Category Archives: Tech

by Brian Solis

I recently spoke at Web 2.0 Expo about Microblogging and its future, along with Stowe Boyd, Jeremiah Owyang and Greg Narain. As you could imagine, the topic concentrated on almost wholly on Twitter, but we were also able to look at many other forms of micromedia including Jaiku, Pownce, Seesmic, Utterz, Tumblr, and even Facebook’s Mini-Feed.

There’s a fair amount of discussion about whether or not we drink our own bath water here in Silicon Valley, since many of the tools, networks and services we rave about, carry little recognition outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.

I guess that’s why Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley. It’s an incredible hub and ecosystem for fostering innovation. For years, many great products started out appealing only to the lunatic fringe or the edglings. Naturally, the products with momentum and purpose, even if they weren’t the best technological solution available, would successfully carry across the consumer adoption bellcurve.

That’s where our session at Web 2.0 comes into play…

First, Greg Narain led the development of a new alpha product based on the Twitter API, tentatively called “Front Channel,” which we debuted at the Expo. The app’s sole purpose was to show the back channel on screen, bringing people’s commentary into the conversation.

The panel was able to not only present ideas and vision for microblogging, but also respond to individual tweets in real time, taking the discussion outside of the room in San Francisco and carrying dialog around the world. It was simply unbelievable and truly engaging.

Now, Twitter is one of many tools, but it is where the people are. And, in Social Media, that counts for everything.

I believe that Twitter has a legitimate shot at crossing the chasm to find mass users in the early market and late market majority – as long as it can scale. But here’s where my thoughts diversify from the rest of the Twitterati. I think that aggregation of various mediums and channels will be the next big app for Social Media, and as Chris Heuer calls it, “everywhere messaging.”

Twitter is gaining popularity among younger generations as well as corporate america and Hollywood. MTV, JetBlue, Zappos, Dell, H&R Block, these are just a few companies using Twitter to listen and engage conversations. In many cases, Twitter is also quickly becoming an excellent tool for outbound customer service.

It’s only going to continue to grow exponentially.

It’s about the flow and many streams aka social networks, can spill into one bigger, more fluent river, which can include Twitter and services built upon its open API but also services such as Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, etc. It’s one of the reasons that FriendFeed is gaining a tremendous amount of traction. But make no mistake, Twitter, and the people who power it, have created a unique, active, and thriving culture. It, along with aggregated services that combine text, video, audio, and pictures, will continue to change how we communicate. It will combine one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many, for a variety of relevant discussions that matter to us as both individuals and also professionals.

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Pownce, Plaxo, FriendFeed, or Facebook.

by Brian Solis, Republished from PR 2.0

One of the more talked about companies at the Web 2.0 Expo is Zude, an interesting example of what’s possible in the realm of social computing.

The world may not need another social network, but what we sure could use is a platform that allows us to aggregate social elements from all over the web into one place – how we want, when we want.

Zude officially announced in beta and allows users to grab elements from any social networking site and integrate them into their own Zude page. It makes it easy for you to create, consolidate, communicate, and share “your” Web.

This concept takes the premise behind the Data Portability Workgroup and OpenSocial standard and empowers people to pull items, content, and contact, from other places to create their own online domain, quickly and easily. Using the company’s SocialMix technology anyone can automatically mashup (zudify) key elements from leading social networks including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, and honestly from any Web page, to integrate directly into their Zude page.

Hayden Panettiere

It’s much more scalable, customizable, and well, fun, than Ning, which is a customizable DIY social network builder. Essentially, Zude itself is a mashup of a WSIWYG Web site builder, DIY social network, and social media aggregator, strung together with drag and drop functionality. It is a digital/social canvas to build a customized one-page portal or profile, or if you’re creative and ambitious enough, you can create a multi-page, fully assembled Web destination that features your online brand or create a site dedicated to anything you find interesting. Add, sites, pages, and individual components can also feature RSS feeds for visitors to subscribe to the content that specifically matters to them.

Sites can be simple, complex, and/or rich, limited only by your imagination. A full library of ready-to-go widgets are also available within Zude to help provide a compelling kick start to add everything from contact lists, self-contained content from popular networks, application widgets, video and image players, feeds, maps and a wildly long list of other options.

I see Zude earning tremendous traction from consumer-focused brands and products. Businesses looking to appeal to mass audiences and also specific market demographics, niche communities within the Long Tail, can use Zude to create a variety of destination portals that are mainstream and also highly targeted and personalized.

Anna Nalick

Zude is a deceptively powerful social computing platform that provides developers with almost unimaginable power, freedom and flexibility. And, here’s the most important part, visitors can also remix these pages to interact with your brand or content, their way. Since almost anything can be dragged and dropped, they can move or even add new objects to further customize the experience – or use it to build their own fan or related topic site.

Zude has just provided us with the ability to create highly engaging and interactive online destinations and communities that truly socialized media, amplifies and extends user generated content, and empowers users with true data portability.

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Pownce, Plaxo, FriendFeed, or Facebook.

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by Brian Solis

In February, our friends at DataPortability decided to hold a contest to create a new logo after Red Hat threatened legal action over the organization’s original “suitcase” logo.

Chris Saad let me know yesterday that the new logo and tagline would officially debut today and as of this morning, the content is over. We contributed $100 to the pot, which if you see all that the lucky designer is winning overall, it’s a pretty lucrative prize pool.

DataPortability also released its new tagline, Connect.Control.Share.Remix.

In addition to the new identity package, the organization also released six-month updates.

- clearly established 2008 as the year of “Data Portability”

- Creating formal networks and informal outreach, such as the DataPortability Video Project and the DataPortability InMotion Podcast Series, which invited people to describe what data portability means to them

- Launched a new “participant democracy” via a democratic, open and radically transparent governance experiment using rough consensus and distributed leadership. To read more and/or participate

- Creation of the DIY (Do It Yourself Data Portability) Club. The first project: ‘Rel=me’ month. To participate

- Published stubs for the first batch of documents based on discussion in the Technical Action Group Skype Chat, Google Group and Meetups. To read more and/or participate:\

- Seen the implementation of many open technologies by small and large vendors in the name of ‘Data Portability’ including: Google Contacts API, Microsoft Contacts API, Digg supporting APML, XFN, hCard and RDFa, LinkedIn activity stream RSS, among others

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Pownce, Plaxo, FriendFeed, or Facebook.

by Brian Solis

On April 6th, Facebook quietly started to roll out its new chat application to certain market demographics. As the system scaled, the deployment expanded. As of today, Facebook Chat is available to almost 100% of the network.

I received access about a week ago and it has already completely modified the way I use Facebook. Originally, Facebook was a central hub for aggregating my online brand via a digital portfolio, as well as connecting me, my thoughts and ideas, as and the thoughts, activity, and ideas of my social graph. It was also a destination for me that I would hit when prompted or through necessity. For example, if I had a email to respond to, content or updates I needed to share, events I was planning or attending, people I needed to reach, or new widgets worth experimenting with.

Now with Chat, it’s starting to feel like a desktop or an OS where I can remain active throughout the day. Combined with a pretty effective 1:1 email messaging system, I can stay connected in real time. However, one point of caution, as we all suffer from distractions and fragmented attention, the more friends you have on Facebook directly relates to the volume of chats you’ll receive while you’re online.

Good news…Facebook Chat allows you to control your settings so you can dictate when people see you online. You also include Mini-Feed stories in your “online friends” window which is a nice addition.

All in all, I think Facebook Chat is a simple and elegant application that enhances the Facebook experience and also increases the engagement time of users within the network.

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Pownce, Plaxo, FriendFeed, or Facebook.

By Nicole Jordan, LA Correspondent

What’s headed to San Francisco from LA for Web 2.0? It’s the SCHWAGGIN WAGON! (I think this just might be the most fantastic name for a wagon, ever.)

What the hell is a Schwaggin Wagon you ask? It’s an idea borne from motivated do-gooders from the LA community. The purpose is a brilliant yet simple one. Set-up shop outside Moscone and at various 2.0 parties throughout the week and collect unwanted schwag from conference-goers and the companies themselves.

The goal is to have the goodies fall into the hands of people who will get more use out of it than that dresser drawer or closet you shove it all in after you get home. “I felt that sometimes a lot of this stuff gets unused, and it might as well be used. It’s one thing for people to actually wear the stuff, but if they squirrel it away…. it defeats the purpose,” said Michael Liskin, creator of the Schwaggin Wagon idea.

Anyone who drops something off is free to exchange it with another item that catches their eye. Companies who have extra schwag laying around those marketing closets should also be encouraged to sync up and drop off. All goods will be donated to various shelters, folks in need and the kiddies at…because really, what do YOU need another light-up yo-yo or squeezie ball for?

The Wagon will be decked out with decals from the sponsors who quickly rallied to make this happen: Dogster, e-storm, Heavybag Media, Hydra Networks, JamBase, Twiistup, and Mashable.

So if you see the Schwaggin Wagon or any one of it’s reps, say hello. They’re great LA peeps that are making things happen down here. Some names to look out for: David Preciado, Marjorie Kase, Michael Liskin, Michael Lambie, Kyra Reed and Andy Sternberg to name a few.

Being the social media geeks they are (and I love ‘em for it) you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

And, being the wonderful people they are, the Schwaggin Wagon crew will be “shuttling your drunk arses” around to various W2.0 parties around town from 10pm to 3am on Wednesday. Just shoot them an email at: Wagon (at) You know they’ll all have their blackberries and iPhones on them to get those requests.

So, say “Hello!” and donate and give them thanks when they pick you up and drop you off at your hotel after one too many dirty martini’s and who knows what other dirty things you’ll get into. Schwaggin’ Wagon to the rescue! Saving show schwag from the trash and you from wandering SF streets looking for a cab.

Schwagineers in action!