Posts Tagged ‘Social’
The ones that trap you, and the ones that set you free. But neither one is the future.
Via: Robert Galbraith / Reuters
There are more social networks than ever, and more people using them. The sheer variety in social networking, though, has left us with an increasingly narrow definition of what a social network is. Perhaps the only one that applies to all of them, from Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat, is this: a social network is a communications service based on your identity.
It follows, then, that a social network’s ability to affect your identity should be considered its most important trait — and that therefore there are two types of social network:
1) Those that simulate social mobility
2) Those that don't
Mobility provides a handy lens through which to judge the networks we use every day — and to understand why we like, or don't like, using them. It also brings them into one of the internet's longest running and most important conversations, from which they've been oddly absent: is the internet a place for opportunity, or a place for reproduction of existing social orders?
Another way to describe this distinction might be to say that some social networks are aspirational, while some replicate what already exists in your life. Some give you a way to become something your aren't, or, more accurately, to alter how people see you, while others, over time, insist on creating a more accurate portrait of who you are.
Twitter is one of the largest, and purest, aspirational social networks. This is built into the site's “Follow”-centric vocabulary. Twitter is a place where you have followers, not friends; a place where following fewer people than follow you is a sign of status; a place where the verification of your real identity is really an acknowledgment that you've become something other than yourself — something better, in Twitter's abstracted terms. Fleeting interaction with celebrities and the powerful fuels users' hopes, giving them the sense, at least, of a level playing field. And while social mobility on Twitter may be overemphasized (it's telling that it's usually defined in terms of celebrity), its algorithms — the closest thing it has to a societal framework — aren't much of a mystery. Famous people in real life are famous on Twitter. You see tweets from people you follow, and people they want to introduce you to. Regular people who post and share tweets people like accrue Twitter fame.
Facebook, the first major social network to require real identities, sits at the other end of the spectrum. If Twitter is the place you go to remake yourself (albeit in a way that very likely will be contained entirely within Twitter), Facebook is the place that won't stop reminding you of who you really are (or were). In a post this week, Cliff Watson wrote of his experience on Facebook:
What is Facebook to most people over the age of 25? It's a never-ending class reunion mixed with an eternal late-night dorm room gossip session mixed with a nightly check-in on what coworkers are doing after leaving the office. In other words, it's a place where you go to keep tabs on your friends and acquaintances.
You know what kids call that? School.
Facebook, to users who joined years ago, can even feel like an engine of downward mobility — at best, visiting is a metaphorical trip home to “the block,” where you try to find ways of explaining what your life is like, how it's changed, and how it's gotten better, or how it's gotten worse, without sounding like a jerk, or pathetic, or like you're talking too much about yourself. It's appropriate that, in the year since going public, Facebook has been reminded repeatedly by its new context — the public market — of its own inescapable identity as an ad platform. Its recent experiments in self-expression have been fraught.
Facebook's lack of mobility is sewn into the fabric of the site. Connections for users are symmetrical — a crude digital equivalent to establishing a relationship or an acquaintanceship in real life. If it feels like a popularity contest, it's only in an antiquated sense; it encourages none of the self-as-a-minor-celebrity illusions that Twitter does.
But the overall effect, despite (or because of) its realism, can be grim. Facebook is a place where posts, not people, find mobility. If something you do gets noticed, you get little in the way of lasting benefit — it's a place where users share content, and content doesn't share back. Facebook is a place where brands, not users, can become famous. On Facebook, “followers” are for people who have them in real life.
The other large social networks fall into these categories, too. Tumblr, a space that values performance over all else, and which lets people be both successful and unrecognizable, is an aspirational network, a place where you're encouraged to be who you want to be rather than who you are. Google Plus's ultimate goal, like Facebook's, is to progressively recreate your real-world identity online — it's just starting with a different (private, and arguably therefore more relevant) set of data. LinkedIn is an aspirational service wrapped in realist mechanics. In a much more significant way than Twitter, it's a place that promises to make you into someone else. When that doesn't pan out, the mechanics overwhelm the experience. An impotent LinkedIn profile is the most depressing real estate on social media.
In the context of near-constant Facebook doomsaying, the future may seem to favor upwardly mobile networks. But in reality, it may favor neither. As Watson claims in his piece, the next generation of social networks — message-heavy services like Snapchat, Kik and Whatsapp — are more “social” and less “network” than what came before. They have no outwardly visible social structures and little in the way of profiles. Twitter brought texting to the public internet; these services are taking it back off.
While they don’t fit most pundits' ideas of what a social network is, they fit our stripped-down, broad one: they are services based, in a simple way, on identity. Instead, though, they manifest users' identities not as public profiles, but as private handles — a refreshing throwback that also happens to preclude most discussion of discrete mobililty (these services join in on real life more than they mirror it; they create hidden parallel channels rather than online simulacra).
They have less in common with Facebook and Twitter than they do with the social network I've used longer than any other: AIM.
“It’s more like Tumblr.” That’s how one BlackBerry rep described BBM Channels to us, the company’s new social networking service announced this past week at BlackBerry Live in Orlando. While Channels, alone, may initially seem like nothing new — it’s an iteration of a social communication model we’ve seem countless times before — the service actually speaks more to BlackBerry’s forward-facing strategy for BBM as a device-agnostic mobile solution. And, certainly, with the BBM messaging service heading to Android and iOS later this summer, BlackBerry only stands to gain from making its platform more robust, more engaging and more attractive to the big name brands, personalities and publications that draw followers.
Gallery: BBM Channels
Chris Dixon: 3D Printing Will Transform Manufacturing, Social Media Startups Are Facing “General Fatigue”
Chris Dixon, the entrepreneur-turned angel investor-turned general partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, today said that he believes the 3D printing movement has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing and that it is an area where he would like to make multiple investments in the future. In contrast, he described startups in areas like social networking facing “general fatigue”. Earlier this month, Chris Dixon and Andreessen Horowitz led a $ 30 million Series C round in Shapeways, a 3D printing company, where he has now joined the board.
Shapeways is indicative of an untapped opportunity in hardware, he said. “3D has been talked up a lot, but it’s received very little investment from traditional VC firms,” Dixon said today on stage in an interview TC Disrupt.
“For us, we think it’s a major, incredibly significant innovation. It will transform manufacturing and I can see us making multiple investments.” Indeed, a lot of the smaller hardware players have turned to platforms like Kickstarter instead not just to raise money but also to drum up consumer interest and profile for their projects. This has almost become like a testing ground, with the most successful then eventually converting that growth into more traditional investment routes for startups.
New York, he said, has become a kind of “hub” for hardware, and it has opened up the opportunity for new startups and new investing in the city. New York, he said, is at the center of what he calls a “hardware renaissance”, with the clever engineers who had in the past put all their efforts into working on social networks “now working on hardware devices.”
He said this is because social networks are in the middle of a “general fatigue” and so people have turned to wanting to do “something tangible.”
The huge rush of smartphone devices hitting the market has also had an impact on the larger market for hardware and wearable computing products, he said. “The smartphone explosion has lowered the cost for a lot of components and that has dramatically lowered the costs of producing devices,” he noted.
He points out that the kind of disruption that a company like Shapeways provides is “innovation at the high end.”
He also compared hardware developments to “the same forces that when you think about what the internet did for written work.”
“Before the Internet you had to go to a publisher and get an investment. Now you can publish you ebook or blog and it dramatically lowered the cost and enabled the long tail, democratized writing. We can see 3D printing doing that to manufacturing. You can cut a deal with manufacturing now and have a Shapeways printer and the batch size is one.”
Dixon also compared the general climate for startups in New York in general to life in San Francisco.
“There are plenty of great investors here and that attracts a lot of entrepreneurs. The one thing that is missing is a whole mid-level layer. If a company has a hit product and want to scale and hire employees 50 to 100. If you want to go international, or scale a sales force. If I want to figure out a monetization thing in San Francisco I can go to Google to get that.” That acceleration is still developing here in New York, he says.
San Francisco is similar to New York with a lot of consumer stuff. Down the peninsula you have infrastructure and hardware but San Francisco is pretty similar to the New York scene, taking technology and applying it to the real world.
Watch the full video of Chris Dixon’s interview here:
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Online relief efforts such as #BostonHelps are inspiring, but haphazard and confusing. How San Francisco is building a social network — for disasters.
When a disaster strikes, the first thing people want to know is what happened. The second? How can I help?
Efforts to offer help online are often scattered and confusing. Within minutes after news of the explosions in Boston spread, people began tweeting offers of help with the hashtag #BostonHelp. Not long after, Google created a people finder doc. The Boston Globe created another Google doc where people could offer up housing to those in need. Both circulated the internet, largely through Twitter. Lots of people signed up to help, but few were connected with people in need.
“I got at least 20 emails, DMs, [and] calls, but in the end no one needed our extra beds,” says Benjamin Maron, who repeatedly tweeted about his home and other services available. However well-intentioned, it was an admittedly odd fit — a Sandy-style relief effort for a human act of violence.
What’s become clear over the last year is that there's is a need for disaster and crisis coordination online, beyond hashtags. And San Francisco, the earthquake capital of the country, might have the solution.
In collaboration with the design firm IDEO, the city is creating a social networking website and app to connect people who want to help with those who need it. Through the SF72 platform, you will be able to preregister your home, supplies you have — say, an emergency generator — and relevant skills, such as emergency first aid. Instead of scanning hashtags, people will be able to simply log in to a preexisting community, knowing there will be specific offers for help organized by neighborhood.
“We looked at everything from CB radio protocols to earthquake apps, as well as emerging and established social platforms,” says Kate Lydon, who led the project for IDEO. “The central insight that SF72 is built upon is this: in the event of an emergency, human relationships and a community network are more important than a backpack filled with supplies— that people might not know how to use and are often out of date.”
Most government emergency response departments, including FEMA, use social media to communicate with the public. But they aren’t enabling conversations between other people looking to coordinate. As we saw during hurricane Katrina (and to a lesser extent Sandy), FEMA's immediately ability to help can pale in comparison to what regular people offer each other on the ground, almost immediately. Coordinating that help is essential.
“We want to make it simple and take fear out of it,” says Francis Zamora, spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM). “It appeals to people's values. We live here for a reason and this is our home and we want to be a part of it and make simple connections with our neighbors.”
The city did a soft launch in January, collecting user feedback, but the service is still in beta. “We are dreaming big right now,” says Zamora. “As we go into the second phase of the build out, we want to see what will work for people. SF72 can be anything.” The next build-out phase occurs in mid-May.
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For awhile, it looked like EA prepared to stake a huge component of its gaming future on social networking, presenting Facebook-oriented ports like SimCity Social and The Sims Social along with more original titles. The game author isn’t rather ready to be a social butterfly, it turns out: following an earlier cull that focused heavily on sports-themed web games, EA is axing SimCity Social, The Sims Social and Pet Society on June 14th. There’s no secret to the shutdown, as EA clarifies that strong initial need rapidly tapered off– name awareness got the company’s foot in the door, however didn’t keep it there. Players who feel jilted need to quickly get a reward to switch over to more preferred games from EA’s PopCap studio. We’re all in favor of shifting resources to where they’ll be truly valued, although we can’t help however feel sorry for SimCity fans that have simply been burned twice in a row.
For awhile, it looked like EA was ready to stake a large part of its gaming future on social networking, introducing Facebook-oriented ports like SimCity Social and The Sims Social as well as more original titles. The game publisher isn’t quite ready to be a social butterfly, it turns out: following an earlier cull that focused heavily on sports-themed web games, EA is axing SimCity Social, The Sims Social and Pet Society on June 14th. There’s no mystery to the shutdown, as EA explains that strong initial demand rapidly tapered off — name recognition got the company’s foot in the door, but didn’t keep it there. Gamers who feel jilted should soon get an incentive to switch to more popular games from EA’s PopCap studio. We’re all in favor of shifting resources to where they’ll be truly appreciated, although we can’t help but feel sorry for SimCity fans that have just been burned twice in a row.
Via: The Next Web
Source: The Beat (EA)
Google has actually included yet an additional skilled team to its team
ever before growing list of acquisitions. Start-up Behavio revealed it is signing up with the Mountain Take staff and closing down its closed alpha. The business constructed its short-term item on top of Funf, a framework for gathering information from mobile phone sensors. Its goal was to assess things like physical place, contacts and other information about your activities and environment to keep track of trends, then make predictions about behavior. The targets just weren’t just people though, but whole areas, and it was even suggested that Behavio might anticipate the eruption of mass protests. Huge G has actually acknowledged that the individuals from Behavio are signing up with Google, however isn’t exposing any plans for the business just yet. The internet giant’s ventures into preemptive and curated search provide an evident application, nonetheless. We imagine using a few of the IP to Google Now is just one of many prospective uses, and its ad-serving algorithm might likewise plainly take advantage of an injection of this technology.
Update: We’ve been notified that Behavio was not acquired, instead its team is signing up with the business.
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Companies know how important it is to make their products as friendly as can be with third-party social internet sites, and Microsoft, for one, has actually done a pretty fantastic task at seeing to it the team behind Bing’s doing exactly that. To wit, the Surface maker is, as of today, also starting to accommodate the Pinterest group, revealing that it’s now enabling users of the recently revamped website to share Bing image search searchings for by means of an easy click– assuming you’re logged in, naturally. The brand-new sharing function may seem like a rather small one on paper, but for avid Pinners, it’ll certainly be available in handy as they can keep their precious boards stocked up with a little less effort. And, well, you know what that means: more cats.
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“We understood early on that Turntable’s finest feature was likewise an issue: everyone needs to be in a room at precisely the same time,” claims Billy Chasen, Turntable CEO. As time passed Chasen visualized a complimentary service that let you pay attention to your pals’ songs chooses even when they’re not online. Today he’s launching Piki, a Pandora-like complimentary radio service for the iPhone and web backed by your friends tastes instead of algorithms. After all, he constructed Turntable to satiate his thirst for human-curated songs and playlists, yet a great deal of individuals he liked the most didn’t have time to DJ a Turntable space. It isn’t really every evening, after all, that The Knife DJs a Turntable space of 1500 listeners. “We have not made algorithms that suffice …
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There’s a great chance 2011′s HTC Condition, with its portrait QWERTY layout and committed Facebook button, never ever discovered its means into your social network. That last attempt at the mythical Facebook phone fell short to garner much praise, however if social networks provided up so quickly, well, we ‘d all still be using MySpace. HTC and Facebook go to it again, this week introducing the $ 99 First, specifically on AT&T in the United States.
Yes, it’s a name every commenter could adore (or hate)
Yes, it’s a name every commenter might enjoy (or hate), a title cheekily reminiscent of the HTC One. This, though, is a rather various gadget, aiming even more towards the mid-range and counting on some major social integration to make it stand apart. It’s the first phone runni– ng the Facebook Home interface, which will be available on many devices starting on April 12th. It provides a far more thorough Facebook experience than the previous apps have actually managed, and intriguingly Zuckerberg himself said that Home is “the next variation of Facebook.” Completion of the web? Stay tuned.
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