Thursday, October 29, 2009

Look how busy WE are

The data that drives this was compiled at the end of September 09. Gary is promising to keep it up to date.

Go ahead - scare an old mediapologist :-) We Media before their very eyes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Media that publishes without a comment box, publishes broken

To corrupt a Clay Shirky phrase (a screen that ships without a mouse, ships broken):

Media that publishes without a comment box, publishes broken

That is to say I am somewhat amazed that there are still publishers, (even those who profess an open approach), who publish content without allowing the reader to publish back at them - to comment on their story.

It's an extraordinary attitude that says:
  • There, I'm done.
  • That's all you need to know.
  • All your questions have been answered - because I say so.
  • This is as good as it gets.
  • Me producer, you consumer.
  • Me expert, you little man/woman.
  • Nothing to be challenged here. Move along
  • Your opinion counts for zip
And it misses out on a great deal of crowd wisdom and value creation too. The social object that is the article still exists - the value of that gets removed to where the conversation flows.

And the originators would like a little of that value, right?
(image courtesy frangipani)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Companies that harness the power of the network will win

Very interesting deck from Sean Parker - one of the driving forces behind Facebook - in which he argues:

"The companies that harness the power of the networks will dominate the internet"

Regulars here will find that rings very familiar (hence my book, The Power of the Network).

Here's his deck (hat-tip to @msamayoa ) which has been sparking comments galore at Techcrunch

Sean Parker's Web 2.0 Summit Presentation

I agree with all the sentiment. Couple of points though. I didn't see a slide on Reed's law (the 2n formula which explains the exponential value growth in large networks - particularly ones with humans involved and which also explains the dominance of niche groups over lowest common denominator hits in a networked world).

Here's one of my more recent decks which includes the Reed's law explanations:

Also, you can make the case for Google being a people-powered connector all of its own - getting connections beyond the silo is what really counts (when one extra node on the network doubles its value) so search is still very very important in that regard - which I blogged about here.

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Leave peer-to-peer interaction to the humans, please

I mentioned the word 'public domain' in a tweet at the weekend.
This was the automated response I received:

I guess he thought I wanted a Domain?

No he didn't. His algorithm did. I'm sure HenryKhan (should he be a real live human being) could spot the difference - and avoid spamming me.

Doesn't that kind of illustrate the point about what's wrong with those who auto-message, auto-follow or auto-dm on twitter. Try as you might, you keyword matching and alogorithms are just no match for peer-to-peer humanity.

Give it up - leave it to us humans.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The significance of Twitter in search

The fact that search (Google/Bing) is opening up to Twitter is very significant. Why? because group forming is all about opening up the silo.
Blogs have remained the least silo'd form of user publishing up until now. You don't have to be a member of '' to read this blog, find it's outpourings or (crucially) respond to it (me).

User-publishing = expression of our metadata.
Expression of our metadata = ways in which others who share the same issues/concerns/passions as us can find us. This is critical for group forming.

Remember each extra node on a network doubles its value.

So being able to find one more person expressing, through their metadata, the same stuff you are expressing means one extra node on your network - with the doubling of opportunity to solve your shared problem that (potentially) equates to.

The realtime nature of twitter amplifies the potential for action -and therefore value. (connecting with those who care enough about the same thing you do right now, enough to drop everything to help you fix it, has great value).

But Twitter is/was a silo. You had to be participating to find each other. But if search can fix that - the tweets escape the silo. You can attract even more connections because your metadata escapes the silo. More nodes can be added to more networks.

Search can add a lot of value still - something Facebook should pay a little attention. Use its internal search and you get the impression of getting a scant view of silos within silos within silos. So much metadata trapped - so many connections failing to be made.

Believe in open.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time short for MSM09 earlybird tickets

What promises to be a seminal event in its field, Monitoring Social Media 09, has just two days left before the earlybird pricing runs out.
So if measuring and monitoring the conversation is important/interesting to you, best move fast or pay more money.
The event is on in central London at the Cavendish Conference Centre, London - W1G 9DT on November 17, 2009.
I'll be there on one of the panels.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mobile: My Remote Control for Life

Need a lesson in mobile marketing and communications? I can't think of a better place to start than this training day run by people I know, admire and respect; Alan Moore, Jonathan Macdonald and Alex Meisl.
It's on October 28 at London's Hospital club. More about why you should take my word for it, here.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Radio, music, curation and social objects

I have a lot of time for the guys at One Golden Square Labs as they try to adapt Absolute Radio's broadcast model to the networked world.
The latest example is Compare My Radio. Absolute's Dan Thornton pointed me at it (here's his take) - and I want to thank him for making me think a little about radio, music, curation and social objects. Which is what follows.

Anyways, to start at the beginning, Compare My Radio requires a little data from you about musical tastes before attempting to match you with the most appropriate broadcast channel.

Bravely, users get directed to rival properties as well as Absolute's own.

No doubt the payback for Absolute is the data they receive from users which could, for example, be used to hone Absolute's broadcast output: ie they learn more people want more Britpop, so they play more Britpop.

So, I muse, what may the outcomes be if you include not only the output from mainstream broadcast radio in the search returns, but also the narrowcasting shows of podcasts and the likes of Mixcloud (touted as The YouTube of radio). Tough to do. And I'm not criticising that this is not included in CompareMyRadio - I'm simply indulging in the thought experiment of assuming it could and should.

A model like CompareMyRadio could surface the single largest group by revealing the lowest common denominators (ie, the most searched-for artists).

And that is useful for honing broadcast.

And in a broadcast way, it will also point you at the mainstream channel which is the best fit for your expressed tastes.

But that can't be as good a fit as is available from the long tail (think and spotify for starters).

Imagine if CompareMyRadio could point you at the channel most fit for you? The outcomes would certainly point you at the long tail more often than they would the mainstream broadcasters. That's because your own itunes playlists are a better fit for you than anything Absolute, Capital, Heart or Radio 1-6 etc can come up with. In a long tail world there are bound to be niche shows that are closer to your itunes playlists than the big broadcasters can ever provide. It's a simple matter of too many niches - and those niches being better provided for by narrowcasting (a tautology of course - if it's niche it must be narrow).

Of course, the mainstream broadcasters may still account for the largest single groups (with viable numbers), but that, in a long tail world, is the minority - and significantly so.

Add peer to peer recommendation to the long tail model and you also add discovery - a role previously retained by the broadcast playlist creators.

When I shared CompareMyRadio with peers on Twitter, one point raised was that in a world of spotify etc, access to a best fit of music selection is less of a differentiator than placing value on the human voice content - does the presenter make you laugh/talk about stuff that interests you? Do your peers trust her and her playlists?

Valuing the presenter; their curation of taste and their human voice, is what Mixcloud does.
In the podcast world (see blogtalkradio for example) we are all potentially radio show hosts now (just as, through YouTube, we are TV hosts and through blogs and other social media we are publishers). And that means there will always be a show with a list of content which is a great match for you.

But we want that to be more than a playlist. We want the show to be the social object around which the community of purpose gathers.

So where does broadcast play it's part?

For many of us, it acts as The Great Reminder.

Two examples:
1. BBC4 broadcasts Synth Britannia on Friday night, I download Tubeway Army's Replicas.
I didn't see the show. But it became a social object around which conversation happened on Twitter. I joined in the conversation on Twitter. It's the conversation, not the show, that inspired the purchase. But the conversation needed the show (the social object).

I also got reminded about Bill Nelson in conversation about the show. He wasn't even featured. But I'll likely be searching iTunes for Art, Empire, Industry later today. Where is the broadcaster's revenue share?

The broadcaster created the social object, inspired the conversation, triggered no end of purchase downloads - but gets nothing.

At the very least, in a YouTube-of-radio model, the creators of the shows (the social objects in this instance) should make one-click iTunes purchases (tickets, dvds, merchandise etc) easy and get a good share of the profit. But that's before the peer to peer interaction has even started - and that's where the greater value for all lays. There's the conundrum - how to track conversations inspired by social objects.

2. I go to see The Pixies with a friend I haven't seen for a while.
The Pixies gig is the social object. My friend and I are brought together (again) by our common interest. We talk about (guess what at a gig?) music. He tells me about another gig we should see together (ker-ching) and I end up buying some of the band's work as downloads (ker-ching, ker-ching)

In short social objects and peer-to-peer interactions are fabulous reminders of what you already knew. The 'value' of that knowledge may be enhanced, of course, by the context. And 'the show' is very much about context.

So what about discovery? Well, discovery all depends on silos and silo walls.
If the community of purpose surrounding a social object has a hard edge, nothing much new is going to arrive.

But if the community is more like most networks of peers, the edges are fuzzy. More people can be attracted to join by the social object (or by their interactions with their peers) but with a different take on the social object. They bring with them different ideas for content (for example) from their peer to peer interactions in their other communities of purpose.

Provided the show host employs feedback loops which constantly remind her that it's their show, not hers, then the new discoveries can be passed on through the show content.
Even without this, the p2p interactions around the show will share (or not) and rate (or score down) the latest collective community discoveries. The most apt will flourish, the least die out.

So, in summary.

Broadcast is The Great Reminder. It has real potential to be the social object around which peer-to-peer interaction happens. And the real magic of this happens in the peer to peer interactions. This is where the purchase reminders and recommendations happen in the main. It is therefore where the greater revenue opportunities lay. Your click-to-buy model (or it's equivalent) therefore has to be portable so peers can take it with them on their journeys.

Narrowcasting serves a greater number of people. All those tiny niches are bigger in total than the largest of your lowest-common-denominator single groups. So if you're really about scale - you know what to do.

Discovery = community created playlists ONLY where communities are fuzzy edged. Bear that in mind when you consider whose communities we are talking about - and where they reside.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Technorati rules encourage you to blog well and blog often

Stumbled on the latest update to Technorati today (the site that ranks blogs and their authority) and was somewhat shocked to discover FasterFuture's 'authority' had jumped by around 1000% to 423.

Its rank in the blogosphere has leaped by a similar order (13,896 of all blogs - where I recall it languishing around where you could pretty much could add a zero to that.

I had put a slow decline (the authority was once 120 and the ranking 70K ish) over the last year or so down to me blogging less and tweeting more.

The big change now is that Technorati is only gathering its data over the last couple of weeks or so - not the last six months as was it's methodology.

Which means if you've got a decent rank and authority - and want to maintain it - you'd best blog often as much as you blog well. It's helpful to those of us seeking individuals with particular interests AND authority, too - because the results are much closer to real time (as Stowe points out on /Message)

Technorati needed to cut its costs, this method not only does that (less intensive number crunching to do) but it also encourages a reverse in the decline in blogging - something very much inline with Technorati's needs, too.

And since blogs remain the single least silo'd way in which we express metadata and connect one to another in communities of purpose (the only silos in blogging are being online - or not - and language) I'd have to give that my blessing.

Well, that and the nice high ranking FasterFuture has acquired.

UPDATE: Oct 19, 2009 I'm going to keep track of this: Since time of first writing the rise has continued. And then some.
Today's stats show fasterfuture as 8312 highest rank blog on't planet (though I note this is of 825,402 indexed, as opposed to the 300m thought to exist). Guess these are those worthy of indexing in the past few weeks, as opposed to those created ever), Authority has risen to 464 (for context it would need an authority of 760-odd to make the top 100).

Update: Oct 27, 2009:

Today the authority is 485 and the rank is ???,??? - honestly, couldn't find a way to get that number today. I notice though that a little green badge has been apended: 'Top 100 (small business)'. It is of course nice to be in the top 100 of anything - but I'm a little baffled as to why the Technorati algorithm selected this blog for that category?

Update: Oct 29, 2009.

Today we have an authority of 506 and a ranking in the top 5000 (4965) - and that's after a fall! Gulp. The small business Top 100 badge still lives on some views on Technorati, too.

Update November 3, 2009:
Despite the red down arrow (which indicates we've been even higher since I last checked) FasterFuture is now has a ranking of 4214 and an authority of 522.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Internet marketing is not a specialism

Twitter has made me accutely aware of how many 'internet marketers' there are out there.
That I have 'social' + 'media' in my bio seems to attract a steady flow to follow my Twitter account. In that respect Twitter has surfaced the volume of people in this game to me.
I was not looking for Linda... (for Pat Kane fans).

It strikes me as more than a little odd that Internet Marketing is regarded as a specialism - a career even.
I appreciate you can become adept in the mechanics of some tools.

But EVERYONE is an expert Internet marketer. It's a peer to peer realm. My peers are those best placed and equipped to market most effectively to me. That's true for you, and everyone else, too.

Perhaps ALL our Twitter bios and Linkedin profiles should read: Internet marketer, web publisher, online advertising expert, distribution doyen.

And as we understand the power we have wrested from traditional media, we'll add new areas of 'expertise':
Team building (as leader and participant), R&D, new product and service development, self organiser etc

Perhaps, instead, we should start telling people the more specific value we all add?

Update: After discussion below perhaps that question can be couched as "What can you do better than my friend?"

Internet marketers are going to have to become much clearer about what they can do that all of us can't. And fast.

Update: They aren't alone - any mediator faces the same challenge.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Social + Media = Change

Let's deconstruct the phrase 'social media' and try social + media instead.

It helps me understand where the focus should be: 90% on the social, 10% on media.

That doesn't mean there's no role for the media side. It plays a critical one, without which the social doesn't get to happen - but it does reflect where the value lays, who creates it and how.

Social =
  • The social technologies that connect us
  • People
  • Groups
  • Hands and feet
  • Action
  • What we choose to do together
Media =
  • That which flows through social technologies
  • Content
  • Distribution
  • Mouths and ears
  • Conversation
  • What they would seek to do to us/get us to do

The media side is where we pass on messages from one to another, do the viral thing, create content and publish it - in social networks and on blogs and in tweets.

It is where we fulfil those mutliple roles that once were the sole domain of the media industry - we publish, we advertise and market (to our peers). We provide the distribution through peer-to-peer pass on. We do it all in networks rather than channels, in real-time rather than their time and many-to-many rather than broadcast from one-to-many, with the one at the centre.

It is a CRITICAL part of the mix. You don't get the social without the media. The Eighth Mass Media. Us.

To recap on The Eight Mass Media:
  • We are the distribution
  • We are the content
  • We are the user journey
  • We are how messages are transmitted
  • We are the medium and the media carried within it
  • We are the connections AND how the connections are made
In this Eighth Mass Media element we find each other - we discover those we didn't know we needed to know, we come together to serve a common purpose. We become communities of purpose.

And there is a great deal of value in this. We recommend stuff - our friends buy it or buy into it.

But the greater value lies in the new, fast, user-centric, efficiencies of the 'social' part of the phrase.

That is, that all our media-like activity brings us together with people seeking to solve the same problem or improve the same experience

And this is where the efficiencies happen.

A very small-scale example:

  • A social technology (Twitter) is created (social)
  • I (social) tweet a complaint about a brand (media)
  • A person (social) representing the brand uses social technology to discover this (social)
  • The person (social) contacts me (media)
  • We engage in conversation (media)
  • My problem is resolved (social)
  • The person representing the brand (social) discovers a way to improve their current system - making it more efficient for brand and consumer (social)
  • I (social) tweet my peers to say how pleased I am with the outcome (media)
  • I (social) recommend the brand representative to my peers (social)

How does that scale?

Remember: The people who can make most difference to your organisation don't work for it. Adapting to the network means that they can.

So broadening the listening for what's wrong with your brand, as experienced by end-users, effectively delivers crowd-sourced improvements - R&D and NPD - in rapid iteration and at small cost.

Make no mistake - there is much more to this than reputation management.

Social + Media generates low-cost NPD, R&D, P2P Marketing, Advertising, Recruitment and all that reputation management warmth, too.

The process adapts the org to the expressed needs of the network (people) - it transforms your organisation into one in which the greater part of its energy is generated from beyond the organisation - and one in which that increased energy nourishes a growing, changing and responding org.

Catch-up: Causing a stir on BlogTalk Radio

Jon Hansen was kind enough to invite me to be his guest on his BlogTalk Radio show yesterday. It was broadcast live at 5:30-6:15pm UK time on October 8.

I very much enjoyed and - and Jon's invited me back to do another show in the near future - which I'm going to take him up on.

Apparently, yesterday's caused a bit of a stir:

This from Jon's blog:
"’s show regarding the differences between traditional media such as newspapers and the emerging social media world, delivered an incredibly insightful and powerful message in terms the future of these paradoxical mediums.
"Unexpected . . . certainly not given guest David Cushman’s level of expertise regarding the subject matter.  "What was surprising is the level of interaction within the confines of the show’s on-line chat room which even had one listener post a note asking me to take callers earlier in the show.
"While there have been segments in which I have had 19 or 20 people in the live chat room at the same time, the activity was noticeably brisk during today’s segment.
"It was also considerably more active than it was during the 90-Minute Buy American Special that featured a brief interview with Canada’s Trade Minister.  Perhaps Dave should run for public office."

Listen to it for yourself using the player, below.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Resources: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Social Media...

As promised to those attending Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Social Media But Were Afraid to Ask, here's the slidedeck I spoke to. Listed below the slides are some of my white papers which you may be interested in for further reading.

In both the case of the whitepapers and of my book (The Power of the Network) you'll find references to further reading you may enjoy.

There's a video of me speaking on similar themes at a previous event, too.

I mentioned GoogleWave on Friday. To learn more about that in 7 mins - watch the relevant video below.

I really enjoyed the session and appreciate all feedback and suggestions on what we may focus on next time around?

And finally, the Amazon widget I've also included (the carousel thingy) shows my current 10 books I'm recommending.

Dive in and enjoy!

UPDATE: 12:15pm Oct 05, 09. Slideshare just dropped me an email to tell me the deck below is "being tweeted more than any other document on SlideShare right now. So we've put it on the homepage of (in the "Hot on Twitter" section)." Cool!

More of my slidedecks:

My White Papers:
Speaking at Winning With Social Media

David Cushman - "Setting the social media scene & Adapting brands to the networked world" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Googlewave explained - by the people who made it:

Great further reading:

Hope that offers a little to be going on with :-)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Vote for the nation's digital heroes

Disclosure: I'm a Trustee of Citizens Online - which is the charity running the search for the UK's Digital Heroes.

These aren't the usual suspects, the teenage millionnaires behind the next major platform or similar, these are heroes who use digital technology to bring about important social change - often helping people who need the most help.

We've now got 36 worthy candidates for you to choose from - nominated from all around the UK.

With the backing of TalkTalk, they now go head to head to win technology grants to help further their cause. 
The vote is in your hands - find out more, and cast your vote at:
The individuals with the most votes from each of the 12 regions will be awarded a £5,000 grant and honoured at a ceremony at the House of Lords presided over by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox.  An overall winner determined by Martha and her expert panel will receive a grand prize of £10,000. 
 Voting ends Friday October 23, 2009.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wave : Real-time Collaboration Google-style

You've heard the buzz, you've watched it trend - and you've given up on the hour long video... well here's the 7 min version.
Google Wave really is worth at least that much of your time :-)

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?