Everything Social, all at Once

If social media makes your head hurt, here's an interesting way to conceptualise/categorise the whole field. Brian Solis has been renewing this impressive diagram each year since 2008. His diagram ranges far beyond Facebook and Twitter, encompassing photo sharing, crowdsourcing, business networking, location based services, social curation, service networks, social fitness and much more. Not only does it show a vast and increasingly influential array of services, it might help developers intent on trailblazing new subdomains within the social sphere.


Social Networks for Private People

If you like communicating with your friends and family online but also like your privacy, Glassboard might be a viable alternative to Facebook. As stated on their home page, "Glassboard has no privacy settings — because everything is private. It’s that easy." Those in your selected network can share as per a 'normal' social network, but without the exhibitionist posing for the rest of the world. Other recent options in this space include everyme and Path. Because, let's face it, when boiled down to essentials, you are just an abstract piece of potential advertising revenue for Google or Facebook, whatever the high flown rhetoric used to sell such services. 

Pay With a Tweet

This product may be a bit of a head scratcher if you aren't an active twitter user, but it will make sense if you are. The idea is that you 'sell' a bit of digital merchandise, or access to a web service via the 'payment' of a pre-prepared tweet lauding your service and tweeted to all of the twitterer's followers. The twitterer is able to edit the message but not the url. The service is designed to create buzz for your digital wares — a bit like women paid to frequent bars and tout particular tipples. Given that Twitter users are supposed by many to be taste-makers, it might be a good idea to try and start a few ripples with that 'community'.

So Social

If you are a heavy user of social media and want to analyse your impact and efficiency in that sphere, Lifehacker co-founder and coder extraordinaire Gina Trapani has a tool for you. Thinkup "archives and analyzes your interactions across social networks", and ensures that information that Twitter, Facebook and Google+ might treat as ephemeral is preserved for future use and examination. Read this article and marvel at the amazing power of intelligently interpreted data.

There Was Life Before Google?

This fascinating project maps the correspondence-based connections between the key thinkers in the enlightenment 'project', whereby 18th century intellectuals helped realign the church and state, gave science tremendous impetus and create the modern world. The graphics on this site effectively illustrate the flow of ideas and influence and gives us some perspective on our own massively linked world.


If you'd like to see how much headway you are making with your social media and Internet strategy, try Klout. This service pries open your Facebook and Twitter accounts (among many other services), assesses your followers and their level of influence, then ranks your own level of influence. Hopefully you will prove to be a colossus astride the digital world. On the other hand, if you are at the more modest end of the influence spectrum, think of all the growth that lies ahead...

Author Gives Away Ebooks...

Recently received comments regarding self-promotion from Mike Dixon, author's of Curtin Express:

I'm at last having success in promoting myself as an author. I've not started to sell books. That crucial point has not yet been reached. However, people are downloading my free ebooks and they are doing so consistently.

I'm averaging over 40 downloads a day. I start by making the books available through the "free ebook sites" listed on my home page. After that, they seem to generate a following of their own.

I suspect that Facebook plays a part but not directly. Attempts to promote through my own page on Facebook have produced poor results. The same can be said for Twitter and all those other ways that the viral explosion people talk about. They will take you for a ride which can cost a lot in time and money before you realise they are talking nonsense.

My advice is "Get focused". Expose your books to people who are interested in books and forget about everything else.

My remarks apply to works of fiction. A different approach may be appropriate in other areas.

My books are currently available in PDF format.  I have started to convert them to epub via html and calibre (free on net). The steps are (i) use microsoftword to produce document - jpg images may be included. (ii) save for web (iii) convert with calibre - just three clicks on the mouse is all that it takes. Finally, don't forget to support the folks at calibre with a small payment.

The epub format allows your book to be viewed on a small hand-held device (eg iphone). I'll let you know what the outcome is. I suspect epub will greatly increase the number of downloads. There's only one way to find out.

Deserting Facebook

If the recent successful launch of Google+ (with its simple privacy controls and intuitive interface) has you reviewing your allegiance to Facebook, then an escape route is available. A guide here leads you down the path to liberating all of your Facebook data. If only having a social profile did not mean having to leap into the arms of a major corporation...