So, we’re all tired of hearing about Twitter, right? Well, strap yourself in because it isn’t going away anytime soon. It seems that ComScore showed a 6.7% worldwide rise in Twitter visitors in September. This amounts to 58.4 million visitors, and a 949% increase in the last twelve months. That’s a lot of tweets. Curiously, US visits have been flat since June.
None of this data includes applications that only access the API, so these figures may even be underreported. While these numbers seem staggering, they are nothing compared to Facebook, with its 411 million visitors in September.
Twitter’s best bet is the recent deal with Bing and Google to provide its “firehose” of tweets to the search engines. This should drive more hits to the social networking site. Even with the help of Google, can Twitter avoid being crushed by the behemoth that is Facebook?
Hard times come quickly for social networking sites. One minute you’re on top, popping open bottles of vintage sparkling mineral water and picking up the tab for another round of tofu burgers. The next you are head-in-hands wonder how it all went so horribly wrong. Today’s patient on the couch is MySpace, with parent company News Corp. none to pleased with what’s going on.
Jonathan Miller, who keeps the watcher’s eye on News Corp.’s Internet services, put it pretty plainly: "The thing you see in this space more than anything else is that if you don't keep innovating and moving forward, you get in trouble. You can't stop. And MySpace stopped." MySpace’s stopped and, since being number one in 2006, has been outpaced by more popular alternatives: Facebook and Twitter.
Time, again, to reinvent the wheel, according to Miller, and return to what MySpace does best: music and gaming. MySpace recently purchased the online music provider iLike. And it has announced a new music video service which will allow labels and artists to see how well their music is doing on MySpace.
To expand gaming opportunities, Miller believes MySpace must open up its system to external developers. He also hinted that some paid premium services to be in the offing.
"Everybody in the company is upset that we didn't keep going when we had the real momentum. Regaining momentum is always much harder than keeping momentum going,” Miller stated. That, and keeping an eye on your rearview mirror to see who’s about to overtake you.
Sid Meier plans to take advantage of Facebook’s social networking for a new entry into his Civilization game franchise. Dubbed Civilization Network, Meier states that the game “will allow you to join together with your friends to create the world’s most powerful, richest, smartest, or just plain coolest civilization.” Better yet, the game will exist in a “fully persistent environment,” and you’ll be able to play as much as you like for free.
Meier says that testers will be needed for a closed beta, and that the full game is expected to launch in 2010. You can join Meier’s Facebook page for updates.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, was quick to offer some assurances about what would, and what would not become public. According to Ms. Sandberg “only people who have agreed to share their updates with everyone on the web will have their updates streamed to Bing.”
Facebook, which tallies over 45 million status updates per day from 30 million unique visitors, is following a path forged by Twitter, which earlier announced a deal with Microsoft and Google to make tweets searchable. Unlike the Twitter deal, however, Facebook says no money will be changing hands between it and Microsoft.
We knew Facebook was planning to overhaul it's "gift shop" feature, but what we didn't know -- nor did anyone else, it seems -- was to what extent. Speculation suggested it would mainly transform into a music-swapping front, and while music is part of the gift shop, there's also a whole bunch more.
"We now are unveiling a newly stocked and redesigned Gift Shop, with new categories of gifts and additional gifts for charity, music, and sports from developers," Facebook's Will Chen wrote in a blog. "With so many gifts available, we also introduced a new design to make it easeir for you to browse and purchase gifts with different gift categories."
U.S. residents will be able to purchase songs as gifts for friends in the "Music and MP3s" section, which will contain over 8 million songs through a partnership with Lala, Chen said. Web songs will cost a single credit (equivalent to 10 cents), while downloadable, DRM-free tunes will run 9 credits each.
In the sports section, Facebook buffs will have access to officially licensed gifts from the NBA, MLS, and several college sports teams.
Facebook's gift shop will also deal with "Real Gifts," "Charity," "Virtual Gifts," and "E-Cards."
If you visit this site, odds are, you’re a power user. You’ve listened to your mother/sister/grandmother drone on about their progress in Sorority Life II: Vampire Farmville or whatever it’s called, but you were too busy thinking about real games to care. Real games like Sid Meier’s Civilization… which is coming to Facebook in 2010.
“I wanted to let you know we’ll soon be looking for beta testers to help us develop a unique new way to play Civilization. Ever since we finished Civilization Revolution last year, I’ve been looking at ways of expanding the Civ gameplay experience to include solo, competitive and cooperative play to take advantage of the uniqueness of social networks. We’re calling this project Civilization Network and the full game will be available next year on Facebook,” said series creator Sid Meier.
The sure-to-be horrendously addictive game will allow players to join hands or cross swords en route to establishing the ultimate civilization. Nothing’s off-limits here – not even the vilest, most underhanded form of warfare ever conceived: Facebook notification spam.
Blech. Thank goodness for Twitter. Oh, hey ImaReeLGuRL24576, how are you today?
Microsoft announced today at the Web 2.0 Summit that it would integrate Twitter and Facebook streams into its online search engine, Bing.
So what does this mean to you the average interweb surfer? Well, it’s bringing closer to realization the idea of a “real-time web”. When you search for things now, you will find content that could be days, months, or years old. However, in a real-time web scenario your searches could yield results with up-to-the minute accuracy. Expos with revealing keynotes, product unveilings, and travel information all can benefit from minute-by-minute updates like tweets and Facebook status updates. The Facebook integration is still a work in progress, but twitter results are live as of today.
By the way, did I mention Google also signed the exact same deal with Twitter today? They will be working tweet results into their regular search results over the next few months. They haven’t given any indication that they are working on a deal with Facebook.
It is worth nothing that Facebook and Google do not get along very well. Therefore, hanging on to Facebook exclusively might be Microsoft’s ace-in-the-hole by providing results you can’t get anywhere else, inevitably driving up its market share.
You and I might call it spam, but small businesses who promote their products on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter call it smart advertising. No matter what you call it, don't expect those product plugs to go away any time soon. In an online survey, Internet2Go found that 45 percent of some 2,400 small business respondents with fewer than 100 employees said they use social networking tools to push their services or wares.
"For these guys, costs was a big factor," said Greg Sterling, an analyst for Internet2Go. "They either need to hire a dedicated person or need more resources and don't have it.
We're talking really small businesses here, as most of the respondents -- 8 out of 10 -- had four or fewer employees and annual marketing budgets less than $5,000. Nearly half of all respondents said they spend less than $1,000 on advertising and marketing, so it makes sense they would flock to Facebook and other essentially free venues.
"We are going to see more and more of this behavior from other small businesses because it's free and you don't have to have expertise to set up these pages," Sterling said.
There's been a lot of talk of net neutrality as of late, mainly because the FCC plans to release details of its proposed net neutrality rules this Thursday. Last week the FCC was bombarded with letters frkom net-neutrality opponents urging new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to take a cautious approach toward the new rules, but not everyone feels this way. The FCC also received another letter, this one in support of net neutrality, signed by several prominent Internet company founders.
"We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation, and global competitiveness," the group wrote. "An open Internet fuels a competitive and efficient marketplace, where consumers make the ultimate choices about which products succeed and which fail. This allows businesses of all sizes, from the smallest start-up to larger corporations, to compete, yielding maximum economic growth and opportunity."
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Evan Williams added their signature to the letter, as did Digg founder Kevin Rose. So did Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, Google's Eric Schmidt, and a bunch of other recognizable names included among the 24 CEOs and Internet company founders.
Maybe you're not afraid to fly, but chances are, someone in family or circle of friends probably is. So that means every time you take to the skies, someone out there is worried about you, Put your loved ones at ease by allowing them to follow your flight on Facebook or Twitter.
The updates come courtesy of the new MySkyStatus service, which works with both of the aforementioned social networking sites. All you have to do is input your account information and list your flight details, and MySkyStatus will take care of the rest. While you stretch out in First Class for a mile high nap or pop a pair of earphones in your ears to drown out that whiny brat in Coach, MySkyStatus will keep busy periodically updating your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
DownloadSquad reports that there's quite a bit of branding associated with the service, which includes "powered by Lufthansa" with every status update, so you'll have to decide if that's enough to turn you off to the service or not.