Social Media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here's the week's top stories, in scan-friendly format.
- Windows Live Becomes Social Media Hub
- Mince Your Facebook Friends for a Free Whopper
- New Twitter Services to chew on: Tweetbacks and TwtApps
- Digg Persists in Making No Money
- MySpace and Yahoo on your TV
- Twitter still can't handle MacWorld
Windows Live Becomes Social Media Hub
The walls between the social platforms continue to fall away. Steve Ballmer has just announced a new Windows Live feature which will give you status reports and allow you to interact with your various Social accounts through your Live email. ElectricPig reports on the new Microsoft initiative:
"The announcement… means that you’ll be able to log in to the new Windows Live Essential suite with one password and have all your updates from everything from Twitter to Flickr, and more than 50 other social networks now including Facebook amalgamated on one page. Think of it as an RSS feed to see what your friends are up to."
Mince Your Facebook Friends for a Free Whopper
It's undoubtedly the best viral promotion to hit the Web in '09: Burger King has produced a Facebook app called the 'Whopper Sacrifice', which rewards you with a free burger if you're willing to sacrifice 10 friends. Finally a viral that we can actually use, not like that stupid iPhone lighter app that everyone was getting hooked up with. OMG, that thing is SO December 2008.
New Twitter Services to chew on: Tweetbacks and TwtApps
Mashable has uncovered a couple of very tasty new Twitter services which maybe, just maybe, will stand out from an increasingly crowded field. They've even taken credit for inspiring one of them, which betrays a lack of pedigree and breeding, but as it was a good idea we'll forgive them.
"Tweetbacks" is a great idea: bringing FriendFeed-style comments-tracking to blog posts, only from Twitter. Adam Ostrow at Mashable:
"What Tweetbacks does, after adding a line of code to your blog template, is display all of the Tweets that link to that blog post. It does this by finding mentions of the URL on Twitter, accounting for the top 5 link shortening services like TinyURL and Bit.ly. The result is a listing of Tweets about your blog post that looks much like regular blog comments."
This is very smart: it means that there could, possibly, maybe, one day be a situation whereby a post's entire comment stream will be in one location, and finally addresses one of the fatal flaws of Twitter: in tracking conversations.
The other new Twitter service which Mashable has fallen in in love with is TwtApps, which is actually a three-pronged sortie on the Twitter tool set battleground. Twtcard is a simple greeting-card app, Twtpoll builds simple polls, and distributes them through email, Twitter or Facebook. Twtvite completes the set, and is an invitition generator and tracker. Simple stuff: maybe simple enough to actually succeed.
Digg Persists in Making No Money
Ever since Twitter started working again, social media commentators have been scratching around looking for some other Web 2.0 dog to flay. Digg has become the popular choice, not because it doesn't work or doesn't provide a good service, but because it breaks the first Web startup commandment— it can't turn views into currency, and continues to operate at a loss.
Business Week and Techcrunch have both lamented this fact, focusing on the belief that an expected US$100m per year search tie-in with Microsoft Live has brought in a mere fraction of that figure. SocialNewsWatch points to a more fundamental flaw: advertisement targeting and delivery on Digg just plain sucks. Ads don't redirect properly and often target totally inappropriate demographics (ie women).
Funding has flowed into Digg in a steady stream over the past couple of years so the team there has been able to focus on growing the user base and perfecting the product. But with VC drying up everywhere, Digg will have to grow up and show that it can get the balance sheet into the black sooner rather than later.
MySpace and Yahoo on your TV
MySpace is coming to a TV near you, courtesy of Intel and Yahoo! A new widget will allow you to discuss the show you're watching with your online cronies and otherwise mess about with MySpace while watching the tube, and is a product of an application framework called the Widget Channel, described by Network World as " a set of development tools developed jointly by Intel and Yahoo. The aim of the Widget Channel is to develop mini-applications that can complement TV viewing with information from the Internet. For example, a widget could allow users to purchase products advertised on TV from online stores. "
The service is one of the first of many (probably) future applications which will bring Social platform capabilities to the new generation of Internet connected TV's and set-top boxes.
Twitter still can't handle MacWorld
MacWorld has become an annual bellweather event for Twitter. The demand for poring over Steve Job's Incredible, Amazing, Exceptional verbal nuggets is like Valentines, New Years Eve and Armageddon all hitting the Twitter servers at the same time.
Even without Steve, true to form, the iHoardes still managed to bring Twitter down. It's reassuring to know that, no matter how much things change, some things just can't help staying the same.