Nielsen puts Google, Facebook, YouTube and Apple at the top of the heap

The Nielson ratings agency has released its 2011 review of the biggest names in tech, and the list is.. not at all surprising.

The biggest brands in tech are Google, Facebook and Yahoo! (ok, one surprise), toping out at 153k unique visitors a month for Google. Unique visitors are people who visit a site for the first time in a day. Subsequent visits by the same user are not counted in this tally. Facebook’s 137k uniques earn them the top slot in the social network competition, with really no particular competition at all, Blogger coming in at a paltry 45k and Twitter at a nearly-embarrassing 23k.

Interesting to note, however, that Google+ made the grade in social with 8k uniques.

The video category holds no surprises, with YouTube winning handily, followed by VEVO and Facebook. Really, when you put together social networking, the Google home page and video, Google seems to swamp the competition in the terms of this review, which is page views.

One interesting note: Blackberry still holds the #3 slot among smartphone manufacturers, which is surprising, given the dirges played for RIM at every hour, seemingly on the hour.

Nielsen’s Tops of 2011: Digital | Nielsen Wire.

Media Technology

Nielsen: smartphone subscribers increased 45%, social media dominates app markets

The Nielson company that has told you for years what we’re all watching on television also now reports on mobile media. This quarter’s results show just how much media is being converted to digital and just how fast. Among the key findings cited in their summary:

  • Smartphone subscribers have increased 45% since the same quarter 2010.
  • In just the third quarter, 26m consumers viewed video on their smartphones.
  • 62% of smartphone users have downloaded apps (why else own a smartphone?)
  • The vast majority of smartphone users have used deal sites like Groupon.

Not surprisingly, the study also shows near-saturation of the young adult market, with a whopping 64% of 25-35 year olds owning smartphones. Meanwhile, in the classic PC-era irony that we never seem to quite get away from, Apple is the largest manufacturer of smartphones with 26% of the marketplace, but Android is the top Operating System with 44% of the marketplace.

Most of us with parents will also not be surprised that the older set is getting into the texting game with a vengeance. While young-uns like the texting – 13-17-yo’s receive as many as 3400 texts a month! – the number of messages received by the 55+ set has doubled in two years.

And here’s the kicker: Facebook applications are the single most-used applications on both Android and iPhone platforms. Mobile websites that are popular include the stand-by Google, Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

On the issue of smartphone applications, the download rates are telling. The Apple iOS market remains consistent since 2009, with around 35% of users downloading applications. But Android users are much more download-y, apparently, with an explosive 45% growth over the same two years: 49% of Android users have downloaded an application in the last 30 days before the survey. RIM and Windows are both lagging behind, with a 21% drop for RIM and a 15% drop for Windows.

I wonder if Twitter’s presence in this survey is muted by the fact that its application ecosystem is so varied: while Facebook has its own well-used application, Twitter users tend towards third-party apps such as HootSuite Oosfora and Seesmic. Like Twitter’s linking problem – which they have recently moved to cure with the shortener – Twitter’s proper place in social networking is not accurately calculated because of this flexibility.
Nielsen | State of the Media: Mobile Media Report Q3 2011.

Journalism Technology

Pew Research tells media Twitter hogs: dude, STFU.

Quite a bit of chatter on media blogs and news orgs about the latest Pew Research study on media, this time about how media orgs are doing using Twitter. @Poytner asks the question: “do more tweets lead to fewer followers?” And via @tpmedia I got an article from Nieman Journalism Lab that probably gets a whole lot closer to the truth: “Twitter, the conversation-enabler? Actually, most news orgs use the service as a glorified RSS feed.”

The reality is: social media is social. Duh. Its not about simply republishing your content automatically. That is particularly true for news orgs for whom 40 or 50 news articles per day are routine.

And there’s a lot of those types of accounts right here in Rochester. I won’t name them, but we all know the frustration of looking at our feeds or lists that were once populated with lots of comments and interesting stuff from our friends and followers, now blotted out with the RSS dump from some local business rag who shall remain nameless. They don’t contribute anything to discussion, they don’t comment, they don’t retweet (heaven forfend!) and they never thank anyone for anything. They are non-entities that just get in the way.

Here at DFE, new posts are in fact automatically posted to Twitter. But given the fact that I may only get to write one or two posts a day, its really just part of the overall stream. Meanwhile, I am talking to other users, posting interesting articles I don’t have time to summarize, retweeting, commenting, discussing. I am being social and sharing what I put out. I’d like to think I’m not hogging anyone else’s Twitter space with all my posts, but I am sure I’ve probably been unfollowed for that exact reason.

The difficulty for large news orgs is: they need to give a lot more credibility and trust to their journalists. They need to trust the individuals who will be a lot more credible as members of a social network, while also passing along the all-important links to news articles on their respective employer’s websites. And honestly: those journos will need to brand themselves in order to get any kind of name recognition that’s worth the trouble.

And the difficulty for journos is: they need to negotiate how their social networking presence is used by their employers. Its not OK for an employer to suddenly decide that your social presence is their’s for the marketing, but does anybody really want to create a new Twitter account every time they switch jobs? And would that get you anywhere, anyway?

I can also see the pressure to be a local celebrity rather than a journalist first as a potential distraction from good reporting.


A Note About Twitter Follows

I’ve been asked today why I didn’t follow a person back. Everybody on Twitter has their own way of doing things, and while I wouldn’t consider the way I do it “policy” for the site, I definitely have some habits. I’m just posting this to give you an idea what those are.

On Twitter, my biggest concern is engagement: I want to build an audience of people who comment back, RT, ask questions, whatever. Its the thing about Twitter that I’ve never gotten out of blogging and its important to me. My second concern in terms of following is spam accounts, and it is because of both of these two things that I follow or don’t follow people. So in an attempt to avoid the bots and get the most-likely active users, I generally only follow people who:

  1. Identify where they’re from. In particular, I follow people from Rochester and Monroe County as a first choice because Rochester is my chosen audience. That’s not to say I won’t follow someone from somewhere else. But really: why would someone from Dubai care what I’m posting about #roc ?
  2. Have an avatar. I don’t care if its your company logo or a picture of you. Just something that says this isn’t just an afterthought account. Duck face avatars, however, may be denied on grounds of taste….
  3. Have a bio. Strange but true, lots of people don’t bother with bios. And others use them to load ’em up with spammy hash tags. Again: if you’re selling bath salts and want to put that in the bio, awesome! Welcome aboard. But blank bios or spammy bios will not get you followed.
  4. Have posted something in the last three months. Lots of people are lurkers, and lurkers are cool. But if you don’t post, there’s not much point in my following you.

Between not wanting to encourage spammers, not wanting to hit my limit of follows and wanting to engage active users, I realize that I’m probably not following back everyone who deserves it. But we all have our motivations for being on Twitter, and the responsiveness I’ve gotten out of my audience is absolutely second to none. Any website would drool over the clicks-over-impressions ratio that I get on a daily basis from you all. So, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. And if you want a follow-back, fix up that account info and get in the game!

Politics Technology

Palin, Paladino, Twitter and the Ills of Micro-Celebrity

The population of New York State is about 19.5 million people. If one tenth of one percent of those people followed me on Twitter, I would have nineteen thousand people following me. I think I could be very happy with that many followers.

The population of the United States is around 307m people. Again, if one tenth of one percent of those Americans followed me, I’d have 307k people following me. I’d be out of my gourd if I had that many followers.

While I don’t have a national stage and cannot hope to put in enough work to have that many followers – not now, perhaps not ever – I fully believe its possible. Whereas fame in the past came from convincing a small number of executives you were good enough and potentially popular enough for them to back you with contracts and promotion, these days simply having a voice is enough to gain you exposure on FaceBook and Twitter. Instead of having to appeal to a narrow set of interests shared by a broad swath of the country, now any unique perspective can find kindred spirits somewhere out there in the sprawling mass of social networks.

The trouble is: you can be convinced by your own hype – by the stove-piped collection of followers who appreciate your world view and cheer you on – that you’ve really got the answer. The answer to life’s burning questions; the solution for all that ails your future constituency; the moral rectitude that this world desperately needs. With thousands of adoring fans, you might be able to convince yourself that those fans aren’t just a  statistically-meaningless micro-culture but the heart beat of America.

And perhaps I’m giving too much credit to – politicians? political celebrities? – like Sarah Palin and Carl Paladino, but I have long seen both of them as “victims” of this strange micro-celebrity echo chamber. When your “field of view,” as it were, is filled with adoring fans who insist you’re really hitting all the right notes, I think its easy to delude yourself. Because “no one” ever raised an objection, except the people you and your fans hate. The result is a persona and a trail of public statements that is ever-increasingly divorced from reality, to say nothing of electable mainstream thought.

Because of course, all 500k Sarah Palin followers will not win her the election in 2012. Not even if she adds her 2m FaceBook fans. Carl’s paltry 2000 followers (wow! Even I am about to pass him!) won’t get him into the Governor’s chair. Not even if he adds his 25k FaceBook fans. In the end, they’re just footnotes to the history they thought themselves the catalysts of.

Its not just political types that can get turned sideways, I’m sure. Anybody with just the right amount of exposure can start believing they can do things that maybe just aren’t possible. But when people think they’re in a position to dictate the policy and moral compass of the nation, things can get really ugly:

Palin: Obama Pussy-Footing By Not Releasing Photo Of Dead Bin Laden | TPMDC.

Economy Technology

Twitter Users Don’t Really Seem to be Using Twitter?

I posted this just a few seconds ago to the Twitter feed, but I thought it required a bit more commentary:

CHART OF THE DAY: Here’s How Twitter Employees Use Twitter.

What is interesting about this chart is the sort of lack of engagement as most of us who have been living the Web2.0 thing since Web2.0 was a phrase anyone gave a shit about. The thing is: what has given rise to the huge swell of new technology over the course of the last ten years has been the near-ubiquitous spread of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow programmers to share data between different applications. For example, this website features the latest updates from my Twitter feed and linking systems. You don’t need to go to Twitter or to see what’s going on, because I’m able to request this information on a moment to moment basis. Or rather, the code that makes my site work does.

But what this chart reveals is that the company most directly responsible for huge dissemination of data across the Internet is made up of people who, at least as they report it for this study, don’t actually engage in a lot of that same type of information sharing. They use the web interface, iPhone and Mac applications, but Foursquare and many of the other services just barely register. One presumes that the “other” category would include sharing a page from another site.

Its hard to imagine where the Internet goes next week, let alone in a year. I am constantly being tired and annoyed by those who attempt to do so. But it seems like perhaps a pendulum between social / proprietary data may be the new expression of the classic pendulum of technology as we’ve known it, swinging between client/server (or “cloud”) relationships and peer-to-peer systems.

Anyway, I just found that interesting…..

Media Politics

CNN Says Twitter Users are Obviously “Narcissistic.”

Just thought I’d post this to the blog. AP reporters are being encouraged by their union not to tweet news articles while they’re negotiating their contract. Certainly, it makes sense. Probably, it will reveal information of great interest to anyone who studies the flow of information in social networks. But @CNN opts not to bother going into any detail with this and chooses instead to focus on getting a nice dig in for all us Twitter users:

Reporters often volunteer to spread links out of good will for their employer or for obvious narcissistic reasons. The labor union is discouraging people who’s job explicitly entails using social-networking services from participating in the boycott.

Good of CNN to point out the obvious: that anyone who uses Twitter is a narcissist. Or perhaps, anyone not tweeting out of a sense of “good will for their employer” is doing it for narcissistic reasons.

Now as it happens, I am a narcissist. But I keep that separate from my Twitter usage. Because I’m a pro. And I’m sure the “Worldwide Leader in News” who urges us to “Go Beyond Borders” and has “The Best Political Team on Television” would readily recognize such egotism when they see it. So, its not like they’re completely wrong.

But let’s not drag everybody down to our level, shall we, CNN?


Happy New Year! What’s Coming for DFE?

Now that the dust has settled on the New Years celebrations and we’re heading into the official start of the new year – the first day back to work – I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on where we are and give you some thoughts on where we’re headed as the year progresses.

The first and most obvious thing is that “blogging” as a trend and a vehicle for large-scale traffic, is dead. Writing, I am happy to report, is not.

When this site got its start six years ago, huge volumes of traffic were being pushed through Blogger, and other sites because people wanted the opportunity to be social in their views and reflections and blogs offered the best choice at the time. However, setting up and running a blog – even on hosted sites like – still requires a certain level of commitment that most people just don’t have time for. Besides which, having a blog suggests needing to write something useful or profound, whereas most people would be perfectly happy to write a quick sentence about their kids or where they’re going tonight. So social networks like FaceBook and Twitter provide a low-impact, low-key way of doing everything that blogging was ever about – reading other’s thoughts, sharing your own.

As a developer and as an enthusiastic consumer of technology, my own habits have moved much more in the direction of social networking and away from this site: the @dragonflyeye Twitter account and the DragonFlyEye.Net FaceBook page have both become central parts of my day-to-day communication with my audience. The site is still in regular use, but largely as an essay writing site, and quite static. Meanwhile, the most recent update to the site layout – done about a year and a half ago – reflected some but not all of this reality. The site definitely features other networks more prominently. But it also was setup to enhance the profile of the writing and actually represents a return to a fairly traditional blog layout.

In more techy/wonky news, recent developments in HTML5 and CSS3 support across the Internet have made this an exciting year to be a web developer! Whereas support for Internet Explorer 6 had previously stunted broad support for the rich new layouts promised by CSS3, we head into the new year comfortable in the knowledge that support for “Web Fonts” and other neato tricks like text rotation can be relied upon sufficiently. Personally, the idea that I can create a new version of DFE with the slick custom fonts presented by sites like The Blaze (conservative bastards that they are!) has me jumping out of my skin to get started!

So, what does all this mean for the future of DFE? Where do we go next? Well, here’s an unordered list of goals and projects for the near future:

  • Writers! As ever, I am looking for new writers with new voices for the site. In my most conceited moments of pure dream-land, I have always envisioned DragonFlyEye.Net as Rochester’s online answer to Harper’s and Rolling Stone. I don’t want the site to be all politics, all the time. And I am actively campaigning to find new writers and essayists for a wide variety of topics including those proven to be of interest to my Twitter followers: science, technology, music and culture.
  • A new layout, a new focus. I think it’s time to completely rethink the DFE layout yet again. Whereas the current focus is on egalitarian display of my writer’s work, I think the next layout will need to focus on the “DFE Network” as a unit: Twitter, FaceBook,, perhaps Google Buzz and others. The front page will likely take on more of a news magazine look and feel, in an effort to drive more traffic onto the site.
  • Onward and upward, Social Networkers! The ability to directly engage with you, my audience, has been an invaluable asset in understanding what it is you’re really interested in and what will drive the next wave of inspiration. Thank you so much!! And we’re not stopping now. I’m wracking my brain, trying to come up with cunning new ways of expanding my reach on FaceBook, Twitter and other social networks. By all means, help me out with a few #ff’s and “likes”!
  • Mailing list. Email still has a prominent place in our communications, with new innovations like Google Wave pointing the way to richer versions in the near future. So, DFE is going to have a mailing list soon, so as not to miss out on these new technologies. This is requiring a lot of recoding to an old plugin I wrote for a local band many years ago, but hopefully I won’t be too much longer with that.
  • Twitter integration. Yeah, I know I listed SNs above. But Twitter in particular has been a key to my current strategy and will be a lot more key in the future. I’m playing around with Twitter logins to allow commenting quickly and easily through the Twitter API. Also, there’s going to be some new back end funkiness that will help me find more of you cool people.

Wow. That shouldn’t take too long, should it?

I want to thank every one of you who reads my blog, my Twitter feed, my FaceBook page and everything else I’ve been working on over the past several years. Thank you for sticking with me as I’ve struggled to transition from my old rapid-fire, hyper-partisan blogging into new realms of content and media. I could not do this without you. Or rather, I totally could, but it would boring as hell…

Happy New Year from DFE!


Look Who’s Blogging

Some of you may have already heard that there is an allegation running around – started by a FaceBook security person, so its fairly high-profile – that yesterday’s FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, LiveJournal and others DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service, see a decent review here) attack might have been perpetrated to silence a man whose been blogging about the Georgia / Russia conflict. Well, it now seems that Live Journal has taken down the man’s blog.

But you can still see a cached version of it on Google’s Translate service here.


OMG! ur so snatryl 4 reel

Let this be a lesson to all who come after: 144 character limits are no excuse for bad grammar:

Chuck Grassley On Twitter: Inside The Senatorial Id | TPMDC

Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us”time to deliver” on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.


144 Characters of Stoopid

I suppose we should be thankful to have a medium where Sarah Palin can communicate without all the extra babbling. She’s got herself a Twitter account. Like hearing your gradma say, “don’t go there,” this is one of those events that helps us identify the moment when we can officially call trends such as the Twitter thing dead.


Twitter: Local Media Getting Into the Act

So far this morning, I’ve gotten two messages from Twitter telling me that Channel 8 entities on Twitter are now following me: one just called “News_8,” the the other called “stormwatch8_wx.”  It’s an interesting development that I wonder if other media outlets locally will get in on.  I also wonder how this new Twitter empire they’re building is going to reflect on their newscasts and how they approach stories.

It’s always interesting watching the old dogs learning new tricks.  We’ll see to what extent this becomes a positive rather than one more confused concept like over there at the hapless D&C.

Oh, yeah: for you Twittering types, my Twitter channel is called – not a little bit predictably – dragonflyeye.