Good Bye Old Design

 

As you might have noticed, the following design is no more:

Old SMartens.eu design

I had spent quite some time creating it from scratch a couple of years ago, so it was kind of hard to just let it go.
Coming to think of it though, I’ve realized that I don’t need any nifty design to attract readers.
I’m not a designer, well not an approved writer either, but content being king, I decided to grab the design I’ve been using for komischer-typ.de since 2009. It’s very basic so the actual content has the reader’s attention.

Speaking of readers, there’s that flag in the upper right corner. Clicking it will direct you to the German Language Version of this Blog.
Topics will remain the same, roughly speaking Social Media within and outside the Enterprise (2.0).

Cheers – and happy International Women’s Day ;-)

 

 

 

 
 

Lee Bryant: Social on the Outside needs Social Business on the Inside

 

If you want to learn something about enterprise 2.0 as well as Social Media outside the firewall, Headshift is the place to be.

In my humble opinion, Lee Bryant encapsulates the most important things you have to know today, to grasp the incredibly interesting and vast topic Social Media. By chance, I also know that “to encapsulate” seems to be one of Lee’s favourite words. That’s probably due to his gift of being able to break down even the most complicated stuff into its most essential parts.

Here’s the video I’m talking about:

Lee encapsulated what the video is about as follows:

The focus of my talk was the idea that hanging shiny social media baubles on the cold, hard external walls of a corporate organisation runs the risk of creating a false brand promise unless this work has strong internal underpinnings in the form of social business structures that can do something about the noise, insights and feedback that outbound communications generate.

Key to achieving this is building bridges between the inside and outside worlds, and recognising that we are all (corporate, as well as human beings) products of our networks, ecosystems and connections. I touched on Christakis’ work on contagion and the influence of social networks and emphasised what an opportunity this embodies for brands with a strong value proposition, such as the poster child of modern customer service Zappos, and how this also creates a building-block, API-style opportunity for others to build on your products or services to create even more value.

If you don’t have 20 minutes to spare, I’d recommend Lee talking about knowledge management (2.0):

This one’s part of a movie called “Us Now”. You can watch “Us Now” at http://watch.usnowfilm.com/.

It’s a great piece of information as well. I actually showed the latter to several people that didn’t have any idea of the topic of enterprise 2.0.

 
 

V for Vendetta Terrorist Review

 

I wrote a 3-page paper for my university course “Understanding Terrorism” on the terrorist aspects of the movie V for Vendetta.
As I wrote about the movie review before and created a poll asking whether V was rather a terrorist or a freedom fighter, I decided to post the review to my blog.
For all those who haven’t watch the movie yet:

Watch out, this review definitely contains spoilers, so watch the movie ;-)

V for Vendetta – Reviewing and Analyzing its Terrorist Aspects

The movie “V for Vendetta”, released in 2005, is based on a comic book series of the same name, written by Alan Moore. 1
The plot of the movie, which is categorized as action, science fiction and thriller2, will be summarized, analysed and interpreted in the following.

V for Vendetta starts looking back at the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, where a conspiracy of Roman Catholics failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament when their religion was severely oppressed.3
However, the movie’s fictional government does not only oppress Roman Catholics but the whole English population.
With surveillance cameras everywhere the socio-political circumstances pretty much resemble Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth from Orwell’s novel 19844, but are also similar to “La Grande Terreur” during the French Revolution, which historians think of as “state-organized or state-backed visitation of violence on [...] dissident citizenry”.5

Citizens are not allowed to leave their homes at “post-curfew” time, which is when the female protagonist Evey goes out and is stopped by patrolling police forces, so called “finger men”.

When they try to rape her, the male protagonist V rescues her and takes her on top of a roof opposite of the Old Bailey.
Here, V has the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky played, blowing up the Old Bailey along the way.

Destroying the featured statue of justice, V demonstrates his disagreement with the government’s understanding of justice.
The graphic novel is more straightforward here because there V literally “professes his love for her, but accuses her of being a whore for the fascist government”.6

V’s main adversary High Chancellor Adam Sutler declares that V has to be found, making him understand what terror really means, implying that he’s willing to use the same means as V.
As the government is passing legislations as it pleases, it has more than “a fair bit of freedom in deciding whether to adopt an essentially legal approach or to step outside the law”7 to fight V’s terror.

Sutler’s approach is rather similar to Israel’s “policy of assassinating those it holds to be terrorist”8.
In his next coup, V walks into the headquarters of BTN TV where he threatens to blow up the building if they won’t let him speak in front of their cameras. He succeeds, telling people to remember 5 November again and denounces the government.
Even though he’s able to escape with the help of Evey, the media reports that the police have killed him in a heroic act, therefore deliberately deceiving people.
V takes Evey back to his place, the “Shadow Gallery”.
Admitting that she hasn’t eaten ordinary eggs and butter since she was a little girl, the government’s totalitarian rule is unveiled once more.

Convinced that violence can be used for good, V kills Lewis Prothero, an influential TV moderator, whom he calls “Commander” as he had been responsible for various cruelties in a detention camp before his TV career.
Needless to say that the media conceals the murder and pretends he passed away peacefully.

In addition to the “Commander”, V plans to kill a bishop who used to work in the camp, too.
Evey serves as a bait here because his holiness has an indulgence for young girls, but she changes her mind and decides to flee from V.
She finds ayslum at Gordon, a well-mannered TV moderator.
It turns out that he’s also secretly opposing the government, showing Evey all his forbidden belongings such as a copy of the Koran.

Meanwhile the police have found out that V has killed all the people who were in charge at the Larkhill detention camp except for one female doctor that he finally liquidates as well.
V’s killing spree is obviously a revenge as the government had developed a biological weapon in form of a virus in the camp, V being the only surviving test subject.
The government had deliberately used the virus against its own population and made it look like a religiously motivated terrorist attack by terrorists.
This way of deceiving the public to exploit the effects for one’s own ends resembles the “Lavon affair” from 1954, when Israeli agents intended to blow up US and British targets in Egypt with the purpose of “alienating the US and Britain from Egypt and Nasser”.9

There’s a turning point in the story now as people publicly start to protest against the government,  spraying ‘V’ graffiti all over the government’s propaganda posters.
Furthermore, Gordon exposes the former untouchable High Chancellor to ridicule on TV, which leads to Gordon’s arrest and execution.
As Evey was hiding at Gordon’s flat, she also gets caught and is brought to a camp, where she gets tortured.
However, it turns out that V was setting everything up to test how far she would go to support him.
Condemning what V has done to her, Evey has a nervous breakdown, realizing the government’s responsibility for the deaths of her family.
Thus,  she ultimately agrees that V’s actions were indeed justified.

To prevent people from revolting even more the Chancellor starts spreading false news about pandemonium all over the world to spur fear within the population, a beloved tool of politicians from the “terrorism industry” that “systematically exaggerate dangers” to “profit from their fearmongering and alarmism”.10
His actions do not prevent V from killing the head of the government’s Secret Service Mr. Creedy as well as the High Chancellor himself.

Being severely injured, V is still able to accomplish his final goal with Evey’s help, who uses a tube train to send his body together with explosives towards the Houses of Parliament.
The exploding edifice is watched by thousands of V’s supporters on their way to the seat of government.

One might wonder whether V is, in fact, a terrorist or a freedom fighter.
Drawing upon Valls (2000) who states that “violence committed by non-state actors against persons or property for political purposes” is terrorism, one can conclude that V indeed uses terrorist means.11

Internet users don’t seem to share this scientific view though:

References

1 cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta
2 cf. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434409/
3 cf. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g08.pdf, p.2
4 cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four#Story
5 cf. Tilly 2004: 9
6 cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bailey#In_popular_culture
7 cf. Townshed 2002: 125
8 cf. Townshed 2002: 125
9 cf. http://www.mideastweb.org/lavon.htm
10 cf. Mueller 2007: 4
11 cf. Valls 2000: 68

Internet Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four#Story

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bailey#In_popular_culture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434409/

http://www.mideastweb.org/lavon.htm

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g08.pdf, p.2

http://www.smartens.eu/blog/2009/03/30/v-from-v-for-vendetta-terrorist-or-freedom-fighter/

Literature

Mueller, John (2007): Reacting to terrorism – probabilities, consequences & the persistence of fear
Tilly, Charles (2004): Terror, terrorism, terrorists
Townshend, Charles (2002): Terrorism – a very short introduction
Valls, Andrew (2000): Can terrorism be justified’ in Andrew Valls (ed.) (2000) Ethics in
International Affairs, pp. 65-79

 
 

Questionable Nielsen Study: 60% of Twitter Users Quit Within Four Weeks

 

Nielsen reports that 60% of Twitter users quit within the first month, which is quite surprising to me.

The most important information behind these 60% is probably the fact that Nielsen is only able to measure return visits to Twitter.com as “HotForWords” pointed out over at Mashable.

Thus, the question is how many peoply actually start using desktop clients such as Tweetdeck, Thwirl or mobile clients right from the beginning and therefore don’t return to Twitter.com.

Twitstat provides us with the following overall statistics (not just for the first month of course):

1. Web: 27.68 %
2. TweetDeck: 12.44 %
3. Tweetie: 7.39 %
4. twitterfeed: 5.30 %
5. Twhirl: 4.11 %

The downturn of these numbers is that Twitter users have to follow @twitstat and it is not very likely that new Twitter users are actually doing so.

A more reliable statistic is provided by Tweetstats who got their data from Gnip:

tweetstats

Once again, this comes as a surprise, at least to me, as I would have thought that more people would use the mentioned desktop clients.

Some people might argue that Twitter desktop clients are rather a geeky kind of thing and are therefore not used by new Twitter users, such as Michael Bauser does:

I doubt that many users go straight to desktop apps in their first month of twittering. Those are for experienced (and by “experienced,” I mean “addicted”) users.

I don’t agree at all with that statement as Twitter has evolved since 2007, there are thousands of tools around it and the service can be used for online-marketing, customer support, etc.

I’m writing that due to my own experience with Twitter, let’s have a look at my very own tweetstats:

twittergraph

Noticed anything? ;-)

Right – I started using Twitter, relinquishing it almost immediately.

But:

As Twitter founder Evan Williams himself pointed out at his TED Talk:

The fundamental idea is that Twitter let’s people share moments of their lives, whenever they want, be they momentous occasions or mundane ones.
It’s by sharing these moments as they’re happening that lets people feel more connected and in touch despite distance in the real time. This is the primary use we saw in Twitter from the beginning and what got us excited.

What we didn’t anticipate was the many many other uses that would evolve from this very simple system. One of the things we realized was how important Twitter could be during real time events.

[...]

Among the other interesting things that have cropped up is many things from businesses. From marketing and communications and predictable things to an insanely popular Korean Barbecue Taco truck that drives around L.A. and twitters where it stops.

Politicians have recently begun twittering.

[...]

We currently know about 2.000 pieces of software that can send Twitter updates.

[...]

So, as I had mentioned before: Twitter has evolved.
When I started using Twitter, there was hardly anyone on Twitter that I knew.
Other than that, there were no usable desktop clients and companies would have associated Twitter with birds only.

That’s why I stopped using it for a long time until I started again and realized the value of the service by using it “correctly”. You can see my presentation on How to get the most out of Twitter or another great presentation, that inspired me to create my own, called “How Twitter changed my life presentation”, which outlines lots of Twitter’s benefits. The title is a bit too dramatic for most of us though, I guess.

To cut a long story short:

I don’t see why 60% of Twitter users should stop using Twitter within four weeks regarding the value you can get out of it today.

I think the 60% mainly consists of people that try something and throw it away after 5 minutes because they don’t want to spend a little effort to actually learn something. We don’t need blinkered people acting like 5-year-olds.

What’s your experience?

Did you start using Twitter, quit for a while and came back?
Or have you been twittering ever since the service was launched?

Looking forward to reading your “Twitter history”! :-)

 
 

I’ll give that CSS and HTML another Try

 

I’ll redesign my blog within the next couple of days, that’s why it looks even more simplistic than it did anyway.
I could just use an existing template of course, but hey, this is my blog, I wanna design it myself!

I’ve just sold my Eric Meyer CSS books though and designed my last website in 2007 for one of my mother’s friends, but I wanna give it a try, so stay tuned to see the creepy result – next weekend at the latest.

Imho it’s always a good idea to know the basics of web design, even though it’s quite obvious that it should actually be done by talented people with an artistic disposition at the very best.

I was actually looking for one of these good old “Under Construction” images,  but was afraid that one of the Geocities / Tripod members I wanted to steal it from might resurrect from the dead and sue me.

Thus, I went the flashy web2.0 way:

See you later!