Xmas Papr Printr

A nice and ironic web 2.0 application: a site where you can create you’re own xmas wrapping paper


The images are taken from flickr, of course. And they have made sure it’s as web2.0-ish as possible, including the round corners, the share-me button and the versioning („alpha, beta, gamma, whatever“) – and at the end of the day, the wrapping paper is „user generated“.

Haven’t tried to print the papr, since I have no printer here with me. Nice gimmick…

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The Person of the Year is: Everyone!

Time Magazin has once again named their person of the year. But this time, it’s following the hype of web 2.0 and all that buzz around it, so the person of the year is us. The people of the internet, the bloggers, chatters, homepage designers, forum contributors, the Myspacers and Youtubers, etc. etc. Because we „control the information age“:

The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it’s really a revolution. . . .

And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you. . . .

But at the same time, as people sit down and spend their spare time creating things they probably expected main stream media to do, there is equally a lot of crap going on, that nobody ever wanted to see:

Sure, it’s a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.

I like that choice. 2006 really was the year of the social web. Not only in the US. Even in Germany („Old Europe“) web 2.0 has started to become a household buzzword. At least most of the major German newspapers had feature stories on it…

So what’s next, who can be the person of the year in 2007, if everyone has been it already in 2006? An alien?


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Creative Generalist’s Faculty of Everything…

Steve blogging as the Creative Generalist had a brilliant idea some time ago:

A university pal and I made a pact upon graduation. The deal was that we would venture out into the world and build our careers but that one day we would meet up again and start our own university program, a Faculty of Everything. A paradise for curious generalist learners. Ideally, such a „school“ would be:1. Random – From the banal to the offensive to the foreign to the ridiculous, everything and anything is interesting.
2. Surprising – Each class would teach something new and completely unexpected.
3. Involving – A big part of learning is doing, so participation is a must.
4. Moving – Break free of the classroom to wander, explore and travel.
5. Inviting – Not unlike the popular idea conference format, guest presenters would be plentiful and varied.
6. Intersectional – Ideas and teachers from disparate disciplines bump into each other.
7. Multi-generational – Kids, adults, and elders together.
8. Multicultural – A mix of worldviews.
9. Playful
10. Never-ending – The semester would never end. There would be no final degree. Just a journey.

I’ll join anytime. Let me know when you start 😉

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Community is Community, Online and Offline

Micro Persuasion points me to a piece of research about the fact that:

The online world is just as important as the real world, feel a large portion of internet users in the United States. […] 43 per cent of internet users who are members of online communities „feel as strongly“ about their virtual community as their real world community.

I wonder if those figures are similar in Germany or Europe in general. What also means, especially for us marketers: build a strong community around your brand (in any way possible: blogs, forums, etc.) and you should – in theory – reach a certain level of relevance and „feel strongly“-factor for your brand.

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Homophily, Serendipity and Social Software

I have been into this discussion of Serendipity and Homophily for a while. I consider this an extremely interesting topic that arises with all the discussion about how digital changes information usage and value. But also personal surroundings, user behaviour, group thinking, etc. Some time ago I found an interesting post: O’Reilly Radar „Homophily in Social Software“

In short, you hang out with people who are like you, a phenomenon known as homophily. This happens online, and indeed the Internet can lower the costs of finding people like you. But homophily raises the question for social software designers of how much they should encourage homophily and how much they want to mix it up.

So the internet is – according to this sofar – the main cause of homophily:

It’s often been asked whether this filtering just encourages people to see the news that supports their prejudices and never see news that counters them.

I don’t think so. There are tips of how you can avoid that and provide more serendipity:

Doing this creates serendipity: pleasantly surprising the user. For example, don’t show just the top 10 most similar items in your recommendations list, but show the eight most similar and two from the mid-range. Or call the „less relevant but also likely to be interesting“ results out like you’re advertising them: put a heading like „Take a walk on the wild side“ or „Break out“ on top and act like it’s a feature you’re offering, not a bug you’re fixing.

I think that most platforms will do that quite well. Purely, because people are too different to have too many alike recommendations. There will always be people who add new input to the recommendation system. And secondly, this variable increase, the more likes&dislikes from other parts of life are taken into consideration. If you shop at amazon for books, but the recommendation system takes your preferences for food into account when offering books, you get to see books from people who enjoy the same type of food and read books you might never have heard or thought of…
However, just to make this complete: TechDirt doesn’t believe in technical recommendation systems, though.

And read/write web has an interview with the chief architect StumbleUpon, one of the major „serendipity engines“, if you like.

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Tagging vs. Cataloging

An interesting post by Chiara Fox, a senior information architect on tagging vs. cataloging.

Tagging differs from traditional cataloging in a number of ways. First, tagging no longer belongs solely to the world of librarians and indexers: now anyone can tag and describe assets. And not only is it possible for any user to apply a tag, but in some systems (such as Flickr), users can even add tags to other peoples’ assets.

It’s nothing groundbreaking new, but a good summary of folksonomies vs taxonomies. My favourite quote:

tagging has brought metadata to the masses

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