Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Facebook statistics in Sweden

Update 071101: I have made a few corrections and clarifications of the post. I had put references to "November" in several places, where it should have been "October" (Guess I am ahead of my time?). Some other notes and corrections are also added, see more inline below.

As a follow up on my post around overall Facebook uptake I have done some digging around the Facebook penetration in Sweden.

I did one round of statistics collection end of last week, just when Jeff Pulver posted that Sweden was number four in overall Facebook penetration, and number two among all countries where English is not the primary language.

So, I can confirm the 9% penetration last week, and also state that today the penetration is 11% (close to 1 million users).

(Note: I use a slightly different figure for the Swedish population (9,169,673 compared with Jeff's 9,031,088. My figure is from a prognosis of the population by the end of 2007, which gave me the age and gender breakdown. The latest actual figure I found is from August 2007: 9,160,182. However these small variations does not affect the main findings.)

It is interesting to graph out the growth rate (I got the figure for Oct. 12th from this post):

Update: I initially stated that "The number of users have more than doubled in less than three weeks." Now I believe that the number for Oct. 12th is probably based on the number of people in the "Sweden network". This number for Oct. 31st is around 620k users. Still an impressing growth, but not "more than 100%".
I decided to keep the data point in the graph anyway.

Usage per age group

What is the demographics of the Swedish Facebook users? Let's map the penetration per age group:

As you can see the largest coverage is in the age span 20-24.

In the span 15-64 we see a 16% penetration, and between 15-39 we have 31% penetration. The usage is still very niche from my age and up...

I did the same breakdown for the data collected Oct. 25th - if we compare we see where the growth is last week:

Looks like a fairly even distributed growth per age group by visual inspection.

Usage per gender

Overall in Sweden we have more female users than male (396,700 vs. 320,820; or 9% vs. 7% penetration). However a large group of users (27%) have not defined their gender.

I have made a graph where I map gender distribution on the age groups:

You can note that the older you are, the less likely to state your gender you seem to be.

Final notes

There is probably some measurent errors in the numbers. However they should give a good indication of the current usage.

The metrics from Facebook is taken from the Facebook Flyers Pro utility. Nice of Facebook to reveal such statistics (and you can do other dataming as well)

It will be interesting to follow the evolution in Sweden.

(And once upon a time my dream was to work at Statistiska Centralbyrån :-)

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Google OpenSocial revealed

The news is out.

Techcrunch yesterday broke the news on Google OpenSocial, stated to go live tomorrow (Nov. 1st).

I first captured the news while walking to the bus, reading my morning tweets.
@jkuramot noticed how the news spread. Indeed - a blog search reveals a number of recent posts.
I also noticed that @jsmarr states that Plaxo is implementing the API.

So - what is this about?

OpenSocial is not another social network site.
It is partly capturing the need and discussion around the Social Graph, but goes beyond that.

The intention seems to create a common platform for developers that target SoNets (social networks). The API will publish a set of information from the SoNets that connects. Techcrunch mentions Orkut, Hi5, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Ning and a few others as initial partners.

Again, according to Techcrunch, the inital set of APIs will cover:

OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input
from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at
social networks:

  • Profile Information (user data)
  • Friends Information (social graph)
  • Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

So, for developers it will mean common way to develop applications and widgets for all major social networks (excluding Microsoft Live Spaces and Facebook, at least initially as it seems). Leveraging the data around a user, and making it easy to develop things that will work with more than one SoNet. This is mainly a value proposition for each SoNet towards the developers community.

I also expect that the participating SoNets will to some extent be able to interwork. Perhaps not to the extent that you can "friend" an Orkut user from LinkedIn initially, but let's see...

...and for the user?

Yes, what will it mean for the user? We will find out pretty soon I expect, as the first implementation goes live.

I personally hope that I finally will have a way to find my friends and connections across all social networks. In an easier way than by importing my address book. Ie solving, at least partly, the Social Graph problem.

No doubt that a number of interesting usages of this API will emerge the next few month.

But where is Google Contacts?

Still, this does not address the lack of a decent address book utility among the Google set of applications. That was my prediction earlier around the awaited Google move. Seems I was wrong?

This surprises me. Surely Google must have a plan for this area?

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


I'm Facebooked. Just as many others are.

Facebook have gained an amazing number of user lately. Why? And why do I use Facebook?

I am amazed by the latest craze around Facebook. I have had a Facebook account for some time, but the last two month the number of people I know that is on Facebook has grown. It still a limited number of people that I have found, but I am amazed by the uptake in Sweden and in Europe in general as outlined here.

Further more, the valuation of Facebook is a hot topic. USD 15 billion according to the recent news that Microsoft invests $240 for 1.6% of Facebook.

Yes - Social Networking is hot. And Facebook is a rising star. If you look at the Alexa statistics you see that Facebook are now right behind MySpace on the ranking list. Further more - most of the sites on the top ten lists are "pure Social Mediaish", and behind eg as the top domain you have both and (which was last week announced to "be transisted")

It is also interesting to compare the speed of which Facebook climbed to this position with MySpace rank history:
One last graph of interest, this time comparing the number of page views of both Facebook and MySpace with Google. Notice that MySpace is declining compared with Google.
I have a few more reflectations around Facebook. But rather than to put all into one post I will post a some more over time. Next planned topic is Facebook usage in Sweden, stay tuned.

And if you also are Facebooked, feel free to add me as friend. My profile is here.

(And thanks Alexa for the graphs, which I am free to use if I understand this statement correct)


Monday, October 15, 2007

Environment matters!

Funny. I started to draft this post last week. After that two things happened:

  1. Al Gore was rewarded the Nobel peace prize.
  2. I learned that Blog action day named today the day to blog about the environment.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
So - here's my contribution that fits to both of these events (which I didn't know when I started the draft).

I have enjoyed the videos from CommonCraft on various topics. Mostly related to web applications like social networking, wikis, RSS and social bookmarking.

Last week I stumbled over this video, which covers how the environment benefits from using CFL lightbulbs.

There's some discussion on if especially the mercury component of such lamps makes it a bad choice for the enviroment. See eg. here, here and here.

It seems like:

  • As for the risk if you break a CFL lamp at home: Shall of course be avoided, but a broken lamp does not bring any immediate health issues.
  • CFL lamp shall be re-cycled (of course...) in order to avoid mercury to leak into nature.

Sound good.

However, what does the equation look like for Sweden? In Sweden we have a large degree of hydro- and nuclear power production. Does that affect the figures? I have not looked deeper into this - anyone?

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Podcasters, please get into my mobile phone!

Hey podcasters, why don't you deliver to my doorstep?

The main device I carry around, is connected and ready to receive your shows is my phone.

If you push (or rather let me subscibe) to your podcasts on my mobile the probability that I will listen to it increases. Serve it to me and I might listen to it at work, in the car, on the bus or wherever I am.

It seems like a large part of the podcast culture hoovers around iTunes and iPods (correct me if I'm wrong). Meaning that podcasts are mainly listened to on portable mp3-players.
In some cases also on a PC. Sometimes in the PC mp3-player, sometimes from a web interface.

However, as Christopher S. Penn noted after Podcamp Europe, the mobile phone is a under-utilized device for podcasts.

Today, most phones can double as an MP3-player. This together with the "always connected" nature of a mobile phone makes them a perfect podcast player.

And it's simple!

There's a number of options to get a podcast into a mobile phone. The first one is the very easy way mainly discussed in this post. The other options are listed more to make the list as complete as possible. Let me know if you can think of any other.
  1. Simply SMS the link to download the podcast
    Very simple and straight forward. Just send your audience a text message (SMS) with the link to the latest episode ("Here is my latest show:").
    The subscriber can then click on the link and download your show. Just like that. It will end up among the MP3 library on the phone.

    Two questions that you are likely to have:
    A) Will my audience let me have their cellular number?
    B) How do I mass-distribute SMS:es in a good way?

    No doubt there is a number of solutions to this, depending on your specific situation. A quick Google search reveals a number of links to explore further.

    However, there is one interesting solution using Twitter (yes, one of my favourites) or any of the twitter clones out there.

    Create a Twitter account with the name of your show. Then tell your audience to send "follow myshow" to the Twitter number. Take it from there.

    You probably should consider to limit the tweets from this account to only new episodes. Also ensure that you explain the basic stuff for your users.

    There is a number of really good benefits from this approach.
    * First, the subsciber does not have to reveal their mobile phone number to you.
    * Second, they do not need to use a PC. At any stage. Promote your show outside the internet. Have people sign up immediately. Even those who never will touch a PC.

    The persons you target this way does not need to be interested at all in the rest of the Twitter world. It is up to them if they would like to explore it.

    (You may note that the Twitter application Twittergram is closely releated in terms of functionality. But if you already host your media somewhere you just need to push the URL.)

    Some other options includes:

  2. Syncronize with the media library on your PC
    As the phone in many cases doubles as an MP3-player it should be possible to use eg iTunes to do this. Haven't tried this though. And more important - a majority of the user does not conect their phone to their PC at all!

  3. Download a dedicated java application
    A very common approach when doing something for mobile phones is to build a java (J2ME) application and let people download it. I am not aware (have not looked that far though) of any java podcast player for mobiles (any pointers?). However, downloading a java app is for many people a big step, and thus is probably not a good way towards the real mass market.

    Update! I was just made aware of the Mobilcast java client. Any more?

  4. Use built in applications
    I expect more and more phones to have built in capabilities to connect to podcasts. Eg through an RSS reader.

  5. Phone into a podcast
    A very natural way to listen to audio on your phone is of course to dial a number and listen. This is what eg Podlinez offer. Will work with any phone. However I see some drawbacks.
    * Firstly the audio quality of a phone call might be lower than of a MP3 file.
    * Secondly you will be busy on the phone while listening.

  6. Use MMS as delivery
    MMS is another option, which I feel I have to mention since I earlier worked with MMS Traffic Growth. Packing your podcast into MMS messages. To solve the packaging I found this article. Here is one product in this space.

  7. Stream through the browser
    Finally, simply provide a (mobile) web page where the audio is streamed is doable. However I have not found any examples live for audio only (I have tried a nice video demo). Any pointers?

While writing this I also found this article discussing the topic.

Some last considerations
I have not discussed download time and cost for the consumer here. In general the trend moves quickly towards high speed mobile data and 3G access, and that the cost for data is going down or is offered as flat rate.

Mind you, this might not be true for all of your potential audience. Some might also have phones that does not support eg MP3 files.

I also suggest that you consider to select a suitable MP3 bit rate - remember, you might not need a high bit rate to get enough audio quality. And a lower bitrate will make the size of your file smaller and faster to download. Thus giving a smother experience for your audience.

I must admit I am not a big consumer of podcasts (perhaps due to you not delivering to my doorstep?) but when I occationally stumble upon a podcast I'd like to listen to I copy-and-paste the media URL into the SMS from desktop application I use and sent it to myself so I can download it. Works perfect. Yesterday I downloaded and listened to a 40+ Mbyte podcast. Took me a few minutes and the I had more than an hour of listening.

And Christopher S. Penn issued this contest after Podcamp Europe. I suspect he rather meant SonyEricsson, taking the handset route. This is not a formal entry to the contest from Ericsson, but I believe the 1st option outlined above come close to the stated rule. And it will work on many handsets.

(Disclaimer: I do work for Ericsson, and in areas that are related to this post. I do not blog on behalf of Ericsson. However I am probably somehow biased.)

Podcasters - what do you say? Will you deliver to my doorstep?

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Office apps as killer apps - part 1: Spreadsheets

"There's no killer app - only a killer attitude" - but evidently there has been a few "traditional" killer apps around.

I will make a couple of post on some office applications that has turned into real negative killer apps. At least partly.

The first area is spreadsheets.

VisiCalc was one of the first spreadsheet programs around. It was a traditional "Killer App.", since all of a sudden there was a good reason to put a PC on every desk in the office.

Spreadsheets really innovated the way people dealt with calculation. No more calculators with a paper roll for long calculations. Instead you got a multidimensional view that was easliy updated.

Today everyone in an office environment are using Excel every now and then. For various purposes. both for calculations and for more database like purposes (see this post for one view of this).

Enter Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Management. Suddenly we have some issues!

Even if it is possible to share Excel sheets as a multiuser application still a majority of spreadsheets are kept as individual files. Mostly on your own hard disk. Sometime as a file on the LAN. In both cases we have a problem.

All of these spreadsheets contains information. Information that is valuable to the whole organisation if it is turned into Knowledge.

The standard way to turn this information into knowledge is to pass a copy of the spreadsheet around.

What happens?

You get a copy of a spreadsheet. Filled with information from someone. This information is now part of your knowledge.

You add your information to the spreadsheet. Creating another version. Eventually you pass it around, making it part of someones knowledge.

It doesn't take many rounds to end up with many versions of the original spreadsheet. All with some parts of the truth. Not good.

Of course this is not really a technical problem, as solutions exists. Either using a multi-user environment with Excel or another tool.

It is more a cultural problem. People do what they always have done.

How does you and your organisation approach this issue. Or is it not an issue for you?

(And don't get me wrong. I believe Excel and spreadsheets are great.
But in some cases you need a different approach, especially if the spreadsheet and its content may be of interest to others than yourself. Here's another article on the subject)

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Monday, October 1, 2007

My name is Johan, and I am a blogger

I took the test. I blog about it. I am 84% addicted to blogging. How did this happen?
84%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?
A year ago I hadn't posted a single blog post. Yes, I read some blogs. But not regulary and only by visiting the blogs now and then. Mostly I googled for something and read some blog posts as a result.

Look at me now. I blog here and have several other blogs. Some active and some occasion driven. I Twitter. I usually check Google reader before I check email. What happened?

I guess I shall blame my work task for this. About a year ago I started to work with blogging as an area in my daily work (yes - I do work for Ericsson). In order to fully grasp the potential for blogging in general and mobile blogging specifically I had to explore it hands on.

Thus I am here, blogging away... Some learnings:
  • In general, if you take on an area, you must live it. Otherwise you will not be able to stay on top of it.
  • Blogs in general is a great source of information. But you need to actively look for interesting blogs. And you must have an efficient way of reading all the blogs.
  • Start interacting. Drive the conversation. Not only through your own blog.
  • Eventually someone will read something on your blog. Apparently you did.