Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Say Hello to Sofian (RIP) 1

I was freaked out yesterday while browsing Facebook, when the following suggestion was listed:

Sofian (RIP) our dear friend who we lost almost two years ago. Technology is weird. I posted a hello on his profile.

We miss you.

Twitter, it's all about attitude 1

This is the time where the real power and promise of a service, a tool, a community portal or a social medium is when it turns into a Platform with a capital P.

Of all the thousands of web apps that started since 2005 till date, only few have made that leap. Facebook was the new kid on the block two years ago, when it turned its API into a platform.

But one can learn so much from comparing the story of Facebook and Twitter, the latter being the new hot kid on the block.

Here is how I view those two web brands as people:

Facebook to me is a control freak, from a developer’s perspective they keep changing their API without notifying developers in addition to all those restrictions on their API. From a user perspective, too many changes too soon. To that end, I think they have the highest record of how much interface changes a web app can do in shortest period of time. I think they keep forgetting that the user is the application and the capability of the environment is just the tool! I think to forget that is a sin in the web app development business.

On the other hand Twitter to me is this generous chef who since she moved into the neighborhood has had an open kitchen policy where anyone can use the restaurant’s extra kitchen tools to host their own events!

Soon after they launched, the created their API. Geeks from all over loved it and started using it as users and developers. So many tools were founded that helped people tweet better.

I am guessing that they intended it to be a mobile social network used between friends – real life friends, and that what it was at first. Its now in my view a communication tool free from any specific medium being sms, mobile app, browser or desktop.

Today its potential is in the transformation to be one hell of a data mining tool, as well as a new communication technology as Marshall Kirkpatrick from ReadWriteWeb put it

Show us a simple messaging tool that can be accessed through a wide variety of methods, using only a (hopefully) memorable username of the person you’re trying to communicate with – and we’ll show you a genre of technology that could disrupt not just email, it could disrupt telephony.

I like to believe that Twitter’s attitude is what eventually created the platform and its potential today. Not just PR, lines of code, big developer events or meetings.

Side note: The only other exciting thing next to twitter these days is of course the iPhone and its App Store  :-)

Google Trends 0

Want to know how much a certain word of phrase been searched for on the Internet the past 4 years? Check out Google Trends a web trend analysis tool from Google; it will give you a chart-based analysis on that phrase.

If you tried to search trends for “Lebanon” you will get the following chart:


Which from looking at it you will see that there is a base level of search about lebanon eveyday, and a two main spikes, one earlier in 2005 around with Rafiq Hariri was assassinated, and in the summer of 2006 around the Israel invasion of Lebanon.

Try another search, lets say “Global Warming”:


A seen above, in 2007 a lot of people got more aware and searched for information about Global Warming. Which in my own observation was about right.

“Facebook” got more than a trend more of a hike in 2007 and still on apparently, we will see until when will it keep that hike:


Try it your self for whatever phrase, be it a country, a web app, a person, or a topic!

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