Mitch is currently promoting his most recent book, Ctrl Alt Delete. And if you haven’t seen him speaking about this, you owe it to yourself to see him. You won’t regret it. And if you haven’t read the book yet, click over to your favorite eBook store and buy it right now. Yes, right now. Then come back and read the rest of this post.
Mitch is a great speaker. And like other great speakers, he tailors his remarks to the interest of the audience. And in the case of the social-savvy Third Tuesday crowd, he touched on several sweet spots. His presentation was chock full of quotable quotes. I’ve grabbed a few from the Twitter stream.
As we kick off this seventh year of Third Tuesdays, I want thank Rogers Communications and Cision Canada. Your generous support makes it possible for us to continue to bring great speakers to the Third Tuesday community. We couldnt’ do it without you.
Rob is a serial entrepreneur. And he will share with us the lessons he has gained from founding two social companies – MyMusic.com and, before that, Overlay.tv. What he has learned about creating something real from the germ of an idea. About building and sustaining community with the people who care about you. About creating a social business – one that listens to what people are saying about it and adjusts its actions and structure to act upon what it hears. About building a team that can create something extraordinary. And about marketing what you’ve created through both social and traditional channels.
In a nutshell, Rob Lane is a smart entrepreneur who has a lot to share and will do that with the Third Tuesday community. If you’re in or near either Ottawa or Toronto, click over to the Third Tuesday Toronto and Third Tuesday Ottawa Meetup sites to get your ticket to hear from and meet Rob Lane.
If you’re like me, music is a constant in your life. We listen actively and passively. It surrounds us. Reflects our experiences, environment and friends. And it’s also all over the place. In books we’ve read. On entertainment Web sites. On an MP3 player. Or a Facebook page. The radio. In magazines. Our contact with music is spread everywhere and we have to go looking in many places to pull it all together.
“MyMusic was founded by three guys who love music but hate mindlessly scouring the web to unearth the best content available. We want all the great music content that we know is out there to come to us. We want it sifted, sorted and filtered so that we get exactly and only the stuff we are interested in. We also want a beautiful way to access all that content, anytime we want, anywhere we are. We couldn’t find anything like that online, so we built MyMusic.
“MyMusic.coms’ mission is “to be a single place where you can go to find, discover and share everything that makes your online music experience fresh, exciting, and uniquely you.”
You can use MyMusic to can save images, videos, music, articles, etc. in “magazines” that reflect your interests. Specific artists. Genres of music. Places where music is played. Your collection of music. Whatever you want. And the site watches what you post so that it can suggest content that matches your interests. The more you post the smarter it gets.
If you’re interested, check out the Thelonious Monk page I made on MyMusic.com. This took me all of 10 minutes from the time I found my first clip to the time I published it. Very user friendly.
Social Media Breakfasts too
One more thing. Rob also gives back to the social media community in another way. He’s the co-founder or Social Media Breakfast Ottawa. Rob and his co-organizers, Ryan Anderson and Simon Chen, have given Ottawa’s social media community an opportunity to meet and hear from smart speakers for the past four years.
Thank you to Third Tuesday’s sponsors
Third Tuesday is supported by great sponsors - Cision Canada and Rogers Communications - who believe in our community and help us to bring speakers not just to Toronto but to Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver as well. Without the sponsors we couldn’t make Third Tuesday a truly Canadian affair. So, thank you to the sponsors of the Third Tuesday 2012-13 season: Cision Canada and Rogers Communications.
The study provides evidence that, when it comes to our willingness to accept mobile app default sharing settings, we’re mindful of the importance of our personal data and electing not to blindly give it up.
According to Pew, “More than half of app users have uninstalled or decided to not install an app due to concerns about personal information.”
“54% of app users have decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it
“30% of app users have uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phonebecause they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share”
Those numbers are much higher than I would have expected. Why? Because most app terms of service are understandable only to lawyers and people with the patience to read them closely. And because I would have expected most people to rush past them in their eagerness to try out the shiny new app on their mobile device.
But it turns out Americans are more privacy-savvy than I expected. Good for us!
The explosion of video content on social media isn’t just having an impact on how and where we find entertainment. It also is having a dramatic impact on how video news is made and consumed.
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism conducted an analysis of news videos on YouTube over the 15 month period from January 2011 to March 2012. And they uncovered evidence confirming that a significant shift is underway.
A complex, symbiotic relationship between citizens and news organizations
“Worldwide YouTube is becoming a major platform for viewing news,” Pew asserts. “In 2011 and early 2012, the most searched term of the month on YouTube was a news related event five out of 15 months, according to the company’s internal data.”
“A complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic “dialogue” many observers predicted would become the new journalism online. Citizens are creating their own videos about news and posting them. They are also actively sharing news videos produced by journalism professionals. And news organizations are taking advantage of citizen content and incorporating it into their journalism. Consumers, in turn, seem to be embracing the interplay in what they watch and share, creating a new kind of television news.
Pew cited the March 11, 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami as a case study of this “new kind of visual journalism.” They observed that “most of that footage was recorded by citizen eyewitnesses who found themselves caught in the tragedy. Some of that video was posted by the citizens themselves. Most of this citizen-footage, however, was posted by news organizations incorporating user-generated content into their news offerings.”
However, Pew also notes that “clear ethical standards have not developed on how to attribute the video content moving through the synergistic sharing loop.” This is not just a case of citizens posting copyright material without obtaining permission. News organizations were observed to be including citizen-generated content in their news reports without any attribution to the original source.
The form of news is shifting
“Citizens play a substantial role in supplying and producing footage. More than a third of the most watched videos (39%) were clearly identified as coming from citizens.”
“The most viewed news videos on YouTube, however, come in various forms. More than half of the most-viewed videos, 58%, involved footage that had been edited, but a sizable percentage, 42%, was raw footage.”
“Unlike in traditional TV news, the lengths of the most popular news videos on YouTube vary greatly. … the most popular news videos on YouTube were fairly evenly distributed-from under a minute (29%), one to two minutes (21%), two to five minutes (33%) and longer than five (18%).”
“YouTube is a place where consumers can determine the news agenda for themselves and watch the videos at their own convenience-a form of “on demand” video news. In the case of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, audience interest continued for weeks. The disaster remained among the top-viewed news subjects for three straight weeks.”
The Pew study is chock full of facts and observations that underline the tremendous shift that is underway. If you are interested in this area, this is a study worth bookmarking.
There was much in Nora’s presentation that caught my attention.
A Watershed moment
“We’re at a watershed moment – a moment when data and information are no longer scarce and created top down, but is becoming ubiquitous and generated bottom up,” she posited. “Our new tools for gathering and sharing data are changing how we see ourselves and the world around us.”
We’re headed to a future where we track more and more about ourelves. Where we are. What we’re doing. How we spend out time. “The statistical minutiae of everyday life.” Nora Young labels this habit “self tracking.” Others term it “self monitoring,” “personal metrics,” “quantified self,” or “personal infomatics.” By whatever name, the trend is exploding as we consciously record data about our actions and state and as other data is captured simply because we are using connected digital devices. The information can be “in the everyday, the banal, the ordinary.” But increasingly, more and more of us are leaving more and more digital tracks that reveal something about ourselves.
Consider, she suggests, that most of us “online are on Facebook. A short few years ago, people talked about this as odd. Why would you want to share the minutiae of your everyday lives, like what you had for lunch. And now, this is normal behaviour for most people who are on the Internet. Not because they are obsessives. Not because they are narcissistic, but because there is a social utility in gathering that information and sharing it.”
And because we are increasingly using digital devices that are “always on, always connected” to the Internet, we do not need to expend much effort or energy to capture this information. It may even be automatically captured without any overt gesture on our part.
Four trends create a digital doppelganger of our world
Nora sees the convergence and interaction of four trends to create a unique moment:
Self-tracking, the data about our actions, preferences, feelings, etc. that we deliberately or passively record
The ability to aggregate the data through applications and search
The introduction of sensors in the environment, the Internet of things; and
Continual access to data via mobile devices.
Together, these trends create a digital doppelganger of the real world around us.
“The digital data that we are generating about our every day lives can and will be used to change the real flesh and blood, bricks and mortar world around us,” she suggests. ”This is both good – thrilling even. But it’s also potentially scary, with some worrisome aspects to it as well.”
“What we are seeing now in embryonic form in our use of apps and social networking is really just the beginning of a bottom up data revolution that will change the next twenty years.”
“Be a data activist.”
“In order for us to get the future that we want, people like us – citizens – need to get involved. We need to claim our power to use our data for good, for positive ends. We need to be ‘data activitists,’ much in the way that we would talk about people being political activists or environmental activists. We need to be activists with respect to this new world of booming data.”
“What we as a society decide are the rules of the game for handling the data that we create will shape the future in profound ways. It will shape whether and how we can use the data in our own lives, how we can use the information that we create to benefit not just ourselves but also our communities.”
Why now? Because huge changes are occurring. And, according to Nora, “it’s precisely when a new communications technology is created that the culture and the social norms of that technology are open to being shaped. It’s at that beginning period that we can our consciousness and our skill to how we consider new technologies and improve what they are used for. Because down the road, there will be a point where it will seem inevitable, where what’s up for grabs now gets shot down. Now is the point at which we need to start talking about these things.”
At the first level, the information can be useful when we capture and share information with people who share our interests. Whether it’s a pointer to the latest book we’ve selected to read or the restaurant we frequent most often, this information can be used as a guide by the people who know and follow us.
At a higher level, however, the data that we create can be aggregated and mined for insight into the total community of which we are part. And at this level, the data can be used to reshape communities. We see an early example of this in the use of real time traffic data by commuters to navigate around congested areas. This tool shapes decisions in real time, decisions that are then immediately recorded and displayed in real time in the resulting changes in traffic flow. It creates a dynamic feedback loop. Imagine this across a complete range of activities and think about the potential for the construction of a digital layer of data on top of our real life activities that enables others to incorporate aggregate patterns, likes, dislikes, behaviour, etc. in reshaping our environment and experience in real time. That’s an awesome vision. And it’s not some far distant science fiction future. It’s something that is being explored right now.
But we need to be digital activists to ensure that the data is used for good and in the way we intend. As digital activists, we must understand and speak out about the privacy implications of these developments. We must insist that the data is used for something beyond corporate ends, for public good (Think Ushahidi.) Are we choosing the tools that reflect our values? (Think Twitter’s assymetrical following vs. Facebook’s forced mutual friending.) And if we’re creating the tools, are we creating something that offers some real value to people and enables people to create meaning in their lives?
Where do you stand?
There is potential for us to shape how the data gathering tools are created and how the data is used. But to do this, we must become data activists.
Think about it. Do you simply go with the flow? Click yes to share your location data? Consciously check your privacy settings on Facebook? Turn off automatic checkins? Are you a data activist?
I’ve known and collaborated with Gini Dietrich for over two years. Every week, we’ve come together to co-host the Inside PR podcast with Martin Waxman (Martin joined Thornley Fallis in 2011). We’ve attended conferences together. Developed ideas together. Shared insight into the direction and opportunities for each of our businesses. We’ve talked extensively about the changes in the communications business brought about by the social media revolution. And we’ve discovered that we share a similar vision for the future of communications: the continuing revolution of the relationship between consumers and companies, citizens and governments, you and me.
During that time, we’ve transformed our companies from traditional communications consulting organizations to focus on the expertise that is most important in the connected era, the time when we all have voices, can find and share with our communities of interest, and in which we become both the media and the trusted advisors to one another.
Gini has positioned Arment Dietrich as a thought leader in social and digital media. She has built an industry leading platform for these views in Spin Sucks, her widely-read blog. And she adding to that Spin Sucks Pro (in Beta), a resource for senior business executives who want to understand and participate in the new media. In the process, Gini has become an acknowledged expert in content marketing. She’s used it to build her own company and she uses that same expertise for her clients. She also found the time to capture her ideas in Marketing in the Round, the just-published book she co-authored with Geoff Livingston.
Thornley Fallis also has come a long way since its founding in 1995 as a traditional corporate PR company. Today, we are focused on the expertise necessary to engage with the public through traditional and digital media. We offer design to deliver remarkable experiences, produce video to create the ultimate social objects, build audiences and communities through content marketing, earn media through public relations, and build relationships and trust through social media. But these tactics must work together. So we develop strategies to marshall them into a coherent whole and then constantly measure and refine.
Given all this, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’ve decided to bring our firms together so that we can offer our collective expertise to our clients.
That’s a big move. And it promises a much brighter future for our teams. New combinations of expertise. New clients. New opportunities. I’ll continue to write about my journey and experiences on this blog and we’ll also share our collective insight on the Thornley Fallis Blog and Spin Sucks. I hope you’ll join us for the journey.
Jeremiah Owyang is a true thought leader on social media and its impact on the relationship between corporations and their employees and customers. And Jeremiah Owyang will be the speaker at the next Third Tuesday Toronto.
Jeremiah is an Analyst at the Altimeter Group, whose other principals include founder Charlene Li and Brian Solis. You won’t find a smarter, more social media-savvy group of people anywhere. Altimeter undertakes and publishes open research – they make their research freely available to the world and then count on being engaged by corporations and others interested in taking advantage of their understanding and insight. That’s a bold business model. A model that Altimeter appears to be making work well.
Altimeter’s research is widely read and frequently cited as a source of actionable insight into how social media is being integrated into the enterprise and the best practices that are emerging. Jeremiah regularly posts about the research on his Web Strategy blog, speaks at conferences and publishes his presentations on SlideShare. A sample of his writing and presentations gives a sense of the range and depth of Jeremiah’s thinking:
Jeremiah is a great speaker. His 2011 Le Web presentation will give you a sense of what to expect when he joins us at Third Tuesday.
Thank you to our sponsors
As you know, Third Tuesday is a community-oriented, volunteer-driven event. And we wouldn’t be able to bring great speakers like Jeremiah Owyang to Third Tuesdays across the country without the support of some like-minded sponsors. We’ve been lucky to have some great companies step up over the past several years to help us make Third Tuesday happen. Big thanks are due to CNW Group, Rogers Communications, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Radian6 and Cision Canada for making the 2011/12 Third Tuesday season possible.
We want students to be able to attend
Third Tuesday is a great opportunity to hear about the latest developments in social media and to network with business and thought leaders. And we don’t want students to miss out on this opportunity. So, if you are a student and would like to attend, don’t let the admission fee stop you. Simply present your student ID card at the time you sign into Third Tuesday and we’ll refund your admission fee, courtesy of Thornley Fallis.
Privacy is an issue that has caught many users of social media and social networks unawares. Heck, it’s probably an active issue for 99% of us, whether we’re aware of it or not.
The challenge of online privacy starts with the terms of reference that we “read” when we’re signing up for a new service. How many of us actually read through the pages of legalese that stand between us and the shiny new service or app that we want to try out? Very few, I’d say.
The problem is compounded by changes to privacy policies we didn’t understand in the first place.
Remember, if you are not paying for a service, then you yourself are probably the product. And some advertiser or other third party is probably paying to access the data you’ve willingly and perhaps unwittingly provided to the shiny new app/service. It’s a case of User Beware.
Thankfully, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner have both taken an active, intelligent interest in online privacy. For several years, they’ve researched issues related to our online privacy and shared their findings and observations in real life events and online. They’ve been effective advocates for our personal privacy even when we’ve given into the temptation to skip reading the privacy notices or not spent enough time considering the issues surrounding privacy. (Few of us do, including me. They are complex and layered. Tougher to get our minds around than the simple joy of “liking” or “friending”.)