Social networking has no immediate goal. Social collaboration has. Discuss…

This week I re-tweeted a post from the #swchat which simply said ‘Social networking has no immediate goal. Social collaboration has.’ It wasn’t until a day or two later that I was discussing this with my good friend and colleague Paul Waddington (of Plain Text) that the real impact of this Tweet hit me.

To me, one can’t exist or develop without the other. In my conversation with Paul he jokingly stated that this is the founding of society and the way we interact today. And this lead me to think that it’s how it’s always been. Now, the following explanation may sound strange but over Skype this sounded like an excellent way to explain it.

Zarg has invented The Wheel. Now, he’s been friends with Tharg for a few years now, worked with him on another project which lead him to have a network of friends who help him hunt and who may now be able to help him with his new project. Zarg also happens to know that Tharg has a damn good chisel that will help carve The Wheel. So he pops over the Tharg’s cave and asks if he’d be happy to collaborate on this new project and if he could call on his network of friends to come help build The Wheel, and he’ll do the same. So through networking earlier on Zarg’s able to bring in a social group to collaborate on his new project and ultimately revolutionise Mankind.

If this were modern times Zarg would have probably set up a Facebook Group, put a Tweet out to his network, and probably added it to Slice the Pie to get funding. Zarg may have also worked with many people in his time, building a network, that may be called on in the future (as in the prehistoric example).

But he couldn’t have done it without the initial social network(ing). The statement it has no ‘immediate goal’ is in someway correct but it is dismissive and negative. Collaboration would not be able to exist without networking. Maybe a better statement would be Social + networking = collaboration.

Then again there’s always Dragon’s Den…

iResign: goodbye to Steve Jobs

Turning on my iPad this morning and delving into Twitter I was confronted by a stream of updates all hailing the same iNews: ‘Steve Jobs steps down as CEO’. Although not unexpected it’s a  shock none the less, especially with the new iPhone around the corner.

I am also amazed and awed that Steve Jobs continued to serve as Apple CEO for as long as he did due to the fact he is extremely ill. His passion and commitment have driven him forward, but a time comes when other factors take precedence.

Steve Jobs statement reads:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

There has always been an underlying worry from both Apple consumers and investors as to what would happen once Steve Jobs steps down, a fear shown as Apple stock  fell by 7% yesterday. The concern is that without Steve Jobs at the helm the quality and innovation Apple are regarded for will leave with him. Remember, this is the man who transformed Apple into a company that is now richer than the USA, provided the world with a usable OS, and gave us the iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes plus the App Store all of which revolutionised not just technological hardware but the marketplace and how people use and interact with technology on a daily basis.

Personally, I’ve become weary of Apple and as readers may know I’m defecting to Google and Android later this year. That said, I love and adore Apple and could never revert back to my old Windows ways. But maybe this is a fitting time for Steve Jobs to stand down, not only for health reasons but Apple has possibly become a victim of it’s own infamy.

Thank you Steve Jobs. You have given the technical world so much. Apple Fanboys and Fangirls the world over salute you.

Spotify made me fall back in love with music

It’s a little known fact that I have a degree in Popular Music. Another, possibly more well known, fact is that I was (and sometimes still am) a singer songwriter. But for a while music started to annoy me. In fact, I went off music totally. And I can’t blame Simon Cowell this time.

I’ve been an advocate of digital music for many years and as an example of how much I recently got rid of my whole CD collection after digitising it, something I have repeated with my DVD collection. Digital is the now and the future. But this also has a down side.

iTunes may have broken the music store model, but it’s become a product of its own success (maybe iCloud will change this, but heck Ping didn’t) and for sometime I felt we, the consumers, have become complacent with art forms such as music and film, to which we now have almost infinite access to thanks to the web and mobile platforms. But the demons have been wrestled and I now believe digital platforms have also aided music – film is yet to change and is where music was almost ten years ago.

So what changed my mind? Spotify.

And I know I’m not alone here as many of my friends have converted to the platform and dare not turn back.

They why is simple – access to a huge online repository of music; the fact I can share great music with friends through Facebook, Twitter and also directly through Spotify; the radio feature which has lead me to some great music I’ve never heard….oh, I could go on.

I now feel like the music collector and hoarder I was aged 14. I’m now discovering great music – old and new – and sharing it with my muso friends, creating long and complicated collaborative playlists. I’ve finally fallen in love with music again!

Spotify is great for the consumer, but for the artist it’s not such a clear winner – and I speak from experience here. The money made on a played track is minuscule and you’d need to be megastar status to make something from it. But to a small unsigned, or signed, artist it means your music is out there and available for discovery or promotion. So, swings and roundabouts. Better to be out there than not.

Do you have a Spotify playlist you’d like us to subscribe to? I’m always looking for new music so post a link in the comments below!

You can find me on Spotify also! And yes. There are some strange playlists…don’t judge me!

Follow me on Spotify

Keep calm and carry on

This week has been possibly one of the worst for this country. The recent riots that have dogged London and other key cities have shown the worst of our society. From a personal perspective I’m sad to see the city I’ve lived in and currently work in shown to the world in such shameful fashion.

From The Digital Times perspective, it’s been sad to see social media ‘blamed’ for the organisation of these riots and also for the spreading of information. Well, I ask the nee sayers to be quiet and look at the good that social media has done.

In a speech earlier today, PM David Cameron echoed the sentiment: “We have seen the worst of Britain, but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain – the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police, coming together in the clean-up operations”.

Add to this the rallying of Twitter users to oust looters and the adoption of #riotcleanup and #OperationCupOfTea, you can see that people do care about the society they live in – offline and online.

We are lucky enough to have freedom of speech and social media is a channel, or megaphone, that allows us to use our voices. As with offline society, there are always going to be pockets of people who abuse this right and who will use social for bad. But online those who use it for good have a bigger voice, one that carries and as we have seen can be used for amazing things.

Finally, there’s been a lot of awful stories this week and a lot of fear. To put our faith back in society, post us storied of the good things you’ve experienced or heard this week, on or off line.

Keep calm and carry on people….

Are Apple scared of Facebook?

An article out today reveals that Apple are scared of something. Microsoft? Don’t be silly. Google? Yeah, you’d think so. But no – Facebook. On first look this comes as a surprise, but when you start thinking about it it’s not as silly as it sounds. Apple have been tech innovators for years and now they’re leaders in the field. You’d think that Google was their main threat now that they have Android. But Facebook makes sense as Apple can’t do social. For some reason it baffles them. Just look at Ping – yeah, remember that? Ping is, in many ways, Apple’s elephant in the room; their toe in the water for social which just didn’t take off. It remains isolated in iTunes and probably will just be the long lost cousin. You know the one – the guy with the banjo, in the woods, who likes to collect rocks.

Google has search, social, and an ever growing platform presence with Android which is now out selling iOS. So what was essentially a search engine is now a bigger, integrated online presence. It’s ticking all the boxes.

Which brings me to Facebook. Facebook is now so ingrained into the internet that it’s a part of online life, and it knows it. Facebook now has its own currency, Facebook Credits, and is starting to integrate music and video sales. Remind you of another Apple ‘i’ product? Rumours suggest that Facebook’s also looking into physical sales through its platform which makes me wonder if Amazon should be worried.

Social is Apple’s achilles heal and Facebook may be smelling blood in the water. Google continues to do its own thing, but also likes to play nicely with some of the others out there especially developers. Facebook’s very similar in that respect but as of yet there are no signs that it’ll move into the hardware wars.

It also surprised me that Apple haven’t released an ‘iSocial’ network. They do have a habit of taking other platforms/products ideas and putting their iMagic on it to make it appear more amazing or completely new (come on, think about it – Facetime = Skype; iOS 5 = Android; Xerox + Windows = Apple OS).

That said, I’ll probably be proved wrong in a couple of years when we see the new Facebook HP Notebook.

This is a non-digital broadcast

This is a non-digital broadcast. Repeat. This is a non-digital broadcast. As confusing and contradictory as that sounds, let me explain. This article is to explore the opposite side of my previous posts advocating digital and how it has improved our social lives.

Digital is great. Digital is my passion and I still stand by my views that online social media is enhancing and developing our social and sharing activity. But somedays I feel that technology has also made us less ‘human’ in day-to-day, real life.

I’ve decided to write this article because I just mentioned to my friend how I’m going to buy a Moleskin notebook because as much as I love tools like Springpad, you can’t beat pen and paper.

Everyday I cycle into work and am hampered by iPod zombies (iZombies?) who are oblivious to what’s going on around them. Heck, I used to be one but being on the bike has opened my ears up to life again. We are all guilty of this and seem to be content to shut out society and live in our own bubbles. I don’t believe this is right as it makes the majority unsocial and, well, rude.

I’m also equally guilty of being enslaved by my Macbook and iPad. I’m chained to my Mac at work and Macbook at home, and there I am flicking through Flipboard on the iPad before bed. And then I can read a good book…..on a Kindle.

Is all this technology making life better? In a word, yes. But there is a limit – a healthy limit to how much it can be used.

Maybe it’s time to take a digital usage audit.

And what about you – do you feel your web, tech, and/or digital use has got out of hand? Be interested to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below…

Social for Good

We’ve all been horrified by the weekends news about the terrorist attacks in Oslo. As the news started to surface through Twitter on Friday I turned to the Sky News iPad app to find out what was going on through their live news feed. Over the weekend there was news of a Google+ circle that had been set up to help and inform those involved. Twitter also rolled into action with users asking people in the locality of the bombing to keep their wi-fi unlocked so that those trapped could lock on and get help.

It is amazing how much social media has changed our way of life. Not only do we now find out about new events as, even before, they appear on rolling news channels, we can also get a clearer “from the ground” report of events – citizen journalism. But social channels were full of those from the digital world, nee from all over the physical world, who wanted to help those on the ground in the best or only way they could – through online.

Inane chatter about cats and Justin Bieber aside, social media is an amazing benefit to our offline lives.

So, I want to hear from our readers about how they see social. Do you use social media as your news channel? Have you seen social used for good? Whatever your thoughts, enter the discussion by posting your comments below.



The Spotify has landed

Spotify has crossed the pond! Finally the US get to share in the musical love that is Spotify! To UK based audiophiles, Spotify is old news. In fact, Spotify has around 1 million paying subscribers across UK, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Spain. In Europe, we love the Spotify – I for one can not praise it enough.

The US version launches in pretty much the same way it did here all those years ago – via invite to the free version. However, users also have the same option as us to sign up to the ad-free unlimited service ($4.99) or the mobile version ($9.99). (At current exchange rates that means they pay less than us!)

Spotify’s launch in the US is big news because it’s THE market to crack, and it’s been a tough nut too. Record companies had originally been sceptical about Spotify’s business model and were resistant to signing up their catalogues. So Spotify changed the model to a more comprehensive subscriptions service that benefits the major labels. In an industry flawed by piracy, Spotify plugs the gap between purchasing music and downloading it for free, and illegally, from torrent sites. Now you can pay your subscription and download all the music you want, anytime, anywhere (sorry, that sounds more like a strapline than a sentance). As Ken Parks, chief content office for Spotify, says –  “Spotify is simply a better experience”.

Spotify’s move into the US market also fuels rumours that a Facebook/Spotify streaming service is close by, rumours dismissed by Parks.

Ultimately, this looks like a change in the wind for the majors to. As mentioned, piracy has dogged the industry for many years now and has lead to major cut backs in staff and also artist rosters. But the music industry is starting to dictate the rules again. Spotify may have changed their model to suit, but so has Limewire and Apple (iCloud). Have the major four started to adapt to new technologies? It’s yet to be seen, but they appear to be working it out.

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All the people, so many people

Aleks Krotoski posted an interesting topic on her Untangling the Web blog today – Friendship (see the post here). The question she raises has been something I’ve asked myself for a while – “What has the Web done to friendship”.

So, as every good geek does, I decided to write a reply…which I also decided to post here (read below) because I’m interested to hear what others think about online social networks.

Post your comments below….



Loved the topic this fortnight. Got me thinking about social, so decided to write……(sorry if it’s an essay!).

This is something I’ve been questioning myself. I see online friendships as a positive as apposed to “devaluing our close friends”. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest the opposite – it enhances existing friendships. I now feel closer to some of my non-virtual friends and I’ve also re-established old friendships which are now closer than they once were. For example, I found three of my old college friends through Twitter and found out they lived two roads away. We now catch up most days on Twitter or Facebook and I ask them for advice more than some of my real life friends.

Also, my wife and I got married earlier this year and the outpouring of love we received over social networks was overwhelming. We could share our day with people who could not be there, be it in another country or not able to travel, and it’s instant (not that I was Tweeting from the alter!). We even had congratulations cards from some of my Twitter followers.

My wife still doesn’t ‘get’ Twitter and was resistant to my use of it in the early days. When I started to talk about followers as if they were real people, it puzzled her. But the support, help, advice, and even jobs, I’ve got through my virtual friends often shadows that from my real ones (read into that what you will!). These were, nee are, strangers – but they’re real to me and as good a friend as a real life, fleshy person.
I am a digital person so this is a digi-centric point of view. That said, I know many technophobes who see the value in social networking (even my dad who sometimes refers to Twitter as Twitbook – how Freudian). But the immediacy of sharing thoughts, pictures, music, and more is easier over digital – something Zuckerberg pointed to during his speech the other week.

Social is an exciting area and is only going to grow.

Daniel Honey

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Did social media bring down #NotW

Yesterday, News International announced that News of the World will shut down after this Sunday’s final edition. This is the final nail in the coffin after a week of public backlash against revelations of phone hacking. But it’s how the public backlash voiced itself that’s got my digital ears pricked.

As revelations surfaced of phone hacking on Milly Dowlers mobile, Twitter began to grumble. As more incidences came to light the hashtag trends pushed it as a trending topic. As it was announced that News of the World was to shut, Twitter was at breaking point and followers in other countries started to ask questions.

This BBC article details the origins of how the story, and backlash, began on Twitter. It also details how major advertisers pulled out of the paper because of the backlash. Some even posted their press releases to Twitter to explain why.

So did social help bring down News of the World?

I would argue yes. Social is the new ‘angry mob’. It’s the loudest ‘silent protest’. In a society where we’re used to seeing riots and marches on an almost weekly basis, this violence free approach to protest should pave the way forward for hitting corporations where it hurts. (That makes it sound like Twitter is the new Fight Club, but you can talk about Twitter Club.)

To quote Rage Against the Machine, ‘we’re gonna take the power back’. Speaking of Rage Against the Machine, look at the Christmas race to number one that happened to de-thrown the X Factor juggernaut from yet another victory. Social media protest has worked before and has again.

As Simon Pegg put it on Twitter this morning, “To put the #NotW thing in bastardised geek speak … “Sometimes the needs of the many [are outweighed] by the needs of the few, or the one.”

I would love to hear what you think – did social help bring down News of the World?