Yes I still exist… and even better, my email is back up!


For anyone who has tried to email me over the last 28 hours and received a bounce, please just email me again – my email is back up and I now exist again!

This has been a nightmare as I’ve transferred my primary website associated my email to a new host, and it did not go smoothly, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Now on with the rest of my life.

At current growth rates everyone in the world will have a Twitter account by December 21 2009!


ComScore has just released global Twitter usage figures for March, showing a 95% growth in the month to 19.1 million visitors.


Using the same methodology as my At current growth rates everyone in the US will have a Twitter account by August 22 2009! blog post from last week (extrapolating current exponential growth rates)…

Everyone in the world will have a Twitter account by December 21 2009! (which will be a nice Christmas present for the Twitter founders)

US users currently comprise 48.6% of global visitors. It’s interesting that US growth is 131% compared to global growth at 95%. If these growth rates continue the US will again have the majority of global users, after having started as a mainly US application and then gained significant traction internationally. Undoubtedly by later this year global growth rates will pick up relative to the US (especially since everyone in the US will be on Twitter by August 22!)

Largest ever organizational network analysis shows how social networks drive performance


For years now I have been trying to get the message out to senior executives that effective social networks are critical to business performance. By now that is well understood, in part supported by the large body research and academic literature on how social networks in and across organizations drive results and performance.

Now researchers from IBM Research and MIT have undertaken the largest study of its kind ever. BusinessWeek writes that Researchers at IBM and MIT have found that certain e-mail connections and patterns at work correlate with higher revenue production.

The report itself, Value of Social Network — A Large-Scale Analysis on Network Structure Impact to Financial Revenue of Information Technology Consultants, provides detail on their findings – for those interested in these issues it’s well worth a read.

In summary, there were four key results:

1. Structural diversity and centrality of social networks are positively correlated with performance for both individual consultant and project teams.

Read more

The future of museums: the shift from expert curators to facilitators of participation


Yesterday as a prelude to the Transformations in Scientific and Cultural Communication conference I’m speaking at today, the Directors of Australia and New Zealand’s largest museums and libraries gathered for a boardroom session. I joined the group to give a presentation on social media in organizations and was very interested to hear their perspectives.

The general tenor of the afternoon was examining the rapidly changing environment, perhaps most notably changed expectations from audiences in how they interact with exhibits and content.

One of the directors commented that institutions that are often over a century old and perhaps by definition embedded in tradition can find it hard to change. However in the course of the afternoon I saw some fantastic examples of what is being done by museums today. It made me think that perhaps the underlying mindset of (some) museum directors is one of engaging people, and thus seeing the openness of the web as being an opportunity to fulfill their role of ‘democratizing knowledge’ .

Read more

Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum #1 on Twitter today


Back from a fabulous day at Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum. I don’t have time for a full debrief now as I have to finish preparing for my keynote at theNational Growth Summit tomorrow.

Certainly a highlight of today was the Twitter activity at the conference, with by some measures the event reaching #1 on Twitter activity globally, and with other services reporting us as #2 trending Twitter topic.


Certainly the best single place to explore the distilled insights from the day is the Twitter stream for #e2ef, with over 1000 tweets, mainly of what participants found most useful and valuable from the speakers and interactive sessions.

More reflections and reporting from the day, including a distillation of some of Twitter stream, coming soon.

The ‘Minority Report’ user interface is here


The film Minority Report featured a user interface in which Tom Cruise’s character controlled computer screens and information using gestures, while wearing special gloves.

This was at the time the best representation of what I have long thought was a natural and inevitable direction for user interfaces. I’ve written about the shift to richer computer interfaces extensively over the years, including featuring Interfaces as one of the three technologies that will bring the networks to life in Chapter 2 of my 2002 book Living Networks, describing New Interfaces as one of the Six Trends that are transforming Living Online, and looking at the future of interfaces in mobile and home environments in the Future of the Media Lifecycle framework.

The film below shows the ‘g-speak’ technology in use. This is still transitional technology that will lead to broadly-used commercial applications, but definitely shows where things are heading.

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

Thanks to Engadget.

Seth Godin says write so it couldn’t be any shorter


Hugh MacLeod has published a delightful interview with Seth Godin on the launch of his new book Tribes.

A couple of excerpts that particularly struck me:

Your books and blog posts seem to have one thing in common, they seem to be getting shorter and shorter with every passing year. I have no problem with that; I think people genuinely prefer short reads to long ones. For people aspiring to publish their own books one day, what advice would you give them re. deciding on a book’s length?

Try to write a book or a blog post that can’t possibly be any shorter than it is.

Yes, very well put. That is the discipline we all must have today. As attention is spread ever more thinly, there is no luxury for padded content.

You’ve been publishing your books for about a decade now. Obviously, in that time period there’s been a lot of changes in the world. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s narrow the field down a bit, to the “Purple Cow”, new-marketing world you’ve been happily residing in. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in this brave new world, since Purple Cow and IdeaVirus first hit the bookstores?

There’s no doubt that the biggest change is that most smart people now realize that the world has changed.

When I started, I was working in a status quo, static world, where the future was expected to be just like the past, but a little sleeker.

Now, chaos is the new normal. That makes it easier to sell an idea but a lot harder to sound like a crackpot.

Yes again. I think we almost all find it hard to comprehend quite how much business has changed over the last 10 years. We now live in a very. very different world, and just about everyone at least implicitly recognises it. Almost all the change for the good, I think.

The critical role of portable large screen devices in enabling mobile media


Michael Arrington of Techcrunch has just announced that they are trying to create the specifications to build a tablet computer primarily for web browsing for $200. The intention is to design it, then open source the design and software so anyone can build it, thus making an inexpensive web tablet available to many. More background from Nik Cubrilovic.

This directly addresses one of the key points in our Future of the Media Lifecycle framework, illustrated below (full explanation at the link).

Media Lifecycle Framework

The development of mobile media requires rich media devices. These come in two forms: handheld and portable. The iPhone and its emerging competitors have finally created a handheld interface which is a true media device that will encourage people to engage in a wide range of media consumption and creation activities. However there is still an important role for portable devices, that can’t be put in a pocket. While I’m a strong believer in the role of video glasses and similar interfaces that allow a handheld device to provide a wide visual screen, the reality is that in most cases people will want a normal flat screen. Before long rollable and foldable screens will fulfil this role. In the meantime a flat screen is both available, and will long have a cost advantage over e-paper-based screens. Laptops have a place, but have long boot times and are over-specified. eBooks will also be important, though are currently fairly application specific. A web tablet as described by Arrington would neatly fill an important space in having an inexpensive, flexible portable media device that will facilitate accessing the personal cloud that will be at the center of our lives.

On another level, this is a great example of open source innovation, in which consumers define what they want, create the model, and by making the design open source, ensure the product is commoditized and low cost. The highest value part of the process is performed by the customers, not the vendors.

Quick review of social media coverage of Future of Media Summit


I’ll do some more detailed reflections on the Future of Media Summit tomorrow. I’m just about to fall over after a very long day, but thought I’d post a few important social media references and commentary on the event.

First stopping point has to be the Future of Media Summit Blog, where participants have been busily posting all day, notably:

Participant roundtables in Sydney:

Mobile Media and Content

Future of Media and Television

Flow Economy/ Media Strategy Workshop in Silicon Valley:



Reviews of panel discussions:

Global Media Strategies – 1

Global Media Strategies – 2

CEO Panel – 1

CEO Panel – 2

Future of TV and video – by Mark Pesce 1

Future of TV and video – by Mark Pesce 2

Future of Privacy and Targeted Advertising

Future of Journalism (Sydney)

Unconference sessions:

New Media – 1

New Media – 2

Twitter comments:

See the Summize search for Twitters with the #fom08 tag – literally hundreds of Twitters from attendees at the Future of Media Summit (which included a Twitter 101 session during the Unconference session in Sydney).

Live video:

The Ustream video from Phil Morle

All this will give you a good feel for the event from the perspective of participants. I’ll provide some of my thoughts soon.

In previous years the Summit blog has continued to be active for quite a while after the event as discussions continue online – hopefully this will be the case this year too! Subscribe to the blog to keep up with the conversation.

Metarand: Podcast interview on the future of media and the value of frameworks…


Rand Leeb-du-Toit, the indefatigable entrepreneur and social media evangelist, is very consistently producing interesting insights on the emerging tech landscape at his blog Metarand – well worth a look or subscribe!

Last week Rand interviewed me for a podcast – go to the post to listen to the interview. We primarily discussed my thoughts leading into the Future of Media Summit, looking at the broad landscape of what’s happening in the media landscape.

What I like most about being interviewed is that I often learn from my own answers. Rand wrote:

The biggest takeout: he uses frameworks to synthesize his pattern recognition and as a communication tool for exploring trends and the potential paths we will follow in the future.

I am very frequently asked how I keep on top of so much information and make sense of it. It was only when Rand asked the question of how I go about ‘pattern recognition’ that I realized how central is the role of the frameworks I create, which are as much for myself as for others. Of the collection of frameworks in the Future of Media Report 2008, released last week, unquestionably my favorite is the Future of the Media Lifecycle framework, which pulled together many of the loose thoughts floating around in my head.