A Twingly year in review – 2010

Times flies! It has already been almost a year since we posted our end-of-the-year-review for 2009. That means it is time again to have a look back at what has happened in the world of Twingly during the past 12 month. It was an exciting year – again!

We could announce a slew of exciting partners: The Nordic shoe retailer Brandos, The Swedish political party Moderaterna and Svenska Spel, the largest gaming operator in Sweden.

We got some sweet feedback from the Twittersphere which we enjoyed sharing with you. And for the first time several Swedish media sites used our Twingly Live service to show tweets about the Olympics on their websites.

Good news in the beginning of the month: Expressen.se, one of the leading Swedish news sites with over 2 million unique visitors per week, launched Twingly Blogstream. A few days later we were happy to see Twingly Live presented in Swedish television SVT which used the service during a live broadcast to connect to the audience. We also could announce two new German partners integrating Blogstream: kino.de and video.de.

We couldn’t help noticing the hype surrounding location based services – in fact a few Twingly colleagues started to check-in to places whenever they could. That’s why we had a look at the two most popular check-in services, foursquare and Gowalla. We also noticed that besides Twingly lots of other Swedish web services are using green for their logotypes and concluded that green is the new blue-yellow. In the end of April we launched Mediebevakare.se, a Wiki (in Swedish) dedicated to social media monitoring tools.

In May Twingly celebrated its 4th birthday with a tasty favicon-cake! We also announced Lärarnas Nyheter and the biggest German general interest portal t-online as new Blogstream partners, gave you a handy overview about the evolution of social networks and introduced you to 8 essential tools for enhancing and improving your Twitter experience.

Twingly favicon-cake

We published a tutorial to explain you step by step how you can use Twingly to monitor the social web and we finally opened up Twingly Channels to everyone! In the end of June, a couple of Twingly staffers went to the yearly Almedalen Week in the Swedish town of Visby to mingle and discuss with politicians, organisations and debaters. And to show the Twingly services, of course!

In July we published a tutorial explaining how to start your own Channel on Twingly Channels and we used Twingly data to find out which Twitter clients are most popular in the blogosphere.

We compiled a top 50 ranking of Europe’s most popular startups according to the blogosphere, analyzed how the real time web made a flower pot become a web celebrity and investigated the question of how much the social web cares about traditional media. We were also happy to announce that the Foreign Office UK started using Twingly Channels.

We shed more light on the mobile version of Twingly Live and presented Swedish-Finnish telecommunication company Telia as new Blogstream partner. We also suggested you 10 popular Twingly Channels that you shouldn’t miss and started a series of Twingly team interviews.

Twingly sponsored the German Social Media Award. We described 6 use cases for Twingly Channels and got a scientific proof that services like Twingly increase the effectiveness of ads. Twingy also was nominated by Deloitte as one of Sweden’s 25 top technology startups.

We welcomed 2 new Blogstream partners: Startaeget.se, a site dedicated to everyone in Sweden who plans to start a company or who already has made this step, and the Swedish National Encyclopedia. We had a look at 30 leading web services and how they rank based on buzz in the blogosphere. Another event was the release of the ranking of Sweden’s 100 best websites – we were delighted to find many Twingly partners in the ranking published by Internetworld.

Since the number of Twingly partners is increasing at a rapid pace, we thought it could be useful to show you how different websites are using Twingly to enhance their user experience and value. So we highlighted a selection of Twingly implementations on e-commerce websites as well as on company, event and other websites.

Thank you for a great year. We are looking forward to 2011!

How company, event and organisation websites use Twingly

A few weeks ago we showed you how e-commerce websites use Twingly to enhance their content and product information. Today we want to focus a bit more on “traditional” websites from companies or organisations which neither are driven by news content nor by direct product sales.

We choose five examples which all have something in common: They have integrated the Twingly Blogstream widget directly on their homepage, so it’s one of the first things visitors see when accessing the websites.

Formex is the largest meeting point for Nordic interior design and will take place in January in Stockholm. The websites for the upcoming fair features the Twingly widget very prominently and shows recent blog postings about the upcoming event. It’s a huge incentive for bloggers to write about Formex, which in return increases visibility for the fair and helps its website to improve it’s search engine ranking.

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PEAB is one of the Nordic countries’ leading companies in the field of Construction and Civil Engineering. On its Swedish website PEAB has implemented Twingly right under the box with the latest press releases where the most recent blog postings are being shown. If you want to see more, you can click on “Fler blogposter” to get to see a list with a dozen or so incoming links from blogs covering PEAB. We find that remarkable since PEAB is opening up to the social web and its transparency in a way that is far from common among companies from rather traditional industries.

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Hem & Villa
Hem & Villa is another fair in the Swedish cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Similar to what Formex has done, the event websites highlights incoming blog posts about the fair at a glance – visitors don’t even need to scroll to see what has been blogged about Hem & Villa.

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We are very happy that even the Swedish branch of UNICEF has decided to use Twingly on its homepage. If you scroll down a bit on unicef.se you will see a section saying “185 blogginlägg länkar till den här artikeln” – that means that in fact 185 blogpostings have been referring to the UNICEF website, and the 5 most recent are being featured on unicef.se through Twingly. The integration encourages bloggers to write about this important aid organisation and about its projects, and it offers bloggers the chance to increase their traffic. Win Win!

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Norstedts is Sweden’s oldest publishing house, based in Stockholm. They have launched an interesting integration of Twingly on their site – each of their books listed on norstedts.se has a Twingly widget on its profile page highlighting which blogs have been covering the specific title. In addition, on their homepage they show a selection of books that are currently being discussed in the blogosphere – based on Twingly technology of course.

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“Collaboration in the cloud is revolutionizing the workplace”

Google and the Future Foundation have conducted a research study about the corporation of the future and about ways people will work and get creative together in the upcoming years. The study covers the opinions and comments of 3.500 employees of companies in UK, France, Germany, USA and Japan, as well as insights and observations of experts from the fields of technology, HR, psychology and academia.

The research has come up with some remarkable insights in how people work, would like to and expect to work in the future.

Here are some of the findings that fascinated us the most:

-> There is a huge correlation between innovation and collaboration. The more people collaborate, the more creative they become and the more innovation their tasks lead to.

-> Only 15 percent of today’s employees are satisfied with the processes their company has in place for allowing and fostering innovation.

-> 70 percent of employees think new technologies allow them to work better with colleagues, but only 12 percent of today’s employees are satisfied with the technology currently available to them at work. Many of them prefer the tools they use in their personal lives.

-> 44 percent of employees say their company has systems in place to allow the contribution of ideas (but only 19 percent say they get directly rewarded for the development of ideas).

– > 59 percent of employees agree that they prefer working as part of a team

The most important sentence of the summary:
“A new generation of technologies is starting to break down barriers within organisations and across borders to let people innovate and collaborate in virtual teams more effectively than ever before.”

You can find the complete report in this public Google Docs file.

Via Joakim Jardenberg

(photo: stock.xchng)

Interview with Jan Jasper Kosok of freitag.de: “It’s ridiculous not to link to websites outside of your own”

Der Freitag is a weekly newspaper from Germany which has been focusing a lot on connecting their print to their online product (the print edition actually was nominated as one of the best designed newspapers in the world) and on making the readership part of it, promoting its community and blog network more prominently than most other newspaper websites we have seen. And they are using Twingly. We spoke with Jan Jasper Kosok who is in charge of the paper’s online presence freitag.de about the newspaper’s decision to integrate user generated content, abut the German blogosphere and the importance of social web channels as traffic sources.

Hi Jan. You are in charge of Der Freitag’s website and also for the community. How did you get into that role?
In 2007 me and a friend ran a blog about Berlin pop culture. One day I was contacted by Der Freitag and they asked me if i could imagine working for them. At that time I wasn’t really ready but we stayed in touch and in April 2009 I joined them.

So it was your blog that created this career opportunity?
Yes. They wanted to hire somebody with a blogger background, who understood the dynamics of the blogosphere and social media.

How do you distribute your time between the two roles – working with the community and with the website in general?
The community part (moderation, commenting, projects involving users) takes definitely less time than working with the day-to-day-tasks as well as with the overall website strategy, especially since we are creating the concept for a relaunch for 2011.

You might be the German newspaper which is focusing the most on blogs and user generated content. How come?
The groundwork for this was laid before I joined. But once the basic mind set was created, the implementation went step-by-step, and today the combination of online and offline and the integration of the readership are part of Der Freitag’s philosophy. Readers like to be able to identify themselves with the product, and they want to have the possibilities to get in touch with it, even contribute to it. About 30 percent of the content consumed on freitag.de is generated by users. Besides our own editorial content and the articles we are syndicating from The Guardian the community has become our third main pillar.

What about the combination of online and offline?
We are actually publishing some of our community content in our weekly newspaper. Our goal is to create a feeling for the people who buy the newspaper that they are part of it, and part of the creation. So far it seems to work: Our readers have a closer emotional connection to us than what readers usually have to other newspapers. For a small-sized company like ours that is a powerfull concept. For the future our main challenge will be to grow the community and at the same time maintain the familiar atmosphere.

What are your thoughts regarding the current state of the German blogosphere?
In my opinion the (few) leading blogs in Germany have become more professional. Some people say the blogosphere is getting smaller and less active. On the other hand I today see a lot of blogs covering the topics that we wrote about in our blog back in 2007 – at that time we were pretty much alone in our niche. So I think your own thoughts about the blogosphere always depend on your personal areas of interests. Different people will tell you different things about where the blogosphere stands in 2010. However, citizen journalism in Germany is still in its early beginnings. I’m convinced that we’ll see a lot happening in the future.

You link a lot to external blogs…
Yes, we pay a lot of attention to the blogosphere and try to connect to external blogs. We also think it is important to not only link to our own articles via our Twitter account but to whatever content the editorial team at Der Freitag thinks is worth reading. It’s kind of ridiculous not to post a link to a good article or important information just because it has been published elsewhere.

When you link out a lot, you probably also get many incoming links from blogs (which you track with Twingly)? Yes that’s true. And since we are still fairly small we really feel the effects of when bigger blogs are linking to our articles. We are using the Twingly widget to show incoming links for everybody.

If you look at the incoming traffic from blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Where do you get the most visitors from?
That’s difficult to measure, because the heavily used URL shorteners make it difficult to track the exact source. But my impression is that Facebook is growing more rapidly than Twitter and is sending increasingly readers to us. On the other hand, in my personal opinion Facebook has become the place very everybody is, but Twitter has successfully gathered opinion leaders, other bloggers, journalist and media profiles which actively are distributing links.

What’s your vision for freitag.de for the next years?
We see our site as permanent work in progress. We want to deliver modern cross medial journalism and to be open for new trends, approaches and experiments. We hope to be able to establish ourselves in that niche.

Twingly Team Interviews: ”We all understood the technical challenges”

Continuing with our series of Twingly Team Interviews, we this time spoke to Niclas Wiström who is one of the founders of Twingly. He describes the early days of Twingly and why he thinks that it was an advantage that all the founders have a technical background.

Tell us about yourself!
I’m Niclas, 37 years old and one of the founders of Twingly. I’m the oldest person at the office which the rest of the team doesn’t get tired of pointing out…

How did you meet the other Twingly co-founders?
I have worked together with Martin since 2001 or 2002 at Allt om Bostad, a Swedish website for house owners. We then decided to quit and to start our own consulting company. A few years later Martin and I together with Björn and Figge launched Primelabs, which was the company behind Twingly (in 2008 we changed the company name to Twingly AB). Twingly was from the beginning one of our main projects.

You have a background as a developer, but you also enjoy the spirit of entrepreneurship…
Yes! I started my first company together with 7 other people in 1996. But I have always enjoyed working with the technical parts as well. From the early Twingly days on I was the one in charge of the hardware. In the beginning we only had 4-5 servers, but that was good since we all did consulting as side projects to earn money that we could invest into Twingly. Then over time, the work load got bigger.

All four of you who started Twingly have a technical background. None of you had deep knowledge on the business side. Do you think that was an advantage or disadvantage?
Things worked out pretty good for us, also from the sales-perspective. In our case I would say it was an advantage, since we all understood the technical challenges of the service we created. And early on we signed up SvD and DN, two of the biggest newspapers in Sweden, as clients for our Blogstream service, which websites can use to show incoming blog links from the blogosphere.

What was the goal when you launched Twingly four years ago? Did you adjust that goal over time?
In the beginning we thought the blog search engine itself would be our main product. Later we realized that from a commercial point of view Blogstream and other B2B services worked the best, and we also broadened our spectrum by launching several tools focusing on microblogs and the real time web.

What was the most exciting that happened during the years with Twingly?
I think the early days were especially exciting – the time when we launched Twingly without knowing how everything we had planned would work out. Or when we made a road-trip to a conference in Vienna to promote Twingly and meet newspaper executives at out very own little booth.

Was there a moment when you regretted that you didn’t do something else instead of creating a startup?
Nope, never. I always have enjoyed working with Twingly. And even though I’m a late riser I look forward to go the office almost every morning.

Since hardware is a passion of you: Which of the latest technologies and developments in the it sector do you personally appreciate the most?
In fact Solid-state drives (SSD), the new kind of storage solution that are better than traditional harddisk. They don’t break as often as harddisks, are calmer and faster. We are using SSD in a few of our servers and we’ll probably make some more upgrades in the future.