"social web" entries

Social Science Moves from Academia to the Corporation

This is the latest of a series of posts addressing questions regarding social technologies. Previous posts: The Evangelist Fallacy, Captivity of the Commons and The Digital Panopticon. These topics will be opened to live discussion in an upcoming webcast on May 27 with a special guest to be announced. In order to control a thing you must first classify a…

The Digital Panopticon

This post is part three of a series raising questions about the mass adoption of social technologies. These posts will be opened to live discussion in an upcoming webcast on May 27. In 1785 utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed architectural plans for the Panopticon, a prison Bentham described as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.” Its method was a circular grid of surveillance; the jailors housed in a central tower being provided a 360-degree view of the imprisoned. Prisoners would not be able to tell when a jailor was actually watching or not. The premise ran that under the possibility of total surveillance (you could be being observed at any moment of the waking day) the prisoners would self-regulate their behavior to conform to prison norms.

Captivity of the Commons

This post is part two of the series, “The Question Concerning Social Technology”. Part one is here. These posts will be opened to live discussion in an upcoming webcast on May 27. In January 2002 DARPA launched the Information Awareness Office. The mission was to, “ imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness (emphasis added)” The notion of a government agency achieving total information awareness was too Orwellian to ignore. Under criticism that this “awareness” could quickly migrate to a mass surveillance system the program was defunded.

The Question Concerning Social Technology

I am an evangelist of social media and an active participant: on Linked In (business), MySpace (music) and Facebook (increasingly my online identity), I blog on several sites and I am a daily user of Twitter. I also make my living speaking to companies about the value and operating principles of these more open, participatory technologies. I have read the proponents that abound (Why I Love Twitter, Groundswell, Here Comes Everybody etc.) and found much to agree with. I have read the detractors (“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” …, Facebook Addiction is Real etc.…) and found little to agree with.

How Big Data Impacts Analytics

Research for our just published report on Big Data management technologies, included conversations with teams who are at the forefront of analyzing massive data sets. We were particularly impressed with the work being produced by Linkedin's analytics team. [We have more details on Linkedin's analytics team, in an article in the upcoming issue of Release 2.0.] At the second Social…

Four short links: 13 Mar 2009

Four short links: 13 Mar 2009

Museums, Labs, Businesses, and Hash–all in today’s four short links:

  1. Shelley Bernstein Talks About the Brooklyn Museum at the National Library of New Zealand (Paul Reynolds) — I’ve written about Shelley’s work before. Brooklyn [Museum] is not about using social media as just another marketing and visitor experience tool-set. Rather, as Bernstein said last night, Brooklyn Museum itself is now a social network – that is its job – to be a center for the community to have a conversation. Wonderful to see New Zealand continuing to learn from the best.
  2. Google Labs India — interesting projects, including Digital Noticeboard and SMS Channels (Google ID required to view the latter). Interesting to see the projects worked on in different countries. The latter is like Mozes.
  3. Privacy and Free Speech, It’s Good for Business (PDF!) — Northern California ACLU have produced a book aimed at businesses that frames free speech issues as a business good: The practical tips and real-life business case studies in this Guide will help you to avoid having millions read about your privacy and free speech mistakes later. The advice is straightforward and specific, not of the vague and “don’t be evil” variety. Give users an opportunity to defend their anonymity. Provide notice, within no more than seven days of receipt of a subpoena, to each user whose personal information is sought, and inform the user of her right to file a motion to quash (fight) the subpoena. Give the user at least thirty days from the time notice is received to file a motion to quash the subpoena. (via BoingBoing)
  4. pHash, The Open Source Perceptual Hash Library — a perceptual hash is a signature for a file, built in a way that two files that represent similar things (e.g., two photographs of the same poster). (via Joshua’s delicious stream)

Facebook in 2010: no longer a walled garden

A lot of what I've been working on the past two years has been built on the assumption that the model that social networks use today will fundamentally change. Social networks have largely been built on the premise of being walled gardens in such a way that users can't communicate or share content or friends across networks; put simply this is what keeps a Facebook user from being able to send a message to a MySpace user. This is the same model that destroyed AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy's ISP businesses when normal people chose the Internet itself versus their thoughtfully curated walled gardens.