Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:
- RSS Dead, Twitter Done it?
- Twitter Search to Be Tweaked
- Ning Adds Applications To Social Platform
- Bit.ly Replaces TinyURL as Default Twitter Shortener
- Retailers Favoring Social Media vs. Search for Marketing
RSS Dead...Twitter Done it?
Steve Gillmor of the Gillmor gang said in a recent article that he believes RSS is not worth the effort any more. Gillmor goes on to say that he receives all of his relevant news and information via his Twitter stream and therefore no longer has use for his RSS reader.
It's easy to agree that micro-blogging and messaging services provide a great platform for sharing and spreading breaking news and tracking real-time conversations. This is where the real-time web shines.
RSS Serves a Different Purpose
However, not everyone can be online all the time! So how can these folks stay up to date on topics they care about? RSS may not be a mainstream technology, but Gillmor disqualifies RSS completely, and in doing so he has forgotten that RSS still serves a very useful primary purpose. Also, as Duncan Riley points out, RSS delivers full feeds, where Twitter links only grant us 140 characters with of summary of a news story.
Not Dead Yet, Buddy
Twitter may have replaced RSS as a quick way to swap links and news, but RSS still serves a purpose that has not died completely in Twitter's wake.
Gillmor may have found Twitter to serve this use case on a personal level, but to declare RSS dead for the entire online population is a bit sensationalist.
Twitter Search to Be Tweaked
Twitter.com features a search engine whereby you can search for a term and see all conversation happening around that term. However, the search results are rather 'dumb'.
There are no related search queries that they suggest, no spelling correction or other context. Twitter search does it's job of returning mentions of key words, but doesn't go further than this simple functionality.
According to Twitter's new VP of Operations, Twitter is about to tweak their search engine to give some much needed new functionality. For example, many stories and links are share on Twitter. In the near future, Twitter search will index the referred links and will be harvest-able inside Twitter search. Also, Twitter search will receive a ranking system that allows for search results to be ranked based on an algorithm.
In order to compete against other companies and services, Twitter needs to evolve their search to add value and maintain its usefulness. The conversation tool is a useful way to find relevant information and popular items amongst your online peers, and making search more valuable adds to the attractiveness of real-time conversations.
Ning Adds Applications To Social Platform
Ning is a popular platform for those who want to social network based on whatever topic they interested in. Ning provides the platform including web pages, wikis, message boards, blogs and so on for you to build a fully-functional collaborative site for your group or special interest. Earlier this year, Ning announced that they have more than 1 million social networks on their system.
To further advance their product, Ning has announced that application developers can soon build applications for use within the Ning system. Similar to Facebook applications, Ning site administrators might soon be able to utilize sites such as Flickr, Box.net, WordPress, and Qik to enhance your social network on Ning.
Ning is in the midst of rolling Apps out to a few site administrators and will enable them to the rest of the user base in the near future.
Bit.ly Replaces TinyURL as Default Twitter Shortner
Bit.ly has been getting its share of attention and funding lately -- the latest injection was US$ 2 million from angel investors. TechCrunch reported back in March that TinyURL had 75% marketshare as compared to Bit.ly's 13% or so. Yesterday, TechCrunch broke the news that Bit.ly has surpassed TinyURL with 45.77% and 43.40% marketshare respectively. This was for the previous 24 hour period. With the popular micro-blogging service favoring Bit.ly, the gap between the two rivals is now likely to grow more quickly.
Bit.ly is often thought of as a better service, since its base URL is 5 characters shorter than TinyURL's, and due to the fact that it offers near real-time analytics for each URL it doles out. Both services are currently free for the public to use.
Retailers Favoring Social Media vs. Search for Marketing
Analyst firm Forrester Research teamed up with Shop.org on a study which concluded that e-commerce marketing dollars from retailers was shifting away from relatively expensive search marketing, towards social media -- Twitter, blogs and Facebook -- and email.
A key quote from Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org was that "developing social media marketing requires some investment in personnel, but many merchants see big opportunities to spread a positive message about their brand for relatively low cost."