March 2009 – Stay N Alive

TodaysMama Launches a Instance That Works


As long-time readers of my blog know, I am a very strong proponent of self-hosted, branded micro-blogging communities. Imagine, for instance, if ESPN were to create a Twitter-like site, just for sports enthusiasts (call me!). People are known for talking their minds on Twitter, but when someone mentions what they ate for lunch, they go nuts! How about a Subway-branded micro-blogging community for food-lovers? Another example I have used is a community, solely for Moms to communicate and share with other Moms. That’s why I was excited when Rachael Herrscher, CEO of TodaysMama, sat down with me looking for new ways to build community around their brand. What we came up with is something I’ll admit blew me away when I saw the final version. Yesterday they launched the live version of it, TodaysMama Connect for the world to see.

TodaysMama Connect – What it Is

TodaysMama Connect, put quite simply, is “Twitter, for Moms” (as I call it). They’ve taken a simple open source Microblogging platform,, and have made it beautiful, something your Mom could use. The site has simple microblogging functionality, enabling users to post, in short burst, what they’re doing at the moment or what they’re thinking, while at the same time communicate with each other via @replies or direct message functionality.

In addition, the site uses a feature of, groups, to allow groups of people, such as what we’re seeing through the #GNO (Girls Night Out – takes place every Tuesday night) “group” on Twitter, to truly communicate as a group without disrupting the flow of the site. In fact, the very large #GNO movement which makes Twitter trending terms every Tuesday has also created a group on TodaysMama Connect, and the group is continuing what they started over on Twitter, in the more Mom-focused environment. When users send !groupname and their message, the message goes out to only those who have joined the group on TodaysMama Connect. There are already hundreds of groups to join, top groups including “Toddler”, and “Office”, and “Potty”.

The site integrates fully with Twitter, so you can use Twitter directly from the site itself, importing your current Twitter stream into TodaysMama Connect, and also sending your updates from TodaysMama Connect out to Twitter. In addition, as a instance supporting the OpenMicroBlogging (OMB) standard, the site works fully with clients such as Twhirl, which support and OMB. I even got it to work on my iPhone with the LaTwit app (using as the API URL). You can get it to work in Twhirl using as your username.

Even if you’re not a techy and prefer a nice, plain, web interface, the UI is comfortable enough any Mom would enjoy using. The site supports normal login/registration, or if you have an OpenID you can login/register via that means as well. Registration was extremely easy. There is lots of help documentation, and if you get stuck, you can always pose your question, and @todaysmamastaff is listening (as is the CEO, @todaysmama).

What's Up?

The Power of Micro-Branded Communities

I’ve said this time and time again, and I’ll keep saying it. The only way Twitter will survive is if they open up by allowing other communities to communicate and build “Twitter” in their own environments. This is “Forums 2.0”, and Twitter just so happens to have the largest master Forum site on the internet right now. That won’t last forever if they keep their closed environment.

Businesses want their customers interacting in their own brand environments. Many have strict rules, requiring they host the content and do it under their own umbrella. Twitter can’t do that right now, and will never fully do that if they don’t open up.

At the same time, Twitter is a mess of mixed niches, all on the same platform. It’s very difficult as a brand to pinpoint users devoted and interested in a single type of product. It’s difficult to identify demographics. What TodaysMama is doing is enabling brands to now have a specific demographic of people they can target and share information with. Rachael Herrscher, the CEO, even shared an example of a local Zoo being able to share local deals to the Moms in the area. Businesses want this – and this is the perfect social environment to do it in. They now have the power to interact with one of the most powerful demographics on the internet – Moms.

The Future of Microblogging

This is only the start. What and OMB allow users to do is connect with people, across platforms, in ways they weren’t able to do before. For instance, if someone were to create an OMB-compatible site for Dads, now my wife would be able to follow me as I interact with other Dads on the Dad-related site, and she would never have to leave TodaysMama Connect.

Evan Prodromau, the author and maintainer of is offering services to help large brands set up and maintain these instances. From my conversations with Rachael, he was there the entire way to help with the technicalities of the TodaysMama Connect set up. Businesses like this type of professional service and guarantee. Large Brands will embrace this.

I know of several other large brands also interested in such a set up, and many don’t even know this is possible yet. Dave Winer is also looking to push this concept, as is Steve Gillmor and others. Twitter is a powerful force, but it has a long way to go before it can embrace every niche out there. I really don’t think people are as devoted to the “Twitter” brand as we think they are. They are devoted to “NASCAR”, and they are devoted to “ESPN”, just as they are to being a Mom, or being a Dad, and the products and services surrounding those. Twitter has led the way, but it’s time to break out of the mold.

If you’re a Mom, have a Mom, or are married to a Mom, I highly suggest you try out TodaysMama Connect. We are already seeing the site take off and I’m amazed by the many conversations I’m already seeing there. I think for the first time I may actually get to see my Mom, or my wife, truly microblogging and interacting with others via such a service. I only wish I could hear them from Twitter now. That won’t happen until Twitter opens up.

You can sign up for TodaysMama Connect at
TodaysMama Connect ScreenShot

Participate in the First Community Barn-Raising for Modern Entrepreneurs

thumbphpAwhile back I was Tweeting to Jeremy Hanks, local business owner and CEO of, a direct-ship solution for small businesses, suggesting the idea of doing monthly entrepreneur/bootstrappers breakfasts here in Salt Lake and Surrounding areas. It was an idea I took from some out in San Francisco intended for entrepreneurs to meet and share ideas with each other, and build community and help with each other. Jeremy, who bootstrapped the very successful and profitable himself, mentioned he had a better idea, and soon after announced a really neat concept that I think could really encourage the local entrepreneur scene here in Utah to take off.

The concept is called “Launchup“. When I spoke with Jeremy, he compared the idea of Launchup to a “community barn-raising for entrepreneurs.” Jeremy, a very down-home, outdoorsy guy himself, shared the story of how in olden times communities would hold “barn-raising” events where the entire community would get together and help out the one Farmer who needed a barn built. They would often have the entire barn, with the help of every member of the community, built within a day. Those not involved would often be outcast – it was simply a responsibility of everyone in the community to help out that one businessman/farmer. This fits right in line with my “Small Community” concept I often talk about in my presentations.

Jeremy also talked about his inspiration from President Obama, who he quoted, saying in his Inaugural address, “…it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things…who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity….a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.” It was from this that Jeremy’s concept, was begun.

The idea of Launchup is simple. Get a whole bunch of entrepreneurs in a room together. Have 2 or 3 entrepreneurs present their companies to the group. Get free feedback, ideas, and suggestions from the other entrepreneurs. Jeremy calls each of the entrepreneur sessions, “Barns”, and he’s really embracing Social Media to try and promote this. All sessions will be broadcast live to the entire world via Doba’s own live broadcasting equipment (I expect this should be good – Jeremy just spent a couple weeks in India while running his company), and all can participate, whether you live in Utah or not. In this case the community raising the barn is not only Utah, but the entire Social Mediasphere itself.

On Twitter, you can chat about it with the hashtag, #launchup. I’ve talked to them about Ustream, and I think we’re working on solutions around that as well as Facebook and other platforms to ensure all can participate and share with friends. As a real-life community event, this is the essence of what Social Media is about.

The next Launchup, Wednesday (today), will be very interesting. There are 2 local startups that will be presenting. TweetBooty will be talking about “a new way to access amazing discounts and giveaways from qualified local retailers.” Entice Labs will be talking about a technology that connects employers with these “passive candidates” by placing relevant and enticing career opportunities directly in front of them. The event will kick off with an “Amp Session” with a quick presentation by Ben Peterson, who founded, and sold it in a matter of years to Spark Networks for millions. Each presenter only has 15 minutes to make their case for the audience.

This should be an interesting event for all, and knowing Jeremy (and myself being somewhat involved as well), I fully expect the most interesting startups to all be part of these. If you’re a local, I expect to see you in person there. If you’re a blogger, early adopter, entrepreneur, or just like to see cool new and interesting projects, and want to participate in helping other entrepreneurs do better (Scoble and Louis, we’d love to see you in the chat and live stream!), come join us this evening.

The Launchup event starts at 6pm MST, March 25th. You can come in person to the Doba offices at 1530 N Technology Way, Orem, UT 84097 – Canyon Park Technology Center Building D, or participate online by going to Be sure, especially if you will be there in person, to Tweet “I’m going to #LaunchUp, are you?” in order to RSVP for the event. If there is a Ustream for the event I’ll Tweet that out tomorrow as well. Come join us!

I’m On Facebook–Now What??? Now Available for the Kindle – Get Your Copy Today!

I'm On Facebook--Now What??? For the KindleRecently when Amazon made their Kindle software available for the iPhone I told Jason and our Publisher Mitchell at HappyAbout that it was time we get our copy in the already strong database of books the Amazon Kindle Store provides. Now, not only would you not have to buy a Kindle to read our book digitally, but you could now take it anywhere with you, in your pocket, along with dozens of other of your favorite books thanks to the portability of the iPhone. This was very appealing to me, as now with just the push of a button you could download our book, read it anywhere you go, bookmark it, select your favorite pages, and more in a nice, easy-to-read digital format.

So I was proud to learn today that you can now go to the Kindle Store, search for “I’m on Facebook”, and with one click, have our book in your pocket or on your Kindle wherever you go. Better yet, it’s the cheapest of all versions, at only $9.56! We save on publishing costs, you get half off the original book price. How’s that for win-win?

If you have an iPhone, you can download the Kindle app by clicking on this link. You can also buy the Kindle 2 on Amazon (affiliate link) and get the full experience. To get the book, just go here, click the “Buy now with 1-click” link, and it will automatically be downloaded to your Kindle the next time you turn it on or open the app on the iPhone. Or, if you were always wanting to see what it was about, try it out for free! There’s a “Send sample now” link on that same page which will send you just a sample so you can see a preview of what you’re purchasing before you buy it.

Oh, and be sure to share this with your Facebook friends!

The Potential for Facebook Search Kicks Twitter’s Butt

FacebookRob Diana recently did a post suggesting Facebook, rather than Twitter, was the real goldmine for data.  I, as I’ve inferred before on, wholeheartedly agree with that notion, and in fact, Facebook is already showing the potential for this with their Lexicon product.  While not yet as public as Twitter search, right now anyone can see top trending keywords and topics, very similar to Twitter search, via the URL  Better yet, Facebook has revealed where they are going with it via their new version of the trends tool at


From the new Lexicon you can pick any trending topic, see the number of users talking about those topics on a given timeline.  Facebook goes further though, providing demographic data.  For instance, for the term, “baseball”, you can find out how many females vs. males are talking about baseball.  Under a Demographics category, you can also break it down by age, or country.




In addition to demographical information, you can pull out various statistics about what people are saying about a particular topic.  Under the “Associations” category, you can get a graphical breakdown of what the most popular word associations with the topic are.  Popular associations for the word, “baseball” were “high school”, “college”, “coach”, to name a few.



I found this one quite interesting.  Facebook has found some way to determine the sentiment of users when mentioning various search terms.  For instance, for “baseball”, you can determine the percentage of users speaking positively of baseball, and the percentage of users speaking negatively.  They go further though, allowing you to compare the sentiment of one search term over another.



Facebook will also do some biographical checking for you as well.  It looks at each search term, and will determine what other common keywords are in users’ profiles related to those search terms, and what words are most popular when users are mentioning the term.  For “baseball”, users tended to have words such as “sports”, “music”, “football”, and “reading”, revealing a little information about those fanatical about baseball.



Lastly, users can see how a particular search term fares geographically.  “baseball” is very popular in California.  Facebook provides a map, color-coding based on percent of users talking about the particular term.  I can’t help but wonder if all search results are biased towards California however since that is one of the most populous states in terms of Facebook use.


The Potential for Facebook vs. Twitter

I think Facebook has shown through this Lexicon that they have the potential to be much more useful than Twitter in terms of search and data mining potential.  Because Facebook has more detailed profile data, and a significantly larger user base to read from, the potentials for useful data are so much greater, and are already proving so via this Lexicon.  If Facebook starts to provide APIs around this search data, along with the publicly available user status updates and profile data, they will be a very serious force to reckon with, that I think, regardless of the mass funding Twitter has, will be extremely tough to compete with.

If you’re currently writing apps for Twitter, you should sincerely consider starting to learn Facebook.

What Would You Like To Learn About Social Web Development?

Help is on the wayOne of my strongest expertise is developing web apps that utilize Social APIs and technologies.  My website, SocialToo is built all around these.  I’ve written a book on the subject, and reviewed others.  I’ve blogged about it, and written many apps myself, and consulted for many others.  I wrote one of the first howtos on Facebook Connect development, and wrote the very first Facebook Connect WordPress plugin.

However, I’ve realized that I’m not sharing that much.  I have presentations I’ve shared via Slideshare, but those just don’t do it justice.  I’d like to share more here on this blog, do a few geeky howtos for the developers and coders out there, and hopefully help a few of you out.  I’m not quite sure where to start though.

So my question for you is, what would you like me to talk about?  What would you like to learn?  It can be any Social Network API, really.  If I don’t know it yet I’ll go learn it and share it with you.  I’d like to help you learn what you don’t already know though.  I figure I’m pretty good at this stuff, so I may as well share it.  So, what would you like me to talk about?  Trust me, it will be much more interesting if you tell me, than if I just guess myself.  How can I help you?

Image courtesy Cory Doctorow

How Do I Only Allow Certain Friends to See (insert feature here) on Facebook?


I was interviewed on our local radio station, KSL News Radio (1160 AM and 102.7 FM) about Facebook etiquette recently, and the article aired today. I get asked frequently how you can separate your professional and personal life on Facebook. Paul Nelson (@paulthereporter on Twitter) was kind enough to take a video of me showing how to do this. Here’s the Howto, and keep in mind that you can also do this for individual photo albums and videos as well:

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If you want to hear the audio interview you can listen here:


Everything I Learned About Social Media I Learned From Professor Harold Hill

Coming out of High School I had a dream, like many Mormon boys of my age, to have good grades and get accepted to Brigham Young University. It was the “Notre Dame” of the Mormon faith, and having sat through many BYU football games with my family cheering them on and getting the nudge from my Dad I felt I was destined that I too would go there some day. I was very disappointed after High School when, while my 3.5 GPA was decent and I excelled in extra-curricular activities, it wasn’t decent enough for the school of my dreams and I would never graduate from there. I went on to follow the dot-com boom and bust, and get my degree late, graduating Summa Cum-Laude at Strayer University (take that BYU!). Even today, I’m still a very strong BYU football fan, and longed for that dream of the “BYU Experience”.

Today, my dream came true, and I was able to finally participate in the school I grew up so dearly loving. I guess you could say it was my “Rudy” moment. I’ve spoken many places recently but this was truly a highlight. Today I had the opportunity to Guest-Lecture an Intro to PR class at BYU. Despite having some issues getting YouTube to load on the BYU network (I’m told it’s not due to censorship, but rather strain on the network – yeah right), the lecture went extremely well! I compared the likes of Professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man” and that small town of River City he was selling to to Social Media, and used his lessons learned to share some of how Social Media should be used. My slides are below and if you ever want to see it in person I’d love to present it for your group or organization! For those in the class that are now readers, thank you to all of you and Dr. MacFarlane for the great opportunity you gave me!

Transformation Of Pr Through Social Media[swfobj width=”425″ height=”355″ src=”” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”]

View more presentations from Jesse Stay.

Has It Really Been a Year?

Jesse First BirthdayExactly 1 year ago yesterday (the 19th) my baby, Jesse Stay III, was born.  As our fourth child, we decided we would have a little fun with it, and we Twittered the entire experience, shared the first cries (with an idea from Scoble), and even Ustreamed right before and right after the event.  You can watch our very first few minutes with him here.  According to Ustream, he was just the second baby birth ever Ustreamed on the site.  Since then, there have been many more.  I also believe he was one of the first (I’m pretty sure Scoble was the first) babies to be Twittered throughout the entire experience. You can see all of that here.

Little would we know that just a few months after his birth, his namesake, my Grandfather (and my namesake), would pass away a few months later after he was born, and subsequently his Great-Grandmother as well.  His name was well fitting, and timely, and we’ll always have stories to tell him as he grows older.

Since his birth, we have recorded his life on SmugMug, Flickr, Facebook, and streamed the entire experience through FriendFeed, and various bursts on Twitter. He has become the subject of several cute photo posts on this blog.  I hope he is able to appreciate this live history we are giving him, as he truly grew up in a time where his life could be documented live, as it happened.  I still continue to do that, in a more private manner, for my older children.

His is a special generation. At one year old, who knows what the world will be like in 17 more years when he gets to leave the home and go out on his own.  I’m looking back and 17 years ago I didn’t even have internet, and cell phones were not to be found. It’s amazing what can happen, and I’m excited to document it and help others understand it as it happens.  Baby Jesse, one year may be a life-time for you, but an entire generation awaits!

How Do I Import Google Reader, Delicious, and Other Services Into Facebook?

List of sitesWith the new Facebook home page design, the visibility of all my updates is making other people aware that I import my Google Reader, Delicious, and other activity into Facebook. It is one of my most frequent questions asked in the messages I get on Facebook. For this reason I thought I’d share how I do it. Believe it or not, no app install is required for this – it’s built right into Facebook.

Services Available

First of all, the services you can import into your Facebook wall feed:

Start by choosing which of those you belong to and use, and which you would like to share with your friends. Now to set it up.

Set Up

picture-3Set up is easy.  Click on the “Profile” link in the top nav bar.  Then, under the “Write Something” publisher box, on the right, there is a “Settings” link. Click on that, and you’ll now see a list of sites you can import.  In the list of sites, just click on the one you want to import, and follow the instructions.  Click “import”, and you’re done!  If you ever want to edit or remove your settings, just click on any of the services and you can change any of the settings you want.

Importing the other sites you frequent can be a great, viral way to initiate discussion amongst your friends and family.  It can also be a great way to bring more exposure to your brand or business if the articles and links on the sites you share belong to your business, and others can always re-share on their profiles, so it is viral as well.  So there you have it – you too can import these sites into your own profile.

1 Prediction Down, 7 to Go – Facebook Launches Connect for the iPhone

FacebookBeginning of February I announced my 8 late predictions that I thought would happen in 2009. One of those, which I actually mentioned originally last year, was that Facebook would launch a developer platform for the iPhone. Such a prediction was hinted at last year by Facebook, was supposed to launch end of last year, and it would appear that this morning it came true. As of this morning, Facebook announced they are releasing Facebook Connect for the iPhone, and announced several of the first apps using it.

The platform integrates with the iPhone XCode platform and provides libraries that make integration of Facebook into any iPhone app easy. (Here’s where I get geeky, so beware) Per the documentation, the basics are that developers simply include the libraries in this manner:

#import “FBConnect/FBConnect.h”

Following that, the basic component of the app is the session object. To create a session object, you just need to provide code similar to this:

session = [FBSession sessionForApplication:myApiKey secret:myApiSecret delegate:self];

Following that, you’ll want a basic login button you can provide to users that authenticates the user and connects with the session object. To display the login button, use code like this:

FBLoginButton* button = [[[FBLoginButton alloc] init] autorelease];
[self.view addSubview:button];

Once the user is logged in, the session object should have the session key from Facebook, and you can make normal Facebook API calls from there. From there, you can get the session key and the session secret and send them back to your servers for processing, or make simple calls back to Facebook directly from the iPhone app using the provided libraries. Facebook provides this sample code as an example on how to do it from the iPhone:

– (void)getUserName {
NSString* fql = @”select name from user where uid == 1234″;
NSDictionary* params = [NSDictionary dictionaryWithObject:fql forKey:@”query”];
[[FBRequest requestWithDelegate:self] call:@”facebook.fql.query” params:params];

– (void)request:(FBRequest*)request didLoad:(id)result {
NSArray* users = result;
NSDictionary* user = [users objectAtIndex:0];
NSString* name = [user objectForKey:@”name”];
NSLog(@”Query returned %@”, name);

It would appear that 2009 is right on track, and I can’t wait to see what more Facebook has in store for us with the recent launch of their new design, new focuses, and more. This alone may be enough to get me even further into iPhone app development as the iPhone finally has the potential to become much more “Social”.