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The end has no end March 17, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, social media, web 2.0.

If you haven’t seen the incredible work of Kutiman yet, make it your bid-ness to do so today. His remix of not only music but words and vision, all taken from YouTube clips is nothing short of amazing. Faris dropped some science around this the other day, delivering the following quote which sums it up (equal parts nicely and awkwardly):

It’s because media has become much easier to reproduce thanks to the radical decentralisation of the economics of cultural production [which is the phrase I’m backing as a substitute to social media – I’m not very hopeful it will catch on.]

We all know how I feel about social media. I think Faris “radical decentralisation” is more easily summed up by simply stating it is now as easy to create content as it is to consume it.

Perhaps we need to extend that to being “recreate” content?

I send a message March 9, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, social media, technology, web 2.0.
Image representing Posterous as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Those who know me know getting under social media’s skin is one of my pet projects, only because the current discussions (I feel) miss the point, which I believe is the democratisation of platforms from which people have the opportunity to speak on a mass scale. More simply put, with the advent of easy blogging tools (like WordPress which runs this site), I get to spend my time thinking about what i want to say as opposed to how the infrastructure underneath it all works.

I wondered aloud last August when and how this sort of thing might come to impact the creation of music. Along came MelodySphere which had a simple shot at creating loops collaboratively but in a browser. Nice, but awkward to use. While the newest kid on the block (my block anyway) doesn’t get us there, it takes us one step closer to the removal of publishing barriers. Posterous allows you to email text, video, music and pictures to an address and then automagivally does the rest. You don’t even need to sign-up as you can see from my simply created Posterous page. It gives you a URL (which you can alter later if you wish) and instantly publishes whatever you sent. In my case, I shot them an MP3 of a song of mine and a minute later got a reply with the URL.

I love this, seriously love the removal of yet another barrier to people raising their voices, and while the geeks out there might bemoan the approach of the madding crowds, I believe the revolutions that will lead us out of economic nonsense will be born of the work being done by folk who are trying to make it easier for ideas and thoughts to be spread, and taking down anything that might stand in their way.

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Marketing quote of the day February 27, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in marketing, technology, web 2.0.

Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. – Chief Seattle, Amerindian. pg. 10 – The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher.

There’s always so much written about how social norms can go out the window when the anonymity of the web or even the simple removal of a human face takes over. I believe it’s a temporary state though, and as much as I am loathe to admit it, I think the rise of Facebook has done more to bring about social change over the web than any other service, placing a premium back on the connections we really do have, versus say MySpace, Friendster, or whatever came before which was mass convergency at the expense of  intimacy.

Of course lots of people still choose to use Facebook in that manner, personally I like to keep things a little more closed. But I think we’re just about past the idea that what is appropriate social behaviour somehow differs face to face versus online. What we do to the web – or on it – we do to ourselves, and when we reduce the connections we have down to a series of contact details and earning potential, we get nothing more than that in return.

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Maramushi Newsmap January 21, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in web 2.0.
Tags: ,

Serious case of ❤ going on here. Srsly.

What's going on in the world today?

What's going on in the world today?

Maramushi’s Newsmap takes news feeds from Google News and creates a visualisation based on the popularity of stories. It updates on the fly as news breaks with the tiles linking to the unabridged stories. Great for a snap-shot of what is going on in the world, even better for those far from home who want a quick over view of what is happening…about as much as ever it would appear.

Strategy for the next revolution November 26, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, strategy, technology, web 2.0.
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At the risk of this becoming a Fred Wilson love-in, I’m catching up on my unread items and he mentioned a conference coming up focused solely on creating add-ons for browsers. I’m a BIG fan of add-ons that make it easier for what I’m trying to do – as I’ve said before this revolution we’re going through is based around making it easier for the majority to express themselves (which is subsequently why there are now businesses around organising information – see what we did?).

What is happening in this space though is people are harnessing the notion of the web as the platform and getting away – slowly but surely), from operating systems as we knew them.

The moves that Microsoft, Google and Mozilla have been making though are ones towards the inevitable (and closer than you think) point where there is no such thing as an offline experience. At that point the browser is the experience, with different plugins and views for different things (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.).

Where we’re also headed is the recovery of our personal data away from the social networks and back to a central repository, one we are in control of. I wrote the following for Marketing back in May this year:

(Facebook are) desperately trying to maintain hold on user data, under the daft assumption it was somehow their’s to play with in the first place.

That idea, and the moves MS, Google and Mozilla are making, brings the online experience back to the user, it takes the data back to the source, rather than downstream where it currently resides. Facebook exists as a repository for personal data, wrapped up in a layer of communications software that shares it with your friends. Nothing more, nothing less. Facebook gambled – and rightfully so – on that information being worth something; they’ve made a fundamental mistake though in attempting to build a business around something they do not own or control: your information.

So, in playing the game of would-be gate-keeper, distracting you long enough with werewolf bites and status updates, Facebook are trying to build a profitable business around supplying access to the owners of the information.

…stop me if you’ve heard this one…

Meanwhile, people innovating in the browser space are building out their own platforms – ones that exist at a pre-site level. By doing this, they will tap the water supply at the source and not down-stream, and while yes we will still be the ones handing over the information, they know we need software to facilitate interaction with the web, that isn’t changing any time soon.

Facebook’s strategic advantage could be in opening up its system and allowing people to build Facebook applications that reside in the browser and not on their website. But in order to do that, they have to make some fundamental shifts in strategy and philosophy, and move from a siloed-mentality, the kind that built businesses in the 90’s, to an open one – the kind that builds businesses today. They have the scale, what I doubt they have is the will to become, almost overnight, one of the largest publishers of web applications on the planet and give a massive boost to the fledgling economies of browser plug-ins. In Facebook Connect they half-heartedly attempted to extend the reach of their platform beyond their own domain, and it plays like it is: an attempt to be a little bit open, but not too much.

Meanwhile companies like Zemanta, and like Adaptive Blue with Glue, are building businesses for the next revolution by creating technologies that do not require something as decidedly old-fashioned as a website to exist. Indeed they more than anyone recognise there is limited value in pushing a destination, but endless value in pushing content.

As soon as the hardware conversation goes away, the website-as-destination will quickly follow as we embrace the distributed web. So too, I imagine, the gross over-valuation that came and went with everyone’s favourite social network.

This year’s one anyway.

Props to Alisa Leondard who got me thinking about this, you should go and read Socialised. Wait, she’s American, so it’s SocialiZed. Dig.

Image courtesy of Digger Digger Dogstar, with thanks to compfight, who’ve just had a facelift. Go tell them they look pretty – they’ll put out. Promise!
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Make your problem somebody else’s November 18, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, marketing, social media, web 2.0.
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Experiences facilitated by brands but not about brands – David Gillespie (broken record).

Entertainment, content of all shapes and sizes, offline, online, anywhere you like it. The problem could be a lack of conversation, and when you give the community around your offering the tools and platforms to make themselves heard, you take a step towards something much bigger than where you’ve been before. As I said when I called social media out, the exciting thing about where we are in our digital evolution is for the first time in our history it is as easy to create content as it is to produce it.

So what are you doing with this opportunity?

User-generated content was the first ham-fisted attempt to do something creative in this space, but it is only going to get better as organisations get more comfortable with the conversation going on about them. There is no silver bullet when trying to harness the enthusiasm of your tribe and align it with an organisation’s goals, this quote from Henry Jenkins though will steer any effort in the right direction:

The key is to produce something that both pulls people together and gives them something to do…I don’t have to control the conversation to benefit from their interest – Henry Jenkins – MIT

If your problem is nobody knows about you, make that the community’s issue and give them a reason to talk. Rally the tribe and give them purpose, make your anonymity their problem, let them solve it in their way. If you’ve been good to them along the way, they will reward you more than your own efforts ever will.

Image courtesy of paf triz, with thanks to compfight.
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Calling Social Media Out November 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, web 2.0, work/life.
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I’ve had enough. I’m done with social media and I’m calling you, you and particularly YOU out on it. I’m nailing it to the wall for the crock that it is. UGC was the first to cop it, social media is next.

I’m looking at what Jules is doing with The Population, my friend Matt‘s work with DP Dialogue, whoever else is out there. Yes, we have the Beersphere tonight, yes I blog, vlog, put music on MySpace, I comment, bookmark with del.icio.us, I use compfight to search Flickr for Creative Commons-licensed imagery, I discover new music via Last.fm and Pandora, and I Twitter. I do all that, and I’m telling you right now social media will be, in the great history of the web, hell in the great history of the next three years (if that long), the 2.0 equivalent of Pets.com.

And here is why.

First, we have to agree on something. You can choose to disagree, and I welcome that, but my stance is this: the web is inherently social. Not for everyone, particularly not for older generations, but from me back to the babies it is inherently, indiscriminately, and unavoidably social.

Next, we have to agree that the web is young. The web is still figuring out what it is, what it wants to be. You know movies? The name comes, need I remind you, from moving pictures. Photos that seemed to come to life, truth 24 times a second. Web 1.0 was moving pictures, we’re now in the Talkies. Imagine if film had stalled when talkies came along and we suddenly found the actors had horrible voices?

That is where we are; social media is “the talkies” of the Internet.

Social media isn’t anything special, it is just the Internet in its current form. All media is social – Julian says this himself. It is a period that will forever be known as a time where it became as easy to create content as it was to consume it. THAT is the important part of what is going on.

Not Web 2.0, not new media, not digital media, not post-media and certainly not social media. If all media is social, media must be inherently social and if we agree the web is inherently social then the Internet is, my friends, just a collection of media (we need to separate that idea from the business of media). We have created a new taxonomy in an attempt to somehow describe the “otherness” of this new space, which is itself not a recent development; we’ve separated movies and TV for years even though they showed us essentially the same thing (like FM radio and Pandora do now). Watching video online is no different, and soon we won’t treat it like it is.

In fact, thank God (or Dawkins for the atheists) we’re rapidly coming back around to a place where we’re not stuck on discussions of platforms and mediums; there will only be one platform where everyone produces and, once again, content will be king. That platform is the Internet, and, dear client folk, if someone comes to you with a digital strategy that does not have a focus on creating 1-to-1 connections in your audience, then run for the hills. But do not be caught up in the myth of social media, that is just the interwebs as we know it.

As Iain Tait said much more succinctly than I, digital is not a thing anymore.

Now, let’s talk about something interesting for a change.

**Update** I got the name of Matt’s social media company wrong as he points out below. Apologies to him and the good people at De Pasquale.

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New businesses reside in the linked economy November 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, creativity, intent, strategy, technology, web 2.0.
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Image via Wikipedia

I spend a lot of time with friends thinking about where tomorrow’s businesses lie, and I’m on the record that great content with good intentions and an open philosophy will be at the heart of the real money-makers in the next decade.

With that in mind, I’ve just read a fascinating post from Mark Ury who is an Experience Architect at Blast Radius. Mark ties together a few loose strands of thinking and comes out with something entirely his own. I particularly love the below principles he borrows from Jeff Jarvis

Can applying “link economy” strategies work for “traditional” companies? Here are Jeff Jarvis’ four principles. And below is a modified version, applied to companies in pursuit of innovation:

1. All companies must be transparent. Your talent base and IP must be exposed and connected. They’re not useable unless they’re linked.

2. The recipient of IP and talent is the party responsible for monetizing them. The more you enable the flow of IP and talent AWAY from you, the more it comes BACK—with greater value and skills to monetize. Just watch how Hollywood operates.

3. A porous organization is the key to efficiency. In other words: do what you do best and link to the rest.

4. There are opportunities to add value atop the IP and talent layer. This is where one can find business opportunities: by managing abundance rather than the old model of managing scarcity. The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity.

…which he applies to Threadless during the course of the post…

The result: a business that manages abundance (t-shirt ideas), provides value through transparency (the audience becomes both editor and consumer), and values the flow of IP and talent through them—rather than by them. (Doc Searls calls this kind of value “a shift from “making money with” to “making money because.”)

Great piece. And it contains some links to some other fascinating reads on “the linked economy”. Mark also takes the time to talk about opportunities that exist around monetising the aggregation of information and content, of which Threadless is a prime example (as is Flickr, YouTube, MySpace etc.).

The idea here is this: find the verticles in seemingly well-mined markets, and you will open up doors the rest of us never knew existed.

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How simple is Web 2.0? November 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, social media, web 2.0.
Tags: ,

I like making sure we draw lines between simple and accessible, but could Web 2.0 really be as easily explained as this?

Is Web 2.0 really this simple?

The only fault I’m thinking is the x100 – connections are still one to one, just on a mass scale.

Image courtesy of my mate Alex – if anyone knows the original source please let me know so I can give proper credit.

**Update** Turns out I thought the image must have come from someone other than Alex, when it did in fact originate with him. This is not because I thought him not capable of extraodinarily insightful cartoons, more so because, much like Jesus having walked the Earth, the idea deities occasionally walk among us is somewhat hard to believe. There you go. Alex White, genius personified!

Viral; one connection at a time November 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in marketing, social media, web 2.0, work/life.
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1 comment so far

Earlier this year in one of my regular guises as copywriter-to-the-stars, I wrote an EDM piece for a competition that began “Oh hai.” It was a pure-play in my mind at the folk who would know instantly what I was talking about and at none of the people who wouldn’t. In hindsight it perhaps wasn’t the brightest move to make, but I was feeling something in my gut at the time that Seth articulated really well recently – in order for people to feel like they belong, some people have to feel like they don’t belong; to have insiders you have to have outsiders. I wanted the people who got it to understand a fundamental truth about the brand I was writing for. They did, but I also learnt very quickly that the audience I had in mind was smaller than I thought it was – at least for that particular brand.

We live and learn.

Anyway, for those that don’t know, “Oh hai” has its roots in LOlcats, made most famous over the past 18 months by the emergence of I Can Haz Cheezburger. Their CEO, Ben Huh gave a talk this year at the Web 2.0 conference (the same conference featuring the inimitable Gary Vee) about the success they have achieved – almost 100 milion page views a month! His take on things is really simple and a great lesson lies herein for marketers, Ben is focused on two things:

  1. Facilitating 1-to-1 connections
  2. Making people happy for five minutes a day

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted with vodpod

Take some time to watch it this morning, it’ll make you smile. Oh, found via Dino who is organising this week’s BeerSphere in Toronto.

Happy Monday everybody.