Monday, April 20, 2009

is the "Oprah Effect" Twitter's death knell?

As has been widely reported (before and after the fact)...Oprah started Tweeting last Friday. Naturally, as a result of her massive reach and appeal, a lot of her devoted audience followed suit. How many? A ton. TechCrunch is suggesting as many as 1.5 million since Friday. Granted, they're using some seriously fuzzy logic to arrive at that estimate, but even if you apply a massive margin of error to that's still impressive.

This is great news for me. I can now use the "mainstreaming" of Twitter as an excuse to visit it less and less frequently. Although honestly, I just think the 140 character limit is an obviously flawed constraint that only serves to impede content worthy of posting publicly.

I might just be 'wordy' though.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

of umbrellas and tea bags

Kids all over the country apparently went to the streets yesterday to the candidate they supported for the office of president didn't win? Or gov't bailouts? I can't really tell exactly (our current administration has had zero effect on the taxes that you and I paid yesterday, so it couldn't be that).

I didn't make it out to any of them, cuz it was cold and rainy, and I'm generally apathetic. That, and I forgot it was tax day.

But someone was good enough to post video from the local tea-bagger party to YouTube. $100 if you can sit through the entire thing.


Monday, April 6, 2009

the new FriendFeed just made my day

The blogs are a-buzzing today with news of the beta release of the 'new' friendfeed site, with it's associated shiny look, feel and features. The common refrain seems to be that it's a lot like Twitter. According to ReadWriteWeb in fact, direct FriendFeed updates automatically copy to Twitter by default...but my experience this afternoon indicated otherwise. Mashable too seems a little overly distracted by the visual resemblance to Twitter, advising that the new FriendFeed "feels a lot like a web-based Twitter client" except that you get to see "your friend’s activities from the dozens of different services that FriendFeed supports."

And it seems the forest is being lost for the twees. (sorry)

That distinction is what makes FriendFeed so impressive, and what separates it from the pack, in my opinion. It's an aggregator, of pretty much everything you use on the web (pix from Flickr, status updates from Facebook, Tweets, blog posts, RSS, etc). It's also now updating in real-time (by default, but pause-able). There's also no character limit meaning that you can post intelligent updates without having to use 'text-speak'.

Honestly, I've been a casual FF user, and mostly through a feed to my iGoogle page. But this new design could pretty easily convert me. The biggest obstacle for me is that I'm not sure if it'll have enough mainstream appeal to convert the masses.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pre-Roll ads suck and no one likes them

I had an interesting sit-down this week with some of the minds over at Washington Post Digital and the subject of pre-roll video ads came up. Or I brought it up maybe. Either way, I found myself launching into a sort of uncensored tirade about how I despise them, their ineffectiveness, etc.

I've never understood why advertisers seem so enamored with video. For awhile I thought it must be that the assets translated somehow from existing TV ad assets, so it was easy for an agency to get online video assets together. Maybe the analytics methods were so flawed that agencies thought that they were reaching an engaged audience. Maybe there was such a glut of video inventory that content owners were giving that space away.

Personally, I can't think of the last time I've actually stuck around to watch an ad, regardless of how badly I wanted to see the video that was to follow. And apparently I'm not alone. Mashable just posted an article about the increasing frequency of pre (and post) roll ads on YouTube, along with an example of some of the user comments, which seem to be directing their anger at both YouTube and the particular advertiser (CBS in this case). I get that YouTube is losing money, but judging by the response so far, maybe they should consider leaving the video alone, and just wallpapering everything else with ads.