Demonstrating trackbacks

16 09 2009

So this is how it works.

I like your post so I post a link back to your site. Then you should get an email that I’ve made a trackback reference to your wonderful work.

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Garbage in, garbage out

22 10 2008

Years ago, way back in 1992 I believe, when I built my first FileMaker data base, a programmer friend of mind told me to be sure the field I was creating would be ones I’d use and relevant to what I’d be looking for later on. Why? Because…”Garbage in, garbage out.”

I’ve built and architected numerous databases since then and this message has been the baseline for each and everyone. The closer I toe the line on what can be garbage, the more successful the end result. At the same time, training people to use the database once it’s built, is the second key to keeping it out of the grabage heap.

So why am I talking about such old technology today?

Well, today so much content on the web is “User Generated”. Yes, we’re all users, but UGC comes mostly from people who are not professional data gatheres and don’t understand the implications of mis-labelling or omitting a label on something. That’s fine, why should we expect everyone to know this about data?

BUT… but I just got a reminder of why it is important. Search. A new serach tool just brought me back to web serach as it was 10 years ago. OK, so it’s really nothing more than a gimick. However, the results this engine delivers are pretty bad. Junk, garbage, call it what you will but I only got a 10th of the results one should expect.

School classes on tagging and content labeling? Facebook cources maybe? It sure would be sad to turn back the clock here.





Latest Trend in Social Networking … ads!

13 10 2008

So this is good news for me I suppose. My clients have forever been asking how to leverage social media for business purposes. Now the answer just got a little easier, or at least we’ve gotten to something they can understand – ads.

It’s far more difficult to convince companies that just having a conversation or engaging interaction with their customers is a good thing. They want to see the money not the feel good intangible. Well, not all agree on this point, there are many companies who understand that good communication with their customers builds strong relationships. But the thing is in economically strained times, the number crunchers tend to opt for the measurable.

The business world has been asking how these sites could sustain themselves and of course it was only a matter of time before the obvious came true. MySpaceAds announced October 12, Twittads still new, Facebook ads gaining ground, YouTube sponsored videos… the list grows daily.

This reminds me of my days at Concordia University, debating the evils of advertising as a means of sustaining news papers. The good, the bad and the evil but at the end of the day we all pay for the services we like to use.





Killing Sound Bite Reporting

12 10 2008

Oh to be released from sound bite reporting and have the opportunity to have communicaiton that actually means something. Imagine all the wonderful ideas that don’t ever see the light of day because they take more than 30 seconds to explain.

With elections happening in both Canada and the US this fall, my evening news has turned into nothing more than 3 to 10 second clips of the people who are vying to lead one of these countries. If it can’t be said in such a short lapse, we don’t get to hear it. This just frustrated me. Is this why I’ve lost interest? I know that I can’t listen to everything that each has to say on the hot topics. It would be a lot easier if they just left all the negative stuff to the side, maybe we’d have time for a real conversation.

And it’s not just the PR handlers who are responsbile for the repetitive nonsense that’s spewed. The national news casts are competing in a media saturated world. They have to try to catch our attention in the midst of all the other things we’ve got going on in our lives. So they go for the hit that can be played over and over … even by the other networks. Ugh.

It seems like we should be getting better value on the web, on sites where the candidates have the opportunity to offer us something more substantial. But no, the various Facebook et. al pages don’t really want us to learn or communicate on much other than those 20 second clips.

Well for contests that are all about numbers, the news networks and candidates seem to want us to pay attention and for US to give THEM the numbers – but they can hardly give us the time of day… okay, that they can do, it only takes a few seconds.





Cancelling Copyright or Capping Creativity

8 11 2007

Finding a balance.

An ongoing argument/ discussion with an American lawyer friend about copyright and the current cultural trend of transforming existing copyrighted works. YouTube is filled with video mashups of music and video that has been transformed from it’s original creative intent. Much of this is intended to pay homage to the original creation, some transformations put unusual twists on the work.

Here is a presentation on the topic at TED. And then again there is this organization which promotes such creative freedom.

Smarter people than I will figure this out but everyday I ponder how this might work out. I want it to. I want the freedom to be able to mashup my own take on something using the cultural tools of my day. Still, I don’t want to send artists to the welfare lines because they can’t earn enough money publishing their music in to pay rent.





Facebook’s new ad network is it spywear?

8 11 2007

If Facebook is going to be pimping my profile page, going to use their knowledge of what I’m doing on the site to place ads for partners, shouldn’t I get a cut of the revenue? Why am I feeling very wary of this development? I understand behavioral marketing. But this project is setting off alarm bells for me – me as a user of FB that is.

The Beacon Project as it is known, aims to leverage the way social networks work in a new and potentially revolutionary way by extending the reach of social networks into consumers’ daily Web-based lives. Facebook Ads launched with three parts:

  1. a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences;
  2. an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads™;
  3. and an interface to gather insights into people’s activity on Facebook that marketers care about.

The first part is logical and I have no problem with this at all. I like to know when I’m interacting with a company. It’s at point 2 that things start to get a little murky. Sure being a “fan-sumer” for brands that I have a good relationship with is not a problem… but will all the ads look like ads and how exactly will my behavioral information be used. I don’t really want to know everything that all my “friends” are doing as they interact with advertisers.





Finding Inspiration & Fighting Stagnation

7 11 2007

It’s all well and good to be a creative sort but every now and again inspiration is difficult to find & we get caught up in old unproductive habits. One of the wonderful things about Web 2.0 is that you can find others living the same thing as you… and together find ways to inspire and advance your art, hobby and well… have fun.

Strictly speaking, a message board or forum is not a Web 2.0 site but there is certainly plenty of social networking going on. In fact, the forums show only a small portion of what’s actually happening on a given site. Personal messaging and profile pages are the source of many a new social connection.

When it comes to photography my preferred inspiration site is FredMiranda.com. The mix of professionals and complete newbies on that site and the atmosphere whereby each and everyone is treated with respect is at the heart of this site’s success. The weekly assignment section receives, on average, 20+ submissions each week. It’s a treat to see someone post there for the first time – I have yet to take the plunge – the constructive criticism and support are well… inspiring.