Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #7

21 12 2009

So far the top ten has acknowledged the importance of blogging, digging and social networking.  Now it is the turn of photo-sharing.

Number 7: Flickr 

It was launched in 2004 and within three years claimed to hold in excess of two billion images.  At the start it was a way of collecting and sharing images ‘found’ on the web but very quickly users began to upload their own photographs.  

One of the most important features that Flickr introduced was the ability to tag images making them easier to find and organise.  Flickr also introduced the concept of ‘Interestingness’ a vital aspect of the site in both ranking images but making it more appealing for browsers.  Bloggers were quick to see the benefits of integrating with Flickr.  It allows low resolution images to be posted on a blog, facilitating faster loading but with the opportunity to click through to a high-resolution image hosted on Flickr.

Despite the size of Flickr there is a web 2.0 site that host even more images, but more of that as we progress through the top ten.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #8

18 12 2009

A major social network makes the list for the first time in this festive countdown of the most influential places on the web to make their debut in the last decade.  Joining WordPress and Digg on the top ten is the trail blazer MySpace

Number 8 – MySpace As well as being the standard bearer for social networking and the unassailable leader in the sector in the middle years of the decade, MySpace has also been something of a problem child.  Launched in 2003, in less than three years MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the US, a position it held for just two short years before becoming eclipsed by Facebook.  Famously it was bought in July 2005 for US$580 million by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Despite controversies around the site’s launch (many argue that identifying Tom Anderson  as its founder is inaccurate) and a commonly held  view that it is poorly designed, MySpace has had a huge impact on the web.   Social networking in general became mainstream via MySpace and the fact that it allowed users the ability to embed YouTube clips gave huge impetus to the video sharing site in its early days.  Claims that it is all over for MySpace seem a little rash when it remains the world’s 12th biggest web site and the 5th most popular in the US.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #9

17 12 2009

The countdown continues.  This is the ‘PR and the Social Web’ selection of the top ten wonders of the internet, brought to us during the first decade of the new millennium.

Number 10 was a blogging platform and at number 9 it’s all about digging and burying.

Number 9 – Digg: Founded in 2004 by web whizz Kevin Rose, Digg is one of a handful of sites like Delicious and Stumbleupon that hands the business of filtering, ordering and ultimately ranking of the internet to its users.  What could be more web 2.0 than that? allows users to discover and share content from anywhere on the web.  People submit links, news stories and other content.  The digg community votes on these links and stories.  The ability to vote is central to what Digg is about: if you like something you digg it (geddit?) and if you don’t you ‘bury’ it by voting it down.  Only the most Dugg stories appear on the front page but when they do it ensures a huge spike in traffic for the original host site.

The site  is also the focus of the hugely popular weekly podcast Diggnation hosted by founder Kevin Rose.  The podcast covers many of the most discussed popular stories on Digg that week.  It make be just outside the top 100 in the most visited sites on the web but it makes this top ten web wonders of the decade.

Top 10 Web Wonders of the Decade #10

16 12 2009

As we draw to the end of the zeroes (sounds so much better than naughties surely?), this blog is counting down the ‘PR and the Social Web’ top ten wonders of the internet, brought to us over the last ten years.  No place here for the likes of Amazon or Google which appeared in the nineties. So in reverse order….

Number 10: WordPress

‘Blogger’ would have been in the running if it had launched six months later but the original blogging platform was a product of the nineties, just.  It is highly arguable that ‘WordPress’ is also the better bet.  The templates look better and it feels more accessible and straightforward to use, though admittedly less popular (it sits at number 20 on with Blogger currently at number 6).  Blogging platforms have been instrumental from redistributing publishing power from the few to the many.  User generated content and web 2.0  apre products of the blogging revolution. The social web has WordPress at its heart.

It isn’t just the ‘have a go’ bloggers that use WordPress (this site is built with using a standard themed template), many major organisations use a wordpress platform because it is both robust and easy to work with. CNN, Techcrunch, The New York Times and Le Monde all use the WordPress platform as does Playstation and Ben & Jerry’s.  

WordPress was launched in 2003 with less than twenty users it is now used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.  WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are people all over the world work on it and everything  from the support documentation to the code itself, was created by and for the community.  It also means it is free to use.  As it says on the site Code is Poetry.

Top Ten Blog Posts of the Year

15 12 2009

As ‘PR and the Social Web’ drifts past the one year mark I thought I’d take a peek at which were the posts with most. 

One of the beauties of the social web is its extraordinary measurability.  WordPress provides a really powerful built-in analytics programme that make extracting the most popular posts  of the past twelve months on this small corner of the web a simple exercise.

When you look at the list there are some interesting themes that emerge.   People like to read about people and that has been a big feature of the most popular entries.  The other thing that seems to have been pretty popular in 2009 is wait for it….twitter. 

So time to click on the top posts link on the WordPress dashboard…

1 Labour Draper is at it Again   The number one post this year with some clear blue water was my tilt at the Labour party social spin meister Derek Draper.  I accused him of lacking the aptitude or inside for social media engagement.  It turned into an on-line spat that drew attention from elsewhere on the web and brought labour supporters and opponents in equal number.    
2. Apple Approves Spotify for iPhone?  The question mark is important here and it demonstrates the importance of scoop.  I had noticed rumours on twitter that Apple was about to approve the Spotify app.  I took a punt and luckily I was right as the official announcement appeared hours later.    
3 McBride & Draper: New Media, Old School  My follow-up piece after Draper and Damien McBride were busted in the smeargate scandal. Proving the point about the popularity posts of people. Helped along if there is a dose of scandal.    
4. Hacked Off with Twitter Spam  The first of a multitude of twitter entries. This one is about the cause and a cure for the twitter hacking scam that continues to plague the network.    
5. Twitter Tips for Jonathan Ross (and others)  A few simple twitter tips spiced up with a reference to one of its highest profile users.    
6. Twitter Profile Picture Gets the Bird   The day that twitter screwed up the avatars of thousands of users.    
7. Celebrity Twitters – Real or Fake?  A subject that continues to draw interest even after twitter introduced ‘verified’ celebrity accounts.    
8. Derren Brown’s Lottery Slips  Mainstream media still drives on-line in a big way (and the time is fast approaching when we cease to distinguish between on and off).  This was Derren Brown’s high-profile return to primetime and we revealed how he gave the game away on his lottery “prediction”.    
9. The Twit that made Stephen Fry Quit  Stephen Fry quit twitter for a bit.    
10. WOM on SocNets, is it the Future?   The title was deliberately abstruse.  I became embroiled in an online debate about the future of PR.  It was also the first time (and I think the last) that I encountered the phrase WOM on socnets. 

Now We Are One

14 12 2009

Is it more or less embarrassing to miss a birthday when it is you own?  ‘PR and the Social Web’ is one year old, or one and a bit actually as the first post appeared on the 29th November 2008.

The blog was set up to accompany my book ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ which was published in April.  The initial plan was to run the blog for the six months up to launch and then three months after.  I then decided to extend it to a full year, but now that the first anniversary has come (and gone) it feels that the blog has a life of its own.  There may be a name change and a redesign for the blog, somewhere along the line but the subject matter will stay the same. 

The book has sold well and is on its second print run so it seems valuable to keep the link to the dead wood and ink version.  Another key reason for the blog was to provide a regular update for some of the themes in the book and that is exactly what it will continue to do .  The social web after all is a fairly fast-moving thing.

Snow Brings The Blog Traffic

11 12 2009

Adding snow to this blog has made Christmas come early.

The seasonal feature has increased traffic to the blog by more than 5% for the same period for the previous week.  The ‘snow’ feature is a WordPress plugin that allows you to make things a little more seasonal with a single click.

OK, it’s an entirely spurious claim and the blog traffic to this site fluctuates up and down by more than 5% most weeks.  However there is a slightly more serious point.  What really does drive blog traffic is dynamic content or put simply stuff that changes.  Usually that means new posts or new images but who is to say that adding a little frosting won’t make the site a little more appealing at this time of year.   Blogging about snow at this time of year also attracts the attention of the hordes of people Googling to see if we are going to have a white Christmas.  No harm in adding a little white hat SEO to the snow.

Strategic Social Media. Manchester

2 12 2009

I am currently at the Strategic Social Media Conference in Manchester. I gave the opening presentation and have been tweeting for most of the day using the hashtag #stratsm but I’ve been missing a trick.  I have an iPod touch with me and I could have been live blogging using the WordPress app on the touch.

Well I am now.  Robin Wilson of my alma mater McCann Manchester is now on stage talking about evaluation. I know Robin a bit but I’ve never seen him speak before.  He’s good and generous with his knowledge.

Evaluation is a major topic in social media marketing.  There are a myriad of free tools like HowSociable, Icerocket and Board Tracker; all using key word searches.  The really powerful tools however are paid for – Radian 6 and Andiamo are just two of the many Robin mentioned.

It’s been a good conference. Martin Thomas co-author of Crowdsurfing was a highlight for me but the live feedback for all of the sessions has been good;  Alex Aitken, Mark Hanson, Sarah Hartley, Ann Longley, Simon Collister, Sarah Lundy, Craig Elder and of course Robin have all provided great insight. 

Don’t Panic Events ran the UK’s first ever social media coverage in 2005 so no surprise that they know how to get it right.  By the way Robin is still speaking but my battery is running low.

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