The Official Foursquare Day Badge

Posted by Chris on April 13, 2010

Foursquare, the popular location-based social media service, made it official last month when the start-up declared April 16th Foursquare Day. Why April 16th? We’ll, it’s the 4th month of the year and since 4^2 = 16 there is really no other day on the calendar that is fitting. Foursquare has been growing at a rapid pace in the social media arena and three days from now it will gain even more popularity. April 16, 2010 will be the first social media holiday in history and will be celebrated across the globe in cities such as Beijing, Sydney, London, New York City, and San Francisco to name a few.

Foursquare Day is not one of those holidays when we all share gifts so let’s get that out of the way first. Instead, it’s a day of social media fun, discounts at participating venues, special events, sharing information, and unlocking badges like the official “4Sq Day 2010” badge. That’s right, there is an official badge for this holiday, but I’ll come back to this in a minute. So, if you are not sure what events are taking place in your city, feel free to visit 4SqDay.com to view the list of participating cities.

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TwitPic Implements OAuth and Gets a New Look

Posted by Chris on April 12, 2010

TwitPic, the largest photo sharing service on Twitter, posted a tweet to their Twitter account tonight announcing that they had just implemented OAuth as the new login method for their site. If you’re not familiar with the OAuth protocol, how it works, or how it affects you as a user, here is the short version.

OAuth is an open protocol that allows a user to share content stored on one site with another site without having to fork over the login credentials. In other words, you no longer have to provide TwitPic with your username and password to login to their site. Instead, you will need to click the “Sign in with Twitter” button located in the top right corner, when prompted enter your username and password on Twitter.com, and then click the “Allow” button to grant access to TwitPic. This allows TwitPic to connect to your Twitter account so it can access your data, but at no time will TwitPic receive your username and password. To learn more about OAuth visit their Web site here.

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Does the Twitter for BlackBerry App Still Need Work?

Posted by Chris on April 11, 2010

Now that the official Twitter for BlackBerry® app has been officially released to the public it’s worth revisiting this topic to tackle some of the features that need improvement. In February I reviewed the first Twitter for BlackBerry® beta and shared my thoughts about some of the nice features it possessed as well as some of the features that needed improvement. When the second beta was released in early April it was apparent that Twitter and RIM put their heads together to develop an amazing app. The app included new features, improvements to existing features, and the overall speed of the app was superb. However, while the latest beta was very impressive, there were still existing features that were untouched such as the retweet (RT) feature and photo service options.

Will these two features see any improvement?

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Who Will Twitter Acquire Next, TwitPic?

Posted by Chris on April 9, 2010

Twitter was quite busy today making a huge splash in mobile. Early this morning Twitter announced that the hotly anticipated Twitter for BlackBerry app was available for download. This was great news for BlackBerry users, but Twitter didn’t stop there with the good news. Twitter made their way back to the podium tonight to announce they have just agreed to acquire Atebits, the company responsible for developing the popular Tweetie iPhone app and Mac desktop client. According to Twitter CEO Evan Williams, Tweetie will be renamed “Twitter for iPhone” and will be available free of charge in the iTunes AppStore in the coming weeks.

While Twitter has been working closely with RIM over the last year to deliver the official Twitter for BlackBerry app, the move to acquire Atebis comes as a surprise and only two days after Twitter investor and Union Square Ventures principal, Fred Wilson, made a controversial blog post. In short, Wilson stated that he would like to see less apps that fill holes in the Twitter platform and more killer apps emerge in areas such as social gaming, verticals, enterprise, discovery, and analytics. Wilson’s blog post raised concerns among third-party developers because some felt that Twitter would now become their biggest competitor in mobile and desktop application development. Shortly after Wilson posted, he felt it was necessary to respond to an article written by Silicon Alley Insider that summarized his blog post. Wilson wanted to clarify a few things he had written in his post so in a response to the article he said, “that post was my work, not Twitter’s work. While I am on the board of Twitter, I don’t work there and I don’t speak for them.” It’s pure speculation at this point whether or not Twitter was aware of Wilson’s post prior to its release, but after the acquisition of Atebits it sure seems like Fred Wilson knows the game plan at Twitter.

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What New Features are Coming to Digg v4?

Posted by Chris on April 6, 2010

Yesterday I wrote an article about some of the changes going on at Digg and what users should expect to see in the new version of the site when it launches in a few months. While the majority of the changes are still under wraps, Digg took the stage at the “Bigg Digg Shindigg” party at SXSW and teased the crowd about some of the new features. Those people who signed up for the alpha version of the site had a chance to see a preview of the new Digg interface and those who keep tabs on the official Digg blog caught a glimpse of the new login dialog box. It’s obvious that the company is putting a lot of time and effort into the new site which houses a new backend, new infrastructure layer, new services layer, and an overall cosmetic facelift. These are major changes so it appears the company is tearing down the entire site and building it from the ground up – one piece at a time.

So far the upcoming changes to Digg v4 seem very attractive. Since the project is five years in the making the company more than likely covered all their bases before they executed their game plan to overhaul the site. Although this might already be in the works, one important feature that I had mentioned to Digg this afternoon was an option to allow users to search for their friends on Twitter so they could connect with them on Digg. For example, if a user enters their Twitter username on Digg’s site, Digg would scan the “following” list on the user’s Twitter page, important the list to Digg, and allow the user to choose which friends to add. The good thing about this method is that there is no need to provide a username or password to Digg in order for them to access your Twitter friends list since it’s public.

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Qik Beta for BlackBerry Tour Tested

Posted by Chris on April 6, 2010

Last week I wrote an article about Qik rolling out a beta app for BlackBerry users running OS 5.0. Well, last night I received an email from Qik Product Marketing Manager, Jiuyu Zhou, with instructions for downloading the Qik beta app as well as a request to test the BlackBerry Tour’s network. After waiting nearly 8 months I was psyched to finally get my hands on the app and start messing around with it. However, I decided to take a couple minutes first to test the Tour’s network since the results will help the Qik mobile development team find a fix to the streaming live video issue on CDMA devices.

Nonetheless, once the network test was complete I went ahead and downloaded Qik beta version 0.1.17.2 OTA. The installation was smooth and there was no need to reboot the OS to get started, therefore I launched the app, entered my login credentials, and connected successfully to Qik. I’ve been playing with the app for a while and with the exception of streaming live video, everything is working fine and the video upload feature is flawless. As I mentioned in my previous article, streaming live video was a known issue for CDMA devices so I did not expect this feature to be available in this beta version. However, BlackBerry users running OS 5.0 on a GSM device have the ability to stream live video from their BlackBerry to their Qik page as well as the ability to upload recorded videos that already exist on their device.

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Digg Launches Mobile Apps, Buttons, Widgets, and More

Posted by Chris on April 5, 2010

Let me start by saying that while I don’t make it a habit writing articles that cover every day news stories in the social media arena, on occasion I might turn out an article about social media or technology news if I personally experienced whatever it is I’m writing about or perhaps it’s just simply newsworthy. I usually spend time writing about topics that interest me personally such as the social media services I use, apps that I have the opportunity to alpha and beta test, gadgets that I use in my everyday life, and anything else that interests me. I leave the daily reporting to sites like Mashable who do a fantastic job covering social media news as it breaks as well as other topics.

With that said, I thought I would spend a few minutes writing an article about all the changes that have been going on inside Digg. For those who are not familiar with Digg, it’s a popular social news site where users discover and share content from all over the Web. Digg’s cornerstone function is voting stories up and down, also known as “Digging” and “Burying.” The most “Dugg” stories on Digg land a spot on the front page. I’ve been a loyal user of Digg for several years, but after a while I decided to stop using my Digg account and move on because I wasn’t necessarily thrilled how stories were making their way to the front page. However, over the last year I have heard about the many changes coming to Digg, therefore, I signed up for a new account back in February in hopes that when Digg “restarts” and launches Digg v4 things will be different.

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Parker Liautaud Skis to the North Pole to Snag Mayor on Foursquare

Posted by Chris on April 5, 2010

On Friday, 15-year-old Parker Liautaud began an extraordinary expedition to become one of the youngest people to ski the Last Degree of the North Pole. The ultimate goal of this expedition is to help young people become more environmentally aware. With the help of GE Ecomagination, the quest is interactive with a social media twist. Fans can track Parker’s progress by visiting his social media sites which include Twitter, Facebook, flickr, YouTube, Google Earth, and Foursquare. While you can visit each site individually, Facebook is the hub for the interactive experience. Those who follow Parker have the opportunity to share their ideas and videos on how they are reducing their carbon footprint to improve the environment. According to Outside Online, the best ideas and videos submitted will be turned over to the delegates at the 2010 United Nations Environmental Conference in Bonn, Germany.

You might be asking yourself how Foursquare plays into this expedition. Foursquare is one of the many social media tools Parker is using as he makes his way to the North Pole. Although he will be checking in to various places along the way, he will most likely be creating new venues since it’s doubtful there will be a lot of venues to choose from at this point. Unlike Jim Bumgardne, aka “KrazyDad,” who never really became Mayor of the North Pole, Parker Liautaud will not only become the first Mayor of the North Pole on Foursquare, he has an excellent chance to hold down the North Pole mayorship for a very long time.

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TweetDeck Develops an App for BlackBerry

Posted by Chris on April 2, 2010

I’ve been using TweetDeck as my desktop client for quite a while now, and in my opinion, it is by far the best social media client on the market. The ability to manage multiple social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more all within one desktop client makes the social media experience a dream.

Although I’m not an iPhone user, I had the luxury of playing around with TweetDeck for iPhone and I believe it trumps any other social media app available for iPhone. Unfortunately, BlackBerry users have not had the luxury of enjoying the TweetDeck experience, but hopefully that will change shortly.

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Another Inside Look at Twitter for BlackBerry – Beta v1.0.0.37

Posted by Chris on April 1, 2010

A couple months ago I took you inside the first Twitter for BlackBerry® beta app and shared my likes and dislikes. While I was impressed with the app’s GUI, color scheme, and features, I was disappointed with the basic features it lacked and its sluggish performance. Nonetheless, today I got my hands on the new Twitter for BlackBerry® beta v1.0.0.37 and all I can say is “amazing” – simply amazing. This new version of Twitter for BlackBerry® is a pleasure to use now that RIM added several features, made improvements to existing features, and now uses data cache to speed up performance.

The features in this new version of Twitter for BlackBerry® include:

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