Sunday, 31 October 2010

Flickr embraces OpenID

Great news for anyone who supports open standards and quite a brave move for Yahoo (parent company) who have recognised that having a proprietary login process (you need a Yahho ID in order to sign-up for Flickr) may be a disincentive to setting up a Flickr account. OpenID will be one of the standards implemented for the Knowledge Hub ( - the first implementation of OpenID in the public sector?

Amplify’d from

Flickr (Flickr) announced today that Google (Google) would be its first partner in its introduction of OpenID for new account signups. Starting today, anyone can sign up for a new Flickr account using their Google account.

Existing Flickr users will still have to use their Yahoo (Yahoo!) identities to login, but Flickr says they’re working on making that easier and less frequent, too.

This is great for Flickr and parent company Yahoo, as it makes it easier for current Google users to use the former photo-sharing site as opposed to Picasa (Picasa), a Google-owned competitor. But it’s not exactly a loss for Google, since it removes a big reason to establish and use a Yahoo account.

Of course, the real winner here is the OpenID community. Eric Sachs is on Google’s Internet Identity Team. He wrote today on the Google Code blog, “Google and Yahoo! are two of the many companies who have been involved with the OpenID community’s efforts to improve the process for how users log in and sign up for online services… While Google doesn’t yet support the use of OpenID for replacing passwords on its own sites, we’re involved in the OpenID community’s efforts to research how to best implement that type of support.”

Interestingly enough, last month Google announced it would be using OpenID to allow Yahoo users to signup for new Google accounts, a clear swipe at Yahoo’s userbase.

According to data gathered this summer, Google is the single largest “identity provider” across the Internet (Internet); Google represents the preferred sign-in option for 38% of users on sites with third-party sign-in options. Not surprisingly, Facebook (Facebook) holds second place, with 24% of users choosing that identity as a login option.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Digg: A Cautionary Tale for Web 2.0 Companies?

A perceptive take on the risks and uncertainties of developing and investing in 'social media' companies; they have one thing in common - they're selling a service, not a product. I think this is summarised very well in the statement...." The basic problem is that these new-media companies don’t really have customers; they have audiences. Starting a company like Digg is less like building a traditional tech company (think Apple or HP) and more like launching a TV show.". And as we know, TV audiences are notoriously fickle

Also liked the quote attributed to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg... “the biggest competitor for us is someone we haven’t heard of.” Might be true, but I think they should also check out the elephant in the room - by the name of 'Google'!

Amplify’d from

Redesigns are fraught with potential problems, but it seems that the implosion of Digg after its latest redesign serves as a particularly striking guide of what NOT to do.

Digg’s collapse has become a cautionary tale for so-called Web 2.0 companies in Silicon Valley, even the current crop of superstars, like Facebook and Twitter. The basic problem is that these new-media companies don’t really have customers; they have audiences. Starting a company like Digg is less like building a traditional tech company (think Apple or HP) and more like launching a TV show. And perhaps, like TV shows, these companies are ephemeral in nature. People flock in for a while, then get bored and move on. [...]

But Digg’s traffic had begun to slide even before the bad redesign, due to a much larger problem: Twitter. That site started out as a way to let people blast out 140-character posts, but has evolved into a way for people to pass along links to news items they find interesting. Williams insists that Twitter and Digg perform completely different tasks.

That’s true. They are different. But this is how disruption happens in tech. It’s hardly ever about direct competition. Rather, something comes out of left field and provides a new way to do something. There have been plenty of Digg clones, but none of them ever hurt Digg very much. And nobody could have predicted that Twitter would take the place of Digg—not even the guys who created Twitter. And, if history is a guide, Twitter itself will be disrupted by something equally impossible to predict. This is why Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said at a conference a few months ago that “the biggest competitor for us is someone we haven’t heard of.”


Friday, 22 October 2010

The Future of Social Media (slideshow)

  • Social TV is slowly but surely making its entry in the social world offering you the possibility you watch television, real time or on demand, while checking tweets about the program and interacting with friends or likeminded people who are watching the program
  • Dating already was a social affair, but with the introduction of augmented reality and layer apps the dating scene will change. You do have to get over your cozy couch but the chance of being blown off is way smaller. Just grab your phone and see who your match is
  • In former days you use to call your friends or go to your next door neighbor to ask which product you should buy. After that you use to need a computer. Now,  a phone is all you need. Just walk around and your social network will tell you via air tags how they rate certain object, stores and restaurants

Source:  ViralBlog

Posted via email from Pot Pouri

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Social Media Policies and Guidelines

I've been running a regular social media training event for some time now and have gradually built up a fairly comprehensive knowledge asset at the Social Media Toolkit Wiki that I use as the foundation for the training. Given the general thirst for information on social media policies and guidelines, I thought I'd collate a few of the more popular links here. I hope this is useful to anyone who is in the process of developing policies or guidelines, or indeed, for anyone interested in Social Media. If anyone knows of other useful links, please let me know and I'll add them to this list.

Employee Guidelines

Blogging guidelines

Twitter Guidelines

General Guidelines

Posted via email from stephendale's posterous

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Is Facebook Privacy Just An Oxymoron

I've long thought that if you treasure your privacy, then don't use a social network! They exist to share information - about you and the people that use it. I must admit, Facebook seems to be worse than most in playing fast and loose with personal data, and the closed nature of the platform makes it quite difficult to know excactly what they're doing. Giving them the benfit of the doubt on this particular issue, I don't think they may have realised that the Facebook User ID is being shared between apps, but I think the problem is symptomatic of their overall 'laissez faire' attitude to privacy (except of course Mark Zuckerberg, who clearly worries about his own privacy!) So if you treasure your privacy, don't use a social network, and definitley not Facebook.

Amplify’d from

With the box office for “The Social Network” beginning to feel the effects of everyone in the social media industry already seeing it and the likelihood that the rest of the world doesn’t care, it’s time to get back to real business for Facebook. Oftentimes, though, real business and Facebook is more about what Facebook is supposedly doing ‘to’ people rather than ‘for’ them. Today is no exception.

Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook’s strictest privacy settings. The practice breaks Facebook’s rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users’ activities secure.

The rest of the article essentially says what we already know because we follow this stuff including major app / game developers like Zynga who are getting more data than they should. Anyone who looks at what apps in the Android store are looking at when you download them should know that supplying you with fun is not the end game for most developers. Why? Because they need to make a living too so the best thing they can sell is your data.

The problem has ties to the growing field of companies that build detailed databases on people in order to track them online—a practice the Journal has been examining in its What They Know series. It’s unclear how long the breach was in place. On Sunday, a Facebook spokesman said it is taking steps to “dramatically limit” the exposure of users’ personal information.

“A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user’s Internet browser or by an application,” the spokesman said. Knowledge of an ID “does not permit access to anyone’s private information on Facebook,” he said, adding that the company would introduce new technology to contain the problem identified by the Journal.

Wait a minute. Hasn’t Facebook been taking steps like this all along? Apparently not. It’s hard to really know what Facebook is or is not doing and where they are actually doing or not doing it. It appears as if that rule #1 in their PR department is to be sure to “Baffle them with BS” which results in no one knowing if Facebook has or has not actually done anything substantial to protect users privacy.

As for the developers of these games that are taking your data and selling it? They must either be coached by Facebook or they learn well with their coy responses to inquiries about their perceived privacy transgressions.

Defenders of online tracking argue that this kind of surveillance is benign because it is conducted anonymously. In this case, however, the Journal found that one data-gathering firm, RapLeaf Inc., had linked Facebook user ID information obtained from apps to its own database of Internet users, which it sells. RapLeaf also transmitted the Facebook IDs it obtained to a dozen other firms, the Journal found.

So let’s face it. No mater how many people suck up to Mark Zuckerberg and claim that he is a nice guy who is trying to change the world blah, blah, blah (and there are seriously big industry names who like to publicly profess their admiration etc for Zuckerberg) the evidence points that underneath all the buzz, he likely has a black heart when it comes to privacy concerns.

So don’t expect the term Facebook privacy to ever mean anything. They need your data to make money. It’s that simple. As a result do you think that Facebook and its entire ecosystem are going to just stop trying to get your data? I hope you’re not that gullible no matter how ‘nice’ the real Mark Zuckerberg is or is not.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Government announces abolition of Local Area Agreements

Reads like a breath of fresh air - but will the puppet strings really be cut, or is there an alternative performance management scheme lurking in the shadows? Taken at face value this sounds like an excellent (and brave?) move by the coalition, and gives local authorities some freedom and incentive to innovate. Will be interesting to see what is in the Localism Bill when it comes before Parliament, and what the 'General Power of Competence' actually means in practice. Call me gullible if you want, but this all looks very positive IMHO.

The full text of Eric Pickles' speach can be found at:

Amplify’d from

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles today announced the
abolition of the 152 Local Area Agreements.

LAAs were introduced in 2004 by the Labour administration.
They allowed councils with their local partners to define their own priorities
and select 35 of the most appropriate targets from a set of national
performance indicators.

But Pickles criticised the bureaucracy surrounding this
system. ‘There are 66 pages of guidance telling councils how to report on
national indicators,’ he told council leaders and local government
professionals at Hammersmith and Fulham town hall this morning.

‘So today I am scrapping the existing Local Area Agreements.
Instead of national indicators, I promise you that we will only require one set
of data from you.

‘Instead of inspections, we are going to give councils want
they want – freedom and power – to be able to take your own decisions on
housing and planning. That is the foundation of the Localism Bill, which will
be unveiled in a few weeks. Councils will be able to organise themselves, and do
whatever they want through a General Power of Competence.’

He also said that next week’s Comprehensive Spending Review
would streamline the sources of funding given to councils.

‘We counted 58 funding streams for housing and regeneration
and 80 agencies involved in economic growth in their area.  By the time the money is coming, the
forms have been filled in and the conditions have been satisfied, there is
always going to be less money. Where is the incentive to be efficient or
imaginative, what is the point of listening to local residents, as opposed to
central government?’

Pickles added that he did not want to be an ‘overbearing
parent, handing out pocket money and telling you how it should be spent’. He
said the Spending Review would bring down the ‘artificial barriers’ that
dictate what money should be spent on.

‘We are going to put as much money as possible into just one
cheque for councils to work out for themselves how to spend it. But this brings
responsibility to protect frontline services, to commission really effective
and productive services,’ he added.


MurderMap - London Homicide Mashup

Well spotted by my colleague Conrad Taylor, a new geospatial application that plots more than 400 homicide cases reported by court reports and the Old Bailey's archives. Something for the 'gruesome violence' mashup category maybe. You can even do deep dive query's according to the type of murder weapon used, e.g. ligature, knife, gun, etc. I'm not quite sure of the utility of this app, though possibly useful for the housing market (am I moving to/living in an area where I'm more likley to be shot or stabbed?).

"Maybe it shows there is a fate worse than death and it is to be mashed up afterwards" CT.

"Murder Map... which launched in May, uses web application Google Maps

to plot more than 400 homicide cases, based on news agency Central News'

court reports and the Old Bailey's archives."

Bonfire of the Quangos

The promised axe is coming down hard today on 192 quangos that will be abolished, with another 289 being radically overhauled. 380 quangos are staying.

As one insightful blogger noted:

The regular hoeing to keep the soil clean has rather been neglected these last few years. Hence the need now for the Round-up and flame-thrower approach. It’s brutal, but it’s cleansing. With the rubbish cleared, the productive can be nurtured.

Any bets on when the first new quango of this coalition will be created?

Posted via email from stephendale's posterous

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Facebook Fans Vs. Twitter Followers: Which Are More Valuable? -

Perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised that this 'fans' vs. 'followers' debate centres around company brands and sales penetration. The social and collaboration aspects don't even get a mention, yet this is surely the main reason that people use these networks. There is a value to knowledge sharing - perhaps not always tangible - but potentially far more rewarding for users than being a 'fan' on Nike's fan page. I'd much prefer to see some useful analysis of fans vs. followers from the pure social networking perspective. Point me at the article if there is something out there.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez » Collaborating Externally with Your Customers: The Final Frontier of Enterprise 2.0

Another insightful blog post from Luis Suarez who points out that the choice of tools and facilities for collaborating and knowledge sharing have never been greater - so why do many people and organisations persist in sticking with traditional email and IM to engage with customers, to the exclusion of anything else? Whilst some organisations embrace more effective social collaboration tools, there is the risk of an increasing disconnect between organisations that can't/won't change, and the conversations that their customers are having using more effective collaborative tools. A bit like turning up to a fancy dress party and you're the only one wearing a suit!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The 21st Century Knowledge and Information Professional

The volume of information continues to grow at an exponential rate; new tools, products and web services appear almost daily. Despite the recession, nothing seems to stem the tide of innovation. If anything, the economic climate has enabled companies to be even more radical in the way they create and use information.   These are challenging times for the knowledge and information professional. We all need to be able to work smarter, acquiring and developing the skills to become more effective knowledge and information workers.

I appreciate that everyone may have their own systems and methods for finding, categorising and using information; they will probably have their own networks for sharing knowledge and for personal development.  However, for anyone who can’t quite make sense of this increasingly connected digital world, or is bewildered by the volume of data and information that comes their way every day, or maybe feels intimidated by the social web, here are a few pointers to put you in control of the information monster and develop your professional skills.

The Slideshare presentation illustrates 5 steps (processes) – described below - that will help you to:

  • ·         develop the filters and lenses to overcome 'information overload'
  • ·         manage knowledge and information in a more systematic way
  • ·         use 'Web 2.0' and 'Social Media' tools to support personalized learning and self development
  • ·         embrace the world of collaborative knowledge sharing

Step 1 – Tune into the interesting stuff

We all have our own definition as to what is ‘interesting’, but the key point here is to choose what YOU want to read and listen to and not try to absorb everything on the web. One way of doing this is to subscribe to the RSS/Atom feed from websites and blogs that you visit and which you’ve decided are interesting.  Using a feed aggregator (I’ve shown Google Reader) you can categorise the feeds according to various criteria – e.g. type of content, author, source etc.  You can also ‘bundle’ feeds together and re-publish to your own blog or website if you choose (we’ll leave that one for now in the interests of keeping this post fairly simple). The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to treat this as an email in-box. It’s not a task-driven process, so you can read and review at your leisure (and you’ll note there are many feeds/topics I haven’t got around to reading!)

Another option is to set up alerts to trigger an email or update a feed if a particular search term is found. I’ve shown Google Alerts. This enables you to use Google’s mega-index of web pages to discover topics/content that could be of interest. If a match is found on your search term, you will be notified by email (or through a feed – see above) with a link to the relevant web page and a few words extracted from the webpage showing the context. You can decide the frequency you receive these email notifications – e.g. immediately, daily or weekly, and you can define the scope of the search, e.g. everything or news, blogs, videos, discussions.


Step 2 Sharing, Reciprocation and Trust

I’ve long believed that social bookmarking is the foundation to effective knowledge and information management.  Bookmarking in itself is a useful way of filing away those useful webpage links that you have found for later use or reference even if not shared (the ‘social’ bit of social bookmarking).  It works in much the same way as ‘Favourites’ on the Internet Explorer toolbar, but  I’ve shown one of the many bookmarking services that operate in the ‘Cloud’ – or in other words – accessible via a browser and not tied to a particular PC or device.  That way you can access bookmarks you saved on your home PC from your works PC, and vice versa.  I’ve shown the Delicious bookmarking service, but there are many others – e.g. Diigo, Stumbleupon, Digg etc.

The social element is where you can share bookmarks with friends and colleagues who may have the same interests as yourself. They may spot something you didn’t, which you can add to your own bookmarks. I’ve shown my Network page, displaying the bookmarks my networks of contacts have saved. My network is shown at the top right of the page.

Sharing useful information with colleagues, friends and peers has never been easier.  Most websites will have embedded links or a widget which connects to other web services and networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. Quite often all that is needed is one click and the link is shared with other networks that you belong to. Has it ever been easier to share content?

Reciprocation is the process whereby people who you share content with are likely to return the favour and share content they have created or discovered with you. This is really what the social web is all about – sharing what we know with others.

And so we come to trust - who can you trust? I can’t remember the source, but someone once said “…trust arrives by foot and leaves by horseback”, meaning of

course that it takes time to build trust but it is easily lost. We can gain confidence in numbers – e.g. if the vast majority of feedback on – say, Amazon – is favourable for an item we wish to purchase, then we will tend to trust that aggregated opinion. If only one person gives feedback – good or bad – and we don’t know that person, then we can’t really trust that opinion.  However, if we get to know that person and recognise that what they have to say is usually sensible or correct, then we will trust their opinion, and furthermore, will promote that opinion to our followers and friends. So briefly – trust has to be earned.

Step 3 Get Organised

This is a further refinement to the feed aggregation that I mentioned at Step 1. Creating a personal dashboard of information and content will enable you to assemble in one place all of the potentially useful sources you have discovered.  I’ve shown iGoogle as an example, but there are other similar services, such as Pageflakes and Netvibes. Any of these will allow you to assemble your  own personalised view of various content sources. This can be a mix of RSS/Atom feeds, email applications or pre-configured ‘widgets’- such as news, weather maps or currency converters, etc.  that you can choose from an application store and just drop into the dashboard.  Furthermore, you can share an entire personalised page that you’ve set up with your contacts – i.e. the ‘social’ element once again.

Step 4 Pick the right tools

Ok, easier said than done. Knowing what the ‘right’ tools are usually involves some experimentation with the tools, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all environment. I’ve started with what is arguably the most important tool in the toolbox – the web browser.  This is your window into the World Wide Web, with all its millions of services and billions of users. Having a web browser that supports plug-ins is a fundamental requirement for me, since I can then integrate other products and services into the browser and access with one-click. Tabbed browsers are also useful in managing windows real-estate and PC resources – i.e. I don’t need to have several browser sessions active for different WebPages. I’ve shown Firefox, but I also use Google Chrome.  Wherever possible I avoid Internet Explorer browsers (a personal thing). However, if you are a public sector worker, you may have no other choice than to use IE6 – which effectively hobbles you from the start. It doesn’t support plug-ins or tabbed browsing. It doesn’t even support W3C standards and is without any doubt the worst browser currently in common use. It’s a bit like using a hammer to finely adjust the coil-spring tension on an antique clock!

I’ve shown the Delicious social bookmarking plug-in on the left hand side, which gives me immediate (one-click) access to any page I’ve bookmarked. I also have various ‘bookmarklets’ installed in the toolbar – e.g. Amplify (a Twitter/Blogging service) – again accessible with one click.


Step 5 Connect with Peers and Experts

In other words, grow your network. This could be achieved by joining one of the many social networks (e.g. Facebook), but if your goal is to improve your skills as a Knowledge or Information Professional would advocate joining a special interest group or a Community of Practice. I’ve illustrated the Local Government community of practice platform, but there are many specialist knowledge and information communities – e.g. KM4DEV, CPSquare, etc.  I don’t think there is anything wrong in ‘lurking’ on these networks to pick up useful information and to grow your contacts, but the real value comes from getting involved, posting questions, providing answers and just, well, collaborating and sharing knowledge.

So, with apologies to anyone for whom all of this is second nature and a bit basic, but maybe this isn’t aimed at you. I hope it is of some help to anyone who is perhaps just exploring the possibilities of the digitally connected world, or just looking for some help in getting themselves organised as a 21st century knowledge and information professional!

Posted via email from stephendale's posterous

Friday, 1 October 2010

Influence vs.Popularity on Twitter

Ignoring the fact that I don't know who Kim Kardashian is (must ask the kids), this is a interesting commentary on whether it's more important to accumulate followers or more important to get referrals and generate traffic to your website. A lesson here maybe for all those who do an auto-follow on Twitter (I don't, by the way).

What do we think?

Amplify’d from

twitter influence, kim kardashianKim Kardashian isn’t the most popular celeb on Twitter. She’s a couple million followers behind the heavy-hitters of Internet-savvy entertainers; however, she’s accomplished something no other individual celebrity has done; She’s the celeb who gets the most referrals of traffic from Twitter.

And at the end of the day, would you rather have a Twitter (Twitter) follower who remains essentially just a number, or would you rather have convertible, interacting traffic on your own website? We think Kardashian’s got the long end of the stick by optimizing for influence over popularity.

There’s a lot of conversation going on about the value of Twitter followers. Do they click on links? Do they make purchases? Do they retweet your content?

In other words, if you have a whole boatload of Twitter followers, does that necessarily mean you have a whole boatload of power on the social web?

Kardashian’s stats prove that popularity and influence — quantity and quality — are two different things. And we think the ability to direct web traffic is a pretty big part of influence.

In short, Kardashian’s stream is optimized to gracefully direct traffic to her website. And her website is optimized for the social web, too, with tweets and blog posts prominently featured.

See more at