Archive for January, 2008

‘Google Generation’: Myths vs Reality

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

A new study (Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future – PDF format; 1.67MB, 35 pages) challenges the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ – (defined as those born after 1993 and explore the world of a cohort of young people with little or no recollection of life before the web.) is the most web-literate.

The broad aims of the study are to gather and assess the available evidence to establish:

• whether or not, as a result of the digital transition and the vast range of information resources being digitally created, young people, the `Google generation’, are searching for and researching content in new ways and whether this is likely to shape their future behaviour as mature researchers?

• whether or not new ways of researching content will prove to be any different from the ways that existing researchers and scholars carry out their work?

• to inform and stimulate discussion about the future of libraries in the internet era

A news release : Pioneering research shows ‘Google Generation’ is a myth from The British Library has a nice summary of this report’s finding.

World Economic Forum 2008: The Power of Collaborative Innovation

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

2008 World Economic Forum will highlight The Power of Collaborative Innovation as the principal theme during its Annual meeting in Davos. This year users can join them, and help them, by submitting your own answers to “the Davos Question,” which is: “What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?

The Annual Meeting begins on January 23, 2008 where world leaders will be viewing and responding to the videos many of you have already submitted. Post your answers here.

Details of Web cast is available here.

According to Business Communicators of Second Life Reuters Brings Davos 2008 to Second Life. It will also be accessible, at least in part, to Second Life visitors and residents.

The Davos Conversation is expecting to post contributions from bloggers working / associated with BBC, CNN, TechCrunch, Huffington post etc. BBC special report on the World Economic Forum 2008 is available here.

The first protests against the WEF took place on Saturday in the Swiss cities Bern and St. Gallen. UK Indymedia has posted some pictures of Protests in Switzerland against the World Economic Forum

It would be interesting to see which YouTube videos get screened during this meeting.

Nonprofit: Evolution of IT – Does IT really matter?

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Recently I came across 2007 IT Staffing Survey: Take it Now! on NTEN site. They plan to publish results of their survey in January 2008.

One of the findings of their 2006 Survey indicated that “More than 95% of nonprofits routinely outsource specific IT functions.” This makes me wonder how far the issues raised by Nicholas Carr in his polemic during 2003-2004 (IT Doesn’t Matter) are relevant to understand investment decisions by nonprofit – both for IT staff and IT infrastructure.

Describing his posting IT Doesn’t Matter he wrote:

I examine the evolution of information technology in business and show that it follows a pattern strikingly similar to that of earlier technologies like railroads and electric power. For a brief period, as they are being built into the infrastructure of commerce, these “infrastructural technologies,” as I call them, open opportunities for forward-looking companies to gain strong competitive advantages. But as their availability increases and their cost decreases – as they become ubiquitous – they become commodity inputs. From a strategic standpoint, they become invisible; they no longer matter.

Carr’s new book (2008), The Big Switch, targets the emerging “World Wide Computer” — dummy PCs tied to massive server farms way up in the data cloud.

It seems that while evaluating IT investments and staffing by Nonprofit one would need to take into account these changes and arguments. Today IT is becoming a commodity and a big switch from the desktop to the data cloud is gaining momentum. May be it is time to incorporate these emerging trends into our analytical frameworks. It quite likely that evolution of IT in Nonprofit might follow patterns one observed in business sectors few years ago.

Non-Profit: Online Forums, Blogs and Comments

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Most Non-profit sites have yet to create / add mechanism to facilitate audience participation. Liability for third party content and managing forums without online flames remain one of the key concerns for these groups. Mark Glaser has very interesting post on this subject: Traditional Media Ready to Elevate the Conversation Online — with Moderation. According to him:

What has changed in the last year is that major media companies are no longer arguing over whether they should have comments under stories or blogs; instead, the debate is about how they should moderate them and even highlight the best ones in eye-catching editorial spaces. Many sites are embracing the concept of “news as a conversation,” and trying to create active conversations among reporters, editors and readers online.

It would be interesting to evaluate status of debate on this subject among NGOs. If Non-profit web strategies consider that the web is a dialogue and not a lecture then they will need innovative ways to facilitate conversations. Growth without deepest, most meaningful engagement for users may not help their mission.