Friday, 16 March 2007

The Last Post?

As I attend MBS today to present with my blog colleagues the content and strategy of our blog, I started to reflect upon what I have learned from the blog and MIS experience.

Certainly from a work view, I now have a clear insight into the potential of scenario planning and the potential for information systems to completely disrupt standard and coventional ways of working.

In fact when I really think about it, the sector I work in is currently a veritable mass of disruptive technologies, which appear to be being resisted in a some what luddite manner.

Why? I guess there is no one size fits all answer. It could be because the new technology is seen as a threat or that it is being imposed upon the system, rather than chosen by the system. Or, it could be, that deep down the majority of us, if we are really truthful, and in true Geoffrey Moore anology, border on being late adopters and laggard.

My view (for what it is worth) - is that as long as we have a span of individuals from innovators to laggards, being in the late adopter category is not that bad, as by the time the technology is accepted and begun to be adopted by this group, the bugs and glitches have usually been ironed out. Hands up who bought a betamax and wish they had waited a bit longer?

Yesterday whilst listening to radio four (I have a theory that you know you are reaching middle age when you listen to radio 4, by choice, and you own a Tesco carrier bag for life), I heard an interesting article about Whitehaven being the first town in the UK, to have the TV analogue signal switched off and digital turned on, in October 2007.

What staggered me from the article, was the number of people who either did not know about it or, thought if they resisted the requirement to buy the new technology required, somehow, the 'state' would take responsibility for them and still broadcast analogue, just for them. Why do people think this? Is it becuase the communication has not been very good or simply, that they are laggards and late adopter and will not adopt the disruptive technology of digital, until they are forced to. All you entrepeneurs out there - get a shop in Whitehaven and stock up with free view boxes - you dcould make a killing.

I think it is a combination of both, but that the communication (or lack of it) maybe somewhat to blame for the current state of inertia and denial.

Anyway back to the subject in hand - thanks to everybody who has for reading our blog and posting comments - we really appreciate your time and effort and it has been fun and enlightening communicating with you in this way.

Take care out there and remember the future is bright (we hope)


PS - Still don't understand second life and the money exchange bit - can anyone enlighten me?

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Is The Internet Punching Below Its Weight In Media Value?

There has been and continues to be a huge shift in the media landscape. Just look at the volume of media options available to us – Radio, TV, Magazines, Newspapers, Internet, etc. Not only are there more options open to us today within each option there has been an explosion of channels. I remember the days of only having 3 Television channels (BBC1, BBC2 & ITV), and they did not broadcast all night. This is well before Sky / Digital TV entered the market and flooded us with channels reaching out to niche groups of people with targeted channel programming.

TV is not the only area, what was once a habitual process of buying the local regional newspaper has now been replaced with multiple copies of regional / local newspapers either delivered to your home or free to pick up on your way to work. It doesn’t stop here, walk into a supermarket or newsagent and you will see multiple examples of consumer magazines tailored to any hobby / interest imaginable, with launches and closures occurring on a monthly basis. All this before we even mention the Internet. Consumer usage/time is not the only change to the media upheaval; businesses also play a huge part.

The battleground is basically on 2 fronts, the first being “eyeballs” or consumers and the second is advertising spend. If you can deliver the first should you be entitled to a decent share of the second? Logic tells me the money will follow the audience.
The interesting observation however is how the media explosion is dissecting the size of audience to each channel and the time spent viewing. The Association of Online Publishers are arguing that this has led to an end to targeted mass marketing

Traditional media are currently leading the way in terms of their share of the £18.96 billion in advertising spend in the UK, the biggest being press (National & Regional Newspapers, Magazines and Directories) with 45% of all revenue and TV second with 25%. There is, however, a clear warning that things need to change for them to maintain this moving forward. The current share of ad revenue is disproportionate to the share of media consumption ie time people spend interacting with that media. My feeling is that this balance will be addressed, and has in fact started. As time passes and technology changes there are massive implications for what were traditional media companies. The under 25’s today have a very different pattern of media consumption to that of the older generation (as highlighted by KPMG) and as a result need different communication and interaction

The technological advances are also now offering advertisers new, more cost effective, better ways to reach their potential customers. A prime example is the shift of classified advertising from newspapers to internet sites. Large lists of items / jobs / properties / cars are not the most interesting of reads. When you are looking for something specific it takes time to trawl the columns within newspapers and magazines to find what you want. The internet allows you to interact, search and filter information much quicker and now from multiple sources. It is free and the presentation of a car ad for example with large multiple images (possibly even video) and expansive descriptions is a giant step from a black and white lineage ad on newsprint. With audience and advertisers taking advantage of what the Internet has to offer it is no surprise that spend and time is transitioning online. The internet now takes a 7.8% share of advertising spend and is showing growth of 65.6% year on year on what otherwise is a declining market (IAB 2006).

Is TV next in line for attack? Viewing figures / time spent watching what were the traditional TV channels are falling, and advertisers are finding it harder to get response. Internet based technology is evolving with video streaming common place, the growth in usage is resulting in sites generating huge audiences, improved connectivity and performance is enabling faster transfer of larger amounts of data. Website operators can claim unheard of targeting for advertisers with new pay per response charging models. The move is towards tailored “one to one” marketing with minimum waste. Can ROI for advertising finally be calculated accurately?

Google, amongst others, are taking advantage of this by delivering video ad clips across websites in its adsense network. Google and the content partners sell the ads and revenue is then shared. Companies like Conde Nast and Sony BMG Music Entertainment being early adopters in the market. Search based targeted advertising is not a thing for the future as it is currently being tested.

Where does the future lie? Google have had huge success in generating content and viewers through Youtube but Media owners are fighting back by speeding up their investment in their own web offering and they believe Google/YouTube should pay for the privilege of using their copyrighted content. Viacom's suit demands the removal of 100,000 unauthorized clips so will restricting licensed programs on Youtube work? Google boss Eric Schmidt unsurprisingly thinks not. Media companies must take a step into the online video delivery arena, The Telegraph are doing this with their Online TV Business News and the BBC are linking with Youtube to deliver their proposition. It is not clear to what extent time viewing online will continue to transition nor the ad money that goes with it. We can be sure TV will be affected in some way and as a result expect to see some radical changes being introduced by traditional media companies in a bid to position themselves to protect and fight for a healthy share of adspend in the future. Whether they do this alone or in partnership with a Youtube type operation remains to be seen.

Does it stop at TV? What is next for targeted advertising? Technology is impacting in all areas of society in terms of advertising space and messaging. Football billboards are no longer static posters, they are much more dynamic enabling timed messages such as betting odds for the next goal. Bus shelters have been enabled with SMS messaging and the next generation of Hi Definition TV screens with Bluetooth technology used to showcase ads outdoors are now available. The key for advertisers is to get consumers to interact with them as this is much stronger than bombarding consumers with messages. Consumers interact with what is designed to be personal advertising by downloading clips or reminders as they pass by. This interaction is then measurable. The opportunities are endless as technology advances campaigns can become highly targeted. Take tube advertising in London and poster sites up the escalators at stations. These can be brought to life and be used to target different consumers based on time of day. McDonalds breakfast on the way to work for example or commuter times and routes can hit the business traveller compared to mid morning tourist focused messaging around the lines used to visit popular destinations.

Technology is changing, media consumption is changing the question is which businesses will be able to change stay in touch?

Sunday, 11 March 2007

On line petitions and blogging - the silent revolution

I am absolutely amazed! Not just because I have found out that there is an actual exam grade of X - just below unclassified I think - but because our group blog is contributing to a massive social movement to change 'unfair' legislation through the use of on line petitions.

To bring any new visitors to this blog up to speed - I am currently studying for an MBA and as one of the modules - MIS - have set up with four colleagues a group blog.

One of the very first posts to the blog related to social computing and on line petitions and as a result of the blog being read, a reader set up an on line petition - to protest about the imposition of a 10MPH speed limit on Lake Winderemere, in Cumbria, almost two years ago.

I don't intend in this blog to start a debate about the rights and wrongs of this decision as there are a whole host of other blogs and sites which do this much more eloquently - but I will declare an interest in the debate by stating I am anti the 10MPH speed limit.

This particular blog is all about the power of IT. What has amazed me is the level of response to the petition - 1,142 in about three weeks and articles in the local press and other blogs, all this without the person who set up the petition, ever raising a Parker pen in anger or knocking on any door or ultimately commissioning the battle bus to Downing Street.

What do you think? Do on line petitions make people lazy and possibly petition for issues about which they are not really passionate or do they allow individuals to express their opinion on whatever remotely bothers them?

Me - I don't know - but what I do know is that I am beginning to see that the future could be bright - and that this bright future could be delivered and enhanced through the intelligent and possibly regulated use of the information systems available, which span continents and cultures.

Speak Soon JJB - on the journey from luddite to early adopter?

PS Still don't understand the currency bits on SL and how you can make money - can anybody tell me?

Monday, 5 March 2007

Is There A Point To Second Life?

I am not a “Second Lifer” if that is what you call people who divulge, and to be honest I do not really see what the attraction is. Firstly for those who don’t know what it is there is a detailed definition on Wikipedia, in simple terms it is a virtual world on the internet where you can interact with others as whoever you want to be.

I have been thinking about why people would actively take part in Second Life, and as of February 2007 there were 4 million people that do. Understanding that people may be going there to get away from it all, being someone else, leaving your life or troubles behind and linking up with like type people could be plausible reasons. When you then learn that people do this full time, and there is a currency in this “world” I can not really comprehend what the appeal is. Does Second Life not just encourage people to lie about who or what they are? Is it safe to be let loose in a world like this, especially for the young and vulnerable?

Second Life clearly has hit a chord with millions and it has even reached the business world as there are companies and brands entering into this world. I was astonished when I heard that there was a contest running to set up a business plan in the virtual world. I really have to question what is the point of investing a company’s time and money to this venture? If you are interested the winner was a company called Market Truths. What I found interesting was that the main reason that they won was because they have real life experience of carrying out market research for years. Surely Market Truth are only treating this as a PR opportunity which they can use in real life, what other benefit can they be getting from this? The aim is to carry out research on the “people” in Second Life but what is the point? The results will be meaningless as sample segmentation will be ridiculous. How can you make decisions based on research that is captured through surveys of people using real life gender, in world gender, real world age, in world age, race, size etc etc.. But the most fundamental question is how can you trust the responses form a world where lies are common place?

This has not stopped companies like Toyota, General Motors and American Apparel from entering but they really can’t be seriously treating this as strategic marketing activity. Vodafone are one of the latest companies to talk about opening a store in Second Life, but are they doing this with a hope of creating revenue in the virtual world or trying to connect to people that they hope will find an affinity with them in the real world. I would suggest it will be the latter as I find it very difficult to believe real money can be made, for businesses, in Second Life.

As I said at the start I have not ventured in, and I doubt I will in the future. I have however watched an hour long presentation showing a glimpse inside Second Life delivered by Philip Rosedale & Cory Ondrejka. If you want to see it take a look.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Second Life whether it be from an individual or business usage perspective.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Wallet Phones

Burgers paid for by mobile phone’. This article on the BBC news website made me laugh this morning. One of Japans top mobile phone providers has made a deal with McDonalds to allow customers to pay for their happy meals with their mobile phone. Besides the fact it allows corporations to collect more information on your spending habits it seems like a great idea.
I have already seen mobile phones used for payment into football matches, concerts and so on by swiping a bar code in a text massage on your phone instead of a ticket. Also, my personal favourite which is using your mobile phone to pay for ‘pay and display’ parking by phoning a particular number, they even send you a text ten minutes before your time is up. This potentially would save me lots of money. I tend to have the more relaxed attitude of not paying for parking if I don’t have any change based on the argument that if I get a £30 ticket one in ten times then the saving on the parking payment will pay for the ticket. Unfortunately this hasn’t quite worked out for me just yet.

But the burger example uses a different technology. This is a variation on the ‘mobile wallet’ technology, where can be used similar to a contact-less fob key to pay for purchases (a pin number is used for more expensive transactions). So, soon enough my mobile phone which is already my camera, MP3 player, PC and photo album will also be my new visa card, train pass and sports club card. Then, I would really be depressed if I lost my mobile phone

Friday, 23 February 2007

Blogged Pipes, Are They Something To Look Forward To?

No sooner am I getting to grips with blogging, understanding the role of Social Computing and setting up my own account on Google to keep track of some of my favourite sites someone says have you heard what Yahoo have just launched?

Well I hadn't but strangely found myself actually wanting to know what it was. It is called Pipes and has been described by Tim O'Reilly as "a milestone in the history of the Internet" Quite a bold statement to make I thought bearing in mind how fast new technology comes along so I had to have a look to see what all the hype was about. Could this be an example of disruptive technology? I thought getting ahead of myself. First I need to try and work out what it is.

This tool, as I understand not being particularly technical, is a tool that lets people manipulate data feeds from a number of different web services. I am just starting to get familiar with the term Mashup, which business week describe as a mix, match and mutation of different websites. A good example of a mashup in operation, I think, is seen here on Thinkproperty. It produces the search results from their dbase of houses for sale on a google map. Pipes then to me could be defined as the mother of all mashup tools. The main difference being, however, that it has been built for the average internet user. It has simple drag and drop editors that allow you to connect data sources, process them and then re-direct to produce your output. The result is a tool that enables you to connect to the growing number of structured data sources on the web. You then use it to monitor muiltiple listings to a level of detail that has not been possible before.

I like the idea but the important thing to me is whether it can be used within a business environment, would it improve the way a business operates and ultimately make money. I think used properly it could, for example an Antiques dealer / collector could use it to tap into auction sites around the world to price watch specfic items that are of interest to him/her. A car dealer could potentially "Pipe" very precise feeds from Auto Trader to alert them to a car that they would be interested in sourcing from say a private seller at a price they believe they can turn into a profitable sell on.

Pipes do take things to another level, but I am not convinced that it qualifies as disruptive technology. I can't help think how long will it be before we get something bigger or better (probably from Google) so the question is should I try to dig deeper into Pipes or should I wait a while?

Here are some examples of Pipes in action and if like me you want to see a simple explanation of how Pipes works check out these tutorials

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Bloggers beware

I was just reading the news and came across the story of Abdel Kareem Soliman. He is an Egyptian blogger who has just been sentenced to four years in jail for insulting Islam and the president of Egypt on his blog.
As the blogoshere, now a global soap-box, propagates can governments (oppressive or not) hope to control or censor what is said. Is this the first time in history that everybody has access to free speech or should blog accounts come with a health warning ?

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Bloggard to Floggard to Vloggard

Definition of a bloggard - a person who discovers the technology of blogging as the technology is about to become obsolete.

I have in the last three weeks traveilled the internet world and evolved from a bloggard to a blogger, flogger - confused about this one then read on , to a vloggard.

Last Friday I was told by a fellow student that in my previous blog, my prediction that blogs would never cross the chasm, was potentially right.

I sat back with a sense of self righteous smugness only to have this shattered when he informed me that this obsolescence would happen not because of humans resorting to use the communication aides they evolved with - i.e speech and facial expression, but because of flogging.

At this juncture I again became very smug, thinking that all my scare mongering about the internet being used by people who had 'different' emotional and sexual inclinations, was completely founded. I then started to visualise what a flog could possibly be, only to realise that I had completely misheard and in fact he was referring to a VLOG - a video log. I am gutted! Just as I am beginning to embrace the technology of blogs and advocate them to the world as the way forward, I find out that yes they are a beta max or BSB box (both of which my father in law was an innovator with) and about to be replaced by a technology where your thoughts are posted to vlog sites.

Whilst this vlog thingy goes someway towards addressing some of my concerns in my virgin blog about losing the power of speech - see subversive, laggard or luddite posting on this blog - it also starts to for me, raise a whole other set of issues.

For instance I typically blog late at night or early in the morning - at these times there is a common thread which is I am usually in my pyjamas and look an absolute mess. Imagine if I were vlogging at these times I would have to spend hours putting on makeup and getting my hair done etc therefore is the emergence of the vlog an attempt by the beauty and cosmetic industry to increase profits. Even more disconcertingfor me, is the loss of protection and security afforded to me by only those people I choose to inform, knowing I am JJB. Imagine walking down the street and some person who fundamentally disagrees with what you have said, accosting you on the street.

I realise by not 'digging' vlogging for these reasons I am completely contradicting my previous views about the anonymity of blogging being a major security concern and an opportunity for people to masquerade as A N Other - but there you go, the virtual world is a funny old place full of contradictions.

On that note and because I cannot think of anything else meaningful to say - I will leave you today with a quote from an esteemed management guru which you can apply to the take up of new technologies - 'eagles may soar but weasels do not get sucked into jet engines'. Am I an eagle or a weasel and which is better?

Speak soon - JJB.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Social Computing is it a Sustainable Reality?

Can social computing succeed against the drive for commercial organisations to exploit it or governments wanting to control it?

“Freedom is fostered when the means of communication are dispersed, decentralised and easily achievable” Ithiel De Sola Pool (Political Scientist)

Current levels of internet access, speeds of connectivity and ownership of digital cameras & mobile digital telephones mean that you could argue that this is what the internet is capable of delivering, and is in fact the result of what Social computing delivers. The question is, will it be allowed to continue and can it become truly global?

Social computing is growing at a phenomenal rate and large organisations are already developing strategies designed to turn this to their advantage. Start up sites such as Myspace and more recently Youtube have already been swallowed up for unbelievable sums by Newscorp $580m and Google $1.65bn respectively, these are to name but 2 of many examples (facebook, flickr, friends reunited) . This is the sign that the future of social computing will be driven by commercial organisations so can it remain true to the factors that have brought the early success?

Social networks share information, experiences and advice and as a result are very interesting for any business to be able to gain acceptance within these communities. Compete Inc have recently found, through research, that social computing influences online sales, this is being termed social commerce. It has been identified that social site members listen more to peer feedback than any other source of information. This may not come as a big surprise, and early examples can be seen throughout the web, a clear one being the online buying and selling site e-bay. Buyers submit feedback and ratings that act as a comfort or re-assurance for other buyers if they can see feedback about the seller they are looking to buy from. This however can be open to exploitation as there is nothing to stop sellers submitting positive feedback about themselves, both from the private individual level and from a business’ point of view.

The next stage in business exploitation comes as a result of the technological advances online and the growth in blogging (Technorati claim 55 million blogs currently exist Feb 2007), marketers are now looking to take advantage of these opportunities to try and communicate with potential consumers. Marketing is effectively a means used to sell something to someone, what makes it happen does not matter. What one could argue is that an agency or organisation can produce better “stories” which are presented as better content which in turn get noticed. Organisations are generating enormous amounts of content, either directly or through third party agencies with the initial hope of being noticed, but the ultimate objective is to gain acceptance that will lead to sales. Blogs have been used by businesses to spread messages but now with the introduction of even richer rich media - vlogs they have a very effective means of communication, vlogs enable commentary and video that makes bloggers voices heard.

Even websites with the force of major organisations behind them have to make sacrifices in their corporate aims due to pressures from the governments of certain countries. Google’s aim of indexing the world’s information to make it easy for anyone to find whatever they are looking for suffered a setback at the hands of the Chinese Government who have insisted on restricting what actually is made available to the Chinese population. In France the Government insisted that Greenpeace removed a mash up as it contravened an EU law. How can social computing succeed and become truly global if organisations have to bow to regulation and legislation within certain geographies. Potentially more concerning is the question as to whether bloggers become open to prosecution as a result of their site content, the answer to this question is yes on more than one occasion.

3 questions to contemplate in relation to Social computing going forward. Please feel free to offer your opinions.

  1. Will we be able to distinguish between true consumer generated content and organisational content in the future?
  2. Will consumer content become lost amongst a battle ground for organisations and brands to gain share of voice?
  3. Will Governments around the world hinder the chance of social computing to grow to its full potential?

Blogs for Business.

Are Blogs really going to be able to continue to be truly independent representations or will they be hijacked, manipulated for the good of the corporate.

Blogs, tags and Wikis offer perfect opportunities for organisations to use in the area of product development. An organisation can use blogs to push out ideas, concepts relating to current product enhancements or indeed new products. This will automatically generate a buzz around the Internet with target consumers being more than happy to offer valuable feedback, but just as importantly they also push the concepts out to like minded individuals through their network of contacts. This is where organisations can, if managed properly, engage with a wide network of users to deliver the products that consumers want, hence limiting risk and cost in product development. The smart organisations can also use these networks for competitor intelligence gathering, used to its full potential an organisation could potentially identify and react to competitor activity much quicker than has been possible in the past. Market research is already benefiting from the advantages offered by the internet with larger samples, wider geographic & demographic reach and cheaper data collection & analysis. Blogs are just an extension on these benefits enabling organisations to develop two way communication with a very targeted group of people.

General Motors have taken full advantage of the ability to use blogs with key consumer groups of their vehicles. They believe that by using a dedicated blog they have a virtual focus group with whom they can conduct regular research. The financial return on developing this blog can also be measured. If they were to conduct research to deliver the information obtained it would be at a cost of $15,000 per month (Forrester Research)

What does the future hold for blogs, will they be used in the same way they are today or will they start to become dominated by business?

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Humans in the loop, what a to-do!

A lesson this week for all those who have been seduced by the offer of technological wizardry, reduced costs and quality customer care. It appears that we as a nation are not happy with talking to people in remote corners of the world about our insurance claims. The classic conversation between the three hard of hearing old ladies takes on a new slant, “Is it windy?”, “No, dear I think it’s Thursday”, “Oh yes, I’d love a cup of tea”. Many Call centre customers it would seem no doubt relate to this after a chat with someone at a non UK call centre.

Companies eager to benefit from the lower wage costs and a highly educated and motivated workforce flock to India. Only for many of them now to come home to the UK with their heads bowed. Yes, the technology was fine, Manchester to Mumbai in the flick of a switch if only we could understand what was being said at the other end of the phone it would have been great.

The rapid embrace of technology is not always going to give you the results you expect because you have one strange thing in the equation: human beings.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Diamond Blogging

Strangely enough this whole new world of social computing and blogs, is starting to impact on my everyday and worklife. On Saturday evening I managed to hold a reasonably intelligent conversation about IT and the potential of the internet, only demonstrating my real ignorance when I started to refer to Mozilla Firefly :-)
On Monday I bored the pants off my colleagues and really worried my boss when I started to refer to blogs as the way forward and in our weekly team meeting started to try and explain what a blog really is to my colleagues and sounding relatively intelligent and knowledgeable in the process and furthermore giving an idiot's guide (me as the idiot) to our esteemed Geffrey Moore and his book crossing the chasm
Anyway enough of my meteoric rise to the status of blogging expert and of my work experiences chasing the tornado - real purpose of blogging this evening is to talk about diamond bloggers - a term I picked up in the Sunday Times webwise article of 11.2.07.
The article if, as I am, you are becoming almost geekish with your obsession around blogs, quite interesting. It informs the reader that there are over 50M blogs, with the large proportion being rubbish - obvious exceptions to this and of course 'my blog' does not fall into this category - or does it, who out there is interested in what I have to say judging from the lack of comments posted since Sunday, not very many of you -Joe did you press post as I keep checking and nothing there.) Apparently one in every 200 internet visits are to web based journals (according to hitwise) _ does this statistic in itself illustrate that not that many people are currently interested in blogs and, is this because blogging has not yet crossed the chasm and is in fact only at the innovator stage, or because it is another betamax video and will never cross the chasm. Nobody knows for sure but instinctively I think it will cross the chasm in the current youth generation, but not so sure about the 30+s.

So back to diamond blogging - and what is it? Well the article does not define it and I guess it can be subjectively interpreted, but in my mind the term is a very appropriate and visual term as I guess you have to look through a lot of coal before you find a diamond. My hope (and plea) is that you fellow bloggers out there regard this site as a diamond blog and start to comment please, as otherwise I may fail my MBA project but I guess more importantly it may confirm my initial ludditeish view that blogging is not the future.
Speak soon

Sunday, 11 February 2007

What am I a subversive, laggard or luddite?

Oxford English Dictionary Definitions :

Subversive - seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution
Laggard - a person who falls behind others
Luddite - a person opposed to industrialisation or new technology

I am in week 5 of an MBA module - Managing Information Systems (MIS) at Manchester Business School and boy oh boy, to quote Katie and Peter - am I entering a whole new world?
I consider myself computer savvy and able to appreciate what I can do - I have a grade C computer studies O level (really useful to know how many nibbles=a bit and bits =a byte) and in recent job roles have rolled out and implemented major IT developments but oh boy, am I feeling challenged by this virtual world.
Until five weeks ago my only experience of the virtual world was courtesy of Johnny Vegas in Room 101 - one of the funniest bits of TV I have seen and I urge you to watch it if you can. Anyway, in the last five weeks I have been educated in this virtual world and find out that multinational companies purchase land in this virtual world (did they pay cash?) and that people regularly communicate via blogs. Here in lies my issue - will we lose the art of verbal conversation, social interaction in the real world and the ability to read how people are really feeling by watching their facial expressions as we converse? Who lives in this virtual world - normal people, lonely people, shy people, everyday people who like IT (lovingly referred to me as Geeks) or at the extreme scale, terrorists and perverts. Who knows? Am I a mean parent for not letting my 11 year old son use chat rooms which I perceive as full of danger - on the flip side I let him cross roads - but have provided him with the skills to reduce the associated risks with crossing the road and should I not do the same for the internet and this virtual world.
Do all these thoughts make me a subversive, laggard or luddite - I have no idea - but what I do know is that my roast beef is not going to cook itself and my family won't be happy with a virtual Sunday lunch and therefore I am off now to sort that out. I think therefore for the present I am happier in my real world but will dabble in the virtual as I know if I don't I will get left behind.
Speak soon JJB

PS - Have to say this is the second time I have written this article - lost the first one (flamin IT for you when I tried to link this piece with web links to Katie and Peter - help please Shoja next weeks lesson please in blogging is how to do this?

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Internet Democracy, Not Yet!

So the Governmnet sets up an online petition on the Number 10 website, gets 1 million signatures then ignores it, "The power of the web!" How many people will it take before the Government will act? It's an interesting start to the concept of internet democracy. Paul's article discusses how social computing will redefine bureaucracy, I don't think the Government are set up for being redefined just yet! I imagine that they are a little scared!

Friday, 9 February 2007

Social Computing

Thanks to some interesting comments on Paul's blog about social computing. I have been looking into the world of Mashup, and Wikis. Yes, I am sure you have all heard of Wikipedia, but creating your own Mashup Wiki, well that was a new one for me. It transpires that those clever people at IBM have been creating a drag and drop interface to use widgets(?) that allow you to create your own Wiki mash-up for any reason. Mash together your own customer database, Google maps , BBC news , and weather to create a complete synchronised up to date picture of the area where one of your customers may be operating. This hand waving IBM guy tells it how it is.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Why are we luddites or laggards? we should at least have the option of Leaping i.e. to leap into the void of this new WWW2.0. the way "nobody even knows what it means?" Tim Berners-Lee .