Friday, November 20, 2009

The Top 10 Internet Moments of the Decade

The Top 10 Internet Moments of the Decade

(Source: The Age)

What are the most influential internet moments of the decade?

The Webby Awards are happening again and they’re reviewing the noughties decade with their top 10 of internet moments.

Here’s the list:

  1. Craigslist online classified site expands outside San Francisco (2000)
  2. The launch of Google AdWords (2000)
  3. The launch of online encyclopedia Wikipedia (2001)
  4. The shutdown of file-sharing site Napster (2001)
  5. Google's initial public offering (2004)
  6. The online video revolution led by YouTube (2006)
  7. Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter launches (2006)
  8. Apple's iPhone debuts (2007)
  9. The use of the internet in the US presidential campaign (2008)
  10. The use of Twitter during the Iranian election protests (2009)

What are you thoughts? What would you add or delete?

My initial response was, why the demise of Napster?

I would have thought that Napster was the start of something?

It was the first peer-to-peer software program that put a big dent in the music industry. It also was the forerunner to other P2P software that has attacked other industries, for instance Skype, BitTorrent…

For more check out the Book Rapper issue Leaderful and the rise of the Decentralized organization – we discuss Napster in that Book Rapper issue.

The other one that I would add to the list was April 28, 2003.

Any guess as to what happened then?

It was an Apple moment…

It was the opening of the Apple iTunes store and the music industry was never the same again. Napster probably cracked the golden egg and Apple seized the opportunity to lay their own golden egg.

For more check out The Great Business Gestalt and the rise of Web 2.0 – in this Book Rapper issue we give a case study of how Apple ‘saved’ the music industry. Or at least, created Music Industry 2.0.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Rapper Context: Movies and Blogs

Have you ever wondered where the word ‘movie’ comes from?

Usually, when something new is invented, it takes the name of some thing that exists, something that is already familiar to us.

For example, the internet was once called an ‘information superhighway’.

The ‘car’ was the ‘motor car’ which came from ‘motor carriage’. Before that, the ‘motor carriage’ was called a ‘horseless carriage’. And, before that we had the ‘horse and carriage’.

This extension of existing terminology is an effective strategy because this is how our brains work. We literally connect new information to existing neu

The term ‘movie’ is short hand for ‘moving pictures’ which gives us a clue to where this technology originated.

The invention of the camera gave birth to ‘still images’. In contrast, when a series of images is strung together in rapid succession we get the illusion of ‘pictures moving’.

As a kid, you may have created your own animation this way. Perhaps you drew a series of stick figure on cards and then flicked them in sequence to make your figure appear to move.

So what do a ‘blog’ and a ‘movie’ have in common?

For starters, the way these two words got their name.

Each one is a shortened version of some other thing. ‘Movie’ is short for ‘moving pictures’. And, the word ‘blog’ is short for ‘web log’. What’s a web log? It’s a list of entries similar to a diary, posted regularly on the internet.

Next up, and more usefully, movies and blogs are the direct result of acceleration.

This is a really important distinction because it puts blogs into context. It tells us what they are in relation to websites. It also points to how we can get the best from them, and even a possible future of the internet.

The unofficial patron saint of Wired Magazine, 1960’s media guru Marshall McLuhan, flagged that when things speed up, the effect of the media changes.
This means that the way the media operates and performs alters, and this significantly changes its impact on us in our day to day lives.

His insight is ably demonstrated by the shift from still (photography) to moving images (film). They are two different media with two different sets of results.

Historically, photographs have encouraged posing and have promoted the artificial smile, whilst movies have warped our sense of time, and allowed our fantasies to come to life.

Today, photography and film live as overlapping, yet distinct industries. And now, here’s the clincher. Websites and blogs appear to be headed for a similar future: overlapping yet distinct.

Less than ten years ago, you needed technical skill to create, or update even the simplest website. It was also expensive because you had to pay a web designer by the hour to create or update your site.

The cost and the time involved prohibited people from posting updates more than once or twice a month.

Now, after a decade of internet development we have seen lightning changes. The ease and accessibility of blogging allows anyone with minimal skills to add content to the World Wide Web quickly and with minimal effort. Just ask any school kid!

Technically speaking, blogs are a content management system. The key to its simplicity is that it has a number of automated features making it dead easy to update a website. This automation enables a DIY approach to blogging.

And so it follows, that because anyone and everyone can do it, DIY blogging accelerates the frequency that anyone can add a post. And this is the reason why more than 75 million blogs have appeared in the last ten years.

Whilst quicker and easier may seem like a modest change, when the acceleration happens at the right speed, the net (sic!) effect changes the game completely.

For example, movies are displayed at 24 frames per second. This speed is quick enough for the brain to process the individual frames as a single, flowing, moving picture. Any slower and the effect doesn’t work. All you see is the individual frames.

And so it is with the speed of blogging. When we speed up the overall output of the world wide web, and invite instant input from anyone-anywhere-anytime, we change the communication from a one-way channel to a shared to-and-fro conversation.

This is the fundamental shift from the one-way web to our dynamic, interactive, social Web 2.0.

Acceleration of interaction means that information appears to flow, some what like a face-to-face conversation.

In the same way that moving pictures appear to be real, online conversations now appear to flow quickly, easily and effortlessly.

This illusory perception changes the nature of the internet.

So, just as a movie is an illusion created by still images going faster, a snapshot of the future of the web can be captured in one word: ‘faster’.

And ‘faster’ fosters interaction.
Faster means quicker access-speed and it also means that we’ll access information more often.

For example, handheld internet devices like the iPhone and the Blackberry enable us to be constantly connected.
This speed-up of the web already has an offspring; it’s given birth to microblogging.

What’s microblogging? It’s a facility on a website, that enables short, one or two sentence comments to be posted quickly and often; by the minute, hourly, or daily. Think Twitter and Facebook.

Microblogging can be whatever, and whenever, you and your friends/community want it to be.

From a community building point of view, microblogs are beginning to overtake blogs.

It’s confirmation that we now live in a short, sharp, instant, impulsive world. Get ready for a faster future.

Blogs will still continue to be important, of course. Think of them as journalism for everyone - longer articles, more detail and more opinion.

To compare blogs and microblogs to traditional web pages, or their forebears the magazine article, is inaccurate.

Better, to compare blogs/microblogs to the phenomenon of teenagers (and increasingly their parents) texting each other throughout the day.
Are you getting the picture here?

Can you ‘C’ the fourfold future: Constantly, Connected, Conversational Communities.

And here’s an interesting spin-off from blogging/microblogging: the way we listen has changed.

No one wants to listen to a biased, subjective, one-way, sales pitch (rant!) any longer. We’d all far prefer to join in a conversation and, be part of a community in which we can actively participate. It’s more inclusive, and that’s important.

This dramatic shift in the way we communicate was flagged by Seth Godin in Meatball Sundae (see Book Rapper Issue: Marketing Now-How).

We fragile human beings thrive on connection and inclusion. And now, thanks to our exhilarating digital media, these basic human needs are easier to meet across all social and cultural groups.

Anyone and everyone can join in.

This is one small step for the web; one giant leap for mankind.

The future is looking bright!

Just in case you’re starting to panic, rest assured that, like still photographs, static websites will continue to play a major role in building your brand and selling your product.

However, to fail to include a fast-response mechanism, like a blog, on all your websites would be to misunderstand the Web 2.0 medium, and how to ride its evolutionary wave.

In this Book Rapper issue we dive into the intoxicating phenomena that is the blog medium, and tease out how you and your business can profit from it. Oh, and remember to have fun!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

To follow or unfollow on Twitter?

Guess who’s following me on Twitter… she’s young, early 20’s, world famous, pop star…

I guess you recognized her photo... Yep, it's Britney Spears!

Just when I thought I was out of it and over the hill, along comes my dream girl!

I just don’t know how she could have found me on the web.
May be she searched for ‘handsome young men’ and my page came up by mistake…

Well, actually… I’ve got another explanation.
It probably wasn’t Britney.
As dismayed as I am, it might just have been someone working for Britney – like the Twitt working for Hugh Jackman who called the Sydney Opera House the Opera Centre.

It seems two things have happened at Twitter recently.

One, it’s become a mainstream bandwagon.
Oprah has just jumped on it.
This might go down in history as the day Twitter became mainstream.

Two, it’s become inauthentic already.
It’s become a game… to see who can get the most followers.

I wonder which came first? Perhaps this is what happens when something becomes mainstream? Or did Twitter have to become inauthentic to become mainstream?

You might have seen the news that Ashton Kucher has become the first Twitt to reach one million followers.
He beat CNN by about 20,000 followers or a day or two.
I’m guessing Britney wants to join in game, thus her personal invite to moi!

My response… get a life!
A million followers on Twitter is an inauthentic and meaningless game.
See my earlier post and Seth Godin’s comment with regard to Facebook friends – the same applies. A friend is only useful if they are friend. Not another number.

It’s no surprise that the backlash has already starter.

Mashable have flagged the ‘unfollow’ campaign.

Early adopter, The Shaq, who’s been on Twitter before it was mainstream, is one who started a campaign to ‘unfollow’ Oprah.
This follows others who have been unfollowing Ashton Kucher to take him below a million followers.

It just shows the game can be played both ways:
To follow or unfollow?

So, should I take up Britney’s offer just so I can brag that she follows me. Or, is there more cred to snub Britney and be known as the ‘guy who said “no” to Britney Spears’?

What do you think I should do?

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Decentralized Twitter sidesteps Central Control

The internet is decentralized.
No one controls it.

There is no centre.

Previously, with centralized media whoever controlled it could decisively shape public opinion.

All information has the potential to be propaganda. The key is not to give your opponent a chance to respond.

Communist state-run, centrally controlled media was a key platform in managing their masses.

Events in Moldova overnight, show the landscape has changed.
Decentralized Twitter has sidestepped Central Control.
After mobile phone networks went down and cable TV did too, protestors turned to Twitter.
Whilst free TV around the world showed the protests, State controlled TV in Moldova showed the opera.

In an update on flashmobs created by texting, we now have the twitmob.
Central Control everywhere, beware.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Big Social Media Mistake

I’ve been making a big mistake around Social Media.

I’ve been posting a few blog entries. I’ve been doing Facebook. Started on Twitter. Added slideshows and book reviews on LinkedIn. Even said “I like it” on StumbleUpon.

I’ve been playing the social media game but doing it all completely wrong. I realised what I was doing wrong at a breakfast seminar this week. Rob Hartnett of Business Performance International was presenting. And, so was Jasmine Batra of Arrow Internet Marketing.

What was I doing wrong? I was treating all these social media things as separate things to do. No wonder I couldn’t keep up. My To Do List read like a social media nightmare. Update Facebook, add Twitter, post a blog, link to this, add to that…

That’s not building a Web 2.0 campaign, that’s building a brick wall. One brick, then the next one…

The web is about connection. Everything’s linked and joined together. It’s all digital code and that means it’s all synchronized as well. That means you can update many things at once if you just work smart.

So I clicked over to Slideshare where my slideshows are and updated Facebook and Twitter with two clicks. How easy was that?

My lesson: look for connections and short cuts. Automate!

Now let’s see… can I post this blog to Blogger, update Facebook, Linked In and Twitter all at once? I’ll let you know how I get on.

That’s my big Social Media mistake. What’s yours?

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Join the Microblog set - Start Tweetering, I just did...

In our previous RAP, We Blog, we looked at the whole blogging thing.
As part of this, in our Book Rapper Context, we outlined the path of the web: From websites to blogs and to microblogs.

The easiest way to describe this progression is to say: The web just got faster!

Historically, this acceleration parallels the shift from static single photography to motion pictures. From 'moving pictures' we get the word 'movie', as compared to 'still' photography.

The key here is that when you show a progression of still photos at the right speed you get the appearance of movement.
As Marshall McLuhan would have said, you also get a new medium with a new message.
So it is with blogs and microblogs.

Websites started the self-publishing phenomenon.
Blogs have accelerated this push because they make it even easier to publish - It's now DIY and adult-proof.

Now, Facebook and Twitter, probably the best known microblogs have come along. They're even faster.

Twitter is pure microblog - 140 characters to say your piece. That's it. No more.

Facebook has the same 'What are you doing right now?' microblog features, plus plenty of others. It's more of a place to hang out in current time whereas Twitter is the message.

The big question about the web is: What's the right speed?

The right speed for movies is 24 frames per second. Any slower and you don't get smooth flowing pictures and the brain doesn't relax and enjoy the movie.

  • What's the right speed for your website?
  • For your blog?
  • For your microblog?
  • What are we measuring with this speed?
  • Is it the number of times you post new material?
Love to hear your thoughts.

If you want more on Twittering, there's a great introductory article on
The Age. It's called Tweet and Greet and it's by Lucy Atkins (February 21, 2009).
The article has inspired me to write this post AND to join Twitter. Rather than watch the action, it's time to join the microblog set and start twittering...

Look out for 'bookrapper' on Twitter. (

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