State of Social and Internet 2017

A while back, my friend Jeremiah Owyang wrote his perception of the state of social to which I contributed. Decided I’ll add onto my blog as well.

Twitter: dumpster fire but central to US current events, news
Facebook: where The Olds who ‘don’t get’ other social networks congregate to get attention, Asia’s LinkedIn, and others have an account for the sole purpose of Messenger (messenger.com via web)
Messenger: communication utility (Skype / Hangouts replacement; the Westerner’s WeChat and Weibo — encrypted messaging and P2P payments? Yes please!)
LinkedIn: depot of shameless self promoters and what NOT to do cues for teens and millennials professionally networking. I.E., Stay away from descriptors such as, but not limited, to: ‘futurist’, ‘keynote speaker’, ‘innovator’, ‘change agent’, etc., etc.,
Snapchat: dancing Hot Dog and awesome filters to cross post onto IG
IG: branding tool for the non-olds (teens). Lifestyle diary for Millennials (food, beauty, fashion, etc.)
Google+: Huh? What’s that???
Telegram: status symbol to show you’re ‘in the know’ about cryptocurrencies.
Slack: quickly becoming the new email
WhatsApp: where European Android users are
LINE: only relevant to Thais and old Japanese people
Ding Talk: where Chinese who don’t trust Weibo or WeChat conduct business

Social networks aside, my phone is the place I do the most internetting and boy has my homescreen changed a lot. Take a look:

img_6567

The three apps on the bottom are apps most used: Twitter, brower, mail.
1. Apple’s mail app has been replaced by Outlook (yes, Microsoft Outlook) because Gmail loads the quickest plus the experience is much better. I can’t believe I’m saying this either but hey — it is what it is.
2. Safari has been replaced by Brave — which I wrote extensively about here.

Despite having 256gigs on my phone, I only have one page of apps. Mainly because I realized long ago I only use a handful on the daily. I also turn off the little red circles because they induce anxiety and helped me wean off my addiction. (Read about that journey here.)

Funny how things change!

Related: Snap Chat should be worried — check out this neat graph I found. 300M daily active users for Instagram stories! Amazing.

img_6562

Why Aren’t More Tech Journalists Talking About This? #Apple

Screenshot_9_10_14_4_54_PM

…this was my stance after the Apple announcements of iPhone 6, 6+, and the watch but all jokes aside, there is good reason Apple is the most valuable brand on the planet and simply “mind-blowing“.

Personally, the Watch does nothing for me. I would never own one. The app screen (points below)

apple-watch_custom-6f232f81d85587d089f8eeee63219236ca239b23-s40-c85

triggers my trypophobia (yes, trypophobia is real) and the design is just outdated — totally 80s.

However, what Apple did with the watch, as well as all the iPhones after the 4, is create a problem then solved the problem for us. First world problem-ing in the highest order. Or in scientific terms: they tap into the last triangle of Maslo’s Hierarchy of Needs, by making us need things we didn’t know we needed.

This deep understanding of human behavior and finding ways to hook people with design and hardware is something very few companies can achieve. Apple consistently creates problems then seamlessly and elegantly solves them for us — truly, one of the most innovative companies of our time.

People say now, things like “why do we need payments on our wrists, when we can do them on our phones?” Or, “why would we need payments on our phones and wrists?” I say, just wait – people will start getting lazier because they’ll adopt to the convenience of phone functionalities on body parts (wearables) and soon, it’ll be the norm.

Think about it: everything about technology is creating and solving more convenient ways of living. Telephones, email, computers, laptops, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets… and the next: wearables.

With the Apple Watch, Apple is now giving us 1) predicted text so we don’t have to type. 2) a way to transact without the extra effort of pulling out our phones. 3) a new type of push-pull notification system in a way that no other product or software does.

Which to me, is the most exciting part of the Apple announcement – all personal thoughts about style aside. It’s a bit peculiar to me how a lot more people aren’t excited about that vs the new and shiny hardware.

43.3% of Japanese use LINE Professionally, 29.6% use Facebook

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Wow — I knew messaging apps are huge in Japan but it still astounds me to see numbers.
43.3% of those in the sample pool use LINE professionally.
29.6% use Facebook as a professional communication tool.

Skype is 12%
KakaoTalk 6.1%
Followed by LinkedIn, Viber, communicator.

I guess as Hiroko Tabuchi of the NYT reported: “It’s just easier when a bear says it.”
*above stats provided by MMD — a Mobile Marketing Data Labo, a research company in Japan.

Charts: Global Internet usage

I had to blog this vs tweeting  — it’s just too good not to share.
Take a look:

share-of-population-that-has-never-used-the-internet-2013_chartbuilder

  • 20% of Europeans have never used the Internet.
  • 34% of Italians have never used the Internet — via qz

Granted, there are still 13% of American adults in 2014 don’t use the Internet [1] but these numbers still astound me.

Then there is Asia — and I loathe using ‘Asia’ so loosely because Asia is BIG — but they are the global leader in online growth: 42% APAC vs 27% Europe — Comscore Asia forecast (PDF)

This is also a good opportunity to revisit the scope of technological adoption and revenues coming out of Asia.
Parallel with online growth; the increase of mobile traffic, combined with mobile revenues makes this region, the most interesting when it comes to disruptive technologies + monetization.

ChartOfTheDay_1088_Percentage_of_global_page_views_from_mobile_devices_n

 

Asia includes the following four countries: China, India, Japan and South Korea. Those four countries account for 66% of Asia’s population, 60% of Asia’s mobile connections and over 70% of regional mobile income. Four markets, four countries with four very different ecosystems.

China = population of 1.4 billion people, GDP of 8.2 trillion USD
India = population of 1.2 billion people, GDP of 1.84 trillion USD
South Korea = population of 50M people, GDP of 1.13 trillion USD
Japan = population of 127.6M people, GDP of 5.96 trillion USD

Then, there are the smaller countries with high GDPs and/or high population like: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, etc., etc.

To put that into perspective, the US has a population of 314M people (double Japan) with a GDP of 15.68 trillion USD. Compared to the big four Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, India and China), the US has been ahead of the race as far as development, access and economic distribution. This development gap the US has, is significantly wider with India and China than the gap the US has with Japan and South Korea, but the US is still ahead of these four countries.

WSJ just reported China is projected to overtake the US in mobile revenue [2] but as I said here, Japan should be the market to pay attention to, as

  1. smartphone penetration is still low
  2. spend is high — and keeps growing

Looking at global run rates and stats, it’s all about Asia and realistically, which markets and ecosystems one can penetrate.

 

 

 

Japan App Store Rapid Growth

Startling facts:

  • Japan app store is expanding faster than expected, especially for apps outside the top 3-5.
  • by Mar 2015, a #10 ranked game will earn ¥1.7bn/m, which is the same as #2 earned in Nov 2013

 

State of mobile in Japan:

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 4.13.16 PM

 

 

  • Japan has 10x the USA’s population density, used to spending with carrier (payment) settlement since the 90’s (with iMode)
  • over 30% of households are one-person == spend more on entertainment vs family

Innovation has come to a halt in Japan and indeed on the surface it may seem that way as Japan has always been known for their hardware: Sony and Nintendo the two leaders at the helm.

However the Japanese people are still spending and looking to spend. They are the users and ultimately, paying customers, even if Japanese companies like Sony and Nintendo fail to deliver ‘innovation’.

Isn’t spend more important than who or what is actually delivering?

When I see figures like these:

non-Japanese companies listed in Japan
1991 = 127
2014 =  21

I can’t help but to be baffled. I get the allure of the BRIC countries but China and India are such unique markets with distinct ecosystems. Why wouldn’t a company want to come to a country with consumers who are looking to spend?

One thing is for sure — like I keep repeating — the world is not going to know what hit them when Japan’s smartphone market finally matures and the numbers that will come out of this country will blow people’s minds.

There is still massive opportunity in this country and one of the biggest reasons I am here.

*above from Japan/Korea Market and Japan App Store Macquarie Research reports unavailable to public.
Listed companies in Japan via The FT

Messaging Apps are Communication Tools

Finally – I get it now. And by it, I mean the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook.

It’s what I’ve been preaching — that messaging apps are not social networks. They are communication tools / utilities.

So basically, Facebook just bought a telephone company.

But I’m still wondering what is going to happen when messaging apps fully evolve to multi-faceted platforms (gaming, commerce, communication tools); basically the ‘what’s next‘. WhatsApp is going to be left behind.

Only time will tell. I guess.

 

WhatsApp: Time to Grow-up and Start Making Money

There is a piece on All Things D about WhatsApp’s CEO calling out other messaging apps and their “bullshit metrics”.

“We want to steer the conversation to be about active users, not registered users,” said WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum. “We’re a bit fed up and frustrated about people talking about registered users. We think it’s important for us as a leader in the space to speak up and be ethical.”

…the CEO, Jan Koum says.

In a competitive space as messaging apps, it’s no longer just about mass adoption. WhatsApp is the most adopted in markets where users do not spend.

These charts basically speak for themselves. Their pay-per-dowload and one dollar annual fee is cute, compared to the business oriented players as Line, KakaoTalk and WeChat.

Messaging apps are not social networks. They are communication tools and now, moving on to becoming businesses, shifting from apps to e-commerce.

I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s peculiar how WeChat has the most MAUs (monthly active users), yet they are profiting the least.

Calling out other players in the messaging space is nice and all but “we have the most users! we are superior!” mind-set is no longer enough.

Time to grow-up and answer the question: Where is the monetization strategy? #1 in MUAs, last in revenues. Hi, Facebook.

*All Things D piece is here
chart sources 1, 2

Messaging Apps: What’s Next

Several have asked “what’s next?” after this post on messaging apps was published. By what’s next, I’m assuming people are wondering what I see as the ‘next big thing’. There are several ‘what’s next’ questions that need answering. Here is one. Who will win the messaging space?

I went into details about Line in particular because they are taking the right steps in differentiating themselves from the other messaging apps.

  1. product evolution — Line, continues building new features and functions that fit user needs. Most recently they released an event app Band, that is like Facebook events but a million times better.
  2. business models — like I said, stickers are not after-thoughts or novelty items. Stickers, are part of their monetization strategy. Line also does merchandising. They license their characters and collaborate with brand partners to bring things like thisbnr_crocs
    Aside from Crocs they partner with toy makers, accessories makers — basically about any company — to bring stuffed animals, plushies, cell phone accessories, and of course, stickers. [1, 2, 3] They recently collaborated with Maybelline to even bring Thailand users flash sales. Their next step, is eCommerce. Obviously.

Because of the above, I believe LINE will be the ultimate of messaging apps. And I still stand by my statement they will not successfully localize in the US. Messaging apps don’t have a place there.

As for the the Snapchat counter-argument, I am pasting a response to a comment.

I commend Snapchat and indeed their rise proves there is a need but if you look at the feature differences, you, too, will agree Snapchat is not on the same playing field as Line, KakaoTalk and WeChat. WhatsApp, Kik and Viber aren’t even on their levels.

Snapchat serves as a fun tool. WhatsApp, Kik and Viber are communication utilities like Line, KakaoTalk and WeChat. The differences are, the latter three have business models and strategies. Where the former are just…building to build.

In the American market, Instagram (if they lay out their product pipeline correctly and ultimately include text communication sans comment thread) will ultimately win the space (in the US).

As for ‘what’s next’, as in what is the next big thing?  Easy: wearables.

I think it’s absolutely fascinating though, how the US is moving back into hardware, while the software shift is happening around Asia. God, I love technology.

Added. Wired agrees wearables are what’s going to be hot, too.

Asia Lacks iOS Talent

This morning, LINE had a major update.

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Their new features are only part of the reason LINE differentiates themselves from the other messaging apps. They are truly, the leader in this space when it comes to long-term product and business strategies. Man, they are so smart.

The one thing that really blows my mind is how the iOS app is so much crappier compared to the Android app.

I only user banner notifications for apps because the little red circles drive me batty. Before, the banner notifications used to tell me who sent a message with a preview.

After the update:

unnamed-2

What is ‘MT’? Manual Transmission?? More Text??? Mt. Fuji???? Margaret Thatcher?????
This just makes no sense.

Hoping it was a bug, I switched the notifications to alert style and…

unnamed-3

Ummmm same thing. I really wonder what MT means.

Check out the notification for the Android though:

unnamed

Legit.

I don’t understand the thinking behind the iOS notifications but that’s neither here nor there. This only goes to show the dominance of Android over iOS in Asia, and how more emphasis is placed on developing on the former than latter.

Living in Asia makes me really want to switch to Android.

Messaging Apps are Not Social Networks

There is a lot of emphasis on Facebook’s youth demographic decreasing and how messaging apps like Snapchat, LINE, WhatsApp and KakaoTalk are becoming the new Facebook and I can’t help but to think: wow, people don’t understand product and technical differences.

Facebook is a social networking platform. Messaging apps are tools for communication.

It’s not that people are leaving Facebook or Instagram for messaging apps, it’s that people are using messaging apps as tools to communicate differently.

There is room for both in the world. It’s just that people are choosing how to talk to those they want to talk to (messaging apps), rather than putting themselves out there for everyone and – literally – their mothers to see (Facebook).

So just like how most people don’t want to socialize with tens and hundreds of people every second of every day, many are choosing to socialize with people in different ways. And they are doing so with photos, videos, text and content.

Facebook and messaging apps are two different things.

12

Step Aside, Flickr. Instagram is Replacing You.

Poor Flickr.

For years, photographers and amateur photographers had only one hub: Flickr. I also used to be addicted to Flickr and made many great friends on there. It’s a huge bummer they became stagnant and really hard to use. I don’t even remember the last time I logged in…  And I noticed more and more of my friends using Facebook as their main outlet for photographs.

Enter Instagram.

Now I didn’t understand Instagram either, until I actually created an account and started using it. And the more I use it, the more it’s clear, Instagram is the next social platform for photographers. There are already ridiculous amounts of insanely talented photographers on there. I can’t wait to see the community keep growing.

So what makes Instagram so great? Well:

  • discoverability with solid filtering. The noise to signal ratio is on. point.  From the popular page to following your immediate friend’s photos, to even seeing activities from your friends (what they liked, what they commented on, etc.) Reminds me of the FriendFeed friend of friend feature, but it’s filtered, so you can choose to look any time you want to and doesn’t clog your feed. (News -> Following)
  • community: interaction is pretty much like Flickr, where people can talk to each other without reservations. Plus, you can use handles, which is rare for newer sites these days. Part of the reason so many Asians are on there, to protect their identities.
  • shareability is seamless — such a smart implementation, perhaps the best out there.
  • MOBILE — it’s in all CAPs because that’s how important mobility will become. I’m excited to see how Instragram will keep iterating its product. And when the Android app comes out? I think the adoption will snowball, trickling down to the mass.

Hopefully, the Instagram team is working on an archiving system with option to store photos at higher resolutions. But I still stand by my statement from a few weeks back: “Finally get Instagram. It’s like Flickr (community and discovery), Myspace-Livejournal (hot girls posting self portraits) but way better.”

If you’d like to connect on Instagram, my user ID is ‘monagram’

Bonus: Check out these two photos from me and Christine. We were at the same place, sitting next to the other, drinking the same thing but the photo, well, take a look.  It was so neat when it popped up in our feeds — we both said WOW at the same time.

Three iPhone Push Apps Every iPhone Addict Must Own

Don’t know about you, but the iPhone app store is about 80% useless redundant. There are so many frickin’ apps, I don’t know what’s good, what’s bad, which apps have push notifications that actually…well…work…?

However (!!!!)

I may have found the triad of apps with push notifications. Since I’m feeling generous today, I will share with y’all.

1. For the email junkies: PushGmail
Now before you barrage the “TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW“s; wait. And read. For people who have:

  • multiple Gmail accounts
  • one Exchange email already set-up on phone

PushGmail is the perfect solution. Still don’t follow? Ok, so I have my work Exchange email set-up, but I also Gmail all day errrrday. With PushGmail, my work emails get pushed onto my phone, and now my Gmail gets pushed too -read: best of both worlds. Have my cake and eat it too. I love this app more than fat kid love cake. At any which way, PushGmail RULES and is only 99cents. WELL worth the dollar (and some change)

2. For the sports addicts: Sportacular
In complete agreement with Kevin (jkontherun) who said: “Sports junkies that have an iPhone or iPod Touch owe it to themselves to take a look at Sportacular.” Holy smokes, this app is amazing. Scores are pushed (multi level settings, create alerts for only games and or teams you keep with) and it’s not just scores. Articles, breaking news, standings, etc., are available too but the best part? It’s free. Free. Screw ESPN. Sportacular is notch.

3. For the breaking news types: Twitter

Ok fine. So this one isn’t an app. But I’ve tried the AP and CNN apps but frankly, for instant breaking news, Twitter’s mobile alerting beats all. First, enable mobile alerts from Twitter to phone. Find your favorite news source and click the lil cell phone logo right by the “Follow” button and breaking news will be texted to you.  Like this (points below)

So these are my three must have apps for push – what’re yours?

Tweetie 2 isn’t free – so what. Quit whining.

Seriously, you guys? So WHAT if Tweetie isn’t free.

Hold on, hold on, let me back up. Earlier, Patrick (whom I ADORE) over on Just Another iPhone Blog snagged an interview with the Tweetie creator to address the pricing issue. Apparently, there are people who are unhappy Tweetie is going to be a paid upgrade. (Patrick’s interview was awesome btw – even goes into upgrade, what an upgrade means to developers, etc., etc.)

Now I am definitely a cheap Asian when it comes to certain things. One of the most popular posts over on PixelBits (my geek blog) is the “How I Got Two iPhone Apps Refunded” post –and I was happy to share the information.

BUT

I am a firm believer of getting value out of my hard earned money – if the ratio is imbalanced, I am not afraid to ask for money back. In this case, Tweetie is one of the best Twitter iPhone apps and it’s really annoying how people are complaining about shelling out 3bucks.

Three. EFin. Dollars.

That’s like…two bags of gummi bears. A pint of beer. Three bags of 99cent chips. A cup of stinkin’ coffee. What the hell, people. Can we have some perspective, please? Do y’all realize how much time and effort goes into developing an app?

I’m sorry (well not really) but all you whiners please: SHUT YOUR TWITTERHOLES.
Thank you and have a great day.

How I Got Two iPhone Apps Refunded.

Chrome-1
Holy Moly, Apple does return and refund iPhone apps!!

I am THE biggest stickler for value:money (ratio), and firmly believe in “You get what you pay for.” Upon recommendation, I forked over cash for Beejive –an IM application, when iPhone OS 3.0 was released; mainly for the push function. (Push is notification of new activity, even when the application is closed).

Long story short, Beejive is still extremely buggy and utterly useless. i.e. super crashy, couldn’t log on with mutiple accounts, server errors galore…I just had all sorts of issues with it.

I felt ripped off.

$10 bucks for an iPhone app is HELLA money in my book. For 10bucks, I can get four iced espressos at Starbucks, eight bags of Swedish Fish, 9 soft serves from McDonald’s, or nine 99cent iPhone apps, etc., etc., you get the picture right? So I spent a few days complaining on Twitter about how much Beejive sucks.

On Saturday, I couldn’t take Beejive’s suckiness anymore so I Tweeted: “Dear Beejive, I would like a refund.”

I assumed iPhone application returns and or refunds were near impossible…iTunes and Apple’s site are clustermesses and for the life of me, I could not figure out how to request a refund. Seriously, try “Search” on both, it works but seriously needs help. People were sharing their personal nightmare experiences with Apple refunds, and Sean even got locked out of his iTunes account.

It looked like a refund wasn’t happening…until FriendFeeders Drew and Kisha linked me to two successful refund stories. I followed the directions and requested refunds for (1) Beejive and (2) Chocolatier –a game I purchased by “accident”. ;) hehehe.

These are the steps I followed to request a refund:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Log on to your account
  3. Go to purchase history
  4. Report a problem
  5. Fill out form with reason for refund (nicely)
  6. Wait

Apple resolved my issues with a quick turn around time, hassle free, and was really really nice about it, too. And I am not going to lie, it shocked the crap out of me! …It may have helped I was clear and concise: “Beejive is not working out for me because x and x. Therefore, I would like x.” Manners and politeness can be advantageous, too. :)

At any rate, thank you, once again, to the wonderful FriendFeed and Twitter communities for helping me out and offering advice, as well as sharing your own personal experiences. Though it is hard to respond to every single @reply and comment, I read every single one of them and appreciate the insight you guys provide. :)

Reason no. 98273948379823 Social Networks RULE.

*if you are interested, there is discussion on apps and personal experiences with Beejive here. Beejive sucked for me, but there are many who experience no issues.
**Apple’s iTunes help web form’s direct link is here.

Self Portrait Whores, this iPhone App is for You

I am way too cheap to buy apps and don’t do product/app reviews, since they are so time consuming (taking screen shots, explaining, etc) but this I have to share. I found this neat iPhone app by GAM products and it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen.

It’s a filter that applies light to iPhone photos.
Confused? Well, see for yourself:
4

1

3

2
Ta-daa
iTunes link: Light . It’s only two bucks.
Images from digitalfilmtools

BTW whoever says the iPhone’s camera sucks is WRONG. Proof is here.

notifu.com: Send, Track, and Gather Messages to an Individual or Group to Make Instant Decisions

Launched October 29th, notifu.com lets you “Send a message to an individual or group, know if the message was received, and gather responses to make quick decisions.” …um wow. This is useful for personal and business use.

Messages can be sent via:

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Phone
  • IM services (AIM, Gtalk, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo)

They’re already working on the next release (11/20/08) that’ll allow adding notifu to Social Sites such as:

  • hi5
  • Friendster
  • iGoogle
  • MySpace
  • Ning
  • Orkut
  • Plaxo

AND this service:

  1. Works outside of the US and Canada
  2. Has an iPhone interface (web app)

Nice. Why didn’t I come up with this? Anyway, check it out: notifu.com

Monitter: Real Time #search Twitter Updates (Web App)

I came across monitter.com and wow, it might make me use Twitter more.

What made me stop and check the site out, was the UI. I have NO patience for hunting and pecking to learn how to use a site. I certainly don’t read help or about pages to learn how to use the site. So I am a huge fan of intuitive UIs — opening the site and jumping right in. Monitter is exactly that, and became an instant fan.

Monitter is independent from 3rd party apps like Adobe Air! And beyond the interface, the features are useful. It’s like TweetDeck, except it’s web based. Has a search engine like Summarize, but updates Real Time and customizable.

Some more additonal features and funtions:

  • Default layout is three columns — but adjustable. Each column queries its own #search based on the Twitter API. You can add up to as many columns of keyword Tweets as you want. (I stopped adding columns at 10, since they’re vertically displayed)
  • Location searches: You can set Monitter to only display Tweets within X miles of X location. Neat
  • Language: Set Monitter to display Tweets in four languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, and French. (no Asian language support — yet)
  • Free embeddable widget for your site. (I downloaded it but it’s kinda huge (dimension wise) — no thanks)
  • As a bonus, it’s written in jQuery. (I’m a fan)

Conclusion: A definite must check out.
I like it more than TweetDeck, Twhirl, Summarize, and any other Twitter app I’ve used.

Do you use Twitter? If so, what’re your favorite Twitter apps?