Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Social Media: Where’s the integration?

Like many of you, I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I cannot say I am an active user of either system but I do occasionally take a look at what is being posted. What amazes me is that I have friends who are only reachable via their Twitter handle or a private FB message. This situation has really stumped me lately; how do you reach someone on Twitter or FB if you are an e-mail user?

It strikes me as totally arrogant that Twitter does not have the sense to create a simple gateway that would allow me to send an e-mail to someone’s Twitter address without having to invoke a 3rd party service. Having been involved in the development of e-mail systems for a number of years, I know how simple it is to create gateways. For Twitter, I ought to be able to send an email to @email.twitter.com or some sub-domain of the twitter domain and have a gateway process the message into a posting to the intended recipient….adhering to the various Twitter posting rules and privileges of course. Sadly, the simplest of integrations is not “sexy” enough to warrant the effort to integrate the new generation with the old generation.

Facebook, sadly, is not much better. Oh yes, FB is willing to give every FB user an email address with a Facebook domain name but what if I want to post a message to someone’s wall via an e-mail message. Again, a gateway ought to be able to do this with ease. I send a message to @wall.facebook.com and it ought to be posted without much trouble or fuss.

As much as the social media sphere has gained attention as the new, shiny object that everyone wants to play with, it seems to me that the thoughtful design types at both firms would realize that building a path to “legacy” technology would expand their influence and help them to be embraced by a much larger audience. I also know that as a traveler,” store & forward” is much more useful to me as a messaging system than” always connected”. My e-mail works that way as does antique SMS (heard about Smashtalk?) FB and Twitter just are not that convenient…..but they could be.

Need more examples? How many e-mail client applications today include a field for a Twitter or Facebook name? Not even Google has these fields available in their contacts list yet Android has multiple clients for both systems. Go figure.

Maybe it’s just me thinking in full circles while others are only thinking in straight lines. I have to admit, I am baffled by the blinders these companies exhibit.

I am interested in what you think. Is e-mail considered such a legacy technology that these new interpersonal connection systems need not support the overwhelming standard of electronic communication?

Monday, November 07, 2011

An Idea Steve Jobs Would Have Appreciated

Steve Jobs, along with Jonathan Ive, embraced the love consumers have for technology “that just works.” The iPod, iPhone and iPad are great examples of existing ideas re-defined by an unyielding desire to make the products simple to use. The design of SmashTalk follows that same principle.

None of the myriad of group text messaging solutions that are garnering millions of VC investment dollars follow the basic rule that has helped Apple catapult itself ahead of all other vendors in its target markets. None are so simple that they just work. They don’t.

SmashTalk transforms the existing SMS experience without the necessity to change a single current consumer behavior. With SmashTalk, there are no web sites where lists need to be built, there are no services to which all your contacts must register and there are no issues with access speed. SmashTalk is the elegant solution to bring group text messaging to the consumers who continue to be hungry for a way to hold conversations with a group of individuals via SMS messaging.

The real questions in all of this is why are the carriers so silent and where are the handset manufacturers.

SmashTalk will triple the volume of SMS messages currently being sent through the carrier networks. These are revenue producing messages that do not highlight issues of dead zones or poor connections. SMS does not suffer from intermittent dead spots like phone calls or internet access. There are not multiple standards for SMS around the world as there are for voice calls and internet access. SMS just works and SmashTalk just works better.

The handset vendors claim to want new and innovative ideas that will set them apart and yet they sign up for Android and/or Windows Phone and thereby thrust themselves into highly limiting design worlds.

Microsoft is trying to maintain the control over Windows Phone to the degree Apple controls the iPhone yet allow its partners to vary the trivial qualities of their products. Android developers, while having more freedom to innovate, are also very limited in what they can develop if they desire to have the Android application developers as allies.

SmashTalk is the kind of innovation that will be quickly embraced by the consumers because its design allows it to just work. It is designed to work with Android, Windows Phone and the iPhone without any form of learning curve.

It is time for carriers and handset vendors to look at the handsets being built and sold and question every function; “Is there a better way to deliver this service?” Smashtalk is the better way to deliver SMS. SmashTalk is the equivalent of the touchscreen replacing the keypad. The accelerometer allowing screens to shift between portrait and landscape modes. Each of these changes which we take for granted today started with a single vendor realizing that the status quo represented an opportunity to innovate. SMS is about as status quo as it can get. It is time to bring innovation to SMS; innovation that consumers can embrace without changing a single usage pattern or habit; it just works. That’s SmashTalk. www.smashtalk.net