Social Search features coming for Google?

Google just started trials of search editing, allowing the user community to vote up/down links returned by the search giant. This not only supports rumors of their impending purchase of Digg, but may well be game-changing for SEO firms who will need to not only understand the mechanics of the search algorithm and ranking systems Google currently uses, but will also need to engage with the community to ensure their clients sites remain ‘above the fold’ in the search results and don’t get buried behind the ‘page three firewall’.

Hat tip to Caroline McCarthy – her article here.

Barcamp Auckland 2 – Redux

So, yesterday I attended Barcamp Auckland and as you could probably tell from my Twitter stream, I found it pretty interesting. The following is more a summation of the notes I took – interestingly enough, I found I was tweeting more than I was typing into my laptop so I’ve had to also check my tweets tagged #bca2 or @barcampauckland for a full list.

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Getting my (Online) ‘Lifestream’ going…

Photo by januszbcI’ve been using Twitter, Facebook, del.ico.us and friendfeed (and others) for quite some time now and, after reading this blog entry and clicking around Bwanas site a little, I found his lifestream page and decided to give it a go myself. Here’s how I did it (under WordPress)…

First we need to grab two plugins, Profilactic and SimplePie Core. SimplePie is merely an enabler and performance booster for those visiting the page, Profilactic is the plugin that does the heavy lifting…

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Twitter, live feedback and THAT Sarah Lacy Interview…

EDIT: Something went VERY weird with my links here (good for Silkcharm though 🙂 ) I’ll have to find the articles and re-edit – sorry! -Rob)

Back Story: Sarah Lacy is a writer for BusinessWeek who conducted an interview at South by Southwest (SXSW). She didn’t do a good job, in fact, she did a really bad job and there are a number of dissections of her interview (including this very good one) and the flood of Twitters which occurred during and after the interview. There is some video, some good quality – but incomplete and some bad quality.

And now you’re up to speed… on with the post.

I feel almost sorry for Ms Lacy, indeed I would feel sorry for her if (from the video) she had actually appeared to care about what her interviewee was saying (watch for the body language and lack of eye contact). She got a hard time from the crowd and ended up losing it, but her major failing has been that she still hasn’t been able to admit that she handled things badly and went so far as to tweet back to the Twittering community from her account “seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things” along with a few other tweets where she appears to think the interview was a success and what a rough day she’s had, but how she will soldier on.

Continue reading “Twitter, live feedback and THAT Sarah Lacy Interview…”

The Doc calls for us to ‘heal thyself’

I’ve been a fan of Doc Searls for quite some time, peaking around the time ‘IT Conversations’ has a regular spot for him and his cohorts. I’ve always found his thinking to be challenging to the norms, yet open in respect to the way “things should be(tm)”. It was no suprise then that this article by the brain behind the keyboard resonated with me.

I, along with what I imagine to be the vast majority of users on the internet, am one of those types that, once a base level of trust is established, will happily click the ‘agree’ button to accept terms. This is especially so in the social networking space as, not only do I assume that the provider has given the thumbs up to the application provider, but my friends have too – given that it’s usually through their participation that I will (need to) accept the new functionality that application X provides. Yes, it’s naiive but it’s user behaviour and the point that Doc Searls makes about changing the way that our online relationships are provided with these social hubs is a powerful one. We tend to have 2 choices with agreements, either accept the terms of the provider, or miss out on the ability to interact with our social web. Making the agreements symetrical rather than asymetrical seems to me to be a good start – of course, the difficulty for the provider then becomes managing the specifics of the symetrical relationship as Digital Natives tend to not care as much as we Digital Immigrants might about our details.

I see this being resolved by a system where a user indicates the useage and control they are willing to exchange, this would allow for a finite number of variations and, based on that, relevant applications may then be offered. How would you structure this agreement?

The Encyclopedia of Life

I love TED (the website) and, while I was discussing the sites wide range of content this morning over a coffee, I was trying to remember who gave this talk as I keep using it as an example of what community content could drive. So – thank you Dr E.O. Wilson for inspiring me, and here’s a link to his speech for my future reference.

Hopefully this will also serve to inspire some of you who may happen past this page. You can view the discussion above, or click here for the 480p resolution video.

WoW – A Chinese Gold Farmer Article…

I’ve heard references to a movie on gold farming via The Instance podcast, but this is one of the first major papers I’ve seen to carry an article on the virtual goods trading phenomenom.

It’s been awhile since my last post on this subject, so seeing the $1.8 billion figure quoted was interesting, given that around this time last year when I wrote, it was projected that there would be a $5 billion market for non-subscription revenue (i.e. virtual goods trading) by 2011. That’s still 4 years away, looks like we’re well on track, of course, if gold farming offends your sensibilities, you could always start up a player community centric website to support an MMOG, then sell it for over $1 million. That’s what WoWHead did, and now they’re part of the same conglomerate which owns the 2 other major World of Warcraft community sites, Thottbot (my personal favorite) and Allakhazam.

So what you ask? Well, Affinity Media – the conglomerate which now owns 3 of the most trafficed player sites for World of Warcraft used to own IGE, which is/was one of these gold dealing companies. They now claim that they have sold that company and based on that, it appears that the people over at WoWHead are now comfortable selling their online property on to Affinity. So, a well designed site, rich with publically avalible information, embracing a niche community is worth some good (real world) coin. Who said community content would never make anyone any money?

Workplace Blogging – US Military Blogs to get a whole new set of regulations

Ars Technica (via Wired‘s Noah Shachtman) are running this story on a raft of new regulations about to hit the US Military which could see the end to US troops being able to run their own blogs. Basically, bloggers will need to seek a commanders opinion prior to publishing a blog entry to ensure that said entry does not contain any operational security related information (the Military term being OPSEC – see, they make up acronyms like I do!).

“Fair enough” you might think, “it’s important to keep the troops safe and the enemies guessing” but then the article introduces you to the man behind the new regulations, Major Ray Ceralde, who has an (apparently well advertised – i.e. he bangs on about it at any opportunity) pizza theory.

“…Specifically, he’s concerned that an upswing in pie “deliveries to a headquarters [could] be an indicator that a major operation is underway” — and therefore be useful to an enemy…”

Yow, you can’t really argue with that eh? The Ars Technica article covers the issue a lot better than I will here, but what I really want to discuss is the realities of enforcing this. As a rule, information wants to be free, and there’s enough free hosting blog spaces online which, in conjunction with the right anonymizer and proxies to route through, will allow you to post what you want, from where you want. Who, as a commander, is going to take the risk of authorizing a post anyway? From what we’ve seen over the last few days on Digg around the HD-DVD Linux key, it’s nigh impossible to put the geni back in the bottle once the blogosphere has got hold of it. The Digg staff made a good point, they were taking down stories because they were required to, and then – under the pressure of thousands of voices, they’ve stated that hey, there’s not a lot the community owner can do if the community members wants certain information to be available.
More on this later I think… time to go pickup the boys for rugby practice