Posts Tagged ‘stream’

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.


Wired For Action. Now What?

July 1, 2010

For whatever set of reasons this year, the NHL and NBA kicked off free agency on the same today-today.  Now while most of the sports minded NYC folks are focused on where’s LeBron James is going-will it be Knicks, Nets or much to everyone in NYC’s dismay elsewhere-I’ve been focused on NHL free agency.  Are the Islanders really only a big defenseman and back-up goalie away from NHL relevancy?

So I muddle through my morning commute with all the LeBron talk–and now I am in the office and raring to go.  My Twitter bud BD Gallof has his excellent site Hockey Independent primed for action.  And over there is another Twitter (and I met him a long time ago when I worked for News 12) bud Chris Botta who once worked for the Islanders and now is a writer covering the NHL for Fanhouse and keeps a really good all things Islanders Blog up and running on my computer at work along with my Tweetdeck.

Now all I need is word that Eric Nystrom is coming home.  Aaron Asham or Andy Sutton will get a return engagement in Uniondale.  Garth Snow spent some of Charles Wang’s money to bring in Jordan Leopold (of all the moves this is the one I was hoping for, but was least likely to happen).

So I am all set, raring to go–and what happens?  Well the hated cross town Rangers sign an enforcer to a four-year contract.  The Devils make some nice pick ups.  The Sabers signs Leopold.  Any my beloved NY Islanders?  Nothing.

Now, I am very sure Garth Snow (Isles GM for those uninitiated) is working the phones and “sticking to the plan.”  But still–just once for all that prep it would have been nice to see some good Islanders news go by.

Alas–thanks for a pretty interesting season Marty Biron-we’ll see you on Broadway.  Jeff Tambellini–best of luck in Vancouver.

For those left waiting for the Uniondale crew to make a move–its nine days until the mini-camp game at the Coliseum and then a little more than two months until the puck drops.

OK-back to baseball.  Lets go Mets.

Breaking News: The Use Case Model

November 6, 2009

Like anyone with a conscience and any news professional the events at the Fort Hood Army base in Killeen, TX yesterday were shocking.  For me, they hit a little close to home. When I worked in Dallas 10 years ago I spent a lot of time at the base covering assorted stories about Army spending, homecoming of bodies etc.

Now I get to spend more time in an office and help make sure word of such events is disseminated to multiple platforms, shape coverage and be involved in the planning process of how to cover these types of stories.  Yeah, sometimes I miss the field.

As events unfolded yesterday, there was a great case study unfolding on Twitter in how the story evolved.  There were plenty of straight up posts, hash tags and trending topics.

There was plenty of news being broken on Twitter from news organizations big and small (BNO, CBS News, KWTX etc) but there was also an interesting mix of people in the media looking for information and sources on Twitter.

Now, I am not sure that is the best use of the medium–to put a call out for witnesses etc, but its a use, and thats a good thing.  With the data rolling in, it would b e great to quickly be able to spin up a way to week out re-Tweets (RT’s) and reactions and get into the straight up news.  It’s all part of the bigger story, I get that–but information is so tough to generate in those moments–a clearer path would be great.

In some way, let the community designate “trusted sources” and their Tweets would have a higher weight–and the rest are still there–this is not an exercise in quieting voices.  Rather this is a way to make the voices ring out.

When Twitter is the Trending Topic

June 17, 2009

I will openly admit way at the top here that my use of Twitter-based on statistics is not the norm. More than 70% of Twitter’s users still go to the Twitter home page to post and read.  Me, depending upon where I am and what is going on I will use any combination of TweetDeck, Twitterfon for iPhone, UberTwitter for BlackBerry and the occasional Twitteriffic on iPhone (btw, I will be downloading TweetDeck for iPhone today and may try a product review).

The one place I tend not to interact with Twitter is on

Generally, I don’t think I am missing much of the experience–except for the trending topics on the right hand side.

Its an interesting collection of items there…three topics tied directly to the Iranian elections and resulting up-rise-fueled by Twitter. In fact CBS News reported at one point the Obama administration asked Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance to allow direct communication with those in the uprising.

Today being the day that iPhone 3.0 rolls live, there is a trending topic for iPhone, ATT and for the inner geek in all of us, OS3.

As mentioned above, TweetDeck put out its iPhone version last night (will try to get to a review today) so that is a trending topic.  The #haveyouever seems to be a continuation of a Twitter type game–#3wordsaftersex etc.  Harmless, kind of fun.

Then there is #140conf.  Who knows what this one is?

The 140 Character Conference is a gathering I think into the high hundreds, if not 1000’s in NYC to talk about Twitter. OK.  Participants paid $1000 a head to talk about Twitter. OK, its their money.

But now, while everyone is talking about Twitter, they are busy on Twitter-because that’s how to get into a trending topic-to have people update with a #(hash tag).  If enough people use the # for their posts, you crack the trending topic list.  So, for chatter our of Iran check #mousavi or #tehran (go to Twitter search and enter the hash tag).

Some of it is relevant, some of it is crap, much of it is RT (that’s re-tweet) from others but it has a purpose.

But I am not sure I get why folks spent what is a lot of money in this economy, to come to NYC-which is not a cheap trip to talk about Twitter, and then spend enough time on Twitter to make it a trending topic.

Its the day when Twitter itself is the trending topic I suppose-at least to 140 characters with very active fingers.

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.

When a Tree Falls in the Twitter Forest

May 20, 2009

Twice  yesterday I encountered instances where something that was Twitter was seen and reacted to-and while the situations were completely diverse, and the reactions different-both were reminders about minding P’s and Q’s when sharing.

The broader instance was something that in the end was pretty weird, and it showed the importance for people in the media (as I am in full disclosure) to make sure we are very careful when we start quoting things we see on Twitter.

Around 1130 or so (ET) BNO, one of the better news sources (in my opinion) using Twitter put out a Tweet quoting a Florida radio station that actor Patrick Swayze had died.  

BreakingNews Florida-based radio station KissFM reports that Patrick Swayze has reportedly died. BNO News is working to get more information.

There was a flurry of email that followed this within CBS News.  Reporters and producers in Florida, California and NYC were all working to confirm. Then came an email, via a rep for Swayze who told People Magazine the actor was in fact not dead and that a full release would follow.

In the big picture, not a lot of time was spent on this–probably less than an hour.  And I can’t fault Twitter or BNO for what occured–everyone was doing their thing.  But it shows the importance of remembering beyond just shoveling information out–there are consumers.

The second example was on a much smaller scale and involved my own Twitter stream.  

My day got off to a bad start and I put out in 140-eese a Tweet that outlined my feeling at the moment.

Once again I learn about getting involved, and caring when it’s not my turn. Tuesday is going well.   Well I heard from some folks

@SarenaP texted me almost immediately and the we chatted some via IM.  @MayaREGuru sent me a DM asking if all was OK.  And I am touched that there are people I am close to out there who are worried about me–but its also a reminder–when a tree falls in the Twitter Forest, people do hear it.

IRL: In Real Life

May 14, 2009

Way back in the beginning of internet time, when AOL saturated the country with software discs, a lesson was learned by many of the early adopters–you could kind of become almost anyone and hide behind your keyboard.


Makes a nice coaster

Makes a nice coaster

I started thinking about this a couple of days ago when first I was reading about the squad the goes through all of the video and pictures posted on Facebook each day to make sure there is no porn or other objectionable material–that would cut into profits.  Then on Tuesday night I was out with two friends and we go to talking about Facebook–and I was reminded of this clip from a few years ago-when Facebook becomes real.

I dug that clip out this morning and posted it to my FB page.  Feel free to friend me up if we are not friends there yet.

Now that FB clip is not unlike a more recent item about Twittering in real life from our pals at College humor.

Of course, if you are not following me on Twitter feel free to jump in there as well.

The reason for all this nostalgia though is real.  Because you can’t hide behind the keyboard any longer.  All of what we put out into the world-cyber and IRL is out there and searchable and you can be held accountable for it.  So much like what you put in email, if you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times-don’t put it on the internet.

You think these guys really thoguht they would be fired? Probably not, but still they put it out there and paid the price.

And there are more cases–like getting fired for a 140 character Tweet even just being critical can get you in trouble .

So yeah, its great to have the freedom to self publish on a blog like this one, or on Twitter, plurk or anywhere else.  But it comes with the responsibility to self moderate-or face the consequences because no matter what we do, we are IRL.

New Pet Peeve: The Junk Tweet

April 24, 2009

So you know that feeling you get when after a long day at work or chasing it, you get home check the mail box and its packed?  Yeah, you know there will be some bills, maybe a magazine and hopefully something nice–a check, heaven forbid a handwritten letter (do those still happen?)…

Then you go through it all–and its junk mail. You know what I mean. An assortment of credit card offers, cable triple play, home refi–crap.

Well, in a lot of ways, in the name of “social media marketing” brands have taken extending the clutter from my mailbox to my Twitter stream.

I assume most people are like me–and every now and then will go into their Twitter followers and generally go through and follow anyone who is following me–usually with little thought.  Its socially the accepted practice on Twitter and it creates a sense of true community.

Then suddenly there in the stream is a seemingly never ending list of stuff–electronics, books etc-all with 100 characters and a URL click through.

And the reality is–its not just product companies that do this.  Many news organizations (incuding the one I work for) do this as well. To “drive” traffic to our sites we push out a headline and click through.

But is this really a community sharing experience? I tend to think its not.

I rarely unfollow anyone.

I do unfollow junk-Tweeters though.  Call it my own personal do not tweet list–I am happy to engage–and I am happy to debate, but not automate.

In the case of CBS News–I follow all of the “manual” Tweeters–from 48 Hours EP Susan Zirinsky to Associate Producer Rick Bouretta–not a problem at all.  Everyone has something to say–and Twitter gives us all an equal platform to have our say.

Now that we are listening–do you have anything you want to say?

#Superbowl and the $%&*(@^% Feeling

February 2, 2009

OK, so one of the cooler aspects of Twitter, and something many of the other sites and services (I am thinking Friend Feed, Plurk etc), is the ability to group updates with the “#” and then view them as a running commentary.

But this is also one of the biggest distractions of the service too.

Case in point-last night’s Superbowl.  Now I was not what you would call glued to the game. In fact, the game was on, and I was helping a neighbor move some boxes and furniture around in his new home.  From time to time I would check in on the Twitter world – since there I would get the prime plays, the great commercials and generally an update on the game.

Oh yeah, and a lot of “Steelers rule,” and the helpful “Go Cardinals,” and the equally useful “that call sucked.”

Before anyone jumps up on me, I get it-Twitter is an open platform and all of the users have equal ability to use it in the way they see fit.

But there has to be a way to make it more useful to the reader, without compromising the content creator.

There was some great stuff in the stream.  Comments about the games, the plays the commercials.  Thoughts from the people really into it, thoughts from those being social about it and thoughts from the fans.

Too much of though was buried by just chatter–the stuff the mutes a community and does not make it grow.

Yeah, $2M for 30 seconds of Superbowl air time and the cost of my $.02 simply priceless.

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