Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Internet Bores!

Interestingly enough I was having a chat a few hours ago with some Asian Web 2.0ers and this thought came to me, 'What a bunch of internet bores!'.

I was shocked - outraged - even a bit scared that I could utter those words but then I started to look at it. Is the internet becoming boring? I am as deep as the next guy in the internet and I'm not bored but maybe the word is 'conventional'.

That, I agreed with myself is the problem. The internet is becoming conventional - compromised by greed and ego.

Look at the world - fashion, cars, music, our jobs - the same energy that was sucked out of these industries is being sucked out of the internet. If you are a Web 2.0 company in the crosshairs of a VC - well, ya, that IS exciting but what about the users or the employees.

Look at Google. Is Google Unconventional?

Not anymore. The founders’ letter written by Page and Brin states, 'Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.' On the surface, how could anyone conclude otherwise?

After all, the Googleplex offers three free gourmet meals a day, free onsite medical care, beach volleyball, and all the toys a geek’s heart could desire. There are even futuristic Japanese toilets - replete with heated seats and push-button controls to wash and dry your backside - that would make any champion of artificial intelligence proud.

It’s a graduate school campus on steroids that aims to stimulate creativity and teamwork by eliminating the distinction between work and play.

But don’t confuse these artifacts of the culture with the company itself. Google, as a business, turns out to be very traditional. Just like Hewlett-Packard and dozens of other Silicon Valley companies, it was born at Stanford University. It soon moved to a nearby garage off campus and received funding from mainstream Bay Area venture capital firms.

Page and Brin are the formidable dynamic duo, but so were Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen and Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. When Page and Brin decided in 2000 to search for an outsider to become CEO, they poached Schmidt, an experienced manager from Novell. He has assembled a traditional management team to operate the business, implemented traditional mechanisms to measure the company’s financial performance, and installed various safeguards against fraud and other activities.

Google certainly tried to hang on to its idiosyncrasies by waiting longer than many other start-ups to offer shares to the public. But as soon as it announced its initial public offering, Google was beholden to the same rules as any other company. Like a rebellious teenager who learns to ditch her mohawk and piercings when she gets a job, Google has grown up.

Google self-righteously protects its crown jewel—its database of how Googlers search—by claiming that it’s in the best interest of its users. But in reality, Google operates in the best interest of Google.

Recently, the U.S. Justice Department sought information from AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google for a child pornography investigation, asking for a week’s worth of searches. The others complied, but Google put up a legal fight for several months before the Justice Department agreed in March to reduce the scope of its request.

Google’s motivation wasn’t protecting people’s privacy; it was a fear of losing its competitive edge. If Google were forced to disclose too much information about how its users search the Internet, then its competitors might be able to decipher secrets of its technology. Google will fight to protect its privacy at all costs - yours ONLY when it's good for business.

The internet has to spread its wings and learn to adapt to the 80% on the worlds population that is not connected. 80 percent!

And I am not talking about silly misadventures of the Web 2.0 wannabes.

French President Jacques Chirac announcement of Franco-German support for the creation of an ambitious new European search engine, called Quaero (“I seek” in Latin) is a plain waste of the French taxpayers money - based on insecurity of the French Polyschool graduate class.

I'm talking about a new wave of innovation that will supersede the current internet; new delivery models that will ensure social and economic wealth being distributed to the lowers caste of online-ees.

It remains to be seen how successfully WSIS and the new formation of UNGIS (PDF, 80 Kb) can navigate the challenges posed by distinct cultures and foreign governments as it aggressively pursues to share the wealth of the Internet Age.

The discussions this morning from a cold dark kitchen in Geneva to the established Web 2.0 in Asia wasn't boring - it was an eye-opener and that's exciting.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

'Circle the Wagons', says McKinsey

I like Mckinsey because they don't have any original game plans - they simple do what you ask them to do and they will pretend, for a fee, that it was their idea. Hired hachet-men who will take the blame .... for bucks.

I was reading the FT and came across this article;

High-level media and advertising executives are to meet for a brainstorming session aimed at capitalising on the surging popularity of social networking websites.

McKinsey, the management consultancy, is understood to have asked senior executives from old and new media groups alike – from Yahoo to YouTube – to a session with advertising agencies to discuss ways of turning the hugely popular internet sites containing photos, videos, blogs and other user-generated content into viable media businesses.

The meeting, which could take place in New York within the next month but no date has been finalised.

Plans for the meeting reflect the rapid shifts felt by the media industry as people, particularly younger internet users, spend increasing amounts of time on social networking sites such as MySpace and sharing photos, videos and blogs created by themselves rather than professionally produced content.

... read more here.

So the media big boys are getting scared and are using Mckinsey as the bait. Web 2.0 will end here like the North American Indians did - free thinking, social conscience and entrepreneurs will be herded into a reservation and put on welfare. Our language will be taken over and we will become dependant on the powers that be.

Military-industrial-complex? You know it baby!

If you thought that consultant-baiting was a peculiarly one of my favorite pastime, spare a thought for the Brits and the Germans - both famous for not wanting to move on.

Germany - currently promoting itself as the 'Land of Ideas' in the run up to the World Cup - is rapidly becoming one of the most consultant-unfriendly countries in the world. Whatever stereotypes I hold, this is a country which is deeply resistant to change and highly suspicious of modern capitalism.

Consequently consultants get it in the neck twice over, as meddlers with cherished ways and stormtroopers for the Anglo-American world order.

The latest assault on the consultancy industry comes from Thomas Leif, with the grandly titled 'Advised and sold: McKinsey & Co, the big bluff of the management consultants' which claims that consultancy culture is undermining the less capatalist lives.

Consultants have restructure thousands of jobs away but that's not a bad thing. It's the kowtowing to whomever is paying their bill that's more of an issue. These guys are simple middle men with great marketing prowness. By selling themselves - they sell the work of the hand that feeds them.

Their function is obscure, their success disputed. With their PowerPoint presentations consultancies offer extremely simplified solutions for complex processes. They destroy enormous public and private means and undermine the work of administrations.

This is called hype. It seems that 'information' is becoming a field of permeable boundaries dominated by cross-disciplinary carpetbaggers. Business is talking over the hybrid expressions like 'cultural rights', 'corporate responsibility' and 'social media' which epitomize this normative drift – toward where remains to be seen.

They are perfect for Web 2.0.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Off Topic: Pierced Glasses

James Sooy and Oliver Gibson have come up with Pierced Glasses - the most minimalist eyewear since the Pincenez glasses that clip onto your nose was invented in the 1840's.

For those who think that Pierced Glasses are dangerous or crazy, listen to what the creators say about other surgical alternatives to glasses: "Paying ... to have someone cut your eyes and shoot a laser in them (just so you don’t have to wear glasses) seems extreme to me…"

My favorite extreme eyewear from science fiction are Molly Million's surgically inset glasses from William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer. The glasses consisted of the lenses only, which were implanted so as to seal off her eye sockets completely. Her tearducts were rerouted to empty into her throat, as I recall.

Boy - and I thought that eyeball tattooing was hard ...

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Human Thought and Technology

Thinking outloud:

Just as it is not possible to look ahead to the technological changes now taking shape, it is not easy to look back to the ones that have helped form our own culture.

It is difficult to think about communications technology because the medium shapes thinking, and it is not easy to think about thinking.

It is the problem of the Zen koan, 'How can the hand grasp itself grasping?' Thought is so intimately associated with the conventions of a technology that it is hard for users to see that different media are independent means for the expression of our thoughts - for whatever purpose.

The challenge is to break out of the confines imposed by immersion in the conventions of our own technologies to understand the thinking of cultures whose conventions for communicating are unfamiliar to us. Web 2.0 is a bad example of this - Many are finding it hard to go beyond it and are making up new 'definitions' for it.

Alphabet users have a hard time giving up their literate intuitions, for the adoption of writing systems that have transformed human thought. Stated more accurately, human consciousness, perceptions, relationships, society, even values are now different from what they were before this innovation.

This is why the change from an oral to a written technology in the ancient Greek civilization might shed light on events now underway in our own.

Read on ...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

USA - Information Highway Robbers?

What makes the Internet revolutionary is that it is democratic, open to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.

That could soon change.

The US House of Reps was setting to vote on the “Communications Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006,” a bill written by the telephone and cable TV corporations.

Among other provisions, the act formally guts what is known as the First Amendment of the Internet - network neutrality. The Senate will consider a similar bill in late May or early June.

Net neutrality ensures that the public can view the smallest blog just as easily as the largest corporate Web site and prevents companies like AT&T from rigging the playing field for only the highest-paying sites and services.

By not including network neutrality protections, the COPE Act upholds a 2005 ruling from the Federal Communications Commission that allows Internet service providers - telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon and cable companies like Comcast - to charge Web content creators a fee to make their sites readily accessible.

For example, take a filmmaker who wants to produce a documentary and distribute it to the public on his Web site - free. Under this new legislation, a service provider like AT&T would be able to charge the filmmaker for making his content available to their customers.

Or, if AT&T (or somebody within the government) did not approve of the documentary, it could refuse to let its customers access it all together—thereby allowing corporate censorship of a medium now characterized by the freewheeling exchange of ideas. In effect, the legislation allows the telecom industry to become the tollbooth operator on the information superhighway.

The Internet will begin to look like cable TV, where viewers can only choose from available options. Where is ITU? What are they doing?

The Internet has always been driven by innovation. Content succeeds or fails on their own merit. Without net neutrality, decisions now made collectively by millions of users will be made in corporate boardrooms.

To harness the power of those millions is the goal of Save the, whose key players in addition to Free Press include MoveOn, Punk Voter, along with bloggers like Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit and Matt Stoller at MyDD.

But as netizens are heeding a call to arms, the telecom industry has responded with a counterattack. Watch Mike “Industry Sock Puppet” McCurry, the former press spokesman for President Bill Clinton. McCurry is now a partner at Public Strategies, a PR firm whose motto is “managing campaigns for corporations around the clock, around the world.” In other words he is a 24-hour toy boy for the telecom industry.

McCurry is a masterful propagandist. Consider his 561-word Huffington Post screed against the slimy “net neuts.” Of the 26 sentences in this “essay,” 11 of them were rhetorical questions.

My rhetorical question is, 'Mike McCurry, when did you decide to become an industry whore?'

What to do?

Sign a petition that demands Congress to pass enforceable net neutrality provisions. Visit and make your voice heard.

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Just in time information

The rising tide of user-created content and of companies decentralizing - and in some instances reversing - their communications models, is throwing everything into question.

Publishers (content creatures or aggregators) are being pulled in both directions especially when it comes to the fraught area of hosting communities and user generated content.

Who in the end will benefit? Making a buck or making a difference? Both probably – one doesn’t disregard a profits AND societal benefits. It happens all the time.

Information has become a strategic economic and business resource as well as a social and political tool. Thus the introduction of censorship and filtering tools.

And let’s not kid ourselves – censorship is a profitable business. There is money in misinformation.

Google is the best case on a small scale that there is a huge profit in ‘altering’ a normal communication flow. Pay for position in the form of product placement - either on the shelf or on Oprah - is the marketing backbone of the FMCG industry and is becoming the norm in the Web 2.0 world.

This new pattern generates more than just technical issues (No - not AJAX - it is not the 'just in time' platform that all you seem to think it is); it creates issues around how information is created in the first place.

What information should be filtered? How can we identify deceptive information? When we see the same data, do we get the same information? How do filters which are known to impact information quality?

So what's the big deal?

Social norms are cultural phenomena that naturally emerge in humans (and animals) and help to prescribe and proscribe normative patterns of behavior. Social media is affecting these norms at all levels of communications and within all organizations. I mean really starting to drive change.

Virtual is becoming reality. Most of us have played with virtual communities. Some of us actually role-play in some sim-wannabes. Relationships, networks and now economic models are becoming real with virtual ATMs passing out real dollars.

\after.the.fact\ And real lawsuits have also started.

Nothing new, the military saw this a decade ago - so did Bill Joy.

In many application areas, including urban planning, utility workflow, guideline and protocol management, architecture and biology to name a few, information is being introduced into the equation. 'Time' as a variable (composite and/or periodic events, mutually related by temporal constraints on the desired outcome) and geo-positioning are also becoming very important.

Such events represent ‘classes’, since they can be instantiated to specific executions of the decision making process and each execution must ‘respect’ the temporal constraints imposed on the corresponding classes.

Research is being done using constraint propagation algorithms to deal with constraint inheritance and to perform temporal consistency checking.

Needless to say - don't read that paper - all it means is that information, in several different forms, hits a human from all angles and this 'puzzle' needs to be digested in a way that makes sense within the constraints of todays societal norms crossed with the specific individual’s norms. Agents are being developed for AI purposes but also for medical or biometric uses. Robotics will develop these further until body-machine implants can communicate directly with the primary sensory areas of our cerebral cortex.

Today, with more information and the recognition that information is digested in a cognitive fashion using all the senses (and more), information is actually affecting our beings beyond what we consciously recognize. The basic premise of information and biology are closer than we think.

Ever feel you have just realized that you know something but you don't know how you know? That's what I am talking about but not necessarily at the level of the individual – if smart mobs act similar to individuals, how is information digested by the mob – reminds you a bit of the Borgs, eh?

Weird but true – we’re sorta going in the same direction.

But it’s not about community decision making. I think that it’s more about the ‘just in time’ aspect of information. The ‘when and where’ are just as important as the information itself.

The development of the social media arena is actually changing the context-aware adaptive communication protocols that we use - like wearable devices, user-centric mobile services, peer discovery or networking communities.

These can be reconfigured according not only to the local context, but also to the context of the learning triggers (read: value) like time and position as well as the softer triggers like shadow, texture, smell and associative pairing.

Contextual information and how it is configured feed a Markov decision process that derives the appropriate value to the receiver of the information – marketers rely on this – the education industry doesn’t quite get it yet.

The advantages of this are illustrated using an adaptive group communication situation that is being validated by the increase use of mobile devices as communication delivery platforms.

Just in time information IS important and will transition facilitate a transition to Web 3.0 – it is as important where you get the info as the info itself.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Google hacking and Cantennas

I was having a late night Skype conference where we were discussing some of the finer points of Google hacking ... basically, the using of search engines to find systems vulnerabilities.

Generally inquisitive people can use carefully crafted searches to find things like open ports, overly revealing error messages or even (smokin' ...) password files on a target organization's computer systems.

Blame the popularity of the somewhat imprecise phrase "Google hacking" on Johnny Long and the virtual swap meet where members exchange and rate intricately written Google searches.

We all know the commonly agreed-upon protocol called a "robots.txt" file. This file, which is placed in the root directory of a website, contains instructions about files or folders that should not be indexed by search engines ... check out the White House's file at just for fun.

Many companies that run search engines heed the instructions in this file but others look at this as a roadmap to success.

Then technology takes from the garbage can and delivers! Cantennas - I thought that these things died a slow death but now an increasing number of users in the developing nations where the cost for a connection is high enough to pay for first class schools for the average dictator.

Nothing new but as wireless carriers spend billions for the hardware and software needed for modern mobile networks all you need is a juice can and some legos to connect to a free 802.11b network.

Homebrew 802.11 devices will not outperform most commercial products.

You can forget about a potato chip container or soup can follow today's move toward Non Line-of-Sight wireless connections - one tree branch and you're toast.

So, what draws people to tinker with their Airport AP or WLAN card?

The same drive for freedom that powered people like homebrew computer fan Steve Wozniak is at the heart of the free wireless movement today.

Juice up your Tin Cantenna with a surplus satellite dish and here's a spreadsheet for optimum can size calculation (I kid you not!)

Another case of the doc's 'technology giveth and technology taketh away'.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Event: Who Controls and Protects the Digital Me?

The Identity Mashup Conference is a three-day event to explore the role of identity systems (tools that let users and merchants know whom to trust on the web) in furthering or inhibiting privacy, civil liberties and new forms of civic participation.

A variety of parties — governments, technology companies, international agencies, non-profits, financial institutions, health organizations, and merchants among them — are clamoring for identity systems to address a spectrum of issues from terrorism and child pornography to identity theft and spam.

The proposals vary dramatically from national ID cards with centralized data stores and a single universal identifier to highly-distributed “user-centric” models with distributed data stores and authenticated anonymity. The goal of this conference is to examine the problems these organizations are trying to address and assess which solutions offer the greatest benefit.

Identity Mashup Conference: Who Controls and Protects the Digital Me?, June 19-21
To find out more, and to register, please see

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Information capitalism

I'm thinking about Marx and I am also thinking about a book i read a while back called Linked: How everything is connected to everything else and what it means, by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi.

Barabasi says that - scientifically speaking - everything we thought we knew about networks is wrong.

How do we know? The internet is the first real man-made network that functions like an organic one. It's possible to study it because every aspect of it can be quantified and measured, and all its functions are known. Exploration and analysis of the Internet has overturned many network theories of which, admittedly, I knew nothing.

Barabasi's writing style is highly entertaining and readable, and the story fascinating.The book ranges from six degrees of separation to Hollywood to cellular dynamics and why we haven't cured cancer yet. It talks about the long tail, the 80/20 rule, social networking and many other topics of interest for the Wannabe 2.0 crowd.

But let's get deeper - into the areas of the social sciences that - for complex reasons - have developed a strange amnesia about the functioning of capitalism. I want to suggest that if one examines the wider panorama - of which mainstream sociology and its interface with cultural
and developmental studies is but a small part - it is not difficult to locate works on ICTs that have escaped this amnesia and are thus more likely to be of an enduring value in sustaining the sociological imagination in the Information Age.

In particular, the emerging 'spatial turn' in the social sciences has the potential to offer materialist, empirically grounded and theoretically engaging analytic resources that should appeal to critically orientated sociologists with an interest in ICTs in an age of informational capitalism.

If we focus on the impact that social media is having at the interface of sociology and social geography - especially, work in the area of contemporary 'Urban Studies' – I think we begin to find analyses of social technology better able to provide the sorts of sociostructural and contexts that for the normal Joe - actually make sense.

Corporate blogging is one example but the the base improvement is in decision-making transparency or discriminations made on the pemise of social norms (in the case, the social norms of the workplace).

The 'cultural turn' that preceded much of the contemporary interest in social media or in general, ICTs, led to a widespread antipathy towards the funding of small technology projects in the developing world. Look at the Middle East and Korea for polar examples.

Local projects is but a small part - it is not difficult to locate works on ICTs that have escaped this amnesia and are thus more likely to be of an enduring value in sustaining the sociological imagination in the Information Age.

In particular, the emerging 'spatial turn' in the social sciences has the potential to offer materialist, empirically grounded and theoretically engaging analytic resources that should appeal to critical nay-sayers with an interest in ICTs in an age of informational capitalism.

The problem and concern now are that cultural analyses derived more from the humanities than the focus on issues of the body, the virtual, connected identity, AI and so on.

What had happened was a failure on the part of western society to respond to the demise of Marxist social theory and the emergence of a virulent informational capitalism.

What might a critical economic model look like in today's informationalized, yet ever more capitalist, world order?

If Marxism served pre-eminently as an arme de critique in a previous class-structured, nationally bounded manufacturing society, then what might instead replace Marxism in an era where axial principles of class, nation and industry have ostensibly yielded those of virtual identities, a global re-ordering and the production, circulation and consumption of communications?


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Friday, May 05, 2006

Military freedom to watch

There is a feeder story in the Times Online about the new US embassy in Iraq.

Officially, the design of the compound is supposed to be a secret, but you cannot hide the giant construction cranes and the concrete contours of the 21 buildings that are taking shape.

One question puzzles and enrages the Iraqis: how is it that the Americans cannot keep the electricity running in Baghdad for more than a couple of hours a day, yet still manage to build themselves the biggest embassy on Earth?

Size = 42-hectare (104-acres)
Cost (so far) = $592 million (£312 million)

The second question is, 'What is the purpose of this building, anyways?'

Here's a clue.

The story is the US will create a wireless net for all of Iraq. That's a good thing - freedom of speech - access to information - blogging - letting the world no what it's like to live in a democracy.

But a bigger story is that DARPA is issuing RFPs for WIFI enabled cyborg-insect drones (UAVs) create the most watched and listened to country on earth.

There is (naturally) a requirement that U.S.-based CDMA technology be installed. Some wireless analysts have criticized the plan as being out of step with most other wireless services in the Middle East, potentially creating problems with roaming.

Like the US military want roaming ....

US lawmakers suggest that CDMA is more compatible with delivering broadband and upcoming third-generation wireless services than GSM. The people are going to expect, going to want the advanced broadband.

Means to an end?

This is a true 'technology giveth - technology taketh away' situation. This will take the London case-study to a new level and not a very encouraging one.

To many, the development of CCTV in public areas, linked to computer databases of people's pictures and identity, presents a serious breach of civil liberties. Critics fear the possibility that one would not be able to meet anonymously in a public place or drive and walk anonymously around a city.

Demonstrations or assemblies in public places could be affected as the state would be able to collate lists of those leading them, taking part, or even just talking with protesters in the street.

In this case, Iraq will be monitored wall to wall with sound and video. Even the possibility to follow and get into those places that would normally be blind-sited ... like private backyards and possibly even inside buildings.

Gatekeepers? Oh ... here's one ....

The UrbanEye Project will measure the effects on society and allow the public to see the reports and outcomes but look at the partners ... don't see what I see? Look a bit closer.

There's always another story behind the story.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Consumer is king

I like it when the consumer has a strong say in what types of technology will be used as standards.

In the aregunment of determining which of the two blue-laser DVD formats — Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD — will be the winner in the battle to replace DVDs for high-definition content, the pornography industry will likely play a big role. Let's face it - the 'users' don't get a hand in this and quite honestly, they don't care as long at the close ups are, ummm, 'close up'.

The article ends with the voice of reason, though, which is something you don't always see when mainstream publications try to hop on the porno bandwagon - that's a wagon you don't want to fall off of ... ba dum pum pum ....

Too bad the 802.11n discussion isn't on the same track.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What do conference delegates really want?

Just as an add-on to the post below, I think that product placement at these types of conferences is becoming pervasive - just look at the number of Social Media and Blogging conferences where the sponsors are also the speakers.

There are quite a few coming up in 2006 - some good - more wannabes.

I was looking at the 'Blogs and Social media Forum' in May - I was thinking of going but it seems to be a bunch of vendors pitching the audience - program seems a bit tired. The pharmaceutical, finance and IT industries are great at setting up conferences to promote themselves.

I am not hitting on these guys (my good buddy Euan is also speaking) but c'mon - I'm looking for impact - not how to make my blog rank high in Technorati. (OK - that was unjust but you know what I mean)

I want to see a social media conference that has social engineers, anthropologists and people working in international development or 3rd world projects; not VCs, Web 2.0 has-beens and the big media boys. I want to hear from linguists or from those measuring gender indicators - certainly religious, military and social informatics types.

Throw in a psychologist, a farmer and a criminologist - now that would make a great conference.

This is where I'll learn something more than just where to spend my budget.

After.the.fact: Read the review from Suw Charman - it supports my comments above and below. Got lots of emails on this one but sorry, Suw got it right.

Comments answered about Web 2.0

Marc wrote that Jeff Jarvis is bored as seen through his blogging of the We Media event in London, UK. Actually - lots of people were bored. We Media Fringe could have been interesting but looks like they were bought.

Marc (owner of web 2.0 company - that is to say that he sorta knows what he is talking about and allowed me to use his name) goes on to ask me several questions. I'll try to answer some of them here because I think that they are great questions.

When the so called 2.0ers question the validity of the medium where they live - that's is something worthwhile to discuss. You can figure out the questions by reading the answers...

1. If selected C-listers links to each other in an organized way - you create an A-lister who then returns the favor. I have actually seen this happen. Like a well planned implementation of SEM/SEO with a bit of Google bombing thrown in for good measure, it works the same way with blogs and wikis.

2. I know of several companies that are paying for 'product placement' on blogs and wikis. I know of few marketing execs that have been rebuffed - most bloggers and wiki owners will take the cash and run - nature of the beast, I'm afraid. It is a legitimate vehicle to use if you can define the target audience.

Don't believe what you read - be skeptical of most A-listers and watch who they link to and what they write about. It's not just the blogroll - watch the body links as well. Quite a few of them are 'owned'.

3. The concept of Web 2.0 is finished - it's now owned by corporations either from a funding perspective or from the buy-build-or-renovate crowd. There will be a new alternative. I am not sure what but just as Bill Joy saw the signs in '98, the signs are presenting themselves now.

Like interWhatever, xWhatever and iWhatever - Whatever 2.0 is a has-been.

No need to rethink your business model - there are lots of followers out there that haven't figured it out but be cautious - the alternative can blind-side you if you are not watching. Readers are becoming jaded.

4. Most seasoned bloggers don't create original content - most just quote other sources of media or their friends. It's quite simple with RSS and Google news. They have run out of original observations and are 'trolling' Technorati. Besides the personal-slash-friends-slash-family blogs, most original content comes from students and academia but that's just my limited view.

Read another discussion about 'Strong bloggers don't link' ... or do they? Scobie also has a nice comment - and btw - Fripp is cooler that any blog

5. The real impact is organizational more that social. Social modification is a bottom up series of steps whereas organizational is a top down one - classic organizational behavior. Lots of blogs are talking about a revolution - that the masses will take over and the world will be different but look at what is really happening.

Always look in your own backyard as a good measure.

Milbloggers ARE getting the word out but what is the effect - the US government is planning on making the same mistake with Iran yet holds a publicly hypocritical position with India and North Korea. Big business is behind them because of the new consumers that would be created are needed to feed the capitalist machine.

Exxon anounces US$8billion in quarterly revenue and it's not gouging. Rome says that, 'Europe is a Christian culture' and the EU has agreed. There are 25 million Muslims in the EU, more than the population of most individual member countries.

The only real difference that I see is the growing indifference.

The public is becoming indifferent. They just don't care anymore. They talk the talk but refuse to walk the walk. I see it in my daughters, my colleagues and peers and within the academic fields. It's the 'making a difference vs. making a killing' argument.

As NWA said in the '90s- don't believe the hype. This doesn't mean that you stop trying - keep up the attitude and the small cracks in the 8 foot think wall will start to make a difference but we are a ways away.

6. Definitely 'the means to the end'. There will never be an end - but the way is a helloffa trip. This is why there is a definite power shift from your IT team to your creative team. It's organic. IT needs a 'end date' and 'end state' in order to function. All the creative team needs is a start date.

7. It's all I needed.

Thx for the email.

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A step backwards

Dear users of social media: Are your so-called A-listers telling the truth?

Ever consider that the world is treating information the same way that we would choose a product out of a catalogue. This is a retro-trend that is catching up in a similar pattern to technology in the 80's and 90's.

You know about 'cocooning' - the need to retreat from the harsh realities of life, which was big in the 80s and 90s - and you may have seems the blogosphere go from trendsetting alternative media to Blogvertizing 2.0. You understand the concept of 'Hiving' and you may even have visited one of those 'Homes of the Future', with talking fridges and annoying robots doing a Jetson’s wannabe spiel.

Fact is, consumers' access to information is and will forever be their alienable right and most prized possession, which means spotting new information, before others do, could net you serious bucks, euros, pounds and yens.

Forrester and the big media giants have finally caught on. The Scobelizer becomes the Scobeladvertizer.

So the big thing in the world of domestic bliss right now? How about re-creating experiences from the outside world into subsperiences for the mind? I am seeing a social trend I'll call 'offliners'. People will re-discover the richness of staying offline.

Subsperiences will be as much about extending experiences as flat out replacing them: consumers will still choose to visit a 'real' gym on the weekend, they will still hang out in bars with friends, they will still stay in hotels and they will still come to the office for meetings and human contact.

But with online coaching, online psychologist, teleworking and even a dose of virtual religion, why not just feed the brain from home. Sounds good? Not really if you think about it.

There are studies now showing this trend and the AI labs from around the world are tapping into this social cognoscence.

In the post 9/11 world of insecurity: 'let's stay in and invite some friends' says it all. Information consumers are still time-starved, so having or doing ‘anything’ online means not having to venture out, which saves time and most likely, money. Unheard-of levels of prosperity for millions of ‘mass class’ members from Sao Paulo to Singapore to San Francisco and ever-higher demands for information-at-a-fingertip from experienced social media consumers.

The global (read: western) standard is now the best of the best and preferably the best of the best from the best and most knowledgeable (read: not mainstream) insider - reviews will be done from the 'inside' with the mushrooming of employee blogs. Employees are becoming empowered which will slowly allow them to speak honestly without any reprimand. Hype hype hype. Six Apart becomes the Six for One marketing ploy.

Dear Bloggers and others of the new social media revolution: Are your audiences loyal?

From urban warriors in Manhattan to aspiring members of the middle class in South Korea, the previously-only-available-to-those-in-the-know tidbits of information is getting old and mistrusted. Marketing, applied generously just like goods and services is transforming even the tiniest allowance of credibility into ‘read and tryvertizing’!

The trend is evolving. It will continue to be about readers wanting to 'domesticate' any interesting information they find in the semi-public space.

Offline. Disconnected. Surges in communal rooms, mirroring cool neighborhood bar and restaurant experiences … or the latest in home offices … or yoga rooms … or the creation of ambient information.

The embodiment of social and cognitive theories in interactive content sets a high bar for the future.

Social media can backfire ... the hype is getting stale - we need to sit and think before we corrupt the rest of the developing nations in order to create the 'social media consumers' that the hype needs to be fed.

after.the.fact: Read what Shel Holtz says about this. Credibility is an issue.

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