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]

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.

Reading white papers on the iPad

I have this habit of downloading pretty much every white paper, research, … that I come across online. I then put them in a Dropbox folder so it’s shared with colleagues and they’re easy to access from multiple devices. They’re also mostly in PDF format for easy reading so sounds like I’ve got it all figured out don’t you think?

Problem is I never get to ready any of it. I don’t like reading them on screen of my PC and it’s not worth printing them all out either, that would be a lot of paper wasted especially since some stuff isn’t worth reading anyway… but that you only find out once you start reading them. This week I found the ideal solution though. Since they’re already all on Dropbox and I got Dropbox on the iPad, I opened all the files in iBooks and now I have a gigantic (will that’s probably a bit exaggerated) collection of white papers, presentations, research, … to read when I have the time.

iBookPDF

With another week in the hospital ahead of me (routine stuff, no worries) this is just going to be perfect reading :)

When augmentation is about reducing

Here’s an interesting interview with Kevin Slavin at PICNIC NY Salon. It’s 8 months old but only just came to my attention thanks to a tweet of Helge Tenno. His thoughts around augmented cities and why maybe ‘augmented’ should be about taking things away instead of just adding them to the world as we are already drowning in data as it is. Take a look.

picnicslavin

Looking at this (what I wrote earlier) that definitely makes sense to me.

I’ll be good catching up again with Kevin in NYC in March. And Helge, I hope we will meet each other as well one day ;)

Bing@TED: awesome!

The maps feature on Microsoft’s search products has always had a bit of an edge over Google maps. It wasn’t all good, but the 3D map view was always more realistic compared to competitors, the Bird’s Eye view still remains unique and if you see what they presented at TED a few hours ago… friggin awesome. The Flickr integration, the … I don’t know where to start. Seriously, check this out.

Oh, and Blaise – I’m a fan since you presented Photosynth at Microsft’s internal MGX event a few years ago. You rock!

More on the Bing TED presentation is here.

Mindgoggling

This is how the Urban Dictionary defines this: “(adj) something that is so baffling only goggles could understand”. I suppose that is how you got to think of Google Goggles, a mobile tool that allows you to take a picture of something to get instant search results based on the content of the picture. Sounds cool, check this out.

It did remind me of a Microsoft project I read & blogged about 3 years ago, a side project of Photosynth at that time. They talked about a very similar tool but don’t remember hearing from this after that.

photosynthmobile

Question to ask the Photosynth guys maybe? Or Steve, maybe you know (can find out)?

Most Contagious 2009

Every year at the end of year there are 2 reports worth looking out for, one is FEED from Razorfish that came out a few weeks ago and the other one is Most Contagious from Contagious Magazine which was released this Friday. Make sure you get them both.

contagiousmag2009

And while you’re at it, take a look at the new Contagious Magazine website as well.