Public relations megalith Edelman has launched a new Web-based tool to bring the press release, historically dry as a saltine, into the 21st century and the culture of Web 2.0. The tool, called StoryCrafter, can create "social media news releases" that incorporate RSS feeds, Digg and Delicious buttons, tags, talkback comments, and multimedia clips. The whole thing's a good idea, but it doesn't appear to be as well-executed as it could be: most noticeable for me was the fact that there's a lot of whitespace and consequently a lot of scrolling involved. Nevertheless, there'… Read more
I have a background in creative writing, so I was very excited to hear that one of the presentations at last night's NY Tech Meetup would be a demonstration of a new kind of Web community for writers (and eventually artists, musicians, and filmmakers). Indeed, the first presentation was of Urbis, which is a new review community founded by local New Yorker Steve Spurgat. Meetup founder Scott Heiferman described Spurgat, with his background as a playwright, as "the most unlikely Internet entrepreneur."
Here's the central concept of Urbis, which according to Spurgat has 12,000 members … Read more
Last night was the year-end edition of the NY Tech Meetup, the monthly event organized by Meetup founder Scott Heiferman. It's a popular local event for the (re)emerging Silicon Alley set, usually drawing a crowd of over 500.
One of this month's features was a set of 10-second predictions by audience members regarding what they think the biggest tech trends of 2007 will be. There were some far-flung ones about grassroots political movement, radios, and whatnot, but there was one noticeable trend: the "connected home," with fluidity between broadband audio and video, television, speakers, and … Read more
Web site traffic statistics are usually pretty dull. Pie charts. Bar graphs. Line charts. Maybe, if you're lucky, there's a colorful gradient fill in there somewhere. But it doesn't have to be that way anymore, as digital designer James Spahr has figured out a creative way to turn Web traffic data into pretty patterns.
Here's how it works, in simplistic terms: Traffic spirals clockwise. A thick line represents more traffic than a thin line. The colors represent categories of Web sites, like generic pages as opposed to "hubs" or random links (like a shopping … Read more
Although the once-exclusive social networking site Facebook has since opened up to the general public, its user base still largely consists of high school and college students who are prone to procrastination. In fact, Facebook's facilitation of voyeuristic procrastination is one reason that it probably caught on so virally in the first place. And now, Facebook users can integrate procrastination right into their Firefox 2.0 browsers, with the just-announced Facebook Toolbar. It really gives the service an always-there presence on your Web surfing experience. Paranoiacs might find it a little Big Brother-ish, kind of like they did when … Read more
VideoEgg has made a name for itself as a piece of webware that actually lets you tweak around with the videos you upload--as well as facilitate sharing, embedding, and revenue-reaping ads. Now it's making another step into the world of online video advertising with Tuesday's announcement of its EggNetwork VIBE (Viewer Initiated Brand Experience) ad model, which claims to have an answer to the age-old (okay, age-old in Web years) question: How can you make Internet ads less annoying?
The gist of VideoEgg's model: During or after a video clip that someone is watching, ask if the … Read more
Last night I was among the attendees at the New York City chapter of Social Media Club, and there was arguably one star of the evening: Squarespace, a home-grown Manhattan start-up that claims to offer a content management system for small Web sites that can do more than, say, WordPress or MovableType.
Here's the raison d'etre for Squarespace. There are plenty of small Web site owners out there, both businesses and individuals, that are yearning for more than a blog but don't have the technical know-how to do it themselves. Maybe they'd like a few extra … Read more
Last week, as I recounted yesterday, I went to the TechCrunch NYC meetup and was consequently barraged by all kinds of Web 2.0 esoterica. Some were not-so-innovative (do we really need more social bookmarking and link annotation sites?) and others were pretty darn cool. In the "pretty darn cool" category lies Me.dium, a Firefox extension that aims to let you visualize traffic on the Web as though you were "walking down Main Street," according to co-founder David Mandell. It takes the form of a sidebar on your browser (see screengrab at left) and shows … Read more
As any regular partygoer can tell you, mobile phones are an essential part of the nightlife experience. You can use them to text-message from noisy dance floors, quickly grab the digits of cool new people you meet, and even find out where all your friends are thanks to social networking services like Dodgeball. But with a new service called PartyStrands, you can use your cell phone to actually shape the party.
Up until now, Seattle start-up Melodeo has concerned itself mostly with a sort of "social podcast" business model that combines an audio directory, user profiles, and an appeal to customers who are interested in mobile podcast listening via its Mobilcast product. It's had some success, inking deals with cell phone carriers. But now the company has launched something completely different: MoboFlix, which aims to be a sort of YouTube for mobile videos.
The concept is this. Use your camera phone to film a mobile video, submit it to the MoboFlix site, and it can be viewed by … Read more