Nov 28, 2009

You Can Install Chrome OS On Your Dell Mini 10v Right Now


You can now run Chromium OS, the open source developmental version of Google Chrome OS, on your Dell Mini 10v. Don't have one? Neither do I, so don't feel too bad.









Hong Kong Crunch: What’s Up In China?


Hey, guys. I, John Biggs, will be in Hong Kong and Guangdong next week (November 30-December 5) to visit some folks and would love to meet up with Web 2.0 and gadget purveyors in mother China. If you would like to chat, drop me a line at john @ crunchgear.com and let me know what's up. I'm thinking about doing an informal meet-up on Thursday so advice on places to meet in Hong Kong are welcome.









It’s Not Easy Being Popular. 77 Percent Of Facebook Fan Pages Have Under 1,000 Fans




In this age of instant Internet celebrity, anyone can become famous for 15 seconds (to rework Andy Warhol's oft-quoted maxim). But what does famous mean exactly when anyone can have a Facebook fan page—those public pages on Facebook set up by brands, media outlets, celebs, and wanna-be celebs. As it turns out, being popular is not as easy as it looks. A full 77 percent of Facebook fan pages have less than 1,000 fans, according to an upcoming report by Sysomos, a social media monitoring and analytics firm.

Once a fan page is set up (here's ours), anyone on Facebook can become your "fan," which is like following someone on Twitter in that it doesn't require a reciprocal friendship. Sysomos analyzed 600,000 fan pages on Facebook and came up with the distribution curve in the chart above. The vast bulk of fan pages have between 10 and 1,000 fans. Only 4 percent have more than 10,000 fans, and less than 1/20th of a percent have more than a million fans. It breaks down as follows:



In this age of instant Internet celebrity, anyone can become famous for 15 seconds (to rework Andy Warhol’s oft-quoted maxim). But what does famous mean exactly when anyone can have a Facebook fan page—those public pages on Facebook set up by brands, media outlets, celebs, and wanna-be celebs. As it turns out, being popular is not as easy as it looks. A full 77 percent of Facebook fan pages have less than 1,000 fans, according to an upcoming report by Sysomos, a social media monitoring and analytics firm.


Once a fan page is set up (here’s ours), anyone on Facebook can become your “fan,” which is like following someone on Twitter in that it doesn’t require a reciprocal friendship. Sysomos analyzed 600,000 fan pages on Facebook and came up with the distribution curve in the chart above.  The vast bulk of fan pages have between 10 and 1,000 fans.  Only 4 percent have more than 10,000 fans, and less than 1/20th of a percent have more than a million fans.  It breaks down as follows:



  • 95% of pages have more than 10 fans

  • 65% of pages have more than 100 fans

  • 23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans

  • 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans

  • 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans

  • 0.047% of pages have more than one million fans (297 in total).


The Internet has long been defining celebrity down, and now we know by how much (if you accept that Facebook, the world’s fourth most popular Website with more than 300 million members, is as good a proxy as there is for the Web as a whole).  To be Facebook famous, all you need is a moderately popular fan page, with the biggest chunk of those pages (42 percent) having between 100 and 1,000 fans.  Another 30 percent have between 10 and 100 fans.


The categories Facebook fan pages fall into are remarkably evenly distributed.  Celebrities, products, stores, restaurants, bars and clubs, websites, music, organizations, and non profits each make up between 6.9 percent and 7.5 percent of fan pages by category.


categoriesSo-called celebrities only make up 7 percent of all fan pages.   Of course, there are also some real celebrities (both dead and alive) who attract massive followings to their Facebook fan pages. Okay, there’s only 297 of them.  For instance, Michael Jackson has the biggest fan page with 10.4 million fans, and that’s not counting the probably-overlapping 4.7 million who are fans of R.I.P. Michael Jackson (We Miss You). The action movie star Vin Diesel clocks in at 7 million fans, which is more than Barack Obama (6.9 million) or Megan Fox (5 million). Yes, people on Facebook are idiots (Megan Fox is much hotter than Vin Diesel). In contrast, the most popular person on Twitter, Ashton Kutcher, has 4 million followers, and Obama’s Twitter account only has 2.75 million—although that’s without even trying.


The biggest product page is Facebook’s own page, with 5.8 million fans (hey, is this rigged?), followed by Starbucks with 5.1 million (the page is filled with wall comments such as, “MMMMM Pumpkin Spice Latte!”).  Sysomos drilled down further, looked at the 297 pages with more than one million fans, and properly categorized them—or at least tried.  It turns out many of them (39.2 percent) are uncharacterizable such as “Nights Out With Friends.”  But the rest can be broken down into music (16.7 percent), celebrities 16.0 (percent), products (11.9 percent), TV shows (8.5 percent), films (3.4 percent), and games (1.4 percent).


And that’s just like it is in the real world. If you have more than a million fans, chances are you are either a rock star or an actor.


category-million-cooked


And unlike on Twitter, where popularity is correlated with how many times you Tweet, Facebook fan pages tend to be updated only once every 16 days.  And that’s really the big difference between Facebook fans and Twitter followers. On Twitter, you follow someone because you want to hear what they have to say. On Facebook, you fan them just to show your support of affinity.  Too often, it’s a throwaway gesture.  But then, fame is fleeting.


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“Misunderstanding”: Twitter Japan Now Says There Won’t Be A Subscription Model



We reported yesterday about Twitter Japan's plans to start charging followers to view tweets from certain users starting January and explained why this paid subscription model could work in Japan.

Well, please forget it, this won't happen. Just a few minutes ago, Digital Garage (the company responsible for Twitter operations in Japan), issued a press release (English PDF, Japanese PDF) stating there won't be any fee-based services of any kind on the site and that Twitter in Japan will remain completely free for the foreseeable future. There's also a blog post by the Twitter Japan team (who just copied and pasted the press release text, providing no further explanation). Digital Garage says the media reports on their plans to monetize Twitter are based on a "misunderstood presentation by a DG subsidiary, DG Mobile".


twitter_japan_noWe reported yesterday about Twitter Japan’s plans to start charging followers to view tweets from certain users starting January and explained why this paid subscription model could work in Japan.


Well, please forget it, this won’t happen. Just a few minutes ago, Digital Garage (the company responsible for Twitter operations in Japan), issued a press release (English PDF, Japanese PDF) stating there won’t be any fee-based services of any kind on the site and that Twitter in Japan will remain completely free for the foreseeable future. There’s also a blog post by the Twitter Japan team (who just copied and pasted the press release text, providing no further explanation). Digital Garage says the media reports on their plans to monetize Twitter are based on a “misunderstood presentation by a DG subsidiary, DG Mobile”.


So what happened? Kenichi Sugi, not really a nobody but DG Mobile’s COO, delivered a presentation [JP] during a mobile tech conference in Tokyo where he talked about the future of the digital content business. IT Media, one of Japan’s most biggest online media companies, reported in Japanese (quoted in Robin’s article yesterday). The report was later picked up by Japanese media (i.e. Slashdot Japan) as well, as it laid out all the details of the plan: launch in January 2010, monthly fees ranging from $1.16 to $11.60, pay-per-tweet micropayment option, 30% cut for Digital Garage, celebrities as likely candidates to draw paying followers, etc.


So first the company gets into such details and now says it’s all just a misunderstanding? Or is it the (mostly negative) initial reactions by Japan’s Twitter users that triggered this development? Whatever the reason, the payment model is scrapped for now. (We reached out to Digital Garage for a comment.) Asiajin is providing additional background on the relationship between Twitter Inc. and their partner in Tokyo.


On a side note, it would have been interesting to see if paid accounts worked as a way for Twitter to monetize the service in the world’s third largest Internet market. The concept has proven to be successful in similar fashion elsewhere in Asia. Filipinos, for example, can subscribe to their favorite celebrity’s “lifestream” via SMS (not using Twitter but a service called KText). Every time the celebrity in question writes a message to his fans, all subscribers get billed a certain amount and pay via their cell phones. Some celebrities have tens of thousands of subscribers and share the revenue with KText (thanks @mikewalsh for the pointer). This is something Digital Garage had in mind for Japan, too. A comeback of their idea to monetize Twitter isn’t impossible, at least in some places in Asia.


Here’s Digital Garage’s press release in full (”Recent Press Coverage about Twitter Service in Japan”):


In response to media reports stating that Twitter Japan will be launching a

paid-premium accounts service on Twitter, we would like to officially state that this

is not correct. To be clear, Twitter service in Japan is a free service and neither

Twitter Inc. nor Digital Garage, Inc. (JASDAQ code: 4819, headquartered in

Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan, CEO: Kaoru Hayashi, henceforth DG) have discussed

or have any plans for paid-premium accounts. Also to clarify, Twitter Inc. and

DG enjoy a commercial partnership but do not have a joint-venture arrangement

in Japan.


The recent media reports are likely a result of a misunderstood presentation by a

DG subsidiary, DG Mobile, about potential business opportunities that it could

explore as a third party. DG Mobile’s presentation was unrelated and separate

from the Twitter and Digital Garage partnership.


DG apologizes for this misunderstanding and for the delay in correcting the

information. We hope this clarifies our commitment to helping Twitter Inc.

continue to grow and enhance its free service for Japanese users.


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In The Age Of Realtime, Twitter Is Walter Cronkite


The year is 1963. It's November. At 1:40 PM ET, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite comes on the air. "In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting." Rapidly, everyone in America descends upon the closest television set to tune in.

Thankfully, we have not yet had a tragedy of that magnitude in the age of the realtime web. But we will. It's just a matter of time.

If it were to happen today, most people would still turn to their TV sets to get the most up-to-date information on such an event. We saw that on September 11, 2001. But a large number of people would also now turn to the web. And there they would likely find the information they were looking for faster than those watching on television. We've seen it time and time again recently.


Screen shot 2009-11-27 at 6.21.44 PMThe year is 1963. It’s November. At 1:40 PM ET, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite comes on the air. “In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.” Rapidly, everyone in America descends upon the closest television set to tune in.


Thankfully, we have not yet had a tragedy of that magnitude in the age of the realtime web. But we will. It’s just a matter of time.


If it were to happen today, most people would still turn to their TV sets to get the most up-to-date information on such an event. We saw that on September 11, 2001. But a large number of people would also now turn to the web. And there they would likely find the information they were looking for faster than those watching on television. We’ve seen it time and time again recently.


Earthquakes, the massive San Diego fires, the shootings in Mumbai, the situation in Iran, and even Michael Jackson’s death. The realtime web beat the mainstream media easily to each of these stories. And this disparity will only increase going forward.


We’re entering a new age of realtime information. Some people don’t like that because they fear inaccurate reports. They’ll cite the Balloon Boy example as how things get out of control on services like Twitter. Well you know where the Balloon Boy reports were way more out of control? On CNN and the other cable news channels. And you know where I first heard sound arguments that there is no way that balloon could hold a full-grown child? Twitter.


Those same people seem to want to believe that the mainstream media does all kinds of fact-checking before rushing to the air. That’s why it took them 45 minutes longer today to get to the Tiger Woods car accident story, they conclude. But let’s revisit what CNN posted those 45 minutes later:


(CNN) — Golfer Tiger Woods was injured in a car accident near his home, Florida officials say.


That’s it. If it took them 45 minutes to figure that much out and get it up, they’re in more trouble than I imagine.


Others will say that CNN took the time to make sure they only wrote “injured” rather than “in serious condition,” as the first reports indicated. But that’s not true either. Watch this video for proof of that.


Those people seem to believe that BNO News, which was the first source of the story for many of us, simply pulled the “serious condition” statement out of thin air. That’s not the case. How do I know? Because I had Michael van Poppel, who is behind BNO News, send me the report that he based his information on (pasted below). The key part to look at is obviously where it says “Injuries: Serious.”


Screen shot 2009-11-27 at 6.25.27 PM


This is the release directly from the Florida Highway Patrol. BNO News labeled it correctly as a “report.” This is journalism. Just because BNO News got to it and posted it some 45 minutes before CNN doesn’t mean they pulled it out of nowhere based on nothing or hearsay. This is the information from the police report.


It turns out that Tiger Woods is okay. And that’s great. But you know where I also heard that first? Twitter. That’s the point. This is the realtime information cycle. We get delivered news, the story unfolds a bit (as it did when various local reports of the incident starting popping up on Twitter and Google, again, way before CNN), it unfolds a bit more, and if we keep watching the full story is revealed — right before our eyes. You have to be smart enough not to take everything as absolute fact, and to have your own filters for information, but this is the way going forward. And it’s captivating, to say the least.


Some will say they don’t mind waiting an extra hour to get just the facts. That’s fine. But that’s not really true. It may be true for a relatively small incident like a minor car crash, but imagine if a national (or worldwide) catastrophe happened. Do you honestly believe that any one of those people would be content to sit back and wait for the 100% fact-checked version of the story? No. Not one of them would.


The same was true back in 1963. Watch the entire Cronkite broadcast below. You’ll notice he says things like, “their [the President and Texas Governor Connally] condition is as yet unknown.” The report than switches over to KLRD in Texas where they note, “as you can imagine, there are many stories that are coming in now as to the actual condition of the President. One is that he is dead.” That was not known as the time, and was not known until much later in the broadcast.


Did anyone care that they were stating unconfirmed things on the air? No. In fact, had they not, everyone would have turned to another channel. The point is that people want this information. Should a disclaimer be included that it’s just a report or unconfirmed? Of course, but it was today, just as it was back in 1963.


The difference is that had the Kennedy assassination happened today, it would not have taken 38 minutes from the time of President Kennedy being declared dead to the time Cronkite broke the news on the air. Actually, it may have. But it would have been reported on services like Twitter much sooner. Had it played out that way, where do you think people would turn the next time there was an event unfolding in realtime?


I understand that a lot of people view Twitter as stupid, and certainly not worth $1 billion dollars. But step back for a second and look at it this way: For much of this argument, I’m just using “Twitter” the way my colleague Steve Gillmor uses it, which is to say, as a word not tied to one brand but meaning the “realtime web.” It doesn’t matter what method we use for this realtime information dissemination, what matters is that it is happening. And this is the future.


That said, there is no denying that right now, Twitter, the brand, is the winning channel for this new type of news consumption. It’s the Walter Cronkite for realtime information. And when the next major event happens, an increasing number of us will be huddled around our computer screens, watching. And even more the time after that…


And that’s the way it is.



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