Tagsocial networks

Pre-Social Networks

P

The New York Times on the New Art of Flickr

The New Scientist touched on a fascinating concept: Pre-Social Networks that would foster serendipity by matching people based on their interests and their current (or even future) location.

Imagine heading to a café, and your phone recognizes where you are going and lets both you and someone at that café know that you have certain interests in common. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hobby, a former employer, a common friend, or even an ex girlfriend for that matter.

It’s the chance of massively increasing an element of serendipity that’s incredibly powerful.

There are huge potential implications here, with privacy only being a small chunk. We’re talking changing social dynamics, ways of meeting peers with less friction, less awkwardness. Mapping where people of certain interests hang out. Etc, etc, etc.

Thinking about it like that, maybe privacy isn’t just a small chunk of this after all.

And yet. All this by basically matching the data we already codified online: Facebook social graph, Twitter social graph, interests based on links we share, location by phone GPS and Foursquare checkins. Maybe throw a few extras for more richness, more flavor, like Last.fm music preferences and pull from Tripit which places you like to travel to, both being strong social connectors.

Not sure which of these data sets we’d actually want to match, and who we’d want to match them. It’s a strong, powerful notion, though, and one we’d better think about sooner than later.

Image by Thomas Hawk, some rights reserved (CC by-nc)

Slides “Neue Medien – Fluch oder Segen”

S

The other day I visited Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) for a day to give a keynote speech and a workshop for FES stipends at the summer academy. (Full disclosure: paid gig.) For completeness’ sake I’m posting the slides below. In order for them to make sense I’d recommend downloading the file from Slideshare so you can see the notes.

On a side note, I have to say I really enjoyed particularly the discussions with these students. We talked a lot about privacy on social networks and the implications of using these online services. I was surprised on more than one occasion: Not a lot of the participants use smartphones, which may be a budget thing given they’re all still studying. The crowd was much more critical of online social networking than I expected. (There was a strong split in the group, with those seeing chances rather than risks on one side and those highly critical of social networks on the other.)

Two things became very clear, though: (1) Just like German society overall this group had a significant part of online critics (with varying degrees of informed argumentation). (2) All of them are acutely – almost painfully – aware of the role of privacy and how it’s being affected by voluntary participation in online sharing behavior (social networking, Twitter etc), involuntary sharing (government involvement) and commercialization (all major actors are international corporations).

While I wished the overall discourse (on a societal level) about the complex issues of privacy/ownership/control of data online was based on a more informed basis, it’s very clear that we’ll be having this discussion for awhile to come. And that’s good: Keep thinking, discussing, debating. Just please make sure to stay away from panic and fear driven rhetoric as well as hyperbole. And if you happen to encounter such arguments, feel free to drop in some facts and see the fear go away.

Charlene Li on the future of social networks

C

Charlene Li‘s presentation about the future of social networking, touching on general trends as well as the opening of networks and how to monetize. As always, excellent stuff. (via mashable)

How video is changing young people

H

…and turning them into reporters, commentators, producers. This video is quite impressive in its being so simple, yet compelling.

While tapping into some very interesting points in itself, the clip was produced by Demos, a “think tank for ‘everyday democracy'”, as a teaser for their report on Network Citizens (PDF). From a first glance, the report looks like it digs into some interesting points. From the executive summary:

Social networks are providing tremendous opportunities for people to collaborate. But until now, thinking has focused only on how organisations can respond to and capitalise on networks. This report argues that we have to look equally at how networks use organisations for their own ends. That is where the new contours of inequality and power lie that will shape the network world. We have to face networks’ dark side, as well as their very real potential.

Interestingly, the report concludes that in economically tough times, networks are even more important than at other times:

The kind of networks considered in Network Citizens–relationship ties between workers in different types of organisation – are likely to be more important in difficult economic times. Our analysis suggests that the ‘ties that bind’ within organisations are important incubators of innovation and productivity. Networks contribute to organisational resilience, a vital attribute in an economic downturn.

This is something I have thought about quite a bit recently and hope to get around to posting some thoughts on this blog soon.

(via)

Dopplr’s new public profiles: gorgeous stats

D

Last week I noticed that some Dopplr users’ profiles looked somewhat different than others’ and wondered why. Well, now it’s public: Dopplr now offers trips with several stops (which is very useful), but also access to more travel stats, all neatly wrapped up in funky eye candy like Raumzeitgeist (seen below). My favorite improvement? I have a hard time deciding between the trip visualization above and the average speed calculator below Raumzeitgeist.

Dopplr Public Profile

Needless to say, in the last nine or so months I haven’t traveled enough to really make any of these two visualizations worthwhile. I have a fair bit of traveling coming up, so from a Raumzeitgeist perspective, I can promise some improvements there.

Social Networks Enter Popular Culture

S

Social Networks have hit mainstream. (The student body on Facebook isn’t enough to really be mainstream, or is it?) How can you tell? Social Networks are increasingly becoming part of popular culture:

And the Daily Show also tells us how, and why:

 

Quarterlife (the video about a bunch of emotionally, shall we say, charged twenty somethings) already made the jump from web to TV. We’ll see plenty of more cases like this over the coming years. For now, let’s stick to more incidents of social networks picked up in more mainstream media, though: There’s plenty more examples over at Jeremiah’s.

Forrester: Online Community Best Practices

F

Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang shares this great presentation about Online Community Best Practices. It’s 51 slides packed with useful advices for those of you who are planning to launch an online community of any kind. Note that this presentation won’t save you proper consulting and/or experimenting. But it contains excellent guidelines and is a good point to start from.

Looking into social networks, forums and blogs and other ways of communication to leverage the power of your community? Look no further, or at least have a look at this presentation first.

(Thanks for sharing, Jeremiah!)