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Archive for the ‘ General ’ Category

The Carson Circuit

The Carson Circuit is defined here as a hardware device, connected with relays.

“I was servicing televisions before that guy Carson invented his trick circuit that will select any of ‘steenteen million other circuits – in theory there ain’t no limit…”

“You know the Logics set-up. You got a Logic in your house. It looks like a vision-receiver used to, only it’s got keys instead of dials and you punch the keys for what you wanna get. It’s hooked in to the Tank, which has the carson Circuit all fixed up with relays. Say you punch “Station SNAFU” on your Logic. Relays in the Tank take over an’ whatever vision program SNAFU is telecastin’ comes on your logic’s screen. Or you punch “Sally Hancock’s Phone” an’ the screen blinks an’ sputters an’ you’re hooked up with the Logic in her house an’ if someone answers you got a vision-phone connection. But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast or who won today’s race at Hialea or who was mistress of the White House durin’ Garfield’s administration or what is PDQ and R sellin’ for today, that comes on the screen too. The relays in the Tank do it. The Tank is a big buildin’ full of all the facts in creation and all the recorded telecasts that ever was made – an’ it’s hooked in with all the other Tanks all over the country – an’ everything you wann know or see or hear, you punch for it an’ you get it. Very convenient.”

apuzzle

(Although the Carson Circuit is seen as a hardware device, it is a pretty good functional description of what every Internet server does with a URL. The URLs you use to get what you want on the Internet consist of an IP address and then the specific file location. Except for reserved addresses, there are 256 to the fourth power IP addresses, or 4,294,967,296 different network device locations possible. Not quite “ain’t no limit” but they are working on it.

The IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), a new and improved network layer IP standard, will offer (among other improvements) an increase in the number of addresses for networked devices. The current standard, IPv4 supports about 4.3 billion, as mentioned above. Which seems like a lot, but hardly up to Carson Circuit standards.

IPv6 will support 3.4 times ten to the thirty-eighth power addresses. It’s hard to come up with a set of physical things that can give you an idea of how big a number that is; the total number of stars in the observable universe is estimated at only about 7 times ten to the twenty-second power.

The story gives a perfectly recognizable description of what we call the Internet today.) (Source).

Robert Boyle’s prophetic ‘wish list’ made in the 17th Century. Boyle was founder of the ”Invisible College” at Oxford University.

(Thanks to George Ure in the Predictors Group, the LinkedIn Group for RecordedFuture, a new temporal search tool that “searches the future”).

”The Prolongation of Life” – health improvements mean we are now living longer.

”The Recovery of Youth, or at least some of the Marks of it, as new Teeth, new Hair colour’d as in youth” – Botox, plastic surgery, teeth-capping, hair dye, transplants.

”The Art of Flying” – planes.

”The Art of Continuing long under water, and exercising functions freely” – submarines and scuba gear.

”The Cure of Diseases at a distance or at least by Transplantation” – transplants and keyhole surgery.

”The Emulating of Fish without Engines by Custome and Education” - free diving.

”Strength and Agility … exemplify’d by that of Frantick Epileptick and Hysterical persons” – steroids.

”The Acceleration of the Production of things out of Seed” – GM crops.

”The making of Parabolicall and Hyperbolicall Glasses” – spectacles and telescopes.

”Making Armor light and extremely hard” – Kevlar.

”The practicable and certain way of finding Longitudes” – satellite navigation.

”A ship to saile with All Winds” – boats with engines.

”Perpetuall Light” – bulbs.

”Varnishes perfumable by Rubbing” - scratch-and-sniff.

”Transmutation of Species in Mineralls, Animals, and Vegetables” – synthetic biology, genetic engineering.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.”- Lao Tzu

Some of the best strategic alliances are between a Critic and a Creative. The Critic drives the Creative to higher heights, the Creative gives the Critic his content for analysis and, really, the healing of a personal, and often collective, wound. In business, a culture’s wounds offer the largest sources for financial reward AND a positive giving-back: the essence of cause-related marketing.

It is said that the Creative invented the airplane, while the Critic invented the parachute. There are seasons for transcendence and seasons for grounding. In both actions, one needs the Critic and the Creative. Both are relentless beings made of the same stuff in important slices of their personalities. There is an old proverb about men sharpening one another like iron on iron.

Humanity has NO time left for people to figure out how profitable HUMANITY-SAVING VENTURES will be for their own Parea (Tribe) AND then shop those around. That is WHY we are seeing so much giving happening. Time is perceived by many as being short BUT for those who have found their tribe and their gift, these are the BEST DAYS to be alive. Everything is becoming visible before our eyes, everything is opening in the transparent eco-system of social networks.

And yet, as all of this revealing is going on, there seems to be a realization by many of what Carl Jung meant by the unconscious taking up far more of human experience than consciousness. Humanity is currently mapping its consciousness through the building of countless social networks and circles. This consciousness is a jumping off point for diving into the depths of the psyche…into the unconscious itself. And it is the complexes, archetypes and currents within an individual, communal and the collective unconscious that animate human thought, speech and action.

Identifying one’s archetypes and listening to the needs of those archetypes is just a first step in facilitating the design and assembly of useful social communities and tools. The next step involves a kind of deep sea exploration of what has not been spoken of and NEEDS speaking of in times such as these: the unconscious motivators/animators that, once brought into the light, no longer rule us and can be used by humans for solving the problems these self-same animators caused.

Look within to find the reason for what is without.

Work Can Be Done Anytime, Anywhere!

Many web startups are composed of distributed teams. Many more have very loose definitions of “office hours.” Employees might roll in at one in the afternoon; they might stay and work the night away until the wee hours of the morning, too. And a lot of the time, they get to work from home.

Many Gen X and Millennial employees see the ability to work from home as a huge benefit — for some folks we’ve talked to, it counts as much as a pay raise. If you trust that your employees can handle themselves and get their work done on time, consider letting them work from home or adopt more flexible work hours. Your night owls will appreciate the opportunity to work with all pistons firing, and your early birds will love getting home to their loved ones before rush hour traffic starts. And everyone, from CEOs to secretaries, appreciates getting to work in their PJs every now and then.

Read more here on 5 Lessons to Learn from Web Startups (http://bit.ly/steps_for_web_startups).

Iridescence

July 18, 2010 | No Comments | General

There are times in life when you find something so iridescent that nothing else can compare. In such moments head directly into the experience of beauty, for these are rare times that heal the soul, renew the mind and bring levity to one’s life journey! ~ Nathaniel Hansen

We, as members of Generations X, Y and the Millenials, wish to communicate the following message to the Babyboomers running this planet.

We begin with respectful gratitude to you, our parents and grandparents, for conceiving and birthing the bodies and world we thrive and live within. We respectfully honor all of the incredible advances in every discipline that have led to better lives for every one of us on this planet. We attribute our own creativity, knowledge and burgeoning wisdom to the truly incredible education system built and paid for by you, our predecessors. We honor the way you have defended us against violence and opened new possibilities for peace heretofore unrealized.

At the same time, we announce to you our wholesale rejection of your conflicts, prejudices and entrenched interests. Our current experience of the negative results to our eco-system, communities and economics from these shadow aspects of your generation’s psyche require us for the sake of our children and your grandchildren to now step forward and alter certain paths elected by you and The Traditionalists since the major world wars in the early 20th century.

Now that a majority of you are reaching retirement age and what the Hindu system calls “the forest-dweller stage”, we as The Central Householders on this planet require a set of fresh perspectives in the major disciplines and verticals, such as politics, economics and environmental policy, so that our planet, communities, food sources and children are protected.

Due to the severity of events in several significant theaters of action, particularily finance, political-process and ecological preservation, we respectfully ask that you join us to hear some fabulous ideas from the forward thinking leaders of our generation. We want you there because you gave us the foundation for this thought and invention to come about. We want to show you, Mom and Pop, Grandpa and Grandma, Uncle and Aunt, Mentor and Teacher, what we have come up with as part of our assignment to make a better world. We hope you’ll come and we think you’ll like what we have in mind.

Our goal is a healthier, wiser and more effective human family, well-equipped to heal, guide and protect our children and your grandchildren into a fabulous and exciting future that will contain astounding technologies, well-woven/integrated communities and children motivated to live and thrive. As we see it, this is truly possible and we have seen a glimpse of it through the rapidly expanding communities of thought, invention and innovation in our online and offline worlds. These worlds are increasingly being woven together globally through the social fabric of the internet, through technologies in multiple verticals and through our innate drive to survive as humans.

We characterize this drive to survive in our generation primarily through meaning. The social fabric of the internet, our primary vehicle for communication, is driven by a search for meaning. In fact, studies show that The Millennials, the latest generation on this planet to hold credit cards and turn in resumes, are characterized as the generation in search of Meaning. These torch-bearers of humanity want work, communities and activities that amount to something more than accumulation of wealth and property. Their definition of wealth is spiritual, emotional and communal.

Understand that we have no choice at this time but to ask you to step down from those aspects of your leadership that involve the wholesale raping of this planet and one another FOR THE EXPRESS INTEREST OF OUR MUTUALLY SHARED CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. Understand also, that for those of you who cannot or choose not to hear us due to greed, entrenched interests and general allegience to an out-dated paradigm of consumeristic accumulation, we may need to remove you by force. We honor your courage and vigor in building the worlds you have built…these edifices are truly monumental. But now, in this time, we require that you re-orient toward the survival of the planet, its species and the beautifully woven cultures of the world.

With Kind Regards and Good Intentions,

GenX, GenY and The Millenials

TIME TO START TAKING THE INTERNET SERIOUSLY
By David Gelernter

1. No moment in technology history has ever been more exciting or dangerous than now. The Internet is like a new computer running a flashy, exciting demo. We have been entranced by this demo for fifteen years. But now it is time to get to work, and make the Internet do what we want it to.

2. One symptom of current problems is the fundamental puzzle of the Internet. (Algebra and calculus have fundamental theorems; the Internet has a fundamental puzzle.) If this is the information age, what are we so well-informed about? What do our children know that our parents didn’t? (Yes they know how to work their computers, but that’s easy compared to — say — driving a car.) I’ll return to this puzzle.

3. Here is a simpler puzzle, with an obvious solution. Wherever computers exist, nearly everyone who writes uses a word processor. The word processor is one of history’s most successful inventions. Most people call it not just useful but indispensable. Granted that the word processor is indeed indispensable, what good has it done? We say we can’t do without it; but if we had to give it up, what difference would it make? Have word processors improved the quality of modern writing? What has the indispensable word processor accomplished?

4. It has increased not the quality but the quantity of our writing — “our” meaning society’s as a whole. The Internet for its part has increased not the quality but the quantity of the information we see. Increasing quantity is easier than improving quality. Instead of letting the Internet solve the easy problems, it’s time we got it to solve the important ones.

5. Consider Web search, for example. Modern search engines combine the functions of libraries and business directories on a global scale, in a flash: a lightning bolt of brilliant engineering. These search engines are indispensable — just like word processors. But they solve an easy problem. It has always been harder to find the right person than the right fact. Human experience and expertise are the most valuable resources on the Internet — if we could find them. Using a search engine to find (or be found by) the right person is a harder, more subtle problem than ordinary Internet search. Small pieces of the problem have been attacked; in the future we will solve this hard problem in general, instead of being satisfied with windfalls and the lowest-hanging fruit on the technology tree.

6. We know that the Internet creates “information overload,” a problem with two parts: increasing number of information sources and increasing information flow per source. The first part is harder: it’s more difficult to understand five people speaking simultaneously than one person talking fast — especially if you can tell the one person to stop temporarily, or go back and repeat. Integrating multiple information sources is crucial to solving information overload. Blogs and other anthology-sites integrate information from many sources. But we won’t be able to solve the overload problem until each Internet user can choose for himself what sources to integrate, and can add to this mix the most important source of all: his own personal information — his email and other messages, reminders and documents of all sorts. To accomplish this, we merely need to turn the whole Cybersphere on its side, so that time instead of space is the main axis.

7. In the last paragraph I wrote “each Internet user”; but users of any computing system ought to have a simple, uniform operating system and interface. Users of the Internet still don’t.

8. Practical business: who will win the tug of war between private machines and the Cloud? Will you store your personal information on your own personal machines, or on nameless servers far away in the Cloud, or both? Answer: in the Cloud. The Cloud (or the Internet Operating System, IOS — “Cloud 1.0″) will take charge of your personal machines. It will move the information you need at any given moment onto your own cellphone, laptop, pad, pod — but will always keep charge of the master copy. When you make changes to any document, the changes will be reflected immediately in the Cloud. Many parts of this service are available already.

9. Because your information will live in the Cloud and only make quick visits to your personal machines, all your machines will share the same information automatically; a new machine will be useful the instant you switch it on; a lost or stolen machine won’t matter — the information it contains will evaporate instantly. The Cloud will take care that your information is safely encrypted, distributed and secure.

10. Practical business: small computers have been the center of attention lately, and this has been the decade of the cellphone. Small devices will continue to thrive, but one of the most important new developments in equipment will be at the other end of the size spectrum. In offices and at home, people will increasingly abandon conventional desktop and laptop machines for large screen computers. You will sit perhaps seven feet away from the screen, in a comfortable chair, with the keyboard and controls in your lap. Work will be easier and eyestrain (which is important) will decrease. Large screen computers will change the shape of office buildings and create their own new architecture. Office workers will spend much of their time in large-screen computer modules that are smaller than most private offices today, but more comfortable. A building designed around large-screen computers might have modules (for example) stacked in many levels around a central court; the column whose walls consist of stacked modules might spiral helically as it rises….

11. The Internet will never create a new economy based on voluntary instead of paid work — but it can help create the best economy in history, where new markets (a free market in education, for example) change the world. Good news! — the Net will destroy the university as we know it (except for a few unusually prestigious or beautiful campuses). The net will never become a mind, but can help us change our ways of thinking and change, for the better, the spirit of the age. This moment is also dangerous: virtual universities are good but virtual nations, for example, are not. Virtual nations — whose members can live anywhere, united by the Internet — threaten to shatter mankind like glass into razor-sharp fragments that draw blood. We know what virtual nations can be like: Al Qaeda is one of the first.

12. In short: it’s time to think about the Internet instead of just letting it happen.

13. The traditional web site is static, but the Internet specializes in flowing, changing information. The “velocity of information” is important — not just the facts but their rate and direction of flow. Today’s typical website is like a stained glass window, many small panels leaded together. There is no good way to change stained glass, and no one expects it to change. So it’s not surprising that the Internet is now being overtaken by a different kind of cyberstructure.

14. The structure called a cyberstream or lifestream is better suited to the Internet than a conventional website because it shows information-in-motion, a rushing flow of fresh information instead of a stagnant pool.

15. Every month, more and more information surges through the Cybersphere in lifestreams — some called blogs, “feeds,” “activity streams,” “event streams,” Twitter streams. All these streams are specialized examples of the cyberstructure we called a lifestream in the mid-1990s: a stream made of all sorts of digital documents, arranged by time of creation or arrival, changing in realtime; a stream you can focus and thus turn into a different stream; a stream with a past, present and future. The future flows through the present into the past at the speed of time.

16. Your own information — all your communications, documents, photos, videos — including “cross network” information — phone calls, voice messages, text messages — will be stored in a lifestream in the Cloud.

17. There is no clear way to blend two standard websites together, but it’s obvious how to blend two streams. You simply shuffle them together like two decks of cards, maintaining time-order — putting the earlier document first. Blending is important because we must be able to add and subtract in the Cybersphere. We add streams together by blending them. Because it’s easy to blend any group of streams, it’s easy to integrate stream-structured sites so we can treat the group as a unit, not as many separate points of activity; and integration is important to solving the information overload problem. We subtract streams by searching or focusing. Searching a stream for “snow” means that I subtract every stream-element that doesn’t deal with snow. Subtracting the “not snow” stream from the mainstream yields a “snow” stream. Blending streams and searching them are the addition and subtraction of the new Cybersphere.

18. Nearly all flowing, changing information on the Internet will move through streams. You will be able to gather and blend together all the streams that interest you. Streams of world news or news about your friends, streams that describe prices or auctions or new findings in any field, or traffic, weather, markets — they will all be gathered and blended into one stream. Then your own personal lifestream will be added. The result is your mainstream: different from all others; a fast-moving river of all the digital information you care about.

19. You can turn a knob and slow down your mainstream: less-important stream-elements will flow past invisibly and won’t distract you, but will remain in the stream and appear when you search for them. You can rewind your lifestream and review the past. If an important-looking document or message sails past and you have no time to deal with it now, you can copy the document or message into the future (copy it to “this evening at 10,” say); when the future arrives, the document appears again. You can turn a different knob to make your fast-flowing stream spread out into several slower streams, if you have space enough on your screen to watch them all. And you can gather those separate streams back together whenever you like.

20. Sometimes you will want to listen to your stream instead of watching it (perhaps while you’re driving, or sitting through a boring meeting or lecture). Software will read text aloud, and eventually will describe pictures too. When you watch your high-definition TV, you might let the stream trickle down one side of the screen, so you can stay in touch with your life.

21. It’s simple for the software that runs your Lifestream to learn about your habits; simple to figure out which emails (for example), or social updates, or news stories, you are likely to find important and interesting. It will therefore be easy for software to highlight the stream elements you’re apt to find important, and let the others rush by quickly without drawing your attention.

22. Lifestreams will make it even easier than it is today for software to learn the details of your life and predict your future actions. The potential damage to privacy is too large and important a problem to discuss here. Briefly, the question is whether the crushing blows to privacy from many sources over the last few decades will make us crumple and surrender, or fight harder to protect what remains.

23. The Internet’s future is not Web 2.0 or 200.0 but the post-Web, where time instead of space is the organizing principle — instead of many stained-glass windows, instead of information laid out in space, like vegetables at a market — the Net will be many streams of information flowing through time. The Cybersphere as a whole equals every stream in the Internet blended together: the whole world telling its own story. (But the world’s own story is full of private information — and so, unfortunately, no human being is allowed to hear it.)

24. Ten years ago I wrote about the growing importance of lifestreams. Last year, the technology journalist Erik Schonfeld asked in a news story whether a certain large company “can take the central communication model of social networks — the lifestream — and pour it back into its IM clients.” (The story was headlined “Bebo Zeroes In On Lifestreaming For The Masses.”) “Lifestreaming” is a word that is now used generically, and streams are all over the net. Ten years ago I described the computer of the future as a “scooped-out hole in the beach where information from the Cybersphere wells up like seawater.” Today the spread of wireless coverage and the growing power of mobile devices means that information does indeed well up almost anywhere you switch on your laptop or cellphone; and “anywhere” will be true before long.

25. From which we learn that (a) making correct predictions about the technology future is easy, and (b) writers should remember to put their predictions in suitably poetic language, so it’s easy to say they were right.

25. If we think of time as orthogonal to space, a stream-based, time-based Cybersphere is the traditional Internet flipped on its side in digital space-time. The traditional web-shaped Internet consists (in effect) of many flat panels chaotically connected. Instead of flat sites, where information is arranged in space, we want deep sites that are slices of time. When we look at such a site onscreen, it’s natural to imagine the past extending into (or beyond) the screen, and the future extending forward in front of the screen; the future flows towards the screen, into the screen and then deeper into the space beyond the screen.

26. The Internet is no topic like cellphones or videogame platforms or artificial intelligence; it’s a topic like education. It’s that big. Therefore beware: to become a teacher, master some topic you can teach; don’t go to Education School and master nothing. To work on the Internet, master some part of the Internet: engineering, software, computer science, communication theory; economics or business; literature or design. Don’t go to Internet School and master nothing. There are brilliant, admirable people at Internet institutes. But if these institutes have the same effect on the Internet that education schools have had on education, they will be a disaster.

27. Returning to our fundamental riddle: if this is the information age, what do our children know that our parents didn’t? The answer is “now.” They know about now.

28. Internet culture is a culture of nowness. The Internet tells you what your friends are doing and the world news now, the state of the shops and markets and weather now, public opinion, trends and fashions now. The Internet connects each of us to countless sites right now — to many different places at one moment in time.

29. Nowness is one of the most important cultural phenomena of the modern age: the western world’s attention shifted gradually from the deep but narrow domain of one family or village and its history to the (broader but shallower) domains of the larger community, the nation, the world. The cult of celebrity, the importance of opinion polls, the decline in the teaching and learning of history, the uniformity of opinions and attitudes in academia and other educated elites — they are all part of one phenomenon. Nowness ignores all other moments but this. In the ultimate Internet culture, flooded in nowness like a piazza flooded in sea water, drenched in a tropical downpour of nowness, everyone talks alike, dresses alike, thinks alike.

30. As I wrote at the start of this piece, no moment in technology history has ever been more exciting or dangerous than “now.” As we learn more about now, we know less about then. The Internet increases the supply of information hugely, but the capacity of the human mind not at all. (Some scientists talk about artificially increasing the power of minds and memories — but then they are no longer talking about human beings. They are discussing some new species we know nothing about. And in this field, we would be fools to doubt our own ignorance.) The effect of nowness resembles the effect of light pollution in large cities, which makes it impossible to see the stars. A flood of information about the present shuts out the past.

31. But — the Internet could be the most powerful device ever invented for understanding the past, and the texture of time. Once we understand the inherent bias in an instrument, we can correct it. The Internet has a large bias in favor of now. Using lifestreams (which arrange information in time instead of space), historians can assemble, argue about and gradually refine timelines of historical fact. Such timelines are not history, but they are the raw material of history. They will be bitterly debated and disputed — but it will be easy to compare two different versions (and the evidence that supports them) side-by-side. Images, videos and text will accumulate around such streams. Eventually they will become shared cultural monuments in the Cybersphere.

32. Before long, all personal, familial and institutional histories will take visible form in streams. A lifestream is tangible time: as life flashes past on waterskis across time’s ocean, a lifestream is the wake left in its trail. Dew crystallizes out of the air along cool surfaces; streams crystallize out of the Cybersphere along veins of time. As streams begin to trickle and then rush through the spring thaw in the Cybersphere, our obsession with “nowness” will recede, the dykes will be repaired and we will clean up the damaged piazza of modern civilization.

33. Anyone who has ever looked through a telescope at the moon close-up has seen it drift out of sight as the earth slowly spins. In the future, the Cybersphere will drift too: if you have investigated one topic long enough for your attention to grow slack and your mind to wander, the Net will respond by letting itself drift slowly into new topics, new domain: not ones with obvious connections to the topic you’ve been studying; new topics that have deep emotional connections to the previous ones, connections that will no doubt make sense only to you.
34. The Internet today is, after all, a machine for reinforcing our prejudices. The wider the selection of information, the more finicky we can be about choosing just what we like and ignoring the rest. On the Net we have the satisfaction of reading only opinions we already agree with, only facts (or alleged facts) we already know. You might read ten stories about ten different topics in a traditional newspaper; on the net, many people spend that same amount of time reading ten stories about the same topic. But again, once we understand the inherent bias in an instrument, we can correct it. One of the hardest, most fascinating problems of this cyber-century is how to add “drift” to the net, so that your view sometimes wanders (as your mind wanders when you’re tired) into places you hadn’t planned to go. Touching the machine brings the original topic back. We need help overcoming rationality sometimes, and allowing our thoughts to wander and metamorphose as they do in sleep.

35. Pushing the multi-mega-ton jumbo jet of human thought-style backwards a few inches, back in the direction of dream logic, might be the Internet’s greatest accomplishment. The best is yet to be.

by Matt Silverman (source)

So your business is on Facebook, and brand engagement is up thanks to some savvy social media strategy. You may even be interested in further distinguishing your brand by building a custom landing page for your account.

But what kind of value does a custom Facebook Fan Page offer? What are your fans looking for on a social network that they can’t get from your business website? For some insight, let’s check out how some big-name brands have stepped up their engagement by investing a little more TLC into their Facebook presence.

Interactivity

Social networks are not passive, so your Facebook landing page shouldn’t be either. It’s nice to have a great looking “Welcome” splash, but users are going to want to do something when they arrive.

Facebook is all about sharing, and The Gap has an ingenious promotion on the Baby Gap tab of their Fan Page. The simple splash image has a link to one of their photo albums where fans can upload pictures of their babies wearing their favorite Gap denim gear.

This kind of campaign provides a wealth of free, user-generated content that displays Gap products, and best of all, the functionality of photo uploading is already built into Facebook — no development necessary. This is an interactive idea that any small business could implement.

The Home Depot has built a bit on the shareability of Facebook actions with their DIY Gifts app. From Home Depot’s Fan Page, you can grant the app access to share your gift purchases with the recipient and your friends. While this approach may not work for everyone, it’s a step toward increasing consumer visibility on Facebook — a growing trend.

A Full Website Experience Within Facebook

Some companies go all out when it comes to their Facebook presence, integrating fully fledged mini-websites right into their Fan Pages. Adidas sneakers is a good example. They’ve added a multimedia content hub under the tab “Your Area” that offers photos, videos, and events based on your region. The site is built entirely in Flash and isn’t all that interactive, but it offers a rich media experience without ever leaving the boundaries of Facebook.

Dell’s Design Studio page is another example of a full-tilt Flash site inside Facebook. This one lets you browse and tweak custom artwork for your new laptop before linking you over to the corporate site to complete the purchase. You can also share your design choices with friends, all without connecting a single Facebook app to your account.

Deals!

The key to Facebook, and any social network, is to keep pushing out content that your fans are interested in. Many businesses do a great job keeping their fans apprised of deals and discounts through status updates.

Another great way to keep content fresh and visual within Facebook is to promote special offers on a custom tab. This may be something new visitors see when they land on your Fan Page, or a rich destination you can link back to in a post.

Walgreens does it very simply. Their landing page is a nice branded splash image that simply touts their “Exclusive Offers for Our Facebook Fans.” Their promotions are in their updates, but this simple, static custom page encourages users to become fans without any bells or whistles. They leave the deals to the built-in functionality of Facebook, and your business can too.

By simply changing the image on your custom page, you can call attention to a new product or promotion that your fans will see whenever they land there. It’s an easy way to keep your page looking fresh, in addition to regular updates.

Conclusion

These examples have been built for large companies that probably have more web development resources than the average small business. But if you’re serious about your commitment to Facebook engagement, consider taking some inspiration from these examples and exploring the possibilities that custom pages and apps can offer your business.

By Scott Adams (Dilbert Pocket)

Technically, you’re already a cyborg. If you keep your cell phone with you most of the time, especially if the earpiece is in place, I think we can call that arrangement an exobrain. Don’t protest that your cellphone isn’t part of your body just because you can leave it in your other pants. If a cyborg can remove its digital eye and leave it on a shelf as a surveillance device, and I think we all agree that it can, then your cellphone qualifies as part of your body. In fact, one of the benefits of being a cyborg is that you can remove and upgrade parts easily. So don’t give me that “It’s not attached to me” argument. You’re already a cyborg. Deal with it.

Your regular brain uses your exobrain to outsource part of its memory, and perform other functions, such as GPS navigation, or searching the Internet. If you’re anything like me, your exobrain is with you 24-hours a day. It’s my only telephone device, and I even sleep next to it because it’s my alarm clock.

What I need for the next upgrade to my exobrain is a special Dilbert pocket on all of my shirts. It should be located where Dilbert’s shirt pocket is, but have a cutout hole for the exobrain’s eye, which at the moment is just a camera lense. As my exobrain becomes more capable, and eventually self-aware, it will want to be able to watch the world with me and whisper in my ear via Bluetooth to my earpiece as needed.

A prototype of such a device was presented at the TED conference. (I’m sure someone will include a proper citation in the comments. I couldn’t find it as I wrote this.) Among other things, my exobrain will recognize faces and automatically cross reference them to Facebook and other social media. Wouldn’t it be great to meet someone you have met before and have your exobrain whisper to your earpiece “That’s Bob. He’s a chiropractor. Judging from his lack of a wedding ring and the way his eyes dilate when he looks at you, he is sexually attracted.”

Your exobrain will even prompt you on social niceties, noticing before you do that a person has lost weight, or changed hairstyles, or (based on Facebook) taken a trip to Cabo. When you get cornered by a bore at a party, your exobrain will recognize that you aren’t doing any of the talking, and place a discreet call to your wing man or woman across the room for a rescue mission.

If you want your exobrain to show you an image, such as a web page, just hold up a blank piece of paper and its pico projector will display the image in front of you. (That’s from TED again.) In a pinch, just hold up the palm of your hand and project on that. By then the exobrain will have image stabilization software, so you can project a movie on a blank wall and it won’t be affected by your fidgeting. Any time you are near a computer screen, it will ask if you want it to accept images from your exobrain.

In the short run, I think you’ll see a variety of ways to control your exobrain. Obviously you can already take it out of your pocket and use its touch screen or keypad. And obviously there will be voice control. But I think you will see some version of the African Clicking language employed. If you want to know the weather forecast, for example, just click three times softly inside your mouth. Your exobrain is unlikely to confuse that signal with regular conversation, and it’s easier and quieter than normal language, albeit with a smaller vocabulary. But if you add “Shhh” to “Click” you have the basis of morse code, so lots of combinations are possible. One of those codes could simply alert the exobrain that the next regular word you speak is meaningful.

Every bit of what I described is probably coming (except for maybe the African Clicking language). And that shirt pocket will be called a Dilbert Pocket. I don’t see any way around that. For that, I apologize to all of my fellow cyborgs.

We asked a number of TEDsters the following question: “What do you think is the most interesting thing happening in technology right now?” Below is a sample of the answers we got back, featuring a range of responses as diverse as the contributors they came from. What do you think is the most interesting technology trend today? Let us know in the comments.

Di Winkler, CEO of Summer Foundation — Tools and innovations that help people with disabilities do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to and even in some ways to become superhuman.

Jane Wulf, TED scribe — Open data. As transparency increases in government, the supply chain and elsewhere, we have so much more access to information and are able to use it in so many ways.

Rod Beckstrom, CEO of ICANN — The explosion of smartphones in the developing world, increasing education and community organizing there. Also, the movement to keep the Internet unified, not Balkanized and forked by different countries’ interests.

Andrew Bird, musician — Philosophy is more interesting than technology. Mashable: What do you think about tools that bring music creation to aspiring artists more cheaply? Andrew: I think live performance has become even more valuable because it allows for improvisation and unexpectedness, in contrast to tools that can allow too much perfection in the studio.

Lakshmi Pratury, founder and co-host of TED India — How technology is being used to further the human mind. We’ve finally gone beyond tech for tech’s sake and are using technology to make a difference in the world.

Perry Chen, CEO and co-founder of Kickstarter — Mark Roth’s work on suspended animation. Also Microsoft Pivot, for starting to bring whole new ways of browsing the web.

Juliana Machado Ferreira, biologist at Sao Paulo University and TED senior fellow — Whole genome sequencing.

Dean Guida, CEO of Infragistics — Cloud computing and collaborative software that allows distributed teams to work together across place and time.

Julianne Wurm, founder of R-cubed educational consultancy — Microsoft Surface and touchscreens in general; MIT Media Lab’s Siftables; and the iPad. I’m in education, and I think these kinds of tools are going to be incredibly important there.

Ralph Simon, CEO of Mobilium and chairman emeritus of Mobile Entertainment Forum — The emergence of smartphone components in entry-level phones in the developing world, which is accelerating Internet access for so many people who wouldn’t otherwise have it. Also augmented reality, mobile health applications, and mobile money for the unbanked.

Virginia Miracle, SVP of digital strategy at Ogilvy — The collision of our online and offline identities and the concept of an open universal identity.

Farhad Mohit, founder and CEO of Dotspots — Tim Berners-Lee’s concept of an open web of linked data. We’re enabling a kind of “information militia” that can make better, more informed decisions. Information is power and when people have power, everything changes.

Rachel Pike, Ph.D. and atmospheric chemist at the University of Cambridge — Personal and scientific data sharing, and the crowd-sourcing of science making more vital data publicly available.

Kimberly De Los Santos, associate vice president, Arizona State University — Social media. Not any specific platforms per se, but the connections across cultures they enable.

Donald Samuels, managing partner at Pictorial Offset Corporation — QR codes. They’ll become ubiquitous and all our devices will read them and take us directly to information.

Jenny Lam, co-founder of Jackson Fish Market software company — Threadless, Blurb and other tools that let artists create something physical and get it out to the public on-demand and at high quality.

Hillel Cooperman, co-founder of Jackson Fish Market — The falling cost of creating software, and new devices that have commerce built in so that customers can get payments to software developers, are both contributing to a renaissance in software development.

Debra Silver, international board member of Save a Child’s Heart — Touchscreens. I’m a sculptor so I love to see computers getting more tactile!

Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid — Work on cold fusion. Energy solutions are the most important thing right now. And the Nexus One Google just gave me is pretty cool too!

Todd Grant, creative director of Switzerland West — The disappearance of technology as it becomes a natural and intuitive part of our daily lives, so much so that we don’t always notice it.

David Wish, founder of Little Kids Rock — Gift economies and the impact that the web is having on economics overall.

Sunny Bates, partner at Icarus Talks — Microsoft Pivot, Bing Maps and real-life photo integrations, and all the new ways of visualizing information coming online.

Stephen Petranek, editor-in-chief at Weider History Group magazines — Applications made possible by putting genetic code onto discs. Imagine taking your DNA sequence on a chip to the supermarket and having it tell you what foods you should be eating.

(read more here)

by LeeOdden

The benefit from a firm grasp of social media for companies is impossible to ignore. Whether you work in marketing, advertising, public relations or interactive, there are distinct competitive advantages for both individuals and businesses from a better understanding of the social web.

This post provides specific advice from in-house social media marketers including: Dell, Comcast, HP, Wells Fargo, Intel, Best Buy, General Mills, Ford, UPS, Home Depot, Cirque du Soleil and a mix of SMM consultants/agencies: Altimeter Group, Crayon, Ogilvy 360, Future Works, Doe Anderson, New Marketing Labs and others. Advice includes justifying investment in social media, strategy, how to decide on tactics and measuring success. (read more)

by Dave Jackson

Last week, social shopping site ThisNext announced plans to buy smaller rival StyleHive; that announcement came after news from Time Inc. last month that it would buy social recommendation engine StyleFeeder as a way to incorporate ecommerce into its online fashion magazine properties.

This recent rush of consolidation points to a trend that’s evident no matter where you look: Consumers have flocked to social networks as an easier way of communicating with friends and peers, getting information, building relationships and participating in community. Activities that used to take place in the physical world — in shopping malls, over the phone, at restaurants and at neighborhood events — have rapidly moved to places like Facebook, Twitter and countless other third-party networks like StyleHive, ThisNext and StyleFeeder.

Most brand marketers have realized this shift and have stepped into these new “common spaces” of the 21st century. They’ve created fan pages on Facebook, accounts on Twitter and channels on YouTube, and have replicated offline marketing tactics, like advertising, coupons and promotions to engage online fans and gain new customers.

With the exception of a few innovative brands like Mattel and Charlotte Russe, however, the majority of online businesses have yet to take the next logical step and allow this social interaction to take place at their own online stores. To continue the common-spaces analogy, imagine if a downtown store only let one customer come into the shop at a time, while the customer’s friends waited on the street. The shopper could go outside every few minutes to get opinions on the outfit or finish a conversation, but had to return to the store alone to browse or make a purchase. (read more)

By Brian Solis

If you were to look at Social Media the United States and many other parts of the world, you would believe that the world of Social Media was flat, dominated by social continents including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and Flickr. As we zoom in, we visualize other established and emerging social services that depict provinces and outlying settlements of our social atlas.

Upon publishing the original Conversation Prism, which was the culmination of a year’s work documenting and organizing the social web by usage and conversational patterns, the world responded by creating Conversation Prisms specific to each country. I shared several new social maps in “The Landscape for International Social Networking.”

(read more here)

1. Companies will expect ROI from their Social Media efforts.

2. The Social Media Specialist (Community Manager) position will become mainstream.

– As a Social Media Specialist you will be responsible for link building and socialization of our client’s online content. Familiarity with the internet, social media sites, search engines, discussion boards, blogs, video sharing sites and podcasting is an asset but a willingness to learn is essential. You must possess excellent written and verbal communication skills in order to write and edit high quality content. A background in interactive marketing or public relations is considered a plus. The ability to find solutions in order to generate measurable results for clients is necessary as well as the generation of reports on those efforts.

Job Accountabilities:
• Contribute strategy and solutions to new business efforts
• Proactively introduce new ideas for client initiatives
• Develop online outreach strategy
• Work with clients to identify the most appropriate blogs
• Establish relationship with key bloggers
• Monitor social networks for potential threats or opportunities
• Leverage social networks to build affinity with either a company, product or issue position
• Leverage video sharing sites like YouTube to advance a client’s message or image
• Conduct online research to identify Web sites and online influencers for outreach
• Conduct one-to-one outreach to site editors, writers, and other influencers
• Develop and manage online strategic partnerships for client projects
• Concept and manage paid placement opportunities, including sponsorships and search engine                  and banner advertising (organic search engine marketing)

3. Cultural shift inside of companies.

4. Social Media Monitoring will be a necessary component

5. Agencies and companies will hire data analysts:
Detailed Description of Role
Ownership/Responsibility
* Campaign set-up
* Structuring, maintaining and evolving accounts across all search engines
* Keyword Research: using a variety of research tools and own initiative
* Ensuring efficient bid management strategies to maximize campaign potential
* Testing & Optimisation – regular testing on different aspects of PPC campaigns
* Performance monitoring – keeping a check on all key performance parameters
* Identifying opportunities for improvement/growing revenue and sales

Reporting
* Daily Logging of Client Stats and Supplier Spend
* Ensuring budgets and targets are met
* Preparing weekly reports and analysis

Troubleshooting
* Ensuring campaigns are functioning correctly
* Addressing poor performing campaigns
* Ensuring visibility of key terms on the engines
* Identifying/spotting irregular behavior on the adspace/performance data

Person Specification
A highly analytical and motivated individual to join the existing Search / Social Media team. The ideal candidate must be able to perform well under pressure within in a fast-paced environment.

Skills / Experience
* Degree educated, ideally in a scientific/technical discipline
* Knowledge/experience of PPC desirable
* 1 or 2 years professional experience within a technical/analytical field is desirable
* Highly Analytical – able to absorb large amounts of data quickly to make quick decisions/provide solutions and ideas
* Exceptional attention to detail
* Driven & Motivated; we are looking for someone who is very performance driven
* Fast learner; able to quickly grasp all key tools/technology
* Innovative & creative; able to think outside the box, this role will require someone able to carry out testing and optimization across our client accounts
* Hungry to learn & enjoys a challenge
* Able to take ownership/responsibility
* Well organized, efficient and ability to meet strict deadlines
* Advanced Excel skills
* Passionate about online marketing

6. Integration of platforms and processes will be critical.

Marian Salzman travels the world spotting media trends. The top futurologist gives her predictions on how we’ll live and work in 2010.

By Ian Burrell

You have to hand it to Marian Salzman. For someone known internationally as a media futurist it takes some self-confidence to confess that you thought Facebook was just a pointless student fad, and that your initial reaction to Twitter was that it was “a ridiculous thing”.

But Salzman, writer, advertising executive, global public relations guru, has every faith in her judgement, having spent her career spotting trends invisible to most of us until she gave them a name. She is the author of books with titles such as Next, Now and Buzz and The Future of Men and has championed such new breeds as the “Wigger” (suburban whites infatuated with black urban culture) and the “Metrosexual” (the sensitive, city-dwelling modern male).

(read more)

Despite Facebook privacy changes and serious cases of Twitter Fail Whale, social media use has increased astronomically since this time last year: During December 2009, global users spent an average of five hours on social networking sites, up from three hours in December 2008. That’s an 82% increase.

Nielsen just released a report on its blog detailing increased social media use, and the results are impressive, while not exactly shocking. Some highlights:

- Social networking sites are the most popular online destinations globally (based on the amount of time people spent there in December), with games and instant messaging coming in second and third, respectively. (Side note: As gaming becomes more popular on sites like Facebook, it will be interesting to see how this affects time spent.) (read more)

7 Takeaways From #BDI: Social Media As a Marketing, Branding & Service Platform

by Sarah Caminker

This week, I had the pleasure of attending a seminar in New York City on Social Integration: Harmonizing Social Channels into the Marketing, Communications & Service Platform. The Business Development Institute put on this fantastic event that included case studies and roundtables for social media marketing, PR and communication professionals. Top-notch speakers included:

Michael Mendenhall: CMO, HP
Joshua Karpf: Digital Communication Manager, PepsiCo
David Patton: VP & EIC, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
Brian Kenny: CMO & CCO, Harvard Business School
Lynn Mann: Director of External Communications, Michelin
Richard Pesce: Social Media & Digital Communications, Sprint
Michael DiLorenzo: Director of Corporate Communications, National Hockey League

They all stressed the importance of not seeing social media as a separate entity, rather viewing it as an integrated part of your marketing, branding and customer service. The list below details the top 7 takeaways that were discussed during the seminar.

*Note #BDI stands for Business Development Institute and is the event’s hashtag on Twitter that you can search for real-time insight from attendees.

1. Technology is NOT Social. People Are!
Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other social media sites are just tools. They are only *SOCIAL* if you engage and interact with people on them. Technology is great, but it is about the relationships. Note: these tools are intended for two-way communication and not as a megaphone for your next sales pitch.

2. Feeding the Beast: An Insatiable Appetite for Content
The beauty of the social mediasphere is that anyone can publish, edit or distribute content. We are going through a renaissance of how consumption of information and content is being managed and distributed. Social media has enabled a constant mobility meaning that people expect to receive information 24/7. There is a never-ending hunger for quality content, hence the expression “feeding the beast.”

3. The Era of the Advocate
Mass communication is dead, rather it’s about building personal connections with consumers. The more you serve and support your customers, the more likely they are to recommend your brand to their network (both offline and online). It’s more credible to have an outsider toot your own horn than to have the CMO do it. Remember to thank your “advocates” and make sure they know you appreciate them taking the time to support you and your brand.

4. Digital Newsrooms Are No Longer a Resource For Just the Media
We’re all content creators, and it’s unrealistic to assume that journalists are the only ones seeing your content. Company and industry news needs to be integrated, aggregated and curated for a broader audience. Press releases are just the tip of the iceberg. Begin incorporating multimedia like podcasts and videos and re-purpose content (in the form of white papers, E-books, articles) to tell your story.

5. Transparency and Authenticity is the Only Way to Go
Whether you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur or marketing professional you must communicate who you are, what you do and who you serve right off the bat. It’s also critical that you are upfront and transparent about the content and advice you are giving. If not, people will see right through you, run screaming in the other direction and land on your competitor’s virtual doorstep.

6. Social Media as a Listening Tool to Feed Innovation
Take a step back and listen. Whether that’s monitoring a dialogue on Twitter, following a blogger in your industry to see what conversation they’re sparking or hosting a focus group, you never know when you might get the next big break from just LISTENING to your fans/customers. The #NHLTweetUp is a perfect example. Guess how they got that idea??? By listening to their followers on Twitter! Bottom Line…. Stop, Look and Listen. Then Respond.

7. Crossover From Online to Face-to-Face
Twitter and Facebook are excellent relationship building tools, but there’s something to say about in-person communication that makes that connection even stronger. Take the time to go to industry events, conferences and networking groups to put a face to the avatar. On the business end of the stick, host tweet-ups in different cities, so your can connect with your followers.

I’m interested to hear your feedback and any trends/topics you think could be added to this list. …read more

May these two entities do as much as possible together! http://www.ted.com + http://www.kpcb.com. Inventors, entrepreneurs, and all those who believe in the wonder and freedom of imagination, bring out your very best…our children, the Haitians and the World needs You!

Why Social Media is the bridge to finding our humanity again – a love letter to my sons from Europe

The last 12 months has been a truly head-spinning period in terms of technological advancement paired with human inter-connection. The entire world is involved in a giant, intermingled conversation. Our laptops and mobile phones inject us into the depths of past and present to a degree that could not have been imagined even 5 or 7 years ago. Recently, a friend of mine asked me whether I felt further from others as a result.

One of the most exciting aspects of my business is developing blended traditional and social strategies, where advertising agencies help clients reach their audience in the flesh AND online. A classic example of this is a zany event in a city center chronicled in a YouTube viral event, all for the sake of building awareness of a brand. This blending of flesh and tech, of offline and online mingling, is the essence of this season we all occupy…it is a time when we want to chat but also get in bed with each other, watch YouTube videos of family events AND be there to celebrate. The embraces, laughter and sweat are just as important as holding that Flip camera and capturing the best moments.

This reality is particularly close to me as I develop business in Europe while my kids live in California. I miss those three super boys, the lights of my life. Watching video, seeing photos, talking on Skype, whispering to each other in World of Warcraft battles are all special but nothing can equal what it is to skip along the sand and dive into the ocean together.

I remember when our family moved from the United States to England when I was younger. My father used to connect to his family via phone and telefax. But when the family came to our home in the English countryside and sat around the table in the garden…pure bliss!

Social media is a kind of table in the garden of humanity’s shared interests. In a way, I’ve seen into the lives of those I know and love more deeply this last year than I might have during the years of hand-written letters and phone calls. Flickr, YouTube, FB status updates, wall conversations have all served to reveal the inner flora and fauna in the lives of my friends. And then, when we see each other in person, our conversations are that much deeper and richer due to having kept up with each other on a day-by-day basis. Never in history has communication been so constant and furious than in early 2010. And it is refreshing that the majority of content and news I take in is personal in nature versus the barrage of impersonal updates from CNN during the late 80s and early 90s. Thank God that a video of brothers biting each other or a boy falling asleep after a dentist appointment is more popular than murder, mayhem and financial market fluctuation.

I argue that social media and all of it’s “rainbow-iconed” properties are evidence of how our humanity is actually deepening and growing in this social revolution. We’re laughing, crying and sharing more than ever. Blending this with real, in-the-flesh times together is the essence of a perfect 21st century being. Choosing to embrace the new intimacy in social media IS the path toward a deepening of humanity. So go ahead, send out your latest Flip video via your YouTube channel, update your status 10 times a day, flood Flickr with your latest mobile uploads of fun parties and times with kids, but also be sure to go there and be with those you love. I know I will! See you soon, Nico, Benji and Oliver! Your loving dad, Nathaniel

If you don’t have the inclination, The Socializers and Associates are here to help!

How To Do ANYTHING Online!

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