What’s the value of Twitter when other social networks are thriving?

 

This article is all about one main question: What is the value of Twitter when other social networks are thriving?

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Source: Andreas Eldh (Flickr)

Ever since Twitter started, it has been under an identity crisis. What is Twitter and what is its value to the world? It has undoubtedly been important: Twitter is where the first news about what we now know to have been the bin Laden raid was recorded, it has been used to document and organize social revolutions around the world – good and bad, and this year itself, has been home to not-to-be-missed tweets from @realDonaldTrump. But why is Twitter still culturally important in a world that hardly knows what Twitter is and why they should use it? Why is it still relevant in a world where Twitter is arguably falling to irrelevancy by its older and more popular rival, Facebook, which has been implementing features of Twitter and other social networks on their own platforms, and by newer, visual-intensive apps like Snapchat?

The answer lies in two aspects of Twitter: its publicness and its searchability.

Publicness is the key reason that I believe Twitter has an edge over Facebook in documenting the world. I am maybe one of the few people who doubts that Facebook (the website/app, not the company) will ever be able to trump Twitter entirely. This is because there are aspects of Facebook that I doubt its users would want to let go, namely the privacy of their profiles. Because Facebook profiles are so private, they aren’t as effective in documenting to the world what’s happening, because you can’t search for private posts on public search. On the other hand, Twitter users mostly have public profiles, and are therefore contributing to the global conversation.

Other social networks like Instagram and Snapchat, too, aren’t public in the same way as Twitter is, and a lot of that has to do with their searchability, or lack thereof.

Instagram isn’t as public as Twitter. Plenty of Instagram users have private profiles, and therefore post pictures that can’t be found by search. But its search feature is so flawed, it’s crazy. You can only search for things in hashtag form, unlike Twitter, which is interesting because hashtags originated on Twitter. On Twitter, if you search the words “Hillary Clinton,” you will find tweets about her regardless of whether the user who tweeted used the hashtag “#HillaryClinton.” On Instagram, you must use the hashtag, period. Snapchat, meanwhile, doesn’t have a search function for posts at all. This means that neither Instagram nor Snapchat in their current forms can beat Twitter in its publicness and searchability. Even if Instagram or Snapchat change their searchability, I doubt, like Facebook, they’d be able to have the same success as Twitter without changing their product to such a level that they alienate people.

For me personally, Twitter has been the most social network in my life for the better part of the last decade. While I’ve used Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (as well as Twitter) to keep up with family and friends, Twitter is the way that I’ve kept up with the world. It is the best instant journalism platform that has ever existed. This is why businesses, when they are creating social media profiles, still make a Twitter account (along with Facebook) first. And this is why politicians still use Twitter to share their thoughts. Even if they don’t realize that that’s why a Twitter profile is so valuable. If you have something to share with the world, Twitter is the place to share it.

Now, do I think Twitter has longevity? I don’t know. I think that as a company, they could do well to be bought out (their leadership hasn’t been great), namely by Google, which is clearly interested in social but hasn’t been able to figure it out. But I do know one thing: I certainly wouldn’t bet them out.

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What’s the value of Twitter when other social networks are thriving?

Just wanted to say hi.

I found myself hanging around this part of the web today. I realized that it’s probably been unclear if this blog is still a thing. And that’s why I’m here.

I haven’t been interested in blogging lately, but that isn’t to say I won’t ever be. I continue to maintain that when I’m ready to post, this is more likely than not where it will be. All this to say that I still consider this blog my current blog. Heck, it’s already lasted longer than the bulk of my previous ones!

So, if you’re waiting for my next blog post, don’t hesitate to subscribe.

Mayank

Just wanted to say hi.

The Fourth Time’s the Charm?

*Insert cheesy song lyrics*

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home

“Coming Home” by Diddy-Dirty Money ft. Skylar Grey

No, I’m not being dramatic about this at all.

I’ve been a blogger, on and off, for five years now. I’ve spent half a decade with various WordPress blogs, of which my most successful was one called Mayank’s Blog. It’s a little hard to say exactly what Mayank’s Blog was. At one point, it was a Club Penguin Cheats blog. At another point, I dabbled in poetry. But for the most interesting part of its run, I mused about my life.

Both the friends I met online and I were quite active on it at that point, commenting and participating, just as I tried my best to do for their blogs. However, all good things must come to an end, and I moved on to greener pastures. I still dabbled in blogging, though, and made a few blogs that I was never very serious about.

About two years ago, my friends started returning to blogging, and I decided to join the bandwagon with a bang. So I started Mayank’s Blog Tribute, which was very similar in the look and feel of the original. I enjoyed working on that so much that I got a WordPress.org to host the new blog with the same URL as the first one – MayanksBlog.com. And I had very ambitious plans for it. But after moving to .org, I became disinterested yet again.

Things happened in my life since then. I opened up a YouTube channel where I’ve been having a lot of fun, though I haven’t posted a new video since last year (I’m coming back, I swear!). But most importantly, I went through some things with my health that put me off both vlogging and blogging for a few months as I recovered.

I’m back now because I needed a new home for my MayanksBlog.com content. This is because after much deliberation, I have decided that since I haven’t been blogging much recently, it doesn’t make sense to maintain my self hosted site. That site is shutting down.

Instead, I’ve moved my posts and pages from over there back here – to the blog that used to be Mayank’s Blog Tribute. In addition to being the new home of my old content, this is also the home for new blog posts from me. Whenever I want to dabble in blogging, this is where I’ll be. Right now, I have no posting schedule but that can all change. Either way, I’m planning on blogging here as long as possible.

I’m being a lot less ambitious this time around. On previous sites, I had massive plans for pages, and I wanted to build the biggest and most elaborate Games section of any blog. Now, I’ve made things very simple and I’m very happy with the way this little corner of the Internet is coming together.

My minimalist homepage is now focused exclusively on what matters most: the content. And I only have two pages. One of them is a throwback, for old time’s sake.

If you would like to check out my latest blog posts, please follow this blog and/or my Twitter, so you can be notified every time I have something new up. If you had followed Mayank’s Blog Tribute back in 2012, you are probably already following this blog as this is actually the same site – I just changed the URL.

That’s about it, guys! Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear what you guys have to say in the comments below!

Mayank

 

The Fourth Time’s the Charm?

Mayank’s.. Vlog?

UPDATE: My first vlog is now LIVE!

Yes, you are actually reading a new post on this blog! This isn’t automated, nor is it being written by anyone who isn’t Mayank! In other words, you are reading an honest-to-gosh real post! This is certainly a cause to celebrate and not just because I’m actually posting again! In fact, this is a cause to celebrate because I have an announcement!

 I am coming back to YouTube!

Now, you might be asking yourself, “when was Mayank ever on YouTube?.” I actually made videos from late 2008 to mid 2010! Some of my videos included the “Never Give Your Best Friend Cereal” series, the “McCain vs. Obama Interactive Dance-Off,” and the “Club Penguin Wrestling” series. I really enjoyed making those videos for a long while, until I finally became bored.

When my buddy Eliot decided he wanted to start vlogging, he truly inspired me. I thought, “why am I just sitting here and doing nothing in terms of YouTube?”. For Christmas this year, I decided I would ask for a camcorder to produce quality vlogs. I am truly fortunate and grateful that I was able to get one.

That being said, I plan on posting videos about various topics from life and politics to apples and oranges. This week’s video will be uploaded tomorrow, but the rest of them will be up online every other Sunday. I can’t wait to share with you my content, which I have been working very hard on!

However, you can get a first taste of what’s to come because my sister Trisha just started her own vlog today! 🙂 And yes, that is me singing at the end:

With all this talk about vlogging, what’s to happen to Mayank’s Blog? Well, it isn’t going anywhere! In fact, I plan on blogging at least once a month, so please check back for more content! I am also on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, and you may find updates about b0th my posts and videos on all four networks (especially Twitter!)! 🙂

Thanks for reading! 🙂

– Mayank

Are you guys working on any new projects for the new year you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments section below!

Mayank’s.. Vlog?

Why OMGPOP is Worth a Fresh Look by Zynga

If you’re an avid mobile gamer, chances are you’ve heard of Draw Something, the overnight App Store sensation where players “alternate turns between drawing a picture to convey the guessword for his/her partner to guess.” In other words, it’s like playing Pictionary over mobile devices. Though online drawing games existed before this one, it uses a game formula that had already been popular: the turn-based method pioneered by Words with Friends, which was likely a contributing factor to its rising up the charts; additionally, it masters the use of pop culture-themed guesswords, such as “Lady GaGa” and “Katniss Everdeen,” which made the game exciting for many people.

When social gaming giant Zynga discovered Draw Something, it’s likely their staff had a “We should have thought of that!” moment and felt threatened by New York-based developer OMGPOP’s breakout success. If Zynga felt the need to capitalize on the chart-topper, they likely felt they had two options: acquire the developer, acquire the app itself, or create their own version of it (Draw with Friends, maybe?). Well, they infamously did the former: Zynga acquired OMGPOP for $180 million.

Draw Something, as with many popular games, is now having trouble maintaining people’s interest, and is declining on the charts. I can understand this based on experience playing: the game can get repetitive, though it can become addicting when you’re really into it. For Zynga, it is a great franchise to have on their palette, but was it worth acquiring the entire OMGPOP company for it? I believe it would have been a good buy if Zynga fully understood the developer’s potential.

What the mainstream media and Zynga itself doesn’t advertise often is that OMGPOP, though it was a new player in mobile, had already established popularity with their online gaming portal, OMGPOP.com, the home of popular Flash-based multiplayer games such as Blockles, Balloono, and Draw My Thing. These avenues of entertainment were held together by an established community of 30,000+ daily visitors and a quality staff. The problem was Zynga probably wasn’t aware of what they really acquired apart from Draw Something: addicting games, a great staff, and loyal players. You might think that they, who are looking for ways to keep their customers engaged and trying desperately to create popular experiences, would embrace this existing community of gamers. In fact, they’re doing the exact opposite: Zynga is killing off OMGPOP.com and most of their games (except Draw Something, Draw Something 2, and the Facebook version of Draw My Thing) on September 30, and has already laid off the lion’s share of its staff.

Zynga probably wants to be considered a “cool” company to the social media generation, which is exactly what OMGPOP is! Around 2009, popular YouTubers Mike Mozart (JeepersMedia) and Justine Ezarik (iJustine) got their fans addicted to the site and some of them (including myself) continue to engage with OMGPOP.com! Additionally, it rated as one of the 50 Best Websites of 2009 by Time Magazine! So is it worth closing? According to Zynga, it is worth closing to them to make way for new experiences. What’s unfortunate for Zynga is that they very well could be closing the doors on one of their biggest opportunities: a palette of addicting games, many of which could be successful on mobile, which is today their primary focus! Even David Ko, their Chief Mobile Officer agreed: “The team (at OMGPOP) truly understands how to build for the mobile social experience.”

Here is my advice for Zynga:

If Zynga wants OMGPOP as part of their portfolio, they should make use of the great games that they have created for their game portal and take them to mobile. This includes the ever-popular Balloono, as well as Blockles, one of the company’s oldest and most successful games. If Zynga plans to close OMGPOP regardless of the fact that it could be the precise brand that saves their corporation, they should sell the company back to its employees. Though it could be an “embarrassment” for Zynga to sell off OMGPOP and for it to become successful, it is a good strategy for them if they want to acquire developers in the future. It could be reassuring for such developers to know that if Zynga acquires them and they don’t meet expectations (in OMGPOP’s case, I actually don’t know what the expectations were), their hard work doesn’t get thrown away. It would make Zynga a more appealing candidate for a potential acquirer.

Summing this post up, OMGPOP was a New York-based developer that is now owned by infamous social gaming corporation Zynga last year after their app, Draw Something, became an App Store sensation. Today, the company behind the drawing app is in the midst of its demise, to the sadness of 30,000+ daily visitors and more than 400,000 Facebook fans. If you feel OMGPOP is worth a fresh look by Zynga, as I do, please sign this petition: http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/zynga-continue-omgpop-com.

Thank you for reading,

Mayank

What do you feel about OMGPOP’s closure? Did you play it in its prime? Will you miss it? Let me know in the comments section below! (Thanks Kieran and Eliot for inspiring this question format!)

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Why OMGPOP is Worth a Fresh Look by Zynga

“Books or eBooks?” Revisited

Almost a year after I published my blog post, Books or eBooks.. or Trees?, the topic continues to intrigue me.  I wrote the aforesaid post in response to my friend Kieran’s fascinating debate, which compared and contrasted eBooks to physical books. My response was about the environmental impact of both tangible and electronic books, and how the subject could take a whole new dimension if we found a greener way to produce paper for palpable books:

My only issue with tangible books, besides space, is simply the fact that we need to extinguish trees in order to create fresh paper. Though new methods of creating paper, by recycling existing paper, have been introduced, I wish we could leave our trees and forests alone, so that together as human beings we can live as one among nature. I once said on Twitter that “paper is the meat of trees.” I never realized how serious that statement was. When we are reading books, we are deciphering information from what used to be a life-form, one which gave birds and squirrels shelter from the cruelty that occasionally occur in our “circle of life.”

What if we introduced a new type of paper that didn’t affect our trees? What if they didn’t affect anyone? Would you pick eReaders if you knew that these tangible books were more environmentally friendly than your rechargeable devices?

I still believe this is a legitimate argument, however it is also palpable to say that with environmentally friendly energy sources (e.g. solar and wind-powered energy) becoming more prominent, it could be just as good for our planet to use an e-reader. Putting the environment aside for this post, which is better, books or e-books? Many of us bookworms might argue in favor of “real” books, but could it be simply due to nostalgia that we might argue this way? Does it put a roadblock on the highway of innovation to say that tangible books are really better than e-readers? I would answer “maybe.”

Books have been one of our primary sources of information for years, and the history of human beings using writing systems to note down thoughts and emotions dates back to at least the Ancient Egyptians. Ever since the Information Age started, there is much information that isn’t available in the format of tangible books.  In fact, imagine how much room it would take up to move the data of the Internet into that format! There are even mediums such as videos which aren’t possible to include in tangible books that are possible to include in e-books! With all the power and information bestowed in the Internet, and the little amount of physical space it actually takes up, is it any wonder that we choose e-books over physical books?

Speaking of physical space, public libraries take up much of their physical space to store information through old and new books alike. Could that, today, be considered a waste of space? Libraries are great places to get information, but since it takes less physical room to get the same information today, is the current library system really.. current? This is where BiblioTech comes into play.

BiblioTech is a new type of library opening in San Antonio, Texas this autumn, which will give us similar information as traditional libraries, without any physical books on site. Instead of having hundreds of bookshelves on site, the library will have hundreds of desks, with devices such as computers and Kindles resting upon them for public use. You could consider the usage of gadgets inside the library equal to reading books inside traditional libraries, and the equal of checking out books will be to check out devices! Imagine checking out a Kindle with multiple pre-installed books instead of tangible, individual books! The property will only be about 5,000 square feet, but with the same amount of information (and maybe more!) than a traditional library. When we hear about this concept, are we hearing about the future? If the Texas experiment is a success, I think it’s likely to become widespread! However, I also believe that if we let our nostalgia get in the way of technological innovation, such experiments may never see the light of day! So if you ever hear about projects such as BiblioTech sprouting up, perhaps it’s important to keep an open mind!

I must admit, I too would be a little disappointed to see tangible books lose their prominence, but I also believe it is due to my nostalgia that I think this way. I’ve been drawn towards perceptible books since I began reading as a toddler, and even now, I’ve read more tangible books than I have e-books. Though sometimes we are scared of new technology overpowering the old, perhaps it’s time we relax about the subject because we never know what we’ll think in the future! If e-readers become so prominent and proves that it can give us information in better ways than even physical books with content such as videos, then why should we stop the flow of innovation? Let’s keep an open mind and see where the wind takes us, on this topic.

Thanks for reading,

Mayank

What do you think after reading this post: books or e-books? Would you be willing to try out a library such as BiblioTech? Let me know in the comments below!

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“Books or eBooks?” Revisited

The Methods of Disposal

Warning: This post includes discussion about death and religion, which are sensitive topics. Feel free to read at your own risk and comment your own opinions about the subject.

Funeral (noun): the ceremonies for a dead person prior to burial or cremation; obsequies.

The unfortunate death of Cory Monteith, the talented actor and musician who portrayed the resident jock on the popular television series Glee, has certainly gotten me thinking. What about, you may ask? Well, all the usual topics people have been thinking about since Monteith’s death: his family, Lea Michele, alcoholism, rehabilitation, and.. his funeral arrangements.

Funerals are the way that many human beings say adieu to their loved ones after their passing. However, I often wonder, is it really goodbye? In some religions, including Hinduism, there is a concept of an afterlife and the soul continues to exist. The cremation method of body disposal is essential, in the Hindu religion, to ensure the spirit’s entry back into the cycle of reincarnation. Imagine meeting a soul a second time, once before and once after re-entering the cycle. Do you think it sounds.. cool? Perhaps creepy?

I recall a time when I met an individual for the first time but there was something so.. familiar.. about them. Could that have possibly been an instance of myself meeting a soul that I had met before?

Another method to dispose of a human body is the infamous method of burial [into the ground], which can be an advantage, as those who still reside on Earth can continuously revisit the departed; an argument in Hinduism would however be that the cycle of reincarnation couldn’t happen, as the soul wouldn’t have been “set free.” A similar method is that of entombment, which involves the placement of the deteriorating body in a tomb.

A method of disposal that could be considered more fascinating than any of those above mentioned is the sky burial method, which originated in the Chinese provinces. I believe its pro is that it tries to use remains in a productive way that could benefit the future, which is to leave it for the birds to nibble on, using the dead to sustain the living. When you know your remains could benefit the lives of others, would you choose to be generous and allow your body to take part in this process? In my opinion, it’s an intriguing topic to ponder over. You must keep in mind when you internally debate this question that there are cons too: particularly that vultures don’t react well after eating those that were medicated, and in this day and age, how many of us reading this can say we haven’t ever been?

I continuously think of my own death, sometimes just “because” and other times, as I’m sure is true for many of us, in fear. I wonder how I’m going to be disposed of, especially. Cremation is how my family members are traditionally disposed of, so its likelihood is high, but I can’t help but wonder about other methods, especially sky burial.

Going back to the topic of Cory Monteith, it fascinates me that his loved ones chose to have him cremated, though I have little doubt their family made the right decision for their circumstances. May his spirit go through a wonderful cycle of reincarnation, or may he rest in peace, and may his legacy live on.

What do you believe is the right way of disposal for you when your time of passing arrives? What do you believe happens to the body after death? This may be a sensitive topic but I’d love to hear your opinions – all I ask of you is to be considerate to others!

– Mayank

Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_burial (Contains sensitive content – read at your own risk!)

The Methods of Disposal