Nextdoor.com is a neighborhood-based social network. It facilitates local interactions; it is defined by real-life proximity.
Since its launching last October, it has set up over 2,000 such neighborhoods in the United States, each containing about 500 to 700 households.
Nextdoor’s site provides:
A house-by-house map of neighbors who are members
A forum for posting items of general interest
Classified listing for buying, selling away things
A database for neighbor-recommended local services
Post by e-mail –immediately or in daily digest- or text alerts
Pages are private, so the information does not appear on search engine results. Everything, including the directory of members, is visible only to members.
To keep out marketers, Nextdoor requires new members to prove that they actually live at their claimed residences, either by allowing a one-cent transaction to be processed on a credit card tied to the address, by having an existing neighborhood member vouch for their identity, or by other means.
Backed by investors, the service is free and, for now, carries no advertising, despite it plans to enlist local businesses to give members special offers.
Is Nextdoor.com something totally new?
Well, at the beginning, Facebook was an exclusive social network built around the Harvard campus. Residency was verified by the university-issued e-mail address.
Why then a network for neighborhoods?
The CEO of Nextdoor.com says: “As you get older, the community that is most valuable to you is the one in which you live (...). The neighborhood is where you buy a home, where your kids go to school, where you spend the majority of your physical life.”
Last week General Motors (GM), the third-largest advertiser in the U.S., shut down its Facebook budget, about $10 million, explaining that Facebook ads have little effect on consumers’ car purchases. (However, it will continue to use Facebook’s free fan page.)
Experts consider that big corporations do not want to use Facebook ads just as a brand loyalty mechanism or to make them look trendy:
By the measure of how many people click on an ad, Facebook doesn’t look very effective. Nearly 60 % of users say never click on ads or sponsored content, and another quarter rarely does.
The big problem Facebook and many other social-media sites have is that they don’t have consistent, reliable metrics that prove advertising on their sites works. They need to create a clear set of tools that show return on investment.
Facebook and other sites are introducing new advertising formats, like “social context” feature, which allows users what friends have already interacted with the brand.
Facebook, with 900 million users and 500 million log in every day, is the largest publisher of online display ads – static or animated banners. It published 28 % of all such online ads last year. The company generated $3.7 billion of revenue last year, 85 percent from advertising.
Now at a market value of $100 billion, investors estimate that each person with a Facebook page is worth roughly $100. Also it is said that each Facebook user generated $4 worth of sales for the company.
Companies like Coursera.org are revolutionizing the college education by allowing worldwide students to hear his lectures, do homework assignments, be graded and receive a certificate for completing the course. That certificate can be used to get a better job or gain admission to a better school.
Coursera’s cofounder explains:
“I normally teach 400 students, but last semester I taught 100,000 in an online course on machine learning. We just broke a million enrollments”.
Thomas Friedman –in my view the best columnist in the world- writes:
“Private companies, like Phoenix, have been offering online degrees for a fee for years. And schools like M.I.T. and Stanford have been offering lectures for free online. Coursera is the next step: building an interactive platform that will allow the best schools in the world to not only offer a wide range of free course lectures online, but also a system of testing, grading, student-to-student help and awarding certificates of completion of a course for under $100. Sounds like a good deal. Tuition at the real-life Stanford is over $40,000 a year.”
Coursera is starting with 40 courses online, from computing to the humanities, offered by professors from Stanford, Princeton, Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. Also, it will work with employers to connect students with job opportunities that are appropriate to their newly acquired skills.
M.I.T., Harvard and private companies, like Udacity, are creating similar platforms. “In five years this will be a huge industry,” predicts Friedman.
“When you consider how many problems around the world are attributable to the lack of education, that is very good news. Let the revolution begin.”
A less than 8-year-old company got the largest IPO in history, and a lot of Facebookers, including hundreds of employees, got fabulously rich.
On its first day as a public company, Friday 18, Facebook valued at $105.19 billion, making it worth as much as PepsiCo.
Shares of the social network giant in the Nasdaq closed at $38.23, just 0.6 percent above the initial public offering price - a price that represented 100 times historial earnings (compared with 18 for Google, worth $196 billion).
Despite all the hype and buzz, it was a modest start. Bankers were too aggressive in setting the offering at $38 a share.
Mark Zuckerberg, the 28-year-old founder known for his signature hoodie, own a fifth of the company, worth $19.3 billion.
Facebook's first venture capital investor, Accel Partners, which wrote a $12.7 million check seven years ago, cashed out $1.9 billion in the stock offering and now holds a stake worth $5.8 billion.
The company's first angel investor, Peter Thiel, who invested $500,000 in 2004, sold a third of his stake for $640 million.
Mark Pincus, the chief executive of Zynga, cashed out $38 million, after writing a $40,000 check years ago.
The rise of social media, where sharing private moments is encouraged, has created a new source of friction for couples. It seems that in order to avoid further conflict, the couple should agree to review each other's comments before posting.
"If one half of a couple is not interested in broadcasting the details of a botched dinner or romantic weekend, Facebook postings or tweets can create irritation, embarrassment, miscommunication and bruised egos,"says the NYT in a revealing article.
"After a few relationship-testing episodes, some spouses have started insisting that their partners ask for approval before posting comments and photographs that include them. Couples also are talking through rules as early as the first date (a kind of social media prenup) about what is O.K. to share. Even tweeting about something as seemingly innocent as a house repair can become a lesson in boundary-setting." So wifes and husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends, now you must negotiate how to handle your social media behavior!
While I was reviewing Twitter's recommended best practices to increase reputation and customer's trust (I'll write about it later on), it occurred to me that it would be great to list some ideas to promote your profile:
Publicize your Twitter URL to your fans and share it when you talk about Twitter.
Make sure your full name, bio and key words are filled out in your profile, in order for your account to appear in Twitter search results. Twitter explains that it may take 1-2 days for any change to affect search results.
Stay active: tweet, retweet and mention regularly to gain resonance amongst your followers.
Create a List (or many) with some of the Twitter accounts you most like to follow. It will give your fans a taste of what you love on Twiiter, and it will allow allow you to cross-promote other accounts - including your friends or partners.
Make sure you include the term #WelcomeToTwitter in the description of the list. This "Warm Sign UP" feature lets the Twitter system know to present it to new users when they sign-up specifically through your URL.
On this page you should see users that are on the list you just created.
Kickstarter, the site where people back creative projects, is becoming a viable alternative to starting a company. It provides funding and activates a user base that will be interested in your project.
See the case of a wristwatch called Pebble, that could display information from an iPhone. Backers could pledge $99 and were promised a Pabble watch in return. Nearly 60,000 people had pledged close to $9 million. (See their video above).
Other gadgets getting people's funding are the Elevation dock, a sleek stand for the iPhone, or Brydge, which turns an iPad into a laptop resembling the MacBook Air.
Beyond cool devices, the most common projects revolve around film and music. For example, this year at Tribeca Film Festival there were a dozen different Kickstarter-backed films.
To date, Kickstarter has raised more than $200 million for 20,000 projects, or about 44 percent of those that sought financing on the site. The average project size hovers around $5,000. Only projects that meet their stated financing goals receive money.
The site does not charge anything to set up a campaign. But if is successful, Kickstarter takes 5 percent of the final amount. Amazon, which processes the payments, takes 3 to 5 percent.
Other sites for financing through a crowd are Crowdtilt, a service that lets friends contribute money for outings like a beach vacation; Zokos, a start-up that gives guests a way to pitch in for a dinner party; and Gambitious, a financing site devoted to indie game developers.
YouTube plans to offer soon more than 100 online channels of original programming, like Wigs (a channel aimed at women), Team USA (a channel for the United States Olympic Committee), and Picture Show (online series and short films released by Tribeca Film Festival).
Shows on some of the initial channels are being sponsored by advertisers like AT&T, General Motors, Toyota and Unilever.
"Seven years after YouTube began, we're about to see another large explosion in the use of video," said Eric E. Schmidt, executive chairman of Google.
"This is probably a third wave, following the first, broadcast TV to cable, and the second, cable to the Internet."
Harvard and the MIT have announced a new nonprofit partnership, known as edX, to offer free online courses from both universities, as a way to build a global community of online learners and research teaching methods and technologies.
The edX project will include engineering and humanities courses.
Harvard's involvement follows Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announcement in December that it was starting an open online learning project, MITx.
Its first course, Circuits and Electronics, began in March, enrolling about 120,000 students, some 10,000 of whom made it through the recent midterm exam. Those who complete the course will get a certificate of mastery and a grade, but no official credit.
Similarly, edX courses will offer a certificate but not credit.
Also, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan have announced this month their partnership with a new commercial company, Coursera, with $16 million in venture capital.
Sebastina Thrun, the Stanford professor who got 160,000 students in his Artificial Intelligence course, has attracted more than 200,000 students to the six courses offered at his new company, Udacity
Experts say that if a leading university offers a free circuit course, other universities need to develop quicky a circuits course.
It's more like a social news aggregator, Flipboard style, than social network. You see stories your friends have shared, alongside info about your friends activities.
One of the standout features is the ability to sync your device's calendar with your LinkedIn profile. It means that when you have meetings you can add contextual information about contacts from their Linkedin profiles. This feature is also available on the updated iPhone and Android apps.
Now LinkedIn has 150 million users. More than 22% of its traffic comes from mobile devices; a year ago, it was 8 %.