Archives: December 2007

Create Your Own Social Network at OneDomus

one_domus.jpgA first look you’d think that OneDumus is just another one of them social networks in the likes of Friendster, mySpace and Facebook. But when you subscribe and become a member of OneDomus, you’d soon find out that there is more to it than just being an ordinary social network.

OneDomus is a fairly new social network created by young Filipino-American webtrepreneur Eric Wallace. Previously known as TheOosh, OneDomus has evolved into just your usual social networks into something more. So, what’s make OneDomus, which incidentally means, One Home, is the ability for members or subscribers to create their own social network within the OneDomus community but is actually independent of OneDomus as a whole. Sounds confusing? Read more

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Will Mobile TV Superstars Emerge?

RCR Wireless News asks how the writer’s strike in Hollywood could affect mobile TV and, potentially, help spur its growth.

It’s too soon to determine how the strike will affect the momentum wireless carriers and content providers are experiencing with the growth of mobile TV services, the report said. But “the Writers Guild of America argues it is fighting for big stakes in the emerging new media space. That umbrella term for the newest forms of distribution, including mobile TV services, is the name of the game-and largely considered the future-for TV, and writers understandably want to secure their slice of that action going forward.”

During the strike, there’s potential for more viewers to turn to the Internet, and increasingly, mobile. And adoption numbers could “increase substantially if a mobile video superstar were to emerge during the strike,” said Karen Allen, general manager of Mobile Entertainment Forum Americas.

“(The strike) is of tertiary consequence when it comes to mobile video,” said Kanishka Agarwal, VP of mobile media at Nielsen Mobile, in the article. “Mobile video is seeing pretty rapid growth. The key thing that’s keeping it from being a mass phenomenon at this point is price.”

Mobile TV ‘superstars’ could emerge from dragged-out writers’ strike [RCR Wireless News]

Learn About Your DNA, Online and Off

So much of the Web focuses on meeting other people. From romance to friendship – many of us are constantly expanding our network. What ever happened to self-discovery? I’m talking about using the Internet to find out what we’re made of. 23andMe hopes to do just that – literally. Read more

New Airline Rules for Carrying Spare Batteries

If you bought an extra battery for your cell phone, take note: New rules from the Transportation and Security Administration that take effect on January 1 ban travelers from carrying loose lithium batteries in checked baggage, CNET News reports.

Passengers are allowed to pack “two spare batteries in their carry-on bag, as long as they’re in clear plastic baggies.”

This doesn’t apply to batteries that are already installed in gadgets, such as the one in your cell phone or laptop. This is if you decide to bring along an extra one to power your laptop throughout a cross country flight, or to let you charge one cell phone battery in the hotel while using another one during the day.

New security rules for batteries on planes [CNET News]

AP: Still Early for Mobile Advertising

yahoo_ap_mobileads.jpgThe Associated Press reports that while all sorts of initiatives are underway, mobile advertising is an industry still in its infancy but showing promise:

“More than 80 percent of Americans now own cell phones – a statistic Jupiter Research analyst Neil Strother equated with carrying a potential advertising channel in their pocket.”

Advertisers are gambling small amounts of money with lots of different chips, trying everything from contests to banner ads, to see what works and what doesn’t.

“It’s the Wild, Wild West right now,” said Rick Sizemore, chief strategy officer for the tech consultancy Multimedia Intelligence, in the report. “This is an interesting and compelling vehicle, but they don’t necessarily know who to work with. There are so many options out there – a lot of hype with no substance, and then a couple of gems.”

This will all likely continue through 2008 as well. “That’s how a new market is being created,” said Dan Olschwang, chief executive of JumpTap Inc., an ad-technology company, in the article. “People adopt all kinds of stuff they know from other medium and gradually the industry learns how to utilize the best in this new medium that’s called the mobile phone.”

(Image courtesy of the Associated Press)

Mobile advertising still at tryout stage [AP via Yahoo! News]

RIAA Goes After Legal CD Importing

If it wasn’t in the Washington Post, we’d have a hard time believing it. But apparently the RIAA doesn’t think that suing 20,000 customers trading songs is enough. Now, despite the fact that “the recording industry has utterly failed to halt the decline of the record album or the rise of digital music sharing,” the RIAA is now suing someone who imported music from CDs he legally bought into his own computer:

“The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are ‘unauthorized copies’ of copyrighted recordings.” This is essentially what Sony’s head of litigation also claims.

Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use [Washington Post]

Faith-Based Social Community Godkut Launches

godkutAre all those provocative photos posted on MySpace and Facebook one big sin? I’ll leave that up to you and your moral conscience to figure out. I guess God didn’t want to wait for you to make a decision so he has “created” a faith-based community Web site for the religiously-inclined, Godkut.

Timing is everything, as the site launches several days after Christmas.

While taboo talking points on many social communities, conversations about faith, spirituality and religion are encouraged on Godkut. God takes center stage and those photos from Beerfest ’07 take a backseat. The site also welcomes atheists and agnostics who are willing to debate in a “non-offensive” manner.

The social community aspects are the run of the mill type items: blogs, forums, chat rooms and sharing media. There is also one-click video recording that allows you to save the file directly to your profile. Get that sermon ready!

Godkut is taking on similar Web sites such as MyChurch and Youthroots. We wish Godkut luck. Actually, they might not need it if God is on their side.

Website discovered on Mashable.

Where Is Your Social Graph?

Scott Karp argues that for those that are over 30, email and cell phones make up the majority of their social graph. He is completely right. You won’t see my mom tweeting on Twitter and you won’t see her updating her status on Facebook (even though she now has a profile). My friends that fall into the 30-something crowd aren’t tweeting up up a storm (except for a few social media connoisseurs). Ultimately, Scott Karp has successfully stated the obvious. I would like to pronounce here and now that the sky is blue (when there are no clouds and the weather is nice).

What I think is interesting is how our social graph is changing. Email came about in 1965 and by the 1990s most of us were using email. Compare that to the rate of growth Facebook has experienced in the past year and a half. While most people’s social graph may currently be stored within emails and phone the real story revolves around the shift that is taking place. Focus on what the early adopters are doing and a small portion of that eventually spills into the mainstream.

Scott Karp suggests that most young people are communicating via cell phones. He may be correct but I would surmise that this is shifting drastically. The majority of college users are heavily active on Facebook and once they find a reason to communicate elsewhere (e.g. Twitter), they will. Rather then focusing solely on where the social graph is today I’d like to figure out where it is going and be properly positioned to reap the benefits.

Think of all the application developers that ended up with millions of users on Facebook. Think of all the top social media thought leaders that now have thousands of followers on Twitter. While it’s not the best business strategy to be positioned too far in the future, you should definitely consider making smaller investments in the future because those small investments can ultimately lead to massive success. If you read this blog chances are you are an early adopter. So where is your social graph? Do you think other peoples’ social graph will slowly begin to mimic yours? Are you tired of hearing the phrase “social graph?”

Twitter Fills a Communication Void

When attending the Web Community Forum a few weeks back I decided to start using Twitter on a regular basis after seeing how many conversations I was missing out on. I suggested that I might even be addicted to Twitter. Today, Matthew Ingram delves a little deeper into what is taking place when we use Twitter. Twitter provides a unique platform for communicating and has its own rules, the same way that chatrooms and IRC channels do.

I can opt to spend ten to thirty minutes responding to someone via a blog post or I can take ten to thirty seconds posting a response via Twitter. If you look at my volume of Twittering versus blogging in the past few weeks, you will see that my “tweets” have been much more frequent than my blog posts. Previously, I found philosophizing about Twitter to be a waste of time because I thought Twitter was a waste of time.

Twitter isn’t a waste of time though. It enables me to maintain communication with those that I have “weak ties” to (as Matthew Ingram points out). It has also helped me foster relationships with individuals that I may never have been connected to. In the world of digital communication, Twitter will soon rank among email, blogging and instant messaging. It’s a public chatroom that I can choose who the participants are. There’s no better chatroom online.

Is my obsession with Twitter unnecessary? I know plenty of my readers are not active Twitterers. Am I crazy?

Creating a Mini-Valley in D.C.

Back at the beginning of September I discussed my desire to help create a Silicon Valley-like atmosphere here in D.C. Yesterday, I had three meetings with individuals, two of which are currently running their own startup. I will be posting interviews with both of them in the coming weeks. Over the course of the day, one topic seemed to come up in each of my conversations: the rise of a start-up communnity in Washington D.C.

Everyone seemed to think that the primary reason behind D.C. not building a thriving start-up community is that venture capitalists in the area are overwhelmingly conservative. I have to agree with this but it is beginning to change. Sean Greene (who I interviewed last week) and LaunchBox Digital will be just one of the contributors to this. Eric Litman of Washington VC (who I will be interviewing next week) will also be contributing to this as well.

Be confident that there are more to come. One of my own personal missions with the Social Times is to help leverage the site’s technology channel (we will soon add additional channels) to help build a thriving start-up community in D.C. With the rise of things as simple as D.C. Tweetups (I have been to two in the past couple weeks) and other local events, I am confident that it will happen.

I will be hosting an event about “How to Get Funding for Your Startup in D.C.” on February 13th. I haven’t officially announced it yet and haven’t picked a location but be confident that I will be working hard to put together many more events that revolve around building this community. I’m not the only one. People like Jared Goralnick, Justin Thorp, Peter Corbett, Rana Sobhany, Jimmy Gardner, Martin Ringlein, Ann Bernard and the Why Go Solo team, Ross Karchner, Jason Garber, the local VCs, developers, designers and many others (sorry if I didn’t get your name in here … feel free to shout in the comments) are also helping to build this community.

It won’t happen overnight but 2008 is going to be a big year for us. I seriously believe that while there was the rise and fall of the netpreneur era in D.C., it is rising again and I think it is possible to make it permanent this time around. I will host as many events as possible to help contribute and I will continue to post interviews with the people that are help building this community. What are you going to do to help? What’s missing? Can it be done?

Updated Community Contributors
Will Kern
Zvi Band
Jesse Thomas
Brian Williams