Social Media Top 5: Vanity iPhone Apps, Facebook=AOL?, Grumpy Old (non) Twitterers, and More Lunacy

I don’t want your Phone app

I have seen a rash of custom iPhone apps, announced and/or realized, for specific content feeds. Two of them are from folks I consider friends and industry colleagues: C.C. Chapman, and Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson of the For Immediate Release podcast. Having an iPhone (or Droid, or Blackberry) app is all the rage, and I understand the appeal of, say, having a single place for someone to get all of your content. The problem for me is that I don’t want five or 10 or 27 separate applications for each separate source of content- I want one that aggregates all the feeds from all the sources- a podcatcher for podcasts, and, yes, and RSS reader (I’m not of the opinion that people won;t use RSS, but firmly believe that people will continue to use them heavily without ever necessarily understanding what they are). If you create a branded vanity app that will do all that, count me in.

Christopher Penn (congrats on the new gig at Blue Sky Factory by the way), has his own interesting take on the dangers of too many apps.

What’s on my iPhone

Flickr Photo by Erik Mallinson

Is Facebook the New AOL?

Steve Rubel has a post speculating that Facebook could “eat the web.” I interpreted this as Facebook becoming a new AOL, an easy way to use the Web for the less technologically-savvy. Steve does make the AOL comparison near the end of his post. There is a risk in putting all your eggs in the Facebook Web, though, and I don’t think I would recommend that. There is also a risk in the AOL comparison- AOL started as THE way to get on the Web for a time, then became a “starter Internet” for people like my parents, but has been left behind (in the Internet access business anyway) as people became more savvy. Facebook is a pretty closed, tight ship- how long will people really take to it as their “Internet” in this form?

Thank You, Don Dodge, New Mac User

I have Tweeted lately about my recent conversion to Macs, courtesy of my new employer, Voce Communications. I haven’t seen fit to detail my feelings after only a week of Mac-hood, but Don Dodge has. The former Microsoft star, now with Google, posted his reactions after making the switch. I second that emotion.

Mark Cuban Defines Reality. Welcome to the 21st Century

His main point in this post is that search engine indexes do not have to be comprehensive- your business does not have to be there if something else works. My point is that Cuban’s posts like this one are fast becoming must-reads, from a guy who isn’t afraid to make unpopular statements while avoiding the absolutism of some of the counter-arguments. I’m not going to root for the Mavericks, though.

New Yorker vs. New York Times over Twitter

I first saw this New York Times piece in which Nick Bilton takes on George Packer’s criticism of Twitter in The New Yorker. I saw it as a swipe against someone who “didn’t get it,” a old fogey whose enjoyment of train rides betrays the idea that 100 years ago he would have been railing against these new-fangled transport-machines. Then I read Packer’s piece. He seems to be less worried about Twitter than the general feeling that there is always something more interesting going on, enabled by our Crackberries, than what you are working on at any given moment. I’d ask Packer to reconsider his dismissal of Twitter, too, but his pleas do make more sense than the kneejerk reactions to them.


  1. Good insights as always Doug. I use Bylines on my iPhone to get all of my RSS feeds in one place since it integrates directly with my Google Reader account. I love it.

    In my case, I wanted an app for all the people who don’t have an RSS reader or who only read a few blogs and wanted it to be as easy as possible for them.

    My app is 100% powered by RSS so I’m not going to stop pushing out content that way, but I wanted to provide yet another way for people to find it if they were not already.

  2. Absulutley disagree no Iphone app is a vanity project, only hope people can get them out before there old hat.

    Second it is viralilty Gary Vee is has used this effectively to promote Crush It, with Facebook applications. You might think a wine app is trivial and so do I but creates virality, disscussion and engagement.

    Also AOL was company with a very unsustainable business model, do ypu remember the dial disks, the dodgy connections. I doubt Facebook has the same model, look at fact they have had advertising since the beggining whilst Twitter has not (they may struggle to monetize).

    That is my take hope it can provide alternative debate.

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