Tagweb 2.0

How video is changing young people

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…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)

Likemind Berlin Wrap-Up

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Earlier today I had the pleasure of hosting Likemind Berlin along with Thomas Praus of my office neighbors Panorama3000. Great coffee and even better conversations – if you get a chance to go to your next local Likemind, make sure not to miss out. From my experience with the last Likeminds, the crowd is mostly a mix of web and music folks, and those working on the intersections of both. In other words: a real fun crowd, and always a great international mix.

This was the third installment of Likemind Berlin. As Henrik Berggren of SoundCloud told me, in Stockholm Likemind has been around for more than two years, and it has been quite a global phenomenon. So if you’re in a new place, check for Likemind every third Friday of the month.

Thanks a lot to Soundcloud for setting up everything!

Sidenote: Patrick Rathke, also of Panorama3000, was wearing a brand new I Work For The Internets shirt (which I’ve been printing through Spreadshirt in cooperation with M.T.), and boy did we get feedback on those. (Four people ordered them: Maybe we should have those thingies produced professionally?*) Good fun indeed!

Alex Ljung, also of Soundcloud, also kindly gave me a quick rundown of what Soundcloud does – after all, they went out of beta last week, I’ll post the video here in a little while, and their service seems to be a great tool for music professionals. (Apologies for the sound quality and the typo in Alex’s family name: It’s Ljung, of course, not Jung.)


What’s Soundcloud? from thewavingcat on Vimeo.

  • Just for clarification, my wording here was very awkward indeed. The shirts we’ve had printed through Spreadshirt were great so far. What I meant was: Maybe we should print them in bulk. Sorry if that caused confusion.

I work for the Internets shirt now available in the U.S.

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I work for the Internets, CC licensed by flickr user thewavingcatA little while ago, MT and I launched a little side project, a t-shirt series that says “I work for the Internets“. We’ve only sold a few, but we’ve also been asked a few times if we shipped outside Europe which had been quite expensive due to the way our German Spreadshirt shop was set up.

Good news: If you live in the U.S. or Canada, we can now print and ship the shirts to you much cheaper through our new U.S. Spreadshirt shop.

Nearly all of the shirts are American Apparel. (Except the German girl tee with black on black print: for some strange reason there seems to be no black American Apparel shirt for girls in the German store.) We stuck to American Apparel so you know what quality and cut to expect, and I’ve been quite happy with it.

On a side note, we were thrilled to see the shirt in the wild, too, as you can see in the picture below. It was taken at Communia Conference.

Photo by Juan Carlos De Martin, licensed under Creative Commons (by 2.0) Photo by Juan Carlos De Martin, (jdcm on Flickr), released under Creative Commons (by 2.0).

State of the Blogosphere 2008 (brief summary)

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Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere is back, this time split up into five daily installments. (Start with the introduction.) What can I say? Some impressive numbers. Note that the data is a mix of stats gathered through Technorati and feedback gathered in a survey of some 1.100 bloggers (methodology).

First up, and hardly surprising, blogs are here to stay. Also, the lines between blogs and mainstream media (MSM) are blurring ever more. While top blogs are becoming more MSM, those mainstream media are adapting techniques of blogs. Fun fact: “95% of the top 100 US newspapers have reporter blogs (see The Bivings Group).”

Technorati also has some background on blogger demographics and motivations for us (Who Are The Bloggers). Sadly, the blogosphere is still strongly male-dominated: two thirds, globally, are male (that’s 73% for Europe, 57% for the U.S.). Bloggers are, on average, also well educated (70% have college degrees). Surprising to me: Nearly half are parents. Also, female bloggers are twice as likely to sell ads on their blogs.

In day 2, Technorati covererd The What and Why of Blogging. Not to go into too much detail here, one thing stood out for me and that’s the metrics bloggers stated to use to measure the success of their blogging efforts. The key success metric (for three out of four bloggers) is personal satisfaction, “with the average blogger looking at four distinct metrics. Personal satisfaction is by far the most popular measure of success, However, bloggers also track a variety of quantitative metrics ranging from revenue to number of subscribers or comments.”

Hardly surprising but worth mentioning anyway: The majority of bloggers stated to feel a positive impact of blogging on their professional life. (Like being better known in their industry or haveing used their blogs as a resume.) This is something I’m sure a lot of you would agree to. I sure do: even without actively pushing the topic, when speaking to prospective employers and clients my blog has always come up in the conversation, and never in a bad way.

Funny: About a third of bloggers received free products like DVDs, books or electronics. Personally, while I do get invites to services and the like all the time, I rarely get physical goods. In one somewhat absurd case a company offered to send me a laser printer cross-Atlantic from the U.S. West Coast to Berlin. (I didn’t accept.)

As I’m posting this, Technorati has made it to the third installment of the State of the Blogosphere, The How of Blogging. Here, you can find some info on how much bloggers invest annually (more if run ads, more in Europe), how they track their visitors (two thirds Google Analytics) and how they attract them (Technorati, Google, tags etc.). Nothing too surprising here. But only 17% of bloggers use mobile updating tools on their blogs, it should be interesting to watch how (or more likely: how quickly) that changes with iPhones, Android and other smart phones gaining so much traction lately.

So much for my very brief summary here. Over the next couple of days, there’ll be two more chunks of info. The two that are due should actually be quite interesting: The next installment will cover blogging for profit, the last one the role brands play in the blogosphere. For those updates, keep an eye on Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere page.

By the way, while Technorati gives you the rundown on what drives the blogosphere and looks back to the recent developments, there’s also a look at where we’re headed: Adam Ostrow of Mashable has a neat brief overview of trends and the future of blogging and social media as it was being discussed at BlogWorldExpo. (Buzzwords include such things as comment ownership, widgets, ad networks and Twitter.) A good, quick read.

FDCareer brings roleplaying games to business networking online

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A quirky, but interesting approach to business networking combines pen-and-paper style roleplaying games with career networking sites like LinkedIn or Xing. It’s aimed at students and young professionals.

Going by the (not so hip) name FDCareers, the service lets you choose a character class and gain experience points, eventually giving you level-ups for your accomplishments. You gain points by adding experiences to your CV and by interacting with others on the platform, so it adds a playful touch to the somewhat dry profiling approach that Xing takes. (LinkedIn takes a similar, if way more simple approach here, with their percentage-based profile building.)

In an email describing the service, they state:

Every time you gain an internship, become a leader of an organization, or get a high GPA, you gain experience and level-up in FD Career. People with high levels gain prestige and access to new features of the site. Our goal is to make personal and professional development fun for students and young professionals.

There are five categories you can get levels in: Education, Experience, Leadership, Social and Initiative. Adding friends on FDCareers would give you points. For example: By joining and adding a friend, I got two “social points”. Internships or job experience as well as social engagements would give extra points.

This approach is pretty cool, why should professional mean all dry and boring? However, there’s a few drawbacks as it is: First, the name. FDCareer? Could hardly be more boring, sadly to say. Second, the interface doesn’t exactly look like fun, either. (Even LinkedIn has a more compelling, more playful user interface.) Third, at the time I tried the service, I noticed a few technical problems (PHP errors in the profile pages).

As it is, FDCareers looks like a lot still has to be done. It’ll be a while, and a lot of work. The idea of spicing up boring resume building with gaming elements could be fun, though. Maybe the team should look into the basics of Alternate Reality Gaming, there could be some great inspiration there.

(Disclosure: Joseph Yi of Future Delivery, the company behind FDCareers, asked me for feedback on the service.)

CNN introduces embeddable video

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CNN just introduced embeddable video. The CNN behind the Scenes blog has the details:

We are very happy to announce our latest move in that effort with the introduction of the CNN.com embeddable video player, a stand-alone video player that can be virally distributed by using a code snippet to embed on almost any site or blog that you choose. For the time being, the player is limited to a single clip and available in the player size, 384×216. We’ve also added a share feature to allow you to share videos on your favorite social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

The embedded player looks like this:

Seeing the CNN offer this feature is a really good sign that major media companies might eventually figure out how to work the internets. So far, all they tried was to keep readers & viewers on their site where they probably thought it was easier to sell ads. But this looks pretty good. What’s more, bloggers can now can more easily discuss politics online and provide some media coverage with their posts. It’s a clear win/win, and I can just hope that more media outlets will offer embedabble media. It’s an important step for them in order to stay relevant, and a nice hat tip to us bloggers.

(via The Next Web)