Tag Archives: tools

Save friendships – hyper target your facebook updates

I sometimes I feel like a semi-professional Facebook updater (mostl of the posts for Holler), sometimes I feel like an amateur. I have been posting things that were relevant to some friends and bordering on spam for others. As an expat I find it even more difficult to judge whether both my social circles can find common ground beyond web memes and global politics. And what language should they be written in? What do a former German school mate and a current Australian colleague have in common? I reckon not a whole lot, except knowing me. I suspect many have already hidden me because of lacking relevance to their lives.

But help exists in the shape of limiting the visibility of updates. I had known about the feature but not used it much. So when I stumbled upon Crystal Castles and wanted to share their tour dates (the band is bypassing Down Under as many international acts do) I chose to hyper-target the update. Written in German and only visible to those Berlin-based friends I considered to be into Crystal Castles style of music.

Crystal Castles facebook update

If you want to be this flexible, the posting procedure gets a bit silly (or maybe I have overlooked a more convenient way). See below the two parallel windows that allow selecting relevant names/friends.

Selective updates

But to keep the value of facebook up, I fear I must not only do selective reading but also practice considered sharing. Or else I might get paid out by friends in Pringles latest social content campaign “Help the Oversharers“.


3 Things I learnt from doing video interviews

It’s been a while but I am still amused and inspired by my meeting with Casey Spooner at Melbourne Festival. During a hectic but very enjoyable “brand immersion day” with Beck’s I was able to meet Casey back stage. The camera work is a bit wobbly and Casey had a funny way of rambling and theorizing. Still, I was lucky to get a lot of shots during their performance without getting pulled by the bouncers. Practically half the audience was recording with mobile phones and cameras at any given point (makes clapping your hands after a song difficult).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This interview was the first for Beck’s Uberselektor with Alex Barck from my (student day) heroes Jazzanova. Alex and his crew have sonified many of my Thursday nights at the WMF in Berlin. It was clerarly a rubbish idea to only bring the camera and no separate microphone (I think we didn’t even have one at the time).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Roland Appel is from equally good pedigree in terms of electronic music, creating some memorable tracks under the names of Truby Trio and Fauna Flash. He is easily as friendly, approachable and professional as Alexander and a pleasure to interview. Both interviews were done at Future Classic’s studio/office space in Redfern.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Top things I learnt doing these interviews:

People like to ramble.
The more to the point your question, the better they get in coming to the point. Although, Germans love to over-explain and analyse. The more energy you put into your questions and into the exchange, the more energy you will get out of your interviewees. Use open questions like “Take me through this experience”. Don’t hesitate to redo a question if the people lost their train of thought – the second time they will feel more comfortable with the topic and have a more polished version.

You cannot ignore bad sound
Unless you go beserk with the camera people will tolerate a bad zoom or pan in an online video. Bad sound cannot be ignored, especially on the computer where the output device is weak in the first place and mostly played in a noisy environment. Headphones and earplugs might help but you cannot bank on people having them ready or care enough to plug them in. Watch out for background sounds that interfere with the voices.

Edit your own shit
Unless you start editing you never fully understand what you have missed filming and what you can do better next time. Shoot the extra scene of your interviewee getting ready, heading out or something else that can serve as a “cut away” scene. Nobody enjoys a talking head for more than 20 seconds online. Underscore visually what the people are talking about.

Optimizing your twitter experience, stream and reach

I have rarely trawled through the thumbnail gallery of my twitter contacts, even the list view without search or other filtering/search function is less than pleasant. I happen to stumble upon new people to follow and have absolutely no idea how exactly new and exotic followers like BrooklynPride (Organizer and Producer of Brooklyn’s Annual Gay Pride Celebration) find me.  Now here comes Mr.Tweet. Not only is this a cute name (in the spirit of La Linea or Fatso the Wombat), this is also a good service that might get you more meaningful tweets onto the radar.

Follow Mr. Tweet on Twitter, tweet him “who should i follow” and get a nifty analysis back that allows you to pick some people that seem relevant to your interests and network – the latest tweets, location, follow/follower-ratio and tweet-intensity of that particular person is included.

Mr Tweet analysis

Mr Tweet analysis

You still have to make your mind up whether following a blabbermouth like Scobleizer is worth your attention. Mr.Tweet is still in alpha so I am expecting more meaningful, weighted suggestions and features.

Ideally, Tweetdeck , Twitterific and similar apps will combine this sort of suggestion function together with a stats tool like Tweetrush. After all, we want to reassured that our audience finds us important, no? I was particularly fond of the geekiness and visual appeal of POPrl‘s analysis of click through rates to your tweeted links.

POPrl stats on my tweet click through

POPrl stats on my tweet click through

I also saw twitter apps Twitsig promoting your tweets as images on forums and in emails. Eunmac was trying to integrate this into Outlook and I reckon that improves reach with every email sent… but at the same time, I fear that this would take away some of the early charm. The relative intimacy and thoughtfulness of our current circles would sit uneasily with the work related tediousness of Outlook.

And unless you are Britney Spears and hire a full-time Twitter P.A. (what a job description: “Must be able to twitter even when on the loo!”), there just is no scale to Twittertime!

Twitsig image of my twitter stream

Twitsig image of my twitter stream

I would be keen to know what your favourite twitter apps and extensions are? Maybe that’s a question I’d better tweet

Top real-time commentary tools: Hacking US election debates

As Sarah and John enter their VP bout of phrases (this Friday, SBS 11am), I collected some examples of online politics with real-time communication. Big events like the US elections or the Super Bowl always raise the bar or set a deadline for which many companies, publishers and advertisers develop new tools. People at the same time are very receptive for changes in the way they consume and interact with media. 

mage by Laughing Squid

image by Laughing Squid


  1. Current.TV is teaming up with Twitter to “hack the debates”, similar to the worm on Australian politics it shows a real-time emotional response. But no point in trying to ban this one as in effect it goes further, by fusing IP-TV with social media commentary. There is a teaser video here. If you are in need of rubbing shoulders with Al G., gatecrash the next live event at their office. While I find the flurry of comments too fast and either inter-related or too random to follow, the political version of Twitter is an interesting stream of semi-private and semi-public polling / chat / discussion / activism.
  2. Twitter is running its solo stream of commentary which social media people like Owyang plug into with a “#tweetdebate” (analyzed by him here).
  3. If the questions themselves are irksome to you, lobby and campaign for your own through a tool like Google moderator and make your version bubble to the top,  Town Hall-style and in a similar vein to the YouTube question night
  4. The overlay of social commentary on video is still sort of new-ish, here a funny example in politics of an Obama speech video on TubePopper. Somebody give me the real time version of this (only witty people allowed to use it please!)
  5. More extensive is Ved.io. Their player allows users to insert html, images, comments, dynamic feeds and even  widgets into a stream of video (demo video here).
  6. MSNBC Politics uses the debates to (post-event) split the (from a visual stand point) formulaic format. The resulting smallest components are then made searchable. An automated semantic understanding of that video material in real-time would be the next step (2012: Sarah Palin vs. Hillary Clinton).
  7. Now combine this ongoing stream of mere opinions with something more factual like Google’s InQuotes and CNN’s usual deep data analysis. They already blew me away in 2004, so that night should be a visual feast for data nerds

Voila, any user can turn into a qualified commentator, covering any complex debate like a pro — If they can keep hold of the “nuggets of meaning” in this vast amount of input. Connected with immediate polling it all gives a pretty exciting (or hectic, depending on your point of view) analysis at what matters to people and who scores in politics. What jolly good clairvoyance shown by Monthy Python in their Election Night Special. 

And obviously all this generates more than direct political commentary. The amount of data, some of it even geo-location specific (entered via mobile or membership sites), gives an insight into who might be more susceptible to “green car”, “home alarm” or “cheap childcare” advertising. I guess it is not what most people who enter their comments are even aware of.