Category: Social Media

See the world from Facebook

October 18th, 2011 — 9:32am

It seems like Facebook is aiming to become your portal to the world.  The increased functionality and embedded applications available in Facebook make it easier to accomplish your web related tasks without leaving the portal.

I think it’s still a long way off, but more sites are developing facebook apps that allow you to stay with your FB page.  For instance, here’s an article on Zipcar:

Zipcar Members Can Now Reserve A Car On Facebook

and more apps are coming each day.  I think that more websites and businesses will have to develop facebook related apps to allow users to seamlessly move between sites and applications, without logging in again.

Comment » | Social Media

It’s not the technology, stupid…

September 16th, 2011 — 4:56pm

The issues faced by Google+ catching up with Facebook highlighted here:

Raise Your Hand If You’re Still Using Google+

really underscore the difficulties of starting a web-based business.  Many people think that they can take on the big sites with superior technology – some killer app, feature, etc.  Over the years I’ve seen many job posts, and talked to people who wanted to build a “clone” of a big name site (like,,  They really thought that the “technology” (programming, website, etc.) was really the key driver for the business, and would determine their success.

However, time and again, we see that the technology is really just the starting point.  From there, you need marketing, advertising,  partnerships, etc. to get things off the ground and get traction.  This is the part most people overlook.

In the case of Google+, they spent untold millions on the platform, and have a tremendous user base to launch it to, yet, it’s floundering a bit.  They have a hard uphill climb in my opinion, because of Facebook’s established users.  The switching costs of social media are high, and Google must overcome that.

So, when planning your next killer app, keep in mind that the technology is really the easy part.  Once that’s in place, your real challenges will start.

Comment » | Social Media

Time to move your documents to the cloud? Not so fast…

September 8th, 2011 — 7:18am

There’s been a push over the past few years to move more and more applications “to the cloud”, and off of your desktop / laptop computer.  Google docs has been trying to convert MS Office users away from the traditional Word, Excel, etc. applications to use the online application.

The functionality is pretty good, and it’s neat to be able to store and share your documents online.  You can edit them from anywhere, right in your browser.   However, with all “cloud” applications, there is still the risk of downtime, as this article shows:

Google Docs Stumbles, Goes Down

I think google is trying to remedy this, but creating a hybrid approach, where you can store documents “offline” on your computer, and sync up with the online version.  This may be a solid approach that works in the long run.

However, it’s still a bit risky to store your documents online.  Security is another big issue.  If  someone hacks (that never happens, right?)  into the “cloud” where the documents are stored, your sensitive data could be at risk.  When so much data is centralized like that, it’s a huge target for hackers.  Also, since these platforms offer easy “sharing”, you need to be careful you don’t accidentally share a confidential document with the whole world.

In summary, I think Google Docs has its place, but for mission critical and confidential documents, I’m still sticking with local apps, and local storage.

Comment » | Social Media, Web Tools

Google shows challenges of going up against Facebook

July 28th, 2011 — 12:36pm

Google plus is the latest attempt to challenge Facebook’s social media juggernaut.  However, after initially strong growth, the service seems to be hitting a snag:
Sophomore Slump? One Month In, Google+ Sees A Traffic Minus

This underscores the difficulty in going up against a business with established traffic and users.  When even Google runs into trouble, you know it’s hard.  It’s why nobody has made a serious run at ebay in all these years.  Once users have established accounts with lots of data tied in, the switching costs are just too high to go to someone else.  It’s important to consider this when starting a business or website of your own.  Technology is not the obstacle – getting users IS, and that is the biggest challenge to overcome.

Comment » | E-commerce, Social Media

Update your Facebook page automatically

April 13th, 2011 — 11:15am

One of the challenges faces businesses today is how to use social media.  If you are updating your website regularly, then it’s redundant to post the same content to your Facebook page.  Varying the content means that some users will miss what you are posting on your website or fan page, or vice versa.

Enter the rss feed.  This is a device commonly used by blogs, or CMS systems to “syndicate” your website updates.   People can subscribe to your feed using an RSS reader, for example.  Did you know that Facebook can also update your fan page by reading your RSS feed, and posting new items there?  Various Facebook “apps” can do this, and one I’ve used is called RSS  graphitti.

You can see a working example here:

and the fan page:

Selected content from the home page gets automatically posted to the fan page wall.  So fans of the company can keep up with the latest updates.

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