Location based apps developments.

Foursquare and Gowalla are continously improving and updating their services. Latest news:

Foursquare is cracking down on cheaters. If your phone’s GPS determines that you’re not close to where you want to check in, you are not rewarded any points or mayorships.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with my iPhone, it won’t let me check into my Office, even though I am sitting in it. Looking at Google Maps, though, it seems that my GPS does indeed place me correctly.

This is a good move nevertheless. In the last month during my trip to Thailand I could well check into locations here in Hamburg whenever I wanted, enabling me to keep up the battle for the mayorship of your office here…

Gowalla in the meantime adds realtime feeds and activity streams based on the PubSubHubbub protocoll. This should enbale much more interesting mashup opportunities (since it is apparently faster than the user-specific RSS feeds that Foursquare uses). If this is the case it could yield an important differentiator for Gowalla, which to me seems to desparatly need something to effectively compete with the larger competitor Foursquare.

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2010 technology and social media predictions meta list.

Every year around this time one can find many predictions about the new year in terms of tech & social media trends. So in order to get an overview myself, I have started this post with a collection and summary of the various predictions I could find:

  • Jackie Huba predicts that Social Media will get boring and offers an amusing „in“ and „out“ list. Background fact: Social Media will become a regular part of daily business (and hence boring).
  • Pete Blackshaw wrote in an Ad Age column that social media marketers will need to embrace three critical words in 2010: Serve, Shrink and Simplify. Since you need to log on to Ad Age, you can read some excerpts on Pete’s blog. The main idea: service is the new marketing, our screens are shrinking, make things easer/reduce complexity for your customers.
  • The groundswell team lists 6 predictions, but you get an excerpt. Nevertheless, you can read the topline predictions on the groundswell blog. Overarching theme is, according to the blog, that social technology will be a mainstram part of what marketers do.
  • eMarketer lists 12 predictions for 2010. The insights include „future monetization models, the effect of transparency on advertising, social and search, mobile, social commerce, public relations, social advertising, Twitter, video and mom/pop internet usage“.
  • TrendsSpotting Blog has compiled a list of trends from several social media experts who send their input in 140 characts, hat tipping to twitter.
  • Read/WriteWeb has two different kinds of lists: General predictions and social media predictions. The general predictions consists of the views of 9 contributors from rww and cover a wide variety of topics concerning social media, mobile, cloud computing, Google/Twitter/Facebook/bing, etc. The social media predictions list 10 ways social media will change in 2010, i.e. how it will become part of everyday life, being increasingly used on mobile devices, ROI will become more important (and will be measured), etc.
  • Mitch Joel predicts, that 2010 will be the year that we shift from the advertising age to the marketing age. Strictly speaking, he writes, it’s not a prediction, it is something that is happening right now.
  • The NY Times „bits“ blog writes about 2010 being the year of the tablet PC. Quite a few companies seem to be on the verge of presenting their versions, but everyone is, of course eager for Apple to release theirs!
  • Mashable has a post about 2010 being the year of the data. Data that should and will be used by every profession – journalism, marketing, SEO, Advertising, PR, etc. User data (static and behavioural data, I suppose) is becoming ever more important. Somehow I don’t think this is a trend just for 2010. It has been going on in 2009 already and will stay with us forever…
  • Pete Cashmore of Mashable wrote a special for CNN Tech about the 10 web trends to watch in 2010. the keywords are: Realtime, location, augmented reality, content curation, cloud computing, internet TV and Movies, convergence conundrum, social gaming, mobile payments, fame abundance and privacy scarcity.

As I find more predictions, I will add them (let me know if you know of any).

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Social media trends 2010

You know it’s getting closer to a years end, when people start forecasting trends for the following year. This time it’s really early. It’s only the beginning of November and the first selection of six trends is already online.

David Armano writes about these 6 trends:

  1. Social Media begins to look less social: as more people contribute ever more content on social networks, updates-fatigue sets in and people filter out other users for reduction of clutter. I agree, and I would like to add: social media will have less farmville and mafia wars…
  2. Corporations look to scale: companies leveraging social technology to better serve customers, e.g. Best Buys Twelpforce
  3. Social Business becomes social play: playful social (mobile) applications with a competitive component for users are used for (local) marketing.
  4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced): the title says it all.
  5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline: Due to the IT departments locking down  social sites, people will increasingly turn to their smartphones during (or instead of) coffee breaks.
  6. Sharing no longer means e-mail: Well, that is kind of obvious in times of facebook and twitter…
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A List of Brands using Twitter

A really extensive list of brands utilizing twitter can be found at this location, called the twitter brand index. A lot more, than I thought, and a lot more US-focused (for obvious reasons) than I would have liked.

This at least solves the question: is twitter already relevant for marketing? It does not yet solve the question: is it effective for marketing? But that question will probably only be answered much later, once the user base of twitter has reached a critical mass.

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Twitter: why complain about the failures of a free service?

Twitter has had quite a few technical problems lately. Some people take it the humorous way, some even programmed a website where you can check whether twitter is down or not. (reminds me of isitchristmas.com some people have way too much time…)

Twitter has become very popular. More than one million people are tweeting, some are updating their status many times a day. Many people have started using it as an instant messaging tool at the same time. Works fine, and you can even use it seamlessly on the go, on your mobile phone.

But since twitter started having their problems more frequently, people have started to complain. Of course it’s a bummer, if you can’t update your status (even though I can happily pass on quite a few of the statusses some people publish all the time). And it’s even worse if you’re depending on the IM feature of twitter. But heck, if you need a better IM tool, get skype, msn, icq or any of those!

So far, twitter does not take any money for their services, nor is there any advertising financing it. I really do wonder how they make their money? Is it just with the inbound SMS messages? Do they actually include a margin on top of what you need to pay for SMS anyway? I wouldn’t know, because I am sending my twitter SMS from Germany to the UK (where the only twitter number in Europe is available) and I wouldn’t know how much regular SMS would cost in contrast to the twitter SMS.

My question is: can/should you really complain so loudely about the failures of a free service? If their business model was already advertising financed, or if they would charge for their services, I could understand all those people complaining.

But this way, I think people should rather use and enjoy it, while it works, and if it doesn’t, be patient. In Germany, we have an expression saying: „einem geschenkten Gaul schaut man nicht ins Maul“. (Means, basically: if someone gives you a horse as a present, don’t bother checking for its health.)

PS: as I write this, twitter is down once again.

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