Tag Archives: blogging

Which side of the firewall is hotter?

For something like 15 years much of my online activity and certainly most of my work has taken place inside the firewall. Of late however, I’ve ventured forth and am eagerly talking with those within and beyond the 2.0 pale. There’s a lot of excitement, there’s a lot of chatter and there’s a lot of Twitter.

In this space, some participants get very excited, especially over the new arrivals – it must be like having a favourite secluded holiday spot that suddenly gets found out by everyone, a sort of fear of The Beach 2.0. I think they think the nouveau arrives are tourists whereas they are intrepid explorers of 2.0. Either way there’s a vast amount of activity taking place and I’m sure someone is already working out the carbon emission comparison between sending a Twitter message (a ‘tweet’) and making a cup of tea. Point to note though is that all this is happening externally, it’s in the public sphere.

My prime focus is internal communications and intranets, so what I’m interested in is who does what in the organisation and how to ensure that both mission critical sales messages and information about the strategic business direction gets through to the right people at the right time. Despite the best efforts of some very clever people, it’s an area that’s notoriously difficult to measure. That said, what we’re interested in monitoring is impact on the business – time saved, better productivity, increased innovation, synergy through teamwork, enhanced collaboration and business transformation. The ultimate measure therefore is the bottom line – are we making the business more profitable?

This question started to get me thinking about what goes on outside the firewall and the merry mayhem that is social media today. I’m seeing a lot of messages and discussion about search engines, blogging, video and even music (see the excellent Blip.fm). But I ask myself, but, what does this achieve?

Is, and I know how heretical this may sound, is social media outside the firewall truly productive? I guess I can guess some of the answers in terms of wisdom of clouds, tapping into the mindset of consumers and turning that into lucrative products, niche marketing in the long long tail. But, does any of this actually generate wealth? In the firewall we create things and sell them, that’s the business model. Most of what goes on there is invisible. We want at least some privacy, and often we want a lot, confidentiality is important to any business – few, if none can be 100% transparent.

What this means is that we don’t see enough of what’s happening in the most important area of social media – that that’s happening in the firewall. What we do see, is all the white hot discussion about social media in the public sphere. That looks hip cool and funky trendy. But is it really hot?

My contention is that it’s what happens inside the firewall that’s really hottest. It’s for this reason that I’ve started to compile my list of Social Media Case Studies. I think I might call it the ‘Hot List’, as this is where 2.0 is really happening, not ultimately in blogs like this.

True or not? Be very interested in hearing what people think about this…

Post Warholism 1

I like the concept of Warholism. The term draws on Andy’s dictum that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”and I guess we’re now living in the future.  One area that intrigues me is the extent and the way that Creatives such as Warhol and PK Dick, plus Theorists such as Baudrillard, Debord and Lyotard foresaw Today, the contemporary world of Postmodern Capitalism. What gets me, is when I experience something, and I think the tendency for this to happen is increased by working in Tech, and realising that this is something I’ve read about previously, that this has been predicted.andy warhol marilyn

A lot of this is synthesised in the concept of the Celebrity. In the world of our nows, everyone is indeed a 15 minute famer. This concept has repercussions – what happens afterwards? Take for example this quote from Trendhunter:

“I believe that our youth are a generation who believe that they will indeed have their 15 minutes of fame. Reality TV, print ad campaigns, and even Myspace have all played their part in making this possible.”

What will happen when this generation of Mimis (spelt Mimi, pronounced Me-Me!) grow up? (or will they ever grow up?). We can perhaps glimpse what this is all about by looking at ‘those what have made it’ and the spectacles they haunt. In the UK, a man who cannot dance becomes more famous for this than his legitimate and somewhat more skilled ‘real job’. And then of course we have the other endless parades of TV-reality, where A-List slebs mix with has-beans and seemingly random members of the public to create an endless PK-Dickean panto of the absurd.

dancing1For instances such as Sargeant’s there’s a good deal of over-salted postmodern irony at play. What then, when it comes to more premeditated valence? Take Paris Hilton.

According to Trendhunter again, Paris engineered her celebrity status. She did this however in a very 2.0 way:

“She never really talked about herself. She talked about other people. She would mention the designers of her clothes, the club she was going to, who made the sweater for her dog, all without any guarantee of any return. She just threw out links.”

& thus they flocked. This is of course now a largely historical narrative. I think there’s an unsaid that it is unsustainable. Paris as performance can only endorse so many shows.

So what next, do we face endless Devolution? In the next post on this topic I’ll muse on the possibilities. What I’m wondering around is the possiblities and identities of a knowing social media, one which has re-established itself, so that we’re no longer on a journey without blogs, but one where, as Lilia Efimova notes, at least some of the directions have already been recorded.