Mar 16

BarCampBrighton and SL connections

Aleks Krotoski talking about the social graph.

  • [missed the start] A social psychologist, trying to examine connections
  • Pathways can be mapped across friends and people.
  • Mass friending…impact the data and how the network connects.
  • there are certain relationships and strengths of relationships. You can technological measure strength but difficult as you get to semantics.
  • Adding arrows to the graph starts adding information. You can add lots of information, but then it all gets mushy in the middle.  Fuzzy and gooey and technologiest don’t like that. Then I come into the mix and go oooh psychology.
  • So how do you measure strength…

    • I asked the social psy questions. list friends and rating of them..
  • Based study on actual connection on a virtual world, on the qualitative assessment of relationships

    • Second half of study was looking at getting behavioural shortcuts for this
    • some evidence about how interactions acorss various channels indicates trust.  ie talking in public, IM in SL, outside of SL via email.
  • Once you have all the information, all the messy stuff. I was looking at interconnected, closely related groups of people.  I’m interested in them…as they know each other. In the mess, many people, but don’t know others, they identify as something.  Look at a self-decared group to see if they are differently connected.  I did an island analysis, pulled out 4 groups of people who are extremely closely connected to each other.  There’s a lot of trust between each other.
  • The point: There are social relationships which have psychologies that can;t ey be articualted through technolgy.  There are social flocking/network effects in these spaces – people move to where their friends are.   Whatever is happening…they’re capturing a lot of data about us.
  • The data they are capturing is going to be a key discussion coming up

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Mar 16

BarcampBrighton and Cloud Computing

Jeff Barr, from Amazon, was at BarcampBrighton as part of a long European tour, talking up cloud computing.

  • apologised for going to be a little more commercial than others….but taken out the prices so it’s not a sales pitch!
  • been at Amazon for 6 years.   Saw real potential, the first catalog service.  they started sending me out to conferences, I was good at it so they made me the evangelist and that’s what we do, me and 3 others. we have a wiki that people can request us.
  • FOr the last 5 years we have been opening up the infrastructure – the product catalog, alexa and now infrastructure services. putting APIs out there, charging models around them. we try and make it really simple to get started. Sign up and away you go
  • we offer access in a number of ways. a lot of what we have had to do over the years has to do with scale, have the infrastructures.  we offer that out to developers.   The developers can focus on the innovative and creativity part..we do the hardware.
  • we rely a lot of input and feedback from developers. let me know what you like and don’t like. we write a trip report everyday to get the feedback to the company.
  • Cloud computing- emerging trend. you look to the cloud to do stuff for you. You can treat it as infinite capacity, scale on demand.  With cloud computing, what were fixed costs turn into variable costs, where you pay for what you need.  You get possibly better staff to keep it up, get economies of scale.
  • It can reduce your time to get things up and running,
  • We have 6 different services – Queue, storage, elastic compute cloud, flexible payments,
  • S3: object based storage…1b-5GB. private or public, redundant and dispersed. storage. US and Eu locations. (Ireland). EU added due to latency and data legal issues. We dynamically manage the copies of the data.   We are redundant enough. 99.99% availability goal. Can organise in buckets/ each bucket is a flat storage model. Can use it as a bit torrent seed. Complete API around it.  We have libraries for a number of different languages, that we have built or other developers.
  • Elastic Compute Cloud: (not the ZX81): use Xen, take lots of machines, slice into small components, using a indi OS. when you have an instance it is yours while you pay. you get root level, elastic capacity,. There’s a lot of apps built on top as well for you to use. you get to scale in minutes.  Up and down control. We have 3 different instance types – small, Large and XL.  You have an Amazon Machine Image – which is your’s.  You put this in S3, then roll it out to the servers you need as you scale.  Full API into the cloud, you can start machines with one call.  Used in lots of scientific research. MapReduce and Hadoop, for engineering and science calculations.   For Fortune 500 companies, often for high impact, short term projects, as a dev host.  One example is the NYT archive, When it was a closed service, they re-rendered PDF from TIFF every time. They decided to use EC2 with Hadoop to pre-render everything.  They tested it..then ran it over 24 hours over 100 instances. Far better than having to do internally.  Some one has built EC2 Firefox UI – a browser addon that allows you to control the instances

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Mar 16

BarCampBrighton and Stories and Games

Adrian Hon from Six to Start talks about Games and Stories

  • Creative Director at Six to Start, make ARGs, but not what I’m going to talk about it
  • ARGs are games that use multiple media or media in interesting ways to tell a story. Email, twitter, newspapers, IM, GPS etc.
  •  What I want to talk about is stories. A lot of the work I have been doing recently has been about telling stories in different ways.
  • Interactive stories, a few ways of doing it.

    • story as reward. Told through cut scenes, no way to influence. no resemblance to actual gameplay. It’s the last thing you do as a game developer.   A lot of people play the game to get to the fun video. They are trying to hire writers to make these better, put still not brilliant. These are stories on rails. Like a book, completely linear.
    • story as experience. The story is told by gameplay, eg half-life. No cut-scenes..or rather cut-scenes integrated into game.   Story has to be written right from the start – mission design and level design are all tied in. Still on rails.
    • branching narrative. Choose Your Own Adventure. Gives an illusion of choice – often 2 choices, story line joins later.   Involves creating wasted content. Sometimes not subtle..really annoying.
    • PseudoAI. you can completely influence the story within certain parameters. Only example is Facade at the moment.   It got a lot of buzz. Natural language processing and AI, or an enormous amount of scripting (which Facade actually does). It 3-4 years and only lasts 15 minutes. Still a maze just more complex.   Don’t see it happening for a long while, until get really good AI.
    •  make your own story. No set narrative, but maybe a setting. eg Civilisation, the Sims. Sort of cheating.   Civ has a huge community, A lot of players write stories about their game.  A lot of people talk that this is the ultimate way of doing stories in games, The stories can be better than anything pre-written, in a book etc but normally they are not. The design may not be that good or oyu may not be that imaginative.   Requires great games design and not for everyone.
    • DM/PM – somewhat set narrative. D&D, ARGS. you know you are going to hit certain plot points.  There’s a human controlling the story in real time.  You have a group of players, people are guiding the story according to the actions of the players.  An issue is that it requires real-time response. Not really re-playable or scalable for personal experience.  It is sort of on rails.  Somewhere in between writing a game and improv. A different sort of skill set.
  • With Penguin Books, they wanted to do a ARG, but not right for them – budget etc. I as looking at how you could design stories that aren’t games or CYOA, still on rails. But still interactive. We tell Stories. A different way of telling stories.  New ways of tellign stories that are only possible using the internet.  Six different authors and stories and 6 different ways of telling them, Some people have already started doing this…email mysteries.   It is not enough to have a really good idea or even to have a really good story, the writing has to be be really great. You need a story, good design and very well designed interaction and presentation. A graphic novel or a book have had years to be designed.   Working out a way to tell stories online that are still linear, with the authors is something that we are excited it.  One of the first one we are doing is based around Google Maps.  Follow the movements around the places.  I was worried it may be really gimmicky. We worked really hard with Charles Cumming, about where is he, what can he see, what is he thinking about. We animate the map.   Don’t think we have it perfect but we have some cool things.  The last story we are doing with Mohsin Hamid is another I’m really excited.  We are playing around with improvisation on writing.
  • Q: how did the authors react?  One of them found them difficult to deal with, another was really easy, the first thing written was wrong and would not work…we had to rewrite but it was cool. Another was really receptive to feedback.  We’ll just have to see. In general they have been very good to work with. We know how to do the design, they know how to do the writing.

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Mar 15

Jane McGonigal Keynote at SXSW

Jane McGonigal Keynote.

  • The Lost Ring Video played. A call for help. Being going a week – are you in?
  • going to talk yo you about alternate realities. instead of trying to make games more realistic, trying to make the real world more like games.  we need more alt. realities and the real world needs to be changed to function more like a game. it will start on a game designers perspective on the future of happiness. I work at the Institute for the Future. we look at interesting things that are happening today and imagine what the future will be like.
  • Happiness – the last year has seen a lot of growth and attention to happiness. there has been the launch of a new field – positive psychology, to look at brains working well, the good stuff. what makes us happy, what is the best case scenario.  good books, one thing that really interests me, is the parallel between what makes us happy and the core tenants of game design.
  • Last month, book Against Happiness came out. this is not about warm fuzzy feelings, it is about the trying to capture the best experience possible and using research to define it, how to make lives more worth living
  • there are many metrics for measuring, to implement and insert happiness making things in your life. 
  • what i wanted to ask if you think you re in the happiness business.?  I don’t think we are quite yet imaging product as happiness, but you will be in the business very soon.
  • It’s coming faster than we think.
  • Predictions – quality of life becomes a primary metric,. Positive psychology will be used to design tools; communities will form around different visions of a real life worth living.  Value will be defined as a measurable increase in real happiness or well being – the new capital.
  • Happiness is the new capital. you need to be explicitly generating some positive well being for them. happiness does not mean what it used to..the internets has changed. Happiness is not a warm puppy. 
  • researching for a while..so will distill the 4 key principles

    • satisfying work to do
    • the experience of being good at something
    • time spent with people we like
    • the chance to be a part of something bigger.
  • nothing in the world gives you these things better than games,
  • Multi-player games are the ultimate happiness engine.  as the rest of the community starts to catch up, then more of us will be in the business of this happiness venture/
  • Signals for things changing? Some graffiti in my town…’I’m not good at life’. for a lot of gamers their experience of life is that it is not sufficiently designed for them to be good at. we can be really good at them, at games. In real life there is not the collaboration as there is in the games. you get visualisation in WOW of all the data, help that you use ingame.  you don’t gain speaking points for presentations in life. you gain points in game.

    •  So you have better instructions in games.
    •  Games are giving us better feedback all the time. we know how we are doing.
    • games have better community. shared rules and story give you better time.
  • there is a global mass exodus..started in asia…towards virtual worlds and game worlds. I’m not critical of the mass exodus as I understand it. it is a rational decision to spend time and money in virtual worlds as those environments are set up better for them to succeed. there is a better chance for them to learn.  An MMO players spends 16 hours a week and that is average.
  • we could make better and better online and console games to take what we have learnt from  there and do something in the real world.  for many people, quality of life, virtuality is beating reality.
  • us here are lucky compared to many who play the games we do, real life is not as exciting as virtuality, it does not make them as happy. if I was as good at life as I was in my games, what would it be like.
  • I think games are awesome..it is like we invented the writen word and we only write books. why are the games not in the real world, to use the games to navigate, meet people…
  • ChoreWars  -experience points for housework.  you get to claim XP for chores.
  • zyked – in alpha. exercise is the  target, give points and skills for working out
  • Seriosity – for games at work. an overlay of virtual currency for work. you have to pay people to do things at work.  you can set priorities. it creates flows of virtual currency, you can watch it. you can see who is important, connections.
  • Citizen Logistics – missions to help other people. knows where you are because of GPS etc, people can tell you what to do. mobile co-ordinations.,
  • Good news as some people are trying to make the world into a game.
  • What do they mean? to imagine the future it is important to look backwards at least twice as far as you are looking forward.  the best analogy is soap, in 1931. ‘Soap kills germs’ was a headline. games are like soap..we should install them in every building, in our pockets we are killing boredome….games Kill boredom, alienation, anxiety, depression,
  • AR designers are trying to embed these happiness engines in everyday life.
  • So, AR comes from Science fiction.  the community names it. it is not an alternative, it is an alternate way of experiences this reality, these are immersice experiences in this reality. one of the earliest OED entries for AR is 1978 – another way of experiencing existence.  they sit and exist in your real world, the game is there at the street corner.
  • World Without Oil – won an award at SXSW. we told the players that we had run out of oil and they players had to run real life as this was true. we would give you updates in your area about the gas and process and impact on food etc. levels of chaos, misery etc.  you would know what the fictional parameters and you would document what it was like.  we had a soldier in iraq on LJ about what it would be like it would be like without oil.  people changed trucks, people were interviewing non players. it’s all archived. it lasted 32 weeks, it got really dark at times,  then the players got it together and kind of fixed things.  there;s a lot of info all still there. worldwithoutoil.org. still have people doing it.
  • so how do args amplify happiness., they deliver 10 superhero capabilities to people who play.  10 kinds of happiness that match up with research.

    • mobbability. the ability to collaborate and co-ord really large scales. 
    • cooperation radar – the ability to detect who would make the best collaborator for any given mission.
    • Ping quotient measures ability to reach out and respond to other people in your networks
    • influency – the ability to adapt your persuasive strategies to individuals and media and environments….understand communities require a different motivation.
    • multi-capitalism – understand that people are trading in different capital systems.  so how do you get the different capitals trading?
    • Protovation – big companies get scared of this. rapid innovation, that failing is fun and that is when you are learning the most. fail rapidly and often…
    • Open Authorship – naturally to blogger age. comfort with giving content away and knowing it will be changed. it’s a design skill about creating something that won’t be broke by others changes
    • signal/noise management. he ability to handle noise and know which clue is relevant.
    • longbrading – the ability to think in much bigger systems – the zoom out.
    • emergensight – this is the trickiest. the idea that you can spot patterns as they come up, comfortable with messy complexity.
    • lost ring game is in 8 languages…a lot of content, players will create more. it gets really big, so how do you spot opportunitiy etc.
  • they amplify our tendency towards the optimal human experience doing lots of research.
  • so how can interactive systems amplify happiness?
  • so where to next?

    • twitter is a good place to start, a natural interface.
    • the nike ipod. I love it. want to make a game.
    • planes – comms sytems. would love to play a game on a plane.
    • dogs..need a game to fix it….i feel guilty for playing. how about an MMO when you avatar is your dog. you have to get them all working together.
    • a friedd said – ‘my car is a video game’..a Prius using games
    • trackstick – records GPS every 5 secs and follows you. 
    • neuro detector, hook up to games. an idea for a game about people I don’t like and using my brain to destroy them
  • the Lost Ring is for the Olympics. we are going to give people the opp to have an AR at the Olympics. a game that no one has played for 2000 years. thelostring.com. learn a lost sport and be an olympic champions.
  • The important stuff  –

    • I believe that most of us will be in the happiness business, study it and be ready for when the public demand it
    • game designers have a huge head start. we have been trying to optimise human experience. 
    • AR signal the desire, need and opp for all of us who design interactive systems to redesign reality for real quality of life.
    • jane    at avantgame   com
  • Questions. DOD/war…using gaming language. do games help prevent wars

    •    i would want to differentiate the types. games make soldiers easier to fight. that’s not the best direction for blurring the line between reality and games. it is extremely powerful ..do we design games to draw people to benevolent action.,  i think game devs should be trying to win noble prize by 2032. if we are playing games together than much harder to hate each other.
  • to what extent that gaming etc are substitutes to things that are missing..

    • for some things..blogs can work better than conversation for many people. games work better for some people. not everyone who plays games has a life that needs fixing. I do worry that some gamers do replace, and it is something we should talk about. we need a real conversation
  • interested in the idea we have more forms but a lot less social. ARGS narrative story and not necessarily with people.

    • a lot of the press for args are online…but they have a real history of real life stuff. ie SF0. all mission in real world. a lot of stuff going that way
  • args..successful ones are productions, narratively intense. they are temp and they go away how do you…when do have continues things

    • business model needs to get fixed. it was seen as marketing and budgets fixed. tried as pay to play, lots of people trying to figure out new models.  it has to happen, i want my nike+ to run for my life
  • I’m interested in the whole business model things….Macdonalds is one of the sponsor for lost ring..how do you reconcile that with the game considering the relationship with mcdonalds

    • we don’t actually have a sponsor, we had a group of people who wanted to get involved..IOC, McD, AKQA. it’s a different model, it’s like P&G when they invented soap. I’m thrilled to be working with orgs that are big enough to get the game in may places. it’s going to be tricky to walk the line…where do you get the money,.it is moving more to TV…it is the ecosystem…
  • i played the game to reclassify books.and when i go to bookshops I do the same things. is it changing how people look at the world (ministry of reshelving)

    • its one of the most powerful things…we had 40k people doing this.  I love Tombstone Holdem, we designed games that allowed people to play serious with tombstones…
  • SF0 does a geat job of balancing creativity and real life..how do you script vs openness

    • it’s a combination. if you are trying to solve world problems, you need a bit of a harder top down approach at the beginning
    • The x2 project, with scientists, playing games about future of research and science. we use real world science scenarios. our players inhabit the AR. we guide it with a story, we are interested in a particular reality. do research first, get people to solve the problem, then let them figure out of you are right or wrong.
  • The Game – pick up artists…evolutionary pyschology…people are gaming each other in life…

    • it is important to define the game you are playing. any game is collaborative as you are playing the same rules. in real life is they do not know there is a game playing then a problem. AR announce them selves as a game, it is better. rules are explicit.

Jane’s post on the speech, also Slides on Slideshare

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Mar 15

BarCampBrighton – Slorpedo

This is about Slorpedo – a mixed reality game in Second Life

  • based on an Icehouse game Torpedo. Difficult to play in real world, due to complex rules. so fits well with a virtual world
  • built at HackDay London, uses reacTIVision
  • How it used to work – runs on laptop (server), interacts with SL, via some kind of HTTP, something inbetween – which as written in Processing.
  • Source code lost….URL was hard coded, they did not know the magic numbers.  Tried to re-write it Python yesterday. Approx 60 linrd, in Amazon S3 data,
  • Now – webcam : reactivision : PythonScript : Amazon : SL scrip : game in SL
  • Interesting intersection of technologies.
  • You put your pieces on the board in real life.  Using one hand. aim the subs at the other subs. First one on with all on board, yells stop. Then it switches to SL, where the subs fire all their torpedoes to see who wins, the one with the most subs left wins.
  • Q?; could you play across countries?   Yes, but you’d have to have projector…and how do you say stop?

A rally fun session with people slapping down fake submarines in real life to have them translated into fake submarines in Second Life

Bar Camp Brighton

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Mar 15

BarcampBrighton – Portable Information

A group panel about portable data and information

  • Jeremy Keith
  • Microformats – semantic web
  • hCard is probably the most popular. there is an existing format called vCard. hCard is a 1:2:1 mapping of vCard. Use of vCard info on a web page. same details as in your address book/phone.
  • the idea behind microformats is not that you publish new data, but you have existing stuff in a format that adds semantic fidelity.
  • there are converters out there, eg that take hCard and change to VCard for desktop stuff
  • xfn is another one – a proto-microformat. Tantek Celik/Matt Mullenweg etc. they looked at what was existing and made aformat around it. It was about links and blog rolls. to add more data to that list. It used the ‘rel’ attribute. There are about 14 different values defined. It’s always current relationship.
  • It’s simple to publish. A chicken/egg cycle – to get tools to use/parse you need to get people publishing it, to publish it you need tools to use. So making it really simple gets over the problem as there’s no hardship in publishing.
  • The most important Rel value may be rel="me" to link to all your own bits across the web and back to your bits.
  • Chris Heilman
  • Google Social Graph API allows you to track the relationships. Yahoo is also starting to analyse the hCards etc
  • With companies starting to index microformats, other companies, enterprise systems etc, will start to add things.
  • On the publishing side, if you have a database, contacts etc, put this stuff in and get ready. This is what we have done in Yahoo for the last 2 years.
  • one challenge is if you write lots of things with microformats, is that the data is ‘proprietary’ and publishing in microformats inpacts the commercial viability as the data can easily be scraped. It reduces buy in from the management, so you have to think aobut how you do it.
  • Anything that helps search engines mans people will try and game it to get better results. So use of microformats by mainstream search engines have to consider this, the problems of spammer etc. It’s nice to publish but there are a lot of problems in consuming that need to be fixed.
  • JK challenged that it is a problem of microformats that you can’t establish trust – that it is a problem of the web as a whole, not the format. It’s the problem for any publishing format. There are secure protocols…saying the format is a problem is wrong. If you want to establish truth and trust..then the techs you need to look at are OpenID and SSL etc.
  • Aral xfn – expresses relations in present tense but we publish it. so it may go out of date. There is a temporal dimension to relations. how do we takle dynamic relationships?
  • JK: it is publishing in general – what you wrote a year ago you may not believe it anymore.
  • Aral – xfn and microformats are one aspect of the social network. other things are OpenID, OAuth etc
  • Tom Morris – FOAF
  • FOAF is an RDF vocabulary. built back in 2000.
  • Allows you to describe relationships between people, sites, documents, orgs etc
  • Available on lots of networks, such as LiveJournal
  • There is one relationship property -‘knows’. it used to be knows, knows well and friend, but it caused problems. got rid of the other 2
  • It can be parsed as XML and reuse. You can parse it as RDF as well.
  • But most people don’t write in that sysntax, they can do html. But GRDDL allows you to describe in RDF things that you are already doing on a web page. It automates the process of reading what you have published.
  • Quite widely implemented, and getting easier to parse. Most programming languages have a way to to this and there are tools being built on top of it.
  • Trying to make it easy…a mesh up..getting data and putting it together in one place and ask questions of it.
  • ARal so whe do I use XFN and when use FOAF?
  • TM: use XFN as much as you can. Why use FOAF, if you were representing some data was unique, which no one else uses it. Use html as well.
  • Aral – so why are people here? Why are you interested in portable social network?
  • OpenID: a way of identifying people. Passwords that have to change every week are a weak link. OpenID means that you are an URL.
  • One of the issues – usability is a problem. We’re probably OK entering an URL but it is not very intuitive for the general user. You enter the ID, it redirects to the OpenID server, you add usename and password (which you have to remember). And that is the problem.
  • ClickPass is something from Peter Nixey that hopes to make it simple. You create an account and you can log into the web.
  • It creates a page to let you login into all your places – eg a homeplace to go to first. It uses Open ID to manage it. It happens in the background – you don’t get a change of context, which as a user is important. There is no jarring change of context if logged in clickpass.
  • JK: all of these things are solving small problems, they add to each other and don’t ness tread on each others toes.
  • But what about situations where you want to import a SN, or want to see which of your friends are on a SN. A lot of people do this, others freak. If you do this, part of the reason is you are teaching people to be fished….the other reason is you give something to your accounts as you. That is far more dangerous – allow themselves to be logged in by someone else is bad. It is better to reduce access. So OAuth is a technology that aims to reduce this.
  • There are a lot of SN that do not expose your information on a public site but you need to be logged in, eg email contacts. There are a few solutions to the problem..every big web company came up with their own solution. Google has their option, as does Yahoo etc etc.
  • OAuth is the way to try and standardise the way this is done. Any new website should be doing this standard API that can talk to most of the SN without asking for your password. (showed FireEagle example)
  • Aral – so how nimble is it, how does it impact user?
  • At the moment it is ridiculously complicated to implement APIS for every network, I have to do the main ones. So if we can agree on the standard it makes it a lot easier for developers
  • Alex – my interest is from a social networking POV. people connecting is pretty important for every one. the context and others brings people to a space and keeps them there. So why is portability important? I have a theory that online games, those are forms of networks.
  • In some of the situated social networks, like WOW, then there is a move to look at these things, looking at OpenID, etc, where there is no straightforward way of stating relationships, people want to take skills and bling and relationships to the next space etc.
Mar 15

BarCampBrighton – the morning so far

I decided last night to come down to BarCamp Brighton, when I saw there were some tickets made available.  A friend was travelling down so I got a lift straight to the campus and arrived just as it was kicking off.  The usual introductions were made and everyone did the traditional standup and give three tags – it seemed about 40% of the attendees had never been to a barcamp before.

My intention here is to attend stuff I know nothing about, avoiding any marketing or social media sessions.  So far, I’ve suceeded.

  • Session 1: Flash and Particles  A badly prepared session that started off poorly, with ramblings about the company website.  It got better as it went through, with some interesting details abut the maths behind the particles and how to apply them which I could have heard a lot more about if time had not run out.
  • Session 2: RDF for beginners Tom Morris gave a revised presentaiton from his original from Semantic Camp.  I enjoyed this as it was clear about how to use RDF, with some concrete examples of the code.  I’m still unsure about the why though, later Tom admitted that use cases still need to be developed.  A list of resources are available at http://icanhaz/swtutorial

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Mar 10

Self-replicating Awesomeness at SXSW

Deborah Schultz, Chris Heuer, Jeremiah Owyang, Tara Hunt, Hugh MacLeod, David Parmet

  •  DP: Brian Oberkirch put this together – he asked 2 questions. How to market into community without being too marketer like. And how do you build a community around what you are doing?  What does ‘no marketing’ look like? How can we use social media?
  • DS: None of this is about tools or technology, but is about the customers.  Here to talk about some of the subtleties, not about the tactics. It’s about marketing, customer service, product development. the marketing silo needs to be changed, why are they afraid of the opps. This is not telling or selling, this is being in the trenches.
  • CH: what is really bugging me right now is the number of people who are saying to me ‘build me a community’ but this does make a community, it is the interpersonal connections that make it. Social media is not new media, it changes how we relate to each other. You have to shift the way you think about participation. have to change mindset from stop trying to sell me to help make me buy.
  • JO: I do a lot of research on this, such as online community best practices.  it was clear that the ones that let go and let their customers take charge have the thriving communities.
  • TH: "marketing is the price you pay for creating mediocre products". this was a big part of the reason for this panel. [history of her and move and Citizen agency] Looking at social capital – relationships and reputation.   It’s all about whuffie in these communities, what you can give away.
  • CH: you need a patronage model, where there is money, in corps, it needs room to do it in there. there has to be a genuine spirit of giving in there .
  • TH: we talk about doing things that are good for the world alongside the product that will sell.
  • HM: [wine, blogging stormhoek story.] Social objects help drive conversation. when we talk about community, when a corporation talks about it, it’s liek a lever they think they can pull, which is not there. you have a bunch of people who use and talk about the product. they are not the company community.
  • DP: the concept of giving it away for free is a powerful one, that scares the companies away.  Have used Stormhoek as an example, suggesting that companies do this.
  • DS: there are lots of companies for 100s of years…this is a new skillset that is an art rather than a science.  if you are at a small company, where you have a certain amount of control, then you have to get out of the ivory tower. get out to conferences, find the edges.  Larger companies have the problem that they only listen to the complainers, how about listening to the people who love you.   Why do small companies put up an FAQ? why not bring in people who can answer the questions? this is marketing and customer support. get out and flatten it.
  • JO: you can give away things for free, I give a lot of my knowledge for free, make people nervous.
  • HM: James Governer, gives away 90% of ideas, sells 10%. he can only execute on 10% and it works/
  • TH: you can tell people you have knowledge and they will see what they are talking about.  It’s a smart calling code.
  • CH: it’s the because effect. Will It blend gives away entertainment.
  • HM: there has been a paradigm shift from message to social gesture and that cannot be faked.
  • TH: a lot of traditional marketing aims to do a generic spread of message. you throw the net out wide and hope to catch as many. with stormhoek HM saw a great opportunity, of people who were doing a lot of events – its niche, opportunities,
  • CH: it’s not the message, it’s not the brand logo, it’s what it represents. We have to think about the human connections, about being of service to fellow human.

Audience Questions

  • Q: JO – when selecting brand evangelists, how?  And HM – what about Cooler?  A: JO: tools to find them, who is talking online, goign into communities, finding out who is talking the most, customer support forums. go to brand monitoring companies, who do good job of mining the whole place. the main point is that you can find the people, great people to start with.   HM: Kula is South Sea shells that had a story. Talking about the iphone with Tara, what matters is that tara is a friend, we talk about shared stuff. stories are key. tech is still about socialising around objects.  DS: this is about a cultural shift – getting out. Traditional marketing..is not a relationship. in a relationship you can’t ignore until you have something to say. giving away things for free, the whuffie payback comes back way later. this impacts all lines of your business.
  • Q: I understand giving away the small things. what about the big stuff?

    • A: CH: audi are doing a great things. doing a lot of things around the experience, the educational classes, spa treatments.
    •  TH: some people give amazing support and service. 
    • DS: you have to break it down to smaller segments, go local. 
    •  HM: great brands have lots of little small brands, like starbucks. it’s not just about the big thing, it’s all the small things. 
  • Q: how do you actually get some money in the short term? (ref a movie, document)

    • A: HM: put half out there, and if people want to learn more they will buy it. 
    • TH: start telling the story, getting people to start telling his story.  
  • Q: giving away for free reduces perceived value?  what’s the rebuttal. 

    • A: DP..when selling things, I had a client for selling to teenage girls. they wanted to ‘go viral’. I had to remind them they can’t the product can only go viral.  I suggested we find people to talk about it.  My response is not to go to an intermediary. go to the customers.  put it to the people who would actually use it. 
    • TH: it’s not giving products away for free only. It can be the things around it, the experience.
    • DP: audi, free wifi, breakfast, things to do
    • DS: now everyone has a different perspective on audi. it’s nuanced. 
  • Q: can you distill this into a takeaway?

    • HM – social objects ate
    • TH: turn it around, be part of the community, listen, embrace the chaos, find your higher purpose
    • CH: passion for people and product
    • DS: technology changes, human behaviour doesn’t. nothing replaces listening, get out of tower.
  • Q: I work for PETA and what we give away for free is our message? is that annoying?

    • CH: saying the only thing you have is a message is wrong. you are connecting to a higher purpose, to a felling.
    • TH: I don’t remember the emails, shows that you have not connecting.
    • DS: are you giving them something they be interested in or just what you want to sell. Think about you are only talking to these people when you need them – cultivate the connections you have.
  • Q: I work for Kaboom. A lot of the things you have suggested we have done and it has not taken off as we hoped. now I have all these goals I need to reach. What can I take back to explain that this takes time.  The vision is to make a great place to play for every child in america.

    •    HM: they don’t get it…
    • CH : it’s not campaigns, it’s programmes, you have to change the mentality. get qualitative results, people who have heard online and show the stories.
  • Q: Why are you doing this – because you believe or is it a fad?

    • JO: marketing does not exist to hide shitty products, there is a reason.
    • CH: marketing has become associated with sales as opposed to matching product with user.
    • DP: it’s about stories and relationships, helping them work out what they are doing. it’s been a fun ride.
    • DS: it’s a personal mission, not a fad. I’m not a marketer, but a customer advocate. I love that everyone has a voice,
    • CH: it’s about what is your intention.

HM – a story without love is not worth telling

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Mar 09

Sexual Privacy Online – SXSW

discussing the aspects of Sexual Privacy online.   Violet Blue, Jonathan Moore, John d’Alderio, Zoe Margulis, Jason Schultz

  • VB: fetishes…online allows you to seek this even if you did not seek in real life, but could cause issues. online can be a healthy way to let people express their fetish. Sexuality and sexuality online calls into question our awareness of the outside world and privacy. if people knew how unprivate it was, they may think differently. It’s personal information in a public space, but they may not be aware of it.  Example – Craigslist Experiment, (Justin Fortuny) putting an ad for hard core dom. Response to ads were posted online.  There have been copycats…griefers gaming online sexual identity.  The language used in the ad was very extreme, it was clear to the educators that the original user was not aware of the terms of the scene, that they were playing with their gender identity.   Other examples are a police officer who was a swinger who got fired for having a site with his wife.
  • Moore – has built and worked with SN, thinks about privacy and security of sites. d’Alderio – editor of Fleshbot. Margolis – girlwithaonetrackmind, Schultz – at EFF. to talk about law and how it handles it.
  • JS: Privacy Rights. (in US)

    • Sexual Activity, 14th Amendment -due process, autonomy, liberty.  Griswold vs Connecticut 1965 (contraception), Roe vs Wade  1973 Abortion;Lawrence vs Texas 2003 (home sodomy)
    • to Speak/Associate, 1st amendment. The Chilling effect. Watchtower bible 2002 – registration requirements.  Doe vs Cahill 2005 Subpoenas and disclosure of person; NAACP vs Alabama 1958 membership lists.
    • Right to Search/Read. Sweezy vs New Hampshire, 1957. about being private about research and reading.
    • Right to info privacy, 4th and 5th amendment. Katz vs US 1967 wiretapping; Smith vs Maryland 1979 third-party phone records. when third party has the info then there is no need to protect you.
    • right to be left alone. Sipple V Chronicle 1984. lots of state laws,
    • law has been built up based on fear of government.
    • so who owns info, is it provate/public, when are you newsworthy, can you ever go back if your info is out there?
  • VB: John, what do you think is the most common mistake?

    • JD: my take is that there is no sexual privacy.  privacy is an illusion. we are at the beginning of exploring this medium, in the flush of expressing ourselves is the risk of being found out. Sooner or later it will come out. but we still deserve the right to be left alone. we find ourselves negotiate this daily. A few weeks ago, there was a sexual ‘celebretant’, had uploaded videos to X-tube, was building up a reputation, we got a tip that was posted on Fleshbot, he had made no effort to conceal his identity, he had 3-4 clips, but had the same account details on YouTube, same username. Some blogger had sent a tip. But then he got emails from ‘him’ asking for the post to be taken down as there were lots of people watching his videos and it was causing him problems. Someone had contacted his parents. So, does he have aright for us to take the material down? We decided he did not – he was not polite about it.  There are ways to cloak your id to make it more difficult for people to find out who you are but he did not take any of these steps. 
    • JS: what if it had not made the rounds and had minimum views?
    • JD: if you are making that step and making no attempt to hide who you are..you should expect it.  The case of the Walmart masturbator, videos on X-Tube. It was on Fleshbot and Consumerist, then on Digg., then CNN and local news. it blew up. he wa wearing a university cap and said where he was doing it, he made it easy for people to find him. He started to receive death threats,
  • VB: now I want to bring in the personal perspective that Zoe brings. You simplywrote stories, you did not put photos up, so how did it leak out?

    • ZM: I don’t think I’ll ever know. I got a bunch of lowers, congratulating me on the book with my name.  I freaked out, as I was anonymous. They made me lean out as they had a photographer.   Then I started getting phonecalls on all my phones, I’m ex-directory, not on electoral role, no idea how they got the information. Then the tabloids descended, my neighbours and family were harrassed. My life feel apart, I lost my job, I was told I was not wanted. My IMDB entry has been defaced, my name was removed from the film, All I did was write about sex.
    • VB: what has changed for you, now people know who you are?
    • ZM: The blog is not what it used to be. I was 100% honest, but tried to hide identities of people I wrote about.  I felt violated, I had my finger over the delete button all the times. I could not continue to write the same way as before I had the freedom of anonymity. People ask me to not write about them. I don’t want their lives to be exposed. It is about what I’m up to. I miss blogging so much.
    • JS: would you do it again?
    • ZM: I would lie to all, not tell anyone I was a blogger, I would not trust publishers, I would hide.
  • JM: it is hard. there are technologies like Tor but they are really hard to use. There are 2 ways of screwing up. You can do something stupid (and you have to know what stupid is) or someone you know can do something stupid.  Security is hard – I know of many holes in social networks.  Social Engineering can get the information. You can’t trust other people. Services will hand over information. You can’t even trust yourself.  Everytime you send an email from hotmail (or other webmails) then the IP address gets sent.  It’s like a postal address. You are exposing inforamtion you don’t know you are exposing. As soon as you make one mistake, you tie yourself to that information. It is so difficult.
  • VB: so I want to know, what you think the greatest challenge is, or provides the greatest risk?

    • JA: if you take it as a given there is no such thing as privacy then you can plan your actions accordingly.  We don’t use adult performers real names. It’s down to establishing the boundaries of the right to be left alone.  The internet is mob rule, look at average YT comments.
  • VB: Zoe, what kind of advice?

    • ZM: expect to lose your anonymity, be cautious.
Mar 09

Charlene Li and Revolutionaries at SXSW

Charlene Li about the changing  of corporations and social media.

  • Examples of the change: the HD DVD key and Digg. Jericho and the peanuts.
  • Shaun Daly was a fan of Jericho drove the change – you had to have something physical that CBS could not ignore. They bought it back, and it’s doing OK. CBS had nothing to lose.
  • New book – the Groundswell. A social trend in which people use tech to get things from each other, rather than traditional institutions like corporations.
  • This has been going on for a while, we have been talking about the revolution for ages and finally corporations are getting it. It’s too easy for people to feel they need to get involved..but they do not know how.
  • we are at a new stage, so are you going to be a radical like Thomas Paine, a founding spark for the US revolution.  Or a revolutionary like Thomas Jefferson. Instead of railing against the problem, he went to solve it, pushing the problem to solve it. The first had hte vision but could not deliver, the second had the process and framework to pull it together.
  • To make revolution stick you need to have frameworks and process.  There are many corporations that want to be part of the revolution but don’t know how. It’s up to us, he have been living it.
  • So going to look at the processes, who are the revolutionaries and some case studies
  • Use POST
  • PEOPLE – who is it, and what are the activities
  • OBJECTIVES – what are you trying to accomplish
  • STRATEGY – plan for how relationships will go
  • TECHNOLOGY – what are you using. this is last.
  • People – we think about a ladder of participation. Inactives. Spectators. Joiners. Collectors. Critics. Creators.

    • Joiners – in the networks, with their friends etc
    • Collectors – collect the good stuff, collate
    • Critics – comment and assess
    • Creators – create the content
  • People – It’s a different mindset between the types. 48% are spectators, 18% are creators. These are categories, not a split. People can do different things in different place. With youth, 39% are creators, 43% are critics. 58% are joiners.
  • People – Age is a major driver of adoption.  (see the data on Slideshare). As people get older, they get less active – it takes them longer to adopt and the content is not necessarily geared for them. But that is changing.  39% of 51-61 adults are spectators though, and they will move to critics or creators. Not everyone participates in all areas and it changes. but you need to know the roles your audience have.
  • Objs – what do you want?  Research can be a lot of listening in the Groundswell. Marketing will change from shouting to talking.  Sales can change to energising, to getting people involved. Support needs to carry on supporting, to listen. Development may change from closed to open. Embrace the customers in the process.
  • Objs: the Talking Objective.  example is Blendtec. Videos on YT, viewers responded. Blendtec have increased sales by 25% to consumer market.  it was George Wright, VP of Marketing, spent $50 on first video.  He had started thinking about how to show people.  Dan Black, Director of Campus recruiting for Ernst and Young. Uses Facebook to recruit college students. Created the page, students were asking questions on the wall. He went to answer them back, in public. He is the head of Recruitment, not staff, not agency. He realised that this is one of the few channels he could have a direct conversation.  There are few people doing this – having a real conversation.  Next. Best Buy Gary Koelling and Steve Bendt. They started blueshortnation.com to connect with people on the front line.  They found it was not great for creating insights for their marketing, but great for understanding the people,, for helping staff.  It has enabled customers and employees to support themselves. Josh Bancroft, at Intel, a geek blogger. They were looking at doing their own wikipedia – corporate were delaying, think it would take a long time. He just went and did it. Got the server and started the process.   Steve Fisher, VP of platform at salesforce.com. They wanted to get customers of salesforce to contribute in how to improve the system. In the system, they had banners that announced marketing stuff. They got 6000 people to say they hate it, which gave them the drive to remove the thing that was not liked.
  • So how to start the change?  Follow the process
  • Case Study – Lionel Menchaca. At Dell. Started off as a product technician, became part of product review PR team. connected with everyone at Dell. Then Dell Hell happened, he started the blog resolution team – to solve the problems, to connect the people. Dell then started the blog and lionel led the team.  Initially it did not go well, lots of issues. But Michael Dell supported him, and Lionel decided to change the way they were doing the blog.   He talked about the flaming laptops, in a real way, sorting it out. this is when it started transforming itself.  Slowly, change happened in the company, looking at what people were saying.  Lionel did not keep it isolated, spread the mindset through the organisation. IdeaStorm was another change – getting feedback into products and innovation. They also have a blog for their investor relationship teams.
  • So how do you find and support the revolutionaries?

    • Find the people who are the most passionate about developing the relationships
    • Educate the executives. What it is, what are the benefits
    • Put someone in charge. It has to have priority, has to someone to be accountable.
    • Define the box with process and policies.
    • make it safe to fail.
  • So you need a framework and policies; start small but think big; make social strategy the responsibility of all; be patient – cultural change takes time.

Audience Questions

  • Q: what are your recommendations about success and assessing impact?  A: we get asked this. you can use a blog to do any of the objectives. make the measures based on the objectives.   Is it supporting, is it energising, is it talking. what are you doing?
  • Q: any pointers for regulated industries?  A: some of the most active clients we work with are pharma and financial. the people who are writing it are the ones who know exactly what they can say
  • Q: how about smaller companies A: B2B is also there. it is more focused, that is an advantage.
  • Q: what about virtual worlds? should companies explore them?  A: it should be avoided, but large marketing spends. it’s a unique environment. there are some great uses inside corporates. 
  • Q: you said that change comes slowly. You showed stealth adoption and education as two methods. Any others?  A: I have a whole bunch of tips (in the books). Executive input, get all involved. you have to communicate and get people to live it every day.  It can be easier internally, marketing has a lot of culture to get through, they want to keep the message pristine, customers do messy stuff which causes issues with marketing.  you need to feel uncomfortable, if not then it won’t move forward.
  • Q: Internal to companies, how do you convince internal leaders. What are you seeing other people do?  A: they can all happen internally.  You have to focus on the benefits. What are you afraid of with information flowing. start small.
  • Q: How do you get people to contribute. A: the companies give feedback about what has been implemented. it shows that they are listening. You have to close the loop.
  • Q: you have mentioned benefits for SEO? Can you expand?  A: search engines weight inbound links. Simple tools are out there. Do it on the main domain
  • Q: all these platforms and tools, what are other things. Q: Buzzlogic, visible technologies to monitor. Forums and bulletins are best – really good and robust tool. It’s not about the technologies but it is how you use them.

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Mar 08

SXSW – ARGS and Games

Dan Hon, Tony Walsh and Dee Cook

  • DH: ARGS are a new way of telling stories, using all forms. People consume lots of different kinds of medium, there is a different kind of narrative and gameplay experience that you can give people. You don’t have to learn a different control scheme. Interactions are typically the same things you would do in everyday life. you use text and emails.
  • DC: There are no rules about what an ARG is, it’s like playing a murder mystery dinner theatre, for weeks and months, online, in person, on the telephone etc
  • TW: the players can be extremely voracious, hungry for content and always coming up with things that designers may not have expected, coming up with the new story lines.
  • Q: who are the players?
  • DH: the demo data (Perplex City) was 12-80 year old, 50/50 male/female. Live events were surprising, families, etc, the typical audience is not the hardcore gamer.
  • TW: there are different elements that appeal to different types.
  • DC: skillsets can be different for each game,
  • DH: they are a form of entertainment, so the broad questions can be answered in many ways – a broad classification
  • TW: videogame players are very different to ARGs…args can be research based
  • DH: there are differences between the types of gameplay.  ARGS can be more predominately storyline based, punctuated by game-like play.
  • TW: so what are they looking for in an ARG that they are not getting in a videogame.
  • DH: a lot of the successful ones have been toed in with deep brands, deep stories.  Halo 2 (with I Love Bees) can be looked at as a FPS or as part of a real deep story, really good world building. For those that buy into the world, they get passionate about finding out anything about it.
  • DC: In ARGs, people feel they can affect the game world, they can interact with a ‘real’ person. An ARG is often a one shot, have memories and history.
  • DH: WOW as a single player is a very boring game, but playing with friends is a completely different experience. ARGs is similar – large groups, social gameplaying mechanic.
  • TW: so can we talk about some early ARGS
  • DC: Majestic – EA, they started to advertise the game that played you, how it was going to become part of your real life, shut down
  • DH: the Beast – from Microsoft. tied into AI the spielberg movie. it set some principles which some people still think control what an ARG is. It did not say it was a marketing campaign.  The game created a universe online.  In terms of gameplay, there was not really any traditional gameplay mechanic in there. There’s puzzles and collaboration,.  the gameplay that tends to emerge is very social based, than conventional console games. 
  • DC: a big community builder.  
  • TW: the form is always evolving.
  • DH: ILovebees was more of a radioplay, that seemed to be the intention of the writers. it was an audiodrama.
  • TW: a promotion for Halo2. MS did try to do something with Halo3,
  • TW: there’s a huge grassroots community that produce their own games.  barrier to entry is a lot lower than computer and videogame development.
  • Q: what’s the reach and success of ARGS. What are the business models.
  • DH: a lot of the examples have been marketing for brands.  Majestic was a subscription model. Perplex City had a series of collectible cards, which would have clues etc.   I think that everyone is still trying to work it out, there is a lot of scope for brand sponsored content.  In terms of self-sustaining independent it is something that we are working on
  • DC: we still run into the internet should be free idea, so subscription based anything on the web is a dicey problem.
  • DH: it is possible to do so when people spend a lot of time.
  • TW: a lot of teens are looking at free to play games, that can be a model, say in Korean.
  • Q: is what teens expecting in terms of free to play, is paralleled by people wanting to find themselves in a game, eg Lonely girl
  • DH: it did not start out as an ARG, the whole suspense was ‘was to real’. the follow up is Kate Modern on Bebo. the back and forth of setting up tasks, and responding can add a lot of value to the entertainment.    Viral marketing will not get you your mass audience, you have to push people there [RC: it’s my understanding the ARG was started by a fan and then adopted by the creators]
  • Q: How are they useful
  • DH: with channel 4 we are doing an educational game, for 14-16 yos, around online identity and privacy. they can learn important skills.
  • Q: I research storytelling; I look at what is going on with ARGs, what concerns me, is the freakiness of ‘stalking’. blending reality with fiction you get into sueable area.  there is a huge community of susceptible people
  • TW: this question comes up everytime. there is are fine line.  It’s up to the game designers to think about how the game mechanics work. you can’t control, you also need lawyers.  It’s what insurance is for,
  • DC: you can’t anticipate everything, but you can be prepared to react.
  • TW: in videogames you can predict, but the more massive MMO become then less controllable. 

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Mar 08

Steven Johnson and Henry Jenkins

Keynote at SXSW Saturday. Notes, not a true live blog. Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson

  • SJ: have you seen another wave of the backlash, the dumbing down?
  • HJ: these things do come in waves and we’re probably overdue. Never underestimate the desire of parents to see their children as dumb, it’s easy to imagine our children as failures as they do things that were unknown to us. Young people are adapters of new media, outside of eyes of their parents. There’s a sense of fear – I said to my some everything i said I wouldn’t. It does not take much, a decline in test scores, a Columbine and that gives a moral panic. There are new literacies that are so powerful but parents do not understand. People want me to tell them it is OK.
  • SJ: I’ve always wanted to see the development of ways of measuring these new technologies. have you seen anything?
  • HJ: the evidence has moved from the anecdotal to the local and we start to see some national stuff. the model is wrong, it started from the assumption of the individual learner, but as we move to the era of collective intelligence, it changes. It is a very different model of how we process information. It starts from the assumption that everyone has some expertise, but not that all know everything.  The challenge is to measure the skills we have to measure the ability to share knowledge.   I had respect for expertise until I got asked to write for Encyclopedia Britannica, then I relasied that wikipedia had got it right.  There’s more brainpower in the collective than the individual. How we work and play is polling knowledge, but that is not how we test young people. It’s about processing knowledge, not acquiring it.
  • SJ: if you spend lots of time in front of new tech, do you ever look at a new tech and say that is just stupid
  • HJ: it’s a momentary flash in my mind. my graining shows me that people don’t do things that are meaningless. the challenge is to find out why things are meaningful. what I think is interesting up to a point only.  You have to start from premise that things are meaningful.
  • SJ: since last time, TV has changed – Lost and the Wire. so which is better? What criteria do we used to evaluate?
  • HJ: the wire has created a layer of complexity over the years. with Lost, much of it takes place online, through the transmedia extensions, through the fans.  the complexity of engagement is part of what makes that compelling. Wire may be the last gasp of an old style TV, whereas Lost may be the first glimpse of new TV. pushes us in new directions in how to engage with TV.
  • SJ: when you look at those fan creations, it’s amazing how much time people have.  One person does this thing, then they upload it, put it in the discussion.  Clearly these people don’t have kids!
  • HJ: we should reverse this. What’s wring with America that these incredibly bright people don’t have opportunities to do this in the workplace. I study pink collared workers-  need quals but their job does not give opportunities and they get this outside. why are those skills so underutilised. how can we harness that creative energy. What we are seeing right now is that people are getting skills in their play that are being applied to the rest. As we learn to live in a knowledge culture, as we develop the apparatus to trust and share knowledge, how do we turn that back into something that can change society.
  • SJ: there’s a Harry Potter fan fic documentary you are in?
  • HJ: I get involved, I talk to lots about this. There is a feeling that people are learning how to read from HP, but there is also people who are learning how to write, via fanfic novels. Also social network learning – through wizard rock/ They are learning to become political through Harry Potter, about rights to write stories, on fair use. It’s a global network of people who connect through their love of the fiction. In a hunting society, kids play with bows and arrows and in an information society, kids play with information
  • SJ: when people talk about this generation, talk about they are under some kind of attack from their media, lets look at what are they like. this is the least violent generation since 50s, the most political engaged, the most entrepreneurial. so do we have a crisis or an opportunity.  People are more engaged in general, on different levels. The idea that there is some kind of reason for a moral panic is very strange.
  • HJ: I’m a total Obama boy (massive cheers). Yes We Can is one of the things that fascinates me. A friend tracks language use online – politicians use ‘I", young people use ‘we’. It is a language of social networks and collective intelligence.  It has a history, it reflects Obama history. It’s a different way of modeling society.  Looking at a recent speech of Hilary, it was all ‘I’, but Obama  – it’s about the process by which he collects information, about how we build this together.  Through the SNS, it’s about a circle around the candidate.
  • SJ: I’ve been involved with OutsideIn for a while, to look at the geographic internet. It was thought that the internet would drive people away from the cities, but the opposite is true. We saw how many local bloggers there were, that blogged about the neighbourhood and community. My one plug, we are about to launch OnMyRadar, a facebook feed, local information. tied into FireEagle. Show me things that are happening here and now. Trying to enable local experts, to pass the knowledge.
  • HJ: the challenge is how to harvest community to share information. We have underestimated high school kids, how many have Lj accounts, learning to write. Can we free young people up to write things up.  Can people contribute to the botton up news. How do we give them the tools to do so,

Audience Questions:

  • one thing i talk to my kids is about the ratio of production and consumption? do you think new media changes this?
  • HJ: Yes. it is increasing. % of young people producing is astronomical compared to others.  Look at Soulja Boy.  He tapped into social networks, got people to share the videos and music. The challenges are 2fold, if 57-60% are producing, what about the ones who do not have access, who do not feel empowered. those inequalities are things we need to talk about.  We have the media being circulated and things can go wrong, what happens when the adults don’t know what go wrong. We need parents to watch their back, to support.  We have to take responsibility to support them.
  • SJ: Create vs Consume is a good way. Parents were coming up to me saying about limiting screentime – the difference between watchign and creating, it is the kindof things that they are doing.
  • Q: how literally should I take the idea of collective intelligence. what individual skills are useful?
  • HJ: collective intelligence – 2 ideas. one is wisdom of crowds, an aggregate model, all independently add info and it is averaged out. the other is about consensus. the levi model depends on diversity, without diversity then the outcomes is flat.  In that model there is no tension between individual and collective, they have to have their own contribution and input.  The difference between wikipedia and youtube.  YT is majoritorian, Wiki, is collective and diversity. On YT different voices are there but are hidden from view.
  • Q:How about cyberaddiction, how people sit in front of a screen for hours and hours.
  • HJ: the minute we use addiction language we are getting the wrong start. stay up all night reading a book then I’m learning. so what do people find so compelling about these activities. Can we make school as compelling. Addiction experts say that what we see are symptoms of depression, the challenge is to separate out tech from real problems of mental health. In China, the government use the word addiction to control access.
  • Q: how are the online relationships change the social fabric.
  • HJ: the social fabric was damaged in 50s – mobility, etc, the internet is part of repairing that damage, it gives us ways to maintain the connections. we meet more people than we ever did before, that is a large social force. we use tolls like sns to manage those relationships. Facebook now sends the CV with it, so it helps.
  • Q: transformative abilities for creation – so how do we balance democratic and commercial.
  • HJ: I’m an optimist. I believe in participatory culture. but if we take it as given that we have it then we will lose it.     we have to challenge the terms we are given. we have to hold companies accountable for their terms they give us that prevents participation.  when communities are commodified, when gift culture becomes UGC with no value, no revenue for creators. I’m excited about the organisation of transformative work, pooling knowledge of lawyers.  We can;t assume the interest of company owners and consumers are the same.
  • SJ: because we come a the world as an optimist, we have used our writings to push for this, we are progressives, in thinking about the world, about where the progress is coming from.  There is reason for hope, looking at positive and empowering trends.
  • Q: pink collar workers – hi level education, not using capacity in the job. what could be done?
  • HJ: we need a workplace that harnesses the skills of these people.
Mar 08

What teens want online and their phones

Anastasia Goodstein brings together a group of teenagers to talk about how they use mobile and the web.

  • they are early adopters but the tech needs to meet core needs. This is atalk with a panel of teens from ages 12-17
  • What do you like? 

    • Goodreads.com, cos a social network site, plus reviews of books, purevolume.com, signed and unsigned bands, get a taste of a lot of stuff
    • myspace and facebook, cos create own layout and put pictures, customise the design, to communicate with friends and family (sisters)
    • myspace and facebook, more facebook cos it has addons – can make own superhero.  to be connected with everyone at school. Also Digg, Newsforgamers
    • myspace, hi5, to keep in touch with friends and family – especially on holiday times.  Looks for bands/music. Meet new people from school that I don’t know.   (is 12, and is 16 on myspace)
    • myspace, mixmatters – a music website, has artists, plus a mixtape website (datbizz)
    • 17.com, to keep updated with styles, not too good, does not tell you how to do the hairstyles. hipster.com, for playlists and new music.
    • myspace, to talk to friends and family. runescape. chat to people all over the world. (12, but 99 on myspace)
  • What annoys you?

    • ads everywhere, distracting ones. They slow down the computers. On nba.com, ads for Miller between each vid that got annoying – the same things everytime.  Viral attack on myspace. Insterstitial ads are really annoying. Sound files on ads. Taking 6000 years to load – so much crap to load, 800000 video ads that pop up and stay there
  • Are you getting social network fatigue?

    • not changed for me, I just check periodically. With facebook I use more, due to the add-ons
    • when first on myspace, I was checking every hour, going to everyone’s pages. Once added all the pages, then just check occasionally.
    • . when I got myspace (you had to you were a total social loser). They keep updating things to try and make it better but they do not need to  – messages and pictures but it’s not my life.
  • It sounds like myspace is email for you? do you use email?

    • I created my email just to get into myspace. use it to register on sites.  for fanclubs etc.
    • I use email for my sisters, and teachers at school. I email to ask for homework etc.
    • The campus has email to contact teachers and school friends.  For business I have a ‘professional’ address, to get interviews, for reporting.  You have to be able to write an email, as myspace and IM abbreviatyeswords etc. we have to keep the writing skills.
  • Do you use IM

    • no – when younger to talk to school
  • Phones. So what kind of phone, did you want that kind of phone. What do you have on it?

    • Don’t have a phone
    • LG Music phone. Unlimited SMS, I have to text. play tetris a lot, no ring tones, as can;t use web on phones, occasionally bluetooth it.
    • TMobile Blackberry Pearl. It’s connected to email, unlimited testing – use it a lot. Like to play pacman. A lot of ringtones, get them from phonezoo – you can do their own. No web as too expensive.
    • Trakphone – no plan, cost. only for emergencies. so it’s never charged. no ringtones or wallpaper.
    • A older sprint phone, in about 4 pieces on my pocket. nothing special – calls and SMS.   Have emergency games if I was bored out of my mind.
    • A sony exersion. Listen to music, text. I plau games – pacman and dinerdash
    • Verizon LG camera. I use texts (500/month) I pay for this. I need the texts. I have ringtones, $3 and have tetris $5. Don’t have the money for a lot.  Use camera a lot to take pictures and send to friends
    • I can record videos and watch them
    • They said they could not live without (those who had had it a while)
  • How about virtual worlds?  Social networks with avatars?

    • I have one in runescape, a lot of places are trying to copy this. I spend about an hour or so working to be rich in runescape
    • Xbox live is the closest. I play people on Halo.
    • I used to use Ziwinkie, It’s really dull and boring, about 2x a year. It’s noting different.
    • Runescape, Gaia online, played many different MMOs, the cost $50/month is a problem.  the pay to play is dying on me.
    • Ziwinki, I don’t use it anymore.did not want ot play anymore
    • Don’t really use it avatar stuff anymore.

Opened up for questions?

  • I’m from marketing, trying to sell. With UGC, have you done these and what do you think?

    • I did something for YouTube, for AirJordan.  It was pretty easy to use (windows movie maker)
    • If I had a camera I would do
    • I had a video camera, I have done them, just never enter as miss the deadline. It’s cool, when you interact with something they are trying to sell, it is good makes you have a little feel that you have influence?
  • Does it make you respect the brand?

    • If you open up, it makes me respect that company more – makes you feel better that they think you can do as well
  • I’m curious about content -news, political, cause? do you consume that? What would make you do that?

    • reading Digg for news, getting things I’m interested in. YouTube and Digg etc.
    • Interested in the debates, keep up with that. On YouTube, and google news. Wikipedia (they all use wikipedia)
    • The Onion. It’s a kind of spoof..they bring me the paper.  Things that catch my attention are funny, or give a different angle. the news is so dead sometimes, you want to turn it off. Also the Human Rights Campaign.
    • (No one goes to main news pages)
  • (From PETA) do you think you can effect change online, for causes.

    • Grain of Rice donation, I did
    • The school is growing vegetables to sell and donate to a (hepper?). The school donates money to Bhopal, we send cards etc.
  • Would you rather do something physical?

    • Yes, cos you get to interact with people and find out about them
    • I liked the grain of raice, as it hid the cause behind the game
    • Things that are easy to do as far as websites, they can do it from their own home, an easy out to feel like they helped.
    • I have a couple of friends involved with peta, they leave bulletins on myspace. Doing stuff online gets my attention. eg posts about drunk driving, with graphic images. etc
  • (Disney) are you watching shows on tv or computer?

    • I like dramas, Veoh, crunchieworld, a lot of foreign dramas. subtitled
    • ABC family to watch it there – go to the channels sites.
    • I watch the disney channel – TV and phone. Also on web and play games
    • Usually use the DVR.  Also the web
    • Veoh
    • Watch the disney online.  Also ABC family
  • Are their any shows you have to watch?

    • Wrestling. they’re really cute. CSI
    • KyleXY when they on, my mom won’t record.  CSI – love to watch as there never anything else on.
    • anime – if I miss I go to veoh, if they don’t then go elsewhere.  Some spanish drama
  • I’m from the antimarketing world, trying to stop companies in selling you stuff? Would you be interested in pushing back?

    • advertising is always going to be there to help fund the website. I would help a little bit, if I did not see any progress, then back off ;)  Some advertising – a new game of course
    • They need to go with what you are going to. on nba.com I don’t want to see beer. they have to stay on websites like ebay – where you are trying to buy things.
    • it’s bad enough, it’s on TV and billboards, it is important to sell things.  There needs to be in someplaces and not in places. mysp[ace when there are 600 banners around your page is really annoying.
  • I work for an interactive advertising agency. we build a lot of teen and tween brand.coms. do you visit websites like that and what types have you gone to. for online ads, do you play games which are ads?

    • I do like to play the little games,
    • WhatNext – on tv and I had to go to the site.  Maybe.
    • Tropicana – they were giving away free xbox points.
  • I’m from Gamelab. how about little flashgames?

    • addictinggames.com, I like doing that.
    • the computer I use is too old, so won’t work. I like them, but can;t really play them. I think they are cool.
    • go to game sites, play new games,
    • newgrounds. a flash portal to submit games. albinoblacksheep, ebaumsworlds. not blocked on school I will go.  lots of flash games.
    • (they all know how to get round the blocks)
  • Do you go outside?

    • yes. still have friends, go outside, play on basketball team
    • I go to camp, I have a job
    • football. but always on the computer, there’s nothing wrong with that, right?
  • when you make plans with your friends – online, phone or person.

    • sms.
    • in person during school
    • in person or on the phone.
    • there’s a reason they invented the phone – in person or text.
  • have any of you gone to a party base don a bulletin

    • no
  • what don’t marketers get about the web? If you could have a greater say in how brands appear on the web would that be better

    • most adverts are very annoying, unless they are clever. I don’t like ads
    • I like give aways,

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Mar 07

Journey to SXSW

That was an interesting 24 hours, but not too bad as people who travelled via Dallas, where everything got cancelled due to snow. Getting to the airport took a bus and 2 tubes; on arrival I found that all the check-in desk luggage computers had gone down so there was a small bit of chaos. Everyone was queued up, getting to go to the desks a few at a time. Once there, you gave your details to a runner, who went to one of the 2 working terminals, got the luggage tags and ran back to get your stuff in the system. It took a few hours to correct, but it meant all the crew were also delayed, leading to an hours delay in departure.

One interesting diversion in the waiting was the mouse. Sitting at the bar, a guy came up and announced to the staff there was a mouse running around. He was laughed off a little, so next he came back with the mouse – holding it up by the tail as it wiggled around. The staff had to take it away then ;) The other setback was the lack of cold water by the gate – meaning non of the toilets worked. Not a good thing when there is a delay.

After that all was smooth. A half-empty flight meant I got a row to myself, it took less than a minute to get through immigration (and no queue), collecting luggage and transferring flights was a doddle. Food, a 2 hour wait, another 4 hour flight (with sleep this time) and I landed in Austin with all the luggage and an easy trip to the hotel.