Vote for my panel: True stories from Social Media sites

I submitted a panel for SXSW: True stories from Social Media sites. Guy Kawasaki will be helping emcee the panel. Yes really! If you would like to hear about some of what goes behind the scenes at such sites, then vote for my panel. We will ask people who run and participate in such sites to come up and give their true stories.

Also, Jon also submitted a panel about AJAX and Flash mistakes. He will talk about some of the false turns and dead ends one can run into while using rich web technologies. Learning about mistakes can be educational and fun! More fun than the drab story of untempered success. Vote for his panel here.

Heading to Sydney for Web Directions South & OZ IA Summit

Tonight Jon and I are catching a flight to Sydney for Web Directions South. I am doing the keynote for the conference, speaking about “The perils of popularity“. This talk is a riff on social design, popularity driven navigation of the web and the tussle between hit-culture and democratic participation on the web. Jon will be talking about Flash and AJAX and how to use them in a complementary fashion.

I am also talking at the OZ IA Summit this weekend about the lessons learned from the design of SlideShare.

If you are a reader of this blog in Sydney and want to say hi, drop me a line. Or if you are going to be at either of the two conferences, then come by and say Hi.

Is My Questions the most spammy Facebook app?

To me, without doubt it is the “My Questions” app. So many times I have been tricked into checking out questions that friends have asked, only to find that they never asked the question and are confused why it was asked on their behalf. This just happened to me. I logged into Facebook and found that a friend had answered my question. Nice, except that I never asked a question.

While Facebook is becoming more and more a part of my daily life, I am really wary of spammy apps like My Questions.

What is the app that you find most spammy on Facebook?


I like to understand people. I like to create things. I love working in a startup. I did a PhD, then got bored with working in the lab and moved to creating software. I live in San Francisco with my husband. We go hiking, watch too many movies, and don’t listen to enough music. I am originally from India and think of both San Francisco and Delhi as home. I want to travel to South America next.

I hate writing in the third person, but am not above doing it when needed. If I am speaking at your conference, grab bios and pics from here.

Short bio

Rashmi Sinha is a designer and entrepreneur. She is confounder & CEO for SlideShare, the best place to share your presentations on the web.

Rashmi believes that good software comes from a true collaboration between developers and designers. Her background is social software & interface design. She did a Phd from Brown University and researched search engines & recommender systems at UC Berkeley. Deciding that she wanted to build products, she cofounded Uzanto which did design consulting during the day and built MindCanvas (online games meet online surveys) at night! Her appetite for products was whetted and SlideShare is her next venture.

Rashmi blogs about the social web at She speaks frequently at conferences like FOWA, SXSW & WebVisions. For her next career, she wants to write a book about strange things people do on social websites.

Longer bio
Rashmi Sinha is a designer, researcher and entrepreneur. Rashmi has a PhD in Cognitive NeuroPsychology from Brown University in 1998. After moving to UC Berkeley for a PostDoc, she fell in love with the web, and realized that many issues that web technologists think about are problems of human psychology. She worked on search interfaces & recommender systems but Information School. Deciding that she enjoyed practical problems more, she co-founded Uzanto, a user experience consulting company and worked on projects for companies like eBay, Blue Shield, AAA etc. Her first foray into products was with MindCanvas (a game-like software for customer research) released in November 2005.

Rashmi writes about social software and entrepreneurship at her blog – She is involved in the HCI community, was one of the founding members of the Information Architecture Society, and co-chairs the monthly BayCHI talk series.

At SlideShare, she focuses on design, community and business. If you really want her attention, then post a comment on her slidespace!



pic for conference bio

When men break up (in public, on their blogs)

The Jason Calacanis – Dave Winer breakup news popped in my bloglines (its on the top page on TechMeme!). Does anyone else think that blogs have unleashed something in men? They have a tiff, sometimes there are hysterics, sometimes its more dignified. But these disagreements, tiffs, ends of friendships are all laid out for us to view, comment on, support or not. I don’t know about you, but I think this is different than what I have observed with men in my private life (many a time I would have appreciated more openness) :-) Has anyone else noticed this trend – men being more open on their blogs?

Getting metrics right for social media sites: how to count the embeds?

Typically web analytics has dealt with metrics like page views, unique visitors etc. For the new generation of social sites, e.g., video, slideshow sites, this is not enough. There are videos embedded all over the web. How do you count those? This article about comscore metrics describes how analytics companies are starting to take embed views into account. It describes the ratio of embeds to views on the site itself and how it is very different for different video sites (1.52 for YouTube, compared to 4.92 for Revver).

This embed metrics issue operates somewhat differently for videos than for slideshows.

On the site itself, everyone counts the number of times the video or slideshow page is viewed. The question is how to count the views on an external site. You could count every time the page with the video embed is loaded, but that going to lead to inflated numbers. The second option is to count every time the video is played. That seems more reasonable. But its still going to be an overestimation if the video is set to autoplay. So seems like for video, its hard to avoid the inflation due to autoplay.

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How feature creep ruined the moleskine city notebook

moleskine_sf.jpgWhen I heard of Moleskin City Notebooks, I thought it was a brilliant idea. Your regular moleskine with maps! After leaving behind my moleskine on a plane, I bought the Moleskine San Francisco notebook (as we were going to the move to the city soon). The first disappointment was that the city notebook was not available in square paper, and I had to buy the plain paper. But everything since has been a disappointment as well.

My previous Moleskin notebook was standard pocket size. Almost all of its 192 pages are for writing. There is an accordion pocket and a plastic band to hold it together. Simple, unipurpose – for writing down thoughts and notes.

With the city notebooks, seems like the designers got much more ambitious:

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Guy Kawasaki at BayCHI

The next BayCHI will feature Guy Kawasaki talking about Truemors.

Title: By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09

Abstract: In this talk Guy will explain why and how he launched using open-source software, contractors, favors, and cajoling. He will also cover the current entrepreneurial and venture-capital funding conditions.

Whether you like or don’t like Trumors (I do!), this will be an interesting, fun talk by one of the legends of Silicon Valley. Guy is a very entertaining speaker. And this talk will have something for everyone whether you are an entrepreneur, designer, developer, vc or marketer. RSVP on upcoming if you are planning to be there.

Slidecasting as a general way to synch web audio and visuals

Jay Feinberg articulated much better than I did in my previous post, what the implications of slidecasting are. He tried to post this as a comment, but turns out my commenting system was broken.

One comment about the web and audio: there is a standard, or, at least, emerging standard, way to connect together multiple segments of audio: the playlist (and the XSPF standard playlist format). And, a slideshow seems very similar to a playlist in the way that you have discreet elements stiched together to form a linear presentation.

From a music / arts perspective, I would imagine that the most interesting possibilities would be the most web-like, e.g., that any one slide could connect to any playlist of multiple audio tracks, any one audio track could connect with any presentation of multiple sides, or one audio track could just connect with one side.

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