September 25, 2009

How to get more followers on Twitter

Horseshoe Magnet

John Haydon
If you’re using Twitter for your organization or business, at some point you’ll want to increase the number of folks following you on Twitter.
I know what some of you are thinking. “It isn’t about the number of followers you have!”
That’s true — to a point.

3 reasons why getting more followers is good business

  • Follower numbers are social proof of what you offer on Twitter. It’s not the only reason people choose to click follow, but it is a check box.
  • Increasing your followers spreads your message. Remember the last time you met a group of completely new people? Maybe at a party, or an event? Seeds were planted, pigeons were launched.
  • Increasing your followers is good for current followers. They want to meet new people too, right? I can’t count how many times I’ve been the “connector” between someone I just met, and a long-time follower. Win, win, win!

When you’re ready to increase your followers, you want to do it in a way that builds trust and self respect. And don’t be this guy:


How to increase your followers

Take your time. A building’s foundation takes hard work and patience. Any shortcuts in the process won’t allow the building to confidently stand on it year after year. Putting in sincere hard work with respect to building our Twitter network is also easy way to stand out — simply because no one wants to do hard work anymore! So be patient — and don’t rush the process.

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September 15, 2009

Toward a Web of open video

Toward open video on the Web from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaA few weeks ago, before and after the Open Video conference at NYU, I sketched out the proposition that open video is a requirement for an open Web in two posts: The promise of open source video and Boxee and the promise of open media.

By some estimates, 90 percent of the traffic on the Internet will be video by 2013, so this affects free and open discourse online. Above is a 7-minute interview I conducted with Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, who talks about how video is really separate from the rest of the Web in that it’s a much more closed system. “We need to look at how to make video a first-class citizen on the Web,” he said.

Surman said he hopes a concerted push toward open standards will “shift the market away from a black box video plug-in, where the video is separate from the rest of the page, to something where video can interact with Javascript” or other elements on a Web page.

Video today is locked up (technologically) and locked down (legally). In order for video to become part of the Web’s innovation ecosystem, Surman said, we need to be able to play, manipulate, transform and remix video in the same way we can with photos and data.

In the past two years, the vast majority of video hosting sites have settled on Adobe’s Flash as the format of choice because more than 95 percent of desktop computers and laptops can play them. But Flash isn’t an open source system, and video producers have been limited in how they can make video interact with other Web page elements.

“That may not sounds interesting to those who just watch videos, but it’ll be interesting first to video producers who can do all kinds of innovative things that we can’t even imagine now,” he said. Continue reading

September 15, 2009

Scale vs. ownership: A conflict in the making?

A guest post by Kelly Sponberg, project manager at RANET

RANET“For about a decade now I have been fortunate enough to work on a small and niche-focused program called RANET (Radio And Internet for the Communication of Hydro-Meteorological Information for Rural Development). The program has a simply stated goal to make meteorological forecasts, warnings, and observations more readily available to rural and remote communities. It does so through a variety of training, system development, and site deployment activities.

The technologies used by RANET have ranged from satellite broadcasts, to satellite telephony, to FM community radio, include HF e-mail networks, a variety of web based applications, and of course mobile phone messaging and data services. We recently began experimenting with and using FrontlineSMS to scratch a particular itch. I’ll try to describe the challenge and problem that FrontlineSMS uniquely addresses well. Continue reading

September 14, 2009

Use the Web to improve your community

Mozilla Service Week offers ideas to help you put technology to good use

mozillaJD LasicaSocialbrite is a partner in Mozilla Service Week, which runs today through next Monday. The initiative inspires tech companies across the globe to offer their talent and expertise to local organizations that need their assistance.

Here’s a quick overview from our friends at Mozilla:

“During the week of September 14-21, 2009, we’re asking individuals to step up and make a difference by using the Web to better their community. We’re looking for people who want to share, give, engage, create, and collaborate by offering their time and talent to local organizations and people who need their help. … By utilizing our community’s talents for writing, designing, programming, developing, and all-around technical know-how, we believe we can make the Web a better place for everyone.”

Some specific ideas that Mozilla offered:

  • Teach senior citizens how to use the Web.
  • Show a non-profit how to use social networking to grow its base of supporters.
  • Help install a wireless network at a school.
  • Create Web how-to materials for a library’s computer cluster.
  • Refurbish hardware for a local computer center.
  • Update a non-profit organization’s website.
  • Teach the values of the open Web to other public benefit organizations.

Today the Mozilla blog gave an update, saying: “we’re close to 10,000 volunteer hours and over 3,500 volunteer opportunities.”

Choose from a list of over 3,500 service opportunities on our partner sites (Idealist & There is a plethora of opportunities, including helping The Nature Conservancy of Chicago, IL with its photo archive, developing a LinkedIn group for Wardrobe for Opportunity in Oakland, CA, helping CARE, Germany’s largest NPO, and keeping Mexico’s Puente a la Salud Comunitaria’s website up-to-date.  Our partner OneWebDay also has a variety of service events taking place on and around Sept. 22nd, including a number of events in San Francisco.

You’ll also want to learn how you can take part in OneWebDay on Sept. 22 to make the Web better. Begin by following @owd on Twitter and donating your Facebook status on Sept. 22.

September 11, 2009

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaAt WordCamp San Francisco a few weeks ago, I managed to get a few minutes alone with Matt Mullwenweg, co-founder, chief coder and “Head of Bug Creation” for WordPress. (I self-host Socialbrite and with code from; others use to host their blog.)

In this 5 1/2-minute video interview, Matt discusses the state of WordPress, its astonishing growth here and abroad, the vibrancy of the consumer open source movement and his estimate that about  8,000 coders are contributing code and themes to WordPress today. The recent release of WordPress 2.8.4 (fixing a security hole) makes WordPress, in my view, the best blogging software on the planet (with apologies to newcomer Posterous).

A few highlights from our conversation:

• Matt: “Some people think blogging is slowing down, but from everything we’ve seen, it seems blogging is accelerating just as fast as ever. ”

• Matt: “There’s no real killer feature in software anymore. There are 50 killer features, and everyone has a different 50.”

• WordPress fits into the consumer wave of open source tools. the first wave was purely development tools, the second was infrastructure and the third is consumer” applications like Firefox and Azureus. Continue reading

September 10, 2009

10 new ways to take social actions

The Extraordinaries
Nathan Freitas, Jacob Colker and Ben Rigby of the Extraordinaries at NetSquared 2009.

JD LasicaThe Bay Area-based Extraordinaires are among the social causes highlighted in the current issue of Time magazine in an article titled New Ways to Make a Difference.

Time identified three new trends in doing good:

Put your time to work

1The Extraordinaries: The organization is helping to pioneer “micro-volunteering.” As co-founder Jacob Colker told us last week at Net Tuesday, only 26 percent of Americans volunteer — at all — in a given year. That’s partly because we lead super-busy lives. gives us a way to contribute bits and pieces of our spare time to do something worthy, from helping to add tags to museum archives to snapping water going to waste in San Diego. Got an iPhone? Look for an app called The Extraordinaries., due to launch this fall, “encourages you to dream big — end poverty! cure cancer! — and then helps come up with small, specific ways you can help achieve progress in those areas.” promotes random acts of kindness. First, print a card at the Kindred site, then “do something nice for a stranger, like sharing an umbrella or helping carry luggage, and hand that person the card. The recipient can go online and note where the act of kindness took place and then pass the card along. It’s like Pay It Forward, with mapping features,” Time writes., a new aggregation site of volunteer opportunities that we wrote about three months ago, draws listings not only from traditional volunteer sites but also from Craigslist and Meetup. It also lets you share those opportunities with friends on social networks.

Put your money to work

5eBay’s is one of our favorite sites. Buy a fair-trade scarf or the work of an African artisan on the site, which vets every product to ensure that it’s eco-friendly and was produced in a worker-friendly environment. Continue reading