Twitter Needs a Community Manager

After today’s and the last few days’ drama around Twitter, I think they need a Community Manager.

While there management has been kind of accessible, they really need someone who’s smack dab in the middle of the folks that use the product on a daily basis.

They need someone who’ll communicate constantly what’s going on and help even more so maintain this relationship.

Twitter is obviously a tool that folks depend on so it’s extra important to give special attention to the community and it’s feelings about it.

It’s all too easy for a community to turn on a product and move somewhere else.

PS – No, I’m not offering myself for the job.  I’m very happy at Clearspring.

Personalized Start Pages vs. Feed Readers

So I’m curious… how many of you use personalized start pages (i.e. Net Vibes, iGoogle, and PageFlakes), feed readers (i.e. Google Reader, Bloglines), or both?

I use both.

My feed reader (Google Reader) allows me to keep up with my world on a very micro level.  I may check it once or twice a day. It tells me what’s going on with everyone from those I’m really close with to those who I’m not.  It’s great for something with more then 35 feeds.

My start page (Net Vibes) helps me keep up with my world on a very macro level.   I check this all the time.  It’s usually open all the time.  It tells me about what’s going on with with the people and things that are the MOST important to me.  It’s great for less then 35 feeds.

I spend a lot of time sifting through fire houses of information.  So I feel that I’ve gotten good and getting through my 500+ RSS feeds.  I realize that I’m like less then 1 % of the population.

I’d bet around 15% of people feel comfortable with more then 35 feeds.  I’d say about 85% are comfortable with less then 35 feeds.

So… yeah, what do you think? What tools do you use and for what?

The Guitar Hero Widget – A Great Teaser for the Video Game

A lot of my friends have been talking about the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games but I haven’t really gotten into them yet.

The other day I found the Guitar Hero Widget over on one of the Wired blogs.  Inside the widget, they give a mini version of the game.  It includes three songs.  It’s really cool.  Instead of using a plastic guitar, you’re using your keyboard but none the less it’s fun.

It gives me a taste of the game and would get me potentially excited about buying it.

Making a widget is SOOOO genius for a video game company.   If i’m a big fanboy of the video game, I’d send this widget to my friends who were yet to be converted so that they too could get a taste.  It empowers word of mouth advertising, which is the most powerful advertising technique.

So… Go play with the widget.

(Note: I would have embeded it here but I use and they don’t allow me to embed third-party flash. *frown* )

Browsers Supporting WAI ARIA :-)

Just read on Gez Lemon’s site Juicy Studio that with WebKit’s recent announcement of support for WAI-ARIA, all the major browsers are now doing something to support it.   This ROCKS!

For those of you not familiar with WAI-ARIA, it’s a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for making all those ajaxy fancy user-interface components (like tree menus or alerts) accessible to people with disabilities.

Last year at a W3C conference, I got to see WAI-ARIA demoed by a blind gentelmen.  It was WAY cool.  I hope all browsers move quickly to suppor this as much as possible.

Robert Scoble Did A Redesign. Who Cares!

Yesterday, Robert Scoble announced the redesign of his blog.  That’s awesome. My question is: if he wouldn’t have said anything, how many people would have noticed?

I go back to my thesis: No one cares about your Web site.

I care about the content and functionality that your site provides me.  I experience the Web through feeds in Google Reader and widgets in NetVibes.  I do 90% of my enjoying of content in those worlds.  I typically don’t notice your fancy designs or user interfaces.

We’re moving away from a Web page world to a Web of data that gets aggregated together.

The Web is getting broken into pieces.  If you write interesting things, I’ll grab the piece of the Web site that is your content (your RSS feed) and put it where it’s more useful to me.

What do you think?  How often do you look at Web sites vs. feeds in Google Reader?

Start Using WCAG 2.0 Right Now!; Yep, It Advanced to the Next Stage!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that one topic I’m passionate about is making the Web accessible to people with disabilities.  We all depend on the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) guidance via the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to help us through the process.

Well… WCAG 2.0 has just advanced to the next stage of the standards development process, Candidate Recommendation. What they need you to do is to go use it.

This weekend, get together with your friends and convert all of your sites and your blogs to being WCAG 2.0 conformant.  It won’t take that much work.  When you’re done, write about how it went.

Have you converted yet?  What do you think?  Let’s make our sites accessible so everyone can use them and access them.

Contact Forms Feel Like Black Holes

I’m really starting to have a dislike of contact forms.  You want to get in touch with someone or with a company and the only option that you have is a contact form.

Contact forms really feel like I’m sending my thoughts into this ominous black hole where nothing comes out of it.

As a company if you wanna be more inviting of conversation with your customers, don’t force people to e-mail  Give your customer a person to get in touch with… an actual person.

Yes, you’ll say “oh but I’ll get spam.”  Well, spammers are smart enough that you’ll get spam regardless.  Plus, spam filters are good enough that it really shouldn’t be a problem any more.  I get spam once a week.

So… be welcoming!  Put an e-mail address for a real person on your Web site.

Audio Interviews of Athletes on the 1936 Nazi Olympics (in a Widget)

The Nazi Olympics Audio Widget

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a brought back a popular exhibit entitled, “Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936.”  It chronicles the history around  the time when Adolf Hitler was able to get the Summer Olympics to be hosted in Berlin, Germany.

In addition to have an exhibit at the physical museum building (which I haven’t checked out yet), they have a Web site which carry’s a lot of the same content.

One of the REALLY powerful portions of the online content is audio interviews with athletes of that era and the decisions they made or were made for them around their participation in the games.

If like me, you found the content to be powerful, you can easily share the audio content with your friends because it is in a widget.  They use our Clearspring widget platform for distribution of the widget. 🙂 (Full Disclosure: I work for Clearspring and used to work with a team member at the USHMM.)

Above is a screenshot of the widget.  I would have embedded it right in here but doesn’t allow the embedding of content from third-party sites, unless you’re a few special sites.  *sigh*

Regardless, this is a GREAT example of breaking your Web site a part into pieces and allowing people to spread amongst their communities.  I’m anxious to hear what kind of results the Holocaust Museum gets.

TECH cocktail DC 2 was NUTS!

The Crowd at Tech Cocktail DC 2

Last night geeks from across Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia (DC), and other parts of the country converged upon a club near Dupont Circle, MCCXXIII (1223), for TECH cocktail DC 2.

It was PACKED. I heard from someone that 350 tickets were given out to the event.

It was so cool to have so many of my friends in one place at one time. 🙂 Kudos to Frank Gruber and Eric Olson for putting on a great event.  I hope they do it in DC again soon.

(Great photo taken by Jason Garber)

The Importance of Shareability

One question I get asked a lot is “how do I make my content/app/video viral?”  Everyone wants to know the formula or the secret sauce.  While I can’t tell you the formula (because I don’t think there is one), I do think there is a pretty foundation element that you’ll have to have.

If you want your content, to go viral it has to be shareable. People have to be able to pass it from one person to the next.

This week Flickr has made the move of making their content more easily shareable.  In the upper right portion of each page, there is now a big “Share This” button.  You can quickly e-mail the photo, grab a link, embed it, or blog about it.