Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Vine goes 6-second adult

So Vine is all the rage now eh? What Twitter did to quick communication (140 characters), they’re now doing to video (6 seconds). Headlines today are: hardcore porn climbs to the top of vine’s editors picks.

When the porn industry embraces something, its likely to get big :)

I’m guessing this is currently more the amateur porn industry than anything else. There is a website curating based on hashtags ( and a twitter account (@nsfwvine – currently with 11 followers, 27 tweets).

Interesting development to watch. 

The Google Friend Connect expirement ends

Today I turned the switch off for Google Friend Connect (something I turned on in February 2009). There is now no longer a social bar when you visit (though most of you read this site via RSS).

Google Friend Connect on Business TimesThere are a myriad reasons as to why I disabled it, but it generally boiled down to the fact that I never figured out how to fully use it. I thought it might be useful for blog readers to connect with each other, but thats what the comments are really for.

Running YSlow or Page Speed, the thing that slowed my blog down the most, seemed to be the Friend Connect social bar. This is expected, but for not providing anything additional, I decided to zap it.

The Business Times still has their Friend Connect enabled, but its not the social bar – they’ve preferred going to using the members gadget. Currently, they have 1,327 folk who are members, while 7,051 people like their Facebook page more. I’m thinking more sites will find that a Facebook widget will benefit more in terms of user engagement.

I thought about utilizing Friend Connect to email newsletters to my “fans”. And while there is newsletter support, only about 10% of the people on my site have opted in to receive a newsletter (to be fair, I never did encourage anyone to signup for a newsletter – and this feature was not around before, as far as I remember). That’s a pretty poor conversion rate. There does not seem to be any other way to connect to members – no way to email them.

I also tried this on another website, a community for fashionistas in Malaysia. It was removed rather quickly, because chatboxes are still preferred, in comparison to Friend Connect!

And then there was the other thing… When I loaded up the blog on my iPad, the Friend Connect social bar would stick on the screen. Did not seem very UI friendly, and I had no intention of fixing it.

I’ve not seen Google put much effort behind Friend Connect any longer, and they seem to have other foci when it comes to being social on the Web. Even during their recent DevFest’s, the whole Friend Connect topic seems to have gone silent.

Thanks to all of you that joined the community, made comments, etc. Goodbye Google Friend Connect.

Poken: Business cards made social

This weekend, I was introduced to a neat device, called a Poken, by my friend Preetam Rai.

You google. You text. You chat. Do you Poken?

What is a Poken you ask? A cute little device (that comes with several different characters, one of which is a geisha even), that is the business card of the 21st century! Its a USB device, that contains a “key”, which pairs to your profile online that you create on their website. It then uses Near Field Communications (NFC) to “beam” business cards over (you do this via touch – the term beam seems so 1998, ala what Palm used to call it). When you get back to your computer, you can now see all the contacts you’ve met, and connect with them on the social networks that they’re on. Limited profiles exist as well, so maybe all you want to do is share an email address.

Nifty, yes? The problem with traditional business cards is that when you get back after an event, you have to parse them. The Poken takes away this trouble, as its all point and click. The device sells for about USD$27 at Bic Camera in Japan, though if you get it in bulk online, its about USD$16 with postage.

Can this work in Malaysia? At a little over RM50 (RM100 retail), I might be a tad bit sceptical. However, its all the rage in Japan. Its not for sale in South East Asia (yet), and its much cheaper than a Palm device than can beam over business cards… What do you think?

The Poken itself, is not a social network. It just carries contact information. I found it interesting (in a limiting sense), that you could only carry 64 contacts at one time, before syncing. So if you happen to meet a 65th person, your first contact gets lost!

Elsewhere on the Web, Crunchgear has a review, which is the Japanese site (they were smart – they sold Poken’s in night clubs! They even have Poken meetups, and more), and last but not least, check out a video, from a Google Tech Talk, titled Poken: Extending Online Social Networking Into the Real World.

And in case you can’t see the embedded video above (coming in via an RSS reader or something), check out the Poken playlist.

Google Friend Connect, revisited

About a month ago, I decided to try Google Friend Connect and their Social Bar. I still haven’t figured out its use fully yet, but maybe its there for keeping my readers connected to each other?

Is this what Google Friend Connect is for?

A modest number of folk have joined, but today I noticed them becoming friends. Win?

Its good to see that Business Times in Malaysia has something similar. All this is the work of @kedai. Lots of members, but no conversation yet, so it proves that there’s not much great use of it yet. I notice that there is a “Like!” activity (look at this for example), which then gets shared in the stream (not a comment but it says “username liked article”). This is again something kedai wrote, which is a very simple activity.

He, like I, wants to know how else you can socialise a site?

Update: Robert Scoble speaks to Kevin Marks about this, and the video itself is pretty interesting. There’s also a little discussion happening on FriendFeed.

Break up over Twitter

This one’s too good to pass up. Jennifer Aniston (from the comedy sitcom I grew up to, Friends) has reportedly dumped John Mayer, because of his Twitter addiction. I quote:

The source said: “John suddenly stopped calling her or returning her emails and when she would finally catch up with him, he’d say: ‘I’ve been so busy with work. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to call you back.”

The source added: “Jen was fuming. There he was, telling her he didn’t have time for her and yet his page was filled with Twitter updates.

“Every few hours, sometimes minutes, he’d update with some stupid line. And in her mind, she was like ‘He has time for all this Twittering, but he can’t send me a text, an email, make a call?’.”

Twitter, used as evidence that one actually has time, to at least send a text, email or make a call, it seems. Apparently, John Mayer even took the break up like a man, and sent a message to Twitterverse: My six word story: “This heart didn’t come with instructions.” Candid!

From a quick take on his feed, it seems he uses Tweetie, TwitterBerry and the web a lot for updates. So not only is he addicted to his BlackBerry, he loves his iPhone/iPod Touch, and apparently Maybe someone should introduce him to desktop clients like twhirl or TweetDeck? :-)

On Twitter, there’s been some conversation about this, naturally. At first, I couldn’t believe it, but it seems its possible. We know divorce via SMS or email is shunned upon, but in this part of the world, you can divorce someone just by saying “talak” three times. Its not clear if its allowed in Malaysia or not (the BBC suggests it was OK, but is unacceptable).

This stuff is almost as interesting as getting killed over your Facebook relationship status.

Do you know of people that got together because of Twitter or Facebook? Broke up because of Twitter or Facebook? I’m interested to know the stories behind them.

Google Friend Connect and the Social bar

I decided to experiment with Google Friend Connect today, after seeing the “Social bar” being used on the Open Source Bridge site. I had even set aside some time to start writing some code; to my surprise, Google did all the magic for me, and it didn’t even take me longer than five minutes to setup.

It was as simple as setting up a new site, uploading two files into ~/www/, then editing my WordPress theme’s footer.php and adding the auto-generated code before the </body> tag (I did it after the <?php wp_footer(); ?> call though).

I immediately joined my own site. At first, I setup a profile, but then realised that I could import my profile from my usual Google one. Heck, I could even import a profile from Twitter! One thing I found odd, was that to edit my profile, I had to do it from the social bar itself (from the far left column).

Social bar
The social bar – click for a larger version

On the far left column, you can join the site, or edit your profile and settings. Next to that, you can see the activity stream throughout the site. Next to that, you’re given the option to add comments. And on the far right, you can see like-minded visitors who’ve joined, and even become friends with them.

What does the social bar do for me?

  1. It allows members to join my blog and be part of my community. Do you remember MyBlogLog (a Yahoo! service)? Well, Friend Connect allows me to have MyBlogLog type features, with no problem whatsoever.
  2. It allows comments from members. These can be fine grained comments – either for the particular page, or for the whole site. In my experimentation, I’m using it for the whole site naturally. On a blog, if you’re going to write a comment of substance, you’re going to do it with the commenting facility available on the blog – however, if you just want to write throwaway comments, one-liners, “me too” replies or have one of those “chatboxes” that blogs tend to have, you’ll find the Friend Connect Social Bar to be quite useful.

I’ll be the first to admit, that its probably not too useful for me, per se, but I can see its usefulness for sites that require a lot of collaboration.

Sites that I think can benefit from Friend Connect? Kenny Sia – the Chatterbox can be replaced with the comments in Friend Connect, and frankly all the one-liner comments will be better suited for the Social bar’s comments (maybe on a per-page basis?) – plus, he’ll get a “community” for free. LiewCF can also benefit – the “members” feature provided by MyBlogLog (he currently boasts 1,441 members) can probably grow with Friend Connect, and all those one-liner comments again, can go into the comments of the Social bar. Not picking on either site, but I think they can “socialise” their sites a lot better.

Colin Charles Agenda - Settings

MyBlogLog is kind of a walled garden. You need to have an account there (on Yahoo!). Friend Connect tends to be a bit more useful – you can either use a Google, AIM, Yahoo! or OpenID account to login (a lot of bloggers will already realise they have OpenID for free –, livejournal, et al provide this). I think it can be a bit more useful if it supported logins from Windows Live/MSN accounts too – after all, a large proportion of my non-geek friends are MSN users.

And if I join another community, that information is cross-pollinated to my other communities. As a site owner, you can even see “reports” of how social your site is, over time – this whole idea of data mining (ok, analytics) is highly useful.

What if you decided to use comments on your blog, for just that – comments. But use the Social bar to enter “blog suggestions”. Smells like Skribit, to some extent. Do I see myself keeping the Friend Connect Social bar at the bottom of my blog for long? Who’s to say. Let’s see if a community builds up around it. I think this will be most useful for sites that really want conversations amongst readers, something like the site, or other social sites.

Are you using Google Friend Connect? How? What are your thoughts on it? Don’t hesitate to share them in the comments (or via the Friend Connect Social Bar!).