Facebook takes off

MySpace and Bebo have continued to dominate the UK social networking category in April 2007, with 67% of category visits. But, according to FT.com, visits to Facebook have surged since the social networking site opened its doors to the general public last September and added new features, although its market share continues to lag behind that of MySpace. The surge in traffic at Facebook comes amid continued interest in the site from numerous media companies and an on-again off-again rumoured mega Yahoo! buyout.

John Battelle, "king of search" writes: "Facebook gets generally positive reviews after its first developer conference. "The anti-Myspace" seems to be the buzz."

Social bookmarking and networking: how involved are you? asks Problogger, explaining it all at the link. 

Facebook is the Microsoft Office of social apps, writes Tim O’Reilly himself on O’Reilly Radar. From Tim’s post: "So claims Paul Kedrosky. In other words, none of the apps are particularly good — photo sharing, status updates, personal pages, events, groups, etc. — let alone being as good as their standalone counterparts — Flickr, Twittr, Typepad/Wordpress, Google Group, etc. — but most people don’t care. They just want their social software all in one place, all from the same interface, and then they want to move on and get their (social/presence) work done.  It’s easy to dismiss this comment as facile and slightly mean. But I think Paul is onto something, especially when, as he notes, Facebook is moving smartly to create a platform layer to tie all these applications together."

Interesting that I should read all this in the two days following Cathy, age 16, telling me that she has just opened an account on Facebook because it is "much better" than MySpace. Cathy did not put it as persuasively as Tim O’Reilly, but I’m listening.

(And here is a postscript for those with long memories: "Friends Reunited, the once-mighty precursor to social networking for UK school alumni, is finally going to get a further television outing. ITV has exploited the 18 million-member community precious little since it bought it for £175 ($347) million in December 2005 (a TV ad campaign for the site, which also involved sponsoring several ITV shows, looked suspiciously like an easy way to bolster the broadcaster’s ailing ad revenue). Now, though, the website will be joined up with ITV2’s Streetmate dating show, which “will be supported by a dating site developed with Friends Reunited”.")


Identical twins’ first novel

Identical twins’ first novel is a double vision-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline.

From today’s Times (link above): " at the age of 68, the Mulgray twins, who have never been apart for longer than two weeks, created a minor piece of history yesterday when their first novel went on sale in bookshops across Britain. No Suspicious Circumstances, a crime novel set in Edinburgh and featuring an intrepid female investigator from HM Revenue & Customs, is believed to be the first novel published in English by identical twins. The authors, from Joppa, outside Edinburgh, are described on the cover simply as “The Mulgray Twins”. Started more than 14 years ago, it is the result of thousands of hours of painstaking writing and rewriting. Each of its 86,000 words was a joint endeavour." 

From the website of the publisher, Allison and Busby:

"MEET THE WORLD’S MOST UNUSUAL UNDERCOVER TEAM. It can be tough working undercover for HM Revenue & Customs, but DJ Smith has more than a little help from her trained sniffer cat, Gorgonzola, a moth-eaten Persian with gourmet tastes and a mind of her own.  This first investigation finds DJ and Gorgonzola on the trail of a heroin smuggling ring operating in and around Edinburgh. Their first port of call is the White Heather Hotel, owned by the formidable Morag Mackenzie who rules her domain – and her spineless husband – with steely efficiency. And it is in these comfortable surroundings that DJ meets a cast of memorable characters including American golfing fanatic Hiram J Spinks, the glamorous Italian Signora Gina Lombardini, and the not so glamorous self styled gastronome extraordinaire Felicity Lannelle. Beneath the innocent surface of the country house hotel eddies a sinister undercurrent.  One death follows another.  Who among the guests specialises in making murder look like accident?"

If you are tempted, here’s a link to the book’s page on Amazon UK, from which you can click through to it on Amazon USA.