Category Archives: Social Media

Pondering Community/Mission Building

Screenshot 2013-10-18 10.48.33One of the areas that I like to cover in the Social Computing ecosystem is that surrounding Community development and management. In the past I have been far more focused on exploring open source platforms and the raw ingredients that have shaped the success of community development as an alternative to push marketing. Continue reading Pondering Community/Mission Building

Digital Artefacts and a Life of Bits

An interesting paper from a conference at NUIG at the weekend has made the Irish Times. Latest precedent suggests that legally the rights to your life online are to be included in your will. The article reports that Damien McCallig speaking at the ‘Privacy from Birth to Death and Beyond’ symposium suggested that it inevitable that the rights to accounts on Twitter, Facebook and similar social media will soon be subject of legal estates much like the shoebox of physical memories that loved ones have come to treasure. However, our digital artefacts are beginning to pose a new conundrum to the courts as they are caught up in the T&C and locked behind passwords.

An Intriguing Autopsy

FriendsterIn advance of our discussions on Social Spaces, the The Physics arXiv Blog has conveniently released a study resulting from a larger study exploring why Friendster failed. Often tagged as one of the first social networks – and subsequently as one of the more prolific failures, Friendster offers a unique forensic petri dish. There are some very interesting conclusions (ease of entry and exit, effort involved in participating, active means to encourage connection and engagement), some seemingly basic, but which shed some useful light on the larger principles emerging around online social networks. This study reflects an emerging opportunity to get an in-depth look at recently functioning entities – much in the same way that the digital detritus of ENRON provided massive indictment of flagrant cowboy culture.

The Uneven Geography of the Web

FS Nairobi NovI was attracted to a short Guardian post this morning that asked the simple question – Who uses Twitter in Africa – and where are they based? Simple enough and a great little research question. The article references Mark Graham and the Oxford Internet Institute. The selection of eight quick maps gives a small glimpse at the power of being able to tap into the Twitter API and do some quick geospatial visualisation to answer some useful research questions. The static images are merely tantalising (and the Guardian’s coverage is superficial) however and I clicked through to see if there was more meat in the underlying research. Continue reading The Uneven Geography of the Web

Exploring the Value of Embedded Activity Streams in the Enterprise

Microsoft has announced this week that it is embedding the recently acquired Yammer into its Sharepoint and Office 365 products. The last two years have seen the rise of’s Chatter and Tibco’s Tibr. The addition of Yammer to Microsoft’s products follows this trend and emphasises a growing belief that there is value to attempting to tap into informal knowledge exchange in the enterprise. Collabouration is the oft cited example of the benefit, but the lack of metrics to measure impact and the argument of excessive static enliven the discussion.

This short interview from Alex Williams of TechCrunch with the founder of Siasto attempt to clarify how they see the rewards of the embedded activity stream benefiting the customer. In a nutshell, there are 5 specific benefits identified: Continue reading Exploring the Value of Embedded Activity Streams in the Enterprise

Rating Retail Ethics

I happened to come across the site Ethical Consumer the other day. It probably stemmed from an anti-Starbucks tweet pointing people to the recent ethical ranking of coffee shops suggesting that Starbuck’s was the worse and AMT the best. Whether you agree or disagree with the criteria and the metrics applied to reach this conclusion, the process of allowing people to weight the results according to their own judgement – and by also surfacing evidence to make this judgement based on close trawling of public but easily overlooked corporate information, raises some interesting questions.  Continue reading Rating Retail Ethics

Facebook Friends

Mapping Facebook FriendsThere is something very intriguing about this recent visualisation created by Mia Newman entitled: Mapping the World’s Friendships. It has a number of compelling features:

  • the visualisation design is particularly well-crafted – colours chosen, faded map features – all of which make the data front and centre;
  • the interactive ability to choose the country I am interested in and through a fluid transition see the ‘friends’ of residents of that country. Continue reading Facebook Friends

Placeraider and Virtual Theft

In the past we have had websites and services such as that attempted to alert the public to the ways in which greater online and social media vigilance is required to protect ourselves. Recent studies have pointed out vulnerabilities and the potential for malware to snoop on spoken credit card numbers or to capture keystrokes tapped on the screen. Now we have a fascinating and scary paper published at Cornell exploring the ways in which augmented reality on smartphones is being employed to maliciously use the camera and other sensors to create a surreptitious virtual picture of your physical enviromnment enabling others to virtually steal financial documents or snoop informatoon displayed on computer screens. They demonstrate an application called PlaceRaider that conducts remote reconnaisance and also suggest ways that we can protect ourselves from such a  threat.

The Shift from Smart Selling to Smart Buying

I was frustrated last week when listening to a so-called ‘marketing expert’ on newstalk radio. Speaking with George Hook he made what I felt was an outrageous claim that ‘social media just doesn’t work for small and medium business.’ Sure the hook got me, and I gave him my attention – there are aspects of SM that certainly challenge existing business practices, but the rather blatant ‘doesn’t work’ claim seemed shockingly naive. It works in many contexts as any thinking individual would realise but this chap actually dismisses it out of hand – and is getting paid good bucks for making the claim. Seriously. The unmitigated gall and smug delivery – feel my outrage. Continue reading The Shift from Smart Selling to Smart Buying

Clairvoyance Overrated

And we all thought that it was so prescient 😉 Apparently a study has just come up with the astounding claim that Twitter cannot predict the outcome of elections. Unpacking that a bit and trying to remove the headline from the actual study content, I am unsure who was making the rather silly claim that the tool itself was capable of providing specific new insights. There is a lovely collection of social expression there thought that undoubtedly can be mined effective to determine some sentiment. However, in fairness should we see Twitter in a light much different from the ‘scientific’ polls that are conducted by agencies claiming to be able to give predictions of the same calibre? Continue reading Clairvoyance Overrated