Facebook still NOT the largest social network in the world


Here’s a little reality check for the people going gaga over facebook reaching 200 million accounts. The Chinese site http://qq.com still currently boasts the largest social network in the world, they hit 200 million way back in January, of course there are many people on facebook with more than one identity, Facebook doesn’t let users do it officially, but QQ does – as such there’s over 860 million separate user ID’s on QQ. How’s that for real stats! http://tech.qq.com/a/20090219/000343.htm Considering Facebook consists of users from all over the world and QQ is basically China, it offers a small glimpse of the eastern network power and its masssive potential.

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@Twitter OMG! Look how you’ve grown!

A Sign Of Huge Success

A Sign Of Huge Success

In just over 2 years Twitter, the webchild of Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone has hit mainstream in a huge way. For those of us that were in on the beta its a testament to the power of a great idea, the benefits of being open, and the desire that people have to voice their opinions. I’m not going to go into a huge post about why people twit, how they’re going to make money from it, or who’s using twitter and for what reasons, there’s already an insane amount of material out there.

What’s really interesting now though is that the growth in twitter use is now so rapid they’re just running to catch up with demand, You’re starting to see more and more ‘Twitter is over capacity’ messages – and the Fail Whale image. To give you some of the latest stats though, a few weeks ago year Nielsen tracked twitter grown at an annual 1,382% but data in Feb-March alone showed a 76.8% increase showing that growth acceleration is increasing. According to Mashable that data is just its website traffic, and not even traffic from mobile devices where most of the tweets would be coming from.

Twitter is working on a Discovery Engine that will let you search tweets without leaving your webpage, Google haven’t yet missed the boat, they can still unlock that safe and get those truck fulls of cash ready. Take a look at the recent TED talk below by Evan Williams.

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Skittles Ride The Social Networking Rainbow


Skittles have made the incredibly brave move of making a twitter search their custom home page.

Any tweet that uses the word ‘skittles’ now appears on the skittles home page. Brave because no bigger brand has done it before, dangerous because that includes negative skittles comments, wonderful because it’s generating a massive amount of comments that involve the word skittles, people are tweeting posts with the word skittles in them just to get their post appearing on the skittles home page.
They haven’t just stopped with twitter though, their media section has now become their youtube channel, their pictures section is now their flickr channel, Social is their facebook section, and about is wikipedia in fact just about the only non social part of their site is the actual product range page. It must have been a fairly low-cost experiment – but it’s almost a total embrace of the social web. It’s an exercise in not re-inventing the wheel, and a totally honest opening of the brand for the world to rip it apart or build it up (even if they can’t buy skittles in the country that they’re looking at twitter in). The buzz that’s being generated right now is totally off the scale. Genuis.

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Transforming A Traditional Agency Into A Digital One – Part 2


When there’s been such a positive response from one of my previous blog posts it’s hard following it up, especially when I know I’m now going into far more uncharted waters for the traditional agencies. I apologise in advance for the length of this article, it seems too long for a blog post, and too short to cover everything, maybe i’ll have to get that book done. I’m going to talk about things that a traditional agency doesn’t do –  R & D (I could almost sense an intake of breath there). But before that, let’s ease things in a bit, by looking at the roles that are utterly essential in larger integrated agencies but get overlooked as they’re a little bit ‘out there’.
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Posted in Life, Media, Social Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Agency Migration Mini-Update

Quick update – I’m currently in the middle of writing the next part of my agency change series, but in the meantime I’ve had lots of positive feedback on the earlier post.

I’m really glad that there are like-minded people who understand what I’ve been saying. Thanks to Sam Brownfield from Tradewind (London) Ltd for mentioning this post on his blog. Sam’s post ‘End of Term Report – Digital in 2009‘ is really interesting and makes a great point about how outsourcing can sometimes turn into a mess of layers. It’s also spot on with regards to the rise of Digital Out Of Home, and the convergence of ATL and Digital Skills, something I’m really into.

Click here for the Tradewind London blog

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New Site Launch Launch – www.FalloutFarmers.com

I’ve been working on a small side project http://www.falloutfarmers.com It’s a tongue in cheek guide to disaster preparedness, suppliers, products and other paranoia.

It’s very much a work in progress, but there’s some fun stuff in there already like where to get your basic shelter, radiation suit and methods of  transport. There’s also articles about newer products that are out on the market which might just one-day save your life.

Posted in Life, Social Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Media Molecule show Nintendo how to make a platform game

After finally getting my hands on a beta key I quickly downloaded the 900 MB online download and jumped into Media Molecules pre-release of its much anticipated sandbox platformer. I apologise in advance for the grainyness of my screenshots, after hunting for a way to take some half-decent screenshots without rigging a computer into the PS3 I’ve linked to various online videos, at far higher quality than I’m able to take. So bear in mind that the custom levels in the video’s within this post are from people who have been able to spend more time in the game world than I have.

The first thing that struck me was the first-play intro credits (see video below), its a subtle tutorial on customisation, animation and use of the six-axis as you jump and run over sweeping platforms with images of the developers being the game. Before we go any further I must mention Stephen Fry, his fantastic narration and voice-overs really ease your learning and play within the game. I cannot think of a single more perfect person who epitomises the humor, or the British ‘soul’ that the game has to it. The voice-overs are done in a similar style to his role as the ‘book’ in ‘The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’. Just playing with the initial tutorials had me grinning from ear-ear.

Once you’ve done the basic character customisation, of your rather unfortunately named avatar (Sackboy)  it’s time to visit your ‘pod’ a customizable selection screen that you can jazz up with collected game items. There’s plenty of choices here. You can jump straight into playing those standard levels that we’ve seen time and time again on demo’s or you can get started with building your own creation. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can jump into the online world and start playing other peoples creations right from the get-go. I really don’t recommend that though. If you’re planning to spend a long time within this world then it’s a place to be savoured and enjoyed like the finest 3 course meal. The perfect appetiser is the intro levels, they give you an idea of just what can be created while teaching you the basic jumping, swinging, grabbing, pushing, and pulling techniques as well as giving you a good overview of the physics and objects within the game. The other advantage of playing these initial levels is to collect items that can then be used within your own game world, It’s an attraction far greater than the normal ‘save the princess’ goals of traditional platformers (that’s not to say you couldn’t make one!). By playing the game you get actual in-game ‘stuff’ you can keep and use as much as you want. That’s one hell of an incentive to play.

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Posted in MediaLab, Social Tagged with: , , , , , ,

When all you have is an iPhone

image1848705557.jpgThe past week has been an experiment on mobile connectivity for me. I decided to leave the laptop at work while I headed off for a family holiday. Was it possible for a news-feed nut like me to continue to get my news fix, or blog without a fixed connection and often without an Edge or 3G signal.

The answer if course is yes! I’m writing this post in front of a log fire with a chilled bottle of Hoeggarden. It’s been a pleasure to use a feedreader app on my iPhone to pick up my google reader feeds. I’ve been using GPS tracker to post regular location updates to my collegues. It hasn’t mattered one jot that a large amount of my time has been outside of high speed connection range.

What this excersise has done is to give me an insight into the shape of things to come, and how reliant users will be on the mobile networks. I haven’t been travelling through some particularly remote locations and it’s amazing to see how many real mobile blackspots there are in the UK.

If your main job was as a blogger then yes, all you would really need would be a decent smartphone and good reception. Right now, the iPhone ticks all the boxes. But of course as a device for full remote working (from a sys admin, consultancy, or network role), mobiles cannot compete with fixed line devices with the state of the current mobile networks. I’m talking about any mobile SIM based device because they all suffer from the same reliance on mobile coverage.

I can see this gap being resolved within 5 years, by then we will be looking at a totally different landscape. That’s a blog post for another day…

Mobile Blogging from here.

Posted in Life

The first Google phone has a nipple, and it sucks too!

What does it have going for it?

  • It has a nipple!
    It’s not a real one, it’s a roller-ball style navigation like the traditional Blackberry Pearl. OK, so having a touchscreen is supposed to make this kind of thing obsolete, but if you’re not used to touch then a nipple can make navigation a lot simpler.
  • Web-kit based browser.
    Just like apple’s Safari Surfing the net is going to be fast, but just like the iPhone there’s no flash support yet.
  • Push email for gmail
    It’s push email for the masses, as soon as you get a mail it gets received by your phone – and you don’t need a Microsoft Exchange server.
  • It’s the shape of things to come!
    Jump onto the bandwagon, and be one of the first to experience a phone with a Google OS.
  • 3.2 mega-pixel camera.
    Ok, lets be honest – it’s nothing special, especially as phones are around with 5 mega-pixels,  but it’s still a higher resolution than the iPhone’s
  • Memory card expansion slot
    It’s not innovative, but it means that unlike the iPhone you wont have to worry about all those applications using up your storage space.
  • Digital Compass as well as GPS
    Real innovation here – it means there’s plenty of scope for navigational applications which orientate their maps directly to the way your facing.
  • Open Platform
    Unrestricted applications, you can download what you want, when you want.

Let’s be honest – here’s what you’re really going to hate…
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Posted in Tech Tagged with: , , , , ,