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The RAAKonteur #36 – DataP***, Elastic Network & lots of mobile and location news

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11 April 2011


We've told you before about Datasift, the UK-based start up that does wonderful things with Twitter data. Well they have just done a deal with Twitter that brings their augmented Tweets and data filters to developers large and small. RWW waxed lyrical:

Want a feed of negative Tweets written by C-level execs about any of 10,000 keywords? Trivial! Basic level service, Halstead says! Want just the Tweets that fit those criteria and are from the North Eastern United States? That you'll have to pay a little extra for. The possibilities are staggering.

How can they do this? Datasift augments Twitter data, for example with data from LinkedIn, sentiment analysis and services like PeerIndex and Klout. Only problem is, as we pointed out before, location data is scarce.

By default Tweets don't have any, and most people have not switched it on. What excites us in particular is location, location, location. But by our measure, only 2-3 Tweets per minute are currently location-enabled in the whole of London. And many of these are tweets generated by Foursquare & Instagram. Still, that's better than December, when there was 1 Tweet per minute.

Still, at $0.30 per hour for more than 10,000 filters, Datasift should make all techies salivate. And, they also offer – Amazon-style – to store your data for you. Nice one.

In similar vein Twitter is reported to be in talks with Bottlenose, a stealth start-up not unlike Datasift, but focusing on augmented Tweets and filtering for end users.


Android grows and grows and grows

It's been coming, but Android is now officially the biggest smartphone OS in the States. In the last 3 months its market share has grown by no less than 7%, thus overtaking – no, flying by – RIM/Blackberry.

Obviously that comes with certain consequences for developers that want to reach the masses. And as VC guru Fred Wilson points out in his blog post, that number will only become bigger when you take into account the developing world, because of Android's lower price point.

Mobile usage in Africa

On that note, The Atlantic reports this week that Africa has passed Western Europe in the number of mobile connections. While the number for Western Europe went up by less than one percent, connections in Africa increased by 20% year-on-year.

The elastic network

Last week we dissed Color, the $41 million US 'photo-sharing' app. It turns out there might be a lot more to Color than meets the eye. We wrote about the service and the quest to build the elastic network.


Looking for location

On the topic of location. Foursquare growth is accelerating. They now stand at 8 million registered users, adding a million peeps in about a month.

But Instagram is stealing some of their limelight. They grew from nothing to 3 million users in 6 months. A better start than Foursquare had. And remember, it is a service only available to iPhone users!

Toyota withdraws Jailbreak theme

Android might be more popular, but Apple still wields some serious brand power. Two months ago Toyota tried to appeal to the ever-growing iPhone jailbraking community by developing a special theme, only available for download through the jailbreak app store Cydia.

Even though jailbreaking your phone is no longer considered illegal (at least according to the US Library of Congress), Apple ordered Toyota to remove the campaign. Toyota duly obliged.


The non-value of Influencers

Let's throw a little spanner in the works, shall we? Through his research at Columbia University, network theory scientist Duncan Watts established that the role of the Influencers in creating a buzz around a product is highly overrated. FastCompany has written a hefty piece about it, which is definitely worth your time. One teaser quote:

"If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one–and if it isn't, then almost no one can," Watts concludes. To succeed with a new product, it's less a matter of finding the perfect hipster to infect and more a matter of gauging the public's mood.

Twitter ready to launch Branded Pages

Rumour has it that Twitter is developing a special kind of profile page for businesses, similar to a Facebook Brand Page. 

Seen the very different dynamic of Twitter and Facebook, it'll be interesting to see what features they would offer to brands.

Facebook Comments

One interesting implementation of bringing the social graph onto your own web presence are allowing people to comment through Facebook. Tech blog Techcrunch caused a bit of a stir when they implemented it a while ago.

Now two bloggers have done a before-and-after analysis to see how it affected site engagement on Techcrunch. While it caused a 50% drop in amount of comments and a small drop in ReTweets, the google buzzing increased by 30%.

They also say that TechCrunch has claimed the referrals from Facebook to their site has skyrocketed.


LinkedIn does a Facebook

Looks like our comments about LinkedIn at our SMWF talk last week ("they're just not that social, are they?") were a bit premature. This week they launched a new platform and RWW explains the significance:

"The platform, though, isn't just for developers. LinkedIn is offering an entire suite of plugins to bring all of this content to your website. Even better, it's making it as easy as the click of a button and it could offer some serious competition to Facebook's Open Graph on sites that cater to the career-minded."

Engage your fans to add value

Here's an interesting use-case on how to use Social Media in a simple, cheap way to add value to your physical product.

To celebrate the release of the 10th anniversary edition of the award-winning sci-fi novel 'American Gods', author Neil Gaiman will be taking over the Twitter account of sci-fi website SFX. For one hour, fans will be able to Tweet Neil their questions and the best ones will actually be included in the special edition print version of the book.

Calling it 'Publishing History' is a tad grandiose, but given the hardcore fanbase, this is bound to be a success. 

Creative of the week – Elliott Kember

Believe it or not, but there are still companies that ban their staff from Twitter. How can they live? But creative technologist and API wizard Elliott Kimber has come to the rescue. He's built a Twitter client that looks just like an Excel sheet. Read More »


Tech insight of the Week – Location Check-In Problems & Solutions

Location-based social networks have been around for almost as long as Facebook and Twitter, but has yet to make the break into mainstream status. What's keeping them? Read More »

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