Thursday, 18 December 2008

Slideshare - the future is social media

This presentation has some fantastic graphical representations of the philosophy behind Web 2.0 and some amazing statistics as well. 14% trust advertisments compared to 78% who will trust a friend's recommendation. And only 18% of TV advertising campaigns generate positive ROI.

Here's the killer stat: 36% think more positively about brands that have blogs.

Web 2.0 and Social Media

From: shantanu.adhicary,
4 months ago

Web 2.0 and Social Media
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: shantanu media)

Social Media and Web 2.0 presentation designed with the help of Marta Kagan

SlideShare Link

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I've just started reading Groundswell, a book addressing Web 2.0 and the larger movement it represents. It has a fantastic definition of the "groundswell" which represents the growth of the culture around Web 2.0 and social media:

The groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies.

This neatly rolls together both the threat and opportunity that Web 2.0 represents to any corporation, and especially those involved in the production and distribution of information (including the publisher I work for).

The threat is clear: the production-distribution-consumption model, with companies as the producers/distributors and individuals as the consumer, has been radically altered. The premium prices that individuals paid companies to maintain their resources and processes are no longer required. Due to the internet and Web 2.0, anybody can create and distribute information to an enormous audience, and all it costs them is their time and effort. If they are providing this for free, why would individuals pay for it?

So what is the opportunity for the former manufacturer-distributors? It is to support these burgeoning communities, to create innovative tools that facilitate their sharing activities. To support the free information with premium quality information that is directly relevant to the question at hand.

In my next couple of posts I'll come back to these concepts. I'll take another look at Ravelry (my favourite Web 2.0 site) and also review Sara Lloyd's fantastic article, "A book publisher's manifesto for the 21st century".

RSS in Plain English

We are starting to get a buzz at my workplace around Web 2.0 due to a whitepaper my team just wrote on how professionals (read: our customers) use Web 2.0 in their work. The paper is due to be launched in January and in the meantime I have been asked to create a short presentation on what Web 2.0 is. My first thought was to use a Common Craft video but sadly they don't have one just for Web 2.0 yet! Oh well, looks like I do my own presentation after all. I do love their RSS in plain english video but don't think I'll have time to show the whole thing - I may adapt some of their visualisation techniques (the arrows!) to my presentation.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Ravelry - a web 2.0 dream

I'm dusting off this blog and getting back into sharing my Web 2.0 experiences, at home and at work.

I have to say the most complete web 2.0 experience I have had is on Ravelry, a community for knitters and crocheters (yes, you heard me right, I do knit). On Ravelry I can add descriptions and photos of all my projects. Even better, I can search for patterns (both free online patterns and those that are only available in books) and then see how other people went knitting them. If it's a bad review, maybe I don't want to try it. Alternatively if I really like it I can favourite it for later. I can also add a yarn to my stash, and then see what projects people have made with it.

Then there are forums based around topics and locations. So I can find local knitting groups and go along to their meetings. Or I can search for a particular knitting technique or ask for help. There are yarn swaps, gift swaps, virtual Knit-alongs and even a Knitting Olympics to co-incide with the real ones.. There's also a very passionate thread on the Australian Knitters forum where people have found out about draft changes to airplane security and are making submissions en masse that knitting needles should be allowed on planes.

You can also find friends, message them, view their projects, stash and pattern library, and see what they've been talking about in the forums.

From a business point of view, there are a number of pattern designers and yarn retailers on Ravelry, so they are getting direct feedback on what people think of their products as well as being on hand to offer assistance. Ravelry-only specials from yarn stores receive a fantastic response. That doesn't mean that everyone is completely sold on what Ravelry represents. An explosion of free online patterns and access to a much larger range of yarn shops makes the market quite competitive. The yarn shop down the road may find that online or overseas stores can beat their prices even with shipping. On the other hand, smaller retailers with quality offerings may suddenly be pitched into the spotlight if word of a good pattern or wool gets around. So it cuts both ways.

In terms of making money from the platform itself, here's what the Ravelry designers have to say:

The site will always be free for designers, independent dyers, spinners, crocheters and knitters! We want it to be an inclusive community- not just for those who can pay for it. Instead, we have tasteful and targeted ads for fibery products and companies that we as a community are actually be interested in and want to support!

They also sell some pretty funky merchandise - financial support and advertising all in one go.

If you feel like hopping on Ravelry, drop me a line - my ID is EclecticRose.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Thing 8 - I heart RSS

RSS has a big heart
Originally uploaded by labnol
I've been banging on about RSS for a while now. It's like having a separate mail slot for your newspapers so they don't get mixed in with your mail. And there are so many uses for it!

For a start it is a brilliant way to collect and read professional reading - blog posts are much more consumable than long articles or chapters in a book. A fair chunk of my KM knowledge has been collected and read in my bloglines account from the list of blogs you see in my blogroll.

It's also a great way of harvesting news from particular sites - even passworded databases such as Factiva now have the facility to deliver RSS alerts to your reader.

These are examples of your RSS reader as a repository - an "in tray" so to speak, where material sits until you come and read it. But there is also an alternative type of reader - the "stream of news" reader. In my Google Sidebar I have a news ticker that provides the latest stories from SMH and yahoo news. These are constantly refreshing, and the story is not kept anywhere once it's replaced by fresh news. It's a great way to monitor ephemeral news - something that is of value as soon as you're alerted to it, but isn't something you're likely to go back to tomorrow. But it's still RSS.

So there's a bunch of personal uses for RSS. Next post - RSS takes on the enterprise world!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Thing 7 - Toys these days....

It's funny what you take for granted these days when it comes to technology. My husband is a bit of a gamer, although not what you would call a serious one. And yet, you should see the set up that comes with our X-box 360. This PC-sized box sits above our TV. It's connected to the internet, and other gamers, via wireless modem. My husband doesn't have to sit too close to the TV as the controller is wireless. Plus he has a headset that allows him to talk with the people he's playing with - usually directions such as "You go up, I'll go down - watch out for that guy!" etc.

This kind of technology has been around in one form or another for years now, but it still seems pretty damn impressive if you stop to think about it for a second. That x-box and modem is processing and transmitting multiple forms of data - graphics, AI moves for the enemies, the movements of the live players, plus the chat over the headphones. All pretty much in real time. Amazing. And that's all for the home consumer. It sure makes the average teleconference software look pretty clunky!

When you then of it, multiplayer games are essentially a form of recreational collaboration between a group working towards a goal (the "quest") in a controlled environment (the game). And of course as games such as World of Warcraft evolve, the scope of the environment just gets broader. It's not a big step from this sort of fantasy world to Second Life - a virtual world creating a digital face for people and companies. But I would argue, as a non-gamer, that it is still a big step for many to jump into that virtual world. Maybe I'll get there one day.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Thing 6 - Flickr is addictive.....

Flickr epitomises the spirit of internet "surfing" - start at Flickr Mapper with the location Sydney. Get sidetracked via one of the mapped images into cat tag groups....and find this! (Most definitely not taken in Sydney from the spanish title!) I think I spent an hour wandering through, plus I just thought of more tags to search for.

Unfortunately my computer didn't seem to like a lot of the mashup applications. I liked the idea of Associatr by Genista which creates tree associations of tags, but it didn't work for me :(

On to more practical considerations - mashups and business uses. A classic and highly practical one would be a photo of each office attached to a google map. Works for those of us who need landmarks! There is a handy facebook application that maps restaurants to locations - plus reviews from other Facebook users. Awesome! However, when it comes to my line of work I think the most useful element of flickr is the underlying concepts - folksonomies, social networks and creative commons copyright.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Thing 5 - Exploring Flickr

The future of libraries! Twice as many books in half the space (or less!). This photo by stodmyk is of the UBC Library book retrieval system in the States - it's all automated. Macquarie University Library, my former home, will look similar by 2010. It's a great space-saving solution (ALWAYS an issue for libraries - I should know!). But I will miss wandering through the shelves and browsing by DDC number. And boy do I hope theyhave all the bugs worked out in programing etc. Going offline would not be pretty....or you could ask for economics and get english lit!

Sourcing this photo
Gotta say I cheated. This was posted on Slaw, a law library blog I read. But I have been poking around flikr (could get lost in there for days!) The communities are very inspiring - cheaper than joining the local photography club! As a librarian I love how the folksonomy tagging system has still been given some structure via the recommended tags...we will not be defeated! Although I guess you can argue that they were still developed from the grassroots...hmmm.

Blogging the pic was incredibly easy - there's a little button above the picture in flickr saying "blog this". It was a matter of stepping through some set-up screens, and hey presto! I'm blogging through flickr. That said, I can't seem to add links or anything (maybe if I used the actual coding?) so I will have to edit it in blogger anyway....oh well!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Changing my blog template

Spent a couple of hours changing my blog template to MushBlue, which is what you see now. There are lots of templates out there, just google "blogger templates". You don't really need html/xml programming skills to get them, as most templates have detailed instructions on using them available. You may however need a good chunk of time and a lot of patience! Mine was a real fiddle because it was very popular, which meant I had to download all the graphics and host them myself on photobucket. Very tedious, but I managed it with a little trial and error and following the designer's instructions step by step. Anyway, it was worth it, it looks way cooler than the standard blogger templates.

Coming next: bookmarking buttons.....

Edit: Lots of gorgeous templates at

Thursday, 17 January 2008

7 1/2 Habits of Highly Effective Learners - Thing 2

Things 2-3: Helen Blowers has created a tutorial on the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Effective Learners. They are:

1. Begin with the end in mind (GOALS)
2. Accept responsibility for your own learning.
3. View problems as challenges
4. Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner (don't get discouraged if it's hard at first)
5. Create your own learning toolbox (courses, books, web tools etc)
6. Use technology to your advantage
7. Teach/mentor others
7.5 Play!

I think on the whole I'm a pretty enthusiastic and effective learner. I've always enjoyed my formal studies, and I'm generally keen to extend myself at work. I would say out these habits, the one I have the most trouble with is actually setting an attainable goal and then following through to its conclusion. I have plenty of dreams, but it's a matter of being realistic and selecting just one or two to work on. Sometimes I also tend to need extrinsic motivation to complete a goal - a deadline, a teacher/mentor who keeps me accountable or something similar.

The rest I would argue I'm pretty good at. Being a librarian, I know where and how to find the tools I need, I enjoy teaching, and I like to play. :)

Learning 2.0 for Knowledge Managment - Things 1-4

As a graduate librarian who has recently been shifted sideways from public libraries into the realm of corporate Knowledge Management, I've had a lot to learn. And I've discovered for me, the best way to learn about the latest approaches to Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing was through the many blogs on the subject, some of them written by leaders in the field (Check out the blog roll on the side - coming soon!).

In the midst of all this information absorption I quickly discovered that there's a pretty significant overlap between current library trends and KM trends, especially when it comes to Web 2.0 technologies and their potential for the organisation.

All of which led me to the fabulous 23 Things program designed by Helen Blowers to introduce Web 2.0 to public librarians. So here I am, doing the 23 Things not only for my own benefit but also to see where it can be tweaked to make it a learning tool for Knowledge Managers and their workers.