Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Data is the new oil

Loved this abstract from a blog by 'media futurist' Gerd Leonard:

Getting too little or bad data -- or not understanding it-- will literally mean running out of gas in the middle of the desert. Therefore, the mission is to keep it all fueled up. And just like oil, there will be a myriad of issues (hopefully, not wars) that will arise with the responsible and fair practices of drilling, pumping, shipping, refining and dispensing of data.

An excellent metaphor for the crazy world of data!

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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Cascade data visualisation

Cascade - data visualisation of the impact of a single Tweet; shows sharing activity to construct a detailed picture of how information propagates through the social media space. Cool!


Cascade was developed by R&D using open source tools including Processing and MongoDB.

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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Online Information Conference 2011 - Call For Papers


Have you submitted a proposal yet? The deadline of May 6th is approaching fast.

Here's why you should submit a proposal:

  • Show case your work with 700 delegates from over 40 countries and be seen as a pioneer and leader in what you do
    If you have been part of a successful (or unsuccessful) project with innovative best practices, lessons learned, hints and tips, then we want to hear from you

  • Benefit from the extensive marketing campaign and promotional exposure/recognition you will receive from being part of one of the largest conferences serving the information industry.
    You and your organisation will be listed in the printed brochure (sent to 22,000) and on the website (emails to 24,000).

  • Join a roster of industry authorities and use this opportunity to raise your profile. Previous keynote speakers to the programme include: 

  • Dion Hinchcliffe, Co-Author of 'Web 2.0 Architectures'
  • Charlene Li, Co-Author of 'Groundswell'
  • Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton
  • Nigel Shadbolt, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Head Research, University of   Southampton
  • Blaise Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
  • Clay Shirky, Author of 'Here Comes Everybody'
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia
  • Dr David Weinberger, Co-author of 'The Cluetrain Manifesto'
  • Dr Jakob Nielsen, described as 'The king of usability'
  • Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, The British Library

  • Selected speakers receive a FREE place to the 3 day conference and co-located exhibition, worth over £900

For information on conference themes, making your submission and review criteria please click on the links  below

I look forward to receiving your proposal

Stephen Dale
Online Information Conference 2011

  1. Making your submission  
  2. Review criteria
Please note: Deadline for submissions is Monday 6 May

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Nobodies are the new Somebodies

I loved this post from Josh McHugh which I've 'clipped' in its entirety. I think that many of us who have lived through the frenzied first years of the social media revolution can empathise with the message here. Yes, we all want to be influencers, but for the majority (including me), we have to be content with being 'Nobodies'. But, taking the concept of the 'long tail', there are many millions of nobodies out there, which collectively can have as much (if not more) influence than the 'names'. (Stephen Fry eat your heart out!). You just need to find and nurture them.

Apart from which, Kawasaki's new book (Enchantment) is now top of my reading list!


A. Nobody.

Amplify’d from blogs.forbes.com

I recently interviewed Guy Kawasaki at an event hosted by INFORUM at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club.

I’d heard from an entrepreneur the previous week at South by Southwest that Kawasaki is an absolute terror when you’re pitching him, so I was pleasantly surprised when he turned out to be as genial a guy as you could hope to interview.

Kawasaki’s new book, Enchantment, contains a lot of wonderfully anti-Machiavellian advice not just for entrepreneurs, but for nonprofits and pretty much anyone hoping to get the kinds of things done in life that require the cooperation of others. The pearl of wisdom underlying the entire book: “Be a mensch.”

But the section of the book that had me underlining, circling, and festooning its margins with post-it notes comes where Kawasaki deftly unhorses a marketing orthodoxy that has launched a million PowerPoint decks, a thousand marketing plans, and scores of recent startups: “Engage the Influencers.

Kawasaki’s counterpunch: “Nobodies Are The New Somebodies.

This is not likely to be a welcome message to the marketers and would-be audience-builders currently scrambling to throw enticements at Twitter users with high influence scores.

Social Media Influence Scores: Return of the Velvet Rope

One big problem with an approach that focuses disproportionately on established online influencers: there may have been 5 minutes at the dawn of Web 2.0 when you stood a solid chance of Robert Scoble or Ashton Kutcher replying to one of your tweets. But that moment has passed. You can ask Ben Stiller. Just don’t bother asking him over Twitter.

Want to know how to engage an “influencer” who has a PeerIndex or Klout score of 85? Have your manager call his agent. Don’t have a manager? Child, please.

Hanging your marketing strategy on getting retweeted by the likes of Kanye and Rainn Wilson is like pasting a Powerball ticket to the first page of your business plan. Because guess what? Those influencers are busy – converting the hard-earned attention of their thousands or millions of followers into cold hard cash.

Egalitarianism Pays

“You still have to pay someone to suck up to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal,” Kawasaki said. “But you should also be sucking up to Lonelyguy15.” That’s because you never know who will end up becoming your project’s most impassioned and effective cheerleaders. Indeed – to cover his bases, Kawasaki sent advance copies of his book not just to the 100 or so usual traditional media gatekeepers, but also to 1,500 bloggers, Tweeters, and other assorted “nobodies.”

Heresy, perhaps, to a generation of marketers steeped in the sociological topology frequently ascribed to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.It may be unfair to Gladwell, but for better or worse his book popularized the notion that success in marketing depends on identifying a relatively tiny group of key influencers in any given sphere and winning them over.

Past Results Do Not Guarantee Future Performance

For theoretical validation, Kawasaki looks to sociologist Duncan Watts, author of “Everything Is Obvious” and, recently, co-author of a wonky, mythbusting research paper titled “Everyone’s An Influencer.” The gist of that paper: a person’s past success in causing actions on Twitter is a bad predictor of future success, and it’s probably not worth your time and effort to try to court the historically influential users.

The alternative approach that Kawasaki embraces: spend your time reaching out to a larger number of hoi polloi – those “nobodies,” and identify and nurture the most valuable members of your audience as they emerge. They will love you for it.

No Shortcuts

Where Watts’ paper leaves off, a recent post by Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, author of the definitive social media tome Engage, picks up the thread in his blog post “Don’t think About The Score”

…focusing efforts to boost scores is as shallow as it is restricted. If you invest in the value of the community and seek to improve the experiences of those to whom you’re connected, your influence and presence is in turn symbolic of something that escapes a number.

As Kawasaki puts it, “enchantment is a process, not an event.”

Solis’ prescription: listen well, be consistent and generous with attention and recognition, connect people with content that interests them, and you will gradually create a thriving fanbase around your cause or project. Trying to game someone’s influence-scoring system or to use it as a shortcut is simply short-sighted, because influence scores, while instructive, are trailing indicators, not predictors.

Create Your Own Influencers

This process-heavy reality may seem like bad news for those who hoped influence scores would be their social media silver bullet. But there is a silver lining. It turns out that celebrating your project’s most enthusiastic fans regardless of their influence scores and making them the stars of the community has the flattering (though ancillary) side effect of – you guessed it – eventually raising the influence scores of everyone involved.

Read more at blogs.forbes.com

Infograph on Open Government Projects

Govloop (a US-based community for public sector staff) had produced a useful Infograph showing all the 350+ open government projects, clustered according to the sponsoring agency. Something that could be adopted maybe for UK open government projects (or has this been done? Show me!)

Amplify’d from semanticweb.com

GovLoop.com has shared a great infograph that answers the question, “How Many Open Gov Projects Are There (and How Do You Find Them Fast)?” According to the post, “Last year, former Deputy CTO for Open Government Beth Noveck reached out to GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler about leveraging the energy of community members to complete a gargantuan task: read through all of the Open Government Plans and compile a list of the hundreds of projects named within them. We had already created a dataset with all the Open Government Plans (which happens to be our 3rd most popular dataset, by the way), so we felt up to the challenge.”

The story continues, “Fast forward to a month ago. By now, Beth had departed the White House…and Angie finalized the dataset with all 350+ open government projects. So Beth connected us with the GOOD guys (and I mean that literally – special shout out to Casey Caplowe and Oliver Munday). Our goal was to create a useful visualization that made it easy to find the data and they’re kinda known for their great infographics.”

The final result: “an infographic that helps you find all 350+ open government projects by agency with a few quick clicks. The circles/numbers represent the numbers of projects at an agency – click on them to see a list of the projects. You can also find projects according to the three open government pillars: collaboration, transparency and participation by clicking on those words in the vault.”

Read more at semanticweb.com

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Google bonus linked to +1 success

I've never been quite clear why Google thinks it has to be a social network. Let Facebook and Twitter get on with doing that - after all they're never going to be able to deliver anything that can dislodge users from those networks - both of which have a critical mass. I assume that they're not foolish enough to think that the +1 thing (similar to Facebook's Like) is going to pull people into the Google network.

It would be far better (IMHO) if they concentrated on building some cohesion between all of their excellent (and mainly free) products, (Google Apps, Picassa, YouTube, Reader, Blogger, Sites, Groups etc.) in order to create a compelling (and simple to implement) Enterprise 2.0 offer for business.

I just hope none of their employees are banking on getting a bonus this year (or next)!

Amplify’d from www.businessinsider.com

Google's +1 social search service has a couple of legs up on these other social initiatives. First, it's refreshingly simple -- unlike Wave, for example. Second, it's an add-on to Google's core business of search, so it probably won't be allowed to wither and die quietly.

But it probably won't be enough to stop Facebook and other social services like Twitter from grabbing an increasing share of attention and time from users. And where the users go, eventually the ad dollars follow.

Google is still a great place to find general information, and adding a social element will make that information better. But it won't replace the interactions between friends, colleagues, and respected strangers that take place every day on Facebook, Twitter, and other rising social sites like LinkedIn.

Read more at www.businessinsider.com

Friday, 1 April 2011

LIS Research Coalition - Online Survey

It is now over two years since The LIS Research Coalition was established (see the history page) and a review of its value and impact has been launched. 

To encourage a wide contribution to this review, the Coalition has designed an online survey that can be accessed at this link.

The survey will take no more than 15 minutes to complete. It will ask you to comment on your familiarity the Coalition’s work, your assessment of its activities and achievements so far, its value to your work, and your comments on plans for the next 12 months.

As an Information Professional I am pleased to support this review and urge you to respond to this survey, which will remain open until 17.00 on Friday April 8th 2011. 

Please encourage your colleagues and networks to respond too. 

The review is being undertaken by external consultants Sandra Ward, Beaworthy Consulting and Ian Wooler, IDW Ltd.

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