Category Archives: Web 2.0

5 Twitter personalities to unfollow

I’ve been in a little bit of a grump recently regarding twitter. I can’t really stay committed to contributing and quite frankly I’m getting exhausted with all the spam and bullshit that seems to be more prevalent than ever. I brought this up to one of my co-workers and he suggested that maybe I follow the wrong people which is an obvious possibility so I’m going to try to increase my interest in twitter by refining the list of people I follow. Instead of aimlessly making cuts I thought I would first try to classify the types of people that are responsible for my lack of interest in twitter.

  1. The Auto-Voyeurist – The auto-voyeurist is a peculiar creature who excessively values their every move and always feels the pressure filled need to constantly feed their growing crowd of followers with the utmost of important information.  Typical tweets include anything from “cleaning my ears” to “driving” or even “thinking” and are consistently presented with other useless tweets.  Once the auto-voyeurist does find something of real value to present to their “fanclub” expect rapid tweeting with complete disregard for the 140 char rule.  One thought may last anywhere from 2 to 5 tweets to convey the true importance of their information.
  2. The Reporter – The reporter, while bringing occasional value to the table, has a quickly depleting offering.  Given the involvement of the major news and blog companies and the pure saturation of people on twitter the News Reporter often becomes the News Re-Re-Re-porter.  Typical tweets almost always include links to articles from Mashable or TechCrunch followed by 3 to 6 tweets regarding their newly presented ‘news’.  The reporter has a natural instinct for polling their entire audience and often requests feedback regarding their newly found Mashable or TechCrunch article.  The reporter occasionally doubles as a auto-voyeurist when reporting on completely useless news.
  3. The Social Media Noob – This character is one of the hardest Twitter personalities to truly identify because of the extreme diversity of the personality.  The social media noob is similar to a chameleon taking on characteristics of their present surrounding patiently waiting for the imminent attack, which often comes in the form of a self proclamation of their social media expertism status.  This particular personality is different from the true Social Media Expert but has many mimicking tendencies  further camouflaging their lack of value.  Although the social media noob has the best of social media intentions they often have delayed revelations of concepts, ideas and important people.  The social media noob has never been a developer or a designer but always critically critiques all applications with the utmost of scrutiny.
  4. The Promoter – The promoter is an interesting character with unrivaled passion and dedication who unfortunately struggles with a true perception of reality.  The promoter has completely addictive tendencies such as excessive and unjust promotion of  electronic devices, weblebrities or locations, particularly locations of food consumption.  Typical tweets from the promoter include anything from “eating at Tommy’s Tavern on 1st and 4th, best food, period” to “The BlackBerry Storm is the best mobile device on the planet”.  Tweets rarely offer any room for interpretation and are stated as facts to penetrate deep into the mind of the unsuspecting followers.
  5. The 12 seconds…..of wasted time – This person is excessively annoying but often very enticing.  Typical tweets  are challenging in nature because their perceived value is always much higher than their true value.  The tease of the 12seconds link is enough to encourage even the most advanced twitter folk to click with curious anticipation.  Following this type of character is similar to playing the lottery, you’re odds of something worthless are very high and only if you’re really lucky will you get a valuable reward.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed

Damien
@DamienH

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Me featured on PimpMyNews

When I was at BlogWorld last year I met the two co-founders of PimpMyNews.com.  After attending the TechSet party at the Mirage we happened to share a cab back to the Hilton.  They told me all about their service and even hijacked my iPhone to sign me up for it.  I’ve kept in touch with them and occasionally be offering my opinion on their site and service.

Late last week they announced the launch of their iPhone app with a press release that included one of my quotes.

According to regular user Damien Howley, “I quickly found my whole consumption of news and blogs change drastically. I can now catch up on all of my blogs while I work. PimpMyNews keeps me much more informed and saves me hours and hours of reading each night.”

You can view the full article here at http://www.prweb.com/releases/PimpMyNews/iPhone/prweb1937574.htm

Damien
@DamienH

Technology Pool Talent

I read an article the other day about someone’s frustration with the saturated “social media expert” talent pool.  I love what social media has brought to the Internet but the self proclaimed social media experts seem to be everywhere and it has become very overwhelming.  I thought I could represent this situation with a diagram so this is what I came up with.

internet talent pool

internet talent pool

Web 2.0 in a downturn economy

I was at techset las vegas about 3 weeks ago and while doing an interview with Miiko of future works I was asked “with the current state of the economy how do you think web 2.0 will fend?”

I was happy with my response, however, as the economy fell on it’s face over the last 2 weeks I found myself thinking more and more about the survivor-ability of web 2.0.

A lot has happened in the last two weeks, Iceland claimed bankruptcy, Obama and McCain completed their final debate and web 2.0 companies seemed to get their first taste of the cutbacks. I read about companies like Jive software, mahalo and jaxtr who have cut large portions of their team.

On the other hand there were the slew of companies that closed their doors for good. In fact I actually saw it very closely. Last week my company hosted an open wine-bar event for the San Diego tech scene of which most attendees were from either SuggestionBox or Eyespot. Both companies closed down completely.

Despite the influx of bad news I don’t think web 2.0 companies should worry, at least not the innovators and the uniques and especially not the value add companies. The copy cats, “wheel decorators”(companies that are re-inventing a product but making it prettier) and useless social apps (the let’s make our slightly useful app into a social network) should beware. Additionally the non revenue stream startups should look out too because the good old story of “go viral and make millions from aftertising” is struggling and somewhat flawed.

I think what we are seeing is the result of a bloated and saturated sector fused with a poor economy. Let’s face it there are hundreds of new web 2.0 apps launching each month and some of them are just plain worthless. Perhaps we will see a more legitimate product offering during the recession, where entrepreneurs, a very flexible term these days, begin to actually consider the usefullness of what their building.

Even though web 2.0 as a whole will feel the pain of the currently horrendous economy, I believe that fundamentally the valuable part of web 2.0 will thrive. As mainstream companies begin to feel the squeeze of the economy the big “where can we make cuts” question will loom over many shoulders. Some companies will make cuts whereas others will seek more efficient and productive solutions in order to increase the capabilities of their workforce, or they will find alternative cheaper solutions to stretch their services further for less. The latter two scenarios should sound familiar because they describe the core benefits of web 2.0: fast, easy, adoptable, efficient, cheap, agile, scalable and valuable software.

Ultimately valuable web 2.0 services may become the Plan B for struggling traditional companies. To save money they may need to explore VOIP instead of ATT or Verizon and they may need to do web-based phone conferences to limit travel costs. They may need to centralize file sharing and collaboration efforts to make their employees more efficient and they may need to test the waters with social networking tools to compliment a more limited business networking event schedule.

Damien
@DamienH

web 2.0 – disrupting traditionally accepted business practices

It seems as though terribly inefficient business practices are so ingrained in todays society that it is hard for some people and even some companies to consider better approaches to their common day activities. Perhaps that is why the internet, particularly web 2.0 will forever have its place. By all means it may become web 2.1 or web 3.0 but the current day internet and all of its services will remain. There are a few reasons why I feel this way. First the web provides a constant stream of disruptive services that are good at uprooting the traditionally accepted approach. Secondly the web is very consistent at providing more efficient, cheaper and more adoptable products. Lastly developers are able to benefit from the successes of other web services so as the web becomes more intricate and more deeply entwined development can progress more rapidly and with more precision.

There are also the more obvious reasons for the existence and rapid growth of web 2.0 companies such as cheap go-to-market costs, cheap market exposure costs, extremely thorough target audience data and short deployment and exit durations. Simply put its very easy to go-to-market, test the product, market to a specific audience and exit if it all doesn’t work. Additionally most services are just piggy-backing existing infrastructure whereas traditional technology business had to develop and finance a lot of the infrastructure.

Consider today’s telecom companies, in particular the telephone portion of their businesses. To start a phone service 50 years ago their was infrastructure, research, labor, construction and a lot of overhead. Today, look at a company like Vonage that provides a cheaper and much more feature rich service. Vonage utilizes VOIP (yes I understand that is based on another telecom infrastructure, the internet) and completely cut out the need for construction and infrastructure. Of course, they do have servers and networks but that can all be centralized which is much easier than putting phone lines under half of America’s front yard.

In a slightly similar sector of business is conference calling. In fact this is what my post was intended to discuss. Conference calling, as it is commonly utilized by most of the people I know, is very inefficient, non-integrated and consistently a pain to use. Conference call attendees spend sometimes upwards of 15 minutes waiting for other attendees to join. When someone forgets to call in they have to be tracked down by one of the current callers who has to use another phone to locate them, that is if they even have their phone number. Essentially attendees could be lost from an activity that is supposed to bring people together. For the most part traditional conference calls exist at one point in time and even if it’s recorded, accessing that recording is a cumbersome process or just not common knowledge. I think the most frustrating portion of traditional phone conferencing is user interface, a 10 digit menu that is as limiting as it is engaging. Overall the “accepted” means of conference calling is flawed and I think that its time for a web 2.0 application to step up and cover the void.

Damien
@DamienH

iPhone shopping on amazon

I was walking home from work today and I decided it was time to buy a new iPhone leather case, the one I had broke and my iPhone was left unarmed to fend wherever it gets tossed. I use amazon for the majority of my online purchases so naturally my first stop was amazon.com. I assumed they would have an iPhone interface and I was eager to check it out. Most of the iPhone web interfaces I come across are fairly debilitated compared to the site I’m familiar with and I suppose I expected the same with amazon.

Initially I was frustrated. Feedback was hidden and I couldn’t find a description. All I wanted to know was whether or not the case would fit my 3G. After searching around for a while I came across an item that had 3G in the title so that was enough for me.

To be honest I expected my frustrations to continue however that was not the case. Very much like the “real” amazon.com I was able to 1 click checkout, select one of my previously used addresses and purchase with one of my previously used credit cards.

The entire checkout process took no longer than 1 minute and it was simple. Needless to say I’m much more confident about purchasing from amazon using my iPhone.

Damien
@DamienH

WordPress iPhone app

I’ve been blogging a lot more recently. Mostly because I bought the CSS upgrade a couple weeks back and I’m finally happy with how my blog looks. Also because I’ve found that I really enjoy getting my thoughts off my chest. Anyway one thing led to another and it didn’t take long before I was looking for a wordpress app for my iPhone. There were a bunch to choose from but because I trust wordpress I decided to download the genuine wordpress app.

At first I had a hard time using the app. There were some interactions that didn’t behave like I expected. For instance if I edited the title of a blog without editing the content I was never given a save button. I had to go in and modify the content before I could save my modified title. Also saving my blog post over the 3G network caused some problems. Two out of three of my attempts to save over the 3G network timed out after 5 minutes without saving or publishing the post.

Now it may seem like I have only bad things to say about this app, however I think I had not found how to optimally use it. Typically we’re used to a live connection to publish our blog posts, instead publishing blog posts from your iPhone is better served by locally authoring your content. If I author content locally I can quickly and efficiently write a post, including photographs from either my gallery or camera, and publish when I have a strong 3G connection or a wifi connection.

The other noticeable benefit I have found is “idea-generation”. When I happen to be wondering around walking, shopping, traveling or basically not near my computer I can create and even start writing my blog posts. I have found that typically I’ll start a post while it’s fresh in my mind and then later I’ll change the status from “local draft” to “draft”. Changing the status to “draft” then publishes the post to the web where I can finish up and polish everything with HTML view. This approach has worked best for me.

Damien
@DamienH