Archive for the ‘web 2.0’ Category

The fallacy of web 2.0 utopians – motivational inforporn

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Chris Aderson said that the future of business is free. We are still waiting for this revolution (email Chris for a detailed revolutionary plan, he’ll be happy to answer).

Now comes Clay Shirky with the next revolution: “innovation can happen everywhere”, he said yesterday (1:39′ of his talk). OK, let’s buy few more copies of Shirky’s books and wait for the next Microsoft or Google coming from Tanzania. Meanwhile, let me tell you why I think speeches on web 2.0 revolutions are motivational infoporn.


IREVAL '09: Workshop on the Future of IR Evaluation

Monday, July 27th, 2009

I recently attended the SIGIR ’09 IREVAL workshop on the future of IR evaluation, where I presented a poster on evaluating collaborative filtering over time. The workshop began with invited talks from (IR-research superstars) , , Chris Buckley (videolectures), and Georges Dupret, giving talks that drew on years of research experience. The workshop participants then broke into groups to discuss different proposals related to IR-evaluation, and the workshop closed with a group discussion about each proposal. As can be expected, this workshop brought up many more questions than it answered. Below I’ve transcribed some notes that I took during the day:


Twitter as CRM tool – student projects

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Since monetizing from ads wouldn’t work for Twitter (“click through rates on social networks are low – people are there to communicate with each other, not to search for information”), Jeremiah Owyang suggested that Twitter should tap into the lucrative CRM space by offering its own CRM system (or its own analytics system to brands).

That’s not easy, not least because there are unsolved problems that revolve around building a brand management system out of Twitter. The goal of such system would be to make it possible for companies to  “monitor, alert, track, prioritize, triage, assign, followup, and report on the interactions with their brands”. So here is a list of cool student projects:

  • Build tools for  mapping real IDs and pseudonyms  (mapping Twitter ID into customer ID –many don’t use their real names)
  • Build tools for identifying those people on twitter who influence buying behavior
  • Build product recommendation tools that are able to sense and react to users who ask their peers for product recommendations at the point of sale (right in the store).

Useful read: The Facebook Era

Dunbar number & Web 2.0

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Few weeks ago, Jon (webpage, blog) gave a very interesting presentation about his new project “Social Nets“. That talk put me in a rare condition – it made me really think (quite an achievement, given my persistent vegetative state you might say) :) Anyhow, after the talk, I was wondering whether the Dunbar number still holds today

  • ” Several years ago Robin Dunbar concluded that the cognitive power of the brain limits the size of the social network that an individual of any given species can develop. Extrapolating from the brain sizes and social networks of apes, Dr Dunbar suggested that the size of the human brain allows stable networks of about 148. Rounded to 150, this has become famous as “the Dunbar number”.

Is this still true? Web 2.0 tools may have well increased the size of our social circles, right? Probably not! In “Primate on Facebook“, The Economist comments on the analysis done by Cameron Marlow (the “in-house sociologist” at Facebook) and interestingly concludes that:

  • “What mainly goes up, therefore, is not the core network but the number of casual contacts that people track more passively. This corroborates Dr Marsden’s ideas about core networks, since even those Facebook users with the most friends communicate only with a relatively small number of them.”

From  the SOCNET list:


Hulu gets it right

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

“After much confusion, it is becoming clear what works in online video …” Hulu (Hulu Who?) seems to be successful by any measure. Online video -sharing should:

  • Be as simple as YouTube is cluttered
  • Be Web-based; no additional software to be downloaded (Joost’s biggest flaw)
  • (more importantly) Support advertising rather than charging for downloads. Hulu has only professional content, and advertisers love it. … Hulu now offers content from more than 110 partners. Plus, people watching tend to sit still, whereas people listening tend to move.

The problem with web 2.0 crowds: imitative!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I attended a talk by David Sumpter on “How animal groups make decisions” (hosted by Max Reuter). David is a mathematician working on self-organisation and decision-making based on simple rules. His team looked at behavioral rules that explain, for example, how birds fly together.

My take-away from his talk: Group decision-making may be better than individual decision-making ONLY if each member of the group takes decision indepedently. Indeed, idependence is one of the four elements to form a wise crowd. Alas, I think that social prejudices make it impossible to reach independent decisions in our society. Does this suggest the end of the wisdom of crowds?

Few scribble notes:


User-Controlled Metadata for Portable Content

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

This paper proposes that digital content’s metadata should not be retained by a specific company but should be part of the content itself- for example, tags on a picture should not only be stored by Flickr but should be attached to the picture itself. The result is that the picture is portable onto websites other than Flickr. Two additional points:


Potential for Internet Video Monetization

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

In this position paper, Shashi Seth of Youtube suggested that his company can and should make money from ads – “The potential for Video monetization is clearly there – just a matter of when”. He makes two interesting points:

  • U.S. online video consumers are more likely to view video on weekdays than on the weekend (peak viewing 5:00-8:00 P.M. on weekdays). This opens up some amazing doors when you consider that this slot is adjacent to Television primetime. Wouldn’t advertisers want a multi-channel campaign approach and supplement their TV campaigns with campaign on Internet Video?
  • 80 percent of online video users accepted the presence of advertising as a trade-off for providing free online video content.

mobile 2.0 and profits: proximity marketing to the rescue

Friday, November 14th, 2008

A while back we wrote an article (pdf) in which we pointed out that, by retaining user data on their Internet servers, mobile web 2.0 companies are not making any profit. In the excerpt below “Unlocking the Tapestry“, we were purposely controversial – enjoy it ;-).  Still, the question of how mobile web 2.0 companies will make money is  open to debate. The conventional answer is that those companies may capitalize on electronic ads. How to spread ads in a distributed way? Companies such as HyperTag and BlueMedia are already offering proximity marketing solutions (delicious). Another good reason to decentralize web 2.0 services!

2.2 Unlocking the Tapestry … (from pdf)


Selected start-ups at Mobile 2.0

Monday, October 20th, 2008

[Cool video on the aka-aki website]

  • aka-aki (Germany) – focuses on Proximity Networking, as in mobile social networking with Bluetooth-sensing capabilities.
  • Dial2Do (Ireland) – Dial2Do lets you do common tasks by just calling a number and speaking.
  • Nimbuzz (Netherlands) – Mobile IM and Text Message Service.
  • Rummble (UK) – a location based discovery tool and social search platform.
  • Seesmic (USA) – a video service mimicking and aggregating your favorite web products.
  • Zipipop (Finland) – a start-up that is developing Zipiko, a mobile service for sorting your social life on the go.
  • Wubud (UK) – Wubud allows you to take your social network in your back pocket everywhere you go.

Weaving a Web of Trust

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Jennifer wrote a piece (which is well worth reading) in Science Magazine: “Increasingly, people are studying social and collaborative Web technologies for use in science. However, issues such as privacy, confidentiality, and trust arise around the use of these technologies. Science is crucially based on knowing provenance–who produced what, how and where–and on the Web, trusting scientific information is becoming more difficult for both scientists and the general public. User-generated content, even from professionals, can be opinionated (both informed and uninformed), inaccurate, and deceiving.” More.

Talks @ OII

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Two interesting upcoming events at the Oxfor Internet Institute:

  • 23 September: Tracking the Internet into the 21st Century (Tuesday , 11:00 – 12:00)
    by Vint Cerf! Chief Internet Evangelist for Google
  • 20 October: Making Sense of YouTube (Monday, 15:00 – 16:00)
    by Jean Burgess
    “This presentation reports on a recent study of YouTube that relied principally on a survey of 4300 of the most ‘popular’ videos… The analysis produced new knowledge about the extent of particular uses of the platform (such as vlogging, political commentary, or the ‘distribution’ of broadcast content); and the relationship between different modes of ‘audience’ engagement (commenting, responding, rating) and particular content genres. “

Semantic- Social Networks

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Here is a very interesting talk (Slides+Audio) by Story Henry a researcher at Sun Microsystems interested in the Semantic Web and Social Networks.

Henry gave this presentation at JavaOne 2008, and at the Internet Identity Workshop and the Data Sharing Summit in Mountain View this May.

The slides cover data portability between Social Networks, linked data, foaf (Friend Of A Friend project), security in distributed social networks, OpenId, they demo a real semantic Address Book written in Java, explain how it works,  SPARQL (a query language for the semantic Web), introduce one to rules, and give some ideas as to what a semantic desktop will look like…

You can view it here:



StoryBank – using mobiles to share stories in an Indian village

Friday, July 18th, 2008

StoryBank (website, description): EPSRC project for a rural village in India.

Idea: Villagers make short stories of up to six images and a two-minute audio track on the phones. They can then go to the village’s community centre and upload their content to the StoryBank – a large touch screen display.  Stories that have been featured include: how to grow rice, local crops, sheep rearing, the medicinal uses of plants,  beauty tips, mythical stories, songs and, in one case, pictures and descriptions of a student’s best paintings.

We have large screen displays (one at the entrance and few in offices/labs). Are we missing the village?

Mobile social networking on the rise

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

“Almost half (44%) of UK mobile phone subscribers belong to an online social network and of this group, 25% use their handset for social networking-related activities”. Nielsen