I attended a brand summit at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, awhile back, and one of the major points that I got from the conference is that Twitter is like a digital campfire. It shapes the world, and provides an opportunity to connect with the members of the community.

Indeed, Twitter is an effective social media tool for marketers to connect and engage with their target market. Publications such as BBC News World, Fox News, and New York Times have maintained a steady presence on Twitter.Popular brands like Chanel, Samsung, Starbucks, PlayStation, Victoria’s Secret have also joined and successfully leveraged on Twitter to connect with their audience.

So the question is, how do we build a community around our digital campfire? If you’re not sure how to go about Twitter marketing, here are some tips for you:


Before going to Twitter camp, the most important thing to determine is why you are there in the first place. In order to create well-defined goals, we should craft an integrated marketing communications plan – no matter what advertising channels we choose. Should we decide to include Twitter in the media mix, it should be based on solid grounds that Twitter is part of the media lifestyle of the target audience. Doing advertising activities a la carte won’t work in the current marketing landscape. It should form part of an overall cohesive marketing strategy.

Once you have established the overall strategy to include Twitter, make sure to take advantage of the many benefits that it offers.

Be Committed

It’s like going to camp, with the commitment that you’ll do your best in the activities, make friends, and try to work around the struggles of camp life. My professor used to say – should you ever decide to be in social media, you have to stay there. It is a commitment.

You can’t NOT be there once you’ve made the decision. The audience will count on your presence, to engage with you, to read your tweets, and to just connect with your brand.Share Your Content Using Your Own Persona

Just as going to camp will make you realize your strengths

and weaknesses, and what makes you great as a person, so is true with Twitter marketing. Your brand should be made whole. You have to humanize your brand, know its flaws, and what will make people buy it. Treat it as if it was a real person talking, sharing, and engaging with the audience. It makes your brand more relatable. You would want your Twitter followers to read your tweets, like them, and retweet them.

Check out this exchange between Nespresso and KitKat. Both have successfully humanized their brands. Nespresso apparently gives a gift to KitKat, to which the latter responds to by saying, thank you!


Another good way to be more engaging in Twitter is to ride on the current trend, see this tweet from Virgin America.

Virgin America

Remember to also follow a good Twitter content strategy. It shouldn’t be too hardsell, where everything just pushes for your product. Nobody likes an annoying salesman. Be sure to foster online relationships instead.

Follow Industry Leaders

In camp, we have counselors or camp leaders that we follow orders from. The same principle applies to Twitter marketing. One good advantage of Twitter over the other social platforms is its ability to connect to high-profile personalities.

You can follow them, send them a tweet, and hope that they’ll actually respond to you. This could also work for job applications. Who could ever forget the successful airBnB job application stunt by Nina Mufleh? She made a creative online proposal to airBnB, and tweeted it to the CEO! She got a job interview shortly right after. Twitter is very powerful this way, so be sure to take advantage of that.

Track Trends

The hashtag is a powerful Twitter tool in tracking online trends, so make sure to always check what’s on and hip, and use this to your advantage.

For example, #JenniferAniston trended recently because of an article she wrote for Huffington Post titled, “For the Record“. It’s a blog post that shames the notion of objectifying women to conform to a certain norm. Vogue, being a product targeted towards women, have jumped on it, and cleverly stated, “We are all Jennifer Aniston”.


Leverage Your Followers

The most important aspect of utilizing Twitter as a digital campfire is to build a community around it. The main goal is not to have many Twitter followers, but to make your current community more active and engaging.

As a result, they will become your online brand advocates, voluntarily retweeting your posts, or answering your questions, and tagging other people along in the conversation. As a by-product, you’ll create a movement of online brand advocates who will voluntarily rally for your brand.

To Conclude

Twitter has the power to gather people together to create connections and to exchange stories. It is a very dynamic tool that can be used by marketers to engage with their community. It should be used with extreme care because its strength is in the very community that it built around the digital campfire. When used well, it can make a brandhere once you’ve made the decision. The audience will count on your presence, to engage with you, to read your tweets, and to just connect with your brand.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/tips-successful-twitter-marketing/167967/


There is no question about it that social media is changing faster than we can ever imagine. If you utilize social media for business, then you would do well to pay attention to 10 unexpected social media statistics, figures and facts and how it will change your perspective of social media.

Rethink Your Social Strategy Based on Social Media Facts and Figures

There are various facts and figures coming from prominent social media giants such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, Twitter, etc that will have your head spinning. Not only that, it will forever change the way you think about these platforms and the impact it will have on your bottom line should you utilize them effectively. Let’s take a look.

1. Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook managed to attract a large number of older users who fall under the 45 to 64 year age bracket. Twitter comes out top as it is growing a lot faster when it comes to users aged between 55 to 64 years old. It goes to show that you should not just focus your content on younger users.

2. Another surprising fact worthy of mentioning is that Facebook has over 700 million active mobile users and counting. Did you know that more than 80 percent of Facebook users are situated outside Canada and the U.S? What is more, up to 75 percent of marketers think they know what consumers want, but only 35 percent of these actually asked their buyers.

3. While Facebook holds the number one spot, Google Plus claimed its spot as the second most popular social network and it keeps growing. The last update showed that Google Plus have over 300 million monthly users. Google Plus managed to get more and more people interested as they are curious how it all works out.

4. It is crazy to think that most smartphone users aged between 18 to 44 spend close to 40 minutes each day connecting to Facebook of which most of their time is being utilized browsing news feeds. This is a wake up call for business owners to ensure their content displays properly on smaller screens. Besides, more than 4 billion people access social media via their mobile devices.

5. LinkedIn as the biggest professional network reached just over 330 million users of which 107 million happen to be from the USA. What is more, LinkedIn caters for 200 countries and is available in 20 languages if not more. The average user spends close to 20 minutes on LinkedIn. The number of pageviews reached in excess of 28 billion. Best of all, every second, two new users join this social media powerhouse. Were you aware that up to 42 percent if not more, of LinkedIn visits originate from mobile devices?

6. It’s been said that men predominantly use Google Plus, while women prefer Pinterest. Statistics have shown that up to 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, which may be the case due to food being the main category discussed. While close to 70 percent register Google Plus users are men. Pinterest is now more than 70 million plus strong and just over 23 percent use it at least once a day.

7. YouTube that is now owned by Google happens to be the second largest search engine as more than one billion visitors frequent this site. They boast over 100 hours of uploaded videos per minute. It is madness to think that more than 6 billion hours of video are being watched on a monthly basis. Business owners might be surprised to find that over 40 percent of YouTube traffic originates from mobile users. Did you know that as much as 1 billion mobile video views are being reported by YouTube?

8. Do not underestimate the power of blogs in terms of its ability to strengthen social media reach as more than 12 million users engage in blogging via prominent social networks. After all, businesses who uses blogs manage to generate 67 percent more leads than their rivals. This is why over 23 percent of marketers are investing in social media and blogging. By doing so business owners who blog at least 15 times a month generate five times as much traffic than those who do not bother to blog at all.

9. Instagram boasts that more than 20 billion photos have been uploaded to date. It sure is interesting to learn that one and a half million Instagram users are based in Thailand. As much as 50 million people signed up in the last 6 months. In addition, Instagram ensures that users receive over one billion like each day. They are now just over 200 million strong and counting. Furthermore, close to 25 percent of Instagram users are teenagers.

10. Twitter is a very popular medium for bridging the gap between social media and mass media. Television broadcasters are using Twitter to attract comments and feedback on their shows. What makes it so powerful is its simplicity, news breaking capability and feeds done in real time. They average at around 288 plus million active users according to Global Web Index. It’s been reported that they have well over 500 million registered users. Interestingly, China has the most users on Twitter. Eighty percent of Twitter users access the social media network from their mobile phones. Moving forward, Twitter is one to be watched as it is grabbing more customers than ever before.
Whether you like it or not, these social media statistics, figures and facts reveal how important it is to rethink your social media business strategies. It is even stated that social media tops porn as it is now the number one pass time for many.

It is a fact that social media is worth its weight in gold. Social media is not just a passing fad or phase as it continues to grow and newer and better platforms crop up all the time. Therefore, putting an effort into your social media strategies will go a long way to put you on top of your game. It is considered the smart way of doing business. This is why many business owners should make it their business to make use of the 10 unexpected social media statistics, figures and facts mentioned to position themselves in front of a lucrative market.

Source : http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-social-metrics/how-10-unexpected-social-media-statistics-figures-and-facts-will-change-your-outlook-on-social-media/

It’s no secret that social media is a global phenomenon. But, with so many of these online communication tools that do a variety of tasks, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

If you’re just starting out with social media and need some help in order to grow your personal presence, here is the best way to figure out which network is right for you and how to accomplish that goal.

Know your networks

There are a lot of social networks out there. Figuring which platform to use can get intimidating. So, the first place to start is to get a general understanding of the most popular social media sites.

  • Facebook shouldn’t need an introduction. With more than 1.59 billion monthly active users in the world, this is the social network. Since almost everyone has a Facebook account, it’s a great medium for anyone to connect and share information with others.YouTube has a billion users. Don't count this search engine out because you haven't figured out how to market on this site yet. Acquired by Google in 2006, and the fifth most popular social site, it focuses on video content of almost every type.Twitter is the second-most-popular social media site with around 320 million active monthly users. Twitter is unique because users can only use 140 characters for their posts. This makes it an excellent platform for breaking news and sharing links.LinkedIn is the most popular professional networking site in the world. If you want to advance your career or network with industry professionals, you have to create a LinkedIn profile. This is more business oriented and professional.Believe it or not, Google+ has over 418 active million users. Having a profile allows people to easily locate you if they conduct a search inquiry on the most popular search engine in the world.Pinterest allows users to create bulletin boards, so it’s perfect for creating and sharing visual content like crafts and recipes. This community is filled with passionate women (primarily) that are very crafty.
  • Instagram is another social network that focuses on visual content. It’s owned by Facebook, so it’s not surprising that 95% of its 400 million users share their content on Facebook as well. People spend a surprising amount of time on this platform.
  • Tumblr is essentially a microblog network where users share content ranging from quotes to videos. It's very popular.
  • Flickr is yet another platform where you can share photos and videos. It’s been found that 1 million images are shared daily. If you're a photographer, you need to be here as well as several other niche photography sites.
  • Reddit is a social and entertainment network where users can ask questions and share links. Users actually vote on submissions, so this determines the popularity of the precise content on the site.
  • Snapchat has become one of the most-buzzed about networks around. It’s simply an image messaging app where photos disappear seconds after opened by the recipient.
  • WhatsApp is an extremely popular messaging app, at present, that allows you to send texts, images and videos to other users.
  • Quora is a question-and-answer website with more than 80 million monthly unique visitors. This is great because you can get answers to questions that can't necessarily be found online.
  • Vine lets users share 6-second video clips with each other. Share it on Twitter and your views will skyrocket.
  • Periscope is a live-streaming app that was acquired by Twitter. Though there are not a ton of fans live daily, those that are live are very passionate.
  • StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that discovers and recommends content for its 25 million users.
  • Medium has been one that I've recently been working on. I was able to get over 55k followers to my personal brand in a matter of months by publishing good content.

At the very least, you should start out with the big four - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Having a profile on these sites is crucial in establishing your personal presence.

After that, consider your niche. For example, if you enjoy cooking, then visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are recommended.

Also keep in mind that there are hundreds of other niche social networks. Do a little homework and find the sites that will tap into your interests and hobbies. Also, make sure you're using the right tools to help you best work with each network.

Figure out what you want to get out of social media

Next, you will want to ask yourself, “What do I want and expect to get out of my Social Media efforts?”

This will guide you in determining which social media networks you should join. If you merely want to stay in-touch with friends and family, then Facebook is essential. If you want to keep up with the latest news and trends then Twitter, Reddit, and StumbleUpon deserve your attention. If you want to network with like-minded individuals, then selecting a niche site based on your interests and activities is the way to go, such as the above cooking example.

Where are your connections hanging out?

After determining what you want to get out of social media, you also have to consider where your connections are spending their time.

In the business word, you probably would have to conduct a lot of research to determine this. For you personally, knowing where your audience spends most of their time is based on common sense and your interests.

For my personal invoicing company, I've found that the majority of my followers are on Twitter and Medium. When I was just a freelancer, it was very different.

Until you teach your elder family members the ins, outs, and benefits, of Snapchat - understand that it takes a little while for them to "get it." You, yourself, will probably have to sign them up for their Snapchat account, and it is not feasible for you to do this "setup" for the entire world. But, it’s a safe bet that this demographic is on Facebook. So if you’re goal was to keep in-touch with these family members, then it wouldn’t make sense to devote a whole lot of time on Snapchat until they catch on.

If you enjoy photography as a hobby, then the visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr are the places where other photographers or fans are going to be spending most of their time.

What are your resources?

Updating your Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t take a whole of time or money. Creating a YouTube video, however, requires you to film a video, edit it, and post it to the site. While everyone has a camera on the phones these days, it requires more time and resources. If those are in limited supply, then it may be advisable that you stay away from those type of networks.

Grow your online presence

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of social networks, it’s time to create your create and start growing your presence by following these types:

  • Optimize your account by including a real photo of yourself, writing a profile description that describes who you are, and include a link to your website or blog if you have one.
  • Get to know the community. Follow popular users so that you can learn the ropes and jargon. (note: influencers aren't made overnight)
  • Become an active member of the community by sharing awesome content and following others.
  • Learn to become an influencer in your newly found community.
  • Always be genuine, authentic, and positive.

Source : http://mashable.com/2016/08/26/which-social-network-is-right-for-your-personal-presence/#.FTt4Uo9Taq1

For years, Yahoo has been criticized for failing to understand what it really is.

Is it a search engine? A web portal? A news site? An advertising tech company? All of the above?

Well, based on how Yahoo describes its competition in itslatest quarterly filing, it looks like Yahoo still has no clue what it really wants to be.

Here's what it says:

"We face significant competition from online search engines, sites offering integrated internet products and services, social media and networking sites, e-commerce sites, companies providing analytics, monetization and marketing tools for mobile and desktop developers, and digital, broadcast and print media.

In a number of international markets, especially those in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, we face substantial competition from local Internet service providers and other entities that offer search, communications, and other commercial services."

What does that mean? It means Yahoo's competing in all of these areas one way or another:

- Online search

- Internet services, like email

- Social media

- E-commerce

- Data analytics

- Marketing and advertising technology

- Messaging

- Media

For a company that generates about $5 billion a year, that's a lot of different areas to be in. Yahoo's scattershot approach is also pretty interesting when you compare the language to how other companies describe their competition.

Here's what Google says:

"We have many competitors in different industries, including general purpose search engines and information services, vertical search engines and e-commerce websites, social networks, providers of online products and services, other forms of advertising and online advertising platforms and networks, other operating systems, and wireless mobile device companies...Our competitors are constantly developing innovations in search, online advertising, wireless mobile devices, operating systems, and many other web-based products and services."

Here's Facebook:

"We face significant competition in every aspect of our business, including from companies that provide tools to facilitate communication and the sharing of information, companies that enable marketers to display advertising and companies that provide development platforms for applications developers."

Here's Twitter:

"Although we have developed a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time, we face strong competition in our business. We compete against many companies to attract and engage users, including companies which have greater financial resources and substantially larger user bases, such as Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo, which offer a variety of Internet and mobile device-based products, services and content."

And Amazon:

"Our businesses are rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, and we have many competitors in different industries, including retail, e-commerce services, digital content and electronic devices, and web and infrastructure computing services."

At least Yahoo is now under a restructuring plan that will narrow its focus to three platforms (search, email, Tumblr) and four content verticals (news, finance, sports, and lifestyle), as well as its Gemini and Brightroll ad offerings. And with its sale to Verizon, it's likely Yahoo will be a much more focused company. Still, it's an interesting reminder that spreading a company's resources too thinly across many different areas often don't work.

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-still-has-no-idea-what-it-is-2016-8

Categorized in Search Engine

As bloggers continue to debate the finer points of nothing, yet another entrepreneur has gone out and just built a filtered search engine for Twitter. A couple of days ago Twitority launched (although it appears to be down now). Today, it’s Twithority, by the same guys at Tsavo that created Daymix.

Twithority is notably faster in returning results, and it looks farther back (1,000 results v. 50). It ranks results by rank (highest ranking users first) and time (most recent first) by the top 10,000 Twitter users.

Some people will continue to hate the debate over Twitter authority, but ultimately the market will decide if there’s demand for this kind of product.

Source : https://techcrunch.com/2008/12/29/second-authority-based-twitter-search-engine-launches-twithority/

Categorized in Search Engine

It turns out those rumors last week were accurate. Microblogging site Twitter has acquired the Summize search engine, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams confirmed to me. The size of the transaction is not being disclosed, although the transaction price was paid “mostly in stock.”

Twitter has also hired 5 of the 6 Summize employees. Founder and CEO Jay Verdy will move on to a new project.

The five Summize employees joining Twitter are all engineers, adding to the twelve engineers that currently work at Twitter. Summize CTO Greg Pass will become Twitter’s top tech guy as Director of Engineering and Ops.

The deal has been discussed for some time, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams told me earlier. The companies had a term sheet in place when Twitter partnered with Summize in June to help them keep the Twitter platform stable during the Apple iPhone 3G Steve Jobs keynote. The deal was closed in the last week.

John Borthwick, a partner at Summize investor Betaworks, was also an investor in Pyra Labs (Blogger.com), which Evan Williams co-founded in 1999. In other words, the companies were already kissing cousins.

I spoke with Williams over the weekend at Foo Camp about the transaction and other Twitter issues. The video is below. We’ll post a full transcript later today.


Categorized in Search Engine

Calling it an “un-pivot,” Biz Stone is bringing back Jelly, the Q&A app he created in 2013. Launching today, the new and improved Jelly remains close to its roots, but with an added twist. This time, everything is anonymous so you can ask what you really want to know.

Referring to the new Jelly an “on-demand search engine,” Stone said that one lesson he learned from the original Jelly was that people didn’t necessarily want to ask questions to their social network. “Would you want your Googles to be your tweets?”

Some might draw similarities to Quora or Yahoo Answers, but Stone is hoping that this Jelly will be an alternative to Google.

“We think the future of search engines is just ask a question, get the answer,” he added. It’s “ten or 15 minutes you didn’t have to spend looking around on links.”

Users can sign up to answer questions on Jelly. People can rate whether responses were helpful. If someone receives a lot of positive feedback on a certain topic, they are more likely to be selected to answer future similar questions.

The new Jelly is optimized for mobile, but will also be available for desktop searches.

Jelly was founded by both Biz Stone and Ben Finkel in 2013. Backers included Spark Capital, Greylock, Jack Dorsey and Bono.

Says Stone of the change of plans. “We made a rookie mistake. We got talked into pivoting” Jelly into an opinion-sharing app called Super. So the Jelly co-founders decided to go back to “our original dream, our original vision.”


Categorized in Search Engine

Facebook plans to be more than a place for socializing and aims to magnetize news stories and public debates that are usually associated with Twitter.

Thanks to the continuous work on its natural language Graph Search, Facebook now registers 2 billion searches per day, filtering through its 2.5 trillion posts.

The increase in searches over the social media platform is significant, seeing how in July 2015 Facebook counted 1.5 billion searches per day. For comparison, in September 2012, the platform had 1 billion searches per day. A 33 percent surge in searches over nine months is something all social media can learn from.

Full post search seems to have given Facebook an edge over Twitter. Facebook recruited 60 million users during the last quarter, which makes Twitter's 3 million unimpressive by comparison. Facebook has the power of big numbers, with a total number of 1.71 billion global users. It simply has more voices, despite many of them being not as responsive or opinionated as Twitter users.


But it looks like the trend is already shifting.

At the recent earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pointed out that users no longer use the search function merely to find high school acquaintances, but to get in touch with people's opinions on various topics.

What is more, a growing number of users rely on the search function to scoop up businesses and various interests, which moves the focus of the search from just people to a wider array of topics.

What Facebook discretely suggests is that its users now talk more about things that matter to them on the platform, as their words can find their way to those interested. The powerful search engine and huge user base also make it a good idea for businesses to be more active in the social media environment. Traditionally, Twitter has been the master of talking space, but Facebook is coming up from behind since it launched its public post search in 2015.

At the earnings call, Facebook's CEO was asked about his strategy for turning searches into revenue.

Zuckerberg says that there are three stages to the strategy: first, a "consumer user case" is required. Second, Facebook will tweak things so that clients naturally interact with the businesses. Third, providing tools for businesses to reach more people should boost Facebook's profits.

The company's helm underlined that paid search ads are not in the books for now, but he acknowledges that "a reasonable amount of behavior [...] could be monetizable." Facebook is also looking into banking on its WhatsApp and Messenger apps, and insiders familiar with the matter point out that various ideas are still being tested.

Another way the company plans to increase its revenue is by tapping into the potential of Live Video. Facebook wants to make the feature interesting and even signed deals with celebrities to create their own videos. However, the feature is not yet bringing in revenue, as the company is currently focusing on delivering high quality content.

According to the recent earnings report, Facebook's revenue in the quarter was of $6.44 billion, with $2.05 billion profit, most of which comes directly from mobile advertising.


Categorized in Others

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wants to be a popular place to search for mentions of current news, in order, to get more public chatter, which normally is done on Twitter, says a report from TechCrunch. The social networking site though stumbled with its natural language Graph Search, refocused on keywords and is now seeing 2bn searches per day of its 2.5 trillion posts. In comparison, it was 1bn in September 2012 and 1.5bn searches per day in July 2015 – a 33% jump in just 9 months.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)

Facebook wants to rule chatting space

On the recent earning’s call, the Chief Executive – Mark Zuckerberg – said, “The growing way that people use search is to find what people are saying about a topic across more that 2.5 trillion posts. Now people are doing more than 2 billion searches a day between looking up people, businesses, and other things they care about.”

What the co-founder did not say, but certainly indicated was that the social network thinks the people should talk about things on its site because their words will find new audiences thanks to its massive user base and powerful search engine, the report says. This chatting space is actually ruled by Twitter, but since launching public post search last year, Facebook Inc(NASDAQ:FB) has been attempting to dominate the space.

Through paid search ads, the social media giant could open up new monetization opportunities if it can keep generating more search queries. However, the CEO cautioned that it was not going to happen overnight.

How it plans to do it?

Initially, Facebook’s search engine primarily focused in assisting the user find people they had met in real life and add them as friends. Then in 2013, the social network touted its semantic Graph Search engine as the third pillar of its service alongside the profile and feed. The users were, however, confused by the complex search queries required.

Eventually, the tech giant retreated the Graph Search, and released the true keyword search in late 2014 to allow users find posts by them or their friends. Later, the firm expanded that to include all 2 trillion posts on the social media.

For Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), it was a huge turning point because it pitted its search engine finally against Twitter. The main aim of the social network is to underline why people should talk more on its network. For this, the social media giant built a special sports chatter feature called Stadium, and also focused on Facebook Live for citizen journalism.

Zuckerberg, on being asked about monetizing commercial searches, did hint of keeping the search business model for later. Even though this announcement was about search, its Twitter who should be concerned not Google.

On Wednesday, Facebook shares closed up 1.75% at $123.34. Year to date, the stock is up over 16% while in the last one-year, it is up over 27%.


Categorized in Others

The Internet of Shit is a column about all the shitty things we try to connect to the internet, and what can be done about it. It’s from the anonymous creator of the Internet of Shit Twitter account.If you pay any attention at all to technology news right now, you might be led to believe that "smart" devices are here to liberate you from your old, dumb objects around your home. Over the last few years the Internet of Things craze has slowly but surely taken hold — and every company you can imagine wants to bring your stuff into a Jetsons-esque future.

I started the Internet of Shit Twitter account a year ago, sensing a trend in the rush to desperately add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to everything: nobody really knew why any of this stuff was being put online.

The future, when bins need instruction

Not only are the customers buying smart devices cluelessly roped in, if you ask the companies behind the devices you’ll almost always get a vague pipe dream that doesn’t match the reality of connecting your home’s most crucial devices.

Fridges, washing machines, ovens, thermostats, mattresses, light bulbs, shoes, and even umbrellas: our glorious future of flying cars and convenience was somehow switched out for umbrellas that tweet us when it’s going to rain, and a fridge that live streams its contents. How did the Jetsons become so lame?

When put on a store shelf in front of you, the IoT trap is obvious. If you’re shopping for a thermostat you’ll see two choices: the boring but reliable Honeywell that doesn’t do much more than turn on your heaters, or the slick, shiny iPhone-esque Nest that promises to change the way your home is heated forever by just connecting to the internet.


What would you choose? I can almost guarantee that you’ll end up with a Nest, or at least something similar. It’s only logical, but therein lies the trap: the unsaid things that come hand-in-hand with an internet-connected widget. They weren’t written on the shiny box and you won’t know about them until years down the track.

Consider this: when you bought your humble "dumb" thermostat 10 years ago, you connected it to the wall, programmed it and probably forgot about it. Sure, it was inefficient since it’d sometimes heat your house when you weren’t there, but it worked. Now imagine that same thermostat suddenly stopped working after five years, the LED display blinking back at you "thermostat no longer compatible." So you sit in the cold.

Wifi's down so the cat is stuck outsideInternet of Shit added,

It's a WiFi pet door that will only open if your dog/cat has a passport key... 

That’s a reality that will unfold one day with internet-connected versions of everything. You’ve heard the horror stories about Samsung Smart TVs slowing down to uselessness with every update, or suddenly getting ads all across the menus before obsolescence, but what happens when it’s actually part of your house?

Well, for one, it means things are less reliable. More than once I’ve come home to an icy house because the internet had gone down, then spent hours trying to fix it only to have the thermostat jammed on 86 degrees until tech support reset my account.

Say Google someday decides that Nest’s drama is a little bit too much for the company to deal with and it offloads it to a company without such deep pockets. That company’s going to look for ways to either reduce costs or extract more money from you — and with smart devices there are plenty of ways to do that.


Firstly, that company could cut support for older devices — turn off the servers that keep those old thermostats running, or simply change the endpoint it connects to so it doesn’t function anymore. Alternatively, the new owner could try to monetize you further by selling what your thermostat knows about you to an advertiser.

You probably think that data is meaningless, but it’s enough to make an advertising network salivate: knowing how warm or cold your house is and how often you’re home is enough information to change the ad-personalization game and tailor some incredibly specific advertising on Facebook.

These scenarios aren’t some far-fetched fantasy, it already happened when Nest acquired a home automation company called Revolv, then decided to quietly leave its customers out in the cold when it couldn’t be bothered servicing its devices anymore.

The hidden costs of running these operations are immense. There are servers to rent, bandwidth to pay for, and salaries to pay. But none of that is mentioned when you buy a gadget off a shelf, and in the majority of cases there’s no way to actually pay for your ongoing use of the product. How are those costs going to be recaptured when you’re paying a one-time fee for the hardware? I can’t wait until my Nest starts asking for an in-app purchase to heat my house one day.

When household gadget makers discover in-app purchases

When you’re sitting in front of a computer and find yourself signing up to a free new service, clicking past some long-winded terms and conditions screen, it’s easy to at least understand the implicit contract: I’m giving something about myself away for free in exchange for this, and this service might eventually just go away.

Unlike that scenario, buying something that’s attached to your wall, in your light sockets, or even on your person is far more intimate and you expect longevity, but there’s almost no chance it’ll work for as long as your offline gadget did. The tech world moves so fast it’ll be forgotten before the decade is out.

I’m no saint. I run a parody account that pokes fun at the ever-escalating hilarity of these devices, yet I’ve bought into them frivolously. I have smart speakers, online lightbulbs that need firmware updates, an internet-connected thermostat that’s repeatedly left me freezing in the winter, and smart plugs that apparently can’t figure out how to turn themselves on.

Embarrassingly, as a result, a good chunk of my grown-up life has been spent standing in my living room, cursing at my lights as they refuse to update (or even turn on) while trying to show people who visit just how cool my internet house is.

What we really need from those building the Internet of Things is commitment. Companies should step up and guarantee the longevity of their products, no matter the cost or bind it might put them in. If I buy a thermostat, it should last at least five years — at least enough time for me to start lusting after something else.

Unfortunately so far nobody’s made any such claim. No promises that your Nest, Sonos, Philips Hue, or Amazon Echo will work any longer than Myspace was in fashion, and that’s the biggest concern. When everything’s connected and nobody’s responsible for the consequences, what happens? I can’t wait for awkward sex ads to start appearing on Facebook because of what my connected mattress company sold to some other business.


The lure of these devices when presented against the backdrop of old, offline devices is obvious: they could change your whole life and in some ways for me, they have, but the headaches are only beginning, and selling them as life-changers without commitment is irresponsible, and there’s no transparency about how they could change in the future.

My old devices were so dumb, but in hindsight, that was kind of charming. They didn’t do much, and perhaps that simplicity is really what we need.As we face the bold new world of every inanimate object coming online, ask yourself this: do you need this now, or can it wait? Until there are commitments or infrastructure to keep it working forever, it’s nothing more than a fad, with bad actors and those seeking short-term profit piling on endlessly.


With time, things will improve and the market will shake out, just as it did with cellular networks and FM radio, but right now the Internet of Things is an awkward teenager, and the simple fact is this: everything you buy is no longer your own.

Source:  http://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2016/7/12/12159766/internet-of-things-iot-internet-of-shit-twitter

Categorized in Internet of Things
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