I’ve been getting a lot of spam FriendFeed follows lately, that’s usually the first sign that a social networking site has started to turn irrelevant. Anyone else notice an influx of high following to follower ratio FriendFeed users of late? This picture below illustrates everything that is wrong about tying to use sites like FriendFeed for marketing. The “expert” is trying to bump up her followers by mass following 12,000 people. She has also just tweeted about some tool that can automate FriendFeed subscriptions. FriendFeed… creeping toward irrelevance?
Note to the “Direct Marketing” and “Social Media Expert” crowds. FriendFeed != Twitter. Just because you suddenly follow 12,000 people using some automated tool doesn’t mean that they will follow you back.
This is a follow-up to the two O’Reilly articles from yesterday “Twittering the Swine Flu” and “Tracking and Graphing the Swin Flu with Twitter”.
I’ve been using Twist to graph Twitter trends, here’s an interesting graph of the impact of Swine Flu on Twitter. What I find interesting about Twist is that it shows you a technology that is impossible with Google Search. Google’s Flu Trend service is likely more accurate and able to track local Flu trends. Twist on the other hand is going to provide a quick snapshot of awareness of the general population.
With Twitter, services like Twist are able to perform analytics on the entire data set of Twitter (albeit indirectly). Twist didn’t need to ask for permission to create this valuable graphing service. On the other hand, Google Trends and Google’s Flu Trends had to be generated by the private entity that owns the search data. As services like Twitter and Google become essential tools of government, we should be comparing the openness of these platforms.
Here’s a graph of “swine”, “oprah”, and “obama”. As you can see the Swine Flu story seemed to break yesterday, and the awareness peaked out at just below 1%.
Click on the graph for more detail, or go to http://twist.flaptor.com/
This is from my article over at O’Reilly News:
Social media and social networking are going to be pivotal aspects of engaging and empowering the individual. Decades from now, we won’t be able to imagine a government unaffected by the real-time input of constituents filtered by the social operating system that will define the culture. It is already happening, in this presidential election cycle participation has ballooned, and conventions are being moved to stadiums. This is much larger than just letting Congress Twitter, this is about letting social networks help to evolve the very concept of governance.
If our government doesn’t keep up with the technology of the surrounding culture. It will grow more and more irrelevant and unresponsive over time. In one sense this is about government surviving in a connected age. Dramatic? Yep. True? Yep. I really think that if the government doesn’t embrace technology, we’ll probably discard it when it falls further behind the cultural context of social computing.
Lofty? Sure. But, I believe it. Read the rest over at O’Reilly News
Dude, something’s broken with Twitter, all these 500 errors. Maybe Bob Lee’s Twubble is causing Twubble? Who knows, but the 500 errors are maximizing Twitter suckage. I don’t want to blame Mr. Lee, that’s just conjecture, but it does seem a curious coincidence.