A network of networks

Fascinating. And visually attractive. The people of LinkedIn Labs just recently created this InMaps application, a kind of analytics tool to “visualize your professional network, clustered in realtime based on their inter-relationships”. A pretty cool tool actually, and I’m a sucker for these kind of applications.

Log in with LinkedIn and the tool will analyze your network and visualize it in a graph like the one below, which is actually the output of my LinkedIn network.

What’s extra interesting about it is that the output is dynamic (unlike this image) and that you can hover over each contact to see their specific connections within your network. That way you also get a view of how the clusters are made and InMaps allows you to put a label on each colored cluster to make it easier to see who’s who. Just give it a try, you’ll see for yourself.

Interesting results for myself is to see for instance that I have 2 Microsoft clusters (I’m ex-Microsoft remember), one for MSN/Windows Live related contacts and one for more general Microsoft contacts. Interesting to see that this split is made, although it’s actually pretty logical when you look at it. Also interesting is to see between which groups exist more links, not always what you would expect. I’m definitely not done analyzing this, but curious what your graph/learnings look like so please do share ;)

Last but not least, it’s also pretty interesting proof that people are organized in groups, clusters and that if you want to influence people it’s important you understand these clusters – or ‘spheres of influence’ like we used to call them, dixit David Armano.

Check out Alfa Romeo’s MiToManiacs

Last week we launched a new campaign for Alfa Romeo: MiToManiacs as part of the Alfa MiTo launch. MiToManiacs is a nonstop race that will take you from site to site via banners. The best and fastest banner-racer will actually win a real Alfa MiTo.

And like all good games, there are some shortcuts built in. Depending on the co-driver you chose, you can unlock some shortcuts. I’ll give you one, in the scene above you can actually follow a different way to avoid being annoyed by the octopus.

Game on! I’ll tell you, you will need some practice and find those shortcuts if you want to get into the top 10.

Thanks to the people from Clint.be for the collaboration on this one.

Calling Marcus Brown and his 14 characters [interview]

When I started blogging again a couple of weeks ago I also knew that I wanted to do more than just write posts about stuff interest me. I also wanted to find a way to share small digital snippets of things that amuse me or inspire me for which I’ve ‘refurbished’  my Posterous. The other idea I had asked for a bit more preparation. The last few years I’ve met quite a few people via the blog or the work related travels, people that have inspired me and still do today. They inspire me because in my view they do something unique; because they are and think different. The idea was to have (and record) a conversation with them and to make sure you get to know them as well the way I do.

Marcus Brown is the first person I’ve interviewed this way. And thankfully (because he’s got all this tech knowledge) he is also the one who told me how to record this conversation so I could post it here. If I remember well Marcus and I first ‘met’ via The Age of Conversation, it was definitely around that time frame. Marcus is an Englishman living in Germany and does all kinds of fascinating stuff online, creating characters and stories that have amused me for quite some time now. So in case you didn’t know Marcus yet, here’s your chance to get to know him. Marcus and I talked about how he started creating transmedia characters, about the development of complex narratives and storytelling. The real thing, here we go.

Like Marcus mentions during the talk not all content remains online after finishing ‘a series’ but here are a few links:

And last but not least his latest project ‘I Walk for Dr. Peter Figge’ where you can follow the evolution of Marcus’ 800km walk from Munich to Hamburg to meet with Jung von Matt’s CEO. Follow progress and support Marcus right here.

Thanks for the chat Marcus! And thanks for being the guinea pig on this one ;) And to all of you who listened, feel free to feedback on the format and execution.

Talking tree

Really nice campaign for EOS magazine from our friends at Happiness creating some good buzz for the moment.

“Eos has launched “Talking Tree”, a campaign that turns the environmental debate on its head by giving a voice and “feelings” to a 100 year old tree living in living in Bois de la Cambre, on the edge of Brussels. The tree has been hooked up to a fine dust meter, ozone meter, light meter, weatherstation, webcam and microphone, providing regular updates to followers through YouTube, Flickr,Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.”

eos-talking-tree-site

I think the website isn’t the best part of the whole campaign but other than that, definitely worth checking out.

A video trip down to memory lane: the Youtube Time Machine

The YTTM offers an interesting way to watch videos from a specific year in between 1860 and 2010. Pick a year and choose one or more categories (video games, television, commercials, …) and you get a video that fits the selection.

Let’s find out what happened in 1973 – the year I was born in case you were wondering ;)

[Via The Denver Egotist]

Glass. How to make sharing more contextual.

Well at least that’s what I think it does. When I first read about this Firefox/Chrome plugin I thought it would be something similar to Weblin, a service I blogged about in 2007. Luckily it’s not the same. For one Weblin wasn’t as cool and interesting as I first thought and is in de deadpool by now and Glass has a different offering so let’s give that a try.

“Glass is a browser add-on that lets you share experiences and not just content. We’ve created a virtual sheet of Glass that lies over the entire internet that’s yours to affect. You can share your thoughts about anything on the web, right in the moment, by literally placing notes, (highlighting text, and even placing pictures and videos – to come soon) on top of any website and share those thoughts with only those you choose. We let you share the moment and thought together as an experience.”

I’m not sure actually if it has a benefit to share websites/comments the way Glass wants you to, but I got to have some friends on Glass first to figure that one out :) See it in action:

Glass is still in beta (invitation only) but I could still use the invitation code offered by The Next Web in their post about Glass so can you (code = thenextweb). If that doesn’t work anymore, I have 5 invites left so give me a shout if you need one of those.

That way we can both find out if this is a keeper or not.

The death of pretty much everything

In September ‘06 I wrote a post called ‘It’s violent out there’ in which I wondered why so many articles online are about companies and web services instantly declared dead when some competition appears. The recent ‘The Web is dead’ post of Wired inspired Harry McCracken of the Technologizer to highlight the same point as I did a few years ago, but much more visually. Enjoy.

“For years, once-vibrant technologies, products, and companies have been dropping like teenagers in a Freddy Krueger movie. Thank heavens that tech journalists have done such a good job of documenting the carnage as it happened. Without their diligent reporting, we might not be aware that the industry is pretty much an unrelenting bloodbath.”

dead

Registration is easy, what about activation?

Something bugs me. Not a day goes by or new usage data (preferably in the form of an infographic) gets shared online about one of the favorite social media initiatives such as Facebook, Twitter, … you know the lot. Big data, big numbers most of the time. What I don’t get though is why we all seem to copy/paste most of that information on our own blogs without really trying to understand what the numbers tell us (and what they don’t tell us). Everybody who once worked in a PR related job knows that companies publish numbers in a way so they look good. They use absolute numbers when they are worth it, percentages when they don’t look good and so on and so forth. When I say visitors to this website using Android have doubled over the last week (+100%) that is sounds much better than if I were to say there are now 2 people using Android to visit this blog instead of one. You catch my drift, I would really like to see some more analysis on those numbers before publishing if that’s not too much too ask.

Something else bugs me even more. When making these ‘analysis’, infographics and what not, people are not comparing apples with apples. Nobody seems to find it a problem that we’re always comparing 500M Facebook users versus 145M Twitter users (and some even against the 300M Windows Live users). For Facebook that are registered users, and as such most likely unique users. For Twitter that are registered users, and most likely that means registered accounts – and not unique users. I’ve got one Facebook profile just like most people but do use 3 Twitter accounts (@crossthebreeze, @iblogmustang and @krishoet). For Windows Live however the 300M users mentioned are active users, active meaning that they’ve logged on to the service at least once during the last 30 days. You can discuss about whether that is a good measure for being active or not, the point I want to make is that although they’re all big numbers they all don’t really mean the same thing. And that makes it unfair to just compare them like they are in my point of view.

Especially the registered versus active users is something really important to think about. When promoting webservices such as the ones we’re talking about you can imagine that generating awareness is the first big task on the agenda just like any other company. But because they are webservices I presume once you get the attention needed, driving registrations is not the toughest part. Registering to an online service is easy, I’ve registered to hundreds of services by now but use only a percentage of those on a regular basis. Activating users/consumers is the toughest part. People show interest when the buzz is up, but what is it that you do to keep them interested? That’s a tough challenge, a challenge to which many services fail if you ask me.

And it’s not just webservices of course, same counts for apps etc. There’s a boatload of apps available for my phone apparently and still I find it hard to find a dozen decent ones to download on the device. So don’t just report on the big numers PR people give you, those don’t always mean much (at least not to me). And please compare numbers worth comparing, otherwise that makes no sense either.

There you go. Had to get that of my chest.