Public notebook

Our three types of online identity – Alisa Hansen about the pragmatic web on RWW

our online identities are comprised primarily of three specific kinds of data:

  • Explicit or prescriptive data (i.e. the data that I input about myself: name, age, occupation, etc.);
  • Activity or behavioral data (i.e. what I do and say online);
  • Relationship data (i.e. my social graph and what my connections say about me).

If we consider the power of this pragmatic Web (a highly relevant and individualized Web experience based on the ubiquity of our identity data), we find that it not only impacts individual user experience, but that it opens up entirely new opportunities for business online. The future is not “business as usual.” Business models will be based on what Elias Bizannes of the Data Portability Project calls the “information value network-economic value,” derived from services that focus on activities with comparative advantage and that leverage free access to data.

Consider this: as media companies scramble to identify new and innovative ways to advertise to the sea of nameless, pixeled users who graze through their content each day, a rich supply of highly valuable identity data lies just beneath the surface, left unmeasured and unmonetized.

M’learned colleague Alisa Hansen, of iCrossing NYC, recently published this post on ReadWriteWeb about how our identity will affect how the web works for us…

It’s an important concept – I’m particularly taken with her neat categorisation of the three kinds of identity data we have online: explicit, behavioural and relationship…

Tags: search, identity, personal, web, pragmatic

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Public notebook

Drew B’s take on tech PR: How to trend in Twitter. My five learnings explained.

So… to try to trend, choose the right time, make it interesting and newsworthy, then write it different and network your content.

Drew had a blog post go chicken oriental via Twitter – trending four times, 500 RTs etc.

The headline was written in about as Tweet-friendly a way as possible: “New average ages of social media users: Twitter 31, Facebook 33, LinkedIn 39, MySpace 26”

This is an interesting post where he thinks about the reasons he got a viral effect around the Tweet / blog post…

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Public notebook

Posterous founders explain themselves to Robert Scoble (video)


My love affair with Posterous continues and deepens. 

If you haven’t tried it yet send an email with a photo, video, audio file or a link to and you’ll be up and running. 

M’learned content colleague, Charlie Peverett explains why Posterous is so practically useful, simple and geekily exciting at the same time on the iCrossing blog in a lovely post entitled Posterous and the faff-free future

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Public notebook

Business model book follows its own advice – Springwise


A 72-page pdf preview of Business Model Generation is available for free. Ultimately, the full book will be available through Amazon. In the meantime, however, it can be ordered directly at a price of EUR 43 in Europe, USD 62 in the US and Canada, or USD 96 everywhere else; shipping costs (which the book’s creators say will soon come down) are included. One to apply to the creation of *your* next big thing…?


Spotted by: Simon Maurer

Read the whole of this post at

Really interesting to see people experimenting with business models around books (especially, ahem, with one of my own soon to appear in deadwood format).

Reminds me of Ian Ozsvald’s Screencasting Handbook approach – exciting stuff…

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Public notebook

News media fails in reporting on its own corruption

This failure by national papers to report on media matters in the public interest amounts to a conspiracy of silence. And the loser is the public with a right to know just how its self-selected moral guardians act in their own back yard.

And after all the puff and pomp as they brought MPs low over expenses… Shame, I say. Shame…

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Public notebook

Biomapping – thinking about urban spaces differently – from Heart of a City: BioMapping | Brain Pickings

Heart of a City: BioMapping

Why skin is the new heart and how your neighbors can change the way your feel about your street.

On the trails of yesterday’s fascinating exploration of cities as living organisms, today we look at another piece of high-concept urban portraiture that harnesses the power of art, sociology and technology to a brilliant end.

Since 2004, Christian Nold has been orchestrating Bio Mapping — a crowdsourced community mapping project, which wires people up to Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) devices, detecting their emotional arousal, and sends them on their merry way around the neighborhood. These states are then mapped onto people’s geographic location, creating a visualization of communal emotion.

This is a mind-spinning, gorgeous project that highlights how ubiquitous social web technology will start to make us think about and experience our urban environments differently.

I’ve noticed similar effects just with having an iPhone with reliable location and mapping data on you all of the time. I navigate London very differently, especially. The mapping data has changed how I model it in my head.

Same on the South Downs when I’m mountain biking. I “see” trails and ridges and hills via a Google Earth view almost… I’m making sense of an environment that used to be the background to the road and train system around Brighton in my mental model in a different way. Re-wiring how my brain sees it, cross referencing with computer data and trails/comments that others have made, often online, leaving their trails etc. there…

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Public notebook

Notes on a crisis (plan that takes account of social media) – by Richard Stacey

There are five things an organisation needs to do to make their crisis preparation social media compliant.

  1. Monitor social media in real-time
  2. Establish a management process that delivers a response that is quicker and more specific to the needs of social media, rather than adapted only to the needs of traditional media
  3. Create an information publication platform that is optimised to spread information effectively through social networks
  4. Re-purpose your existing information so that it can spread easily through social networks
  5. Incorporate social media into your crisis training.
For more excellent advice read

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Public notebook

Some great thinking on networks and business ecosystems from Jeff Jarvis

Sure, even in the huggy ecosystem, companies fight and compete. But in an ecosystem-based economy, companies benefit – they find efficiency and growth – by working collaboratively. As I see it, the new economy and its opportunities will be built in three layers:

1. Platforms. There’s tremendous benefit in building a platform and the more people use to succeed, the more the platform succeeds. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay – you know all the examples.

2. Entrepreneurial enterprises.
Thanks to the platforms, it’s incredibly inexpensive to start new companies. It’s also a helluva lot cheaper to fail (and try again). This is why I believe that the future of news – and many other industries – is entrepreneurial: because it can be. It’s not just media and its bits. It’s manufacturing (because you can use others’ factories and distribution channels and your own customers as your platforms).

3. Networks. It is still necessary to gather the smalls together into bigs: audience brought together so advertisers can buy access to them more easily; purchasing brought together to get better prices. So there is business in creating and serving these networks.

For the sake a PowerPoint, a diagram of the three layers of an ecosystem-based economy:


In our New Business Models for News Project, this is how I (crudely) drew the ecosystem for news.


How do you draw the conglomerate-based industry? With boxes, each separate, with arrows pointing to each other at a distance. Simplistic? Sure, but the change in the worldview of the new economy looks that basic when you hear the two tribes trying to understand each other.

For the rst of this post v

I really like this point of view. There’s a crunch to go through as businesses experiement with and then move over to these kinds of business models.

Very, very difficult when you are bound by quarterly P&L performance so it will need the buy in of boards if major cos are to adopt it…

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Public notebook

My notes and slides from the Next Generation Philanthropy Forum are up on the iCrossing blog #linextgen

For my notes click on

I’ve put some notes and my slides on the iCrossing blog and Slideshare – hope you find them useful….

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Public notebook

Ushahidi: realtime social media lessons from crises (and a model for slow news?)

Yesterday, at the Legatum Institiute‘s Next Generation Philanthropy Forum I got to meet Juliana Rotich, programme director at one of the most interesting open source projects in the world, Ushahidi.

If you don’t know it, Ushahidi is an open source platform for communicating in a crisis. At simplest, it is a way of aggregating text messages, emails, Tweets, blog posts and mainstream media articles to form a clearer picture of what is happening in a fast moving situation, say in a war zone or a natural disaster. It’s also been put to good use in places like the Lebanon and Mexico by people wanting to monitor the fairness or otherwise of their own elections and to help with the effective distribution of vital medicines in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.

So on a geeky level Ushahidi’s obviously fascinating, on a humanitarian level it’s seriously inspiring, but there are lots of other elements of the project which are useful to consider.

Listening to Juliana’s presentation (I understand the videos will be live on the Legatum site soon) and chatting to her in the break, there a few notes I made that I will share here:

  • Web as witness: This is my take on what Juliana was saying, but I got a sense that by managing information on Usahidi served both as resource for people involved in it but also to put things on the record. As Juliana put it: “If a tree falls in a forest and Google doesn’t hear it, does it make a sound?”. Ushahidi means “testimony” in Swahili – so I guess this purpose has been baked in to the development of the platform.
  • Spreading social web beyond developed countries: Juliana is interested in how you stop “social media becoming an enclave for developed countries”. There are so many talented developers and creative people in the developing world, and she wants “to invest in those minds”. You can see her point – a massive latent cognitive surplus, to borrow Shirky’s phrase, is in developing countries, with all its incredible potential denied to the networks for now. If I was a VC with a long view, I’d think about heading for Africa…
  • Mobile is key to connecting the developing world: This is not news, I appreciate, but mobile handsets and access are the way that the developing world can connect right now. As Jared Cohen of the US State Department said in his speech earlier in the day, the economy of Kenya is so reliant on mobile payments that it would collapse tomorrow if you were to remove the GSM network. The mobile is the “default device” for Ushahidi’s developers, said Juliana. She also lamented that Twitter lacks a text message interface [I paraphrase]: “With SMS Twitter could become the pulse of the whole world – not just the developed world.” Now there’s a thought…
  • Near-realtime filtering: A major challenge for Ushahidi is filtering information as it comes in in near realtime. There may be disinformation from antganists, but also incorrect information, and alot of echo (re-tweets count as this) and maybe spam. Ushahidi uses manual filtering, Akismet and Swift River, a kind of crowd-filtering approach which “rescues data from the river and puts it on the bank”. This process involves a lot of human intervention at the moment, but they are working on algorithms to automate a lot of this.
  • Realtime media with a slow news legacy?: It strikes me that the combination of fact-checking and contextualising of realtime information is an immediate benefit of Ushahidi, with emergent benefits being that complex data has been curated which can be used by journalists, NGOs and others who want to analyse and learn from a crisis later on. This model is maybe how news organisations need to think about their role. I first heard about Ushahidi via the Al-Jazeera Labs project using the platform during the recent war in Gaza. Is there a case for the BBC to run a similar model when breaking news hits, or for news organisations to cooperate with a Usahidi like model to make sense out their reports and the mix of witness accounts on the ground?

There’s more on this approach in this video, which highlights the danger of rumours in a situation like the Mumbai terrorist attacks:

An Introduction to Swift River from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo.

Swift River looks like it could be a very important development, not just for Ushahidi, for everyone living with the explosion of data brought about by the realtime web. There are obviously lessons here for news organisations and others (i.e. most organisations and communities of interest).

: : Bonus link: I’ve posted some more notes and my presentation slides from the Next Generation Philanthropy Forum on the iCrossing UK blog.

: : One more thought. Friends of mine in NGOs have told me before and the theme came up again yesterday that it is impossible to micropayments efficiently online because of the cost of transactions. That is to say, if I donate £1 to UNICEF online at least 21p of that pound will be lost to the transaction cost in the *best case*. PayPal or Google Checkout should develop a charity / NGO model – imagine how much money could be freed up for NGOs they were able to ask millions of people to send a few pence or cents?