February 6, 2014

InContext: The coming onrush of contextual devices

incontext
VCs Josh Elman, Charles Hudson and Bubba Murarka (the three gents at center) were among the speakers on hand at InContext 2014 (Photo by JD Lasica).

Will contextual data create better user experience that drive more engagement?

Target audience: Tech professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaWe all know that the rush toward the mobile Internet is the mother of all megatrends. Less well known is a fascinating, still nascent subset of mobile: contextual mobile devices. That was the topic of an afternoon gathering yesterday called InContext 2014, hosted by EverythingMe yesterday at Terra Gallery in San Francisco’s SoMa district.

(It’s a crazy week for me. Here are the Flickr photos I shot Monday and Tuesday at Startup Grind in Silicon Valley. Yesterday, InContext. Today, attending CMX Summit to hear about community building.)

At InContext, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, mobile analysts and journalists exchanged views on what looks to be the Next Big Thing in mobile: contextual awareness. The idea, in short, is this: You give people what they want when they want it without them asking for it. Continue reading

December 17, 2013

When journalists trade newsrooms for business storytelling

5 scribes
From left, Michael Copeland, Ben Worthen, Dan Lyons, Harrison Weber & Brian Caulfield

More companies are hiring scribes to ramp up ‘content plays’

Target audience: Journalists, brand managers, SEO specialists, PR and marketing pros, business executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

JD LasicaAfunny thing is happening to a lot of journalists I know: They’re bailing on Big-J journalism.

But while many are leaving the profession of journalism, they’re taking their craft with them. Faced with the Incredible Shrinking Business Models of the old media economy, journalists have begun taking their storytelling skills to the business world, particularly tech.

Companies are snapping up journalists left and right. Today every company is a media company — and who better to tell these companies’ stories than journalists trained in the art of storytelling? Continue reading

September 25, 2013

Book review: ‘Age of Context’ captures the pulse of new tech

Robert-Scoble-Google-Glass
Robert Scoble, co-author of “The Age of Context,” wearing Google Glass at the 2013 Startup Conference (Photo by JD Lasica).

New book, out today, identifies ‘five forces’ animating modern culture

JD LasicaEvery few years someone comes along and pulls the camera back to reveal a wider view of the technological changes coursing through the business world and larger culture. Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have done just that with their new book, “The Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy” (paperback, self-published).

The authors nicely contextualize what they call the “five forces” in what amounts to a technology megatrend: mobile, sensor devices, social media, big data and location-based technologies. These forces add up to a formidable package, one that deserves scrutiny far beyond the boundaries of greater Silicon Valley, where much of the action takes place.

age-of-context

The book goes on sale today on Amazon (though Amazon lists its release date as Sept. 5).

Scoble and Israel (both friends) convey their thesis – generally about the public good that will be served by the new contextual technologies, accompanied by the occasional caveat or warning – by stringing together short anecdotes about how people are adopting and adapting to this quickly emerging landscape.

Throughout the book, the authors raise provocative questions about how society should navigates an era of pervasive data: Who owns data being collected on individuals? How are the rules of privacy being reshaped, and who gets a say?

As someone who is immersed in Silicon Valley culture, I found myself nodding along more often than not, bemused by some of the bouts of optimistic boosterism and skeptical of some of the more grand claims. But that’s precisely why “The Age of Context” works: It raises the right questions and takes square aim at many of our cherished beliefs. We all have opinions about the effects that these transformations are casting on society, and you’ll have your own chance to cheer or jeer at the conclusions the authors draw. Continue reading

April 30, 2013

Google Glass: A revolutionary advance

scoble-with-glass

Google’s newest addition gives glimpse into future of technology

Guest post by Robert Scoble

robert-scobleIf you aren’t familiar with Google Glass yet, just wait, you will be. A wearable computer with a head-mounted display, Google Glass is giving users access to information while they’re on the go. After using Google Glass for the past two weeks, I’m sharing my thoughts about the product. How much of a game changer is it? In the end, it will come down to the price.

Over the past wweek I gave five speeches while wearing Google Glass. I passed through airports six times and let hundreds of people try my Glass. I have barely taken it off since getting it other than to sleep. Continue reading

November 2, 2009

10 ways to improve Twitter lists

Twitter Lists

The brilliance of Twitter lists and suggestions for making them more powerful

Ayelet NoffIn my opinion Twitter is the best tool we have today to engage with others, spread a message, network, meet other likeminded people, and stay on top of the news, in any industry. The only aspect I’ve always found problematic on Twitter was the impossibility of organizing information. This is something that’s changed now with the new Twitter lists, which allow you to organize people in any sort of list you like.

So how have you been using lists? What sort of names have you been giving your lists? It’s quite interesting to see what lists people have put you under and how you have been “categorized.”  With Twitter lists, I can put people I am following into specific categories. So for example, I have created lists of “bloggers,” “social media,” “brands,” etc.

“It takes an individual an hour to build a 200-person Twitter List in comparison to the days / weeks it takes to attain a 200-fan FB page. This will make Twitter Lists the prolific standard for organizing the social graph.”
— Patrick Kitano

Twitter lists are going to change the way we network and socialize. No longer are we going to have a list of journalists’ emails to send a press release to but rather we’ll have a Twitter list of all these journalists with their Twitter handles. Patrick Kitano writes in his post titled Twitter Lists will Organize the social graph: “It takes an individual an hour to build a 200-person Twitter List in comparison to the days / weeks it takes to attain a 200-fan FB page. This will make Twitter Lists the prolific standard for organizing the social graph.”

Each of us is organizing his/her own “following,” or rather social graph — basically  helping twitter organize its database for them. These lists will become invaluable to us both professionally and socially. However, please note that one Twitter account can create only 20 lists and each list can only contain 500 members, so choose your lists carefully and who’s in them even more carefully. Robert Scoble wrote  an excellent post describing the limitations, bugs, impact and brilliance of Twitter lists. Continue reading

October 19, 2009

Takeaways from Blogworld Expo

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards of “ER” fame did his first tweet — to raise funds for the first children’s pediatric training hospital in Africa.

Bloggers, journalism, celebrities and what the future holds

JD LasicaThere was a little bit of a SXSW vibe at the just-ended Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas — a communal feeling where the goings-on in the sessions (on the whole, consistently engaging) were overshadowed by the face time and first-time encounters between longtime Twitter friends. To be sure, BlogWorld is a smaller affair than SouthBy — one official told me 1,500 people turned out for the Causes/Activism track on Thursday, 5,000 for the next two days — but from my vantage point, it seems that the social media phenomenon has rejuvenated ones of the world’s oldest and largest new media gatherings.

Twitter was front and center throughout the affair, both on screen — where rolling tweets of each session’s hashtags were displayed (though not consistently) — and as a way for conference-goers to figure out evening social plans. And cameras and recorders were everwhere — here’s my Flickr set of BlogWorld.

Below is a recap of the highlights in my field of vision (see after the jump). In addition, I just posted 8 tips for raising funds online — a recap of the Tools for Nonprofits panel that I moderated at Blogworld — over at our sister site, Socialbrite.org.

Journalists vs. bloggers: Can we please move on?

As regular readers know, I’ve been blogging about journalism, blogging, and the need for journalists and bloggers to love each other and use the best elements of both worlds since 2001, when I started this blog (then called New Media Musings). See, for example, Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other in Harvard’s Nieman Reports in Fall 2003.

So it’s now irritating, and not merely tiresome, to attend a new media conference where too many of the sessions veered into hostility toward traditional news organizations. The audience questions to and reaction to CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon (below), was a case in point.

Don Lemon

Why should bloggers want to work with CNN? Lemon should have more artfully worded his reply — “The plain truth is that my platform is bigger than your platform” — but, with the exception of a few outliers like iJustine or cross-over Twitter celebrities, that’s still true. It’s not about CNN, it’s about reach and bringing value to more people.

The notion that crowdsourced amateur journalism can supplant professional journalism, and actually do a better job — which many in the audience truly believe — is not only ludicrous but potentially dangerous to our democratic institutions. Journalism that ferrets out corruption, that takes the pulse of a community, that sheds a light on international events is hard work, something that the crowd tends to avoid. Just ask anyone toiling in overworked, understaffed independent journalism publications like Spot.us, AliveinBaghdad, Pro Publica, or the just-launched Oakland Local.

Similarly, I’ve finally found a fundamental disagreement with my friend, colleague and fellow Traveling Geek Robert Scoble. I tweeted my dismay at the bottom-line premise of his panel, How Social Media Is Changing the Definition of News: that news sites should pass along rumors and second-hand reports without fact-checking them. “The old world was i fact-checked before I published, in this new world i can correct it after the fact,” Scoble said.

Immediately after the panel, he cited TMZ’s early report on the death of Michael Jackson and the fact that no one remembers who reported it second. “It’s over. It’s over,” he told me, referring to journalism’s authentication function. Continue reading