Thursday, February 07, 2008

Book 2.0

Anytime there is a technology discussion that includes words like reliable, killer user interface, revolution, or instant-anything eyebrows begin to raise, or you wonder what Apple is up to now.

Steven Levy's article in Newsweek about Amazon's new ebook reader is certainly interesting. I agree this "will change the way readers read, writers write and publishers publish" (p. 57), but the jury is still out if this is a revolution.

The attractiveness of this latest entrant into digital books includes the long battery life, independence from a personal computer, and wireless capability. But it is the many other content capabilities beyond books that make this intriguing; like access to newspapers and magazines, ability to connect to Wikipedia, Google, blogs, other web pages, and even other business documents in PDF format. Together these capabilities do make this device the "iPod of reading" (p. 58).

Books and reading in general has been a social activity for centuries, but the question remains: will people want to hold a digital book in their hands or curl up in their favorite spot to journey with the author? Will the limitations of sharing, loaning, or shelving books hold this gadget back or will the overwhelming mass of content take us there eventually?

From a business perspective, Kindle is very efficient. What are your thoughts about the pros and cons from a social interaction perspective?

SOURCE: Levy, S. (2007 November 26). The Future of Reading. Newsweek, pp. 57-64.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Do You See Me Now?

Facebook allows users to upload and tag photos of anyone in their network. Once tagged, you anyone in your network can see these photos. There has been some concern about how this "feature" will impact job searchers as Human Resource (HR) organizations become more connected to social networking sites.

This tagging process on Facebook is manual, however, there is new start-up on the scene, Polar Rose, that dynamically tags photos using face-recognition software. This takes the HR concern to new levels as photos are uploaded by friends and foes alike and you may (or likely) may not be aware that photos of you have been uploaded.

With the growing concern for privacy as well as international security and the beginning stages of HR groups incorporating social networking technologies into their recruiting practices, what are the pros and cons of something like this?

Schenker, J.L. (2007, December 24). Finding Faces in the e-Crowd. Businessweek, p. 70.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wireless Society (sort of)

Increasingly we see our pop culture incorporating internet technologies into their normal routine. With the increase in wireless capability, we also see a dramatic rise in our ability to connect not just for voice, but data and rich-media as well.

However, the limitation we are finding is the lack of cooperation of those who control these networks. Organizations like AT&T, Nextel, T-Mobile, and Alltel have a challenge as they seek to protect their interests (which translates into revenue) while cooperating with a growing demand for portability and access. Bruce Meyerson identifies how some are challenging this lack of cooperation on the grounds that it violates free speech.

What do you think? Should we be able to send messages between carriers without charge?

SOURCE: Meyerson, B. (2007 December 24). Not On Our Network, You Don't. Businessweek, p. 34.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who's Really In Control?

I came across a fascinating quote recently in Wired Magazine. Spencer Reiss was interviewing Nicholas Carr about the future of technology. They covered the idea of dummy computers, privacy, the global network, and how we interact with computers, but the most fascinating quote was:

We're beginning to process information as if we're nodes; it's all about the speed of locating and reading data. We're transferring our intelligence into the machine, and the machine is transferring its way of thinking into us.

How are you seeing this in your business?

SOURCE: Reiss, S. (2008, JAN). Do You Trust Google? Wired, p. 42.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Not-So-Original Idea

The idea of a network of like-minded people connecting is certainly nothing new. This has been happening for ages. Why we are at the same time so enamoured and scared of MySpace and Facebook is interesting. It was also interesting to learn about The Well.

Launched in 1985 on a dial-up bulletin board system (BBS), The Well is one of the earliest online communities for collaboration, innovation and debate. In a recent article in Wired's 15th Aniiversary: A Look Back, Malinowski identified two key reasons for the success of this community:

  • Accountability versus anonymity Many sites today remove the identity which opens up some unprofessional behavior. The Well provided the ability for people to create unique "handles" but kept them linked to a real person.

  • Depth versus brevity Instant messing (IM) and SMS messages are increasingly influencing our communication patterns and expectations. Some discussions merit much more than can be communicated by texting a message on a PDA. The Well provides a mechanism where people can enter into deep discussion, some of which go back 20 years.

  • The implication for business' considering social networking include building in accountability and encouraging contributors to add meaningful thoughts and ideas to the discussion. This may require some well-trained moderators to keep the discussions on tract.

    SOURCE: Malinowski, E. (2008, JAN). The Well Runneth Over. Wired, p. 49.