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March, 2008:

Participate Everywhere, Manage Centrally

Yesterday, a meme was started by Loic Le Meur where he discussed the de-centralization of his social media life and that he posits that he wants it all centralized back on his blog. I commented there and had no his post would spawn ironically a fully de-centralized conversation on the topic ranging from his blog, Twitter, FriendFeed and a number of other blogs.

My view before getting to the solution, we must get back to purpose of blogging or participating in social media in any way. Is it to become a destination yourself? Or is it, as Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say, to “execute on being you” and building your personal legacy. I’ve always thought of it in terms of the latter, to participate and being part of the conversation, but never the ultimate destination. We must put ourselves in the role of the consumer, centralizing them to go hundreds of locations to consume content. This is why RSS is so popular to distribute the content and why aggregation is so dominant to bring it back together for them.

Which brings me to my next point? Loic stressed centralization as the solution but one of his primary reasons is because the conversation is happening in all facets of his social media life and he cannot keep track of it. My hypothesis to solving this is not that each blogger become a content destination at their blog but rather a solution must developed to solve that problem. Perhaps FriendFeed and Disqus are two early solutions attacking this problem; the space certainly needs to evolve further. Brad Feld discusses the notification solution proposed by Josh Kopelman which I found very provactive.

I tent to agree where this discussion is heading. I want to be social media involved in a number of places, not have everyone come one place to get it. However, I DO want to manage it all in one place. I would love a “notification dashboard” that is perhaps built upon web services against all the APIs available. I’m imagining a social media Bloomberg of sorts but fully interactive. Here are some of the things such a dashboard could do for me:

  • Tell me when I being replied to in any venue?
  • Provide me an aggregated bio or links to information on who is “friending” me.
  • Notify me when a friend or someone I often have discussions is actively taking part in a conversation, where and in context
  • Let me reply back to conversation directly from my dashboard but in context like Disqus
  • Use attention data to provide me a priority on what I should look at first versus the less important
  • Use semantic techniques to provide me with relevant content and similar conversations
  • Use sentiment on the conversations so I have knowledge about where there is agreement or disagreement in the conversations
  • A method to “educate” or send things to my dashboard when I stumble upon something interesting so I can have things waiting in a queue for me

Anyone interested in building this, let me know. Should be simple. Just a merging of all of the latest technology trends into one central application. :) But let me manage centrally but participate everywhere.

user experience, great explanation

A co-worker sent me this to me weeks ago as one of the better examples he’s seen of explaining the real point of user experience. I just now got to take a good look at it and they did an excellent job in the overview. And they do it with what has become the most recent mainstream icon of consumer design, the Apple iPhone. (side note: rumors of the 3G iPhone are gaining momentum, that will be incredible, 3G and email push, enterprise support, sign me up)

Here is the slide show explaining the real point of solid user experience practice:

MIT Tech Review 2008 Emerging Tech.

For those of you who love technology (all kinds), I have to plug yet again the MIT Technology Review. It is such a great magazine to just get a sense of the amazing, truly amazing, innovations taking place which extends to the innovation that sits in the labs at universities which may never me commercialized to the degree that the everyday person will know about it. In the days where Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed and Apple get all the press, there is more phenomenal pioneering taking place that in certain cases dwarfs in comparison the potential impact to user, customers and individuals. And some of the content, well let’s just say it is too many years past the time I should have majored in EE, Chem E or in cases Computer Engineering to fully appreciate what they are talking about (double the battery life, sure, sounds good!)

The March/April issue of the Tech Review is a special issue covering Emerging Technologies 2008. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Offline Applications – Kevin Lynch from Adobe. I discussed this in a prior post, Are you not connected?, back when Kevin did a keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo. The concept is picking up more steam and there are more players like Microsoft Silverlight. (video)
  • Wireless Power – When you read something in a magazine that speaks realistically about something that is like science fiction, well, you just want to read it. :) Wireless power is something for years I’ve rhetorically stated why couldn’t they figure it out and get rid of all the cords. (video)
  • Probabilistic Chips – Lowering the overall power utilized by chips by introducing the correct amount of error rate into the calculations the chip is processing. Introducing error where precision is not necessary. Huge impacts to battery life, mobility applications in particular. (video)
  • Modeling Surprise – Looking at past occurrences where there was a surprise event in something unexpected. And then using prior events in history as a predictive modeling technique for things that “may” surprise us in the future. (video)

There is plenty more in the magazine, I just want to point out some highlights that jumped out at me.

You’re Out There, Now What?

Two posts in a row regarding thoughts from Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee over at Twitter). Yesterday, he had a passionate video post about the web’s impacts (or should I say disclosures) of people’s true selves on the web. I found it very relevant. Particularly because earlier in the day Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang over at Twitter), twittered something he heard mentioned at a conference he was at where “Speaker Robin Wolaner says “I’ve not done business with people because of their status updates” Be professional in professional neworks”.


So, Gary is spot on. Everything can captured and those that elect to participate are even more visible obviously. Everyone can be the media. So the question is what is good, what is bad? Often times, the definition is unequivocal. I am not thinking about those scenarios, I’m more concerned about the “gray” area. Back to Jeremiah’s twitter, what is professional and what is unprofessional? Same thing, more concerned with the “gray” area. Twitter is a service to express “what are you doing?” It is not a feature of LinkedIn where you express “what are you doing professionally today?”

So how are blogs, videos, tweets that are more personal perceived? Going out for drinks with co-workers ON A TUESDAY in the middle of the week! Gray? Bad? Unprofessional? If you blog or twitter a couple of years ago that you never wanted to work in a certain industry but fate has brought you exactly there, is all hope lost? They will know. Yes, I swing the pendulum to the extreme to make the point. But it will be very interesting to see where the meme heads.

It used to be that your resume was your personal brand. Just the other day, I was having a conversation with a co-worker about why people still insist on placing “less-than-professional” home email addresses on their resume. It is so avoidable but it is still done. And this is now a such a small set of bytes on one piece of digital paper and is now the least of concerns, a small drop in the ocean of information that could be more readily available with a small amount of investigation.

So in closing, of course, do not be “bad”, do not be “unprofessional”. There are a lot of things that are clear in the views of most. But with all things, people do not define things or form opinions the same way. So now, more than ever, the divide that is closed through technology is going to play an even greater role.

Can’t Get More Relevant (or Passionate)

Great video post from Gary Vaynerchuk, the founder of Wine Library TV, the site that won the second blog of the month award over here at correlate. Gary just demonstrates the passion, tenacity and collaborative spirit that drives things forward whether in business or personal, internet or off-line.