Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

StumbleUpon being acquired by eBay

stumbleupon.pngWord on the street is that StumbleUpon has signed a term sheet with eBay – indicating that they will be acquired by eBay. The price is rumored to be in the $40 – $45 million range. Not bad for a start-up that raised $1.5m in only one round of venture funding, eh?

StumbleUpon is the internet equivalent of channel surfing on your TV. StumbleUpon is installed as a web browser toolbar that allows users to ‘stumble’ upon websites that match their profile and interestes by clicking a “Stumble!” button. Users can also rate websites (via thumbs up or thumbs down) – the more positive ratings a website has the more that site will be served/displayed to other ‘stumblers.’ If a site is rated positively and has not been rated by another ‘stumber’, then the site is added to their database as a website that should be served/displayed to other ‘stumblers.’

Frankly, I’m not sure why eBay wants to acquire StumbleUpon…GigaOM has a couple of reasons (one involves integrating it with Skype) but that doesn’t seem too compelling to me. What do you think?

[via TechCrunch]


Filed under: Business, Social Web, Software, Technology, Web 2.0

What’s next for Twitter?

Along with all of the Twitter-hype there have been a lot of people wondering where it will go from here. Among the many posts, here are some I suggest reading: Matt Balez’s RIP Twitter (2007 – 2007), Dave Winer’s The Future of Twitter?, Jeff Ventura’s Where does Twitter go from here? Live, die or evolve?, and the Wall Street Journal’s Friends Swat Twitters and Frustration.

All of these web 2.0/social websites are a natural extension of our basic human tendency (or need) to communicate but there’s a limit before others start to feel like you’re over communicating. This is already happening where some Twitterers are telling their friends to stop posting about what they ate for lunch, dinner, etc. Speaking of, this picture, from Peter Cashmore, does a great job illustrating this point from the perspective of catblogging:


Personally, with Twitter’s current features (and performance issues) I think the Twitter hype will slowly end unless if it evolves into something more useful. That being said, there are some creative uses for Twitter other than posting about yourself. One example is using Twitter as the delivery mechanism for home automation. Another, is using it in the newsroom. So, perhaps, Twitter 1.0 will be a fad but v2.0 will provide more of a value proposition(?).

Filed under: Social Web, Technology, Thoughts, Web 2.0

To Twitter or not to Twitter?

twitter.PNGIf you’re not familiar with Twitter, here’s an overview: it’s like a micro blog where people answer a simple question of “What are you doing?” By answering this question, in 140 characters or less, it allows you to inform your circle of friends, in real-time, about what you’re doing. You post updates (called tweets) via Twitter.com, mobile phone, IM, or a desktop app (like Twitterrific and Twitteroo). If you’ve connected your mobile phone to Twitter, you’ll get an SMS message whenever your friends posts an update…which is basically a group SMS mailing list – similar to Dodgeball (remember that?) but easier to use.

When I first checked-out Twitter 3 -4 months ago I thought, “Eh, what’s the big deal?” Now that South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) is over and Twitter won the SXSW Web Award, I decided to create an account to see what all the hype is about. After playing around with it for a day or two, I now understand why it’s popular but it’s not for me. I don’t feel the need to post what I’m doing throughout the day. Besides, do people need to know what I’m doing and do they really care? I doubt it.

I think Twitter can cause information overload because there’s no way to filter the noise (e.g., “eating a burrito for lunch”). The potential to receive more noise than signal is quite high. Most people’s lives aren’t that interesting so there’s no need to know all of the details…unless, of course, if you’re a stalker. And, if you are, you’re probably already using Twitter. 😉

So, to Twitter or not to Twitter – that is the question. My answer (for now): not to Twitter.

Btw, if you’re interested in reading some Twitters, here are some relatively well-known people using Twitter: John Edwards, Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, and Steve Rubel.

Filed under: Social Web, Technology, Thoughts, Web 2.0