Monday, August 30, 2010

Expanded greatly the Fantasy Football channel: Just in time too, lot of fantasy drafts this week!

Football and Fantasy Football Channels

Expanded the Football channels, especially the Fantasy Football channel. Although I am not all that much of fan to where I have to draft and manage a fantasy team, my wife is and she has had a FF team for over 10 seasons now - and I get to watch her agonize each weekend about which players to play and then later explain to me why she shoulda coulda picked someone else :-)

So, you'd think she would have a list of sites she goes to, that she could clue me in on the best ones for the Fantasy Football channel, right? Wrong. She is like everyone else, and doesn't have the time and energy to track down all the good sites... she just wants the stats and injury prognosis and whatever facts ... that it's "my job" to make "her job" easier.

Well, she liked the channel before [no, not just because she has to, she'll let me know - make no mistake - if she doesn't like something. We have been married THAT long], so I guess she will like it a LOT more now. Well, we'll see I guess :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Changed top 30 list to top 40 channels

I mean, 30 was kind of an odd number and Top 40 is certainly more familiar to people... ;-)

And, seriously, it is the channels whose ranking changes day to day that keeps people like me entertained... ;-)

OK, not so seriously then.

Oh, and just so you know, we no longer keep the site index on the Mattters home page - we now have a real channel there that displays the Best of the Best of - or more succinctly: The Best of the Best. Stories from months ago compete with the stories of today to attract the unwary visitor's attention and send them on a joy ride through the Fun Side of the internet.

Also adding some of our feeds to Digg... have no idea what they look like yet - but things ARE a wee bit in flux there with the new look and feel. I like it a lot better, personally.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Its the Emmys - the Television channels and the Emmy Awards

Expanded the Television channels: , namely the television news channel and tv reviews channel.

Most are talking about the Emmy awards, or Mad Men, or the Fall Season or ...

We didn't really have much support for these two general TV channels, most people seem to focus on TV AND movies and music - which go over in the Entertainment News channel... or Gossip, which goes over into the Celebrity Gossip channel.

But we do have a few TV program channels.... well we have one: American Idol, which is at number 6 on our top channel of the day charts. Heros... well, they self-destructed. 24? done. Lost? done. Dr. Who? Over in Sci Fi.

We think about adding a Glee channel, or even a You Think You Can Dance channel. What do you think?

Anyway, the general TV channels are now much more respectable. Enjoy!
More cool in the top 30: The Social Gaming SocialGaming Channel
More Cool in the Top 30: The Android Development and Android
Cool Top 30: BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the top 30 channels.
Just search for Mattters on Facebook to see a list of our new channels. Let us know what you think if you've a mind to
Expanded presence on Facebook: added pages for Fashion, Chocolate, Coffee, Music, Green, Pizza, Celebrities, Poker and Tattoos.

Always On-screen Facebook and Twitter Buttons

We added two buttons to the right side of the pages in Mattters, one for Twitter and one for Facebook.

You can use these to jet over to, for example, the Music Mattters channel on Facebook or the Music Mattters channel on Twitter (or both) when you are viewing any of the Music channels on Mattters. Hopefully you will like and follow what you see - but that is up to you!

If we do not have a special channel on one of these two sites for the Mattter channel you are on, then clicking on our new buttons will take you to our main Page on Facebook or Mattters account on Twitter. We have 10 Pages now over on Facebook and many times that many on Twitter. If you have an idea for another channel, let us know!

Oh... We will add the very new Like button now offered by Facebook (and no doubt a similar one will be available from Twitter) to our channels in the near future. So keep your eyes peeled (or not. Sounds uncomfortable).

See, Mattters is becoming more social all the time :-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Newly popular channels appearing in our top 30: The Sports Entertainment (gr8 writing) channel
Newly popular channels appearing in our top 30: Japanese comics: The Manga channel:
Newly popular channels appearing in our top 30: Movies from Thailand - The Thai Cinema channel:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

At #6: Fashion: at #8: Fashion News: at #9 Celebrity Fashion
3rd & 4th out of 700... Celebrity Gossip and Celebrity Babies
The 2nd most popular channel on Mattters, out of a blistering 700, is the 'Men' channel: ...sports and starlets!
Top Mattters channel, out of 700 awesome channels: The Tattoos channel!
Top 30 out of 700 Mattters channels: Mostly Celebrities, Fashion and Music.

Music Mattters

There are lots of music channels on Mattters. We also have a Music Mattters channel on Twitter and a Music Mattters page on Facebook.

Several of the music channels are in the top 30. The main music channel is at number 10. This is a good starting point if you like lots of different kinds of music.

At number 11, there is the Hip Hop News channel, with the main Hip Hop channel at number 20 on the daily top channels chart. We recently expanded these channels and they are quite busy - Hip Hop is continuing to bust out and conquer more and more music lovers, it has become a major music genre.

At number 17 we see the Music Downloads channel. This is somewhat a misnomer - that although the bloggers on this channel seem to be more likely to post MP3 cuts - they do not always do so. The music genres represented here are primarily Hip Hop with a mix of a little everything thrown in. We have ideas for this channel - we can make it faster, stronger, ... better :-)

At number 18 we have Pop Music. This is probably mostly due to the Justin Bieber sub-channel, but we also have Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Madonna sub-channels here as well - all of which might be considered to be one of those kind of big stars.

Finally, at number 28 on your Mattters dial, we have the Rap Music channel. The Rap channel was in the top 30 several months ago [our early days] - and it is good to see it back here again.

Play on!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The bigger, bluer titles on some stories

OK, here is what is up with that.

Do you know the feeling of disappointment you get when you click on a link on one of our channels, only to find that the original story has hardly any more information about the story that what you have already read on our site?

We have little tiny photos to show that there are more photos to see by viewing the original story, but what about more text to read?

Well, as you have probably guessed, we now increase the size of the title of stories that have some meat to them. This both serves to prevent some of the frustrations we just mentioned, as well as helping to reward those bloggers that spend quite a bit of time writing substantial stories - their stories now stand out like beacons in the wilderness.

This is not to say that clicking on the other stories won't be rewarding - those few extra tidbits to the storyline can be great and can often completely satisfy our Need to Know at that moment. It is just that now clickers will know more what to expect when they do their clicking. :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TweetPhoto and TwitPic... and YouTube

We no longer support displaying photos from tweetphoto inline with the tweets. Mostly because TweetPhoto no longer allows 3rd party tools like ours to make a thumbnail of the photo to display to our visitors.

We do, however, still happily support twitpic, of course, which is more widely used anyway, and all the photos you see next to the tweets are currently do to twitpic. We'll support other Twitter support photo archives, like these guys, as soon as we notice people using them more frequently.

We will also add support for links to YouTube inside tweets - displaying a thumbnail of the video right above the tweet and soon thereafter providing a 'play' button so that you can just play the video someone tweets about without a lot of muss and fuss.

Meanwhile, and, you know, completely unrelated to all this, our Twitter channel seems to be getting more popular lately... :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fashion in the top 30: Celebrity Fashion, Fashion News, Mens Fashion, Sneakers, and Shoes

The fashion channels are another group of topics that are well represented in today's top 30 channels on Mattters. It makes sense - fashion blogs are very popular and active on the internet as a whole. And, face it, beautiful people, beautiful clothes... whats not to love?

The main Fashion channel is the most popular of the group, coming in at number 8. This main fashion channel contains many of the other fashion channels - which means there are a lot of stories each day. Usually so many stories that they only stay on page 1 for only a few hours - ending up on page 2, 3 or whatever.

Celebrity Fashion is at number 10 on the list. We talked about this channel in the last post - but suffice it to say: combine the best looking people with what can be the most expensive clothes - and you get a very fun channel.

At number 12, we see the Fashion News channel. This channel is part of the main fashion channel, we talked about above, but carries primarily the major fashion zine stories. The major players one might say.

The Sneakers channel is at number 13. Jumping ahead we also have the Shoes channel at number 28. Shoes are popular on Mattters, and we created a Shoe Mattters channel on Twitter to see if we can help everybody keep track of shoe news and stories while they are tweeting. This can get confusing if you realize that celebrity shoes (and cowboy boots) are part of the shoes channel and sneakers are part of the men's fashion channel.

And, speaking of the Men's Fashion channel, it comes in at number 17. Not too shabby. Yay for men. [We are skipping Lifestyle, at number 16, because, although it does contain all of fashion, it also has Luxury, Cigars, Watches and stuff].

At number 20, finally, we have the Fashion Addict channel. The goal of this channel was to include the writings of the most passionate, the most addicted, fashion followers. Those who lust after the clothes they can't afford and then buy them anyway. You know. Sex in the City but times 10. And no sex. Sometimes it is a hard to see if a particular blogger goes on this channel or another... it is mostly up to the blogger themselves and whether they can moderate their addiction [bad] or not [good] :-)

OK. That just about wraps it up for fashion. There are a few other fashion channels - but as you can see - they are quite popular and well-represented in the top 30. So... enjoy!

Our popular Celebrity channels: Gossip, Babies and Fashion, and Celebrities

We have over 700 channels now. When we put together a channel, we have no idea if it will be wildly successful or not. In our opinion, any one of the 700 could one day be wildly popular.

We now list the top 30 channels of the day - on the left side of the page. As you can see, some of the celebrity channels are currently quite popular.

The Celebrity Gossip channel is at number 3. This channel has stories which talk about celebrities in that somewhat snarky tone that has become quite popular. You know, celebrity 'what not to wear's, 'how not to have a successful marriage', 'how to have a surprisingly public affair' ... stuff like that :-)

Another popular celebrity channel is the Celebrity Babies channel at number 5 on our top 30 list. This is more sweet and empathetic than the Celebrity Gossip channel. It kind of gives us a peek at what it is like to be a celebrity and a parent at the same time - or to be a child and have our parents be celebrities. It is something we all might be able to relate to - since many of us were children :-0 and most of us are or will become parents.

Anther celebrity channel on the top 30 is the Celebrity Fashion channel. Lots of photos and discussion about what are the primary trend setters, fashion-wise, of our culture. Celebrities have the money to wear whatever they want and the public eye - so what they wear, we will wear. Within reason of course :-) Kind of. Madonna certainly started a few styles that were not exactly completely within reason but still became very popular nonetheless. Anyway, that is the celebrity fashion channel.

The other celebrity channel in the top 30 is the Celebrities channel. This is what the celebrities themselves have to say. I think of this channel as 'celebrities in their own words'. Never sure how to define celebrities. Something like sports and Hollywood celebs but not authors [they will be found on the book channel]. Anyway, a place to see what they have to say about things - not filtered through the press. Probably need to add several dozen more here [let us know who your favorites are!] - but it is a start and at number 11 in the top 30, it is already very popular.

OK, hoped you enjoyed this little tour. We will be doing several of these in the near future.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Naya Rivera, Rachel Weisz and Salma Hayek - all quite popular on Madonna and Justin Bieber too - surprise surprise LOL
Tweets now in a GIANT sidebar + sprinkled about everywhere on the page hobnobbing it with blog posts: Fashion

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Updated the handling of tweets on the pages

We moved the tweets to the side of the page. This way the tweets are always visible, just like the stories are always visible, no matter how the page is scrolled. 'Special' tweets are also run on the main page, just like stories.

What this all means is that we are trying to make tweets, and Tweople, 1st class citizens on the page, right along side bloggers. Before they were kind of... caged in to a box near the top of the page - now they are everywhere, .. and free!

Seriously, we hope people enjoy the changes!

Some pages still do not have tweople and so no tweets. We're working on that too. One of our prototypical examples of pages that do have some tweets is the Music channel

More Channels for the old Noggin

Some days I write posts and I am in a Weirrrrrrrd mood.

These first few channels are about school, which are under attack these days - mostly by the very people who did not do so well in school. Funny how that works, huh? Well, we are big fans of public and higher education here [yes, OK, even grammar, *sigh*] and woefully under-paid teachers [yes, you read that correctly. Anyone who has to put up with kids like me is by definition under paid :-)].

Hence our passion for our Learning channels.

We got the Teachers channel - articles and comments by teachers and professors about their day to day lives, mostly. This is different from our Teaching channel, which is about how to better teach students about things.

Speaking of students... there is the Students channel - something I can relate to with passion, I think, because even though I often considered a career as a professor (and somewhat regret not making that choice) I was a student for a major chunk of my life - as were most of us.

Finally, there is the Education channel. This is about education policy and programs and funding and hopefully minimal politics.

OK, for good old hard science we have the Chemistry channel and Electrical Engineering channels. The Chemistry channel includes some pharma and chemE and bioChem stuff - hard to know where to draw the line. And the EE channel - where are all the bloggers? EE, especially circuit analysis, is great for teaching Math: starting to forget but I think that includes Calculus, Matrices, Difference Equations, Laplace and other transforms...

Which brings up a recurring issue here - where are all the introductory subject bloggers? Have they all burnt out, now that blogging is, what, 5 years old now? Sure, beginning EE was all the rage in the olden days, with kids building Heath Kits and crystal radios etc., so maybe it is just not currently popular? [we'll check into computer building / modding and see if we can find some oriented towards kids] And what about intro geometry, and algebra, or esoterica like truth tables and the afore mentioned difference equations? All suitable for pre-college discussion so... where IS everybody? We have a few people in our Basic Math channel - but considering the relative importance of all this to the future of the English-speaking world... Houston, We got us a problem.

Monday, August 16, 2010

SEO, Twitter, Social Mattters and Cloud Mattters Suspensions

Let's see...

Fixed a bug that showed up on the SEO channel, and others, which caused the links to nearby and related channels to not be displayed. One of the things that makes our site different from most news sites is the hierarchical organization the channels are arranged by - we strive for meaningful yet shallow hierarchies - and it was especially annoying that we added a bug that made it more difficult to navigate sideways through the hierarchy. Doh!

Our current effort - behind the scenes - is focused on more completely integrating Twitter posts in with the blog posts. Currently, the tweets are kind of second class citizens on our pages - and that ain't right! :-) The idea is that, yes, tweets are different than blog posts, but are still 1st class packets of information [IF they are posted by tweople who write about things of interest to other people].

And a completely unrelated Twitter-related note [seriously, one of those coincidences in this 42-ish universe], our Social Mattters and Cloud Mattters channels on Twitter were suspended last week. There were 3 reasons that they gave us.

One is that these channels are overlapping use cases [i.e. subjects]. We can kind of understand that and kind of not, at the same time. Obviously, people who work with these two domains do not consider them in anyway synonymous - but perhaps from a higher level - they both do have to deal with things on the internet - is this sense the cloud is definitely a superset of social media.

Second, that some stories we posted were appearing on both channels. Again, we can understand how this might have happened, and in fact we percolate all posts up the hierarchy within Mattters itself, so, for example, Social Media posts also appear in our general Internet channel. We would say, though, that stories showing up on Twitter, in both Cloud Mattters and Social Mattters, was probably a rather rare occurrence - as the Social Media channels is but a small subset of the general Cloud/Internet channel. We were certainly not trying to be abusive - but just trying to be supportive of people who want to read about more general cloud mattters versus those who are specifically interested only in social mattters - just like on Mattters itself.

Their third objection was to do with aggressive following. Well, we are using SocialOomphs auto-follow service (what Twitter calls auto-follow-back) which seems to be exactly what millions of other people use to try and be polite to their followers. Our main _Mattters_ Twitter account does not follow anyone, besides our own channels, but Ellen and Google. This lack of following upsets some of our followers there. So on our new channels we added this auto-follow-back feature.

So, as you can see [hopefully!] we are trying to be exemplar Twitter citizens. I mean, why not? Twitter is great - love the design: the Unix to Facebook's Windows. Any problems seem to have been rather subtle, very rare, and suspension seems like a overly harsh reaction - like a slap in the face. Just like if your best friend came up and smacked you upside the head for no good reason. We were really upset and really didn't know what was going on [and it took a few days to get an email describing why the accounts were suspended]. But we are getting over it and hopefully we can have one or the other of these channels back in operation soon.

Many people have these kinds of channels on Twitter, from the New York Times to OneRiot. We try to be more granular - to have more specialized channels on Twitter because that is what Mattters is all about. Hopefully this will be of interest and use to Tweople and at the same time acceptable to Twitter.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back-to-School - More Learning Channels

For those going back to school in a few weeks or those who just like to learn new things or those who just want to keep up with new ideas and discoveries... we added many new learning channels.

A few examples... the Geology channel - everyone stares at bizarre rock formations and wonders why, at least we do a lot of that here in the U.S. Rocky Mountains.

Then we have the Psychology channel. Psychology seemed to enter the pop culture in the 60s, when a copy of Psychology Today was a MUST on the hip's coffee table. It hasn't got any less popular since then - as we all try to figure the other guy out and just what makes them DO that.

There are many more which we will talk about in the future. Most of the channels are at the college level - for some reason it being quite hard to find people talking at the introductory level. Perhaps this is symptomatic of the 'intellectual divide' - nobody is out there trying to bridge the gap?

Science News is one of our older channels, but it has gotten some additional news sources recently. This channel covers the latest and greatest general / popular science discoveries, inventions and ideas.

We still have some good amount of work to do on these channels - but at least now one can understand more about where we are heading... .

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Updates and Coming Attractions

By now you have probably noticed that the look and feel of the channels, especially the header, is a little different. We simplified it and compressed it a little - hopefully people like the change.

We also removed the options for the other page views besides 'tribune' (which is now the default view). It was the overwhelming favorite and we apologize to people who liked the other views - but hopefully this simplifies things further for both the casual and addicted visitor.

In a day or two we will be adding many new channels - mostly on the Learning channel. I am currently adding the Grammar channel, and boy oh boy does it ever make me self-conscious typing this right now. I am OK at punctuation, bad at grammar, and terrible at spelling [for my who life I thought grammar was spelled grammer until a few hours ago :-)].

Anyway, as big fans of education and science and math and whatnot this is just too much fun. We tell ourselves it is just in time for the Fall semester - but seriously, who cares? Knowledge is timeless. [yes, we considered calling the top level channel 'Knowledge' instead of 'Learning' - but thought knowledge was too much like 'reference' and learning is a more dynamic word and more representative of the Hunt for Truth [as opposed to the Acquisition of Truth, which in itself may be impossible - assuming some kind of asymptotic process is involved here].

And, before the onslaught: my apologies to the Grammar Police! :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The San Francisco Channel

After receiving several requests to add blogs from the SF / Bay Area we decided it was time to add some sunshine-on-a-cloudy-day goodness to the San Francisco channel.

We still need to cover a couple more neighborhoods - Castro and the Financial District come to mind - but, hey, it is a lot better than it was and we hope people will find this grassroots, 'living the life' approach to local news/lifestyle interesting [we sure do!]. We really like the blogs and tweeps who focus and talk about on their lives in the context of San Francisco - as opposed to blogs and tweeps who just happen to live there [see? there is a difference. bloggers and tweeps who just happen to live there are found scattered all over Mattters, from cycling to foodies].

Speaking of foodies, we also have a good, very tasty San Francisco / Bay Area Foodie channel that reviews the best places to eat and drink aka restaurants etc. :-) in the SF, Bay Area. Also the still anemic: Bay Area Cooking channel for people who write about their cooking experiences and prowess, also from the Bay Area.