Leo Laporte Leaves Twitter (and the TWiT Army Follows); The Power of Relationships

For those of you who didn’t hear, Leo Laporte has left Twitter for one of the other micro-blogging services Jaiku. According to the latest Net@Night, Leo apparently just received his trademark for TWiT. Part of having a trademark is defending it. By Leo using and promoting Twitter on his shows, he’s causing brand confusion which hurts his ability to hold the trademark.

The real story is about how when Leo Laporte switched to Jaiku, he brought his legend of fans and followers with him. According to Scoble, the service went down last night because it couldn’t handle the TWiT Army. This goes to show that you’re influenced by your relationships in your social network.

We place our trust in and form relationships with celebrities, like Leo Laporte.

Could Leo bring down Twitter? When someone like Leo Laporte does something, a lot of people will follow.

UPDATE: I now have a Jaiku account. Do you?

Facebook is the Online Social Platform

We live in an amazing time. Because of the World Wide Web, people today exist in a networked marketplace. People are not just networked to their information. They are networked to each other.

Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook has quickly become one of the most popular social networking applications on the World Wide Web. According to a recent article in VentureBeat, Facebook gets 1.5 billion page views a day. Facebook is becoming the defacto standard for staying connected with your various relationships in your community.

Facebook isn’t going to be going away any time soon, the fate that most are expecting of MySpace. This is because Facebook has decided to be more then the online representation of the relationships within your social network. Facebook is a platform for conversations within an online community to take place.

Last year, Facebook released an API so that programmers could take advantage of and build upon what Facebbok was offering. This is exciting.

So many social Web applications have been built lately. I can’t even start to name all of the different user accounts that I have signed up for lately. I can’t even start to name all the time times I have had to re-enter all of my different friends into these social networks.

Facebook knows who 90% of my friends are. Why should I try and reinvent the wheel? Why not just build upon Facebook’s existing platform.

Just think how much better Twitter could be. Instead of having to convince all of my friends to sign up for a new service. All they would have to do is use their Facebook account. All of their information would be there and all of the information about who their friends are would be there too.

Is there something scary about having one organization that is so in control of your social network and relationship information? Isn’t this kind of like everyone storing their digital identity with Microsoft via the MSN Passport? It really didn’t fly. Do we need an OpenID-like thing for not just describing you but describing your online community?

Twitter – Blogging with Instant Response

One reason why i’m starting to really dig Twitter is that it allows for blogging with instant responses from your readers. If you have a question about anything, you can ask it of your Twitter followers. If people have an answer, you’ll probably get a response right away.

Being able to tap into your social network and get instant feedback is a pretty powerful feature.

AOL Launches Ficlets – a platform for collaborative story writing

Today, AOL launched Ficlets. The Web application is a platform for users to write short stories. The stories have to be greater than 64 characters but less than 1024 characters. You don’t use Ficlets to write your book. You use ficlets to because you get to collaborate with the world.

Users are encouraged to read other people’s short stories and then build on top of them by either writing a prequel or a sequel. If you find another short story that you like, you can take it in your own direction. Its kind of like the campfire stories that you told to each other growing up and everyone got to tell one part of the story. When you were finished, there was this amazing creative work before you.

It gives you the ability to log into the system using OpenID. I had never used OpenID before. It was surprisingly convenient. I used this blog’s URL as my identifier.

Within Ficlets, you can identify other writers who you want to follow, to be your editor, or to inspire you as a muse.

You can browse through Flickr photos and use them for inspiration.

The best is that all content that is created in Ficlets is under a Creative Commons license.

Feel free to check out my profile and some of the short stories that I have put together.

Ficlets is something that Jason and Cindy have been hinting at (usually calling it ProjectX) for the last couple of months. I’m glad to finally see it launched. I really love the site and I can’t wait to use it more.

What are Digg.com’s Real Numbers?

Digg.com Founder Kevin Rose announced on the company blog that they had just reached their one millionth registered user.

While the one millionth registered user is something to celebrate, it shouldn’t be made to look like Digg.com has one million active users. Registered users doesn’t mean active users. It is irresponsible for Kevin Rose and Digg.com to kinda sorta blur the lines between the two. Digg should release the number of active unique users they have.

I have had a Digg account for a while but I don’t use it that often. The convenience and novelty of Digg.com wore off a long time ago because it was an inefficient way to find the day’s top stories. I would guess that Digg suffers from the ‘try me virus.’ People use it for a few months then leave.

Didn’t all of the Silicon Valley companies learn from all the flack that Linden Labs’ Second Life got for not clarifying that in-world residents doesn’t mean active or unique accounts.

Where is the Clary Shirky investigative journalism when we need it?

Vote for Wash DC for Next Future of Web Apps. Conference

Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

Ryan Carson of Carson Systems has posted a poll for where the next Future of Web Apps. conference should be. Show Washington DC some love and vote for it as the next conference location. It’d be great to bring some Web conferences over to the East coast of the USA.

(Photo by chadh)

Why Ning Will Be Bigger Than Facebook

The blogosphere is buzzing today with the relaunch of Ning. It is a platform for creating social networks. Anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can within minutes have their own social network, just like Facebook, up on the Web.

I created a social network about Fun Things in Washington DC (still need to add more content.) I had it up in minutes. This is way too easy.

I think that Ning will end up being bigger than Facebook. With Facebook recently announcing that it has 18 million accounts, this may be hard to believe. Mark my words, if Ning plays their cards right, it will happen.

If you look at what has been successful in Web 2.0, it has been the services which act as platforms for customization, user self-expression, and user-generated content. Sites like YouTube and MySpace have allowed users to express themselves in new and interesting ways that were never before possible. Ning brings this power of customization and self-expression to your social networks.

MySpace is a mass chaos of users and with Facebook you are tied down to a finite group of larger networks with the ability to create groups which you can’t do as much with. The thing is my social network isn’t the entire world like in MySpace or an entire corporation or university like in Facebook. It is a series of smaller networks that look like a bunch of overlapping circles in a HUGE venn diagram.

With Ning, my real life with many networks of friends and associates can be mirrored in my online life. That is the power of Ning. It is an open platform and can take any shape that you desire.

I could see churches using Ning. How about political campaigns? How about schools? How about small organizations? This would be great for small community groups. The limits are endless.

I need to read more of the documentation. I’d love to map a Ning social network to a domain and use it as the CMS for a Web site. What would be even cooler is if they released it as open-source software like WordPress. *wishfully thinks*

Would you Twitter with me?

Seems like every early adopter in Silicon Valley is buzzing over the web 2.0 application Twitter. It allows you to let you friends and colleagues know what you are up to at any given time. You can communicate through instant messaging, sms, and their Web form.

Obvious Corp., the company who runs Twitter, has just announced that they are abandoning their property Odeo, so that they can focus on Twitter. Is this that big?

I haven’t actually seen any numbers on Twitter usage but I can’t imagine that they have tapped anyone but the early adopter crowd. I could never see my mom using Twitter…at least not yet!

What do you get out of Twitter? It is nice to know what is going on in the lives of my friends but I don’t think that I could ever see Twitter becoming so folded into the day to day aspects of my life… that I would use it to record every single event. Even right now, I go hour or days forgetting to update my Twitter account and I don’t feel bad about it. Experiences go by that I could have recorded but didn’t.

Some people have compared Twitter to away messages within instant messaging applications.  The thing is that away messages tell users when they are unable to chat.   Away messages serve a functional purpose.  What does Twitter do other then just proclaiming what your doing?   What is the functional purpose?  What do I get out of telling the masses when I have lunch?  It seems like Merlin Mann could be correct when he called Twitter “personality spam.”

Twitter is a GREAT mobile live-blogging platform. If I’m at an event and I want to report back what is going on, I can communicate with Twitter via SMS.  I can send short easy messages.  It is much easier then trying to edit a WordPress blog using Windows Mobile Internet Explorer.  It’d be cool if I could group Twitter messages to associate them with the bigger event that I’m reporting from.

Twitter is also a handy way to share a few links with some of your friends.

Godfather of CSS Eric Meyer seems to be grappling with the questions of Twitter.

Anil Dash also points out that Twitter has a better chance of long term success because it has opened itself to allow people to build ontop of it.  It may not be that Twitter in its current iteration is where it reaches mass market success.  It may take someone being really innovative with the platform before everyone starts using it.

Do you Twitter?

My URL is – http://twitter.com/thorpus