“The first rule of blog club is: You Do Not…. oh.”

Gartner research – 80% of active internet users will have a “Second Life” in the virtual world by 2012

Interesting stat from Gartner – in their research they go on to explain how companies should participate in virtual worlds:

First Law: Virtual worlds are not games, but neither are they a parallel universe (yet)
Second Law: Behind every avatar is a real person.
Third Law: Be relevant and add value.
Fourth Law: Understand and contain the downside.
Fifth Law: This is a long haul.

Link to full press release

Jonny Bentwood’s take on this is slightly more cynical and pragmatic…

Virtual worlds, communities and nations are here to stay. Whilst emerging media is exploring new ways for companies to interact with their target audience, businesses must be careful not see this as another outlet where they aggressively sell.

Users go these sites often as a form of escapism and would probably take a negative reaction where vendors try and conflict with this. However, this can be done well – take Toyota selling their cars on Second Life as a great example of complementing a virtual world rather than fighting it.

Even though Gartner do suggest this is a “long haul”, there is a lot to be said for being early entrants into a market. My advice would be to start now but passively.

Also – don’t get hung up on the main avenues. Technology is changing fast – who knows what new scenario will be the best place to virtually hang-out in a few years time. Have a plan that is flexible and go for it. Nevertheless, Gartner have made some sound suggestions that would be foolish for any would-be vendor in the virtual world not to follow… but perhaps they should use mine too.


Changing profiles

Whether Labour can get its vote out will be key in deciding who is going to win the Scottish elections on Thursday. If Labour’s vote stays at home, as most expect it to do, then the polls could well be right and we’re looking at an SNP-led Executive taking power in Scotland for the next four years. If Labour’s core vote can be brought out to the polls – and moreover, persudaded to vote for Jack McConnell’s party – Labour  could make an unexpected last-minute comeback. For all parties, Labour especially, this is what all the parties will be doing as the short campaign comes to a close.

Traditional methods of door knocking and telephone canvassing – GOTV to use some politico-speak – only works so far. One new tactic, which I am especially impressed by, is the maximising of your personal web 2.0  presence to spread your political messages. Here’s a good tactic and one we’re going to see much more of: changing your facebook.com profile picture to a political message, candidate or party you support. Try browsing in Edinburgh University  for friends on Facebook, for instance, and you’ll see an incredible politicisation of profile pictures lead by Sarah Boyack’s Labour campaign and the other political force on campus, the Greens.

An interesting tactic, but more impressive is the incredible volume of ‘graffiti’ of messages and wall-posts that political themed individuals are now making. By posting on a friends’ wall, you put up a message – be it political or not – next to a picture of your chosen political message where you’re face picture would normally be. This stays on their profile until the profile’s owner deletes it. By trusting someone sufficiently to be a friend, you have to take the gamble that you trust them to comment directly on your profile for all to see. You are associated with their views and vice-versa. When you’re doing this to make a political statement rather than just social networking this becomes a more difficult equation – and one that will test the notion of ‘friendship’ online.

As a facebook-addict I changed my picture to something equally poilitical (disclaimer: I’m a Labour Party member) and I’ve already had a Liberal Democrat remove me as a friend to stop my profile picture (and its poilitical message) appearing on his pro-LibDem profile. And he won’t be the last I wager. Unusually, the LibDems have not yet adopted little ‘winning here’ logos on their profiles. Give it a few days….web 2.0 tactics cannot be ‘owned’ by one group alone….that is what makes it such a useful political resource.

By DERTyLuke; cross-posted on www.despatchblog.com and www.europedecides.com  

DERTy Link #2: Chaos Engine…

Bump:top, perhaps one of the coolest desktop interfaces we’ve seen, is dragging the rigid order – inflicted by most UI’s – back to the organised-chaos of a standard office desk. Arrange files, folders and documents in the piles you’d normally frown at, towering over your keyboard. 

Ignore the oddly-voiced narrator – this is very cool.

Definition of Web 2.0: “More…”

Useable/intuitive/social/interactive/complex/comprehensive/enabling/ empowering/technical/frustrating/democratic…

…the list goes on.  The fact is, a single identifying definition of ‘Web 2.0’ is impossile because it’s many things to many people. One thing’s for certain, it’s taken root as a cultural phenomenon and impacts on everyone from the ground up.

Ian Hardy at BBC Click has had a look at how it’s taken hold. Watch the video here.


Whether you use your computer for work or fun, the programs you use generally have one thing in common – they are stored on your PC. Increasingly though, that software is moving online.

Google has made a variety of programs available online

The move to put more and more of those familiar programs on to the web has been happening for a while but its latest incarnation has won the name of Web 2.0.

What is it – the definition is imprecise at best, but it loosely describes a category of websites that are known for interactivity, collaboration and community.

Developments in underlying web technology make this all possible and mean that what the sites can do is very new. Simplicity is often the key. Often it is an online application that does one thing and does it well.

CNET.com’s Caroline McCarthy has a few favourites: “I have just started using a new site called Remember The Milk, which is a task manager. It’s incredibly simple, a very easy to use list of things you have to do, places you have to go, things you have to buy, that sort of thing.

“Clipmarks is a site where you can just share clips or portions of a website rather than the entire bookmark, so it’s good for quotations.

“Tumblr is basically a blogging platform for people who don’t want to use a blogging platform. If you look at things like WordPress and Blogger, which a lot of people use to create blogs, they’re very functional. Tumblr is very simple.”

Picturedots is a good example of the creativity that the so-called 2.0 sites display. You load in a photograph, trace the numbered dots on top of the image and print out the final result as a puzzle.

In a basic way it demonstrates how web browsers are gradually being used by consumers for far more than just looking around in cyberspace.

“The idea of using your web browser as a tool is still a fairly new concept,” explained Mark Chackerian of Picturedots.

“I’m an internet professional, for me my browser is like a Swiss Army Knife; I use it for a lot of things and in a much greater capacity than most people.

“So for me to find a way to demonstrate to people how they can use their browser to do new kinds of things, makes me part of that new trend.”

A future online?

As people gravitate to the internet for more and more free services and solutions the web browser could become the central window through which our daily lives are conducted, potentially replacing most desktop applications.
 They know it’s going to be a big part of their companies in 10 years

Nick Thompson, Wired Magazine

Software giants like Microsoft and Adobe have been launching their own online applications, some of which resemble their well-known retail titles.

Adobe has released a stripped-down web version of its video editing software, called Remix, and later this year plans to launch an internet version of its very successful photo manipulation program, Photoshop.

“Microsoft and Adobe are in a bind,” says Nick Thompson, senior editor of Wired Magazine. “They make tons of money from the software they sell in shrink-wrapped boxes. But they also know that the future is online software. So what do they do?

“I think they’re doing two things. I think they are genuinely trying to figure out how to make this work, because they know it’s going to be a big part of their companies in 10 years.

“But they’re also trying to keep their current customers happy, and they’re trying not to make it look like you should switch immediately because maybe you should buy that one last Office upgrade.”

Meanwhile Google has been building an entire suite of free online applications over the past few years.

Docs and Spreadsheets is a product that most consumers could happily use instead of Microsoft Office, with multi-user, location free collaboration being an added benefit.

Advertisers’ advantage

The key question is whether online software is of genuine use to the consumer or is just about advertising revenue.

“There will always be people who say that this is just a mechanism to get more eyeballs on our ads,” says Jonathan Rochelle of Google.

“But I don’t think people see that, and I certainly don’t see that as evil, as a bad thing. If that was the case and we ended up getting more people to look at our ads it’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

One incentive for companies to supply online software is compatibility. In one go all customers can be upgraded to the newest version and create files that are universally compatible, unlike different generations of Word documents.

“Another advantage of online software is that the companies can track exactly what you do and how you use it. Then they can target specifically to you,” said Mr Thompson.

“If you send a lot of e-mails about they’ll know that maybe you’re trying to buy a cellphone, and they can serve you ads on cellphones.

“So the companies really like it, and it’s to the companies’ advantage for the software to work extremely well and for you to use it all the time because then they get more information and then they can sell you more stuff.”

To older users of desktop applications, who are usually more cautious about their online activity, this might seem disconcerting, but for younger computer users, the MySpace generation who freely flaunt the details of their personal lives, it might be not be such a big deal.

Blogger relations – what makes a vendor successful

Charlie Wood makes a great post today about blogger relations.

It’s not surprising but they main point he raises is that bloggers should be treated like their own group and not lumped into the same bucket as press or analysts. This mantra is not new, but it is surprising that it isn’t mass adopted.

He continues to explain that SAP have their annual SAPPHIRE event this year in Vienna – what has made the registration process different this year compared to previous (and other vendors for that matter) is that they have changed their process to show that they are serious about reaching out to bloggers.

SAP blog registration

Some of the interesting insights he raised are:

  • Bloggers prefer to have group discussions instead of the one-on-ones preferred by the press and analysts. The bloggers weren’t looking for a “scoop” – they are looking for insight.
  • SAP has a formalised blogger relations programme which is led by a VP (most programmes tend to originate more from the grass roots)
  • SAP puts significant budget behind the blogger programme (pays T&E for example to events)

On a final point – is it any wonder that James Governor ranked SAP as having the best vendors’ blogger relations programmes.

Original post on Technobabble 2.0


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BBC on demand

The BBC has been trialling it’s on-demand technology and is ready to provide some of its archive for download online (as we mentioned last week). It’s all interesting stuff, and I agree that it’s a good transition point for people new to on-demand technology, but we at DERTy Towers have a little piece research from a different source which tells us a LOT more about consumer opinion of on-demand services. It’s under wraps for the moment watch this space…. 

BBC looks at VoD options on Freeview   

The BBC has just completed a push video on demand technical trial, in which it automatically downloaded 50 hours of BBC programming a week on to Freeview digital video recorders.

In his keynote speech at MipTV in Cannes, BBC future media and technology director Ashley Highfield said that such a service on Freeview would be an entry-point for audiences new to on-demand content.

“Its advantage over a personal video recorder (PVR) is that you don’t have to remember to record your favourite BBC programmes and that at any one moment, in addition to all the linear channels, there is always a freshly-prepared up-to-date carousel of 50 hours of on-demand programmes,” he said.

However, he added using push-VoD to get on-demand programmes “is great”, but still will not fulfil the BBC’s end ambition of one day enabling any viewer to access any BBC programme ever broadcast via their television. “This will require an internet connection,” he said.

Highfield also confirmed the corporation is to start a limited six-month trial of BBC Archive on its website www.bbc.co.uk next month.

He said the purposes of the trial to inform the BBC’s future proposition for a public service on-demand archive service on the website – subject to approval from the BBC Trust – and to see “where we should draw the line between a licence fee funded service and a commercial service”.

Highfield also pointed to the importance of building relationships if it is to make a success of its planned BBC iPlayer. “Partnerships with platform owners such as Virgin Medida and 02 and with ISPs are critical,” he said. ”

by Rob Shepard at Broadcast

Swift online response to the Virginia massacre pt. 2

Two further, interesting pieces of online activity following the events in Virginia:

1. Slightly macabre subject matter I accept, but it’s surprising how quickly the Wikipedia entry on the Virginia shootings has been compiled.

I obviously can’t vouch for the accuracy of the information, but in a short space of time it’s become incredibly comprehensive and the tone emphasises fact over opinion, as you’d expect.

A good example of how quickly something can be created when people are given the tools to collaborate.

(from DERTyTim)

2. Virginia Tech Mourners Remember In Second Life


The school shooting at Virginia Tech has led to an outpouring of emotion, not just at the school or even the United States, but across the world. And, as is often the case when confronted by such circumstances, people have found different ways of coping with the tragedy. Some have chosen anger, some unfortunate outbursts. Others, however, have found more unique ways of dealing with the events.

Over at MTV, Stephen Totilo has a nice story up about a Virginia Tech teacher who, upon encountering a small tribute to the dead in Second Life, has built a memorial wall out of ‘Hokie Stone’, which is used in nearly all the buildings on the university’s campus. Added to this wall is a script that allows visitors to leave messages.

Say what you will about Second Life, but there’s something strangely touching about this. A lot of people that have been deeply affected by the tragedy live nowhere near Virginia Tech, yet something like this allows for a great sense of, as the wall’s builder puts it, “solidarity”, which is something I bet a lot of people could do with right now.