My new home…


Social Media Life - Workstation

Image by the tartanpodcast via Flickr


I have started a new blog under my new domain:  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.


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 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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Social Networks in Entertainment: Get Glue

I went to the movies last week on a Friday night after a long time.  As I was sitting there waiting for the film to start I noticed how full the movie hall was and how many users were pulling out their smart-phones and using it.  I began to think about the business potential .  Imagine creating a mobile application that could capture this audience and keep them engaged.  I started to have some ideas about what that could be.  So when I got home I started to do some Google vodoo to see if I could find anything that came close to some of my ideas.  While I did not find what I was looking for I did come across a social network that was doing something very interesting in the entertainment area, called “Glue”.  I decided to try it out and well here is my review of the service.

Glue –

I like this social network site which basically allows you to rate movies, TV shows,music, books and even some electronic gear.  Its really easy to use and very addictive.  The barrier to entry is low. The site supports a one-click login through the new Facebook Identity federation button.  By the way I just love this integration feature from Facebook and  I am not worried about privacy issues when it comes to this connivence.  Once you logon to the site you are presented with about 20 items to like or not like which takes you all of two minutes.  At that point I wanted more and I spet almost a half hour on the site before I knew it.  The site rewards users with badges, which really does work and by recognizing users as gurus of a particular topic.  You can delve deeper into the site by giving reviews on movies or providing more detailed ranking on an item that you liked.

The site will make recommendations to you after it learns about your preferences and for the most part I have found the recommendations to contain content that I actually enjoyed and did not know about before.  These are two very important attributes for any social site to keep the user engaged.

The design of the wall site is really simple and uses a lot of white space and big fonts.  This makes reading the content easy but displays very little content on the screen.  To view more content you are forced to scroll down.  Im my personal opinion I would have tighten things up slightly and tied to get a little more content on the Recommendation Wall.

Glue's homepage makes use of a lot of white space as part of its design strategy.

There is also an awesome Google Chrome plugin for the site which when you browse sites like Amazon or Apple Trailers automatically appears as a small dashboard on the bottom of your browser.  The Dashboard allows you to see other people who like that book or trailer that you are watching and gives you the chance to Like! or Not Like! immediately.

The Glue dashboard automatically appears when visiting a site that glue recognizes like Amazon or Apple Trailers allowing you to easily have a social experience and share your like preferences.

I really liked this social startup and I think it is going to do really well.  They also have mobile applications for both the iPhone and for Android phones.  Hope they also bring an app to the Nokia platform soon.  The mobile web page just does not cut it for this day and age.

Glue competes directly with Miso and TunerFish.  I have not used these other sites.  I did visit them and what turned me off immediately was the singularity of their focus.  Both these services focus on TV Shows and no other social object.  I find that a major limitation. I can imagine its just a matter of time till more content is added.  Its just likely that Glue will be much farther ahead by that time.

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Micro-computers on Airplanes and a Futuristic Idea

One of the trends that I see happening as we move into the future is the pervasiveness of computers everywhere.   I also see these computers becoming smaller and smaller and varying in different functionalities.  One such functionality that I envision would be sensors.  These sensors would contain both information and be able to talk to different sensors or computers.  An example use case would solve a pet peve of mine.

Imagine a plugged-in airplane with microsensors talking to our smart phones.

When I fly from Canada to any other country I need to usually fill in a customs card.  I hate doing this.  I hate having to during my flight grab my passport, find a pen, pull down the food tray, and start filling out the card.  The card then asks for the flight information which for some reason I never remember so once again I have to pull out the boarding card and hope I can still find it.

I hate this process and find it really annoying.

With sensors and mobile computers, such as our smart phone why not stream line this process.  Air planes could be pre-programmed with sensors that would have all the flight details such as, the Flight destination, port information, and te flight number.  This way when I board the airplane the sensor could wirelessly communicate with my smart phone fill in the flight information for me automatically.  All my passport and personal detail could be imported into my “virtual mobile custom card application” (VMCCA).  A password would be neeeded or some kind of bio-metric hardware like a fingerprint reader to unlock the personal data.  After all protecting passport details and personal data is still a top priority.

Presto that silly customs card that I needed to fill in comes pre-filled with all relative information.  All I need to do is fill in the purpose of my trip and if I am returning home, how much I spent.  I might also need to enter an address for where I will be staying or fill in the card for multiple family members.  The application would easily integrate with my address book and I could grab all the contact details that I need.  There is very little to no typing needed.  No struggling to find or borrow a pen and no reaching into my bag to grab my passport or boarding card.

When I land I can send this information ahead of time to the custom officiers with a simple click on a “SEND” button and stream line the process.  Imagine that!

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Time Management from Chris Brogan

Just watched this video from Chris Brogan, who I find as both  influential and interesting when it comes to social media.  You can follow him at  This video is his take on Time Management and how we choose to use our time.  Just watch and see.

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