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We Are All A Service

*SMILING PUG* – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, FROM THE SWEETHEART PUG, MEL C *-*Originally uploaded by *SMILING PUG* I love the Company – Customer Pact which I think the Get Satisfaction guys put together. Read it and if you’re nodding agreement and are prepared to wiki in blood then go for it. Join the team. I’ve always been a ‘big on service’ guy but the thing about this pact is that it’s two way. The customer has responsibilities too. It also makes you realise that when you’re building a web application, you are providing a service. You are serving someone. And that can be a noble thing. It can be cool to put together some whacky tech to impress the crew, but until it goes up and someone is using it in their lives then it’s just a box with flashing lights and buttons. I wonder if the principles can be applied to other situations too, like employees and employers (both ways actually), and relationships. Too deep? Pact away!

The Fuss About Friend Feed & Video Review

There is a big of buzz around FriendFeed right now and lots of people as asking why. I did a quick video review of FriendFeed here if you want to see what it’s about. Follow Mick Liubinskas on FriendFeed here.  Basically it let’s you aggregate your the feeds of different applications and networks and show them in one stream. So I can see my Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube all together. You can also add friends and see what they are talking about, and have a stream of all your friends feeds. Hence, Friendfeed. It’s picking up pace, but I’m curious to see whether this will become something people visit once and don’t come back, visit occasionally, or use regularly? Also, do you want it all in one place, or do you prefer to be able to roam around and have different ‘tastes’ depending on your mood? Let me know your thoughts.

Commoncraft of Twitter: Beauty

I just saw the Commoncraft video of Twitter in plain English as shown below. It’s beautiful in so many ways. Firstly, it’s just a pleasure to watch. It’s fun and light and easy. Secondly, it tells the story to the point and with a lovely light layer of interestingness (Van Halen Rawks!). Thirdly, Twitter was able to be told like a skit with plain English and little cartoons. This says so much about your application. If you can’t get someone interested in it in 30 seconds and understanding it in 2 minutes, then go back, cut it in half and try again. Please reread this last point. Tragically, that last point is something I know is true but know is hard. And it gets harder as you go along. Without further ado, here is the Beauty;

Making People Invite Their Friends

twitter has tiny skip link Originally uploaded by bigmick “Invite Your Friends, Or Go!” I just created a Pollenizer account on Twitter and noticed that it was trying really, really hard to make me find or add friends. The skip link was so tiny, and hidden in the top left. We all know that Facebook apps are pretty pushy, and it’s something that apps need to do, but what is the right balance? Do you sacrifice the purists who leave to punish you in order to get the average Jo to invite their entire address book? Do you try and qualify them first? I mean when I join I don’t even know if the app is good, so how can I invite the right people? It’s a tough one and my call is being a bit more aggressive then your users tell you to be, but not a lot more. And definitely give people options to skip, and they should be bigger than Twitters link. Question: 1. What do you do? 2. What have you found about what works? 3. Is it ‘horses for courses’?

Technology Gap is Stretching

stretch it out Originally uploaded by aurevoirkatie I’m on the Sunshine Coast at a media conference and whilst there are some here at the front edge of technology (Simon Sharwood) there are lots of people here who seem to be quickly falling further behind. Obviously they aren’t representative of the mass of media, let alone the mass of people, but I’d think that they were a little more curious even. I think it’s more about the front edge moving faster. I don’t even pretend to be on the front edge, but I watch it and there is no way to keep up with it now. So the average doodette is living life and using the apps. .. and the geeks are moving at 1,000 miles per hour. It’s bad because we keep making apps for each other (and that’s a small market). Hmmm.

Quickflix and Online Application Customer Service

Shit up!Originally uploaded by MFinChina EDITED & UPDATED – QUICKFLIX IS LISTENING TO CUSTOMERS Rant… I signed up for Quickflix trial. One month free. We tried it and loved it. Build up a queue of the movies you want to see, they mail them out to you, you watch them at your own pace, and then send it back when you’re done. Great system. Just like Netflix. So I decided to continue at $19.95 per month and thought I set it up to change down to that level after the trial was over. The rolled me over at $36 per month. “Can you please roll me back?” “No, sorry” “Please, it’s not a lot of money but I think I set it at $19.95” “No, sorry, just wait a month” “Grrr” I know it’s probably not a big team, but a manual change or even a month free to keep a brand new happy customer happy is not a lot. Very disappointed. End Rant UPDATE I just got a call from a customer care guy from Quickflix and it seems they found my blog post. They said that since I felt that I’d saved it and it didn’t connect through, they have given me another free month, at the higher […]

Communication Tools and Balance

@mpesce and @nickhodge and @twitter – better? Originally uploaded by bigmick (Haven’t blogged for a while, so busy, but here is a quick one..) I had a go at Twitter the other day, and it looked like I was having a go at some of my Twitter friends. Nick Hodge particularly. But I wasn’t. I was lamenting that Twitter doesn’t do everything I want it to do. To be honest I was flat out and didn’t want to put up with any Twitter crap. And when I saw a conversation going on in MY twitter stream, I put my foot down. Funny thing is, I have so many communication devices, that all do different things, and STILL I’m unhappy. Is there no pleasing me? Is there no pleasing you? The reality is that it’s a constantly changing, evolving and tidal situation. From one minute to the next I want and need different things. How can 1 app do that? How can 10? So Twitter comes out of that melee looking brave AND smart. Brave – “Nope, we’re not going to let you write more than 140 chars and we’re not going to give you tools to have 1 on 1 conversations. This is Twitter. Love it or hate it, but […]

How to Safely Play with Web 2.0

test tube flowers Originally uploaded by cyancey I did a presentation this morning to a great bunch of marketing and media people in Australian Government organisations. One of their biggest challenges is that they want to do more web 2.0 stuff, but the legal eagles won’t let them try and the IT guys won’t help them try. So we came up with the idea of playing with password protected tools and then showing the naysayers how we are using it. So here is a list of free applications that you can sign up to and play with in password protected, invite only way. 1. Blogging Where you write stuff and people make comments about it. Try WordPress.com Uncheck the tick box on the second page that says “Privacy” 2. Wiki Webpages that lots of people can add to and change. Try Wetpaint Change “Who can view your wiki” to private. 3. Micromedia Sending little short messages about thinks you’re doing and stuff you’ve found to your friends. Try Twitter Then add me as a friend by going here and clicking ‘Follow’ I’ll follow you back. 4. Forums Where anyone can create a new topic around a subject and everyone talks about it. Try Tangler (of course) Click ‘Private’ under group […]

Fake Social Ads and The Businss Model Balance

Fake Social AdsOriginally uploaded by bigmick Direct-Advertising, where a web page is built just so it gets search click throughs and then has more ads on it, was a highly profitable abomination. It dilutes the value of the Internet and that’s where I work and play so I don’t like it. Fake social ads are just as bad. “You’ve got a message” or “Someone has a crush on you” changes meaning once it exists inside a social application because it becomes not just annoying, but deceptive. It’s the difference between a flashing ‘fart button’ ad and a ‘Your system is at risk. Clean it?’ I’m surprised that Social Networks like MySpace and Facebook put up with stuff like this, but reality is you can’t moderate 500 million ads. I remember back in the Double Click days how you could bring up all the ads and decide what gets shown. You’d have to have a team of 20 working in shifts to get through it. The first question maybe is, who really cares? I do because I try and keep the quality high and the bad guys on porn sites. And I know all of my friend/colleagues do (anyone reading this fits in here) because they are in the same area. […]

Afraid of Super Wall and Social Metrics

Afraid of Super Wall? Originally uploaded by bigmick Just noticed this when Super Wall tried again (in vain) to be added by me. Not a chance! “Afraid of abuse..?” Wow, that’s pretty powerful. I must say I feel Facebook knows what’s going on inside it’s app and reacts pretty quickly to give customers the option to ditch evil stuff, like Super Wall. Imagine the data that they must get from this? I wonder if Slide get to see it? I was talking to Mr Jones about how Facebook is missing out on data by not letting users hide/ditch sponsored links in their news feed. If they click, at least you know they saw it and at least you know they didn’t really want it. Maybe it’s a case of if you collect it, the stats might be bad? I’d be surprised if FB took this line. Social metrics is something I’m diving into right now and I’m enjoying the swim so far. Lots to learn (for everyone) but crucial stuff with broad applications. Everything from what is a friend worth to ‘does social networks make us happier?” I’ll write more when I know more. In the meantime, collect everything and keep an eye on the forest and the trees (and […]