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Anti-Facebook social platform App.net raises more than $700K from users and developers

App.net, a paid social platform being built as an alternative to ad-supported Facebook and Twitter, surpassed its $500,000 crowdfunding goal this weekend, raising more than $700,000 from more than 10,000 backers as of Monday morning. The project was launched by … Continue reading

The First Truly Social Olympics: Tell Me How You Really Feel

twitter-olympicsIt’s a brave new world my friends.

There were more tweets sent in a single day during the Olympics last week than there were during the entire 17-day competition in Beijing in 2008. In 2010, during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, there were around 307,000 mentions of the term Olympics during the opening weekend of the event, as opposed to 3.5 million this time around. And we may not even be prepared for just how social the 2012 games have been — spectators during a cycling event were asked to halt all tweets unless they were “urgent” as the data hungry onlookers were interfering with GPS equipment.

It’s a truly social Olympics, the first of its kind, so where else would we turn but to the same the real-time social network that toppled a dictatorship, powered a massive American protest, and brought down the likes of Anthony Weiner. It’s Twitter’s time to shine. The communication floodgates are open, and when the entire world congregates around one city, one competition, and (in the U.S.) one broadcast network, there is to be an expected amount of sewage pouring through our social channels.

Curiosity Lands On Mars, Twitter Explodes, NASA Parties Like It’s 2001?

Screen shot 2012-08-06 at 4.16.14 AMAt 10:32 p.m. PST on Sunday night, NASA’s robotic space rover, “Curiosity,” touched down on the surface of the Red Planet — in the “Gale Crater” for those keeping track. The landing was a landmark event — the culmination of eight months of space travel (Curiosity launched on November 26, 2011) and some $2.5 billion. While the mere feat of surviving a trip through space (35 million+ miles) and a seven-minute atmospheric entry (which was totally automated, by the way, and required the craft to decelerate from 13,000 MPH) is impressive enough, the show is just getting started.

The Mini Cooper-sized rover, which is the largest envoy of its kind to be sent to Mars, will spend nearly two years roaming the surface of Mars, collecting data and photographs — all in service of of better understanding the origins of the planet, determining its habitability, and perhaps setting the stage for future, manned missions to our red neighbor.

UK Politician Louise Mensch Resigns To Put More Effort Into Family Life (And Startup Life?) [Updated]

louise-mensch-855914602Louise Mensch, the outspoken conservative member of UK parliament who launched topic-focused Twitter rival Menshn in June, this morning announced that she was stepping down from government so that she can relocate to New York to focus more on family life, and possibly to put more effort into her new startup in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential elections.

Update: Mensh co-founder Luke Bozier confirms to us that, in fact, the move will help the site build its profile in the U.S. as it gears up for a version 2 launch next week, including a mobile web site optimized for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. “Menshn will continue in force!” he wrote in an email exchange. “We hope to build stronger partnerships in America, which was always our primary goal in launching the platform. Luckily with digital companies, geography is less important, and so Louise’s move to New York isn’t going to hinder development at all.” [original story continues below]

Twitter’s Succès De Scandale: Olympics Suspension Fiasco Drove Signups

Twitter Is The NewsThere’s no such thing as bad publicity. A source tells TechCrunch that mainstream news coverage of the temporary suspension of an NBC Olympics coverage tweeter / hater gave Twitter’s signup rate a boost. The same source revealed that the debacle led to internal communication within Twitter, describing the scandal as having a silver lining: “A good thing”.

Why? Well, Twitter needs user growth to power its ad model and lay a nest egg.

Gillmor Gang: I Can’t Hear You

Gillmor Gang test patternThe Gillmor Gang: John Borthwick, Danny Sullivan, Doc Searls, Kevin Marks, and Steve Gillmor — struggled with Comcastic bandwidth and hours on hold as Twitter and Apple tweaked their business models. It seems that Twitter is refurbishing the accomodations within 140 characters to create a nice new home for Twitter apps, in the process giving the FLipboard to aggregators outside the mother ship.

Apple, on the other hand, is opening Apple TV and the iPad to Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video respectively. @dannysullivan thinks it’s bad news for Roku fans, and Doc, who’s now working on Rupert Murdoch’s boat, is busy stealing content from his own bad self over transcontinental Slingbox. It’s TV Everywhere, except here.

The Federated Web Should Be Easier Than It Sounds

twitter-nbc1Twitter’s suspension of journalist Guy Adam’s account earlier this week should further discussions that have been bubbling over the past couple weeks about the need for a more open alternative to Twitter. Although Twitter reinstated Adams’ account, the company’s actions show why such an alternative is important. It’s not about giving developers more API tools to play with. It’s about building more resilient systems for free speech online.

Twitter Launches Its Own Political Barometer To Track U.S. Presidential Elections

The Twitter Political IndexTwitter just announced the launch of its Twitter Political Index. This index, says Twitter, is “a daily measurement of Twitter users’ feelings towards the candidates as expressed in nearly two million Tweets each week.” Every day, twitter will evaluate and weigh the sentiment of tweets mentioning both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney relative to every other message that passes through Twitter’s systems. The system then calculates a score for both candidates. Currently Obama’s score is 34 (and trending down) and Romney is at 25 (and trending up a bit). The Twitter Political Index will be updated every day at 8pm ET.

Twitter May Have 500M+ Users But Only 170M Are Active, 75% On Twitter’s Own Clients

Escher TweetYesterday Paris-based analytics firm Semiocast noted that Twitter had passed the 500 million user account mark, with some detail on how that is playing out on a country-by-country basis. Today, we have some numbers that spell out what that actually means in terms of active Twitter users.

Paul Guyot, the founder of Semiocast, says its analysis indicates that on average, less than one-third, 27%, of Twitter’s user base is active — in other words, only around 170 million people, and possibly less, at the moment.

Twitter Launches Clickable Stock Symbols, StockTwits’ Howard Lindzon Says “Hey, We Already Do That!”

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 8.45.28 PMTonight, Twitter quietly rolled out another feature — one that may seem simple and straightforward at first glance but could actually have big implications. The company said via its very own Twitter account that users can now click on stock (or “ticker”) symbols in any tweet to view search results for those stocks and companies.

To make this possible, Twitter is essentially introducing a new hashtag — or what is being called a “cashtag.” Instead of the ubiquitous “#”, the addition of the symbol “$” added in front of any ticker will instantly provide context for that stock, aggregating all tweets that use the ticker under one label. Twitter gives the example of “$GE” — General Electric’s ticker symbol — although this will obviously work for any company, like Apple ($AAPL) or Google ($GOOG), allowing users to peruse conversations happening around those stocks in realtime.