50 Million Reasons Why LinkedIn Is Happy

•October 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

LinkedIn’s blog has reported today that it has reached 50 million users. 

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As of early this morning, LinkedIn has 50 million users worldwide and we’re growing that figure at roughly one new member per second.  When LinkedIn launched in 2003, it took 477 days — almost a year and four months — to reach our first million members. This last million took only 12 days.

This is important news, as there has been recent concern over Twitter’s stagnant growth lately.  According to the blog, about half of its growth has been international, with the fastest-growing segment being India.  Also, as great as the actual growth is, LinkedIn shows even more excitement in the way people are using the site.  Creating and maintaining one’s professional identity, connecting with former colleagues and networking in general.

There is no question that LinkedIn is capitalizing on the state of the economy at a time when job loses are historically low, but that shouldn’t undermine the fact that it is a terrific site.  I recently had a conversation with a friend who is a recruiter, and she has seen that employers will sometimes dismiss an applicant simply on the count that they do not have a LinkedIn account.  I suspect that this momentum will only continue for LinkedIn, especially considering the international success as well.  For those skeptical about social media, LinkedIn looks like it is here to stay.  And for those looking to make an impact in the professional world, you better make sure you have an account on the site.  Right now LinkedIn has 50 million reasons to be happy, in a few months they may have 100 million reasons.

 

Wikipedia On the Go, a Yes or a No?

•October 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

How much would you pay to have access to Wikipedia anytime you want?  $50?  $100?  $1.89?  (sorry for the lame infomercial opening).   But if you guessed $99, congratulations, you just bought yourself WikiReader, a new  mobile device by The Openmoko group.wr_hand2_small

Idea:  It’s pretty simple, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia of sorts, lets make it portable and market it as an updated version of the electronic encyclopedia.  But is it really a good idea?

Pros:  What I do like about the product is that it is pretty small, it does not need internet connection and it does serve a purpose, all while capitalizing on the growing fondness of a more pop-centric encyclopedia.

Cons:  Would I really pay $99 and a small annual or monthly fee to keep updating it?  It also looks dated and it’s black and white.   Plus it’s small, but it’s not small enough to carry around in your pocket.  Especially considering I already have an iphone in there, which, conveniently can connect me to the actual Wikipedia website.   And there is also something called the Laptop, or Netbook, which most people find portable enough to carry around with them.

Conclusion:  I love the desire to make Wiki’s more available, I just think the concept is about 5 years too late at best (although 5 years ago Wikipedia would have been celebrating its 1 year anniversary).  I also wonder if maybe this would be better served as a package to download onto an E-reader or Kindle?  I do think we will start to see similar types of products and eventually, who knows, one might just get it right.

Warning, use of internet can be damaging to your mental health

•October 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

In a survey of 2,293 seventh-grade students in Taiwan, 10.8% developed an internet addiction, determined as a high score on an internet addiction scale (sounds made up, I know).  Symptoms included spending large amounts of time on the internet, not being able to cutback and real symptoms of ahumadawithdrawal.

Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, says the findings were no surprise.

“The study’s indication that children who are hyperactive or diagnosed ADHD are finding an outlet on the Web makes such perfect sense,” he says, because those children crave the constant stimulation of fast-paced video games and interactive social networks.

Kids with depression, anger issues, or social problems also turn to the Internet as therapy, adds Gilbert, who was not involved in the study. “They can take on an avatar or a different identity, and can contact other kids with the same problems and social inadequacies; they don’t have to function in conventional social ways.”

It’s hardly surprising.  These days kids are being fed the internet like they would a warm bottle of milk.  I’d imagine a similar study of adults would reveal these symptoms as well, maybe not from lack of an outlet, but from the feeling of “missing out.”  This is just speculation based on myself, but I have to imagine if most people are without their smart phones, or internet for extended periods of time, they would feel some withdrawal–from the world–I know I do.  Every hour of the day provides so much news and information.  It’s not like the old days where news was once a day with the morning newspaper.  And now not only is there traditional news, there’s your friends news, or celebrity news, or any type of news you could ever want or follow.  If you miss a day, you actually will miss a great deal of news.

But all of this helps explain why social media has become so popular, people don’t just enjoy going to these sites, they actually need to go to these sites.  Perhaps in the future we will see warning signs on websites.  “Caution, extended use could cause anxiety or extreme emotional distress.”  Check back in 10 years and you may find I was right.

Looks Like Someone Got an “A” in Chemistry…

•October 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The new trend with social media sites and various gadgets (iphone), is allowing third parties to create their own apps.  It’s pretty genius really.  labsThere are tons of tech savy freelancers out there, why not let them build products for your company for free?  Or you can be nice and kick them back a decent percentage like Apple does with its App Store.

Either way, this idea is picking up momentum from everyone like Google (with Wave) to the recent news of Twitter Labs.  It’s not like Google Labs, which has in house developers rolling out new features in beta form.  What Twitter Labs will do, is allow outside developers to create add-ons and various apps to compliment the site.  This all according to Britt Selvitelle, the user experience and front end engineer of Twitter.  The announcement came at the Future of Web Apps conference in London.

The idea of new features being introduced to Twitter is not surprising, but it’s in the way these features will come about that may be.  Without evolving, there is no way that Twitter can keep growing.  People can only take so much short-hand information, that at some point you’d imagine some sort of enlightenment.  “Hey, my brain can actually process more than 140 characters at a time!”  I’m being very simplistic here, and the bottom line is that Twitter will keep growing.  And with this news we may have just found out how.

Does Google Feel Threatened by Bing? Adds New Search Filters

•October 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Competition is good for the consumer.  Case in point: online search.  The juggernaut that is Google, finallly seems to have at least some sort of competition.  Perhaps it is that quasi competition that has led to Google adding 9 new search filters to help make guided search a little bit easier.  Or maybe this addition was inevitable, after all, Google has always displayed a never satisfied approach.  Either way, one thing is for sure, the winners are you and I.

Ever typed in a search on Google and wished you could sort your results based on time?  Well, now you can.  It has always been a feature under the Google News Search, but now you can completely customize your everyday search.   Anyway, you can see the updates yourself by entering a search and clicking the “show search options” at the top.

Pic provided by TechCrunch.com

Pic provided by TechCrunch.com

Is real-time search the next big addition to Google?

Lookout! Outlook Incorporating Twitter

•September 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Twitter monster just keeps on growing.  You can’t stop it.  Really.  You just cannot stop Twitter.  You also can’t beat it, at least Microsoft Outlook thinks so.  So when you can’t beat it, join it.  In what should turn into an interesting story, Xobni (an e-mail management software) has created a Twitter plug-in for Outlook.  Seems like an inevitable step, as Xobni has already shown success with Facebook and LinkedIn plugs, but it is exciting for Twitter fans.  For businesses who are scared to embrace social media in their organizations?  Probably not as exciting.  But one thing this news does show is that short-form communication could have a big effect on the future of e-mail.  

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Courier, Microsoft’s Answer to Apple’s Tablet

•September 30, 2009 • 2 Comments

With all the buzz about Apple’s keyboard-less Tablet, Microsoft appears to have its answer: the Courier.  Most people will agree that keyboards will be phased out at some point, especially with mobile devices, the only question seems to be when? Courier

I can’t help but think of the Courier as the Nintendo DS to Playstation’s PSP, with the split screen being the main reason of course.    The Courier has the look of a Trapper Keeper on steroids.  With it’s book-like appeal and duel screens, there would appear to be room for way more options than the single-screened Tablet; however, there seems to be some concern over it’s use of apps.  With a journal-based theme and point-touch capabilities, the Courier could easily take on a life of its own, maybe in the classroom. 

Along with Google’s Wave (see below), the Courier and the Tablet will be three of the biggest stories of 2010.