So this week, some said Twitter took it's first newspaper scalp. That of course is a gross oversimplification. But as the 168 year old The News of the World publishes its last issue this weekend, it is worth contemplating our brave new social media world: a utopian social media free from banal commercial pressures, mob rule hell or something else?
Twitter's Private Rants
So you have a crisis and lots of your customers are irate. You have to ask them for their details to help, but they don't want to send the information in public. So you ask them to follow you so they can DM you - Twitter parlance for a Private Message. Hardly ideal. Well Twitter has just changed their policy for Verified accounts. These accounts can now receive Private Messages from users that are not following them.
How to hack a job with Twitter
As genius as it is simple, two Dutch designers landed themselves a job by being creative with Twitter profile images.
How? They created 5 Twitter profiles, whose combined profile images spelled out the words 'Hire Us'. They then followed a bunch of creative directors with those 5 accounts - in quick succession - which meant the words 'Hire Us' were visible under New Followers.
The Digirati has been buzzing all week about Google +. The consensus is, if nothing else, Google has shaken its reputation for not being able to build social products. The UX is slick, its joint video conferencing system (Hangouts) might be a killer app, and its Circles function allows you to group people easily, making some think it will be great for business use, and even a threat the LinkedIn.
So what do we think? Like Mark Zuckerburg we still think it's too early to say what it is for and to what extent it will be used. But we'd like to point you to some interesting observations by Jeff Jarvis and Robert Scoble, regarding the way Google+ deals with identity, reciprocal follows, links and why your mom is unlikely to join soon.
When Google+ launched, Mark Zuckerberg tried to put a damper on proceedings: "Facebook would launch something awesome this week" he claimed. And it is'nt that bad. They launched a trio of related chat products: ad hoc group chat, a new chat design, and video calling powered by Skype. Invariably people sought to compare the Skype integration with Google+ video conferencing feature Hangouts. It is no contest.
A busy week at Twitter
Twitter's just announced a message rate of 200 million tweets per day. While this sounds huge, we're actually a bit disappointed. A bit more than a month ago, we made a projection based on twitter's growth data up to March. In our projection, Twitter should have been at 220 million tweets per day by now. This 10% deviation doesn't sound like a lot, but given that it's after only 4 months, it means they might be as much as 30% below our projected rate at the end of the year. (406 million tweets per day vs 284)
At the same time it looks like Twitter is gearing themselves up for their "promoted tweets" business model. They have just acquired social analytics company Backtype. This will give them the ability to provide businesses with proper analysis tools.
Earlier this week Google Realtime Search went offline. The next day it emerged that Google's subscription to the Twitter firehose had expired. Somehow we think this might have more to do with Twitter than with Google. As this post points out, the absence of Twitter is already having an impact on Search Rankings, and Google+ is far from ready to step into the breach.
iPad no iFad
Even though the machine is only 18 months old, iPad owners now have an astonishing 100,000 apps to choose from. The form factor of the iPad, bigger than a smartphone, but small enough to use standing up, is also creating a whole new category of use cases. Some professions - like doctors in hospitals - are flocking to it, and apps to support them are proliferating.
Also this week, South Korea announced they aim to replace all textbooks with tablets by 2015.
The power of LinkedIn Today
It's not very often we report interesting news from LinkedIn HQ. But this week Techcrunch announced that LinkedIn has become their 2nd biggest source of referrals, after Facebook, but before Twitter. Incredibly, LinkedIn refferals are now 50 times what they were a year ago. Traffic from it increased 5 fold in May, and doubled again in June.
The reason for this is LinkedIn Today, the social news aggregator they launched a few months ago, which collates the most shared stories. Funnily enough, it's powered by news shared via Twitter. Which just goes to show how the right UX can make the obtuse Twitter come into its own.
Creative of the Week - Jean-Christophe Naour
We've talked before about the creative hacker potential of the Kinect. Jean-Christophe Naour, a French Interaction Designer who lives in Seoul, has just added another to the list.
He created the Kinect Graffiti, an application that tracks the motion behind the graffiti and visualizes the body, the drawing motion and the surrounding space. More info and pretty pictures in this video.
Tech Insight of the Week - ...
Earlier this year, the EU announced a new directive which will force websites to get a user's explicit permission if they're going to track the user by means of cookies. Now it's come to light that, on the first site to implement this directive, a drop of 90% in visitor numbers was seen. We explore the technical issues at play.