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Avi Charkham has created a wonderful site called http://mypermissions.org/ which helps users to manage the ever growing list of apps, that we are associate our social accounts too.  It is good to practice to prune services and apps that you no longer use for good security best practice. To make life easier, I’ve posted the direct links below:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=applications

Twitter: http://twitter.com/settings/connections

Google: https://www.google.com/accounts/IssuedAuthSubTokens

Yahoo: https://api.login.yahoo.com/WSLogin/V1/unlink?.intl=us&.scrumb=oGuZry/Yg97

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings?userAgree=&goback=.aas

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/account#applications

Instagram: https://instagr.am/oauth/manage_access

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/services/auth/list.gne?from=extend

 

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My good pal, Jon M Bishop recently presented at Digital Surrey last Thursday, on how mobile is changing our world. He delivered an engaging talk and described a number of excellent examples on how mobile phones are enabling mobile transactions in Africa. Here are some key statistics from Jon’s talk:

  • There are around 6 million Internet users in South Africa. Only 750k are on fixed line broadband
  • South Africa’s MXit also created the most engaged social network in the world and it all on mobile, despite only being launched in 2003!
  • The M-Pesa service allows South Africans to make mobile payments for items such music tickets, food and taxi payments
  • Safaricom is now the biggest bank in East Africa, despite being a communications company.
  • Google estimates that $3.3 billion in mobile ads will be spent this year, $1 billion will be with Google alone

Jon, then went to discuss a real life case study of his friend Shame, who has shunned the Apple iPhone platform in favour of Blackberry devices. In particular, Share enjoys the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service with his friends to stay in contact and be informed. Jon also noted that the BBM service was also a key technology that helped to keep ah hoc gangs of youth to stay connected during the London riots.

Learn more about Jon’s talk by reading his slide deck above.

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Are you looking for a great way to raise your profile or that of your business? Well, LinkedIn offers a great way to share your business experience in a more professional way. If you’ve never used LinkedIn, but have heard of others using it and aren’t sure what it is, Common Craft’s excellent video will provide a great overview.

Inspired? Excellent! I have been using LinkedIn for many years and have found it to be an excellent tool. It can help you build your professional network and market your services.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, don’t worry. I’ve included a LinkedIn starter guide to help you begin. Take a look below:

 

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Picture Credit Andre Jenny

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) recently published its “2009 Chinese Social Networking Sites User Research Report”. The report contains the results of phone surveys of Chinese Social Networking user behaviour conducted through July 2009. The report is in Chinese. However, Chinese Internet Watch has pulled some interesting data from the report, which you can read below.

  • By the end of 2009, the number of Chinese online social media users is about to reach 124 million.
  • Every social media user owns on average 2.78 social media accounts.  (Anyone have a 0.78th of an account on a social network? Smile)
  • Top 5 social networking sites: QQ alumni (50%), Renren (37%), Sina Space (36.6%), 51.com (27.1%), and Kaixin001 (26.4%).
  • The male to female ratio in SNS users is 52.9:47.1.
  • Majority of SNS users are youth (52.6%).
  • 17.8% of China SNS users’ monthly income is over RMB 3,000, higher than 13.4% Chinese netizens.
  • 47.5 of SNS users’ month income is lower than RMB 1,000, also higher than the percentage of overall Chinese netizens (44.2%).
  • 59.1% of Chinese SNS users own college degree and above, 34% higher than over Chinese netizens.
China Social Networking Sites Usage
  • Almost 80% SNS users are referred by friends, classmates, or colleagues.
  • 75.8% indicate their SNS friends are friends in real life.
  • 34.3% SNS users visit social networking sites every day while about 40.2% visit SNS once a week or longer.
  • Over half SNS users spend no longer than one hour daily on SNS sites; 26.6% between one to two hours; 12.8% over two hours.
  • China SNS users are mostly interested in status and photo album updates from friends.
  • Sending messages and uploading photos are the two most popular activities on SNS.
Which Social Networking Site to Choose?
  • 63.5% users pick the number of known friends, classmates, and colleagues on a social network as the top reason for choosing that network.
  • 32.4% users find it important to get useful information on a social network
  • Having lots of interesting topics is important to 21.4% users for choosing that social networking site
  • 18.4% find a social networking site attractive if it provides lots of online games

The primary purpose of logging in a social network is entertainment for over 42.4% users being interviewed. 27.4% just log in to play games.

Why Abandon A Social Network?
  • 31.3% users interviewed have abandoned a social network after registration. The main reasons are:
  • No interesting activities (29%)
  • No useful information (27.9%)
  • Not many friends (26.5%)
  • No common topics (24.9%)
  • No feeling of being engaged (18.3%)
China Social Networking Sites VAS
  • 40.9% SNS users would like to have mobile access and 25.6% SNS users want 3rd party payment service
  • Women are more passionate about Value Added Services (VAS) on SNS than men. 19.8% women want to trade virtual goods (men: 16.8%).
  • Men are more interested in B2C e-commerce and real goods trading.
China Social Networking Sites Advertisement
  • Acceptance to different types of ads in SNS are less than 30%. About 30.1% of users have never clicked on an ad. 39.9% users indicate they will click on an ad if it’s interesting.
  • Ads on personal profile, photo albums, and polls are more acceptable to women than men.
  • The more educated people are more likely to click on an ad.

Some interesting food for thought here. The primary purpose for logging into social networks is entertainment. Engaging content, extends to online games. Therefore, it would be interesting to see how Chinese users responds to marketing messages within games.


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The above BBC documentary examines the urban myth that everyone on earth is connected to everyone else in just a few steps of association. However, this is no myth. The proof comes from network theory, a new science with implications for everything from cancer research to pandemic control.

Sadly, the BBC’s experiment went pear shaped. Forty envelopes were given to people around the world with the instruction they had to pass it to someone they knew by their first name to someone (etc) who knew the addressee. However, only three packets made it.

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Nielsen Report on Social Networking’s New Global Footprint – Get more Information Technology

An interesting new report fell across my inbox this morning looking at trends in social networking. While it has a fair focus on the impact to advertising, there’s lots of good stuff in here about how people are using social networks – and who, as well as the importance and impact of localisation. For instance, did you know…

  • Social networks/blogs now 4th most popular online category – ahead of personal email
  • These sites account for one in every 11 minutes online
  • Orkut in Brazil has the largest domestic online reach (70%) of any social network anywhere in the world
  • Facebook has the highest average time per visitor amongst the 75 most popular brands online worldwide

Click here for the full screen link. Download the complete report here,

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I received an interesting email from LinkedIn last week.

Today we’re announcing many more ways to interact with your network on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a new way to create projects and collaborate, share information, customize your profile, or gain key insights, the new LinkedIn Applications deliver.

LinkedIn is partnering with a number of partners, to help boost the profiles of its members. See the list below to see how you can inject new life into your profile.

I’ve been a member of Linked In for some time, though found the site a little dated. The new “Applications”, are a welcome addition to help promote your profile and thus, your personal brand.

LinkedIn’s new Applications feature will allow you to:

1. Work collaboratively with your network.

  • Box on LinkedIn: Share files and collaborate with your network.
  • Huddle on LinkedIn: Private workspaces to collaborate with your network on projects.

2. Share information and keep up to date with your network.

  • Amazon on LinkedIn: Discover what your network is reading.
  • TripIt on LinkedIn: See where your network is traveling.
  • SixApart on LinkedIn: Stay up to date with your network’s latest blog posts.

3. Present yourself and your work in new ways.

  • Google Docs on LinkedIn: Embed a presentation on your profile.
  • SlideShare on LinkedIn: Share, view and comment on presentations from your network.
  • WordPress on LinkedIn: Promote your blog and latest posts.

4. Gain key insights that will make you more effective.

Company Buzz by LinkedIn: See what people are saying about your company

On the subject of personal brand. I also wanted to highlight Guy Kawasaki’s excellent post on boosting your profile and hence personal brand on LinkedIn

Most people use LinkedIn to “get to someone” in order to make a sale, form a partnership, or get a job. It works well for this because it is an online network of more than 8.5 million experienced professionals from around the world representing 130 industries. However, it is a tool that is under-utilised, so I’ve compiled a top-ten list of ways to increase the value of LinkedIn.

  1. Increase your visibility.

    By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results (which is a major plus if you’re one of the 52,000 product managers on LinkedIn), people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust.

  2. Improve your connectability.

    Most new users put only their current company in their profile. By doing so, they severely limit their ability to connect with people. You should fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio, so include past companies, education, affiliations, and activities.

    You can also include a link to your profile as part of an email signature. The added benefit is that the link enables people to see all your credentials, which would be awkward if not downright strange, as an attachment.

  3. Improve your Google PageRank.

    LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.

    To do this, create a public profile and select “Full View.” Also, instead of using the default URL, customise your public profile’s URL to be your actual name. To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, use this link in various places on the web> For example, when you comment in a blog, include a link to your profile in your signature.

  4. Enhance your search engine results.

    In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicise websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like “My Website,” “My Company,” etc.

    If you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link. If you’re linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and voila! instant search-engine optimisation for your site. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to “Full View.”

  5. Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks.

    LinkedIn’s reference check tool to input a company name and the years the person worked at the company to search for references. Your search will find the people who worked at the company during the same time period. Since references provided by a candidate will generally be glowing, this is a good way to get more balanced data.

    Companies will typically check your references before hiring you, but have you ever thought of checking your prospective manager’s references? Most interviewees don’t have the audacity to ask a potential boss for references, but with LinkedIn you have a way to scope her out.

    You can also check up on the company itself by finding the person who used to have the job that you’re interviewing for. Do this by searching for job title and company, but be sure to uncheck “Current titles only.” By contacting people who used to hold the position, you can get the inside scoop on the job, manager and growth potential.

    By the way, if using LinkedIn in these ways becomes a common practice, we’re apt to see more truthful resumes. There’s nothing more amusing than to find out that the candidate who claims to have caused some huge success was a total idiot who was just along for the ride.

  6. Increase the relevancy of your job search.

    Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find people with educational and work experience like yours to see where they work. For example, a programmer would use search keywords such as “Ruby on Rails,” “C++,” “Python,” “Java,” and “evangelist” to find out where other programmers with these skills work.

  7. Make your interview go smoother.

    You can use LinkedIn to find the people that you’re meeting. Knowing that you went to the same school, plays hockey, or shares acquaintances is a lot better than an awkward silence after, “I’m doing fine, thank you.”

  8. Gauge the health of a company.

    Perform an advanced search for company name and uncheck the “Current Companies Only” box. This will enable you to scrutinise the rate of turnover and whether key people are abandoning ship. Former employees usually give more candid opinions about a company’s prospects than someone who’s still on board.

  9. Gauge the health of an industry.

    If you’re thinking of investing or working in a sector, use LinkedIn to find people who worked for competitors—or even better, companies who failed. For example, suppose you wanted to build a next generation online pet store, you’d probably learn a lot from speaking with former Pets.com or WebVan employees.

  10. Track startups.

    You can see people in your network who are initiating new startups by doing an advanced search for a range of keywords such as “stealth” or “new startup.” Apply the “Sort By” filter to “Degrees away from you” in order to see the people closest to you first.

  11. Ask for advice.

    LinkedIn’s newest product, LinkedIn Answers, aims to enable this online. The product allows you to broadcast your business-related questions to both your network and the greater LinkedIn network. The premise is that you will get more high-value responses from the people in your network than more open forums.

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Charlene Li believes that in the future, social networks will be like air. They will be anywhere and everywhere we need and want them to be. And also, without that social context in our connected lives, we won’t really feel like we are truly living and alive, just as without sufficient air, we won’t really be able to breathe deeply.

There are four components of what Charlene calls the idea of “ubiquitous social networks”: 1) Profiles; 2) Relationships; 3) Activities; and 4) Business models. In the context of ubiquitous social networks, they will develop into the following: 1) Universal identities; 2) A single social graph; 3) Social context for activities; and 4) Social influence defining marketing value. For more detail on each of these components

The ubiquitous social network isn’t going to happen overnight – in fact, it’s going to take five+ years to come to fruition. This is part of the continued evolution of open platforms, starting with walled garden services like Prodigy, Compuserve, and AOL that evolved into the major portal aggregators like Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL. This gave way to the “search era” where Google et. al. made all of the Internet easily accessible. Today’s social networks are a throwback to those early closed platforms, and they will be opened up by new “entrants” into the social space – namely, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and AOL – who will leverage their deep, daily relationships with online audiences.

In the end, there are two essential things that have to present for this all to happen. The first is technology — ubiquitous Internet access and the servers to enable real-time social graph access. Given the pace of technology development, I’m pretty sure this will happen. The second is much harder — trust has to be present, between people, between social networks, marketers, and developers. This is what is going take a lot of time, effort, and patience.

Check out her presentation below and forthcoming new book – Groundswell 

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Facebook Friends

It has now been just over a month since I joined Facebook and I have a confession. I am addicted!  Judging by the number of friends, family, fellow MBA cohorts and academic staff on there too, I’m not the only one.

Facebook is fast evolving as one of the most powerful ways of social networking, sharing photographs, videos, blogs as well as communicating with a truly global network of people.  Indeed, I have a modest number of Facebook friends and a few “friend huggers” on my profile. In fact, its now the first site I browse in the morning and I’ll return to it several times during the day. To give you some idea, I use Facebook more often than I use Google, scary isn’t it?

Why am I using Facebook so much? Well, that is an interesting question. At this moment in my life, I have nearly all the people I regularly keep in contact with on Facebook. The site has its own “basic” email service that allows me to send messages to my network of Facebook friends and acquaintances. Sadly, attachments aren’t supported as yet and you cannot send messages to people outside of Facebook. But that’s a minor irritation.  I’m now using it so much, that I am using hotmail a lot less, now that’s remarkable!

I also use it as a “Networking” tool. I have approached several Web 2.0 book authors, bloggers, journalists as well as Web 2.0 business early adopters through the platform. I would never had access to such people before.

Facebook has hundreds of groups to browse and join. I have joined 38 in total so far. The groups cover a wide range of topics, from corporate blogging to joining a startup. Whatever your interests, I’m convinced you will find a group available to suit your needs. If not, you can always start your own group and invite others to participate.

Since opening up its API, Facebook now has over a thousand, free applications that you can add to your profile. Applications are organised into a number of categories including, Business, Messaging, Photos and Video. My current favourites include, the YouTube player, Google shared items reader and the Vibrating Hamster (don’t ask!).    

Finally, my favourite feature is the personalised Facebook homepage. Or, what I think of as a “Digital Dashboard”. I can see at a glance, all of my friend’s activities on Facebook. My friends can decide how much information to share and what type of information to share. Without interacting with them directly, I can usually discover where they are, or what’s on their mind. It’s Facebook’s answer to Twitter.

In a later post, I will discuss how a small firm may choose to use Facebook as a CRM business tool. Also, I will discuss my concerns on using Social Networks for business.

I have discussed my experiences with celebrities on Facebook too. You can read that comment at the marvellous, Punch Above Your Weight blog.

If you haven’t joined Facebook yet. I suggest you join and give it a go. However, I take no responsibility if you become addicted to it!

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Hat tip to Stuart Brown.

I joined Facebook on the weekend. I resisted as long as I could.

I couldn’t help but notice a recent surge of other people I know signing up recently as well – nor could I shake off the odd sense of déjà vu. It seems like such a short time ago that MySpace was the place to be in terms of social networking – now it seems that’s all over and Facebook is now the ’site du jour’.

It’s not the first time something like this has happened, either – there have been countless communities online that have grown, peaked, and slowly faded into obscurity. Like a roving band of wildebeest, it seems communities arrive en masse, graze for a while, and move on to pastures anew.

The current crop of Web 2.0 sites seem to have amplified this trend – there are more and more sites cropping up with a community angle, so now people hungry for social interaction on the web have a near boundless choice for their communal appetites.

As surely as Facebook has risen to challenge MySpace, and as Digg has all but displaced Slashdot, in the not-too distant future there will be other sites which rise to threaten the current generation. Perhaps the MySpace killer is already out there, just waiting for a chance to break the mainstream?

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The early days of a community site are its most fragile -most start-ups will fail without ever making it past this phase. Those familiar with running forums or sites with a community aspect will know how hard it is to get a sustained level of activity without a solid user base – avoiding the tumbleweed can be difficult.

With work and persistence some sites will begin to make headway – a small, closely-knit community can develop. Many community sites will persist at this level, with no real reason to change – others may get lucky and find a break – whether it’s a link from a major blog (TechCrunch or similar), getting on the front page of Digg (or Reddit, Netscape, etc), or even a news report or feature in the mainstream media.

Such buzz can cause a massive spike in traffic – propelling the previously unheard-of site into the view of thousands more people, and potentially kick-starting a chain reaction large enough to push into the mainstream. Of course, there are no guarantees – a spike in interest from a single link can come and go very quickly, with little net benefit.

The social networking site Virb has had its fair share of buzz – it’s been on Digg, been featured on a few high-profile blogs, but has a fairly modest Alexa ranking of around 5,000 (at the time of writing). It’s firmly in the ‘crunch’ phase of start-up sites – the ‘Valley of Uncertainty‘.

For Virb, there are two possible paths – the first is unfettered and gradually accelerating growth, the other is to remain in the doldrums indefinitely. With such a great deal of competition in the social networking sphere, it could go either way.

Facebook is the perfect example for a site currently in the midst of meteoric growth – from an Alexa ranking of around 50,000 in 2005 to around 100 in 2006, to 18 today in 2007. Little wonder that people are eager to acquire the site – even at a stupidly high price.

Such rapid growth is unsustainable, of course – and ultimately such popularity will reach a peak. There are but a finite number of people to populate any given social network, and humans are notably fickle creatures. Ultimately the usage levels for any given site will stabilise – social networking site Bebo and social news site Reddit are both in neutral-growth periods – not to say that future growth is impossible, but without intervention the user base is unlikely to spontaneously increase.

For the top few sites that attain popular appeal, a healthy period of traffic and utilisation follows the peak in usage – established services such as Flickr, MySpace and Digg have such sustained appeal that they persist at a relatively stable level – the ‘Plateau of Ubiquity‘, if you please. How long a site persists here depends on several factors, principally including the fierceness of competition and the rate at which a site can evolve to keep its users happy.

The internet is a fast changing place, and to hold a position of dominance with so many fresh upstarts is not easy. While a community site can revitalise, innovate and hence prompt additional growth, life at the top is tough. For many once-reigning sites a slow yet inexorable decline is inevitable. The once mighty Slashdot is still very popular – it’s in the Alexa Top 500 – but slipping further and further away from the pole position it once held, with younger upstart Digg usurping its audience.

Social networking and community-led sites dominate the top ranked sites on Alexa, second only to the search engine contingent. With such massive reach and the potential for direct marketing, it’s not in the least surprising that the top of such sites are seeing such lucrative buyouts – $580m for MySpace, $1.65b for YouTube, and a touted $1b for Facebook. I don’t doubt that some of these acquisitions are worth it – the potential to reach people directly on the sites where they spend most of their time is valuable indeed.

I guess I’ll see you all on Facebook. For now, at least.

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