Blogging to learn

Learning through Blogging: Graduate Student Experiences:
Robert Davison, an Associate Professor of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong, has found blogs to be an essential tool even in the traditional graduate-level classroom. Among the benefits: On blogs, students tend to document that which is understood tacitly, and often learn from each other through reading and commenting on entries.

This article details some of the same ideas I have been driving towards. Blogs help make tacit information explicit. It helps shy people gain a voice. It provides a way to communicate in a novel fashion. In this setting, it elevates a study group onto the web, enhancing its ability to teach students.

GSP – distributed net

DiSo & The Web Citizen: Distributed Social Networking Starts Here

Chris Messina

discussed previous communities (Civic SPace; Flock; BarCamp; OpenID)

social networking is not about the ads; lots of friends you never meet; forced friendships.

so try distributed models.. first social networks had niches (mySpace, Facebook, Linkedin)

Each system required you to create yourself each time. Lots of repretition. So have system-centric views of use. leads to hypervaluations. users not the same as customers. users are ants. customers have friends, perhaps in the State Dept. (good laugh).

want to make it citizen-centric. his example: each transit system in San Francisco are system specific. How to get from San Fran to San Jose, must go through different websites and systems. want to have a single system.

who is the web citizen? they have identity, they have provenance. they have friends with identity and provenance. has agency – people have choice. can move data, friends, etc. somewhere else.

a distributed social network – identify where you come from. place to live. manage it from one place. web services subscribe to me, not other way around. If I change address, I should only have to push that out once.

Flexible permissioning. if I only have to update One site, more likely I will make sure data is up to date.

challenges – how do you find friends? hard on open web. maintain interface fidelity. (i.e. Firefox and add-ons). makes interface less intuitive. upgrading a problem.

components of DiSo site – activities. create easily used interface of life. display friends. more than email address. messages and notifications. make it easy. filtering hue number of unread messages across different sites. groups. grouping is ad hoc coming together (GSP is an example).

identity needs to be consolidated. technologies that exist today – openid. microformats. OAuth. atom (

current status – started in december. starting with wordpress.

GSP – panel of widgets

Widget Strategies & Social Platforms

Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester Research), Hooman Radfar (Clearspring Technologies, Inc.), Walker Fenton(NewsGator), Pam Webber (Widgetbox), Ben Pashman (Gigya)

Jeremiah – moderator. 2/3 of online teens visit social networking sites daily. only 8% use them daily. what do they do? see frends are up to; send messages; peeping at somsone’s profile that don’t know; look for someone that do know.

nothing says anything about money.

challenges – difficult to monetize. metrics; spammy; lots of clones; multiple APIs; poor user experience.

Jeremiah – give a simple description of yor niche.
Hooman – connect users and advertisers.
Walker – a kitchen. aggregator.
Pam – ‘colorme mine’. build your own widget.
Ben – spine within a growing body.

measurement and ROI – no industry std. Hooman – can get some of it technically (click throughs, etc.) but therer is education gap to connect with metrics already used by companies.. “How does it measure up to flyers and coupons?” Can see direct bump up when use coupon. How do online approaches do this?

challenges for branding (consumers own brand, not company) – many things can not be done online. Pam talked about difficulties. “Do not want to have brand on specific web site” can not easily be done. Better to evangelize the brand by giving users the ability. can try to prevent general types (i.e. X-rated sites) but at end of the day, it is in user’s control.

Ben – for some brands do not need help getting out (porshe) but how do smaller groups find out if anyone is using their widget. can’t be easily one virally. try doing with advertising unit. low clickthrough.

Hooman – how do you make money? 2 distinct markets – social market (facebook) – traditional (banners, etc.) build CPI network..

this requires standardization to work. widget lives on other sites so who owns money. some people want just distribution. some want money. how to reconcile. CPI (cost per impression) also called CPM

Strategy is dependent on goal. do you want them to look at it or to install. need to define market objective. Then design widgets for use. Walker – define what top 2 things your website is for. Then design widgets that allow them to take it away.

Biggest misconception – Pam – need to really understand website. so putting ebay widget on Facebook not relaly useful since most people do not go to FB to buy things. better widget will drive traffic. Ben – if you build it, they will come. Mixing desktop widget with social software. Does your widget live up to the “make my day” question. Does it make people smile and want to send it out to friends? If so, it is useful.

GSP – panel on feeds

Social Networks & the NEED for FEEDS

Sean Ammirati (mSpoke / ReadWriteWeb), Ian Kennedy (Yahoo!), Bret Taylor (FriendFeed), Kevin Marks (Google), David Recordon (Six Apart).

I’m not sure who is who but it is a nice discussion.

difference between email (where immediacy is important) and blogs (where response is much more leisurely. Public vs. private approaches. what is in feed should be public or not?

lots of info is public in technical sense but not in a useful fashion. by making flickr photos open to all lowes rebroadcast of them in huge fashion. but this means levels of privacy need to be controlled.That is, it should not be easy for someone to easily release all sorts of important private information by accident [as in email and reply all]

Users need to have control or they will not use it. Uploading photos need to be included also. FB can pull in my newsfeeds but makes it impossible for users to tell others what they are doing [like twitter?]

technical issues becoming a problem. FB made choices that it may have top adjust. i.e. flickr allows users to make photos public in ways that fb does not.

sites are getting better at granularizing privacy. adding layers becomes complex. contacts change (i.e. leaving a business) so how does apps reflect this. so starting early and simple. then add more as needed.

adam – kevin marks (microformats). how do you remove supes (i.e. photos on flickr, twitter, etc.) needs for consistent look. media rss 9diffferent thumbnails, etc.)

GSP – Charities and Social networks

Giving Good Poke: Using Social Apps & Media for Social Causes – Beth Kanter

Her slides.

Lots of interesting ways to raise money. (Beth’s blog). used social networks to raise money. What gets through to donars and what annoys them. Has done this 3 times.

Sharing Foundations (raised $93,000!). Used America’s giving challenge. 1 individual to get most unique donars. 50 days. Dec 13 at 3 PM. She opened her Kimono (asked her community to help. Possible downside overwhelmed by huge upside. Good ideas beat possble cheaters.)

Strategy – Make it personal (shared experience, etc.). She cares about Cambodia because her children come from Cambodia. expalin whoy I care about the cause.

remake ladder of engagement (check out slide when it comes online.) Stories become very important. Talked about children, donors, examples of how people engaged, make getting on bus something people want to do.

Used stories to engage individual needs. makes story useful to user outside of specific request.

build relationship. reward people (especially new people). working on how to reward. reciprocity (asker and usrer need to connect. write about other causes. give to others. etc.

connect with others who can be part of campaign. (she used CC. she supported them before so they helped her.)

use social netowrks to help connect (found cambodian who wanted to be a lawyer. connected with CC)

fun and passion are important.

put up birthday and mentioned sending money. social networking sent it all out. asked 51 people to donate $10 for her 51st birthday. used all her social network tech (twitter, flickr, blog, youtube) to make it viral.

then summarized it all on blog. had >250 givers. Still had 20 days left. continued using blog to tell stories. lots of networking going on that she did not have any prior knowledge of. then used twwitter rally. tried to get largest as rapidly. used twitter a lot to get quick messages. raised money this way very fast.

used face to face also.

in 1st place with 24 hours left. had to fly to TX. offline for 6 hours. left in 2nd landed in 5th. through all out effort to network – asking for help from everyone in network to help. twitter would not let her lose. everyone in her network helped.

twittered last hour. ended up winning. raised $50,000

then say thank you in creative fashion.

[WOW, really passionate speaker/ uniques insights. I have been tracking her blog for a while and it is very useful for non-profits.]

GSP – Facebook marketing and brands

Your Business on Facebook: Facebook Marketing 101 – Rodney Rumford

Average time online – online 20 minutes a day.

FB core is as a communication platform. Need to leverage WOMA. low cost acquisition of client. Acquire customers easily.

Use for lead generation. extend brand. allocate funds for extension and experimentation. use targeted ads, beacon, paid groups. guerilla marketing. This takes time and transparencies.

need very specific and cohesive strategy. half assed approaches do not work well.

microtouch – can play game online and gives way to start new communication. easier and quicker than real life communication.

Where I’ve Been – 65K users each day. opportunity for relevant brands and relevancy.

Sponsored groups. Firefox – 25K members. spread its influence.

Facebook ads – very specific targeting of ads. much better discussion of why it is useul and relevant rather than just targeting at. not very high click-through rates. [I hate use of TARGET. need better marketing ;-)

better if ad has friend;s face on it. [but need to make this user permission given rather than by FB]

Are pages better than a group? Better control and branding when it is small number.

3rd party Ad networks – Adknowledge. asychronous gaming is a possibility, like Zynga and SGN.

Need to make sure there is a definition of success. What is FB? is a problem when dealing with decision makers.

lowering number forced invites is a good thing. feel free to friend him on FB.

GSP: Stanford FB App class

Ten Million in Ten Weeks: What Stanford Learned Building Facebook Apps
I just listened to most of this (no notetaking) because it was just an incredible story. some good lessons. Many crummy trials better than deep thinking. Students that shared the most were also at top of lists of apps.

Generated close to $1 million in revenue, several companies started, etc.

Novelty is not best approach. Sometimes best to copy what is out there. Today’s metrics are not the best.

You can LEARN to create a winning app. many stanford’s teams were successful.

Used chaos cycle – trials, evaluate, assets, inspire, trials. Faster could run cycle, faster reached peak. like evolution.

Mass interpersonal persuasion now possible. Created $10 million in value in 10 weeks.

GSP LiveBlog:Facebook

Here are slides for Charlene Li’s talk this morning (The Future of Social Networks) when I had no power for my computer.

Overview of Facebook Platform

First seminar where I have power is from Facebook. MySpace was this morning and I will have to transcribe my notes later.

There is a big difference so far between MySpace and Facebook presentations. Both discussed developers, since there are a lot at this meetings. But MySpace talked about how advertisers could “target AT” the user. While Facebook discussed much more how the user would be affected.

Taking about viral distribution rather than specific TARGETING. May be the same idea but terminology is different.

Talked about developer starting costs. Talked about multiple languages. Users can post best translation. Let users help to get translation and localize. [nice idea] Harness international users. [seems to me that you could then find best translators and pay them then. Permits monetizing being a good translator.]

Finding ways to leverage friends without having one to one. Makes one to many much easier. at least to 2nd level. But also need to make it easier for 3rd level. really see this with charities. [I need to do this with SBLFoundation].

Facebook photos is most prominent app in world. But it is simple. Look at development of other world class applications. (sports, religion, etc.).

Will be releasing commerce functionality. like credit cards. so once a user permits it, a developer can access and use credit cards (one click purchase) through Facebook. Further USER experience, [not just Target.]

Example: take IQ test using FB app. but before can get results have to provide 5 friends to app. Users do not like this at all. so forced invite will be reported to prevent this. It hurts long term development by doing this. FB wants positive feedback loop.

FB wants to make platforms frictionless.