Thursday, March 19, 2009

Corporate Social Networking

All around us, companies feel the need to go Social. As the web grows and companies see their employees blog and interact, share knowledge everywhere, suddenly we have to take Social Networking behind firewalls and create a corporate walled social garden.

It's not that big of a surprise senior management sees merit in embracing social networking as communities are pretty loyal and dedicated. It would be nice if we could bind our employees so strongly and also use their creativity to get better. It's probably no surprise either that they just don't quite get the essence of social networking. In the end it is about information, about knowledge that is the company's main asset, isn't it?

It's not in the functionality.

The next thing your senior management will probably ask for is a thorough analyses of requirements and a turn up a full list of features. A Social Networking site should have blogs, wiki, forum, chat, and so on. Over the past month I've been doing just that and made a thorough comparison between Microsoft MOSS 2007, IBM Lotus Connections and Telligent Community Server. Drawing up comparison charts, listing the functionality is a cumbersome job. Especially when the result is that there hardly is a difference. All platforms offer more or less the same functionality.

They're all the same, or not?

When it's all about the same, the obvious choice for senior management is to stick to what they know and we already use inside the company. From this reasoning, many companies will probably go for Microsoft MOSS 2007 (or MOSS 14 if they can wait until 2010) as it will offer the basic functionality you would want and integrates well with the other corporate software, and even allows you to keep sharing those all important documents.

It's like playing in a rockband.

Last week I attended a presentation by my Swedish colleague Andreas Sjöström, who founded the website inarockband. In his presentation he said working for Sogeti was like playing in a rockband:

inarockband.com builds on the analogy that working for Sogeti is like playing in a rock band.

Just as rock musicians we are serious about our passion, instruments and customers. In our creative work we understand that everyone in the project plays and important role, just as every instrument counts.

Working with Sogeti is not about working your career, but about your passion. Be passionate about your work, try to excell and in excellence delight the crowd.

In my opinion, Corporate Social Networking also fits this analogy. Blogs are a stage to enthuce and delight, communities a place to share passion. When we look at platforms to support this we are looking for simplicity, easy to use software instead of massively complicated configurable packages. The most suitable software for the job is Social, Organic, Collectively Intelligent, Alive and Linked.

It needs to be S.O.CI.A.L

We at Sogeti are passionate about our job. We like to excell. Small wonder we are constantly working up new books on best practises, creating new standards and methods. One of the latest books we've come up with is about moving from Crowd to Community. The second part of the book deals with the Teampark idea, a method to implement and adopt social software inside companies. In the next release this part will be extended and worked out into a full approach.

In the acronym S.O.CI.A.L my colleague Patrick Savalle has tried to capture what the elements are that empower social software:

These are the key elements for Social Software. From this vantage point, there is a clear winner when it comes to Enterprise platforms: IBM Lotus Connections. Whereas MOSS will excell in sharing explicit knowledge, LC will tap into the implicit knowlegde of your workforce.

Into the Magic Quadrant

I'm not saying Lotus Connections is the perfect match, but from an enterprise point of view, it's closing in on the magic quadrant, as Gartner puts it:In the graph IBM is not yet in the Magic Quadrant, and Microsoft isn't far behind. Don't get me wrong, MOSS isn't a bad product, not at all and I'm not saying IBM has done the trick yet, but they're slightly ahead at this point in time. In June last year, the CIO magazine also ran an article on IBM vs. Microsoft in the Social Software space and concluded:

While both vendors showed their products could integrate with existing e-mail systems (especially e-mail systems that they sell, such as Notes and Exchange), IBM’s Lotus Connections looked, at minimum, a year or more ahead of SharePoint in its social computing capabilities out of the box.

It was a lot prettier looking, too.

If we look at the road ahead, this conclusion still stands with Lotus Connections 2.5 going into Beta in April and expected to go Gold by Mid July whereas Microsoft MOSS 14 is due for early 2010. However, it is more than just release dates. It is about the core focus of the product. In terms of S.O.CI.A.L aspects, LC2.5 still has a more informal, organic, people centered approach than MOSS 14, which (from what I have seen under NDA) still is more formal and hyrarchical focussed on information, despite all it's slick tricks.

Scaling the Walls

Identifying the right triggers to create Social Networks is not a guarantee for instant succes though. On the one hand, setting psychology loose on Social Webdesign to delight the crowd and direct communities, creating emergent behaviour is tricky, but on the other hand we have the issue of the walled gardens. Companies will try to contain these platforms behind their corporate firewalls.

About a year ago I did a project in wich security played an important role. The client went into extremes to protect its data. However, all it's corporate knowledge, its value, could be found on Wikipedia for free. Knowledge and creativity are hard things to contain, they will find a way. Take blogging for instance.

From a bloggers point of view, his main drive will probably be to build a reputation. Blogging is more than just jotting down short things you are passionate about. You want to excell and gain authority. A global audience will probably suit you better than a limited corporate stage can offer.

Regarding this, Hutch Carpenter wrote an interesting article on his blog "I'm not actually a Geek" where he asks how much scale is actually needed in Enterprise 2.0 Employee Adoption.

Blogs: The nature of a blog is a single person’s thoughts, observations and ideas. Inside companies, these applications can be tools for the ongoing recording of things that fall outside the deadlines and process-oriented activities that make up the day. Making them public is a great way to share these contributions with other employees and establish your record of what’s happening. If only a few key people blogged inside a company, there will be value in that.

The article raises many interesting issues, but the question remains if we should take it all behind walls. It is quite true that Blogs do not require a large scale adoption, It will take justa few catalysts to start interesting corporate blogs, but if you want your employees to excell, to put effort into this Social Environment you have to offer them a worldwide stage. Have them interact with the world instead of limiting them to peers.

From a knowledge point of view we really have to consider which information really is actually a corporate asset. Is it knowledge on technology (which probably is out there on the web anyway) or is it about privacy, personal data and sensitive information about competitors or clients?

It's a brave new world

When you carefully look around in your company you might find these catalysts; passionate people who engage and delight the crowd. These thoughtleaders and visionaries inside your company probably have their own blogs, as they will be sharing their passion, having a global stage to build their reputation. Do we really want to confine them inside corporate walled gardens? Will they combine the pursuit of their personal passion and delight the corporate crowd? You will undoubtedly find out they will put more effort in personal blogging than in corporate blogging if we rigidly put our Corporate Social Network behind firewalls.

The current Social Networking trends focus on aggregation, pulling together updates from a variety of media into a single lifestream. If I look at my Plaxo Pulse stream for instance puts my twitter messages and my blogposts into a single update stream which is visible for all my connections. The next challenge will be to move from this information convergence to information divergence. This divergence will allow me, as a blogger, to write one passionate article and distribute it to the medium I chose and the audience I choose. This divergence will even more require personal and professional digital presence to blend, calling for better identity management and privacy measurements. In short, getting into the Magic Quadrant of Corporate Social Networking will not be about more features, but about smart blending of corporate and private digital identities.

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Enterprise 2.0 adoption

Yesterday I came across an interesting article on the "I'm not a Geek" blog on social networking inside companies, or Enterprise 2.0. In this article Hutch Carpenter asks how much scale is needed in Enterprise 2.0 employee adoption.

The article has three sections;

  1. Varying Adoption Levels Required


  2. Consider the Purposes of the E2.0 Applications
  3. Blogs: The nature of a blog is a single person’s thoughts, observations and ideas. Inside companies, these applications can be tools for the ongoing recording of things that fall outside the deadlines and process-oriented activities that make up the day. Making them public is a great way to share these contributions with other employees and establish your record of what’s happening. If only a few key people blogged inside a company, there will be value in that.

  4. Implications

    Greater required participation correlates to greater impact on a company’s value: Generally, you could change the metric in the chart above from percentage of employee involvement to impact on company value. The increased participation means the associated application will also have a larger effect on the company’s strategies and operations. It’s not an tight correlation, but a general trendline. Exceptions will abound.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Google Emissions Crunched as Kincaid gets it straight.

Half a forest was burned on the printing presses and a ton of CO2 blasted into orbit as the Times reported yesterday that "Two Google searches needed the same amount of energy to boil a kettle of water." Tons of blogs and newspapers worldwide dove at the news like hungry vultures to dig this story, like I did in the article "Plant a Tree and get a free search" yesterday.Google immediately denied the alledged amounts of pollution, but it was Techcrunch blogger Jason Kincaid who actually managed to get the facts straight.

The quintessence of the story run by the Times was young Harvard physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, who was quoted in saying “that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea”. Kincaid received the article very sceptical and did some proper research.

"Unfortunately, according to Wissner-Gross he never said anything of the sort. For starters, he says he would never refer to any sort of measurement having to do with tea (he’d go with coffee). But his findings have nothing to do with Google as a company, either - they’re concerned with much more generalized stats, like your computer’s rate of CO2 production when you look at a
webpage.

Wissner-Gross says that the widely circulated 7 gram/search figure came from some other source (he’s not sure where), and notes that if you read the article carefully it only makes it sound like it’s from his data. He has confirmed that he did make some vague statements regarding Google, including “A Google search has a definite environmental impact” and “Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power”. But the “tea kettle” statistic that has been repeated ad nauseum simply isn’t his. After learning of the misleading story, Wissner-Gross says that he contacted The Times and was assured that it would be fixed by Sunday morning. No corrections have been made.?

Kincaid also states that this isn't the first time the Times has gone awry;

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that The Times has been mistaken about a tech story - in late November the newspaper incorrectly reported on a complicated and fictional Yahoo/Microsoft search arrangement.

I remember touching this topic earlier this morning as I wrote that the credit crunch was a healthy wind passing through the traditional media landscape;

The credit crunch might be a blessing to shake that old tree (and save a rainforest in the proces) and force the old newspaper industry to innovate. The world of news and information has changed with the arrivel of web 2.0, called the social web, or conversational web by others. The most heard argument in this case is that bloggers are not trained journalists and are living the fastlane without time to do thorough research and taking time to write indepth stories. Well, there are a few out there that prove you wrong. And if that's the case, why not skip daily newspapers and let the bloggers and televesion do the daily news and create more indepth research magazines?

I think the research by Kincaid proves the old media wrong. It's bloggers who get the facts straight and not trained journalists with years and years of field experience and editors to double check.

In short, we all stand corrected. Google's footprint is down a little bit, but the main focus of my article yesterday still stands:

The only problem is.... Google and every other major player on the market is either American or China based, which means they don't really give a **** about the environment. Despite Al Gore and every greenie in the States, every environmental deal is blocked by the United States in favor of economic growth. Where did that bring us? It only brought global crisis. America has blocked deals like the Kyoto protocol so it could continue to produce supersized cars. It has only killed innovation and the United States are now putting billions of dollars into an outdated automotive industry. Cars are too big, engines to polluting for the present day world. No wonder nobody's buying anymore.

Read the full Techcrunch article here.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fire up that blog - Social Spark

Last week, the ReadWriteWeb, wrote an article titled "How Much Do Top Tier Bloggers and Social Media Consultants Get Paid? We Asked Them!" which probably is an interesting question to many bloggers out there.
Are you one of those that think they're making fortunes with their sponsored blogs, and would you like to do the same? Well, here's what ReadWriteWeb came up with:

Most people who are paid to blog are paid per post. What kinds of rates are our respondents seeing? The low end of the scale was $10 per post for very short posts. Almost everyone else said they were paid $25 per post. One person said they were paid $80 per post! One respondent said they were paid $200 per item of long-form writing; bloggers often do other kinds of writing as well.

Paid blogging is usually parttime stuff. Yes, people like Robert Scoble or the founders of big blogs like Download Squad and Engadget probably make a lot more. The question is, can you get paid to blog?
Well, actually, that's pretty easy these days if you sign up at Social Spark. Social Spark is a social network with two types of accounts: bloggers and advertisers. Start profiling yourself and your blog, add tags and start meeting the sponsors and advertisers.
On the homepage you see the latest sponsorship offers, featured blogs, cobloggers and the hottest blogs in the system. There are basically three types of rewards you can get at the marketplace at Social Spark: Sponsored posts where advertisers pay an amount for a reasonable blogpost with enough references, Sitewide sponsoring, just put up some ads on your site and finally, there's Affiliate sponsoring, which in my opinion goes somewhat into dark territory.
Once you put up your blog, you (or potential sponsors) can find a number of statistics about your blog, such as visits, real rank and alexa rank as well as demographics.

Okay, I signed up and there were actually a number of sponsored posts which I would be interested in doing but, alas, the MindBlizzard blog cannot participate as it has several guest authors. One of their criteria is that you and you alone own and create the blog. So much for this sponsorship deal as I value the input of my guestwriters more than making a few bucks on posts.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Introducing ak Yip as MindBlizzard reporter Japan

Time and again I have been frustrated by the fact that I just can't make head or tale from Japanese sites. In the past year and a half many Japanese firms have established a presence in Second Life and set up supporting websites. I have had a hard time figuring out what the companies were about and which message they were conveying in Second Life. Besides Second Life, there is a whole lot going on in the Asian World when it comes to Virtual Worlds, of which only occasionally a name, a new startup comes through to the English speaking world.

Therefor I'm very pleased to welcome ak Yip as a guest author to the MindBlizzard blog. ak Yip has helped me out in the past quite a few times in providing details on Japanese firms and he has agreed to blog the Japanese Metaverse at MindBlizzard.

His main blog is AvatarWatch - which I can't read again as it is in Japanese. You can also find ak Yip blogging at 100 Innovations in Second Life and Metaverse Mashup

ak, I hope you'll enjoy blogging for MinBlizzard from Japan, as I'm sure we'll enjoy exploring the Virtual Realms from the land of the Rising Sun.

Cheers,


Veejay

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Blogger Publishing Errors

Currently I am experiencing issues with Blogger publishing. It's been more than a week now that Blogger 'hangs' on the FTP publishing and I can't stop the process. I can't publish new posts and also new comments won't show up. I'm trying to figure out how to fix the problem. Please bear with me.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blog Restyle

Here's a small update. Over at the main MindBlizzard website I've installed Joomla 1.5 and worked hard on the design. Last night I tweaked a bit and rebuild the Joomla template to replace my blogger template. Here's a snapshot, but off course, you already see the new template at work (unless you're reading the feed)

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

MindBlizzard statistics update

I've talked with a number of people on how hard it is to keep blogging. Since December 07 I've had a hard time keeping up with blogging at the pace I did before, and it showed in my technorati ratings. The positive thing is that the number of unique visitors is steadily going up again. Thanks folks for reading my thoughts.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

MindBlizzard Belgiums' Finest

The MindBlizzard crowd is getting more and more international by the day. Last week I received a call from Belgium requesting to put up a feed of this blog in their Second Life space.


So MindBlizzard is one of Belgium's Finest blogs (be it that I write from the Netherlands) and they've put me up next to the Official Linden Blog. Thanks Frans!




SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Belgiums%20Finest/128/128/0/

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Feed Out - Feed in

Every morning I wake up I stumble towards the coffee maker for a cup of coffee, then turn on my screen to have a look at my launchpad, a netvibes portal. Default tab is metaverse news.

After several weeks, or months of producing glitchy links 3pointD has been removed from my startpage. A great blog has died. Another blog I removed was Metaversed.com. Sad but true, it no longer produces the information I'm interested in.



At this moment there's only one blog that came to mind in replacing these two: Roy Cassini's Digado (Digital Adaption) who has a great blog with a broad interest in the metaverse with a focus on the marketing side of life.

So, two feeds out on my daily starting page, one blogfeed in. Means there's an empty spot. Which blog should fill that empty space?

Also, a number of additions have made it to my Del.icio.us list and will appear in my blogroll (once I fixed the max count in the template) on the left (if you use IE):

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1st Metaverse Meetup - Amsterdam

At exactly 0.00 I returned from Amsterdam where I attended the first Metaverse Meetup (Amsterdam Edition) in "De Balie" which was initiated by Joja Dhara and Ze Moo.


As this was a first meetup, apropriately themed "Meet the Avatar", the most timeconsuming event was the introduction round, but on the other hand it was nice to know who was who. We saw representatives from several MDC's such as Jeroen Frans, Executive Director of the Vesuvius Group (the guys that brought us Google in SL), Damian Simmons of Lost in the Magic Forest (Content, Essent, Aegon) and Up the Vortex (blog), and on the corporate present there was 'moi' for Sogeti, and people from ING (Our Virtual Holland), KPN and Philips Design, researchers from EPN, bloggers like Roy Cassini from Digado and excellent freelancers such as Ollie Kubrick from Unreal Design.


And off course, Bart DutchX, Founder of the Dutch Echange was present. I seem to run into him at about every metaverse related event these days. The Linden Lab banking ban doesn't seem to affect his business, as it is still expanding and they're hiring new people and adding new payment methods continuously.


As it was the first meetup I won't do an assesment of the contents of the meetup, as it was primarily a networking event tonight. I hope we'll get to discuss hot metaversal topics in the future.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sogeti Kicks Off in Second Life

Earlier this evening I was present at the Sogeti Netherlands Kick Off party 2008 in the Heineken Music Hall. Over 2000 colleagues filled the hall to the max.

This years' kick off was titled Sogeti 2.0 and the keywords 'innovation' and 'participation'. Sogeti Netherlands is one of the leading IT companies in the Netherlands, so off course we used lots of web 2.0 stuff in the presentations. First of all, Sogeti CEO Jeroen Versteeg started the kick off from Second Life.

Contrary to previous years the CEO speech was not prepared in advance but was user generated as colleagues were asked not to turn off their phones but instead sms their topics for the keynote which generated the tagcloud below:

Menno van Doorn and Sander Duivestein of the Sogeti VINT research institute lifeblogged the event at the Vint.Sogeti blog (in Dutch) and a group of 32 Young Professionals who are currently at the Ohio University Without Boundaries (who also have a very strong SL presence) were plugged in through webstream and Second Life.

One of the fact-parts of the show was the financial and performance speech. We've had a great year and Sogeti Netherlands has grown 18% in 2007, outperforming every other Sogeti and Capgemini SA groupmembers by miles.

Right after closing the show, CEO Jeroen Versteeg took some time to chat with the Young Professionals in Second Life.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

The SLord moves in mysterious ways

2008 holds a promise...



That was about the last line of my previous blogpost. And it does. One of the most promising new startups is Clever Zebra, an initiative by master builder Lordfly Digeridoo and the guys from Metaversed and others (among which a bit of Sogeti).

But aside from this promise, there is something funny going on which makes me think the SLord moves in mysterious ways:



Clever Zebra, Stupid Metaversed?


Although the Clever Zebra project has my sincere sympathy, there's a thing nagging me, and that's Metaversed. Early 2007 57 Miles was blogging like crazy on the Metaverse, doing great stuff and turned it into a business. A sponsored blog with sponsored events. That's when trouble came to town. First there was a break-up with Prokofy Neva on the Second Rant, and now Metaversed is going down to provide space for Clever Zebra. I wonder how the Metaversed Sponsors will feel about this. What will happen to the MMI, the Metanomics and the Virtual Business Innovators. Projects like the Grid Safari and the Geek Meets weren't long lived either.

Onders Skall writes:

How can you close Metaversed?
We covered business in virtual worlds like nobody else. There wasn't a better place to go for coverage of this stuff. We just loved it.

Along the way Nick and I compiled a huge amount of information about business in virtual worlds. We studied the phenomenon like few have ever had the opportunity to, and our imaginations were constantly ignited. More and
more of our days were spent discussing what could and should be done in virtual worlds to help business. We began designing plans to change things and make them better.

We soon realized that we'd rather create products people want to talk about instead of talking about products others were creating. The thing is, you can't often make things happen by telling stories. You make things happen by...
well... going out and making them happen. So while we came across as much news and met as many incredible people as we had before, news reportage became an afterthought. We were chasing a dream: bringing change to the virtual world.

I can agree on this, but why tear down Metaversed? It isn't too smart to burn all your bridges before you've crossed to the other side. A whole lot of tantrum is created now about the Clever Zebra start up and the Metaversed blog has died a slow death over the past months. Fortunately, the guys over at Metaversed also see this:

Why part with a popular brand?
Yes, Metaversed became a beloved brand. That's why we had to close it. Without publishing regular news, it was becoming a shadow of its former self. There's nothing worse than a brand that was once great and has lost its shine. If it's a name to be remembered, it should be remembered as something great.

Some feel we could have kept the name and switched the business model. The problem with doing something like that, though, is that it's a bit disrespectful of the readers. Metaversed is a blog about business in virtual worlds. If it suddenly becomes an open-source virtual world company, well, it's no longer the same company. We'd by lying if we said it was, and we respect our readers far too much to do something like that.

Wello 3PointD Horld

Much of the same is going on at 3PointD, a former leader in virtual world news, where Mark Wallace is letting the blog beed to death posting Glitchy Links for months now without blogging anything usefull and working on a gigantic new start up, Wello Horld with metaverse guru Jerry Paffendorff. His sponsor, Electric Sheep Company probably can't be bothered at this time though as they seem to be focussing on a whole new industry according to the word on the street.



The naked sheep


The word on the street is that the Sheep are (co-) developing a new platform which will be a true adult world (i.e. Porn, XXX). I wonder what CBS and the producers of CSI:NY will think of this. Would they be willing to be associated with a company that's in the porn industry?

Now what is it with these companies in changing their objectives? Is it short term profits, or are they just Metaversal Cowboys that jump on every opportunity?

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Proky Soap: Episode Metaversed


It's the Proky show again. She (yes she) is getting a habit of getting herself banned for carrying her heart on her tongue (which often is quite sharp and critical)




Here's Prokofy's account on Second Thought:





Nick Wilson (57 Miles) in Second Life, IM'd me during the IBM/LL
Interoperability meeting today and told me that he was canning
my podcast, and banning me from his
island, group, and site. I had "gone too far" yesterday in telling a heckler to
fuck off in group IM, he hadn't liked my last podcast critical of the Sheep, and
I "wasn't good for his business". He couldnt' really point to any *content*;
just his own nervousness about the optics of metaversed.com Like the Linden
said, who confessed that I hadn't actually violated the TOS when I was banned
for calling Aimee's name "like a cheerleader," it was "a business decision".
Nick offered to give me the domain name he had registered and offered to put out
a cover story that he was cutting the podcast because "he had no time" lol.



Now, I don't fear Proky's life here is at stake, since she's always gotten through and keeps her course (which some may think to be a head-on collision course with disaster) and nodoubtedly will continue to put her worries to blog on Second Thought.


The thing is that Metaversed has been gaining a lot of momentum in the past 6 months, becoming one of the leading blogs and discussion panels on Second Life and the metaverse in general, partly due to the effort of Prokofy and her sharp analysis on the podcast show. Now, will Nick be able to keep up, or will this have a shakeout?


What sticks out is: "I didn't violate the ToS when calling out Aimee's name like a cheerleader". I wish I had been there. Prokofy seems to have a deep grudge against Aimee, as being top of her envied/hated Feted Inner Core circle and I can't imagine her actually 'supporting' Aimee like a cheerleader. For the record... you just don't go out there calling Aimee names. That's just not done.



Proky's FIC-list is a list of Second Life celebrities whom she calls haughty, arrogant and whatever. Aimee is many things, but certainly none of the above, at least the way I have gotten to know her over the past months.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blog4Life

My professional network is growing with people who are 'professional' bloggers. In the Netherlands we don't see many full-time bloggers. We just don't see how it would work out. Sponsored blogging... that would jeopardise objective reporting. Doesn't it?



Just taking a look at 3pointD, sponsored by the Electric Sheep Company and SecondLife.nl sponsored by DNB Media are just two examples. Is it enough to go blogging full time? Are these blog subjective or objective when it comes to their sponsors presence?



Everyone needs some recognition. I must admit I'm pretty keen on keeping track of my Technorati ratings and blogs that link to this blog. I'm quite satisfied at the result I've made sofar: A Second Life blog, loosely focussing on the business side of life getting into the Technorati top 100K blogs within 4 months.



But what's it worth? I've put time into it. An awfull lot. Near 100 hours a month. So what's it worth? Now there's a tool by Technorati that values the MindBlizzard blog at 37K in USD.





My blog is worth $37,259.64.
How much is your blog worth?



But how valuable is this? It's said to be based upon proper research:



"Data from Technorati and inspired by research from Tristan Louis. "

But how valuable is this? Is it like American mortgage loans getting wrapped and traded by hedgefunds? What would you pay for a blog like this? Here's a contra-expertise:



I ran the test once more on a fresly set up blog with just one post:





Then what's Scobleizer worth, or 3 Point D? Robert Scoble is valued at $1,860,723.84 and Mark Wallace at $426,792.24.



The question remains. This is what research says. But how much would you like to pay? Are you offering me 37K US Dollars? I don't think so. Value of blogs is based on content and its value changes for every reader. Maybe this post has value for you, or maybe only my last post on Rezzable, or my series of posts on Banking in Second Life... Or maybe this blog means **** to you because you're only looking for sex in SL.



What's art? That's a similar question. The answer lies in the eye of the beholder. And still: Is a sponsored blog able to give unbiased reviews?

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

I can has cameras and stuff

I believe I can fly - or I can has camera's?

Yesterday was a quiet day at the office and we had some nice talks on Second Life. There was quite a fun discussion going on about building our Sogeti presence in Second Life.

At some point in the discussion we were al making fun of staircases and escalators in Second Life. "Who needs escalators... you can fly man." One of my colleagues thought himself to be a great, well-metaversed, explorer and never walks in Second Life, only flies. However, our good friend Damanios Thetan once said: "you fly? I never fly. I move my camera..."

Just a small example of how we all have to adjust to the metaverse.

I can has good ranking

Earlier today I took a peek at Technorati to see if their were any new links to the Mindblizzard blog. Bummer. No new fans. Looking at the rating I'd say there must be something strange going on...



Mindblizzard blog rank 1? That's an error. Or do I misinterpret? World no 1. blog surely is I CAN HAS CHEESEBURGER.

Teva Shoes logo

Last week we bought new shoes for my daughter (nearly 3 years old). They were sandals of the Teva brand. Nothing special, nothing fancy, but just good quality of a fairly well known brand. It wasn't until yesterday I noticed their logo... Looks familiar, dunnit?

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mindblizzard now top 100K

Thanks to all readers and commenters the MindBlizzard blog now entered the Technorati top 100.000. Quite a good job I think, considering I started out barely 3 months ago.


Next objective is 50K :)

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Capozzi branding hyperjump

Everything new gets dubbed 2.0 these days, upto and including the Financial Times writing on gospel 2.0 or the blogoshpere getting excited about Philantropy 2.0 or Fundraising 2.0. To state that this blogpost is about wine 2.0 or distilling 2.0 would not give credit enough to the sim I visited today...



This is a tale beyond a succesful immersion - even when the island hasn't seen it's final version and opening yet. This is a tale of creating a brand 21st century style in a 19th century business.



The business I'm referring to is that of making wine, a traditional profession that -at least in Europe- brings images of old, weathered farmers and old French chateau's. It's classic and romantic and absolutely non-tech-savvy. During the 20th century we have seen the rise of new wineproduction areas, like California, South Africa and New Zealand gaining popularity over the traditional French and Spanish wines. The popularity of these new wines are partly because these wineries use modern technology to create well balanced wines and of a more constant quality than the traditional French ones.



Here's a look at the Capozzi sim





To start off by calling this a hyperjump and getting all excited about it does raise some expectations. Why?



If you look at the sim -without its context- it's nothing special. It is a quality build, as expected when built by Chip Poutine of the Prion Design Group and the guys (and girls) over at Metaversatility. Lush green rolling hills house the winery and a path that leads through the various stages of the production process. Though totally different in design than the Ben & Jerry's factory in Second Life, it's the same concept. So why the buzz?






The buzz is that this is not a brand creating a virtual presence like "we've got to be there" but it is a grand design in creating the brand itself. The Capozzi winery was established in 2005 by Josh Hermsmeyer and really is a tale of crowdsourcing as it started off on the pinotblogger blog:



"On November 18, ‘05 pinotblogger was born. Its stated purpose is to “outline the long and painful processes involved in starting and building a family winery in the Russian River Valley. While we haven’t been at it very long nor has it been particularly painful yet, I’m 99.9% certain that at least one of these adjectives will correctly describe the project in the very near future (hopefully NOT painful and short though, as that would be sad)."



Meanwhile the Pinotblogger website has been been among the top 5 wineblogs in the world and gives a great insight in the business and starting up the new winery. The virtual presence complements this strategy. It's an all in, a 21st century marketing campaign from a traditional craft, that's a hyperjump.




Read more on the build of the sim at the http://www.simvineyard.com/ website, or visit it inworld: SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Capozzi%20Winery/121/235/37

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Geek Meet Gadgeteers

Fridaynight - Geek meet time. This time not at the Metaversed home but at Dr. Dobbs Life 2.0 island where hip and techsavvy things are as common as bugs in Microsoft. This week brings something new to the Geek Meet as it's the first time it gets sponsored by Information Week.

First off, some snaps of the Dr. Dobbs island.
This weeks line up as announced by Metaversed:
"Alidar Moxie of Mechanized Life, makers of the popular Calendar Cogs Google API integration app for Second Life as welll as the new StatsCollector RSS app, and Vincent Shore, creator of Squawk, the Second Life Twitter / Jaiku presence and bookmarking app, will be joining Mystical Cookie, creator of the MystiTool, who we confirmed earlier at this week's Friday Geek Meet. Our regular Friday tech forum in Second Life is co-sponsored by Dr. Dobb's Journal, InformationWeek and of course Metaversed, and has quickly become the virtual worlds top regular technology and business networking event, where bloggers, journalists, new media types and tech heads of all kinds come to talk about the business and technology of virtual worlds. "

Vincent Shore - Squawk
Vincent created the popular Squawk app that that incorporates twitter, jailku and delicious into SL.
"Squawk is essentially a tool for connecting your Second Life experiences up with popular web services. It began as just a presence client for Twitter but has progressively grown in scope as time has gone on. Today, Squawk supports Twitter, Jaiku, del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia, with more services on the way.
In terms of presencing, Squawk can do anything traditional clients can do, and a bit more. Squawk can attach a geocode to your updates, allowing friends to see where you are in SL, or teleport in to check out something cool you microblogged about. If you visit Squawknest.com, those geocodes are used to visually place markers on a web map. Squawk also automatically builds your Nest profile and tags based on what you like to microblog about."
The latest addon to Squawk is social bookmarking, or gridmarking.
"Squawk is a combination of LSL scripts (housed within the virtual Squawk bracelet) and a number of intermediary PHP scripts housed on Vincents web server, which translate API calls and make the response data easier for Second Life to handle."

Alidar Moxie - Mechanized Life
Alidar received a great welcome by Nick Wilson:
"Next I'd like to introduce you to a great scriptor, one I think of as an "integration" specialist. She deals mostly in API's and RSS and other ways of bringing our 2D stuff into SL. She's famous for Calender Cogs, a Google Calendar API implementaion, but recently has released StatsCollector, which I think you'll find even more intriguing. Please welcome Alidar Moxie!"
On Calendar Cogs:
"I have two real lines of things I've worked on the first was 'Calendar Cogs' I wrote it because I was literally writing on post its on my monitor when I wanted to go to events then I said 'why not use Google's thing to do this for me. I wrote 2 objects, a Hud for personal reminders and a Kiosk for people to place on land and tell others of their events both pull events directly from the Google calendar and use them in world and Huds talk to kiosks. I think I had a similar issue to Vincent in that the API for google had SO MUCH information that I had to write a ton of scripts between the Google Stuff and LSL."
On StatsCollector:
"It simply records who comes in contact with it but then allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed of those visits and recently allows you to find out if they are credit card users, how old they are
what time of day is your busiest, etc. At the moment you can pull either graphs or HTML versions of the data in the near future I plan to allow XML downloads and I am working on my own API so that others can make their own objects to 'talk' to the systemso to speak"
The statcollector could be a breakthrough in Inworld purchase history as a vendor could be written to record who purchased an item and when. Transaction history in Second Life is only kept for 30 days, the default for the current version of Statcollector as well, due to server capacity in logging.
Mystical Cookie - MystiTool
The Mystitool app was named Metabrand no. 1 by KZero a few weeks ago and is classified as an essential tool for Second Life survival.
"After my first month in SL, i had several things on my hud.. a spatial radar, a popular "shield" after being attacked on my own first land, ao, and a few things i was playing with ..."
"...Anyway, I was learning lsl and I wanted to keep all of my toys in one place.. i also did not like having so many hud attachments, and i wanted to learn how they worked.. so i started writing my own replacements for things. i started giving copies to friends.. as time went on, i added things.. av scanner, non-physical vehicle (a pseudo shield), etc. Mystitool has several privacy and convenience features in a single hud attachment.. all easily accessible by hud menus, it was designed to consume the least possible hud real estate to keep the screen clear for play and provide certain basic functionality which is missing from the SL client.. things such as knowing who is near you.. a quick "favorites" list of locations, teleport history, and basic anti-stalker and anti-griefer tools. Mystitool has grown in features as friends and customers suggest new things to be added or improved.. i also add things as i need them and with the latest update, there is now a plugin system in place to allow other scripters to write their own mystitool plugins, which will place buttons into the main mystitool hud menus :)"
The above parts are the introductions to the products, for the tech-talk I'd advise you to read the transcripts that will be on at Metaversed soon.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Metarazzi down the drain

Earlier this week Second Life's premier Machinimist Moo Money noticed the metarati on twitter and within a few hours it became a pretty good row. It was living the fastlane for metarati-TV - though forced to take the first exit.
Within a week the project has died and the site's been taken offline. Moo Money was kind enough to snapshot the site, so here's yesterdays news and todays reality.

related articles:

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

The MindBlizzard Crowd (2)

Here's a little update on the readers of this blog. Let's start of with a welcome to the new visitors coming from China, Singapore, Latvia and Yugoslavia.

Then there's an increase in visitors from Southern Europe, like Italy, Portugal and Spain, but the sharpest increase comes from France, Japan and India. So Aleister's observation that Asia is slowly discovering Second Life does have a point. His report on the first Korean Content Creator in Second Life is another sign, and if the massively cyworld addicted Korean nation is truly getting to Second Life, we might see a few good shows with their nationwide virtual world experience.

Here's a few links to places that linked to MindBlizzard:

Mindblizzard in France

Mindblizzard in Japan

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blogwars !?

I was reading up on some other blogs and found out sometimes our allegiance switches. When it comes to Skynews I'm in line with Nic at KZero in liking it, contrary to Aleister.
When it comes to Comcast though, me and Al like it, and Nic doesn't. Now we're all pretty serious bloggers, so where's the switch? Why do you like a build, or why don't you, what makes you think a build will work, or not?

Here's a little comparative reading:

AL on Comcast : http://www.3pointd.com/20070605/comcast-parachutes-into-second-life/
AL on SkyNews: http://www.3pointd.com/20070605/can-sky-news-rise-to-second-life/
Nic on Comcast : http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=728
Nic on SkyNews: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=658
Me on Comcast : http://blog.mindblizzard.com/2007/06/comcast-plugged-in-sl.html
Me on Skynews: http://blog.mindblizzard.com/2007/05/skynews-hits-virtual-sky.html

Obviously we have different tastes, and sometimes we like Rivers Run Red and not Millions of Us, or the other way around. But should that matter when it comes to judging a build. We should be able to go beyond that and spot the key elements for branding, for business integration and potential to actively engage the community.

It seems that it is a complex cocktail of several factors after all.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Blogstats April

Well, I've started this blog in February, but only got serious somewhere this month.
The first 10 days of april saw an average of 5 visitors a day, the last 10 days an average of 146. So it's been a good month :)

Here's where our visitors came from:
  1. Netherlands
  2. Usa
  3. Japan
  4. Italy
  5. Singapore
  6. Denmark
  7. Canada
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Australia
  10. Belgium

Our top referrers:

  1. Ambling in Second Life
  2. Google
  3. Technorati
  4. 3pointD
  5. Secondlife Blogo

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