Monthly Archives: October 2007

guest post at blogging experiment: strike up a conversation today for a relationship tomorrow

i have written a guest post at ben cook’s blogging experiment:

blogging means different things to different people. for some it is is merely for entertainment, for others it is purely a business venture, but for most people (including me) blogging is about sharing your ‘expertise’ with others, meeting new people, and building relationships. With that in mind, here are what you will find to be quite straightforward steps you can follow to strike a conversation today and build a relationship tomorrow.

please check out the entire article for all 6 steps.

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youtube channel to aggregate every meme

this is a quick announcement to point out a youtube channel that i have been working on. the channel is called everymeme and yes, you guessed it, i’m planning on using the channel to aggregate all the popular internet memes in one place. i have 17 videos uploaded already and am working on adding more. if you find one missing, please point me to it and i will add it right away.

here’s a look at a sampling from the channel:

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stumbleupon toolbar updated twice (3.11 and 3.12)

the stumbleupon toolbar got a couple of updates this weekend. before we look at the details of the update, here’s a look at the new toolbar:

the single best new feature in the toolbar is the integrated stumblethru option. previously stumblethru was only acessible from the dedicated stumblethru page or by actually navigating to the main page of the site you wanted to stumblethru.

here’s what the updates includes:

versions 3.12

  • fixes a bug that could cause rating buttons to get stuck for users who habitually sign-out from the toolbar.
  • fixes a bug where the stumblethru menu could appear blank for some users.
  • fixes several bugs associated with moving the toolbar items to an incompatible toolbar.

versions 3.11

  • allows buttons and extensions (including foxytunes) to share the stumbleupon default toobar.
  • merges home and network buttons into the what’s new button to match the new profiles. note that the classic network button is still available on the configuration tab of toolbar options.
  • merges forums and groups buttons to match the new profiles. note that the classic forums button is still available on the configuration tab of toolbar options.
  • changes the video, people (aka matches) and dtumblethru icons.
  • supports search results decoration on more sites.
  • adds a keyboard shortcut for tagging
  • automatically enables the tag button if you apply custom tags.
  • improves the autocomplete list for the search / tag box.
  • adds an optional menu for domain channels (aka stumblethru).
  • fixes a bug (#535) where the browser’s location bar could be cleared half a second after the toolbar is rendered upon browser start.
  • improves synchronization of topics.

the update is good in that it further streamlines stumbling form your browser but i do think its about time that they fixed the stumble buzz aspect of the stumbling experience.

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the reddit toolbar: taking social news one step closer

late yesterday night i was browsing reddit when i noticed a preference setting that either i had never paid any attention to before or that didn’t exist until recently. the option i’m referring to is the ability to display a ‘reddit toolbar’ atop links you click on from reddit.

once you’ve activated this option, every time you click a link from reddit, the following toolbar will be displayed at the top of that page:

so what’s so great about the toolbar?

the toolbar improves your reddit experience in two ways. first, when you click on a link from reddit and read an article, you don’t have to go back to reddit to rate the page. second, the site you’re visiting doesn’t need to use the reddit widget in order for you to vote on it (though i would still recommend the widget because not all your traffic comes directly from reddit).

but there’s more

if voting is completely removed from the main reddit site and pushed just to the toolbar, visitors can be forced to at least visit the content page before they vote on it. so in a way, it paves the way for a system where reddit can limit (to a great extent) blind voting (up and down) of stories and get a much truer sense of the community’s preferences.

you’re right if you’re thinking ‘this is exactly what stumbleupon does’. the reason why i like the implementation on reddit is because of the neglect with which stumbleupon treats its main ‘index’ page. stumbleupon’s index is located at stumble buzz but not only does it not display enough content to be useful (on reddit you can display up to 100 stories on the page at once) but it is also often full of days old content and isn’t as highly trafficked (the index page) like most social ‘traditional’ social sites (i.e. digg, propeller, reddit).

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‘personality’ products versus ‘product’ products

i was having a conversation with a few of my digg friends about diggnation a few weeks ago. the latest episodes of the show have been somewhat lackluster, sometimes feeling thrown together at the last minute, and half of the cast (kevin rose) is often mentally absent, making a less entertaining offering than what we’ve come to expect.

original image: laughing squid

this makes perfect sense given how well digg has been doing and the huge plans the team has for the future of the site, and the enormous strain this must be for kevin. this would be okay if diggnation was a ‘product’ product (like digg), i.e. was worth watching on content value alone, but it’s not. diggnation is a ‘personality’ product that requires the frat-boy personas of both alex and kevin, otherwise it fails. i doubt anyone watches the show to gain insight into popular stories from the site, rather they watch the show to see what the hosts will blab about as they get more and more drunk.

will ferrell’s online video comedy hub, funny or die, is a similar phenomenon. the site first skyrocketed to fame with will’s skit, the landlord. and while many other videos have been uploaded to the site by the community, the site’s traffic is largely seeing a downward trend. as you can see in the following chart, the site’s popularity has seen smaller spikes from subsequent skits by the all-star talent but no long-term, sustained success.

mark kvamme, one of the people involved in the site agrees that the site has to stand on it’s own, and if it is dependent on ferrell or the other stars rather than the larger community, the product is a failure. perhaps it is to soon for us to pass judgment on the site and we’ll just have to see.

such are the perils of a ‘personality’ product versus a ‘product’ product.

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