Each to their Own – Social Media polarizing to find their own niches?

Now that the noise has somewhat abated on the Google+ front, time to look back on the development of the social networks and how they are finding their niches in the worldwide market place. Some of these networks are driven with specific aims in mind – I may have touched upon this before * Data Mining – Opencast – Facebook……*
No one is forced to use the networks so the issues of data donation is a personal choice.
Note to self *wonders if Facebook would recognise Red Herring as a real name*
However transparency and privacy are issues which do need addressing. Especially if you condone or appear by inactivity to condone minors using the networks. 7.5 million under thirteens on Facebook and rising, this is a demographic that do not understand privacy and data and this is an area of contention. Responsibility for this lies where? With the parents or guardians of these children, educators in schools, the network itself must take some degree of ownership.Looking at the top five popular networks, there is an evolution of centricity appearing. A clustering of common denominators around niche subjects. That said I was blogging about ego centricity and Facebook and subject centricity and Flickr, YouTube, MySpace some time ago.

Google+    – Although has been described as “as a niche geek community ”  it has alot going for it’s format alone and yes there is a nice clean feel to the membership at the moment, lets hope that endures. The format allows sharing of a topic, a blog post, a photograph, an opinion, a video – content is it’s multi facetted formats – and then allows a conversation to develop centred on the original post. The ultimate peer review site?
Circles are possibly not yet fully thought through, there needs to be some format for set open circles, private members open circles and obviously your personal private circles.

Disclosure: ethereal elite and eclectic elite are two of my personal favourites and I will leave it up to your imaginations as to who is in which 😉

Another brilliant feature is Hangouts – a sort of video chatroom for ten allowing a realtime video conference. Google+ must be the only time you get to hangout with Sergey Brin and Michael Dell….

Twitter – Short shout outs and link sharing are Twitter’s main strengths – best for breaking news and discovery. However it has reached a critical mass where spam is unavoidable and issues such as repetition and validation have been highlighted recently. I am spending far less time on Twitter, however if there is a big news story breaking it is by far the best view in town, reactions from real people through to branded (and verified ) accounts, although even the inestimable Jon Snow has been known to be overenthusiastic with his sharing. Must be hell to be famous lolI still love the nature of Twitter, especially the excitement and energy you can find on there. Again depends on who you are following, looking at some users feeds well lets just say nothing here. Following the riots was fascinating car cash tv with an aside of reality tv for good measure.

Facebook – Mass market, the Friends Reunited of the last 5 years and social media starter for kids. Privacy settings a maze you need a handbook to navigate and the walls? So over as my husband has now joined! 😉
You can create lists but to my mind they are all the wrong way round….Great for families to keep in touch. Minefield for kids – Parental Guidance required!

Linked In – Job Club for unemployed or disenfranchised professionals. Brilliant resource for the HR departments though, almost more so than Facebook – history immutable.

My_________ – the artist formerly know as MySpace to be rebranded by JustinTimberlake as the network for musicians and fans, crowdsource your songs. An excellent example of the polarizing into niche networks – a social network aimed directly and music creation and consumption. I could well see this being the new itunes for buying and discovering new music.
Watch This Space

Blog post thanks to the Glitch downtime – Beta Bunny is gathering screenshots for the big launch
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Touch Screen Navigation – RIP keyboards?

For some time now, I have been exploring the mechanisms that deliver content to screens, whether on a iPhone, Tablet device, laptop or even a legacy PC (Joke! – I for one in no way agree with the bloggers espousing the call that the PC is dead  – think gaming industry!!)

Do we have Steve Jobs alone, to thank for this? The advent of the iPhone exposure and the iPad world domination – think of the iPhone as the training course (TSN for beginners if you like) then follow up with the ubiquitous iPad with added Flipboarding and you have advanced TSN.

I truly hope that this advert fro Corning Glass is the way of the future. Instant and wherever. I have been thinking about thedestination of the web and got as far as any screen. I now think it will be any intelligent surface!

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“Get off of My Cloud”

Having watched and read about the trends and opinions I had blithely assumed ( mea culpa ) that the future of personal computing would be in the cloud.
By cloud computing I am inferring a slightly different meaning to the official meaning – more of a JoeBloggs sort of definition. Virtual server storage. Suspect this is actually becoming the generally accepted definition. Bit like defining web2.0 and everyone has a different meaning for that!I would be connecting directly online via a Samsung Chromebook and renting virtual garage space from Amazon Cloud Services, the friendly face of Easi Cloud?

That was all fine and fuzzy until two incidences rocked my faith in the uber etailer. The first incidence was that my account at Amazon was hacked and electronic goods were ordered to be delivered to Vietnam ( the hacker actually added his own credit card details lol )

The customer service was appalling to say the least and inspite of cancelling the order the associated company actually despatched the goods! Major Fail.

The next issue was that they reneged on two orders which I consider were contractually agreed. I would have expected a company like Amazon to honour purchase agreements but no apparently not so. Pretty dodgy yet again. But because of their massive size they get away with shoddy behaviour. Both situations could have been quickly and easily rectified by a reasonable customer communication ( service if you like?)

Anyway, I guess you can see where this is going?

How could I consider entrusting all my private data and storage to a feckless and transient bunch?
So that rules out the High Street Cloud ( actually more market stall than High Stret come to think of it…)

So now the search is on for a personal Cloud service, a bit like storage rentals – you knoe the ones? You see the signs on every roundabout and business park – warehouse space to rent.

What if we could sublet server space from trusted partners? Consortial Clouding?

My search is now on for the future cloud store – wouldn’t it be great if it was called “Silver Lining”?



Coming up next: Touch Screen Navigation and the ultimate Smart Surface

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Patently Oblivious?

Why are we all stressing about patents acquisitions? The length of time that the beurocracy takes to deal with patents and trademarks is ludicrous when you think just how fast the technologies are evolving. Your technology is outdated by the time the paperwork is finalised.

Patent sPending…….
Recent months have seen a number of high profile companies duelling to acquire patent rich companies. Nortel and Motorola are two of the recent news stories – just Google news and there are pages and pages of opinions voiced.

Is it to protect against counter legal actions? Is it to increase the assets of the company? Is it indeed an indication of the directions that the companies are moving into – a public statement of intent?

Or is it really just to keep the many legal teams and departments wrapping the freedom of the internet and imagination in red tape?

Never mind –  technology is evolving faster than it ever has, platforms come and fade, interaction takes to the ether with the aid of HTML5 and the interaction point is now just a screen, whether on a laptop, a tablet or a mobile device.

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Mark Z you keep asking me to donate my data free? And then you…..you sell it.

Facebook refinements drive niche marketing – that is as solid as the fact that the mega corps valuations are based on data mining ( Plenty of previous posts on Open cast data mining and Facebook domination ) . With the advent of this latest status option – the ability to announce on Facebook that you are expecting ( Does this work on the father’s profile too – wicked way to out a footballer’s love children lol ) you are creating a niche advertising magnet. The second that you update your status expect to get flooded with pampers, wipes and samples of all pregnancy baby paraphenlia.

What next? Lets segregate pet owners? Add your household data to your profile? Owned by/In a relationship with two dogs and three cats? – Expect pet accesories and food offers.

Lets not forget culinary preferences – we need options for omnivore/carnivore/vegetarian/vegan/gluten free. More neat niche advertising magnets.

But just wait up a moment – If you – like me – are fed up of spam, then maybe this targeted advertising is not such a bad  thing after all? Lets face it I am sooo fed up with Living Social offers which are not local and definately not for me lol!

And now finally to the point:

BUT and this is a massive caveat, why should Zuckerberg earn his billions through selling MY data admittedly freely given. How about we have a look at a fairer concept – I will tailor profiles and provide comprehensive data, provided that you reward me properly. Not just random discounts but a proper return for my data.

Room for discussion?

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All publicity is good publicity right ? The era of the Toxic Brand and social media’s voice.

If the Murdoch’s coined the phrase Toxic Brand then AirBnB are certainly perpetuating it. Every RSS feed, update, Tweet is focussing on the about turn repair that AirBnB are trying to influence opinion and repair their brand. Too little too late.


Once you could release information to the press for timely dissemination to the uninformed proletariat and control what your brand portrays. Now the backlash that is social media is showing it’s power.
I’m not going to rehash the story behind the Toxic Branding story – suffice it to say a touch of naive management of events, which was rapidly spread about the internet world. Had AirBnB not been pretty much spamming the webs with adverts this effect would likely not have happened as to be on radar you have to be a familiar brand.

As with the launch of Color, and the subsequent backlash post launch. Manage expectations based upon a trial and lets get back to proper focus group testing and human reactions. This new era of communication demands a degree of transparency that would scare a politician!
Brand management in this era of authenticity is an art requiring an understanding of the human mind and not just legacy marketing strategies.

New era New rules.
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Face Recognition – The Elephant in the Room

Back in June of this year, Facebook enabled auto tagging for photographs. The storm of controversy that this unleashed resounded around the net and resulted in a rapid reversal and face recognition was swiftly hidden behind a multitude of privacy settings.So we do still care about personal privacy and face recognition has gone a step too far for the majority of us. Nerves were still frayed after the personal onslaught that was the Google street car ( and perish the thought that the streetcar mapped thousands of IP addresses en route – yet more open cast data mining) so that when face recognition was enabled on Facebook, thousands of us imagined all sorts of implications. OK OK I have an over active imagination – oh…no wait even The Daily Mail ( thanks to ASG for the link ) are envisioning a future where faces are matched and that to search someones information all you need to is take a photo.

Are we surprised that this portal between the real world and the virtual exists? Play about in Layar and that seems wonderful but not quite the direct link. I suppose the best way that I can think about the portal is that the face recognition is just like a QR code for faces.

Q R Face Code

So the giants in the tech trade learn from their mistakes. Sure they do….Facebook requires individuals to register a name, Google forgets to implement this from the start so that when beta invites are taken up by names that Google do not compute they are evicted sans notice.Now we hear that Google have acquired new face recognition technology – are we about to be claimed and named in all our photos?

I suppose that I am uneasy about this because I manage my online presence in that I am constantly aware of the implications of tweeting 4square updates ( default disabled purely because it annoys me seeing updates from others) I know just how much information I am happy with sharing.

As with the Color app I do not like nor feel comfortable with invasive or non consenting technology. If it is a case of allowing this technology each time then that would be ok. Probably more so because photos of me on the internet are seriously ultra rare so by my reckoning not gonna get tagged and outed lol

So to sum up – QR codes on t shirts with your Google+ / Facebook url are cute and funny, auto face recognition data creepy. Voluntary and known vs unknown and sneaky.I am anonymous

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