Niche Social Networks Gaining Traction
Check out MySpace, Facebook: Big Not Always Better on CNN. The story notes that huge social-networking sites are losing people to smaller, specialized sites.
Professor Kagan observes on his A Little Class on the Internet blog:
An intriguing question is whether the next phase in social networking will be a migration to micro-interest sites. For now, FB and MS are permitting these niche sites to build widgets that integrate into the larger sites, so that users can keep tabs on all their social networks from a single location. But will that be enough as FB and MS users realize that the high-quality information and truly devoted hobbyists/interestists on niche sites exceed the lowest-common-denominator status that comes with having a truly immense user base?
Seems inevitable to me. [JH]
Undercover GAO Investigators Purchase Sensitive and Stolen US Military Items on eBay and Craigslist
On April 10, 2008, the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigated the sale of sensitive, in-demand military technologies and supplies on Internet sites such as eBay and Craigslist. Specifically, the Subcommittee heard the results of an undercover Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation. The GAO team showed the Subcommittee the items they were able to purchase online and explained how the deals were consummated. Here's the GAO report (pdf).
The purchased items include:
- Two F-14 fighter jet components. The United States has retired its fleet of F-14s. Only Iran is currently using them.
- Night vision goggles specially made to military specifications that allow the user to identify U.S. troops at night.
- Nuclear and biological chemical gear that could be reversed engineered to develop countermeasures
- Body armor plates currently used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq
Prepared statements from Tod Cohen, Vice President, Government Relations, eBay Inc., Jim Buckmaster, CEO, Craigslist.org plus others are available on the hearings webpage. [JH]
OMB Progress Report on E-Government Act Implementation
From the White House: "This is OMB’s fifth annual progress report on implementation of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-347; Dec. 17, 2002) (the “E-Government Act”) as required by 44 USC 3606. This report describes activities completed in fiscal year (FY) 2007, and is among a series of reports produced by OMB to describe the Administration’s use of E-Government principles to improve government performance and the delivery of information and services to the public." [RJ]
Just Released, Managing Online Forums
List Price: $24.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: AMACOM (April 10, 2008)
Book Description (from the book's website): In this book, Patrick O’Keefe, owner of the iFroggy Network, shares his experiences in a straight forward, honest fashion and shows readers how to make the right decisions about every aspect of their forums, including:
- Creating an organizational structure
- Designing and launching their community
- Deciding on user options like avatars and private messaging
- Promoting and attracting members
- Utilizing technology to their benefit
- Developing and enforcing guidelines
- Choosing and managing moderators
- Shutting down users who disrupt and harm the community
- Involving their users and keeping the site interesting and inviting
- Generating revenue
What is talked about this book is not hypothetical - it consists of in use, battle-tested theories and solutions, making it so that when you must deal with these issues on your forums, you will be better equipped. Real life examples are cited throughout, including the actual user guidelines, staff member guidelines and more, from real communities.
Breakthrough of the Podcast Authors
Check out Mike Musgrove's Washington Post article about the growth of book podcasting. He reviews developments in mainstream book publishing and mentions obtaining some free, downloadable books from Podiobooks, a service new to me. See also the company's blog, Podiobooker. [JH]