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

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Facebook on the iPhone

So much for the idea that businesses should be using Facebook-like news feeds. Auntie Beeb thinks we should be using Facebook itself:

And while more work-specific systems, such as LinkedIn or bespoke in-house software tended to be used for work matters, the likes of Facebook, Bebo and MySpace still had a place, said Peter Bradwell, a Demos researcher and the report’s author.
“Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact. Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships.”

Of course, as one would expect, this is a horribly shallow rendering of a much more complex report, which you can snag from the Demos site

UPDATE: Alan at Broadstuff highlights some of the problems with this argument.

Flying Clouds, Hidden Meanings

Image by TomRaven via Flickr

I’ve had my head down for the last few days, catching up on things after my sojourn in Berlin. And in the meantime, things are beginning to look distinctly rocky, aren’t they? Not only has the Christian Science Monitor become the first US national newspaper to abandon daily print publication, but Newsweek has financial problems and so does the New York Times. And there’s plenty more bad news.

Even unrelated blogs like Web Worker Daily are asking “Would You Miss Print?” 
Bleak times ahead I think…
But at least some people are standing up for the value of print

Leisa Reichelt – Drupal.org redesign

How do you design for a large Open Source Community? That was the problem Leisa Reichelt
faced when commissioned to do the redesign of the Drupal.org site. 
“You can’t do it behind closed doors,” she said, “and you need to give
the community a say in what they consider their home.”

They
built a form in Google Apps, to solicit community members who would
give feedback during the design process. Wireframes were crowd-sourced
on Flickr. They monitor Twitter for the “drupal” keyword.

In the end, they have something like 12,000 opinions, but Leisa suggested that you don’t need to respond to them all.

“You look at the themes,” she said “and you give feedback generally, to show that they are being listened to. “

Rafi Haladjian of Violet

Violet is the company behind the Nabaztag – the infamous internet connected rabbit. The comapny has a two-stage plan:

  • Step 1: Connect rabbits
  • Step 2: Connect everything else.

They
believe that currently we keep data in a “fishbowl”, concentrated in a
single space in our homes, usually the PC. The remaining stuff is dumb
and unconnected.

Mirror

They’re
going to push forwards with connected objects by launching the mir:ror
– an RFID-reading mirror that can talk to your computer. For example,
waving your Oyster card overit  will make your commputer immediatly
show you travel conditions. You’ll be able to buy RFID tags and add
them to your own objects and choose what they do.

He
wasn’t  very good at giving compelling examples of why things should be
connected to the internet – but boy, he believes they should be.

Steph the tried to steer the discussion towards career aspects.
Nancy raised the issue of women being unwilling to put themselves in the line of comment fire on blogs. Suw pointed to the Kathy Sierra situation. “I can’t think of a single man who has been exposed to that sort of attention,” she said. 
Lloyd, with some support from the audience, argued that men are worried about negative comments and hostility as well, but Steph pointed out that when women are attacked it is almost always of a sexual nature. And that’s a whole different complexion of attack.
Janet pointed to the Tuttle Club in London, which has much more of an even gender balance. Is this because it’s a new invention, as the web moves away from the harder-core techies?

Maria Sipka

Women are actively taking on community management roles – it’s different from blogging in that it’s a many-to-many relationship. Something that yu can do from home, fits into the family thing.
Is community management a motherly role? Yes, seemed to be the consensus.
Are women less prone to the confrontational part of the web? And do they need to have good connections with IT people to know their stuff? Or should they know it themselves.
Steph pointed out that it was annoying that people assumed she can’t install WordPress of hack php just because she’s a woman. 
Perception of gender roles. Strong woman = bitch. Strong man = good leader.
Alan: small companies are run in a more female way (research shows)
Upcoming event: Finding Ada – a conference about bring women forward in technology
(Apologies to the contributors from the floor whose names I didn’t get)

“They push the traditional business software out to the edge of the network, because they are so powerful,” he said.

Key things to address:

  • Peer production – already affected software 
  • Owning your classes of data – data becomes the competitive advantage
  • New
    distribution models – building a website and driving people there is
    very 20th Century.
  • You need to get you products wherever your customers
    are
  • Social systems – allow customers to be aware of each other and collaborate. You need this to get the first two points

Power has shifted from institutions to communities of individuals. The network enables this.

Customers are now part of the product – the most important part. This is part of the network effects – a platform is more valuable the more people
who use it. Build a potent network effect, you win. Use open APIs to
grow it.

But the biggest problem is changing our thinking – we need to unlearn our thinking about where the value is.

You need to reimagine your products and services for the 2.0 era, but there are significant hurdles to overcome:

  • How do you disrupt yourself?
  • Not invented here.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Deeply ingrained 1.0 culture
  • Low level of 2.0 understanding

Luis Suarez.Poor old e-mail, it’s taking a right old beating at this conference. In fact, one speaker has given it up entirely. Luis Suarez isn’t from a hipster startup, though. He works for IBM. Nine months ago, he decided that e-mail was making everyone else productive but not him. So he decided not to use it any more.

And IBM is a e-mail driven company – and a distributed one. He works for IBM Netherlands, he works from Gran Canaria, and reports to the US. That’s a modern business.

There were two reactions from his colleagues:
• You’ll be sacked in 2 weeks.
• Finally, somebody with the balls to tell the company to not use e-mail.
Nine months later, he still hasn’t been sacked. He’s down to 20 to 30 e-mails a week now, mainly calendering e-mails. Instead, he’s mainly using social software, to prove the point.

E-mail is locked, private and prone to the power games of the CC and the BCC, he suggests. Social software is more transparent, because most of your activities happen in public, or semi-public spaces.  Suarez wanted to make his working practices more transparent, and that’s important in the current situation.

The result? He’s more in control of how he works. He no longer fights the corporation on e-mail. He hangs out with his communities, getting the job done. Adoption of social software happens within communities.

“‘m more passionate about what I do, because I have a stronger feeling of community,” he says.

The 2 to 3 hours a day people spend on e-mail he’s spending in social tools with colleagues or customers. With customers, it’s Facebook and Twitter, for example.

“You guys need to be the ones challenging [the corporate culture],” he told the Web 2.0 Expo crowd. “Go where your communities are – and work with them. E-mail doesn’t give you trust, social tools do. “