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By Tony Fish, founder AMF Ventures and member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital.

One of the ‘events’ at Being Digital, on 11-12th October 2011 @ Innovation Warehouse, will be BeingMe, it is the PM session on the 12th.

BeingMe will explore the digital interactions that create personal data that is waiting to be exploited. Data is being created as you live your digital life from your click stream, key strokes, movement, location, search terms, your relationships and from your friends/associates actions towards you.  This data or signals can be run through an algorithm to deliver insights, personalization, intent and context which should improve your over-all digital experience, however, that same data also contains signals that can determine your reputation and your influence and help companies make a judgement if they want to do business with you and on what terms.

To help form a digital reputation or understand influence you need to determine someone’s Authority, Credibility, Expertise, Location, Proximity, Reach, Relevancy and Trust and these are the topics we will get deep and dirty within this session.  It is a paid for event and tickets start at £90 ex. VAT. More details are here  http://beingdigital.eu/ or Register Here and use mashupdigital to get a 20% discount.

BeingDigital has three other big themes (Social, Local and Open) at the summit giving you the flexibility to participate and attend one or all four themes. Meet early stage businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs building, creating and pushing the boundaries of digital business and the new generation of digital and social technology products.

I will be there and will be joined by Simon Rogers Guardian Datablog, Datastore and News editor for the Guardian, William Perrin Founder, Talk About Local, Steve Bridger Builder of Bridges, Elizabetta Camilleri CoFounder & CEO, Salesgossip.co.uk, Nick Halstead CEO & Founder, Mediasift, Chris Thorpe Founder/Technologist, Andrew Wanliss-Orleb Head of Product, Founder Echo Echo, Frida Sandin Merchandising Specialist, Avail Intelligence, Kalia Colbin Chief Marketing Officer, MiniMonos.com, Lawrence Buchanan Principal, Digital Transformation, Capgemini UK, Ishmayal Syed Technology Innovation Architect, Aviva, Azeem Azhar CEO, Peer Index

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HOWEVER – if your preference is to hear from the kids who want to present about their digital experience and views, and not the start-ups and experts, then why not come to  “Digital Footprint Summit Learnings and Insights from the Screenagers” on Thursday, November 3, 2011 from 10.30 AM to 4:00 PM (GMT).

The Digital Footprint Summit is all about social, personal and identifiable data and will focus on first hand perspectives from those in this generation. During the event we aim to explore what Screenagers really think about trading their personal information and how their attitudes will create a change for the ecosystem.

Traditional media suggests that this generation is “careless with privacy”. We will look beyond that view. Instead of patronising and protecting, we will seek to understand where they see as engagement, relationship and conversation.

The keynotes and debate will focus on:
If the Facebook generation’s notion of privacy becomes the norm, what does it mean for services?
Does sharing personal data really allow companies to serve customers better?
What the Screenages see as visionary based on their current experience and what could happen if their data was available ?
What will they trade and what will they see as valuable?
How to implement visualisation techniques to make the use of your data acceptable.
User interface, boundaries and what is acceptable for privacy.
By speaking to and with the generation who are living it, this conference hopes to tease out some assumptions, views and insights and in doing so, provide a more balanced viewpoint that will help shape innovative, research, development and strategy.

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By: Tony Fish – Principal at AMF Ventures and member of Board of Intellectual Capital.

I wrote that Social filtering is deeply human at the beginning of November and I knew that there was more to the topic/ theme/ thought then but I could not articulate it.  Since then I have been juggling with various ideas, these have often been driven by my necessity to justify Twitter.  Twitter, get it or not, provides a function called “follow” – you can follow who you like, and you get updates/ insight/ information/ attention from them. However, can you turn “follow” into value and is following your social filter based on those you trust.

Follow has an obvious value to the person who follows the leader.  You gain free insights/ selection/ value/ updates/.  This social filter is based on trust and it is different from curators and editors who have specific agenda’s and income/ profit requirements. In the original post I quoted David Armano  “Often times the quality of links and information I get on Twitter is better than what I would have gotten from Google because the knowledge of the human feed is deep, niche, and fickle.”

Scenarios
Here are several scenarios to consider when thinking how we could turn follow into value and comparing outcomes from search and social networking, they are not exhaustive but should provide a good place to start a train of thought.

1, I am looking for a great Thai restaurant

  1. Search.   Type in “Great Thai restaurant” into Google, my mobile sends my location and Google takes a guess I want food tonight and near to where I am search, reasonable assumptions driven from our need for context and personalisation.  From the “unknown algorithm based results” that favours Google, I then read some third party reviews which I cannot judge if they are paid, biased or just vocal. Is the selection any better than walking past and seeing how many people are sitting in the restaurant?
  2. Post to Facebook and ask my friends and my network where a “Great Thai restaurant is” – there is more work to this one and I am wholly dependent on someone helping.  Size of network helps at this point.
  3. Twitter/ follow. I love Thai and I am already following others who love Thai.  I Tweet to my network of same minded followers who can deliver a recommendation.

In option 1 – Google wins.  In option 2 – Facebook wins.  In option 3 – the community wins and the person who helped me may get a discount on their next meal.

2.  I want to invest some money

  1. Search.   Type in “Great Investment fund” into Google. From the “unknown algorithm based results” that favours Google I will click on some links and read, subject to many legal notices, about the performance of various funds.  If I invest I will have watch and wait for the results.
  2. Post to Facebook and ask my friends and my network about their experiences with “Investment funds.” Not sure I would really be that happy with this for many reasons including telling the world about my desire to invest.
  3. Twitter/follow.  I love to invest and I am already following others who love investment.  I follow a service that allows me to manage my own money (never give up control) and I invest based on what the best in class is doing (www.covestor.com) To follow the best investor I share some of the upside.  No management fees, no overheads, risk on my terms, stop and start when I like.  Worth noting that J.P Morgan funds investment advice is now on iTunes

In option 1 – Google wins.  In option 2 – no-one wins.  In option 3 – the person who I follow gets a share of my upside, assuming that they want to create value over time and not destroy it once.

3.  What is hot in tech/ service/ my industry

  1. Search.   Type in “what is hot in tech” into Google. From the “unknown algorithm based results” that favours Google I will click on some links and read.  The top tech web sites are there with breaking news.  I can use various tools to determine what is hot and trending or I can use my “reader” to filter from my own favourites.
  2. Post to Facebook and ask my friends and my network about what they think is hot.  Day 1; I will get a few views. Day 10; I will get a less help and probably a polite note telling me not to ask again.
  3. Twitter/ follow. I look at what is trending and select a few “trusted” people to follow and follow updates as and when they occur.  I add value to my network by adding my own opinion, or pay to sit there and listen.

In option 1 – Google wins.  In option 2 – no-one wins.  In option 3 – the community/ cluster wins.

Logical response
The obvious contention to these three and very simple scenarios is; to Quote Paul Rodriguez who commented,  “lemmings, pied piper, following somebody the wrong way up a one way street, jump off a cliff if I told you, following the falling domino in front and having the falling domino behind follow you, following somebody you trust, who is following somebody they trust who is following somebody they trust who is following somebody stupid, the list is endless…the risk is that instead of having the madness of crowds, maybe the 21st century equivalent is the madness of tweets? Laws such as the snowball effect and the law of unintended consequences become far more amplified in an interconnected world. In which case market (and wealth) fluctuations become more volatile, but then you only *truly* make money on the gradient.”

I expect that there is a lot of empathy for the logic of this response, however, is follow (Twitter or other tech based follow services) any different from what we have today with editors/ press/ celebrity and broadcast as we all believe everything from the red top tabloids and sky/fox news!

Context
However, putting follow into context Researchers at HP Labs discovered that Twitter can predict, with astonishing accuracy, how well a movie will sell. The researches at HP started by monitoring movie mentions in 2.9 million tweets from 1.2 million users over three months. These included 24 movies in all, ranging from Avatar to Twilight: New Moon.  Then they took two different approaches, dealing with two very different performance metrics: the first weekend performance, which is largely built on buzz and the second weekend performance, which is largely built whether people actually like the movie. To predict first weekend performance, they built a computer model, which factored in two variables: the rate of tweets around the release date and the number of theatres its released in. Lo and behold, that model was 97.3% accurate in predicting opening weekend box office. By contrast, the Hollywood Stock Exchange, which has been the gold standard for opening box-office predictions, had a 96.5% accuracy. “

What should be even more alluring to business strategists and CEO’s; as Tech Review points out, Twitter might be more than just a mirror of mass sentiment – the service might also influence it. In other words, could you actually make a product launch far more successful with a really smart Twitter/ Follow strategy?   However are we measuring or observing the results of a system in motion and in the process influencing those results? For anyone with a science background this will bring up Werner Heisenberg and The Uncertainty Principle Heisenberg determined that “both the position and momentum of a particle cannot be known simultaneously.”   The dichotomy raises the mind-boggling prospect that unless we observe an event or thing, it hasn’t really happened, that all possible futures are quantum probability functions waiting for someone to notice them – trees falling unheard in a forest. Maybe this blog never existed until you searched for it and Google created it as you wanted it!

(Yes for those who have mastered QM I am confusing the observer effect of with the uncertainty principle. Technically the uncertainty principle has nothing to do with “observing”, it has to do with measuring. The observer effect is a supposed effect of observing an event and the influence of your observations on the event. No one would ever have to actually observe a particle’s position to obfuscate its momentum, the mere act of using the photons to measure its position, even if nobody ever observed it, would suffice. It’s the act of measuring, not actually observing that causes the uncertainty principle, but when observation requires something that may cause change the problems occur).

Anyway, how does this relate to the analysis and feedback within my framework of thinking about Follow?  Think about it this way:  The mere act of observing a social change, changes the behaviour of that social object.  In “reality TV” they put cameras in front of “real” people for the viewer to watch how “real” people behave, date, compete, etc.  But this in fact makes those on camera less and less real.   They’re not actors, nor are they behaving like normal people.  They are somewhere in between the two.

In the case of Twitter predicting a movie success, could an editor or critic have the same effect, if they could do it in real time and not on paper? How does Google real time search affect your searching habits and techniques.  You no longer have freedom in the web, as the recommendation is based on what the crowd says is important and therefore we are actually just lemmings.

Restating the Problem
Therefore the problem (Generating wealth from the web) is far more complex, multifaceted and inter-twangled, as there is unlikely to be a single source.

  • Do I want to be directed by people I trust but I may not be able to determine their source – Follow
  • Do I want to be directed by an unknown algorithm that can change at any time and could be biased to their own needs – Search
  • Do I want to be directed by Brands – Marketing/Ads
  • Do I want to be directed by the media/ editors/ critics where I may be able to determine their bias – Broadcast/ News
  • Do I want to be directed by the fashion/ celebrity – Sales

This complex dependency is an issue that editors and bloggers have faced time over.  Do I post based on what people want to read, based on clicks and response data or what I find interesting – are we (am I) adaptive or reactive, do we want to be individual or loved or make money or provide democracy or lead?

I really don’t need to know what you had for lunch and I don’t have to follow you.  Follow would put me in control and can seek out value from the community and not some bland algorithm that controls what part of the web I can see. However the issue facing follow is how will I pay the platform that underpins the service?

Wrapping up
This long Viewpoint started with the idea that “follow” is the new economic model poised to take on “search” and I believe that there is value in “follow.” Reading that Google offered $3bn for Twitter makes be believe that there are other strategists who are struggling with the same issues and the value!

If you would like to chat about the opportunities that digital footprint data brings, especially from the perspective of mobile and real time feedback, please contact me at tony.fish@amfventures.com.  The book is free on line at http://www.mydigitalfootprint.com/ or you can buy it direct from the publisher at the web site. There is also a summary and a eReader/ Kindle version.

We hope that our Viewpoint improves awareness, raises questions and promotes deliberation over coffee. We will respond to e-mail, text, twitter (@tonyfish)  or blog comments. http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com
Kind regards,
Tony Fish

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By Tony Fish – member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual and principal at AMF Ventures. Visit his blog at: http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com

If we sit back and reflect on current digital services, such as social media, we could conclude they are a game e.g If Twitter is about getting the best quip of the day or providing some useful info,  Linkedin is about proving “my network is bigger than yours”, and Facebook is about sharing that “I have a more interesting life than you”; then there must be some new rules for these new games, but what are they? Before we examine some suggested new rules, it is worth confirming and stating that all of the old/existing rules of social engagement are still valid, relevant and have not been washed away by this new digital age. A few examples of classic handed down rules that are timeless would include:-

  1. Don’t gossip, make things up, slander, steal, pinch or lie
  2. Have evidence and be professional, factual, accurate, honest, and transparent
  3. Engage and treat others how you want to be treated yourself
  4. Opinions are personal, be gracious, open, respectful and accepting of differences

Whilst all the old rules of social engagement exist, regulation does need some “modernising” as democracy, understanding and technology have advanced significantly since they were written.  Examples of regulation that would appreciate some new impetus would include: Privacy, Identity, Liberty, Harm, Consequences, Ownership, Access and Rights.

Realities for living and surviving in a digital age

Here are my rather eclectic suggestions of New Rules that I have heard, picked up or created.  I am hoping you will add and refine this list.  You can add your comments to this list here – My Digital Footprint Blog

mashup* are also organising an evening debate on “new social rules” on November 24th – you can register here.

  1. Change your password to Facebook, Twitter and bank accounts etc before you change your boy/girl friend/ partner.
  2. Don’t sack/release/ make redundant the person, and then be held hostage, by the person who has the login/password for your corporate fan page, group, twitter account until many people have control/access.
  3. Have several persona’s, this is not a sign of madness and you don’t need to justify then to anyone.
  4. Hide your friends identities by using personal nick-names on your mobile, just in case a friend borrows it to text that person with some inappropriate message that may haunt you forever.
  5. No adult supervision will not lead to anarchy. The youth want to be somewhere (in a digital world) where they are in control
  6. Provide someone (you trust) with the knowledge how to access your accounts/ data after you die and what you want done with your data/ digital footprint. Be aware – it will go against every term and condition you have signed if you do this.
  7. Your password is the weakest point in your armour,
  8. Reputation is all you have and your name is a good identity – so don’t abuse or loose either.
  9. Make sure you realise that your digital footprint is worth more than your salary.
  10. Everything you do can be recorded (stored) as sensors will be in all digital devices soon – ask yourself why and what use will the data be and to whom!
  11. Create a lot of rubbish data and cause confusion if you want to hide in plain sight. It is easy to find and hard to hide in a digital world if everyone is honest
  12. Determine what the terms “family” and “friends” mean to you before you accept others into your network(s)
  13. Un-friending is acceptable – being un-friended is a reality
  14. Learn the social (digital and physical) rules that apply to your group today but be aware they will be different tomorrow
  15. Privacy – It’s all in the settings
  16. Digital has one speed – fast, there are no breaks but plenty of fuel
  17. Internet writing is in Ink, once out there – it is out there, there is no rubber (yet)
  18. Loyalty (to a service) is dead – you are free to your own boundaries
  19. Open means you don’t want to hide and transparent means “it can be found” – but most people will not bother
  20. Branding is now personal and it is the new black
  21. Trust is the new king’s advisor – content still wears the trousers
  22. Free is not free – Engagement, Relationship and Conversation have a price
  23. FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) are easier to sell
  24. Money in a digital world has less ‘personal’ value than real money and is closer to swopping chickens for potato’s. Unlike cash, others are more prepared to cheat, lie, swindle and steal your digital money as it appears “virtual” and less actual.
  25. Don’t set up any direct debits to anything
  26. Don’t let individuals buy web domains or set up accounts just to avoid the long corporate procedures and PO cycles.
  27. Interaction with the “screens of life” is the ultimate digital game being played. It is to get “content” from the dark bowels of a data warehouse onto your brightly lit screen
  28. Control is not in your hands
  29. Levels of damage and harm from digital engagement is currently lower that you may think

If you would like to chat about the opportunities that digital footprint data brings, especially from the perspective of mobile and real time feedback, please contact me at tony.fish@amfventures.com. The book is free on line at http://www.mydigitalfootprint.com/ or you can buy it direct from the publisher at the web site. There is also a summary and a eReader/ Kindle version.

We hope that our Viewpoint improves awareness, raises questions and promotes deliberation over coffee. We will respond to e-mail, text, twitter or blog comments. http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com

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Please reserve the date as registration for Mobile 2 (Silicon Valley) in now is open.

Event : Mobile 2 Event

Style : Business/ strategy day & developer day

Date :  Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st September 2010

Venue :  San   Francisco

Timing :  Full day events

RegistrationClick here.

Discount :  Enter “Friends” code for 20% discount.

In its 5th year, MOBILE 2.0 Silicon Valley brings together experts and thought leaders from all aspects of the mobile ecosystem, including startups, investors, mobile carriers, device manufacturers, and mobile application developers and web technologists. The event is focused on new Mobile Applications and Services, Mobile Ecosystems, and Disruptive Mobile Innovation.

I will in SFO from Wednesday 15th to Wednesday 22nd and would be good to meet up.  I will be hosting again the fireside chat, this year with Russ McGuire, David Katz, James Parton and Fabio Sisini.

As usual Mobile 2.0 Silicon Valley is all about giving our audience the opportunity to learn, network and voice views. The Event does not talk at you — you are the Mobile Community and we strive to create an atmosphere that challenges your business assumptions and provides you with hands on understanding of mobile platforms.

Looking forward to seeing you at the event!

/ Tony Fish

Read Full Post »

Please reserve the date as registration for Mobile 2 (Silicon Valley) in now is open.

Event : Mobile 2 Event

Style : Business/ strategy day & developer day

Date :  Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st September 2010

Venue :  San   Francisco

Timing :  Full day events

RegistrationClick here.

Discount :  Enter “Friends” code for 20% discount.

In its 5th year, MOBILE 2.0 Silicon Valley brings together experts and thought leaders from all aspects of the mobile ecosystem, including startups, investors, mobile carriers, device manufacturers, and mobile application developers and web technologists. The event is focused on new Mobile Applications and Services, Mobile Ecosystems, and Disruptive Mobile Innovation.

I will in SFO from Wednesday 15th to Wednesday 22nd and would be good to meet up.  I will be hosting again the fireside chat, this year with Russ McGuire, David Katz, James Parton and Fabio Sisini.

As usual Mobile 2.0 Silicon Valley is all about giving our audience the opportunity to learn, network and voice views. The Event does not talk at you — you are the Mobile Community and we strive to create an atmosphere that challenges your business assumptions and provides you with hands on understanding of mobile platforms.

Looking forward to seeing you at the event!

/ Tony Fish

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By Tony Fish – member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual and principal at AMF Ventures. Visit his blog at: http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com

Summary

Virtually unlimited mobile usage tariffs means that advertising is perceived as free from the users perspective, as there is no additional cost of bandwidth to the user.  These tariffs have lead to an unprecedented growth in mobile applications and the emergence of  a new eco-system. However,  “all you can eat” pricing models for mobile have become increasingly risky with the advent of new devices and operating systems from Apple and Google.  With the prospect of a return to a pay per something, users may change their view of “free” advertising and this could lead to a change in behaviour, as they will be un-willing to pay for the bandwidth for the advert.  Whilst this may seam ridiculous to anyone who understands, explaining to the user they have the wrong perception or that this is not the reason for a significant monthly bill, could be difficult.  This viewpoint therefore opens the debate; “Could some selfish business decisions be destroying the mobile eco-system that has just been created and what scenarios are worth considering?”

Unlimited Growth

We have all benefitted from the introduction of unlimited mobile tariffs.  Voice, SMS and data usage has exploded.  Economically it made sense to the operator as they had spare capacity and in reality “unlimited” has caps but these caps are set so high that a user was unlikely to reach them.

Mobiles (smart phones) have evolved and today, web site and applications (inc games) for mobile are now built with an advertising model in mind and with this has come the download requirements of, in some simple cases, banner ads to some thing complex such as video and multimedia.  With network improvement, the ability to deliver a near web experience, advances in connection management and now the iPad, users can find it easy to get close to, or pass their “unlimited” data caps.

Mobile applications driven by adverts work and the application method of delivery made up for a number of early shortfalls in network constraints and mobile web browser capability. However, due to the improved experience and performance of the mobile there are now less reasons for a Brand to have a specific mobile version.  However, in this move adverts are also served in full form from the web to the mobile.  This transition will become more important as Apple looks to force applications to use their own iAd serving technology and analytics.  These forced change are likely to speed up the migration from mobile specific application to webapp – just adding a web address and icon to the mobile desktop and also removes the dependence on apps stores as the controlling point.

So what has changed?

Apple launched OS4 with a 7th temple, which is the ability to deliver a fabulous advertising experience as “most of it sucks”.  The move is to deliver emotion and interactivity as this will help the developer community who want to build advertising revenues in exchange for free apps.  This advertising experience does come at a cost – bandwidth. OS4 also introduces background processing (multitasking), “yippee!” says the developer. However this means that the phone can hack thought the battery really quickly and chat to the network constantly.  Pushed updates become streaming.

Changes to the OS and how much data phones require for a great experience mean that the unlimited data package become very attractive to the user and advertiser as they don’t care about bandwidth, developers love it as they can deliver the real time applications and services they want for mobile. However, for the operators who are already struggling with capacity, this becomes a real headache and introduces value chain conflicts.

Implications

If the operators choose, and the evidence is currently pointing to this fact, to remove from the market unlimited packages, or such a high cap it is perceived as unlimited and lean back towards some form of pay-by-how-much-you-eat model then there could be some significant changes to the market as the users, device and applications guys try to reduce a swing to a doom loop scenario.

Here’s the crunch.  For those reading this we can find arguments why all of the above is not a concern, however, the issue may not be the reality of the situation we find ourselves in, but from the user perception, it could be very real.  If the user believes that there is a cost, irrespective of reality; they may change behaviour!

The simple newspaper headline that reads “Your paying for advertising” is difficult to counter with the argument that informs a user how big an advert is in bytes and that there is a trade for free services.  If the reason for adverts is interactivity and engagement then a technical explanation may not be that useful or that someone is exploiting your data to sell you more.

Behavioural or targeted adverting depends at some level on understanding the user which is an output from the analysis their data – My Digital Footprint.  If users find that the real monetary cost of sharing that data is too high, it kills the input.  If users find that the real monetary cost of engaging with ads is too high, it kills the value.

Given that eco-systems require trusted players who can balance risk and reward together and be reliant on complex inter-dependences; mobile is no different.  However, it would appear that some of the players are trying to play for themselves rather than the community.

Scenarios to ponder over coffee

  1. Restrictive – in this scenario the user decides to restrict their use and applications to focus on a few that are a priority and will not experiment or discover.  This could have a significant impact on social media tools and applications.
  2. Blockers – in this scenario the user decides that they are unwilling to pay for the bandwidth and introduces a blocker service to prevent their costly bandwidth being used.  This in turn destroys the fee advertising model and an outcome could be that the user ends up paying for applications.
  3. Selective – in this scenario the operator decides to become selective about which handsets can have unlimited (capped) data plans and which handsets are forced to have a PAYG data pricing model.  This forces users into a choice and device manufactures start to work with the operators to produce devices in tune with the network to gain a competitive advantage.
  4. Side-Load – in this scenario PAYG could lead to more applications being downloaded by sideloading on the PC or by WiFi. If so, developers could be affected in ways that are hard to predict. But it may affect apps being advertised on the device.
  5. Doom loop – in this scenario the operator changes the pricing and this in turn creates all the dis-benefits for the advertisers, device guys, applications developers and users.  Mobile slows and mobile operator valuations dive.
  6. Intelligence – in this scenario the middleware and platform companies work with the operators and seek out methods and processes to compress, reduce, focus, profile and select data and services that should use the limited wireless network, that is expensive.  Can data/ ads be cashed locally on the device and selected as needed or side load them using wifi or other alternative networks, or put on hold until bandwidth cost is not an issue.
  7. Advertising pays for the bandwidth – a somewhat difficult scenario to comprehend, but in this scenario the advertiser takes on the cost of the bandwidth.  However this is full of complex conflicts such as – I want to deliver the best ad, but it costs to much.
  8. No change – in reality – this is not a scenario.

Reality check

Those reading this know that ‘most’ mobile advertising is very bandwidth lean, as it a blend of:-

i)  an invitation with the consumer to interact, normally in the form of a banner. The reality being that for most consumers most of the time, this is likely to be negligible in terms of cost across a month.

ii)  a landing page, which they land on if they click on a banner – again negligible.

iii)  call to action at the landing page, which unless it involves rich media (eg video), is also likely to be small in terms of bandwidth

We know that users respond differently to ads and services on a mobile to the web but it is possible that the Apple OS4 interruption of advertising will be heavier on bandwidth, however, over 50% of iPhone ads are viewed over WiFi (2010) probably driven by speed as opposed to cost reasons. One could postulate that this trend would therefore be accelerated with the re-introduction of pay-as-you-go pricing!

All that said, users are users and their perception is how we need to live our business life – from their view point not ours.  Reflecting on the original question; “could consumer ignorance hurt mobile advertising?”, one could say this is the wrong question and it should be “is the mobile eco-system strong enough to defend itself against selfish desires of certain key players?”

If you would like to chat about the opportunities that digital footprint data brings, especially from the perspective of mobile and real time feedback, please contact me at tony.fish@amfventures.com. The book is free on line at http://www.mydigitalfootprint.com/ or you can buy it direct from the publisher at the web site. There is also a summary and a eReader/ Kindle version.

We hope that our Viewpoint improves awareness, raises questions and promotes deliberation over coffee. We will respond to e-mail, text, twitter or blog comments. http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com

Kind regards,

Tony Fish

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By Tony Fish, Principal of AMF Ventures and a member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital.

Internet players wrestling for control of your footprint
Whatever the personal reason for joining and participating in social networking, the debate has moved from being fashionable to how the key social networking players can unwittingly extend their influence and control of you.   Facebook wants to move from the confines of their own social networking cloud and be able to monitise property outside of their immediate control; hence the introduction by Facebook of opengraph and ‘Like’. The understanding of these new tools is, however, being over shadowed by the privacy setting debate which is also critical to the new Facebook model and its new utility.  The privacy setting allows Facebook to gain relationship data (digital footprint) and together with the tools change the internet from a Google ad centric world, into a relationship dependant Facebook ad centric world.

Issue 101. Control of Privacy settings
It has become evident that social networks will live or die by their privacy policy. Most users appear capable of providing their own interpretation of what privacy controls they would like.  Good tools will enable users to control the level of inclusion or exclusion of information about themselves and thereby control how much they reveal of themselves selectively, with tools that they understand and control.  However, whilst privacy is about the change of control, private is what you have elected or selected not to make public and a company should not be able to elect to change this default or set it open so you have to close it.

Private to Public is not a binary setting
However, when the private/ public issues is represented using a simplistic model such as a straight line, as above, it shows them as a binary choice, with an area of cross over, in the same way good/ evil can be represented and both of these models highlight the inadequacies of the straight line of choice, and specifically with private/public it does not provide enough context or insight to the real issues.  In philosophy, Aristotle presented the idea of a Golden Mean as the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. For example courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.

Applying the analogy from this philosophy to the private/ public debate removes the simple binary judgment and provides are two possible models.  Public is two extremes with private in the middle or vice-versa.  I “like” the public at either end approach as at one end public could mean broadcast TV, newspapers, open, contextual, edited and time bounded.  The other public could be internet public, closed, non-contextual, raw and timeless.  This removes the binary extremes and grey area of public vs private debate moving the debate away from privacy policy towards how we define and articulate public as two extremes.

To subtle to notice
When you consider what is private within these boundaries, it highlights some common assumptions.  Public tends to mean to the general population the broadcast TV model, where we instinctively know how little we should trust headlines but also how rapidly its value can be eroded.  However if this is the only understanding of public we hold, it is inevitable that users will miss the subtlety of the internet public model and the critical issues such as timeless (never deleted) and lack of context (provision of historical context when looking at past materials)

And the Problem is?
For social networking to remain free it needs a business model.  An attractive model is to take your digital footprint, analyse it and sell adverts based on your preferences and relationships.  However, to demand that users continually update their information is hard, therefore when they are out and about in the internet make it possible to “Like” things that automatically updates their profile (and attractiveness for advertising).  However to deliver this, users must change their privacy settings so that social networking site can exploit their data.  Therefore social networking site need to achieve several things.  First, make everything public, but users don’t understand what public means for Internet data.  Second, make it easy for users to deliver new information from outside their bounded network, but users don’t understand the implications.  Three, analyse and sell relationship data, but are users getting a fair trade?

Is there a trade fair?
Applying the understanding of the eight business model built in “My Digital Footprint” there should be a trade for opting for a more public use of your data.  In one direction towards broadcast the trade for your privacy may be for fame and fortune, in the other direction towards trading your privacy on the internet it should be for services.

An interesting question becomes, in the trade for your Internet privacy, is there sufficient utility offered by the free application providers?  With Google you provide only public data (search key words, nothing is private) and you receive relevant search results.  With Facebook and social networking you provide relationship and private data for a free utility, but what is the utility?  Is it a tribe, is it communication, is it sharing platform, it is a representation of the physical you in a digital world, is it organisation or a new state or a new country, is it connection or is it a channel?   With such an unclear utility, why will users continue to provide more personal data?

Will Facebook survive?
Overall I have no doubt it will survive but in what form is a more difficult judgement call as Facebook has highlighted that the value of our relationships is sufficiently high that they need them and are willing to risk their Brand to get  more of our digital footprint.  The utility question, trade for our information and implementation of its privacy setting, however, does open up the possibility for new entrants.  It is naïve to say that inertia; my grandma and friends will not change, is enough to keep the social networking market closed. It is possible to your export data, difficult but this will happen.  It is not impossible to see that a new social media company will offer 50% of its equity to users as a trade for moving and privacy.  It also possible to see that your generic login becomes the mechanism to find unique discounts for you, all these open up the market and trade they I hope will provide a more even value balance for users.

So What!
Internet business models are predicated on the user being the provider of the data and the consumer of the data, with the business focussed on sitting between the two and adding value.  There is a battle for your data and relationships and therefore one of the implications of “my digital footprint” thinking is about the alignment of Brand values and the how the company protects and uses digital footprint data.

If you would like to chat about the opportunities that digital footprint data brings, especially from the perspective of mobile and real time feedback, please contact me at tony.fish@amfventures.com.  The book is free on line at http://www.mydigitalfootprint.com/ or you can buy it direct from the publisher at the web site. There is also a summary and a eReader/ Kindle version.

We hope that our Viewpoint improves awareness, raises questions and promotes deliberation over coffee. We will respond to e-mail, text, twitter or blog comments. http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com

Kind regards,

Tony Fish

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