MediaFile

Video Transcript: Cory Booker on Tech Tonic Interface

Below is an unedited transcript of the video interview I conducted with Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ, in April.

Paul Smalera: Earlier today I had a great conversation with Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Let’s have a look. Mayor Booker, thank you so much for being here with me.

Cory Booker: It’s great to be here with a Jersey boy. A fellow Jersey boy.

Smalera: I wanted to ask you first of all, you have this reputation as the social media mayor, the tweeting mayor. What made you get onto Twitter in the first place?

Booker: It happened in 2009 where now co-founder with me of WayWire but really an extraordinary visionary woman who saw social media and was a social media maven before…she actually thought up the idea of a Twitter race to the top between Ashton Kutcher and CNN. For some reason she felt the platform would benefit from having indigenous, grassroots authentic leadership on it not just a place for triviality or celebrity but really a mission driven platform and to get more people like that on the platform would be better. She had seen a lot of the other things I was doing in Newark and finally decided to reach out to me. It was a great conversation but I really felt was too busy. I still didn’t understand the concept at all. She pulled a powerful persuader out on me which was Ashton Kutcher. I had this surreal moment where I thought my staff was punking me because Ashton Kutcher’s calling city hall in Newark? I can’t believe that.

In a crisis, Twitter morphs into cable news

Twitter calls itself a “real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting.” That network is defined by its personalization: The person who assembles her feed is the person who reads it. This is usually a benefit. Last Friday it became a distraction.

My unfiltered Twitter feed was basically unusable as an information source — a repetition of facts shared space with anger, and grief, and commentary, and still more of the same facts. Instead, I relied on filters, and the individual streams of people who are extremely talented at culling what’s important and cutting out the repetition.

Those who load Twitter feeds with news organizations, journalists, and news junkies encounter a – how else to put it but in Twitterspeak? – #firstworldproblem. Jay Rosen, from New York University’s school of journalism has described it well: “7 out of 10 posts in my incoming Twitter feed are about the same story.” And when that kind of critical mass is reached, no matter if they’re trivial (Felix Baumgartner’s space jump), national (presidential election night) or tragic (last week), these moments have a particular rhythm.

Will Twitter’s uncanny luck ever run out?

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published at PandoDaily.com

This past week I heard two rational arguments on the fate of Twitter from two smart investors.

One was an argument that it’ll likely fail in its bid to become a public company. The logic went like this: Facebook, Groupon and Zynga have proven the private markets are fundamentally horrible at valuing companies. In the early stages, that doesn’t particularly matter. But when you get into pre-IPO secondary shares being bought and sold, it does. Just ask the people who bought pre-IPO shares of all three of those companies.

Twitter – with its relative lack of a business – was always a more dubious growth bet than those other three, buoyed by the sheer strength of its product. And now, there’s just no way it’s worth anything close to the $8 billion it was valued at at the last round, this person argued. If Facebook, Groupon and Zynga have all had a greater than 50 percent haircut – Twitter can’t even dream of going public now.

HuffPost launches live streaming with live comments

The Huffington Post on Monday launched its latest foray into video with a twist: Live programs that are intended to get people to talk about the segment in real time.

HuffPost Live “airs” its programs in real time -- some examples include Mitt Romney’s veep choice of Paul Ryan and  how white supremacy groups are using music as a recruiting too — though the videos can be watched even after they have been shown live. It is streaming 12 hours of programming, five days a week from its  studios in AOL’s New York headquarters, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

“When we starting thinking about this we wanted to make this the most social video experience possible,” said Roy Sekoff president and co-creator of HuffPost Live and founding editor of the Huffington Post. “People are about real time. They want to tweet about something as it is happening.

Bluefin Labs names former Razorfish, Publicis exec as CEO

Bluefin Labs– a company that tracks a brand’s perception on social media sites while a commercial airs on TV– has named a new CEO.  JP Maheu has signed on with the fledgling company as CEO while its co-founder Deb Roy will take up the role of chairman.

Maheu was most recently the global CEO of Publicis Modem, the digital marketing arm of Publicis Worldwide, and has also served stints as CEO of Razorfish and chief digital officer at Ogilvy & Mather.

Bluefin provides technology that allows network programmers as well as advertisers to track what people are saying about specific products or TV shows on social media such as Twitter or Facebook.

Survey: VCs more confident investing domestically, in IT sectors

If every cloud has a silver lining, the silver lining for global venture capitalists during the current economic gloom appears to be cloud computing, according to results of a confidence survey from Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association released Monday.

The first Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey measured the input of more than 440 venture capital, private equity and growth equity investors from around the world, revealing that global VCs have higher confidence investing domestically versus abroad and in information technology sectors like cloud computing and social media.

Venture capitalists favored Brazil, China and the United States for investing, showing the least confidence in France, Japan and South Africa. Cloud computing, software and new media/social networking held the most confidence by industry, with the lowest confidence in semiconductors, telecommunications and clean technologies.

from Paul Smalera:

The platform problem in social media

The two speakers from Twitter -- Ryan Sarver and Doug Williams -- had just left the stage at Big Boulder, a data conference I'm attending in Colorado, when Twitter, the service, went down Thursday. Neither of them have anything to do with keeping the service up and running, but the restless audience probably still would've thrown the hotel-provided notepads and candies at them if they could've. Such was the level of dissatisfaction about the Twitter platform's outage yesterday -- and let's face it, any day a service we rely on goes out, even when the crowd in question doesn't consist of users and consumers of social big data, and the odd journalist.

The outage may have been poorly timed for Sarver and Williams, but the incident speaks to a larger problem the companies represented in this room are facing: building on top of social platforms.

Consider Zynga. The high flying gaming company, built primarily on top of Facebook's Open Graph, has faced record lows in its stock as investors have lost some confidence in the company's ability to continue growing. Or consider just about any other company, social or not, that is trying to reach its fans and customers in the social media world.

Swipp looks to quantify your comments

Silicon Valley start-up Swipp says it has raised $3.5 million in funding from venture firm Old Willow Partners, an early investors in Groupon. It will use the cash to develop and launch its first products sometime in late fall. On the subject of what exactly those products will be, Chief Executive and co-founder Don Thorson was cagey. But it seems like he’s aiming to create a social network where it would be easier for consumers and merchants to analyze or make money from data than on say Twitter or Facebook.

“With (so many) people connected we should be able to do so much more than just tell each other where we’re having lunch,” said the executive, adding that conversations on social networks like Facebook and Twitter are “pretty cool stuff but not meaningful data. The bigger the network gets the smarter it should get.”

A basic Twitter search of a particular hot topic like a service price increase or a new product can already give a snapshot of how people are reacting, But that’s not enough for Thorston “We think that’s just a really 1.0 way of being able to extract information,” he said. With Swipp “you’ll have quantifiable data on that topic.” For example, it could figure out what percentage of comments were complaints and what percentage were positive.

Unmetric gets funding to help brands gauge their social media clout

This guy probably has social media clout. How many 'likes' will he get this November?

What would you get if social media ego measurement tool Klout had a baby with comScore, the Web traffic measurement firm? It would  probably be Unmetric, a new “social media benchmark” tool that helps brands measure their social media engagement.

If you’re a big brand-owner all those Facebook Likes and Twitter Retweets by your customers and ‘fans’ are fine but what do they really mean in terms of engagement and customer sentiment? More importantly, how do they stack up against your rivals? These are some of the questions Unmetric hopes to help answer after raising $3.2 million in Series A financing led by Nexus Venture Partners.

Tello tries to make customer service gripes more effective

From firing off angry tweets to writing nasty Yelp reviews, there are many ways to vent about bad customer service in the age of social media.

But while it feels good to blow off steam, it doesn’t always produce results for companies or customers.

Tello, a year-old mobile app that lets consumers rate the employees who served them at restaurants, shops and other businesses, is looking to make all that online griping more productive for both consumers and businesses.