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The Future Internet: Web 3.0

The Internet is evolving. Most people are now familiar with web 2.0 services such as Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia, where the user creates the content. Without user-generated content these services would be useless. We have moved from a read-only web to a read-write web. So, what does the future Internet look like? Most people seem to agree on that we can expect the Internet to become smarter, a so-called semantic web. We can expect more intelligent search engines and web pages we visit will be personalized for the specific user.

This slide sums up the differences between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0:


(http://www.labnol.org/internet/web-3-concepts-explained/8908/)

Also, watch this video about the evolution of the Internet and what the future web will be like:

We have already started to use online applications that many people today classify as the beginning of web 3.0 services. For example, iGoogle is a personalized web page where the user decides the content. It is unique for each user and is updated with the latest information each time a user visits the site. Another example is the Pandora Radio application, which is an automated music recommendation service available in the U.S. Pandora plays music that are similar to what the user enjoys based on the listening history and other type of user feedback. Even Amazon’s recommendation service can be seen as a web 3.0 service. Amazon determines your interests by examining the items you’ve purchased, items you’ve told them you own, and items you’ve rated. Amazon then compares your activity on their site with that of other customers. Using this comparison, they are able to recommend other items that may interest you.

These services will be more dominant and become much smarter on the future Internet. This will happen because in the future “everyone” and “everything” will be connected trough the Internet. Always. Devices will be able to interact without human involvement, which will lead to new personalized and automated services. For example, the future (electronic) newspaper will contain news customized for the unique user based on his/hers interests and information sent from network-connected devices. The local news is determined from the GPS location of your phone, or even your wallet. Entertainment news is based on what movies, music and other cultural stuff you enjoy. Advertisements may be based on what food and toiletries you are running low on, as every item in your fridge and bathroom will be able to communicate with other devices and services through the web.

Watch this video to get a better understating of the future services of the internet:

The above video explains how the Internet needs to change for it to be useful for our future needs. Today the computer does not understand the meaning of the web page it is showing us. This is something that will need to change in the future. If the computer could recognize what type of information is within a web page, it could “learn” what the user is interested in. This is what is called a semantic web, where a group of methods and technologies allow machines to understand the meaning (semantics) of the information on the web.

Here is a video that explains the concept of the semantic web very well:

New technology will also change how we interact with machines. Watch this video from ted.com to see how we will be interacting with the future mobile phone:

The future looks exciting. I expect we will rely on the Internet much more compared to what we do today, but the user does not always actively need to interact with a computer to enjoy the future services. But what type of impact does this technology have on us? Nicholas G. Carr, an American writer, published a magazine article in 2008 called “Is Google Making Us Stupid?: What the Internet is doing to our brains” Carr’s main argument is that the Internet might have detrimental effects on cognition that diminish the capacity for concentration and contemplation. His new book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, released in June of 2010, develops this argument further. I have not read the book myself, but I find his arguments interesting. I guess this will be the next book I’m reading. Anyway, here is a link to Mr. Carr’s blog, some interesting readings there too.

Thomas

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Gov 2.0

Government 2.0 (or Gov 2.0) is a new term, which involves direct citizen engagement in conversations about government services and public policy. With the use of Internet services based on web 2.0 technology and open access to public sector information citizens can be much more involved in Government tasks and services. Collaboration, openness and engagement are important factors for this type of Government approach.

These factors are also important for any web 2.0 service out on the Internet. The principles and approaches of web 2.0 are redefining how people communicate and are transforming the web into a platform of participation and co-production.
A Government can use web 2.0 tools to deepen democratic processes through participation and customize the delivery of services to meet citizens’ needs for personalization and choice.

Technologies such as social media, wikis, and blogs can put the citizen at the centre in a more open and collaborative relationship with the Government. It also means a shift in how we work, with an increased emphasis on transparency and collaboration.

(Government 2.0 Action Plan – Victoria)

This video by O’Reilly explains more about Gov 2.0

The video above is part of the Gov 2.0 Summit event hosted by Tim O’Reilly and TechWeb. Here is a link to more videos from the same event.

More information about Gov 2.0:

The Australian Gov 2.0 Showcase is a web site where users can submit their own case studies regarding Gov 2.0. The site offers a gallery of Australian government innovation in the Gov 2.0 space.

Gov 2.0 Conference 2010 is a web site dedicated to the Gov 2.0 Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra, Australia in early November this year.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Blog is involved in a diverse range of activities regarding information and communications technology, including Government 2.0

I will be updating this blog post as I find more information about Gov 2.0. Also, follow me on Twitter where I will post links to new articles and videos about this topic.

Thomas

Effective Use of Social Media

Social media are works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared in a social environment, such as a blog, wiki or video hosting site. According to Wikipedia, Facebook is the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users and has more than 500 million active users since July 2010.

Globally the interest and participation in social media is growing at phenomenal rates. This interest also extends to corporations who are recognizing that social media offers new opportunities to engage in conversations with customers and other communities with shared interests. In the article “Why Use Social Media?” Jay Deragon points out ten reasons why your business should use social media:

1. You will find whomever you want to do business with somewhere online
2. You will find whatever knowledge you need about any market or any person online
3. You can reach your market by simply engaging in the right conversations with the right people. This is more effective than advertising.
4. If your business can’t be found, isn’t engaging with the market or worse yet ignoring the market you are not likely to be creating transactional opportunities while your competition does.
5. Communications is a system to leverage your organizations ability to communicate with your market. Social media is the new communications system.
6. Social media saves time and money if you use it right for the right things
7. If you learn “how” to use social media correctly then you’ll understand “what” your market is looking for and “where” they are looking. You’d want them to look for you.
8. “When” your customers and prospects are engaging about you, your industry or your products and services you need to be there listening. Otherwise how will you gain the necessary market intelligence, be enabled to respond or even be aware of problems or needs. If you are not present when and where the conversations are occurring you are basically out of touch with your market.
9. Communications is about reach. Communicating is about relational dynamics between people. Social media provides the means to effectively communicate with your market. However communicating in human rather than institutional terms.
10. If you are not communicating (listening first, initiating second) then how in the world do you expect to create relationship with people and businesses that may want the value you offer?

It is also important for a business to use Social Media the right way. Watch this interview with Jay Baer to learn about the biggest Social Media mistakes and how your business can avoid them.

Here are some great examples of corporate social media engagement:

Spotify is a music streaming service with desktop and mobile applications available for the major operating systems and several mobile phones. It allows for unlimited streaming of selected music from a multitude of major and independent record labels. In the latest software update Spotify has added a number of social features:

Connect to Facebook: you can connect to Facebook inside of Spotify, instantly adding all your Facebook friends who’ve selected the same feature. Your friends’ profiles will appear in a new ‘People’ sidebar at the right of the screen, with your personal profile at the top. When selecting friends’ profiles you get access to their shared playlists and most listened to tracks and albums.
Twitter: connect to Twitter and share your tracks, albums and playlist with a few clicks.
Add usernames: you can also add people by typing their Spotify username, should you know it, into the Spotify search field. For example searching ‘spotify:user:username’ will bring up their profile (if their profile is published).
Publish your Spotify profile to the web: easily publish the link to your Spotify profile on your blog, Facebook page, website or anywhere else on the web and allow others to follow your musical journey. For example here’s a link to the official Spotify profile.
Inbox: a new ‘inbox’ folder on Spotify’s left sidebar lets you send tracks to friends directly within the platform, simply by dragging and dropping a track to their name in the People sidebar. Alternatively, just right click on the track and select the new ‘send to’ option.
Facebook feed: music your friends have posted on Facebook will be visible on the Spotify ‘What’s new’ page and via a new ‘Feed’ tab.
Popularity count for playlists: all playlists will show how many other Spotify users are currently subscribed to that playlist. By clicking on the number, you can even see the usernames of those who added the playlist.
Track playlist changes: see who and when a track was added to a playlist with the new ‘Added’ and ‘User’ columns in playlists.

These new features have made Spotify my favourite music application. They provide a great way of finding new music. Apple’s iTunes is trying something similar with their new social network Ping. However, in my opinion, Spotify was much smarter when they chose to integrate a social network most people are already using instead of creating a new one. I have not been able to find any of my friends yet on Ping.

At this stage Spotify is only available in a few countries in Europe. If you are a paying ($20 per month) member (like me) from any of these countries you are able to use Spotify anywhere in the world and you get access to millions of tracks. No need for illegal torrent downloading anymore ☺

As mentioned in a previous post, the Coca-Cola Company uses social media in several good ways. The company was named by Slate’s The Big Money as the brand “making the best use of Facebook”. Coco-Cola has used several ways such as blogging, sharing photos/videos, tweets, and social media apps to promote their brand and achieves huge success. The Coca-Cola Conversations is a blog written by company historian Phil Mooney that focuses on Coke collectibles. The blog encourages a dialogue with fans, and is good example of how a company is engaging communications with fans and consumers of Coca-Cola using social media.

Dell leverages a variety of social media platforms for customer engagement, including an island in the virtual world of Second Life, complete with avatars who can help consumers assemble the perfect computer for a perfect virtual world. Back in December, Dell reported that offers from its Dell Outlet Twitter account has booked more than $3 million in revenue attributable to its Twitter posts.

More readings:

50 Ways Marketers Can use Social Media to Improve Their Marketing

10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips

The examples above show how a business can interact with users/customers using social media tools to get a richer and more engaging experience online. However, not only a business can benefit from using social media. A few years ago I became a youTube partner, and I signed up for a Google ad sense account. This lets Google put small ads on your youTube video and you earn a little bit of money every time someone watches your videos. I uploaded a silly little clip I made with some friends when I went to film school years ago, and gave it a title I thought would attract many viewers “GIRL ATTACKED BY DEMON!! Caught on surveillance camera”, lol 🙂 Today, my video has more than 18 million views and is on the most watched youTube video list for Australia. How much money I have made?? A lot!! ☺ ☺ ☺

Watch the video here:

Yeah, I know, it is very silly, but thanks for watching; you just made me a few cents ☺

Anyway, I will be uploading more videos this summer. Thinking about doing a regular video blog of some kind. Not sure what about, but probably something funny. I think the “Will It Blend?” videos on youTube by Blendtec are hilarious, so maybe something similar to that. If anyone has some cool ideas they want to share, please leave me a comment.

Happy blogging!!

Thomas

Twitter: ThomasLysgard

YouTube: Falconxxxx

Corporate Wikis

A wiki is a website that every approved user can edit. It was originally designed for online collaboration among software developers. However, today wiki technology is moving into the mainstream corporate IT infrastructure and wikis are increasingly being used inside corporations. The success of Wikipedia has made wikis on their way to winning a reputation as serious publishing platforms.

Watch this great video by Commoncraft if you are confused about the wiki concept:

With a wiki an organization can:

• Quickly and easily create a website
• Eliminate series of e-mail exchanges with attachments among a group
• Avoid dealing with complex and expensive groupware in collaborating with others

Watch this YouTube video by GetConnected to learn more about wikis for businesses:

Today, companies around the world use Wikis in different ways. Red Ant, a Sydney based web design and development firm, uses a wiki as the main collaboration platform for employees and customers. Ben Still, managing director, explains “…we’ve created a design and need to show it to our client. First, a designer makes a page, attaches an image, and they’re done with their part. But then I might look at it and realize that it needs a bit more explanation, or a link to a wireframe diagram to give context. One of our developers might have also mocked up how a menu works, and so they stick in a link to that. Our client might email the link around, and then add some comments on the page. This kind of collaborative workflow is one of our strengths, and it is really important for us to be able to add these various types of content easily.” (http://www.futurechanges.org/2008/01/08/7-effective-wiki-uses-and-the-companies-that-benefit-from-them/)

Wikis can also be helpful in a time of crisis. During a large-scale humanitarian crisis, managing information is essential. Coordination among relief agencies is essential, so that efforts are not duplicated and resources go where they are most needed. With collaborative tools, like a wiki, disaster-response teams and relief workers can identify risk zones and emerging threats more rapidly.

For instance, OpenStreetMap, a free wiki world map, offers an excellent depiction of the situation on the ground, as volunteers mark the locations of aid stations, tent camps and working hospitals. The data is available as web maps, as well as Garmin images for use in handheld GPS devices. OpenStreetMap tools are available for download.

The Crisis Commons Wiki has a great list of resources available, including situation maps, links to partner organizations on the ground, and contact info for volunteer networks at home. The American Red Cross uses several web 2.0 tools for their Campaign for Disaster Relief, including a wiki.

There are several other wiki tools and services your business can take advantage of. SproutIt Mailroom offers a wiki-like service for corporations to manage and respond to emails. Mailroom is using online software that allows an entire team to manage all website email, respond to customer email faster, and make customer conversations more productive. Anyone in the team can respond to emails, making sure customers don’t need to wait a long time for a reply.

There are also sites that can host your wiki for you. This might be a good solution for a small business, without many IT resources. Any of these sites will host your wiki for free:

PBWiki
StikiPad
JotSpot
WikiSpaces
Wikicities

There are also more than a few paid options, if your business is looking for a wiki with more features and no external advertisement. But it is a big jungle out there and picking the right wiki provider for your specific needs is not easy. I found the WikiMatrix site extremely helpful when choosing the right wiki for me. It lets you find and compare wikis using tools like the Wiki Choice Wizard. After finishing the Wizard I got presented a summary of my needs along with the wikis that best matched my criteria:

“Okay. You want a hosted offer with a page history using your own domain and which allows your own corporate branding.

The following 20 Wikis match your criteria:
BrainKeeper, BusinessWiki, CentralDesktop, ClearWiki, Confluence, EditMe, Incentive, Intodit, Metadot Wiki, MindTouch, Netcipia, PBwiki, SamePage, Socialtext, Wagn, Wetpaint, Wikia, Wikidot, Wikispaces and Zoho Wiki

From here it was easy to find more information and compare the different wikis. The forums on the site also offer some great expertise.

Neat! Picking the right wiki provider has never been easier ☺

Blogging for small businesses

A business blog is a corporate tool for communicating with customers and/or employees to share knowledge and expertise. It can also be used to promote new products and services. In this blog post I will discuss how a small business can benefit from using blogs and micro blogging.

Small business owners might not have the time to learn html coding or can not afford to hire a web designer. Blogging offers an inexpensive method for a business having a web presence. Updating a weblog is also much quicker than contacting a web designer to do changes or updating html coding yourself for your website. The dynamic nature of a blog is a good way to attract more customers compared to a static website. The voice of the writer makes the blog unique and offers the chance to stand out from other blogs and online articles.

Blogging creates awareness and is an excellent way to generate new prospects and revenue. A great way to build relationships with consumers is by giving them a voice and offering a response when needed. When customers leave comments, they may offer product ideas, suggestions or other feedback that you will find useful. You have the option to approve new comments before they appear on your blog. This makes it easy to block any unwanted material from appearing on your site such as spam or non-serious comments.

A business blog will help you:

* Create a dynamic website, which is always fresh and updated
* Attract new customers
* Provide expert advice
* Build customer relationships
* Gain a competitive edge
* Build a brand
* Recruit staff

Micro blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates from many devices, including mobile phones. It’s perfect for the business owner on the run. It’s never been easier to send updates to customers and employees. The possibilities open to you when it comes to promoting your business with micro blogging are endless.

A growing number of companies are keeping track of what’s said about their brands on micro sites using scanning tools. This is a good way of monitoring what is said about your own business. You might find potential customers that need more information about your products and services.

Blogs are an excellent method to share a company’s expertise, build additional web traffic, and connect with potential customers, but they can also have a downside. Blogging does not provide the functionality of web pages, has limits for e-commerce solutions and can be time consuming with regular posts. But with minimal costs, it maybe advantageous to start blogging. Is your small business ready to blog?

Further readings:

The Australian Small Business Blog
This is a Forum where Australian Small Business Owners can exchange Ideas old & new and get Advice from experts in Australia on how to Improve their Businesses through better Business Management, Planning & Strategy, Business Systems and Marketing Strategy and Systems.

Why Should You Start a Blog for Your Business?
By Susan Gunelius.
This is a great online article that describes how business blogging is a good marketing tool.

Twitter Means Business:
How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your Company
by Julio Ojeda-Zapata
This is a book about mirco blogging for your business. You can preview it here. Or buy it from here.































Happy blogging!

Thomas

Potential legal risks of using Social Media for Banks

Banker and social media author, Jesse Torres, warns banks about using Social Media tools as part of the applicant screening process in the book Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing.

He points out that Social Media platforms such as Facebook and MySpace may create substantial legal problems for banks that make use of these tools as part of their background check procedures when hiring new employees. Mr. Torres states, “While the use of these sites may provide helpful information relative to determining the true character of the candidate or employee, certain information contained on public profiles may expose the bank to litigation.”

In order for banks and other firms to avoid potential discrimination lawsuits, organizations must develop a uniform procedure for the use of social networking sites as part of the hiring process. Organizations must train everyone involved in the hiring process to treat every applicant consistently to avoid trouble. Each step taken must also be well documented.

Here is a great checklist about legal risks for banks using Social Media.

Westpac, one of the big banks in Australia, had an employee posting this unflattering statement on Twitter “Oh so very over it today.” Instead of exploring the legal issues with this statement, I rather refer to this blog post that addresses this issue. Great Blog by the way!

Thomas

Cola Wars 2.0 – Social Media, the new battlefield

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been rivals ever since they started making soft drinks more then 100 years ago. Today, both brands use web 2.0 tools to try to dominate the carbonated soft drink market.  In this blog post I will take a look at how these two large companies compare using Social Media marketing strategies. I will also point out a few benefits and risks of using web 2.0 tools for a business using examples from Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Coca-Cola is remarkable for the use of Web 2.0 tools. The company, which relies heavily on brand identity in its marketing, has made use of every Web 2.0 technology going to further its connection with consumers.  The biggest Coca-Cola page on Facebook has 10,890,280 fans, and the Coca-Cola page on Twitter has 92,599 followers to this date. The Pepsi Company also uses many of the same channels as Coca-Cola, but not with the same success. Their biggest Facebook page has “only” 897,205 fans, and Pepsi has 34, 901 followers on Twitter.

So, what makes Coca-Cola so much more attractive on these sites compared to Pepsi?

According to Natalie Johnson, Manager of Digital & Social Media at Coca-Cola, the company relies heavily on a strategy they call the 4Rs – Review, Respond, Record and Redirect.

Review: The process of listening, filtering and sieving of online data through various analytics tools and applications.

Respond: Constantly create, cultivate and nurture opportunities for dialogue and conversation.

Record: Create little video vignettes, photos, blog posts, and other tit-bits of social media content on YouTube and other channels.

Redirect: Embrace a comprehensive strategy in generating link-love, SEO mentions, and Search Engine Marketing.

Here is an example of a YouTube video to promote Coca-Cola:

According to the Coca-Cola official website, the vision of the company to achieve sustainable growth online and offline is guided by certain shared values that they live by as an organization and as individuals:

* LEADERSHIP : The courage to shape a better future;

* COLLABORATION : Leveraging our collective genius;

* INTEGRITY : Being real;

* ACCOUNTABILITY : Recognizing that if it is to be, it’s up to me;

* PASSION : Showing commitment in heart and mind;

* DIVERSITY : Being as inclusive as our brands; and

* QUALITY : Ensuring what we do, we do well.

A great example of how Coca-Cola is truly committed to their fans on Facebook is how their fan page came to be. Two fans that just loved Coke originally created the page. Rather than trying to buy the page, Coca-Cola rewarded the two fans and worked with them to continue building the page and representing the brand. By empowering the fans to keep their fan page, Coke ensures a passionate page owner. Watch this funny YouTube video to learn more:

Coca-cola has recently had great success with their Web campaign Live Positively, which is a collection of projects guided by the company’s stated commitment to make a positive difference in the world through sustainability.  Pepsi has a similar campaign called The Pepsi Refresh Project. The Project is a cause-related marketing initiative.  The website will allow people to submit their suggestions for community projects and vote on which of them will receive the grants. Pepsi plans to give away multiple grants each month, including two $250,000 grants, ten $50,000 grants, and ten $25,000 grants. Here is a YouTube video that describes the project:

This seems like a good idea to engage people to “refresh” the world and market the Pepsi brand with positive associations.  However, many seem to think this project is already a failure. Phil Butler argues in his article that it is easy to manipulate the voting system for the campaign and that people could theoretically Tweet themselves into a quarter of a million for submitting an idea.

Sloane Berrent participated in the project and points out a few “wrongs” with the campaign in her blog:

1.   The Launch of the project was disorganized.

2.   Site was unstable for the first 48 hours.

3.   Pepsi changed the URL for all of the projects, without updating the shortcode.

4.   Lack of category and search functionality.

On top of this, Pepsi got caught not following their own guidelines for the project. New York times published an article about the project and how a contestant got a little help from Pepsi itself.

“Materials submitted by the Joyful Heart Foundation, a charity started by Mariska Hargitay, one of the stars of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” to help victims of sexual assault, were updated by the staff at Pepsi after the submission deadline, which is against the contest rules“ (Stephanie Storm, New York Times, 2010).

Another example where Pepsi fails from a Social Media standpoint is the Pepsi Cheer campaign in Canada last year. Pepsi wanted to create a contest to create a new cheer for Hockey Canada. The winning cheer would be promoted via Social Media, television and radio, and fans at the events would use the cheer during games.

According to Dan Nedelko this campaign was not a success for several reasons.

It is not a good idea to mess with the patriotism of Canadian Hockey fans. Trying to force a new cheer on the fans simply did not work. The cheers Canadians had been using for years were still pretty popular.

Social Media is about having a conversation with people. People will talk back. In this case, Pepsi got much negative feedback during this campaign.  Anti-Facebook groups were created and the biggest of them have almost 100,000 members.

Here is a list of points Dan Nedelko uses to illustrate why this was not only a bad marketing idea, but a also a failure from a Social Media perspective:

1. Pepsi struck a chord with a national sport and national pride. Basically saying “You’re doing it wrong Canada”. Bad idea.

2. Pepsi blatantly promoted themselves over simply promoting cheering for the team.

3. Replacing the cheer was unnecessary. There are a number of cheers Pepsi could have latched onto and promoted. This likely would have gone over well.

4. Their social media profiles simply ignored any backlash except for a few references to cheering “any cheer you want”. Too little, too late.

5. The Pepsi Canada Twitter stream did little to engage anyone talking on Twitter except for positive feedback and inane re-Tweets about their promotion.

6. The Pepsi Canada Twitter stream was hardly used but it was still there.

7. http://search.twitter.com/search?q=pepsi+cheer has far more negative sentiments than neutral or positive ones. Clearly Pepsi made a mistake here since they’re ignoring the fans they tried to approach.

8. The negative groups on Facebook almost outnumber the Fans of the Pepsi Cheer Fan Page.

Coca-Cola was more successful when approaching the hockey sport in Canada. The YouTube video below is an excellent example of a commercial on how to use social media, national pride and sports events to increase brand buzz.

Coca-Cola has successfully implemented strategies and staff guidelines for using web 2.0 tools. Pepsi seems to be struggling with understanding how to use Social Media effectively. Instead of engaging people to embrace the brand, they have managed exactly the opposite.

If you are going to do Social Media then do it prop­erly and think about what you are doing, devote resources, a strat­egy and team to it. So far, Coca-Cola seems to be winning the cola wars on the Social Media platforms, but it will be interesting to see if Pepsi can turn this trend around in the future.

Thomas