Archive for December, 2010

The new Facebook profile change

Another Facebook profile change, another group of disgruntled change-resistant people, who’ll have forgotten all about it this time next week.

This time, Facebook has introduced a new Facebook profile page to give more information on the at the top of your profile page. Visitors to your profile will see your basic details (relationships, location, job, education history etc), a snapshop of your recent photos and a couple of side bars filled with your shared photos, mutual friends and your friends and family.

The whole layout of the profile pages is in keeping with the sleek new look of the rest of the site, in particular the newsfeed.

So, why the change?

The change appears to be more in the layout, rather than the actual content. For the most part, the content remains the same. Time will only tell what these new layouts are moving towards.

You can also add extra details to various sections. Projects can be added to jobs, while the Featured Friend function allows you to highlight certain friends. Which I guess might be useful if you’re 15 and want to tell everyone who your 56 BFFs are.

Security measures have changed, and for once they’re higher. For instance, those who own a business page will find it harder to reply to comments on the wall, unless the commenter originally has low privacy settings.

Have a look at Mashable’s gallery of creative uses of the new Facebook profile pages for some inspiration with your own page.

How the NSPCC won at Facebook

Every couple of months, someone, somewhere starts a Facebook meme that catches on like wildfire. The most recent example of this was the ‘NSPCC’ campaign.

This particular meme involved Facebook users changing their status to “Change your FB picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal is not to see a human face on FB until Monday (Dec 6th) Join the fight against child abuse & copy and paste to your status!” The result was a newsfeed filled with characters from Button Moon, Transformers and My Little Pony.

What was surprising about this meme is that it turned out to be nothing to do with the NSPCC at all. Despite this, the charity was forward thinking enough to release a statement saying how grateful they are for the increased publicity, donations and traffic to their site.

More Facebook memes

Another recent meme involved women changing their status to “I like it on the table/floor/bed etc.” It actually referred to where they like to leave their handbag, but the intrigue was used to tease men and apparently raise awareness of breast cancer.

So what makes these memes so popular? The cynic in me would suggest it’s mainly about keeping up with friends and, with the innuendo-based memes, gathering a bit of attention. It’s a shame more of the memes don’t hold more useful information, like symptoms for cancer charities or links to donate.

However, whether their charitable intentions are pure or not, it seems like some of the campaigns were successful. In the US, the campaign focused on Childhelp instead of the NSPCC, and the charity reported a sharp increase in traffic (tripling to 10,000 hits on Saturday and Sunday.) Another charity, The Child Abuse Prevention Association, reported an increase in donations. And the NSPCC has reported an unprecedented rise in donations and site traffic.

Whatever the reason for the memes, it’s nice to see them having some form of positive effect.

Google introduces the Chrome web store

Google announced a new web store based on Chrome last week, which could shake things up considerably in the browser market.

The new web store means Chrome users can add web apps within the browser, for easy access. The range of apps is extensive, and possibly the most exciting addition is a web app for Tweetdeck. With Hootsuite charging for the advanced features of their product, the (currently) free version of Tweetdeck will prove tempting for those that want to use multiple accounts on a web-based application.

Other highlights include Springpad, which acts as a sort of Evernote-type app, and Read Later Fast, which we should see integrated with ReadItLater, Instapaper, Evernote, Delicious, Dropbox, Google and a few others in the next couple of months.

Like Apple’s iTunes, there is a selection of paid apps to choose from. At the moment it’s mainly games, but no doubt some of the social applications will take on paid options after a certain period of time. Whether users will pay up is another question.

It’s certainly made me — a hardened Firefox addict — reconsider my browser options. The fact that it offers the same apps that I currently use as addons for Firefox makes the decision a little easier. The layout of the apps store is more attractive too.

Would you switch to Chrome or are you sticking with Firefox (or Explorer?)

Don Tapscott on the Principles for the Age of Networked Intelligence

In our conversation with Don Tapscott last week as part of The Social Media Leadership Forum -  run by ItsOpen (itsopen.co.uk) – he highlighted five key principles for the age of networked intelligence that he explores in his new book, Macrowikinomics: rebooting business and the world.

The five key principles are:

1) Collaboration

2) Openness

3) Sharing

4) Integrity

5) Interdependence

Tapscott argued that the Internet is reweaving the fabric of society, as millions of people connect and collaborate around shared interests.

For better or worse, he said, this ‘new fabric of connectivity’ is leading to deep change in our institutions.

There is no guarantee that the changes unleased by this social connectivity will always lead to good.

But Tapscott argues that organisations who are guided by the principles of wikinomics, can harness this new force and spur social and economic innovations that will alter society for the better.

It will be an insightful exercise over the coming weeks and months to start to apply these principles to organisations  who are in the news, to see if they are following the principles of wikinomics or not.

Media leaders talk about the future of news and journalism in the age of social media

At a recent Social media leadership forum event, hosted by Aviva, a handful of media leaders talked about the future of news and journalism in the age of social media. We’re happy to provide you with some of their insights in these videos posted below, with a big thanks to Aviva and the team there who made this possible.

Don Tapscott thoughts

I was in conversation with Don Tapscott today as part of the Social Media Leadership Forum. It was exciting and a great privilege.

It was reading one of Don’s books, The Digital Economy, which first made me interested in the rise of the web and its potential impact.

Don talked about the enormous potential of the web and in particular its collaborative power which he sees as having the capability to significantly renew business, our institutions and society.

Rather than banning Facebook and putting young people (digital natives) in cubicles, they should be embraced, Don argues. The power of social networking tools which people use for their own leisure have the potential to become a new operating system for business, promoting new methods of knowledge sharing, partner and customer collaboration and production.

He argues that CEOs should be blogging and using Twitter and that businesses and organisations should abide by the key new principles: collaboration, openness, sharing, integrity and interdependence.

On the call, he said he saw Wikileaks as the emergence of deeper trends in society where businesses and Governments whilst having the rights to secrecy also have obligations to be more open for the public good.

He was critical of old industrial models and argues that many of our institutions suffer from old industrial age thinking: centralized, one size fits all, and one to many. Instead they have to become smarter,and  more innovative by embracing the collaborative values of wikinomics: collaborating on shared concerns and challenges.

Economically Don argued it does not make sense anymore to simply source knowlege and products and services within the walls of your company as the internet reduces costs to reach out to people, and hence it can help to boost productivity by enrichening businesses by enabling companies to use new technologies to link to a whole range of uniquely qualified minds.

Within the workplace, people should have personal profiles and be encouraged to set up online groups, blog, use wikis, and micro blog with each other.

Because of the new web, the old industrial model is being turned on its head.

It is so helpful and inspiring to hear someone talk as eloquently and hopefully like Don about the future and how the web can help to create a more prosperous, just and sustainable world. I know there are sceptics out there who talk up the dark side of the internet – and it does exist obviously. However Don made the point that the future is not a given, it is there to be achieved.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, has reviewed Don’s latest book and describes it as….’pointing the way forward for all of us’. That hour with Don Tapscott really appealed to me as someone who believes in the value of positive change. I hope everyone on the call – all the other members of the Social Media Leadership Forum – enjoyed it too.

I’d like to thank Fran for helping to organise the event and to all the members of the Social Media Leadership Forum who are supporting the exchange of innovative new ideas as we all in our own way collaborate together, across industry sectors, and respond to the great opportunities and challenges presented by the social web.

Gowalla integrates with Foursquare

Foursquare check in via Gowalla
Image by docpop via Flickr

Gowalla has been fighting a losing battle with Foursquare for the geosocial network crown for a while now. However, their recent iPhone app update suggests they’ve decided to take advice from the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”

Version 3 of the Gowalla app has the option to share your location on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Places and Foursquare, rather than just Gowalla. The app also gives users the opportunity to earn Foursquare badges, and it still grabs Foursquare tips when you check in.

Effectively, this means you can see where your friends are checking in, across Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla, within one app. Handy if all your friends use different networks, or if you want the advantages of all three offerings.

The Foursquare integration isn’t the only added feature in the new app. Users can now leave private notes at locations for their friends. Which should make promotions like treasure hunts and press trips more interesting.

Ironically, by ‘giving in’ and integrating Foursquare into their app, Gowalla could increase their downloads and number of users. I know if I used location-based social networks, I’d be interested in a universal tool like this.

However, there is a downside. The app is built using Foursquare’s API, rather than through Foursquare directly. Which leaves them open to problems if Foursquare decide to block their use of the API. As Mashable reports, “The threat posed by Gowalla 3 is real; that alone could force Foursquare’s hand in the name of competition. It would also create a firestorm of controversy.”

So, would you be more interested in Gowalla, now it has access to several other location-based networks?

Are you addicted to social media?

Are you a big fan of Facebook? Or a Tweetaholic? Considering the widespread popularity of social media, there are likely to be quite a few social media addicts out there.

This parody from YourTango features a mum, @CoolMomKaren, who gets sucked into the social media world after meeting a couple of other addicts in a public toilet. Classy. The public service announcement is in the theme of an 80s anti drug video, complete with big hairdos and porn star moustaches.

Are you a social media addict? Or is it just a myth?

LinkedIn finally releases a share button

It’s taken them a while, but LinkedIn has finally jumped on the bandwagon and released an official LinkedIn share button.

Following in the footsteps of Twitter, Facebook, Digg and Reddit to name a few, the social network for business has released a button that looks remarkably similar. Like the other buttons, you can add a link to your profile with one click, and see how many people have already shared it.

While it’s great to have another easy click option to share content, it does leave bloggers in something of a dilemma. With all the available buttons, which ones should they choose? Go for all of them and look cluttered? Or only a few and miss out on a sharing opportunity?

Perhaps readers and bloggers alike will rebel, and go back to using social share toolbars or tools like Shareaholic or AddThis. Or a share button could be created with a drop down menu for each social media site. At the moment Mashable has a slick-looking button, which includes share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and an extra drop down menu for other sharing sites. The beauty of this button is that visitors can still see how many people have shared the content.

Will you be adding the LinkedIn share button to your blog or website?

Changing Educational Paradigms

Just found this inspiring video about changing educational paradigms. No wonder millions of people have watched it!