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The RAAKonteur #56 – The end of the Social Media world as we know it, our new Twitter app & much more

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26 September 2011

It's the end of the word as we know it, and I feel fine?

So this week we were confronted with a plethora of change at Facebook. For us, industry watchers, it felt like the earth moved. But is this a storm in the media naval gazing cup? Oh no, said Robert Scoble. He reckons that these announcements by Facebook signal the first major skirmishes in the social wars, and Google will have to respond or die.

"…if Google fails with Google+ the entire company fails. This is why I'm on Google+. This is why this fight is — by far — the most interesting corporate fight of the last decade."

But what exactly are these changes? In an in-depth article Wired takes a good first stab. Facebook's new Open Graph is pushing to become the social platform, encouraging all of us to share more, and forcing companies to choose the platform or wither away outside of it. Launch partners include Spotify and the Washington Post.

I had the timeline of my life, and I owe it all to…

The Facebook profile will change into a Timeline of your life: Facebook's forthcoming Timeline is a half-automatic, half manually-curated visual display of a user's past activities and app data.

Quite a few people on Twitter decribed the Timeline as both cool but creepy. RWW pointed out that many of us might suffer form the Uncanny Valley effect. Which is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that, when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.

The Newsfeed also changes, making Edgerank, if not obsolete, perhaps less prominent. We have already noticed that we see more updates from people we did not see of before.


Back to the future

AdAge has an excellent article on social media's symbiosis with TV.

"Over time, it dawned on us that more than anything else, TV was driving social… Social TV has slowed down time-shifting for some of TV's biggest shows."

Not anymore we hope. Because RAAK just launched Rewinder. It's timeshifted Twitter: you can literally see Twitter in the past, as it happened. Perfect for catch-up TV.


Instagram 2.0: bigger, better, faster, stronger

Instagram launched a brilliant update to their service this week. It’s more than a simple update though, more like a technological feat. Over and above ticking a few nice boxes, like Hi-Res local version of photos and optional borders, they introduced live filters. 

This means, you can preview the effects live, before actually taking the photo. To enable this, they had to totally re-write the filters to make them 200 times faster

In related news, Color (remember the start-up that raised $41m and then fell flat on its face?) pivoted, with a fancy twirl, right onto the Facebook platform. Their idea is to let people post photos, through which other users can “visit” them. A “visitor” then gets to see a video stream from the posting user’s camera.

Interesting idea, but will Color, by tapping into Facebook's 750 million strong audience, be able to leapfrog Instagram as the photo app of choice?

KLM's human tweet reply

Admittedly, it's a bit like the infamous Old Spice campaign: reply to people's Tweets with something special. But the guys from KLM did it in a nice way.

For a few hours only, they replied to Tweets not by typing a message, but by typesetting a message with a living alphabet, made out of 140 employees carring letters. Sounds more complicated than it is, so just watch the video.


Google + opens its doors

Google + opened up to everybody this week and added a few new features, including broadcast streaming video of people chatting. That sounds a lot like what Color is doing with Facebook.

Burberry's Tweetwalk

Smart brand Burberry put their Twitter followers on the front row of Fashion Week this week. They used Twitter to post backstage images of the outfits before they actually walked out on the catwalk. A Tweetwalk, they called it.
Not bad at all. We're actually working on a rather interesting fashion project with Guided Collective ourselves – watch this space.


Humans 1 – Machines 0

Crowdsourcing is a nice gimmick for little creative campaigns, right? But how about finding a cure for Aids?

Using molecule folding game Foldit, a group of 12-15 gamers worked together to successfully figure out the molecular structure of an enzyme that plays an important role in the lifecycle of HIV. The game turns the complex problem of molecule folding, necessary to figure out the structure of a molecule, into a game that players can play collaboratively.

Best of all – the gamers solved this problem in less than 10 days! To give you an idea:  the supercomputer project Rosetta has been trying for more than a decade to solve it.

Foursquare reaches 1 billion check-ins

That's right: 1 billion check-ins. That's quite a lot. More importantly, it seems like the check-in growth is accelerating.

If you know that they had 750 million check-ins in June, they've added just over 80 million a month. We've been fairly critical of Foursquare, but that's quite a bit more than the 60 million a month they averaged in the months running up to June 2011.

And do you want to know what a week of check-ins looks like? Then stare at this cool visualisation.


Creative Of The Week – James Drake

Creative of the Week this time is a science educator called James Drake. He composed a brilliant time lapsed video-flyover of the earth at night using photo’s taken from the International Space Station, crossing North and South America, and ending near Antarctica.

What makes the video especially worth watching, is the visible thunderstorms, and the way big cities light up. Simply beautiful!

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