Webometric Thoughts

March 7, 2009

Argos Complaints: What is the Social Web Solution?

Filed under: Argos Complaints,social web — admin @ 5:49 pm

My girlfriend has just finished writing a letter to Argos complaining about a chest of drawers that arrived with a missing part. After two months of being informed that the part was on it’s way, she has now been informed that the part is not available and that she will have to dismantle the chest of drawers if she wants it collected so she can get a refund. The offered recompense for building and dismantling a chest of drawers and two months of inconvenience, a £10 Argos voucher!

Whilst the social web can be a useful tool for getting results when numerous people have been inconvenienced, how can it help a single customer find a solution when large corporations are being unreasonable? And is Argos being unreasonable asking for the chest of drawers to be dismantled?

[UPDATE 09/03/09] Then unexpectedly we wake up this morning to find the drawer-base sitting on the doorstep! We won’t be ordering furniture from Argos again.

April 29, 2008

Social Media Disorders

Filed under: addiction,social web — admin @ 8:33 am

There was an interesting blog post at the Online Journalism Blog about social media addicts and some of the associated syndromes:
-Comment Guilt
-RSS Reader Sisyphus Complex
-Twitter Rage
-Six Degrees of Seperation Syndrome
-Plugin/Update Cofusion
-FOOcamp Anxiety

Whilst ‘RSS Reader Sisyphus Complex’ is my only specifically identified syndrome, I do suffer from variations of some of the others. Specifically:
-Post Guilt – Rather than guilt at not commenting on other people’s blogs, I must admit to publishing a lot of low quality posts.
-Publish Post Rage – The delay between clicking on the ‘publish post’ button and the publishing of the post can feel like hours. This always seems to occur when you have made a mistake and want to change your post.
-F-ing Stupid Computer Confusion – If only my time loss was limited to plugins and updates, on so many occasions everything in the computer world seems to conspire against me. Two days ago I spent 5 hours trying to transfer my Endnote references to CiteULike: they still reside solely on Endnote. Yesterday I spent 2 hours on a browser problem my girlfriend was having: the problem has yet to be resolved.

In defense of Twitterhoeia, and it’s associated cousin bloggerhoeia, sometimes it is the mundane that actually piques the interest of others in the online community. Often I find that the well-thought-out essay sized posts get little response, whereas the mundane posts become a forum for discussion.

Most of the syndromes seem to be driven by a need to be the centre of the world, to know everything and everyone, and be recognised by our peers as such. The online world encourages this narcissism as we are able to put ‘concrete’ figures to so many of our actions: how many friends we have, follows, visitors. First step on the road to recovery: dump the site analytics. It is too late for me, but there may be hope for some of you.

January 28, 2008

Facebookers Back Barack

Filed under: Clinton,Obama,blogging,facebook,social web — admin @ 2:39 pm

After spending the morning reading a few articles about blogging in the 2004 US election (does life get any more interesting??) I decided to have a look how Facebook reflected the race for the Democrat presidential nomination.

Basically, if democracy reflected the votes of the idealistic youth, rather than the self-interested cynical old conservatives, then Obama would be walking into the Whitehouse (no-one idealistic votes Republican). A comparison of Obama and Clinton’s top groups can’t help but make anyone who dislikes Hilary smile:
1. Barack Obama for President in 2008
2. Students for Barack Obama
3. America for Barack Obama
4. Barack Obama for President
5. 1 Million strong, against Hilary and Obama
(nb. maybe it is the annoyingly superfluous comma that is currently restricting the 1 million strong to 5,493).

1. Anti Hilary Clinton 2008
2. ABC= Anyone But Clinton
3. as much as i love the U.S…i’m gone if Hilary Clinton becomes president
4. I’d vote for a trained chimpanzee before Hilary Clinton
5. Hilary Clinton Shouldn’t Run For President She Should Run The Dishes

I’m sure that analysis of the comments in the groups would be even more of an eye-opener…although many of the comments about Clinton are probably not suitable for repeating in a polite blog.

In 2004 blogging was the also ran of the presidential campaign. Yes, it was an important element, but not quite the deciding factor that was hoped for. The question is whether social network sites will be the also ran, or the decisive mover. If Hilary enters the Whitehouse, it is definately an also ran.

January 16, 2008

Is content king of social networks?

Filed under: Hitwise,content,facebook,imeem,social web — admin @ 6:33 pm

I have just finished Hitwise’s “The Impact of Social Networking in the UK“, and as I thought it is well worth a read (although it didn’t actually appear in my inbox until lunchtime today).

Whilst I would agree with most of the report’s predictions for 2008, especially the growth in the role of social networks for marketing and the increase in specialist social networks, the report didn’t particularly address the issue of content. By which I mean the quality content of the music, film and television studios, rather than the strange things that pass for humour amongst the user-generating masses. The general social network that successfully ties up the rights for their users to share music and video seems likely to take the spoils, and a successful new entrant could quickly usurp the market leaders.

The music rights secured by Imeem are likely to have been a major contributory factor in the social network’s massive growth over the last year, and that these rights are only for the US helps explains the network’s missing from the top 25 UK social networks. Whilst the growth seems to have slowed of late (at least according to alexa and google trends), music rights are not likely to be as enticing as video rights. People want to listen to music on numerous different platforms, whereas television programmes are usually only watched the once.

Whilst I have tired of Facebook, I could be persuaded to return on a more regular basis if I got to do the social stuff whilst watching quality TV programmes.

December 12, 2007

Social network platforms are coming thick and fast

Filed under: application platforms,social web — admin @ 11:21 am

According to the Mashable posts, by now both Friendster and Bebo should have launched their application platforms. Hitherto disenfranchised social networkers will now be able to throw sheep, be bitten by vampires, and play scrabble…it’s surprising the social networks didn’t wait until the 4th of July, a date worthy of such an occassion.

Blogs as the social networking future

Filed under: GigaOm,WordPress,blogosphere,social web — admin @ 10:20 am

A recent post over at GigaOm shows that I am by no means alone in believing that the future of social networking may be in the increased personalisation of blogs and personal homepages rather than social networking sites such as Facebook etc.

The question is whether the blog publishing systems can become as user-friendly as the social-networking sites.

November 16, 2007

Hey!Nielsen: What is the point?

Filed under: nielsen,social web — admin @ 5:08 pm

Whilst I enjoyed Nielsen Netrating’s talk yesterday, I am less impressed with their latest offering, Hey!Nielsen, which I was pointed in the direction of by the Data Mining blog. Basically it combines a social network with the opportunity to offer opinions on TV, films, music, web sites and people, with the promise of your opinions potentially influencing the media world as the media pays close attention to Nielsen’s findings.

Whilst it is a nice enough site, and offers the opportunity for a widget of your opinions to be placed on your blog or web site, its a bit of a one trick pony, and that trick is not interesting enough to make me come back again and again. Whilst I enjoy the opportunity to knock Facebook and Google, if I really want I can do it just as easily in my blog. Personally I think Nielsen would have been better off developing methods of gathering the data people are already placing all over the web rather than trying to make a subset enter data in their own specific format.

October 25, 2007

Who really won Facebook?

Filed under: Microsoft,MySpace,facebook,share price,social web — admin @ 8:30 am

You couldn’t really describe the Microsoft investment in Facebook as breaking news, the story seems to have been going on for weeks. The final outcome, a 1.6% stake for $240 million, valueing Facebook at $15 billion. If Facebook is worth $15 billion, then I’m the Queen of Sheba.

Whilst I think that it is an outrageous price, it will probably work out quite well for Microsoft as it will tie Facebook into their adverts for the forseeable future. Whereas I don’t think it is necessarily a good deal for Facebook, they should have sold a little bit more whilst they had the chance, their stock is unlikely to be riding this high forever and they need to capitalise on it ASAP. Zuckerberg talks about going public in two years, by which point it will probably be worth half as much.

The other big social networking sites are going to continue innovating, new social networking sites will enter the market, the mobile market is going to become increasingly important, and teens are going to decide they want to hang out somewhere different to their parents. The market is constantly shifting, but the $15billion price tag seems to reflect a continued status quo. Yesterday Techcrunch published the growth rates of a number of different social sites, and the fastest by far is IMEEM a site that has managed to pass me by up to now. Whilst I have yet to have a close look at IMEEM, it serves to illustrate the point about emerging sites; it may be the next big thing, it may not, the point is nothing will stay the same.

However the future of social networking pans out, one thing is for sure: Rupert Murdoch got MySpace for a bargain price.

September 8, 2007

A bill of rights for users of the social web

Filed under: bill of rights,social web — admin @ 9:44 am

I have just been pointed in the direction of a proposed bill of rights for users of the social web via Lasica’s Social Media blog.

Whilst in principle I would love to see many of the proposed suggestions in the bill of rights acted upon by the ‘social web’, it is interesting to note how different the reactions are to when it was suggested that there should be a blogger’s code of conduct. Too often on the web I feel that there tends to be a lot of talk about the individual’s rights, and not enough about their responsibilies. Afterall, we all seem to know that we can be trusted, its just everyone else who can’t.

It will be difficult to get any organisation to apply such rights retrospectively without them being forced to, most probably through a competitor seeing the opportunity to gain competitative advantage. But will such advantage come too late? Whilst teenagers may be happy to create new profiles at the drop of the hat, the older generation (who are possibly more likely to place store in a bill of rights) are more reluctant to lose a network that they have spent time and effort establishing.

August 15, 2007

Total social-networking is for the young!

Filed under: One Minute Friend,facebook,social web — admin @ 3:49 pm

I like to think that I am an advocate of many of the so-called Web 2.0 technologies: I blog; I am a member of a number of social networks; and I don’t consider my day to have properly started until I have trawled through my hundreds of feeds on Bloglines. Whilst I have to admit I am not a great Twitterer, and my status on Facebook has been known to fall silent before I change it, I can at least see how they are useful additions to the lives of many more socialable people.

Sometimes however something appears that I just don’t get, and I find myself asking “why would anyone want to do it?”. Today such a Facebook application came to my attention , One Minute Friend. The premise is that it connects people who want to talk about similar topics on the phone for one minute for free, after which point you are disconnected, with the choice of being reconnected if both parties request it.

Whilst I understand people wanting to talk to someone they have met online, I would presume there they want a certain amount of communication before they get to that point…at least one or two lines by way of an introduction rather than being dropped in at the deep end. This at least gives an opportunity for the would-be chatter to determine whether the person at the other end is a nutter. But I guess this is an age thing, whilst those over a certain age may have mastered the technology, and adapted to certain aspects of the lifestyle, we are not necessarily as comfortable with the social aspect as those who have never known anything different.

I wouldn’t be surprised however to find that if this application is successful, which it probably will be (the masses never cease to amaze), that there will be court cases further down the line as people take little heed of the risks and connect with numerous unsavoury characters. Luckily for me it’s only available in Canada and the US, so I can always claim that my refusal to use it is not just an age thing.

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