Tab Sugar: for tabfreaks like me

I have now 72 tabs open in Chrome. I don’t do it on purpose, it’s just how it is. All tabs have sites open, stuff I want to read but didn’t get to yet, etc… And now I might just have found the solution to organize all of those tabs a bit better, it’s called Tab Sugar. Can’t wait to try it out.

[Via TheNextWeb]

The world’s most tagged photograph?

I missed this one earlier on. Orange has tried to create a world record for the getting the most tagged people in one photo, using a view from the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury festival.

glastonbury

“The pic itself is a 1.3 gigapixel, 75,000 pixel-wide image compiled from 36 photos that took one minute to capture. They used two Hasselblad H4D-50 cameras with 50 megapixel digital backs and, camera geeks, a 150mm lens on top and 100mm lens tilt shift adapter. Both cameras were mounted vertically on a tripod and rotated at 10 degree increments to take the pictures.”

8.195 people are tagged as we speak, has it been confirmed yet that’s a record?

Nowism & realtime

To quote a recent report of Trendwatching.com – let’s start with a definition:

“Consumers’ ingrained lust for instant gratification is being satisfied by a host of novel, important (offline and online) real-time products, services and experiences. Consumers are also feverishly contributing to the real-time content avalanche that’s building as we speak. As a result, expect your brand and company to have no choice but to finally mirror and join the ‘now’, in all its splendid chaos, realness and excitement.”

Call it nowism, instant gratification, realtime, … if there’s one apparent trend that came out of 2009 it’s this one. Can you find a way to integrate the core idea behind this into your consumer communication, you’ll definitely be a step ahead of your competitors.

Here’s a good presentation that tells a bit more about what realtime really means, good stuff.

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)?

My persona?

First things first, Clo explained it best what this is all about:

Personas | Metropath(ologies) | An installation by Aaron Zinmanis "a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

Sounded interesting so of course I had to give this one a try. And indeed nice animation while your profile/persona is being created – mine ended with this:

personasweb

Not sure where ‘religion’ or ‘politics’ is coming from but I suppose everything happens for a reason ;). In the meantime I saw other people I follow create their own Persona Web but then I got curious to see which results it would generate when looking for brands such as Duval Guillaume (the agency I work for), Windows Live, Kinepolis, Marlboro, … etc and then I must say I got kinda disappointed. The results always seem to turn out very similar… almost the same really. Too bad, hope they keep developing because they’re definitely on to something here.

All of this got me thinking though. Wouldn’t it be possible to search on a brand name for blogs, twitter, … etc and then look up the content of the last 10-20 posts and turn that into a word cloud similar to what Wordle creates? I would definitely be interested in seeing the result of that. Let me know when it’s ready ;)

The Garmin UX: terrible!

Rant alert. I got myself a new racebike about 2-3 weeks ago and also received a Garmin Edge 605 bike GPS for my birthday a few days later. Started using both straight away… well kinda. I am a bit of a web & gadget addict (I am sure you had that one figured out by now) and can only say that it has been a very long time since I last had a user experience so awful as the one with my Garmin Edge.

As usual I started using the device without reading any of the documentation and obviously Garmin is not to blame here, it’s just how we roll :). It didn’t take long before I did look into the user guides as I couldn’t quite figure out some of the main features. It took me a while to find the Garmin Training Center software, which doesn’t come with the device but is offered as a download via the user guide, you do need it though when you want to look at the data you gathered while cycling with the GPS tracker on. Later on I also found out about Garmin Connect, which is the ‘old’ Motionbased web service. Not all very obvious either because when you sign up to Garmin Connect you land on My Garmin where all immediate links to Connect are hard to be found… you just wonder that’s all there is to it at first.

garmintrainingcenter

The odd thing is that Garmin Training Center and Garmin Connect are not connected. They pretty much do the same thing – one on the PC, the other online – but you got to upload data separately, it uses other user accounts, … I guess Garmin hasn’t heard of Software+Services just yet. Very unfortunate. One of the things I also wanted to use is RouteYou (or similar services) where you can download and share tracks from and with other users. Downloading tracks to your device is easy, although can be improved quite a bit. You can download in several formats (GPX, CRS, TCX, …) but it’s not clear which one you’re best off downloading. Garmin also offers a Communicator website plugin that transfers the track straight to the GPS device… but since it always used the same name (garmin.gpx) you can only use that for one track at a time… silly I’ll tell you. Uploading tracks that you’ve done to the site is even more difficult. Both Garmin Training Center as Garmin Connect only allow to export tracks in the TCX (Training Center) format… but RouteYou and others need the GPX file to upload. So you need a TCX to GPX converter after exporting a track before you can upload it to share with others… not sure if I want to go through all those efforts. Garmin Connect allows for one-click easy sharing of tracks though… on Digg and Facebook, how useless is that.

Yes I’m frustrated. And I haven’t even started talking about the questions I still have on the UI of the device itself, or on Mapsource (the additional software to create routes), … Hopefully I’ll find out at some point, feel free to point me in the right direction. For now I can just repeat what I said before, Garmin you got some work cut out for you because the UX of your devices and software just sux.

About building your network

Networks like LinkedIn seem to benefit quite a bit from the recession. People unfortunately are losing jobs and need to look for new opportunities, for which the network asset is very important. The problem is that many start building the network when they need it and that’s a common mistake. You should build it when you don’t really need it, so it’s there when you actually do. Here’s what I do, maybe there’s something in there for you as well.

LinkedInNetwork
Image courtesy of GustavoG, actually presenting the FlickrVerse

#1 Build a network based on people you know

I believe that your network on LinkedIn (and others like Xing) is only really valuable when you build it with people you know, people you have actually met, spoken with, engaged with, … any kind of interaction that was big enough for people to remember you. This connection can be face to face, online, over the telephone… but when you send these people an invite to join your network, your name should at least ring a bell. The reason this is important is that you want to count on your network when it matters. If your connections don’t know who you are or how you connected, why would they ever pass on a message to others? Why would they ever introduce you to one of their contacts? Your connections are the key to the second and third degree network, so make sure those connections are real.

#2 Strike the iron while it’s hot

You’ve met some interesting new people at a conference? You just ended a call with someone that you will probably do business with? You’ve been having a few discussions with someone online lately? First thing on the to do list – look them up on LinkedIn and send out an invitation (referencing how you connected if you think it’s appropriate). Now this is not a suggestion to quickly ‘run into people’, get their business card so you can say you ‘connected’ and invite them onto your network. Not at all, but if a real connection was made, you should solidify it ‘digitally’ and not wait to long before doing so either. After people accept I always download the vCard to my local address book, as it adds the person’s birthday to my calendar – always good to know.

#3 People change, how about your address book?

People change titles, jobs, employers, … and it’s important you know about this. Luckily networks like LinkedIn are amongst the first places for people to communicate changes like these, especially when they are related to the professional life. It’s not like you will go check out the LinkedIn homepage on a daily pages to track these changes, but LinkedIn add-ons like the Outlook Toolbar basically offer this kind of functionality for you. Every once in a while I will open up my LinkedIn Dashboard in Outlook and in there I can see all people that have made changes to their profile and I get the choice to update the contact info automatically in my local address book.

linkedindash

#4 Network overlays – use it

Although my own rules for connecting with people on LinkedIn are not 100% the same as those on Facebook, and the reason for connecting on Blip or Flickr are different from other networks – there will always be an overlay. And sometimes you can benefit from that overlay, I’ll give you one example. Using programs such as Fonebook will compare your local Outlook address book with your connections on Facebook which will allow you to add additional data from Facebook (like the person’s photo for instance) to your existing Outlook contacts. I’m sure there are other examples of using the network overlays as well.

#5 Avoid spam

The biggest source of ‘spam’ these days seem to be your friends. Stronger connections will help avoiding much of it but still, sometimes it’s just powered by laziness. When you want to invite friends to a certain group on whatever network you most likely have 2 options – pick those friends that might be interested (takes time) or ‘select all’ (the faster solution). A lot of people tend to do the latter, knowing for a fact that you will ignore if needed but that is not the best option. Choose wisely amongst your network, there’s a limit to ignoring things as well.

That’s how I do it anyway, feel free to discuss.

twInfluence

A tweet from Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa) got me curious about a site called twInfluence.com two weeks ago. Anything that has to do with the measurement of online influence interests me, so this was no different. Just like most other services that measure/calculate some form of influence, this one also got it’s own ranking etc figured out, but it was how they got to it that interested me most.

Ever since I’ve started writing about measuring influence, I’ve highlighted there’s too much focus on quantity versus quality. Take the Technorati “authority” for instance, that’s basically just a number of incoming links. Or talking about Twitter and the obsession that many in Twitterville seem to have with the number of followers, or even less relevant: the number of tweets sent out. Never noticed how many times Scoble will refer to the amount of likes he has added on Friendfeed?

It’s not just about quantity at all, but also about the quality of the network, in the case of twitter that translates into the quality of your followers. twInfluence is interesting because it’s the first service that I know that takes exactly that into account. Even if you have only 1 follower, if that is someone with several thousands of followers that is clearly better than the case where you would have a few dozens of followers yourself but all with only few followers themselves:

“First and Second Order Networks: From the perspective of graph theory, a Twitterer’s followers would be considered their first-order network, and their "followers count" the same as their "degree". "Degree" is a simple form of centrality measurement that equates to "prestige" or "popularitiy"; different types of centrality can measure connectivity, authority, and control in a network. The following diagram demonstrates the different "neighborhoods" in a network. The Twitterer is the primary node (shown in red); its first-order neighbors (shown in green) surround it, and its second-order neighbors (shown in blue) surround the outside.”

Another interesting metric twInfluence calculates – what they call efficiency – is the amount of followers you have versus how many people you are following yourself. The site also analyzes velocity (how quickly you’ve gained quality followers) and social capital (how many high-influence people follow you).

twinfluence

Hopefully they’ll also find a way to take out duplications in measuring reach, and there are some opportunities as well to find out about locally relevant influence, but overall this is a very interesting exercise so kudos to the folks behind twInfluence.

A quick one on Twitter

I liked this quote from Tim O’Reilly on a post related to Micro-blogging and how that compares to ‘regular’ blogging. Now I didn’t find the post itself that interesting, but Tim’s comment certainly was (emphasis is mine):

“Also fascinating to see different tweeting behaviors evolve in real time. It’s like watching evolution in bacteria vs. mammals. For example, among the top twitterers, it’s pretty clear that many of them are simply following anyone who follows them, which drives their "popularity." But that makes clear that they aren’t actually following any of those people — the volume is just too great. So ironically, if you follow everyone, you follow no one. (Unless you "friend" them, and only really follow your friends.)

So you can see that there are three categories of twitterers: those who use it for its original purpose, by following and being followed by a small group of friends; those who use it for marketing, by broadcasting to many but following none; and those who recognize the asymmetry, and are followed by many, but follow fewer.”

More than with blogging or anything else so far, Twitter has been a lot about quantity for many people. Metrics that ‘matter’ are number of followers, number of tweets, … and I’ve always thought of that as rather ridiculous. I’m more interested in the ratio of friends vs. followers, the number of links clicked, (comes in bit.ly?), clicks compared to the number of followers, re-tweets, replies, other tweet referrals, … anyway a lot more than is measured today.