Posts Tagged ‘real-time web’

6 Pillars of the Right Time Web

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

In our haste to reach the Real-Time Web we forgot that it isn’t about how fast we receive information, it’s about receiving the right information at the right time. The next wave of the web will be centered around this premise.

Continue reading…

ReStream Update: Better Tagging, Recommendations, and Performance

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Over the past week I’ve made several updates to ReStream.me.

One of these updates caused some tagging issues. You may notice some links have several unrelated tags. Please ignore this for now. It will be flushed from the system over the next 24 hours.

Changes:

  • More links now have tags associated with them.
  • The home page was simplified to help new visitors to better understand the value of ReStream
  • You can mark links as read on your recommended reading page. This is only used to give you access to more recommended content as we only display the top 15 links. Soon you will be able to mark a link as like/unlike to further improve ReStream recommendations.
  • User pages – displayed when you click on a persons image – now show the top tags related to this person. We’ll be using this information in a future update to recommend people you should follow.
  • Performance Updates: I’ve made better use of caching while still giving you a real-time look at the data. Several database queries have also been reconfigured to speed up

Mining Twitter for Gold

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Finding the 27% of Tweets that Have Value

A recent study by ReadWriteWeb has shown that only 27% of tweets contain information with some value. Many people will point to this and use it to dismiss Twitter as worthwhile platform. However, this number comes from Twitter’s flexibility. Some people use it to keep in touch with friends, others use it break news. Some use Twitter for advertising and others use it for sharing information they find on blogs.

It’s this last group that’s the most interesting. It’s the human web. It’s people finding information and sharing it that adds value where search engines can not.

The problem is finding the tweets that make up this 27% of the stream that holds information of value. Further, 27% doesn’t sound like much until you realize it’s 70+ million tweets per week. The best information on Twitter amounts to a needle in haystack.

This points to the growing need for filters and recommendation engines for the real-time web. Last week I posted on micro filters and I believe this post by ReadWriteWeb further emphasizes this need.

To leverage the value that Twitter and the whole real-time web hold, we need better tools. We need more filters that go beyond the basics; Twitter lists, follower lists, and individual favorites. For example, value can be attributed to the number of people sharing the same content or  the credibility and clout of those sharing it.

If the web is going to evolve beyond search, micro filters will play a huge part in it but filters alone are not the answer.

Recommendation systems are the other piece of the puzzle. They’re needed to understand user behaviors; what people like and don’t like, what they favorite, what they read, and what they share. Recommendation systems leverage this data and combine it with filters to find the best information that people want to read. This helps us to take a full advantage of the real-time web without becoming overwhelmed.

To solve the problem of finding the 27% of Tweets that have some value, filters will be used to narrow the stream of information. Then recommendation systems, which have some insight into our past behavior, will be able to narrow the focus even further by taking the information output by these filters and funnel it to us based on our interests. This means that we’ll all be giving up some privacy on the web but it’s a trade off we’ll need to make to keep up with the barrage of information.

Why Micro Filters are the Future of the Web

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

In 2010, we need to find a better way to filter the web. It’s growing exponentially every day to the point that only the largest server farms can keep up.

Twitter’s API can’t keep up with it’s own traffic. Soon this will change when the firehouse is opened up to everyone but it will just push the problem further downstream. Developers are eager to have access to the firehouse of data but they won’t be able to process it all, nor should they try. And this is only for one piece of the real-time web puzzle. Factor in Facebook, Google Wave, Linked-In’s upcoming API, many more, and it becomes next to impossible for one company to filter and analyze everything.

To resolve this problem, we need micro filters.

What is a Micro Filter?

A micro filter is a filter that has a unique purpose and is reusable and available to anyone.

One example of a micro filter is a Twitter list. These lists are filters that web applications can use to narrow the firehouse and make information gathering manageable. But there’s one problem. Twitter lists don’t filter the information in a meaningful way. You can’t grab every Twitter list on marketing and gather all the marketing tweets. A marketing twitter list can be as diverse as Twitter itself and can overlap with many other lists outside of marketing.

This is why we need multiple micro filters to get the information we want. A series of filters – when put together – would narrow the focus of information to the data you need for your web application or research project. Running your marketing twitter lists through a marketing filter would narrow the focus and give you the marketing information you need.

Creating Micro Filters

Creating micro filters is very complex. I used Twitter lists as an example but this is one of the easier filters to build. The complexity increases when you try to create the “marketing” filter in the example above. How do you know what information in a Tweet is related to marketing?

There are several ways to do this:

  1. Hash Tags: Hash tags are great identifiers but they’re not popular enough to filter on. Too much information would be lost.
  2. Open API’s: Take the links from each Tweet, convert the URL to it’s long format, reference it in Delicious, and look for marketing tags. This works but it has a couple of downsides. First, it requires a lot of processing time. Second, the link may not be tagged in Delicious yet.

There isn’t a perfect solution but it’s clear that a combination of tactics are needed to build this “marketing” filter – tactics that go well beyond individuals categorizing other individuals in a social networking platform such as Twitter lists.

Further, several micro filters could be  put together to keep narrowing the focus. You could add a third filter to the example above that shows all marketing information shared within 5 miles of you. This location filter would be the third micro filter and it could be used an many different situations.

In 2010, I expect to see more filters become available to help people focus on the topics that interest them most. Looking at Twitter, it’s clear that filtering is going to become the next big development as people gather more followers, share more information, and expand their presence across more social media platforms.

Currently, Twitter is an unreliable platform for contacting people as the API can’t handle the streams of information going to its most popular residents. Further, at close to 300 million Tweets per week, there’s a lot of great information getting lost in the noise and this isn’t just an issue on Twitter. It’s happening everywhere which is why micro filters are the future of the web.

How the Real-Time Web Will Impact Internet Marketing

Monday, October 12th, 2009

The real-time web has become the buzz word of the day.

Sites like Twitter and Facebook have made it easier and faster to consume media, causing a shift in our expectations. We want any and all information as soon as possible and we find it difficult to extract ourselves from these rivers of information.

Articles written month or even weeks ago are considered old news and this isn’t good if you’re still managing your web site like it’s 2004.

The real-time web is here and growing. Don’t let your site be left behind.

You Need to Boost Quantity from Quality

With the rise of the real-time web, people are less likely to go to your corporate web site. This isn’t news, it’s been happening since the beginning of the decade when RSS reduced the need to visit your favorite web sites each day looking for new content.

The real-time web leverages this even further.

If you’ve used Twitter or Facebook you know exactly what I mean. You’re receiving updates and recommendation from hundreds of people on what to watch, read, and listen to. The human network has taken over and it’s funneling everything to you without searching on Google.

This opens up a huge opportunity for Internet marketers but it requires more work and extra planning.

Content has always been a web sites greatest asset. But now you need to think about how you can break it up into smaller pieces that can be shared and reused through other channels.

For example, that new product page you just created should also be condensed down into an interesting 140 character Tweet, a Facebook update, and maybe a 30 second demo showing off the best new feature. You want as much content from your web site pushed out into your “cloud site” – your companies content that is floating in different areas of the Internet. It’s photos on Flickr, articles on Digg, and bookmarks in delicious.

This strategy helps you to effectively use the real-time web to to scatter breadcrumbs across the Internet leading people back to your web site but how will you know if it’s working?

Real-Time Web Analytics

To deal with the changes that the real-time web brings, companies are developing real-time analytics programs. Gone are the days when we waited for log files to run to process the previous days statistics.

The real-time web ensures that we respond to visitors faster than ever before. Waiting days or weeks to see how a campaign performed is no longer necessary. With real-time web analytics we can respond to visitors instantly. Dashboards keep us up-to-date on how each campaign is performing and the smallest changes can be seen, corrected, and tested within minutes.

Integrated into real-time analytics will be information coming from outside of your web site. Since most real-time web applications use shorter messages – and character limits – URL shorteners have become very popular. This is fantastic for Internet marketers as these service give statistics on how your links are being shared.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of downsides to this which will be fixed over time. Right now there are too many URL shortening services. This fragments your statistics across different services making it difficult to see the big picture. The second is that these statistics aren’t available within your current web analytics program. You’re going to have to do some searching to get the information you need.

Overtime, the real-time web is going to dramatically shift how we think about corporate web sites and how we build corporate content. We’re already seeing this now. It’s up to you to experiment and learn how to leverage real-time technology before web site and your company are left behind.

Please feel free to share your comments. We’d love to hear them!