Posts Tagged ‘FriendFeed’

A more powerful and precise firehose

June 29, 2009

fire_hoseIt’s no secret that we are overloaded with information. Social platforms like Twitter and Facebook (especially with the new Facebook “wanna-be Twitter” home screen) remind me of a fire-hose. A very powerful fire-hose passing a whole lot of water each and every minute. Sometimes I think that I could literally watch my social streams 24 hours and not do anything else – that’s how much is out there. Obviously, no one does that. You tune into what’s relevant, and tune out the “noise”. Twitter search tools (web search, as well as search tools on Twitter clients) allow to extract necessary information, and not just from your own “network”, but from the entire Twitterverse. However, search and organization tools are still rudimentary. If I was an account manager handling AT&T in New York City, I would like to see AT&T mentions only in NYC. Right now, there is advanced search on search.twitter.com, but not via Twitter clients. What about people I follow? I may have a good reason to follow someone, but not want to read their every tweet. How do I find what’s relevant? I think fine-tuning search and contextualizing tweets is the natural next step. For example, if I follow John Smith, I only want to see John’s tweets about social media, and not about the food he ate today. As more and more people get on Twitter, we will follow more and more people, and will need a better fire-hose to extract valuable tidbits. Or risk losing a ton of valuable information.

friendfeed logoAre there tools now that attempt to do that? I think Friendfeed is positioned to do that. Friendfeed helps you aggregate your social media activity, to be tracked by your subscribers. Conversely, you can subscribed to others’ aggregated feeds. On the surface, Friendfeed is an even bigger fire-hose, if it aggregates Twitter and other tools (Twitter alone is enough). This is why I haven’t been an avid Friendfeed user – I simply do not want more stuff, I want better and more relevant stuff. However, if Friendfeed does it right, it will intelligently learn users I follow (based on their aggregate streams), at the same time as learning about me, and automatically curate what I see. For example, Friendfeed would know that I am interested in wine tasting, based on my tweets, videos and blogposts. Then it would extract relevant material from the streams of the people I follow and add it to my “Best of Day” section. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a tool like Friendfeed would also observe my activity outside of the social networks (with my permission, of course) – based on my Google searches, Twitter searches, etc? I think so! And I think this is where the social web will be heading next: a socially semantic web.

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Tracking Conversations

May 26, 2009

computerA huge benefit of Twitter, especially for brands, is the ability to track and monitor what the Twittersphere is saying about you, your competitors and just about any related topic. Because of how important search is, Twitter actually bought Summize and incorporated it as search.twitter.com. Desktop and mobile applications have search functions that vary in sophistication and ease of use. I think we will see quite a bit of innovation coming from Twitter insights and tracking conversation: after we have created all this content, we need to know how to extract valuable nuggets from it. Innovation will vary from simple search tools to more complex and intelligent semantic search, to enterprise-wide solutions. I am excited to see what develops.

One tool that caught my eye last week was ConvoTrack. It’s a fantastic little bookmarklet that lets you track and package conversations around a URL. It’s based off the Backtype API which allows to get the full context of URLs, regardless of whether it’s shortened or full, or what type of shortener was used (bit.ly, tinyurl, is.gd, etc). Moreover, the URL is tracked all over social sites, including Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Reddit, or any blog mentioning that URL. To illustrate, here are the comments around the gay marriage ban in California today – http://convotrack.com/19R. While bit.ly analytics can be useful to track the reach of each URL that you shorten, tools like ConvoTrack take it a step above, by allowing to track any URL, regardless of who originated it. Twitt(url)y is also a great tool of discovering the top trending URLs and the conversations about them; however it’s limited to Twitter only and isn’t as useful if you want to track a less popular URL. All in all, a ton of tools come out each day, it seems like. They are designed to make our lives better, but the process of discovery and trying out different tools makes my head spin sometimes. Which is not a bad problem to have. For the most complete tool list, I recommend reading the following post by Brian Solis.

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