Monday, September 15, 2008

Social media and online technology: This is nothing (and something) to spit at

Before I get to the spitting, here's the quote of the day: "Would the conversation have been as lively — or occurred at all — if everyone knew their bosses, customers and colleagues were watching?"

3 fascinating articles in the New York Times:

1. decides to launch "community" comments on all its online articles for its million online paid subscribers. So you actually know the credentials of those who are posting because it requires real identity. How's that for a novel idea - no more pretend experts and a real idea about who it is who is providing advice and insight. Notable details: a) notes that Fast Company magazine found its readers actually didn't want conversation; b) WSJ working with Facebook and LinkedIn to develop "portable profiles"; c) concern that it will be so "proper" that won't get participation; and d) it's the "bosses, customers and colleagues" who "might be watching" that likely keep the masses from posting comments on sites.

2. (Free) Online textbooks. With a daughter in college, this topic always gets my attention. Especially since she only paid $179 for mainly online books this semester (compared with the $700/year I paid at her high school for books.) Notable details: a) professors can make $100k advance for authoring a text that then sells for $200/book; b) you can be successful both ways - allowing free downloads and cutting a deal with print on demand vendors (for $11 -$59/copy); c) expanded use of Creative Commons license that allows students and teachers to "mash up" material as long as they give original author credit; and d) reality that most books will still have an authorship model.

3. "Spit Party" - DNA results with added social media connections. You'd have to read it to believe it. A party where people spit into test tubes and then share their DNA results and connect in social media with others predisposed to certain things (... "You are invited to join the group Slow Caffeine Metabolizers.") Sheesh. And I thought pictures of partying association executives posted on the web were going to get people into trouble with their members and potential future employers. How about sharing your DNA results with the world or your social media BFFs? And there's a concept of "confidential sharing" of results. Right. And reminiscent of high school genetics class, you'll learn Barry Diller can't roll his tongue, but Anderson Cooper can twirl his "into a complicated four-leaf clover". That is now my forever image of Anderson. I'm mad I read this article.

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