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Propeller Goes the Way of the Dodo

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Remember Propeller? Back in the day when Digg () was all the rage in the social media world, and Netscape.com – once a hugely popular online destination due to its connection to Netscape, the web browser – was having an identity crisis, it seemed like a good idea to turn Netscape.com into a Digg-like site, and that’s how Propeller was born. Initially, what later became Propeller was available on Netscape.com, but AOL decided to spin the Digg-like bit into a separate site and turn Netscape back into a more traditional portal.

Alas, it was not to be. Digg-like sites — which once numbered in the thousands — were notoriously unsuccessful, except for a few such as Reddit (). Propeller was not among those exceptions. Just like many other similar sites, it failed to gather a large following, despite serious efforts to keep it going via a team of social media experts hired to manage various aspects of the community.

Now, AOL has informed users via a message on the front page of the site that Propeller will shut down on October 1. Judging by the sad state of the site (most stories have one or two votes, meaning that most have abandoned the site), few will miss it.

In hindsight, the problem with Digg clones is that they’re just like forums. Anyone can set up a forum, but if there’s no community to post there, it will be empty. The demise of Propeller marks the final fall of the curtain for an era in which many thought that every implementation of a cool new way to communicate online would automatically be successful. But without a community, most communication tools are useless.

Orkut is under ATTACK !!

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Today few minutes ago orkut is attacked by very beautiful virus whose name is ” Bom Sabado! “.

Scrap Book on Orkut

This is a bengali term which represents the term cracker. This i think is mainly to promote the Durga pooja which is coming nearby. Durga pooja is the biggest festival of west bengal in India. So according to me the person who created this virus want’s to promote Durga Pooja, so that in the world could be aware of this beautiful festival.

The main meaning of this is that the whole universe should know about this beautiful festival and join hands to celebrate !!

A World Without E-mail: One Man’s Vision of a Social Workplace


Luis Suarez has a dream, and it’s one that many of us with our overloaded inboxes could well buy in to — a world without e-mail.

In fact, it could be argued that Suarez is living the dream. In less than three years, he’s been able to reduce 90% of his incoming e-mail by communicating through social software, and he works full-time for IBM while living in the Canary Islands. The last six years of his 13-year IBM career have been spent working remotely from Gran Canaria, a place which he describes as “a paradise island,” and not just because his boss is 6,000 kilometers away.

So how does a man who works remotely for a major tech company manage to virtually eliminate his e-mail, and why does his mission even exist? We caught up with Suarez and asked.

Under his official title of Knowledge Manager, Community Builder & Social Computing Evangelist in the IBM Software Group division, Suarez promotes the use of social software for enterprise. But in 2008, he decided to take the promotion a bit further by actively showing colleagues how much more productive they could be using social tools on the web, instead of more traditional methods of intra-company communication.

“Around two and a half years ago in my role of software evangelism, one of the main hurdles we were hearing from people is … they perceive this software as another set of tools on top of what they were already using,” Suarez tells us. “They had this feeling that, you’re asking me to spend more time online with TwitterTwitter,FacebookFacebook and whatever the internal social software applications were.”

Suarez saw this as a challenge and decided he needed to prove to his colleagues that social software was the answer and not the problem. Two and a half years ago he began “a little experiment.”

“As a remote employee, I’m wanted to prove to everyone that I could keep working for the company without using e-mail, relying almost … exclusively on social software tools to communicate daily with my team members.”

His plan was to show his coworkers just how dependent they really were on e-mail, emphasizing how many times a day they were compelled to check it, and proving that it was no longer a productivity tool, but a procrastinator’s best friend.

He acknowledges that times have changed. Ten years ago, e-mail was absolutely necessary for business interactions. Yet in the last two and a half years, he’s advocated for social software to replace e-mail as the go-to communication method.

Rather than restricting file and data sharing conversations to personal inboxes, Suarez persuades employees to first share data more openly behind company firewalls, and then as they ease into the concept (and if it’s relevant), share it on wider social services.

“I’ve kept track of progress,” he says. “I’ve gone from 30 to 40 e-mails a day to an average of just 17 per week. Most of those are one-on-one private conversations, for which e-mail is still probably the best tool for anything sensitive or confidential.”

This is his proof, he says. The numbers show that social software isn’t about adding more work and stress, but looking for smarter ways to get the job done.

With technology changing rapidly, it’s worthwhile to wonder if ten years down the line, e-mail may still be as prominent in our lives as it is today.

“We will still have e-mail in ten years,” says Suarez. “I don’t want to kill all e-mail, but I want to help people re-purpose it. We will see traditional tools like e-mail redesigned to be used for what it was originally designed for.”

For Suarez, the e-mail of the future will look something like this:

“You get an alert, telling you how and where you can go and grab content … it won’t just be a notification system, but a read-write opportunity with the option to engage back so that information is no longer stuck in an inbox.”

While his work focuses on helping businesses make the most of social software, he has shared his how-to advice with us so that individuals can take steps to reduce the amount of e-mail they receive.


1. Don’t Reply


If you want to stop receiving so much e-mail, the number one rule is don’t reply to it. The more you reply, the more you will get back. If you break that chain, you are already on a good path to kill most of the e-mail you get.


2. Study Your Inbox


Next, study your inbox. Evaluate the kind of personal interactions that are taking place there. For example, you may find out that you subscribe to a hundred newsletters and you don’t read any of them.

After you’ve studied the way you use your inbox, try to group e-mails together into categories — newsletters, Q&As, e-mails from family members, etc.


3. Tackle One Area a Week


After you’ve evaluated you intake, slowly move one of those groups away from your inbox. Don’t try to cover them all in one go, because it will be too much.

One week, unsubscribe from newsletters and try and find alternative sources such as a feed reader or relevant Twitter accounts.

You may find that you are bombarded with e-mail questions from colleagues, and that you get one particular question 40 times from 40 different people in one month.

So the next week, sort out the Q&A. The way to deal with that is to set up a blog offering the answers. The blog will be indexed by GoogleGoogle, and your answers will be available to everyone out there. This means you are no longer part of the bottle neck, and you are helping people to feed themselves with the information that they need.

“Some people say to me, but you are lucky, you’re [at] a big IT company,” concludes Suarez. “It may seem easy for a big company, but with the huge amounts of options we have out there — all the various social software tools — there is no longer an excuse.”

You can read more from Luis Suarez on his Knowledge Management blog, Thinking Outside the Inbox.

News From Mashable.com

Web Users Now Spend More Time on Facebook Than Google

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Facebook Minimalist ImageWe already know that Facebook is the web’s biggest time sink. If you look at the average amount of time (according to Nielsen) users spend on the social network, Facebook is a clear winner over sites such as Google or Yahoo.

Now, according to comScore, Facebook is also first when it comes to the total amount of time users are spending on the site. In August, U.S. web users spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook, which was about 9.9% of their entire web-surfing time in that month. In this same period, people spent 39.8 million minutes on all of Google’s sites, and those include another huge online timesink – YouTube.

comScore puts Yahoo in third place, with U.S. web users spending 37.7 million minutes on its sites, which was about 9.1% of their web surfing time in August.

The numbers are even more impressive when you consider that Facebook had just overtaken Yahoo in July, and in August last year U.S. web surfers had spent less than 5% of their online time on the social networking service.

Still, it hardly comes as a surprise: Facebook has been growing steadily in the last couple of years, and in July it announced it had more than 500 million active users.

If Facebook keeps growing, a year from now Google may find itself far behind Facebook when it comes to web users’ minutes. But does Facebook have room for growth? Mark Zuckerberg predicts the site’s userbase might even reach one billion. The number doesn’t sound too far-fetched, given that Facebook still has room for international growth — for example in China and Russia.

Of course, comScore only counts users from the U.S., so the global picture is still blurry. But the facts show that Facebook users spend a huge amount of time on the site, and it’s a worrying stat for Google. Google’s many online properties (Gmail, Search and YouTube, to name a few) have vast influence and reach. But right now, without a large social networking property (Orkut doesn’t count as serious competition to Facebook anymore), Google will have a hard time snatching users’ time from Facebook’s hands

News From Mashable.com

Bloglines Will Shut Down October 1

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The popular web-based RSS reader and news aggregator Bloglines will discontinue service on Friday, October 1. The Ask.com team that operates the site has essentially said that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook killed it.

RSS “pushes” website updates to readers around the world so they don’t have to find them through search or refreshing the site. It was a game changer when it evolved into popular use in 2005 — not coincidentally around the same time Ask.com acquired BloglinesBloglines from its founder Mark Fletcher — but social sites of all types from TwitterTwitter to StumbleUponStumbleUpon toDiggDigg to FacebookFacebook have all but replaced it for most users.

While some users still follow their favorite websites on Facebook or Twitter, many people simply rely on their friends and other contacts to share and suggest interesting news on social networks.

“RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly,” an Ask.com rep said in a blog post yesterday. “Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact. The writing is on the wall.
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Since Bloglines will remain operational until October, you have about three weeks to export your feeds to another RSS application such as Google ReaderGoogle Reader. The folks behind the scenes at Google Reader have added social features to that app to try and combat RSS’s reduced prominence.

Do you still use RSS, or do you rely mostly on social news sites and social networks now?

News From Mashable.com

Gmail Add-on Makes E-mail Smarter

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Rapportive makes an add-on for your Gmail inbox that instantly adds context to the people you e-mail, as you e-mail them. The Y Combinator startup demoed its social intelligence utility for Gmail at a Mountain View event on Tuesday.

Rapportive exists as a FirefoxFirefox, SafariSafari, Mailplane andChromeChrome add-on for GmailGmail. Once installed, the section to the right of each e-mail message — typically occupied by GoogleGoogle ads — is replaced with rich information about the e-mail sender.

The add-on is a clean and lightweight way to get an instant glimpse at who the e-mail sender is and what his/her online footprint entails. Rapportive displays a photo for each contact, highlights professional information, includes links to various social profiles and even pulls in a few of the individual’s recent tweets, should the contact in question be a TwitterTwitter user.

As a Rapportive user, you can control exactly what your Rapportive profile shows to other Gmail users — perhaps the best motivation of all to download and install the utility.

With Rapportive, you can also add and save notes about contacts and install Raplets, which are third-party apps that add additional context or information to your contacts. The service even includes integration withTungle.me, so that users can check a contact’s schedules and organize a meeting without ever leaving the e-mail message.

Rapportive exists in a growing space of applications and services that aim to add social context and web intelligence to contacts in the e-mail inbox. XobniXobni is a similar tool specifically for Outlook users. Gist, which offers a full-featured cloud-based contact management service, also offers sophisticated social integrations and a Gmail Google Apps tool of its own.

To date, the early stage startup has raised upwards of $1 million in angel investments from notable names, including Paul Buchheit (Gmail creator) and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Google’s Latest Acquisition Is All About Facebook

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Google has acquired Ångströ, a service for delivering intelligent search results about a person’s professional network. It has also hired its founder, likely in an effort to build a legitimate competitor to Facebook.

“With the help of investors like CommerceNet and advisors such as Avery Lyford, our team shipped apps to discover hot new photos on FacebookFacebook, improve Caller ID by using LinkedInLinkedInprofiles, adding style and links to TwitterTwitter, create a real-time social address book, and a slew of other services,” the company said in its farewell announcement.

Founder Dr. Rohit Khare has already joined the search giant, according to the Los Angeles Times. Before Ångströ, Khare founded KnowNow, an RSS service for the enterprise, and before that he was director of CommerceNet Labs.

Khare will be working on Google Me, the company’s still-unconfirmed social network. He will likely be working with Max Levchin, the former CEO of Slide, CTO of PayPal and Google’s newest VP of engineering, as well as Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra, who was reportedly instrumental in recruiting Khare.

GoogleGoogle has more riding on its upcoming social network than almost any other project in the company’s history. The search giant has failed multiple times to make inroads in social media, while Facebook is growing like wildfire. Google perceives Facebook as a major threat to the company’s dominance of the web. Khare’s arrival is yet another sign that the tech titan isn’t fooling around anymore when it comes to social.

Older Adults Nearly Double Social Media Presence

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A new study from Pew Internet found that between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking site usage grew 88% among Internet users aged 55-64, and the 65 and older group’s social networking presence grew 100% in the same time frame.

Young people still dominate social networks like FacebookFacebook, but their usage only grew 13% during the year covered by Pew’s report. Older adults are catching up at an incredibly quick pace, though it remains to be seen whether they will pass the youth or hit a ceiling at or below the usage levels reported by young adults and teens.

Older adults who use services like TwitterTwitter or Facebook are still in the minority amidst their peers. Pew reported about 10 months ago that 19% of all InternetInternet users use status updates, but only one in ten Internet users aged 50 and older used status updates or read ones written by others. That’s a lot more than there used to be, but it’s still a small group — especially when you consider the fact that Pew’s numbers only cover people who are on the Internet at all. Many people in that age group aren’t going online to begin with.

According to report author Mary Madden, e-mail still dominates interpersonal communication for the 50 and older set.

HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Your Business Facebook Page

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Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Public Relations, an Internet marketing firm. She blogs at The Marketing Eggspert Blog. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

So you paid attention to what everyone is saying and you created aFacebookFacebook Page for your business. You’ve got your press release links, photos and videos … but no one seems to care. What are you supposed to do now?

You’re on the right track, so congratulate yourself. A lot of small business owners don’t even bother to create a page — they’re simply not “on” Facebook.

But it’s all about where your customers and future customers hang out. And with people spending more than 700 billion minutes per month on this social networking site, it seems pretty apparent that your business needs to be hanging out there too.

Let’s review your Page. Go ahead, pull it up. Your Facebook Page should contain all or most of these:

  • Links to your blog posts
  • Links to related articles (whether they’re yours or not)
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Discussions

This type of content is key in getting people to “Like” your page, and contributes to its overall success. And how do we define success? By getting people to interact and leave comments on your Facebook Page, as well as travel from the page to your company’s website and, of course, buying your product.


Facebook Pages Need Attention


If you neglect your Facebook Pages, they will die. If you use Facebook, you’ve probably stumbled upon a company’s page with no conversations going on and no recent posts. I’m guessing you didn’t click “Like” on that page. An unattended Facebook Page leaves a negative impression of the company — don’t let yours fall by the wayside.

The more you pay attention to your Page, the more positive results you’ll see. Cathy Nguyen, President ofLeatherandBags.com, has seen great results from her Facebook Page, but admits she could do more.

“Although I have a Facebook Page, I’m not utilizing it to its fullest potential because of time. I try to update when I can and should probably try to engage more often,” said Nguyen. “Utilizing Twitter, blogs and e-mails has worked, but then again, I’m not doing it frequently.”

People are used to passive marketing. In the old days, you could pay a magazine or billboard company to create an ad for you. Then you sat back and waited for sales to hopefully pour in. But those days are gone. Whether it’s you or someone else at your company, you need to dedicate someone to social media strategy.


Creating a Facebook Strategy


Maybe we put the cart before the horse in creating the Page without a clear-cut plan. That’s OK. Let’s develop a plan together. First, decide why you want a Facebook Page. Is it because everyone else is doing it? Or because you understand the value in connecting with customers who spend time socializing on Facebook?

Write down five goals for your Facebook Page. They might be:

  • Create awareness of our brand on Facebook
  • Get 10,000 “Likes” by year-end
  • Have at least 5 comments or shared items each week
  • Make Facebook one of the top 3 referrers of traffic to our site
  • Get 2,000 entries to our Facebook contest

Once you have these goals, break down the tasks required to achieve them. If you want 10,000 people to click “Like” on your page, you’re going to have to expand your contacts through your profile. Post your page link onTwitterTwitter, your blog, your e-mail and everywhere else. If you want interaction, you need to post insightful and thought-provoking questions and comments. Decide how regularly you need to post (I suggest at least 3 days a week).

Now determine who will handle these tasks. It might be one person or several. If it’s you, post the tasks to your calendar so you don’t forget to do them. In time, updating your Page will become second nature.

Ginger Anderson, who handles the Facebook Page for Scripps Health in San Diego says that when she started handling the page, all it did was push health news. Now the Page offers a mix of news, useful articles and videos that frequently get comments and questions from the 900 plus San Diegans who follow the brand.

“Our intention is to build relationships within the San Diego community (specifically with current patients and employees) and position Scripps as a trusted leader in healthcare,” said Anderson. “We receive the most comments on the posts that are general and applicable to a wider audience as opposed to disease-specific. We try to balance serious health news with fun, general health and wellness related content along with stuff about San Diego life (again, making sure it’s not always about us).”


Practical Tips


Just updating your Page won’t make it fabulous — that will take a little work from you. Here are a few tips to make your page more searchable and appealing.

  • Title: Some say the title is the most important part, so make sure your title is descriptive of your business and unique on Facebook.
  • FBML: Facebook Markup Language helps you create a custom landing page for your Facebook presence. If you want to promote a special event or direct attention to a particular product, this is a great way to do it. Don’t run screaming when I say that this code can make your page better. It’s not complicated, but if you don’t want to deal with it, hire someone to help.
  • Photos and Videos: Don’t underestimate the power of photos and videos. Even if you don’t sell products, you can still add photos to spice up your page. If you’re a dog groomer, take “Before and After” photos of those precious pet makeovers. A realtor can add photos of the houses on the market. A services firm can post pictures from the office to help visitors feel more connected to the staff.

    For videos, why not shoot a tutorial on getting the most out of your products? An office tour? There are applications you can install within Facebook that will let you pull photos from places like FlickrFlickr. This can save you the trouble of uploading them in two places.

  • Questions: The jury’s still out on Facebook Questions, a recent addition to the site. But by asking questions through your Page, you can start discussions that will spread beyond just the people who follow your business.
  • Once you’ve put together your strategy and have worked on it a bit, give it three months. Then analyze your results and decide: Is Facebook helping your business?