It has been days since the inauguration of President Obama a week ago, with the close of change.gov and the new whitehose.gov. We can see how this old government will bring change to this old land under the leadership of a new president.
While that is yet to be seen, I still could recall the CNN + Facebook experience I had that day. It was wonderfully executed online. As long as you have logged into your facebook account, you have a tiny conversation box with your friends and everyone, here is a 1 minute screencast explaining what happened on the day:
It was indeed a powerful experience, though dated back to the days when we have no money to afford one TV per house. When the crowd gather to one place, watching the TV program, talking to each other on the programme, or some other randomly interesting topic. The desire inside people wanting to socialize is always there, and CNN facilitated this desire by creating this virtual platform for everyone. The “everyone-come-together-watch-tv-and-talk” experience.
It’s interesting that some people was wondering that who few people twitterred during the election. I did some research through compete.com, the result is quite shocking:
Facebook Twitter Plurk Comparision
Facebook has 60 million unique visitors per month, comparing with pathetic twitter or plurk. Guess the numbers say all.
I used to be a fan of Microsoft’s social networking website, whose name ironically I have forgotten. They have the interface like the following:
The Look of Microsoft's Social Networking Research Project
It was sort of like private network, where you could upload your music in full length to share with your close friends (i missed those times, badly), and put your best photos as your background for people to enjoy. There was this element of connection in the picture. I mean visually, there is this connecting line in the picture you can see, and it changes as your click on other people “connected” to you.
In 2005, the research project came to a closure, or rather yanked because of running out of funds. I heard they built another website based on the same concept but on a different domain, which I had no access to to until today.
I could not remember if Microsoft Live Spaces has the option of opting out showing your content to non-explicitly added friends in the very beginning, but it eventually has the function of blocking everyone but those selected few on your whitelist. The most recent discovery of mine on the topic is:
They allow your friends on your MSN messanger to have the access to your content only unless you want to share with the world
Wait a second, and think about what that means.
Table: Facebook and Spaces Difference
I am not sure if Microsoft is trying again to molopoly the social networking website, but they ARE catching up fast.
It’s been a while since I visited Xiaonei to check for information and socialize, and I found this:
431079 Personal Messages
I thought it would take me ages to clear all the spam and real personal messages that could ever accumulate to that number, but when I clicked it, I found none of the claimed half a million messages acutally existed. Not sure if that’s the result of clearing spam or a miscalculation.
What I learn from Xiaonei and Facebook is that when numbers are catching up, you better learn to ignore selectively.
Ignoring on Facebook
And since Youtube has this HD function, let me try it out here:
Xiaonei and Facebook, though these two websites have different valuation mainly because one company is originated from America and the other China, which translates to different user groups, popularity, marketing strategy, etc., are funded equally well, with Xiaonei a 430 Mil for the latest round, beating Facebook’s 378 Mil. Well frankly I hope Xiaonei will produce something fantastic with the investor’s money, like the wonderful game Tap Tap Revenge for iPhone, and not merely adapting what Facebook is doing for the Chinese market.
Speaking of the social networking website, there is a Facebook clone in German called StudiVZ. The founder sold the company to a German publishing group at 100€ Mil January last year. What’s interesting is that it was recently sued by Facebook for IP infringement. The website is a very nicely translated from the original English version of Facebook into German
I talked with Bernard Leong on this issue when shooting the Geek Goddess Show yesterday, when he tossed the idea about the reason why Facebook avoid suing Xiaonei was because Xiaonei has more money. Well, that might seem to be a good reason but no, that’s only the result of its success. While StudiVZ remains to be just a rip off of Facebook, Xiaonei has adapted from what Facebook was doing and successfully marketed the product to the Chinese market. And any businessman knows that the Chinese market barely overlaps with the western market on these Internet Technology. Not only Xiaonei has marketed the products, the things they have done to encourage user interactions and create better user experience are unique to its market: a blacklist option to block the unwanted, allowing people to interact with each other publicly without being friends, VIP title for purchase, and more. All these make Xiaonei a roaring success in the Chinese market.
With the recent addition of MP3 search in Google.cn (which can only be used in China, comparing that universally available Baidu Mp3 Search), we can the trend of western companies start to abandon their dogma of doing business at home and start to learn and adapt to the users in its own market. We hope to see more to come.