Entries tagged with “Services”.


Never underestimate the power of first-mover advantage, especially when being one of the first movers gets you bought by Google. Back in August, 1999, Pyra Labs launched Blogger. LiveJournal had launched six months before and Open Diary in October of the previous year. But it was Pyra Labs which was acquired by Google in February, 2003, and the rest was history. Now, nearly ten years later, Blogger is still the dominant hosted blogging platform. In May, 52 million individual people from the U.S. visited a Blogger blog, almost twice as many as the 28 million who visited a blog hosted by Wordpress.com (comScore). Six Apart properties, including Typepad.com, attracted 14 million.

Millions of bloggers still use Blogger because it is easy. However, Wordpress.com is making steady gains and growing its aggregate audience in the U.S. at more than twice the annual rate of Blogger (40 percent versus 14 percent). These numbers don’t count all the blogs that host Wordpress on their own servers, such as Techcrunch.

The vast majority of Blogger traffic comes from outside the United States, where its annual growth rate is 38 percent compared to Wordpress.com’s 59 percent. On a worldwide basis, Blogger blogs have a readership of 267 million people a month, compared to 143 million a month for Wordpress (comScore, April, 2008). The biggest countries are, in order:

1. U.S.
2. Brazil
3. Turkey
4. Spain
5. Canada
6. U.K.

From a business standpoint, Blogger is good for Google because it creates millions of sites which can show AdSesne ads. It creates more inventory for Google. Only recently has Google bothered to start showing ads to the users of Blogger itself every time they publish a post.

Can Blogger keep its lead indefinitely, or will Wordpress eventually catch up? Or will something else entirely overtake both of them?

Today, two of the people behind the original Blogger, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have another little service that is capturing people’s attention. It is called Twitter, you may have heard about it. In May, Twitter.com had 17.6 million unique U.S. visitors to its Website alone, making it bigger already than Six Apart.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

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Twitter can be an invaluable tool for business networking, but most new users don’t get it at first. Learn why in this look at the four stages that the average Twitter user traverses on the path from newbie to devotee.

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There’s a strange phenomenon that happens almost every time someone joins Twitter. They hate it. At least at first.

But many of the people who once hated Twitter — or at least, didn’t quite get it in the beginning — are now many of its most active users and raving fans. So what’s going on here?

There seems to be four natural stages that the average Twitter user goes through from the point of first trying it until the point of fully embracing it and making it a part of daily life. Obviously, not everyone sticks with it and becomes a Twitter devotee, but there’s definitely a growing cadre of people who believe that there’s some magic happening in the Twittosphere

You can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonhiner

Because I think Twitter can be used as a valuable business tool, it’s worth talking about the four Twitter stages in order to help recognize users in these stages when you’re choosing who to follow and to keep new Twitter users from getting discouraged and missing the opportunities available on Twitter. So here they are:

1. Confusion and indignation

When a person first signs up for Twitter, the first challenge is figuring out who to follow. Twitter now has its “Suggested Users” feature to help people get started. I’ve put together a list of technology personalities worth following on Twitter to help new techies when they sign up for Twitter.

However, even when they find some people to follow, new Twitterers usually look at their Twitter stream and start wondering, “Why would I care what my colleagues are eating for lunch?” or “What’s interesting about a software engineer posting that she’s walking her dog?”

That experience usually leads people to shake their heads and not come back to Twitter for a few days, or even weeks or months.

2. The first “Aha!” moment

Eventually, the user comes back periodically to check Twitter out of pure curiosity. During those casual forays, the person often has a first “Aha!” moment, where they find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends.

This could be a piece of news that someone reported on Twitter before it actually hit the wires, it could be a rumor about something that a company like Apple is doing, or even something like NFL teams announcing their picks for the draft on Twitter before they even went up to the podium to make the official selection.

3. Remembering to tweet

After the first “Aha” moment, the user typically starts checking Twitter more often, but still tends to post very infrequently. The next stage of Twitter initiation comes when the user reads something useful online or makes a mental observation about something and then thinks, “I should post that Twitter!”

At this point, the user is still relying mostly on the twitter.com homepage to access Twitter but is starting to go there at least a couple times a day to check on the latest buzz, and has typically found a good mix of friends, news feeds, industry celebrities, and thought leaders to follow.

4. Thinking in 140 characters

Once the person becomes a daily Twitter user, it’s over. The person is almost always hooked, and is now on the path to becoming a power user. This is when most (though not all) users switch from using twitter.com to using a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

Meanwhile, the user also often has a mobile Twitter client like UberTwitter (for BlackBerry) or Tweetie (for iPhone) in order to stay connected to the Twitter stream on the go. Those that don’t have smartphone often use Twitter via SMS text messages.

At this point, the person is a Twitter power user who regularly adds new people and brands to follow and also regularly unfollows people who post too many inane messages about their meals or just doesn’t post enough useful stuff.

The power user also tends to regularly think about and look for things to post on Twitter throughout the day, to the point of self-editing thoughts for brevity in order to fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Final word

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity of use and the direct connection it provides to people whose activities and opinions you care about.

Apple recently wrote a case study about Twitter because Twitter uses a lot of Apple products. In the article, Apple wrote, “Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.”

As I’ve written before, I think Twitter can be an very useful tool for business and technology professionals. For more, see:

And here are a couple external links worth looking at:

If you use Twitter, which of the four stages are you in?


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New, Improved *Semantic* Web!
Image by dullhunk via Flickr
Social networking — the new ‘killer app’?
By Liam Lahey

Some say social networking came of age in 2008 and as it continues to mature over the course of 2009, it will live up to the hype as the next “killer app”. But beyond social networking, what will Web 2.0 do for businesses in a forthcoming year that is economically unpredictable?

According to Tim O’Reilly (the man who coined the term), “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

As stated on Wikipedia, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, described the term Web 2.0 as a piece of jargon. “Nobody really knows what it means,” and “if Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.”

Perhaps we’ll have a stronger definition for Web 2.0 by the time there’s talk of Web 4.0, as hindsight helps things to become vastly clearer.

“My own feeling is that all monikers are jargon,” said Warren Shiau, senior associate, IT research, The Strategic Counsel. “What I perceive is that many people use Web 2.0 to signify people, rather than business entities, controlling the Web. But like Tim Berners-Lee says, Web 2.0 means lots of different things to lots of different people.

“Whatever you define Web 2.0 as I think is, in the end, irrelevant. There’s a cycle to everything: start-ups get started, businesses grow and fail; things everybody says will be huge may end up being huge or turn-out not so huge. Remember how gigantic the ASP market was supposed to get?”

Beyond monikers, social networking has become a viable application with consumers and business users.

“Right now, social networking is valuable, and used, from a marketing and promotion standpoint. It can raise a company’s profile, not to mention a brand or product profile,” commented Michelle Warren, principal analyst, MW Consulting. “I’ve also seen it used for HR purposes — to aid in the recruiting function. It is still largely viewed as being a cost-centre, however, as it is challenging to measure true benefits against it.”

Executives would be well-served to understand its opportunities over the next year, and to see how they can benefit from it, she added.

“[Social networking] continues to ramp as a platform, however under current economic conditions which will restrict traditional and non-traditional forms of funding I expect there will be some market consolidation over the next two years,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst, The Enderle Group. “It isn’t going away though and will continue to evolve into an ever strengthening platform but, I expect, with fewer major vendors in a few months.”

It has also been said Web 2.0 is about hyper-connectivity, about the conversations that are happening on the Web that are shifting power away from companies and to the individual and the online communities to which they belong.

That is true of every wave of technology going back to the Bronze Age; the waves are just coming at an increasing rate.

“This is evolution at Internet speeds and those businesses that can be agile enough to evolve quickly enough will survive, many will actually anticipate these changes and flourish. You could argue that Google and Apple are poster children for this, while those that can’t (Sun comes to mind) will languish and perhaps die,” Enderle remarked. “This rate of change does put significant emphasis on survival of the fittest.”

Warren said that is a definitely liability of Web 2.0 and an opportunity for the resellers.

“Sourcing, finding, and using data is difficult. Also, Web 2.0 expedites communications and therefore, the speed of business,” she said. “Many argue that business is moving ‘fast enough’ these days — Web 2.0 has the potential to speed it up. This has the ability to change the face of business in the next five years.”

Meanwhile, Dan Latendre, CEO of Igloo Software — a corporate social networking solutions provider — said the technology still has a ways to go in terms of being adopted by organizations.

Igloo defines Web 2.0 as a set of new and innovative tools that take us beyond simple browsing, searching and publishing of static Websites.

“Along with this whole Web 2.0 and social networking play is something that’s been forgotten and that’s the software-as-a-service model,” he said. “These are the choices organizations are going to have to make — ‘am I going on-premise or SaaS?’”

To that end, the coming year would be another important step for the corporate social networking adoption, he added.

“I don’t think [social networking] came of age in 2008, I think we’re still in an education phase,” he said. “A lot of CIOs are still trying to figure out how to best implement a corporate social network in their organization.

“I strongly recommend to organizations to do it by business units . . . and not the top down enterprise approach. In the marketplace, you extend corporate social network outside your firewall to deepen those connections with your key partners and suppliers.”

“Web 2.0 will generally allow successful businesses to become better connected with their customers, and it will probably have a great deal to do with who survives and prospers over the next 24 months,” added Enderle. “Customer care and customer satisfaction form the foundation for customer retention and Web 2.0 services go to the core of customer care and customer satisfaction.”

John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, recently said the next Internet experience would be driven by collaboration and Web 2.0 technologies and would be built around video and virtualization as the industry moves to the usage of collaboration tools.

“We believe the network will enable all forms of communication and IT,” he said.

Everything Cisco is doing is building off of its belief that collaboration and Web 2.0 would become a more dominant and important part of business communications and doing business, Chambers added.

With files from Chris Talbot.

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