Being drawn into the web

iStock_000019677014XSmall

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/joruba

I tend to be quite active on the internet, and yet I sometimes find myself in a quandary – should I submit a blog post, or add a comment on another web-site or not. This post tries to better understand the various aspects of that decision moment.

Continue reading

Why it makes sense to ‘Like’ and ‘Check-in’

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/pressureUA

For a long time I thought, as I believe many people still do, that ‘Liking’ posts or webpages (eg, Facebook‘s ‘Like’ button), and ‘checking-in’ at locations (eg Foursquare) were just for fun, an unnecessary novelty.

With the development of social discovery, and smarter algorithms used for advertising, it’s becoming apparent to me that there is in fact quite some value in ‘liking’ and ‘checking-in’.

Of course, many people will immediately shudder, raising privacy concerns, and concerns that it is time-consuming or frivolous (see also my post “Thoughts on privacy versus disclosure in today’s society“). These can be fair objections, but let’s investigate things a little further.

Continue reading

‘Big 4’ accounting / professional services firms on Twitter

One could say that 2011 is the year that the ‘Big 4’ accounting / professional service firms (in alphabetical order: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC) really ramped up their use of Twitter as a tool to communicate with people interested in what they might have to say.

That is not to say that they didn’t already have Twitter accounts previously, but the number of Twitter accounts, and use of Twitter has increased significantly this year, including in many cases, separate accounts appearing for each country (often in local language).

This growth however doesn’t always appear to be centrally managed, or connected to a clear strategy to using Social Media (rather appearing in some cases to be the result of decentralized, local decisions, indicated by inconsistent avatar graphic uses and unusual timing of appearance of new accounts).

Below I comment on the types of accounts, what is being said, and provide links to Twitter lists where you can (with or without registering for Twitter) observe what the firms are saying.

Continue reading

Should you bring some Color into your life?

(or, Thoughts on recent, and future developments in location based services and social networking)

In the world of geeky correspondence on Twitter, Quora and tech blogs the last month has seen a lot of discussion about a new app called Color.

There are several reasons why Color is attracting so much attention:

  • It has a high profile team of already successful internet entrepreneurs
  • It has received financing (“$41m!”) from one of the most prominent venture capital firms, Sequoia Capital
  • It has an innovative, and potentially revolutionary approach to the “social graph” (the way in which social networks are built)
  • It is receiving very mixed reviews, from very negative to wildly popular

Color allows you to take photographs with your smartphone, and will share those photographs publicly with anyone nearby (regarding the privacy aspects, it’s really quite simple – if you don’t like that publicity, don’t use Color, at least not for the photos that you don’t want to share).

At the moment, that’s pretty much it. Simple, right? So why the fuss?

Continue reading

Thoughts on Clay Shirky’s concept of “Cognitive surplus”

I recently came across various reviews and marketing for Clay Shirky’s new book ‘Cognitive surplus‘.  While deceptively simple, I love the “concept” of ‘Cognitive surplus’ – in two words it sums up intellectual and creative potential, and the question as to what we do with that.

One of the key points of Clay’s argument is the disparity between time spent watching television (‘consuming’) and time spent ‘creating’ / ‘contributing’, and the consequent waste of our intellectual and creative potential during this time (he compares the “200 billion hours spent by Americans annually watching TV“, and the “100 million hours so far invested in creating Wikipedia“).

David McCandle has a prepared a brilliant, simple visualization of this on his excellent website ‘Information is beautiful’ (which I see as a sort of artistic version of my thoughts on ‘Killer charts’, which I blogged about a while ago).

It was that graphic, sent to me in a link in an email from a friend, that prompted me into this post, and the following thoughts.

Continue reading

Happy birthday Blog! (reflections on my first year blogging)

My blog, Matt Benson’s Musings, recently passed its one year anniversary (April 17). Hooray!

This made me think that it would be a good time to reflect: Why do I blog? How has my blog developed over the last year? In this post I address these questions.

I wrote most of this post around the time of the anniversary of my blog (and a bit more, which I’ve subsequently cropped and which might be part of a future post) – a discussion during a dinner party last night prompted me to finish this post and ‘publish’ it.

Continue reading

Searching for company names/references/tweets on Twitter

I was recently interested in searching for references to the name ‘Ernst & Young‘ (the accounting firm) on Twitter (ie, within tweets). Obvious? Just type ‘Ernst & Young’ into the box on Twitter Search?  Yes, of course. … But that’s not the end of the story.

Getting the right search results on Twitter can be a little more tricky than that, but as I show below, not entirely impossible. I have set out a few hints and tips as to how to ensure you can increase your chances of finding references to any company name in Twitter.

Continue reading

“The Story Behind the Still: The Cabbie” (Vincent Laforet on Vimeo)

The Story Beyond The Still: The Cabbie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

I’ve decided to include a post on this video that I came across on Vimeo – it intrigued me for several reasons, and as a result I’d like to help promote it:

  • The video / short film is well made and engaging, and at the end leaves you wanting more, but just a little creepy also …
  • Vincent Laforet is roughly the same age as me, but in an entirely different career, and half way round the world from me (you can read his bio here)
  • I’m also interested in DSLR photography, but only on an amateur level (sadly not having the time to let this hobby develop yet … no pun intended)
  • The video is the initial step in a social network / crowdsourcing style contest, not too dissimilar to the exercise you might have done at school, where everyone wrote a different chapter to a book in their English class … in this case Vincent has filmed the first chapter in a film and contestants will submit subsequent chapters starting where the last one finished (given the ending to “The Cabbie”, it will be interesting to see where the contestants and judges take it next)

Continue reading

How developments in social media might impact internal corporate communications

Internal corporate communications often put a positive spin on news stories, and often include only stories which portray the organization in a positive light and highlight recent success stories. Reasons for this can include thee organization’s leadership wanting to motivate staff, emphasise strategy, and direct the development of the corporate culture, as well as possibly also highlighting successful leadership.

As such, the style of presentation and choice of content can include an element of bias, and in some cases might even be factually inaccurate or misleading (eg, if the leadership feels that this can be in the best interests of the organization, or if the leadership is dictating the internal communications in order to justify it’s own existence or overstate its own performance). This is natural – in any communications or discussion, most people tend to put a positive spin on their own performance.

Recent technological developments, in particular Web2.0/Social Media, are however limiting the effectiveness of what can essentially be ‘corporate propaganda‘.

Continue reading

Google Wave – the future of communications, or just another social media tool?

Google_Wave_logoYou’ve heard of Facebook and Twitter – next up is Google Wave. I recently received an invite to join Google Wave, Google’s new social media/collaboration tool.  Since it is still in a limited preview phase, the only way to join Google Wave is via such invites (read on if you are interested in getting an invite – I have three to give away). I’ve now had some time to play with it, and thought I’d add my thoughts to the growing number of reviewers and critics.

According to the Google Wave ‘About’ page:

Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

Continue reading