2013 Reviews of the Year

As 2013 draws to an end, almost everyone is busy either compiling their reviews of the past 12 months, or publishing predictions and trends for 2014.

Predicting the future is always difficult, even when you spend your life watching an industry closely – it’s easy to get caught up in enthusiasm and shorten the timeline that you might have logically thought, and there are always external factors and events which we don’t know about yet which could mix things up a bit more…

Annual reviews can also lead to an overwhelming amount of information and data, but there’s often inspiration to be found, so we’ve compiled some of the 2013 reviews from the big internet names to share:

 

Tumblr 2013 Year in Review:

Tumblr2013YearinReview

Tumblr has released a big categorised review, including everything from New and Top blogs, to the most popular in Movies, Music, and even Sponsored Posts. Plenty of inspiration and enjoyment to be had, particularly if you’re a fan on animated Gifs.

 

Pinterest: Top Pins of 2013:

Pinterest2013TopPins

Staying with categorised imagery, Pinterest has also released a ‘top pins’ for 2013, separated in categories such as Home Decor, Art, Design and by country ( UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland).

 

Google: Zeitgeist 2013:

GoogleYearinReview2013

As always, Google has produced a range of videos and data to cover the top searches in 2013. Exploring the data via Google Trends is a bit more useful from a business perspective.

 

Bing: Review of the Year 2013:

BingReviewoftheyear

Bing has released the 2013 top searches etc in a more traditional article style via MSN news. Strangely they released the url bingtrends.com which redirects to MSN news for the UK. Either way, the information is there.

 

Facebook: Stories 2013

FacebookStories

Facebook Stories 2013 includes video and the Most Talked About Topics etc near you, as well as personal Year in Review features. Also available in text format for global and US information.

 

Reddit Top Posts and Stats of 2013:

redditlogo

When you start a look back at 2013 with 56 billion pageviews, 731 million unique visitors and 404,603,286 comments, it’s not been a bad 2013 for Reddit. Also includes top countries, top posts, and highlights from the End of Year awards.

 

Slideshare Zeitgeist:

 

 

Instagram has released blog posts covering 2013 Top Moments, and 2013 Top Locations.

And with a day to go, the most popular articles on TheWayoftheWeb.net in 2013 were:

Tumblr: Stats, the ability to add pages, and revenue on the way

I’m a big fan of both Tumblr and Posterous, despite not really having the time/project to make the best use of them at the moment. So the fact that Tumblr has released a new feature, some interesting statistics and signs of new revenue streams launching soon has reignited my thoughts on how I could use the service effectively.

The new feature is the ability to add static pages – which will aid companies and bloggers looking to keep content highlighted. Adding a page is simple, with three layouts to choose from.

And it will only build on some pretty impressive statistics released today – 1 billion page views in February 2010 for starters. It also has 2 million posts every day, 15,000 new posts daily, and 18 new posts and reblogs every second.

Incidentally, 1 billion page views in February equals 36 million page views per day, 25,000 page views per minute, or 400 per second. And Tumblr has put together a nice infographic to show off the info:

Tumblr statistics February 2010

And if that isn’t enough, apparently there are also plans to unveil two new revenue generating features next month, powered by the widget mysteriously pictured below:

For a personal or simple company blog, I’d definitely recommend checking out Tumblr or Posterous. They’re easier to update than a traditional hosted blog platform (whether Blogger or WordPress), and offer as many design options etc. Ultimately a full self-hosted blog platform such as WordPress (Which this site uses) offers some additional advantages, but if you don’t want the hassle or advertising, then go with the microblogging platforms.

Posterous allows themes and custom html/css

I’m determined to get back into covering non-Twitter news, so here’s the latest on Posterous, which now lets anyone customise their microblog/lifestreaming/’blogging lite’ site with themes or custom HTML and CSS.

Until now it’s been one of the big differences between it and rival Tumblr – hence why Posterous also allows you to drag and drop your Tumblr theme into Posterous. This will make it easier for anyone considering the switch.

Personally I definitely prefer using Posterous due to the ease with which I can upload everything I want via email – and I already use it to autopost to Tumblr.

Here’s the handy site guide to themes:

PosterousScreenshot

 

The one thing I haven’t seen tried anywhere else, and that I’m keen to experiment with, is whether using custom HTML will allow advertising into the platform – it isn’t something I’d stumbled across on any Tumblr/Posterous sites yet, and given that it’s about the only reason I can find for picking Google’s Blogger over WordPress as a hosted service, it could be a major feature for either of the two lifestreaming sites.

A recap on the original three microblogging platforms.

Once upon a time, there were three prominent microblogging platforms, Twitter, Plurk and Jaiku. One became incredibly popular, one introduced a side-on view, and one was acquired and then released by the Google Fairy Godmother.

Others fell by the wayside, including Pownce, and Rejaw.

But how do they compare now, after the mainstream adoption of Twitter:

Obviously this doesn’t tell the complete story, as it tracks web visits only, but it’s safe to assume it’s proportionally correct. Twitter’s close to 25 million Unique Visitors, Plurk is holding steady between 250,000-300,000 for the past year, and Jaiku has dropped from 70,000 down to 30-40,000 for the last two months measured.

In fact, it’s not even winning the Open Source Microblogging Platform war – as Identi.ca has grown slightly while Jaiku declined.

Meanwhile, Google has listed the 46 official accounts it has on Twitter.

And in the meantime, we’ve seen the rise of Twitter clients such as Tweetdeck, internal microblogging such as Yammer,  the blend of micro and macro blogging in Tumblr and Posterous, and video and audio blogging with the likes of 12 seconds and Audioboo. Not forgetting the lifestreaming element of the likes of Friendfeed.

And although we talk about forums, blogs and Web 2.0 social networks as if they’ve reached the endpoint of their evolution, there’s still a lot more to come from them – I’d say the social elements of the web aren’t even 15% of what they’ll become in the next 10 years.

The question is how you as a person, you as a company, or you as a developer can find clarity through it all…

(There is also the question fo what Google were thinking re: Jaiku, and how it’s managing to miss out on the rise of Open Source as much as it did on the rise of microblogging – after all, the platform itself doesn’t appear to be the cause)

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.

Is Posterous taking Tumblr’s easy blogging crown?

When it comes to 140 character microblogging, Twitter has established itself as the leader. In hosted blogging, Blogger leads the way. And if you’re hosting your own blog, then WordPress is the most common choice (as used for this blog!)

And until recently, the clear choice for someone who wanted more space and multimedia than 140 characters, but didn’t want a ‘full-on’ blog was Tumblr. I set up my own Tumblr blog fairly quickly and didn’t really develop it much, but good friend Angus has taken it a bit fair bit further.

But all that seems to have changed recently, as Posterous has launched a full scale attack of features, and has already inspired Steve Rubel to write about how the microblogging/lifestreaming approach has changed the way he blogs.

While Tumblr has introduced a popularity ranking system, Posterous appears to be everywhere. Recent updated include becoming an alternative to posting images on Twitpic and a way to turn email lists into group blogs.

Now you can import your blog to Posterous from any of the major publishing platforms – including Tumblr.

And upload video from the Apple iPhone 3G S to multiple social sites, including Twitter and Facebook.

Posterous seems to be benefitting from the ‘posting by email’ side of the site, which makes it an easy and effective way to get content online. Although Tumblr has a similar feature, it’s far less prominent when you’re comparing the services at face value. And Posterous is also targetting the distribution of that content, which is something Tumblr doesn’t seem to be doing as much. It’s very much in the vein of Twitter and Friendfeed in making it quick and easy to create, aggregate, and share.

(I’m also available on Posterous, but I’m only just starting to use it).

In fact, the only killer feature that both sites are missing is the one that I firmly believe has kept Blogger popular in the face of WordPress.com, and also Tumblr/Posterous – the ability to quickly and easily install Google Adsense adverts on a hosted platform. It’s not the sole reason for someone choosing to blog, as we always like to focus on the desire for self-expression, but it’s an important issue for a lot of people. Even if common sense suggests hardly anyone will make any significant revenue, the hope factor is as important as in buying a lottery ticket!

If I ran Tumblr right now, I’d be introducing a similarly quick and simple Adsense system to Bloggers as quickly as I could!

Evernote for micro blogging?

When Dan asked me to look after 140Char while he is off sampling the delights of foriegn lands I was a little unsure. Yes I have Tumblr and a Twitter accounts but I’m hardly the most prolific poster.

But today I was introduced to a very cool web app called Evernote. I know it has been around for a while but it is out of private beta now and available for all.

Evernote for Windows (also available for Mac, iPhone, mobile and web) - Thanks to bluelectric on Flickr

Evernote for Windows (also available for Mac, iPhone, mobile and web) - Thanks to bluelectric on Flickr

Once I got over my excitement at how this very useful productivity app is going to save me from the clutches of my addled brain. I noticed that Evernote has a very useful function that allows you to put certain notes in a public folder that publishes them blog-style with a handy little RSS feed.

I’ve already added the feed to my Tumblog and I think I’m going to to be using it quite a bit from now on.

Now I know you can email posts to Tumblr but to be honest I have only used it once and that was just for a test.

So what’s the diference? you ask. Well for me the real benefit is that it will be part of something that I am already using extensively, so the leap from making a note for myself to making a note that I think will be useful for other people is only a small one.

Unlike things like Twitter, which I can see is very useful but don’t have the time to dedicate to building up that network, it will immediately be useful to me and the (micro) blogging thing will just come as an added benefit that I can work on slowly.

Even if you don’t want to use it to add to your blogging arsenal you should still check out Evernote. It is one of the best memory aids I have ever seen.

This post was added by Angus Farquhar, Online Video Producer

Interview with Cesare Rocchi – founder of Posty microblogging client

One of the better microblogging clients available at the moment is Posty, createdby Cesare PostyRocchi.

It’s an Adobe Air applications which runs on Windows (2000/XP/Vista), MacOsx (10.4.9 or more), and even Linux! And besides the fact it runs behind proxies, it feeds out to Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Tumblr, Friendfeed, and Identi.ca.

So I got in touch with Cesare to get an idea of what was behind Posty, and what he plans for the future.

What is Posty in 140chars?

Posty in a small desktop application which allows browsing/updating your profile on twitter, jaiku, pownce, tumblr, friendfeed, identi.ca.

What makes it different from other cross-posting applications?

Posty has one of the smallest memory footprint. Although Adobe Air does not allow developers to fully manage memory usage, Posty is optimized to use as little memory as possible.
To my knowledge Posty is the only standalone desktop application which supports SIX services and allows a rich browsing experience. For example you can watch videos and pictures right in Posty! Check pownce, tumblr or friendfeeed for an example.
Finally, unlike web applications, Posty encrypts and stores sensible data like passwords on your hard drive, instead of third party servers.

How long did it take to create the initial version?

The first version, which included twitter and jaiku took two months to develop.
Let me say that Posty is a project that I develop during my spare time. So when I say “two months” I mean “the spare time that I had during two months”. I can’t quantify more than that.

Was Adobe Air easy to work with? Does it offer significant advantages?

Adobe Air was pretty easy to work with. Posty has grown as a response to two needs I had: to learn Adobe Air and to save some time in interacting with my online communities.

I think I am on the way I expected to be. One of the main advantages of Adobe Air is the ability of quickly changing the layout of the application. Without getting too technical the VBox, a container to display whatever thing you want vertically, is a great idea. So for initial prototypes it is just perfect.
As you project grows you need some discipline to avoid melting too much the logic and the graphics. For example, after the first prototype (which I confess I did just for my personal use), I redesigned the application along the lines of MVC pattern. So if, by chance, I hit my head and I forget anything about Posty, by looking at the MVC structure of my code I quickly “remember” where to put my hands.

How long has it been live? And is it gaining many users, judging by the good response it’s received?

I released the first version of Posty at the end of April. I remember I didn’t even had a website, so the release was made by attaching the air file to an email message.
Posty is gaining users every day and received a good response. I receive emails of encouragement and suggestion. People are also willing to test beta versions. This is fundamental to me, because I get almost immediate feedback on new features or solved bugs.

Are any of the microblogging services more difficult to integrate with? I noticed it took a couple of tries to verify my Jaiku account for example?

Maybe you did it while Jaiku was updating their servers. Yet Jaiku has not implemented an appropriate api to verify credentials, so I exploit a trick. BTW Jaiku to me has a lot of potential and I expect they extend api support to other functionalities. I didn’t find particular difficulties during the implementation. The testing is often the phase which takes more time. Unfortunately some network rely on servers which are hit every second by hundred thousand requests and your testing can get slow. I remember the “flying whale” days of twitter … testing new functionalities was a nightmare. Same for Pownce some time.
A special mention to Friendfeed, which was the most reliable api service I had to do with. And let me “celebrate” to the tumblr api as the simplest and cleanest and well-documented api I have worked with.
Finally, I think I’ll have some issue with Facebook, which I’ll integrate soon and which is known to be a less “friendly” api for desktop applications.

Are you going to continue simply to ask for donations to monetise Posty? Or would you be tempted to introduce advertising?

At the moment I’ll keep on asking for donations. BTW thanks to those who donated so far and thanks to those who will donate. Even a small donation is precious to me. Also encouragement messages, blog posts and suggestions are considered a donation. So if you like Posty, or have an idea on  how to extend it, just drop me a line. I appreciated it a lot.

Has it raised your profile throughout the internet?

I can’t tell the difference before and after Posty. For sure my online activity has been influenced by the growth of Posty (read less free time for me and more emails to reply to). But the most evident improvement is that it takes much much less time to send my updates/news across different networks and to address the incoming messages/replies. Attempting a measurement I’d say I spend half of the time and save a lot of clicks.
Let me also mention a cognitive aspect. Posty concentrates in a “place” a set of activities (update twitter, check Pownce replies, etc). Wanna do one of those activities? open Posty. Busy doing other stuff? Just close Posty to avoid distractions. Within a browser this border fades and, at least to me, it is easy to interrupt an activity to update/check my twitter, just because I noticed that a tab on twitter was left open (accidentally).
With Posty I feel I am more focused on my current activity.

Have you got more plans for improving Posty?

Yes. I have many items on the todo list: a brighter look and feel, facebook support, improvements on the interaction with the graphical interface. And a special feature which I am planning since a while. But can’t tell more.

What’s your view on cross-posting? Obviously Posty makes it far easier, but do you think cross-posting is possible without it becoming almost like spam? Do you have any tips for users?

First, don’t just ask questions. Many tend to get without giving. I think giving is important. Contribute with ideas, suggestions, whatever you feel it improves things. Second, choose as carefully as possible your friends contacts. It’s not easy to foresee how active a person will be, but if you see that the last 100 updates are about knitting and you hate knitting you shouldn’t click add/follow. Indeed try to find and add people who share some interest with you.
Final tip. Given that the number of friends/contacts is limited try to remove those who are less active, to make room for people more corresponding to you. You should not fear to click remove.

If you had to pick a favourite microblogging/lifestreaming site at gunpoint, which would you pick?

As for the service per se I’d pick Friendfeed, because their servers are very reliable. You might say that the interface is “spartan”, but I like the service and the scenarios it opens.
If we talk about people and responsiveness I’d say twitter and Pownce. Especially on Pownce I get almost immediate replies. Maybe this is because I was a beta tester and I collected many active friends. Of course twitter is still the most used/discussed/crowded service you can think of. And the one I use to stay in touch with the posty community via: http://twitter.com/_posty.

Make sure you don’t miss more interviews, including one with Blippr founders Jonathan C and Chris Heard on Thursday. You can always subscribe to the 140char RSS feed, here.

A Monday Microblog catch-up…

I know Friday is the traditional day for a round-up post, but so much happens in the microblogosphere on a daily basis, all the 140char team have been busy, and Monday gives some nice alliteration:

Twitter stats on Outbound UK SMS usage

So not too much has happened!

My website IS a social network

In this recent age of the social network explosion, myself and others have identified the need to work to amalgate your activities to one central location to be able to maintain your internet identity namely, your own website.

It is the job of this personal website to act as a central repository for all you social networks and external websites so you aren’t lost over a million, slightly overlapping networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Plurk and so on.

I am just in the process of moving my currently WordPress powered website over to Tumblr for a few significant (to me) reasons:

  • Firstly, it occurred to me that if I ever blogged anything of interest which hit a nerve ‘out there’ then a decent amount of sudden traffic would clean out my bank because of the hosting charges.
  • I’m a fan of WordPress and am always a bit of a control freak and felt inadequate if I didn’t host and fully run my own website. I’ve gotten over this a bit and feel that in this day and age, such website pride not needed. Also noting that plenty of web guru’s don’t host their own sites helped.
  • WordPress updates always give me chills and they are needed airly often. I have had upgrades go BADLY wrong before, with all posts having to be manually re-entered.
  • Like moving to Mac, I wanted to have my blog just work and remove some of the temptation to fiddle with it all the time.
  • I wanted something more streamline and neat.

And then there’s my main reasons..

I’ve had my Tumblr account for some time and wasn’t quite sure about the concept. It provides micro-blogging, of a sort, but where post types are defined into text, photo, link, quote, chat, audio, video. Each of these types has a pre-defined style applied to it meaning it makes it easy to quickly post different types of content that looks nice and the main template can be fully customised with HTML.

Tumblr can seem a bit backwards on first glance, especially when coming from a full blogging platform like WordPress. There are no categories as such, no ‘pages’ (static posts outside of the blog/date system) and the only real navigation comes as PREV and NEXT pagination. But a system as Tumblr shines when you embrace the format – it’s meant a blog – a date ordered, ongoing series of updates from a personal point of view. The one-page, single list layout that is Tumblr gives a great blog format. It means, like a blog, the main emphasis is about what it going on now and the Tumblr ‘dashboard’ gives you the means to quickly post content with little other thought.

Tumblr also provides domain customising so that you CAN have the Tumblr blog using your own mydomain.com address.

Archiving on Tumblr is handled in a unique way. Posts are date organised on a page in a grid layout with actual post thumbnails of the posts you have made.

Tags have recently been introduced but unlike WordPress, there aren’t any functions to have all those tags listed in a sidebar or anything. BUT apply a tag to a post automatically makes a url of it, so that a posts tagged personal, can then be accessed in date order via yourname.tumblr.com/tagged/personal meaning you could manually add a tag list if, like me, you have a fixed tag list, defined in advance.

But still the main reason to switch a whole website to something like Tumblr is that rather than your main website being a hub for other networks you use, it means that your website IS one of those networks. It means your website ITSELF can be added as a friend rather than giving someone your username for a particular social network and having the friend have to go off to that other site and add you.

This is technically where MySpace was so far ahead but most of us didn’t realise because it was/is so poorly implemented.

Having this setup means that the potential for self-promotion is greatly increased as your website is inside a network.

If only Twitter gave this functionality – image it: your twitter profile page WAS your website with custom HTML etc..?