Does social media really increase your emails?

Social Media leads to more time spent on emails, according to a new study by Nielsen (Found via Mashable).

Apparently heavy social media users spend much more time consuming email each day, and it seems to only be increasing judging by the study. There’s no inference whether this is a good or bad thing, but the question I’d be asking is whether it’s also affected the amount of time spent on the telephone, in meetings etc. I probably spend less time on the telephone now than at any point in my life, and yet I’m keeping in contact with far more people on a far more regular basis than ever before.

How to tackle the email increase:

Nielsen and Mashable both point to the sign-up and notification emails as being the biggest cause of the email influx – but there’s a really, really simple solution.

In addition to my two main email accounts (work and personal), I have an account at OtherInbox which has been utterly fantastic at keeping all the notifications etc out of my way unless I actually need them.

Put simply, Other Inbox is web-based mail, but rather than the normal email address, you get an @username.otherinbox.com address (so mine is @badgergravling.otherinbox.com or @badgergravling.oib.com – cheers for the tip Tim). All I then do is insert the name of the social media site (or anything else I fancy) as my email address – so thewayoftheweb@badgergravling.otherinbox.com.

When that address is emailed by the site, Other Inbox automatically creates a folder of the same name and files every email from the site in the right folder.

So anything likely to clog your inbox gets filtered, filed, and saved for 30 days with a free account (paid accounts are really cheap and worthwhile for permanent archives). And you can integrate it with Gmail, access via IMAP etc, etc.

End result – a far less cluttered inbox every day, and storage for those set-up emails you’ll realise you need in two year’s time.

Mashable misses something in the Posterous vs Tumblr showdown

I’ve long been a fan of Mashable amongst the top tech blogs, and this comparison of the Tumblr and Posterous services goes some way to explaining why.

They combine news with good in-depth analysis of services to show what exactly you might want to use them for – and in general this article is pretty good.

It does have one major, major, major omission, though, which is so obvious as to appear almost intentional.

When Jennifer Van Grive details the autoposting options Posterous offers, she writers:

‘a single Posterous video post could auto-post to Twitter, Facebook , YouTube and Vimeo and blog sites, while photo posts could automatically add images to your Flickr, Facebook, and Picasa accounts.’

What she doesn’t make clear is that Posterous will actually autopost to Tumblr.

That’s a major advantage to Posterous, and certainly a major element for discussion in a ‘head-to-head’ comparison.

And as you can see, it’s something I’m playing around with at the moment, with my Posterous blog, and my Tumblr blog linked.

Mashable monetizes Twitter in an innovative way

One way to monetise Twitter seems to be using feeds/information outside of the site itself – good news for sites and businesses, if not for Twitter directly.

Probably the best use so far is by Mashable, revealed today. In conjunction with viral scientist, Mashable contributor and Twitter uber-analyst Dan Zarrella, the site now has a widget displaying ‘Twitter Brand Sponsors’.

Quoting from Mashable:

‘Twitter Brand Sponsors is a small step towards our sociable ads goal. Here’s how it works: a limited number of brands (and one charity!) looking to engage with the social media community can have their latest Tweets syndicated into the Mashable sidebar, and interested visitors can choose to connect with those brands on Twitter.’

The first sponsors are Jetblue and Mailchimp, indicating that there’s interest at launch – it will be interesting to see how many companies are engaged with a suitable Twitter presence to benefit.

And it also removes the questions around the previous example of Glam’s Twitter feed widget, which displayed moderated #Oscar tweets in a widget with advertising:

Is it right to profit from user-generated content created on another site, and without the awareness of those creating the content?

Would advertisers, even those related to the target audience/subject get enough value from display advertising around Twitter content.

Instead, the Mashable approach allows people to see interaction from businesses (and charities), and decide whether or not to engage.

I have to admit, I’m wondering whether they’ll white-label the Twitter widget, as I’d be keen to run something similar!

Are we talking too much about Twitter?

Peter Cashmore has asked over at Mashable whether bloggers have become too infatuated with Twitter, and if there’s a backlash coming.

Some interesting comments on the article – and also the question of whether Pete should be listening to comments on Mashable and Digg – as someone points out in the comments, the way to look cool online is to act bored with anything that isn’t brand new!

So do you think there is too much talk about Twitter – should there be more on other microblogging/microsharing platforms, or should we take a break from it all and do something else?

How much does it take to make a Twitter app?

It’s a popular question today, after both Techcrunch and Mashable covered the launch of The New Platforms Fund, which will invest between $1000-$3000 in 10 ideas (plus human support), in exchange for a minor equity stake.

Techcrunch was pretty disparaging about the idea (headline: If you are really, really desperate for cash, these guys will give you $3k) Mashable’s take was a bit more open about the diea.

If you want to apply, the form is here.

But what is quite interesting is the debate in the TC comments around how much this could actually fund – obviously it’s not enough to pay for a team of developers for a year, but could it help 1 or 2-person start-ups just out of college to spend a month or two on one idea?

Or, given the current state of the economy and job market, could it be enough to make the mortgage payment for a month whilst you try something different? Or to get the services of a developer or designer for a week or two to make a simple concept into reality?

After all, Stocktwits got more funding after just two months.

But do you think $1-3k is enough to get something started? And is it worth giving up some equity in order to reach another round of funding?

Why I’ll wait to try Twitblogs

There’s a new service, Twitblogs, which allows you to post without being limited to 140 characters, include image tags, embed videos, and include urls of images and audio files – and it also updates Twitter for you.  (There’s a write-up on Mashable with some very interesting comments around the legalities of the appearance etc).

But the flipside is that the founder Sam Sethi, has some previous noteriety, after previous startup Blognation closed.  Michael Arrington writes about both Twitblogs, and links to his own experience with Sethi, who is a former editor of Techcrunch UK.

While I wouldn’t take anyone’s view on what happened as unbiased, and don’t know the details to comment, Arrington does make a couple of very good points about Twitblogs:

  • You need to disclose your Twitter username – and importantly your password (something that’s been raised as an issue with other applications)
  • Although a privacy policy page has been added, the site still hasn’t got any Terms and Conditions listed – the Terms at the bottom of the page isn’t linked. And although most of us may be less than thorough when looking at the Ts and Cs, there are times when they become vitally important.

Personally I’ll wait and see what other responses there are, until I get a chance to use the 140char test account – but in the meantime, you can always see the latest thoughts, as ever, via Twitter Search.

Twitter to provide for internal company use….

A really useful article by Laura Fitton (@pistachio) on Mashable comparing 15 microblogging tools for enterprises also reveals an important and interesting quote on Twitter from Ev Williams. ( Laura has kindly clarified in the comments that she referenced the list of tools maintained by Jeremiah Owyang)

‘Private networks that do private or company-internal sharing via Twitter are on the horizon,’

This is big news considering the size of Twitter relative to all other microblogging platforms. I’d suggest their advantage is to create the private areas within the larger Twittersphere, as one of the problems of tools such as Yammer is that for normal businesses (i.e. non early-adopter tech firms), there simply isn’t critical mass.

Allow early adopters to connect within a company, and frame that within the larger Twittersphere, and it keeps the interest up while allowing the company users to grow.

(Then again, if it’s coming at the same speed as restoring IM functionality etc, it may be some way off!)

Mashable gets it’s own social network

For ages, www.mashable.com has been a really good news site covering social networks, but now mashable man Pete Cashmore has thrown his hat into the social network provider ring with www.my.mashable.com.

It’s clean and simple to use, and fairly basic at the moment, but the most interesting aspect is that you can join networks for all the social sites you use, such as Myspace, Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, Pandora etc. New starters like Virb are also included.

My lovely new profile is here.

It’s quite interesting finding out exactly how many social sites I’ve signed up for, and seeing other users, but I’d hazard a guess that this is the first step towards integration across sites.