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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Reflections: Online Information Conference 2011

Pretty exhausting, incredibly insightful and hugely enjoyable: that would sum up my three days as Chairman of this year’s Online Information Conference 2011, held at the Olympia Conference Centre between 29th November and 1st December. The last time the event will be run at this venue, but more about that later.

It was impossible to be everywhere and hear all of the presentations, so my reflections are by necessity limited to what I personally heard, saw or facilitated. To provide some overall context, the conference provided a forum dedicated to learning, debate, professional development, technology reviews and assessments, expert discussion and case-study presentations on what I would broadly describe as the ‘Information Professions”. There were four themed tracks:

  • Going mobile: Information and Knowledge on the move
  • Social Media: Exploiting knowledge in networks
  • Building a framework for the future of the information profession
  • New frontiers in information management
  • Search and Information Discovery

The conference opened with a keynote presentation from Craig Newmark on the topic “Effective Social Media: Past, Present and Future”.

Craig is possibly best known as the founder and inspiration behind Craigslist, the largest online local classifieds and community moderated forum service in the world. He modestly refers to himself as a “Customer Service Manager’ for Craigslist, which he himself describes as diminishing role. His time is increasingly devoted to his philanthropic efforts, as defined by the Craigslist Foundation (“….a connector to bring together nonprofit leaders, business, government, philanthropy and craigslist community members to take greater responsibility for where they live, play and work”), and the recently launched Craigconnects (“Using technology to give the voiceless a real voice, and the powerless real power”).

Craig covered quite a lot of ground in his presentation, from the earliest examples of “social media” as defined by Gutenberg,Luther and the role of the printing press in achieving massive social change, to today’s use of social media and the internet to engage with and connect people and groups with similar interests.

His focus is now very much on the nonprofits sector, where he spends about 60 hours of his working week. He referred to the scope and depth of the nonprofits sector as a “sea of help”, but pointed out that many of these people and organisations need help themselves in making more effective use of social media. He identifies Craigconnects as being a “hub”,  helping nonprofit organisations that have similar aims and objectives to connect and collaborate together. He also sees social media as a way of getting more people involved in legitimate nonprofits, and to maybe identify the fake nonprofits, i.e. those that spend most or all of their income on themselves.

Another key theme to emerge from Craig’s keynote was the issue of fact-checking in the news business.  Craig was keen to emphasise that he was not a journalist or an expert in the news industry, but felt that the disinvestment in investigative reporting and fact-checking had eroded the trust in news media. Craig was no doubt referring to the US press, but it seems to me there is some resonance on the issue of trust with the UK press, as reported via the Leveson inquiry . In fact, “trust” was a recurrent theme in both Craig’s keynote, and the keynote for the second day of the conference by Rachel Botsman (see later reference), and as Craig noted: “Trust was the new black”.

The key elements of the fact-checking debate is described in more detail in this article by Craig, recently published in the Huffington Post.  However, perhaps more memorable and particularly poignant is one of Craig’s remarks I noted from his keynote: “The press should be the immune system of democracy”.

A pre-conference podcast by Craig is available from the Online Information website.

Rachel Botsman was the keynote speaker on the second day of the conference. Rachel is a social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through current and emerging network technologies, including how it will transform business, consumerism and the way we live. She is the co-author with Roo Rogers of: What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. TIME magazine recently called Collaborative Consumption “One of the top 10 ideas that will change the world.”

Rachel is based in Australia and couldn’t be with us in London, so we had a 35-minute video that Rachel had produced especially for the conference, followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers via a live link-up with Rachel in Australia.

The keynote was broadly based on the book (a highly recommended read). It gives a stark perspective of western societies’ 40-year addiction to hyper-consumerism, and the impact this is having on people, society and the planet’s resources. The key question is whether we can continue as we are for the next 40 years or more, or whether we have to consider other economic models. I’m guessing that the broad vote is for the latter, which is why we’re witnessing the explosive growth of what Rachel refers to as “Collaborative Consumption”

Collaborative Consumption is the process of sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting and swapping, reinvented and massively scaled using internet and social network technologies. Rachel described three main systems:

Product Service Systems

Based on the idea of paying for usage of a product without needing to own the product outright.  Car sharing or bike sharing are typical examples. Witness the huge success of bike sharing schemes such as London’s Barclays Bike Hire.

Redistribution Markets

Redistribute used or pre-owned goods from where they are not needed to someone or somewhere where they are. Examples of this type of market  include Freecycle and Craigslist .

Collaborative Lifestyles

It's not just physical goods that can be shared, swapped and bartered. People with similar interests are forming groups to share and exchange assets such as time, space, skills and money.  Examples include The Tuttle Club ,  The Cube and Landshare.

Rachel was keen to emphasise that these new and emerging peer to peer (P2P) models, utilising the power and reach of the internet and social networks to massively scale, can and will co-exist with the traditional business to consumer (B2C) services. Though there is evidence that some B2C corporates are adapting their services to deliver the same sort of flexibility offered by the P2P market. For example BMW’s recently announced car sharing scheme.

Rachel’s video included a few case studies of how “micro-entrepreneurs” are creating products and services by renting selling or trading “idling time” – i.e. the time that a product or service is not being used. This could be the car that sits on the driveway for 22 hours out of every 24, the spare room that only gets used when there are visitors, or that power-drill in the tool cupboard that has only been used for 3 minutes. Services such Airbnp (room renting), Zipcar (car renting) or TaskRabbit (paying for someone to do a chore) were all mentioned. Rachel had asked the founders of TaskRabbit what was the most requested task. The answer – perhaps unsurprisingly – was assembling IKEA furniture! So, if there are any budding IKEA experts reading this – get yourselves registered on TaskRabbit and start earning some extra money!

Inevitably the issue of “trust” came up, as in who would we trust to drive our car, or stay in our house? Evidence from the many P2P services that have sprung up over the past two years would indicate that broadly speaking, people are good and considerate and that there have been very few instances of theft or vandalism (though not to trivialise the impact this may have had on the victims). Rachel went on to say that we will increasingly come to rely on our “Reputation Capital”, as an indicator of trust when transacting products and services in this emerging (and potentially huge) P2P market.

Reputational Capital might typically be defined or influenced by our engagement with online and offline communities and marketplaces. As such (and as I noted in my closing remarks), we’re increasingly familiar with “social media”, “social networks” and “social business”, we now need to seriously consider “social reputation”, i.e. how we act and behave online. Our own Reputational Capital will be a valuable commodity that we all need to nurture and protect as we become increasingly reliant on the internet as a marketplace.

I’m not sure if Craig or Rachel will be reading this blog, but if they are, grateful thanks from me, the organising committee and the delegates for your excellent and inspiring keynotes.

In the interest of brevity, I will limit the remainder of my reflections on the overall three days of the conference to a few bullet points. These are based on my personal observations or comments from the delegates.

  • There was a huge volume of “tweets” on Twitter – more than I’ve seen at any previous conference. The conference hashtag was #online11. Twitter was used by the conference delegates to share what they were hearing and seeing, and as a channel for raising questions to the presenter (there was a Twitter Moderator at all of the sessions to ensure any questions were picked up and answered).
  • We wanted to encourage more interaction with and between delegates at this conference. There was a “speed networking” event, facilitated by FutureGov Consulting and utilising the Simpl.co website for submitting new ideas or offers of help. This didn’t quite go as planned, mainly because it was scheduled against too many other events. A lesson learnt for next time.
  • Some great audience participation at the “Essential Competence – Demonstrating Value” session facilitated by Ian Woolerand Sandra Ward, where delegates were given real coins of the realm (pennies) to vote on a range of options for measuring the value of information and knowledge services. All of the coins were returned afterwards (clearly an honest crowd!).
  • David Gurteen ran one of his eponymous Knowledge Café’s. It was well attended and we received some good feedback. Speaking to a few delegates afterwards I was just slightly surprised that none of them had previously attended a Knowledge Café – which is a fairly well-established process for encouraging conversations and networking. At least they will now be able to take this process back to their respective organisations. Some photos from the Knowledge Café.
  • The was a lot of interest in the “Going Mobile” track. Maybe these statistics from a recent article in The Wall go some way to explaining this:
    • 35% of UK mobile users access social networking sites on their phones (European average is 23%)
    • Mobile social networking use in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK nearly doubled in the last year, with 55m mobile users accessing Facebook, Twitter, etc., in September alone.
    • 26% of mobile social networking users reported receiving coupons, offers, or deals on their phones.
    • Growth in the number of mobile users accessing social networks on a daily basis has surpassed the growth of total mobile social networking adoption
    • 71% of the European mobile social networking audience, accessed Facebook via a mobile device in September—the largest mobile audience of any social network—and an increase of 54% in the past year.
    •  47% of UK mobile users are using smartphones (European average is 40%)
    • 45% of the UK mobile users are using apps, (European average 35%).
  • There was a lot of interest in “Big Data” (part of the New Frontiers in Information Management Track). I moderated a number of these sessions, and came away with the impression that there is a lot of ‘activity at the coal-face’ in this field, but still relatively few examples of how business or user value is being created or delivered. For me, still on the hype curve, but some promising developments on the horizon.
  • Digital content (presentations, video, audio) from the conference is gradually being uploaded to the Online Information website and a live stream at Wavecastpro – so keep an eye out for new content appearing.

I’ll just round this off by mentioning that next year Online Information will be moving to a new venue at ICC London at ExceL, scheduled for 4-6 December 2012. This offers state of the art conferencing facilities, a much improved delegate experience, and better integration between the conference and exhibition elements. Something to look forward to in 2012.

I hope those who that attended the conference found it as informative and exhilarating as I did – I await to see the feedback with some anticipation.

For anyone else, I hope this brief summary might give a taster of what it was all about, and perhaps you might be tempted to attend next year’s event.

Until next year – have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

Stephen Dale

Chairman, Online Information Conference 2011.

 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Loved this Carling Ad

The producers of this beer  commercial borrowed a small 150 seat cinema playing a popular film, and filled 148 of its seats with rough-looking tattooed bikers, leaving only two free seats in the middle of the theatre. They then allowed theatre management to sell tickets for the last pair of seats to several young couples.

What would you do?    Watch till the end ........

Posted via email from Life's Like That

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Multiculturism or Assimilation? Australia goes for the latter. Are they right?

CAN YOU IMAGINE A UK POLITICIAN SAYING THIS? BUT IT'S (PROBABLY) WHAT MOST PEOPLE THINK. 

     
   Australia says  NO - Second time she has done  this!


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Prime  Minister Julia Gillard-   
Australia 
Muslims who want to live  under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday  to get out of   Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid  to head off potential terror  attacks..

Separately, Gillard  angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by  saying she supported spy agencies monitoring the  nation's mosques.  Quote:

'IMMIGRANTS,  NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT.. Take It Or Leave  It.
I  am tired of this nation worrying about whether  we are offending some individual or their  culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali ,  we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the  majority of Australians.  '

'This culture has been  developed over two centuries of struggles,  trials and victories by millions of men and  women who have sought  freedom'

'We speak mainly ENGLISH,  not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese,  Japanese, Russian, or any other language.  Therefore, if you wish to become part of our  society ... Learn the  language!'

'Most Australians believe  in God. This is not some Christian, right wing,  political push, but a fact, because Christian  men and women, on Christian principles, founded  this nation, and this is clearly documented. It  is certainly appropriate to display it on the  walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I  suggest you consider another part of the world  as your new home, because God is part of our  culture.'

'We will accept your  beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask  is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and  peaceful enjoyment with  us.'

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR  LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you  every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once  you are done complaining, whining, and griping  about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian  beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage  you take advantage of one other great Australian  freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO  LEAVE'.'

'If  you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't  force you to come here. You asked to be here. So  accept the country YOU  accepted.'

So - do you agree with Prime Minister Julia Gillard? I do!

       

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Posted via email from Life's Like That

Monday, 27 February 2012

Cow Based Economics

SOCIALISM
You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (VENTURE) CAPITALISM
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

SURREALISM
You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

A GREEK CORPORATION
You have two cows. 
You borrow lots of euros to build barns, milking sheds, hay stores, feed sheds, dairies, cold stores, abattoir, cheese unit and packing sheds. You still only have two cows.

A FRENCH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

A SWISS CORPORATION
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Both are mad.

AN IRAQI CORPORATION
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

A NEW ZEALAND CORPORATION
You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive...

Posted via email from Life's Like That

Morals Test

Morals test

What would you do?

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one.

By giving an honest answer, you will discover whereyou stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictionalsituation in which you will have to make a decision.

Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous.

Please scroll down slowly and give due considerationto each line.

THE SITUATION:

You are in London.

There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe Flooding.

This is a flood of biblical proportions.

You are a photo-journalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster.

The situation is nearly hopeless.

You're trying to shoot career-making photos.

There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing into the water.

Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.

THE TEST:

Suddenly, you see a man in the water.

He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris

You move closer... Somehow, the man looks familiar....

You suddenly realize who it is.... It's the Muslim Cleric, Abu Hamza,

The one-eyed, hook handed bastard who hates non-Muslims and wants the UK to become an Islamic state!!

You notice that the raging waters are about to take him under forever.

You have two options:

You can save the life of Abu or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzerm Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the country's most despised, evil and powerful men!

NOW THE QUESTION:

Here's the question, and please give an honest  answer...

Would you select high contrast colour film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Posted via email from Pot Pouri