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Location Based Apps Taking Off and I’m Finally Getting On Board March 16, 2010

Posted by Nick in social media.
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With SXSW taking place right now, the location wars are in full swing and Foursquare and Gowalla are going at it. With the wars heating up I thought I’d give it a shot also and I’ve started checking in on Foursquare, Gowalla and also occasionally on Yelp! in order to check out these systems. So far, Foursquare and Gowalla are very similar and it seems like they are both getting heavy usage down in Austin this week. The one feature I like about Gowalla right now is that it uses GPS data to guarantee a person’s location and not allow false check-ins. This keeps someone from checking in at places they have never been and getting a bunch of undeserved mayorships. I’m not really sure the intrinsic value of checking-in yet, that’s still something I’m trying to figure out. However, I have noticed that I’ve been finding some good deals from bars, restaurants, etc. for people who have checked in. I’m also waiting for these companies to start making more money, they have certainly started with major partnerships starting to line up-I’m just curious to see if these are lasting and continue to expand. Not to mention will these services continue to be successful if Facebook and Twitter roll-out similar location based services…why add another app if you can just do the same thing on Facebook. If location services are implemented similarly on Facebook or Twitter, either of these platforms may be able to seriously damage the traction of Foursquare and Gowalla…I guess we will see.

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A Thesis and What the Fuck Am I Going To Do With My Life? February 24, 2010

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I’m a senior at Georgetown and one of my majors is sociology, of course this is one of the few majors at Georgetown that requires all students to write a senior thesis. This thesis is due at the end of April and I haven’t started, fuck. My thesis is about whether or not the internet, specifically web 2.0 tools, are capable of building a strong oppositional civil society in non-democratic countries. Using China and Iran as case studies I will examine how the internet is used by traditional forms of civil society like NGOs to mobilize people and how social media has been used to build grass roots movements. Of course I will also be looking at how the governments of these countries use the internet as a form of social control in an attempt to atomize any oppositional civil society as well. Hopefully, I can figure some of this shit out and get it down on paper before its too late…

Really, this entire thesis is indicative of a bigger problem for me. Do I continue on to graduate school in sociology next, I’ve already heard from some PhD programs and I am waiting on several more, or do I leave school to pursue a career in internet or social media? I see no reason that I can’t write about technology and work for (eventually run) a company, but grad school and full-time employment are two different paths for sure. I don’t have much time left to decide, but until I do I’ll just keep pursuing both paths so I hopefully have numerous options.

More will come about the details of my thesis as well. Until then wish me luck figuring out my life.

EA Completes Acquisition of Playfish November 10, 2009

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Yesterday, EA completed its acquisition of major social gaming company Playfish for between $300 and $400 million dollars. This is the first real merger of video game and social game teams and the potential is enormous. It is likely that EA will find new ways to monetize social gaming since it doesn’t want to risk tarnishing its name with scammy lead-gen offers. This will expand the abilities of all social gaming companies to make money. It is also likely that we will start to see social games available on the console, just like you can access facebook from your xbox 360, you will be able to access Pet Society as well. As the first major gaming company to move into this space, look for EA to set the pace until another major social gaming company (Playdom, Zynga) is purchased. Social gaming has an important future in the world of gaming and it makes sense that major companies like EA are moving into the field. For more about the future of social gaming, check out this related article at Mashable.

Social Gaming is incredibly lucrative October 26, 2009

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Social gaming companies like Zynga, Playfish, and Playdom are making incredible amounts of money by creating games for facebook and myspace. These games, like Zynga’s Farmville (which has 61 million users), make most of their money through lead generation offers with companies like Netflix,Offerpal, and TrialPay. But not only are these games making a lot of money, they are also pretty fun and offer people yet another way to engage their friends.

An article at TechCrunch shows that Zynga is likely to go public in 2010, Playfish may already have sold to EA and Playdom has an estimagted worth of $60 million without raising any money to date. For more go to TechCrunch to see the full breakdown.

Ochocinco launching news network October 25, 2009

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Chad Ochocinco is a twitter fanatic, it has actually gotten him in trouble with the Bengals and the NFL a few times, and he has even launched his own iPhone app. He has also been talking about flying twitter users out to games to watch him play. But now, he has gone one step further and saying that through a partnership with Motorola he will be launching a twitter news network called the Ochocinco News Network, with the slogan, “If I break it, you might as well believe it.”

Though there isn’t really much in the way of news yet, the supposed plan is that Ochocinco will provide other players with Motorola phones and have them break news before major networks find out and get the chance.

It is likely that this move by 8-5 will just piss off the NFL even more, but it will entertain and delight us (especially if it works).

CIA getting in on the social media game October 20, 2009

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According to Wired, In-Q-Tel, the technology division of the CIA, recently invested an undisclosed amount of money in Visible Technologies. Visible Technologies is a firm that does social media monitoring for major companies including Microsoft, Dell, and Verizon.

Wired tells us that this is part of a movement to better incorporate publicly available information that is often hidden into their intelligence gathering. With the CIA coming into the game it should be clear that the power of social media isn’t going away any time soon. So careful what you tweet because now the CIA is reading it all.