My good friend asked me to curate a shortlist of my favourite TED videos for his rumination. I thought I’d share them round.
While we’re here, I must take a moment to say that TED is simply one of the most enlightening things I’ve encountered online. It is perfectly pitched to teach, inspire or entertain within a digestible time limit. I typically watch TED talks while cooking my dinner so it doesn’t feel like I’m losing valuable media-consumption time while bound to the mundanity of prepping vegetables. Yeh, learn while you chop.
This is just an eclectic taster, you know like a seafood platter. I’ll probably post some more soon.
A quick look at the importance of the offline world in making members of online communities more numerate, productive and intimate.
Helping companies use social media effectively is challenging for lots of obvious reasons, not least of all because a lot of the people using social media don’t want to hear from them. But it’s hard enough building communities around completely non-commercial themes. The internet is littered with well-meant forum threads and blog posts that will forever stay unanswered and unread. It’s obvious that traffic and engagement can be boosted by real world activity. But the exploding list of (lists of lists of lists of) successful social media marketing case studies rarely gets to the heart of how face-to-face interaction supports the online communities. Continue reading →
Competitor reviews are standard practice in industrial research but collaboration is often ignored or slipped into the footnotes. Why not formalise a process for the Collaborator Review as a stage of your research of at least equal importance to competitors?
Writing a research plan for a strategic tender last week, I was struck with a familiar pang of awkwardness when I added a competitor review to the process. Competition is an ugly word but it has real-world, often productive, manifestations. It is essential to good strategy in products, marketing, business planning, etc. Next time, however, I want to include a collaborator review to complete the circle. Below is a sketch of how such analysis might be conducted. Continue reading →
I don’t know and neither do you. If anyone says they know what the Next Big Thing is, assume the position of one eyebrow cocked, head askew, and feet twisted slightly away to allow for a swift escape. Nevertheless…
…here’s a few things it might be:
A set of viable models for profiting from digital IP, as people get increasingly exposed to, and comfortable with, taking other people’s creations for free.
Protecting the world and its children from hackers, frausters and moral perversion, without spoiling the socialist ethos on which the web was built and still operates.
Mobile solutions with which we are so comfortable that they become ubiquitous and our daily activities become substantially more “connected”.
Location-based services that make geographical proximity important again, in the context of our digital lives.
Services launched via gaming models, thus making the boring but important stuff fun.
…and here’s one thing it could well be:
The term digital curation has been bouncing out from the hard techie core of the web into more mainstream publications since March 2007, which unsurprisingly coincides with that year’s SXSW Interactive. Technologists and sociologists have been talking about the Semantic Web for longer. Some commentators like to refer to the next life stage of the internet as Web 3.0, and usually reference the semantic web in the same breath.
The broad principles behind curation and semantics, insofar as the evolution of the internet is concerned, come down to one core problem: information overload. The idea is that we already have masses of data and we’re only going to get more. We can’t handle it all in a way that brings the most useful or entertaining stuff to the fore. So we are looking for solutions that manage and filter, ie. curate, that data in ways that are meaningful, ie. semantic, to our real lives. Just as Google revolutionised search by using algorithms that attempt to mimic human decision making and pattern recognition, the next big web technologies are likely to do the hard work of presenting existing information to us in human ways.
And if you can find 15 minutes in your frantically tuned-in life, Kate Ray does a much better job of explaning the above idea in her documentary.
After screwing-up over our privacy settings again, the angry mob of public opinion has been banging its pitchforks on Facebook’s door in swelling numbers in recent weeks. Their horns sounded over the digital landscape, calling all to an exodus from the network. The 30,000-odd claimed participants of Quit Facebook Day (31 May) represent something like 1/15,000th of the population. That’s equivalent to a soul resident of a medium-sized town trundling off into the sunset, taking with him little but the rapidly fading memories of drunken photos and half-known friends, calling back over his shoulder, “No-one coming with me then? No? Right-oh, guess I’m on my own then.” Like the punters in the only established pub in town, no considerable volume of users will leave if they have nowhere else to drink with each other. What, then, would an alternative network look like, and how would it win a stronghold in the domain of the largest web property in history?
Most of us remember the last great migration, from the MySpaces and Orkuts of the world to the shiny new Facebook. We didn’t leave the other networks because we had come to hate them, we did so because the alternative was fundamentally better. From the stroboscopic assault of MySpace pages, Facebook looked more like an orderly collection of personal profiles, with more features and room to store all the media that makes us who we are online. Continue reading →
To my shame, I only made it to my first Barcamp yesterday, after a couple of years of not-quite-getting-round-to-it in London. It was a deeply satisfying day. The presentations were interesting and varied but most of the value came from the conversations I was able to drift in and out of from late morning until five pints down in the dying minutes of day. For brevity though, I’ll share a single salient point from each of the talks I attended…
In this first post of its kind, I explain my methodology for using social media, and other non-social web services, to build a research framework for your social media marketing strategy. Look out for guides to later stages of the campaign process in forthcoming posts.
Thoughtful, relevant research should make your marketing and PR sing. It should be the causal foundation of your strategy, and the tactics you select to serve it. But it but it can also be a black hole for your budget before you’ve really started. This post describes an approach to research that costs nothing more than the man hours you commit. Essentially, the idea is to use existing, free online services to produce the intel you need to form your strategy.
For context, I’ve just completed the research stage of a campaign for a new client, using this free tools method alone. I put four days into it and got a solid set of results, although it would have been easy to take twice that to dig deeper and extrapolate further. Continue reading →
This is a response to the popular article by Umair Haque, entitled The Social Media Bubble, posted on the Harvard Business Review blogs last week. At face value Haque makes a high-level criticism of the internet, especially social media…
I’d like to advance a hypothesis: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.
…which is a guaranteed ticket to, what, over 200 comments already. It’s fresh to hear someone speak against an institution that is almost universally adored, and for which it is offensive by default to degrade. People used to act that way about churches and royals. Continue reading →
Managing online identities directly from the browser could be the start of a wholly better online lifestyle.
I was thrilled last week when I read that Mozilla would focus on improving the way it’s users manage their online personae (“personas” is more SEO-friendly but not so pretty). The latest release of Firefox (3.6.2) nods at this decision and we should see more substantial features soon but why am I so excited? Why does the prospect of marginally more convenient account management tickle me so? Because it looks from here like the first small step away from passive browsing and into a more pleasant world where the user will gain control of his or her community.
We are caught in an arms race between deeper engagement with the web and the white noise of information flow. The latter has to be reined-in if we are to move forward. One of the hurdles in that race is the inconvenience of managing all the varying account details required of us from different online services. Mozilla sees this as part of a need to handle our various online personae, whereby we act in different roles when we are online. It’s true that many of us have multiple selves in terms of the information we publish and feed upon – BusinessMe, FriendMe, FamilyMe, HobbyMe and so on – but let’s not get too far into the complexity of societal roles and self-image. This does not need to be more than an a question of information flow management. And it is from there that I think we can start to do some really cool stuff. Continue reading →
How might social technologies be used to harmonise the scientific community with the rest of us to produce world-changing results?
Marriage and half a year of touring the world have come between me and the momentum this blog almost got in 2009. Now landed, at last, in our new home country of Northern Ireland, I put this evening aside to drag my travel-weary self back into thinking about the things which consumed me before we left, particularly my career, the web, and the interaction of the two. I arranged a break from the computer to watch the BBC’s new science documentary, Wonders of the Solar System. The life-giving light around which the series revolves is Brian Cox, a genuine physicist who is both charismatic and clear, a rare combination. If you missed it, watch it without delay.
After an hour stunned in front of the television, I hurriedly searched for Wonders of the Solar System online and hoped to find an interactive equivalent of the series, something educational and inspirational for science lovers on many levels. The series appears to be part of a larger BBC feature called World of Wonder. There seems to be a lot of good content to digest there, in time. Such resources are valuable alone but I hope they will soon be part of something much larger and more fluid: a science portal which will be as useful to professors like Brian Cox, as to plebs like me. Continue reading →