Awaken journalists, you have nothing to lose but your bylines

(This was a rant post that sort of morphed into a speech that was never given…yet)

People tend to blame technology for all their problems.

Social networks are causing the rise of _____________ (fill blank space) eg. divorces, rapes, home invasions, suicides, crime, bullying, etc.

Of course, there may be validity to some of these cases. No one wants to belittle an incident that happens to a child, a spouse, a mother, a friend or a partner. When it’s personal, it’s tough not to find the nearest technological scapegoat. What’s worrying is how the “experts” extrapolate cause-and-effect from a small sample, raising fears and feeding the ignorance of technology to the masses.

“Productivity is down, there is lack of focus and no one seems to have an original thought – everything is copy and pasted from the net.” Or so they say.

In truth, there is nothing to suggest that human nature has changed pre- and post-Internet.

The perennial truth about humanity is this: In life there will always be those among us who are deliriously happy and depressingly suicidal and every emotion in between. We already live in both the “real” and “virtual” worlds equally intensely. The virtual can be as real as you want it to be and the real can be as imaginary as you want it to be.

But if you talk to anyone my age, 48, with two school-going children, they have a tendency to get nostalgic about their childhood.

It usually starts with the phrase: “When I was young, we never had these computers lah, Internet lah, sitting in front of the game console all day long lah. We used to go outside, enjoy the sunshine, climb trees, catch fish in the longkang, etc.

Now if you go back into the past, say the 1960s-70s, you can hear people of that time reminiscing about their childhoods. And they say this: “Ayahhh I wish by kids wouldn’t sit in front of the TV all day long. You know when I was young, we used to go outside, enjoy the sunshine, climb trees, catch fish in the rivers…”

Now go further back to this person’s parent’s time in the 1930s-40s-50s, when there was an explosion of recorded music and you hear the same thing. “I wish my kids wouldn’t listen to that music all day long. I wish they would go outside in the sunshine and climb trees and go swimming and catch fish……”

And then you step back into the 1920s and when radio came about…you know the drill.

There is no doubt we are going through one of the biggest explosions in the use of media. People can create, share, spread and distribute information like never before. The ubiquity of media everywhere is driven by falling prices in all things digital.

Nicholas Negroponte equates the net to a library but with a difference. If you go to a regular library you take a book off the shelf and if there is no other copy of that book, no one in the community, that reservoir of people being serviced by that library, can read it. But if you take a digital book of the Internet, anyone can go in there and take another and another and another.

Of course, if millions are accessing a particular site — web servers have limitations too — it can crash. But every time you go to a webpage you are actually downloading a copy onto your machine. Very few sites are live streamed, in the strict sense of the word, although that is changing rapidly even as we speak. So the Internet is actually a giant copying machine.

In the 15th century we had another giant copying machine of that time – it was called the Gutenberg Printing Press. Before that machine came to be, scribes used to sit down and copy everything word for word and so the church and the institutions of that day controlled the information.

When the printing press came about we hear only about the Gutenberg Bible as an early publication was reproduced in large quantities, but in truth there was an explosion of works — many of these secular, naughty, perverse and “mindless”. So much so, that intellectuals of the day were worried that the printing press was making people obsessed with trivia, gossip and the mundane.

But that media explosion eventually did society wonders. It gave us newspapers, it gave us specialized magazines, it gave us fiction and non-fiction, it gave us peer-reviewed scientific journals, it gave us academic books like never before. The entire spectrum of what we knew as “information” and “media” widened and deepened beyond belief.

Fast forward to 2012 and here we are — right at the heart of something wondrous. This is the dopamine injection of truly beautiful awakenings. It’s the eye of the digital storm. It’s raining down on us in bit buckets.

People keep referring to it as information overload. But that debate, as Clay Shirky rightly points out, is over. We cannot afford to take shelter and hide and put umbrellas up and wait for this storm to pass. We must learn how to filter the data, embrace it and become a filter ourselves so that others can make sense of the joys of this liquid, ubiquitous manna.

Journalists are at the heart of this. We have to embrace this. We have to learn these tools and gadgets and “Internet stuff”. We have to become aggregators and filters ourselves. We have to become like curators in a museum. But not in the old, grey-walled definition of a museum but a living, moving and constantly evolving museum and we have to choose what we want to exhibit today, and how the stuff we put out is shared and spread.

Journalism stands at the crossroads. This is the most transitive period in our lives as the “new media” re-define who we are.

Marketing, a dirty word for journalists, and more so personal brandingis a huge chunk of this. Google. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn are all a part of this movement.

We have to play where everyone is playing. We have to get our hands dirty and learn this, so that others who will come after will benefit from our knowledge and not supercede us, just because “they are young lah, so they know all this technical stuff”.

As a former tech journalist, I am a believer in that McLuhan quote: “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” We reported on these devices and now these devices are changing how we capture, edit, produce and tell our stories.

But we mustn’t forget what our roles are.

We are here to ask the questions on behalf of those who have no voice and cannot ask them because their tongues are tied.

We are here to tell the stories of those who cannot tell the stories on their own because they have been silenced.

We are here to uncover the truth and confront the corrupt with that truth so that they can be more accountable and transparent.

We are here to make those responsible measure up to a higher ethical and moral standard.

But we are also here to educate; to entertain; and to engage our communities in things that matter to them.

That’s journalism to me. That’s the journalism I was taught. That’s the journalism we need to continue to practise.

The old way was to produce the stuff and send it out to them as an act of faith.

The new way is to produce the stuff in collaboration with the people, not the faceless readers as we call them or the audience in a darkened theatre but real people who are just like us, yet different in so many ways.

We must set up “conversation platforms” by which they can come and interact with us or among themselves.

But we don’t need to re-invent the wheel. The 800-pound gorillas are already in the room. FLYTBG: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, Google. We must go where our readers are and engage with them. We must fish where the fish are.

Journalists are great whiners. We really need to stop whining and get on with understanding, using and leveraging on the tools and apps out there and in here. There really isn’t anymore time to bitch about “those bloody bloggers.” The time now is to dive in and get to know our readers like never before. There really isn’t anymore time to moan the loss of a simpler world.

Just a few years ago, a number of longtime journalists found themselves out of a job. There were tears, real tears shed. People cried because it was the only life they ever knew. Their lives could be summed up in this way: “Hey, I was so arrogant and hard-headed that I thought that I needn’t learn new things. My skills were enough. Now, I am jobless, with bills to pay! Get me a blog, please, and please pay me to keep it updated.”

Wake up fellow journalists. Learn all you can about social media and pick up social media skills. You can learn from your colleagues, peers, children, nephew and nieces. You need to know that these are new journalism skill sets — it is very different and you need to OWN these skills if you are to survive, not only here in your current organisation, but anywhere out there.

I can tell you this, because I have been there and done that. If you do not have a brand behind you, then you better bloody well create that brand around your byline. Who you are and what you do matters. Don’t be insecure about that. It’s much easier to do it now, than there ever has been. Ever.

No trainer is going to turn you into a multimedia journalist overnight. You have take time to learn these skills yourselves. Our role is to provide you the big picture, the guidance, yes. We may handhold you for two or three days through some of rough spots if you need it, and give you a few technical pointers, then set you off in the right direction.

But the commitment to become very good at any of these tools must come from inside. If your current role doesn’t give time and opportunity to learn these skills on the job then you must find time — one hour or two hours a day or one day every weekend to learn it yourself.

There are people who are coming from behind you who will speed past you before you know it. They may not have the journalism mind, the news sense, the writing and grammar skills but that doesn’t matter — this is the new vocabulary and they can shine in ways that will get them ahead. Your competition isn’t even local. Awhile ago, a new Malaysian network player hired 10 content people from — get this –the US. All former journalists!

Think about that. Is their content going to be better than anything you can produce here? No. It’s just they haven’t discovered you yet. You are the gem everyone is looking for. Gleam like the jewel that you are. It is your time to shine.

Six types of news journalists

[from MediaPost]

American journalists are ready and eager to speed up the transition from print to digital, and almost half surveyed believe their newsroom is moving way too slowly.

The Northwestern University’s Media Management Center came to this conclusions in a report, “Life Beyond Print” (3.8M PDF) based on a survey of almost 3,800 print, digital, and hybrid journalists in a cross section of 79 U.S. newsrooms.

The survey classified journalists into six groups:
1. Digitals (12%): They already spend a most of their time working online. They are either online editors or producers, but about 17% are reporters or writers, and more than half are journalism grads. They are newer to journalism (< less than 10 years experience) but are open to change, new career options and more likely to try something new. In a typical newsroom, they likely got the most training last year. 2. Major Shifts(11%): Those who are currently doing the least digital work but would like to increase it by five times. They are the most dissatisfied with their current state, more pessimistic about staying in the business long-term and want the most pronounced changes. An equal mix of reporters, mid-level editors, copy editors, designers and videographers, most of whom have been in the business at least 15 years are deeply engaged online in their personal and social lives, but see a disconnect at work. They could help the newsroom adapt faster, but need a sign they should stay in newspapers.

3. The Moderately Mores (50%): Those who would like to double their current digital activities to achieve a 50-50 split with their print efforts. They have been in news business more than 20 years. They believe their newsroom transition has been too slow although they do think it is headed in the right direction.

4. The Status Quos (14%): They believe the 30% of effort they currently devote to online is sufficient and prefer to see no change. Most believe the pace of change to date has been “about right.” This group is slightly older than the overall population. Nearly half are age 50 or older and 1-in-10 is 60 or older.

5. Turn Back the Clocks (6%): Those nostalgic for a return to print and wish online would go away. They report about 30% of their current effort is spent online, nearly triple the amount they would prefer. This is a group that has tested the online environment and they don’t like it. They less satisfied than their Status Quo colleagues and have the lowest opinion of leaders of all the groups and are least likely, in particular, to believe executives really understand what it takes to put out the newspaper.

6. The Leaders (5%): Publishers, editors and managing editors, most of whom have been in the news business more than 20 years. Most report their roles are primarily print-focused but want to shift to online. Like Digitals, they describe themselves as open to change and optimistic about their career options. The Leaders report spending about 25% of their work effort on online matters, but believe the emphasis should shift to favour digital (53%) over print responsibilities. 28% of Leaders think their job is changing too fast overall, which could reflect the lack of clarity around a business model to sustain digitally delivered journalism but nearly 70% say the newsroom is on the right track. This group reports somewhat greater Internet use outside work than other journalists.

There are differing expectations for leaders among the segments:
* The Digitals want The Leaders to be even more immersed in online trends and to sharpen the digital vision.
* The Major Shifts want more risk-taking.
* The Status Quos generally like what leaders are doing and advocate staying the course.

The study by Vickey Williams, Stacy Lynch and Bob LeBailly, found that online desire in the newsroom is not driven by the fallacy of youth.

The top predictors of wanting to switch to digital are:
1. Heavy Internet use outside work.
2. Online customer knowledge.
3. Openness to change at work and adaptability.
4.Digital training: Receiving training necessary to learn online skills.
5. Personality: Keeping up with company initiatives, online trends and industry changes.

1. Journalists’ passion for the mission is there, but they need basic tools for reinvention and more engaged leadership. More than half of the journalists working primarily in print had no training in the previous year to equip them for a digital transition. One in four journalists reports having had no training at all.

2. There are major gaps between how leaders think they are doing and how staff view them, in such areas as fostering collaboration, seeking out input from employees at all levels, and communicating strategy in a way that relates to employees’ jobs.

3. Senior managers rate research about what online users want low on their list of priorities suggesting that editors are at risk of repeating the errors of the past by not ensuring that everyone in the newsroom develops a deep knowledge of who their readers are and what they want.

4. Despite the turmoil in the industry, the vast majority of the journalists surveyed reported that they were “still satisfied with their jobs and believed they would be in the news business two years from now — and more than half with the same newspaper.”

5. The surveyors advised: “Leaders should encourage all employees to use downtime to edit video, tweet, upload mobile photos to Facebook pages and otherwise keep current in online trends. Even for employees who don’t have any online work responsibilities, the more engaged they are with the Internet on their own, the more eager they will be to transition to online at work.”

Links: Life Beyond Print (3.8M PDF)

Jeff Bezos on Amazon and Zappos

In eight minutes, Jeff Bezos sums up everything he knows in running Amazon and plugs latest buy Zappos:

1. Obsess over customers.
2. Invent.
3. Think long term.
4. It’s Always Day One.

He might have added 5. Buy companies that trumps you on their culture.

Shooting Shirky

After reading Shirky today, I can see editors lining up with their shotguns and shouting in unison — “Pull!”.

Again Clay, in his usual cerebral way, has taken the complex and reduced it to simple cold, hard facts, weaving in his wikipedian understanding of the Internet and making news owners seem like grumpy old men stuck in the mud and missing targets.

Sometimes he loses me — perhaps this simple mind can’t seem to grasp at the core of his message — but thank god for the webbiness of random access and infinite repetition and Google and YouTube. I can read and watch him again and again to finally Get It.

To appreciate the genius of Shirky, you need to step back to his 2005 TED talk on Institutions vs Collaboration.

Then listen to his entertaining “cognitive heatsink” theory at the Web 2.0 Expo: Part 1 | Part 2


This is something that people in the media world don’t understand. Media in the 20th century was run as a single race–consumption. How much can we produce? How much can you consume? Can we produce more and you’ll consume more? And the answer to that question has generally been yes. But media is actually a triathlon, it ‘s three different events. People like to consume, but they also like to produce, and they like to share.

And what’s astonished people who were committed to the structure of the previous society, prior to trying to take this surplus and do something interesting, is that they’re discovering that when you offer people the opportunity to produce and to share, they’ll take you up on that offer. It doesn’t mean that we’ll never sit around mindlessly watching Scrubs on the couch. It just means we’ll do it less.

And this is the other thing about the size of the cognitive surplus we’re talking about. It’s so large that even a small change could have huge ramifications. Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that is 100 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation.

I think that’s going to be a big deal. Don’t you?

Then go back and re-read Shirky firing away at the clay pigeons falling from the sky:

When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse. This shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of their most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away.

The curious thing about the various plans hatched in the ’90s is that they were, at base, all the same plan: “Here’s how we’re going to preserve the old forms of organization in a world of cheap perfect copies!” The details differed, but the core assumption behind all imagined outcomes (save the unthinkable one) was that the organizational form of the newspaper, as a general-purpose vehicle for publishing a variety of news and opinion, was basically sound, and only needed a digital facelift. As a result, the conversation has degenerated into the enthusiastic grasping at straws, pursued by skeptical responses.

“The Wall Street Journal has a paywall, so we can too!”(Financial information is one of the few kinds of information whose recipients don’t want to share.)
“Micropayments work for iTunes, so they will work for us!” (Micropayments only work where the provider can avoid competitive business models.)
“The New York Times should charge for content!” (They’ve tried, with QPass and later TimesSelect.)
“Cook’s Illustrated and Consumer Reports are doing fine on subscriptions!” (Those publications forgo ad revenues; users are paying not just for content but for unimpeachability.)
“We’ll form a cartel!” (…and hand a competitive advantage to every ad-supported media firm in the world.)

Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.

With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem…

…When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.


Return to The Cluetrain Manifesto

Re-reading the iconic Cluetrain Manifesto and discovering the gems there-in. David Weinberger’s Chapter 5 still resonates:

Modern business almost universally has chosen a particular type of togetherness: a hierarchy. There are two distinguishing marks of a hierarchy: it has a top and a bottom, and the top is narrower than the bottom. Power flows from the top and there are fewer and fewer people as you move up the food chain.

This not only makes the line of authority crystal clear, it also enhances the allure of success by making it into an exclusive club. As La Rochefoucauld once said, “It is not enough that I succeed. It is also necessary that my friends fail.”

No wonder so many of us stare at our bare feet in the morning and wonder why we’re putting on our socks.

A couple of other points about business hierarchies:

First, they assume — along with Ayn Rand and poorly socialized adolescents — that the fundamental unit of life is the individual. This is despite the evidence of our senses that individuals only emerge from groups — groups like families and communities. (You know, it really does take a village to raise a child. Just like it takes a corporation to raise an ass kisser.)

But the Web obviously isn’t predicated on individuals. It’s a web. It’s about the connections. And on the World Wide Web, the connections are hyperlinks. It’s not just documents that get hyperlinked in the new world of the Web. People do. Organizations do. The Web, in the form of a corporate intranet, puts everyone in touch with every piece of information and with everyone else inside the organization and beyond.

The potential connections are vast. Hyperlinks are the connections made by real individuals based on what they care about and what they know, the paths that emerge because that’s where the feet are walking, as opposed to the highways bulldozed into existence according to a centralized plan.

Hyperlinks have no symmetry, no plan. They are messy. More can be added, old ones can disappear, and nothing else has to change. Compare this to your latest reorganization where you sat down with the org chart and your straightedge and worried about holes and imbalances and neatness for heaven’s sake! A messy org chart is the devil’s playground, after all.

Second, business hierarchies are power structures only because fundamentally they’re based on fear.

Org charts are pyramids. The ancient pharaohs built their pyramids out of the fear of human mortality. Today’s business pharaohs build their pyramidal organizations out of fear of human fallibility; they’re afraid of being exposed as frightened little boys, fallible and uncertain.

To be human is to be imperfect. We die. We make mistakes.

Sometimes we run from our fallibility by being decisive. But doubt is the natural human state, and decisiveness — more addictive than anything you might shoot into your veins — is often based on a superstitious belief in the magic of action.

Within the pyramid we have defined roles and responsibilities. We tell ourselves that this is so the business will run efficiently, but in fact having a role brings us the great comfort of having a turf where we’re pretty confident we’re not going to be shown up… except maybe by that ambitious jerk on the fourth floor, but we’ve figured out a way to hook his brains out through his nose, which should delay him at least for a little while.

Of course, dividing the business up into fanatically defended turfs doesn’t really protect anyone from fallibility and uncertainty, the very things that mark us as humans.

So, here’s some news for today’s business pharaohs: your pyramid is being replaced by hyperlinks. It was built on sand anyway.

The Web liberates business from the fear of being exposed as human, even against its will. It throws everyone into immediate connection with everyone else without the safety net of defined roles and authorities, but it also sets the expectation that you’ll make human-size mistakes rather frequently. Now that you’ve lost the trappings of authority, and you find yourself standing next to the junior graphic designer for gawd’s sake, and you can’t hide behind your business card, what the hell are you going to do?

You’re going to talk with her. You’re going to have a conversation. And if you harrumph and try to make sure she knows that you’re Very Important by the power vested in you by the power that vested in you, well, she’s going to laugh once out loud and five times in e-mail and tell everyone else what an asshole you are.

You see, the hyperlinks that replace the org chart as the primary structure of the organization are in fact conversations. They are the paths talk takes. And a business is, more than anything else, the set of conversations going on.

Business is a conversation because the defining work of a business is conversation — literally. And “knowledge workers” are simply those people whose job consists of having interesting conversations.

“Can I super-size that?” “Have it on my desk by the morning,” “There’s no I in Team,” and laughing at your manager’s unfunny jokes are not conversations. Conversations are where ideas happen and partnerships are formed. Sometimes they create commitments (in Fernando Flores’ sense), but more often they’re pulling people through fields of common interest with no known destination. The structure of conversations is always hyperlinked and is never hierarchical:

To have a conversation, you have to be comfortable being human — acknowledging you don’t have all the answers, being eager to learn from someone else and to build new ideas together.

You can only have a conversation if you’re not afraid to be wrong. Otherwise, you’re not conversing, you’re just declaiming, speechifying, or reading what’s on the PowerPoints. To converse, you have to be willing to be wrong in front of another person.

Conversations occur only between equals. The time your boss’s boss asked you at a meeting about your project’s deadline was not a conversation. The time you sat with your boss’s boss for an hour in the Polynesian-themed bar while on a business trip and you really talked, got past the corporate bullshit, told each other the truth about the dangers ahead, and ended up talking about your kids — that maybe was a conversation.

Conversations subvert hierarchy. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. Being a human being among others subverts hierarchy.


Hate sites and Web 2.0: Really? Duhh

The AFP has a nasty habit of doing hatchet jobs on the net in stories like this one: Web 2.0 gives new tools to hate groups: experts


Social networks MySpace and Facebook and video-sharing site YouTube are being used as powerful new tools by extremist groups to spread a message of hate, participants in a conference on Internet hate speech warned here on Monday.

“MySpace, Facebook and YouTube are the ‘killer apps’ of the Internet today, and they’re used by millions, but the virus of hate certainly has infected those technologies,” Christopher Wolf, chair of the International Network Against CyberHate (INACH), told the Global Summit on Internet Hate Speech.

“The Internet continues to be exploited by people who espouse hate in many different ways — anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, racists, homophobes and terrorists,” Wolf said on the opening day of the two-day event hosted by the French embassy.

“The Internet toolbox that is available to hatemongers has had a number of new items added to it over the last several years,” Wolf said, citing Web 2.0 features such as blogs, social networks, video sites and instant messaging.

Take the same headline, change it to “Web gives new tools to hate groups: experts”, interview the same so-called “experts” and place it anywhere circa 1994 and you will see what I mean.

That this story will receive a lot of airplay in dying print newspapers, manned by closet web-hating editors clinging on to the “good old days” of their profession is a given. AFP really knows its market.

“Spread the fear! Web 2.0 is gonna kill you! Another reason to log off, log out, run for cover!”

The un-named reporter for this piece did not find one single dissenting voice on the subject at the conference. It’s heavily biased in spreading the false premise that hate is all around us online.

Social networks, mobile networks and the web have a huge potential for doing good online – for effecting change, for improving people’s lives, for organising like-minded people in causes that matter, and spreading understanding, tolerance and yes, even, love.

As long as I have been on Facebook, I have never once been solicited to join a hate group to “demonize Jews and Muslims and Gays and other minorities”. Unless you consider the Vampire Bites app is an insidious Transylvanian tool of human-haters.

This kind of sloppy, one-sided, fear-inducing journalism is dead, dead, dead. And AFP should know better to encourage such reporters to report such stories without including a single counter viewpoint within.

For journalists still spreading the fear online, please take a long, hard look in a mirror and ask yourselves : “Why am I so afraid of the big, bad Web 2.0?”

Vinton Cerf: Interplanetary Googler

Let it be said, Vinton Cerf, the ‘father of the internet’, Chief Internet Evangelist of Google, and proponent of the InterPlaNetary Internet, is a really nice guy.

Although it was a hectic day for him, with back-to-back press interviews and an upcoming keynote, Cerf was accommodating, convivial and makes a great interview subject.

In 2003, when I interviewed him for the Star, he was equally nice, even LOL-ing my question on whether astronauts in Mars in the future would be spammed with ads for thermal underwear. Even though, at the time, he was still with MCI Worldcom, I had suggested the headline of this post for the story, which was sort of prescient considering he hadn’t joined Google yet.

This time, we spoke briefly on the InterPlanetary Internet project, the Exaflood, his role in Google as the Chief Internet Evangelist (he dressed the part on the first day), his pet subjects – net neutrality, IPv6 and a small self-financed project to provide solar-powered Internet cafes to the developing world.

Later at the WCIT 2008 keynote in Kuala Lumpur, he entertained the audience with his view of the Internet in 2035 as well as stories from the early days.

One example in his presentation was that of a surfboarder who embedded an Internet-enabled laptop into his surfboard. A simple search for the story turned out ironical. The inventor’s name is Jools Matthews. Cerf, Matthews and the Internet. Crazy.

You can view a similar speech Tracking the Internet into the 21st Century in Zurich and download this similar powerpoint presentation.

Gen Y: 7 things you need to know

Increasingly, more of my peers are finding it difficult to relate to the younger people joining the workforce. The consistent rant is about Attitude. The disconnect seems to cut across all industries. The age group is usually those in early to mid 20s. No doubt, they will find the pigeonholing below quite condescending.

In “Why Gen Y Is Going to Change the Web“, Read Write Web’s Sarah Perez has a lengthy but revealing insight into Generation Y aka the Millennials, those born between 1982-1997, “the most digitally active generation yet.”

Here’s the gist:

1. PLUGGED IN: They grew up around PCs, the net, mobile phones, video games, and mp3 players. They are web savvy multitaskers, are able watch TV, surf the web, listen to music, and talk or text on their phones, often performing several of these things at the same time.

2. TV ISN’T KING: Although you’ll find some Gen Y’ers obsessing over the latest episode of “The Hills,” and other shows, they aren’t watching TV as much as other generations do. They rather time-shift, download and watch episodes on their own terms. Gen Y’ers rather spend time using their Xboxes and Wiis even it cuts into TV viewing. For them, TV is often just “background noise”.

3.DON’T CARE ABOUT ADS, ONLY WHAT THEIR FRIENDS THINK: Because they are immersed in media, and marketed to constantly, they’re distrusting of ads. Instead, they respond to “humor, irony, and the unvarnished truth.” But when it comes to making decisions, they’re more likely to rely on their network of friends and their recommendations.
Gen Y doesn’t have brand loyalty, however – they’re quick to move the next big thing.

4. WORK ISN’T THEIR WHOLE WORLD: They’re going to go to work, but it had better be fun. For Gen Y, work isn’t their identity. They’re also not going to blindly follow orders just because you’re the boss. “Generation Why?” needs “buy in”.

Gen Y wants companies to be more accommodating, offering the ability to work from anywhere, flexi-time, a culture that supports team communication, and a “fun” work environment. Old school bosses may need this survival guide.

5. THEY’RE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS: Gen Y cares about the world. They pay attention to politics, the economy, social causes, and environmental issues. They think they’re a force to be reckoned with in elections and follow the candidates online on social networks. They read the news, but not in newspaper format, which is is going to hurt that industry even more as time goes by.

6.THEY DON’T WANT YOU AS A FACEBOOK FRIEND: They’re wary of old folks, like their boss, trying to “friend” them in their social space, especially if they’re tragically un-hip wannabes. 54% have used MySpace, Facebook, or some other social network. Gen Y is getting into lifestreaming too, twittering and streaming live video. In their own world, they’re celebrities. Says Jason Barg, a 2004 graduate of Penn State University and founder of an online real estate company, notoriety is more about standing out from the crowd. “A primary goal of people my age is not necessarily to become famous but to become distinctive,” he says.

7. WORK TOOLS NEED TO MIRROR WEB TOOLS: Gen Y will drive adoption of “Enterprise 2.0” products and services. Gen Y in the workplace will not just want, but expect their company to provide them with tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives. If socializing on Facebook or on mobile phones helps them get a lead, then they’re not going to understand why they can’t use it for work. For more buckled down companies, if workers aren’t provided with the tools they want, they’re going to be savvy enough to go around IT’s back and get their own.

RESOURCES: Ypulse (RSS) My Gen Y Life (RSS) Twenty Set (RSS) Our American Shelf Life (RSS) Millennial Leaders (RSS) Lisa’s Generation Relations Blog (RSS) Modite (RSS) Life Before Noon (RSS) Generation Y Voodoo (RSS) Personal Branding Blog (RSS) Newly Corporate (RSS) The Marketing Student (RSS) Young and Frugal (RSS) Employee Evolution (RSS) PR Interactive (RSS)


80 Useful New Media Tutorials

Here’s a list of tutorials for those who want to get started in new media:

01. Google Advance Search Tips
02. 10 Most Amazing Google Search Tricks
03. Top 10 Obscure Google Tricks
04. 7 Clever Google Tricks Worth Knowing
05. 4 Google Tricks

06. Customize Google Alerts to your email box
07. How to create a Yahoo Alert

08. RSS In Plain English
09. How to use Google Reader
10.How to subscribe to feeds in Google Reader
11. How to add feeds to Bloglines
12. iGoogle Set up by Ryan Wade
13. Using RSS 101 by Alex Barnett
14. Netvibes Tutorial
15. Yahoo Mail RSS Reader

16.Social bookmarks in Plain English
17.Digg basics Tutorial

19. Blogs in Plain English
20. How to set up a blog on WordPress or Blogger
21. How to set up and install WordPress
22. How to install WordPress
23. Chris Abraham WordPress Tutorial
24. 3-minute intro to WordPress features
25. How to add a photo to your WordPress post
26. Create a blog with Blogger
27. How to customize your blogger header
28. Adding photos in Blogger.
29. The five types of blog posts
30. 25 types of blogs

31.Picasa tutorials by Chris
32.How to download and install Picasa
33.How to import photos from camera to Picasa
34.How to Use Adobe Photoshop
35.How to use Picasa
36.Editing photos with Picasa
37.How to use Flickr

38.Audacity Tutorial for Podcasters by Jason Van Orden
39.How to download and install Audacity
40.Audacity: Recording set up
41.Audacity: Editing tools
42.Audacity: Basic editing and trimming
43.Audacity: Adjusting levels
44.Importing audio and exporting the MP3
45.Audacity: Saving your project
46.Basic Audacity 1.2 Tutorial
47.Mixing with Audacity
48.How to embed an MP3 audio player

49.How to podcast by Jason Van Orden
50.Podcast hosting
51.Where to upload videos for podcast.
52.How to set up videoblog from Freevlog
53.Free video hosting companies
54.How to use Feedburner for video blogs
55.How to submit videos to iTunes and Fireant
56.How to set an account on YouTube
57.How to upload video to YouTube
58.How to easily create video on Windows Movie Maker
59.How to make a good quality video for YouTube
60.Windows movie maker tips for YouTube

61.Getting started with Soundslides
62.Preparing photos in Photoshop for Soundslides
63.Create first photostory using Microsoft Photostory 3.0
64. Jake’s Photostory Tutorials

65.Social networks in Plain English
66.Customizing your privacy in Facebook
67.How to post photos and notes on Facebook
68.Adding photos to Facebook
69.How to upload videos on Facebook
70.MySpace set up tutorial
71.How to upload photos to your MySpace profile

72.Twitter in Plain English
73.Ten Ways to Use Twitter
74.How reporters use Twitter
75.Twitter: A Beginner’s Guide
76. Download and Install Adobe AIR and Twhirl, a Twitter client

77.Wikis in Plain English
78.How to edit a wiki page
79.PB Wiki – Getting Started
80.Add and edit page in MediaWiki

Microsoft bid for Yahoo: Saving Live?

Preston Gralla speculates that it needs the online leverage:

Yahoo shareholders won’t be the only winners in the proposed Microsoft buyout of the Internet portal. It’s a chance for Microsoft to save its ailing “Live” brand of online products and finally succeed online.

There are too many “Live” products to count — Windows Live (which has nothing to do with Windows), and Microsoft Office Live Small Business (which has nothing to do with Microsoft Office) among them. As a group, they’re entirely underwhelming. But an infusion of a massive audience, as well as Yahoo expertise, can certainly fix the problems. And the Microsoft offer makes clear that Yahoo, after the buy, won’t operate independently, but instead will be folded into Microsoft. And Live and Yahoo will most certainly combine.

Steve Ballmer’s offer to the Yahoo board spells that out. He lists four areas of synergies…


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