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July 2007

BarbieGirls.com exemplifies how the Internet is changing

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Now I know why my daughter has been bugging me to join BarbieGirls.com:

It would be easy to dismiss an offering like Barbie Girls (feminists are probably going to roll their eyes at the whole concept) and yet 3 million registered users in 60 days does say one very, very clear thing: virtual worlds are going mainstream and the user base is dramatically shifting from being predominantly male to majority female. That shift isn?t quite as important now as it will be in the next 5-10 years as those playing Barbie Girls grow into adults; simply the next generation of online gaming and virtual world users will not be dominated by men. Source: Could Barbie Girls Become The Largest Virtual World?

She already uses a couple social networking sites for kids and while I don’t like the fact that she’s on the computer more than being outside playing, I can’t say that I’m a great role model for that either.

Regardless, Barbie Girls, Club Penguin, Web kinz,  and other kids’ social media sites show how the Internet, built to maintain communications nuclear war, has become a focal point for kids to connect and interact.  Not to mention the Internet is getting both younger and older at the edges.  These kids’ networks are active, immersive, colorful and rich.  Lots of rich media (games and videos specifically) in there.  Kids play games to get points or “dollars” to “buy” things within the network.  How much longer before will it be that a “game” is designed to solve a real-world problem?  How much longer for before that game earns you real dollars?

Not much longer if these kids have their way.  I bet the successors to Club Penguin are coming, and I bet we adults will want to join as much as our kids.  of course we’ll have to accept the fact that they will probably kick our butts in the games.  Such is life.

Facebook and Microsoft in merger talks–grist on the rumor mill

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I got this little tidbit in my morning IM updates:

Rumor is that Microsoft is looking to close a deal to buy Facebook for the amazing sum of six billion dollars. Henry Blodget says that while he can?t confirm it, he has definitely heard that Steve Ballmer is desperately trying to make a big splash play to counter Google in the internet game. Considering that all we?ve been hearing of Ballmer recently is that his focus aas the new leader of Microsoft is in services, it would make sense to grab the most buzzworthy free agent on the web.

What could happen with Facebook? Unlike buying Yahoo, Facebook actually fits into Microsoft?s portfolio, since they don?t have a social network. What Microsoft does have is Windows Live Spaces, the most popular blogging service on the planet, and the two should complement each other. In fact, if an acquisition happens, the Facebook team should be combined with the Live Spaces team, and the two services should become one. Source: ? Microsoft To Buy Facebook For $6 Billion? ?  InsideMicrosoft – part of the Blog News Channel

So the operative question is whether Facebook is worth it. Facebook’s advertising strength on the ropes, so that can’t be a huge draw.  Would there be a mass rebellion of FB users if Microsoft bought them?  Would FB’s open development platform be closed?

In thinking about this merger rumor writing this post, I wonder if this might bring a whole new raft of features to Sharepoint.  I can imagine being able to get more information into and out of Facebook, maybe something that might make it better for collaboration.

Of course this might only fuel fears that Facebook is trading our information away.

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Yahoo and Google launching social networking sites–too little too late?

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The social network scene got a little hotter and a little more crowded today.  TechCrunch broke the story on Yahoo’s Mosh today:

Here?s a juicy tip – we?ve been hearing about a new Yahoo social network initiative called Mosh, which is at mosh.yahoo.com but can only be accessed from inside the Yahoo offices. If you happen to be using the guest wifi at Yahoo, you should be able to access the site, although this may be shut down soon.

It?s likely this would replace Yahoo?s 360 social network service, which has never really gotten traction. The existence of Yahoo Mosh also most likely puts a bullet in any further speculation that they are in acquisition talks with Bebo, a somewhat unsubstantiated rumor from May. Last year Yahoo made a serious effort at acquiring Facebook but the deal was never closed.

Followed soon afterward with Yahoo Mash screenshots:

 

As I was reading my feeds and doing my obligatory check of Techmeme, I saw that John Battelle connected the dots by pointing to the announcement of Google’s Socialstream.

Nifty, two more big players trying to get into social networking after their own SocNet properties flopped.  The question will be is this too little too late.  Yahoo missed the chance to get Facebook, so it’s working on something to replace Yahoo!360 (remember when we were all begging for invites to that?).

Google is, wisely, taking a different approach.  They want to be the SocNet  connector, something sorely needed, IMHO.  Will it work?  Can there be The One Ring to Rule Them All (remember whose ring that was, BTW, the Dark Lord himself)?

I think Yahoo is going to have very hard time gaining traction, Google, on the other hand, just has to build excellent applications of the various SocNet APIs out there.  Which do you think you’ll use?

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Huffington Post Goes Mainstream?

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Today the Washington Post runs a mostly complimentary piece by Howard Kurtz recognizing HuffPost’s many achievements. Kurtz does point out several times that Huffington Post is a left leaning site which is true and Arianna is proud of it.

The most notable change is that HuffPost has morphed from a left-leaning site with a modest conservative presence to a pugnaciously liberal operation in which the banner headlines and majority of bloggers holler about the latest outrage perpetrated by the Bush administration.

“We are opposed to the war in Iraq,” Huffington says from her Los Angeles home. “We think the troops should come home. The headlines are going to reflect what is in the best interests of the country.”

Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer reiterates:

As Lerer puts it: “Attitude is a huge positive, not a negative. People don’t have to love you. Maybe people come to you because they don’t love you.”

Huffington and Lerer are absolutely correct but I don’t believe the MSM really understands it. Kurtz correctly points out they cover stories much faster than any network news channel can, and often times faster than cable but seems to suggest they are successful despite their blatant ideology:

Beyond ideology, though, the Huffington site has succeeded through its relentless updating, serving up links to all manner of news and entertainment

Huff Post is successful because they are forthright about their political leanings.

The MSM still tries to claim objectivity but hard core consumers of news just don’t believe that anymore. You may disagree with every word of a post at Huff Post (as I usually do) but you know where they stand and often times read things you will never see in the main stream press.

This isn’t a left / right issue and Arianna rightly recognizes another new media pioneer The Drudge Report (it’s not a blog but thats a whole other argument) for contributing to her success.

“We could not have existed without Drudge,” Huffington says. “Drudge habituated people to going online for their news.”

Blogs are changing the way political news is covered and The Huffington Post can rightly take credit for being a big part of that change.

BlogWorld Expo to Report Live from WordCamp 2007

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We just confirmed this morning that I will be attending WordCamp 2007 and reporting live from the two-day conference for BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

I haven’t been to WordCamp before, but lots of people told me that I should be there (maybe they are tired of me asking simple PHP and WP questions). WordCamp is in San Francisco July 21-22, I’ll be flying in on the 20th and staying until Monday morning (the only way to get a good price on a plane ticket). I love visiting San Fran and I’m sure I’ll get a chance to catch up with all my friends there.

This blog, btw, proudly uses WordPress. In fact I was just under the hood this week doing a little maintenance, pimping it up, and (if you hadn’t noticed) updated the template. Not bad eh?

Drop me a line at tris AT onebyonemedia.com if you want to connect at WordCamp.

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Israeli Blogging Conference

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Here is a quick round up of posts on the Israeli Blogging Conference going on right now in Herzliya Israel . It is titled Blogference.

Allison Kaplan Sommer lived blogged it.

Lizrael Update lists the top ten ways a blogging conference is different in Israel than in the US.

The News & Telegraph is finding time to blog from the conference.

Israelity is impressed with the slate of speakers. So am I.

Yeal K was one of them and enjoyed the conference.

Mere Rhetoric has a sampling of Israeli blogs.

Speaking of blogging conferences, have you signed up for BlogWorld yet?

[tags] blogging+conference, blogging+event, blogworld, blog+world [/tags]

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