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The RAAKonteur #83 – Apple’s bigger than Android after all, and the Education Revolution

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9 May 2012

The numbers are wrong: Apple beats Android


This is quite a thought: recent data released by NPD has shown that Android controls 61% of the US smartphone market. ComScore had it as 51%. These numbers, according to MG Siegler (aka parislemon), is just plain wrong. They don't correlate with sales numbers recorded by the networks at all. Without going into the numerical detail (it's all in his post), Apple is shown to control just about 50% of the US market. That means, the other 50% is split up between Android, Nokia and RIM. To add insult to injury, that is with iPhone only being available on the three biggest carriers (which, together, account for 80% of the market). Which brings us to a previous point he made in 2010: Apple is letting Android win. Riveting stuff!

The gaping Machine Curation gap

Über-blogger Om Malik this week wrote about a sore issue for Twitter – how to figure out users' interests. "Why do they need to do that, users do that for themselves on Twitter, don't they?", you might argue. Exactly, but for every user that figures out how to do this, Twitter loses numbers of other potential users, who never make it far beyond registering. The next logical step for Twitter is to figure out how to show new users exactly what they want, and even how to push more serendipitous content to seasoned users. Which is why they bought Summify, and which is why they've launched a new discover tab, to help users discover new content. Meanwhile, with Summify gone, several other players, like News.me (by the New York Times) and Percolate, are also scrambling to fill the auto-curation gap as quickly as possible. May the best player win!


While Twitter seems to be struggling with auto-curation, it's been at the heart of the Facebook experience all along. Few people understand the Facebook Edgerank algorithm, and Econsultancy has a very thorough piece on what marketers need to know about it. Facebook needs to stimulate this kind of understanding – the lack of it might just blow up in its face, as this piece by Wall Street Journal warns. Big advertisers are apparently starting to feel that they're paying too much for Facebook ads, because of the lack of proper ROI analysis. However, Facebook has just released another trick from its sleeve: Mobile Discovery. Allowing a link in Facebook to open an app, Mobile Discovery has sent 160 million users to mobile apps last month, up from 60 million just the month before. It is bound to be even higher this month, since Facebook has only just rolled out mobile discovery for Android. This might have the big advertisers paying even more for their sponsored stories. On the social good front, Facebook has called on their users to flag their Organ Donor status on their public profiles. And to top all that, it seems UK bouncers are starting to use Facebook on their mobile phones for age verification. Thát's how ubiquitous Facebook's become!

US Court Rules that FB like is not speech, therefore not free


What?! Exactly. In a case where a US Sheriff fired people who "liked" his opposition on Facebook during the foregoing election, the US district court of Eastern Virginia had the following to say:

"It is the court's conclusion that merely "liking" a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record."

This is a very dangerous statement, and mark our words – this will soon be used against someone in a bad way. Does this judge still read his paper, or did the past one and a half years just completely pass him by?

There's a Revolution in Education

In the latest print version of Wired magazine, they had an article on how Stanford University opened up the course material to one of their computer science courses online. With video lectures, assignments, and auto-gradings on those assignments. The only difference: the online students don't get official credit. One of the lecturers expected an optimistic 1000 online students. The other, a laughable 10000. The outcome: a staggering 160000 online students enrolled! Now, in the wake of that bombshell, two groups of universities are scrambling to capitalise on this potential. On the one hand, we have MIT and Harvard, who have just announced their plans to open up classes and course materials online in collaboration, and on the other hand, Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, et al, who already have a very impressive list of courses available. This must be the biggest disruption of education since Plato's time.

Reddit does it – again

Reddit never ceases to amaze. This week, a thread popped up, enticing fellow Redditors to spill their guts about their "one big secret". It became a comment fest to start at least thirty PhD's in sociology. This is the Reddit we know, and love, providing social insight that millions of surveys can never do.

Creative of the Week – Iris van Herpen


We like the fashion industry here at RAAK: it's a fast-moving creative beast. So when fashion and technology come together we take special notice. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has taken bespoke design a step further and used a 3D-printer to produce her new collection. The results are special. As she says in this Wired interview: "It freed me from all physical limitations. Suddenly, every complex structure was possible."

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