Future Thinking: Observations vs Predictions
for Entrepreneurs, Startups & NGOs

Future Thinking - One World, One Web (?)

Illustration Above: One World, One Web. Original image created and licensed under creative commons by Paul Downey

Months ago, following the presentation I delivered at The National Student Entreprise Conference, I published a blog post.

The post’s footer contained some of my thinking in regards to likely 2010 Industry Trends, Challenges and Insights – these have been freely available online to the conference attendees and anyone who might have stumbled across them since March.

Given a host of recent announcements from Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Google and BumpTop, today (3rd May 2010) I feel compelled to post them separately, in their own right – I hope they might provide food for Social-Web thought ‘-)

My list of Industry Trends:

  1. Crowd sourcing ideas/products (E.g. ChatRoulette’s remove perverts prize, and services like Groupon)
  2. Social Media Policy (E.g. Policy Guidance & PolicyEspresso)
  3. Geo-location & Augmented reality (mapping data in locational context – QR & RFID tags vs Gowalla and Foursquare – earn points/prizes through loyalty interactions)
  4. New scaling/working models: co-working, participation and freelance collaboration
  5. Recommendation Engines and ROI Measurement (collecting, analyzing and measuring data, conversation, networks, purchases etc)
  6. Real-time (including mobile video/content streaming and data search)
  7. Mobile Payment Systems (square, PayPal, Bump and NFC’s N-Mark)
  8. Open Data – government and service APIs

    {*My prediction and tipped field to watch*}
    Multi-dimensional narrative (authenticity, story-telling and play within/across conversation, Facebook Games, Online Marketing and iPad Apps – including new ‘add value’ dimensions to publishing, promotion and engagement – this is where my long-term money is on services like Gowalla over the likes of Foursquare, in my mind they have two very different social narrative values)

My list of Industry/User Challenges:

  1. Up-to-speed Education (online identity, ethics,tools) – Related topics: Chat Roulette, OpenID, OAuth & TwitterAuth to reduce identity phishing scams and spam, services like SocialSentry now offer businesses the ability to track employees via social networks and conversations on twitter/Facebook/etc.
  2. Proprietary/Open-Source, Monetization & Measurement (Subscriptions/Freemium/Advertising/Free)
  3. Accessibility & Compatibility for multiple devices and navigation types (muti-touch vs browser, desktop vs mobile, Surface vs iPad etc. – including the evolution towards gesture based interaction like Jonny Lee’s genius, SeaDragon and technologies like Canesta – expect to see interface evolve towards more physical interactions like BumpTop and SixthSense)
  4. Law & Legislation – Related topics: Digital Economy Bill, Google in China, Social Media Policy and Facebook T&Cs
  5. Understanding transparency vs engagement – we don’t consume, we filter and question (government, business, advertising) – large businesses need to find/develop passionate and inspiring staff, entrepreneurs should be naturals!
  6. Data-legacy & Sustainable Hosting (Eg. dead short-url links, backup and http://deathbook.info)
  7. Data Publishing & Distribution – Related Topics: Publishing Industry vs Apple/Google/Facebook… iPad – Flash vs HTML5 video…


My Summary/Insights:

  1. Traditional marketing is not a ‘social’ activity so don’t apply its mindset to Social Media or Social Networks – Related topics: Top down vs bottom up, one directional vs multi-directional, multi-channel multi-media/um)
  2. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all very different – please recognize/realize this!
  3. If you’re starting a website I suggest ‘self-hosting it for a minimal fee’ and host its content where possible (but make sure its shareable and embeddable elsewhere) and build in measurement tools (I recommend WordPress and Google Analytics – then SEO and Google Adwords can come later – at least build the foundations with a sensible database format like MySQL/XML)
  4. Social Media is the playground of Individuals, agile business’s and entrepreneurs
  5. Social Media’s real strength is in its possibilities, ideas and connections to inspiring minds and challenging opinions
  6. If you choose to use Social Media then be prepared to participate (build identity/trust/respect/transparency/connections through participation in conversations and inspiring/useful/unique content) – listen and learn, apply the 2 ears 1 mouth philosophy of a BarCamp – be prepared for criticism and address it, don’t brush it under the carpet – focus on quality not quantity, long ‘unique’ blog posts are worth much more to your community than short posts of information they can already find elsewhere ‘don’t create noise, create gems!’ – build your content into a story, narrative is often engaging if it has a plot!
  7. Please be aware that 3rd party services can and will change their business models – I personally believe services like Twitter will start charging businesses and providing limited data (API) access to individuals very soon (its likely other services will start advertising in your content feed), don’t put all your eggs in one basket in terms of YouTube for video, check great services like Viddler.com (its equipped with widgets and analytics) and be aware of using short url services (bit.ly is my current preference but even I’ve got a long list of improvements to make to my blog)
  8. Social Media Communication is not a replacement for traditional marketing, attending events or real-world face-to-face meetups or conversations over coffee/beer, it is simply a supporting channel – get out and meet people! put your twitter address on your business card and use #hashtags! > when social online meets social offline true value is realized (both ROI and SROI FTW!) see > Twestival.org, Tuttle.101 and many more!

I recommend investigating the following resources – click the links below:

http://informationarchitects.jp
Do you have a Facebook?
BBCs Virtual Revolution series (you should find all 4 episodes on YouTube)
TED Video on Creative Commons
Online Ethics and Digital Legacy
The UK Digital Economy Bill
Entrepreneurship Advice from the founders of Air B&B (4 episodes in total)
The future of Game & Play
(watch the embeded video!)
Seth Godin’s post entitled ‘The Ubiquity of Competition’
(check all his blog content!)

This is a better introduction to me >my @fellowcreative padawan blog-post<

Perpetual BETA: this sites 2010 to-do list

This site launched in May 2009, it has so far received a total of 21,695 views (according to WordPress Blog Stats 12/12/09) but due to client commitments and other projects its not yet finished, but it launched as it means to continue, in a state of perpetual BETA and creative development.

Below is the remaining to-do-list; and there’s still bigger Open-Source plans for the widget sidebar (right). Please do feel free to leave comments, feedback and ideas – constructive criticism is always appreciated – thank you in advance =)

Still To-Do:

  • Finalize content, copy-writing and video uploads to help explain ‘What We Do’.
  • Finish/Upload the latest Credentials document to display ‘Latest Work’ (including Design & Branding, Social-Tech in Education, Strategic Campaign Planning, Vehicle Livery and Academic Keynote Speaking… to name but a few things).
  • Develop ‘Latest Endeavors’ into ‘Endeavor Blog’ and enhance Article Navigation, Search and Archive functions (potential WordCloud favourites feature), plus show ‘number of comments’ and ‘published dates’ in preview mode.
  • UK/US dictionary options – comments and endeavor (endeavour) ?
  • Add dates to blog posts with a CC auto-licensing feature
  • Add a ‘scroll up – back to top of page tab’ [influenced by Toggle site]
  • Add/adjust legal/disclaimer/socialmediapolicy info to blog – see blog discloser policy – also develop a short t&c reference link for email footer:
    […] Disclaimer: the following post is in draft format, much of the information needs clarification and my thoughts fell from my fingers into the keyboard without much consideration for the good work already being done – the following is not meant to be taken literally and it is not meant to dis-colour any local, government or academic authorities and initiatives – its simply my honest opinion and open thinking because that’s what blogs are for right? […]

    […] This email (which includes any files transmitted with it) is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed.

    If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing,

    or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error please notify Fellow™ by telephone on [.…]

    […] Email listing and data terms – emails will never be sold or distributed […]

  • Develop a clear Social Media Policy and Online Participation Guidelines <great start from Carl Haggerty!
  • Develop menu system (see dropdown header at fastco)
  • Site currently runs User Agent (WordPress Mobile Edition), must check bug issue with DotMobi
  • Investigate iPad version – current CSS has a bug which doesn’t allow scroll – and check this list! http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad)
  • Investigate Android/RIM/Tablet compatibility
  • Prepare EU Cookie Directive/Audit for ‘Essential Cookies (User Login, etc)’ and ‘Non-essential Cookies and Behaviour Tracking (Google Analytics, Social share Buttons etc)’ – see Cookie Law and Simple Wired Guide
  • Consider/integrate a Tiny URL service (useful consideration/reference)
  • Reconsider Phreadz functions
  • Make Right Sidebar Collapsible/Minimizable (Eg. Less Intrusive)
  • Create *Responsive* Design/Dynamic UX/UI (resize browser exampleA and exampleB)
  • Add Lightbox functionality to Flickr Widget.
  • Adjust/Create ‘Play-Audio-Within-Widget’ functions for the AudioBoo and Blip Widgets
  • Adjust retweets icon – incorporate http://tweetmeme.com functionality
  • Remove gap between tweet icon / comments header and comment panel
  • Restyle comment and pingpack functions to add threaded commenting (*visual inspiration here* and system http://js-kit.com) and highlight own replies to community (Inspiration: http://personalmba.com/business-school-top-four  and  http://tweetsuite.ihatemornings.com)
  • Look at gravatar integration
  • Google+ integration ?
  • Style PingBack Function (it currently kicks widget sidebar to the right)
  • Develop fully customizable Widget-Set and release as OpenSource for WordPress
  • Structure & re-assign all my registered domain names to support additional SEO
  • Remove Seesmic button and add a related Quora Answer button.
  • Work out a *page moving system/plugin* that doesn’t create dead links or dead google SEO urls
  • Add ‘keyword related suggestions’ to the FailWhale 404 page – help users find the right content
  • Incorporate Campaign Monitor / MailChimp functionality
  • Develop animated Avatar (http://fromme-toyou.tumblr.com/tagged/gif)
  • Investigate WPMU & BuddyPress stuff like CAPTCHA etc…––Also look to add some links to inspirational/respected blogs:

 

Jason Kottke

Josh Russell

Christian Payne

Seth Godin

Sam Wilson

Toggle

D&Q

Phil Campbell

AmazingPosts

TheEmployerHandbook

Marcus Weskcamp

Hydragenic

Tim Clague

Clay Shirky

Brian Solis

ConversationPrism

Nicolas Carr

Jessica Hagy

Randy Krum

Full Stop Interactive

Hey Yoshimi

Dan McQuillan

Russell Davies

Joel Spolsky

Dan Pink

Neil Perkin

Aleks Krotoski

HighWired

The 99 Percent

Information is Beautiful

GOOD

Teemu Arina

David Thorne

Michael Nielsen

Thomas Gokey

Marc Cuban

Frog Design

John Gruber

Discovery Institute

Paul Graham

Paul Miller

TechPicnic

Creative Generalist

SpecialTen

Always With Honour

Umair Hague

Dougald Hine

Social Edge

UrbanScale

Tom Chatfield

Aegir Hallmundur

Tim Davies

Jane McGonical

Keenan Yii

Aaron Endre

AdaFruit Industries (Hardware Hacking)

Berg London & Others

InventorSpot

TED

Do Lectures

Slashdot

BetaLi.st

co:

37Signals

Jess3

Bush Tech Survival Kit

PSYblog

John Hagel

Tim Brown (IDEO Fellow)

Stephen Zades

FunTheory

Raw UK

Luke Williams

JP Rangaswami

Kontra

Tom Hulme

Jonathan McDonald

Curated By

Meena Kadri

Paul Miller

Dentsu London

Bonnier R&D Publishing

Tinker

Gary Hamel

Ant Miller

Gary Tan

Matt Locke

LocalOpolis

Jeffrey Phillips

Jeremiah Owyang

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Philip Auerswald

♥wireframes

Method

CraigNewmark

Evan Roth

Rik Lomas

Buster Benson

Mattias Östmar

GlobalWebIndex

Stamen SF

RealitySandwich

BrainPickings

James Burke

theFWA (BenTheBodyGuard)

ArtDirectorsClub

Tatt.ly

Zach Holmann

Rob Hawkes

Wildbit

Matt Galligan

Oscar Bonilla

Seed Series Finance Documents (used by Instagram for round 1 funding)

Richard Millington (see: Online Community Manifesto)

EconomicsForHumanity

Mother Jones

NOKIA COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!
Sergio Silva @xrgo won an N900 trial!

Here is the LIVE Draw that Sergio Silva @Xrgo won:

Get your hands on a Nokia N900, Nokia N97 mini
or Nokia Booklet 3G !!!

Following my recent Social Media work in Budapest, I’m pleased to announce that I can provide one lucky individual with their very own chance of Nokia goodness – get your hands on your very own choice of either the Nokia N900, Nokia N97 mini or the Nokia Booklet 3G – the prize will arrive in the form of a free product trial (hopefully before the official UK release dates but sadly this I can’t guarantee).

Please note that the winning entry will be selected at random but if there’s less than ten correct entries overall then the first correct entry will be deemed the winner. The competition closing date will be Monday 2nd November 2009 10am GMT.

Simply tweet (or leave a comment below containing) the following message word-for-word (with the blank‘s replaced by the correct one-word answers) for your chance to win:

Missing blogger’s first name = blank. The boat sailed from Port number blank. A Star blank.
#Nokia #OnlineAsItHappens    http://bit.ly/3gahcC


Below are two ‘yet-to-be-released’ Nseries video’s… watch them closely because there were four bloggers in Budapest (I was one of them) but only three of them feature in both of the following video’s. You can find some additional clues in my blog posts if you need them.


Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Viddler video.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Viddler video.

#Deathbook : Post(s) Mortem of Social Media,
Online Content and Digital Rights Management

WORK IN PROGRESS (THIS IS CURRENTLY DRAFT AND REMAINS UN-EDITED AND UN-CHECKED – need to add more DRM and online media distribution and licensing details… creative commons and the fact BBC are developing their own version of Creative Commons…):

For the past few years, I and a few others have been asking questions like:

“What would happen to your email account, Facebook profile and Flickr photos if you were hit by a bus tomorrow?”


More and more people regard going online as a normal part of their daily activities (this is rising day by day, month on month and year on year), the Social Media Trends Map (and number of Web 2.0 services) grows daily and mobile internet use is set to triple by 2014 (Apples iPhone and iTouch already account for 3% of user traffic to BBC iplayer online TV).

As all of these trends increase, so do the numbers of social networks and mobile applications incorporating Web 2.0 compatible features; leading to a rapidly increasing number of media creators, digital content producers, bloggers (including micro-bloggers) and citizen journalists.

This digital evolution/revolution brings with it an increased number of User Accounts (including email addresses and user profiles across popular sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Bebo to name but a few; as well as business specific services such as LinkedIn).

As these technologies become ever closer to our fingertips, and as business, government, education and mainstream media (such as TV and news) adopt Social-Media Channels into their own communications, brands and communities (not just in the western world but also in the developing world) we’ll undoubtedly see further increases in the amount of digital content and data being produced and published (Eg. emails, blog posts, tweets, photos/pictures, audio recordings, videos, friends lists, favourites and bookmarks), plus more account based information generated such as online analytics, databases holding content such as event attendee details, rss subscriber lists, as well as such things as social network graphs and demographics).

All of the above has the ability to bring people together in conversation, education and collaboration which can be extremely empowering, positive and rewarding but it also raises many questions and concerns which I believe many of us are not taking seriously, or even considering.

The impact and sustainability of such technologies and infrastructures is truly a massive topic and one which goes far beyond the environmental impacts of energy consumption for google searches, efficiency of data storage and throw away aesthetic of mobile phones; in all likelyhood we’ll realise the true consequences of our current stupidity within the next five years – without having reliable statistics to hand it’d like to suggest that the population crisis we are currently facing (roughly 40% of the UK population are nearing Pension Age and this will probably increase to almost 60% within the next 20 years) will look like a drop in the ocean when compared to the amount of costly unused/archived/dead data of the future – all of which will need to be paid for in regards to storage and potential usage licensing.

As some of you may know, I buy domain names like some women reportedly buy shoes – and yes I’m looking at you PoppyD ‘-)

Back in 2007 I purchased the domain http://Deathbook.info (currently unused). At the time I didn’t know exactly why I felt compelled to hit the purchase button but over time it has become clear.

In 2008 I attended a BarCamp Brighton presentation on Death and Social-Media by Paul Silver where he raised and discussed some of the questions I’d been pondering (and continue to ponder) surrounding digital assets/rights management, online identity and its potential failing long-term:

If you die in the UK, your next of kin is given a death certificate. This is an official document notifying that a particular individual has died. To close bank accounts, sort out council tax, utility bills and credit accounts, you use the certificate to show a person has really died. This sort of paperwork is not a pleasant thing to deal with when you’re grieving for a loved one, but at least all the organisations you’re dealing with have policies and procedures to follow. What about websites and online assets?

+

Even with the introduction of OAuth and OpenID, many websites and services still use e-mail addresses to register, subscribe and login. However, the long-term problem with domains is that they’re rented, rather than bought. At some point, if you don’t renew it or perhaps even die, someone else will undoubtedly purchase your old domain (Eg. paulsilver.co.uk). Lets face it, their name will probably be Paul Silver and their e-mail address paul@paulsilver.co.uk. Presuming this, that person will find it very easy to gain access to lots of sites ‘Paul Silver’ registered with, because he used that email address to do so. If they try to register with that address, they may be told they’ve registered before, and then they can use the ‘forgotten password’ facility to get a password for the site. Suddenly, they’re Paul Silvers alias on the site. They can change the profile, delete old messages, see friends lists if it’s that sort of site, and so on – all on an account that isn’t technically theirs. This also leads to emails being delivered to the wrong recipient of the same name.

Since Paul’s talk I’ve heard various people discussing related topics and there’s even been services launched such as LegacyLocker.com and DeathSwitch.com that aim to solve some of the problems. (TechCrunch even wrote an article on LegacyLocker).

The topic continues to grow in momentum, with discussions and on topic presentations appearing everywhere; and although I can’t discuss (and don’t know specifics) I’m aware of at least one related UK start-up that’s attracting VC interest.

In 2010 (March 12th-16th) Austin Texas will be host to SXSW Interactive – five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology. There is a long list of proposed talks and presentations submitted towards a public vote but I’m slightly concerned that only one appears to explore this topic:

‘Posts Mortem’ – aims to address some of the larger, wider and as yet un solved issues of the increasing digital economy. Proposed by Adele McAlear

In support of Adele’s proposed presentation and in line with the growing adoption of social media and mobile related technologies by government, business, education and society – whilst recognizing the principles and initiatives of such movements as RebootBritain, OpenRightsGroup and BootCycle – I’d like to make deathbook.info an available home for a #Deathbook Campaign to increase awareness, encourage discussion and inspire government lobbying for much needed consideration, policy, understanding and transparency surrounding the topic.

I’d love to hear your thoughts =)

PS: Don’t forget to vote for Posts Mortem