Ada Lovelace Day

About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


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All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Friday, June 19th, 2009

links for 2009-06-19

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

links for 2009-06-18

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

links for 2009-06-17

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Terry Flew, Professor of Media and Communication in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, writes about coverage of the Iranian election protests with what I call social media journalism. It's a hybrid of traditional media and newsgathering process and standards to filter social media and use social media as a source of contacts. There is a lot of opportunity here, and we're just scratching the surface.
  • Kevin: Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, tries to answer the question being asked by many in the media of whether Iran could shut down Twitter. He first describes Iran's control over the internet. Iran is "able to treat its Internet-using public the way a school can filter what its kids see on their PCs". But could they shut down Twitter, which is being used to report in real-time the events on Twitter. "So it’d be trivial for the Iranian government to block access to Twitter as it could to any particular Web site, and it could even block access to some Twitter user’s feeds there while leaving others open, by simply configuring its filters to allow some Twitter urls through while filtering others. But Twitter isn’t just any particular Web site. It’s an atom designed to be built into other molecules. "

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

links for 2009-06-16

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Marc Ambinder says that this is how a CIA Analyst would look at the events in Iran, but I suggest that it's also the way that journalists should. "Watch for disinformation. … Don't assume. … Look for sources that disprove your thesis. Go outside the country and outside your comfort zone. See what, say, China's news agency reports about the protests."
  • Kevin: Like many projects, I spotted this in the flow of links via Twitter. It's a fascinating look at '12 different voter communities' in the United States. The map is fascinating, but I'm curious about the journalism that the Christian Science Monitor and US public television's News Hour will be doing. I need to investigate how they came up with 12 different voter communities. The political parties and their models often slice the US electorate into often twice as many demographic groups in terms of targeting, but it's interesting to see news outlets do this kind of coverage. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this project to see how it evolves.
  • Kevin: Richard Sambrook, head of the BBC Global News division and a friend from the BBC, compaired Twitter to mainstream media coverage of the outcome of the 2009 Iranian elections. His conclusion:
    "Result? Mixed.
    If you, as an average news consumer, relied on Twitter you might believe all sorts of things had happened, which simply hadn't, running a high risk of being seriously misled about events on the ground. You might at best, have simply been confused. You probably wouldn't have thought Ahmadinejad enjoys much popular support at all.
    But if you had a reasonable understanding of social media, how to set up and assess feeds, how to compare and contrast information, if you had a reasonable understanding of news flows, a developed sense of scepticism, and an above average understanding of the political situation in Iran, you would have emerged much better informed than the lay viewer relying on TV or Radio news."
  • Kevin: Vin Crosbie writes: "Ask most people who think of themselves as new media experts what the greatest change in the media has been in the past 35 years, and you'll hear such answers as "the Internet," "social media," "search engines," or "iPhones."

    They're wrong.

    The greatest change has been that people's access to media has changed from scarcity to surfeit. It's an even bigger change than Gutenberg's invention of a practical printing press, the invention of writing, or even the first Neolithic cave paintings. It's the greatest change in all of media history. And it occurred in only 35 years — half a human lifespan."

  • Kevin: Jeff Jarvis writes: "The question is whether the legacy press - for the benefit of its staff even more than its audience - can issue enough caveats to enable it to work real-time. Forget blogs in this discussion. Will The New York Times ever be comfortable working on the standards and practices of 24-hour cable news? Can it afford to? Don’t they have to?"
  • Kevin: This is a succinct outline of social media journalism from Jeff Jarvis: "I emphasized to a reporter today that Twitter is not the news source. It's a source of tips & temperature & sources. Reporting follows."
  • Kevin: Dougald Hine, former BBC journalist and co-founder of the School of Everything writes about why journalists write a lot of ill informed nonsense about Twitter. Like a lot of things, they focus on celebrities that use Twitter, or bands that use MySpace or campaigners who use Facebook. They don't get under the skin of social media. Also with Twitter, they don't spend the time necessary to really understand what is going on. "So unless a reporter has been using the service personally for long enough to get a feel for it, they are very likely to pick up the wrong end of the stick. Or mistake the stick for a snake."

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

links for 2009-06-13

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Friday, June 12th, 2009

links for 2009-06-12

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Key drivers of change

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

Having all this info about the future of social media is great - I get to slice and dice it in multiple ways. Going back to the idea of there being three different types of driver - predetermined, uncertain and wildcard - I’ve split everything into those three types, and then tried to see which are the most relevant when it comes to the development of social technology and how third sector organisations might use it.

Below is my list. What do you think?

Predetermined
Increase in number of interpersonal connections.
Ubiquity of technology and connectivity.
Social software moves into the mainstream.
Increase in surveillance, by government and citizens alike.
Self-organisation.
Ageing population.
Decrease in trust of authority figures.
Green issues become more important.
Cuts in public services spending and access.

Uncertain changes
Split between inwards-looking individualism and outwards-looking collectivism.
Experimentation and failure becomes more acceptable.
Wide availability of information leads to either overload or smart/group filters.
Consolidation of the media; rise of community-sourced news.
Over-regulation of the internet stifles growth.
Multiculturalism leads to either tolerance or increased conflict.
Flexible, portfolio careers becomes more common.
Businesses engage in more “co-opetition”.
Self-organisation leads to greater political engagement, or loss of trust in politicians leads to apathy.
‘Web of things’ leads to realtime monitoring of inanimate objects.

Wildcards
Massive population change, either increase or decrease.
Fragmentation of large political entities, increased localism.
Resources shock as peak oil, water and food passed.
Huge increase in war, insurgencies, and social unrest.
Change in value system from GPD to happiness index.
The Singularity: Advances in biotech, nanotech and genetic engineering usher in the post-human age.
Pestilence and global pandemic.

Same drivers, except Wildcards, but organised by topic
Politics/Authority
Increase in surveillance, by government and citizens alike.
Decrease in trust of authority figures.
Cuts in public services spending and access.
Consolidation of the media; rise of community-sourced news.
Over-regulation of the internet stifles growth.
Self-organisation leads to greater political engagement, or loss of trust in politicians leads to apathy.

Society/Culture
Ageing population.
Multiculturalism leads to either tolerance or increased conflict.
Self-organisation.
Split between inwards-looking individualism and outwards-looking collectivism.

Personal
Increase in number of interpersonal connections.
Green issues become more important.

Technology
Ubiquity of technology and connectivity.
Social software moves into the mainstream.
Wide availability of information leads to either overload or smart/group filters.
‘Web of things’ leads to realtime monitoring of inanimate objects.

Business
Experimentation and failure becomes more acceptable.
Flexible, portfolio careers becomes more common.
Businesses engage in more “co-opetition”.

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

links for 2009-06-11

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Hubspot research finds: "Namely, that many of the accounts on Twitter aren't actually using it all that much." This isn't surprising. The UGC Pyramid or the 1-9-90 'Rule' about user participation shows that almost all participatory sites or services have huge disparities in usage. This and other reports are being held up as reasons why Twitter has been over-hyped. This is actually pretty standard in the media obsession life cycle, which goes from dismissiveness from the media to wonder and astonishment and a growth spurt to claims that a service has been over-hyped to claims that the service or site has jumped the shark.
  • Kevin: "In 2008 the total European online advertising market, or at least the 19 markets analyzed by IAB Europe and PwC, was worth €12.9 billion (approx. $18 billion) with a like-for-like growth rate compared to 2007 of 20%. For comparison, online advertising grew 10.6% in the United States in 2008 (outpacing TV) and was worth €16.6 billion ($23.4 billion). However, the 20% growth figure paints a better-looking picture than the harsh reality, which is that it is far below previously stated expectations"
  • Kevin: Google has released Google Fusion Tables in Labs. "Fusion Tables allows users to upload more data than they can in Google Spreadsheets. With Google Fusion it is possible to upload tabular data sets of up to 100 MB per data set."
  • Kevin: There was a session last week at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum about serious games, and this post looks further into the trend. It starts off highlighting a video from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof from the recent Games for a Change Festival. "The MacArthur Foundation have been putting time, energy and money into this cause — it seems obvious to me that large companies in the gaming space should also be involved as well if they're not already from a "double bottom line" perspective. Perhaps journalism organizations should join them."
  • Kevin: "In a piece written for paidContent.org, Richard J. Tofel proposes a new way of "remaking" newspapers and "rethinking the role of the print paper. … Another factor of Tofel's restructuring plan is eliminating columnists and reviewers who don't have a "committed, interested following" as another means to cut costs by cutting down content that may not be of interest to the readers.

    Ultimately, Tofel proposes newspapers should strive to be "distinctive" and publish content that sets itself apart from other news sources, such as focusing on local news, effecitvely including graphics, images, games, and puzzles, or by "being new 'scoops' of fact or thought."

  • Kevin: Data collection: Mobile phones provide new ways to gather information, both manually and automatically, over wide areas.
  • Kevin: I realised recently that I feel so comfortable online and the culture of the internet and social web is so much a part of my life that it's sometimes difficult for me to articulate to people who aren't steeped in this culture on how to engage with people online. To me, it's like breathing. But this study unpacks a lot of issues on how to generate, foster and nurture conversations. It's a very useful skill, and it's something that I think that journalists resist because they don't see it as part of their jobs. This is a good read, and although it's focused on education, there are a lot of lessons about building participation and conversation online regardless of the application.
  • Kevin: My colleague Charles Arthur thinks out loud very effectively in this piece and comes to the conclusion that we 'need new wrappers for journalism'. I think that this goes to the heart of the matter that. The problem for the business of journalism right now is the unbundling of the commercial package that has supported print journalism for much of the last 150 years. Advertising-based revenue streams that support newspapers have been disrupted by digital competitors such as Craigslists, Monster.com and Google. The difficulty for newspapers is that new advertising providers are more efficient than aggregating eyeballs with content. Charles says: "To repeat: journalism is the process and publishing is the wrapper that you put around journalism in order to make it profitable and sustainable."
  • Kevin: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has wasted no time in sending an open letter to the new culture minister with an ‘economic stimulus plan for local media’, which includes a "tax credit for individuals who buy quality media" and "A levy introduced on commercial operators who benefit from quality public service content - including local news - but do not contribute to its production". Laura Oliver asks how 'quality media' will be defined. That is one of the biggest issues for public support of journalism, outside of established public broadcasters, who decides who gets the money.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

links for 2009-06-10

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Quick response (QR) bar code was originally created by Japanese company Denso-Wave to keep inventory. They are the square codes often seen on products, but as the post says, because they can store more data than the 10-digit bar code they are popping up in a number of interesting applications. Here are five interesting ones, including a Pet Shop Boys protest against an ID card scheme in the UK.
  • Kevin: Brady Forrest at O'Reilly goes through the impact on location-based services of the 2009 iPhone 3GS. Platial and Pelago have some tough thinking ahead about what their business model will be. But the iPhone 3GS open up some real opportunities in terms of augmented reality and real-time location updates. There are still some things that need doing. Safari has no access to the camera. Apps can only send data if they are open. Apps can't send data if they are in the background.
  • Kevin: It's another good guide on how journalists can use Twitter, but it's good and comprehensive, exactly what you'd expect on Mashable.
  • Kevin: Jeff Jarvis says that members of the union at the Boston Globe shouldn't have rejected the package of pay and benefit cuts that parent company New York Times is offering but rather reject the strategy they have put forward. Jeff says: "The Guild should have demanded a strategy that transforms the Globe into a smaller but profitable venture that concentrates only on news and serving the community and not on printing and distribution, jettisoning huge costs but coming out with a sustainable plan."

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

links for 2009-06-09

Posted by Suw and Kevin