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)

Reloaded: Europe’s 50 most popular startups according to the blogosphere

Photo (CC): Tomas Fano

In the beginning of August last year we published a ranking of Europe’s 50 most popular startups according to the blogosphere. We took this list from the TechCrunch Europe Top 100 index and analysed the buzz these startups were able to create within the global blogosphere based on Twingly blogsearch data.

About half a year later it’s time to for an updated version of our ranking. This time we focused on the time frame between November 20 2010 and February 20 2011. We also updated our list of European startups that were included in our analysis (and removed a few former startups that have recently been acquired).

So here we go again: Twingly presents Europe’s 50 most popular startups according to the blogosphere (with the last ranking’s position in brackets):

01 Spotify (1)
02 Dailymotion (3)
03 Miniclip (16)
04 SoundCloud (5)
05 Tuenti (4)
06 TweetDeck (6)
07 DailyBooth (11)
08 Shazam (10)
09 Netvibes (7)
10 Twingly (8)
11 fring (9)
12 Netlog (19)
13 Stardoll (2)
14 Trigami (17)
15 Jolicloud (42)
16 Tweetmeme (12)
17 Nimbuzz (14)
18 Prezi (-)
19 eBuddy (13)
20 Qype (20)
21 Deezer (22)
22 Jimdo (15)
23 Bambuser (27)
24 Zemanta (33)
25 ShoZu (24)
26 Skyscanner (41)
27 Wonga (37)
28 Swoopo (35)
29 sevenload (23)
30 eRepublik (34)
31 Plastic Logic (31)
32 zanox (26)
33 Fon (43)
34 Layar (21)
35 Voddler (18)
36 Vente-Privee.com (29)
37 We7 (50)
38 Trovit (25)
39 Twenga (46)
40 Zoopla (-)
41 simfy (-)
42 Rebtel (41)
43 Zopa (39)
44 Songkick (-)
45 Huddle.net (-)
46 FigLeaves (30)
47 Doodle (40)
48 Modu (44)
49 Wooga (-)
50 MyHeritage (28)

Notes
Being able to make users and journalists blog about a web startup does not necessarily mean that its products or services are good. Furthermore, consumer oriented web tools and blog centric services usually get more coverage on blogs than business-to-business companies, which is why the list is dominated by these kind of apps. Having said this, publicity is a requirement for succeeding as a tech startup, so the startups in this list seem to be on track regarding user awareness!

In some cases the search results were interfered by Spam and pure SEO postings or articles mentioning the same word, meaning something else. We then had to remove a part of the findings, which led to a lower ranking. When you study the list keep in mind that this is not the one and only, definite ranking, and there might be some startups missing. But it for sure gives you some useful insights into which services are being discussed the most in blogs all over the world.

If your Europe based startup is getting a lot of buzz and is missing in the ranking, or if you know a service that could be popular enough to appear on this list, please let us know in the comments, so that we can include it next time!

CisionWire connects with bloggers

Cision is one of the biggest players worldwide among press services, with businesses in over 150 countries and the world’s largest data base of media contacts.

Their strategy has always been to work closely with their users and business partners to improve their services continuously. That way they keep high standards in terms of usability and easy access to all the latest news.

As part of this strategy they now started involving  bloggers more closely than ever before by giving them the opportunity to be seen on CisionWire-articles in context with topics they blog about. Twingly supplies the technical solution.

For bloggers it means that they can blog about a topic, then link to the related press release on CisionWire, ping their post to Twingly. Their post will then automatically appear below the press release within a few minutes.

Right now, this new service is available on CisionWire.com and CisionWire.se. So go and check it out!

With now both, CisionWire and MyNewsdesk linking to blogs as part of their strategy, we consider this development a big step in terms of press services establishing a new standard of providing information by integrating news and comments from the public via social media services.

Final Voting on for German Social Media Award!

Only two days are left – today and tomorrow – so vote for your favourite project! These are the candidates in the second and final round:

Gute Sache (Good Cause):

Kunst (Art):

Gesellschaft (Society):

Medien (Media):

Wirtschaft (Business/ Economy):

Voting is easy. Go to one of the links above and read what the project is about. If you like it, click the button right under the title. Note – you have one vote per category and per day! Which is great, we think, cos we have real trouble deciding between all these cool sites. So we simply vote on different days if we really like more than one project in the same category. If you haven’t done so, start voting now! You’ve got only today and tomorrow…

The winners will be announced on the 10th of November at 6 pm on the Convention Camp in Hanover!

Like you, we are very curious to learn who won the race in the different categories. But what we know for sure is that there will be a nice little Twingly surprise for each winner. Provided that the snail mail does not decide to cross our plans…

You did not really get what this is all about? Then check out our post from a few weeks ago.

How’s your movie knowledge?

Looking for a bit of Friday entertainment? Always wanted to challenge your colleagues with movie questions? Now you got a chance. At least if you understand Swedish. =)

We spent some time and tested Telia Filmutmaningen (“Telia Movie Challenge”). While being on the first level one might think “Booooring, this is something for kindergarten”, but latest half way through level 2 you are hooked and it can get quite tough. Once through with all 250 questions, you can post your result on Facebook or Twitter. You can also challenge your friends on Facebook and run a competition with them.

All in all one of the coolest event pages I have seen for a long time.

And you know what else is really great? You can be part of this page, too! Just blog about you results and link to Telia Filmutmaningen, ping your post to us – and then your post gets displayed on the page!

Do I really need to say that we are very proud of the fact that Telia chose us for supporting their event page?

Now, off you go, have fun with the questions, and make sure you beat the guy to the right! I couldn’t, so please take revenge for me!

//Anja Rauch

Why using Twitter could help your Investor Relations

For companies there seem to be a trillion reasons why they should start using and paying attention to Social Media. The use cases range from creating loyal customers to getting feedback about products and services, from offering an additional channel for customer service to pushing out marketing messages, from informing existing and potential clients/consumers about products and events to staying updated about what competitors are doing. Give yourself a few minutes and you probably will come up with dozens of more reasons.

But there is one benefit of Social Media that is remarkebly absent from all the top lists you find online about why companies should start to use Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube and so on: To improve investor relations (IR) and to disseminate firm-initiated disclosures and news. By using Social Media channels, especially smaller and medium-sized companies can reach out to existing  and potential Investors and keep them informed.

On IR Web Report, a web site specialized in publishing research and news about online investor relations practices, we found an interesting interview with Hal White, assistant professor of accounting at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Together with a two other researchers from the same school Hal has created an academic paper trying to answer the question whether companies now – while being able to use direct-access information technology – can act as their own information intermediaries.

One of their key findings is that Twitter appears to be an effective way for firms to communicate with investors and to disseminate information to the stock market. And this is especially true for those firms which are too small, insignificant or simply too young to catch the mainstream and industry media’s attention. Funny enough these are the companies that usually have the biggest need to establish investor relations (e.g. technology startups looking for funding).

For people who are enthusiastic about the new ways of communication enabled by the digital revolution – like us at Twingly and probably most of you, our dear readers – this doesn’t come as a big surprise. But as IR Web Report author Dominic Jones states, for many people in the IR community the common believe is rather that Social Media is a waste of time.

In the extensive interview, the researcher Hal White gives some deeper insights into the study the report is based on. The three professors took a sample of technology firms (due to their qualification as early adopters), analyzed their tweeting patterns and looked at whether Twitter messages, especially those based around news-events and press releases, had a significant impact on the information environment of the company. Usually, it had. And usually, tweeting was clearly beneficial for the less visible companies but not so much for the more visible companies that are already getting attention (often with the help of newswires).

Hal White also gives en explanation of why it is mainly Twitter that has been embraced by IR departments. He assumes that this is because of Twitter’s short messaging style, which makes it easy to spread a news even to people on their mobile phones, and to do so in real time. It’s the best way to reach out to investors who often are on the go and who need to be as efficient as possible in their news and information management. The researchers also looked at blogs but found that there was a lot of opinion and two-way-communication rather than a strong focus on distribution of press releases and news (which, as boring as it sounds, is what investors need, at least in the initial stage).

Assuming that the report is right (which we don’t have any doubts on judging from our own experience with using Twitter for Twingly-related news), the best thing you as a small or mid-sized company can do is start using Twitter for publishing your corporate news, following venture capitalists, business angels and other seed investors, serial entrepreneurs, and of course the financial press. Some will follow you back. Let’s see if it will help you to create and improve your investor relations (and eventually get funded).

If you haven’t really used Twitter yet, here, here and here are a few articles you should read before getting started.

/Martin Weigert

(Illustration: stock.xchng)

Follow events on your mobile!

Last week we got some really positive feedback about Twingly Live. And no, this came not as you might expect from people having seen it on walls at conferences, integrated on websites or elsewhere.

No, people using Live on their iPhones or Android-mobiles told us. “The best tool to use when following an event online on Twitter on your mobile”, one said. Now, that flatters us. And the next suggestion we got was “I think you should advertise that a bit more.” OK, that might be a good idea then.

What lots of people don’t know is that we developed a mobile version of Live. So when you enter Live via the browser of your mobile phone, you get redirected automatically to the mobile version.

This is how Twingly Live works on your mobile.

Go to the Twingly Live directory , see which streams exist and follow the one you like. For setting up your own Live-stream, please enter the directory from your computer – the mobile version cannot cater for this yet.

No worries, setting up a Live-stream is pretty easy. We put this video together to help you:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgaU9AKwmiM&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Open the URL in your mobile’s browser, and off you go.

I actually used it during the football world championship in summer, and that’s how I learned on the train home that Switzerland defeated Spain in one of the first matches.

There are numerous other opportunities to use Live. Follow your favourite football team, the Superbike World Championship , Pop Idol, X-factor or DSDS 2011 in Germany, the European Song Contest – endless possibilities. Or you are at a conference and want to follow the hash-tag used there, like i.e. Likeminds.

Now – enjoy, and don’t forget to share the stream you follow with your friends!


//Anja Rauch

Soon even your grandparents will know what a check-in is

Imagine you are at a restaurant with 20 people, both family members and friends. You pull out your smartphone and tell everybody that you quickly have to check-in. How many of the people around you would understand what it is that you are doing?

As we have written about before, the check-in has become the default way for people using mobile services such as foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite or Loopt to tell the world where they are. Instead of the mobile phone monitoring their location automatically and publishing their whereabouts, users actively press the check-in button when they feel comfortable revealing their location.

But so far, these kind of location based apps have solely been an Early Adopter phenomenon, reaching only a few million people around the world (foursquare has less than 3 million users, Gowalla doesn’t even have 500.000 yet). Hence, the majority of people won’t associate the check-in term with web apps but rather with airports where checking in means leaving your luggage and getting your boarding pass.

Do the test: Ask your family, friends and colleagues what a check-in is. And then wait a year and do it again. You can be sure that the result will be significantly different. Why? Because Facebook, the world’s biggest social network with more than 500 million active users has recently launched a check-in feature called Facebook Places. At the end of last week the site started to roll-out the feature to users in the US, but we don’t expect it to take more than a few weeks or month to see the Places feature launching globally.

With Places, Facebook has finally done what many observers of the Internet for a long time have expected to happen: It has launched its own location service based around a check-in functionality. The feature works exactly as you would imagine: Depending on your coordinates you get a list of locations around you where you can check-in, or if the location does not exist yet you can add it. Every location has its own profile page which shows recent check-ins of other people.

Additionally, Facebook gives you an overview about where you friends are at the moment, making it much easier to meet up with some of your contacts who might be close to your current location.

By betting on the location trend, Facebook is bringing the concept of checking in and seeing where your friends are to the mainstream. So far, the biggest problem with the smaller services mentioned above is that not many people do use them, and for most users I know, the foursquare and Gowalla friends mainly consist of their Twitter peers, who not necessarily are their close friends. In fact, only very few of my “real” friends are using location based services, which means that I hardly benefit from the capabilities location based apps do offer in theory.

But I expect this to change, since almost all of my friends are on Facebook, and lots of them do own a smartphone. After having launched Places on a global scale, it won’t take too long until many of your closer friends will have tried the new feature, giving everyone new insights about favourite places and interesting locations. And since Facebook is providing existing location apps with a new API to integrate their functionality with Facebook Places, loyal foursquare or Gowalla users can continue to check-in with those services and will see their Facebook friends’ check-ins as well.

It’s for sure that Facebook embracing the check-in concept won’t be the final evolution step of location based services (background monitoring and automatic check-ins at favourite locations using Geofencing will become common in the future). But the move means that the whole idea of telling other’s where you are by using your mobile phone is brought to the masses, and the check-in as term will become as common as other expressions introduced by web services such as “to google” (which in several European languages is synonymously used for doing a web search) or “to poke”.

While we at Twingly can’t wait to try the new Facebook Places feature, it will be interesting to see how Facebook handles the inevitable privacy-related user backclash. While the possibility of telling all your friends where you for some users is reason enough to be concerned, Facebook didn’t make it easier for them by adding a potentially questionable feature which lets you check-in your Facebook friends (it’s required though that you have checked in at the same location). It’s possible to deactivate this feature but in best Facebook tradition the site made this process more complicated than necessary.

We’ll see if the feature will be abused by some who find it funny to check-in at some dubious location just to be able to tag their friends as well. It’s not impossible that Facebook might do some fine-tuning with Places before rolling it out globally. But in any case it’s only a matter of time until even your grandparents will understand what you mean when you tell them that you have to check-in.

/Martin Weigert

The Foreign Office UK tests Channels

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK – what or who is that  you might think, surely some boring Government stuff. Government stuff, yes. Boring? Far from it.

FCO’s core function in (very) short is according to themselves to “promote and protect Britain’s interests abroad” . Now, that sounds like a modern version of the old colonial times, but in fact it isn’t. The FCO’s activities and offices in over 170 countries worldwide help Britain keeping a good relationship with other countries, including their 14 overseas territories like i.e. Bermuda or Pitcairn Islands. British people living abroad can get help and postgraduate students or researchers from countries across the world are granted scholarships by the FCO, which supports a positive development especially in poor countries.

Over the past year, FCO has thrown itself with enthusiasm into Social Media, realising that this is a great way of reaching out to people all over the world, not politicians, but rather normal people like you and me. In their blogs, their representatives around the world pick up a lot of current issues and discussions they encounter and which do not necessarily reach the daily news stream. A gem and great additional news source for everyone interested in global politics.

As part of their social media mix, a Twitter account was launched, and @foreignoffice is now the most mentioned and retweeted UK government department. FCO uses Twitter mainly for giving helpful information to their followers worldwide, this also includes promoting  their blog articles about current issues. Over 17000 followers confirm that this has not been entirely useless…

In order to make it easier for people to follow their blogs and to see which are the most talked about topics, they now started testing Twingly Channels. Via their blog-RSS-feed all blog posts will be fed into the FCO-Channel. While you find all articles in chronological order under “Incoming Stories”, “Top Stories” shows only the ones most retweeted, linked by  other blogs and commented on or simply “liked” in the Channel itself. So readers get an instant overview of “what is hot” among all the FCO-topics.

Like Jimmy Leach says in his blog post, this is not such a big thing really, especially since lots of Channel-features are still to be developed during autumn. But it will be very interesting to see how Channels can help FCO getting more readers engaged in discussions, either on their blogs or in their channel.

FCO also runs its own YouTube- and Flickr-Channels, and there are also Facebook Pages in several languages, take a look at the whole range. Jimmy is by the way the guy that pulled off FCO’s successful social media strategy and you can reach him on Twitter or on his blog. He loves dialogue and appreciates feedback.

If you are interested in global politics and want to know more about matters that are not big in daily news, then get subscribed to the FCO-Channel and feel free to comment and “like” articles there or directly on their blogs. Definitely let FCO and us know what you think. Commenting or tweeting are the best ways to reach us, or in our case, we collect your ideas and answer your questions here.

What do you think?

//Anja Rauch

Do you think before you tweet?

When you publish your ordinary 140 character messages on Twitter, it’s easy to forget who your total audience is. No, not only your followers on Twitter and those users who might have subscribed to your stream via RSS. In fact, it’s everyone on the Internet. Almost 2 billion people, who have access to your daily Twitter updates, if you didn’t set your account to private (which hardly anybody does on Twitter).

That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? I hear you saying “Well, that’s the same for any public web page and blog”. Correct. But the difference is that it takes much longer and more effort to publish content on regular websites/blogs, and since you are not limited to those 140 characters, you write longer texts, and you have more time to think through what you have written before you press publish.

From my personal Twitter experience I can say that this is totally different on Twitter. Twitter is the leading tool of the real time web, and as such a communication channel where everything is about speed. Twitter is the place where news break first, and as we explained last week, the way Twitter works even helps spreading less important information to a lot of people within a very short amount of time.

But the nature of Twitter with quick messages that are being tweeted and retweeted in (near) real time comes at a price: quality and trustworthiness. While there are tweets that give the impression of being well thought through – especially of users who focus on humorous or ironic Twitter updates – the majority of tweets and retweets have been put together in a few seconds.

So because of that, and because everyone on the Internet can see your tweets, it really makes sense to always think twice before pushing something to Twitter – or at least to think once.

I would guess that every regular Twitter user knows the uncomfortable feeling of having sent a tweet that she/he regretted afterwards.

Since there is no way to edit a tweet, the only thing you can do is to delete it. Some Twitter clients offer a useful option to do that, but I also have used apps that didn’t. Instead, I had to rush to Twitter’s website, log-in to my account (when you are in a hurry, you might mistype your password twice before you succeed in loging in), and then delete the tweet. With a bit of luck, I was fast enough so that nobody of my Twitter followers did see my weird/stupid/incorrect tweet. Sometimes, I wasn’t.

Recently, Twitter has launched the new User Streams API and is now step by step rolling out access to it. If the API is enabled for your Twitter client, all the tweets are appearing in real ‘real time’. Before, it could take 30 seconds or longer for your personal stream to update with new tweets. It was rather a bulk updating process than a real time updating.

What that means is that it will soon become completely impossible to hide a tweet from your followers by deleting it. Because when everyone has access to the new API, your followers will see your tweet in the very second you sent it.

That means that thinking before twittering will be even more important in the future than it has been so far.

Because of this, I personally try to stick to some ground rules when sending a tweet. It doesn’t always work, sometimes the temptation of being first out with a specific information/news is just too big. Still, I think it is good to have some criteria in the back of your head while using Twitter. It could help you to avoid embarrassing situations.

These are my suggestions. Feel free to add a comment with your input:

  • Is there a link I can attach to my tweet to show the source of my information?
  • Does the information sound reasonable and realistic? What does my intuition say?
  • Do I offend people with the tweet (more than necessary)?
  • Have I been twittering about the same thing too many times?
  • Is the spelling/grammar correct?
  • Does this tweet fit together with my opinion in earlier tweets/blog articles, or do I contradict myself?
  • Could the information in my tweet be something that everyone already knows?
  • If I’m about to retweet somebody else, do I know this person (from Twitter)? How much do I know about her/his credibility?
  • Should I add a personal comment to my retweet in order to explain to my followers why I thought this information/link was valuable?

Of course the process of thinking through these points is something that happens within the fraction of a second, in best multitasking tradition. And as I said – it’s not always working, we are all humans and act like them. Nevertheless it has helped me to establish a basic quality assurance for my tweets. If I would stand in front of almost two billion people, I probably would be very careful with what I’m saying. So I think it can’t be too wrong if Twitter user’s think a second before they tweet.

/Martin Weigert

(Photo: stock.xchng)