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Facebook Growth By Age Group: Share of College-Age Users is Declining

By Ben Lorica
September 17, 2008

With the U.S. now accounting for only about a third of all Facebook users, we are starting to see a gradual shift away from its original demographic of college-age users (18-25): 46% of all users are 18-25 years old, down from 51% in late May. The number of users in the 18-25 segment is growing, but at a slower pace...

Portable Contacts API Starts to Get Real

By David Recordon
September 11, 2008

This evening Joseph and John of Plaxo and I have been hosting a hackathon at Six Apart for the Portable Contacts API (video about PorC). The Portable Contacts API is designed "to make it easier for developers to give their users a secure way to access the address books and friends lists they have built up all over the...

Radar Theme: Collective Intelligence

By Nat Torkington
August 14, 2008

[This is part of a series of posts that briefly describe the trends that we're currently tracking here at O'Reilly] "None of us is as dumb as all of us," but the opposite of this profound truth is also true. Systems that channel individual behaviours to create new and valuable data are showing up everywhere. We point to Amazon Recommendations...

Breaking Down What's Happening on the Social Web

By David Recordon
July 18, 2008

The past few weeks, John McCrea, Joseph Smarr, and I have been shooting a 15 minute video podcast called TheSocialWeb.tv. Each week we try to break down what's happened in the Social Web in a way that is understandable so you don't have to be living and breathing this stuff. This week we discuss Meebo's announcement of Community Instant Messaging...

Google's Social Graph API Learns a New Trick

By David Recordon
July 11, 2008

This past February at Social Graph Foo Camp, Google released the first version of their Social Graph API. (see past Radar coverage) This API was focused on making it easier for developers to understand who a user is and find their other accounts around the web via publicly declared data. Today I'm driving up to Foo Camp along with Brad...

Is SocialMedia Overstepping Facebook's Privacy Line?

By David Recordon
July 11, 2008

SocialMedia is an advertising network which places ads within social applications such as those on Facebook and MySpace. SocialMedia claims to be more effective in this type of advertising, due to a patent-pending technology they've developed named FriendRank. SocialMedia CEO Seth Goldstein claims that SocialMedia ads can pay up to 2.5 times more than traditional ads within social networks and...

On Wikipedia, storms, teacups, and _why's notability

By Nat Torkington
June 16, 2008

In which our hero ponders the Internet's underwear, the oxymoronic nature of social software, and that not only should you not hate the playa but you shouldn't even hate the game. It must be a weekend, the interwebs have their panties in a bunch again. This time it's about the Wikipedia entry for _why the lucky stiff, one of the...

Thinking in Wikis

By Nat Torkington
June 16, 2008

I clearly remember thinking, when I ordered my copy of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual, "this has got to be a new low for O'Reilly. How can it be anything but a waste of a ream of paper?" I mean, "Wikipedia: it's an online encyclopedia that anyone can improve". There, what else is there to say? Throw in the URL and...

Ignite Boston shows the way to beat commerce interruptus

By Andy Oram
June 2, 2008

I felt like was I drifting back to the dot-com boom last night during Ignite Boston. Movements that I saw getting stalled seven years ago seem to be finding their way forward again. I think such projects, nationwide, will pull us out of the slump that left so many dreams in the bit bucket after 2001.

Ignite Boston shows the way to beat commerce interruptus

By Andy Oram
May 30, 2008

I felt like was I drifting back to the dot-com boom last night during Ignite Boston. Movements that I saw getting stalled seven years ago seem to be finding their way forward again. I think such projects, nationwide, will pull us out of the slump that left so many dreams in the bit bucket after 2001.

Google Friend Connect and limits to sharing

By Andy Oram
May 14, 2008

We're all tired of acquaintances tugging on us to sign up for new social networks. But we wouldn't want to have just one big social network, either. Google's Friend Connect, which was announced on Monday and covered by Radar as well as other sites, represents a small step toward a middle ground. Complete information sharing would mean mingling your data and social networking functions fully with any site that supports a Friend Connect widget. Instead, Friend Connect negotiates the traditional tension between sociability and privacy.

MySpace's Data Availability is not Data Portability

By David Recordon
May 9, 2008

Arguably vaporware, yesterday MySpace, Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket (also owned by News Corp), and Twitter announced the Data Availability Initiative. While I could write at length about how this shows the big companies have already realized how to diminish the DataPortability group's brand by linking anything they do "data portability", that isn't the point of this post. The crux of the...

Worldwide Social Network Market Share

By Tim O'Reilly
April 9, 2008

Via Azeem Azaar's twitter feed, a great visualization of worldwide social network market share, from Le Monde:...

App Engine, Facebook Platform, OpenSocial, and the Future of the Web

By David Recordon
April 9, 2008

During the presentation I tweeted, "Thinking App Engine with Google Accounts integration is a threat to both Facebook Platform and OpenSocial. Metaphor shift." I thought a decent amount, well at least a few seconds, before I SMS'd that since I knew it would be lacking quite a bit of context. I completely agree with Kevin Marks that App Engine looks like a great platform to host Facebook and OpenSocial apps, but that wasn't actually my point.

Open Source "Social App Server" Might Crack Garden Walls?

By Jim Stogdill
March 26, 2008

New social application server space may crack social network garden walls.

To be free, information has to be smart (comments on Chris Anderson's "Free!")

By Andy Oram
March 24, 2008

WIRED Magazine's editor in chief Chris Anderson, following up on the popularity of his Long Tail meme, theorizes in the March 2008 issue of WIRED about the modern tendency to put information online at no cost. I think this is highly volatile and that the phenomenon will be driven in very different ways from his six models. "Free as in freedom" may ultimately triumph. Furthermore, professional quality doesn't come for free, so projects and industries have to find ways to fund it.

The "New Privacy"

By Allison Randal
March 21, 2008

There was a great session on Online Privacy on NPR's Science Friday today, including a guest spot by Emily Vander Veer, the author of O'Reilly's Facebook: The Missing Manual. You can subscribe to the podcast or download today's episode directly....

Shelly Farnham on What Makes Facebook Apps Work

By Tim O'Reilly
March 14, 2008

As many of you know, last fall, we released a report entitled The Facebook Application Platform, with analysis that demonstrated that far from being a "long tail" marketplace, Facebook has very much of a "short head" when it comes...

Exploring the Facebook Application Ecosystem: A New O'Reilly Radar Report

By Jimmy Guterman
March 4, 2008

After we published our Facebook Application Platform report, we heard from a lot of people. One of them was Shelly Farnham. And like Victor Kiam, the entrepreneur who liked that razor so much he bought the company, we liked Farnham's...

Graphing Social Patterns West: Monday Highlights & AppNite Demo Contest

By Dave McClure
March 1, 2008

Schedule highlights from Graphing Social Patterns West beginning Monday, March 3 in San Diego. Developers can enter their apps in the AppNite Live Demo Contest.

New Release 2.0 on Next-Generation CRM ... and a New Installment of Our Facebook Application Platform Report

By Jimmy Guterman
February 29, 2008

In this month's Release 2.0, we consider the next generation of customer relationship management (CRM) and the search for an all-in-one-place inbox and address book. We need some sort of universal inbox and address book because it's not just email...

Community Pricing for Books

By Tim O'Reilly
February 11, 2008

The more I look at the TOC Conference program, the more I see creative sessions on social media. Right now, I'm in a session from Logos Bible Software talking about their creative pre-publication publishing model. Logos puts out electronic...

Publishing as a social medium

By Tim O'Reilly
February 11, 2008

I'm at our Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York this morning, listening to Doug Rushkoff saying "The internet is not interactive media. It's interpersonal media," and explaining why the 50s went from a pack of gum...

Educating computer users: the need for community/author collaboration (Part 2 of 2)

By Andy Oram
February 7, 2008

Every real-world and online community faces the same basic development issues. How do potential members view the community they're about to join, and how can the community welcome them by giving them the competencies they need? What opportunities do the leaders have for training other members, and what responsibilities do they have to act on these opportunities? Communities who identify competent leaders and put them to use training new members can thrive in both new member development and leadership development. Leaders need the proper tools and encouragement in order to help new members. Among the crucial tools are good documents. Communities can help members find and interpret documents. And then some documents will rise to the level where professionalism is rewarded.

Educating computer users: the need for community/author collaboration (Part 1 of 2)

By Andy Oram
February 7, 2008

The more effectively a project can educate its new users and turn them into masters, the more successful it will be. Many people turn to online content for information, but my research shows that it doesn't work as often as it should. Tomorrow: toward a solution.

Developing an improved online environment for educating computer users

By Andy Oram
February 3, 2008

Let's fantasize about a new online information system that combines the best features of a wiki, a FAQ, a mailing list, an interactive tutorial, and stand-alone documents in order to provide special features that enhance users' ability to find answers to their questions. Done well, this system would make it fun and rewarding to contribute information to user communities. People searching for answers would be more likely to find and understand them, reducing the need for the time-consuming hand-holding that takes place on forums. The result will also enhance a key goal of all projects: to recruit new users and make them comfortable using the system.

Two tools we need to improve online information

By Andy Oram
February 1, 2008

Two innovations that could spur dramatic improvements in online content created by a wide range of individuals. Quizzes provide demonstrable measurements of the value of professionalism. Thus, the field of documentation needs an application that accepts questions and a collection of possible answers in order to make embedded quizes. Second, a system for adding links and a protocol for crawling documents and producing simple graphs could reclaim for the web one of the key advantages of a book--its logical organization. Readers would no longer be lost in hyperspace.

Two tools we need to improve online information

By Andy Oram
February 1, 2008

Two innovations that could spur dramatic improvements in online content created by a wide range of individuals. Quizzes provide demonstrable measurements of the value of professionalism. Thus, the field of documentation needs an application that accepts questions and a collection of possible answers in order to make embedded quizes. Second, a system for adding links and a protocol for crawling documents and producing simple graphs could reclaim for the web one of the key advantages of a book--its logical organization. Readers would no longer be lost in hyperspace.

Survey: what benefits do online communities bring?

By Andy Oram
January 24, 2008

If you're part of an community that comes together mostly or entirely online, you can help The Civil Society Project research what happens on that community. They have a simple survey of about 10 questions that ask why you participate in that community, what good and bad things happen there, etc. Their essential question is whether people can bond and grow in these communities just as they do in face-to-face communities.

The Rest of the Rest of Us

By Dale Dougherty
January 16, 2008

Macworld is about the excitement of the arrival of new "cargo," to use Jared Diamond's term from Guns, Germs, and Steel. As Diamond wrote, people with more resources see the world differently. It shapes our world view. The things we...

Is Being Open Now a Priority for Facebook?

By David Recordon
January 9, 2008

If you've been reading TechMeme, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable!, or many other blogs today, you'll know that Google, Plaxo, and Facebook have now joined DataPortability.org. While it certainly isn't surprising to see Plaxo and Google join, some are making it seem...

Mainstream acceptance of Twitter for disaster communication...

By Jesse Robbins
January 6, 2008

I'm stuck at San Francisco Airport due to delays from the big storm yesterday. A few minutes ago a plane was struck by lightning at the gate which caused quite a bit of excitement. Planes are designed to take a...

You can opt out any time you like but you can never leave

By Jimmy Guterman
January 5, 2008

Here's a brief follow-up to this week's thread on Facebook, Plaxo, and Scoble. This morning I found several dozen Plaxo notices in my inbox. Enough is enough, I thought, so I followed the instructions to opt out of all future...

Does Facebook own this blog post?

By Jimmy Guterman
January 3, 2008

Facebook, apparently, owns my birthday. Yours too. At least that's one way to interpret why blogger Robert Scoble got kicked off Facebook. While testing an upcoming version of Plaxo Pulse, Scoble scraped information on his contacts (name, address, and birthday,...

Battling Social Network Fatigue ... By Going Open

By David Recordon
December 18, 2007

Back in February, plenty of us started to think about and discuss social network fatigue: the idea that people are getting tired of joining new services and having to reconnect with everyone they already know. Some have argued that this...

Evaporative cooling of group beliefs

By Nat Torkington
December 13, 2007

Over on Overcoming Bias there was a great post called "Evaporative cooling of group beliefs" where the author talks about how ejecting outliers moves the group's average position towards the other extreme. At the end he draws an interesting conclusion:...

New survey: what problems do you have when searching for information?

By Andy Oram
December 3, 2007

This survey is designed to cull a variety of information about searches, and thus uncover techniques to help communities, authors, and publishers find more effective ways to offer information.

New Edition of Facebook Application Platform Report

By Jimmy Guterman
November 27, 2007

In October, in response to the great interest in Facebook opening up its platform to developers, we released The Facebook Application Platform, a report by Tim O'Reilly, Niall Kennedy, Dave McClure, and the Radar team that offered plenty of data...

OpenSocial on Facebook (Sort-of)

By Jimmy Guterman
November 16, 2007

A friend of Radar alerts us to a new Facebook application that appears to make Facebook an OpenSocial container. One of the developers is from Google. It's unclear what's happening here -- Could this be the beginning of a guerilla...

In search of micro-elites: how to get user-generated content

By Andy Oram
November 15, 2007

The excitement of modern collaborative environments (call it Web 2.0 or what you will) lies in the hope of bringing the masses on board to create something collectively. Hundreds of thousands, it is thought, can be not only consumers but producers. But more often than you'd think, what you need is not hundreds of thousands, but just five or ten people who know best.

Shelfari and the New Social Contract

By Andrew Savikas
November 13, 2007

The high value we've come to place in reputation on the Web is underscored in several ways by the recent dustup  over Shelfari. In short, Shelfari is being called out (primarily, but definitely not exclusively, by Tim Spalding, of competitor...

OpenSocial: It's the data, stupid

By Tim O'Reilly
November 7, 2007

While I'm a huge fan of the idea of an open social networking platform, I'm bemused by all the enthusiasm over Google OpenSocial. As I sit with what I learn, the mild skepticism I expressed the other day has...

Mark Cuban, Facebook, and OpenSocial

By Tim O'Reilly
November 5, 2007

Mark Cuban is, as usual, insightful when he describes the potential of Facebook profiles to be used as the basis for smarter social applications outside of Facebook. His call for a truly open Facebook API is a must-read for anyone...

Google Announces the OpenSocial API

By Brady Forrest
October 31, 2007

Google has announced OpenSocial, a new open API for social networks. The new standard will allow developers to create Facebook-like apps on any social network site that implements it with the same calls. The open API will have three...

Twitter is low-expectation IRC

By Nat Torkington
October 24, 2007

I've been spending more time on Twitter than I have reading blogs. It reminded me of the time in my mis-spent youth when I got lost in IRC, spending evenings heckling the TV with my IRC friends. This is the...

Web2Summit: Mark Zuckerberg keeps it close to the vest

By Jimmy Guterman
October 18, 2007

The first guest at the fourth annual Web 2.0 Summit, after the opening remarks from Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle, was Facebook top dog Mark Zuckerberg, who announced that his company had just bought the state of California in an...

Lazyweb: I want an Upcoming Call Queue in my Phone

By Tim O'Reilly
October 11, 2007

Partly as a result of Jaiku smart address book, I've been thinking about more features I'd like to see in my phone, if it were an open platform rather than a walled garden. Here's one that occurred to me yesterday:...

Maxed out on social software

By Nat Torkington
October 9, 2007

My friend Roger Dennis pointed me to a post on the Institute For The Future blog where the author bemoaned running out of time to manage the social networks. I've also been thinking about this, as every four months or...

Mailing List Failure Modes

By Nat Torkington
September 22, 2007

We had an O'Reilly editors email alias, which grew from editors to almost everyone in the company. At that point we started a radar mailing list for just the "emerging technology" folks. That list has grown as we've added more...

Throng Unveils New TV Listing Design

By Nat Torkington
September 21, 2007

We're all familiar with the ghastly grid of TV listings, that impenetrable ocean of small rectangles we know and love from the TV Guide now duplicated in a zillion lookalike websites. I had the pleasure today of seeing a preview...


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