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Michael Hraba:

What does it all mean? (that link is a funny Youtube clip, as a palette cleanser).

Depending on how this one goes, I think this is my second to last or last post *ever* haranguing on, or thinking this deeply about, Facebook. Blue in the Face makes one look crazy, especially if no one is listening... and beyond the simple fact that I may be wrong, and happily eat humble crow as I become more aware..... I do see some meaningful interaction on Facebook. It takes some time, and for me it took *opening* my network. This concept of a "closed" network seems bizarre to me, and it limited real, meaningful interaction, the likes of which I remember from IRC or topical boards.

At the time of posting 9,084,488 people "liked" the Oreo fanpage. In the above, .0005586 / .05586% liked (a little more than one twentieth of one percent or 1/20%) and .0003344 / .03344% commented, the second posting was .0001671 / .01671% liked and .0000216 / .00216% commented.

I think you get the point.... even the most successful brand pages are creating interaction and real community involvement that is such a small percentage of their supposed community, we have to ask how this actually works?

I understand it's a distribution channel, and you need to be available to guests and consumers that wish to interact with you on their own terms in their own comfort zones.... but numbers this small are almost impossible to fathom. The way people are prostelytized by brands, I, personally, would imagine interaction levels much higher... at least into whole percentage points. Is this Facebook's fault? Is this something greater involving the crisis of perception in social media?

Facebook's mobile strategy laid out

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Jon Swartz:

About the only thing growing faster than Facebook's overall audience -- 500 million users and counting -- is its mobile user crowd.

Since the social-networking giant said it topped 100 million mobile users a few months ago, it has added another 50 million. The whopping figure of 150 million is the population equivalent of Nigeria.

The breakneck growth, combined with the fledgling mobile market, has put Facebook in a highly advantageous position to reap the benefits of a multibillion-dollar market worldwide. "We see mobile as the future," said Erick Tseng, Facebook's new head of mobile products. "Mobile is no different from the desktop Web. All the (Facebook) apps available on the desktop should be available on smartphones.

Goldman Sachs' latest mobile report, via Joseph Cotterill.

It's the End of the Web as We Know It

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Steve Rubel:

Wither the web? It's hard to believe but soon, if not already, the web is going to become a lot less interesting to consumers -- and just as it approaches its 20th birthday.

According to Morgan Stanley, within five years global internet consumption on mobile devices will surpass the same activity on PCs. This sounds like good news. It's natural to think that browsers on the third screen (phones) and the fourth screen (tablets) will simply replace time spent in front of the same on a PC. That's not the case.

Mobile devices, by their nature, force users to become more mission-oriented. As more internet consumption shifts to gadgets, it's increasingly becoming an app world and we just live in it. Innovation, fun, simplicity and single-purpose utility will rule while grandiose design and complexity will fall by the wayside.

It won't be enough just to build branded mobile applications that repurpose content across all of the different platforms. That's like newspapers taking the print experience and replicating it on the web as they tried back in the 1990s. Rather, we will need to rethink, remix and repackage information for an entirely different modality than platforms of yore.

First, let's look at the trends.
Virtual Properties broker iPhone / iPad / iPod app; v2.5 is now available.

Tyler Brule:

There's nothing quite like the release of an urban quality of life index to send property developers into a spin and city halls into fits of rage. Locals (who won't hear a bad thing said about their beloved Chicago, faultless Frankfurt, impeccable Seattle or perfect Perth) can "lose it" when it's announced that their city is not the best place to live in the world - or even in the top 10. If you're prone to violent outbursts when others find that your hometown isn't quite as great as you think it is then I should perhaps guide you to another part of FT Weekend, as Monocle magazine's annual global quality of life survey is about to be published and only 25 cities make the cut.

House & Home has the exclusive on the winning cities and a bit of insight on why homebuyers might want to consider relocating to Munich rather than Hamburg or Helsinki over Oslo. The full ranking (complete with breakdowns, metrics and honourable mentions) goes on sale next week.

Now in its fourth year, the survey takes a slightly different tack on ranking the best cities to call home using measurements that go beyond the basics of crime statistics and cost of living such as hours of sunshine, ease of setting up a business and global connectivity (direct, non-stop flights). For 2010 it took a look at what mayors have in store for their citizens, factoring in big infrastructure initiatives on the horizon and also how diverse a city's streetscape is in terms of independent retailers and restaurants - too many chain stores and a city lost points.

A brief introduction to Monocle's July, 2010 can be found here.

Is Our Fashion Also Our Identity?

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Linda Grant:

It is a commonly held view that fashion and makeup are trivial concerns: Superficial, unnecessary, and concealing by trickery what is held to be 'real' beneath. Fashion is surface, fad, transient. Yet time and again one uncovers moments when clothes and makeup become the things that render us human. Stubbornly, humankind resists the Puritan instinct. In mid-17th-century England, 10 long years of Republicanism, black clothes with no adornment, and the closure of those pleasure pits, the theatres, were forcibly rejected with a return to the monarchy and the adoption of long curly wigs and a great deal of lace and bosom.


The writer is supposed to be above fashion. The writer's eye gazes ever inward toward deep consciousness. The writer cares nothing for how he or she dresses and of course their characters walk about naked, or all they wear is actually described. This myth does not survive the lightest scrutiny. Photographs of Saul Bellow show him in a series of loud checked jackets and snazzy headgear. The history of literature shows that the high-minded denunciation of dress and personal appearance appears to be a late 20th-century phenomenon. Chaucer carefully describes the attire of each of his pilgrims setting out for Canterbury, Shakespeare's Malvolio wears cross-gartered yellow stockings, George Eliot's Dorothea Brooke, on the opening page of Middlemarch, is described as wearing plain dress because she knows it sets off her fine figure.



Morgan Stanley 2.5MB PDF, Mary Meeker / Scott Devitt / Liang Wu:

  1. Wealth Creation / Destruction is Material in New Computing Cycles - Now in Early Innings of Mobile Internet Cycle, the 5th Cycle of Last Half Century.
  2. Mobile Ramping Faster than Desktop Internet Did and Will Be Bigger Than Most Think - 5 Trends Converging (3G + Social Networking + Video + VoIP + Impressive Mobile Devices).
  3. Apple Leading in Mobile Innovation + Impact, for Now - Depth of App Ecosystems + User Experience + Pricing Will Determine Long-Term Winners.
  4. Game-Changing Communications / Commerce Platforms (Social Networking + Mobile) Emerging Very Rapidly.
  5. Massive Data Growth Driving Carrier / Equipment Transitions.
  6. Growth / Monetization Roadmaps Provided by Japan Mobile + Desktop Internet.
Learn more about Virtual Properties' iPhone app here.

The Future of the City & Technology Trends

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Samuel Palmisano (Chairman of IBM):

A few years ago, the world crossed a threshold. For the first time, more than half the human race is living in cities. By 2050 the figure will rise to 70 percent. We are adding the equivalent of seven New Yorks to the planet every year.

This means the most important locus for 21st-century innovation--technological, economic, and societal--will be our cities. They present the most promising opportunity to make our planet smarter.

Cities bring together the systems by which our world works: education, transportation, public safety, and health care, among others.

We have the capacity to inject new intelligence into those systems. Enormous computational power can be delivered in forms so small and inexpensive that it is being put into phones, cars, and appliances, as well as things we wouldn't recognize as computers, such as roadways (to monitor traffic) or rivers (to monitor pollution and better allocate water use). The data captured by these digital devices--soon to number in the trillions--will be turned to intelligence, because we now have the processing power and advanced analytics to make sense of it all.

Our challenge is to apply this technology to improving the places we live. Consider the applications:

Things we know:
  • Networks, particularly wireless, will be faster and pervasive
  • Mobile technology is exploding, and will be the right tool at the right time for most real estate professionals, see the latest version of our branded iPhone app. It is faster, easier to use and more convenient than most traditional website search and analysis tools.
  • People are flooded with data. Turning that data into useful information - the "value add" and building relationships is the key to broker business growth.
  • Some of the broker concierge services schemes from dot com boom #1 may now actually happen. Our Main Street software includes an extensive set of CRM/customer for life, transaction and concierge tools. One real time system from leads to closings.
  • The key question for all organizations: "what is your value equation?"
Let's discuss the opportunities that lie ahead. Contact Virtual Properties +1 608 271 9601 or zellmer at virtualproperties.com

Tom Foremski:

We share a common belief that trust is an important currency in today's world especially in the digital realm.

Trust, we are taught, is hard won. It takes a long time to establish trust yet it can be destroyed in minutes.

But is that really true?

I've been looking at the Edelman Trust Barometer reports and it shows that trust in businesses, in media both social and traditional, in NGOs, in governments, jumps up and down by large margins from year to year.

I've been particularly interested in trust in social and traditional media. In the latest report, trust in peers, which represents social media, plunged by 20 points from 47 percent of those surveyed in the prior year, to 27 percent. Trust in other forms of media also fell by large margins.

Fascinating, though not really surprising given the amount of social media "spam" circulating around the internet. Useful, timely content and commentary will always add value. Spam clearly detracts.

Details here: 3MB Edelman PDF, website.

First: happy new year and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2010!

Second: 2010 change and opportunity.

I have been traveling extensively the past few weeks. It is always interesting and useful to observe people, their activities and gadgets.

Hands down, iPhone and iPod Touch devices dominated aircraft, airport and holiday scenes. I did see a few blackberries (one family had a company blackberry and several iPhones) and one Droid.

The recent smartphone explosion along with the introduction of useful "tablet" or "slate" devices will continue to change the way in which people use, create and interact with real estate information.

Most importantly, it will change their expectations......

What does this mean for brokers and agents?

## A) Mobile

The "killer app" - from a VP customer - for real estate buyers, sellers and professionals.

www.virtualproperties.com/iphone/

Our second major release in 9 months, your branded iPhone app provides essential website functions in a faster, easier to use application. Always on, this "app" can be accessed at home, work, on the go, while working out, dining, traveling - anywhere.

Our software makes sure the app is up to date with the latest property information and technology. It includes property comparison tools and unlimited use mapping services. Stop paying for maps on a per click basis.

Your organization must be in this space.

There will be competing devices, though it is not yet clear who will successfully challenge the iPhone infrastructure.

## B) "Tablet or Slate" computing and real estate

There has been no shortage of hype recently about these new devices. From my perspective, the real change will be to traditional laptop formats. Physical keyboards will certainly be available for some time, but, virtual keyboards (via touchscreens with "multi-touch" gestures) will take over the volume portable device space.

Many real estate firms have published traditional magazines, as a marketing and advertising vehicle.

This conceptual video, by Bonner Mag+ neatly summarizes digital magazine possibilities with emerging devices:

http://www.bonnier.com/en/content/digital-magazines-bonnier-mag-prototype

The video reinforces the benefits of high quality, well organized information. Our Main Street single entry cloud software generates timely media and text content for many publications in different formats, including html and pdf. Our clients do not need to add yet another vendor and platform to support these emerging applications.

www.virtualproperties.com/rt/ms.html

## C) Your Website

The iPhone app explosion is changing buyer and seller information convenience and access expectations. Does your website address these changing customer desires?

Accelerate your website with our Main Street cloud software's new customer portal tools. From lead generation to transactions and customer for life, Main Street manages your world in real time.

One vendor.

Virtual Properties is your trusted technology team - since 1995. Do you have the right people, platform and technology partner for 2010 and beyond?



Morgan Stanley's Latest: The Mobile Internet Report:

Our global technology and telecom analysts set out to do a deep dive into the rapidly changing mobile Internet market. We wanted to create a data-rich, theme-based framework for thinking about how the market may develop. We intend to expand and edit the framework as the market evolves. A lot has changed since we published "The Internet Report" in 1995 on the web.

We decided to create The Mobile Internet Report largely in PowerPoint and publish it on the web, expecting that bits and pieces of it will be cut / pasted / redistributed and debated / dismissed / lauded. Our goal is to get our thoughts and data into the conversation about what may be the biggest technology trend ever, one that may help make us all more informed in ways that are unique to the web circa 2009, and beyond.

Our key takeaways are:

Material wealth creation / destruction should surpass earlier computing cycles. The mobile Internet cycle, the 5th cycle in 50 years, is just starting. Winners in each cycle often create more market capitalization than in the last. New winners emerge, some incumbents survive - or thrive - while many past winners falter.

The mobile Internet is ramping faster than desktop Internet did, and we believe more users may connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within 5 years.

Five IP-based products / services are growing / converging and providing the underpinnings for dramatic growth in mobile Internet usage - 3G adoption + social networking + video + VoIP + impressive mobile devices.

Apple + Facebook platforms serving to raise the bar for how users connect / communicate - their respective ramps in user and developer engagement may be unprecedented.

and, via Fortune:

"Apple has a two or three-year lead" according to Katy Huberty, thanks to an installed base of 57 million handsets, 100,000 apps and 200 million iTunes subscribers with credit card numbers on file. (She will keep her eye, however, on Samsung, Nokia (NOK) and Google's (GOOG) Android.)

But much of the presentation was spent showing, in slides culled from research over the past two and a half years, that the iPhone is not like previous mobile devices, and its owners not like ordinary cell phone users.

For example, although iPhone and iPod touch owners represent only 17% of the global smartphone installed base, they account for 65% of the world's mobile Web browsing and 50% of its mobile app usage (see chart below).

Key Virtual Properties assets to help you take advantage of the mobile explosion:

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