Archive for the ‘ Twitter ’ Category


Get the most out of your team and your budget by taking advantage of these free collaboration and project management tools.

Free Collaboration and Project Management Software
Casey Stengel, Hall of Fame baseball manager once said, “Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ‘em to play together is the hard part.” The same holds true for today’s technology workforce.

Collaboration is one of the keys to success whether you’re a small, medium or large organization. Add to that the fact that, according to a recent American Community Survey, 2.6 percent of orkers telecommute and it’s easy to see how important the right collaboration tools are to keep your teams connected and moving in the same direction. The collaboration tools listed here will help you do just that, whether you’re in the home office or a Starbucks in Paris.

Podio
Podio is an enterprise social network that aims to add the functionality of a project management system. Each user has his own profile, which is associated with other people such as a manager, direct reports, project manager and lead developer. A chat app, internal email, contacts, calendar and tasks are also included.

Where Podio is most robust is in its customization features. There are many apps available via its marketplace in categories such as project management, CRM, marketing management, recruiting, and HR and IT support. You can also build your own apps using the Podio App Builder. Podio offers three tiers: Podio Lite for up to five employees, Podio Teams and Podio Business.

Asana
Asana, created by Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, and former Facebook tech-lead Justin Rosenstein, is a project management/workflow management tool that lets users customize their interface to whatever configuration makes them most productive. It works on most platforms, offering the flexibility to assign tasks and to-dos, set milestones and deadlines and keep track of it all on work on tablets, smartphones or desktops.

One caveat, Asana doesn’t offer an internal chat; a feature found on many of the products on this list.

This tool is free to use for up to 15 people. After that pricing ranges from $50 to $800 a month depending on the number of users.

Google Apps
Everyone knows Google Apps, but many of us are using them in a one-off fashion. However, used as a suite, Google provides via Gmail, Hangouts, Calendars, Docs, Sheets, Slides and more many of the features project management and collaboration software offer. Like some other apps it requires a connection to the Internet, but it’s accessible on most devices.

Users can work on the same document at the same time and see changes in real-time. They can also create hangouts for group chats or video conferencing.

Google offers Apps for Work for more storage, business email addresses, video and voice calls for $5 per user a month. For $10 per use a month, you get unlimited storage and additional administrative tools.

Yammer
In 2012, Microsoft bought Yammer, an enterprise social network, for $1.2 billion to bolster its social networking shortcomings. Yammer is a great tool for communication and collaboration among employees and offers many features for free. Its ease of use is often compared to Facebook, making it a great way to enter the collaboration software arena. Users can create a personal profile page, create and join groups, share and like comments, upload images, and attach files. However, its strongest attribute is communication as there isn’t much there in the way of project management.

Many features are free, but you can also get Yammer Enterprise for $3 a month per user or Office 365 for Business at $8 a month per user.

Trello
Trello is a free project management tool that offers a simple and intuitive interface. It uses a model known as Kanban, made famous by Toyota in the ’80s. Projects are represented and organized using what the company refers to as boards or cards that contain task/ to-do lists that users share in real-time. Cards can represent an ongoing technical issue, project specs, people architecture or anything else you can think of. Organize them any way you like and keep track of progress using its progress meter.

HipChat
If you need a place for all your employees to meet, chat and collaborate, but you don’t need much else, consider HipChat. This multi-platform communications tool allows you to create virtual rooms for your teams to meet and communicate as well as share files and photos. Members can quickly create one-on-one chat rooms on-the-fly, organize virtual meetings and catch up on a project’s history.

You can also set up for push notifications ensuring that everyone stays well-informed.

HipChat Basic is free. Hip Chat Plus (which offers one-to-one screen-sharing, unlimited file storage and additional administrative options) costs $2 a user per month.

GanttProject
If project management is your thing, GanttProject might be for you. This free open source project management and scheduling app was first created in 2003 and has gone through many release cycles. It allows users to create and organize tasks and milestones. It can also create Gantt and PERT charts as well as reports in HTML or PDF formats.

On the downside, it doesn’t offer any of the social features that others on the list do. But if your business doesn’t need those features, this free app may be appealing.


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Twitter faces growing pressure to attract new users and dramatically increase engagement on the platform. Can it ever rival the numbers and growth of Facebook?

Twitter’s honeymoon as a publicly traded company could be coming to an end. With growth stalling and timeline views on the decline for the first time ever, Twitter finds itself at a crossroads.

Twitter Suffers from Growing Pains
While its quest for more ad revenue continues unabated, the company faces even greater pressure to attract new users and dramatically increase engagement on the platform.

“Twitter has seen its sequential MAU growth rate decelerate sharply after hitting 50 million, raising concerns that its quirkier nature might cap its potential audience in the U.S. at a ceiling well below that of Facebook.”
— Seth Shafer, SNL Kagan

“We as a company aren’t going to be satisfied — I am not going to be satisfied — until we reach every connected person on the planet, period,” CEO Dick Costolo said at last week’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

The challenge ahead for Twitter coupled with Costolo’s grandiose goal puts the company in a predicament unlike any it has confronted before. It also fans the unfortunate, yet inevitable comparison to Facebook. While Twitter ended 2013 with an average monthly active user (MAU) base of 241 million, Facebook surpassed 1.23 billion. For every user that engages on Twitter, at least five are actively using Facebook.

“Twitter needs to do something to grow to the size of Facebook but the jury is still out if there’s a clear path for Twitter or any other company to do that, or if Facebook is a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly that was in the right place at the right time,” says Seth Shafer, associate analyst at SNL Kagan.

Costolo hasn’t helped matters by failing to meet previous internal estimates for growth either. Early last year the executive reportedly told employees that he expected to reach 400 million MAUs by the end of 2013. Failing to double its active user base last year, Twitter reported a 30 percent increase in its stead.

“Twitter’s overall MAU growth is still pretty healthy, but it’s all coming internationally where users monetize at a much lower rate. U.S. growth has slowed significantly at about 50 million MAUs,” says Shafer.

Facebook blew past 50 million U.S. MAUs without blinking and moreover, its sequential increases didn’t dip into the single digits until it surpassed about 120 million users in the U.S., according to SNL Kagan data.

“Twitter, however, has seen its own sequential MAU growth rate decelerate sharply after hitting 50 million MAUs, raising concerns that its quirkier nature and niche focus might cap its potential audience in the United States at a ceiling well below that of Facebook,” Shafer adds.

Twitter’s ‘Road Map’ for Growth
Nonetheless, Twitter’s lead executive says he is optimistic about rising user growth. While the company is being careful not to make specific promises or announcements about how it will improve on these points, Costolo has frequently referenced a road map of late that lays out a strategy for achieving better growth over the course of the year.

Pointing to field research and internal data on how users engage with the platform, he hints at a series of new features and design changes that are expected to drive new user growth. Twitter’s vault of data and newfound capability to experiment with multiple beta tests simultaneously has “informed a very specific road map for the kinds of capabilities we want to introduce to the product that we believe will drive user growth,” says Costolo.

He is quick to point out, however, that no single product feature or change to the platform will lead to a “quantum leap change in growth.” Instead it will be an accumulation of numerous tweaks throughout the year that give him confidence. “You’re going to be seeing a significant amount of experimentation of different ideas we have,” he says.

While dispelling concerns about lagging growth in the recently closed quarter, Costolo says there was no specific event or trend during the quarter that meaningfully impacts how the company thinks about user growth. Indeed, improvements made during the finals months of 2013, particularly in messaging and discovery, have already paid off. Favorites and retweets rose 35 percent from the previous quarter and direct messages jumped 25 percent over the same period, according to Twitter.

“I’m starting to see those interactions do what we hoped they would do,” he says. “It’s more about pushing the content forward and pushing back the scaffolding of Twitter.”

The company also hopes to attract new users by simplifying its on-boarding process and dramatically reducing the 11 steps a new account currently requires.

Under the Shadow of Facebook
Twitter has successfully maneuvered through its fair share of challenges before. Be it the fail whale sightings and power struggles of its early days or the feverish hunt for ad revenue of late, the company has found its way.

But now with its first complete quarter as a public company in the rear view, the demands for growth from investors will only get louder with each passing quarter. Twitter will have to deliver some big numbers in 2014 to keep Wall Street happy, but Costolo’s comments also suggest that much of that success will depend on a clear differentiation between Twitter’s role in the world and that of Facebook.

“Twitter is this indispensable companion to life in the moment,” Costolo says. “If you think about it as a product, I think that misses the impact and the reach of what we really believe is a content, communications and data platform.”

By that distinction, the opportunities afforded to Twitter are “enormous,” says Costolo. “We believe we are the only platform where you get an understanding of wide reach in the moment while it’s happening.”

Tapping into big data and personalization could help, but it won’t move the needle far enough for Twitter to reach the scale of Facebook, says Shafer of SNL Kagan.

Emerging from under the shadow of Facebook will be a struggle for Twitter unless it makes dramatic changes to the service or goes on an acquisition binge aimed at cobbling something larger together, he adds. And even that would be a challenge because of course, “we already have a pretty big thing like that called Facebook,” Shafer says.


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Author of Modern Seinfeld hired to write for Fox’s ‘Us & Them’

Some of us felt within its first 24 hours that the author or authors behind a novelty Twitter account called Modern Seinfeld were funny enough to write for a real sitcom.

Turns out we were right, as The Hollywood Reporter says the Fox sitcom “Us & Them” has added former BuzzFeed writer Jack Moore to its writing staff based at least in part on Moore’s contributions to the Seinfeld Twitter account.

Moore tells The Hollywood Reporter that the Twitter account was “uniquely positioned” to help him. “I was basically pitching storylines, which is a huge part of being on a writing staff. Here’s 400 [of them] that illustrated a skill set.”

The premise of Modern Seinfeld is simple: What if the TV sitcom Seinfeld had never gone off the air? Hilarity ensues.
(Geek-Themed Meme of the Week Archive)

When I wrote about Modern Seinfeld last December it was less than a day old and had already attracted 28,000 followers. Today it has 619,000.

And has landed one writer one job.


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Users must be alert about having their real identity from Google+ replace pseudonyms in other Google services

Google’s work to integrate its Google+ social networking site broadly with its other services could raise red flags for users who want to closely guard their privacy.

It’s valid to raise concerns over Google’s decision to integrate Google+, which carries a real-name requirement for users, with other Google services people have been using with pseudonyms for years, said John Verdi, senior counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a phone interview.

Google’s nightmare scenario would be for a critical mass of users to inadvertently green-light Google+ integrations only to later complain that they didn’t know their pseudonyms in certain services would be replaced by their Google+ real name.

 

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If that were to happen, Google could find itself in a privacy controversy that it can ill afford. The U.S. government has the company on a short leash, having mandated audits of its privacy policies and practices for the next 20 years after a privacy firestorm ignited with the launch of the now-closed Buzz service last year.

Buzz, a microblogging and social networking service, debuted with an integration with the Gmail webmail service that exposed users’ private e-mail contacts publicly and without authorization.

Since launching Google+ this summer, Google officials have been stressing that it makes it simple and intuitive for members to control what they share, with whom and how.

During this initial period, when Google+ has operated mostly as a stand-alone social networking site, consensus has been that, yes, its content sharing and privacy controls work well and as advertised.

However, Google has now started to integrate Google+ with other services, and it remains to be seen whether a critical mass of users will fully understand the interaction, cross-functionality and data sharing between Google+ and other Google services.

Google officials, from the CEO on down, are gung-ho about Google+ and it’s clear that the push to fuse Google+ with other company services will be extensive.

Google has redesigned the interface of the Google Account control panel, whose previous version clearly listed Google services available to users as part of the account, along with links to the services and some of their settings pages. The new control panel lacks that list of services.

Previously found at google.com/accounts, the control panel is now part of the Google+ site domain, another sign that Google+ is becoming the command center for privacy controls and settings across Google services. The new control panel includes a link to the old control panel, but it’s not clear for how long the latter will be available.

The road to propagate Google+ across the Google product line is just starting, and the potential for a misstep at some point seems high, considering that at issue is the online identity of potentially hundreds of millions of people.

In some cases, shielding their real identity is of life-and-death importance for some people, such as spousal abuse victims and political dissidents in totalitarian regimes.

“If Google wants to be the broker in the relationship between pseudonyms and real names, there will be all sorts of ways that that could go wrong across their many services. If you’re a user in Syria depending on your pseudonymity in order to stay alive, that’s not a very comforting situation,” said Peter Eckersley, technology projects director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, via e-mail.

In other words, now more than ever, Google must make sure that it fully complies its famous “do not be evil” philosophy.

Officials, residents take to social networks to talk about how to deal with impending storm
Computerworld – As people up and down the East Coast of the United States prepare for Hurricane Irene, social networks are being used to get the word out about its path and how best to deal with it.

 

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Federal agencies, disaster relief organizations and state governments have taken to Facebook and Twitter to warn people about the track of the approaching storm. The organizations are also using social sites to announce evacuation plans and discuss how best to safely ride out the storm.

This should come as no surprise — earlier this week the American Red Cross reported that people are increasingly turning to social networks for information about approaching storms and other natural disasters.

The Red Cross report also noted that people are increasingly using sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to make pleas for assistance during a crisis, as well as to alert loved ones that they’re safe.

And as Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast, the Red Cross has created a Facebook photo album of people are preparing for Hurricane Irene.

And Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell today used Facebook to warn residents to take “seriously the need to prepare for this significant storm and to ready their families, homes and communities for possible evacuation.” Similarly, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker posted on Facebook a video of a press conference he held to talk about the storm.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie turned to Twitter to alert his constituents that he was planning a news conference on hurricane preparedness.

And the New York Times is using Twitter to show a list on Twitter of hurricane-related information and resources. The list includes links to weather forecasts, lists of evacuation centers and bus service changes and delays.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter@sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon’s RSS feed Gaudin RSS. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Sprint had been last carrier to not support the standard

Sprint’s decision to strike a deal with LightSquared Thursday was a tacit admission that its early adoption of WiMax has not worked out as well as intended.


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Sprint’s initial reasoning in earmarking $5 billion to build a WiMax network was that it would give the company a time-to-market advantage of at least two years over competitors Verizon and AT&T. But when Verizon began offering its LTE services in 28 major markets at the end of last year, Sprint’s advantage of having the fastest mobile data network in the country evaporated before the company could make any substantial inroads in attracting new subscribers. Adding to Sprint’s woes was the fact that its WiMax partners at Clearwire have run into financial problems, as well as the fact that LTE has quickly become the default standard of the American wireless data industry.

ANALYSIS: Can Sprint realistically support both LTE and WiMax?

In this light, it’s easy to see why Sprint struck a deal with wireless broadband and satellite network provider LightSquared to deploy and operate a nationwide LTE network that will use a 40MHz chunk of spectrum on the 1.6GHz band. LightSquared will pay Sprint $9 billion in cash for hosting the spectrum and running the network over an 11-year period, while also giving its customers access to Sprint’s 3G EV-DO Rev. A network through a roaming agreement.

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From Sprint’s perspective, this deal means the carrier will now use both WiMax and LTE to expand the reach of its mobile data services. Even though LightSquared will be wholesaling access to the LTE network, Sprint will still have the option to enhance its own 4G capacity by purchasing “up to 50% of LightSquared’s expected L-Band 4G capacity” to use for its own services. Since Sprint already has access to significant spectrum holdings through its partnership with Clearwire, the new partnership with LightSquared means that Sprint will have an abundance of spectrum to use and plenty of flexibility in deciding what to use it for.

LightSquared, meanwhile, estimates that it will save itself “more than $13 billion over the next eight years” by having Sprint build and operate the network rather than trying to build and operate a network on its own. In all, LightSquared estimates that the network will cover roughly 260 million Americans by the end of 2015. LightSquared, which used to call itself TerraSky, has been looking to get into the LTE business since last year, when investment firm Harbinger Capital told the FCC that it had bought the company to build out a hybrid network that combined satellite technology with terrestrial technology such as LTE.

LightSquared says that the FCC still has to sign off on resolving “certain interference issues involving terrestrial use” of the spectrum that will be used for the LTE network. Opening up satellite spectrum for mobile data use has been part of the FCC’s efforts to bring mobile broadband to rural areas. In its national broadband plan released last year, the FCC declared that it wanted to free up some satellite communications spectrum for wireless data use, along with some television spectrum and unused spectrum on the 700MHz band.

Elgan: Why Twitter is obsolete

Written by admin
July 23rd, 2011

Suddenly, Twitter is unnecessary, outdated, overvalued and headed for the ash heap of abandoned social services

Computerworld – The microblogging service Twitter debuted five years ago, and by all accounts it’s one of the great success stories of the social media era.

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Twitter boasts 200 million users and 350 billion tweets per day, and it’s a ubiquitous reference on mainstream TV. Visit Twitter today, and it’s a hive of frenetic activity. Millions of people rely on the service for news, commentary, blog updates and social interaction. Twitter is about to close an $800 million funding round, which values the company at about $8 billion.

Suddenly, however, the service has been rendered obsolete by Google’s new Google+ service, and also by the company’s failure to capitalize on its five-year window of opportunity to innovate its way to indispensability.

It’s only a matter of time before Twitter becomes a ghost town. Here’s why.
Twitter’s Google+ problem

Google launched its Google+ social site about three weeks ago. The site’s perfect storm of social features will sink Twitter.

Google+ has Twitter-like “following,” rather than Facebook-like “friending.” That means you can follow anyone without his or her permission. Google+ has a Twitter-like “feed” or “stream” that presents the posts of the people you follow the moment they’re posted.

Asymmetric following and instant feeds are two of the four core attributes of Twitter. The third is brevity. Twitter famously restricts posts to 140 characters or less. And the fourth is an API that enables other companies to tap into the stream and do interesting things with the flow of tweets.

But it’s only a matter of time before Google+ will have all four of Twitter’s core attributes.

Many Twitter users like short tweets or, more accurately, they like the fact that blabbermouths are forced to be concise. The resulting stream is terse, and skimmable, although many of the best tweets actually link to blogs or articles that are longer and wordier. (Never mind that the reason for the limit was initially to fit the tweets into SMS text messages, a requirement made obsolete by the use of mobile apps.)

The coming APIs from Google will enable third-party companies to present Google+ streams in Twitter-like summaries, with links to full posts. Anyone who likes the shortness of Twitter posts can also get short Google+ posts. Even without those APIs, people are already doing this. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, blogger and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, for example, has already built a page he calls “Pluserati,” which presents short versions of the most recent five posts by the biggest users on Google+. By hovering your mouse pointer over the short version, you get a longer version. By clicking, you get the original post.

While Google+ will soon do all the things Twitter does, Twitter can’t support a long list of the things Google+ supports. Conversations, for example. Each post on Google+ can be followed by comments where users can hold a detailed and satisfying conversation about the post. On Twitter, commenting is awkward because when you comment, your comments are not generally seen by the poster’s other followers, but by your own followers, who probably did not see the post. You see a lot of replies on Twitter referencing posts you never saw. For a social service, Twitter is pretty antisocial.

Also on Google+, you can post pictures and videos directly in posts, launch immediately into a video chat, send your posts to nonmembers and even present all your posts marked “Public” as a blog available to anyone with an Internet connection.