Referral traffic from social media has dropped

I saw this Bufferapp article on declining social media traffic.

We’ve lost nearly half our social referral traffic in the last year

I say. No wonder. Everybody is online, creating tonnes of content. Most people are too busy to read, let alone follow so many data streams.

Many web pages don’t get any traffic at all. A few sites get all the traffic.

Interesting read. I recommend reading it.

My tip: don’t share or comment on articles that you haven’t read. Even bots can do that. Be human.

And. If you do like an article? Comment, share and write a blog post on it.

If you’re on Facebook and want to see better content, I recommend following Robert Scoble’s advice. The filtering is improving. And this week’s announcement on Facebook Search means we may have a viable alternative to Google Search. At some point in the future.

Lucky It doesn’t need to grow traffic.

Have a look at my photos on Flickr.

walk this way

Notes and photos from #UXcampch

Some notes and photos from Saturday’s UX camp in Zürich:

Adrian Sameli took us thru the process of building infographics. His tip on tools to use: Excel and Adobe Illustrator. He tried one or two infographic tools but didn’t like them much. In the discussion we looked at data-driven documents

Next, I attended a session on atomic design. Design systems not pages.
Developers need to agree early on with designers on the semantics of the smallest, small and medium building blocks. These then are used in templates to build pages.

Brad. Frost. Who?

Background reading: Atomic design by Brad Frost.

The discussion after the presentation got straight to the daily challenges. Questions like

  • How do you get developers to use the existing pattern? Nobody reads documentation. In an ideal world, developer and designer sit in the same room and discuss the initial elements and define the markup. In real life the UX team may be much smaller than the developer team and might be geographically distributed, etc.
  • Is anybody using Pattern Lab in real-life projects? Very few projects get paid to build a pattern library. Pattern Lab is really more for larger projects due to the effort involved. How can this be improved?

Next, I listened to Simone Reichlin talk about the RITE method vs traditional user tests.

Main idea: Often you see some obvious problems in your UX design after your first or second test person. Instead of going thru the whole test with the remaining test participants, change the prototype with your improvement between tests. And then continue testing your changed prototype.
Main requirement: Designer needs to watch the user test. This shortens discussion time afterwards.
Tools used: Sketch and inVision.

Don’t change too much. Follow Medlock’s classification.

Want to try RITE? Start with the traditional method first. Only use RITE after you have gained some experience in carrying out user tests.

A very good session by Vincent van der Lubbe on creating space in conversations. And we even got a reference sheet to take home. The hard part is putting this into practise.

listening to Vincent at @uxcampch

Fidel Thomet presented his B.A. project, It’s a Chrome extension to capture digital findings in form of text fragments gathered while browsing the web.

Information Flaneur = Flanieren in grossen Datenmengen

We briefly looked at Marian Dörk’s PivotPaths. This podcast by was recommended.

Unknown, useless fact about me:
Once upon a time, I had to write a uni term paper on Walter Benjamin and Paris in the 19th Century.

My snapshots are on Flickr.

All mistakes are my own. Please let me know if I got something really wrong. I’m here to learn. These notes help me to reflect and learn.

#POSSE: A clickable demo of my simple #indieweb blog

Here’s a simple example how you can publish your content on your own site and syndicate elsewhere (POSSE):

  1. I posted a boring flower snapshot into my self-hosted WordPress (WP) blog.
  2. WP posted the entry to Twitter using WP plugins Hum and Publicize
  3. One of my Twitter followers replied to my tweet.
  4. Using Webmention, the tweet showed up in my WP comment moderation loop.
  5. After I approved it, the tweet shows up as a comment in the corresponding WP entry.

As you can see, there are some formatting issues with the emoticons and the image link isn’t displaying correctly.

And to begin with I had some other WP plugins interfering with the Webmention plugin and no idea why it wasn’t working.

#POSSE learnings – Things to add

Testing in progress. I’m using my self-hosted WordPress to tweet. It works.

WordPress offers Aside and Link formats for short entries.

Some things I’ll need to add or general comments:

  • I often tweet external links I find interesting. Twitter is my Delicious substitute. I need some kind of URL shortener for links that will appear in the tweet space. Or I’ll need to use manually – like we used to.
  • I’d like links in the WordPress Aside or Link to convert automatically to an URL. There’s a WordPress plugin that auto-converts web addresses into HTML links. But it’s fallen into disuse.
  • How do I pull my faves and retweets out of Twitter?
  • I typically tweet a lot of Flickr photos. My photos are hosted on Flickr and moving them into my own site would be way too large and cumbersome. Not POSSE-conform yet.

Posting via WordPress, I’m adding an extra click. I assume this will negatively influence engagement with my tweet stream.

On the other hand, stepping away and taking the trouble to tweet from another (very) personal site influences what I’ll write. Automatically I find myself saying: Is this tweet worth it?

Twitter will change even more in the months leading to the IPO. We need to be media-savvy. And POSSE is a good experiment.

Have a good day.

Clicking is dead, scrolling is king.

Malawi on Twitter – Version June 2013

Twitter lists are its most powerful and least-used feature.

While I am fully aware, that Twitter lists have lost significance in the past years, I still maintain a list on Malawi.


Since the early days of Twitter, Malawian content has increased many fold.

Social media content about Malawi during general election time, or about President Mutharika’s death, proved to be fairly accurate.

Obviously, a tweet on its own is just raw material. It needs further analysing and fact-checking.

Why Twitter? There is still lots of misunderstanding and one-sided reporting regarding African countries. Largely due to ignorance and the way mainstream media continue to report about the African continent.

Best way to change this perception? Well, one way is to tweet and share your views and opinions. Some ideas:

  • Share your technical innovations and solutions.
  • Tweet about your business idea and find partners for business and trade opportunities.
  • Build networks and become a trusted citizen journalist.
  • Show the positive and beautiful aspects of the country.
  • Write about societal and linguistic changes.
  • Write about mobile technology and its daily usage and fast adoption in Malawi.
  • Provide a realistic view of the challenges a small country like Malawi faces in a globalized world.

Tweet streams included in the list encompass:

  • Malawians living in Malawi 😉
  • Expats living in Malawi
  • Malawians living abroad
  • Organizations based in Malawi (e.g. business companies, media companies, governmental channels, charities and NGOs)
  • Organization outside of Malawi, but in some way connected to Malawi (usually charities or NGOs)
  • Journalists or academics writing about Malawi

In my humble opinion, is a great way to visualize articles. E.g. Malawi Tribune by Mabvuto Banda

Other Twitter lists on Malawi:

Malawi on Twitter
Mining in Malawi

Bufferapp stats for tweets and posts

I am confused by the analytics view shown in Bufferapp. Consider the 2 tweets i posted this morning:

bufferapp stats

One has 0 (zero) clicks and one has close to 200. I am not questioning the 0. It’s a known fact Twitter engagement has gone down. Disappeared. But… I am fairly sure that nobody clicked on my other tweet either. The number shown must be the total number of clicks on this link, right?

Is this useful for me?

Why show me the total number of clicks worldwide on this link? My educated guess is that Bufferapp (or any other Twitter stats tool for that matter) can only count clicks via the URL shortener service. I.e. close to 200 clicks where registered for Which is somewhat misleading. Or, in other words, it shows me which tweets are truly original vs entries which are just part of a larger echo chamber.

I guess, it can be said in this day and age, we really need to closely at how stats are derived.

For example, a tweet starting with @name will still generate up to 10 views on Flickr. While the tweet is public and can be viewed by others, I sincerely doubt that the views displayed on Flickr are *human* views.

Traue keiner Statistik, die du nicht selbst gefälscht hast

Sunny Sunday

I just got back from a run around the Finnenbahn. The distance is nothing to write home about, but it was a pleasurable experience with temperatures around 18 degrees. Spring is here.

With all the fresh air rushing thru my system, I was in mindblogging mode. Reflecting on all the data I have been consuming here and there.

Yesterday afternoon I tried out new bicycles at a bicycle shop in downtown Basel. I am thinking of buying a new bicycle. My Univega will soon be 10 years old. And a lot has been happening in the bicycle space since then.

mein velo

I read Scoble’s post on reducing noise on Facebook. Useful! I don’t really have the a signal to noise problem on FB, but they are offering more and more control. Which is good.

On Twitter: Did you see that you can now embed tweets?

How to find the embed code:

  • Select a tweet.
  • Click on Details.
  • Click on Embed this Tweet.
  • Copy the code to your webpage.

Although I am quite sure that I will keep my screenshot collection of fun tweets.

The effort to tweak all these corporate social media channels is getting higher than high. Don’t let the social media corporations take over.

Instead of just consuming content, I encourage you to create content. Write a blog, take photos, learn something new, write how-tos, write about your area of expertise, own your own data, participate, enter into dialog, have fun. Here are some ideas:

I am planning to attend BarcampBodensee in June. Anybody else coming from the Basel area? It would be a great opportunity to present an updated version of my presentation on mobile internet usage in Malawi.

So much has happened in this space. And even in a downturn, TNM has managed to increase its subscriber base by 35% in 2011. Compare and contrast those kind of numbers with the saturated markets here in Europe.

The number of Facebook users from southern Africa is increasing despite the high internet access costs. Socialbaker lists 95 820 users from Malawi.

socialbaker stats for Malawi

Leave a comment or contact me if you can provide further interesting data / anecdotes / user behaviour on internet usage patterns in the warm heart of Africa.

Thank you for reading and supporting Alles wird gut.

colorful and calories

P.S.: I missed a LOLCat photo opportunity today: a cat stretched out on the seat of Vespa. Unfortunately I didn’t have a cam with me.

Rules, guidelines, research and more


70% of your tweets should share resources- sharing others’ voices, opinions, quotes, blog posts, articles, content and resources

20% of your tweets should engage in conversations with others, responding, connecting, collaborating and connecting with others.

10% of your tweets can be chirping, chitchat as Angela calls it, on trivial details or self-promotion.

via 10 Tips For Managing Twitter As Your Usage Increases | Blog of Mr. Tweet.

All these rules, guidelines. Not sure I endorse any of them. I assume their target audiences are people tweeting for business reasons.

Twitter is many things to many different people. What works for you may not work for the next person. Or do you plan your conversations to include “70% of resource sharing”?

But by quoting this guideline, I am showing that this kind of article works. 10 steps to success… Follow this method and success will be yours.

Research on Jaiku:

Apparently… who knew… Research has found… Microbloggers are really boring… The article shows 3 things: either there were no linguists on the research team, otherwise they would know that a lot of content that is sent across the communication channel is “meaningless in itself” but serves the purpose of keeping the communication going. Or secondly if there was a linguist on the research team he or she failed to make this connection. And thirdly the amazing culture of searching (errr… by default gooogling) for everything. I entered the new disclaimer of this site as a search phrase “This is a very boring personal website” to find the article on Jaiku research.

In was für einer Welt lebe ich eigentlich.

Personal projects:

The MBA project is moving along. It was quite an experience to be on-campus at a large state university.  One thing that struck me most was the vast expanses of ruralness. When I think of the US from my Euro-centric perspective, it comprises sprawling big cities like San Francisco, New York, Miami, Chicago. Influenced by visits and movies. But 2 weeks in West Lafayette have changed this image. Lots of farmland between O’Hare International Airport and the uni.

143 cities in china

I learned – during one of the cultural classes – that China has 143 cities with a population of over 1 million. Compared with the US where there are about 52 metropolitan areas with a population of over 1 million.

Somehow I find it both comforting and scary that the superpower of the world is based on large expanses of small and mid-sized towns that depend on farming.

Compare this with the increasing pressures of urbanization in many parts of the world.

The big three: Land, water, food.

Blue collar wage rates

Another amazing fact from a euro-centric perspective: The wage rate in Indiana dropped from $30 to $15 within one year. That number alone shows the crisis.

New cam: Going to get an S90 to replace my overexposing Ixus 900 Ti.

Flickr wall: I want to build a Flickr wall based on this example. Wish me good luck…

Free advice for a Twitter/Google/Facebook/Friendfeed world…

And a finally word of advice: Remember that all of your precious UGC data that is stored at external, commercial sites may be gone tomorrow. Don’t take 5 years to learn this.

Malawi Twitterers

As Malawi celebrates independence day tomorrow, here is a list of Malawi twitterers you might like to follow:

Vincent Kumwenda – currently at Muloza border, Mulanje; topics include Malawi news, world news, interesting Malawi web pages, and soccer. He also writes a blog.

Fred Bvalani – in Blantyre; tweets about mobile applications and phones, Oracle training in freezing cold Cape Town, Manchester United, movies, church, Escom power cuts, and Malawi news and websites. Check out his blog.

Dannie Grant Phiri – first started twittering during the recent Malawi elections; writes about Malawi and soccer in his blog at

Soyapi Mumba – well-known Malawi blogger and twitterer, software developer, volunteer developer at Ushahidi, lives in Lilongwe. He writes about software development, interesting mobile and web applications, Malawi news. He is the programmer behind Owinna – a web app on Malawi football league fixtures and results, as well as the Premier league and other international championships. You can access this information through the website or SMS by texting FOLLOW owinna to +447624801423 or on Twitter.

Clement Nyirenda – blogs and twitters from Tokyo, where he is doing a PhD in computer science. He covers many IT and development topics related to Malawi. A good resource to learn about projects such as Seacom. He discusses entrepreneurial ventures and their effect on Malawi. Read his blog post on Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter stunt to raise awareness about malaria.

There are many more, which I might mention in a second blog post.


Inspired by lots of fresh air

After lots of hours cramped in front of my books, trying to catch up with my studies, I went jogging for a couple of rounds on the Finnenbahn ( a sawdust track ) in the woods. Usually I find running around in circles boring. But today I didn’t mind cos my head is full of unprocessed data.

And while I plodded around the loop, I thought about:

  • Twitter and the Iran election and the video of the dying woman.
  • Thoughtless re-tweeting. I find it scary the way people follow others blindly. With good intentions. But without thinking and researching for themselves. I thought of setting up a slogan such as: Think before you re-tweet.
  • How the initial design of ARPANET, to compensate for network losses, probably explains why people can still find ways and means to send out tweets and photos and videos out of Iran.
  • My Macroeconomics homework about inflation and interest rates.
  • The soothing effect the colour of green leaves has on my mind.

The term mindblogging was coined by fellow blogger Persillie and refers to the writing of virtual blog posts while doing something else such as jogging. By default mindblog posts are always better than their written equivalent.

Congratulations to Mlle. A.! Her blog Handmade 2.0 is featured in the current edition of t3n, a German IT and web magazine.
Way to go!
Next in Brand eins?

I talked to my mom about internet connections in Malawi. She says that prices for mobile internet are getting more affordable. TNM offers USB modems. I need to research this…

Hiding in Full Public View

In January my stats dropped to an all time low. There are a number of reasons, I guess.

One reason is that I haven’t been writing much lately. Just an occasional link. Short cross-references to my Flickr stream. That’s it.

Another reason is my retro-style homepage, which points to my other life stream options (Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader, Delicious) and probably diverts (or puts off) a lot of people.

Maybe another reason is the second WordPress installation I’ve added to showcase an idea. Maybe the Google bot doesn’t like this kind of setup. I’m not sure. It’s not duplicate content.

Although I think I am still listed.

It is surprising because I have over 4 years of content here.

Fact is I could start a confessional style blog and publish details galore. And only five people would read it.

Because the amount of information floating around the Internet has exploded. Gone are the times where a blog post on a specialized topic would get hits.

Somehow I find this strangely comforting. I can hide in full public view. Hide on the Internet.

And the other message hidden in there is that building communities is hard work.

As enterprises try to follow their customers and consider integrating Facebook and Twitter into their marketing programs, I think it’s important to hold up some warning signs.


There are no quick wins in this.

You’ll need Scoble-like marketing resources. Using a video-only communication strategy is not the answer. People are different. Some like screencasts. Some like text.

Scoble says:

Truth is that if you want to build an audience on the web you must use EVERY tool available.

You’ll need to walk the fine line in your choice of communication (no marketing glib, no sales talk, no PR gobbeldygook, a real personal voice, useful and good content at frequent intervals). I read somewhere that the first Flickr team greeted every new sign-up personally.

You’ll need to have a clear community policy.

And above all you need to be aware that you’re giving your data to a third party.

Twitter / Home

Everything you publish on the Internet is up for grabs. Everything.

I’m not saying that enterprises should not invest in social media. I’m saying enterprises should carefully consider the costs. Maybe that’s a possible business model for Twitter… corporations pay for the ability to export their data and contacts at all times. A service agreement for data?

What happens if Yahoo sells Flickr to a stock photo agency?

As I watch the demise of Technorati and Xing, I keep getting reminded of Adam Greenfield’s talk on “Everyware”.

As we used to say in Blantyre: Amakhala scared.

If you’re here and reading this. Thank you. I’m not here for the stats. I’m here to learn. So far the positive effects outweigh the negative bits by far. And I believe everybody needs to become aware of this ocean of data that surrounds us and become a social media expert of sorts.

Ten Differences between Skype and Twitter

On the train to northern Germany. Three more hours to go.

It’s been a long day and my motivation to get some work done is kind of missing. So here’s a text message from the train. Longer than 140 characters. Maybe.

Two doctors across the aisle are loudly discussing other doctors, Basel hospitals, the Swiss health system, politics and other details. They are code switching between Swiss German and Arabic (or something that sounds similar). They are getting out now. They were talking non-stop for two hours.

Der Trend zu mehr als einem Betriebssystem:
BTW, I finally ordered a new 13 inch MacBook with 4GB RAM. I really like the size. I guess I am officially a Mac fan. I even tweeted about it!

Twitter vs. Skype:
How do you explain the difference between Twitter and Skype? I was talking about the Twitter Dinner I attended on Monday and a work colleague asked “What’s the difference to instant messaging?”

For the casual observer, none really. Nothing revolutionary. 140 characters organized chronological on a webpage. Like the first webpages, nothing truly spectacular.

Yet again, it is another way to publish even faster. Faster than a static HTML-based webpage or a dynamic server-side based blog.

The future of Twitter will be exciting to watch. Maybe it will just dwindle and die. Maybe new business models will emerge and it will become commercial like websites. Maybe it’s just a stepping stone to something new.

Anyway here we go, my first list in a long time. Here are:

Ten differences between Skype and Twitter:

  1. One to many vs one to one or one to two: I have more Twitter followers than Skype contacts. I don’t follow all of my Twitter followers, while Skype is more or less reciprocal and if somebody doesn’t add me as a contact, I start wondering why.
  2. Public With Twitter I can view the stream, and the faves before clicking the ominous Follow button. By default Skype messages are not public.
  3. More options Skype is direct and immediate between me and another person or a second person. Twitter can be direct and immediate between my friends and me, but it doesn’t have to be. I can post a tweet message without any follow-up or call to action. On the other hand Skypers expect a more immediate reaction. And tend to follow general conversational patterns.
  4. Easier to search thru I can search thru Tweet streams much more easily, thanks to add-on services such as Twitter Search/Summize.
  5. Monitor Like with Google, or Flickr, I use Summize/Twitter Search to find new content on topics of interest, c.f comments on the famous Nutella Alternatives group (funny!) or on a more serious note tweets from Malawi and Zimbabwe. In the same way, companies can find what people are saying about their products. Consumers are more likely to write a 140 character message than a full A4 review on your product. I.e. Twitter forms opinions on products. And unlike statements at a cocktail party, these mini-reviews are searchable.
  6. Unfiltered news from strangers With Twitter I can get raw, unfiltered messages on current news as they happen, c.f the recent bombings in Mumbai. Following “breaking news” on Twitter is more exciting than on CNN and co, as they scramble to get a correspondent online and show the same video sequence over and over again.
  7. Mobile Cos it’s so simple, Twitter offers better mobile phone integration from the start. Unfortunately, the best Twitter feature by far was shut down in September 08. What I call the downstream, i.e. the forwarding of Twitter messages to my cell phone.
  8. Ubiquituous software All I need is a browser and my login data. And browsers are everywhere. I think there’s a possibility to use a Skype widget within a browser, but so far I have never used this feature.
  9. Faves I can store Twitter messages I like by fav’ing them.
  10. Fun I use Skype for work-related stuff. Twitter is for fun. I’m not twittering for the marketing effect. Just fun. I don’t care if 1000 people follow me or not.

And finally it’s art:
I learnt at LIFT 08, that I’m part of a giganormous art project.

Where else can you follow the different time zones having their first cup of coffee in the morning?

On Following Tweet Streams

I recently talked to Persillie on the difficulty of following people’s tweet streams. Esp. if you have a limited time budget and can only tune into Twitter every so often.

For example, I follow Kathy Sierra’s stream at Twitter. You can see quite a few of her 140 character statements in my Twitter Favorites.

Re: “PR is Dead?” meme–PR has same issue as UI design: it’s NOT something you can slap on afterward. Must be baked into product.

“Job happiness” should not have a single point of failure… but too often it ALL depends on your current boss. Bad managers REALLY suck.

Things Smart People Do: Martin Fowler (software dev pioneer) said he went to a ‘passionate users’ talk *because* he “doesn’t like the topic”

Powerful template 4 learning: “I will do Project A, to ‘force’ myself to learn Skill B” rather than “I must/will learn Skill B” @hrheingold

PR/marketing should fail when it’s about “getting word out”. If they’re about helping “users kick ass”, we’re good. Less pitch, more teach.

I see a huge overestimation of the importance of “social” in marketing/PR or product dev in general today.

etc, etc…

The difficulty arises when other Twitterers ask questions and Kathy responds. I don’t see the question and it gets much more difficult to follow.

Twitter is like a cocktail party. The music is so loud, sometimes you only hear parts of the answer.

Are there Twitter tools that help with this? The only tool I can think of is Twitter Search (formerly Summize).

Daily Tweets

  • just got a usb stick with joomla and a server installed. Thanks Joomla Switzerland! #
  • @mllea i haz joomla #
  • having a look at #
  • ubuntu iz cool #
  • i’ve been snitching candy/sweets everytime i walked past the ubuntu table #
  • @mllea how can i delete my technorati acc? (remembering attempt to delete stumbleupon acc….) #
  • 2 os developers of amarok (rediscover your music) howling at the booth next door #
  • Ready to catch ze train back to basel. Stanca. #
  • mt vs wordpress #
  • @mllea still following alchemy #

Daily Tweets

  • "SPIEGEL: Have met you Carla Bruni yet?" #
  • tibits in basel has WLAN. yay. #
  • sxsw panel on social media ads that went wrong: #
  • “This kind of advertising is hurting our online ecosystem. It needs to be self-policed by those within the industry.” via white african #
  • time to move on. they’re playing Jimmy Cliff on the radio… #

Daily Tweets

  • coffee time #
  • I signed up at a fitness center this week. Today was the first training session. Went well. Not regretting my decision. #
  • "free-wheeling anarchist individual blogger" #
  • corporate blogging: "What we are talking about is something in between a real human voice and completely polished corporate speak." #