|Tuesday, April 29, 2003|
Why do i Blog - 2
"The blank page gives us the right to dream." -- Gaston Bachelard
11:00:55 PM comment  trackback 
So much happening on the Music scene all over the world ... the battle escalates between the recording industry and online music services ...
- A judge in Los Angeles rules Grockster and Morpheus not liable for piracy
- Apple launches its music service ... this news item posted yesterday at Metafilter has received 142 comments at last count. Interesting reactions. Looks good to me, with more than 200,000 songs to download at 99 cents a piece. A huge BUT though ... why is it only for people with a billing address in the US ?
- In Europe, the EMI Group has signed deals to put the bulk of its music catalog on the Web in Europe, in its boldest bid yet to exploit the medium that has threatened to bring the record industry to its knees. Not sure what their pricing structure is going to be ... Online Blog (link via Sameer) seems to suggest a whopping 1 Pound Sterling per track.
- A different angle from India : Indian Music industry croons ëradio editsí as FM players eat into market pie"With a series of private FM radio stations being launched in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, the music industry is sitting up once again. Earlier, it was the threat of piracy that kept the music companies on tenterhooks, and now the crowded FM radio market in the metros is making them sing the tune of ìradio edits.î
The music industry is in a serious situation because of MP3 format, piracy and multiple FM radio stations, says Indian Music Industry (IMI) president V J Lazarus. Even as top officials of private FM radio companies such as Entertainment Network India Ltd (Radio Mirchi) and Music Broadcast Private Ltd (Radio City) are saying that internationally radio promotes music, the industry does not adhere to this theory. Mr Lazarus says: ìFM radio stations are more of a competition for us.î
While the battle continues and the pricing is tossed around ..... Kazaa rules.
11:30:39 AM comment  trackback 
|Friday, April 25, 2003|
Stuart Henshall writes about Conversational Blogging here and here .... a current favourite area of interest and pre-occupation. He points to a great article by Steve Bowbrick in the Guardian - Secret of their success , which states :
"The best blogs are written with conversation in mind, I've noticed that good blogging is a kind of conversation. Not the literal, verbal conversation of a face-to-face encounter, but the give-and-take of an unconditional and open dialogue."
Stuart raises some issues that i've been pondering over (and expressed a few views in a short post i called Blogs and Conversations), ever since i started blogging a month ago. Some excerpts from his posts on the topic - my adds in purple :
"There's certainly a good degree of truth in it (he refers to the Guardian article here). My question is for myself as well. If Conversation Blogging is humming why do I see so few comments on mine or other blogs (except for the real noted ones)? What the reason for the reticence? Why don't we comment more? Are we reading them all though newsreaders? "
Keep looking for more stuff .... he has some neat thoughts on the design and layout of "Professional Blogs" and draws comparisons from observations of youth blogs on LiveJournal or Blurty.
"I'm really thinking we must look at the "professional blog" formats really demonstrated by the Radio / MT professionals that have taken it up versus the 18/24 year old who has a substantially richer feedback environment and are using them not just to "tell the world". They also have friends and profile components. "
"Sometimes the threads die to the outside world. Other times they are lost in a phone call. What struck me was looking at Live Journal and Blurty pages recently. Many had comments in double digits. More like Asynchonous IM. When you throw a post out there it is nice to get something back. A big thanks to all recent commenters!
Now I'm still not sure about the correct protocol for answering comments. In the comments thread? Somewhere else? As the "blogging community" is amorphous, there aren't the "cues" that one finds in RYZE or in Live Journal.
So what "values" would you promote to create a successful small blogging community? Is there an illustration already out there?"I think its a relatively unexplored yet potentially high value area, with many many potential applications for individuals, communities and corporations. I'm going to follow closely the changes he makes on his blog that encourage conversations .. and possibly shamelessly 'steal' some of his ideas!
7:18:23 PM comment  trackback 
Social Software / Blogging Tools
I've been away for almost 10 days and my News Aggregator is full of recent developments in the area of Social Software and Blogging tools ... there've been a lot of exciting happenings ... and i must thank Seb for reporting on many of these events and sharing his thoughts - his blog's a tremendous resource !
Here are some links to these stories :
"Six Apart (Ben and Mena's company, the creator of Movable Type) just announced their hosted service, TypePad. They also announced that Anil has joined the team. Also somewhere in the announcement is a bit about my company, Neoteny investing in Six Apart. I'm very excited both as a Movable Type user/fan and as an investor." (via Joi Ito)
"Competition heats up.
Flemming Funch writes : "Mikel Maron has a cool visualization of the Blogosphere. You see on the world map in real time what people post on their weblogs. Is it really real time? Anyway, very neat with a different perspective like that. I am fond of global displays. That's how I'd like to get all sorts of information. A display of the world that you can then drill into, to look closer at different parts." (via Ming the Mechanic)
"Many-to-Many blog launches
Thanks to the involvement of a rapidly growing and densely interacting group of developers, designers, thinkers, and users, social software is getting more exciting every day. I believe that Many-to-Many will provide an interesting set of points of view on this emerging area, and hopefully help fuel illuminating conversations." (via Seb's Open Research)
"Had a great Happening today to kick off discussion on the Social Software Alliance. What's fascinating about this group is its participation by enterprises of all sizes as well as independent developers and practioners. Good discussion, example of standards, expression of work to come. As a trade group it will serve to move as fast as the market, gain quick consensus on what to support, work with other standards groups that support heavyweight issues and foster simple interoperability." (via Ross Mayfield)
Waiting to hear more views on the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference.
7:12:53 PM comment  trackback 
For all Jazz Fans
On Jazz : a wonderful collection of photos and much much more ...
"The William P. Gottlieb Collection: Sizteenhundred Photographs of the Golden Age of Jazz. Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Doris Day
6:00:22 PM comment  trackback 
|Thursday, April 24, 2003|
Kid Marketing Forum
Missed out on the Nickelodeon-Brand Equity Kid Marketing Forum held in Mumbai yesterday, as i was away. Among the questions that were raised and answered were those on the influence kids exert on purchase, what drives brand loyalty among children, what fundamentally appeals to children and how successful childrenís brands get built and command loyalty over extended periods in time.
Here are a few excerpts from a report on the event ...
"Ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakar, of Genesis Films, argued that kids do not see advertising as advertising, but as entertainment. ìIf you appeal to kids and adults alike itís good for you, but if your advertising doesnít appeal to kids, you lose half your audience,î he says. Drawing from his filmmaking experience, Kakar also spent time explaining how allowing child models to have fun at the shoot and ìbe themselvesî helped make better ads. He also strongly urged marketers to curb the tendency to talk down to kids. ìTreat kids as equals,î he said, adding that the use of celebrities in ads targeted at kids will work ìas long as the celebrity has been used properly, and is not condescendingî. "
"Neerja Wable, senior vice-president & executive director, IMRB, and head of Millward Brown India, revealed that Indian tweens still place a lot of importance on honouring tradition. ìëBeing better than othersí is also seen as a very important factor by Indian children, but the attribute ëI want to be famousí is highest in India, with 90 per cent of children desiring fame,î she says. She added that the research showed that Indian tweens are very optimistic and positive about the future, when compared to tweens from other countries."
"An opportunity: In sheer numbers, the potential to market brands to kids in India is bigger than the market potential of the whole of Western Europe. A threat: globally, ëtweensí (kids in the 8-to-14 age group) are 40-per cent less loyal to brands as compared to adults."
9:42:55 PM comment  trackback 
Youth Futures - 3
During a recent study, i was particularly taken with the thoughts, attitude and behaviour of a 20 year old in Bangalore. He was a participant in one of a series of focus groups i was moderating in large metros across the country. At the focus group, he was quiet, for the most part, yet he knew all there is to know about all the 'right symbols'. His manner was gentle, collaborative, non-confrontational, conversational - not once did he try and force his views on the group, yet when he had a different point of view than his peers, he stated it confidently. At one stage I felt he was as much an observer as I.
As part of the study, i met him later at his home - we did the usual round of photographing his personal space ... he showed me some of the modelling he was doing (an engineering student after all), his music collection, his favourite clothes and other such stuff. We got talking about heroes and role models - this is an interesting area .. increasingly there are fewer and fewer icons the youth speaks of .. barring Sachin Tendulkar, a few Filmstars and a few topshot Industrialists. While each of these had a place on his list of traits in people he admires, this guy found it very difficult to pinpoint anyone that he considered to be an icon in the true sense of the term.
Then he took me over to his computer .. and took me through all the many discussion groups he was on - most of them initiated by him. What struck me was the amazing range of topics - from aeromodelling to music, religion to politics, the search for individual identity to visions of a better India. He told me that these discussions are not restricted to the virtual world - and that there is the need to act. He was involved in so many things .. keep the neighbourhood clean drives, many campus activities, running little playgroups for kids in his neighbourhood.
And then we moved on to discussing what he wanted to be - and i was quite stunned by his answer ... a Politician is what he said. Stunned because we tend to look at politicians with some suspicion (i realise my own bias here :) ). And in his quiet manner he told me how he wanted to use the education, the opportunities he had been fortunate to receive, to change the world.
In his words ... "We must each clean our own toilet. Unless we ourselves get our own hands dirty, how can we expect it to get sparklingly clean, so that we are proud when we take a guest into it. And so we don't turn up our own nose when we use it"
7:30:28 PM comment  trackback 
Youth Futures - 2
The typical picture that comes to mind of an upmarket youngster is..
"i wear only 'brands' ... clothes off the street are passe"
"the smaller the cell phone, the better .. i'd rather not have a cell phone than carry around the huge monster that my dad handed down to me"
"Eminem rocks ... pop sucks"
"my heroes .. Sachin Tendulkar and my dad .. a self-made successful businessman"
Get a bunch of eight upper income group youngsters together in a group .. start a conversation on trends ... you will usually find seven (if not all eight) voices trying to outshout the other on why 'i'm the coolest' ...
Superficial, materialistic, 'wannabe's', expedient, consumeristic ... these are some of the perceptions and misconceptions one could take away.
But scratch deeper - go to their homes, hang-out with them for a while, look at their private space - their rooms, their slambooks, their collections. Listen to their deeper thoughts and visions ... and you might be quite surprised at the different story unveiled.
Lessons i learnt :
First, from a methodological standpoint, any qualitative researcher must realise and appreciate the extent of posturing that goes on in this 'artificial' focus group set-up, particularly among this young segment that is always out to 'impress' his peers. We must have no preconceptions, must be willing to look around the curve and lift the carpet to check what's beneath.
Second, there's more depth to youth than this techno-savvy, peer-driven, materialistic, expedient, wannabe consumer marketers focus on. They can and do have visions of the future that might surprise us all. Lets really listen to their stories for the cutting edge.
7:26:19 PM comment  trackback 
Youth Futures - 1
Sohail Inayatullah in an article, 'Youth Dissent: Multiple Perspectives on Youth Futures' , speaks of youth scenarios and the future of youth around the world. He draws an interesting comparison of youth in the West and the 'non-West' :
in an article, 'Youth Dissent: Multiple Perspectives on Youth Futures' , speaks of youth scenarios and the future of youth around the world. He draws an interesting comparison of youth in the West and the 'non-West' :
, speaks of youth scenarios and the future of youth around the world. He draws an interesting comparison of youth in the West and the 'non-West' :
"What then can we say about youth futures around the world? First, there are clear differences among the futures youth practice around the world. This is so partly because of the structures of history. The future is created by three factors. The first is the push of the future - technology (the net, genomics), demographics (the aging population living in the West and the global teenager living in the Third World), for example. The second are deep structures which are difficult, nearly impossible, to change - feudalism in Pakistan, tribalism in Africa, Confucianism in East Asia, imperialism and colonialism in the OECD, and patriarchy in various forms throughout the world. Third is the image of the future, this is the pull of the future, the vision that transforms. It transforms either because it creates a new pattern of ideas which aids in human social evolution (Sarkar's Microvita, 23 Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields) or it serves as a point of coherence for practical actions. In the non-West, the Third world, traditions are stronger: Islam, Confucianism (which cohere) as well as feudalism and patriarchy (which create strong hierarchies). In OECD nations, the problems are associated with a loss of meaning, a loss of a clear vision of the future - except in the banal forms of consumption - the problem of hyper-wealth for a few a middle class for most (with a strong underclass of others including youth) and the ecological problematique. This is in the context of the underlying imperialistic nature of the West, for example, in the lack of institutional capacity to apologize to Aboriginals in Australia. The trends impacting youth are also different. Technological transformations are far more prevalent in the West as is the aging of society. In the Third world it is the global teenager and huge numbers all moving to the city in the hope of escaping the tyranny of community and poverty in the village (while in the West, there is movement away from the tyranny of individuality in the city and a desperate search for community). The differences are also explained by the different expectations. In the Third world context, the expectation is of continuing the family tradition, of earning income to support the family. While in the West, independence and carving one's life out in an autonomous manner is far more important." He also speaks of different ways youth across the world express their concerns - and how these expressions are rooted in the socio-cultural environment they live in. For instance ... "Malaysian youth rebel via rock and roll (Western music and clothes) and via a return to Islam (challenging state secularism and westernization). Chinese youth rebel through the symbols of Western democracy, spiritual practices and the Internet. German youth rebel via the green anti-nuke movement and as well through the neo-nazi movement." The article ends with the hope that youth, through action and vision can and will create their own future. "Youth are one aspect of the creation of a different future. What role they will play in either solidifying global capitalism (muddling-through) and creating the Artificial Society or in helping transform the world to a communicative-inclusive future is not clear. Certainly they are playing dramatic roles in all these scenarios, from street protests against globalization to the .com revolution to working with environmental and spiritual social movements. Through their actions and their visions they are creating a different future. Whether they do it through dance or music, or student rebellion or the latest Web-site, they should not be ignored. The periphery, after all, was once the Center. And if this generation of youth age and normalize and naturalize themselves in the prevailing paradigm - muddling through - there is always the next generation to come" This article has me thinking of Indian Youth ... thoughts on that in later posts ....
"What then can we say about youth futures around the world? First, there are clear differences among the futures youth practice around the world. This is so partly because of the structures of history. The future is created by three factors. The first is the push of the future - technology (the net, genomics), demographics (the aging population living in the West and the global teenager living in the Third World), for example. The second are deep structures which are difficult, nearly impossible, to change - feudalism in Pakistan, tribalism in Africa, Confucianism in East Asia, imperialism and colonialism in the OECD, and patriarchy in various forms throughout the world. Third is the image of the future, this is the pull of the future, the vision that transforms. It transforms either because it creates a new pattern of ideas which aids in human social evolution (Sarkar's Microvita, 23 Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields) or it serves as a point of coherence for practical actions.
In the non-West, the Third world, traditions are stronger: Islam, Confucianism (which cohere) as well as feudalism and patriarchy (which create strong hierarchies). In OECD nations, the problems are associated with a loss of meaning, a loss of a clear vision of the future - except in the banal forms of consumption - the problem of hyper-wealth for a few a middle class for most (with a strong underclass of others including youth) and the ecological problematique. This is in the context of the underlying imperialistic nature of the West, for example, in the lack of institutional capacity to apologize to Aboriginals in Australia.
The trends impacting youth are also different. Technological transformations are far more prevalent in the West as is the aging of society. In the Third world it is the global teenager and huge numbers all moving to the city in the hope of escaping the tyranny of community and poverty in the village (while in the West, there is movement away from the tyranny of individuality in the city and a desperate search for community).
The differences are also explained by the different expectations. In the Third world context, the expectation is of continuing the family tradition, of earning income to support the family. While in the West, independence and carving one's life out in an autonomous manner is far more important."
He also speaks of different ways youth across the world express their concerns - and how these expressions are rooted in the socio-cultural environment they live in. For instance ... "Malaysian youth rebel via rock and roll (Western music and clothes) and via a return to Islam (challenging state secularism and westernization). Chinese youth rebel through the symbols of Western democracy, spiritual practices and the Internet. German youth rebel via the green anti-nuke movement and as well through the neo-nazi movement."
The article ends with the hope that youth, through action and vision can and will create their own future.
"Youth are one aspect of the creation of a different future. What role they will play in either solidifying global capitalism (muddling-through) and creating the Artificial Society or in helping transform the world to a communicative-inclusive future is not clear. Certainly they are playing dramatic roles in all these scenarios, from street protests against globalization to the .com revolution to working with environmental and spiritual social movements. Through their actions and their visions they are creating a different future. Whether they do it through dance or music, or student rebellion or the latest Web-site, they should not be ignored. The periphery, after all, was once the Center. And if this generation of youth age and normalize and naturalize themselves in the prevailing paradigm - muddling through - there is always the next generation to come"
This article has me thinking of Indian Youth ... thoughts on that in later posts ....
10:55:33 AM comment  trackback 
|Thursday, April 17, 2003|
Empathising or Systemising ?
Have you a male or female brain?. How male or female is your brain? Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen argues in today's Guardian that the male and female brains tend to be hard-wired for different kinds of thinking - empathising (more common in females) or systemising (more common in males). Take the test. [MetaFilter]
The tests tested my patience - but a good diversion .... FUN ! I am surprised to find that i have a Systemizing Quotient (SQ) much higher than the average for women.
So much for stereotypes !
5:50:26 PM comment  trackback 
The Brand Gym, by David Taylor "is a refreshingly simple, practical guide to brand management and how it can boost business performance. The book reveals the fundamental differences between winners and losers in the branding battle, illustrated with inside stories from Unilever, Gillette, Apple and others. A programme of eight 'Workouts' will help you raise your own game in key areas such as insight, portfolio strategy, visioning and positioning."
Here's an extract from the book.
In an article called the 7 Deadly Sins of Brand Bureaucracy, David Taylor concludes by saying :
"Brand bureaucracy gives branding a bad name, and with good reason. It is a wicked waste of time, money and energy. Ask yourself some hard questions about whether you are guilty of committing any of the deadly sins, and keep watching to see if other team members are making the same mistakes. If they are, then politely suggest that they may need a workout or two to help them get back in shape. "
He speaks of the eight workouts - i particularly liked no. 6 - the sin is called Cowardice :
"Brand bureaucrats demand differentiation in strategy, but tend to back away when presented with radical creative ideas. They fail to recognise that much of differentiation comes from how you execute a strategy. It is not enough to think different, you need to do different as well. Courage is needed in communication, design and product development for a brand to stand out in today's increasingly busy world. "
... and the work-out :
"Think different, do different.
Review the creative briefs on your live brand projects. Do they give the teams opportunity to stretch the envelope of the brand and push outside your comfort zone? On at least one project, liberate the creative team and challenge them to do something that scares you."
Nothing new or revolutionary here ... just a reminder !
5:19:55 PM comment  trackback 
|Wednesday, April 16, 2003|
Synesthesia - sensory cognition ?
Smelling Colors, Hearing numbers. This article from Scientific American seems to be turning heads around the Psychology Department at U of M [Michigan]. It's got me going too. I've seen real connections between color and sound before, stone sober. Could there be something to all this? [MetaFilter]
In the article above, the authors say :
"In addition to clarifying why artists might be prone to experiencing synesthesia, our research suggests that we all have some capacity for it and that this trait may have set the stage for the evolution of abstraction--an ability at which humans excel. The TPO (and the angular gyrus within it), which plays a part in the condition, is normally involved in cross-modal synthesis. It is the brain region where information from touch, hearing and vision is thought to flow together to enable the construction of high-level perceptions. For example, a cat is fluffy (touch), it meows and purrs (hearing), it has a certain appearance (vision) and odor (smell), all of which are derived simultaneously by the memory of a cat or the sound of the word "cat."
It was a Kandinsky painting that got me interested in this field. What impressed me was the tremendous sensory fusion .. one could almost hear music in the splash of colour. I'm no synesthete and nor am i involved in acid or mushrooms .... yet i felt the power of this piece.
Richard E. Cytowic, author of 'The Man Who Tasted Shapes', in an article - Synesthesia: Phenomenology And Neuropsychology - A Review of Current Knowledge, talks of how this fusion is being used in art, music and theatre.
"By mid-nineteenth century synesthesia had intrigued an art movement that sought sensory fusion, and a union of the senses appeared more and more frequently as an idea. Multimodal concerts of music and light (son et lumiere), sometimes including odor, were popular and often featured color organs, keyboards that controlled colored lights as well as musical notes. It is imperative to understand that such deliberate contrivances are qualitatively different from the involuntary experiences that I am calling synesthesia in this review.
Rare condition or a state of sensory cognition to come?
3:33:21 PM comment  trackback 
Came across this neat link : Arts and Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate - thanks K Masi !
2:10:35 PM comment  trackback 
Research on Weblogs
2 interesting pieces of research on weblogs :
1. From Seb : Results of Seb's "weblogs and knowledge sharing" survey
2. From Lilia - work in progress - current study on Blogging Adoption
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that I have been conducting a survey of weblog use for knowledge sharing. 176 people have heeded my call and answered the survey that was graciously hosted by Blogstreet. As promised, here's the data and the first pie charts to come out of the oven: Seb's "weblogs and knowledge sharing" survey results.
Unfortunately I don't have time to provide an analysis right now, but the result I personally find the most interesting is in the answers to question #16 and #17 - they suggest that weblogs provide a unique opportunity to create meaningful links between people in different fields. This correlates with my personal experience as well. I believe that deep insights often come out of such occasions for "creative friction".
The wiki pies aren't ready yet, but it shouldn't take too long.
Great stuff Seb ... i can't agree with you more about creative friction. Reminds me of a favourite : "You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star" Nietzche. I also find answers to questions 6 and 7 interesting ... the blog sphere can be a tremendous source of information exchange.
The goal of this study is to understand factors that support or inhibit adoption of blogging by comparing bloggers and "would be bloggers". I would appreciate if you can spend some of your time answering my questions. I estimate that it should take between 10 and 25 minutes (I took me 15 minutes).
It took me all of 10 minutes to fill in the survey ... it made me really pause and reflect on my reasons for blogging. All of you bloggers and non-bloggers should see this.
I look forward to seeing the results Lilia, and the very best for your paper.
1:27:02 PM comment  trackback 
Blogs and Conversations
I've been wondering about the 'comments' link on blogs ... the youth and teeny blogs seem to encourage comments and conversation much more than any other segment of bloggers. (no hard data here .. just an observation). I sense a certain hesitancy or reticence to writing comments on blogs from other segments. Makes me wonder whether the old 'rules' of blogging in fact vitiate in some manner, the start of a two-way exchange. Many blogs seem intimidating, especially for those 'outside' the established circles, and somehow one is uncomfortable about starting a conversation, or adding a comment.
I kind of like the Ryze guestbook ... its a really warm way of encouraging people to start a conversation. Obviously, once the dialogue has started it would then move into other structures like multimedia conversations and even face-to-face, if so desired. Or IM boards like zonkboard could be a great tool for encouraging dialogue .. yet it seems 'uncool' (unless you're a teeny networker) to have a guestbook type of board at your blog.
My two-bits as a newbie blogger only just discovering this space !
12:30:33 PM comment  trackback 
Blogs - One Stop Shop
In my News Aggregator a few days ago .. noticed it today !
"Conversations" with Dina is a nice new blog that has been focusing on social networks and metablogging in the recent weeks. I'm sure Marc will like this quote from a recent post titled Why do I blog?:
Through Dina - I've also just discovered Lilia Efimova. Everyone's got to have a Ryze account, be a member of Friendster and put their photos up at Fotolog. I'm also a member of ecademy - but I don't get much flow or interaction from there - yet. Each of these Identity systems serve a different purpose and consist of LOTS of communities within. Certainly equal to one's blogroll.
So the question is: does your blog aggregate all your identity systems, or is there a new kind of "digital lifestyle aggregator" - which connects all these systems together? Or Both? No need to make choices when everything is meshed together.
I've also been following Stuart's blog for a while, and he seems to have done loads of original thinking in this area. ... a recent post Smart Conversational Locator ties in with earlier posts on Identity Circles :
"Marc Canter sums up Ross's post --- what if one tool could enable:
My "red" thinking Identity Circles. Could it be called my profile? Could I own it? Could it travels in circles approved by me? Would it is expand and grow cooperatively and collaboratively?
Would it be a form of SMART CONVERSATIONAL LOCATOR? If so it needs better treatment than my e-mail phone number and home mailbox. I hope it manages my attention at my command rejecting unwarranted intrusions while constantly nurturing the types of exchanges my friends and I respond to where ever I may be. "
Now these are terrific thoughts .... call them what you will .. Digital Lifestyle Aggregator or Smart Conversational Locator or simply Circles - while the benefits would be many, am not really sure how they would work (no tools guy here Marc !). I can only imagine how these sorts of social networking tools could work so well with youth, families, communities of all kinds, and even within business organizations.
12:10:03 PM comment  trackback 
|Friday, April 11, 2003|
Am going to be away for the next five days ... this is where i'm going to be .... no computers, no blogging, no RSS feeds or News Aggregator, no business at all. Just time with the family, smelling the roses, listening to the flapping of butterfly wings and the gentle rustle of leaves blowing in the wind, singing with the birds, dancing in the wind :):):)
12:11:27 AM comment  trackback 
|Thursday, April 10, 2003|
Conversations for C-level Execs
Following up on thoughts i've had on how organisations and corporations could benefit from networking through communities or blogs, either on their own intranet systems, or through networks outside of their organisation. As part of an informal survey on Ryze - one question that keeps recurring is why are senior executives staying away from such communities. Here's what one senior executive of a non-ICT firm, with offices worldwide and many thousands of employees has to say :
"Even within our own company, thereís low levels of sharing across departments .. because each dept is a profit center ñ the fear being, will they steal my business, will they share techniques I have developed with clients that may compete.
Altho we have an internal knowledge management system for better networking, it is highly underutilized and scarcely populated. The success of a knowledge management system depends on how well populated it is, and how much people share. Without trust, it cannot work. Possibly, ours does not work effectively for the following reasons:
These are only a few of the many barriers organisations have - in a recent email exchange with Scott Allen and a few others, i remember Scott saying "and, of course, tipping points help. Imagine the impact when one Fortune 100 company decides that online business networking is an important thing and commits to establishing a sensible policy, training their people, and encouraging them to participate"
Is that, open doors, expand circles, make new connections, harness social capital? From the enterprise point of view empower attention economics while retaining important connectivity and network links even when an employees become alumni. "
He has some good ideas too, on the business model for this.
Roger Patterson speaks of trust :
"I am finding that this is true for me as well. I have formed an opinion based on months of observation about a group of bloggers that I feel comfortable with. Trust is engendered because you have access to a quite complete perspective of the other. How often at work do you know how a colleague really thinks? You may know his opinion on a project. You may know his opinion of a person but I seldom was let in deep enough at work to understand the full person. Blogging gives us that chance to see below the surface"
Here are two more comments from the informal survey on Ryze :
"Whatís working for ryze today Ö. is its warmth, is the relative freedom it allows in accessing people you would not have done so easily elsewhere, human connections that may be endearing .. for instance, a top notch IT guy whoís so into cats Ö connects at that level and shares freely with other cat lovers, or a photograph of a top honcho with his little baby in his arms"
ìI find the interaction on the micro-networks (formerly known as "Tribes") such as Serious Play, The End of Free, and 500 Citizens, the most compelling aspect of the Ryze experience. Those forums provide a focal for some very high quality discussions. And if I want to find out who is doing the talking I click over to the poster's page and find, not just some statistics or resume, but pictures of the person's sailboat or family or dog, and some guestbook interactions - all of which is very revealing about the person, and fascinating...î
It is my belief that the key lies in the recognition that conversations and exchanges can add real value. And that Blogs and Networks can and do facilitate and encourage these, quickly and effectively, through 'soft' human profiles and opportunities for jamming on thoughts and processes, within an ever-expanding neighbourhood (somehow implying 'safe') that you trust. What needs to be stressed upon is what additional value or unique/dicriminating value they can provide over other forms for the C-level Executive.
Are the 'tool guys' listening ?
1:17:13 PM comment  trackback 
Why do i Blog ?
Lilia's discussions on 'Blogs, Dialogues and Identity Building' made me wonder about my reasons for blogging and what i've learned and gained from it in the three weeks since i started this blog.
It started with curiousity Ö
I had so many questions in my mind on blogging. Is it better than setting up a website ? How would it be different ? (Check out the little comic strip at Invisible Shoebox - 'Blog - a Conversation between Grumpy Girl and her friend The Questioning Ant'). Do I really need several profiles and identities ñ a company website, Ryze profile, Ecademy profile Ö. the list can be endless. Could a blog consolidate all these identities ñ a one-stop profile ñ where you see ALL of me ñ my thoughts and preoccupations ñ personal and business - a bit of mind and soul? Then thoughts about focus - should it be more a business approach - or a public declaration of whats on my mind - or then an avenue for conversations and collaboration ?
And i realised that what i desire most is to encourage conversation ñ conversations and exchanges and collaborations between people that have the energy to say ìhey lets share and learn and growî. I came across this little zonkboard at Sameer's blog and think its a neat little tool. I've been taking many of the exchanges i've had with people though this blog, further into IM chats, email exchanges and good old telephone - most rewarding both personally and professionally.
Must explore more utilities i can add to allow more conversations and more jamming !
Ultimately, to borrow an old metaphor .. i see this space as a piece of jazz - (i see spaces as Ryze and Ecademy as such too). This is what i have at my Ryze page :
Doug Little, a jazz musician and a member of The Motion Poets, an improvisational jazz band, described improvisational jazz:
"What I play will inspire the drummer to play something. The drummer might inspire me to play something. The musicians listen to one another and make spontaneous decisions. The possibilities are endless. It is always within the form and it is always interconnected with each person but it is never the same.
The joy of performing is the group sound. I can't play whatever I want whenever I want. Jazz is democratic music and everybody gets to solo but only within the context of the whole. The group is what is the most important thing. Sometimes the best thing for me to do is not to play. And to respect another's musical space.
When I do solo, I still have to pay attention to what the rhythm behind me is. I can't ignore it. I have to be a part of that. Playing in a group means giving up some of your space for the group. If a band isn't playing with any interaction, I walk out because it is no fun."
11:33:32 AM comment  trackback 
Mathemagenic - Blogs, Dialogues and Identity Building
Mathemagenic is a wonderful blog ! I came upon it today and found myself completely absorbed in the thoughts of Lilia Efimova, and spent a lot of time at the links provided. Lilia at her Ryze page describes Mathemagenic :
"Mathemagenic means "giving birth to learning" and this is something that triggers my interests, my contacts and my work (and recently my PhD proposal ;). Hmm, to be fair it triggers my life too :)))"
Definitely worth looking at by 'newbie' bloggers like me .... and there's lots of food for thought for the more experienced too.I like the simplicity in its conversational style, and the tendency to stay away from jargon and cut right to the bone.
Some excerpts from the April 8 posts on Blogs, Dialogue and Identity Building :
Denham suggests "thinking together" as preferable to "thinking in public" [...] I think he takes my notion a step farther than I was intending. I agree with Denham that the goal is to be receptive to the thoughts of others and that "thinking together" can indeed lead to better results than thinking alone (as does drinking together instead of drinking alone).
[...]One of the primary reasons that thinking together is hard is that it requires both that we think in public and that we think collaboratively. I suspect that thinking together fails at least as often because we don't know how to think in public as it does because we don't know how to do it collaboratively. Further I think that order matters. You need to learn how to think in public first. Then you can work on developing skills to think collaboratively.
Thinking in public is a precursor skill to thinking collaboratively that's been ignored. We want to get to the fun stuff (ooh, brainstorming!) and skip over the hard part.
Weblogs make the hard part easier. "
And another post :
A follow-up thought from previous post: I wonder why so many people are sceptical about weblogs. I assume that one of the reasons is that "blogging is like a loving sexual relationship - you just do not realize how rich and rewarding it is until you have experienced it" (David Gurteen).
For example, I find it very difficult to explain to non-blogger why
· blogging somehow builds trust to other people faster and better than other ways
· blogging somehow gives me a feeling of "belonging" to my "blogging neighborhood" and loyalty to this group
· I feel that blogging gives me better identity than any of my on-line profiles, my CV, list of my publications
· I feel that my blogging conversations are deep and engaging
· I feel that these conversations are dialogues with me and not "everyone on-line" even if they are public and distributed over several blogs"
And a third :
"We can discuss if weblogs are good for a meaningful dialogue [see previous conversations], but their added value for identity building is more visible. Observing someone thinking, reflecting and participating in several conversations gives better understanding of his/her context than even in-depth discussions in one community. This is especially true for community straddlers who stretch between different communities/contexts."
11:30:11 AM comment  trackback 
|Tuesday, April 8, 2003|
Ryze has added a new functionality ... network message notification via e-mail. If you want to activate this feature (or if you've activated this feature and you want to turn it off), visit your network preferences.
I think it is a great option to have. Yet it was annoying this morning to wake up to 28 messages in my inbox from all the networks i belong to ... and i quickly went and turned off the feature.
Perhaps it will make me more discriminating in selecting the networks i really want to be on. I seem to have lost interest in most of the networks on my list. Some started off so wonderfully, yet today they're just surviving on ritualistic repetitive rambles from a handful of active members, rather than 'playing' or sowing new seeds.
Some issues that come to mind ... what sustains a person's interest and participation in a network? Is there a natural lifecycle to them ... do they naturally run their course? Are they short-term bubbles? How can we keep the momentum going, and the sharing, learning and growing? What is the role of the moderator? Should there be 'soft' rules (a paradox, i know) for the players? Who 'owns' the network? How does the community build it together?
These questions go beyond the 'networks' on Ryze or 'clubs' at Ecademy ... meanwhile, i'm happy to see the Serious Play network rocks again !
8:08:22 PM comment  trackback 
|Monday, April 7, 2003|
The Alchemist : Profoundly Simple .. or Simply Profound
A neat review here ... ' This story, timeless and entertaining, exotic yet simple, breaks down the journey we all take to find the most meaningful treasures in our lives into steps that are at once natural and magical. It is about the faith, power, and courage we all have within us to pursue the intricate path of a Personal Legend, a path charted by the mysterious magnet of destiny but obscured by distractions. Santiago shows how along the way we learn to trust our hearts, read the seemingly inconspicuous signs, and understand that as we look to fulfill a dream, it looks to find us just the same, if we let it. '
Some phrases and paras i marked while reading :
"The boy didn't know what a person's "destiny" was. It's what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny."
"When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision"
"Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life."
"When you want something with all your heart, that's when you are closest to the Soul of the World. It's always a positive force. "
"People become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World."
"The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other."
Its a tale told at many levels ... simple yet profound. The type of tale that makes you feel you need to read it again ... and again .... each occasion unravelling a new layer.
4:45:37 PM comment  trackback 
Spiral Dynamics : Colours of Perception & Change
For some time now, i've been interested in studying colour and the way it reflects and is a reflection of our emotional states, moods, attitudes, personality, society - in short, any form of human existence. I started this exploration with the Luscher Color Test ... moved onto the more 'quick-fix' Colorgenics tests - and to my delight i stumbled upon the application of Dr. Clare W. Graves' Emergent, Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory Applied : COLORS of Thinking in the area of Spiral Dynamics.
The Spiral Dynamics model is derived from the original thinking of Dr. Clare W. Graves - and speaks of Eight Value Systems / vMemes - that have emerged to date and still exist side-by-side on earth.
The authors' note on the book : 'Spiral Dynamics reveals the hidden codes that shape human nature, create global diversities, and drive organizational change. This fresh perspective integrates the pioneering work of Dr. Clare W. Graves in emergent thinking systems and value structures with memetics, the exciting new science of ideas and their movements. Through the STREAMS and TEMPLATES frameworks, it offers specific guidelines for designing better organizations, improving communication, more effective leadership, and enhanced interpersonal relations based on how people -- as individuals and groups -- sense their worlds to be now and what they are likely to become next.'
Ken Wilbur, speaks of six levels as "subsistence levels" marked by "first-tier thinking." - beige (archaic instinctual), purple (magical animistic), red (power of gods), blue (mythic order), orange (scientific achievement), green (the sensitive self). Then there occurs a revolutionary shift in consciousness: the emergence of "being levels" and "second-tier thinking," of which there are two major waves - yellow (integrative), turquoise (holistic).
Here's is a brief description of all eight waves, the percentage of the world population at each wave, and the percentage of social power held by each.
Now all of this may sound terribly 'heavy', and i must admit the book by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan is heavy reading, what interests and impresses me particularly is the insights it provides into understanding and reading individuals in the context of their social and business networks. Its a neat framework for anyone involved in understanding and managing complex systems - with applications useful in our persoanl and business lives, by explaining how and why our circumstances and environment influence our perceptions and values, how change occurs and how it can be 'managed' better. Here are some of the ways it can be applied by organisations :
All in all, in my experience, a neat perspective and guide for observers and facilitators of groups and their dynamics. For instance, I found it useful to develop a colourboard, as a facilitation tool, when studying the behaviour of a specific consumer segment, and in evolving strategy for a brand targetted at them. Mapping the evolution of the brand, as consumers perceive it (within the context of their own changing world) and exploring future scenarios. The colourboard helped facilitate the process ... and more importantly, in a short span of time, revealed the 'hidden' (read subconscious) values that are otherwise difficult to articulate.
2:57:26 PM comment  trackback 
|Friday, April 4, 2003|
Corporate India - Eyes on Tomorrow
Houston Chronicle: "Blogs likely to gain place in business world"
[ via Scripting News]
Corporate India .... are you listening ?
"For certain types of communications, especially those overloaded with e-mail and voice mail, blogs could be heaven-sent. Rather than attaching comments about a topic and 15 documents to one e-mail and then sending it to 35 people who might care, the information could be posted to a blog and appropriate parties could add relevant comments.
With a blog collecting all the comments and information about a topic, it could be easier to focus on one topic at a time.
It also could be helpful to projects, especially development projects. A developer could attract customers and put in feature changes before an application enters the beta stage.
Even in advertising, blogs are getting a chance. Dr Pepper/7 Up has tested a concept by mining the Blogosphere (the content of popular blogs) to launch an unusual marketing campaign for a new flavored milk drink called Raging Cow.
They used young people, in their late teens and early 20s, to develop a "blogging network" to hype Raging Cow."
In an earlier Post on Social Networks - Window for Research, i had said :
"Alternately, companies could set up their own networks of potential leading edge customers ... a case for a Close-up Encounters or an MTV Blogspot. I'm thinking of youth brands here primarily because they're the early adopters of the internet in India."
12:57:32 PM comment  trackback 
On Wings of 'Free Child'
I had a delightful day yesterday .... and one that made me wonder. Babysitting my little nieces aged 4 and almost-6. Amidst chocolate coated fingers, and song and colour, and cacaphony and babble .... i soon started wondering for how long we would connect at this spontaneous and unabandoned level. We got down to doing some 'serious' colouring ... here's a little exchange we had :
A (the almost-6 year old) : look Dina ... i've drawn a sea
R (the 4 yr old) : me too, me too
A : (laughs out loud) R ... you are wrong .. the sea cannot be red in colour
R : (looks a bit puzzled) why ? i like red
A : teacher told me the sea has to be blue ... so it has to be blue
Which made me wonder .... at what moment are we supposed to give up our childish things for the mantle of adulthood? What happens to the parts of us that remain capable of play? Why do we lose our spontaneity? When did we stop rolling down hills?
All of us ... adults and children seem to be forgetting our 'free child' - and this can stifle creativity beyond imagination. Reflected in our relationships, our view of the world, our own self-perception and individuation, and even at our workplace in our interactions and corporate and brand visioning and decision-making.
"Also takes many forms--child, god, dwarf, hobbits, elf, animals--monkey--or objects: jewels, chalices or the golden ball (trickster like). It represents original or child like conditions in the life of the individual or the species, and thus reminds the conscious mind of its origins and helps to keep them continuous. A necessary reminder when the consciousness become too one sided, too willfully progressive in a manner that threatens the sever the individual from the roots of his or her being. It also signifies the potentiality of future personality development, it anticipates the synthesis of opposites and the attainment of wholeness. Thus it is said to represent the urge and compulsion towards self-realization. This is a reason that so many of the mythical saviour gods are childlike in their nature."
10:18:43 AM comment  trackback 
|Wednesday, April 2, 2003|
Emergent Democracy - The Second Superpower
A great perspective on the Emergent Democracy and the role of the internet and other interactive media in its evolution.
(via Seb's Open Research) :
In a complex world it makes sense to use the intelligence of many more people to reach decisions - if only we can craft a process that effectively allows all of us to think together. I don't think we're there yet, but things are moving fast in many directions at the same time.
Jim Moore goes on to say :
"The Internet and other interactive media continue to penetrate more and more deeply all world society, and provide a means for instantaneous personal dialogue and communication across the globe. The collective power of texting, blogging, instant messaging, and email across millions of actors cannot be overestimated. Like a mind constituted of millions of inter-networked neurons, the social movement is capable of astonishingly rapid and sometimes subtle community consciousness and action."
A must-read for all citizens of the world.
11:35:25 AM comment  trackback 
|Tuesday, April 1, 2003|
Social Networks - Window for Research
My RSS feeds are filled with two broad threads - one is on the War .. about which thereís no end to the points of view and debate - and the second oneís on Social Networking Models and Social Software. Among many others, thereís Clay Shirky, Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, Stuart Henshall, Britt Blaser, Mitch Ratcliffe, Ross Mayfield all writing on different aspects of the evolution of this meme.
Stewart Butterfield describes Social Software :
ìSo, what is social software? By me, it is software that people use to interact with other people, employing some combination of the following five devices:
Conversations can be real-time or asynchronous. Relationships can be as simple as ìcontactsî or can be more subtle. There's been relatively little group stuff (yet).
Instant message networks have four of these (Identity, Presence, Relationships and Conversations) networks of blogs have three (Identity, Relationships and Conversations), Metafilter has two (Identity and Conversations), Yahoo Groups has three (Identity, Conversations and Groups), IRC has four, but two of those in a half-assed way (Presence, Conversations and weak forms of Identity and Groups .......î
Thereís loads of discussion on the tech aspects, which I must confess baffle me at times Ö yet Iím happy to learn how these things work Ö and the thought processes of the movers and shakers behind them. Something that blogging has made possible !
More recently, Iíve read some good posts on the ëhumaní aspects of this technology. Stuartís discussions on Identity Trust Circles on March 24 and Identity Circles on March 27 have a very clear thrust on the human aspects and benefits, and not just tech. Tech is the toolkit - ultimately the benefits supported by tech is what potential subscribers will buy into. An excerpt :
"CIRCLES enrich and enhance lifeís many connections. Whom you know has never been so important. Professional, Business, Community, Friends, creating circles of trust that you control. Now you can be more connected and share what and when you want.
In CIRCLES you can discover a whole new range of connections, intersections where you connect for fun, influence, advice, learning. Todayís world is connected. Sometimes for fleeting moments or maybe for a lifetime. We move, we change addresses, our contacts change from year to year. Yet serendipity still strikes. We meet friends in unexpected places, and find old work or college colleagues when we least expect them.
CIRCLES letís you grow and learn from whom you know. So together we travel many different circles and through many different roles. Collectively we learn we have a lot more to offer, when we donít always know what we can do for each other. Cooperatively we learn together, individuals can create more value from their profiles that they can individually seeding them at many different destinations. There are valid reasons for public and commerical interests. Under Circles you control access."
"The physical and logical infrastructure of the web has reached a maturity while usage has surpassed a tipping point where it is ingrained in most people's lives. As people have become participants on the web, they are building a new social infrastructure, connection by connection."
"The above table provides a framework for understanding how Social Networking Models differ by how personal connections are made. When a community is served by Social Software, its design places limits on how relationships are formed, especially in how strangers make initial connections."
As a non-techie myself, Iíd be interested to follow these threads as I might learn how this meme would be useful for me, in my various roles Ö as a human being with needs for sociability, as an entrepreneur wishing to network more effectively, as a consultant to clients that may benefit from such networks and software.
And as a researcher i think studying social networks like Livejournal for instance, that draws in youth from across the globe ... with a strength of 966903 users - could have tremendous value for youth marketers interested in tuning into real time youth preoccupations and trends. A new paradigm for participant research !
Alternately, companies could set up their own networks of potential leading edge customers ... a case for a Close-up Encounters or an MTV Blogspot. I'm thinking of youth brands here primarily because they're the early adopters of the internet in India.
More thoughts coming up ....
7:07:47 PM comment  trackback 
For all Beatles Fans ....
Some tidbits from one of my favourites, ëAll You Need is Loveí :
ìThis has a couple of hidden songs in it .. the most obvious one is the French National Anthem ëLa Marseillaiseí at the beginning. Its also got Glenn Millerís ëIn the Moodí and a bit of Bach and ëGreensleevesí thrown in as wellî
ìThe song was originally written for a special BBC broadcast, billed as ëa live satellite link-upÖlinking five continents and bringing man face-to-face with mankind. In places as far as Canberra and Cape Kennedy, Moscow and Montreal, Samarkand and Soderfos, Takamatsu and Tunis. An estimated 200 million people tuned in from 18 different countriesÖ.î
"Mick Jagger sat on the floor underneath Paul's stool wearing a silk jacket with psychedelic eyes painted on it, puffing on a joint in front of 200 million people. And he was due in court the next day on drug charge !"
(BTW ... Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones to 'rock' India this month .... )
Another all-time favourite, ëNowhere Maní was ìsupposed to be about 50ís singer Alma Cogan. The Beatles had met her in the early sixties and John took an instant liking to her and he might even have fancied her! But she was a little bit too old for him (she was in her thirties) and the feeling wasnít mutual. He even had a pet name for her ñ Sara Sequin ñ after the ball-gowns she used to wear. She was admitted into hospital in early 1966 with ovarian cancer, and John suffered writerís block. He said ëIíd actually stopped trying to think of something. Nothing would come out. I went for a lie-down. I thought of myself as a Nowhere Man sitting in his Nowhere Landí î
10:45:20 AM comment  trackback 
Copyright 2009 Dina Mehta