Archive for interactivity

Interactiv or not

Posted in 1 with tags , on May 8, 2008 by Geir Stene

I’ve been involved in the Internet business since the beginning. Then, and surprisingly enough still, the word Interactive keep popping up in the most peculiar ways.

I’ll use another web 2.0 site to help out; Wikipedia. In short Interactivity; In the “contingency view” of interactivity, there are three levels:

Noninteractive, when a message is not related to previous messages;
Reactive, when a message is related only to one immediately previous message;
Interactive, when a message is related to a number of previous messages and to the relationship between them.

The Reactive communication is what I speak of as two way communication. Real interaction is when the one message in a flow of messages, gets altered because of the content of former messages. This Blog is not interactive. I write what I want, you can involve by giving comments, but that doesn’t alter my text.
If you would like to create an interactivity with me, we we could implement a chat, and discuss the subject, your opinions would alter my opinions and honestly, most likely would these postings become better.

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From mass communication to communicaton between the masses.

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on May 6, 2008 by Geir Stene

The paradigm shift from mass communication to communication between the masses is just at its beginning. We have seen some examples of how to make this a profitable business, but I believe that we only have seen the top of an ice berg.

There are so many implications to this that you will find whole book stores trying to cover the subject. The shift within the Internet industry has gone from sending out information, like documents presented as HTML text, toward broader one way communications, like commercials, PR, campaigns and so forth, further on to enabling the options for giving feedback, comments, newsgroups, dating services, chat, web conferencing etc. etc. It’s a wide field with a lot of phenomena working in parallel.

There is confusion, and there is chaos. But as the Zen Buddhists’ say: From chaos comes order. In a business perspective companies have struggled to find business models that fit the demands to interact via the web and via other channels as well. This is now changing rapidly. I think it can be interesting to divide the two way communication area into three main arena; Consumer power solutions, Democracy increasing possibilities and Social networks.

The reason for me not to define this as interactivity is that there is a difference between two way communication and interactivity, (not all two way communication is interactive) which can lead to even more confusion, so let’s stick to the broader definition; two way communication.

Consumer power or it could also be defined as commercial exploration of individuals on the market. This is two sides of the coin. Is all about how the customer want to deal with the seller, how to get products and services easier, faster and cheaper. For the seller, its all about how to get enough knowledge about the customer to streamline the sales process, and enable a larger sale, added sales opportunities, build loyalty. Cross sales, cross channels, mixed business models can be implemented with a great result for both customer, and provider. One the one hand the customer can get more “power” – and so it is also for the provider. Interactive options, in voting, polling, response options, chat, customer web conferencing as support etc. is putting two way communication into real life on the web, TV, mobile phone and in the car. The collection of customer base, the knowledge and behavior patterns all create fundamentally increased possibilities for increased profit.

Democracy increasing possibilities is all about enable us all in stating our opinions on the one hand, and gathers groups that provide and produce content on the other hand. As we see it can be used for non-profit purposes, but also commercially. Blogs, discussion boards, magazines where everyone can publish, net meetings, adding comments of articles are examples of how to work with this kind of two way communication. For individuals this is great opportunities to participate in the public discourse in, or to get tailor made service from the commercial arena.

Social networks meet a fundamental human wish/need – to belong to a group. Via the Internet (or cell phone or other channels for that matter, social networks has a direct appeal for everyone that can find some sort of group they can identify and belong to. For the participants there are a lot of benefits and “things to do” either private “entertainment” or as a professional network building outcome. The value and possibilities at hand when you have such a group, or have made a system where those kinds of “groupings” can happen in a large scale, there are many business models that work. Adds is one, selling services is another, selling behavior patterns of your member base are a third, and there are a lot of options combining models.

What’s happening at the moment is that these ideas and concepts are refined, and gets more advanced as the months goes by. The business models as well as the services provided. There is a lot of creativity, and the best part is that a lot of it is driven by the participants, so there is an effect of a collective product development rarely seen before. The most interesting part of what is happening at the moment is when ideas gets mixed and new concepts arrive. Some of the mix is within the areas I have written about in this posting, and the former post “ About transparency”, even more interesting is the mixes that have started to arise, with other concepts, established long ago for other purposes, that’s when two plus two becomes more than five.

About transparency

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , on May 5, 2008 by Geir Stene

Until recently we all have spoken about the Internet as a channel for the external communication, and the Intranet as the internal channel for communication.

More interesting is the development we see today, where the ideas of transparency and two way communication becomes the standard. Even TV is moving very quickly in that direction. What does this mean? Transparency? Two way communication? It’s to very different concepts, and adding them together creates a third. For now I’ll write a little about transparency.

 

The word “transparency” invites you to think of the idea that what is communicated is open for all to see. Who is the messenger and who is the receiver? Towards whom is the message meant for? and so forth. It’s by far a more horizontal form of communication, and can be a more honest kind of communication.

One example could be; “in our company all communication that is possible to be open and free, shall be open and free for all. Only information that has to be hidden for most will be opened towards groups or individuals. If you implement this idea, you get a combined inter- and intranet where there is a conceptual point in letting everyone outside and inside the organisation be exposed to the same communication flow. You give access for “added internal information/ communication flow” only to those who really needs it. It leads to less double communication, and allows the company / organisation to increase efficiency and reduce cost and double exposure of information elements. In addition everyone in the organization become well aware of how and what the company are communicating externally. The marketing and branding gets internalized in the organization. It’s great way of building a common culture in the company.

Another example of taking transparency into the real world and live by it could be if your company / org. decide to show directly what activities the employees are involved in, to show externally what the company really are doing, what they are spending time on. I discussed this with my friend Gavin Bargus today, as he asked me: “What do transpaerency really mean to management in companies?” My question is also: “Do managements really mean it if they state it ?” or does it just become some sort of “show of statement?” As a customer I would really like to know this, because it would show me where my money goes. Gavin asked : “If you connect every employee to the hour reporting system in a company, presented it as a bar/graph on the website, wouldn’t that be real transparency?” The result could be that every one could see that e.g. Geir(me), as a consultant (or the consultant group) spent e.g. 18% of his time in meetings with customers, 42% writing strategies for 2 customers. He also spent 5% to increase his knowledge and 12% administrational time. 13% of his time was spent in sales activities. A set of bars presenting the total of the whole company would show how efficient the company is as we speak. The question “Where did my money go?” would be answered at all times. That is transparency! It is an option to be in front of competition on the marketplace, to be honest and it would build an organisation that really works as a team to win on the marketplace.

But I can hear the CEO’s out there, shouting; “Is this man crazy?” We can never show this in real time, it’s madness!” It’s “illegal” “our staff would go wild and hang us!”

I would say: Nop, they wouldn’t – nor would the customers! It all depends on the intention, and the purpose and how it’s done. To be honest, to be open and transparent, has to involve the braveness to show what the reality is, to put integrity into ones actions, daringly and without the temptation to manipulate with facts. Not to do so, should at least give the consequence that one stop using the term transparency uncritically.