Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Data is gold – 91,000 terabytes of uncharted web: welcome to the dark side

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

So, you use the internet? Congratulations, you have a couple of thousand terabytes of charted web @ your disposal: company websites, twitter streams, the magic Kingdom of Facebook, and the wondrous tentacles of Google land. But all of this mindboggling information is only a tiny percentage of what the internet really is: a gargantuan monster…

Picture this: The World Wide Web is rather huge, really… Google found more than a 1 trillion (that’s 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web, and is still trying to index all of those ( in 2006, 25 billion sites were fully indexed). However, most experts refer to this “visible” part of the web as the “surface web”.

Surface web is an adequate term, if you currently draw your nets  in the ocean of online info; you’re barely scratching the surface. The Dark Web, or Hidden Web is approximately 540 times bigger than the web you experience daily. Apart from secret military streams, long lost and forgotten early-day-experiments, over machine-to-machine botnets and criminal set-ups, there are whole sections of the web (like freenet for instance) that are concealed from the normal user.

While big players as Google, Bing and Facebook desperately try to chart, map, reach and index this Deep Web or Dark Web, none of them are making remarkable progress: the Dark Web is still uncomfortably dark, and “hidden”.  However, in this Dark Web, people are storing data, having conversations, expressions, opinions… that are now mostly lost for the indexing, tracking and measuring giants.

Michael Bergman is an American academic, specializing in this Deep Web. He found the deep web to be approximately 550 times larger than surface world wide web. His study says that: “The deep web is the fastest growing category of new information on the internet … The value of deep web content is immeasurable … internet searches are searching only 0.03% … of the [total web] pages available.”

Tim Berners-Lee, CERN scientist who stood at the very cradle of the world wide web has a compelling vision: “I have a dream for the web in which computers become capable of analyzing all the data on the web – the content, links, and transactions between people …” His dream of a Semantic, indexed and holistic web is still a distant dreamy thought however… But the key to a better understanding of knowledge, sentiment and vision might be found in the dark web.

Content is Gold. Measuring is knowing. 99% of the web remains unexplored. Leave the charted waters, Go West. Again ;-) .

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Twitter, a threat to a journalist’s personal brand?

By Christian Remon

Following the debate at BJIT last Thursday, I was surprised by some old-fashioned statements that certain panel members put forward. What struck me the most was that not all communication professionals are convinced of the added value of new media for both journalists and media companies as a brand.

The debate got heated when Pol Deltour, national secretary of the Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten, stated that Twitter is a threat to the journalist’s personal brand and a danger for the credibility of the media he is working for. In his eyes, social media changes the way journalists are perceived: as marketers rather than journalists. But haven’t journalists always been marketers? Aren’t we, in fact, all marketers of our personal brand? Like Alain Gerlache, journalist at RTBF, says:  “Journalists are a brand”. They are the face of a media channel! People read newspapers because journalists are writing qualitative articles about topics that interest them in a way that pleases them.

Traditional media shouldn’t worry, good content is still king. But the game has become more complex.  Accept the fact that scoops no longer exist as speed is the new normal in a world where people are 24/7 confronted with an information overload. Have faith in your journalists. They are capable of using the same common sense they use in their stories online! So please, embrace new media as a way to leverage the brand.

Frankly, I can’t possibly think of a better way than to let journalists syndicate the good content they and their colleagues produce and engage in a discussion afterwards. This leads to more active engagement from the audience and helps build long-term relationships with them as a consumer. Rather than fearing new media, journalists and media companies should try to use them strategically to leverage their (personal) brand, build credibility and establish authority.

Just so you know, Reuters’ social media policy embraces the fact that journalists have (a desire for) a personal brand.

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If you want to be sheep, get in a flock, if you want to be wolves, form a pack

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

Bruce Sterling did not disappoint me at the closing of SxSW. A cynic futurist and gifted speaker, he has a tradition of naming the things exactly as he sees them, without dressing them up. While he usually writes with vinegar, he switches to vitriol in his talks.

The closing speech was a 45 minute ranting, where Sterling gave Exxon Mobile, the Catholic Church, politicians, Berlusconi and Google C-levels a full broadside of his legendary fuming.

Women, cast away all the cowards from your embraces, “ gives a good idea of the tone of voice, but it got even better when Sterling invited the young generation to take over an overheating planet from the generation that let it happen:  “Go away, Boomers! You need to take power, millennials. I’ll vote for ya! Move to Austin, take over the town, and create a global youth movement. Boomers, shut up, your days are gone.  What you should study now is collaborative consumption. Days of rage, baby. Be realistic, demand the impossible!

Sterling was steaming about the fact that, while nuclear power plants are burning, and the planet is heating… the people who can move the needle sit on their coach, playing with their PlayStations and Wii’s. He’s convinced that without a revolution, the necessary efforts to save the planet and invest in clean technologies that will allow us a future will never be made.

Sterling points out that it is the millennials who should grab their future now. And they have the ultimate weapon to enforce things: the power of a social net.

All they need now is rage.


 

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Oil and water… (it’s not them, it’s you!)

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

SxSW is seen by many as the ideal launch platform for social media start-ups. Twitter, over countless others to Foursquare own a great deal of “launch momentum” to the Texas based exhibition. Only, what was the golden start-up this year?

A lot of start-ups come and try to pitch their cause at the blogger lounge, and I heard more than once that the overwhelming presence of bigger brands prevented smaller start-ups from getting a fair share of voice. Gigabrands like Google, Foursquare, Twitter etc. eating up so much attention that they literally smother to death the little beginners?

Excuse me, but I have difficulties buying that. A ton of journalists, bloggers, podcasters, venture capitalists and business angels are sifting through the five days of SxSW to find the little gem that will grow to the next Gowalla. Investors were roaming the floor with dollars in their pockets.  Claiming that you do not get noticed because O’Reilly stole your five minutes of glory is a little bit too Calimero to my taste.

Oil and water. They do not mix, and oil floats on top. Always. So does quality. If no journalist, blogger or investor made you an instant billionaire, you probably only have to blame yourself. Is your product really outstanding? Does it create a unique user experience? Is it unique? Is it compelling? Did you pitch it correctly? To the right people? Were you professional in advance briefing your targets, and in shortlisting face to face meetings? How good was your leave-behind? How professional your deck? Did you present it well: with passion and conviction? Did you identify the right messaging?

Confucius said that 98 percent of luck sits in clever preparation. Who am I to disagree… if you were worth it, you’ll get in the charts. If not: back to the drawing board…

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Pretty please? It’s not about stuff, it is about us…

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

Everybody needs to make a living, so I respect that everybody sells something. And listening to all the people selling their thing-of-gold @ #SxSW I cooked up a very simple rule-of-thumb to separate the chaff from the wheat.

It’s no rocket science: ignore the people that are talking about applications, software, browsers, plug-ins and tutti-quanti. They will not make it. Selling stuff will get you nowhere in the charts in the social media world. And a quick poll amongst the influent bloggers in the blogger lounge shows a similar view. Selling stuff is an indication that you do not get the game., it proves that you are playing in the wrong league. It proves that you are on a rollercoaster to lonely oblivion…

Because the game is social. And social just does not care a bit about stuff, social is about people, social is about experiencing and social, more than everything, is about us.

And the people selling experiences stand out like traffic lights in the Mobiwashi desert. Because the online consumers do not want to buy, they want to experience. And if good experience goes through a quick tap through their credit card, they do not care.

So, spotting great user experiences, gives you a great roadmap to real successful companies. How do you benefit from location based services? What curation service will get you the most relevant content? What platform will give you the most interaction with your audience, what tool will let you travel without having to worry about keeping track of your important shared documents?

It’s no longer about bits, and bytes, and CPU’s and whether or not it runs on Honeycomb, OS, Win7 or magic stardust. It’s about how and where and why. The web morphed from tech to social, from geeky to ubiquitous, from stuff to us…


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Excuse me… but who is “We” exactly?

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

It must be the old journalist in me. But way too often I hear in keynotes, panels and conversations the gratuitous We”, or even more angering the totalitarian “they”. “We all think…..”; “They need….”, “We all want….. they need to give….”.

I have big difficulties with these generalizing pointers. Maybe it is because I’m special, but every time I hear a keynote speaker go “and that is what we all want”, I have this uncontrollable urge to stand up and shout “not true, I’m not.” I hate it when the audience is unidirectionaly demystified, stripped from all individuality, and crammed into two buckets: “we” and “they”.

Very often I cannot identify myself with either the we or the they… and voicing the angry inner dialogue in the vast personal kingdom of my head after being pulled into a “we-crowd” against my will would be illegal on most planets.

So do not link me to whatever you have to say. Show respect for the fragile thing that makes me me. Talk about people, as Guy Kawasaki does so charmingly (or should I say “enchantingly”), talk about friends, talk about persons. Say there are, or I noticed.

You know what, if your keynote is compelling, interesting, challenging, smart, revolutionary, different or entertaining, I will join your “We” club willingly, unconditionally and completely. Until then, you’ll have to earn it.

As former French president Mitterand once said: “Tu peux me dire vous”. :-) .

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Brands : Stop Being, start Behaving…

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

One of the killer questions in the different panels and talks at #SxSW in Austin is: “… and what about brands”. Because, let’s face it: the boring internet of unidirectional websites has evolved into an online social forum, where people meet, talk and share.

The net is social, and the people have taken over the net in a peaceful revolution. That’s fine… but what about brands? Brands have invested heavily to build out their net-presence over the last decades, and are worried their dollars might evaporate overnight, with the masses gone rogue and confined to Facebook and Twitter. While people like Jeremiah Owyang (Altimeter) think it is a bad thing for brands to move away from the trusted fortresses of their corporate websites, this does not mean there is no future for brands in the social space.

I’m agreeing with Owyang that abandoning the build-up brand capital that now is resting in the corporate websites is a bad idea. However, rethinking the website as the vibrating energetic center of a social online ecosystem is smart. Social sites add a ton of interacting and engaging possibilities into the brands online ecosphere, and are capital to bring vital social interaction into the equation.

The first steps in this process are a bit awkward. Beyond the heavily protected walls of the corporate websites, the social online ecosphere looks like a terrifying jungle to the brand owners. There is no perceived sensation of control, which triggers asthma attacks and anxiety in more than one corporate boardroom.

The answer is however simple: go with the flow and partner up (or hire) with online Tarzans who will give you the survival code book of the jungle, effectively turning it into a social ecosystem.  Because this is a fact: Just being a brand online will get you nowhere. Just having a brand presence will not propel you into the winning charts. You will have to allow your brand to behave like a social citizen.

Humanizing corporate brands and making them alive online, allowing a human face to interact with the online community are the first getaways to new opportunities to shine. But for that, brands will have to take the hurdle from controlled “being” to social “behaving”…. And that…. is a difficult one.  :-)

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Curating content across borders: use the power of crowds!

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

When you specialize in cross-border, multi lingual integrated communications –like I do- you get old very, very fast ;-) . Dealing with more than 70 languages and five alphabets (and that is Europe alone) is not easy, and dealing with dynamic content is hell. How do you find it in that amount of different tongues? How do you distribute it? How can you make sure contextual information is preserved?

How do you ensure quality of translations, and a fair geographic split of content intake? How do you distribute content back in all of those languages, and how can you track comments to be able to maintain a decent finger on the pulse?

No one better to help with out with that than Steve Rosenbaum the friendly eyed author of “Curation Nation”, a fabulous, crystal clear, hands-on book on curating content. Rosenbaum gets content as no other, and is able to synthesize his thoughts in a soft spoken concise way, that I like. Enjoy his response… and his pointer at using the crowd to its fullest extent…

 

 

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Tweeting gold, Check-in Silver, Liking Diamonds

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

Tweeting gold, Check-in Silver, Liking Diamonds

It’s fast, it’s in, it’s social, it’s easy, it’s entertaining, it’s cool, it’s the thing to do, it’s fun, and it’s educative: social media took our world by storm. Updating Facebook, finding the right places through location based services, keeping your Twitterville happy, and Googling the steam out of your environment added a whole new meaning to how we interact with our physical and social world.

Just following SxSW in Austin, you see people glued to their smartphones as if there was no tomorrow, and the number of tweets, check-ins, updates and posts bangs through the roof with gracious ease.

And all of that for free. Free Facebook, Twitter, Twitter clients, check-in services etc… occasionally you can spend a couple of bucks on some application, but nothing so expensive that it will make American Express call you to ask if you finally lost in.

Leaves the devices. Let’s say it’s reasonable. A couple of hundred dollars will get you a state-of-the-art social weapon to conquer your digital online world, even buying a high end top notch shiny one will cost less than a year of smoking.

But here is the trick: social media for mobile warriors does not come cheap. In fact, it is freaking expensive. Uploading and downloading your life through the cloud to your friends eats up bites, megabytes… gigabytes… and those come at a price. Dataplans of most carriers give out a decent flat-fee deal on mobile data, but as soon you breach through ‘normal use’ the prices skyrock.

And then, there is international roaming, which for Europeans and Asians coming to SxSW can get up as high as 20 dollars… per megabyte. Every day some innocent global traveller gets the yellow hinky-pinkies when the mobile phone bill hits the fan. Uploading a YouTube movie while in the States? Used a little half an hour of Facetime or Skype over 3G while in Austin? You might get an over 1000 dollar bill. That is the price of an iPad 2 with ABS, power steering, and 17 inch rims.

So every time the free Wi-Fi in Austin falters, and your Instagram gets uploaded through 3G, a mobile operator somewhere grins happily, while sipping some expensive bubbly drink. Your social life just made his day.

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You never walk alone…

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

While covering #SxSW in Austin is fun, educative, entertaining and generally nice… it is also hard work. The ten venues that encompass the event this year are not exactly in spitting distance from each other, and endless long hall ways, tricky stairs and Austin’s historic pavements are a pure torture for the feet.

Add to that the murdering difference between the soft autumn temperature outside, and the freezing chill inside the meeting halls, the long hours, the time differences and relentless jetlag, the greasy-food-on-the-go, the pressure to choose wisely between more than 6400 keynotes, talks, panels, demos and chats… and you are up for nerve-wracking body-breaking experience.

Luckily, we do not have to do this on our own. The local Porter Novelli team in Austin, captained by energybulb Aaron De Lucia, goes lengths to make this an as smooth as possible experience for the weary PN’ers coming from far away. From reservation, to registration, to help and encouragement “on the floor”, this team does an amazing job.

In between their busy client work, they are great company, they leave their loved ones alone at night to show us the places-to-be and assist in solving a myriad of small but urgent problems.

The PN content team is amazing as well, from the first cry of the Austin rooster, to the last round of the VIP swamped party, these people are everywhere… hammering their dusty keyboards till way too late in the night to produce content to share.

“With a little help from my friends” or “You never walk alone” cheesy songs, but they spring into mind when the team converges a couple of times today for updates and energy sharing. Tao Tze said you cannot walk to your destiny alone… but I’m not scared…

Porter Novelli? It’s a well-oiled Social Army….


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