The move would entail Apple releasing either a CDMA-based version of the iPhone, or a single, updated iPhone that could run on both networks.
Were AT&T to lose its exclusive iPhone contract, it could potentially make up some business with the five new Android phones that, at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, it announced it will be releasing in the first half of the year.
The Android phones will come from HTC, Motorola and Dell — making AT&T the first U.S. carrier to offer a Dell smartphone. Versions of Dell’s Mini 3 are currently available on China Mobile and on Brazil’s Claro network.
The end of the exclusivity contract could potentially also lighten the criticisms lobbed at AT&T, which has seemed to struggle to meet the data-devouring needs of its iPhone customers. It’s been said that the Apple, and not AT&T’s network, is actually to blame for some iPhone service issues, though AT&T has stoically kept mum about this.
“It could potentially take the weight off their shoulders,” Ken Hyers, an analyst with Technology Business Research, agreed, adding that the network issues associated with the iPhone aren’t all AT&T’s fault.
“But whether or not the exclusivity contract ends this week or this summer, those customers are still going to be with AT&T for some time, since they signed two-year contracts. Any problems are going to be ongoing,” Hyers told eWEEK.
He added that, should an additional carrier get access to the iPhone, changes to the AT&T network won’t be immediately noticeable, buts changes to AT&T’s sales numbers will. With all the news about AT&T’s service issues, consumers who can get the iPhone on a different network may finally make the move.
“The iPhone has been very good for AT&T, though,” said Hyers. “It will be interesting to follow their subscriber numbers once the exclusivity contract ends.”
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Knowledge Flows and the New Way to NetworkJump to Comments
When I was a little girl I remember sitting in a car stuck in stop-and-go traffic with my mom, and like most kids around the age of 4 or 5, I was growing impatient so I started asking questions:
Me: Why do we keep stopping?
Mom: Because the cars in front of us are stopped.
Mom: Because the cars in front of them are stopped.
Me: Well, who’s in front?
Mom: What do you mean, ‘who’s in front?’
Me: Who’s at the front of the line of cars?
Somehow she was able to explain that no one was in front because there was no front – this wasn’t a line, but rather a network of roads populated with cars all destined for different places.
This blew my mind. I realize I was pretty young, but this rather mundane exchange between mother and daughter completely changed the way I viewed the world.
Of course I couldn’t really articulate this at the time, but after that I understood that cars on the road weren’t simply playing follow the leader, or racing to a finish line, but they were only happening to move in the same direction as us for a short time. Life for me became much less linear. Now it was about navigating my way through a crowded, complex system.
I share this story because I think many of us are experiencing a similar type of expansion in world view right now, especially as it relates to business and business interactions, due to the impact of the social web.
Like navigating your way through crowded city streets, networking is no longer about jockeying for position with push-type messaging in a race to a finish line, but about navigating a complex network full of questions and answers no single person, company or institution can possibly possess.
It’s Not Just About Who You Know
Not only is the pathway to success in business at an individual level different than it was just a few years ago, this is true at the macro level as well.
Ensuring success doesn’t rest solely on an eye for the bottom line. Cheaper isn’t always better in the long run when we sacrifice relationships in the process.
In the new economy trust and attention are just as important as profit. Collaboration, not domination leads to innovation and success.
The way to “network” is changing, not because of a new set of 10-commandment-style rules, but because whether we realize it or not, the impact of social technology has changed the definitions and necessary ingredients for success.
The emphasis is moving away from solo performers and contact acquisition to collaboration and contextual knowledge as it relates to other individuals.
A recent article by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown in the Harvard Business Review explains how the nuances of social networking have changed:
In this world, it is not who you know, but what you learn from, and with, who you know. Contacts are of very limited value in this changing world — the name of the game is how to participate in knowledge flows.
The old way was a linear path of collecting contacts – the more the better. Marketing was simply a numbers game. The new path is simply about building real relationships based on collaboration and shared knowledge.
Old Word New Meaning
I think a lot of the disconnect between humans in online social networks has to do with the context wrapped around the word network used as a verb.
According to Hagel and JSB, networking is no longer about schmoozing. It’s about showing up ready to learn, acquiring contextual knowledge of others and building trust along the way:
In the classical networking approach, the game is about presenting yourself in the most favorable light possible while flattering the other person into giving you their contact information. This approach quickly degenerates into a manipulative exchange where the real identities of both parties rapidly recede into the background, replaced by carefully staged presentations of an artificial self. These staged interactions rarely build trust. In fact, they usually have the opposite effect, putting both parties on guard and reinforcing wariness and very selective disclosure.
How Do I Teach Someone To Be Human?
The above may seem like a rather ridiculous question, but I’ve heard this uttered several times from many different people I know who advise others on how to engage social networks. By the way, the question holds true for offline networking as well.
The answer to this question in my mind rests on the person’s capacity to share vulnerability.
Ironically, I learned about the importance of vulnerability in connecting with others as a student in an acting class I took several years ago.
The instructor convinced us that audiences do not connect with characters they can’t empathize with. We may justify our attraction to others based on their strengths, but we feel connected to others out of shared vulnerability.
How do we understand shared vulnerability as it relates to social networking?
Again, Hagel and JSB explain this rather well:
[The new way to network] often requires discussing publicly the issues you are wrestling with so others can become aware of them and seek you out if they are confronting similar issues. This can be very uncomfortable for most of us, because we are reluctant to expose provisional ideas and acknowledge that we are struggling with developing those ideas.
While we may think of our vulnerabilities as a sign of weakness, discussing what we find to be challenging is actually a sign of strength and requires a healthy dose of emotional maturity.
You as a Startup
Since the linear pathways no longer hold — especially on the web, maybe we can all approach our personal professional growth with the spirit of a startup.
Doesn’t this sound a lot more fun than pretending to be perfect and having all the answers?
By the way in a great service to the startup community, SEOmoz recently published a very detailed blog post explaining their path along the venture capital funding process.
While openness and collaboration are good precursors to earning trust and building relationships, I still struggle with the fact that I cannot guarantee others will always be benevolent and worthy of trust. Nor can I help others decide where appropriate boundaries should be, and boundaries are still important.
I also think there’s a potential for us to develop a sense of false intimacy with our connections.
Do we need thicker skin and fail-safes to protect us from sharing too much, or like a startup, do we accept a certain amount of calculated risk?
I don’t have all the answers so I really hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo Credit: Ken OHYAMA
The title of this post asks, “can you judge a book by its cover?” You can when the “cover” is the front page of someone’s Twitter account and you’re judging whether to follow them. That page contains an avatar image (usually the person’s photo), a short biography (no more than 160 characters long), a link to the person’s home page (or company, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.), and — crucially — the most recent 20 tweets that the person has sent. You can click through to see more tweets in batches of 20, but if you follow many people on Twitter, doing that often takes more time than it’s worth.
And there’s the rub: if you want more people to follow you on Twitter, you have very little time to make a good first impression on them . . . but many ways that you could string landmines of the “Don’t Follow Me” variety across their path.
Recently four heavy Twitter users — Meg Fowler, Jim Storer, Aaron Strout, and Tim Walker — got to talking (on Twitter, of course) about the poisoned words, phrases, and other cues that automatically signal “Don’t Follow” for them. The end result was that the four decided to bang out a joint blog post that talked about best practices in not following based on not liking the proverbial “cover” put forth by fellow tweeters. Here’s what we came up with:Tim Walker’s “not follow” strategy
- “MLM” (multi-level marketing). I’m sure that somewhere, some nice person who does MLM could explain to me how it’s not a veiled Ponzi scheme. Until then . . . you’ll pardon me if I continue to think of it as “a veiled Ponzi scheme.” No thanks.
- Tweets that include “buy followers” or “hundreds of followers” or anything else in the “get lotsa followers!” genre. I try hard to earn new followers by being relevant, interesting, funny, and personable. The idea that you would buy yours in bulk — much less promote that process — disgusts me.
- Political ig’nance. I follow people of all political stripes, from all over the world. But if you have to wear your politics on your sleeve, and if your politics are of the knee-jerk type (again, regardless of your leanings), I just can’t stand to follow you.
- Calling yourself a “visionary” or “expert” or (shudder) “guru.” It’s much better to say you’re a “marketing veteran” or “experienced sales leader” or whatever. Let *others* call you a visionary.Love it, Tim.
- For me, it’s more about “who do I need to block around here?” Because no one likes to be spammed. So if I see any of this in your bio and/or first 20 tweets…
- Requests to “follow me back!”
- Promotion of affiliate programs
- Actual affiliate links as the link in your bio
- Any mention of followers (“I can get you followers!” “Get thousands of followers!” “5,000 followers and growing!” “This program will get you followers overnight!”)
- “Make money online (from home, easily, doing practically nothing, overnight, with my system, etc.)”
- Promises to “generate” anything: money, cash, followers, success, creeping rashes…
- Promotion of tooth whitening programs (Seriously?)
- A mention of your Twitter Grader Rank
- Mention of “Sponsored Tweets”
- Mention of your “Twitter eBook FREE JUST CLICK HERE”
- Presence of “69″ in name (or “Shelly Ryan” as your name… poor, poor real @ShellyRyan)
- Rockstar/Maven/diva/coach/thought leader/guru/expert/pro/maverick
- Porn-star-like attributes in avatar or links (Nudity, actual sexual acts, clear intent to seduce me with something other than words)
- Requests to click through to “see your profile”
- Googly-eyed “Twitter Basic” avatar (upload a photo, PLEASE)
- @ing people the same link OVER AND OVER
Jim Storer’s“not follow” strategy
I’ve never auto-followed anyone, which at this point means I’ve vetted (to varying degrees) nearly 3,500 people. Until recently you had to click through to a person’s/bots profile page to get the skinny on who they are. Now some of that info is available in the new follower email, but what I look for is the same.
- Following to Follower % (you’re following dramatically more people than follow you) – If this is too imbalanced there’s something fishy and I’m not biting.
- # of Updates to Followers/Following #’s – In the last six months I’ve started to see a lot of people with 5k+ followers/following and less than 100 updates. That suggests you’re just using a program to rack up followers and that just wrong (IMHO). I’m not interested in being another notch on your bedpost.
- If your bio includes any of the following I’m not interested: “more followers”, “make money”, “expert” (at anything), “MLM” and everything else Tim, Meg and Aaron came up with. I trust them.
- If the words you chose to describe your pursuits in your biography are overly loquacious I will not be inclined to follow you back. Get real… use real words and tell me who you are.
- If you haven’t written anything in your bio and/or you haven’t added a photo, I’m not following you.
- If you have zero updates how am I supposed to know what you’re going to talk about? I’m not listening until you start talking.
- If your last few updates are repetitive and too self-promoting, I’m not interested in seeing that day to day. I already saw what you have to say when I was checking out your profile.Aaron Strout’s “not follow” strategy
The upside and downside of going last is that 1) all the good stuff has been said but 2) it leaves less stuff for me to say. Out of the list above, I’m probably the most lenient of the four. Like Jim, I’ve never auto-followed (but have considered it) so that means that I’ve hand followed back nearly 9,000 people (yup, that’s a lot). However, I have a few basic rules that I follow:
- In most cases (not all), I like seeing a picture. If someone is obviously a n00b who looks to be figuring things out, I’ll cut ‘em some slack. Otherwise, they don’t make the cut.
- I need a bio. Is it too much to tell me what you do?
- I also need a tweet or two (unless they are a friend of mine and then of course they get the free hall pass)
- No “get rich fast, affiliate or “let me sell you some shit” in the bio or last few tweets.”
- One I get stuck on a lot is the news feed/blog title posts. These really depend on follow ratio and quality of the tweets. It also is up to my mood. If I’m hand following 40-50 people, these folks usually make it in. If it’s 4-5, not so much.
- I will follow ANYONE from Austin (pornos excepted)
- Oh yeah, I don’t follow webcam girls or known pornos.So what’s your strategy? Who do you or don’t you follow? Share your tips in the comments below.photo credit: library.cornell.edu
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This was one of the worse events I have ever gone to. Maybe it was my fault by being mislead by the title of "A Discussion on The Future of the Texas Entrepreneurial Economy". I thought that there might be a discussion on the future of the Texas Entrepreneurial Economy. To have all those great minds there and not have them look into their crystal ball was a total waste. I was so mad and frustrated I walked out and left. It was not worth the money and I will defiantly NOT go to the next event. The organizes should be ashamed.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Almost as soon as the crisis in Haiti occurred, the word came out that you could text “Yele” to 501501 to easily donate money. This resulted in over 2 million dollars being raised by the organization to aid those in need. As is usually the case when this type of money is involved, some decided to dig into Yele’s financial records. What they found raised some eyebrows but, in the grand scheme of things, was irrelevant.
Yele, established in 2005 by Haitian artist Wyclef, raised 1 million dollars in just 24 hrs to help with this current situation. Shortly thereafter, the Smoking Gun released Yele’s tax returns along with allegations of “a lackluster history of accounting.” They point out payments paid to companies affiliated with those working within Yele, including alleged payments made to Wyclef himself for shows done in the name of charity.
Wyclef returned to the US after helping dig up the bodies of his fellow countrymen and find graves for them, to learn of the accusations against his organization. He took it personal, calling it an “attack on his integrity.” In a response posted on YouTube this past Saturday, he points out a few things that should be obvious:
- He is from Haiti. It’s where he lives. Yele existed long before this recent disaster. Wyclef is not just the face of some charity.
- Yele is a non-governmental organization, which was done presumably so that they could have more flexibility in the methods they used to help Haiti. Including penetration into areas they might otherwise not have access to.
- Just because a show is organized to raise money for charity doesn’t mean all involved in the production of that event will do so for free. Equipment, venues, and musicians still need to be paid for their work.
- You can donate to another charity. Wyclef doesn’t care if you donate through Yele, he just wants you to donate.
Wyclef denounces the statements made against him and Yele, pointing out that he’s put $1 million of his own money into the organization. He also says that, in the next few days, he will release footage of the efforts being made by Yele in Haiti. He believes this footage will give everyone more information to make an educated decision as to Yele’s intentions.
I believe Wyclef, via Yele, is doing all he can for Haiti and has been for years. There is no real proof of any real corruption at this time and these statements are simply diverting attention for the real story here: A natural disaster in Haiti has killed thousands and the survivors need our help. You can donate $5 via Yele by texting the word “Yele” to 501501. If you don’t trust that method, Use one of the many other options available.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
In a word, crappy. I am not well. Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted to my blog, Twitter, or Facebook in a while. That is because I haven’t felt social enough to use and social media outlets. I am a pretty open book on most occasions, but not in this case.
I am going to share with you just a little bit of what I am going through. After coming back from the holidays I have had a real rough go at work, mainly the evangelist role. The problem isn’t the role itself, but just some backstabbing that I didn’t expect. I am trying to fix this issue, but it would involve some changes. Major stress there because I truly feel a lot of passion around that role.
Soon after I put things in motion to try to fix that issue, I run into something more devastating, heart wrenching, and crippling. Marriage problems. Right now I have left the house and I am currently staying with my sister and her husband in Elgin, TX. This is really painful and I can’t discuss this any further.
Just last week Haiti is struck by one of the worse natural disasters in recent memory. My mom is Haitian so this hits really close to home. I haven’t gotten word of any of my relatives surviving the tragedy, but I haven’t heard anything the other way either.
All this stress has not only affected me emotionally, but also physically. I have had problems sleeping, focusing and eating. As a result I have lost 10 pounds and have gotten sick.
The reason that I am writing this is for a couple of reasons. First I want to let everyone know what is going on, and the reason I haven’t replied to those trying to get in touch with me. Second to try to place some of the items back in my life that I have avoided all this time.
So when you see me, either online or in person, please don’t ask me how I am doing, because the answer is crappy. If you want to show your concern just pray for me and keep me in your thoughts. I will try to distract myself with things that were once routine in hopes that the others will fall into place.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
LG recently unveiled their newest mobile phone that will be hitting the market through AT&T. The LG eXpo is the LG phone with projector.
This LG Projector Phone runs on Windows Mobile 6.5 and has the S-Class interface overlayed on to it. How does this become a projector? Details and video demo review below.
The LG Projector phone reviews are quite positive. Many loved the unique feature where you can attach a small pico projector to the eXpo that allows a larger image of what’s on the screen to be projected on to the wall.
Other features of the phone are a 5 megapixel camera, microSD card slot for increasing storage as well as the usual Wi-Fi connectivity.
January 6th, 2010 | Inspiration |
Clever and creative McDonald’s advertising campaigns from all over the world.
McDonald’s Newspaper Sandwich
Clever newspaper ad for new McDonald’s sandwich in Sweden. [link]
Giant paper napkins were used to promote McDonald’s largest hamburger ever, the Big’n'Juicy, in Stockholm, Sweden. [link]
McDonald’s Bus Stop
Regular bus stop was turned into McDonald’s restaurant. [link]
McDonald’s Free Coffee Hourglass
Transit shelter in Vancouver was turned into an ‘hourglass’ filled with coffee beans, reminding customers of the promotion’s short-term nature. [link]
McDonald’s Sundial Billboard
This cool billboard features a real sundial whose shadow falls on a different breakfast item each hour until noon, when the shadow of the McDonald’s arches are dead center. [link]
Outdoor posters were turned into large interactive push puzzles that consumers could solve in order to “sort your head”. This was done to promote McDonald’s Large Coffee for only 1 Euro in Sweden. [link]
The Real Milkshake
McDonald’s Pie Billboard
Giant Pie billboard used to promote McDonald’s in New Zealand. [link]
Free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s
McDonald’s Freshness Box Salad
Clever poster, with what appears to be fresh salad vegetables, changed a bus shelter into a section in the refrigerator. [link]
McDonald’s Bus Shelter
Creative “Open All Night” McDonald’s advertising from Australia. [link]
McDonald’s Re-Opening Ads
Creative ads for McDonald’s re-opening in Birkerod, Finland. [link]
Clever outdoor ad promotes fresh carrots at McDonald’s in Sweden. [link]
The Skiff e-reader, unveiled today at CES, has a special feature that will appeal to newspaper and magazine junkies: a flexible screen. The Skiff is just a quarter of an inch thick, and its E Ink has no glass — in its place is a foil material that's both durable and bendy. It doesn't hurt that the display is huge, measuring 11.5 inches diagonal with 1,200 x 1,600-pixel resolution.
The Skiff gets content via Sprint's 3G wireless network, but it'll also work over Wi-Fi. Skiff is owned by Hearst, so you'll at least be able to get Good Housekeeping when the e-reader becomes available later this year. No price yet.
The Skiff honestly can't come fast enough for us. We've been saying for years that periodicals are the true e-reader market, and having a big, flexible screen is a huge step in that direction. Now if only it would display color we'd really have something here.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
As expected, there has been a lot of coverage of Google's Nexus One Android “superphone”. Some of the coverage has focused on its feature set, hardware and software, which is nice but not genre-busting. Some of the coverage has focused on the beyond-the-carrier sales model, which is fairly distinctive in the US market and highly welcome.
However, there has been very little coverage of the one feature that, to me, represents a new “front” in the mobile device “wars”: the Nexus One is a consumer device that has user-replaceable firmware.
To date, the vast majority of smartphones are appliances. Either they cannot be updated at all, or they can only be updated with official firmware, signed by the device manufacturer. At best, groups like xda-developers find ways to hack the firmware update process to allow for unsigned firmware.
However, the Nexus One not only has a fairly simple process to “unlock the bootloader” (allowing for replacement firmware), but it even has a built-in screen explaining the ramifications of this to the end user. Clearly, Google expects the Nexus One to get replacement firmware. Contrast this with Apple's argument that performing similar operations on an iPhone are illegal.
For ordinary consumers, this will matter little, at best. However, for those with particular desires in a mobile device, this is one of the very few mainstream consumer phones (vs. “developer phones” like the ADP1) that I am aware of that all but endorses junking the existing firmware and loading something else. Nokia's N900 also appears to allow replaceable firmware, and perhaps some Symbian devices built on the new open source Symbian will offer this as well.
This is huge.
For example, I would really like to have a device with firmware that has been vetted by somebody with my interests at heart, such as the EFF, to feel confident that the device does not have backdoors, keyloggers, or anything else that might infringe upon my right to be secure in my papers and effects...which in today's world better include electronic “papers”. Moreover, I would like it if anyone, without a ton of technical skill, could have a similarly vetted device.
Now, clearly, there is a lot of work to be done to make such replacement firmware a reality, from getting the Android 2.1 code into the open source repository to figuring out how best to perform such a vetting operation. But having devices that clearly will accept such firmware, without complaint, was the one block that the community would have no shot at solving on its own. Today we have the Nexus One, and with luck, tomorrow will bring other devices offering similar capabilities.
Frankly, I wasn't sure whether I was going to pick up a Nexus One, let alone use it on a regular basis. The offer of replaceable firmware, though, suggests that my trusty T-Mobile G1 may be set aside in the not-too-distant future.
From left to right: social strategist Julia Roy (31,000 followers), publicist Sarah Evans (33,000 followers), travel journalist Stefanie Michaels (1.4 million followers), actress Felicia Day (1.6 million followers), lifecaster Sarah Austin (24,000 followers), and marketer Amy Jo Martin (1.2 million followers). Photograph by Michael Halsband.
By endlessly typing 140-character messages, Stefanie Michaels, Amy Jo Martin, Felicia Day, and others have gained millions of Twitter followers. It’s a new kind of fame–twilebrity–with its own rules, risks, and pecking order.
By Vanessa Grigoriadis
Whether you consider Twitter a worldwide experiment in extreme narcissism or a nifty tool for real-time reporting—a plane ditches in the Hudson, millions take to the streets in Tehran—it may not yet have dawned on your text-saturated brain that it’s also a path to becoming famous. Not real fame, mind you, or even Internet-celebrity fame, but a special, new category of fame: twilebrity.
Twilebrities are people—“tweeple,” in twitspeak—who spend their days typing 140-character messages into a digital rumpus room of about 55 million monthly users. A lot of them are already celebrities: Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres, and John Mayer rank in the Top 10 Twitterers of all time, with millions of tweeps following their every tweet. Britney Spears is up there, too—slightly ahead of Barack Obama—though, given that 140 characters net out to almost 15 words, her tweets are most likely the handiwork of a proxy, a luxury known in the business as “ghost-tweeting.” (In fact, Obama, a poignant tweeter—after hearing he’d won the Nobel Prize, he wrote one word, “humbled”—is guilty of this, too. He recently admitted he’d never personally sent a tweet.)
For tweeple, e-mail messages are sonnets, Facebook is practically Tolstoy. “Facebook is just way too slow,” says Stefanie Michaels, a twilebrity from Brentwood, California. “I can’t deal with that kind of deep engagement.” It’s a strikingly swift mode of communication, though not as quick as the much-hyped Google Wave (a program so demonically fast that it broadcasts each letter as you type it). Twitter doesn’t even require real sentences, only a continual patter of excessively declarative and abbreviated palaver. “Sometimes,” says Julia Roy, a 26-year-old New York social strategist turned twilebrity, scrunching her face, “when you’re Twittering all the time, you even start to think in 140 characters.”
Twittering all the time—the act of text-messaging the world (why wouldn’t you talk to everyone, if you could?)—is the essential feat of a twilebrity. And because Twitter uses simple technology, it’s a utilitarian vehicle for ambitious extroverts, without any previous distinction, to become digital superstars. In order to stay in touch with, and keep intact, their legions of “followers”—that’s twitspeak for the number of people who have signed up to read one’s tweets—these civilian twilebrities must, you know, tweet a lot. Each day, these women speed easily across the Twitformation Superhighway on their iPhones and laptops, leaving droppings in their wake: “getting highlights before class,” “I hrd u had fun!,” “Wah, missing my twittr time!” They use a lot of “hashtags,” which is a way of identifying posts on a certain topic—like Twilight or Tiger’s mistresses—and often participate in chain-letter-style tweets, adding their haiku to such threads as OMGFacts. (Sample OMGs: “You’ll eat 35,000 cookies in your lifetime”; “banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories per hour.”) And somehow this fascinates millions of readers.
But when it comes to listening, well, that’s where these twilebrities shine. It so happens that they are nice girls—the Internet’s equivalent of a telephone chat line staffed by a bunch of cheerleaders—and it’s all free. Any tweep who wants to talk to them will likely get a reply to his tweets (“u r so funny!”). They may also re-tweet for you (that means referencing one of your droppings on their Twitter feed). They have been known to occasionally tweetdrop (that’s subtly dropping the names of the truly famous into one’s tweets, as in “Ashton LinkLove 4ever”). “Twitter is like going to a giant cocktail party, every day,” says Sarah Evans, 29, a publicist and self-described “Twitterholic.” “Except you don’t ever have to get dressed up!”
According to a study of 1.5 million tweets, released this year by Oxford University Press, the words “cool,” “awesome,” “wow,” and “yay” are among the most common on Twitter—and it’s a safe guess that most twilebrities use them as freely as Laguna High freshmen. Just like high school, Twitter is an enormous popularity contest. Evans has 33,596 followers, a lofty total (slightly more than California lifecaster Sarah Austin) but far lower than, for example, that of the laid-back Amy Jo Martin, 30, a marketing executive with 1.2 million followers, who taught Shaquille O’Neal to tweet (“We just put his big thumbs on his Shaqberry, and he got really into it!”). Elfin redhead Felicia Day, 30, a geek-Webisode actress, has drawn 1.6 million followers for her tweets. “Doors were closed to us before,” says Day. “Now the tools for success have been democratized. It’s just me and whoever wants to talk to me, wherever they are in the world.”
Twitter’s Most Famous
More than 3 million followers
More than 2.5 million
More than 2 million
More than 1.5 million
More than 1 million
Soleil Moon Frye
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
More than 500,000
Fewer than 100,000
The Backstreet Boys
Real-world friends, and even spouses, can be left in the cold. Michaels’s husband, a real-estate appraiser with horn-rims and a crew cut—a “normy”—calls himself “the Twidower.” “My wife found Twitter and dropped me,” he says. “I basically lost my wife.” Then he sighs. “Sometimes, during dinner, it gets to be too much.”
There may be no better example of twilebrity than Michaels, a freelance travel journalist—“I was the most unemployed journalist ever!“—who has gathered more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter, the 98th most in the world, ranking her, at press time, between Serena Williams and Denise Richards. After joining in March 2009, she tweeted “more than all of the founders combined”—that’s what they told her—and earned the status of suggested user, which means every new Twitterer is asked if he or she would like to follow her. Like a lot of twilebrities, Michaels uses her significant influence to push her followers toward those she deems cool enough, and looks down on those who don’t follow the rules. “She doesn’t engage, or RT” (translation: re-tweet), she snipes in an e-mail about a rival twilebrity. “She has one-sided conversations, and that is completely frowned upon in our world. She’s a self-promoter, and that’s not social media.”
It’s worth protecting one’s empire on Twitter; one never knows where the next billion on the Internet is going to be found. But there are indications that what you say on Twitter will soon become more important than who is listening, now that Google has signed a deal to prominently add tweets to its search-engine results. This is the “real-time Web,” where search results are ranked by chronology, making the most recent sources the most relevant. Geeks love this idea, but should we? When we type “Obama” into Google, do we want to see results from random Twitterers telling us, “I dreamed abt Obama at an important function, he gave me a warm hug”? Those of us who still read are hoping this is a jump-the-shark moment—could this be the Internet’s version of reality TV?
Even Twitter has started to put the brakes on the culture of twilebrity by suspending the accounts of those who Twitter too excessively (more than 1,000 tweets per day)—a punishment commonly known as going to Twitter Jail. Plus, like the company itself, which is valued at $1 billion, despite little revenue and zero profit, not one of these women is making a fortune off Twitter. They’re waiting for corporate sponsorships and all sorts of newfangled Web synergies, but the best that marketers have come up with so far are “sponsored tweets” (such as a small payment for hawking McDonald’s Happy Meals) and corny stunts, like novelist Rick Moody’s “microserializing” an original short story, “Some Contemporary Characters,” through continuous bursts of, you guessed it, 140 characters—a three-day task. “There’s no money in Twitter yet, it’s true,” Evans says, “but that’s O.K. The validation of having so many people listen to you is reward enough.”
Vanessa Grigoriadis is a Vanity Fair Contributing Editor.
Follow VF.com on Twitter: @vanityfairmag.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
ZOMM is the world’s first wireless leash for mobile phones. It is the brainchild of Laurie, a mother of three, who kept hearing her kids and friends complain about lost mobile phones. Together with her husband, Henry, they created ZOMM as a solution. The award winning ZOMM secures mobile phones, acts as a speakerphone for incoming calls, provides a panic button and can call emergency assistance from anywhere in the world with just one touch of a button. ZOMM will be unveiled to the world for the first time, January 5, 2010, at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.
VOICE OVER IP OUTFIT Skype has introduced a version of Skype for Windows that can deliver up to 720p HD quality video calling at 1280x720 resolution and up to 30 frames per second.
All you will need is a high-speed broadband connection, a new HD webcam, a PC with at least a 1.8GHz dual-core processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows.
Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype, using a bumper size jar of lyrical wax said, "Imagine being able to see the sparkle of your grandchild's eyes or the setting of your best friend's engagement ring."
True, but you will also be able to see your girlfriend before she has put on her make-up, and other joys.
New HD webcams are due to arrive in early 2010 and will probably be priced at $100 with a microphone and $69 without.
The HD function is around on the new beta software and it needs 1 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth to work.
The 'symmetrical' part will rule out most of the UK as well as a lot of ADSL links everywhere, since the "A" in ADSL stands for "asymmetric", meaning that the uplink speeds of many DSL connections are lower than 1 Mbps. So we can imagine howls of anguish when the phone sex market can't get it to work.
Considering most of my Skype hangs have been caused by trying to use low definition video we will be surprised if this works very well. µ
Monday, January 4, 2010
Filed at 10:31 p.m. ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A spokesman for the family of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson says a daughter of the businessman has died.
Spokesman Jesse Derris said Monday that the family is mourning the tragic loss of Casey Johnson. In a statement, the family asked for privacy "during this very difficult time."
Casey Johnson gained celebrity as the girlfriend of Tila Tequila, a reality TV star best known for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons on MTV.
Tequila's publicist says the two were engaged.
The move positions the various Seesmic applications (web, desktop, and mobile) to be able to update some 50 social networks very easily. Seesmic is also acquiring the over 500,000 current Ping.fm users as well as the two co-founders, Adam Duffy and Sean McCullough, who are joining the Seesmic team full time.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur tells us that Duffy and McCullough are “becoming Seesmic shareholders obviously and key part of the management team.”
On January 1, Le Meur wrote that a 2010 goal for Seesmic was to have 1 million status updates a day. This acquisition will make hitting that much easier as Ping.fm adds some 200,000 updates a day to Seesmic’s arsenal. Le Meur promises that all of the Seesmic applications will gain Ping.fm integration shortly.
More importantly, Seesmic is promising to maintain and extend Ping.fm’s API and platform (there are about 100 applications that currently use Ping.fm for various reasons). Undoubtedly, they hope that this will be a compelling part of their upcoming plug-in support for Seesmic, as well. And Seesmic users will now be able to use Ping.fm’s core features such as being able to update via IM, SMS, and email.
This addition is a big plus for Seesmic as they aim to become the go-to application for social network updating. Rival Brizzly, by comparison, can only update Twitter and Facebook.
(Disclosure: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is an investor in Seesmic, but I’m not)
Website: seesmic.com Location: San Francisco, California, United States Founded: June 1, 2007 Funding: $12M
Seesmic is a social software application site offering Seesmic Desktop, an Adobe Air application that integrates multiple Twitter accounts and your Facebook account and Facebook pages. Seesmic also offers a browser based client for Twitter.
Website: ping.fm Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States Founded: March 1, 2008 Acquired: January, 2010 by Seesmic
Ping.fm is a simple service that cuts out the middle man when it comes to posting to your social services such as Twitter, Jaiku, Tumblr, Pownce, Facebook, hi5, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, LiveJournal and Blogger.
Unlike feed sites such as… Learn MoreInformation provided by CrunchBase
Living in the NorthEast of England and frustrated with the inability of his local comic shop to have the comics he wanted, Kevin Mann, left his job and built Graphic.ly.
After attending TechStars in Boulder, CO, where Kevin met Micah Baldwin, they assembled a team to build Graphic.ly, the first community where members can both purchase and discuss comic books with each other, creators and publishers.