, 2012

‘Social TV’ just got a whole new meaning with Stevie

Ayelet NoffDo you “check in” to shows while you’re watching them? Does that make your TV watching experience social enough for ya? Well, sorry to disappoint, but that thing you’re doing whenever you watch TV and check in to a show is going to have to be called something else, because social TV is quickly evolving to a different type of activity altogether, more fitting of that name.

Social TV, right now, is simply a name for sharing with your connections across social media networks what you’re watching. That’s cool, but the social elements of it are kind of scarce – you tell people and you might get a sticker or badge for the effort. That’s not a two-way street, like social platforms should be. Discussing your TV viewing experience is mostly like Foursquare for TV shows.

Ryan Gosling

So what really is social TV? Let’s stick with the Foursquare metaphor for a bit. Think about a location-based service that, instead of telling other people where you are, creates places for you to be according to what your social connections share. That pub you just walked into is inspired by a tweet your friend made and the bartender just happens to be Ryan Gosling(because you like him on Facebook), the music playing is a song your boyfriend posted on your wall, and almost all the people there are your social connections.

While that would be awesome, there isn’t a location based service that does this yet. However, there is a social TV platform that does the same for all these check-in based wannabe social television platforms. I’m talking about a social TV platform that instead of helping you tell everyone what you’re watching, creates a television station you can watch completely made out of your social graph, tailored for you by your friends and connections, created by your social feeds and broadcast right to your browser.

Stevie TV: Content related to your friends’ top topics

This social TV station is called Stevie, and it has all you need in a station. The Stevie TV schedule is made up of various shows, each composed of content related to a specific topic from your friends and connections and popular among users across the Web. The shows run in a loop, and there are six of them, each more fun than the next.

The schedule starts with “Top Stories,” which shows you several top posts from your connections. “Fresh Picks” shows you new and exciting content and videos from friends and hot events coming up. “The Comedy Strip” is like a comedy central featuring friends and funny tweeps around the Web. “New Albums” features a photo album recently added by a friend. “Music Non Stop” features music you like, music your friends like and music your friends posted. Celeb TV is a gossip show that covers only the celebrities you like. Most of the shows also feature a real-time crawl of the latest and greatest general posts from your social network, and you can use “Stevie on Demand” to watch whatever show you want when you want it.

Most of the shows feature a news channel-style layout, in which you see a video in the middle (according to the theme of the show), a crawl at the bottom usually featuring content from connections and power users and a box on the side featuring what’s next or interesting information about your friends. For example, in “Music Non Stop” you see musicians your friends like.

So what does this mean for the future of social TV, or of any specialized social market? When will we see services create new experiences out of social graphs rather than amplify existing ones? Though hologram and robotics technology is still a ways away from being able to create my vision of the “Foursquare of the future,” services already exist that create radio and music stations according to your social profiles. Stevie is just the next step to a custom-made world.

Now to just get this Ryan Gosling shaped bartending robot and my life will be complete.

December 19, 2011

Everloop: The social network for tweens

Everloop: The social network for kids from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaGot kids? Then you’ll want to know about a social network that does a solid job of providing a social experience for children and tweens that’s safe, secure — and not totally lame.

I first met Everloop CEO Hilary DeCesare at the Stanford Summit last year, and caught up with her a short while back at the Silicon Valley Innovation Summit, the third name for the perenniel event put on by the AlwaysOn Network at Stanford University.

Everloop fills an important gap in social networking, giving kids up to age 13 a secure online environment where they can interact and communicate with their friends and peers. As the site says: Sorry, no grown-ups allowed (except for site moderators).

Everloop helps kids, at school or at home, learn and play in “a safe, secure social loop,” Hilary says. It’s evolved into a digital learning platform that allows children to explore their curiosity in the areas of gaming, sports, entertainment and other areas, she says. And as more tweens now use mobile phones, the site offers EverText as the kids’ answer to Twitter. Continue reading

June 16, 2011

Top 10 Predictions on What’s Coming Up Next in Social Media


Ayelet NoffAt the beginning of the month I was asked to speak on a panel that discussed social media, social networks and “what’s coming up next.” In research for this discussion, I came up with a few insights on what I foresee coming up next in the world of social media.

Here are my top 10 prognostications:

1The physical and digital worlds will be more highly connected than ever before — already today we are able to run in the park and track our progress online while sharing it with our friends or track our weight loss, or even our ovulation (well, some of us, that is) with iPhone apps that connect to our Facebook and Twitter profiles and enable us to keep track of our progress as well as share the data with our friends. Robert Scoble had a brilliant presentation on this topic at the last TNW Conference in Amsterdam. You can see it here.

2Facebook, Twitter and other major social networks will become increasingly what Fred Wilson termed “social dashboards.”.In essence, Facebook and Twitter are social channels on which other companies can grow and develop their own technologies and businesses. Both Facebook and Twitter have created economies far larger than many nations. Take, for example, companies like Stocktwits, Tweetdeck and Zynga (among others) that have made huge profits piggybacking on these two platforms.

3Until now, brands have been very concerned with bringing as many people as possible to their pages. Consumer brands can now finally reap the fruits and build social commerce stores where Facebook users (all 600 million of them) can purchase products on their favorite social network without needing to go to any destination site. Facebook will become one of the major channels of future online shopping.

4Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are currently collecting information about each and every one of us: our likes and dislikes, our interests and activities. Soon in an age of Web 3.0, an age of Semantic Web, we will no longer need to search for information on the Web as information will find us based on all this data that companies are collecting. The right information will be served to the right people at the right time, saving us all a lot of time, effort and energy.

5Mobile technology will become more dominant and near field communication (NFC technology) will be developed further enabling it to offer us special promotions, coupons and tips based on our geographical location and the interest graph we discussed in insight #3. Continue reading