54 posts categorized "Social Networking"

Calling all developers - Social Dev Camp East - May 10th, 2008 - Baltimore

socialdevcampbaltimore.jpgIf you are developing applications in the social media / social networking / web 2.0 space, you should know about Social Dev Camp East, coming up on May 10, 2008, in Baltimore. Some info is in PBWiki, although most of the activity is happening on the Facebook event page. It looks like some great topics and events and given that Dave Troy is one of the organizers, I expect it should be good. Dave's the guy behind Twittervision and several other sites and is also the one who put the open source Asterisk PBX running on top of a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner (seriously... "Press 1 to start sucking"!).

On the wiki there are already a bunch of folks signed up and I look forward to hearing about what happens. (I won't be able to attend due to other commitments.)

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LinkedIn rolls out "company profiles" with unique data mining info

2DC0C213-CDAD-44ED-B925-F386524AFF7D.jpgHow could you improve on the basic "company profile" if you had access to a ton of information about the employees of companies? LinkedIn this week aims to show what can be done as they rolled out their new "Company Profiles" feature that provides information about companies in LinkedIn's massive database of users.

In the past, when you looked at someone's "full" profile in LinkedIn (here's a pointer to mine, but you need to be logged into LinkedIn and click the button on the bottom of the page to see my "full" profile), the names of each company listed in your "Experience" area were links that, when clicked, did a search of LinkedIn for other users who included that company name in their profile.

linkedincompany.jpgToday, clicking on a company's name in someone's profile may instead give you a "Company Profile" page if that company is one of the 160,000 companies profiled thus far (as mentioned in LinkedIn's blog entry). If the company is not one of the 160,000 profiled so far, the link will perform the same kind of search as before. How do you know if a company has a profile? As shown in the image to the right, in my profile there is a "document" icon next to "Voxeo Corporation" but not next to the "Voice Over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA)". The icon provides a visual cue that Voxeo has a company profile while VOIPSA does not.

The company profile begins with the typical kind of information you would see on pretty much any "company profile" on the web. It has a standard description, some stats about where the company is, the number of employees, etc. But then the company profile goes beyond what you might see in other places and makes use of the incredible amount of data that LinkedIn users have entered in to all their profiles. You get a list of employees at the company in your LinkedIn network... and then the "New Hires", listing new people at the company. Also "Popular Profiles" based on who has visited various profiles within LinkedIn.

LinkedIn_ Company Profile_ Mitel.jpgThere is also an interesting section showing where people have come from before joining the company and after leaving the company. The image on the left shows this section for Mitel (which was more interesting than Voxeo's). From looking at a couple of company profiles, I'm guessing that the before and after lists are probably compiled based on the number of LinkedIn users joining and leaving a company. It also brings out some interesting stats - who know that Mitel employees are most connected to Brasil Telecom Internet?

The Company Profile also contains interesting info about job titles, top schools, median age of employees as well as median tenure for employees in the company. (Again, see Mitel's page for an example.) Now, obviously, this is only calculating this info based on employees with a LinkedIn profile so it's not 100% accurate. Still it is indeed interesting data about a company.

How widely used will these profiles be? I don't know, but I could certainly see them being used by candidates evaluating a job with a company (or by people looking to understand the background of someone being considered for a position).

Regardless, I find it an intriguing use of data mining to make use of all the info LinkedIn has by aggregating all the information we are putting into the site. Cool to see. (As my mind thinks of all the other statistics they must be able to glean from their massive database.)

By the way, here's a video the LinkedIn folks put up to describe the feature:

What do you think? How useful do you see these company profiles being?

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Chris Brogan's free eBook on "Social Media Starting Points"

chrisbrogansebook.jpgChris Brogan yesterday released a free eBook "Social Media and Social Networking Starting Points" that does a nice job outlining what you need to think about as you look at starting to use social media and social networking for business communication. It's a well-done piece. As I commented, the only additional item I thought should be included was a comment policy, but that's mostly due to my recent experiences with the need for one! However, I'd still definitely recommend this eBook to people... it's great that Chris is putting together material like this.

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Google's orkut to launch application platform based on OpenSocial

orkut - login.jpgDoes anyone still use Orkut?

Obviously some people do and the first visit to my page in eons showed me that a couple of people I know had actually been by there recently. But in the grand "battle" between Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, etc., orkut doesn't seem to get much mention these days. I know that I joined orkut back in 2004 when it launched and you had to have an invite to get in. But a year or so later I had basically left it behind (except that my account is still there and now and then does get friend requests).

So I was a bit surprised to encounter over on Official Google Blog the post "orkut going more social" that contains this text:

"Starting this month, we're enabling developers to make their social applications available to orkut users. We'll start ramping up to more than 50 million people over the next few weeks.

To prepare for this growth, we're now accepting social applications. For a while now, developers have been able to write, test, and play with applications on orkut. Later this month, however, we're going to start rolling them out to orkut users. OpenSocial developers can submit their completed applications (deadline: Feb. 15).

To help developers ready their applications, we're offering engineering support and training. We've scheduled orkut hackathons on Feb. 14-15 from 10 am-6 pm at the Googleplex in Mountain View and via videoconference in New York. For more information or to RSVP, please email [email protected]. If you can't attend, we hope to see you in the OpenSocial forums or on chat (irc://irc.freenode.net/opensocial)."

The post obviously has more information and the relevant links.

That Google is doing this is no surprise given their backing of the OpenSocial initiative. It is interesting to see the note about "ramping up to more than 50 million people". Is that the current number of active orkut users? If the Wikipedia entry is accurate (that states 67 million users in August 2007) that would certainly be plausible.

Regardless, it is great to see another social network indicating that they will have working support of OpenSocial apps soon. The more there are, the more incentive it is for app developers to develop for OpenSocial.

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LinkedIn launches new research platform for financial markets

Over on O'Reilly Radar Tim O'Reilly writes in "LinkedIn Announces New Research Platform" about LinkedIn's new "LinkedIn Research Network" to provide primary research to financial markets:

"The big difference is that GLG has crafted a stable of hand-picked experts, while LinkedIn will be data mining its database of millions of users to find potential experts. This is significant because hedge funds and other financial firms get little advantage if they are all taking to the same people, even if those people are the top experts in the field. Competitive advantage, referred to in financial markets as alpha, only comes when you have information that others do not. <text snipped>

Because of its Web 2.0-scale pool of connected individuals, LinkedIn hopes to provide insight from unexpected sources. He also pointed out that the social network helps you to evaluate people promoting themselves as experts: Let's say you're considering an investment in a mining concern in China. You see someone who claims to be an expert. Then you see that he's connected on LinkedIn to the CEOs of the top three zinc producers and has in his network 80% of other people you've identified as experts."

It's an intriguing move to me to see another way that LinkedIn might perhaps monetize it's massive database of people and connections. The launch of this LinkedIn Research Network is apparently a few months out and one will assume that we LinkedIn members will hear more about it (and whether we can opt in or out)... but to me it's another interesting experiment... and if it helps LinkedIn continue to be financially viable and continue to offer their service for free to all of us, so much the better.

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MySpace enters the "application platform wars" against Facebook

MySpace Developer Platform.jpgSo today MySpace squares off against Facebook with the release of the MySpace Developer Platform. One of the key features of the "MDP" is that it is supporting the OpenSocial initiative and has a lengthy page explaining the interaction between MySpace an OpenSocial. They also provide some nice tutorials starting with (of course!) a "Hello World" and then getting right into creating an OpenSocial application.

It's intriguing to me that MySpace is not launching this with any existing high profile apps. It's really just providing a box of parts and saying... "here, have fun, go nuts!"

In fact, serious application deployment is being put on hold for a one-month period while developers try out the platform. Apps are limited to being installed by 10 users during this one-month development period, which, as other sites are mentioning, has the effect of "leveling the playing field" and giving all developers, large and small, a chance to work with the platform before it goes "live" and mass deployment of applications to MySpace's hundreds of millions of users can begin.

It will indeed be very interesting to see what developers actually do with all of those parts and what applications emerge. We'll have a clearer picture in a month, eh?

More coverage on the announcement that I found useful:

(Now, the question for me personally is this... will this be enough incentive for me to actually pay attention to my long-neglected MySpace profile? Hmmmm.... )

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Don't understand why we NEED "data portability"? Watch this video...

If you don't yet understand why the walls need to come down between social networks, here is this great video from Michael Pick of Smashcut Media (first seen on Particls.Blog):
DataPortability - Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

Indeed... this kind of portability is exactly what we need. We need to have control over our own information and network. Join the conversation over at DataPortability.org....

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May the walls start to come down... Facebook joins with Google and Plaxo in joining Dataportability.org

dataportabilitylogo.pngAs I've written about in the past, I continue to remain concerned that social networks are really just "walled gardens" that are isolated from each other. Late last week, Robert Scoble getting temporarily kicked out of Facebook brought the attention of many of us to "DataPortability.org" and its "dataportability-public" Google Group. Now, today brings word that Facebook, who has usually been a holdout in "open" announcements to date (like OpenSocial) will be joining in to the Dataportability.org project. The news can be found here:

The news is outstanding, really, for those of us who want this kind of data portability. To have basically all the major players working together will be excellent. It would, indeed, be great to have the walls start coming down...

The devil, of course, lies in the details... time will tell whether true actions will emerge out of the DataPortability.org initiative.

Still, it's a great way to start - and I've definitely joined the GoogleGroup mailing list to join in the evolution. Let's see if the walls can shake a bit, eh?

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LinkedIn also releases their application platform (or at least talks about it more)

2DC0C213-CDAD-44ED-B925-F386524AFF7D.jpgI've been too busy to comment on LinkedIn's announcement of their "Intelligent Application Platform" but there are certainly tons of others who have (see also here). Some of the posts I found most interesting were at VentureBeat and GigaOm.

LinkedIn, naturally, had a blog post with an introductory video that explains the platform.

While Facebook obviously has an enormous lead in terms of developers, it will be interesting to see what traction Linked does or does not gain. They indicate they will be supporting OpenSocial, which will allow developers to make apps that run in other OpenSocial-compliant social networks as well. They also have a strong user base within the business/professional community (include me) which could be quite attractive to developers as well.

In any event, I look forward to watching the announcements from LinkedIn as they roll out this developer program over the next few months.

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Open Web Awards - What sites would you nominate for "Niche and Miscellaneous Social Networks"?

200711281322What sites would you nominate for "Niche and Miscellaneous Social Networks" for the Open Web Awards? As I described earlier, this site is one of the places you can nominate candidate sites. Please do so by leaving a comment with the word "NOMINATE" at the beginning followed by a dash and the site name. For instance "NOMINATE - Facebook.com".

Mashable.com doesn't yet have a post out with specific guidance, but in the information that they have sent to us to date they have indicated that this is basically "anything else"... social networking sites for communications professionals, anyone? hobbyists? specific fan sites?

Feel free to nominate any kinds of social networking sites that you think might fit this broad category. Please feel free to make multiple nominations - and if someone else has already nominated your site, please feel free to leave another comment with the same nomination. (Mashable.com has asked us to pass along the number of nominations we receive for each site.

Let the nominating begin! (Nominations will be closed at 11:59PM Pacific time on Tuesday, December 4th)

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