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Maybe I’m old but I just don’t see the usefulness of Twitter.  Really, what good could possible come from publicizing random thoughts like this even to close friends. Can they not wait ’till you phone them, or text them, or actually talk to them. Expecting a wide audience for ‘Tweets’ would seem to require even more hubris than blogging. 

OTOH it did save this guy some time – possbly years – doing work he hates.  Before we had Web 2.0 these types of comments and feelings generaly did come out eventually. Now they can come out instantly.


Some people readily embrace any given technology, others are dragged kicking and screaming into it. There’s a third set that try to, or pretend to, make use of these tools, but maybe shouldn’t. They use a technology but somehow completely miss the point of it. I had to take a snip – Vista’s Snipping tool – of something that really illustrates this.

I was reading an article about Vista by way of a link e-mailed to me by Microsoft. As with most of these types of publications there is a facility to add a comment or rate the article.  Such feedback is what Web 2.0 is all about and it propels this whole social media concept.  There were 5 comments added to the article. These are the first two – lets ignore the spelling and grammar for now.


Snipped from comments on a MicroSoft website article

There was a 3rd comment also noting the lack of a feature to print the article for “future reference”.  If your the type of person that regularly prints e-mails then perhaps you can explain this need to have a piece of paper in your hand, then store it for ‘future reference’. How are you going to find that piece of paper later even if you remember that you have it? How can it be more convienient than keeping and searching through e-mails or dragging a shortcut to your desktop or any number of other ways to file the article for future reference? Where are you going to be when you might need it? And in particular to that first poster – You could save a LOT more paper by tossing your printer in the garbage!

After struggling with iPhoto on a Mac I tried out Picassa (on my PC) and instantly loved it.  Apple’s lovely application may be just what you need, however, I believe it makes a very classic and basic software/interface design error. It emulates what your doing already. Images are identified by ‘roll’ – as in rolls of film?  huh?  It forced me to identify the entire set of images on the camera as somehow associated when, typically, they are not.  Picassa sorts and organizes photos into a hierarchical folders just like you are doing with everything else on your computer.  The integration with online storage and publication of the pictures is better and its free.

Its not news that digital photography has come of age. It has altered the nature of picture taking even as the internet has altered picture viewing.  The technology changes the way we do things and, also,  allows us to change the things we do. I think iPhoto, in error or by design, has failed to recognise this. Picassa recognizes that there is a whole new requirement and is attempting to fit that need.

The web evolves. All technology evolves. Advances are built on previous work. Sure there is the occaisional ‘leap’ or ‘paradigm shift’ but for the most part our tools are improvements upon earlier versions. As with Darwin’s theory there is a natural selection as one version gives way to the next.  Nexopia -> Myspace -> Facebook -> ???  Unlike Darwin’s theory, however, there is evidence of intelligent design, or in many cases unintelligent design. We are the creators of  our tools.

“Web 2” is an evolution of one of the earliest internet tools – newsgroups.  This lept over to the Web and evolved into forums which evolved some features and – I believe – branched into blogs. Now essentially we see micro forums attached to many web pages. They can be used by clients and customers to discuss products and services, get technical support, express opinions. Forums live on because they are well adapted. They fit a need. They encompase all the aspects of social media:  Sharing, collaberation, community, conversation, scope.  

I wonder what Youtube might evolve into?

Saw an e-mail from a family member today. It started: “… sorry I’m not an e-mail person… ”  Made me wonder what sort of person he was?  If you need to get in touch with someone specific, what would be the best way for you to do so?  Cell number? home number? work e-mail? Chances are it’ll very much depend on the person and the time of day. Only a few decades ago if you wanted to talk to someone you called them on the phone, if they were not in the building, or wrote them a letter, if they were not in the country.  Of course they may not have been available in which case you just … waited and tried later. Now we have choices!  If you want to contact someone you can do so almost immediately almost all the time. You can now talk to and see people half the world away, essentially for  free.

If you’re trying to reach your customers or clients, how do you do so? The internet has added to the traditional print and broadcast media, direct marketing and good old word of mouth, a plethora of new communication methods.  First, the web page, then e-mail, now suddenly, text messages, social networking sites, forums, viral marketing, twitter… More than ever you need to know who your trying to reach, and when, to pick the most effective method.

In the final class for the course some of the risks of Social Media were demonstrated.  While all the tools demonstrated had features allowing the user to control access, and publication, the defaults are often quite open. We have all been wary of e-mail scams and worrying about what our children are seeing online, but have generally considered the very nature of the Web as cloaking ones geographical location. 

A whole new view of the world is being generated by the ubiquitousness of digital still and video cameras and photo sharing on the web. Add a cell phone with GPS and  a visual record of where you’ve been, and when, can be generated almost unintentionally. If you’re uploading pictures with this information attached, a revealing map can be drawn. If you upload the images to Facebook people in them can get tagged, and thus tracked and associated with other people in those pictures.  Add Twitter and text messaging to the mix gives a whole new meaning to the term “Public life”.

For organizations it is important to state the policies up front and stick to them. If you tell your customers their e-mail addresses will not be shared or sold that had better not happen. If you tell clients that your client area forums are private, and invite or encourage a more confidential type of conversation, also be sure to state that you cannot necessarily control the actions of your other clients that may see the information.  The Web never forgets and the Web never forgives.

Saw this one in the morning paper today.  Comic strip artists have a very succinct way to explain things with a few word and clever pictures.  I wonder if Johns Deering or Newcombe were aware of the social statement made here…

Wow 675 ‘friends’. What does that say about the new use of the word ‘friend’.

Refering to the course as well as the topic.  Yesterdays, final, presentation included Facebook and Twitter.  While listening to the explanation of twitter I kept getting a cold chilly feeling. I was also reminded of a certain beer comercial from the 90’s.

Apparently thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of people post 140 character, or shorter, excerpts from the parts of their lives that happens between e-mail, chat, instant messages, actual voice calls, blog posts, and Facebook. Sort of ‘insta-blogging’. Information overload can be prevented by limiting your Twitter network but it then becomes yet another information tool for one to manage, complete with a host of new social problems of it’s own.  Who do you follow and why? What do you say to a friend or aquaintence that discovers you’re not following them? All these ‘Web 2.0’ tools or Social media overlap each other in function and abilities. Some people can multitask a few of them at once some cannot. Pick the tools that work for you.

Some businesses have successfully used Twitter to advertise to loyal clients or customers. Certainly it can be used this way but how is it different from a blog or e-mail subscription / RSS feed? One advantage is you can follow your followers and find out what they are doing and learn more about the audience your reaching.  A good thing regardless of your product or service. However, especially if your twitter following is small, your probably not getting a good sample of your target demographic.

The lesson for organizations is the same as the lesson for individuals. As with any new tool set you have to learn about it, understand what it can do for your organization, and apply it appropriately.

On the first day we were shown an eyeopening video, The machine is Us/ing Us , explaining Web 2.0 in 5 minutes. It’s by an anthropology professor at Kansas State and it has now been viewed several million times. I’d seen it prior to taking this course but the course has really helped me put a framework around how I think about the new, social, media and how I relate it to others. The question for me now is: How to relate all this to professional education?

Something that has been repeated several times is the idea that companies getting into ‘Web 2.0’ or Social Media will be giving up a bit of control, especially of process and brand image.  You have to put yourself out there.  There was an interesting example given of an online contest by GM to get people to create their own ads for the Chevy Tahoe.  Do a search on youtube for ‘Chevy Tahoe ad’. Not exactly the intended result but may in fact have a positve outcome for GM.

After watching a court room drama last night it occurred to me that, especially for corporations, getting into social media is like putting yourself on the witness stand. You’re gonna get grilled by the prosecution. Make sure you have your case well prepared and are ready for it.