Posts Tagged ‘Trends’

2010-03-02 We Are The Network: An Exploration of Game-Based Education

March 1st, 2010 No comments

An Exploration of Game-Based Education

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Mar 2, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

An Exploration of Game-Based Education

The incorporation of game-like elements have started to become more common in educational settings, as well as in business. The typical reason for these additions have been to increase “engagement” and interest. In some cases there are clearly documented improvements in objective results.

In this session we will explore common game-based approaches, find out how game-based curricula and approaches can enhance education, and discover situations where game-based learning may be ineffective or even counter-productive.

… I wonder if I put up a leaderboard and keep track of points for number of comments in the discussion whether it will further enhance the depth and quality of the discussion? (kidding… sort of?)

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and Read more…

3 Simple Reasons that Integrated Marketing Communications has Already Won

February 14th, 2010 3 comments

The debates about Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) appear to be continuing unabated. Integrated Marketing Communications, if you haven’t run in to this phrase before, is a set of strategies that remove the traditional boundaries between public relations, marketing, advertising and other corporate messaging, in both the online and offline spaces, to create an environment where all efforts are coordinated in a synchronized way.

These debates repeatedly raise a few questions. Is IMC a winning strategy? Is it the future? Is it the right thing to do? Can it be implemented in an old-school organization? … and others.

Recently I’ve been attending #IMCChat,  a great weekly Twitter Group Chat hosted by Beth Harte (@BethHarte on Twitter) and Anna Barcelos (@abarcelos on Twitter), and after these sessions and a number of side discussions decided that it’s time for me to weigh in.

Many of the arguments for and against separation of advertising, marketing, product management, branding and public relations are internally focused. Questions abound as to the merits of having silos, or silos with communication, or no silos at all, with discussion focused on whether these approaches work for the organization.

Inward-Facing Analysis is Fundamentally Flawed

I believe that any inward-based analysis is fundamentally flawed, that the battle was already fought in public on the social web, and has essentially nothing to do with the “view from inside the castle.”

Why do I feel comfortable making such a bald proclamation? The answer lies in the social media era itself, which I think of as starting around the time of The Cluetrain Manifesto, which was published ten years ago and recently revised. The words of each of the 95 theses seem to be just as powerful today as they were ten years ago, and perhaps even more so.

Three Reasons IMC has Already Won Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,

2010-02-09 We Are The Network: Are We Engineering the Species that will Replace Us?

February 8th, 2010 2 comments

We Are The Network logo 300Are We Engineering the Species that will Replace Us?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Feb 9nd, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

NOTE: Since we’ll be watching some of the videos linked below at the start of the session, We Are The Network is scheduled for 90 minutes rather than an hour this week, to allow enough discussion time for a topic that will no doubt be … large.

Are We Engineering the Species that will Replace Us?

“It’s just science fiction!” We tell ourselves this little white lie about the movies we flock to. We think “wow, that’s cool, and pretty scary, but that could never happen.” The science fiction of the future is starting to happen closer and closer to home, and there are now some surprising signs that we may already have reached milestones on the road to engineering a cyborg (part human, part computer) species that will ultimately replace us.

You may think this is random paranoia, and feel free to say so on the way in, but I challenge you to say absolutely that we’re not on the path by the end… I’ve found it pretty hard to avoid the uncomfortable conclusion that “we will be Borg” sooner than any of us had expected.

In this session we’ll review some real working examples of technologies that would have seemed unbelievable five or ten years ago, and a compelling TED talk that maps out a potential roadmap for our future.

What does this mean for us? How will we get ready for these changes? Where will this head as it unfolds, and what will it mean for our society and humanity in general?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

Three things to consider:

1) A science fiction movie trailer, one that we all probably presume is “way” in the future, and a quick explanation of a plot element of another related science fiction movie.

2) Real working engineering results, with proof videos that demonstrate significant pieces of functionality from the movie trailer

3) A compelling TED talk that ties the threads together in a way that will likely make you stop and think.

It’s a fun ride… ready? Here are the links: Read more…

The Networked Audience Is Here. Now. Are You Ready?

January 9th, 2010 4 comments

We thought we knew the world of public presentations. We developed material, practiced the craft and delivered an experience to our audiences. Our craft was to entertain, to inform, to provide an experience. The audience’s role was to sit, absorb the experience, be quiet, and wait until some lucky few have had their chance to stand and ask a question or make a comment.

Then things started to change rapidly. Technology-enabled societal shifts started moving the ground under our feet.

Kids with laptops in a flower fieldThe Rise of the Networked Audience

Through global communication technologies, people of all types now have access to each other and access to information at any point in time or space. They’ve gotten used to the idea that they can and should be able to discuss, rate, rank, prioritize, link and create conversations in text with anyone, at any time. They comment on and rate everything—movies, web sites, blog posts, music, videos, books, vendors, manufacturers… and you… and me. Social media everywhere has made this hyper-connectedness a part of everyday life.

They expect to do these things with the premise that everybody gains. That it’s their right. That sharing information and opinions is a duty, a core ethos of society. It gives us all the ability to help mold the world by collectively indicating what we think is good, and what isn’t so good. It’s a way to help other people make choices. It’s a new way of looking at the world. It is a new sort of collaboration.

This kind of communication can be terrifying because everybody in the room and around the globe can now Read more…

2009-12-22 We Are The Network – Forterra And Metaplace Go Boom: What Does This Mean?

December 21st, 2009 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300“Forterra And Metaplace Go Boom: What Does This Mean?”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 22nd, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

“Forterra And Metaplace Go Boom: What Does This Mean?”

The closure of two virtual world platforms have just come to light in as many weeks. The first “not quite announcement” was Erica Driver‘s Tweet on December 18th: “It’s a sad day for the emerging immersive software sector. Forterra laid off 60% of its workforce. Remaining assets likely to be sold.” While there appears to be no public confirmation of this announcement, through various conversations I have reason to believe that we’ll be hearing something more about this turn of events, and that it is not rumor. The second announcement showed up in email directly from Metaplace, titled “ is closing on january 1, 2010.” This email was written from this Metaplace blog post. The blog post suggests that the Metaplace environment that we know will be shutting down, and that there will be some new strategic direction undertaken by the remains of the organization.

What do these announcements mean? Do they indicate something more general about the viability of virtual worlds? Do they indicate the relative viability of business, consumer and educationally focused virtual world operations? What do we think the root causes for these companies to not reach critical mass, and are future attempts (ones that we know about or others that are not yet released) more or less likely to succeed?

(We had planned to continue our virtual world ROI discussion this week. I thought it would be more timely to have this discussion and then pick up the ROI discussion again next week after the holidays. See you soon!)

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and see you soon! Read more…

Follower Count: Meaningless, Follower Temporal Interest Graph: Priceless

December 5th, 2009 2 comments


I have been thinking about some of the current approaches to measurement of social network strength, and realized that there were a few specific things that seemed to be missing in these approaches. In this post I review why the complexity of social network behavior far exceeds a single simple metric, and propose a multi-dimensional model to describe social network strength and utility towards a selected objective.

Power MeterFollower Count: The Simple Metric That Isn’t

Follower counts are generally mistrusted for validity, but still used due to simplicity. Follower counts are, in some ways, a somewhat bizarre way to measure social network strength. General follower count is a “feel good number” that in the end means little in terms of viability of achieving a particular goal.

I keep a few examples in hand to debunk the concept that high follower counts automatically create generic utility. Here is one of my favorites. Sockington ( is a Twitter account owned by Jason Scott’s cat (well… take a look and you’ll see what I mean). At the time of this writing, @Sockington is closing in on 1.5M (yes million) followers. If you want to send a message to 1.5M people to entice them to, for instance, buy life insurance, would the reach of Sockington’s network be substantial? Maybe in terms of the old school “impression count,” but that’s probably about all. In the process, if you were persistent about it, you’d also see a pretty high abandonment rate, and I suspect that most people who follow Sockington would ignore such a push message as advertising spam. Certainly if the account and Sockington’s network were used more than a very few times in pursuit of this objective, it would likely fragment and be disrupted as a result. Such a message is not why they follow Sockington, and any other sort of message is both out of character and not their impression of why they follow him. (I’ll resist getting in to the psychology and implications of 1.5M people following a fake cat’s Tweets for now!)

Clearly the raw count of followers isn’t what we’re after. Some have proposed measures of engagement, using reply counts and conversation rates on Twitter, or comment posting rates on blogs.

Simple Event Count-Based Aggregate Network Strength Also Misses The Target

Dart arrows missing targetUnfortunately, measurement of social network strength also defies a single numeric count of followers or responders or even conversational length. Various client and personal experiences have led me to develop a concept I’ll call a Follower Interest Graph. A Follower Interest Graph is a multi-dimensional graph of a social network that maps several factors that define the strength of the network for a particular utility and goal. Before talking about what a Follower Interest Graph might look like, let’s look at some assumptions and realities of social network behavior. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Why Page Speed’s Influence On PageRank Is Strategic To Google

November 28th, 2009 4 comments


Final edit updated Nov 28, 2009 22:40

Random Connections

Some days I’ll be thinking about a topic, and suddenly an unexpected connection appears. That just happened as I was reading two posts, one about potential changes to PageRank and another about a new protocol that Google is pitching to speed up web page loads. The PageRank discussion seemed to be completely about the marketing impact of this change on search engine optimization strategies, while the protocol discussions were centered on technology and global standards issues. It seems that these two apparently separate things may be very tightly coupled indeed.

PageRank, Page Speed And Marketing Effects

PageRank is supposed to measure the authority of a page, to determine whether
it is “the best” trusted and primary resource to answer the user’s search query. It is hard to fathom how response speed has anything to do with authenticity, authority, correctness of data or trustworthiness. It seems to be much more strongly linked to the cash position of the person or organization who authored the page, and how much they have invested in having the right page design, hardware and network infrastructure (either their own or hosted) to provide fast response.

One quasi-altruistic reason for adding or emphasizing page load in the PageRank calculations may be to nudge the web community to think more about page load speed when designing sites. However Read more…

2009-12-01 We Are The Network: Social Engineering Goes Massively Multiplayer – Are You The Next Target?

November 28th, 2009 2 comments

We Are The Network logo 300“Social Engineering Goes Massively Multiplayer – Are You The Next Target?”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 1st, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

computer user engineering crowdSocial Engineering Goes Massively Multiplayer – Are You The Next Target?

The explosion of social networks has enabled a new level of study in human behavior. Never before have large social networks been readily available easily for interactive engagement. Social media “gurus” proclaim that they know how to generate results with social networks, yet we are really at the beginning of understanding both how networked societies work and how to harness them (or change them) to achieve results.

A week or so ago I noticed this post Social Wargaming – Triangles 2.0, announcing the start of a social network enabled serious game to determine whether “quantitative methods and social network analysis allow us to consciously and precisely craft the shape of social systems online?”

The advent of quantitative research applied to the development and manipulation of social media and social networks may be the start of a new generation of ability for marketers to reach audiences, and a potential dark side, or statistically driven, highly effective social manipulation on a large scale. Public references to various academic work in process in this arena suggest Read more…

2009-11-24 We Are The Network: The Age Of Professional Fake Authenticity

November 23rd, 2009 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300“The Age Of Professional Fake Authenticity”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Nov 24th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

The Age Of Professional Fake Authenticity

This space for rent back of headProfessional advertising and marketing organizations have taken to social media as the “new new thing” that will be their future business and income. An increasing number of “digital marketers” are acting as writers and content providers for their customers, ghost writing large numbers of blog posts, Twitter feeds and other public facing items that purport to be authentic creations of their clients.

It seems that a new level of this professional social media marketing is emerging, including services that intersperse small numbers of advertising messages, disguised as normal authentic messages, in the streams of normal people for profit. (One article describing this phenomenon is linked below).

My impetus to talk about this topic was a discussion I had this past week, with a person who had been an intern at an advertising and marketing firm. This person, as a condition of their internship, Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: , , ,

Five Critical Success Factors For Mainstream 3D Virtual World Projects

November 20th, 2009 No comments

Virtual world imageThe New Mainstream 3D Virtual World Project

Today’s mainstream users of 3D virtual worlds have expectations and needs that do not match those of pioneering explorers of these platforms. New projects are measured in different ways, and expecting a mainstream project to be successful using an explorer’s strategy is like expecting that you can win a road race riding a tricycle.

Early 3D virtual world experiments were driven by explorers trying to push the boundaries of possibility. These projects tested the feasibility of ways that a 3D virtual world could be used, and focused on trial scenarios to prove or disprove a particular usage theory. Success was often measured on technical terms, with users whose involvement was project focused and short term.

Mainstream projects take feasibility as a given, and create an environment to support day to day use by the regular members of an organization — as an educational platform, a place to enable distributed teamwork for global companies and academic institutions, as a virtual classroom environment, or a “better conference call”.

Mainstream projects have user-driven success metrics. Merely passing the “it works” test does not mean automatic project success. Successful mainstream projects result in “normal users” who are happy with the environment, find it to be compelling, continue to use it willingly and recommend its use to others. They judge the environment on how it improves their day to day experience while doing their real work, not based on whether it is a cool technology or has promising possibilities. They also have limited motivation to learn a new environment as an exploratory exercise, and must find value in the experience quickly in order to justify additional effort.

Mainstream 3D Virtual World Project Success Factors

Read more…