Review of twingly predictions for 2011 from one year ago

With 2012 looming ahead and it’s pending tinfoil-hat apocalypse, it is time to review our predictions for 2011 from one year ago!

As it turns out, we had 5 hits and only 2 misses, of which one was a close miss. Not a bad score at all! Stick around for our upcoming predictions for 2012!

Google buys MySpace
Nope. Nu-uh. Well, kind of close. MySpace was acquired, just as we predicted. But not by Google but by a small ad network called Specific Media with Justin Timberlake as one of the financiers. For a meager €35M, setting NewsCorp back just over half a billion dollars compared to what they bought the website for in 2005. Although in between, they did sign an advertising deal with Google worth $900M, so perhaps it ended up about even.

Everything goes mobile and local
Nailed it! It is even so obvious that our reaction to this now was “huh? was that really a prediction for 2011, it feels as if it happened waaay earlier.” Everything will keep going more mobile and more location based. Facebook check-ins are now mainstream, and all the big Internet companies are thinking mobile first in their strategies. It is not without cause. According to our upcoming predictions, smartphone adoption will be the strongest driving force for Internet penetration all over the world in 2012 and beyond.

Tablet newspapers will find success if they include content from several newspapers
Well, no. The experimenting goes on although straight-out success is hard earned. So far we haven’t seen anyone really nail the right format for reading newspapers on the iPad. Er, sorry, tablets. It’s easy to forget there are multiple vendors in the tablet space, you don’t see many others around as of yet. Galaxy Note is the sexier one among the iPad competitors with a very slim form factor and capable feature set.

Facebook launches Facebook phone
Nailed it! Even though it has not yet seen the light of day, Facebook is leaning so heavily towards mobile that they are even planning to release their own hardware.

Facebook watches LinkedIn IPO
Nailed it! Also, 2011 became the most intense IPO year in a long time. And yes, Facebook is getting there real soon.

Realtime commenting will be everywhere
Nailed it! Facebook comments are now everywhere, realtime and social. When we comment in many blogs and newspapers, the comments are also displayed in our timelines inside of Facebook, driving our friends to the content we commented on. But also moving the conversation into Facebook and with that much of the pageviews/ad revenue otherwise generated by users refreshing comment threads.

Gowalla pivots like crazy to try to catch up with Foursquare
Nailed it! Gowalla was reborn in September 2011. Sad to say, the pivot really didn’t help anything but the companies downward spiral. The founders decided to shut down the company and accept gratuitous employment offers from Facebook.

With as much as five bulls-eye hits, one close miss and only one completely failed prediction, we are all out happy with the results! Let’s hope we can do as good for 2012!

Image credit: tibchris (CC BY 2.0)

How municipalities use Twingly to connect with citizens

The Twingly Blogstream and Blogwatch widget is used by many leading news and e-commerce sites, but that doesn’t mean that other kind of online projects don’t benefit from it. One example are websites of local municipalities, which Twingly enables to highlight and show the discussion about local matters, issues and projects on blogs to visitors and citizens.

The Swedish municipalities Strängnäs, Borås and Tranemo have chosen to put the Blogwatch widget on their site in order to do exactly that. We asked Strängnäs and Borås a couple of questions about their thoughts on connecting their municipality’s website with the blogosphere.

Twingly integration on Strängnäs municipality's website

Sofia Lacik works with the communication team at Strängnäs municipality.

Hello Sofia. What’s the story behind the Twingly integration on Strängnäs municipality’s website?
I had used Twingly in the past at another organisation. Then at SSCW I met Twingly CEO Martin Källström and we discussed whether Twingly would be a useful solution for Strängnäs municipality.

How was the feedback when you launched the integration?
When we announced that we would show blog posts about Strängnäs, we only got positive reactions. For us it’s a great way to keep tabs on what’s being written about the municipality, and personally, I feel I’m better informed about topics, opinions and thoughts relevant for Strängnäs that are appearing on blogs.

How much time do you invest into working with social media?
It varies, but usually about 15 hours a week. That includes creating and following up on the strategy and various social media activities, answering questions, replying to comments, publishing news and monitoring the different channels. I also quite often meet with colleagues who need help or support regarding using social media. The communication department spends a couple of more hours a week mainly on monitoring as well as publishing and encouraging other colleagues to try using the social web for their work.

And what’s the next step?
Our goal is to increasingly leverage social media for our work at the municipality, and to make other offices and departments aware of the potential this has for the communication with those interested and those living in and around Strängnäs.

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Twingly integration on Borås municipality's website

Marie Ingvarsson is the head of marketing and communication at Borås municipality.

Hello Marie. Tell us why Borås benefits from Twingly.
When we launched our social media activities we realized quickly the advantages of  Twingly’s tools for our monitoring. Apart from showing the Twingly widget with links to blogs mentioning Borås, we also have used Twingly Live and Liveboard, for example during conferences, to show the latest developments and comments in real time. Of course it also helps that Twingly is a Sweden-based company and that the team has always been helpful and quick to reply to our questions.

Do your social media activities require a lot of time?
That depends. We publish quite a lot on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Bambuser, but then this content has been published through other channels as well, so it doesn’t need to be created from scratch. Our monitoring feeds are updating automatically which makes it easy for us to keep an eye on everything that’s being written about Borås. The setup of the whole work flow and of the accounts has taken a while, and naturally replying to questions and participating in the discussions might require some time – let’s not forget that social media is about communicating and interacting.

Will you integrate Twingly even more on your site?
We are thinking about embedding the Twingly Blogstream widget on all of our sites to show incoming links from blogs. Since the content on some of our less regularly updated pages probably isn’t being discussed a lot on blogs, it’s possible that there wouldn’t be a lot of incoming links, so we aren’t sure yet how to do it. In the end, it simply might be a question of being as transparent as possible, which is what we strive for.

What else is on your road-map?
One of the things we are planning to launch are e-petitions, a tool which enables citizens to make suggestions about issues concerning the municipality, to discuss them and to collaborate on them.

Blog about products on Ginza.se and get linked from a major online shop

Not even two weeks left until Christmas Eve. Maybe some of you bloggers out there would like to show your readers the presents that you are hoping to find under the Christmas tree, and at the same time get traffic from a huge e-commerce site?

In this case we can announce that you now have the chance to do this with yet another online shop partnering up with Twingly to show incoming blog links on its site: Swedish media retailer Ginza.se.

Ginza.se with Twingly integration

On the front page and each and every product page, Ginza.se has placed the Twingly Blogstream widget in the right column, showing you the latest products bloggers have written about and linked to. For consumers it’s a great way to discover products on Ginza.se that are getting attention in the blogosphere. The benefit for bloggers is obvious as well: Visibility on a leading e-commerce site in the Nordics, and thus new visitors.

We welcome Ginza.se to the growing family of Twingly partners.

If you have a blog and want to give it a try, just write about a product available on Ginza.se, link to its product page and ping Twingly (very important!). And who knows, maybe one day you’ll have a nice little present from one of your readers in your mail.

Twingly Team Interviews: “We’ll see web pages being built with a mobile first approach”

Today we bring you our 8th Twingly Team Interview – an article series where we chat with Twingly employees about their time with us as well as about the past, current and future state of the web and blogging. This time we interviewed Kristoffer Forsgren, 28 years old, who is Interface Developer at Twingly.

When was your first contact with programming?
I think around the age of seven. At that time I discovered that the computer came with something magical called “Quick Basic” and a bunch of example games. Quite fast I started to investigate how I could modify parts of the code to get different kind of benefits. After following a few examples in a book my father had, I coded a program that allowed me to enter all the VHS movies we had and get them saved in a text file. To me it was very thrilling that it was possible to make the computer do basically whatever you wanted it to do. Then at the age of 11, I came across a “HTML school” in a computer magazine. The structure made a lot of sense to me, so I started to learn HTML straight away. My computer didn’t have a web browser, but I still enjoyed writing HTML. My interest grew even stronger a couple of years later when the family got an Internet connection, and since then I’ve been keeping on learning Javascript, CSS, PHP and so on. Later I decided to to study computer science and IT security among other things.

And when did you get in touch with Twingly?
Well, I guess it depends what you mean by “got in touch”. The first time I got to know about Twingly was as a blogger, a long time before I was hired. I joined Twingly back in 2008 thanks to a project called “Twingly Summer of Code“. We were a group of four people who set out on a journey to build a huge map tool to visualize the blogosphere. A bit like Google Maps, but with blogs instead of cities. When the project ended I was asked if I would like to stay. I said yes right away.

You say you heard about Twingly for the first time as a blogger. When did you start blogging?
That was in 2005. Originally I used a blog system I built from scratch, but after some time I made the switch to WordPress. To me the Twingly service was interesting, I liked the idea to connect bloggers and newspapers. That type of connections had been a standard among blog systems for a long time and it seemed like a natural thing to widen the areas where those connections could be made. Twingly seemed like a really nice company, and the Summer of Code project proved it to be that way.

Do you still blog today?
It’s been quite a while since I posted on my personal blog, and even longer since I wrote something on the blog I started back in 2005. I guess I really should sit down and get a few posts written, but it’s easy to prioritize other things. I do use Twitter, which is considered a microblog, so I guess you could say that I still blog… ; )

You are the Interface Developer at Twingly. What tasks does this role cover?
“Interface Developer” basically means that I code (and design) the front end stuff, the things you see in the web browser when you are visiting our site. That doesn’t exclude that I code other parts of our system as well, but mainly I’m coding away in the stuff our users see. Mainly I code HTML, CSS, JavaScript and C# / ASP.NET. But I do spend quite some time in Photoshop as well.

What have been the most fun projects for you during your time at Twingly?
It was a lot of fun to work with the Summer of Code project, we had a great time within the group and it was challenging to get things to work the way we wanted, partially because we where using early pre-release tools. Things could change and break as soon as we switched to a new version, which we had to in order to access a new feature we needed. It might have been a bit chaotic from time to time, but it never stopped being fun. Twingly Channels was also a really great project to develop, although it could get quite intense just before the release…

What are your thoughts on the future ob web interfaces? What kind of services or apps do impress you the most right now?
I believe that it will be more common that we’ll see web pages and services being built with a “mobile first” approach. Smartphones are basically becoming the standard phone, thanks to iPhone and Android. Since they have advanced web browsers it makes sense to make sure that web pages are as easy to use as possible when being viewed on such devices. I don’t think that it means the death of smartphone apps though, nor do I believe that desktop apps will be completely eliminated either.

Right now I’m pretty impressed by the growth of Instagram, but I do find it a bit odd that they still haven’t added any ability for users to browse their photos online. There are quite a few other web services for that, but I really do believe that Instagram should develop some way for users to interact through a web browser as well. Dropbox is also a service that amazes me. They have brought file syncing to the masses in a very user friendly way, and thanks to their API they have enabled sync opportunities to a lot of other apps. They managed to make my digital life far easier than it used to be.

If you could change two things of the digital world today with the snap of a finger, what would that be?
I’d like to see good export functions on all web services and apps. I want to be able to download my data (and have it in a sane format) at any given time. I would also add a unified API (yeah, utopia, I know) between different web services/apps. Imagine being able to connect your Flickr and 500px account to Facebook to have the photos being displayed in your photo album there, and at the same time having comments pushed back to the services you have connected.

Help UNICEF and children around the world – with one blog post!

UNICEF/Pelle Bergström
UNICEF/Pelle Bergström

Every year, 21.000 children under the age of five die, mainly because of malnutrition, diarrhea or other diseases. The Swedish division of UNICEF has launched a blog campaign aiming at raising awareness about this silent disaster and providing help to those who really need it.

If you have a blog and would like to support this cause, UNICEF asks you to publish a post about it, including some text snippets, photos and videos that they provide here (this campaign is targeted at bloggers writing in Swedish).

It’s the most important blog post you could write this year. And in addition to that you help raising awareness about this misery, re:member has partnered up with UNICEF and agreed to donate 6 bags Nutriset per published blog post. Nutriset is an oil-based paste of peanuts which is used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition (you can read more about it here).

After you have published your blog posts and included the text and media provided on this site, it is important that you ping Twingly about your blog posts (here is an explanation how to do that). By doing so, your post will appear in the blog feed on UNICEF’s campaign blog and become part of the campaign.

Let’s make sure that as many people as possible join the campaign and help the children around the world!