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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Third world leaps into first place

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Long ago, I completed a research paper on the impact of technology on developing countries.  The early advantage of a media and information rich country over those without the same access were very clear.  If one country could get instant information while another waited for printed material or otherwise unavailable information, then the information itself was a commodity that could be easily monetized by the savvy holder of the knowledge.

Along comes wireless, broadband, internet, satellite and mobile devices and voila, information becomes more available to more people.  In some cases, the developing countries actually outpaced developed countries in the use of both satellite television and cell phones.  A trip to Venezuela in the 90’s revealed for me my first look at a truly cell phone society.  Mobile phones were relatively cheap and there were no roaming charges or per minute fees, just a pay as you go or monthly fee.  It seemed that everyone had a cell phone, in every financial demographic no less.  It was many years before I ever felt the same prolific use and visibility of cell phones in the US.  In fact, even now we are often more reliant on wired broadband connections than many seemingly less developed areas.

Information as a commodity may still apply but the playing field has certainly leaped into a more fair and equal place.  That may also mean that the US, once leading the information commodity race is no longer in a prime position and must find new uses for technology if it wants to maintain its global status.  Perhaps another case for investing in known hyper-growth regions like India, China and South America.


The call is coming from inside the house.

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If you are one of the unfortunate who saw a movie from 1979 called “When a Stranger Calls,” you might remember the frightening line when the police let the babysitter know the calls from the scary stranger are coming from inside the house.  Yikes, that is chilling but at least it is Hollywood.


When a Stranger Calls

But what about the creepy characters setting up shop from the inside today?  Cookies, bots, malware and more lie waiting to identify and capture data usually without our knowledge.  Mostly, we readily give the information as a convenience of use and interaction but mostly we know not where it goes or how intense the information can be sought, monetized and used without our consent.   On the heels of Sony Corps’ reported security breach last month which exposed data from over 100 million (yes million) online video game users including credit card numbers from over 12 million (yes million) customers, it is no surprise that four new privacy bills have been introduced in the US Congress recently.

One such bill, called the “do not track bill” was introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller just today according to a Reuters news story (retrieved from my Reuters news app).  That bill calls for companies to refrain from collecting personal information about people who ask not to be tracked.  Even if the information is collected for a service, the company would have to anonymize (new term for me, thanks Reuters) or delete it once the service has been performed.

Where there is a threat, there is always new money to be made.  Mobile devices (once known as phones) are now front line of new virus and malware offenses to capture usable data that could really mess up your week among other things.  So, be looking for all of the usual suspects, Symantec, McAfee and company to help us protect ourselves from the cyber thieves.  There no longer needs to be a physical presence for the call to come from inside the house.  Just go to clean up your cookies and internet history and you’ll get just a small glimpse of how many people are parked inside your computer right now.

If your arm hairs just stood up, they should have.  We are entering a new age of digital horrors awaiting all of us innocent users.  For some insight on how to get secure without losing your mobility, check out this link:


It’s the wild west out there, so let’s be careful.  Even in 2007, researchers were already aware of major infections in the mobile space as you can see in this perhaps too detailed report from “Asian eMarketing”.

I will keep going digital and e-filing my taxes and choosing e-bills and e-statements, but I will sure be looking closely to at least recognize if my life has been breached by nefarious thieves.  As for marketers, I guess they will keep zero-ing in on my tastes and psychographics until they control my every purchase.  So be it, I’m tired of all the choices anyway… so why don’t you just tell me what I should buy.

Who gives a tweet?

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Surely we will all tire of all of this social media moderating, posting and general digital tom foolery.  Many an internet expert has pointed out the passing fancy of exciting but fleeting and fading fads created by the internet.  And just as we begin to talk about the new language of a new generation, something compels me to think just what if all of the information overload and useless tidbits of touching base will fade into a rejection of device checking and faceless texting much less tweeting ad nauseam.

Can’t we all just take a break from the incessant communication and check out once in a while?  We can certainly check out from ourselves, but it seems we can’t help but keep checking in with everyone and everything else.  I am not so concerned with shutting down my own communication, but how can I shut down the constant chirping going on without me.  Sure, I could de-friend and dis-like everyone and even un-link but not without the fear of simply dropping off the face of the earth.  Anyone know of a method for auto sending a “I’ve checked out for a while and won’t see anything you’ve been up to for the next seven days”?  Kind of like an email auto reply.  There has simply got to be some benefit to not giving a darn about new information every 60 seconds.  So what if I didn’t know Osama was killed for a day or two?  What exactly was that lack of information going to do to me and even more assuredly, what were my opinions, thoughts or comments on the subject going to add value to.

Beware marketing warriors.  The entire social, mobile, digital movement could be a fad.  The collective soul of our intended audience could just decide they don’t care to know anymore.  The only shred that might remain is anything that makes you laugh.  That is the one component that could survive the social media Armageddon that awaits us all.  So, make em laugh and you might keep getting your message across.  But make em engage in utter nonsense and meaningless drivel and you may be a part of your own new media demise. 

Blogger Tom Foremski has great insight into the notion that social media is actually mass media as most of the posting is coming from fewer posters:

“A recent Yahoo! Research report found just 20,000 elite Twitter users produce 50% of Tweets (Twitter has 150 m users). Sounds very mass-media like to me, I bet 10,000 of those users are journalists Tweeting about their stories.”

Check out his blog the demise of social media.  Then there is always just the sheer distrust that is sure to follow the proliferation of social media as a means to sell, here is another blog with a similar title, the demise of social media.

What if social media is not actually social at all.  Big business means big budgets and eventually the individual may find it hard to get noticed at all.