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With everyone clawing back control – is openness a fallacy? – The RAAKonteur #92

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6 July 2012

Net ideology holds that openess and the giving up control over net media is not only inevitable, it’s also good for business. However, are we not seeing exactly the opposite trend, lately?

Facebook’s Fumbling – or are they?

Facebook Fumbles, or do they?

Changing their users’ email addresses without their permission, Facebook behaved like douchebags again. Then, to make matters worse, they said their users are “confused”. Maybe they’ve given their PR department over to a Klingon. Techcrunch argues, however, that this behaviour was not just unreflective and uncaring. It was a calculated step over very high stakes. Control over direct communication. Google, Facebook and Apple all have tools in the email, IM, video and audio call space. Direct communication is an incredibly important and lucrative space evidenced by the fact that there are dozens of mobile carriers that have a higher turnover than Google.

Out of control – no more

It might seem unrelated, but Twitter cutting LinkedIn off from receiving its updates, is part of a new trend of reasserting control. Jeff Jarvis famously said that modern companies should become platforms to grow their business, and one way to do this has been through open API’s. (We’ve explained what an API is before, here). For Twitter this approached paid off massively, helping it grow. Maybe even causing it to grow in the first place. Now Twitter is backtracking, increasingly reasserting control, leaving erstwhile partners that built on top of Twitter behind. The reason is rather old fashioned really: It’s because businesses like Twitter increasingly see themselves as selling their audiences via advertising, and therefor need to own their media.

Tumblr stumbles – Pinterest now bigger in the US

Pinterest overtakes Tumblr in the US

This blog post looks at various sources for statistics, and concludes, that while Tumblr might still be bigger internationally, Pinterest has overtaken Tumblr in the US. PS: On the topic of closed (or owned) media, the main difference between Tumblr and Pinterest is that the latter is a united network in one interface which Pinterest controls themselves. Mmmm

Mobile is “growing like a weed”, disrupting online business models

2012 is seeing a stronger than ever shift from web to mobile. The use of mobile devices to go online is growing rapidly, a new US study shows “tablet usage is exploding” and tablets are becoming embedded in people’s lives. As NY venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote earlier this week, mobile development presents serious challenges to existing online business and service models. Mobile apps are small and feature focused. They do few things and do them well, which is radically different from the big feature-rich platforms of, say, Google and Facebook who may have to repackage their goods in the near future.

Newspapers might be in trouble but journos are in demand

As we predicted, a new report highlights how content marketing is a fast growing phenomenon. It warns, however, that content marketing is not for the uncommitted. Not spending enough on it could have the same inpact as flighting a sub par TV add. It adds: what you need is not marketing personnel. You need people that can write, make videos, and understand news and narrative. If you’re interested in this topic, be sure not to miss this seminar on Tuesday, featuring RAAK’s own Wessel van Rensburg.

Labour launches Twitter based network

No doubt hoping to emulate Barack Obama, the Labour party has launched a Twitter based network through which it hopes to organise and energise its base. We’ve signed up to it, checked it out and were rather impressed with the no-nonsense, well thought out but simple features. Most media companies in the UK – including The Guardian – has yet to launch such a bang-on product.

Creatives of the Week – Indianen

Evil Eye - Indianen

Now this is a reason to give up Spotify and treasure the old vinyl. Belgian collective Indianen have created a “record player” that reads graphics printed on something that looks like a record. Their app works both ways: it can transform an audio file into a vectorized waveform, which can be printed, but it also works the other way round: you can make random interesting patterns and then explore what they would sound like. Possibly quite awful, but as Mark Wilson says in this piece: how much fun would the world be if you could figure out what your wallpaper would sound like? Brilliant!

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