What’s the Difference Between Widgets and Social Media Applications?

May 12, 2009

I keep hearing this question, so I thought I’d attempt to offer some brief insight:

Applications are platform-specific. (facebook or myspace). Widgets can function on any site that accepts external content. This includes social networks, blog platforms, start pages, desktop platforms personal web sites –

Widgets can function differently on different platforms. So for example a widget may not fully integrate with a specific social network, or deliver varying degrees of integration with a social network like accessing an using certain social data. The benefits of Widgets are that they encourage connectivity, self-expression or collaboration think – GAMES – TOOLS – INTERACTIVE CONTENT

Applications tap into sharing and data via a social network like facebook or myspace via friends, locations etc.


The Internet is the Truth Machine

April 10, 2009

About 10 years ago, my Uncle recommended a book to me called the Truth Machine
 by James Halprin.

The book is science fiction and truthfully, I wasn’t so intrigued.  The book was published in 1996.  The cover reads: It Could be the Greatest Blessing or The Most Terrible Curse.  The premise of the book is that in the not so distant future a “Truth Machine” is invented.  Over the course of generations borders are secured, individuals become more intelligent because they can no longer cheat, and the reality of life is brought to light in a glaring manner.  The “base line” of truth is brought to the forefront of society. Politicians must tell the truth – wow, what a world.

Last week I attended the Web 2.0 conference in San Fran, and it hit me….the Internet has become the Truth Machine!

Let me explain: for the past however many years, brands have been been doing well online selling goods, building brand awareness etc, but we all know that CPM is dead.  Brands can no longer just broadcast online and hope to win new/loyal customers.  Facebook, Youtube. MySpace, Twitter, Digg, Stubleupon, Yelp, are dominating the interactive landscape and brands need to rethink their strategy.  Listening, engaging, and cultivating a relationship with their customer is the only manner in which brands can communicate now. If not, the ecosystem of Social Media will flesh out the “posers” cough *Skittles* cough…and make sure the brands that aren’t doing it properly are burnt at the stake in the center square.  web2_logos

What Social Media has effectively created (for Brands) is a Truth Machine.  

So why are so many brands panicking, and why are guys like Gary Vaynerchuk flourishing?  Yesterday I met with my good friend Alex Baydin CEO of Performline and we both agreed, that nomatter what business a guy like Gary Vaynerchuk is in, he will be successful.  Why?  Because he is genuine.  I was lucky enough to meet Gary in person and after fawning over him for the first few minutes of our meeting I commented “I love what your about” to which Gary replied “It was good parenting”….WOW.  When was the last time you heard that?

Brands need to get back to zero, start to listen to their consumer, and actually care. They need to understand that whatever they put out there will be read commented on, blogged about, Tweeted, and Re-tweeted, digested, and then either evangelized, or destroyed. 

The Internet is the ULTIMATE Truth Machine

Facebook turns 5

February 4, 2009

Today CNN’s Simon Hooper discussed Facebook’s 5th birthday.  Facebook has become such a part of our every day vernacular sometimes it’s difficult to imagine what we did without it (sort of like cell phones). I’d argue that Mr. Hooper’s article is missing something.  The main point of discussion is if Facebook can survive. I say yes. He covers numerous points that are worth discussing when it comes to a juggernaut like Facebook for sure.  But debating whether or not Facebook can generate the ad revenue that MySpace.com is generating I think may be irrelevant.

Let me explain why Facebook will survive and why non of the points Mr. Hopper touched on are the reasons why: 2759246811_651081c17b_m

I challenge Hooper to take a closer look at the bigger picture.  Guys like Zuckerberg, while a celebrity in his own right and of course an excessively successful person is changing the internet for the better.  Places like Facebook and Craigslist aren’t allowing Madison Avenue to dictate the content, or development of their sites.  They’re churning out great content – or in this case great tools so that a user can have the best experience when connecting with former classmates, friends etc.

“The culture of the Internet has also changed pretty dramatically over the past five years. Before, most people wouldn’t consider sharing their real identities online,” Zuckerberg said. “But Facebook has offered a safe and trusted environment for people to interact online, which has made millions of people comfortable expressing more about themselves.”

What I find most fascinating about Facebook isn’t the money making potential – although I’ll admit, I wouldn’t turn down a job with Mr. Zuckerberg. What fascinates me is the way we (as a society) are using this tool to communicate. 

It’s the first time the internet is delivering on its promise of “bringing us together”.  

My experience with Facebook has been nothing short of a perfect Brand Experience rivaled only by Google.  Every time I log into my account I come across a new friend or colleague I’ve lost touch with.  I love reading my friends statuses. I love learning about my friends in even greater detail than I had previously known, and I love that I can share with them the joy of being a new father without being obtrusive.  We live in a world that moves at the speed of light, and Facebook is my only outlet to stoke the formerly dwindling embers of friendships that I’ve valued for years. I thank Facebook for living up to its potential.  I praise them for not becoming the sexually charged bombast of Myspace.com.  I admire them for asking my opinion when they serve an (albeit relatively unobtrusive ad).

Facebook is 5, will it survive?….yep.

5 Reasons why I need an Assistant to manage my Social Networks

February 2, 2009


I need an assistant.

Prerequisites for the position:

1. Remembering – Must be able to keep all of my passwords, names of former colleagues for Linkedin.com, former high school classmates for facebook.com, and anyone I’ve met at a Web2.0 conference for Twitter.com

2. Pretending – to Be nice to my friends  when they send me a message on Facebook – Actually, my assistant needs to pretend to like me, because I’m the one hitting up all of my old high school friends – what can I say I’m addicted…

3.  Tracking – Keep an eye out for me on Twitter to see if anyone I’m following is actually saying anything worth reading, or GASP re-tweeting

4. Writing. You must enjoy doing lots of it. Which means you must be witty and a good speler (get it)… – ie, facebook updates can’t be mundane –

Chris Dessi is: on my way home from work  = BAD

Chris Dessi is: enjoying speaking about himself in the third person=BETTER

You get the idea…

5. Gushing – Must be able to ramble on and on about how wonderful my daughter is.  This is my most predominant running theme in all of my online social endeavors, and I just can’t keep up.   Take pic, upload pic, tag friends in pics….repeat.

I need a nap.


The best thing about Facebook – Reconnecting with old friends

September 27, 2008

Something occurred to me today (after connecting with yet another high school classmate).

The best thing about Facebook is reconnecting with old friends. Facebook has been adopted by such a broad audience, and it accomplishes what sites like Reunion.com and classmates.com fail to do. Instead of reaching out to your old High School classmates via classmates.com – we run into them because Facebook.com provides such an engaging platform. I’ve been able to reconnect with more people from Mahopac High School in the past 3 months than in the years since I graduated (1993).
Facebook, Myspace, and other social networks have changed the game. Instead of luring a user in by the prospect of one specific thing (reconnecting with classmates), these social platforms offer you an opportunity to interact on such a more engaging – fun way – who knows if we even need classmates.com, or reunion.com anymore? How many of us tried to sign up on one of these sites, excited by the idea of reconnecting, only to be turned off after getting only so far in the process before we had to pony up some cash to continue.

Take note classmates, and reunion.com – your days are numbered.

MySpace Suit

January 23, 2007

MySpace Slaps Spam King with MySpam Suit › › › ClickZ News
By Kate Kaye January 23, 2007
MySpace has filed suit against notorious spammer Scott Richter and alleged cohorts for sending what could become known as MySpam. Yesterday, the Fox Interactive Media site filed a complaint in a U.S. District Court demanding a jury trial against Richter’s for sending spam messages disguised as communications from members to other MySpace members. The suit is another reminder of the ongoing corrosion of social media sites by spam and marketing exploitation.The lawsuit, filed yesterday in the Central District of California, claims Richter-run operations OptInRealBig.com, CPA Empire.com, and Media Breakaway arranged for millions of MySpace bulletins to be sent through its system between July and December of last year. MySpace bulletins are messages sent from one user to all users in her friends list. A Media Breakaway spokesperson told ClickZ News the firm had no comment regarding the case. MySpace, which has over 140 million members, is hoping for a permanent injunction barring Richter and his affiliated firms from the site, in addition to unspecified monetary damages. No one at MySpace was available for comment yesterday.In addition to claiming breach of contract and unfair competition, MySpace specifically charges the defendants violated The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, The CAN-SPAM Act, The Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California’s Anti-Spam Statute. The result: delivery of spam messages promoting things like free ringtones, Lacoste polo shirts, and T-Mobile Sidekick 3 devices. The social networking site claims the phony messages were sent by the defendants, who gathered log-ins and passwords of MySpace users through phishing attempts or third-party lists, and employed scripts to log in to those accounts and send spam. The claim also charges the defendants with promotion of false and misleading information for commercial or unlawful purposes and attempting to impersonate members.Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, said the lawsuit will serve to set an example to other misbehavers. What he called the MySpace “underbelly” is “something they’re going to have to address,” he added. Deep Focus has placed paid marketing campaigns on MySpace to promote client projects including HBO’s “Entourage.”The alleged spam has and continues to cause the site irreparable harm, noted the claim, which stated “the amount of harm would be extremely difficult to ascertain.” In a separate portion of the claim, the plaintiff notes violation of The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in particular resulted in a loss totaling at least $5,000.From social news site Digg to free classifieds site Craigslist, to countless blogs, CGM-fueled sites are falling prey to excessive marketing messages, spam, and system gaming, all of which could serve to devalue the sites in the eyes of users and advertisers alike. Even legitimate marketers may be contributing to MySpace’s worsening commercialized condition, said Schafer, who said software and services allowing marketers to send friend requests to specific target audiences, such as 18-24 year-old males, are available. Marketers set up free profiles for everything from films to consumer packaged goods products on MySpace, and may be tempted to use such technologies to easily obtain an impressive list of “friends.””At the end of the day, it’s spam just like anything else,” he said. “For an ad agency it might be a quick solution,” but, he continued, “it is probably harmful for the brand.”The MySpace claim also alleges co-conspirators Marat Nigmatzyanov, Yevgeniy Leschinskiy and other unnamed collaborators participated in spam-related violations. In 2004, Richter, a self-proclaimed “Spam King,” and his firm OptInRealBig.com reached a settlement with then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in relation to a spam-related suit. OptinRealBig.com filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005.