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The RAAKonteur #78 – Start me up, Pew on news, Klout does not do Influence

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26 March 2012

Crowdfunding now center stage

Last night the US Senate approved legislation that will make it possible to give ownership in return for small amateur investments – equity for crowdfunding. Up to now that is the one thing platforms like Kickstarter could not offer. In the UK equity for amateur funding has had no such issues. And there's two kids quick out the blocks: Crowdcube and Seedr (who won the recent LWS start-up competition). This news, coupled with the just announced tax breaks for start-up investment (SEIS) means it's a great time to be looking for funding.

In unrelated news, we’re very excited by the Digital Bolex, a high sexy quality digital camera – funded by Kickstarter.

Only 9% of people get their news from social networks

…very often. While 36% go to news organisations very often for their news. That bit of news from US based Pew was much repeated this week. Excluding folks that don't get their news from digital sources, 52% of people got 'some' of their news from Facebook or Twitter. And although almost twice as many got news from Facebook than Twitter, those that did said they would probably have gotten the news they got from Facebook elsewhere anyway.

Twitter users thought their news experience was more unique and irreplaceable. Twitter users also said they were less inclided to get their news on Twitter from friends, but still more so than from journos. And what we find striking, they were more often unsure of the source. This chimes with what sociologists would say. Twitter is a weak tie network, and information travels better in weak tie networks.

Social media gets serious

Brian Solis has been one of the first marketers to call for a more social scientific approach to marketing. No wonder then that Solis, who joined the star studded Altimeter recently, would publish a report on the Rise of Influencers and uses sociology to try and see the wood from the trees. The report pours cold water on the claims of Peerindex and Klout that they measure influence, but adds – they do measure 'social capital' – the potential to influence. Now we have one or two bones to pick with how he uses that term (watch our blog for more soon). But broadly what he says is bang on: everybody can now be media, but some us are more media than others.

Is Pinterest the new Facebook?

Insurrectionary talk is in the air, as new figures show that Pinterest drove more traffic to websites than any other site bar Facebook. The answer however is no. Pinterest's strength is that its a weak tie network. Facebook's strength and size lies in the fact that it’s for your close friends (strong ties). And everybody has friends. That's not to say that Pinterest won’t be big. But it’s more likely that they will co-exist as they have quite different rolls. On a side note – Peugeot's Pinterest competition is worth checking out.

A match made in heaven

Champagne glasses pinged from Williamsburg to London Fields, as Hipstamatic – the advanced photo app – became the first service to deeply integrate with Instagram – everybody’s favourite photosharing network. It's never been a better time to be a Hipster.

Google Analytics goes social

For some time now, data geeks have been worried as an increasing number of traffic to websites returned no source – often because they were social shares. With a new update Google Analytics hopes to solve that problem. It includes reporting from niche sites such as Slideshare. For a good run-down as to what's incuded and what not, see this blog post. But as an Adobe report out this week makes clear, even then, the impact of social is bound to be under reported because of the problem of last click attribution.

Promoted Tweets go mobile

Yip, in the week that Twitter turned 6, Twitter now not only allows you to advertise to users on mobile, it even includes new targeting metrics. So now you can target users with an iPhone only.


We do like reports, three others that caught our eye this week: Google now rakes in more money in the US than all the US newspapers combined. Ad spend on mobile jumped by 157% in the UK in 2011. And the person destined to spend the most on tech inside companies in the future will be the CMO, not the CTO or CIO.

The Empire strikes back – for us

Hardly had reports appreared that companies are asking job seekers for their Facebook username and passwords, and Facebook threatened to fight our corner. Facebook will take action to "protect the privacy and security of its users". Ironic, but very welcome news.

Is the internet of things upon us?

First it was Raspberry Pi, and now Twine (a product funded by Kickstarter) that enables you to make your toilet tweet and your tumble-drier err… tumble. And all that power "without a nerd degree". The little box has Wifi, sensors, and there's no programming required.

No! An internet of…

Drones! There's been a few posts doing the round this week that illegal file sharers like Pirate Bay will load their servers onto drones and fly them around – to escape detection. We don't believe that will be very cost effective…

Creative of the week – Stamen

The San Francisco-based design studio Stamen have combined their love for maps and their technological know-how into a lovely Watercolor Map Project. They used vector map data from OpenStreetMap and layered them with scanned watercolor textures that render automatically. Truly beautiful.

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