The English National Opera's site for their production of Carmen is all 'Web 2.0' – they've made use of 'behind the scenes' video interviews and blog posts and there's also a Flickr group and Facebook profile. It's great to see this kind of experimentation, especially as it helps us all find out if there's an audience for this type of content and level of engagement, how sustainable that engagement is and on which platforms it works best. It also helps us learn how organisations react to this kind of direct engagement with their audiences – the comments on this post show that sometimes this can be a difficult relationship.
Interesource, the company who made the site said:
Carmen also features tagging, user comments and some beautifully rich video and audio that will turn the production inside out to provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes back story. We are also integrating with several external services such as Flickr, YouTube and Facebook that provide users with additional ways of participating. We’re going to bring the production to life online using ‘people media’ throughout the Social Web.
Common Craft have produced videos on RSS in Plain English, Social Bookmarking in Plain English, Wikis in Plain English and Social Networking in Plain English (via Groundswell)
Also worth a look, Google Code for Educators "provides teaching materials created especially for CS educators looking to enhance their courses with some of the most current computing technologies and paradigms". They say, "[w]e know that between teaching, doing research and advising students, CS educators have little time to stay on top of the most recent trends. This website is meant to help you do just that" and it looks like it might also be useful for busy professionals who want to try new technologies they don't get time to play with in their day jobs (via A Consuming Experience).
Also from A Consuming Experience, a report on a talk on "5 secrets of successful Web 2.0 businesses" at the June London Geek Dinner.
On a random note, I noticed that the BBC have added social bookmarking to their news site:
I wonder if this marks the 'mainstreaming' of social bookmarking.
A post from forrester.com on lessons for content on YouTube, and by extension on 'informal' online content generally. In summary, be sincere.
But first here are a few reasons why BlendTec succeeded — reasons you ought to pay attention to before trying it yourself:
- It's funny. It's visually arresting. It's short. These are three qualities your videos must possess. Here's another company that also succeeded with a visually arresting video: Ray-Ban.
- It's authentic. These guys are geeks. Wright told me the CEO — Tom Dickson, who's featured in the video — is an engineer. It comes across. This stuff ain't slick, folks, and if it were it wouldn't work. (I love the proud and cheesy smile while he watches his company's blender reduce some object to dust.)
- It's original. Figure out what your unique value is. Then film it and put it up there. Don't copy Blendtec, or Ray-Ban, or Dove. This may be the hardest part.
- It actually connects to the value of the product. You see these videos and you can't help saying "Can that blender really do that? Maybe I should get one." And many people do. You could be a hit on YouTube with a video that doesn't connect to the value of your product, but that will help your ego a lot more than your sales.
From willitblend.com: Speaking through YouTube, blogs.forrester.com.
Sometimes I think sincerity is regarded as daggy or unsophisticated, or just too simple to work; but I suspect it's part of the reason the participatory web has taken off.
There's a post on Museums and Social Networking Sites that is nicely timed given the 'should museums be on Facebook' discussions on the UK Museums Computer Group and Museum Computer Network mailing lists. I particularly liked the following:
[M]useums that venture haphazardly into the wilderness of social networking sites may end up looking stiff and frozen. Institutions need to enter these spaces with firm answers to these questions:
- What audience(s) are we trying to reach, and why?
- What information do we want to convey to these people?
- What actions do we want them to take?
- Demographically, where do these constituents congregate online?
- Do these virtual spaces provide the tools that will allow us to circulate our message?
- Do the sites then provide ways for users to circulate our message without too much futher effort from us–that is, do the sites allow for percolation, or will our message merely appear for a moment and then pass quickly from users' radar?
I would add, is it an appropriate space for instutitions or is it a personal space?
The post also points out one of the major problems with Facebook groups that's been irritating me for a while – they don't notify you of new content, whether as an RSS feed, Facebook notification or in email. The Groups page doesn't even order groups by those with the most recent wall or discussion posts. No wonder groups languish on Facebook – most seem to collect members easily, but hardly anyone actually posts any content on them. There are always barriers to participation on social software or reasons why more people lurk than post, but if people don't know new content has been added, they'll never respond. It's a step backwards to the world of checking to see if sites have new content – who does that now we have RSS?
And just because I like it: when xkcd and wikipedia collide.
I've put a rough and ready version of my paper from the UK museums and the web conference session on 'The Personal Web' online at Sharing authorship and authority: user generated content and the cultural heritage sector.
I missed this comCast report at the time (September 2006).
Leading User-Generated Content Sites See Exponential Growth in UK Visitors During the Past Year
“Web 2.0 is clearly architected for participation, as it attempts to harness the collective intelligence of Web users,” commented Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe. “Many of the sites experiencing the fastest growth today are the ones that understand their audience’s need for expression and have made it easy for them to share pictures, upload music and video, and provide their own commentary, thus stimulating others to do the same. It is the classic network effect at work.”
While uniformly demonstrating strong traffic growth, UGC sites are also adept at keeping users engaged.
From the BBC:
Government must do more to embrace Web 2.0 tools and communities, says a report.
The report said that some public data, such as post codes, was already widely used but much more could be done to open up access to official information.
It said public data should be published in open formats to encourage use.
The review, called The Power of Information, aimed to find out more about Web 2.0 tools and communities to see how the government can get involved to help Britons make the most of this "new pattern of information creation and use".
The review was intended to "explore the role of government in helping to maximise the benefits for citizens from this new pattern of information creation and use."
The report encouraged the government to do more to ensure a good fit between web communities and official information to "grasp the opportunities that are emerging in terms of the creation, consumption and re-use of information".
The authors recommended that the government work more closely with existing sites and communities that share official aims; do more to help innovators use public data and work to ensure people know what to do with public data and how to get at it.
Among 15 specific recommendations the report said the government should not set up its own sites if existing web communities do a good job of getting information to people.
It also said it should speed up efforts to put data in open formats and publish under terms that let people freely use it.
They've linked to a PDF of the report at Power of Information report.
A nice article on the significance of the 'latest Roman burial and the earliest Saxon pot' found at St Martin-in-the-Fields, near Trafalgar Square: Bridging London's lost centuries. If you're in London, go see the skeleton at the Museum of London while it's still on display (until August 8).
And an article from an Australian newspaper on the possibilities of Web 2.0 for business: "Australian companies are starting to twig that Web 2.0 isn't just the latest trend for designing web pages – it can be a vital business tool."
Speaking of Web 2.0 business models, I noticed that Rough Guides have made free audio downloads available for some of their phrasebooks so you can practise with words and phrases recorded by native speakers. The audio files work best when you've got a phrasebook in front of you, so they're probably not losing much business by giving away the audio files; in fact they're probably gaining.
I'm blogging this post on Twenty Usability Tips for Your Blog so I can find it again and because it's a useful summary. We're in the process of finding a LAMP host, which we'll be able to use for our OAI-PMH repositories as well as blogs and forums.
While on a Web 2.0-buzzword ish kick, check out the LAARC's photos on Flickr and the Museum of London photo pool. The first LAARC sets are community excavations at Bruce Castle and Shoreditch Park.
An interesting perspective from Mike Ellis and Brian Kelly at MW2007:
Trawling the Web finds the following phrases recurring around Web 2.0: “mashup”, “de-centralisation”, “non-Web like”, “user generated content”, “permission based activity”, “collaboration”, “Creative Commons” … What sits at the heart of all of these, and one of the reasons Web 2.0 has been difficult for bigger, established organisations (including museums) to embrace, is that almost all the things talked about put users and not the organisation at the centre of the equation. Organisational structures, departmental ways of naming things, the perceived ‘value’ of our assets, in fact, what the organisation has to say about itself – all are being challenged.
Web 2.0: How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Addressing Organisational Barriers