Webometric Thoughts

March 6, 2009

Mendeley: An academic work in progress

Filed under: Academia.edu,Mendeley,Social Networking Sites — admin @ 6:05 pm

Last week I was sent an email by some chap at Mendeley: “you’d be doing us a huge favour by blogging about us and helping us to spread the word”. If it’s in my sphere of interest I’m generally happy to review web sites, although I must say that it’s a shame that review requests are never for the latest books in the field (publishers please take note)…anyway, back to Mendeley: “helps you manage, share and discover both content and contacts in research.”

The first thing, and the worst thing about Mendeley, is the name. Unfortunately its similarity to the Manderley of Rebecca fame means I keep losing the web site, inserting extra letters and incorrect vowels. Nonetheless first impressions are positive, although it has a long way to go.

Mendeley comes in two main parts. A web site:

and a desktop application:

The web site allows you to publish your own papers, store copies of other people’s papers (and share them in small groups), store bibliographic information, as well as providing the opportunity to find other researchers and research papers. The desktop application provides a quick method of searching and accessing the papers even if you’re not online. There is also a Mendeley Word plug-in for inserting the data in your Word documents.

There are obvious similarities between Mendeley and Academica.edu, a social networking site for academics, but whereas Academia.edu focuses on the networking, Mendeley focuses on the academic’s primary work with research papers and has the social networking as a secondary factor. Mendeley wins hands down (even without taking into consideration the over-the-top interface of Academia.edu).

Whilst I love Mendeley’s approach, it is still very much in the alpha/beta stages, and you are likely to come across errors and things that could be done better, or just refuse to work. Nonetheless, unlike Academia.edu, this is worth spending some time on and providing them with feedback. Once all the bugs are fixed it will be a useful addition to any academic’s work life.

October 21, 2008

Social Network Sites in the Real World

Filed under: Social Networking Sites,x-me — admin @ 7:05 pm

Grabbing some lunch in a local pub on Sunday I came across a poster advertising a social network I had never heard of:

This particular SNS’s angle is to encourage you to buy ‘X-cards’, which you can hand out to people so that they can look at your x-me profile. However, despite being around since at least 2007 (according to the date on the homepage), X-me.co.uk fails to show any traffic on either Alexa or Compete; this means that the ‘social’ network gets less traffic than Webometric Thoughts!!

It’s not the first time someone has tried to link the offline world with the online world (you may remember my world famous qr code t-shirt), but it is the first time I have ever seen a SNS advertised in a pub toilet. I would be intrigued to know what sort of money they spent on this inappropriate advertising campaign, surely the site would have gained more coverage by sending a press release out to a few technology blogs.

The X-Me cards are a rather flimsy reason to join a SNS, and the site owners would have probably been more successful building an application onto an existing SNS and focusing on the creation of some high quality business cards (e.g., moo.com).

(Nb. Taking photos in men’s toilets is becoming a worryingly regular occurrence ).

September 17, 2008


Filed under: Hoff,Social Networking Sites,academia — admin @ 6:20 pm

Academia.edu is a new social network(ing) site for academics (TechCrunch). Should you add this to your busy SNS life? To a limited extent.

The academic community would definately benefit from a dedicated SNS, after all, our needs are very different from the general user and the business user. However, I found Academia.edu to be extremely slow and not particular user-friendly.

In its current state, spending hours on your Academia.edu profile could very easily be wasted. If they improve on the speed and the user-friendliness, however, it could definately be a useful site. Solution: just put up a basic profile for now, and wait to see if it improves and how much interest it generates. If you really are desperate to waste a lot of time on another SNS, then jump into the Hoff’s; taking pointless SNS to their logical extremes.

April 2, 2008

Social Buttons: Which should I add?

Filed under: Social Networking Sites,blogger,buttons — admin @ 2:03 pm

After playing around with the Digg API yesterday, I decided it was a good opportunity to add some social networking site buttons to my blog; although, as with all things on the web, it turned out to be more difficult than I initially imagined. Despite there being lots of code, and advice, on the web, I couldn’t get any of it to work. This may be because my blogger-based blog is not hosted by Google, but in truth I am not sure.

In the end I based my buttons on the simple html code provided by Technology Wrap with the images identified by Political Tech. At which point it all seems remarkable easy.

Whilst appreciating some people dislike these buttons, and I am not personally a fan of many of the stories that rise to the top of sites like Digg, they are nonetheless part and parcel of the web these days.

March 14, 2008

Yesterday big day for SNS, but what about tomorrow?

Filed under: Bebo,MySpace,Social Networking Sites,web innovation — admin @ 8:42 am

Yesterday saw a couple of big social network stories:
MySpace launched developer platform in beta
Bebo bought by AOL for $850 million
Whilst we have been waiting for the MySpace story for months, the second was heralded with much less fanfare. Together the two stories mark final growing-up of SNS.

The big three have now all been bought (at least in part) and all have developer platforms. They are no longer new and exciting, but rather an integrated part of the web users’ daily lives. Whilst there may be new entrants and new exciting innovations, the heady days are past us. The question now is what is going to be the next big innovation? What will be the next exciting range of products that get the big players fighting over the start-ups? The obvious answer is the virtual worlds of Second Life etc, but they have yet to really capture people’s interest in the same way…and if EA-land is anything to go by they won’t for a while yet.

If I knew the next big idea I wouldn’t be writing some crumby blog, instead I would be programming like crazy. But if you know where I should be investing my spare sixpence please feel free to let me know.

Nb. In truth I wouldn’t be programming, instead I would be getting others to program for me. Too much wrapping up of programming and web innovation stifles innovation.

February 20, 2008

Bridgend and Bebo

Filed under: Bebo,Brigend,Social Networking Sites — admin @ 12:21 pm

In the last year 17 young people in Bridgend have committed suicide, and such a cluster is, unsurprisingly, getting the interest of the press. Possibly more surprising is the interest that is being given to social networking sites. For the most part it has been mentioned as an aside, i.e., the youngsters were members of the social networking site Bebo, although it seems that certain newspapers are beginning to build up a head of steam…and it’s not surprising that the Daily Express is beginning to look like one of the first to lose the plot.

Today the Daily Express have roped in ‘psychologist and novelist’ (alternatively “writer, psychotherapist, and media commentator”) Lucy Beresford to explain how:
“What could be going on is that adolescents are sharing and describing experiences on the internet…People of this age tend to be very imitative…The experiences they describe are toxic, rather than in my day when you might be influenced by magazines like Smash Hits.”
Yes, in my day the world was full of balloons, chocolate, candy floss, little puppies, and butterflies, and it has all gone to hell since the demise of Smash Hits and the rise of means of communication that allow us to share our ‘toxic’ feelings.

I am expecting a follow-up that proves that:
1) social networking sites killed Princess Diana*
2) social networking sites encourage immigration to the UK by lazy benefit cheats

*nb. Princess Diana dies in 1997, the same year as sixdegrees.com was launched…spooky.

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