What’s Your Daily Digital Diet?

Each day we seem to add yet another device, application or website to our menu of favourite (or most useful) digital items. It’s as if we consume them in our hunger for the next-new thing. But our digital diet changes over time – sometimes on a daily basis, with one new application supplanting another. Think Foursquare during a conference. Then think Twitter back at the office.

John Johnston compiled a list of digital devices that he uses on a daily basis. A number of people have shared their digital diet in the comments. But because it is such an interesting idea, I thought I’d publish my own list and then track it over time using a new Digital Diet category. So from time to time I can track how my daily digital diet changes. It may give me a sense of the trends as they occur. Time will tell.

Here’s what I use daily:

Lenovo T60 Notebook Desktop PC
BlackBerry Pearl Canon 450D Camera
Xenyx 502 Mixer Logitech webcam
Dell Mini Netbook with inbuilt 3G Gmail
Google Apps (mostly docs) Saasu
iTunes Skype
Adobe Connect Facebook
TweetDeck PeopleBrowsr
Outlook Live Writer
Microsoft Office Google Chrome
Twitter TwitterBerry
WordPress Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Acrobat Adobe Dreamweaver
MyPhpAdmin YouTube
Feedly Flickr
Canon MP560 Printer TiVo
JVC video camera Union XR bike computer

There are other things that I use, though not EVERY day. What about you?

My Kiva Experience – What Brands Can Learn About Value and Re-value

I have been interested in all things “micro” for some time. I am fascinated by the emergence of micro-blogging, micro-celebrity, micro-innovation, micro-interactions, micro-transactions and specifically, micro-finance. I think all of these things will have an impact (or are already impacting) on brands and the way that we do business. Leading the way, in this respect is Kiva, the micro-finance organisation that is changing the lives of people every single day.

Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. It combines goodwill/charity with a direct and identifiable impact on a person, family or group. What I like about Kiva is that they are focusing on changing how we FEEL about charitable acts by changing our BEHAVIOUR. Instead of “donating” you “invest” in an entrepreneur who wants to productively use your investment to build/establish a business, grow or expand their current business or resource a need that is preventing successful business operation.

When an entrepreneur (or group) propose a project and request a loan, individuals (like you and me) can help finance that project one investment unit at a time. You effectively create a portfolio of micro-investments $25 at a time. And, of course, as the project matures and is successful, the loan is repaid.

One of the genius elements of the Kiva process is that you are then able to RELOAN the repaid amounts. So as your investment is repaid into a credit on your Kiva account, you can choose to recycle it into other entrepreneurial projects.

My approach has been to match each repayment with an equal or greater “investment”. So far this approach has seen me make 13 loans to people all over the world – from Guatamala to Nigeria to the Philippines (and many places in between). There has been 0% default and 0% delinquency. Two have been totally repaid and another nine are being repaid.

The Kiva business model leverages the trend towards slacktivism – the feel-good act that requires minimal personal effort. The interesting aspect of this is the network effect – that once a series of these micro-interactions are aggregated and channelled, a real-world impact takes place. The real power lies not in the micro-transactions but in the network effect.

Social media is often used for marketing purposes, but the principles, practises and opportunities can extend so much further into your business. Kiva is but one example. It’s time to think about your brand in ways that re-frame the notion of “value” and “giving”. And take a lesson from Kiva – it’s not just the VALUE that is important – it’s the RE-VALUE.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies

Regular readers will know that I am against the plan to censor access to the internet here in Australia. It’s not that I don’t agree with some of the root issues – but that I think it’s far more effective and beneficial to educate not just the kids who are now beginning to access the web, but their parents as well.

As reported by Whitney Edwards recently, a number of high school students were suspended for hacking their Department of Education issued laptops. Despite what I expect would be quality system based controls and underlying technologies, these breaches demonstrate the importance of educating for BEHAVIOUR not mandating rules. After all, trying to stop people from doing something (especially those prone to pushing the envelope or experimenting with their skills/capabilities) often appears to be a red rag to a bull.

This morning Eliza Cussen shares the top 10 internet filter lies that have been pushed by filter proponents (the chief of whom is Senator Stephen Conroy). Read the whole article here. The lies, in order of appearance are:

Lie # 1: The filter will help in the fight against child pornography.

Lie # 2: The filter won’t slow connection speeds.

Lie #3: Conroy’s filter will stop your kids viewing harmful stuff online.

Lie #4: The filter has been proven in Government trials.

Lie #5: This plan is no different to what is already done with books and films.

Lie #6: The ISP filter is similar to ones in other Western democracies.

Lie #7: The filter will not make the internet more expensive.

Lie #8: If you’re anti mandatory filtering you’re pro child porn.

Lie #9: The filter would be impenetrable.

Lie #10: An ISP filter is the best option out there.

So tell me. Do you believe the lies? Do you believe the responses? Like any complex problem – there is no simple solution, but education and empowerment are the way forward.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

I have been a little busy pulling together the next Age of Conversation book, so have missed this little Monday ritual. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some sensational blog writing out there (or that I haven’t been at least skim reading it) – far from it. So in an attempt to, as Madonna would say, “get into the groove” again, here are five must-read posts from last week. You’re going to love them all!

  1. Mack Collier explains that with blogging, it’s not all about new ideas. Sometimes the best thing you can do is add your view, your context and more value to something that is already “out there”. We call it incremental innovation.
  2. Not exactly last week, but the Pew Internet survey report on Understanding the Participatory News Consumer contains some great stats and some analysis about changes in consumer behaviour. 
  3. Angela Dunn shares a presentation on Social Networks Around the World by Steven Van Belleghem. There are statistics, charts and maps.
  4. I love this one! Tom Hinks takes a big stick to the practice of marketing by the numbers, suggesting that “we don’t need a call to action, we need an intervention”. While I love what the stats can reveal to us all, it’s the revelation that interests me, not the data. Does this cancel out the previous two posts?
  5. Mel Exon shares an interview the founder of A Developing Story – a brilliant site that publishes news stories from developing countries.

Introducing the Age of Conversation 3 Authors

AoC3 It has taken some time to come together, but the new book, Age of Conversation 3: It’s time to get busy!, is in its final stages. Very soon you will be able to purchase it directly from Amazon or a number of other online book stores. The new cover, as you can see on the left, was designed by Chris Wilson. And our new site, was designed and built by Craig Wilson and the hard working team at Sticky Advertising.

We’re excited to be at this stage of the process. The quality of thinking throughout the book is of the highest calibre – as would be expected from such an illustrious group. The authors who have contributed to this year’s edition are:

Adam Joseph Priyanka Sachar Mark Earls
Cory Coley-Christakos Stefan Erschwendner Paul Hebert
Jeff De Cagna Thomas Clifford Phil Gerbyshak
Jon Burg Toby Bloomberg Shambhu Neil Vineberg
Joseph Jaffe Uwe Hook Steve Roesler
Michael E. Rubin anibal casso Steve Woodruff
Steve Sponder Becky Carroll Tim Tyler
Chris Wilson Beth Harte Tinu Abayomi-Paul
Dan Schawbel Carol Bodensteiner Trey Pennington
David Weinfeld Dan Sitter Vanessa DiMauro
Ed Brenegar David Zinger Brett T. T. Macfarlane
Efrain Mendicuti Deb Brown Brian Reich
Gaurav Mishra Dennis Deery C.B. Whittemore
Gordon Whitehead Heather Rast Cam Beck
Hajj E. Flemings Joan Endicott Cathryn Hrudicka
Jeroen Verkroost Karen D. Swim Christopher Morris
Joe Pulizzi Leah Otto Corentin Monot
Karalee Evans Leigh Durst David Berkowitz
Kevin Jessop Lesley Lambert Duane Brown
Peter Korchnak Mark Price Dustin Jacobsen
Piet Wulleman Mike Maddaloni Ernie Mosteller
Scott Townsend Nick Burcher Frank Stiefler
Steve Olenski Rich Nadworny John Rosen
Tim Jackson Suzanne Hull Len Kendall
Amber Naslund Wayne Buckhanan Mark McGuinness
Caroline Melberg Andy Drish Oleksandr Skorokhod
Claire Grinton Angela Maiers Paul Williams
Gary Cohen Armando Alves Sam Ismail
Gautam Ramdurai B.J. Smith Tamera Kremer
Eaon Pritchard Brendan Tripp Adelino de Almeida
Jacob Morgan Casey Hibbard Andy Hunter
Julian Cole Debra Helwig Anjali Ramachandran
Jye Smith Drew McLellan Craig Wilson
Karin Hermans Emily Reed David Petherick
Katie Harris Gavin Heaton Dennis Price
Mark Levy George Jenkins Doug Mitchell
Mark W. Schaefer Helge Tenno Douglas Hanna
Marshall Sponder James Stevens Ian Lurie
Ryan Hanser Jenny Meade Jeff Larche
Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher David Svet Jessica Hagy
Simon Payn Joanne Austin-Olsen Mark Avnet
Stanley Johnson Marilyn Pratt Mark Hancock
Steve Kellogg Michelle Beckham-Corbin Michelle Chmielewski
Amy Mengel Veronique Rabuteau Peter Komendowski
Andrea Vascellari Timothy L Johnson Phil Osborne
Beth Wampler Amy Jussel Rick Liebling
Eric Brody Arun Rajagopal Dr Letitia Wright
Hugh de Winton David Koopmans Aki Spicer
Jeff Wallace Don Frederiksen Charles Sipe
Katie McIntyre James G Lindberg & Sandra Renshaw David Reich
Lynae Johnson Jasmin Tragas Deborah Chaddock Brown
Mike O’Toole Jeanne Dininni Iqbal Mohammed
Morriss M. Partee Katie Chatfield Jeff Cutler
Pete Jones Riku Vassinen Jeff Garrison
Kevin Dugan Tiphereth Gloria Mike Sansone
Lori Magno Valerie Simon Nettie Hartsock
Mark Goren Peter Salvitti

A Cup of Chaos #30 – Chatroulette

I haven’t done a cup of chaos for a while – not that there is any less chaos out there – it’s just that there are not enough hours in the day. But I found this great introduction to Chatroulette (via Aden Hepburn) and thought it might just help out those folks behind a firewall. Here’s what you can expect – guys, girls and perverts (watch the video for the statistical breakdown).

chat roulette from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

Resonance Agents

I am working on a project at the moment which has influence at the very centre of its strategy. But as soon as we mention the word “influence” it brings a whole hierarchy of associations along for the ride. For example, I’m sure that you, reading this, have already leaped ahead 10 steps – and that is the challenge. Many of you will have read Gladwell’s Tipping Point and will, no doubt, be thinking about the way that a small number of influencers can create the kind of network effect that drives consumer behaviour. But as I have written previously, when it comes to social or digital strategy (in particular), we can’t just focus on reaching the tipping point. We need to go well beyond this – to impact behaviour, create lasting and beneficial change and deliver against business and organisational objectives.

Yet, in doing so, we have no choice but to work with “influencers” – after all, we are working with people, not numbers. I was reminded of this great post, Curating Resonant Agents, by Katie Chatfield on the work of Duncan Watts, and the presentation that came along with it. Take a read, it provides a context for the type of thinking you will need to undertake to be able to apply the concept of influence to your business or brand.

iCitizen 2008: Duncan Watts

View more presentations from Resource Interactive.


So, where does this leave us? I like Katie’s focus on resonance. When Stanford’s Eric Sun conducted research into Facebook “dispersion chains” – the length of connections through which a message/story would travel across a cluster of connections – he found that resonance and resonance agents are important. More important than sheer numbers. Influence, it seems, does not accrue to a particular person or even a particular group of people – certainly not, at least, when you are focusing on changing behaviour. Influence accrues to those resonance agents willing, able and (perhaps) predisposed towards sharing that message/story.

Where do you find them? Clearly they are not the people with the loudest voices. They are those individuals who facilitate the “weak links” between clusters. They are the connectors. And they sit in the cubicle next to you. They are often, as non-descript as a face in the crowd. How do you find them? You just have to listen.

Be Your Brand’s Blood Transfusion – 30 Second MBA

We are all time poor. We skim RSS feeds rather than reading blogs. We prowl Twitter in search of answers rather than searching on our own (much to Google’s chagrin). And we look for simple answers to complex questions. And while there is much to be lamented in this, there is something deliciously inspiring about Fast Company’s 30 Second MBA site.

One of my favourites is this short segment from CK Prahalad – focus on sustainabilty as a framework for innovation – but there are plenty of other videos on a range of business subjects. Sure, these segments won’t qualify you for an MBA, but they will get you on the path to thinking about your business, organisation or brand in a new way. And there’s not a business around that doesn’t need that – even truly innovative organisations need a blood transfusion from time to time.

But the question remains. Who is the person who brings that blood transfusion to your business?

eCitizen Kane – The Digital Citizens Forum

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of social media – or the emergence of the “social web” is the challenge that it presents to our sense of self – our identities as individuals, professionals, bloggers and amateur photographers. It provides opportunities for us to broadcast (podcasting), create movies (youtube) and publish (blogs/self published books) and so on. The power to create, distribute, filter and contextualise information has never before been in the hands of so many – this is what I call simple social media – though it is anything BUT simple in its execution.

It is the fragmenting or multiplying of identity that was explored this time last week at the inaugural Digital Citizens forum here in Sydney. Those who attended were treated to a truly open conversation, artfully curated by Bronwen Clune and panelled by visiting US lawyer Adrian Dayton (Social Media for Lawyers), Sam North (Ogilvy PR), Damian Damjanovski (BMF), and Renai LeMay (Delimiter).

The conversation jumped from panellist to panellist and out into the audience in a lively debate covering questions of law, ethics, identity, trust and copyright/intellectual property. There was some nice give and take, with some members of the audience taking the travelling microphone and debating points, raising questions and challenging not just the panel but the whole room. It was a lively topic and an appreciative crowd.

At times I expected a Citizen Kane style response, “You don’t realise you are speaking to two people” – with panellists contradicting themselves and audience members clearly enjoying the sense of theatre and opportunity for debate.

It is always difficult to know what to expect with any event like this – but there is no doubt that smaller, more intimate events like these are challenging the larger scale event/conferences. After all, at a certain point, we all have a desire to move beyond the hyperbole of the keynote and the blinding flash of never ending metrics. Social media is, after all, social. That means it will be inexact, moody and potentially mocking. These features are why many businesses find social media challenging – but in an event format – it makes social media compelling.

If you have a client who you want to “get” social media, the Digital Citizens events may well be the best introduction you could offer. It’s the cocktail party normally reserved for Twitter – just with people in the flesh. Mr Thatcher may never understand – but it’s a different world now. It’s the world of eCitizen Kane.

A Perfect Gift from Blurb

Self publishing is one of the amazing developments of the “social web”. Not only can we simply and easily share insights, analysis, stories, poems, movies, music or any other types of creative work – thanks to applications like Blurb.com, we can also turn these into publications – books, calendars and so on.

I have been involved in a number of collaborations that bridge the digital and offline worlds. There has been the marketing focused Age of Conversation books, my own self publishing efforts around blogging, and most recently, The Perfect Gift for a Man.

The Perfect Gift for a Man was a book that Mark Pollard and I edited and published through Blurb. But when it came to promoting the book, there was nothing that made it easy for us to share the book across the web (we ended up creating our own image based widget). Now, Blurb is trialling a new widget that allows you to embed, share, preview and buy books directly from your blog. I think it’s a huge and much needed improvement. Here it is below: