The Law of Online Sharing

Technology Review • January/February 2012

The sharing generation. The phrase "frictionless sharing" is popping up in the news as Facebook increasingly uses automation to track and share information on participating members' preferences and activities. Frictionless sharing enabled Spotify to post more than 1.5 billion "listens" during the first two months of use, and experts anticipate a proliferation of innovative apps, such as one for runners that automatically posts details on individuals' morning jogs.

I've avoided activating any of the services that support "frictionless sharing" and make a concerted effort to remove the incoming streams of those who do from my various feeds (do I need to see each flickr photo posted, each song listened to, each morning jog?). My practice proves the author's thesis that you "cannot automate caring." ( Michalko)

Why You Need to Drink from the Fire Hose

American Management Association • January 5, 2012

Data fatigue. Two veteran executives of Microsoft and IBM offer seven "Fire Hose Questions" aimed at breaking the habit of "gathering and presenting too much information." In a world where Big Data is only getting bigger, Christopher Frank and Paul Magnone note that that while numbers and statistics are useful for backing up a position, it is too easy for an audience to get lost in distracting minutia and miss the point entirely.

Okay, this is a different kind of data than what's coming our way through "frictionless sharing." And it is important. I like the authors' formulation that when approaching these stores of data we ought to have in mind something like "You know what I wish I knew?" And here's an interesting short article on the "Feedback Economy" that makes some good suggestions about how to turn that kind of question into a productive feedback loop. ( Michalko)

How Human Behavior Can Skew Innovation

Innovation Tools • January 5, 2012

Going against the flow. Innovation consultant Colin Crabtree says the human tendency toward herd behavior limits innovation because it favors groupthink, which happens "when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives." Read on to find out how herd behavior and mob mentality limit not only everyday choices, but also strategic decision making. As work becomes increasingly collaborative, it's important to ensure that non-conforming ideas are not cast aside simply because they don't fit in with the herd.

I took one word away from this article: "sheeple." I hadn't heard it and now embarrassed to see that it has been around since the 1950s. It's common enough to have spawned products, a Facebook group, a website and a song called " We the Sheeple" by the dEAf PEdESTRIANS—" . . . no more car pools no more Big Macs no more handguns no more prozac," etc.

A more thoughtful article on this topic appeared in The New York Times under the title " The Rise of the New Groupthink". ( Michalko)


Serious Service Sag

Adaptive Path • January 5, 2012

Get your priorities straight. Services make up 80% of the U.S. economy, but the disparity between what businesses spend on advertising those services versus creating and supporting them is huge—roughly 20 to 1, according to design strategist Brandon Schauer, who says the result is serious SAG—Service Anticipation Gap. In today's service economy, organizations interested in narrowing that gap must ensure their best efforts—and budget—are focused on delivering a great customer experience.

These were surprising numbers to me that explain a lot about the contours of our service economy. I think he's right to call for a re-balance. ( Michalko)

Toward an E-library Ecosystem: Public Libraries Will Screw Themselves if They Don't Learn from Amazon's Comprehensive "Seamless" Approach

LibraryCity • January 2, 2012

Going the distance. TeleRead founder David Rothman urges libraries to create a seamless ecosystem "encompassing everything from e-book standards to connectivity" through partnerships with academics and foundations. Check out Rothman's suggestions for the establishment of a library store-and-retail service that could promote a set of technical standards for hardware and software, operate its own content storage system and eliminate intermediaries like Amazon and OverDrive.

This is a relatively painless way to get a summary of the argument that has been occupying a lot of the activity on the Digital Public Library of America listserv by one of the most vocal and active participants in that forum. And there's plenty of dissent from the viewpoint he espouses. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is evolving as a way to both augment and recontexutalize the content and metadata created by LAMs?

Get the answer.