Tag Archives: News and Media

Cuil – where’s the social media in the launch?

Tagging: Maldives StyleImage by nattu via Flickr

It’s now more than a day since Cuil, the latest hyped Google killer launched, and we can reflect on looking at how that went.

According to TechCrunch and a number of other sources, it didn’t go too well, with their servers crashing a number of times. I’ve seen this also happen, failing to even load their most basic static pages, like general information.

What I’m wondering is why did they miss the whole social media aspect of launching a new service. They are clearly not active in this space, with their Twitter account @cuil having 22 followers but not even a single message.

Here are 5 simple things any startup can do make their presence more human and accessible:

  1. Make us of top 5 currently most active social media services: Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook and two lesser known from your field.
    1. b) Actually link to these pages from your page
  2. Get a strong presence with real people at GetSatisfaction, to quickly and easily answer their questions and reassure them about their problems (with extra points for actually fixing them).
  3. Provide a human face to your “Contact us” section. Provide personal email of your community manager, with extra points for his or hers picture next to it. Shipping address is not the most important part of that page.
  4. Have a blog (yes, this is different from News and press boring PR messages).
  5. Be part of discussions on other pages. (TechCrunch Cuil news has 260+ comments. Not a single answer from the authors)

What’s even more interesting is the fact that Chris Brogan wrote a post, mentioning that Google’s first hit for Cuil is a story how Cuil is not a threat to Google. While the web is big, Google’s own Matt Cutts managed to find a time to comment on that post and provide their side of the story.

Why is there not a single answer from the creators on the web (besides the seemingly highly paid articles in semi-traditional media)?

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Use of wikis for political participation > Three initiatives in Spain – Enric Senable Hidalgo [Wikimania 2008 notes]

Those...Image by fataetoile /Cinzia via Flickr

What is political participation:


  • Collaborate for a common constructive objective
  • Practice and defend freedom of speech
  • Freely meet and engage with people and causes
  • Discuss in order to obtain census
  • Engage in non-economic initiatives
  • Consume with responsibility
  • Watch the watchers
  • [and much more..]


Voting from time to time is also a form of political participation.


What’s the political participation with involvement of ICT?



  • New ways/tools of interaction
  • New public spheres for discussion
  • New and easy platforms for publishing


This can lead to



  • Identity empowerment (Castells)
  • More critical and self-reflective culture (Benkler)
  • Networked individualism (Wellman)
  • Smart mobs (Rheingold)


Example: “pasalo!” (pass it on)


As a response of 11th of March 2004 bombing in Spain, there were big demonstrations. Vast majority of people were summoned through a viral SMS and/or word of mouth.




  • Official web pages
  • Online administration
  • Online petitions
  • Electronic votes
  • Referendums/polls


Civils/grassroot organisations:


  • News
  • Forums
  • Mailing lists
  • Chats
  • Chain emails
  • SMS
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Social networks
  • 3D worlds
  • Wikis


Interesting problem of electronic voting: it requires electricity. This can be a real problems in some parts of the country.



Coordination: Vivienda digna (Street demonstrations for a decent house)


Origins started in an email chain message. Calling for a sit-in demonstration, positive demonstrations. Wiki of a famous blogger hosted the content and it was increased and more detailed crosspostings.

There was organical growth of related issues:

Open lists (organizing other places, blogs, press, logos, etc.)

Collaborative creation of content (manifestos, SMS messages, safety measures, legal issues)

It was a successful use of wiki and impact on public propaganda. But it failed to change the political decisions.


Memory: Lo prometido es deuda (A promise is a promise)

Similar to Wikiquote, but the objective is exclusive to find and archive campaign promises.

It got coverage in all major online Spanish newspapers.

It was a successful use of a wiki. It had impact on public opinion. Yet it did not impact political agenda.


Modify: Wikiconstitucion (Altering a common text)

Objective was to let anyone alter the original constitutional text, even for vandalism.

First two months: daily changes to the more controversial issues (crown of Spain, Spanish military forces, official languages, autonomous regions)

Progressive inactivity and finally closed due to massive spam.

It was partly successful use of Wiki, but it didn’t have impact in public opinion or a political agenda.

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Zbigniew Braniecki – the power of communities [firefox3 release party notes]

Mozilla (mascot)  

Image via Wikipedia

Zbigniew Braniecki – the power of communities; how to create communities, what does it mean to have a community and what does it mean to participate to communities.


Why people do things

The do it because they want a reward in some way. There are different types of rewards:

  • external motivations (good grade, money, airline miles)
  • hobby
Driven by intristic motivation, practice for interst and enjoyment. Gives you skills, knowledge, experience. But the goal is a personal fulfillment.

Volutneering – highest level on Maslow’s hiarachy of motivation. 

Mozilla communites are organic. They are organic and part of Mozilla project from the day 0. They contribute to each and every element of the system. Create new elements and serve as whistle-blowers. Contribute their unique skills and knowledge and are united by the goals of manifesto.


Crop circle community project – as an example

It’s a firefox logo in a field of corn. It’s the same technique that aliens use 😉

Firefox Crop Circle
Creative Commons License photo credit: John Griffiths


Firefox Flicks
The other example is Firefox Flicks, it’s a community made of clips that are promoting Firefox.

Example video clip:



With time, the development of Firefox/Mozilla code-base split 60% – of payed people vs. 40% of contributed code. Mozilla started hiring people, but the natural source of community, were former community members who just contributed to the level that made the project recognizable. Then they got hired to be able to spend even more time and effort in the project. This also means that Mozilla is representing American dream, if you enjoy what you do it is possible to get help to spend all of your time on the project you like and enjoy.

Mozilla is also doing Internships that are focused on “you” creating what you want, and focusing on things that you want to work on. It also means that organization is not employing people who are doing it just for money, but can attract great and passionate people. It also means that it can do more with a smaller team, and everyone is a community.


Something bigger

Mozilla is not only about Firefox, it’s something much bigger. A lot of great other things are being developed, after getting Firefox 3 out of door, the idea is to work on Thunderbird, more localization.


Thunderbird 3

The idea for next major version of Thunderbird, by Mozilla Messaging, connect social network, online identities and such.


Mobile Solutions

Working on new ways to interact with mobiles, how to use internet and new interaction paradigms.


Firefox Mobile Concept Video from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Mozilla Manifesto

It was not created in the beginning. It was created just last year. They asked the fundamental question – What does it mean to be part of Mozilla, what is the goal?


Excerpt from the Manifesto:


  1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life–a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
  2. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
  3. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
  4. Individuals’ security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.
  5. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
  6. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
  7. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.
  8. Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.
  9. Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.
  10. Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.


Firefox 3 has been released

1.5 million people in the beta testing community program.


Turn your energy on


We can all help with:

  • hunt bugs
  • improve quality
  • accessibility
  • write extensions
  • develop code
  • promote web standards
  • improve documentation
  • share ideas
  • create themes
  • build communities
  • help others
  • localize
  • spread the word
  • and lots of other ways..


Upcoming projects

A set of tools, guidelines and documentations that help new volunteers to form new communities. Help explain to people how and why communities work and what they can do about this.



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