Interview: Social Media Fills the Need for Human Contact on the Net

Kalen Jordan, a relatively recent connection on the intertubes, approached me last week about doing an interview. I think he thought I was going to say no or that he was going to have to really kiss my butt to get the interview. :-)

At any rate, we sat down to do a relatively short interview. It was pretty fun as we talked about b5media and the technology challenges we’ve faced as well as broader social media and the best tools to use and in which ways. A broad question, but at the end of the day, there’s something out there for everyone.

Interview with Aaron Brazell on Social Media

Twitter Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity is defined by physicists as the maximum speed that an object of a given mass can achieve when accelerating toward another object with a gravitational constant. Skydivers can only accelerate to a certain speed before maxing out at a terminal velocity.

For the geeky science type among us, the formula is for determining Terminal Velocity is here.

There is a Terminal Velocity with Twitter as well. I have, at the time of this writing, I have 1,293 followers on Twitter. That’s 1,293 people who I see tweets from. If my calculations are correct, I see approximately 10 tweets per minute. That’s 600 tweets per hour or 14,400 tweets per day. That’s a hell of a lot of Tweets.

Here’s my non-scientfic law, though. The tweet stream reached terminal velocity somewhere back around 500 followers when I also received approximately 10 tweets per minute. There are variables, of course, that play in to the tweet stream – mostly due to the Twitter infrastructure. For one, Twitter can only deliver a certain number of Tweets per second anyway. Secondly, the human factor plays in. How quickly do people read and respond to my tweets? How quickly do my tweets get delivered to them? In the end, the Tweet stream moves as quick at 1,293 followers as it did at 500. Titter terminal velocity.

So how do I deal with 14,400 tweets per day, you might ask? (I know you might ask because you ask all the time when I meet you). Simply, I don’t read everything. I read all the @ replies directed toward me. I read all the direct messages. I really only read everything whenever I sit down to actively engage in Twitter (which might happen once or twice a day for 30 mins at a time). It’s really the only way I can deal with the flow.

Distribución de Noticias via Twitter

Un gran número de medios tradicionales está utilizando Twitter para distribuir las últimas noticias y alertas. Muchos corresponsales también usan Twitter para informar de las noticias antes de que estas lleguen al medio.

Aquí he tratado de condensar un listado de medios que utilizan Twitter, cómo lo utilizan, links a gráficos indicando la frecuencia con que actualizan y links a sus cuentas de Twitter. Sólo he incluido aquellas cuentas con actualizaciones recientes.

Si sabes de un medio o corresponsal que utiliza Twitter para distribuir noticias que no aparezca en esta lista, déjanos un mensaje indicando su cuenta de Twitter y el tipo de noticias que distribuye.

Me pueden seguir en Twitter a través de mi cuenta @cgranier.

Periódicos (Newspapers)

Clarín, Argentina @clarincom (stats)

Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @cmbreakingnews (stats), @cmail_breaking (stats)

Diario Correo, Ecuador @diariocorreo (stats)

El País, Madrid, España @el_pais (stats)

El Porvenir, Monterrey, Mexico @El_Porvenir (stats)

El Siglo Web, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina @elsigloweb (stats)

El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia @eltiempocom (stats)

El Universo, Ecuador @el_universo (stats)

Financial Times @FTmedianews (stats), @FTfinancenews (stats)

Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu, HI @starbulletin (stats)

Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville, TN @knoxnews (stats)

LA Daily News @ladailynews (stats)

La Nacion, Chile @nacioncl (stats), @lanacioncl (stats)

La Tercera, Chile @latercera (stats)

LA Times @latimesbreaking (stats), @latimesworld (stats)

Milenio, Mexico @Milenio (stats)

Nashua Telegraph, Hudson, NH @NashuaTelegraph (stats)

Times Online, London, UK @timesonline (stats), @TimesNewsUk (stats)

USA Today @ondeadline (stats)

Radio y Televisión (Radio & TV)

BBC @BBC (stats), @bbcsa (stats), @todaytrial (stats), @BBCClick (stats), @bbcmundo (stats), @bbcbrasil (stats)

CBC News, Canada @cbcnews (stats)

Channel News Asia, Singapore @ChannelNewsAsia (stats)

CNN @cnn (stats), @cnnbrk (stats), @CNNNewsroom (stats)

Fox News @foxnews (stats)

KOAT, Albuquerque, New Mexico @KOAT (stats)

KPBS News, San Diego, CA @kpbsnews (stats)

News 2 Colorado, Denver, Colorado @News2Colorado (stats)

NPR News @nprnewsblog (stats), @nprnews (stats), @bryantpark (stats)

Radio Cooperativa, Santiago, Chile @Cooperativa (stats)

RNZ Radio New Zealand News @rnz_news (stats)

RTÉ News, Ireland @RTEnews (stats), @RTEbusiness (stats)

VenezuelaPress, Venezuela @VenezuelaPress (stats)

WICU 12 News, Erie, PA @WICU12News (stats)

WLWT, Cincinnati, OH @wlwt (stats)

WOSU Public Media, Columbus, OH @WOSU (stats)

Otros (Other)

47 News, Tokyo, Japan @47news (stats)

ABC News, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @abcnewsbrisbane (stats)

AgendaTwiMedios @agendatwitter (stats)

AmericasReport @AmericasReport (stats)

Breaking News Alerts @BreakingNewsOn (stats), @LivePressAlert (stats)

CNET News @CNETNews (stats)

ESPN Headlines @espn (stats)

Mahalo News @mahalonews (stats)

MarketWatch @MarketWatch (stats)

Marketwire @marketwire (stats)

Motor Awards, Venezuela @MotorAwards (stats)

MSN Noticias, España @msnnoticias (stats)

MSNBC @msnbc_world (stats)

Noticias Emol @twitter_emol (stats)

Sina News, China @sinanews (stats)

Sunchales Hoy, Sunchales, Santa Fe, Argentina @sunchaleshoy (stats)

Thailand News @thailandnews (stats)

The Potsdam News, Potsdam, NY @ThePotsdamNews (stats)

Corresponsales (Correspondents, Media Employees)

Darren Waters, Technology Editor, BBC News @djwaters1 (stats)

Jim Long, NBC @newmediajim (stats)

Adam Boulton, Sky News, London, UK @SkyNewsBoulton (stats)

Ya sabes, infórmanos de cualquier medio o corresponsal que utiliza Twitter para distribuir noticias que no aparezca en esta lista utilizando el formulario de comentarios en esta página.

Me pueden seguir en Twitter a través de mi cuenta @cgranier.

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The Official Unofficial SXSW Playlist

I know there’s probably only one of you that remembers back when I was doing custom playlists on request.

Those were the days. I should revive that game.

At any rate, a lot of geeks like myself are heading down to Austin next month for SXSW Interactive, possibly the Mecca of all web conferences. In the spirit of the event being in Austin (you never have to go far for great Texas blues with absolutely no cover charge) and in true social networking fashion, I asked people on Twitter today to name a single song that would be their theme song for SXSW. They could only choose one song. I’ve compiled this into a playlist for you.

  1. Simple Man – Lynryd Skynrd
  2. I Turn My Camera On – Spoon
  3. Parent’s Just Don’t Understand – Fresh Prince
  4. Party Up – DMX
  5. Guitars and Video Games – Sunny Day Real Estate
  6. I Feel it All – Feist
  7. You Won’t See Me – The Beatles

As a bonus, here are some tracks I would add:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star – Amber Pacific/Punk Goes 80s
  2. Fake Tales of San Francisco – Arctic Monkeys
  3. Lights and Sounds – Yellowcard
  4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
  5. In God’s Country – U2
  6. Every Night’s Another Story – The Early November

What are your theme songs for SXSW? :-)

Los Curadores de Contenido

El volumen de información que debemos procesar aumenta cada día. Cada nuevo paquete de contenido que consumimos parece abrir las puertas a cientos de paquetes adicionales. La sobrecarga de información se ha vuelto un problema tan grande que muchas veces paraliza nuestra productividad.

Recientement, Steve Rubel (Micro Persuasion: The Digital Curator in Your Future) y Valeria Maltoni (Conversation Agent: Do We Need Editors in New Media) han retomado un tema que toqué en el 2006 (RED66: Where are the Editors?): la necesidad de editores o curadores de contenido que funcionen como un filtro que regule la cantidad y calidad del contenido que consumimos.

Actualmente podemos crear Agentes de Búsqueda (e.g., Google Alerts) para estar al tanto de cualquier información relacionada a un tema de nuestro interés. El problema está en que estos agentes no tienen todavía la capacidad de decidir cual contenido vale la pena y cual debe ir a la basura. Hace falta un agente de búsqueda con criterio suficiente para decidir cual contenido enviarnos. (una opción sería construir un Agente de Búsqueda que utilice información previamente curada, como por ejemplo la que está en Del.icio.us).

Yahoo!, Altavista, Google, entre otros, fueron los primeros agentes de búsqueda de internet, permitiéndonos encontrar información que de otro modo nunca hubieramos visto. Google aplicó su algoritmo de PageRank para entregarnos resultados más relevantes. Pero es tanta la información disponible en Internet que estos sistemas de búsqueda nos devuelven demasiada información, mucha de ella irrelevante o de poca importancia. PageRank no es necesariamente la mejor forma de categorizar información.

Servicios como Mahalo, StumpleUpon, Del.icio.us y hasta Digg nos permiten buscar información previamente filtrada y organizada por otros. Los usuarios de estos servicios actúan como curadores de la información, decidiendo qué vale la pena ver – de la misma forma que el curador de un museo decide cuales obras de arte exhibir (y al igual que en el museo, a veces nos preguntamos cómo un artículo en particular fue escogido para la colección).

Pero todavía prefiero servicios como Twitter, que me permiten escoger mis conexiones (mis fuentes de información) y aprender de sus recomendaciones. Siguiendo las conversaciones de mis contactos en Twitter consigo más contactos y aprendo quiénes ofrecen contenido relevante. Sin embargo, Twitter requiere mi atención constante (es lo que podríamos llamar un “torrente de distracción permanente”); me hace falta un agente de búsqueda que condense lo que llega a mi Twitter y me informe regularmente al respecto.

Y tu, ¿cómo consumes información? ¿Tienes alguna herramienta secreta que te permite estar al día? ¿O te estás ahogando en un mar de información banal? Cuéntanos tu experiencia usando el formulario de comentarios.

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Twitter Contest: Be my 1000th Friend

I’m at a special milestone in my Twitter career. Most people don’t end up with 1000 friends but the Twitter community is vibrant and I’m fully engaged so at this point, I have 999 friends.

I thought it would be cool, in the spirit of Twitter and community, to hold a contest for the 1000th friend milestone. In true Twitter fashion, this is how it will work. Below is an article about community. What I want you to do is to post a summary of the article in your own words on Twitter and leave a link to the Tweet in the comments. For the sake of community, also post the contents of the tweet in comments so people don’t have to go clicking everywhere to see what’s been said. The winner will be chosen exclusively by me (I can be subjective, right?)

There’s a twist however. In order to get participation from everyone, including the 999 people that are already my friends, the winner will choose my 1000th friend for me. You can choose yourself if you want, but if the winner is already my friend they could choose somebody that they find interesting and they want me to follow too. Could be fun, right? Right, so let’s get to it.

Engaging Community

We’re in the political season again and people are avidly watching the races for the Republican and Democratic nominations. It hearkens back to the bad old days when I first started blogging in 2004. The presidential election gave bloggers lots of fodder to talk about and, back then, everyone seemed to be a political blogger of some sort. Fortunately, the blogging world has diversified and is now rich in technology, sports, celebrity gawking, etc. It’s a much more accurate view of real life where people are very different.

One of the main problems that has plagued bloggers for as long as blogging has been around is the sense that blogging is an individual sport. Rarely do you see communities – true communities – spring up around single blog properties. There are a few notable blog centered communities – SEOMoz in the SEO world; Digital Photography School in the, well, digital photography world; all of the Gawker properties, I think. Mostly however, blogging is an individual sport and blog participation is a spectator sport.

Why do you think that is?

When we talk about social media, inevitably blogging gets lumped in with Facebook and Twitter as though blogs are somehow social. Generally, they are not.

When I first heard the term social networking I always word associated with social engineering, a scary term that denotes manipulation of lemmings by a single person or entity. When I thought of social media, which is used interchangeably with the word social networking, I thought of communist state government.

Where the word came from is irrelevant. It is the word. What it means is a grassroots community revolving around a topic or niche. In most cases the “friending” is a function of the network that allows people to connect and interconnect with each other, thus creating grassroots networking.

I come back to blogging, where in most cases, this is not occurring. Blogging is still mostly a one way communication tool where the blogger, or bloggers write. There is interaction via comments, but this is non-commital action that people can take that is contrary to the “friending” process of social networks. Anyone who blogs knows the feeling of being a “one night stand” where a commenter comes by, does a drive by comment, and leaves. Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!

This is not community. Community requires a level of commitment, if only as menial as a friend request to “ensure” the tie that binds.

I’d love to see more communities emerge around blogs. Heck, I may start a forum here which would be a first step but it wouldn’t be enough. There would have to be the follow through from readers where community could begin to coalesce.

What are your thoughts on community?

Relationship in the Internet World

shashibI have a friend. Up until about a month ago, I only knew him as shashib. I didn’t know much about shashib, except what I observed about him on Twitter. As I observed shashib and interacted with him, I realized he was from the DC metropolitan area and that he was in social media. We had something in common right from the start and so more and more, I engaged shashib as not only a colleague but as a friend. We laughed, joked all in 140 characters or less.

Sometime last month, I met shashib for the first time in person. It was at Social Media Club in Falls Church, Virginia where Jim Long, the cameraman from NBC and the White House Press pool turned social-media mogul, was speaking to the SMC.

After the meeting was over, I introduced myself to shashib and discovered what he does. He works at Network Solutions, the 20th century era domain registrar that still charges $35 for a domain for a year. I don’t particularly like NetSol, but the fact that he worked there didn’t affect my opinion of Shashi (his real name is Shashi Bellamkonda) because he was my friend.

I don’t mean “friend” in the sense of what most of social media has turned into where “friend” is a status symbol of yet another person who you have chosen to follow or who has decided to follow you. I mean, friend, in the 20th century or earlier sense of the world – two humans having common interests and sharing a common bond.

I’ve given Shashi plenty of grief about Network Solutions. How the perception to me is that it is an overpriced solution that doesn’t offer much more than what you can get much cheaper elsewhere. I even gave him grief over last weeks kerfuffle about NetSol’s domain “holding” practice. I did, however, complement NetSol on their domain administration interface, something I have not used in years and is much improved and much more fluid than any other competitor’s that I have experience with.

But this is not about Network Solutions. This is about relationships.

Since last month, I have seen Shashi in person a handful of other times and he is as genuine today as he was before I knew what he did. It’s about relationship, and Shashi is my friend.

Marketing and communications in the internet world today has somewhere gotten lost. Somehow, it has become more about deceptive practices than it has about relationship. It’s become about trying to get you to believe something, regardless of whether it is true. Where is the integrity?

In real life, I wouldn’t expect someone who is a friend to try to deceive me. I would not expect lying or backstabbing. Not from a friend. The solution then for communications professionals to step back and determine what the best ROI for marketing. Is it a deceptive sales pitch, or is it “friendship evangelism”?

If Shashi started trying to sell me on NetSol out of the gate, chances are that today, we would not be friends. Instead, he established a friendship with me and has me seriously considering a little known service of NetSol. How’s that for evangelism?

* Photo Credit to Schmoozing

The DCTwits Twitter Group

Real quick post here to let you know about the DC Twits Twitter user group. I set this up this weekend (first foray into Twitter API and it wasn’t too hard) for people in the Washington, D.C. metro area who want to subscribe. That doesn’t preclude anyone else from participating – for instance Brian Layman from Ohio and Stuart MacDonanld from Toronto both are in the group (for what reason, I have no idea but glad to ahve them along, nonetheless!).

It’s a simple concept. Follow @dctwits in Twitter and any message you send as a direct message to dctwits (e.g

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d dctwits hello world!

) from your Twitter account will be blasted out to everyone else following dctwits.

I’m tweaking things here or there as we go along (for instance, I made links clickable earlier), but it seems to be working. I’m thinking Boston needs a Twit group and I’d be happy to set up another instance for them (or any group – within reason) or anyone. Just give me a shout.

Update: I’ve released the code to the public. It is licensed under the GPLv2 License so feel free to use but keep the attribution notices in place. You must, at this time, have PHP 5.1+ or the PECL Json module loaded in PHP. You can download the code via SVN here: http://metro-twitter-groups.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/

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svn co http://metro-twitter-groups.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ twittergroups