The social media revolution (in 15 minutes)

Danah Boyd – social media is here to stay
March 11, 2009, 10:20 am
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This will take up your alloted weekly 15 minutes – but it is worth it.  It is a presentation by Danah Boyd – one of the best thinkers on social media.  I particularly like her concluding thought:

Specific genres of social media may come and go, but these underlying properties are here to stay. We won’t turn the clock back on these. Social network sites may end up being a fad from the first decade of the 21st century, but new forms of technology will continue to leverage social network as we go forward. If we get away from thinking about the specific technologies and focus on the properties and dynamics, we can see how change is unfolding before our eyes.

This is the thinking behind what I call the Gutenberg principle.  Her insight on Twitter use and the young is also er… insightful (i.e. kids don’t want adults to be able to see everything they are doing).


Social media – green shoots of the mainstream?
January 21, 2009, 2:04 pm
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I think the next few months could see a real expansion in popular engagement with social media. For example; I have had an increase in facebook friend requests from people who missed the first wave and some of the most technophobic people are now experimenting in Twitter – possibly driven by recent attention around the Mumbai attacks and the US Air crash landing.

The significance of this is that these people are normal people – not the techies or the geeks -and they will therefore normalise these services. They are not going to want thousands of facebook friends or twitter followers and they are going to use facebook and twitter either in the ways they were originally designed to be used or they will shape their future development around the needs of the mainstream.

This is a very important step in the development of social media. As Noel Gallagher said “once the squares start listening to your music you make lots of money”

Gutenberg and the social media revolution
November 20, 2008, 11:11 am
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My article has now been published in Capco’s Journal of Financial Transformation so I can now spread it around electronically myself.  Here it is

It will take more that 15 minutes to read – and I suggest you digest it in a couple of sittings!

I will publish the full text as a post on my other blog and might write a few spin-off posts that deal with various themes within it.

Some thoughts on change, Obama and social media
November 5, 2008, 10:38 am
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The digital space is buzzing this morning with the US election results.  Interestingly, I have yet to find any US commentator / blogger with any profile within the space that addresses social media to offer (or have offered) any support to John McCain and the Republicans (Examples – this and this from Robert Scoble, this from Brian Solis).  This seems to be reflected across the wider population participating in social media as the twitter exit poll I mentioned yesterday shows where declared twitter support for Obama is much greater than the support across the whole population of the US.

This is not surprising, since social media is a standard bearer of change in ways in which we perhaps do not yet fully understand and its proponents are more likely to respond to the Obama change mesage.  However, there is a difference between embracing change and simply sponsoring change.  Obama is a symbol of change.  Electing him as President is a demonstration of how much the USA has changed and, to an extent, is sponsoring the idea of change. It is not of itself any guarantee that change will actually happen.  The real test for change and indeed democracy in the USA therefore lies in the extent to which Obama will be allowed to deliver against the promise.

Likewise with social media, simply adopting the tools of social media is just a symbol, a sponsoring of the concept. It does not of itself signify even a recognition of the potential impact of the transition to a post-Gutenberg world that social media (or socialised information) is bringing.

The difference between the change symbolised by Obama and the change being delivered by social media is that we are moving to a post-Gutenberg world and there is almost nothing that can happen to stop it, but there is no guarantee, politically speaking, that we are moving to a post-anything USA at this point.  If I had a choice between Obama and social media as to who / what can deliver the greatest change – I know what I would vote for.

Weekend reading
October 1, 2008, 9:53 am
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This e-book ‘Brands in Networks’ will take up more than the allotted 15 minutes – but it is worth it.  The author, Antony Mayfield, is one of the few people out there who really grasps the fundamentals of the shift that is taking place, rather than just focus on the latest bright shiny things.  He uses the analogy of Gutenberg (a good indicator of someone who sees the big picture) and talks about the shift away from channel into network.

I have just written my own, slightly less extensive, piece on this – but unfortunately can’t share it yet because it has been commissioned by the management consultants Capco to appear in their Journal of Financial Transformation and won’t appear until December and they have asked to have first dibs at publication (very Gutenberg!).  However, I will make a more post-Gutenberg attempt at publication once I have permission.

The social media revolution on one page (sort of)
July 29, 2008, 5:10 pm
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“So what is social media then?” I seem to spend so much time attempting to answer that question these days – not just answering it but also justifying why it is a ‘Big Thing’ and not just a flash in the pan. I am rarely 100 per cent confident that I nail it with the answer – which is a worry. Neither am I 100 per cent confident that many others out there have nailed it either – the blogosphere and conferenceosphere is littered with vague exhortations about ‘joining the conversation’, ‘two-way rather than one-way dialogue’, ‘democratisation of media’ etc etc etc. All true enough but all rather woolly stuff.

I have therefore tried to nail it all on one page so the next time I get the challenge – I can say “read this and believe”. Actually, if I am honest I want people to read this and then pay me and / or the organisations I work with, money to help them do something about it.

I have cheated actually, because while I have produced a one page pdf it is backed up by seven other linked pages. You could say – why bother with the pdf, why not just circulate the link? The answer is that most of the people who ask the question are still much more comfortable sharing in the email world rather than the on-line world and opening an attachment and forwarding an email is familiar behaviour.

Anyway – here it is (and here is the on-line version). If you like it, pass it on. If you think you can do something better – do something better and pass it on.

Recommending Richard Dennisson’s blog
July 8, 2008, 2:45 pm
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I have mentioned BT and Richard Dennisson in some previous links – but this is a more formal promotion of his blog. I would strongly recommend that anyone within an organisation who is looking to adopt social media tools and practices, especially within the workplace, subscribes to this blog. Not only does it give a real time insight on a great case study, the things that he writes – as with this recent post – invariably hit many of the key issues on the head. As I have said previously – creation of networks (Ning Things) within organisations is going to be the next big step within social media and the thing that will really move social media into the mainstream.