- keybase.io — social media as trust vector.
- I Banned E-Mail At My Company — Email should not be used to share information. Especially if that information is a resource that might be useful again in the future.
- Building Microservices at Karma — The biggest challenge with microservices is testing. With a regular web application, an end-to-end test is easy: just click somewhere on the website, and see what changes in the database. But in our case, actions and eventual results are so far from another that it’s difficult to see exact cause and effect. A problem might bubble up from a chain, but where in the chain did it go wrong? It’s something we still haven’t solved.
"social media" entries
As you rethink civic participation, think about standardized parts and the unit size for participation.
It was big news recently that former Twitter executive Jason Goldman is joining the White House to head up a new office of Digital Strategy.
In his post, Jason asked for advice, posted anywhere, using the hashtag #socialcivics. I decided to do a writeup, as he asked, to share my ideas and to spark further conversation.
Briefly, Jason’s mission, on behalf of the White House, is to create new tools and processes for civic engagement, so that all of us are working more effectively together to build a nation that works for everyone, not just for the few with privileged access.
One of the key ideas I have to offer is something that years ago, in the context of open source software, I called “the architecture of participation.” I wrote:
[Open source software projects] that have built large development communities have done so because they have a modular architecture that allows easy participation by independent or loosely coordinated developers … The Web, however, took the idea of participation to a new level because it opened that participation not just to software developers, but to all users of the system.
Twitter’s long, long, long tail suggests the service is less democratic than it seems.
Writers who cover Twitter find the grandiose irresistible: nearly every article about the service’s IPO this fall mentioned the heroes of the Arab Spring who toppled dictators with 140-character stabs, or the size of Lady Gaga’s readership, which is larger than the population of Argentina.
But the bulk of the service is decidedly smaller-scale–a low murmur with an occasional celebrity shouting on top of it. In comparative terms, almost nobody on Twitter is somebody: the median Twitter account has a single follower. Among the much smaller subset of accounts that have posted in the last 30 days, the median account has just 61 followers. If you’ve got a thousand followers, you’re at the 96th percentile of active Twitter users. (I write “active users” to refer to publicly-viewable accounts that have posted at least once in the last 30 days; Twitter uses a more generous definition of that term, including anyone who has logged into the service.)
This is a histogram of Twitter accounts by number of followers. Only accounts that have posted in the last 30 days are included. Read more…
Why Is Twitter All the Rage?
I’m presenting a short webcast entitled Why Twitter Is All the Rage: A Data Miner’s Perspective that is loosely adapted from material that appears early in Mining the Social Web (2nd Ed). I wanted to share out the content that inspired the topic. The remainder of this post is a slightly abridged reproduction of a section that appears early in Chapter 1. If you enjoy it, you can download all of Chapter 1 as a free PDF to learn more about mining Twitter data.
Surprising social media stats
I’ve been filtering Twitter’s firehose for tweets about “#Syria” for about the past week in order to accumulate a sizable volume of data about an important current event. As of Friday, I noticed that the tally has surpassed one million tweets, so it seemed to be a good time to apply some techniques from Mining the Social Web and explore the data.
While some of the findings from a preliminary analysis confirm common intuition, others are a bit surprising. The remainder of this post explores the tweets with a cursory analysis addressing the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of what’s in the data.
Weekly highlights and insights: May 27-31
A Commencement Speech for 2013 CS Majors: Being passionate about software is critical to success.
Bitcoin as a money platform: Andreas Antonopoulos outlines Bitcoin network’s three distinct APIs.
What Is the Risk That Amazon Will Go Down (Again)?: Johan Bergström explores WebOps risk management.
Where’s @WarrenBuffet?: Social media pull does not equate to a sound investment strategy.
Finding the right people to follow for investment advice has very little to do with the extent of their social media following.
Business Insider really jumped the shark with their recent post entitled These Are The Top 20 Tech Investors You Should Follow On Twitter. It was clearly linkbait for social media rather than real advice for those looking for investment wisdom. Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) as the top investor to follow on Twitter? Really? When the greatest investor of all time, Warren Buffett (@WarrenBuffett), is also on Twitter? Sure, Warren is new to Twitter and has only posted one link (to a fascinating article about why women are key to America’s prosperity), but when millions of investors hang on his every word, you’d think he’d get a mention. Ashton is great, but is he a better investor to pay attention to just because he has more “social media pull”?
This kind of story illustrates the vapidity of so much social media reporting. What does someone’s social media following have to do with whether or not they are worth following for investment advice?
I’d prefer to follow investors who are good investors and who share their investment strategy! That’s why I’d probably put Fred Wilson (@FredWilson) of Union Square Ventures (who was at an inexplicable number 19 on the Business Insider List) and his partners Brad Burnham (@BradUSV) and Alfred Wenger (@AlbertWenger) at the top. Not only are they among the most successful tech investors active today (Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, Foursquare, Etsy, Kickstarter, to name only a few of their investments), but they clearly explain their rationale for investing, their criteria, and their interests. Read more…
The social web is pressuring organizations to accelerate all forms of communications.
In 2004, O’Reilly Media delivered a counter-cultural (at the time) message: The dot-com bubble had burst, but the web was here to stay as an economic and social force. The meme they coined was Web 2.0, and their manifesto was captured in a seminal blog post by Tim O’Reilly. Web 2.0 was not meant to indicate a version number, but to point out the deep, persistent patterns of the web that were rewiring business and society.
I led the consulting practice at O’Reilly Media after we coined the term Web 2.0, and I think we now find ourselves at a similar (though softer) inflection point. There are a lot of valid questions regarding the business models in social: Is Facebook not a scalable vehicle for advertising and thus overvalued? Is Groupon bad for merchants and thus doomed to fail? Was social gaming (and Zynga) overhyped?
Taking a cue from Web 2.0, I believe we need to look beyond specific applications of social media — even, God forbid, specific platforms like Facebook — in order to sort out the underlying design patterns that will endure and continue to disrupt marketing and communications.
So what are those design patterns? Here are four: Read more…
Does your right to be forgotten (or forgettable) trump free speech?
A week or so ago this link made its way through my tweet stream: “Privacy and the right to be forgotten.” Honestly I didn’t really even read it. I just retweeted it with a +1 or some other sign of approval because the notion that my flippant throwaway comments on the interwebs would be searchable forever has always left me a bit unsettled. Many times I’ve thought “Thank God the Internet wasn’t around when I was 20, because the things I would have said then online would have been order of magnitudes stupider than the stupidest things I say now.” I haven’t gotten any smarter, but I am a little bit better at filtering, and I rarely drink these days.
In so many domains the Internet creates these dichotomous tensions. There are two things we want and the Internet enables either, or neither, but not both.
I personally don’t think we need this kind of law. However, eventually it will become obvious that the cost of storing every damned thing I’ve ever uttered online exceeds any conceivable or achievable ROI from mining it. Hopefully, as companies realize this, they’ll offer a “feature” to solve this problem by letting me, and people like me, establish preferences for time to live and/or time to keep. For example, I’d be perfectly happy if Twitter enabled a one week time to live on every tweet I posted. They are meant to be ephemeral and it would be more than fine with me if their lifespans matched the level of thought I put into them.
The frequency of sponsored posts looks set to grow.
This week, I found that one of my Facebook updates received significantly more attention that others I’ve posted. On the one hand, it was a share of an important New York Times story focusing on the first time a baby was cured of HIV. But I discovered something that went beyond the story itself: someone who was not my friend had paid to sponsor one of my posts.
According to Facebook, the promoted post had 27 times as many views because it was sponsored this way, with 96% of the views coming through the sponsored version.
When I started to investigate what had happened, I learned that I’d missed some relevant news last month. Facebook had announced that users would be able to promote the posts of friends. My situation, however, was clearly different: Christine Harris, the sponsor of my post, is not my friend.
When I followed up with Elisabeth Diana, Facebook’s advertising communications manager, she said this was part of the cross-promote feature that Facebook rolled out. If a reporter posts a public update to his followers on Facebook, Diana explained to me in an email, that update can be promoted and “boosted” to the reporter’s friends.
While I couldn’t find Harris on Facebook, Diana said with “some certainty” that she was my follower, “in order to have seen your content.” Harris definitely isn’t my friend, and while she may well be one of my followers, I have no way to search them to determine whether that’s so. Read more…