Commentary | Street Fight - Part 95

Where ‘Hyperlocal’ Is a Movement, Not a Business Model

Joni Ayn Alexander

Where ‘Hyperlocal’ Is a Movement, Not a Business Model

I’ll bet you £10 that “royal wedding” is the first thought that jumps to the mind of an American journalist asked about Britain today. Yet with the ever-present fixation on their profession’s future, perhaps journalists in the U.S. should look past the palaces to the real action happening at the hyperlocal level…

After Three Years, Examiner.com Looks to a Future Off the ‘Farm’

Rick Robinson

After Three Years, Examiner.com Looks to a Future Off the ‘Farm’

Rick Robinson’s Turf Talk column appears every Wednesday.

Tumbling into toddler-hood and growing-like-nuts, Examiner(we’re-not-a-content-mill).com celebrates its third birthday this week. Over that short time the network of sites has generated nearly a billion and a half page views. Street Fight turned to woolly-chinned Examiner CEO Rick Blair to get a little insight on the direction of the 3-year-old company…

WhosHere? Two Billion Free Text Messages, That’s Who

Rick Robinson

WhosHere? Two Billion Free Text Messages, That’s Who

I’ve been wondering what happened to WhosHere, and all at once a friend pinged me about them and I’m sent a news bulletin trumpeting how myRete (developer of WhosHere) has delivered its 2 billionth free message on behalf us its 2.5 million members. Nice.

So what is it? As the company states:

WhosHere is the first mobile social networking app for the iPhone to let users meet new people and interact based on proximity. The application introduces a user to others with whom they have something in common. When a user finds someone interesting, they can send free text and image messages and make free VOIP calls. All this is done without disclosing any personal information unless the user chooses to provide it.

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GroupMe Launches ‘Joinable’ Groups (Pssst, groupflier Already Has Them!)

Rick Robinson

GroupMe Launches ‘Joinable’ Groups (Pssst, groupflier Already Has Them!)

We’ve been over this before: while at AOL in the ’90s I failed to get approval for something I dubbed “Broadcast IM” — the ability to send instant messages via IM (AIM) to more than one person simultaneously, with each user’s response seen by everyone. Kinda like a listserv. Kinda like, yeah, Twitter.

Anyway, a few years later along came the wonderful (for its time) Upoc — group mobile texting and voice messaging. Then the tech bubble and subsequent mobile innovation collapse and general malaise among Americans regarding their use of cellphones beyond blabbing. I feared data on cellphones would become “soccer” – popular everywhere else in the world but too difficult with T9 for lazy Americans. Tick Tock… Hello iPhone. At last things began to really change, as we all now know…

Snapshot: Mobile-Social-Local by the Numbers

Rick Robinson

Snapshot: Mobile-Social-Local by the Numbers

I came upon some interesting numbers on mobile social media worth sharing. Lisa Braziel at ignite social media pulled together data from a number of different studies of late to tell a bit of a story about the recent evolution in mobile-social. Unfortunately, like most research of breadth, it’s a piece of the past and not a realtime reflection. So keep that in mind while digesting.

SNL Kagan looked at location-based services activity between ’09 and ’10, finding that usership almost tripled. Braziel concluded this, in addition to other data points, indicate 2011 could be the year of mobile social — where it goes truly mainstream. Take a look at the graphic from eMarketer

Hello Privacy, Meet the New ‘Presence’ – Location

Rick Robinson

Hello Privacy, Meet the New ‘Presence’ – Location

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Many years ago, when you were probably a tween, i was at AOL (sorry, Aol.) and a degree away from the following nugget. I think the folks involved included Ted , Barry Appelman and maybe Eric Bosco. I could have that a bit wrong but roll with me – I’m not the official techstorian and they’ll tell me if I’m wrong…

Civic Networking: The Next Next Thing?

Rick Robinson

Civic Networking: The Next Next Thing?

This is the first in a series of guest posts by thought leaders in the local arena. We asked where local-social media might go in 2011.

By Tom Grubisich
Some Cassandras are forecasting the end of social networking. I will keep my ear next to my computer for the sound of some 600 million people migrating to the next big thing, but don’t think Facebook faces doomsday any time soon. Or Foursquare, Yelp or Gowalla, to name just a few of the proliferating social networks that have claimed a piece of Web space. But I do think social networking is on the threshold of an important evolution that will both affirm its basic value but also take it into new and ever more beneficial directions. Shaping this transformation are economic, technological and societal forces that are propelling people toward a path with many entry points but one destination: to act together and to do so smarter and locally…

Ultra Local, Simplicity, Ego Lead the Way in 2011

Rick Robinson

Ultra Local, Simplicity, Ego Lead the Way in 2011

I thought I’d wait for the smoke to clear on all the 2011 tech prognostications before filing a few of my own. These are actually a bit less predictions than bankable trends. Their focus is on mobile but also the things around the edges that will make mobile-local interesting, scary, useful, intrusive and wonderful in the coming 363 days.

Simple Gets Simpler: Successful online and mobile experiences will become much closer to being intuitive than ever before, anticipating not the geek’s natural next clicks but the average Jane’s. I’m not talking about Web 2.X, with its big buttons, oversize input boxes and Ajax popovers but rather one action to the next dictated by the glassy smoothness of an inhale following and exhale. This is true behavioral anticipation leaving no room for confusion and no time for pause. Simple = successful…

7 Things I Want From My Phone for Christmas

Rick Robinson

7 Things I Want From My Phone for Christmas

I’m a little weary of the “Holiday Tech Stuff” roundups, as I suspect are you, so let’s just leap right into what I’d demand from Cell-a-Claus and his App Elves, were he to ask.

I’ve been a goo… not horrible guy this year, Cell-a, really. And I’m not asking for anything current technology would not permit. So please bring me the following:

‘Location’ is at Apple’s iPhone Core (Patently Apple)

Rick Robinson

‘Location’ is at Apple’s iPhone Core (Patently Apple)

The site Patently Apple has a rather interesting observation about some of the recent patent filings by Apple related to its iPhone. According to PA via records it has surface Apple is attacking the big and the small around geolocation, with technological tweaks and improvements (that are actually

quite complex) and practical setups to solving common human needs like “what am I about to pass on my trip to grandma’s that I might be interested in?”…

Newspapers + GeoMesh of Providers = Interesting

Rick Robinson

Newspapers + GeoMesh of Providers = Interesting

In the olden days (1991) I earned a stipend-like salary working for a Gannett newspaper outside Philadelphia. I did a number of things there, some of them poorly (i.e. quickly copyediting stories on tax rate hike debates) and some well (writing headlines; teaching desktop publishing).

But one of the most fascinating jobs I got to do was man the Associated Press wire. On the old glowing-green terminals they had us looking into in the smokey and nearly windowless newsroom, the AP feed would pour in like a precursor to The Matrix’s cascading code imagery…

Grocery Guide: The Hyper-GeoMobileSavvy List!

Rick Robinson

Grocery Guide: The Hyper-GeoMobileSavvy List!

OK ShopKick, ShopSavvy, CardStar and all the rest of you: Time for a new challenge. We the lazy, the lost, the hurried, the ignorant need someone to not only lead us to water; we need to be led from pond to pond.

I’m talking of course about those of us (particularly of a certain gender) who when entering a grocery store with list in hand (or more likely on our phone) proceed to criss-cross the place looking for sugar among the paper towels and ice cream near the butter. Who lays out these places? And forget about the wayfinding provided by signage. There needs to be a better way…

Check-Check-Check-Check-Check-Check in Everywhere

Rick Robinson

Check-Check-Check-Check-Check-Check in Everywhere

That terrible choice you had to make every time you wanted to check in (which service do I use?? Brightkite? Foursquare?) has been tackled by a few different players of late, including Footfeed and Check.in. No longer do you have to pick your favorite child – a nanny-app will log you into all at once. But Footfeed will help you get proper credit for those checkins – hey, become mayor/king/sultan/boss of your fave coffee shop all at once…

P-U! (That’s PatchU to You, Kid)

Rick Robinson

P-U! (That’s PatchU to You, Kid)

PatchWhen we started our journalism career in the late 1980s we slugged it out with other hungry coeds for the few slots open at the local paper. A better time was never had – headlong into the Romantic World of Newspapering, we were. Assigned lightweight stories, we tried to turn into much more than they were in hopes of getting attention and even a Page 1 position. (We should also mention this was when we first used a modem to transmit text of the college paper to the print shop – a sort of magical event in those days). FF a couple decades and the print side of the news business is the same: filling holes around ever-fewer ads. And they are still looking for free(ish), energetic college kids to not only pick up the scraps but also learn to create a better future of journalism. Enter stage center in a puff of magic smoke: PatchU from Patch.com…