This morning I wrote about social networking and all the good things it may bring us. Stay in contact, meet old friends and things like that. After that I received this email from plaxo. One of my freinds, John will have his birthday on December 14th. Nice to get a reminder (I am terrible at reminding things like that) but where will this bring us? My first idea was: hey we could automate this and send the card by itsel so you will never forget another birthday. I can imagine being called by a friend: He Martijn, thanks for your card. Me: What card, what for?
I wonder where this will lead us …
And John, in case I forget: happy birthday …. 🙂
Context is King
One of the area’s of research from Telematica Instituut is using technology to determine the context of people. For example where you are, who you are with, what is your mood, what are you doing. This context is very usefull input for a lot of other things like recommendation (when you search for a restaurant to dine with you new girlfriend and value my opinion you do not want to use my recommendation of a restaurant I liked because it is so nice for the kids). So context is king for lots of new “social” applications.
For this we have created a new application called IYOUIT (meaning I, You and It). This is an application for mobile phones (Symbian S60) and constantly monitors your context and shares this with your friends. Recently this tool is made available to all. Have a look at it. It uses only the standard phone sensors (GSM signal, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS if available) to determine things like location, who is close and such.
One of the things this also shows is the power of “mashup programming”. The application uses all kinds of readily available applications. Google Maps of course but also weathersites. Why measure local temperature (and be dependent on extra hardware sensors) if you can find the local temperature based on your location data on a existing weather site?
It is amazing how fast social networking is growing. Every time I am giving a presentation I always ask my audience how many people use one or more social networking sites like Facebook, MySPace, Hyves, LindedIn or another. Since a year this percentage is growing from 20% to more than 70% nowadays. I think especially business oriented sites like LinkedIn made social networking more “salonfähig” than before.
Social networking is I think an area where the idea of “the rich get richer” is especially true. After all, once you have many customers you tend to have more people sending invitation and there is more chance that people send invitations to you. One would expect that only some big sites remain and that newcomers have a hard time growing.
Therefore it is surprising that a new one, Plaxo, is really flooding my e-mail box. Many contacts have send me an invitation. After 10 invitations I decided to take a look, make an account and start using it too. I was a bit weary for this since using lot’s of sites is awkward, I thought.
But I must say this is a sticky one. Firstly they are very easy to link to your existing social networking site like LinkedIn. Secondly they use something they call “pulse”. On plaxo you can fill in the blogs you write, the photo sites you use and all other exhibitionist’s methods and they are shown in a log to all your contacts. This resulted in several comments on the photo you see above, I did not realize that it would be shown to all (welcome to the world of total transparency). Before I wrote about small world networks. One of the effects I see by using Plaxo is that you can see that lots or your contacts make contact with people you also know (and since you see this in the “pulse” you immediately connect to them too …).
One of the interesting developments in social networking is OpenSocial from Google, used by Plaxo too. Google failed miserable with Orkut and other social tools they developed. So they decided to create an API that makes it possible to integrate all social sites in an easy way. And thereby minimizing the advantage you have by having lots of members since everything integrates easily. And thereby minimizing your disadvantage when you have failed miserably in creatign you own social site. You have to admire them…
I came acros this interesting article about the value of clicks on adds on the Internet. Since advertising is beginning to look (Seem) like the holy grail to keep the Internet free for use it is amazing how little data there is on how and why people click on adds and what the real effects are. The following result out of the study is interesting:
What did we learn? A lot. We learned that most people do not click on ads, and those that do are by no means representative of Web users at large.
Ninety-nine percent of Web users do not click on ads on a monthly basis. Of the 1% that do, most only click once a month. Less than two tenths of one percent click more often. That tiny percentage makes up the vast majority of banner ad clicks.
Seems a lot of research is needed to really understand how the relation between audience, click rate and real economic effects will be clear.