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16 posts from April 2011

TED Video: Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0 is Truly Amazing!

This morning, by way of a tweet, I learned of this incredible video of Eric Whitacre's recent talk at the TED conference. Given that I spent many years myself singing in choirs, I was truly moved by seeing what he and the folks involved are doing. I'm definitely looking forward to the "Virtual Choir 2.0" premiere on YouTube later this week....

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Breaking News: MediaSift (makers of TweetMeme) Licenses Twitter Firehose to Merge With Klout And Sentiment Data

Data20conMoments ago at the Data 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, representatives of Twitter and MediaSift (the people behind Tweetmeme) stood onstage to announce that MediaSift is licensing Twitter's "firehose" to provide a way to obtain filtered feeds from the Twitter firehose. The service, which will be branded "DataSift", will be available at:

Right now the service is in "Alpha" only and will be launched, per the news post, in Q3 2011.

The intriguing element here is that instead of dealing with the entire Twitter firehose through, for instance, the service that Gnip provides, with DataSift you will be able to filter the feed down based on keywords... or even Klout scores (or PeerIndex scores) and/or sentiment analysis.

This is where it could get interesting. You could then set up monitoring for tweets mentioning your brand name that had a negative sentiment and were from someone with a certain "authority" (remembering the issues with any such system). You could then act on those tweets in some fashion (sending out an alert, responding via Twitter, pinging someone via SMS). The key is that the filtering is done in MediaSift's cloud and you get to interact with an already filtered and merged feed.

Pricing was not disclosed in the announcement, although it was said that you only have to pay for the tweets with which you interact - and could also do that on a time-driven basis (i.e. for an hour). On the DataSift web site, there is a pricing page with little detail, but a pricing calculator may give some view into the pricing (if that price there is in US dollars. I can't tell from the symbol).

All in all it sounds like an intriguing service... now we just have to wait for it to actually be launched and publicly available.

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TED Video: The Birth Of A Word by Deb Roy (and visualizing social interactions)

If you haven't seen this video that has been circulating around some parts of the Twittersphere, it's well worth a watch. As the abstract says:

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

What is also interesting is the part after his son's word where Deb Roy looks at how they applied their techniques to analyzing social interactions online...

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YouTube's "1911" April Fool's Effect Is Admittedly Amusing

I thought it was silly when I first heard about it through TechCrunch, but then I watched one of my own videos through the "1911" lens (a recent Emerging Tech Talk video) and I do have to admit that it is amusing and clever... just click on the "1911" button in the lower right corner of any video that has it (you can click on this image to see one)...


... and immediately you are transported back into a time of grainy, sepia-toned silent films where someone played ragtime piano music while you viewed the film.

Now in the case of my video, the effect is also completely useless, because you can't hear a word of what the person is saying.

Still, it's a fun hack to see for a moment, anyway. Kudos to the YouTube team for coming up with something fun.

P.S. YouTube has a blog post up about 1911...

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Free webinar, April 7 - Social CRM and Building Apps to Monitor Social Channels

Are you struggling with how to monitor and respond to customer interaction on social channels like Twitter? Do you have staff assigned to social monitoring but are trying to figure out how to scale your interactions? Are you looking at "Social CRM" and how you tie social channels into the rest of your customer interaction channels?

On Thursday, April 7, 2011, we at Voxeo will be hosting a free webinar called Social CRM and Building Apps to Monitor Social Channels where we will talk about how our platform and services can assist companies and organizations with scaling and supporting their customer interaction over social channels. The abstract of the session is:

Two thirds of today’s Internet users actively engage with social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. They use it mainly for personal communication, but often share feedback and thoughts about product or service experiences. Companies need to contribute to this conversation to protect their brands, enhance customer service or provide proactive customer care. They are or will soon be faced both with a staffing problem and the technical challenge of having to integrate with their more traditional customer interaction channels.

Learn how Voxeo can help you automate communication over social channels and bridge the gap between social networks and traditional channels such as IVR or direct agent interaction.

We'll have a demo as part of the session and will leave plenty of time for Q&A. We'll also show the analytics that are available for social channels... and how those channels can be integrated in with the other tools we have to create and manage "multi-channel" applications that interact with customers across voice, SMS, IM, mobile web and social channels like Twitter.

It should be a great session and the main presenter is my colleague Tobias Göbel who is quite excellent. Registration is free and we'd love to have you join us.

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My 2 Favorite Things about the WordPress 3.1 Admin Bar

Having now worked with Wordpress 3.1 for a good while on my personal sites (and just recently rolling it out across all Voxeo's blogs), I have to say that one of the features I thought would be big definitely is: the Admin bar.

Here are my 2 favorite things:


On a site like the Voxeo blog site, I literally working with 20 blogs. The ability to rapidly switch between those sites using the "My Sites" menu on the admin bar is HUGE. Further, I love that you can switch not just to the admin backend for the sites, but also to just view the site or to quickly create a new post:


My second favorite thing is the "Edit Post" button (which becomes "Edit Page" on a WordPress "Page"). This is wonderful because if you are looking at a post or a page and see something that needs to be fixed, you are just one click away from fixing it. Sure, you could always do this in the past in most themes from a "Edit post" link in the footer... but first you had to scroll down and find it.

These two features alone have made me incredibly happy to have upgraded my sites to WordPress 3.1. The third favorite feature would be the ability to manage comments very easily from the admin bar... which is also very cool.

If you haven't upgraded WordPress to 3.1 yet, I'd definitely encourage you to consider it. Well worth it, in my opinion.

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