Category Archives: Social Media

News, views, analysis and tips on Social Networking and Social Media. News from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Digg, Reddit and more.

What Is Quora?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been following an increased interest about Quora on social networking sites. Tech evangelist, Robert Scoble, started a Quora frenzy with his post; Is Quora the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years?

Quora

Now I certainly did not agree fully about Quora being a blogging innovation, however, after using it for a while now I can say that it is addictive, interesting, informative and has the A-Listers answering questions from anyone and everyone.

So What is Quora?

I believe that this question is very well answered in the about page of Quora and also a question which was posted on Quora itself. However, here is an easier interpretation of what Quora is in my honest opinion.

In a nutshell, Quora is a simple site where you can ask a question and expect an answer from other community members. It is similar to Yahoo Answers and Answers in that sense. However, Quora goes much more further than this.

Quora basically documents knowledge through questions and answers and provides users with an easy way to find it. Think of it as a knowledgebase created by people for the people.

In addition to that Quora also provides users with a platform to collaborate and make things better. For example, if one person has asked a question, a second person can edit it to make it more descriptive or to frame it in a proper way. Similarly, when one person answers a question, another user can suggest edits to the answer. Using the collaborative feature in Quora, people can improve on the quality of the accumulated knowledge.

Quora is also a source for continuous knowledge by the way of it providing each and every user an opportunity to add their answers to any question. This way newer and maybe better answers can always be added.

As many people think, Quora is not overwhelming at all since it allows you to choose which topics you want to follow and only displays questions related to those topics. For example, if you would love to know more about Startups, you can follow the Startup topics and you will be displayed questions and answers

This is the most basic definition of what Quora does according to me.

Is Quora A Social Networking Platform?

Yes and No. Quora is not exactly a social networking site, but it does borrow quite a lot of features from sites like Twitter, Facebook and maybe several others.

For example, Quora has an option to allow users to follow other users, this feature is similar to Twitter. In addition to that it allows users to comment and up vote answers, this feature is seen in sites like Reddit and Digg. It also has an Inbox feature which can be tied down to LinkedIn or Facebook Messages.

Quora also allows users to subscribe to questions without asking or answering it, so that you will know whenever a new answer has been added.

Overall, there are several aspects of Quora which make it to look like a social networking site. However, those features are not the USP of Quora. Those features basically provide an enhanced community experience for Quora users.

What do you think of Quora? Have you used it? Do you like it? Do feel free to tell me your opinion about the service through your comments.

Twitter Adds HTTPS Only Support

HTTPS is one of the most secure ways of sending and receiving content on the web. Many sites including and several other Google products make use of the HTTPS protocol, even Hotmail does it too.

twitter_https

Though both and have had support for HTTPS for a long time now, they do not enforce HTTPS on users and instead allow them to type the URLs in the browser.

However, it looks like Twitter has now rolled out a new setting which allows users to Always user HTTPS. To enable this setting you can go to your profile and edit settings (or go to http://twitter.com/settings/account) and check the box next to “Always use HTTPS”.

If you think that HTTPS will slow down your experience, you might want to read an earlier post on how much impact Google saw when it shifted to using SSL.

(h/t @nspeaks)

Update: This feature seems to have been pulled off by Twitter now.

No Facebook Is Not Closing Down On March 15th, The World May End Though

Over the weekend I saw many of my hassled friends on reading and believing a report from a satire website about Facebook closing down this March.

Facebook Shutting Down

The report which came out Weekly World News said that Mark Zuckerberg had said that they were shutting down Facebook because it had gotten out of control. The report went ahead to quote the Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook, saying that they would close down the website on March 15th.

After March 15th the whole website shuts down,said Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won’t be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business.

However, not one word of this news is actually true. The website in question is a satire site which posts fake news which is then consumed by gullible people who believe in it, or people who just want to have some fun. A similar site called Faking News (http://www.fakingnews.com) exists and puts up spoof stories on Indian and international issues.

As for my friends and several other thousands of people who got fooled. Facebook is a lucrative business and only a fool would decide to close it after securing billions of dollars as investment, and Mark is not to be counted as one of those fools. Facebook also confirmed the same through an update on Facebook.

We didn’t get the memo about shutting down, so we’ll keep working away like always. We aren’t going anywhere; we’re just getting started.

So please think before believing and spreading panic. We also have rumors that the world is coming to an end in 2012. Unfortunately all requests to God for confirming or denying this fact have not been answered. We will post an update as soon as we get more information from God Smile.

Have fun and continue Facebooking.

Facebook’s Revenues Leaked

Facebook Facebook is huge. There’s no doubt about that. It’s also obvious that Facebook Ads have been bringing in significant amount of revenues. However, because Facebook is yet to go public, there has been debate about exactly how much money Facebook has been making. Well, thanks to one loudmouthed Goldman Sachs customer we now know.

According to the leaked information, which was sourced from a private document delivered by Goldman to some of its wealthy customers, Facebook’s total revenue during the first nine months of 2010 was $1.2 billion. The social network, which was valued at $50 billion in the recently closed funding round, made a net profit of $355 million. Since the financial statements weren’t audited, they didn’t provide specifics regarding the sources of revenue.

Goldman Sachs will be raising at least $1.5 billion through investments from its customers, who have until Friday to confirm their investment. Facebook is expected go public in 2012, and getting in before that might prove to be extremely lucrative.

Fake Facebook Profile? Maybe It’s Your Real Life Facebook Look Alike

Facebook has an official page where you may report abuse a Facebook account which is impersonating your Facebook profile, stealing photos, profile information and other personal assets.

In case your Facebook profile has been impersonated, go to the imposter”s Facebook profile page, scroll down and click the “Report Abuse” link. Then add all the necessary information and the reason of reporting the profile as “spam” and wait for the Facebook authorities to do their job.

But before you go ahead and hit the “Report Abuse” button, be sure that the profile which you are abusing is not your real life Facebook look alike. A Facebook double, literally.

This is what exactly happened with two photographers – Graham Comrie (left) and Graham Cormie, who found their real life doubles on Facebook.

The story goes like this –

1. Graham Comrie feared that someone is impersonating him online when one friend emailed him saying, an unknown person is pretending to be “him” on Facebook.

2. The impersonator was even using his photos and the profile image Comrie had on his own Facebook account.

3. Graham Comrie started investigating the impersonator’s account until he found out that the person was “Real” and actually his Facebook look alike.

4. Comrie contacted his Facebook look alike and to his amazement, found out that both of them shared quite a few common things apart from their names, faces and profession.

Here are the similarities between Graham Comrie and his Facebook look alike Graham Cormie:

  • Both the persons are of the same age.
  • Similar names with exactly similar letters with a slightly different combination on the surname – Comrie and Cormie.
  • Both are photographers by profession.
  • Both the men have red headed wives and both couples are due to celebrate their silver anniversaries next year.
  • Both have two daughters who own Lhasa Apso dogs as pets.

Too many coincidences. Just too many !

Graham Cormie said to The daily record:

It’s all very confusing. I too thought someone was impersonating me.We were both getting emails from the wrong people, asking – “When are you coming in to take my photo?’ or ‘When are we doing this shoot?’, and I’d never heard of them before.

When I saw Graham’s picture, I was completely gobsmacked.We could’ve been separated at birth. I call him my nemesis.

If you ask me, the photos do not appear as exact “Look alikes”. The facial attributes are close but other details are really very surprising. I just hope there ain’t any Facebook double of mine, elsewhere on the planet. :-)

Facebook 1st January Birthday Bug Celebrates Non-Existent Birthdays on New Years

Happy New Year. A birthday is a special occasion, and to be frank I use as my birthday calendar so that I don’t forget my friends birthdays. However, it looks like a bug in Facebook might have gotten people to wish several of their friends Happy Birthday (wrongly) on New Year’s day.

wrong_birthdays_facebook

Oh wait, wasn’t my friends birthday on January 1st? Not for all, here is what the problem is. By default, all profiles have a birthday on 1st January and many people do not change it. Now, when you logged into Facebook on 1st of January, you might have seen birthdays for tons of friends, this is not their actual birthday but a bug in Facebook, since Facebook auto-fed this information into their profiles.

People who didn’t update their profile information will automatically have their birthdays on 1st January. This is true for at-least 9 out of the 10 friends whose birthdays Facebook promoted to me. I personally know all of them and they don’t celebrate their birthday on the 1st of January.

Why is this a bug? Because Facebook is not using user inputted data and is instead storing information by default for each and every profile. So, if a user does not update their profile and change their birth date, their birthday will be termed as 1st of January.

This bug is widespread since I saw a lot of friends on my timeline complain about it, and I believe that Facebook might have marked wrong birthday days for anywhere between 50-100 million people on 1st January.

I am pretty sure that many of your friends might have been upset with the fact that you don’t remember their actual birthdates. You can safely blame it on Facebook Smile. Hopefully, next year you’ll see far more lesser friends celebrating their birthday on New Years.

(Image Credit)

Best Social Web Browser For Twitter And Facebook

I use and a lot. In fact I spend more time than I would want to on those sites. Though I use for browsing Facebook and Twitter feeds, I feel a little bit of disconnect when the links I click open in a new browser window.

Layers Social Experience

I guess someone out there heard me, because I came across a really good for called Layers, which provides users with a connected Social web browsing experience. It is like the media integration Twitter has, but for everything and done in a better way.

Layers Social Web Browser

In a nutshell, Layers is a social web browser. It allows you to browse through your Facebook and Twitter feeds and allows you to preview links, videos and pictures without disconnecting you from the experience. In addition to that, it also allows you to like, comment and share content on Facebook and Retweet or reply to Twitter users from within their interface.

What Does Layers Do?

The Layers app for Google Chrome transforms the experience of surfing through the social web into an elegant, visual flow, providing users a beautiful way to get updates, view videos and share content.

  • Let it flow: See sites in a beautiful, flowing stream
  • Stop clicking.  Preview, and watch videos, maps and images in a single place
  • Connect. Watch what your friends are doing, saying and sharing on one channel
  • Discover. Find stuff you’ll love and related to stuff you already like
  • Stay up to date. Follow your favorite sites and blogs
  • Keep it simple. Get the most out of your social networks using only the options you need

As you can see, Layers tries to make the social experience better by providing you with a neat platform that rocks. In addition to adding Facebook and Twitter feeds you can also add RSS channels to layers and browse them within Layers. They are also planning to add support for so that you can read your feeds within Layers.

I have been using layers for less than a day now and totally love the experience. It is definitely one of the best I have seen and makes my social experience complete.

This is a highly recommended extension for anyone who has a Twitter or Facebook account and want to browse their feeds elegantly. Download Layers for Google Chrome.

Why Twitter Does Not Need Media Integration

I read a very interesting post written by Zee on The Next Web about Twitter adding media services. I found the entire article pretty interesting, however, I did not entirely agree with his statements there.

Of course, I wanted to write my thoughts as a comment on his post, but I really don’t comment on sites which require users to create an account for their websites. I feel it’s a good thing to exercise my thoughts out without having to go through the pains of getting it through.

So here are my thoughts (in more words) on why does not really require any media integration.

Twitter is not Facebook

Twitter is not , it is Twitter. The difference between Facebook and Twitter is simplicity. Facebook is so complicated, it requires users to get through the loops of learning how to upload pictures, upload videos and more. Twitter on the other hand was about “What are you doing” and now about “What’s happening?”

The reason Twitter exists even when Facebook is doing so well is because they are simple. A simple update like “I just woke up” and “Goodnight” does the job, you don’t have to worry about who is reading your updates, whether someone will feel bad or not and so on.

As per Zee’s recommendation, Twitter should also provide an option to upload pictures. Well, if you have to teach a user to upload pictures to the internet before they have used Twitter, that user is a noob, complete noob. I have seen 10-11 year old kids uploading photos, so this shouldn’t be as difficult as it sounds and it should definitely not be a feature in Twitter.

Photo and Video Sharing Services Have Twitter Integration

I clicked a photo and uploaded it to , or I recorded a video and uploaded it to . Now how do I get it to Twitter? Well there is a simple button out there to do the job, so it is not hard. Twitter is not about uploading, it is about sharing and almost each and service out there has Twitter and Facebook sharing option available.

So uploading videos, photos or what not does not require Twitter, because everything around it does it. I believe that almost every site I do anything on wants me to share it on Twitter (and Facebook), so it is about integration, not implementation.

Twitter IS KISS

The reason there are so many apps for Twitter is because it leaves the nitty-gritties out while keeping in the “Simple”. Twitter has lists, but apps like and Seesmic make them ever so important.

For the record, I hardly use the web interface on Twitter, because there are so many apps out there which do the job Twitter should have done. The Twitter web interface is so simple, that I am really lost around it. I can’t function without the apps I use to use Twitter.

Of course Twitter is aware of these apps, however, they know that they have to be simple enough to KISS. If they try too much, they will obviously be something what Facebook has already been doing for so long.

Apps like TwitPic and YFrog supplement Twitter. They allow users to share content without having to put a heck of an headache on Twitter and users who don’t want Twitter can use something else. Heck, I see imgur.com being used more than anything else on Twitter for images.

Twitter Can’t Kill The EcoSystem

URL Shorteners only came into existence because of Twitter, but they have almost become a primary way of sharing URLs on the internet. When Twitter decided to start using Bit.ly as their default , there was a big hue and cry. Heck, a company even folded up and resurrected because of this decision.

Now, Twitter dropped Bit.ly and went with their own URL shortener T.co, but without hampering with the ecosystem that existed around it. Imagine when Twitter comes up with their own image sharing service, what would happen to the others? They would revolt and stop doing business? Would they just shut shop because Twitter has the control over things? Would they develop new apps around Twitter?

I highly doubt that, because Twitter knows their importance. I share almost 20-30 pictures a week, and I hardly visit TwitPic to upload my pictures. It is all done through TweetDeck, so I am not even visiting either Twitter or TwitPic to upload pictures, but I get my message through. This is because of the ecosystem Twitter has, they will survive because of this, not without it.

Twitter spends a heck of a time keeping their service up, these value-added services will only add to their headaches. Right now they have the ecosystem worrying for that, I doubt that they will change their ways here.

Twitter Is About Real-Time Not My Marriage

The reason we see real-time topics on Twitter and sites like Google and Bing using their data to supplement results is because it is real-time. Bing uses Facebook data to show you recommendations based on your friends updates, so do many other sites. But when it comes to serious topics, Twitter results are often up there and do matter. Your cute cat picture or video would not make it to real-time search because that is what Twitter is, a steady stream of updates which is built up based on user input, not a meme on your cat.

Many of the trends on Twitter are demented, but none of them came from a video share. Of course, the New York plane crash (trend came through because of a picture shared by someone near the scene. Captain Sully anyone?), but the person who uploaded the picture used TwitPic or something, not Twitter, but got through with the message.

The main reason that message came through was the picture he uploaded, but it came through Twitter, not through the picture. If that person would have put his status somewhere else, that topic would not have got as much attention as it got.

Simple enough, you got a picture, upload it, post it to Twitter, if it is viral, it gets through. If not, it doesn’t. That is the power of Twitter, getting through the message not the media accompanying it. Heck, YouTube has videos which go viral without Twitter.

Twitter Is About Adapting, Lay People Or Celebs

Some of the top Twitter accounts, and several more are about followers not following. These people have millions of followers. Some of them are Hollywood and Bollywood actors who I am very sure never knew about uploading pictures, leave aside URLs. However, I see several of these users uploading pictures on TwitPic and YFrog and getting thousands of comments.

These people did need a lesson in uploading but they learnt it nevertheless. If a normal user is dumb, these guys are dumber because they rely on someone else do all their job, but the same people are aware of clicking a photo and uploading it to whichever service they want to.

They don’t need Twitter to fulfill their media needs?

Summarizing

Of course, we would want all social networks to upload pictures et al, but is it worth it? Well, I put my thoughts out here. It definitely does not make sense for Twitter to add media integration. Of course they do have media integration for third parties, but that does not mean that they should add all these services.

I loved Zee’s article, but I have been using Twitter since May 2007, way before many of you have used it. I use it because it is simple and easy to use, from wherever I want to. I would prefer to keep it that way. I would certainly not mind not having few people not using it because it is not Facebook, after all they have 220 million users.

(This article is incomplete, links and references will be up shortly)

Friendly For Facebook iPad App Goes Free

One of the most popular , "Friendly for Facebook" has now gone free. The app which cost $0.99 earlier is now available for free in the Apple App Store.

Friendly For Facebook Home Screen Friendly For Facebook Feeds

The official app for is far from perfect, this is where the Friendly for Facebook app comes in to fill the void created by it. Friendly for Facebook has been a top-selling app for iPad since it’s launch back in July 2010.

Friendly for Facebook adds in many features which are lacking in the official Facebook app, some of which include:

  • Swipe through Facebook photos full screen
  • Chat with your online friends
  • Upload/Download Photos
  • Easy switch between multiple Facebook accounts
  • Secure your Facebook Account with a PIN Code access
  • Customize colors and fonts to your liking

The app has some really good ratings and is definitely worth downloading for the iPad. Right now, the app is completely free, but I am not sure how long it will remain free.

Download Friend For Facebook from here.

Facebook Revamps Friend Finder, Provides Options To Narrow Down Friends

had launched a new feature back in 2008 where they suggested people you may know based on certain algorithms. Through these 2 years I have found this feature useful and have definitely found some long lost friends. However, in the past 2 years there hasn’t been much changes to this service.

Facebook Friend Finder New Page

When I went to check out suggestions today on "People You May Know". I came across a brand new interface, though this may have been spotted earlier, I am pretty sure that many of you are not aware of it yet.

The new interface for "People You May Know", now lets you find friends from different parts of your life. What that means is, that you can now search for people based on your Home Town, Current City, High School, Mutual Friends, College or University, Employer and more through checkboxes available in the right hand navigation.

The new page has also been designed to focus more on people and their photos and is more wide than the earlier landing page. Another interesting thing about the new "People You May Know" page is that, it provides infinite scrolling and can see friend suggestions without having to reload the page.

Are you seeing this new "People You May Know" page? What do you think about it? Do give us your feedback on it. You can view the Facebook Friend Finder here.