James Mayes

Posts Tagged ‘Application programming interface’

Blog: Social Media management – ifttt might help!

In Guest post, Social Media, Start-ups on May 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I originally wrote this as a guest post for Geoff Webb (aka RadicalRecruit). You can find it on his blog here, but as always, I’ve posted back to mine for the sake of my archives! Oh, and the beta invites I mention at the end? I have a couple more….

I’m a huge fan of start-up firms, particularly those that like to make our lives easier. Many of us now maintain multiple online presences which not only require updating but also monitoring and reaction.  Whilst I’m no advocate of an automated response, there are certainly times when a certain event should trigger a certain response. Indeed, there might be some actions you undertake on a regular basis which could be more efficient.

ifttt.comA recent entrant to the market, http://www.ifttt.com, may be just what many of us need. The name comes from the core principle of the service: If This (is) Then That. The service runs on the concept of triggers – not particularly unusual, but perhaps more wide-ranging than anything else I’ve seen recently.  For example, how many times have you been tagged in someone else’s photos on Facebook and wished you’d picked it up sooner? If you maintain a blog, is the distribution perfect – or could it be wider, or more efficient?

Ifttt seeks to answer these questions, but with a level of integration not usually seen. Most sites like this integrate with one and other through API calls, which is fine, to a point – but Ifttt will also integrate with your phone service.  The earlier example of a photo tagged on Facebook? Ifttt can send you a text.

Social media channelsThere are date & time triggers, stock prices, activity on Facebook Pages, changes in the weather, all the mainstream social sites, plus a number of the newer contenders. There are 28 channels to choose from at the moment – and no doubt they’ll be adding more. So far, I have 14 channels set up – which gives me a possible task combination of 672 options!

EDIT 14/Sept/11

Been keeping an eye on this one – seems to be gaining more interest, but seen a few people querying what they’d actually use it for.  Hat tip to Heather on this one, she’s just tweeted a couple of great use cases:

  • Send your Instagram mobile pictures straight to Flickr
  • Add any links you tweet to your bookmarks in Delicious
In addition, Ifttt have begun sharing the best “recipes” – look for inspiration here – mot used so far? Auto download any Facebook tagged photos to Dropbox!

Blog – Happy 5th birthday Twitter. What’s next?

In Social Media, Twitter on March 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

As you might have noticed, Twitter just turned five years old.  If you have children, this is often the point where they move away from kindergarten or pre-school and take some fairly serious steps. First proper school, potentially making the first friends that will stay with them for a lifetime. It’s also the time when children start to become more perceptive of others – embarrassment, a desire for recognition, the ability to communicate complex needs. As a tech start-up, Twitter’s obviously on a slightly faster curve – but I wonder how it’s going?

First up, let’s recognise an achievement: Twitter has changed the way millions of people communicate. Less than ten words – and a world of difference. Consider the way you use Twitter in business, the way you access your celebrity news, the way ordinary people can organise for mass events, the way we keep abreast of changing world news. Wow.

5th birthdayLet’s also consider relationships. One of the most fundamental aspects of development for young children is the ability to socialise. To understand their peers, to build a support network, to engage. Twitter recognised this from the outset and opened itself up via the API. This allowed external developers to build friends for Twitter to play with.  As of September 2010, Twitter acknowledged circa 300,000 third party applications. Ryan Sarver of Twitter recently put this figure at 750,000. That’s a big social circle – and one that’s growing fast!

Now comes a step change though.  In a recent post, Ryan also gave some indications of where Twitter expected these developers to focus in future.  For those considering the commercial requirements of a platform now valued in billions, much of this will have been no surprise.  Twitter would like third parties to focus on applications which leverage the platform and data, not simply provide an alternative interface.

Yet many developers feel betrayed by this.  After all, when Twitter was just a baby, they wrote all the wonderful interfaces which helped Twitter make so many friends (in the User space, 200 million) – now they’re told Twitter will be looking after that directly. How a user engages with Twitter is one of the key aspects Twitter needs to control in order to effectively monetise – but if you’re going to make friends for life, communicating such significant changes needs to be handled more carefully than simply a blog post in a Google Group.

What next? Well, Twitter wants to hit a billion users. Whilst there might be over a billion internet accounts worldwide, there are more than four billion mobile phones. Twitter have put some serious work into the richness of the on-line environment with both the web re-design and the clear assault on the smart-phone market – but never forget that Twitter can be used from an old-style mobile too. If Twitter wants to reach it’s goal, it might have lavish some love on these users too.

I’ve enjoyed writing this post – there’s more I want to look at in future, such as the @spam problem which seems to be escalating.  For now though, I’ll just say Happy Birthday Twitter – and leave you with the first ever Tweet, from co-founder and chairman, Jack Dorsey. As always, comments are unmoderated and appreciated!

First ever tweet

DataSift – the centre of all things?

In Social Media, Start-ups on December 15, 2010 at 10:08 am

Regular followers / readers of this blog will know I’m fascinated by new technology – and particularly start-ups.  Most of those I’m interested in at present come out of the Bay area, so it’s always a joy when there’s a Brit to shout about.

DataSift recently launched for Alpha tests and I was lucky enough to be invited. It comes from Nick Halstead‘s stable (founder of TweetMeme, one of the best Twitter filters), so it has something to live up to.  It’s essentially a highly configurable filtering engine, not just for Twitter, but also for other social and web content sources. I’ve been playing for a week or so now and I’m hugely impressed by the results one can achieve.  However, putting it just in these terms doesn’t fully explain why I’m so enthused about this particular platform.

This morning, I was turned on to a post by @ScepticGeek, which looks in detail at mapping numerous offerings in this space. A matrix map of those focussed on search versus those focussed on discoverability.  It’s a great post, well-thought out and well explained.  It shows exactly why I think DataSift has so much to offer – so I’ve shared the key graphic here, but I’d really recommend you read the full post here.

Filtering FOR Relevance Matrix (FORMAT)

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