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web 2.0

01 Aug

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Presentation: The Real Life Social Network

August 1, 2010 | By |

Paul Adams is a Senior UX Researcher at Google. In the slides below he shares some findings from his research, focusing on what’s important to keep in mind when designing for the social web. It’s chock-full with insights on how relationships work online and offline.

It’s a fantastic presentation. Must read.

08 Jul

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How to get started with Social Media in your organization

July 8, 2010 | By |

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to establishing Social Media in an organization: One is the more traditional (in a corporate sense) top-down, the other is the (more webby) bottom-up.

In one, a Social Media strategy is planned and implemented and handed down inside the organization. Pro: top-level support. Con: not all that organic. In the other, employees take Social Media in their own hands and just push the topic themselves. Pro: It’s agile and organic, plus the employees are invested themselves. Con: Can be messy, and there’s no management buy-in.

I’d propose a third way, where the top-level management encourages Social Media engagement and provides a framework for it. Most notably, it must be clear that employees who dabble in Social Media don’t get into trouble for doing so, and they must be given the opportunity to get more resources if needed. Employees on the other hand should feel free to experiment and learn the ropes, then pass on their knowledge and insights to their colleagues. These evangelists should be given the freedom and resources they need, and should also be taken into responsibility to document and share their learnings. It’s a two way street, really.

One aspect I’ve heard over and over again when doing workshops with clients is that often there are people in all hierarchy levels of an organization that are in favor of investing (time, resources, energy) in Social Media, but there is not enough exchange across hierarchies and departments. It’s important to identify evangelists all over the organization, from assistant level to top-level management, and connect them in some way or another. Think round tables, email lists, wikis, meetups – whatever best fits the organization’s culture.

There’s tremendous potential inside every organization, you just need to find it and foster exchange – that’s the first step. The second step, once all parties are talking to one another, you can adapt the organizational structures to reflect the needs that are now more clear. From then on it’s a matter of smart iterations.

So why not start today and ask around in your company: Who is interested in engaging in Social Media? Who’d like to take a lead, who’d like to support? Then give these folks some time to discuss their ideas and needs, and start pilot projects for the most promising ideas.

28 Dec

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Tech year 2009 wrap up: cloud computing, Android, privacy discussions

December 28, 2009 | By |

retro future

A couple of days ago I’ve given a short look back at the year 2009 from a personal point of view. Right after, I realized there were a couple more things with a wider tech perspective that I’d like to include – again, more for personal documentation than anything else. So here goes.

Everything went to the cloud We had been talking about cloud computing for a few years, but for me, 2009 clearly was the year The Cloud took off. I moved practically everything to the cloud, and cloud often equals Google these days. My email has been living inside gMail for years, but in 2009 I’ve ditched my email client altogether. Now I’m IMAP-ing browser-based between my computers and my phone.

Everything but my most sensitive documents live in the cloud, especially most collaborative docs. (Again, Google Docs or Etherpad, but Etherpad has also been acquired by Google recently.) My calendars are 100% up in Google Calendar.

Am I happy about this focus on Google? Far from it. But at this point, I see no equally well-executed alternative. For an overview of just how googley 2009 was, head over to Gina Trapani. Also, I recommend This Week In Google, a great weekly podcast with Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis and, again, Gina Trapani.

Still all this is clearly just the beginning. It should be interesting to watch where cloud computing goes in 2010.

Android killed the iPhone (for me) Ok, ok, Android may not have killed the iPhone officially. But ever since I switched to an Android-based phone (HTC Hero), I haven’t felt the urge to get an iPhone. Not a single time. Before I had been playing with the idea, and had always restrained. (I really don’t like the product policy behond the iPhone.) Android is a gorgeous, stable, powerful platform, and it’s all open source. It’s clear to me that while I might change phones a few times over the next couple of years, it’s not likely I’ll be leaving Android anytime soon.

Speaking of open source, 2009 is also the year I ditched Windows for good. I now live a Windows-free live (with a mix of Mac OSX, Ubuntu and Android), and boy, it’s feeling good.

The fight for our data 2009 has also been a year of intense battles in the digital realm, although certainly it’s not the last (or worst) to come. These fights have been along many different fronts, and not all have been going well at all.

In politics, Europe has been covered in conflicts regarding data retention. (German government introduced excessive data retention laws which are now under court review as far as I know.) Also in Germany, the basis for government-run censorship was laid under the pretense of fighting child abuse, search for #zensursula for details. The best German-language resource for these topics is certainly netzpolitik.org, so check them out for more details and updates. Good news, if not a solution to the problem: President Köhler has so far refused to sign the law.

In the corporate world, the conflict lines have been a lot more fragmented and twisted. However, one thing has become clear: Internet consumers will have to make a clear point regarding their expectations in terms of privacy and data control in digital contexts. Be it Facebook and its privacy settings, be it data ownership in other social networks. Important keywords in this field are: Data Portability identification systems like OAuth, microformats or the decentralized social web. (Like so often, Chris Messina is right in the middle of it. Check out the DiSo Project.) The same goes for End User License Agreements (EULA for short). Everybody is so used to just clicking those pages upon pages of legalese away that we’re bound to have a discussion about their use and legitimacy sometime soon. This isn’t new, but hasn’t been solved either, so maybe 2010 will bring some news there.

But worry not, it’s not all lost – these topics seemed to be very niche, and maybe still are. However, everybody in their right mind will come to the conclusion that there’s a line to what consumers have to bear before just moving on to another brand or product. (Even my mom was asking about the insanity of DRM the other day!) It looks like these topics, obscure as they may seem, are getting more publicity and more people to help out. Hopefully we can all collaboratively take some of the load off of the few individuals that have been doing such a tremendous job of raising awareness so far. (You know who you are.)

Obviously I’m happy to be able to end this post on a happy note.

So, again in short: the tech year of 2009 the way I perceived it = year of privacy discussions, cloud computing, Android.

Did I forget anything important? Let me know…

(image source)

23 Dec

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Social Media Trends 2010: ROI, what else?

December 23, 2009 | By |

ReadWriteWeb (RWW) titled “Experts Predict 2010 the Year for Social Media ROI“.

My gut reaction, as shared on Twitter?

We definitively need more solid figures, but you can’t measure it all. It’s about culture change in companies. #socialmedia #ROI

RWW was referring to this presentation by Dr. Taly Weiss, editor of the TrendsSpotting blog:

So besides my initial thoughts (more solid measurement of ROI, while making sure not to lose sight of the culture change aspect), there’s a lot more in this nicely compiled presentation of smart tweets. Just a few to spark your imagination: Your company will have a social media policy (@armano). A new cadre of bonafide thought leaders emerges, with almost 100% turnover from five years ago (@peterkim). By the end of the year we’ll have a new interface for status updates that looks nothing like a microblog (@johnbattelle). Real-time reviews will scare the pants off many a brand & foster a new ‘radical-beta’ mindset. “Tracking & alerting” become the new searching. Business finally admit that social media ain’t some fad for kids and B-list movie stars (all three by @mzkagan).

That’s just a few I found particularly convincing. I recommend you dig into the slides for a bit. There’s some good, juicy stuff in there.

03 Dec

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Some personal updates: Arte, TEDxKreuzberg, Ignite Berlin

December 3, 2009 | By |

Just a few updates of what’s going on in my life these days, and a few brief shout-outs.

1) For the major parts of December 2009 and January 2010 I’ll be working at the HQ of Arte.tv in Strasbourg, France, where I’ll be helping out with a bit of behind the scenes concept work. This is a project I’m very interested in personally – I love working with media organizations and working out the best way for them to engage in the web. Arte is already doing a great job there, so this should be really good.

2) TEDxKreuzberg (10 Dec 2009) is coming along pretty well. All speakers are confirmed, and while we haven’t put up all the speaker profiles, a few are up already. It’s going to be an interesting and inspiring night, and thanks to my co-organizer Christoph Fahle of Betahaus, it’s also great fun to put it all together. Demand has outstripped the available space by far, but between the confirmed guest list, some invited guests and the waiting list we hope to share this night with as many as possible. For updates please keep an eye on the website and our twitter (@tedxkreuzberg).

3) It looks very much as if Matt Biddulph and I will be hosting an Ignite Berlin. We’re still working out the details, but both Matt and I as well as O’Reilly’s Brady Forrest are very motivated to do that, so I’m optimistic it’ll all work out well. Ignite is a great format in which speakers present their projects or startups in 5 minutes – with 20 slides, automatically changing after 15 seconds. It’s very dynamic, and thus never boring. More details on that as soon as we have them. Until then, I’m curious to hear what your favorite Berlin locations are. We’re looking in the 100-200 person range. Please share them in the comments or email me at peter (at) thewavingcat.com … Thanks!

18 Nov

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Spot.us plans expansion beyond Bay Area

November 18, 2009 | By |

The Nieman Lab covers the planned expansion of Spot.Us, a really interesting and pioneering project in crowdsourced crowdfunded journalism. At this time, where everybody is discussing potential models for journalism to survive (or be funded), Spot.us takes an innovative approach. By the looks of this interview, it’s going well. Hopefully that’s not only true for the Bay Area…

Spot.Us, the non-profit experiment in journalism funded by readers, plans to expand beyond San Francisco by the end of summer, founder David Cohn tells me in the interview above. Seattle and Los Angeles are the most likely candidates for the site’s next iteration, and in the longer term, Spot.Us is looking to the east coast as well.

Read the rest of the story over at Nieman Lab…

In case you aren’t familiar with Spot.Us, here’s a video briefly explaining the basics:

Spot.Us – Community Funded Reporting Intro from Digidave on Vimeo.

Video sources: (1) Nieman Lab, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. (2) David Cohn / Digidave, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

09 Nov

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Rediscover Blogs You Love

November 9, 2009 | By |

we love blogs

In the olden days you used to hear blogs being compared to lovers – blogging was perceived to be an intensely personal, sometimes intimate thing, and the relationships between bloggers was pretty intense. Now, of course that kind of romanticizing was somewhat over the top. There was a small number of bloggers in a vast internet, so they stuck together.

However, there is something to this romantic notion. I’ve been noticing that my relationship to blogs has changed. More and more I’ve been perceiving them as something to deal with in a professional context. That’s not to say I’m not as passionate as blogging as ever, but it changed. Also, with so many more blogs around, attention is spread thinner – and many great blogs don’t get the attention they deserve.

I’ve been neglecting a few blogs that I dearly love, and that whenever I visit them, I find most inspiring. Some of them I would even read not in my feedreader but on their own website, for celebration’s sake, so to speak. So I’d like to introduce a handful of blogs that I’ve always liked, and that I’ve been neglecting. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same: a small selection of hand-picked, author’s recommendation-style blogs.

Digitalien This is where it all started for me. The German Sofa/Digitalien was a collection of short stories, not called blog then, but very blog like in it’s overall appearance. (It’s abandoned but archived under the domain sofa.digitalien.org, the blog now lives under arrog.antville.org.) and the authors were some of the first in Germany to actually switch to blogging and to discuss the whole affair as it was emerging. Praschl and Knecht experimented with form and content, interpreted both, applied it in often very personal ways. It was always a joy reading, a glimpse into someone else’s life, an inspiration to be part of this whole blogging thing. They would have never called it a movement.

Jan Chipchase / Future Perfect Jan Chipchase (real name!) is a researcher for Nokia. In his blog Future Perfect he shares some insights on his research on digital lifestyle. Sounds boring? Think again. Chipchase leaves his lab and goes straight to where the real innovation is made this day: the favelas of the world where bootstrapping and improvising and hacking is the default mode. He talks to the folks there who hack their phones to meet the needs of life as an Indian taxi driver or maybe the expectations of a 15-year old in Shinjuku. More companies should be giving budgets to awesome researchers and allow them to blog. Just as I’m typing this the most recent blogpost reads:

Today’s office involves a few hours stopover in Dubai, then a 3am flight to Kabul. The upside of sleeplessness? Watching the dawn over Afghanistan turn from glimmer on earth’s curved surface to the dusty, arid warmth of the mountains below. The next few days an opportunity to map the movement of the city since the last visit, a plethora of interviews and reconnections, Insha’Allah.

This may give you a rough idea of what Jan Chipchase is upt to. It’s always fascinating.

Danah Boyd / apophenia Danah Boyd blogs under the domain Zephoria.org, her blog is call apophenia. According to Wikipedia, apophenia is “the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data”. I’m not sure the blog name is all that convincing – after all, Danah doesn’t really dig around meaningless data but instead blogs about her very concrete scientific findings, mostly around the way youth use social media (in the more narrow sense) or (in the wider sense) how youth construct online identities. (Of course, you surely shouldn’t let the blog name get in your way.)

Like Jan Chipchase (above), Danah Boyd is a scientist who by now is on the payroll of a major corporation to fund her research. She works for Microsoft Research New England and is a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. That shouldn’t deter you, though, as she still shares a lot of research results. Never dry, always compelling and very often thought-stimulating or even mind blowing. Whenever I go to her blog, I can be sure to spend the next hour or so digging around her site, it’s that good. Definitively a keeper.

Bruce Sterling / beyond the beyond Bruce Sterling has been a hero of mine for a long time. (I most recently sung his praise after reboot11.) If there’s any place he outputs regularly besides the WIRED/beyond the beyond blog, I’m not familiar with it – so this is it. In his very particular, weary-yet-wary way he formulates incredibly deep, complex thoughts in a way that usually takes me a few days to process before understanding what he’s even talking about, but when the thoughts eventually sink in, they usually trigger some profound thought process in me in a way few writers do. The blog itself isn’t always so great, but when it shines, it thoroughly does. And it is, as far as I know, the best place to catch a regular dose of Sterling.

Anthony Volodkin / faßcinated Anthony is one of the minds behind the wonderful hypemachine music discovery service. On his personal blog faßcinated, Anthony does just what blogs used to be about: he shares personal thoughts and little snippets of stuff he finds online. It’s not overly deep and often banal, but in the best possible sense of the word: Little glimpes into someone’s day-to-day live, written and shared with a lot of love, occasionally with his take on contemporary Russia. (He was born and raised in Russia, now lives in New York City.) I know Anthony only very superficially, but his blog seems to perfectly capture and reflect his very curious, passionate and open-minded personality in a way that’s, well, just fun to read.

Yay!Everyday! I wasn’t sure if I should include Yay!Everyday! in this list. For one, it’s not technically a blog, but rather a collection of photos. More importantly though, it’s not Yay!Everyday! I wanted to highlight, but Yay!Monday!, which is by now defunct (or so it seems). Yay!Monday! used to be a weekly dose of inspiration a la ffffound, but for Mondays only. (In fact I have to admit I can’t really tell how they’re different, if at all.) So this shouldn’t be part of this list. Then again, this is all about inspiration, so let’s not be too narrow-minded, eh?

What else? This list feels terribly incomplete. But that’s the nature of neglected blog reading lists, by definition important blogs get forgotten. So I’ll take the liberty of updating this list when I remember another blog that I’ve been neglecting and that should be featured here. Until then, I strongly recommend you check out the blogs above. I promise you won’t regret it. Enjoy!

Updates:

something changed something changed is not even a real blog. It’s a tumblelog. It’s written by a certain Jessica, who doesn’t give away her family name (not even in interviews), or her exact job (she only says she works in advertising, until recently in Sydney, now in Melbourne). In other words: I know practically nothing about the author of this blog. And yet, it’s full of smart, inspiring quotes, thoughts and ideas. I never leave the site without something new and refreshing on my mind. And what more can you possibly ask for?

Photo by kunel, Some Rights Reserved.