Posts Tagged ‘social median’

Product Review: Greplin

February 19, 2011

Greplin logo

For the last few days, I have been messing around with Greplin, self-billed as the search bar for your life.  And so far, while not quite the utility I was hoping it would be (although I am not sure I can quantify that statement), it has been effective and useful.

Admittedly, because sometimes life gets in the way, I am trying to catch up on some emerging products and companies that have cool tools-and Greplin is one of them.  I heard about them earlier this month when Sequoia stepped in with Series A funding.

The way Greplin works, after you register for it (I have invites for anyone that needs, although I don’t think you need them any longer) you register your social networks, email accounts (looks like gmail only right now). One nice thing is they include LinkedIn with Twitter and Facebook. One of my personal complaints is that I really do try to keep my LI professional based only and there are few bridges between my Facebook and LinkedIn. My Twitter is one of the bridges but not very effective.

Once set up and permission are granted, Greplin then acts as a search engine and crawls your networks and creates an index.

A couple of early adopter issues:

  1. There is a free version (which I use) and a premium version (which I do not use).  I understand and support monetization, but it seems the lines are a little arbitrary.  I can register 3 gmail accounts, but not Google Voice, or Google Docs.  Dropbox is free but Yammer and Evernote are premium.
  2. I am not one to use most search bars in browsers, but this is one that I would use, but it does not exist.
  3. At this point, search returns are presented by platforms and then relevance-the options to be 100% relevance would be good.

All in all, for an early product its useful.  I think once I can figure out what I am expecting-and watch how Greplin goes through its next few drops–I think it will become a great utility.


So, Do You Quora?

January 7, 2011

Well, do you Quora? Huh?

At least in the circles of social media, its become a very hot question.  And if you do, the next hot question is, “How does it work?”

For the uninitiated, Quora is a collection of crowd-sourced questions, categorized by the crowd and answered by the crowd.  Kind of Wiki for asking questions.  (BTW, Quora is another in the long line of start-up companies that for some reason either spent way too much time, or not enough time working on a name)

The questions have a pretty broad range–here is a sample from my home screen:

Real time Quora questions

Similar to other social networking sites, you can follow people, and they can follow you.  There are connections to Facebook and Twitter than will share your questions and answers with your broader social networks and you can vote up or down questions and responses.

The user can categorize questions as well as the people who answer it.  You can also comment directly on another user’s response.

After using Quora for a few days here are some quick gut checks that are somewhere between interesting and quirky:

  1. To add a question, you type into what looks like a search box, in this age of over Google its a little counter intuitive.
  2. When setting up a profile, you pick topics you are interested in (and it makes some recommendations based on something but not sure what) and you can always add more.  However, there is not a very effective way to search other questions.  The result of this is there are probably 2000+ questions that circle around the Goldman/Facebook deal and none of them rise to an authoritative voice.
  3. It seems like the designers/UX engineers went out of their way to be out of the box, the UI takes some getting used to
  4. Although I have my blog registered into my profile, I am not sure what that does or what the interaction between the site and my blog is.

That said, there are some interesting components to this as well–I found a great place to eat lunch scanning through the recommendations of downtown restaurants yesterday, and so far I have not seen (I am sure there are a bunch there) any flame wars.

As always, dip in and see what it’s about.  As someone who does not use Wikipedia all that much, if the content resonates this could be a more direct way to get answers.


Putting the Social into Social Media

June 8, 2009

So, here is a pretty compelling little story about a group of folks who are in the same industry (real estate in this case) who have largely found a great way to socially connect and professionally help one another via Twitter.

Its a case study in putting the social into social media.

I mentioned that I have a friend on Twitter @MayaREGuru who is in real estate.  I have even mentioned a group she helped found called TwitterQueens.  Now at the risk of running afoul of the group–which I think now totals more than 150, these are mostly women in the real estate business.  They live across the country–and have found that Twitter, Ning, Facebook and other social network platforms have helped them grow their businesses and their friendships.

Over the last few weeks, the TQ group has done different teaching/leaning events-Twitter 101 I call them.  Now while I am not sure that anyone really needs to sit in a room for hours to learn how Twitter works-its an effective way to grow business socialization, so I have to give some props.

Now in a semi-social, semi-business (probably all shopping) event, the TQ’s are coming to NYC.

I have no idea what their real agenda is, or if it will be time well spent–but I do know that this is a case where a group of folks with a common interest, spread across the country have pulled it together and are transcending the 140 and the random posts–to go old school, and just interact.

Its nice to know there is an endgame to some of the social interactions that take place via the computer (and iPhone and BB etc).

Of Mainstreaming, Shark Jumping and Building Community

May 25, 2009

Let me offer a quick glimpse into my newspaper reading habits to set the stage for this blog.  I get the NY Times everyday.  For every other newspaper I read its either on line, more likely on my BlackBerry or N95 or specific articles called out on Digg or Social Median.

Now its not unusual to find an article about Twitter in the NY Times.  In fact lately its unusual not to find an article about Twitter in the NY Times.  On Sunday’s during the off-season for my beloved New York Islanders, I like to make sure I read Newsday. Generally, that is the day where the home-town paper of the Isles will fold in some off-season coverage.  And this is a big off-season for the team (number one draft pick etc).

So imagine my surprise to see Barbara Barker writing on athletes who Twitter.  Now I am not sure why I was so surprised–probably has something to do with why I don’t get Newsday anymore at home, and why I only check for Islanders articles on Sundays–its just not a great read (with all due deference to my friends who pound the keyboard bringing the NY metro the paper on a daily basis).  

Next stop for me on my BB was the NY Post.  Kevin Kernan-whom I do not know, but writes a good sports column jumped on the Twitter bandwagon.  Again, I am not sure why I am so surprised by this–I think in this case its more that I have a hard time seeing Kevin Kernan using Twitter-much less commenting on it.  

To be clear, I have no idea if Barbara or Kevin are prolific users of Twitter. Although I will find out about Barbara, as I am not following her.

But the placement of these two stories in NY metro area tabloids made me think about the argument that many of the early adopters of Twitter (I am coming up on two years of Twittering) that Twitter has jumped the shark.

Now this is a reference to my childhood (think mid-to late 70’s Happy Days).  Remember when the Fonz jumped the shark?

This has become a term ubiquitous for TV shows hitting their downside.  As someone who saw this in real time–and was the target audience, not someone looking back at media history, I can tell you it was pretty effective.  It was a cliff hanger for the 8-12 demo.  The storyline was something we all talked about for a week, waiting for the next episode to see if Fonzie could pull it off.  And by the way, Happy Days was the number one show in Prime Time for the next six seasons, so I am not sure the metaphor actually works accept with selective amnesia.

But that is not the point here.

The point here is the critics who say that Oprah joining Twitter, or the Hollywood elite using Twitter–but having someone in their entourage post their Tweets, or seeing stories about Twitter in the NY Post or Newsday is mainstreaming this thing that we do, and now Twitter may have jumped the shark.

Jumped the shark? Because the community is growing? Clearly no one is actually listening to themselves in making the argument right? How can a social network jump the shark because people are using it? Isn’t that the point?

So, I say welcome Barbara, Kevin, the sports stars you both highlighted and anyone else–even the Fonz.  Its what makes this actually kind of fun-now I am following Barbara, Danica Patrick and Nate Robinson–that’s not all bad for a lazy Sunday, right?

–update May 26–

Right after posting this came word of a Twitter based TV show.  Now, Twitter has denied that the show will be about Twitter, still have to wonder about jumping the shark now.  I can envision a show with clues and perhaps communication 140 characters at a time.  Would be a great way to work in audience particpation as well–I am actually kind of happy that the Twitter based show appears to be more of a rumor though.

Coming of Age in a Social Media World

February 10, 2009

Sometimes its funny how disparate events can get you thinking.

In this case a couple of things made me think about what is the right age to introduce social media to kids.

Case Study 1:

My niece is about to be 12 and she and her friends all have Facebook pages.  After taking a look at them, I realized that she combined with her friends were not being internet smart. When I spoke with her parents, they pleaded Facebook illiteracy.

Case Study 2:

At the birthday party of a friends daughter I had decent conversations about Facebook, Twitter and text messaging with kids older than mine (in the 9-15) age range. Also saw the devices some of the older kids were carrying (impressive). Now I am waiting for my kids to point this out to me.

Case Study 3:

(and this is a verifiable true story) While sitting in a Starbucks with someone in the industry discussing mobile and social media the actress Renee Zellweger who wanted to know more about what we were talking about.

So, three very disparate interactions, but all based around the concepts of social media and how we can and can’t interact with one another.

I am trying to think about this from the perspective of my kids or my niece–coming of age with all of this–and the conversation I had with my sister-in law who is Facebook illiterate.  She was telling me how my niece will text over talking on the phone (I will too) and how she really did not understand how the interactions between friends on Facebook played out.

Now I admit to being pushed into this stuff professionally–and enjoying the crap out of it.  But for someone who is coming of age with all of this–Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Social Median, Stumbled Upon etc all out there– in the You Tube generation–its a different perspective.

Suddenly there are no boundaries, and the world is a smaller place. My friend from sleep-away camp who lived in Texas and was in a different time zone and needed coordination to call is now just a simple text away. It makes a difference.

But that instant contact capabaility also changes the dynamic–and lets face it, when I was 12 the “long distance bill” was something to think about as I chatted with a friend in Montreal. Today, there is no such thing.

So, while the world is now readily available as we come of age in this social media world, we have to think about the consequences–when is there too much information out there.  A good friend of mine had her world’s collide recently when her professional life collided with her private lifestyle.  My conversation with my niece was about what she and her friends collectively post about themselves on Facebook.

As a parent its one of my greatest fears and hopes–that my children are able to harness this power and safely have these great experiences that for me was about a pen, paper and stamp.

What We Twitter (or Plurk or Ping) and When

February 5, 2009

An interesting discussion occurred in the newsroom yesterday. It involved CNet correspondent Natalie del Conte, correspondent Cali Carlin and a CBS News photographer about Twitter.  This convergence of people came about because Natalie was being interviewed about a segment she did on the CBS Early Show yesterday on the new Google Latitude.

The photographer (who is just getting onto Twitter so I won’t share his name until he is more comfortable) is trying to figure out if Twitter is a good utility for him and is something he can sustain.  Natalie and I were telling him about the media folks who run the gamut who are on Twitter including NBC’s Jim Long, CNN Steve Brusk etc.

The commentary turned to my Twitter/Plurk/Ping stream–and basically its about going to the gym at 430 in the morning, the weather I encounter on my way, my morning LIRR commute and my morning web-surfing where I check to see if the world is safe.  The latter is accomplished by perusing my Google reader, Social Median and Digg primarily, and then I will buzz my Twitter followers for cool links.

But it got us talking about what we Twitter and when, why and where we Twitter from.  Now Natalie and I are pretty regular users of Twitter.  Cali and the photog are on the cusp of jumping in.

I think the goal is to offer some level of controlled voyeurism into our lives.  Not that it is all that glamours, but it kind of is an opportunity to put stuff out that we want.  On my Twitter roll is Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Tina Fey, Katie Couric, Shaquile O’Neil–and they all do different things with their Tweet stream.  But I think in the end its still a way to manage their public discourse.

And from that discourse we establish our social network, and the social networks of our friends, families and followers. 

I think its fascinating when New Media Jim (an NBC News Washington based photographer) takes us behind the scenes at events he is covering. I wish my network had a photographer doing the same thing–it shows a different side of the news.  The same way as when Katie Couric popped out a quick video of her green room interview with Joe Torre:

Its about connecting, making connections and delivering to our audience–not unlike TV, web or mobile.

Am I Connecting? Or Re-Channeling

January 26, 2009

A conversation I had last night keeps reverberating with me-and has had me thinking a lot this morning (was helpful on the treadmill to think about something other than my sore calf muscles).

Sometimes I joke, and sometimes I am serious that I can have a very anti-social streak in me.  Given the choice I would rather sit at home, watch sports and just shut out the world.  Yet, I am pretty active in social media circles, I work for one of the largest media companies in the world, I process 100’s of emails/day-seven days a week.  I am always communicating.

Last night, for the third or fourth time, I took the option to self-scan items at the Stop and Shop.  A)nd I don’t mean in the checkout lane without a cashier. I mean, getting a portable scanning gun when I walk into the store and a handful of bags, and then scanning the items off the shelf as I bag them.

A friend (the person I was talking to last night) and I have dubbed this “anti-social shopping.” And it is.  It keeps me from looking at anyone, chatting with anyone or even interacting with anyone.

Flash that against my Twitter stream-pretty aggressive in two way conversation.  Flash that against my commuting habbits, where generally I can chat away with anyone on the train on the way to or from work.  There is  a disconnect I think.

So, now I am thinking that there is a limit to the amount someone can communicate in a day or week–and rather than expanding my communications channels-I am re-channeling that effort.

Mind you, I am pretty sure the conversations on Twitter, Plurk, Social Median, Digg etc are far better than the idle chitter/chatter I would encounter at Stop and Shop–but I am just not sure how it all fits in.

No changes planned-but perhaps I should find a way to study the communication paths I choose-and figure out which are more effective.; which are more fulfilling and which are simply to pass the time of day.

The Social Media Tool Box

January 25, 2009

So, I’ve been thinking some about the tools I use to interact with my social media sites and accounts–particularily the ones that don’t require me to be on the site.

For instance, I am a Tweet Deck person on line, Twitterberry on my BlackBerry, Twitteriffic on my iPhone–but almost never on Twitter. (Add to that,, and some others tied to Twitter).

I am huge on Ping ( While this does not fit the criteria of sites that allow me to leverage them remotely-it does talk to so many sites it is a stand out.

Which brings me to my problems with Social Median, Digg and some of he higher consumption sites.

Social Median comes pretty close–with liberal RSS available. But the RSS kind of adds to the click experience–it doesn’t minimize the clicks, but it does get the content  onto my sites.  Next for me is trying to figure out how to thread that RSS into this site.  Digg would be better served to add some variations of its RSS–its a great tool, but too broad.

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