App.net aka ADN

 

App.net logo

 

App.net first caught my attention when it presented an app showcase at SXSW.

 

 

I frequent Google + and already followed Dalton Caldwell so on July 25th he posted about joining App.net and even had a campaign hashtag on Twitter #joinus because he was trying to raise $500,000 to fund the site which is billed as the ad-free social network. The entry fee for a yearly membership at the time was $50 and $1000 for devs. On October 1, it was announced the yearly membership fee would drop to $36 and they introduced a monthly membership of $5 for those unsure if they want to commit to a full year.

Tuesday night I took my daughter to her ballet lesson. The lobby has WiFi so I fired up my MacBook Air and was checking my regular channels for news. I ran across the announcement that the yearly membership had dropped so I decided to take the plunge and ponied up my $36 bucks making me App.net User #20,482.

 

When Dalton had first announced his 500k fundraising I went on and checked to see if jason or jason_ was available and they were. Fast forward to Oct 2, I was surprised that I was still able to snag  jason_ which is the same as my personal Twitter handle along with a slew of assorted account across the interwebs.

 

I consider myself somewhat of an early mainstream adopter of Twitter because I first signed up back in March of 2008 after seeing it featured on G4’s Attack of the Show. Twitter back in the first quarter of 2008 was quiet and was mostly frequented by tech savvy types. Once Twitter had their Oprah moment and the Arab summer Twitter jumped the shark and the downhill slide began. Twitter has gone on to cut off a lot of their ties to the third-party devs that basically helped Twitter get to the point where they are today.

 

That’s where App.net comes into play. ADN is all about third-party development and ADN is working on the first payout of 200k to devs very soon. First off the similarities to Twitter are undeniable, it’s a parallel universe of sorts. App.net reminds me a lot the feeling of Twitter when I initially signed up in 2008. It’s not clogged up with people, celebs, and companies making a lot of noise.

 

The reason I didn’t sign up for App.net when it was in the 500k fundraising stage, I was saving up for our family summer vacation. I even posted the other day about my hesitation on becoming a member and Founder/CEO Dalton saw my post and replied.

 

 

 

There’s already an impressive offering of third-party apps such as Felix for iOS and Netbot that was released a few days ago also for iOS which made a huge splash and it seemed membership boomed that day as a direct result of the app’s release. I’m using the OS X app  Wedge on my MacBook Air and it rocks! I’m excited to see what the coming months and the third-party devs have in store for App.net so if you have $36 bucks to spend annually I suggest you head over to App.net and join the conversation minus the spam bots and noisy chatter that clogs up Twitter.

 

Here’s a screen grab of my user profile on App.net

 

 

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#SuperSocialBowl

 

Over the past few years I’ve observed more usage of social media to enhance Super Bowl commercials. This year it seems like every commercial had it’s own #hashtag. I saw a tweet from someone who noticed the lack of Facebook links as a whole. I believe this is happening because hashtags are far easier to remember than a url to a Facebook page. A lot of people watched the Super Bowl this year mainly for the commercials. Mashable.com for instance did a live blog to document all of the commercials. Overall I felt this year’s batch of commercials lacked the comedy and punch of those of years past. The Doritos spot with the guy and the dog was hands down my favorite commercial this year. The ownership of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets has seen quite a lot of growth. This makes internet apps such as Twitter and Facebook much easily accessible while you’re watching tv so people are more likely to visit the company’s site right after the $3.5 million commercial airs.

I’d like to see stats of how many people actually scanned the QR code on the Go Daddy.com commercial, I bet it was hardly anyone. I honestly think using a QR code in a commercial is a terrible idea. It makes about as much sense as using a QR code on a billboard that you see while you’re driving down the street. QR codes take some time to focus and scan properly so this is why I say this. Depending on the smart phone you own the scanner requires the user to accurately fit the QR code within the screen to scan. I previously had a Blackberry 9650 and it was quite difficult to scan a QR code. My iPhone 4S scans within five seconds or less.

It seemed Anheuser-Busch was more focused on the Kanye West “Runaway” backed commercial for it’s “new” 6.0% ABV Bud Light Platinum than to run more funny commercials for regular Bud Light that have been so hilarious in years past. I read tweets regarding Anheuser-Busch’s weak commercial showing from people in PR / social media who were watching each commercial closely to critique and analyze it.

The smartest marketing strategy award goes to Coca-Cola and their multiple tie in using the lovable polar bears. If you visited CokePolarBowl.com (which now redirect to their official You Tube page) throughout the game you could observe the real-time reactions of the polar bears to the events as they unfolded. The three commercial spots for Coca-Cola of course featured the polar bears that even worked in tandem with the Coke Polar Bowl live online stream. On Twitter, you could follow the comments of polar bears labeled NY_Bear and NE_Bear from the official Coca-Cola Twitter account. Ad agencies need to take notice of the Coca-Cola campaign and see how they executed flawlessly. This shows that Super Bowl commercials will continue to push people from their tv ad to the internet in order to get the most bang for their advertising buck. This makes it easier to get potential customers to go ahead and make that impulse buy.

Klout

How influential are you on the internet? That is the question Klout is trying to answer. I joined Klout when I was invited to their Beta after discovering their site through a start up list blog I read. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the site at first since you could only link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to it. I’m not a big fan of Facebook so I hardly use my account. On the other hand, Twitter is where it’s at for me. I’ve been a heavy user of Twitter since 2008 under various handles but jason_. I’ve watched Klout grow and the media attention increase as the months go by. As your Klout score increases you unlock perks made available through certain advertisers. So far I’ve grabbed the perk for the TNT show Falling Skies, where I received a cool survival package of a army compass, army canteen, army field nap satchel, and army style cap and this stuff isn’t cheaply made either. The other perk I snagged was an invite to the U.S. release of Spotify. I’ve enjoyed this perk quite a bit and I was even able to earn a full month of the premium service when I got five people to sign up under my referral link.
Klout now allows  you to link your Klout account to your Twitter, Facebook,LinkedInFoursquareYou TubeInstagramtumblr.BloggerLast.fm, andFlickr accounts. I’ve seen where connections to Google +Quorayelp,posterous, and WordPress are coming soon. Each connection you make to your Klout account will increase your influence therefore increasing your overall Klout score. As you see I’ve got each one tied to my Klout account with the exception of Instagram because I don’t own an iPhone yet, which will change soon. Recently,  I’ve read where Klout is being used by hiring managers to find talent to gauge the applicant’s social media influence.

Your Klout account is broken down into the following:
Score Analysis – Your Score – The Klout Score measures influence on a scale of 1 to 100.
Network Influence – Network indicates the influence of the people in your True Reach.
Amplification Probability – Amplification indicates how much you influence people.
True Reach – True Reach is the number of people you influence.

Klout also provides the user with the following information:

Topics – these are the topics that Klout feels you’re influential about to your connections.
Influencers – shows who you influence and who influences you.
Lists – You can build a list of people on Klout – for example I havehttp://klout.com/#/JoeFernandez – who is the CEO and Cofounder of Klout on my list that I just started yesterday,
Klout Style – You are a Specialist – You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.
Achievements – So far I’ve managed to earn the Klout OG – “You’ve been around the block with us and then some. Thanks for being there in the early days and sticking it out. Just kick it a while longer and see how far we go. Or else…” and

Summer of Klout – “Way to go! Your Klout Score braved the dog days of summer and still came out on top! Maybe it’s time for  a vacation?”

 If you wish to display your Klout score on your blog or website you can grab a widget from here http://widgets.klout.com/

 


Currently my Klout style is…

 

Your Klout style will vary as your Klout score goes up or in some cases down. I use a handy Klout extension for Google Chrome that displays the Klout score for each person / company in your Twitter feed as shown in the screen shot below.

I can see how companies can easily utilize Klout to market new products via Klout perks to those who are more influential across the internet. It’s quite entertaining to see just how much what you say and do on the internet can determine your Klout score in either direction. Klout has made me think much more about the content I post and how I go about doing it as well. I suppose only time will tell if Klout will continue to be a benchmark for social media influence.

Twitter

Twitter has revolutionized the way and speed in which we obtain news and information about people we know as well as notable figures in different fields such as sports, movies, television, technology, and world government just to name a few. It’s totally changed the method in which breaking news is announced worldwide. I had no idea when I first signed up how hooked I would become on the site and how much I would depend on it to view majority of my web content daily.

One night in March of 2008 while watching Attack of the Show on G4, Kevin Pereira mentioned a unique site that he was using and wanted to share it with the viewers. That night Kevin introduced viewing audience to Twitter. I had previously signed up for Plurk and was unimpressed so I abandoned my account. I was curious about Twitter because Kevin spoke so highly of the site that night so I headed over there and signed up under the name @microblogger (which I no longer use). Under my original account I managed to accumulate around 9,900 tweets under that account before I deleted it and switched over to my current handle. Originally when I signed up for my second account my Twitter handle was @jasoncroberts but sometime later I was able to snag @jason_ because it was a dormant account because @jason already belonged to Jason Calacanis. I simply asked @Support if I could switch my account over and they approved and ported all my tweets over too. I definitely grabbed a great piece of digital real estate and I’ve enjoyed my experience on Twitter a lot more since the switch.

 

 

In the short time of three years and four months I’ve witnessed the exponential growth of Twitter and it’s been an amazing ride so far. At first I was a tad bit skeptical at first when I signed up because it just wasn’t that busy of a site like it is today. Now I laugh to myself when I hear people that are Twitter newbies say that it’s a waste of time and I’ll never use my account then a month later they’re completely addicted to the site. To a novice internet user I can see how Twitter could be overwhelming and quite confusing with retweets, url shorteners, etc. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity of the Twitter and that I don’t have to write a long involved statement, I can just tweet out 140 characters of goodness at a time.

The day I felt that Twitter had arrived as a commercially accepted tool for communication and for media usage was on January 15, 2009 when Janis Krums aka @jkrums tweeted this Twitpic with the quote:

“There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”

Janis Krums was of course talking about the now famous picture he snapped that shows US Airways Flight 1549 sitting in the Hudson River which went viral and spread like wildfire across the web in no time. The fact that Krums beat every national news outlet to the punch with his picture proved how valuable Twitter can be. Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and crew were hailed as heroes and the story was a sensation for months to come. I was in amazement how fast Twitter allowed information to be shared and how far behind the news networks were.

 

#Hashtags are an integral part to the success of Twitter. #Hashtags when used properly allow you to track a conversation on Twitter and it makes it easily searchable. A perfect example of this is when in mid 2009 when the #iranelection story broke on Twitter the world watched their monitors closely as each bit of information trickled in from the few on the ground in Iran that were still able to transmit their tweets and pictures. Late 2010 early 2011 Twitter was a driving force of communication that helped to spark the revolution in #Egypt when the people demanding that former Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak step down after being in power since October 1981. I learn a tremendous amount from the various sources of articles and snippets of information that are available. Twitter keeps me alerted to various happenings around the country and around the globe.

Twitter quickly replaced my RSS feeds because I’m able to follow everyone or every source of what interests me on the internet and in real life. I’m a firm believer of cycling through my list of people that I follow to give my timeline a fresh perspective. I tend to mainly unfollow accounts that have become inactive since I started following them or others ones with poor content. Your timeline can quickly become flooded with too much information if you follow too many users so being selective about who you follow is very important.

Spammers were far a few between in 2009 when I first signed up but as Twitter’s popularity grew it seemed that spammers took to the site like crazy. I love the Block and Report … for spam options that Twitter provides the user and I use them both frequently. I’m always extremely cautious when clicking on a shortened url unless it’s from a trusted, verified, official Twitter account. You can easily be redirected into a scam site that can hijack your Twitter log in so I suggest you think before you click on what you think is the hot trending topic url.

Without a doubt Twitter has quickly become one important piece to the modern method in which we communicate. Twitter makes brands who provide online customer service like @ComcastCares easily accessible. The account is now managed by Bill Gerth but it was originally established by Frank Eliason. When my Comcast internet had issues this past May I actually contacted the Comcast Cares account and Bill helped to expedite the process and made my ticket a corporate escalation which was eventually resolved. Other companies have taken notice of Comcast’s success and now provide excellent customer service on Twitter. Twitter also allows the average person to interact and contact celebrities, professional athletes an news media personalities and many other interesting people.

The dreaded Fail Whale

In the early days of Twitter the Fail Whale (as seen above) was a common site due to strain on the servers from the mass of traffic spikes. The afternoon that Michael Jackson passed was something to see internet wide. I recall reading my Twitter feed at work and I was totally shocked to see the headline about Michael. Twitter users are infamous for killing famous people off early even when they’re perfectly alive and breathing. The most recent victim is Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

In the coming years it will be interesting to see what direction @jack guides Twitter into. I’ve seen reports of advertisements coming soon to user time lines very soon. I wonder how the user base will respond to them once they start showing up? The current promoted trending topics are off to the side and are easy to be ignored. With the mass of tech related companies in line to go public I wonder how long down the road it will be before Twitter decides to file for their initial public offering (IPO). Linked In had a successful IPO and Facebook looks to have a huge IPO in 2012 so I personally feel that it will be just a matter of time before Twitter follows suite. The future appears very bright for Twitter as long as they continue to stay true to their original mission and don’t let advertisers ruin the site.