October 28, 2009

Social network contact management a pain, survey finds

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A recent survey of European consumers has found that current social networks aren’t living up to expectations, either being too complicated to use or lacking features such as synchronisation.

3,000 consumers were questioned, with key findings:

  • 75% said that updating their contacts across social networks was frustrating
  • 82% wanted a solution to synchronise separate address books
  • 78% wanted a simple, easy-to-use solution
  • Most people wanted automatic updates from the friends on social networks, as well as being able to control over what updates they receive.

read more

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October 27, 2009

Are Humans Reading Your Blog?

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I was looking over some of my blog stats today and hit a hurdle that I have run face first into before. I have a lot of readers, but not a lot of commenters. So…how do I know the traffic I am looking at belongs to human beings?

I know that there are a bunch of ways you can identify spiders, crawlers, robots, ants, bots, worms, and other automated indexers. But truth be told, sometimes the only way to tell is by looking for IP address patterns, including high frequency and time of access.

I’m racking my brain for other ways to prove to myself that I am writing for human beings. Here’s what I have so far, and I need you help! read more

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Twitter needs a conscience for child protection, says social media moderation company

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Branding Twitter a breeding ground for pedophiles may seem a bit strong, but it is true that unmoderated and un-policed services are a higher risk if children and parents don’t implement good Internet safety.

That being said, social media moderator company Chat Moderators’ director Rob Marcus has called for Twitter to take its social responsibility seriously.

“Sexual predation problems will always be worse on unmoderated sites that are attractive to children so it was only a matter of time before these serious reports began surfacing around Twitter,” he said.

“For an organisation with over four million users in the UK alone to operate without due regard to child safety concerns, and indeed to distance itself from them by asking to be viewed as a ‘content provider’ and not a ‘mediator’ is morally suspect.” read more

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Gizmodo duped by scammers, publishes malware-laced ads

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gizmodo-we-had-malwareWhen it comes to being scammed, even the big guys can be taken in from time to time.

Gizmodo, Gawker Media’s hugely popular technology/gadget blog, has had to apologise to its readers for allowing ads containing malware to be published on its site during the past week.

Their ad sales team was duped by an elaborate scam that would have infected some users with software that may have caused random passwords and possibly initiated phishing attacks. read more

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Reality Check for Newspaper Publishers, Readers are Going Online

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Ok, that title may be a bit oversweeping. But then what better way could you describe the declining state of newspaper circulation as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, but to attribute it to readers’  changing reading habits? read more

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October 26, 2009

At work Twitter usage costing UK businesses £1.4bn a year

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Hands up if you use Twitter at work?

Thought so.

If you’re in the UK (and presuming you don’t own your own business) you’re part of a statistic that’s allegedly costing British companies £1.4bn ($2.3bn) each year.

The rising popularity of Twitter, probably fuelled by celebrities and TV magazine shows, means that on average 40 minutes each week by each British office worker.

The 1,460-strong survey by IT services group Morse drew the conclusion that Twitter was causing a “productivity strain” on business. read more

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Movable Type Monday: MT 5 Beta 4, SmartTrim, TweetMeme, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! This week, Six Apart released what should be the final beta of Movable Type 5. Beta 4 is, for the most part, a bug-fix release. The one big new thing is the “Professional Website Theme” that is now included.

Last week I told you about the first release of SmartTrim, a plugin by François Nonnenmacher that is a replacement for the default text trimmer in MT. A few days later he released an update. This version changes the argument syntax to match that used in MT. It also auto-closes any HTML tags in your text.

François also wrote about moving from Drupal to MT. He includes a script that will generate a MT import file, along with tips on redirecting links. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do this before, so it’s nice to have the process documented.

We also have a tip from “The Aardvark” on Adding TweetMeme to your MT blog. Not complicated at all, but good practice for anybody learning how to customize their templates.

Finally, Byrne Reese has been working on MT/Melody documentation for designers. Byrne has posted the documentation as a Github repository, so you can contribute to the project.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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WordPress.org Adds Crowdsourced Compatibility Check

WordPress.org has added a crowdsourced (beta) compatibility check for plugins. Every user can now report whether a plugin works with a certain (or upcoming) version of WordPress.

wp-compatibility-check

Above the results for the WordPress.com stats plugin and the 2.9 branch (pre-beta votes?).

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Google Asks “What Should Blogger Do?”

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After 10 years of existence and releasing a bunch of features including activating real time RSS feeds, jump breaks (AKA expandable post summaries for you WordPress guru’s) and anointing BlogPress Lite as the Blogger app for the iPhone, Google is now asking for suggestions on how to improve Blogger. read more

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Has Blog Reading Gone Mainstream?

Fred Wilson, venture capitalist and well known blogger, today wonders if blog reading has gone mainstream.

I think it is clear from a quick review of these numbers that blog reading is a mainstream and a mass medium. And the companies that serve this market, both bloggers and blog readers, are in a very interesting position.

… The thesis that blogs were a new form of publishing and self expression is playing out nicely and we are pleased with the progress of our companies and the market as a whole. And I think we are not anywhere near the end game.

Fred Wilson’s Union Square Ventures is backer of several blogging (related) companies such as Tumblr, Twitter, Disqus and Zemanta.

Living the tech related bubble many bloggers belong to, we often tend to forget that not everyone does blog or has the need to share their opinions on everything online. I recently had the opportunity to once more guest-lecture about blogging at UCLan. Out of almost 200 Computer Science first year students only one said to read blogs (to follow music bands). When I mentioned other popular blogs like Techcrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget and Kotaku lights went up and a majority admitted reading blogs.

As far as I am concerned the time to ditch the term ‘blogs’ has come, especially when it comes to most popular multi-authored ‘blogs’. Most of these publications are online magazines. Everyone ‘blogs’, whether it are tech publications like Techcrunch and Gizmodo or the news stream of popular sites like Neowin or Facebook notes and status updates. Many online versions of main stream media long have (additionally) endorsed the ‘blogging platform’ for their editors, authors. Last but not least, many people read blogs, often without knowing that they are reading ‘blogs’.
Like Eric Marcoullier (co-founder of MyBlogLog) says in the comments on Fred Wilson’s post:

It’s about content, not the wrapper.

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