My new home… mohangulati.com

 

Social Media Life - Workstation

Image by the tartanpodcast via Flickr

 

I have started a new blog under my new domain: mohangulati.com.  I will use this site as my home base and write articles and posts about social media and mobile technologies from here.  I will use this existing blog to write about more technical topics related to development.  The new site is still very much work under construction and will morph throughout the next months.  Feel free to share your comments and feedback with me.

 

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Where am I?

The Rainbow After the Storm

Hi there.  I have been silent on this blog for about a week now and things are not about to change.  I will be moving to a new domain and starting a blog directed towards social and mobile technologies only.  It’s still not ready but as soon as its viewable I will make a post.

Cheers and thanks for reading.

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Private Conversations the new old Social Experience

For me personally I was attracted to Facebook because it represented a way to stay in touch with many people in a passive way.  I also could re-connect with old friends from High School or University that I otherwise would have not really kept in touch with.  However, a funny thing started happening.  I started finding myself conversing regularly with selective groups of people.  Some were work colleagues, other were close friends and of course family.  To make things even more complicated sometimes there were messages that I would leave on my friends walls that were not intended for work colleagues or even family.  I resorted to old fashion email to start communicating those ideas.  Also when it came to photos I found myself doing the same.  I would post a selected few photos on Facebook and email the rest to my family.  This fragmented experience exists because Facebook does not support the notion of private conversations with selected groups of people.

I think private conversations will become a core feature of our online social experience.  There are multiple smaller online communities already supporting this.  Two examples that come to my mind immediately are “Plum” and the “Fridge“.  Both are great services and worthy of giving a try.  The truth is that if  Facebook, Google, or even Twitter start to support this notion the smaller sites will have to seek out a more differentiated user experience.  For me this could be achieved by making the online conversation more connected and real.  Making conversations real-time by using a mobile app and understanding and delivering user context will create a more intimate conversation.

Updated

Its almost uncanny how this works, but Google just launched a new feature on Orkut, their social network site which is popular in Brazil and India. Its popularity is actually on par or greater then that of Facebook in India.  Any guess what the new feature is?  Yup, Groups.  This provides a way to share photos, messages and other social objects with selected friends.  I also love the tag line: “Your not always the same person. Why should it be different on the web?”  Here’s the promotional video:

Here are some stories that covered this topic in more detail:

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Why Open Social is important to the Social Experience

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are well-known and used daily.  We network with family, friends and even strangers through these mediums.  The motivation behind the usage varies greatly from individual to individual. I really do not want to get into the debate about motivation, or even the lack of it.  At least not in this post.  As we use these sites we start building up some very valuable resources that social networks harness to learn more about you.  These resources are photos that we post, message that we send, and the contacts that we have (aka our friends).

An example of a social network diagram.

Image via Wikipedia

Open Social represents a platform to share those social objects amongst different networks.  That means more than simply our status updates appearing on multiple  social networks.  This already exists.  For example my twitter update appears on my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles already today.  Open Social will provide a way to exchange your activity stream with another service, or third-party service.  It also allow for exchange of information about your friends.  For the user there are multiple value adds one of which is not to have the need to invite my friends into a different network but rather have them imported and accessible for free.

Information Exchange

This exchange of information which is facilitated through the “Opensocial” platform, will enrich the social experience on the web.  The user will be more easily able to communicate with their friends on multiple networks and have functionality that make the experience about the individual.  For example, I started using a new service called Fridge.  It is a relatively unknown service that allows a user to have private conversations with selected friends.  If that service could import  Facebook friends or Google contacts then the user could easily have a people picker in Fridge and start conversing on his private wall really quickly.  Since this integration is built into other social networks notifications could be sent to network specific mail as well as email.  The experience becomes immediately more richer.  Also the new service earns a trust factor that would not be there otherwise.

Why would Facebook or Google do this?

Facebook and Google and other social giants like Twitter will also benefit from the openness.  If you are having your private conversation on a different social networks it will not matter to Facebook or Google as long as they have access to it.  The networks can still abide by the privacy agreements and learn about you and your likes and preferences through the life cycle of your social objects.  This is what they are after anyways.  Using this information they understand more about their user and provide a more personalized and richer experience on their own sites.   Yes this will also include advertising but the advertising will be more pervasive and less intrusive.  I strongly believe that advertising that is directly aimed at the user and improves the users quality of life will be welcomed with open arms.

Geeky References

I have on purpose stayed away from mentioning the geeky side of things. If you are really interested in learning more about the Open Social API’s and protocols which are cutting edge and enabling the next generation of social tools, here is my recommended list:

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Excellent Info-graphic on different Social Sites and Mobile

Found this info-graphic on Mashable.com It shows how the number of  users on each social network and approximately how many of those users are using mobile clients.  It’s an excellent visualization and I think it speaks for itself.  The trend for the future is definitely mobile.

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Facebook “Places” Promotional Video, Emotionally evoking

Facebook Places has been blogged about and blogged about.  I tried to resist the temptation to post anything about it.  However, after watching the promotional video from Facebook I was forced to join the rest.  The thing is that Facebook’s promotional video is really good.  It does not try to say how great Facebook is, rather focuses more on the social impact  “Facebook Places” will have on its users.  It really plays up the emotional side really well.  It is done so well that I am tempted to say that it has a similar quality to Apple’s ad campaigns.  Especially, when making a direct comparison with the recent “Face Time “ads that Apple made.  Both  play up the relationship, emotional side of their services.

Well take a look for yourself and tell me what you think?

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SMS: Over 5 Trillion messages in 2009

This just amazes me.  I just read a blog post stating that 5 trillion SMS messages are sent around the world in 2009.  I can only imagine that number will be for 2010.  That is just huge and it makes sense.  Almost every mobile phone has this service.  Its everywhere and anywhere and makes communication easier and easier.  This has to be a major cash cow for mobile service-providers.  I also found this really cool infomatic from Mashable which summarizes the use of SMS in the U.S. and the world.

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