Digital Economy USRG

Georgi Georgiev discusses #webscience at #SxSC2

October 11, 2012
by Graeme Earl

Georgi Georgiev one of the UoS Digital Champions discusses #webscience at #SxSC2

Ian Brown introduces the Web Observatory for #SxSC2

October 11, 2012
by Graeme Earl

Ian Brown introduces the Web Observatory in advance of the #SxSC2 event.

Video introducing #SxSC2

October 11, 2012
by Graeme Earl

Dr Lisa Harris introduces the #SxSC2 event.

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Guy Stephens

Lisa HarrisOctober 10, 2012
by Lisa Harris

Guy Stephens, Social Media/Enterprise Social Network Consultant at Capgemini.

Guy has over fourteen years experience in the digital space, the last six or so focusing on social media. Guy has been described by Dr Dave Chaffey as ‘one of the world’s leading thinkers’ on the use of social media customer service, and was seen as an early adopter in this space by Business Week. While at The Carphone Warehouse he set up the use of social media within customer service, back in 2008. This work was written up in a Forrester Report – How Carphone Warehouse Uses Twitter And Social Media To Transform Customer Service.

Guy currently works with large organisations to help them understand the business transformation challenges social media has on the way they engage with their customers, as well as the impact it has on the way they work and communicate. His work covers everything from designing social media command centres through to working with companies such as Yammer, HootSuite, GetSatisfaction and Salesforce.

Guy also acts as a mentor as part of Capgemini University, a programme jointly run by the University of Reading and the Henley Business School. In addition, he also works with Behind the Screen, a project creating a new type of IT GCSE, to design the social media module. Guy is a committee member of Digital Surrey, advisor to Leaderboarded.com, founder of the Social Media Governance Forum, regular contributor to various publications, conference speaker, avid Tweeter and lazy blogger.

In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?

We live in curious and somewhat paradoxical times. Social media is a proxy for change, disrupting established business models. On the one hand it is bringing a level of intimacy and humanity back into areas of the business such as customer service that have for decades been defined by Taylorism, and yet walk into any public space and we’re all consumed in our own little worlds tapping away on our smartphones or iPads. Intimacy on the screen, intimacy in a virtual space, alongside an ever-increasing sense of physical alienation. A world in which strangers are friends, privacy is characterised by apathy, convenience and cognitive polyphasia … as Clay Shirky writes – when we change the way we communicate we change society.

What can the latest technologies do for you?

Everything and nothing!

If you’re not online, are you out of the game?

Which game? Whose game? Who sets the rules? What are the rules? I’m reminded of Howard Rheingold talking about digital literacies – what skills plus social, do we need to survive?

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Kieron O’Hara

Lisa HarrisOctober 10, 2012
by Lisa Harris

Kieron O’Hara is a senior research fellow in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. His interests are in the philosophy, sociology and politics of technology, particularly the World Wide Web and the Semantic Web; key themes are trust, transparency, privacy and the use of technology to support human memory. He has had a central involvement in the development of the discipline of Web Science. He is the author of several books, including: ‘Plato and the Internet’ (2002); ‘Trust: From Socrates to Spin’ (2004); ‘inequality.com: Power, Poverty and the Digital Divide’ (2006, with David Stevens); and ‘The Spy in the Coffee Machine: The End of Privacy As We Know It’ (2008, with Nigel Shadbolt), as well as ‘A Framework for Web Science’ (2006, with Tim Berners-Lee et al), for the journal ‘Foundations and Trends in Web Science’.

He has also written extensively on British politics and political theory, and is a research fellow for the Centre for Policy Studies, and a research fellow with CONCEPT: the Nottingham Centre for Normative Political Theory. He writes frequently for popular journals and newspapers, has appeared several times on radio and television, and regularly blogs for  the Centre for Policy Studies. His latest book is ‘Huxley: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2012), and he is currently engaged in writing about online religious extremism. He chairs the transparency sector panel for crime and criminal justice for the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. His report on privacy in the context of the UK government’s transparency programme, ‘Transparent Government, Not Transparent Citizens’, was published in September 2011.

How are digital technologies transforming our lives?

I think it’s pretty obvious how life (and reality) are being transformed – more information more easily available, more access to people, more traces of our activities left behind. Reality, for many people at least, is encompassing digital aspects. It seems clear, as a number of far-sighted thinkers always maintained, that a good many people can feel as warmly for, and interact as deeply with, digital artefacts or digitally-mediated traces of friends, colleagues and family as with the analogue versions.

Is that surprising? Not really, when you consider how easily people have always moved between the symbolic realm and the symbolised. From the medieval days of minstrelsy, people have fallen in love with images of pop stars they have never met (and nowadays, people will pay good money to see a Robbie Williams imitator, who is aping Robbie Williams’ on-stage persona, which is presumably very different from the chap himself). People used to hoard things, then gold, then paper money, and now they get excited when a number which represents a stock market index or a growing bank balance increases on their computer screen. Sexual fetishism is the transfer of desire from a person to a representative, be it an article of clothing or the acting out of a type of scene. Art was one of the earliest human impulses – we don’t know the significance of cave paintings, but even if they were just Neanderthal wallpaper it’s remarkable that our ancestors were able to create and relate to arrangements of pigment that represented the animals they hunted (and, by the way, remarkable that they look like animals to us, too).

Even some of the deepest, most treasured and valued feelings we have irrevocably involve symbols. The Host, when consecrated in the Eucharist, becomes something that people of many religions can relate to very powerfully – yet it is after all a piece of bread. Symbols live and sometimes they die when the social conditions that make them happen disappear – presumably the Greek gods were very meaningful at one time, yet now they have become myths, stories – culturally important but no longer moving or persuasive.

So I don’t find it surprising that people can form or conduct relationships with remote people, or live in Second Life. Humans are meaning-makers – we create significance in our environment, and in the objects we engineer.

What can the latest technologies do for you?

Me personally, or an abstract person? Technology can bore people or excite them, make them more efficient, or distract them from their work, keep them in touch or lock them in a world of their own creation. I think the positive possibilities of new technologies are massive, and as usual after a period of reflection we’ll discover (a) that much of the potential we anticipated has not been realised, and (b) that we will count many unanticipated effects as positive outcomes. But I know from my own work as an academic how far access to information has completely transformed my work. If I were to focus on that aspect of life, I’d have to say that it is extremely exciting to be within reach of the work of so many knowledge creators. If Newton was standing on the shoulders of giants, heaven knows where that puts me.

But of course technology can’t make you wiser or more reflective (or turn me into Newton, worse luck). If technology takes away from us the ability to sit back and gauge the significance of what we have discovered, then so much the worse. We need to use technology and make sure it does not use us (sorry for the cliche, but it’s true).

If you’re not online, are you out of the game?

Not sure what game that might be – but whatever it is, this had better not be true. If we make it impossible for people to pursue their own conception of the good life without Facebook or Google or an iPhone, then we will be diminishing our society by diminishing its scope.

In any type of pursuit, there is usually a default mode of existence where most people are comfortable and which requires certain skills, commitments and technologies. Without those skills, etc, then you can’t join in. But that general consensus very rarely exhausts all the possibilities, and there are usually alternative ways of getting value out of life.

Trying to close those alternatives down would involve an unacceptable level of coercion – but in any case we should support anyone trying to live life as they wish to, and not try to clone ourselves or our machines.

 

 

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Paul Caplan

Lisa HarrisOctober 10, 2012
by Lisa Harris

After a career in business to business journalism as editor, photographer and designer Paul formed his own company to provide digital media consultancy to the UK Government, public sector and charities as well as business. His journalism and photography has appeared in national magazines and newspapers and his clients have included COI Communications, the Royal Air Force, NHS and Airbus. He is completing a practice research PhD at Birkbeck, University of London.

Paul teaches on the MA Communication Design and the new Global Media Management pathways. His research focuses on strategic approaches to distributed global media and communications as well as digital imaging, software and object-oriented approaches to media.

In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?

Real-time news and streams of conversation. Shareable everything and linked ideas. Always on and always there media. Surveillance and sousveillance. Disintermediation and kickstarting. Crowd-sourcing and smart mobs. Likes and Friends. Information overload and filter failure. CRM and content relationships. Expectations and ownership. Remix and reuse. Carbon footprint and server farms. Data-mining and personal archives. Personal and social memories. Access and control. Gadgets and fetishes. People and power.

What can the latest technology do for you?

Ask not what the latest technology can do for you, ask what you can do with the latest technology. The thing is not to separate ‘technology’ from the rest of culture, media, marketing, life. It’s a tool. A powerful one and one often not under our control but a tool. We can use it, reconfigure it, bend it to communicate, connect, mobilise and build relationships. Facebook is a corporate giant data-mining our relationships, getting us to generate value for for its shareholders and empowering new forms of surveillance but it’s also the platform activists added to their armoury in Tahir Square or my daughter uses to help her with her homework. It’s also a tool the Far Right use to mobilise across Europe. It’s not simple. No technology ever is.

 If you’re not online are you out of the game?

No, because like it or not you *are* online – in the networks of state and corporate surveillance, your phone records, CCTV and credit card movements in the discussions of your friends as they post photos of you or mention you. You’re online when your customers oct stakeholders talk about your brand. The question is whether you’re happy to stand on the edge and let those conversations and relationships happen without you or whether you get involved, answer questions, help customers and add value. Online is not separate from some arcadian offline space. Just as “new media” is  a misnomer in an age of ubiquitous computing, so the online-offline dichotomy is an illusion. The two spaces permeate and plait.

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker profile: Madeline Paterson

Lisa HarrisOctober 9, 2012
by Lisa Harris

Madeline Paterson is a Career Transition Coach. She may not have been born digital, but she embraces it. Madeline wants to exemplify smart use of technology in her own business. And she wants it to have a personal touch, because that is what her business is all about about – paying real attention to clients and helping them to open up new opportunities for themselves.

Madeline speaks and writes about career transition whenever she can and believes that developing ‘readiness for opportunity’ is a key capability in a world where straightforward jobs are becoming fewer and fewer. As well as running her business, Madeline currently works part-time at the University of Southampton as a Student Experience Manager, managing the Transition to Living and Learning Project that supports new students starting at the University. She has worked in technology and media businesses and at UCL and the Open University – designing e-learning, managing media teams and managing client relationships. Find her on www.vizualize.me/madelinep and (every day) on twitter @madelinep.

In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?

 I live on an island, but that doesn’t matter.

I can coach anywhere using the telephone and Skype; I have a virtual assistant in the Netherlands who manages my diary; I created my own website; and I am just starting to use a neat app that scans my expense receipts and reconciles them with my business bank account. I love technology and work hard at keeping up-to-date, mostly through Twitter. The only thing that I have commissioned for my business so far is the Symmetry Coaching brand identity, but that may be about to change, because I want to grow my business. For me, technology is a central part of my life, an exciting world of new ideas, and an opportunity to innovate in my own business.

What can the latest technologies do for you?

I would like you to help me answer that question.

You are invited to come up with strategy, marketing, web and open data ideas in my Boost This Business! workshop at #SxSC2. And in recognition of your creativity in injecting new ideas, you could win either a special prize or a career coaching prize.

How do I use digital right now? Well, I created my own WordPress.com site at symmetrycoaching.co.uk, but it really needs a re-think. I’m active on Twitter as @madelinep and I get into the press when I can, e.g.  http://bit.ly/GlobalResearcher-chat, but I probably need a more substantive profile – and I wonder if it would be good to write a book? I am frighteningly easy to find on Google and LinkedIn, but is the message appealing and a sufficiently clear ‘call to action’?

If I want to develop products and services so that Symmetry Coaching moves away from being only a time-based business, where should my priorities lie in the next 12 months? Over to you! What can technology do for my one-person coaching and consulting business? How can I work on the business without the details of implementation eating seriously into my time?

If you’re not online, are you out of the game?

 I would live in a smaller world if I weren’t online.

There would be fewer opportunities and I would certainly know fewer people who share the same interests as me. On the other hand, I have to take care of my time and I experience (many times a day) the pull of the internet on my mind when I know that I should be doing other things.

For small businesses, the challenge is often in getting the right people to help us grow our businesses. I hope the little case study in Boost This Business! helps us think about how to deliver real value to small businesses like mine.

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Jeremy Frey

October 8, 2012
by Graeme Earl

Jeremy Frey is Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Southampton, UK He is fully committed to a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to chemical research. He uses laser spectroscopy to probe molecular structure, reactivity, and dynamics in a variety of environments, ranging from single molecules to interfaces and surfaces, which he studies with interfacial non-linear spectroscopy.  His most recent laser research probes the shape of single large molecules of biological significance, such as enzymes, using EUV and soft x-ray coherent diffraction imaging and x-ray spectroscopy. Experimental data is transferred automatically to an Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN): LabTrove, which his research group developed.

At Southampton , his collaborations with Physics, the Opto-Electronics Research Centre (ORC), and Electronics and Computer Science have been particularly fruitful. He continues to be vigorously involved with the UK e-Science and e-Research programmes. Jeremy led the CombeChem project, which developed e-Science and Grid infrastructure to provide support for and carry out chemical research, including, for example, the Smart Tea Project.

Subsequent projects deploy Web 2.0 & social networking technologies to develop a “Chemical Semantic Web”; the e-Bank & e-Crystals projects established Publication @ Source² as a key goal in the drive for appropriate curation. Jeremy was the chair of the UK e-Science User Group (2005-7) and in 2005/6 held a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Mathematics and its Applications at ANU, Canberra. He has recently been appointed as the champion for the RCUK Digital Economy IT as a Utility Network.

ITaaU Web page is http://www.itutility.ac.uk/

In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?

Huge increase in the access to material and information, opening up choice, though perhaps not considered knowledge, ability to communicate rapidly with many people & groups to obtain input, advice and with luck make better decisions!  When digital replaces physical, rather than supply information about the physical world, then the transformation is much more dramatic and personalised mass customisation is possible.

What can the latest technologies do for you?

Smart phones, Cloud services are just the start of the potential to transform IT and information provision into a utility – but are these utility services ones we will trust?  When we can trust them we are empowered by them, when we can’t the result can be devastating, much more rapidly and globally than ever happened in the pre-digital world.

If you’re not online, are you out of the game?

No not quite, but just playing a slower game!  I don’t have a smart phone (yet) – I can use my phone to talk to people, so while I may not always be online all the time, I have become used to being in contact, and perhaps having time with no email might give time for more thought and less rushing about?

Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Danny Weston

October 8, 2012
by Graeme Earl

Danny is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Greenwich funded by the RCUK DE www.patina.ac.uk project, applying Actor Network Theory to ‘Bots’. He also has an interest in Floridi’s ‘Philosophy of Information’ and ‘Information Ethics’, Computational epistemology and social media.  Whilst his academic background is in philosophy and politics he has also spent nearly a decade working in IT roles. This has included working on electronic trading systems on investment bank trade floors, supporting a community of online tutors for UFI and teaching computer forensics, digital enterprise and computer ethics.

How are digital technologies transforming our lives?

On the difficult side – forcing us to think and act in digital ways; which inevitably means often squeezing the analogue into discrete digital packages. Then there is the scattering of our attention – though that is as much about the means of delivery (mobile devices, email etc) as it is about being digital’. Also there’s the enormous amounts of data that can be used for passive mass dataveillance. On the positive side – freeing us from unnecessary labour and enabling greater levels of creativity for a much wider range of people (think ‘Web 2.0’ etc) and providing enormous amounts of data that could be used for accountability, transparency and self-reflexivity.

What can the latest technologies do for you?

Each technology fundamentally presents you with a choice: there have been debates in recent years for example as to whether Google makes people ‘dumber’ or ‘smarter’. It’s a choice. You can use Google to look into the minutae of a celebrity’s life or you can use it to find e-learning resources on theoretical physics. The choice is yours.

If you’re not online, are you out of the game?

No not necessarily. We’re a bit fixated on communication – which of course is important, but digital technologies can be used in many innovative ways that don’t require the hand-holding of constant connection with everyone else via the internet.

http://www.censoring.me/churnalism