Digital citizens need real world knowledge too

It was fascinating to be at the inaugural Digital Citizens event in Sydney last week – the topic was: Private Parts: Personality and Disclosure – Finding a Balance in the Digital Space.

There was a great line up on the panel with visiting US lawyer and social media specialist Adrian Dayton (Social Media for Lawyers), Sam North (Ogilvy PR), Damian Damjanovski (BMF), and Renai LeMay (Delimiter), all wrangled expertly by the moderator Bronwen Clune (Strategeist).

It was a very thought provoking session with the panel and audience discussion. And the big takeway for me is that social media and its practitioners need to accept that we live within a particular social and legal context.

No matter how much we ‘social media’ types decry how poorly the law is setup to deal with what we do everyday, that is the situation we must deal with. The law moves much more slowly than changes in technology, and, upon consideration, maybe that’s not such a bad thing?

For example, Damian Damjanovski argued: “A lot of people out there use it as a personal communications method. There are lots of people with no more than 70 followers . When did we get to the point that this is suddenly publishing and should be treated as such?”

The fact is ordinary people are doing something that was once privileged – publishing. We are publishing content in many places now in the same ways that publishers (who have lawyers vetting much of their content) have for years.

Now that everywoman and everyman is a publisher we need to understand the rights and obligations that come with publication. We are no longer having a chat about something over dinner or at the pub with a bunch of mates. We are posting content (pretty much) for perpetuity and complaining when there are legal ramifications associated with that act.

It all made me think that perhaps a good topic for another Digital Citizens session would be about the legal issues associated with the act of publication on the web? Since, while Adrian Dayton was great, it would have been handy to have Australian lawyer on the panel.

A brief write-up of the event is also available on mUmBRELLA

Kindling a Revolution

Just travelled back from Melbourne and sat next to an extremely spry gentleman of 71 years who spent the entire trip reading on his Kindle.

He told me how much he loved this new way of reading. That it can hold 1500 books and he only recharges it infrequently, less than once a month.

As a frequent traveller he enjoys the convenience of his great collection of books in a compact package and at a reasonable price per book. And he’s found that it’s good to read both indoors and outdoors.

I felt quite old-fashioned with a thick book on my lap next to this new-fangled gadget.

As this elderly gentleman said:

“the book industry is in real trouble, it’s not like we’ll stop reading but this will kill the book industry as we know it”

Thus we see again a change in the nature of our media of production is revolutionising existing industries.

We have already seen the changes sweep the music industry. Shifting us from physical objects that we bought and took home to virtual objects that we store on our mobile phones.

Now we are about to see the same kind of revolution sweep through our books.

Even this elderly gentlemen can see this. It will be interesting to see what futile rearguard actions the book industry puts up in resistance to this tide of change.

Future of the Web | The Scoop

Recently I had the honour of joining Mark Pesce & Ross Dawson on Mark Jones’ podcast The Scoop where we discussed the The future of the Web.

It was a fascinating discussion – so many interesting ideas to consider:

What happens when our real and virtual worlds collide? And how will we live in this hyper-connected world? In part three of our “Future of” series, The Scoop is joined by Mark Pesce, futurist and ABC New Inventors judge; Kate Carruthers, a business and technology strategist; and Ross Dawson, futurist, author, speaker and chairman of Advanced Human Technologies.

You can check out the podcast here

Future of news – a direct quote from one Gen Y

Here’s a little quote from one of my Gen Y friends on my Facebook wall today:

“I won’t ever pay for normal news content ever again full stop. If i wanted to subscribe to something niche likes financial markets pieces etc, then potentially yes, but even then i would discerning. I think he needs to get with the program. Old empire = dead. “

Clearly a sample of one in this instance, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard this sentiment. Wonder how this is all going to work out for Rupert?

Is Mordy Koots a glimpse into the future of entertainment?

I had the pleasure of running into Jim Shomos the other night & he was telling me about his latest project – Mordy Koots.

This project is amazing in the way that it brings together so many of the threads of film, gaming, web and social computing. Lots of the ideas that people have discussed, such as the shifting consumption patterns for new media, are realised in this project.

Mordy Koots uses a different approach to telling a story. There are 10 x 3 minute action packed episodes delivered via web and mobile in partnership with NineMSN. It stars the very funny & endearing Shane Jacobsen (of Kenny fame) and is directed by Clayton Jacobsen.

This has not been launched yet, but Jim kindly gave me permission to use the clip. Check it out.

I suspect that this is a glimpse into the future of entertainment led by some Aussie ingenuity and the constraints of making feature films in smaller markets.

Blog action day 2009: What can one person do? #BAD09

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 & the topic is climate change.

“Climate change affects us all and it threatens more than the environment. It threatens to cause famine, flooding, war, and millions of refugees.

Given the urgency of the issue of climate change and the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December, we think the blogosphere has the unique opportunity to mobilize millions of people around expressing support for finding a sustainable solution to the climate crisis.”

 

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As a somewhat sceptical individual I’m not bought into the idea of global warming nor of a coming ice age.  But as a rational thinker it seems prudent to be a good steward of the place where we live & which sustains us.

While I do not want us all to return to hunter-gatherer times and eschew modern conveniences, it does seem like a good time to direct our substantial collective intelligence towards find better ways of doing things.

In Australia we are already seeing the effects of climate change.  The recent devastating bushfires in Victoria appear to be a mere harbinger of what is to come.  We can expect to inhabit a much dryer and more fire-prone environment in some parts of the country.  While in other parts of the country we are seeing increasingly bad storms and cyclones.

To me this seems like a very big problem.  But all very big problems seem daunting unless they are chunked up.  This is a great case to apply the old maxim

Think global! Act local!

Here are some simple things some friends & I have done:

http://www.blogactionday.org/

Kind supporters of Cupcake Camp Sydney

A number of organisations have stepped up to offer prizes for Cupcake Camp Sydney. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank them for their generosity, and also to show the prizes that our cupcake makers could win.


The Plantronics has provided one of their Discovery 925 Bluetooth earpiece.

It is a nifty designer headset for both men and women.

“Delivering exceptional audio performance, complemented by bold lines and distinctive finishes, the Plantronics Discovery 925 Bluetooth earpiece embodies technical craftsmanship previously unseen in the mobile accessories category.”


Plantronics has also provided on of their GameCom 367 Closed-Ear Gaming Headsets.

This headset “delivers an immersive audio experience with

50mm stereo speakers and earpods that redistribute pressure for maximum comfort.

The headset features a noise-canceling mic boom which allows you to

Adjust audio levels using in-line volume

and mic-mute controls.”


Altec Lansing have provided one of their Muzx 126 SnugFit noise-isolating earphones.

These are iPhone, MP3 and iPod compatible.

“Sound quality is excellent thanks to the use of wood and other materials to help sound resonate and gold plated plug for superior sound transfer.

The earphones also feature fashion detailing.”


Everyone who makes or buys and brings cupcakes to share is in the running to win one of these prizes. Again, a big thank-you to the donors.

Innovation and technology predictions

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”.
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

It is easy to look at a statement like this and poke fun. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

But as I have said on many occasions – innovation always comes unexpectedly & from the periphery. Very often the innovation is not a completely new technology, rather it is a new way of using or applying existing technology. The iPhone is a good example of this phenomenon – it is still a mobile phone, yet it changes the very playing field for mobile phones & computers in important ways.

But Watson’s quote shares a common feature with many technology predictions. Based upon then current knowledge of existing business models, technology and applications those predictions are often right at the point in time they are made.

For example, how many people in the world really needed a computer at home that looked like this one?

When Thomas Watson made his comment regarding the number of computers in the world, he had no mental map of a world where a computer could fit into your pocket or be used on your lap while watching television.

For Watson the computer he referred to was something like the British Colossus computer or the American Harvard Mark 1 – these were physically huge machines that were designed to assist with decryption of coded messages during World War II. Machines of this kind were not needed in large numbers across the world, and their cost to build, use and maintain was very high. Thus Watson’s statement from1943 was apt for its time. And he was unable to imagine some of the future improvements in technology, like transistors, that enable us to have computers in every home (and soon in every pocket or handbag).

Predicting technology futures is a funny old thing to do. When an innovation is revealed it often seems obvious, except that it was not obvious until you saw it.

The other challenge with predicting technology futures is that people change in their expectations of what is helpful or desirable. If we had explained Facebook or Twitter to an ordinary person back 1997 they would probably have thought it a completely mad idea. And, with the technology available to us in 1997, it would likely have been a bad user experience too.

But in 2009 Facebook seems like a completely reasonable thing for many ordinary people to use on a regular basis.  I keep wondering what the next big thing will be – I’ve got some ideas.  But my suspicion remains, that like Twitter, when I hear of it first it will seem either stupid or irrelevant.  Then, only gradually will it dawn that this new technology is changing the way we think and behave, or that it is shifting our expectations of technology and people in everyday life.