I came across an interesting study about the value of privacy via The Atlantic. Scott Savage and Donald M. Waldman of the University of Colorado at Boulder found that consumers are willing to pay some money for a mobile application when in return their privacy is respected or they are not forced to consume advertisements. In a post Snowden world always worth a read.
There are currently some interesting discussions going on in the Edupreneurs Club, I herewith put away my chef’s hat to share some of my thoughts.
One main topic is Facebook. Like Google, Facebook constantly changes the algorithm that decides which content will be surfaced in your news stream. In case you did not know, just because you like a certain page or are friends with someone does not mean that you will see all of their content shared or posted.
This often leads to a huge gap between the number of fans total and the number of people who actually see a post. Right now this gap seems to have become wider than ever which made some edupreneurs think whether it was at all worthwhile to invest their time and put the effort in updating their page and trying to grow their fans.
My short answer is no, it isn’t. Here is why.
One of the major topics among edupreneurs, online marketers, blogger and others relying on Facebook traffic is the recent change in what fans actually see popping up in their news stream. I wanted to title this post “Waahaa – Cry Babies want their Facebook traffic back!” but that would have been a bit unfair ;). Nevertheless, I think the issue has been blown way out of proportion.
Let’s start with the basics. When a platform is new the first priority is to get as many users as possible. Therefore the rules are pretty much beneficial for the users. It makes you use the product and hopefully get you to the point where you can’t live without it. A bit like selling crack-cocaine.
Facebook has given page owners a free ride for many years, driving the traffic away from Facebook to their own sites. Now ask yourself, is that something you would do with your blog or platform? Your goal is to keep your users on your site, not leading them away from it to other sites, right? So why on earth should Facebook do it without any benefit?
On top of that Facebook is now a publicly traded company, e.g. they have an earnings call with Wall Street analysts every couple of months. People invest in Facebook on the terms that the social network grows its revenue. Hence, it makes even less sense for them to give you free traffic.
Let’s say you are one of the people who have spent time and effort on building your brand outside of Facebook over the years you were most likely not shocked at all or even surprised as it (or something similar) happened before and will happen again. The thing is, you are constantly playing in someone else’s sandbox and surprise: it’s not you who makes the rules. Here are two examples.
If you spent time on trying to get your page ranking on Google for related search terms you might have been hit by the infamous Panda update back in early 2011. It was so bad that it took out two big players in the education space, my favorite platform TeachStreet and the just newly refocused Mahalo. And even today algorithm changes affect startups. Just read the latest New York Times article on the matter.
Like Google, YouTube is experimenting a lot with new ways to display and surface “relevant” content on the platform. I have been hit by the changes at least three times with my Deutsch Happen channel over the past years and even big YouTube stars like Mystery Guitar Man saw huge drops in audience and hence revenue.
But you know that all of the platforms offer you to get traffic in return. Google has Adwords, YouTube lets you promote videos and Facebook now lets you promote posts. Hence, if you really, really want (need) the traffic, there is an option for you.
As a long time reader of this blog you will know that I have always advocated that edupreneurs need to learn about the processes behind the scenes of technology they use. If you have at least a bit of an idea on how funding or even an IPO affects the destiny of a startup you cannot be surprised by such changes.
In August 2010 Andrew Lewis coined a phrase that is still true today:
If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.
Have you ever sat down and truly asked yourself if you were willing to pay for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other free service you are using on a regular basis? If the answer is “No, I won’t pay” then you have to ask yourself whether the startup actually built something meaningful at all. Which leads to the next question that when you don’t see any real value in the service, why should others?
A handful of edupreneurs like André Klein, Koichi and myself have always preached that you need to invest into your own website (sandbox) as it is the only place you are truly in charge of. All the rest is nice as long as it works and if it stops working you simply move on. The goal is that you need to get your audience to come to your site on their own because they want to, not because they might see a Twitter, YouTube or Facebook update pop up in their cluttered stream.
If you want to have something that catches their attention, get them to sign up for a newsletter. This way you are directly in their inbox as long as they choose to be on the list. You want direct contact, not filtered through a middleman.
Facing the Realities
On the other hand, the new Facebook algorithm might also have some positive side effects as it clears up the news stream from all the noise.
As a side note, when I take a look at both the reach and engagement graphs of my established pages Kirsten Winkler, EDUKWEST, Deutsch Happen and Deutsch Sprechen I have not noticed any significant drop in either graph on any of the four pages mentioned. The only drops I see are the ones I am familiar with, e.g. not updating the page or usually on weak days like Saturday.
All in all the number of likes your page got never reflected the actual number of engaged fans, anyway. The same is true for Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers. It’s a vanity number, nothing more. The new actual number of people “seeing” your Facebook page update also reflects how many people really visit your page or group in the first place. Taking the Edupreneurs Club as an example we have 200+ members but each posts gets seen by 7 to a maximum of 35 members. And that’s about the engagement I noticed over the months. There are about 10 active members and some lurkers. The rest joined but never came back.
This means, if people choose to visit your page anyway on a daily or weekly basis by clicking on the link on the left side, then all is well. If they just liked your page and never returned, anyway then you didn’t lose anything at all. You just get a realistic number of how many people actually care about your stuff. And yes, sometimes reality hits you hard, bro.
Picture by waterbridge via Morguefile
Two recent tech stories, one involving Facebook not deleting pictures for three years and the other Path sucking all the contact data of its users on their servers, show once again that posting stuff on the Internet is not as straight forward as most people think.
Just because you hit a delete button does not mean that the content is really deleted from the web, it’s not as simple as on your local hard disk. And just because an application did not ask for all your private data in the first place does not mean it cannot get it at a later stage without your approval.
Posting on the Internet is like getting a tattoo. At the moment, it might seem like a great idea, but as soon as you get sober it will be impossible or at least very hard to remove without any trace.
Yesterday morning I learned that Facebook has apparently acquired Gowalla, one of the location based social networks that compete with Foursquare. While the writing that the startup lost the battle against Foursquare has been on the wall for a while there, some hope remained that Gowalla might have been able to turn its network into a digital travel guide.
Now, you might ask what this has to do with education. Well, first of all I wrote a post on Disrupt Education titled “Don’t Check-In for Yourself – Check-In for your Grand Children” in which I explained why I think those location based services have indeed a role in an educational context. But what if the service did not last that long?
Today I would like to focus on the risk of having all your eggs in one basket or all your photos = memories on one service.
Over the past couple of weeks I have become increasingly frustrated with Twitter. I have the feeling that I get less value out of it than maybe 6 months ago. Clearly Twitter lost some of its appeal when Google+ launched.
Now, before I get deeper into that, let me explain the three main (and up to now only) ways I used Twitter for.
Number one has been to get first hand information, insights and personal tidbits from interesting people I followed. It rounded the profile of blogger, podcaster and CEOs I was reading / watching / interviewing. Number two was to get breaking news of the industry. And number three was to share my posts or interesting links.
Two of those reasons are completely broken, only one still works rather well.
There are lots of text, voice and video chat applications on Facebook and some of them like TinyChat are doing pretty well as it seems. And then there is still the rumor of a deep Skype integration on the social network.
So, is there space left for another video chat? SocialEyes is a social video service and going into public beta today.
This is the last part of my review 2010.
Video calling reached critical mass, live streaming comes to Facebook but is live still relevant in a world of on demand and self paced services?
Will the Internet get back to paid content and why is it so difficult to get reactions from readers?
Like the story of Ted Williams, this one is not about education 2.0 but it is simply too good to not share it with you. It also contains some interesting trends in social media, so it is still somewhat related to this blog.
Anyway, it all started with a Facebook update of Stefan Wolpers who bought some Asparagus from Peru.
Mingleverse, the Canadian startup that is a mix of VoIP chat and Second Life raised another $1.4 million to expand their marketing efforts and integration into social networks and mobile devices.
I first wrote about Mingleverse in November 2009 and titled the post “Mingleverse – The Missing Link?”. So let’s see what has happened in the past twelve months.
Yesterday, I sent out the first edition of my new monthly newsletter reflect:ed to my subscribers and I want to take the time to say thank you to all of you for the support!
If you did not subscribe yet and therefore missed this one, don’t worry, I also offer an individual download of every edition.
Below you will find a little teaser of the current newsletter on Facebook and Education 2.0 and the link to purchase and download reflect:ed #1 of November 2010.
- Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction
- Rupert Murdoch creates ‘iNewspaper’ – with the help of Steve Jobs
- Facebook Vies To Become Your Homepage – And Why That’s A Big Deal
- 8 Ways Technology Is Improving Education
- Academia.edu Launches A Directory Of 12,500 Academic Journals
- Tim Berners-Lee: Facebook could fragment web
- How Online Classrooms Are Helping Haiti Rebuild Its Education System
Last week was a really busy one and I still have to catch up with some interesting news. For example this one: Livestream, one of the three big live video platforms announced that they teamed up with Facebook to offer live streaming to Facebook pages for everyone. For free.
Livestream and Facebook have already worked together for a couple of months with the Facebook Live channel where Facebook streams small shows about, you guessed it, Facebook.
Opening the system to everyone is another big step for Facebook trying to become the one stop location for people on the internet.
- Google Voice and FaceTime – Why the Carriers Are Losing Their Voice
- Kno Tablet Will Start At $599 For Single-Screen, $899 For Dual-Screen
- Color Coming to E-Ink Devices in 2011
- Square Now Processing Millions Of Dollars In Mobile Transactions Every Week
- NTT-IP Invests $1 Million In New Partner EnglishCentral
- Livestream For Facebook Lets You DIY Live Stream Video On Fan Pages
- Fuze Meeting Bets On Android Tablets For Web Conferencing Software
- Learning in Dorm, Because Class Is on the Web
- DealQuad Takes Groupon’s Model To School
- Jolibook, the Netbook for Web Fiends, Is Coming This Month
- Rethink Books Gives Us A Glimpse At Social Books (Video Demo)
A new player entered the online ESL market but maybe not from an angle you might have expected. Nihaoareyou.com launched its social game “American Dreams” on Facebook and Renren in BETA today.
American Dreams takes the player on a virtual journey to the United States where he or she has to cope with everyday situations like finding a job, working, shopping and of course socializing and learning English.
- Gates Foundation Announces $20 Million Fund to Improve Education with Tech
- Bill Gates talks education tech
- Is Mobile Video Chat Ready for Business Use?
- Ning Everywhere Debuts With Third-Party Extensions, Mobile Apps And More
- Facebook to Update Commenting Plugin with Votes and More [REPORT]
- The Video Phone Comes Of Age: One Fifth Of American Adults Have Made A Video Call
- Prep for the SATs with iPad and iPhone Video Game
- Marvell Giving $100K to Education App Developers
- Skype Gets Serious Facebook Integration
- Updated Yahoo! Messenger for iOS brings cross-platform video calling
- HOW TO: Accept Credit Card Payments on Mobile Devices
- TED Brings “Ideas Worth Spreading” to the iPad
- Among Gen-Y, the Facebook Backlash Has Arrived
- For Millennials, Brands May Be as Important as Religion, Ethnicity
- Government pulls plug on Teachers TV
- StudyBlue Raises $3.6 Million For College-Focused Studying Platform
- E-book Sales Up 193% So Far This Year
- Skype’s VP Of Enterprise On Future Strategy, Products And Competitors
- Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause …
According to the latest Pew report it seems to be the case. In the report you can find that about 20% of Americans have at least once used a video calling feature on the PC or their mobile phone.
And today we learned that Skype 5.0 finally got the full Facebook implementation. This could actually be the tipping point for video calls becoming mainstream which would be of course very benefitial for live online language courses. Fast Company is already seeing 40% of Americans using video call at the end of next year.
- College Curriculum Requires Undergrads to Play Video Game “Portal”
- Seth Godin Gives Up on Traditional Book Publishing
- Skype Etiquette
- Why Social Media Projects Fail – A European Perspective
- Facebook Trademark Lawsuit Aims to Limit Use of “Book” by Others
- Hey Facebook, Here Are Some Other Companies You Can Bully Or Sue
- Guess Who Is Trying To Trademark The Word “Face”? (And Guess Who Is Trying To Stop It?)
- Kanji Amnesia And Why It’s Okay To Forget Kanji
- Does Your Language Shape How You Think?
Xiha Life is around since 2008 already and has not only attracted a substantial seed funding of $1 million in January 2010 but also added Jyri Engeström who is a co-founder of Jaiku, a micro blogging platform similar to Twitter which has been acquired by Google for $12 million in 2007, to the board.
The newest version of Xiha Life enables you to add your Facebook and Twitter stream to the platform and hence use its real time translation tool.
As Kay already mentioned in his #followfriday post yeserday, Rosetta Stone puts lots of effort in their customer care strategy. In fact they have a “Customer Success” Team that is basically there to give you a poke when it looks as if you have a low in your learning pace as we all have from time to time.
The new Customer Care Center on Facebook is powered by the Austrian company Parature and is seamlessly integrated with the “Facebook experience”.