I write about digital strategies and communications — and their intersection with culture, politics, journalism and social activism.


Technology Stuff

I was asked today to talk about any 'new' social web assets that the organization I was meeting with should consider. It's a common question from clients and colleagues alike. Partly it's a function of curiosity and partly I think a belief there is a social web object somewhere that will be the silver bullet for every enterprise social web challenge. Of course, that's not likely. The cheap or free platforms here aren't a panacea for anything; but they're worth taking a look at.


Unlike Twitter, identi.ca is open source micro-blogging service with the goal of providing "fair and transparent" service that preserves users' autonomy. The data is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

The goal here is autonomy -- you deserve the right to manage your own on-line presence. If you don't like how Identi.ca works, you can take your data and the source code and set up your own server (or move your account to another one).


From the folks at salesforce.com, Chatter.com allows you to create a private and secure social network for your company. The consultancy I work for uses Yammer.com. I can't see much difference between the two. Maybe someone from either company will post a comment explaining the dissimilarities.

Pulse CMS Pro

This one could be really useful for small companies. It is a WYSIWYG editor that lets you edit any part of an existing website in, so it claims, five minutes. The basic model is free, and the pro version about $20.


From two Romanian "hackers and entrepreneurs" (@mirceapasoi and @cgst) comes Summify which "distills your social feeds, boiling it down into a summary of the top five or ten most important and relevant stories."

Play around with them and see if they are worth dropping into your quiver of web tools.


We Share Content Everywhere

AOL and Nielson recently published a study about our content sharing habits that draws some useful conclusions about what and how people use social networks to pass on information, brand or product preferences, articles, videos and photos to their friends (and 'followers'):

Aol & Nielsen content sharing study
Highlights of the study's findings include:
  • 23% of social media messages include links to articles, videos and photos.
  • People are sharing more of this kind of content than they did 2-3 years ago, especially women.
  • People share content with their family and friends that they consider "trustworthy" and "helpful"
  • A company's website is less important than other social networks when it comes to insinuating itself into this sharing model: "With only 4% of shared content linking to brand websites, it’s clear that the conversation – and opinions – about these same brands is happening elsewhere" . . . namely social networks
This idea that what people share with their networks must be trustworthy and helpful says a lot about how organizations should structure their social web interactions. Messages that are  self-serving, without substance or blatantly manipulative -- no matter how creatively packaged -- are unlikely to find their way into most social web conversations. 
Companies and brands should also use a range of social platforms (including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and email) because "for people using a social network, 99% of them use multiple platforms for sharing content."