Filed under: COOL SHT, Feature | Tags: #twitterblackout, ACTA, Anonymous, Apple, Car Window, Facebook, Forbes, GM, iPhone, Mitt Romney, Pinterest, President Obama, Republican, Ruby Zhang, State of the Union, Superbowl, Twitter, USC Annenberg School, Weibo
THIS WEEK: BETWEEN POLITICS & CENSORSHIP, THE TWITTER PAGES
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
While the Republican candidates continue to crucify each other in debates and public speaking engagements, Twitter has become a critical tool for candidates to engage their audiences. With 10 times more users on Twitter than during the 2008 election and the sites’ ability to break news faster than major news outlets, Twitter is certainly flexing its muscles in the political campaign space.
While Twitter fist pumps in politics, the site felt some public backlash over the weekend. Forbes claimed that Twitter had committed “social suicide” when they released news that they would be withholding tweets in particular countries (i.e. China, etc) Twitter users like Anonymous planned an online revolt on Saturday January 28th claiming they would not tweet in protest of Twitter’s action (#twitterblackout).
This move by Twitter was certainly not motivated by their desire to censor but more importantly to try and infiltrate China, a market which had 485 million online users at the end of June, more than any other country in the world. Twitter is banned in China, based entirely on the fact that the company, up until now, has refused to allow the government to censor tweets. Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, has allowed open access to the government. The site is used by 250 million users. On Friday, I sat down with Ruby Zhang who moved from China to Los Angeles to study at USC’s Annenberg School. She walked me through Weibo and explained the advantages to Twitter:
- Mainly, her friends from home all use the site and therefore the clear advantage in China is simply that it has mass scale. Twitter will have a difficult time infiltrating given this fact.
- Images in line on Weibo.com’s home page. Many Twitter folk don’t visit the online site but instead connect through Twitter clients like Tweetdeck and others. Visuals are processed by the brain far faster than text. Twitter has made inroads to add visuals in-line but they certainly have room to grow.
- Easier list and categorization features. When’s the last time you used a Twitter list? Fantastic feature but it has been de-emphasized in design updates.
In other news last week, President Obama’s State of the Union got a snazzy interactive update showing side-by-side graphics while the President spoke. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may be even more insidious than the more well-known SOPA/PIPA, USA Today’s Superbowl Ad Meter will finally include Facebook ratings, Apple delivers blow out earnings proving that more iPhones are sold per day than babies born in the world, Pinterest is showing serious strength in pushing consumers to retail and Facebook plans to file their IPO next week.
Some more Cool Sh-t:
Re-Imagine: What’s Outside Your Car Window
Filed under: Feature, ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: Android, App Store, Apps, Apps Store, Blackberry, Gartner, Handhelds, iPhone, Kettle, Mobile, Olivier Peyre, Palm Pre, Smartphone, They Make Apps
GOT MOBILE APP DEVELOPERS?: THEYMAKEAPPS DOES
As someone who prides herself on being a digital nerdstress, I often field questions from folks looking for mobile app developers. It’s very analogous to that moment where someone texts you looking for a good restaurant or bar in their neighborhood. Inevitably, your mind goes blank and the vestiges of cool locations are lost rendering you helpless in directing your friends to that cool bar you always want to refer people to. Eventually, perhaps you muster up the mental energy to pull a few developers out of thin air, developers who most likely have no additional bandwidth to take on new projects. FAIL.
Enter TheyMakeApps, an online directory of iPhone application developers categorized by location and price. iPhone users have so far downloaded over 3 billion applications from the iTunes store. A recent study from Gartner found that users will download, on average, 20.1 apps per smartphone this year. With that much consumption, it’s easy to see why everyone is looking for a good developer. With over 100K registered iPhone developers, it’s easy to see the need for something which weeds though that much choice. The challenge in finding the right person is in finding someone who can execute the vision at the right price. They Make Apps helps it all come together in a slick user interface that makes the process a bit more fun.
Currently, users can browse through apps filtering by price (up to $20K) and by location. The site was developed by Kettle, a NYC-based digital consultancy. Olivier Peyre, Creative Director of Kettle, tells me that search will be available soon. Clearly, search is a critical feature allowing users to drill down on exactly what they’re looking for, be it a mobile app developer specifically or a developer who has worked with a brand of interest. I like that the site allows for users to save mobile developers of interest for a comparative look later in the process. Any developer can easily sign up on the site to be included in the directory.
Currently, the limiting features for me are the lack of search (which is already on its way), the lack of budget options above $20K, and the lack of Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre developers. Some nice-to-have features would be a way to vote up and down certain developers creating a hot list of preferred vendors and a way to email developers of interest to friends.
TheyMakeApps isn’t exclusively for agencies and developers. SPIN magazine used the directory to find the developer for their latest project. Nick Pandolfi, Digital Edition Manager of SPIN describes his experience:
“TheyMakeApps was a huge help with SPIN’s latest development project. Rather then reach out to all our contacts for developer references, it was a quick way to find locally based developers and see exactly what they specialize in. I’m sure we’ll be using it again soon!”
TheyMakeApps is simply the glue connecting need to the solution. And frankly, I love glue.
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- Staggering iPhone App Development Statistics to be Unveiled at Inaugural App Exhibit at Macworld 2010 (prweb.com)
- Mobile apps to generate untold riches for developers (go.theregister.com)
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: Arts, Blackberry, iPhone, Karaoke, Lady Gaga, Music, TechCrunch, Urbanspoon
In major metropolitan areas, the BlackBerry at lunchtime is a force to be reckoned with. And now it can be a device to help those urbanities actually find a place to eat with the launch of Urbanspoon for BlackBerry. (Techcrunch11/10)
Karaoke fans will soon get the chance to turn their iPhones into full-fledged karaoke machines, thanks to an upcoming new application called iOKi. This is no wannabe karaoke app either — music sensation Lady Gaga has partnered with iOKi to launch her own fully Gaga-ized version of the app featuring some of her most popular songs, which will make its debut alongside the upcoming release of her new album on November 23. (Techcrunch 11/10)
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: App Store, Apple, Handhelds, iPhone, IpodTouch, iTunes, Pizza Hut, Smartphones
More and more companies are creating iPhone applications as a way to reinforce branding and to gain new customers. Some companies are even seeing increased sales thanks to iPhone apps. One of those is the Pizza Hut app [iTunes link] for the iPhone and iPod touch, which has now generated more than $1 million in sales according to MobileMarketer. The US-only iPhone app was first introduced three months ago. (Mashable 11/3)
Filed under: TECHNOLOGY | Tags: Amazon.com, App Store, Apple, Barnes & Noble, E-book, iPhone, IpodTouch, Silicon Valley
The number of e-books available for Apple‘s iPhone and iPodTouch through the App Store surpassed the leading category, games, in September for the first time, an indication that the devices could grab market share from Amazon’s market-leading Kindle reader, a research firm said. (Informationweek11/2)
A Silicon Valley start-up said it sued Barnes & Noble on Monday, claiming that the bookseller misappropriated trade secrets in creating the Nook e-reader. Cupertino, Calif-based Spring Design said it had a nondisclosure agreement with Barnes & Noble and had been discussing its e-reader plans with the bookseller since early this year. (Cnet 11/2)