A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

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Festive CrackerHey, there, my much-neglected but ever-beloved readers.

I’ve been having a quiet, and largely offline, Christmas with my family, and have been enjoying the break from all things bloggy. But I couldn’t let 2007, the first year where my working life has been largely centred around blogging, pass without one last post.

First of all, thank you all for reading, linking and commenting. It’s something of a cliché, but this blog really has changed my life and is continuing to do so all the time. Having a place where I can express ideas, discuss them and, yes, have them challenged is invaluable to me, especially as I try to communicate those ideas to other journalists. And the regulars here have been a huge part of that.

Thank you. I owe you all a drink. But, uh, not until I’ve paid off the Christmas debts, OK?

In the meantime, you can catch me guest posting on Deep Muck Big Rake and experimenting with a more essayist style of blogging over on Coffee & Complexity. And then you can catch me back here with my agenda for 2008 tomorrow.

In the meantime, a very Happy Hogmanay and a Fantastic New Year to everyone who has shared the last year’s journey with me here on this blog. May 2008 bring you every happiness.

For an opening session focusing on eeeevil on the web, it proved to be rather quiet. I think everybody was knackered, thanks to the early start…

Laurent Haug of LIFT kicked things off by asking if there is a thirst for evil on the net?Chris Alden

“It’s another form of human expression – prone to human frailty like any other conduit,” said Chris Alden, CEO of Six Apart. The internet can have a distancing effect on communication and anonymity brings out the ruder aspects of human natures. “You have more interesting conversations when you have a sense of identity.”

Jaewoong Lee of Daum Communications pointed out that there are 14m Koreans using internet. 99% of young people use it for more than an hour a day. And the privacy problem is bigger for users, leading to very, very few people writing bad comments. Why? There’s a history of identity in each site, and that’s driven by the users not the government.

Dan Rose & Michel Jaccard

Dan Rose of Facebook got given something of a rough ride. The social network has been on the recieving end of some bad publicity around privacy issues of late. His response to behaviour concerns? “50% of users come every day – that’s true now and was true in the early days,” he said. “It’s not a social network, it’s 50k+ individual networks. and so people behave on Facebook as they would in real world.”

Michel Jaccard, the sole representative of the legal profession on the panel, proceeded to scare everyone a little by suggesting that it has been historically difficult to target people aggressive online. It’s much easier to go after the company hosting their attacks. So we should all shop our users if they’re causing trouble. Um, OK. That’s going to make communities feel comfortable. Mind you, as Haug pointed out, with many online companies co-operating with the Chinese government, the country is essentially china outsourcing its censorship!

Laurant Haug

So, what’s the solution? Simmering down a lot of vague discussion into a nice, rich idea stock, I come up with this: owning your identity online is valuable. If sites start building a reputation around a user, and their past actions are trackable, you start creating the same atmosphere of social consequence around online activity as you do in off-line relationship. This is another positive consequence of the shift towards adding social networking tools around all content on the web (and the attempts to make this information portable using tools like OpenID).

Overall, a weak panel. Despite some good people participating, the debate never really took off and the main points of an interesting issue were only addressed in a peripheral way. That’s why the first panel has been one of the last I’ve posted about.

Stuck at your desk while all your colleagues are on their holidays? Then waste time with the Take Off Challenge[No longer online – they this page full of helicoper games instead] from my colleagues at Flight Global:

The Flight Game

It’s a remarkably silly affair, wherein you have to fly one of three planes as far as you can. For those of you who are old enough to remember Daley Thompson’s Decathlon on the Spectrum, there are remarkable similarities. 

Doc Searls at Le Web 3

Doc Searls gave what turned into a rapid fire presentation about 11 ideas he had about the future of the web. Here they are, in their abbreviated glory:

  1. Bullshit will lose leveredge – advertising does not scale to the sky
  2. Advertising as we know it will die – Google does not get irony or metaphor
  3. Herding people into walled gardens and guessing about what makes them social will seem absurd – and it already is
  4. We’ll realize that the most valuable producers are what used to be called consumers
  5. The value chain will be replaced by the value constellation
  6. What’s your business model will no longer be asked of everything – not everything is a business, something is just useful.
  7. We’ll make money by maximising “because effects”
  8. Markets will be understood in terms of relations
  9. The Live web is more important than Web X.n
  10. We will marry the Live Web to the value constellation. The individual is the real platfom
  11. We’ll be able to manage vendors at least as well as they manage us

Other bloggers managed more detail.