The world's 1st Microblogging Conference

Better late than never – this one could say about a late summary from me about the MBC09, but also maybe “last but not least”.

The MBC09 in Hamburg on the 23rd and 24th of January 2009 was the first Microblogging Conference of the world ever, organised by Cem Basman and a great team of people around him which made it a real success. Cem’s Summary together with links to media and pictures you find here.

I went there as a non-techie and must say that I was a bit wary about maybe the tech-talk being a bit much for a non-developer. Many asked me if I was sent by the company, and the answer is yes and no. At first I just wanted to go as a visitor in order to meet old faces and new people, but then our project of developing the Microblog-Search took vast steps forward. First we decided that I should introduce the concept of it, but then, after Christmas it was pretty clear that the release date could even be before the MBC09 – which we thought would be a great opportunity to introduce its functions to a larger audience and get some direct feedback. So I had the pleasure to present our new baby to a rather interested crowd. Among them were  Marco from Seesmic/Twhirl, Carmen from Cirip.ro and Tapio from Oseon Conversations. A bit later joined Nicole Simon, author of book and blog  “Mit 140 Zeichen” (for when again is the book’s translation into English planned? 😉 ) – she added some more really good questions to the little discussion that already had formed.

I on the other hand also listened to some really good keynotes and sessions, i.e. from Sarik (Cellity) and Ralf who presented the development of the German microblogging service Bleeper. This motivated me to create also an Identi.ca account. Which brings us to one of the main discussion points of the MBC09 – will Twitter have to open or will they survive as a closed solution? The panel in the evening of the first day put this topic forward once again. By then also Evan Prodromou had made it to the venue – and all that because the peeps at Identi.ca did not obey the old rule “never do an update or a release on a Friday” 😉 … In the evening however one could find him after a long day enjoying himself on the party and chatting away to the MBC09 crowd.

Unfortunately, I was there only for Friday (collision with a long planned personal event on Saturday/Sunday in Stockholm) – but next time I will be there all days! Then I do not miss great sessions and panels like “Twitter in Journalism”. Also, as it is for sure that the conference will be held again in English and as we do have some time now for planning, there might very well a (developer?)-colleague following to Cologne as well. We will see!

I made quite a few new contacts, not only for business, and I really loved that one day, the people and the party a lot.
Let’s make part II even better – “Cologne, Cologne, we will go in Cologne!” (alternative version of the German “Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!”)

This is some information about the past MBC09 and about the one to come.

– The old stuff (with new stuff about the old stuff).
– The new stuff.

C U in Cologne – and before that maybe even in Berlin?

MBC09 Logo

Global Twestival-time

There’s a great initiative going on all over the world for addicted Twitter-users right now – Twestival. It’s an event to bring together Twitter-users for some fun and to raise money for the charity:water -project.

Here in Sweden there’s events in both Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö and Norrköping. If you are nearby, stop by to meet the people you tweet!

From Twestival.com:

In September 2008, a group of Twitterers based in London UK decided to organise an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline; meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, have a few drinks and tie this in with a food drive and fundraising effort for a local homeless charity.

The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, via Twitter and utilized the talents and financial support of the local Twittersphere to make this happen.

Around the world similar stories started appearing of local Twitter communities coming together and taking action for a great cause. Twestival was born out of the idea that if cities were able to collaborate on an international scale, but working from a local level, it could have a spectacular impact.

By rallying together globally, under short timescales, for a single aim on the same day, the Twestival hopes to bring awareness to this global crisis.

What’s coming after the Twestival. Maybe the Twarnival, the Twivoli or the Twiesta?

Follow us on @twingly

Update (10th of Feb.): Kristoffer and Anja will be taking part in the Norrköping Twestival . They will show how one can monitor what gets written about oneself or what happens in the world by using the MicroblogsearchFollow @nkpgtwestival, or even better – be part of the elusive club of around 40 attendees, even if you are not on Twitter (yet). We really look forward to answer your questions and sharing a beer and some tortillas with you afterwards.

Twingly inaugurating world's first federated microblog search

This is it! Today we’re launching Twingly Microblog Search.

We’ve been microblogging for a couple of years now at Twingly. Mostly at Jaiku because it’s been the service of choice for new-media-people here in Sweden but we have our own Twitter and since Twitter is becoming bigger and bigger here in Sweden, we’ve been more active there lately.

When we last summer started to see the microblogging-hype we felt that a search dedicated to microblogs would be a quite natural development for us. We like Twitter Search and been using it a lot, especially at conferences and when news like Mumbai were having the best news source at Twitter. But because we used Jaiku ourselves it wasn’t what we needed in many cases.

Today we’re proud to launch our own microblog search with both Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca, Pownce (which is sadly closed but we still have a lot of data indexed so we keeped it) and even some local microblogging platforms like the Swedish Bloggy and the German Bleeper.

It’s also therefore we call it the first federated microblog search because our goal is to indexing all microblogs from all services. If you know more microblogging services or run your own, please contact our developers so we could start index it.

twingly-microblog-search-logo

To be more clear about how the search works it’s for now quite clean, we would love to hear what features you would like to have in our tech plan, but there’s some really useful tools in there already that could be nice to stated out:

  • Like every search result at Twingly.com, it’s possible to get a widget for it to use on your own website or blog.
  • Email-alerts so you don’t miss any important reply, retweet or comment dedicated to you or to use like a way to monitor your brands name.
  • RSS to keep you updated on what microblogs saying about you, your brand, interest or anything else straight in to your RSS-reader.
  • It’s possible to search for hashtags (#tag) and replies (@name)

More search possibilities could be found in our help-page and in a follow-up blog post.

The true behold of Twingly Microblog Search is of course for many people the possibilities to get a full overview of what’s saying about you, your brand or your interest on not only one service but on all microblogs. Why just search in one service when there’s many other services with active users, too?

Some improvements are still to come. The search is not realtime at the moment, expect about a five minute delay (sometimes more if the result page ends up in the cache). This will be remedied later on so that we can provide a true conversational search. Jaiku comments are not indexed. Bummer. We have been talking to @jyri about ways to accomplish that, hopefully it will be resolved soon. Verbs like save, retweet, reply, comment should be implemented in the search result.

Anyhow, we hope you’ll enjoy our new microblog search as much as we do. We’ll listen to you.

Update: Techcrunch post is here.

Twitter hitting mainstream in Sweden, as we speak

Here in Sweden there has been a small but very active group of people microblogging using Jaiku for quite a long time. Most people were from internet startups, media and marketing industry, bloggers etc. Jonas Leijon created the first Swedish microblog service Bloggy (still in beta), which is very much like Pownce and Jaiku. The swedish word for microblogging (“mikroblogga”) become one of the official new words to the Swedish language last year.

In the US, Japan and everywhere except Sweden and Finland (Jaiku is from Finland, therefore it has more users in Finland and Sweden) Twitter has become the microblogging platform of choice, growing it’s user base much faster than the competition. All three services Jaiku, Bloggy and Twitter have had some users here in Sweden but it was not at all mainstream. Until now.

Last week, Twitter reached critical mass and spread like wildfire. Numerous people got in touch with us to report that many of their non-tech friends suddenly registered at Twitter.com. Over the course of not more than ten days, Microblogging went mainstream in Sweden.

So what happened? We blogged about how Mumbai was a big step towards mainstream for Twitter in November. We were not alone: VA, SSBD, What’s Next etc and our own blog post was actually given some national media publicity by SVD. In December there was an earthquake in Skåne here in Sweden and microblogs was of course faster than traditional media. Which gave some media publicity, again. Some journalists and others who are fast to respond to trends began to sign up for Jaiku, Twitter and Bloggy. But it still was not mainstream.

The last couple of weeks some big changes happened. Newspapers started to use Twitter, political partys and politicians too and a lot of non-tech people signed up, inviting their friends in the very tight viral loop provided by Twitter. Special hashtags only used by Swedes is another new iniative (#svpt), as well as a site dedicated to Swedish Twitter users with a list with Swedish Twitter-users and Companys/organisations in Sweden that use Twitter.

Why Twitter and not Jaiku or the Swedish alternative Bloggy.se? Jaiku’s growth is severely limited by Google requiring an invitation for new users to sign up. Pownce is gone and Bloggy is not yet very known. Even if the market seems very crowded, Twitter is actually without serious competition.

Adoption is not yet as earth-shifting as the Facebook-craze of last mid-year, but it’s a start. As Hans Kullin wrote in his blog post: The next election in Sweden is in 2010. If microblogging already is becoming mainstream, at that time microblogging has reached a large number of users here in Sweden. Is Twitter going to be as important for Swedish political parties as it was for Obama?

In our humble opinions: Undoubtedly yes.

You can follow Twingly at Twitter or join our Jaiku-channel.

The Microblogging Phenomenon Retweet

We’ve seen it more and more lately: the “retweet”-phenomenon at Twitter. It’s used when someone wants to highlight an interesting tweet to others. We blogged about a Youtube-meme last week and retweet is in many cases nothing less than a powerful way to spread memes virally. Or, like Kristofer Mencák explains it:

It is a phenomenon that spreads a meme faster to new networks through weak ties. Basically, novel information reaches further and faster through these weak ties within the network as a whole.

For a marketer, this adds another dimension to the talking in the microblogosphere. Like Kristofer also pointed out in his blog post, a retweet actually shows what people are willing to spread to each other:

I think the monitoring of microblogs in general is important, but monitoring retweets adds an extra dimension, as it is basically monitoring memes that have proved themselves as having viral potential. These can spread – good or bad!

There are more interesting phenomenas at Twitter, like for example hashtags. Hashtags have been helped by 3rd-part services like Summize (now Twitter Search), and in the same way, the “retweet”-phenomenon gets a lot of help by services like Friendfeed and Facebook. For instance, when Robert Scoble retweets something, not only his Twitter-followers but also his Friendfeed-followers and his Facebook-friends get notified. This way, the message gets further spreading, which makes the phenomenon even stronger.

And like Jeremiah Owyang wrote in a comment on his great blog post on the same topic, retweets could be a better way to monitoring influence in the microblogosphere than links (which it is in blogs, generally).

In blogs, we’d used to say that ‘links’ were the most valuable aspect.

Now it’s retweets.