Archive for September, 2008


Sep 28 2008

Openness Required for Identity Management

by at 2:28 pm

I came across an amazing presentation (linked from a blog post at experientia, an Italian design consultancy) from Trendbuero, a German consultancy firm that studies social change, the network economy, and innovations from both consumers and marketers.

The full slideshow can be downloaded here.

The theme of Trendbuero’s presentation (at the 13th German Trend Day + Workshop) was “Identity Management – Recognition instead of Attention”.

They propose that there have been three types of economies so far: the monetary economy, the attention economy, and the upcoming recognition economy. Whereas individuality was the ultimate goal of the attention economy (in which we find ourselves mostly in today), the recognition economy will be markedly different:

“Opportunities for design will continue to increase. Compulsory self-responsibility will force consumers to optimise their own self. This will call for deliberate decisions and new orientation frames. Identity will become a management assignment. Tomorrow’s economy will be shaped by the lack of identity and affiliation. Recognition will become the new key quantity.” (Slide 7)

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No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,Privacy

Sep 27 2008

The Marketer Who Understood Social Media

by at 4:40 pm

Before I became the marketer who went off consumption, I was the marketer who understood social media.

Over the last two years, I have been fortunate to be included in conversations around social media thought and practice in India in multiple roles — as a traditional marketer who understood social media, as a blogger who wrote about social media, as an early adopter of new social media platforms, and as a connector of social media thinkers and practitioners. I think that I was able to play the last three roles primarily because of my first role. Much of my legitimacy as a thinker/ blogger and most of the connections I was able to make were rooted in my role as the custodian of a big brand that was engaging with the social media space in a meaningful way.

Over the last few months, my focus has moved away from social media marketing to other use cases of social media in developing countries, especially the use of social media for social change. As I explained in the introductory episode of my fellowship podcast, my research really lies at the intersection of three worlds that (surprisingly) don’t really understand each other — the web 2.0 world, the technology policy world, and the ICT4D world — and also borrows heavily from cultural studies.

It’s not surprising that even as my background as the marketer who understood social media biases my user-centric approach to the research, it hardly lends me any legitimacy in any of these three worlds. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Gaurav Mishra,Social Change,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep 26 2008

Clay Shirky Says Privacy Has Been a Convenience of Inconvenience

by at 12:38 pm

Clay Shirky, one of the foremost thinkers regarding the social web and the cognitive surplus, recently gave a talk at the Web 2.0 Conference in NYC about information overload.

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One response so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,Privacy,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sep 26 2008

A Framework to Think About Using Technology for Doing Good

by at 2:35 am

I was part of the audience at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York last week when Tim O’ Reilly gave an inspiring keynote on using technology to solve real world problems —

Since then, I have heard many people talk about using technology for doing good in conferences and meetups (Microsoft’s ICT4D Conference, Social Media Club DC, NetSquared DC).

I find it frustrating that people talk about using technology for doing good without any distinctions regarding either the nature of the technology or the purpose for which it is being used. Therefore, I have developed a framework to think about using technology for doing good. I understand that ‘technology’ is a very broad term, and I’m only talking about communications technology here.

A Framework to Think About Using Technology for Doing Good

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No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Gaurav Mishra,Social Change,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 26 2008

How International Values Shape Communications Technologies Podcast – Episode 1

by at 12:03 am

In the introductory episode of our weekly fellowship podcast, Ben, Pavneet and I explain why our research on social media in BRIC countries is uniquely interdisciplinary, share the personal biases with which we are approaching our research, summarize what we have learned so far, and share our plans for the rest of the year.

The starting point of our research is to understand how differences in culture, access and language in BRIC countries impact the three core values of social media usage — collaboration, community and user generated content — across tools and devices. Pavneet’s focus is on the community and he explores two really important use cases for social media — consumer advocacy and civic engagement. Ben’s focus is on the individual and he explores issues of identity and privacy in the context of social media usage. My role is to pull it all together into a meaningful framework.

So, our research really lies at the intersection of three worlds that (surprisingly) don’t really understand each other — the web 2.0 world, the technology policy world, and the ICT4D world. But, beyond that, it’s really rooted in the tradition of cultural studies and borrows heavily from research related to business, government and development. Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,BRIC,Gaurav Mishra,Podcast,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 21 2008

Open Source Software Empowering the locals

by at 11:35 pm

The Financial Times ran an intriguing story this week in its special Digital Business Section. The story, entitled, Markets Set Free by Open Source, highlighted a rapidly growing trend in developing countries such as Brazil, China and India for government leaders to encourage computer users to use open source software for their basic computing needs.

Open source software, in the vernacular of the computing community, refers to the collaborative development of software by the public. Users share source code freely, and are free to use, change, or improve the code and redistribute as they see fit. Some of the better known software applications that have emerged in the open source world are Linux, Java and MySQL.

The benefits of Open source software in the BRIC countries are manifold. Chief among them is the economic savings OSS enables. In Brazil for example, for every workstation equipped with the industry standard Windows operating software the government pays roughly 1200 reais (roughly $500).[1] Government projections indicate that they can save up to $120 mm a year by making the switch to open source machines.

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2 responses so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows | Tags: ,

Sep 21 2008

Migrants, Not Geeks, Are the Early Adopters of Mobile Phones

by at 12:12 pm

According to Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent, migrants, not geeks, are the early adopters of mobile phones (The Economist1 via Putting People First2) —

It is migrants, rather than geeks, who have emerged as the “most aggressive” adopters of new communications tools, says Broadbent. Dispersed families with strong ties and limited resources have taken to voice-over-internet services, IM and webcams, all of which are cheap or free. They also go online to get news or to download music from home.

Various studies (by Pew Internet & American Life Project3 and Forrester Research4 amongst others) have shown that Hispanics are more active users of mobile phones, and especially mobile data services, than other ethnic groups in the USA (via San Fransisco Chronicle5 and Mobile Marketing Association6). This can be attributed to several reasons — economic (lower mean household income means that the mobile phone is often used as the main computer), demographic (family and friends are spread out across the United States and across the border), and cultural (a higher value is placed on staying in touch with family and friends). Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Access,Gaurav Mishra,Mobile,Social Change | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 19 2008

David Brin’s “The Transparent Society”

by at 1:09 pm

It is important to familiarize ourselves with David Brin’s non-fiction book, “The Transparent Society”, as it drives the debate about openness versus privacy.  While an academic discussion, it is so pervasively used when talking about government surveillance, privacy policy, etc. that I felt it important to cover on this blog.

Someone has written an incisive, brief summary of Brin’s book on Wikipedia:

“Brin argues that true privacy will be lost in the “transparent society”; however, we have the choice between one that offers the illusion of privacy by restricting the power of surveillance to authorities, or one that destroys that illusion by offering everyone access (including the ability to watch the watchers). He argues that it would be good for society if the surveillance is equal for all, and the public has the same access as those in power. He bases this argument upon the claim that the most dangerous and corrupt abuses of power go hand-in-hand with a lack of accountability and transparency.”

Brin argues that we have more privacy now than in most of history:  we have property rights, more open communities not reliant on local gossip, and we have a justice system that holds bullies, criminals, stalkers, etc. accountable for violating our personal spaces.

There are key metaphors that Brin employs to help re-define privacy as something that is good, but not necessarily cryptographic or secret in nature, which is how we commonly view privacy. Continue Reading »

One response so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,Privacy

Sep 14 2008

Google DC Event on Cloud Computing

by at 4:18 pm

On Friday, September 12th, Google DC held a talk on cloud computing in its New York Avenue location in downtown Washington, DC.  Specifically, the event discussed a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project on “Use of Cloud Computing Applications and Services”.

Moderated by John B. Horrigan, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the talk included

  • Dan Burton, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy,
  • Mike Nelson, Visiting Professor, The Center for Communication, Culture, and Technology, Georgetown University
  • Ari Schwartz, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Center for Democracy and Technology

Here is a brief write-up of the event.

Cloud computing is basically the offloading of data from individual computers loosely linked to the internet, to a network of computers specifically maintained and interfaced so that people can access that data from any electronic device anywhere in the world. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,Privacy | Tags: , , , , ,

Sep 10 2008

Americans’ Attitudes on Digital Footprints (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

by at 2:07 pm

I wanted to get more information about “online culture” within the US, since it is still, at least for now, the standard for what an online society looks like in terms of debating privacy versus openness, online presence, and reputation.

In December 2007, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released the findings from its surveys on “digital footprints” and “online identity management and search in the age of transparency”.  You can read the full report (PDF) online, and the questionnaire they used, as well.

It is interesting to study the attitudes versus the actions of social networking users when it comes to privacy versus openness.  The study found that “[m]ost internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information.” Continue Reading »

No responses yet | Categories: 2008-09 Fellows,Ben Turner,Social Media | Tags: , , , , , ,

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