Daily Archives: December 6, 2010

Top Web Development Trends for 2010 – Programming Trends

 

Source: http://is.gd/iheNA

This is the third and final part of the Top Web Trends for 2010 editorial in which we previously discussed, analyzed and presented some of the rising general trends taking place in web-based sectors. We first analyzed the top industry trends that have a big chance of changing the way the Internet influences our lives, and we continued with a short insight on what’s going on in website design and web graphics.

We are now concluding with a list of major events happening this year in web development and programming, adding some personal opinions and thoughts.

10 Top Programming Trends for 2010

More Control over Flash Apps

Anyone that knows a little bit of SEO will surely tell you that Flash is not a search engine’s best friend. Often, Flash sites and applications are built in one big compiled block, impenetrable to any indexing script or web spider. Hence their low ranking on all search engine results pages.

While this limited Flash in the past, in recent years, Flash CMS (content management systems) have been under constant development to help regular users and developers alike in building modular websites, with lots of SEO-friendly content.

This is also possible because of the ever more present interaction between ActionScript and other scripting languages. There are many scripts and AS3 classes out there especially built to facilitate the interaction between JavaScript and Flash. Doing so, it indirectly provides access between the Flash app and other content on the web; here including the search crawlers as well. Not being offered anymore in a single block of binary data, Flash websites are moving away from niche and brand sectors and into a category of deep and searchable content authoring tools.

Besides some successful programs like FlashMoto CMS, SILEX, fCMSPro, FlashNuke, XOT Flash CMS and others, Flash in general has some big events coming up this year too. Already released in a beta version, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 has included NVIDIA support, delivering enhanced rich Web content to NVIDIA GPU owners.

Alongside NVIDIA support, Flash 10 will also bring support for multi-touch and mobile devices, expanding its horizons to more than the average PCs.

Aside from Flash Player, another beta version of a piece of software revolving around Flash has sparked some genuine interest in the world of Flash developers as well. Adobe AIR 2.0 will surely capitalize on the success of its predecessor, AIR 1, with a much hyped release. The newer version will bring some exciting features such as API for accessing microphone raw data, HTML5 support, CSS3 support, global error handling, very much improved cross-platform printing, UDP support, secure sockets, socket listening capabilities, mass storage device detection, native code integration, multi-touch and gesture support, the ability to open a file with its native program, etc.

HTML5 & CSS3 Tutorials Will Flood the Web

While an official date for HTML5 or CSS3 hasn’t been announced, developers have already jumped on the available standard drafts, and are constantly pouring tutorials and articles about the soon to be released languages.

HTML coders and slicers should be more than happy this year, with lots of tutorials and tips & tricks articles being published on any respectable tutorial-content website network. Actually, I think I’m one of those editors that couldn’t wait for the official version and got ahead of myself in this article here.

These newer versions of HTML and CSS will be better adopted and accepted much faster compared to the fiasco with the previous release of ActionScript 3, which saw many programmers stick to AS2 because of hard to read documentation and the lack of online tutorials. The Internet is full of them now, but at the time of AS3′s release, they were kind of scarce, denting the success and features of AS3.

Compared to the huge mass of HTML5 and CSS3 tutorials currently available on major search engines, we surely are in a better position to transition to the new standard pretty fast.

Touch Technology

As mentioned above, touch technology has been on the rise since the iPhone made it available outside security departments and high-tech gadgets. Now, it is the number one topic of development and integration at Microsoft, but the Redmond-based giant is not the only one leading the way on this wave. Through Flash10, Adobe has joined the current alongside Apple, Microsoft and Google.

Look no further than a couple of years when this will be standard in any newly released hardware gadget or software.

Do-it-yourself Applications

People with no programming knowledge that use “coded” products generally do not want to know how their product basically works. This is why WYSIWYG editors, CMSs and GUIs have been so successful. These do-it-yourself (DIY) applications will continue to grow, expand and conquer new markets, changing the way general purpose applications need not only to be operated, but built.

These days, programmers have not only to bullet-proof a website against hackers and virus attacks, they have to also “dumb it down” for their administrators and users. While frameworks basically build other applications, CMS have entered the common day-to-day vocabulary, being considered a must in any coding project.

People want to build their own website, create their own blogs, put together their own form validation process, manage their own user pool, create and administrate their own ad campaigns, and the list goes on. For an application to have success in 2010, it must allow the user to do everything and not depend on any company support or complicated FAQ page. In other words, programmers should not alienate form the KISS rules and the proper success will follow. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the most successful tools out there: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Coppermine, LimeSurvey, XOOPS, etc.

Ruby Closing the Gap on PHP

While PHP was still dominant on the Elance Online Work Index, that didn’t mean anything on the quality and performances of the two scripting languages. While PHP owes its #1 spot to its widely spread community, Ruby has managed to go under the radar and insert itself through various Ruby-powered platforms like Rails and Sinatra on very big and popular websites.

Currently, if someone is tempted to build a social network, any big consulting agency will recommend using Ruby as its code base. Just take a look at some sites running Ruby these days and see how much it has spread, shadowing PHP in performance and code re-usability. Some examples of sites running Ruby code are: Twitter, Google, Justin.TV, YellowPages, Scribd, Hulu, Github, BaseCamp, Jobster, CrunchBase, Identi.ca, Shopify, Urban Dictionary, Lighthouse, XING, Campfire, Odeo, iLike and many more.

Also, besides Ruby, look out for Python and other scripting languages to emerge from the pack and bite from PHP’s market share.

More JavaScript, AJAX and Flash than Ever

Imagination levels are at an all-time high on the web. The ones to blame for this aren’t designers, project managers or art directors. The guilty ones are only code developers. While earlier versions of JavaScript, AJAX and Flash were doing some basic animations (move slow or fast from here to here), these days, the same languages have become standards in the hiring process. What do I mean by that? Well, if a developer or designer wants to get a job, they must know all of them, or at least have a clue of what they can do.

With the rise of JavaScript libraries like jQuery, MooTools, YUI, Dojo, Prototype and many more, developers were given a tool not only to write faster and more intelligible JS code, but powerful tools to go after the user interactivity and design that only Flash applications were providing. With a plugin database as big as Joomla’s module repositories, jQuery is surely the leader of the pack, influencing every part of the web. Its success is so great that, recently, W3Schools, a very famous tutorial website for learning programming and scripting languages has included a course for learning jQuery, something it did not do in the past for other similar JS libraries.

At the same pace with jQuery, AJAX has been keeping up with the rhythm of modern day designs, being more and more used to animate and load remote and local content. Just check out the AJAX-based scripts indexed on Softpedia or other resources like Ajax Rain, Solutoire, MiniAjax, AjaxDaddy and DZone Snippets.

Online Work Gets More Profitable

We have already talked about this trend in Part I of this editorial, and wanted to advise all the developers and programmers still reading this editorial to take advantage of the recent trend in companies and businesses around the world that choose to give freelancers more work opportunities on their projects hoping to achieve lower total costs in code developing. We recommend online work marketplaces like Jobster, Guru, Elance, Rent-A-Coder, ODesk, GetAFreelancer and much more.

Cloud Computing

The 2009 success of this topic has been built mainly on the quality provided by companies like Amazon, RackSpace and GoGrid. While it still has its naysayers, cloud computing seems to have at least slid a foot in the door for later discussions.

Silverlight Continues Growth

Still not as known and used as Flash, Silverlight has been quietly building a user base by slowly getting itself installed on as many computers as possible. While the biggest web user of Silverlight (besides Microsoft sites) remains NBC, developers taking a look into Silverlight apps have been praising it for its fast development pace.

Personally, I think it artificially considered the stage of evolution it’s in. Also, I heard many opinions on the web from much more Silverlight and Flash knowledgeable personas stating that Microsoft’s Flash-clone had surpassed Adobe’s product in many areas, while still implementing new features at a rapid pace. Even so, Silverlight has a long way to go, being still behind Adobe in terms of reachability.

Go ahead, browse Silverlight scripts on Softpedia.

.NET 4

Microsoft’s new product will be released alongside Visual Studio 2010 in the coming months, but the buzz surrounding the event is getting as big in the programming world as the Windows 7 release had on regular PC users.

With the new versions of these products come fresh features like after install ready-to-use ASP.NET MVC, inclusion of F# in the .NET Framework, C# and VB.NET feature improvements, Visual Studio 2010 to fully support all of .NET 4 environments, and much more.

This finally wraps up this very long editorial. Remember, these are not predictions, but only a summary of major trends that rose during late 2009 and the two weeks of 2010 that went by.

Top Web Development Trends for 2010 – Web Design Trends

 

Source: http://is.gd/ihhpr

This is the second part of the editorial “Top Web Trends for 2010.” The first part was dedicated to industry news and some of the things we believe will happen in general. We left the more accurate details and predictions to more serious and qualified experts.

In this part, we will deal with some trends that have influenced a part of the design market toward the end of the year and are expected to make a big impact at the start of 2010. This part will deal only with design-related issues.

10 Top Web Design Trends for 2010

Simpler Login Forms

It has always been a hassle and annoying task filling-in web forms. But since I’ve been testing scripts and online services for quite a while, I can sincerely say that this process has been made simpler by the year. From those awful days of the first phpBB forum releases that came with an annoyingly long login form to the recent TweetSwitch online service that I registered for a couple of days ago, the login system has evolved a lot.

Webmasters and designers are figuring out all the details, putting all the pieces together and starting to leave the users alone. No more 25-row long registration forms, no more big login screens in a corner of a website. These days, modals, drop-down forms and 3-4 rows of registration details are considered enough for a user to access their account.

The trend doesn’t stop here though, login actions are getting more and more centralized, and services like OpenID are receiving more and more implementations. But to be fair, OpenID is last year’s real winner in popularity. For 2010, we anticipate that the API (in general) will be the one chosen by developers. The hype surrounding the OpenID project seemed to go down toward the end of the year, and many well-known websites around the web provided alternatives on login actions by using Twitter credentials, Facebook ids or with Google Accounts.

Typography and Fonts Enter New Era

Designers following market trends will not be surprised by this pick, since it was on the list of many experts in the previous year as well. The reason why we chose it is the near release date of HTML5 that is bound to break some web font usage barriers that limited many designers in previous years.

HTML5 comes with a new method to upload fonts to the web-server and have the user download them if they are not installed on their computer when they access the site. Using this technique, any previous barriers in employing fonts for styling techniques will be stomped in to the ground by web designers.

There is the possibility in non-standard fonts over-usage, but I’m willing to pass over it just because there are currently way too many good designers out there not to know the difference when to stop and how to properly use fonts.

If HTML5 is released this year, websites will start to look more and more like magazines. Already predicted by many industry experts as a hot trend for 2010, the magazine layout will then be complete with the font repository being let loose on the web.

In case W3C fails again in releasing a usable and stable version of HTML5, typography will still have a big say in web design showcase, the Internet being filled every month with new PHP or JavaScript-powered scripts that provide different alternatives in embedding non-standard fonts in web pages.

Here are some of the most powerful: TTFGen, TypeSelect, sIFR, wp-Typography, AnyFont, Typogrify, Text to image with selected font, Overlay Text, TextToImage and much more.

More Whitespace

For those who have never heard this term, whitespace is the dead space that resides between web elements (between fonts, letters, boxes, margin and text areas, etc.). While a simple look over some home page designs in online showcases will display that designers are starting to use it more and more efficiently, not many web pages being optimized in this section.

The cultural status that some web design tutorial and e-learning websites have reached in recent years has contributed to the education of many up and coming web designers out there. Smashing Magazine, FreelanceSwitch, Tuts+, CSSMania, DesignerDepot and many more have established themselves as promoters of good design. Some recent articles on these websites will totally agree with what we stated until know and probably the rest of this article. Whitespace, Typography, Modals, Sketches and HD photography are raising the quality of design. A quick look through those articles could be just enough to educate any person in how and why it is better to use whitespace to your advantage.

Presentation Boxes

More and more, the upper (left) section of a website is used for adding and presenting a small display of what you’ll find inside. Designers use it to present their main skills, vendors use it to tell you what they primarily sell, developers tell you what kind of apps they can develop, etc.

Either done graphically with images and photos, or done the simple way with some nice typography, this trend won’t go away the next year because it’s that useful. Many times, a motto can do more than a thousand words. A small picture can speak volumes. Why complicate your existence with expensive copy-written text, when a simple line could do the trick? And it’s even cheaper in copyright costs as well.

If you still are conspicuous about this, just take a look at Apple’s website. The first thing you see when you access it is one of its latest products. Big image, big text and a menu. Only by scrolling down, the rest of the content is revealed and more detailed information is shown.

Modals

Many have probably got used to them as image viewers. But since more and more developers are adapting their image viewers to use AJAX and load any kind of web content, these small pop-ups have entered a new era.

Just take a look at some of the modal scripts we have indexed here on Softpedia, and their descriptions and screenshots should provide a general idea of what they can do these days.

One Page Layouts

AJAX has made such a big impact in recent years that the face of web applications is about to be changed forever. Realizing that page refreshes are not that user-friendly because they tend to visually disconnect the user from the viewed page, AJAX has been adopted as a solution for keeping website content on the same page (when visually appropriate) without blanking out the browser window for them.

Used in combination with pre-loaders and other type of animations, it brings regular coded websites even closer to the futuristic and above-the-average designs and interactivity of Flash websites.

Look for more and more one-page layouts to appear on the web, powered by Flash, AJAX, or other jQuery or MooTools plugins. Just take a look at some useful AJAX scripts in building such web templates.

Also, here’s a link where, for the month of January 2010, everyone can download a free AJAX-powered one page website template (courtesy of Envato). Just as an example. Or even more.

Sketches

The availability of image editing and automatic coding software has flooded the web design market more than “real” designers are willing to accept it. This trend will probably draw a big and deep line in the sand to separate all those wannabes from the real artists.

As we all know, drawing is not for everybody, and only people with proper training or real talent are able to pull it off. Because of the recent flooding of the design market, design quality was risen so high that a new trend started showing up till the end of the year.

As high competition started to present itself on the design market, a lot of the real designers had to resort to something that not many like to do these days: hand drawings. Superior in quality and adding a certain “je ne sais quoi” to a web page, sketches are definitely in for 2010.

Big Everything

As the overall quality of stock illustrations and photography increases, there will be no limitation in using high definition graphics everywhere on a page. This revolution of HD and quality graphics was not triggered by the explosion of design software and browser evolution, but by an increase in Internet connection bandwidth, which saw designers not limit themselves anymore.

As the magazine layout trend we have previously discussed continues to grow and attract new followers, get ready to see bigger and bigger graphics on web pages.

The trend does not affect only graphics, but elements as well. Expect bigger footers, headers, introduction boxes and text areas. The ones to lose in this expansion of certain elements will be dead elements. We see site search sections being relegated to their own page, RSS and other subscription icons getting smaller or pushed to the corners of the page, presentation and other text areas getting smaller or more precise in their expression, and various other content being presented using modals as much as possible.

Mobile Versions for Websites Become Compulsory

A recent surge in mobile phones development and some reports from mobile browser manufacturers should give a general sense of the mobile web stage of evolution. Phones are more and more smart, getting closer and closer to an average PC’s performance. People can now do a lot of things that they were doing previously only on desktops. And since the web has engraved itself in our day-to-day life, users will often access it from their phones.

Many websites owned by big companies were available in mobile form since years ago. But especially with the release of the iPhone, developers have found a big chunk of projects in translating some regular and not that well-known websites into mobile formats. Not difficult as it sometimes looks, converting or writing a website in a mobile format will help a company get ahead of its competitors ignoring this sector.

Expect to see more and more websites being available from your phone, and if you are a developer, we recommend learning to code in liquid HTML format.

More High Definition Photography on Websites

This is my favorite emerging trend. There is a certain aura around a well shot photography. Besides its content (which makes up only 50% of the photo), the way its done and presented to the user will surely enhance its usability on various projects.

High-definition photos have been around for a long time, but in the early years of the past decade, it was used mainly in print, being rarely included on websites. Sure, they were large in size, and image encoding wasn’t as efficient as it is today. But the bandwidth connection boom and the extended PNG support in browsers have paved the way for its entrance in web design as well.

There are various usages of these photos. While at first used only in image galleries to showcase projects, products and personal photos, it has expanded to the rest of the basic elements where JPEGs and GIFs ruled until now. Shoving aside those lossy formats, PNGs have eased and accelerated the entrance of HD photos on the web.

More and more photos will start popping up in headers, product pictures, presentation boxes, and (my favorite) backgrounds. Just check out the impact Twitter had on this trend. Recently, design work indexes have started adding a category called Twitter backgrounds to their available jobs categories, where designers can use techniques previously prohibited and outlawed by small bandwidth, page loading speeds and lossy compressions to design beautiful background images for Twitter.

Top Web Development Trends for 2010 – Industry Trends

 

Source: http://is.gd/ihfPq

We resisted the temptation of putting together a “Top of 2009…” article, but the excitement of what 2010 has started to bring made us take a look at the most anticipated events and trends about to descend upon us this year. Important things will happen on the web this year too, and some of them will change it forever.

The last decade was very fruitful, bringing us inventions and applications like free email (thank you, Gmail), touch technology (hail the iPhone) and many friends (aka social networks). Websites like Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Yahoo revolutionized the Internet, taking small steps in digitizing and in the education of the entire world. But we will not spend our time praising the past, because this editorial is all about the future.

There are a couple of trends and domains we will touch in this article. The first of them would be about the direction the industry and major companies seem to be heading, taking up topics and trends ranging from business plans and strategies to financial deals. Then, we will talk about design trends. Even if there are more than 1,000 similar articles on the web in this period of this year, we’ve spent some of our time looking over many of them and building a little summary to let you, the reader, know what the majority of the industry experts are thinking about the design market. We will end the article with some trends expected to pop on the programming & development scene.

10 Top Web Industry Trends for 2010

Real-Time Searches Take Over

Judging by the amount of money real-time search providers have been racking up lately, and the attention Google has given to the Twitter deal, it’s likely that a more visible line will appear between real-time searches and information queries on all search providers. Because in many case studies, real-time searches provide more accurate results to users than a regular search query, this domain will receive extra care.

This domain will also see an increase in attention, because it still provides companies plenty of opportunities and chances for building new markets and capitalizing in a raw sector.

Facebook Continues Growth Period

In the last years, we’ve seen Facebook not only make its user base grow, but develop an image where it’s OK to have a social network account even if you are the owner of a major business. This marketing strategy did not only enlarge its possible user base, but made it universally cool in any age gap.

Facebook managed to bring together MySpace’s teen user base, Twitter’s average 40+ users and Linkedin’s business appeal. Even if not a real growth, we expect a major expansion from Facebook in the following year, and if they are not all real-life users, than we see regular users pop up across the site, as they showed up on other networks in the past (MySpace, Hi5) and artificially enhance user statistics.

Even if Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, has said more than once that their target is the 500 million users mark, don’t expect them to reach it in 2010. A more likely year would be 2011, 2012 or never.

Free Online TV & Music Go Extinct

While Spotify is in the center of the monetization process across the web, Hulu is also taking advantage of the user’s slouchiness, providing view-on-request / pay-per-view TV shows and movies for North American users.

We believe the success of these kind of services will only push other free music storage services to go commercial and start charging small (or bigger) fees depending on their track/movie database.

Meanwhile, video streaming services have expanded out of their “View My Webcam” territory and are now providing quality services to TV re-transmissions. The copyright holders are not happy about the way sites like Justin.TV, Ustream and Veetle have evolved, but users couldn’t care less about that. Judging by the pressure Justin.TV has been put under lately, we can only expect them to limit or take severe measures against users broadcasting illicit material. In the end, try to avoid Mininova’s faith, which was forced by a court order to remove all copyright infringing torrents.

File Sharing Will Have to Evolve

We all remember that soon after the Internet evolved into the social phenomenon it is today, someone quickly found a way to share data across the network for free. The protocol was called P2P and spurred the birth of torrent trackers and DC hubs across the world.

In its most successful year since it started the fight against online pirates, the MPAA managed to close down during 2009 the most accessed trackers in the world: The Pirate Bay and Mininova.

If online pirates want to have any “liberty” in exchanging copyrighted files, their methods need to evolve, and do so quick. As time passes by, the MPAA and police experts are inventing and learning new ways to stop this phenomenon, and not only on the technical side. Lawyers have found a legal loophole and are using it in taking down all illegal websites.

It is clear that the battle will never be won on the legal stage, so the best way to survive is for pirates to find a way to mask their illegal activities. Their future will rely only on this. Expect no sympathy and help in Hollywood legal departments or from a court anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, we recommend taking a look at magnet links as a possible alternative for classic torrent files. They still rely on P2P, but provide a little more of anonymity.

Google Will Need a Bigger Safe

Or maybe some more bank accounts. The ads have started to pop up more regularly in YouTube videos and this will mean one thing: “more money in Google’s pockets.”

PS: I forgot about Nexus One and the real-time search engine implemented with Twitter. These ventures will surely bring new cash sources to the company as well.

Desktop Software Migrates to the Web

The biggest indicator for this was when we discovered the wonderful app called DropBox. After installing and using it, we realized that “there is no desktop software (spoon).” Software these days is made to connect to the web, and vice-versa.

By simply going through some web-based applications that we’ve indexed for the Softpedia Scripts section, we realized that more and more web scripts and online services were performing tasks initially performed by powerful desktop software. Some examples of usage can be found for online image editing, file anti-virus scanning or document handling.

If you want to know where this can go, we recommend visiting the available jobs/projects pages on sites like Elance or Rent-A-Coder. Some of the strangest and more complex projects can be found there, many of them being web implementations of simple desktop software.

Online Marketplaces Boom

In a time when the financial crisis was declared as gone away, the good times still elude our sight. People without a job or freelancers have turned their sights to the web. Because setting up your own web page or online business is more difficult than it looks, and SEO provides a headache bigger than anyone is willing to take, the interest has shifted to online marketplaces.

This is not limited to websites only. People will often use these websites to buy and sell any type of product and service, ranging from stock photos, website templates, clothes to on-demand copywriting.

Companies like Guru, Envato, Elance, GetAFreelancer, ODesk, Flickr, DeviantArt, Stock.Xchng, iStockphoto and much more provide tools for regular people to sell their services online in a period where jobs are hard to find. Expect even more websites like these and in many more domains to pop up around the web.

The current marketplace list is long, so if you’re reading this article and want a certain range of services (no matter how strange and niche they can be), we recommend Googling your business. There are big chances that a common place exists on the web where similar professionals like you meet with potential clients and reach deals or working arrangements.

Monetization Becomes a Priority

We’ll continue the ideas from the previous point. The general consensus has certainly evolved from the point it was few years ago. In those days, people starting online ventures were considered and looked at as “smart and innovative,” searching to expand their company’s horizons or enter new markets. I have never heard any of my friends talking about starting an online company.

These days, everybody’s got them. There are websites for everything and this trend will continue to grow. Developed countries like USA, EU states, Canada or Australia are over-saturated, and many of these companies are realizing it. Having reached a stalemate in money income, some of them have started localizing their online business in under-developed and third-world countries.

This will not only increase their revenue, but will contribute in bringing “real” online services to areas of the Globe where the Internet got stuck in time at the start of the 2000′s. There is a real culture in building and offering online products in the previously mentioned countries, and the rest of the world can online benefit from that experience.

As the economic crisis hangs around, look for more and more business ventures to go online (due to reduced costs), or some big online providers to attack more local or niche markets to counteract the stoppage or decline in business profits due to the current business conditions.

Indexes Get More Attention

A definition must be provided first. An index website is a website where content from a certain domain of activity is inventoried and classified for later querying by website visitors. As an example, we, Softpedia, are an index. We index software and provide details about them to our visitors.

The world is getting lazier by the minute, and while Google has become more and more accurate in its results, it’s easier to find something when somebody has looked over it, tested it and categorized it for you.

So, expect growth in traffic for websites like Wikipedia (and the rest of the Wikimedia network), CNet, Craiglist and more.

Google in a Head Collision with Microsoft

Google Chrome OS is expected to come out as a more complete system in 2010. Microsoft’s Office Web Apps is expected to go out of beta testing with the release of Office 2010. These are some of the most important events this year. Doesn’t this seem like a silent war for you? Even if PR departments have kept it quiet, and critics are waiving it off as not an option for the two companies, I’ll go with common sense and state the obvious: the companies are going at each other with all they’ve got.

In 2009, we saw a big and successful swing from Microsoft at Google’s search monopoly, but that was only the beginning. 2010 will see interesting battles being waged by the two companies for web-based office utilities and the OS market. In my opinion, Windows will remain the OS of the present, but its domination will be tested in the future with Google deciding to invest in that sector. Meanwhile, the online office tools provided by Google seem to have an advantage, but don’t count out the master of this domain. Microsoft is the favorite in this battle too thanks to its significant experience in office tools.

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

 

Source: http://is.gd/ihdXU

First Steps

   1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
   2. Add a picture. ( Shel reminds us of this.) We want to see you.
   3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
   4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
   5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
   6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
   7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
   8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
   9. Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.
  10. Talk about non-business, too, like @aaronstrout and @jimstorer.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  11. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  12. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  13. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  14. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  15. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  16. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
  17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  18. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  19. Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. – Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
  20. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  21. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  22. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  23. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
  24. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  25. 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  26. If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  27. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  28. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  29. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  30. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  31. Twitter takes up time.
  32. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  33. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  34. There are other ways to do this.
  35. As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
  36. Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
  37. Twitter is just for technonerds.
  38. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  39. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  40. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  41. Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
  42. Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
  43. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  44. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  45. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  46. Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
  47. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  48. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  49. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
  50. Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

How to Use Twitter for Business: An Official Guide Finally Arrives

 

Source: http://is.gd/ihbky

Twitter has launched Twitter 101, a "special guide" to the 140-character network aimed at businesses. Use of Twitter by marketing departments has seen explosive growth recently, if you’re a user of the site that’s obvious by now.

But for businesses, the ins and outs of using the site are not obvious. From small local businesses to huge international brands, countless companies have totally flubbed when it comes to using Twitter.

The Basics
Twitter 101 begins with the bare bones of the service, with a dictionary of the lingo (that can often be amusing to hardcore users) and instructions on how to sign up and tweet for the first time. The real meat of the site is the best practices and case studies from companies like Dell, Etsy, and American Apparel.

Where Twitter 101 Fails
Twitter 101 works as a very simple primer for businesses who are just now investigating how they might use the service. But considering that there’s an enormous wealth of information already out there, one fact stands out as a glaring failure:

Twitter has failed to draw upon its own community. For a site that lives and breathes authentic online community, Twitter has done a miserable job of incorporating or even linking to the wealth of information created for and by business.

Every executive of a major interactive marketing agency or division worth their salt has formulated a Twitter strategy. The case studies offered up by Twitter prefer cute anecdotes and racy sales figures rather than any actual marketing strategies.

The resources page includes some great material from authors and bloggers on the subject, but little of it comes from within the enterprise. It’s aimed broadly at users and not the enterprise, but community-curated sites such as the Twitter Fan Wiki are not mentioned; there’s no indication that business.twitter.com will embrace any direct input from the community in the future.

The Enterprise Needs 102, Not 101
If your business is just now finding out about Twitter, then Twitter 101 lives up to its name. But the need right now in the enterprise is not a how-to manual on how to sign up and make their first tweets. The need is for a detailed guide to being effective and authentic participants in one of the most important new sites on the Web.