Bracken starts speaking at approx 5:15 in the video, and a brief cheesy musical clip follows, but the rest of the presentation is excellent. Presentation slides can be viewed here. I’ll have more to say on this video shortly.
This is the fourth in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:
- HyperLocal – a Framework
- Hyperlocal – Core Dimensions (Part 1)
- Hyperlocal – Core Dimensions (Part 2)
In this post we consider key enabling technologies that many of the hyperlocal platforms mentioned in previous posts will leverage.
Key Enabling Technologies
The initial post in this series identified the following key enabling technologies for Hyperlocal solutions:
- Identity and Personalization
- Social Media/Social Web
- Real-time Web
- Machine Learning
- Structured Data/Semantic Web
Let’s explore each in turn.
*** Update January 5 2010 ***
It looks like ReadWriteWeb concurs with my identifiation of key enabling technologies for emerging web-based applications. See ReadWriteWeb’s Top 5 Web Trends of 2009. I think leaving out Geolocation is a fairly important omission on RWW’s part. I didn’t make reference to the Internet of Things in my list, but have referred to Web Meets World (another name for the same thing), and its impact on HyperLocal, in previous posts.
*** End of Update ***
Identity and Personalization
Identity is a key part of any online platform these days. Not only does Identity represent one’s online presence, but it’s the basis for relating to other in the context of one’s social graph.
Chris Messina has some great insights into the emergence of Identity as a platform – here’s video of his Identity is the Platform presentation from October 2009, and the slideshow accompanying his talk.
The two key players positioned to dominate the Identity Platform space are:
Identity forms the foundation by which to deliver and manage personalized content for a user. I’m not going to discuss Personalization strategies in detail here, but ReadWriteWeb has an excellent piece on the topic.
Social Media and Social Web
I’m not sure too much needs to be said here. Obviously, Social Media and Social Networks, or what’s often referred to as the Social Graph, is a key feature of the Web today. If you’re going to host and service a Community on your website, you won’t get very far if you don’t design your website for the social web.
Interestingly, the Identity Platforms mentioned in the previous section – OpenID and Facebook Connect – allows you to import the Social Graph from external platforms into your Community site. Alternatively, you may also want to promote your content on other sites on the Social Web – including Twitter and Facebook.
Another important concept to be aware of in the context of the Web and HyperLocal is that of the Social Object. The Social Object is any piece of Content or information that a community might potentially socialize around. So for example, Twitter posts, news articles, photos, business listings, videos, URLs, movies … all are potential social objects that a community might share and discuss.
Social Media is any form of publishing that facilitaties social collaboration and sharing of information, content, and conversation. Social Networking sites, Blogs, Wikis, Microblogging platforms etc. all fall under this category.
The following are just a few of the more popular platforms on the social web:
It’s important on your website to enable key forms of social behavior, including sharing and bookmarking content, commenting, rating and reviewing, and so on. These are features that any social website should support, and the key community platform players, such as Jive, Pluck, and Lithium all support.
With the viral adoption of Twitter, the real-time web has really taken off of late. To understand the state of the Real-time Web heading into 2010, see the following:
- For an excellent overview of the real-time Web, please see RWW’s Top 5 Web Trends of 2009: The Real-Time Web, from September 2009.
- For a series of fabulous videos from TechCrunch’s recent Real-time Web CrunchUp event in November 2009 in San Fran, please see Real-time Web – CrunchUp Event in November.
- Any finally, here’s Mashup’s view of in the real-time Web heading into 2010: 5 Big Real-Time Web Trends of 2009
The Real-time Web can be viewed from a number of different angles. Three are:
This is the core of the Real-time Web – the underlying real-time feed protocol. Please see:
- Rest in Peace, RSS – TechCruch, May 2009
- PubSubHubbub: Real-Time Feeds and Real-Time Feedback Too? – louisgray.com, July 2009
- Twitter to Open Firehose to Developers – Mashable, December 2009
- You say you want a revolution – Steve Gilmore, December 2009
- RSSCloud Vs. PubSubHubbub: Why The Fat Pings Win – TechCrunch, September 2009
- Twitter Search, Google launches Real-time Search – Mashable, December 2009
- Real-time Search-off – TechCrunch, May 2009
Real-time Geo, or Geo-streams
- Twitter API Adds Location Data – Tweets Get Realtime Geo – ProgrammableWeb, August 2009
For more on real-time geo and geolocation trends, see the Geolocation section that follows.
Managing the Real-time Firehose of Information
With the Real-time Web, information bursts furth as a massive stream – or firehose – of information, which is then filtered or consumed according to one’s particular social filters and interests. It can be overwhelming at first, as Nova Spivak discusses here.
… This post is a work-in-progress. Please return later to view the completed post.
Andy Mulholland, co-author of the book Mashup Corporations: The End of Business as Usual had a provocative post on his CTO Blog a couple days back titled You are what you eat – or your enterprise is what it communicates.
Man, truer words were never spoken. In his blog post, Mulholland quotes “Conway’s Law”, based on a thesis by Melvin Conway, way back in 1968, which Mulholand summarizes as follows:
Organizations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations
Put somewhat more elaborately, quoting Mulholland:
Essentially Conway’s point was that in designing enterprise business models, computer solutions, even products to take an organisation to market, will always mimic the enterprise’s own communication structure.
Just emphasizes the importance of fostering collaborative internal communication networks across an enterprise, and leveraging social media tools as a core part of a strategy to transform any business organization.
Jeff Jarvis has a provocative post from May 2009 titled Advertising as failure. The essence of Jarvis’ message is this:
- The ideal relationship of a company to its customer is direct, with no middleman
- Where you don’t have that good relationship, then you have to advertise to tell people something
- Therefore, in a very importance sense, Advertising is failure
A really simple insight, but for some reason it hit me like a ton of bricks. But it really speaks to my experience. The products or services that I really love, that I really value, don’t have to advertise to me. In a Google world, I find them and the communities that form around them.
In the following video, starting at around 15:10, Jarvis delivers a really powerful message on Advertising and Marketing:
Here’s a series of rapid-fire messages from Jarvis’ talk gets right to the heart of the matter:
- If you think about advertising in one way, Advertising is failure
- If the ideal is that you have a direct relationship and connection with your customer …
- The ideal is that you have a product that’s so great that they (your customers) tell the world about it, they sell it for you …
- The ideal is that they help each other and support each other in this product …
- The ideal is that they trust you and know that you have a human voice and can talk to you …
- The ideal is a direct relationship with this customer …
- If all this is the ideal, then why would you advertise?
- Because if the ideal is to be Google and hardly spend money at all and have a great product that people pass around, then advertising is failure.
That is just brilliant.
Now, as a caveat, Jarvis does say there are valid reason for advertising, for example: (i) nobody knows about my product, it’s brand new, (ii) I’ve had a problem and I fixed it and I’ve got to tell them, (iii) I have a new price and they should know that …
However, Jarvis concludes on the topic of Advertising:
Whatever it is you need to tell them, fine. But it is a fall from grace. Grace is they love me, they move my product, they talk about my product, they support my product, I made the product I wanted because I listened to them and I hear them because I have a relationship, then Advertising is failure.
A couple more recent related posts from Jarvis:
Here’s the essence of Rachel’s post:
I’m finding that there is a lot of confusion between the concept of social media and the concept of community. They are often used interchangeably and they are not the same thing. Social media can help foster communities but social media can be limited to allowing a conversation around content…which is *not* community.
Happe goes on to list the following defining characteristics of communities:
- They are continuous, not temporal – this is not to say that people don’t drop in and out but there is a core membership that interacts together over a long period of time
- Communities gather around a concept or common goal not around a collection of content (although content does plays a major role, it is not the impetus for the community)
- Communities take on various conversations and activities, led by different members over time – it is not one conversation but many
- People within communities get to know each other and interact regularly without centralized facilitation and not necessarily in the context of what the community is discussing as a whole
- Community leaders emerge over time as they continue to take proactive roles in the community and rally other members to their causes. These leaders are community members and they self-select because of their interests – not because they are told to do so…although they can be encouraged to do so.
Finally, Halle closes off with:
There are two opportunities for enterprises then. 1 – to use social media to enable conversations and get a better idea of how constituents respond to specific content, initiatives, goals. This is much easier both to understand and implement. 2 – to create communities that extend their capabilities and engage their constituents in richer ways that results in higher retention, lower risk, increased ROI, and faster operational capacity. Communities have enormous strategic benefits to companies but require considerable investment (in resources, time, and tools) and are difficult to implement because they have a significant impact on business processes.
Right now the market seems to get social media but we still have a long way to go in helping companies understand the value, requirements, and needs of communities.
A nice piece.
Something I’ve only recently encountered as a formal concept – Game Mechanics. Game Mechanics are rules/principles for encouraging users to explore a space through the use of feedback mechanisms. Game Mechanics is important for designing feedback mechanisms to encourage user engagement in Social Media applications. Here’s an article that elaborates on the concept.
You can find the presentation slides for her talk here.
An interesting post by Alfred Hermida – Professor of Journalism at UBC, and former multimedia journalist at the BBC – on how managing User-generated content is now a core part of the BBC’s news gathering operations/workflow. Hermida references a study that was presented by Claire Wardle, Andrew Williams and Karin Wahl-Jorgensen at the Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff.
The BBC has a dedicated UGC hub that has grown from three people in 2005 to 23 now, and it is physically located by newsgathering, at the heart of the corporation’s news operations.
The researchers found that the UGC hub trawl through comments and submissions for news content and for eyewitnesses to pass on to radio and TV as potential interviewees.
… The researchers concluded that UGC has become institutionalised at the BBC as a form of newsgathering, consolidating the existing relationship between journalists and the audience.
The transformation of news media will continue to see dramatic changes to traditional newsroom editorial workflows, and it’s interesting to see how organizations like the BBC are implementing change in their operations.
In his post, he references a presentation by Robert Peston, the BBC’s Business Editor, on the Future of Media and Journalism. It’s an interesting presentation, but here’s my favorite part. Quoting Peston:
For me, the blog is at the core of everything I do, it is the bedrock of my output. The discipline of doing it shapes my thoughts. It disseminates to a wider world the stories and themes that I think matter. But it also spreads the word within the BBC – which is no coincidence, because it started life as an internal email for editors and staff. It gives me unlimited space to publish the kind of detail on an important story that I can’t get into a three minute two-way on Today or a two-minutes-forty-seconds package on the Ten O’Clock News.
It connects me to the audience in a very important way. The comments left by readers contain useful insights – and they help me understand what really matters to people. That is not to say that I give them only what they want. I retain an old-fashioned view that in the end the licence fee pays for my putative skills in making judgements about what matters. Most important of all, the blog allows me and the BBC to own a big story and create a community of interested people around it. Sharing information – some of it hugely important, some of it less so – with a big and interested audience delivers that ownership and creates that committed community.
As a Business Architect for a large Canadian publishing company, I’m not sure the Blog format has quite this prominence for our Journalists and their audiences. But it is most certainly, to my mind, where we must move, and quickly.
A couple more quick snippets from the interview, on the changing world of today’s journalist:
For men – usually men of a certain age – there is no greater pleasure than watching the Dutch football team of the 1970s, total football. The point about that Dutch team, but especially the inspirational captain, Johan Cruyff, is that all of them could more or less play in every position. And my argument is that hacks like me increasingly have to become total journalists.
When I started in journalism, I wrote one or two stories a week on a clunky mechanical typewriter – it was the last century but it really wasn’t that long ago. Now I write up to five or six blogs in a single day, I broadcast on the Today programme, the Ten O’Clock News, as the broadcasting pillars of my output – and up to 20 or so other channels and programmes in a single day.
Certainly my strong advice to any young person thinking of becoming a journalist is to acquire all the skills, don’t think of themselves as wanting to be broadcast journalists, or radio journalists or print journalists: increasingly it’s all the same thing. What matters is what has always mattered – the facts, the story. The skill for a journalist is unearthing information that matters to people and then communicating it as clearly, accurately – and if possible as entertainingly – as possible.
For additional insight into the emergence of blogging at the BBC, please see:
- Martin Belam’s series on blogging at the BBC, from 2007, and
- Professor Alfred Hermida’s post How blogs became part of BBC News, which provides a link to his related Research article
A nice presentation from Tim O’Reilly on tips for using Twitter, delivered at O’Reilly’s Twitter Boot Camp in June 2009. Here it is:
First of all, I love the notion of “create more value than you capture. As far as I can tell, O’Reilly first publically used this phrase in this post where he said:
At O’Reilly, we always say “Create more value than you capture.” All successful companies do this. Once they start capturing more value than they create, their market position erodes, and someone displaces them. It may take a while but it happens eventually.
Secondly, there are several great quotes in O’Reilly’s presentation. First there’s basically O’Reilly’s definition of karma as applied to social media:
The secret of social media is that it’s not about you, your product, or your story. It’s about how you can add value to the communities that happen to include you. If you want to make a positive impact, forget about what you can get out of social media, and start thinking about what you can contribute. Not surprisingly, the more value you can create for your community, the more value they will create for you.
It would seem kind of obvious, wouldn’t it. But …
I also found the following quotes from the presentation interesting – which emphasize the role attention as filtering and promoting that which you value:
- In social networks, you gain and bestow status through those you associate with
- A key function of a publishing brand is the bestowal of status by what you pay attention to
- If you only pay attention to yourself, you aren’t as valuable to your community
What I found interesting about the above bullet points is the emphasis on bringing value to the discussions your community is having. I think this is a very different focus from that of a traditional newspaper/publishing company, which has traditionally focused more on communicating to their communities what the publisher felt they should be talking about.
I think the need to foster discussion amongst their communities is a realization that media companies generally have had for some time. But it’s not traditionally been in their DNA, and it remains to be seen how well they navigate this transition.
Of course, the real purpose of the presentation was to provide tips for using Twitter, where Twitter is positioned as a tool for sharing and promoting ideas and within one’s communities.
O’Reilly provides some specific tips for using Twitter at the end of his presentation. But for a more complete intro to using Twitter, please check out The Twitter Book, a book O’Reilly co-authored with Sarah Milstein.
A couple keynotes from this conference that are a great place to start to familiarize oneself with the capabilities of SharePoint 20101. First, Microsoft Corporate VP for SharePoint, Jeff Teper, had a keynote where he introduced new business capabilities in the SharePoint 2010 platform. Jeff also provided this excellent blog post on the SharePoint Team Blog outline the key features upcoming in SharePoint 2010.
For the more technically inclined, Steve Balmer’s keynote, which he delivered with Tom Rizzo, Senior Director for SharePoint, is an excellent overview of new development capabilities available for SharePoint 2010 developers.
Taxonomy, Tagging, Folksonomies – these are a few of my favorite things
What most pleases me about SharePoint 2010 – and there are many things truth be told – is the move away from a “nested folders” metaphor for navigating content, towards a navigational paradigm based on tagging, taxonomies, and folksonomies.
Thank goodness! SharePoint 2007 really sucked in this regard IMO. I found it very frustrating to navigate content based primarily on a “nested folder” paradigm. When you combine Microsoft’s new commitment to tagging, social tagging, and taxonomies with their improved features for Communities/Social Computing, you have the basis for a very decent social computing platform IMO.
For those that are “deep” into the SharePoint space, the new features in SharePoint can be a bit overwhelming. For users of SharePoint, it’s a bit mind-boggling (for me anyway).
Anyway, lots of great learning resources.