Top 25 Social Networks

top-25-social-networks

Compete has ranked this based on monthly unique visits (UV) and also on total visits. We see that facebook has jumped to #1 for this time last year and Linkedin is steadily rising. Twitter has made the biggest jump to #3.

I was talking to this guy at my church who’s in year 12, approximately 17 years of age. He uses Bebo but not so much lately and Friendster, but has stopped this as well. I used to be on Friendster 6 years ago too, however I found it to be too dodgy. It was the first social network I joined. I used to get random emails from Friendster telling me it was my friend’s birthday and they should add me. I had no idea about what social networking was, but clearly Friendster was ahead of its time.

The social network that I have been spending a lot of time in lately is Linkedin, twitter and facebook. I’ve actually stopped checking my RSS reader for the last couple of weeks. Twitter is my news service now and provides all the updates I need, plus I’ve been really busy. Iwill blog more about Linkedin later but I wanted to show you this graph I came across a few weeks ago. It’s the growth of Linkedin over the past year. A colleague of mine commented that its reaching criticial mass now. We’re seeing a lot more usage because of the worsening economic situation, so people are using linkedin to stay connected to their friends, build their professional networks and to source for job opportunities.
linkedin-chart-jan

I’m out like Friendster,

Matthew Ho.

Black Eyed Peas v MC Hammer Mashup: U Can’t Touch My Humps

Whilst trawling the net for some MC Hammer pictures, I thought why not check youtube? It’s the treasure chest of video content.

Most of the MC Hammer videos are pretty bad quality (since they are from the 80’s). Why don’t they re-release some of the videos in higher quality format? Or even do a remake – 2009 style. He’s obviously popular. One of the video’s with 9 million views has been banned by youtube. Youtube doesn’t actually “ban” the video and take it down these days if there’s a pending legal dispute. They actually just take away the sound. It’s pretty stupid.

So what the author did was replace it with a keyboard sound.

Anyhow, I came across this awesome mashup with Black Eyed Peas v MC Hammer: U Can’t Touch My Humps

It’s brilliantly made and remixed.

And if you want the classic MC Hammer styles, check out the video below. It took me a while to find a decent version.

I’m out like MC Hammer mashups,

Matthew Ho

MC Hammer is driving incredible traffic to my blog

mc-hammer-post1

Blog Stats in the last 14 days

What is going on with my blog traffic ? I had 158 hits today and I’m averaging close to 130 hits a day in the last 5 days. And its all coming from the following search terms:

  • mc hammer
  • mc hammer pants
  • m c hammer
  • mc hammer cant touch this
  • balloon pants

Obviously there is something going on with MC Hammer. I normally get like 10 – 50 hits a day, averaging like 30 hits daily. I’ve hit on something which I need to investigate. My most popular blog post is “MC Yammer: can’t touch this” with 500+ hits. It was actually was about Yammer, a software as a service that we use at work. It’s not about MC Hammer, though I saw the marketing connection with the name Yammer/Hammer. I started calling myself MC Yammer at work as a joke. I also posted up a lot of pictures of MC Hammer.

It’s clear to me that a) MC Hammer is a popular search term and b) My blog is getting a lot of traffic from using that keyword tag and c) MC Hammer must be back!!!!!!!!

MC Hammer & Dancejam

If you didn’t know already (Australian readers probably don’t), MC Hammer has a popular social networking site called dancejam. I first heard about it through Tech Crunch, because Michael Arrington the editor is one of the investors and he blogged about it.

Dancejam reminds me of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) meets Youtube. People post up videos about  dancing, lessons, and their latest moves. it’s categorised into different styles for breaking, salsa, etc.. But the coolest feature is the dance off tournament style videos. MC Hammer chooses a style (e.g. popping, a style of breakdancing) and people face off against each other and users vote for the best. Its elimination style, so the winners proceed to the next round and eventually a winner is found.

I have to admit I don’t know any more about this website and will have to look into it. It’s clear to me that dance must also be huge now because of SYTYCD. It’s brought dance back into the mainstream and pique a lot of people’s interest. If you want to know more about the history of dancejam, read this. MC Hammer is also a huge star on twitter and uses it to tweet about latest videos and tournaments. He’s got 144,000 followers on twitter and clearly is one of the most popular tweeters out there. I think only Obama, Stephen Fry, and Chris Brogan have more followers.

I’m out like balloon pants!

Matthew Ho aka MC Yammer

Yammer updates, interview and Yammer clothing line!

Quick post on yammer:

Yammer released some new updates on highly requested features.

I found out about this update via the Yammer fanpage on facebook. Some of these are no brainers such as private DM ala Twitter. I really like the import RSS feed as well. I’ve already posted the link to the new features in our work yammer group and will discuss them during the week. I like to discuss  features on yammer one a day – as it gives people a chance to try them out.

Yammer CEO interview on social networking watch

This is a pretty good interview and gives you an insight to how Yammer works and where it is positioned against Twitter. I also left the following comment on the page:

“its interesting how Yammer has no insight into how companies are using Yammer because of their privacy guarantee, other than via blogs / twitter. Not every co. on yammer will blog or twitter.

Perhaps they should look into creating some Yammer user groups. identify who is the key yammer person in each organisation, and do a test pilot with 30 or so people providing feedback via yammer. they could eventually scale to hundreds of people. that way they would get greater insight. create subgroups for large organisations, IT organisations, FMCG, educational, etc… Why not use yammer to get feedback on itself?

the problem i’ve found is that even though we have yammer in our organisation, people still send out mass emails if they really need to get a message across, and we need to change that culture.

I’ve been appointed as the Yammer Evangelist in my company and i’d be happy to give feedback whether via a usergroup or directly. i’ve also written about how my company uses yammer here: http://inspiredworlds.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/mc-yammer-cant-touch-this/”

Yammer basketball singlet

Check out my new Next Digital basketball singlet. I decided to get a yammer inspired nickname, combined with my favourite retro rap star/dance star phenomenon/twitter superstar, MC Hammer:

MC Yammer - basketball singlet

I’m out like MC Yammer,

Matthew Ho.

Blogs as a source of authority – ReadWriteWeb’s v Wikipedia

Occassionally I read the website “ReadWriteWeb“. It’s a blog about online/digital media. They recently discovered that they were blacklisted by Wikipedia after a contributor tried to link them as a source. The editor Richard MacManus made his submission via the usual process, by submitting his case on Media Wiki talk pages and the debate was fleshed out. He also submitted his case on his blog, getting even more attention since it is a top 20 blog. The debate from Wikipedia admins, contributors, the ensuing comments on his blog, as well as the decision to remove has all been interesting.

This was the comment I left on his blog:

“I think this is a fascinating article and case study on why ReadWriteWeb was blacklisted on Wikpedia. I can see why they blacklisted you, but that should have been against you personally not the blog for some comments that you made 3 years ago.

I read your blog occassionally, because it was starting to get referenced and digg’d – so obviously the wider community thinks it is a good source of web 2.0 info. the fact that your syndicated by NYT only adds to the arguement that you should be removed, and rightfully that has happened.

I’m still curious to the general debate of whether blogs can be a seen as a credible source of information, not only for wikipedia but also for reference purposes (academic and in general). what about blogs outside the top 20?”

Background

By way of background ReadWriteWeb’s editor must have done something dodgy whether inadvertently or on purpose, by adding his website multiple times as a source of reference. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it came to the attention of the editors and the was a bit of war of words and the editor used some not so nice words. This happened three years ago. We all know that even one year in the internet industry is like 7 years in the real world (Sidenote: I’m approaching one year in the industry). The pace of change and practices change quite rapidly. As one of my colleagues, Aaron noted, the business models change.

ReadWriteWeb is clearly a well known source of web 2.0 info. It is ranked #17 out of all blogs on the internet for readership with 275,000 RSS subscribers. It has content syndication with the New York Times – they use it in their tech blogs for additional content. It was the only blog in the top 20 blacklisted. The majority of those blogs even have their own wikipedia page! If it wasn’t for the personal actions of the editor and the original comments of Hu12 admin stating that blogs as a source are not verifiable/reliable/credible because they are self published, this would have never seen the light of day.

Which really brings me to a related issue:

Can blogs be citied as as source of authority, whether in wikipedia or in general?

I want to repost some of the comments I found on the Wiki spam page, arguing the case for submission. More importantly it is their views on blogs as a source of authority which I want to highlight. As a former law grad raised on evidence law, legal referencing and even simple academic guidelines, I find it very fascinating.

Why RWW was originally rejected

Comment by Hu12:

* Blogs, and Blog sites are Link normally to be avoided
* ReadWriteWeb Fails Wikipedia’s core content policies:
* ”Verifiability”
o ” Questionable_sources”
o “Verifiable Reliable Sources”
o ”Self-published sources (online and paper)”
* ”Reliable sources”
o ”Self-published sources”

1. Arguement for removal:

“I am a regular reader of RWW and I believe that it qualifies as a legitimate osurce for news and information. They do not merely recycle press releases but actually engage directly as journalists, talking directly to technology leaders and performing original reporting. The question of whether it is a “blog” and therefore does not merit inclusion is a red herring as the very definition of “blog” is vague (chronologically ordered website? the same could be said of the New York Times). Really a “blog” is just a content management software package that runs underneath a website but does not dictate what the site’s purpose is. Granted a tech blog hosted on blogspot.com or wordpress.com (free hosts) is probably on the far side of the line dividing legitimate sources of information, but RWW is far from that and should not be lumped into that category. I dont feel that th etraffic/readership issues are salient, but as far as credibility goes, RWW enjoys the same press status as print magazines, and should be treated in teh same manner. I have no affiliation with RWW whatsoever, though I do maintain several blogs of my own and write for BeliefNet.

Regards, Aziz Poonawalla

2. Arguement for removal:

Respectfully, I’m floored that this discussion is taking place at all in 2009. There are published tabloids and even minor newspapers with less credibility that ReadWriteWeb. This distinction between ‘blogs’ and ‘newspapers’ is worse than archaic; it fundamentally dismisses the immense disruption in the media industry. Blogs like that are more transparent and verifiable than many papers by virtue of their readership and topicality. And, frankly, there’s an odd double standard at play. Mashable, TechCrunch and GigaOm all have their own entries in Wikipedia and cover similar beats. Moreover, at least in this editor’s opinion, Marshall and Richard’s credibility on certain topics has proven to be more viable than the posts on at least one of those sites. I strongly urge the Wikipedia community to remove this blacklisting and reconsider its policy around blogs. It made sense in 2004. In 2009, there are now major blogs at the New Yorker, the Atlantic and the New York Times. Because the form is a reverse chronologically ordered list of entries, does it suddenly become an unreliable tabloid? I think not. Vetting should be based upon more than that, particularly the expertise and proven track record of the writer. That expert vetting is important to both Britannica and Wikipedia going forward. I hope you all get it right here.

-Alexander B. Howard

My thoughts

I’m going to talk about the topic in general, not specifically readwriteweb. I think the editor blew it a bit out of proportion but I’m glad he did because he highlighted a very good issue that had attracted a lot of intelligent debate.

Blog when they first started becoming developed were self published and generally, were not really edited for quality. However, nowadays, many newspapers, companies, communities, and groups are using blogs. They are becoming very professional in nature, similar to newspapers and books. Within their genre, they can be highly authoratative. In some cases, blogs have the same status in the media as newspapers and books. If the readership, editorial quality, sources, reputation and most importantly their content is credible, they why can’t they be referenced? If the New York Times can be referenced, why can’t their NYT blog be referenced? It usually written by the same writers and probably goes through the same level of editorial review as regular print articles. If the blog writer does their research, links to their sources and does proper journalistic investigation, how is that any less credible?

Of course not all blogs are like this. There is a lot of rubbish out there too (but then so are some books!). To dismiss blogs as inclusion in wikipedia because they are self published it is a futile argument, since wikipedia itself is self published. Can the wider community use blogs as a reference for example a student writing an assignment? Just like other sources, it should go through a rigurous criteria however, it would be slightly different since it is an online source. The fact is print and newspaper readership is dying out, and online has become a new source of information. A lot of news and information can come from blogs – it has been embraced by the public and is gaining ground as a source of info.

Look at wikipedia itself. The first time I heard of it was when my manager send me a link about wooden pylon term a client of ours was using. This was 4 years ago, when wikipedia was still in its infancy. Now, wikipedia is seen as just as credible as Encylopedia Britannica. They have tests and it matches up as a source of credible information. Encyclopedia Britannica itself is moving to a wikipedia type model, where users can submit content and there are professional staff editing the content. Whether they can keep up is another question!

You have to examine each blog on its own merit – not all blogs can be referenced. I will write some more thoughts about this later as I have to head off but I leave you with the wikipedia policy on verifiability and the reason why Read Write Web was removed:

1. The use of links to ReadWriteWeb is not disruptive. If an individual editor is repeatedly adding spam links to it, have an administrator block that editor.
2. While ReadWriteWeb may or may not be reliable, non-reliability on its part would not, in and of itself, justify blacklisting the website.
3. ReadWriteWeb is well-known and publicly objects to the inclusion on the blacklist. The perception of Wikipedia as unfairly blocking the use of links to the website is not helpful to Wikipedia, whether or not the blacklisting is otherwise justified.
4. While the participation may be (and is probably) skewed as a result of ReadWriteWeb’s public objection to the blacklisting, the great majority of commenters on the applicable discussion page support the removal of the entry from the blacklist. Since the removal is reversible, continued discussion can confirm whether my removal has general consensus. In the meantime, the removal seems less likely to cause problems.

I’m out like blogs as a source of authority,

Matt Ho.

Top 150 Media & Marketing Blogs

Just came across this useful list from Adage. Check it out here. Good to know who the online influencers are. Not surprised that Seth Godin’s blog is #1, he’s considered king amongst online marketers.

Also, high up there are Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, which I occassionally read as well to stay on top of the search game. Problogger is up there too, one of the top authorities on blogging and its Australian too!

Speaking of search, I’m going to be doing a few things to get up to speed on the search industry:

– I’m doing the google adwords webinars. They have these web seminars about various topics. It’s like 1 or two a week. There’s one on tomorrow at 11am for Quality Scores. This is free.

– I’m also attending the Yahoo search Masterclass at ad:tech. It’s on the 11 – 12 March at 12pm. Next Digital is actually speaking straight after at 1pm on Digital Marketing Strategy.Free.

MC Yammer: Can’t Touch This

At work, I’ve been given a new responsibility – Yammer Evangelist. Yes, I know you are thinking, what is Yammer? And what the heck is an evangelist.

In short, Yammer is a text messaging application similar to Twitter or Facebook status updates. I’ve spoken about Yammer previously on this blog. It is geared more towards organisations / corporates because it allows for closed networks. Whereas Twitter is open to the world.

Much like Twitter, it allows you to write a short message and have a profile page. But the advantages of Yammer is that it is a closed group only open to those you invite or on your company’s email domain. For example, our Yammer is only open to Sydney employees of Next Digital. The advantage of Yammer is that you can broadcast to the group and get responses immediately. You can obviously do this over email as well but often there are too many emails flying around and some people are included and some are not. Also, its hard to keep track of conversations. Yammer groups the conversations together, and you can see the replies in a threaded view.

You can call me MC Yammer

You can call me MC Yammer

Yammer kicks ass because it reduces email clutter. It enables conversations to develop and it keeps responses short (KISS principle in full effect). While twitter only allows for 140 characters, Yammer has no limitation. You can also add attachments to Yammer posts, using browse function or you can drag and drop.

Other cool advantages of Yammer:

  • Ability to create subgroups: We have a group for basketball team, and this is where the real action happens. We discuss practice discussions, admin, jerseys, who’s playing, etc..It allows for collaboration and dynamic discussion.
  • Follow and unfollow people: Yammer actually will suggest to you who you should follow. You don’t have to follow everyone in your company’s network. By following certain people, those conversations will be prominent and reduces all the clutter/  spam out there in the Yammesphere. The suggestions from Yammer will get smarter over time, but they are supposedly based on the organisational hierarchy and reporting relationships, and who your colleagues are following.
  • Create a profile: similar to a company intranet, you can fill out your bio like education, career history, who you report to and who you work with. Not many people in my company have filled it out, but hopefully that will change.
  • Desktop app: Yammer is web service (like Twitter or facebook you can login). But those cool cats out there like myself have downloaded the desktop app and I keep it open all day. I guess its similar to Tweetdeck for Twitter or MSN browser. It uses Adobe Air, which is very slick.
  • The conversations are searchable and taggable. If you use a hashtag before a word e.g. #basketball , it will recognise that as a keyword and will tag that conversation. I can choose to follow all conversations that have #basketball. This is quite useful if you have a bunch of people talking about a specific client or an activity. Conversations are easily searchable using Yammer’s search engine.
  • Sync it with google chat in gmail. So if I’m using gmail, and I want to post something, I open the Yammer chat box and post from there.
  • Send posts & recieve posts via SMS – I have set it up but I don’t want to pay for it and I’m not sure if I want work stuff sent to my phone. But the option is there.
  • Creating a more open and collaborative culture within the workplace. People are posting one to many conversation points, and getting more opinions. I think its less inhibiting than sending out a group email. A lot of times, if I’m sending out an email to the whole office, I ‘ll look at it several times, edit and think will this be ok? Whereas a post on Yammer is a microblogging service, 140 characters is not going to kill me. I’m going to get a lot more useful suggestions asking an office of 30 people in the open then a small select group of people.
The Yammer Formula

The Yammer Formula

I believe that Yammer has taken Twitter’s model and corporatised it. It could be one of the few Twitter type services that actually can make money. I don’t see how Twitter itself can make money off the service it provides. But Yammer charges for customisation, secure domain access using https (hypertext transfer protocol over secure socket layer) thus encrypting it like a bank website, full admin access, etc…. It charges something like $1 per user, but larger groups are offered as a discount.

I think Yammer will work effectively in our office because its not that big. We have roughly 25-30 employees and only a 1/3 are active users. Once more people start getting more active, it will be even better. It will be interesting to see how it run in a much larger environment like say our Melbourne office which as 150 people. In general, experiments like this work better on a smaller scale and there is inherently less clutter to begin with and you know everyone on the network relatively well.

The role of the Yammer Evangelist

I’m still yet to get a really good definition of an evangelist that sticks in my mind. But I believe the purpose as described to me, is to encourage adoption of Yammer, become the guru/troubleshooter and answer people’s question, and lead in it use. I also have started sending out posts on how to optimise its use as well and to stay up to date with what’s happening by reading the blog/website/other sources and participating in external discussions.

Bringing the balloon pants into fashion

Bringing the balloon pants into fashion

I’ve actually read everything on the Yammer website as well as all the blog posts, so that part shouldn’t be hard. I’ve also commented on TechCrunch’s article on Yammer’s $5m capital raising as well as an article in the NY Times blog. You get a lot of interesting feedback from other users in external companies. For example, someone said you should encourage staff to post 2-3 times a day, and its a good way to see what everyone is up to. I might see someone working on a particular project which I read about last week, and then if I have a question I will shoot them a yammer post or IM (instant message them).

I’ll post another update in a month or so and discuss further developments.

I’m out like email clutter,

Matthew Ho.

p.s. Yammer also won TechCrunch top prize in 2008