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This post also appears in Crossmedialab.nl, the readership Crossmedia Business’ digital get-together.

As the academic year has kicked off in all its traditions a particular good custom, that is to write and post blogs, now commences for our readership Crossmedia Business. Of course, writing activity has not been down to a total zero during summer. For instance Dennis Ringersma  took up the role of ‘our man in Africa’ with a number of posts on exotic places like Malawi, South Africa and what have we down there in the south of that hugh continent. And Rogier Brussee and Harry van Vliet also contributed once or twice. But now the members of the readership have committed themselves to a tight publication schedule. And as it happens to be, I am numero uno to respect that schedule.

So, what’s new and relevant to know? Who knows. So much has happened and is happening hat a ‘quer durch’ is not an easy task. I’ll just stick to what I suppose are important issues; stuff that might have an impact on our lives.

We’ll start off with the biggies; the macro stuff.

  1. Steve Jobs has retired; Tim Cook is his apprentice so Apple company lost a couple of billions. Meanwhile, an Apple co-worker has forgotten his proto iPhone 5 in a bar (haven’t we heard that song before). But as it is, the construction of Apple’s new and utopic HQ has started. And to wrap up the news on the world’s most expensive company; roughly a week ago, a Dutch court issued injunction against Samsung Galaxy phones  due to scrupleless copying of Apple artifacts.
  2. Last thirty August, email  celebrated its thirtieth birthday as V. A. Shiva, who copyrighted the name recalls: “When I first heard the word ‘electronic mail,’ I literally felt it was sending electricity through paper. Those two words juxtaposed together in 1978 were absolutely new,” says Shiva. While many claim to have “invented email” the issue isn’t just one of semantics. With electronic messaging systems in place, Shiva is responsible for having transformed what was known as office mail into the very first email system. “That is what I developed, starting in 1978, as a 14-year old, for which in 1981 I was awarded recognition by the Westinghouse Science Awards for innovation, and in 1982 the First US Copyright for EMAIL,” he writes.
  3. Tell me which browser you use and I’ll tell you how stupid you are, as a #3 macro news flash, a study proves that IE users are dumber than those who Opera and Chrome. I’ve got some nice statistics on that right here  if you don’t believe me:

So, be honest. Which browser do you use?

On a meso level, there have been some interesting changes as well. Let’s define meso as your tangible but not intimate ubiquity (ahumm)., i.e. the faculty, public transport, train stations and the shopping centers of towns. It could also been something like Yammer.

  1. Just before summer break a graduate presented a system of face recognition for tailored narrow casting commercials. Kind of spooky but interesting as such. The idea is that you walk by the LCD screen in a shopping mall. Two cameras record your face and based on a number of criteria decide that you are rather more a white Caucasian male than an Ethiopian woman. The computer than selects a beer commercial which is than narrow casted. Of course I then get an instant desire to have a beer. The original software originates from Israel. Makes me wonder.
  2. In the US, Redbox  is successfully testing the use of mobile in their process of renting out DVD’s. For me, this is very interesting as it concerns LBS (Location Based Service). And that’s exactly what I am interested in currently. After seeing thousands of Foursquare check-ins without the benefit of any promotion, Redbox is now testing the geo-social marketing waters. Consumers who check in at one of its 28,700 kiosks in the US to rent a film (on an old fashion medium as DVD is, p-0will receive a discount code for between 10 cents and $1 off their video rental. The discount can be used immediately. I think I will have my students Mobile Business Design have a look into that ball game after we have started (the minor is due for next week. I’ll tell you about it later).
  3. Number 3 on the meso scale is the shopable video. Seriously. Gucci has used a clikable video for its pre-fall campaign. I’m really sorry I can’t embed the film. It needs a Flash player and a data base, I recon. So here is the link straight to Luxury Daily  who reported on this rather nice feature only a couple of weeks ago.

And now the micro level. This is the personal level, the intimate zone as Edward Hall called it already way back in the sixties of the 20th century. A word as closeness would be important. Nearness would fit too. Both word have a zen connotation to it, as far as I’m concerned but not having a proper alternative, I’ll just use them. Stuff on the micro level means that is within your reach, always there (ubiquity). I believe that the mobile phone rather fits in nicely to that definition. And as it happens to be, the use of mobile phone has risen to unprecedented heights. As I will not discuss individual apps, let’s focus on how this all became reality. A particular good way of looking at it are the thoughts of Marco Ahtisaari, currently head of design of Nokia. Already a couple of years ago, he published some writing on his blog called ‘Blogging over Las Vegas’ . So what does he think made the rise – growth – of mobile possible?“ Three features stand out” as Marco writes:

  1. An object with a social function tied to a service. The primary human benefit driving the growth of the mobile industry was that of social interaction, people connecting with each other. Initially this meant calling people – a familiar activity at the time – but with a new twist: the cord had been cut. Over time this began to also mean sending short text messages.
  2. Service providers – mobile operators – subsidizing price. To compete for customers those providing voice and messaging services subsidized – in markets where this was legally possibly – the price of the mobile devices in exchange for a longer term customer relationship. As a result end customers rarely saw the full price of the device and the infrastructure combining both devices and networks was rolled out at unprecedented speed.
  3. The shift from a familiar collective object to a personal object. The last, and often overlooked, feature of the mobile industry is that it was based on a shift from a familiar collective object – the family phone – to a personal object, the mobile phone. The idea of a personal phone simply did not exist in the popular consciousness 20 years ago.”

This then brings me to a crossover in my train of current thoughts and stops at the station of the theory of social object as defined by Jyri Engeström a rather brilliant socialogist from Helsinki (just like his dad). I suggest you read his “Why some social network services work and others don’t — Or: the case for object-centered sociality”  so we can have a constructive discussion.

To wrap it all up, that’s more or less my summer recordings, apart from a lovely time in good’ol Thueringen Germany. But that’s a bit too much of a personal story.

Written by Kees Winkel

September 4, 2011 at 11:46

Social media: don’t jump for the tool!

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For those who read Dutch, here’s a nice piece by Harry van Vliet, my lector at the crossmedialabSocial media: don’t jump for the tool!


Written by Kees Winkel

June 11, 2011 at 10:17

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Why Social Media Tools Have a Place in the Classroom : Tech News and Analysis «

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This is a nice article at GaGaOm. Actually, we are researching and experimenting the same issue at our faculty (both as research topic at Crossmedialab and in our teaching) in Utrecht. And for that matter, I know things like this are happening all around the world. Personally, I believe it is a great improvement.

The New York Times has an interesting trend piece on a number of teachers who are incorporating social media tools into the classroom to prompt more participation from students who might not otherwise speak up. The idea is that by using Twitter and other microblogging platforms, teachers can establish “back channels” to help foster a discussion and surface ideas that kids are too shy or intimidated to voice out loud.

The story has touched off a flurry of comments, with most condemning the trend as pandering to lazy Internet-addicted students, and arguing that it will not allow kids to shed their inhibitions but rather reinforce them. Others say it won’t challenge students to learn how to communicate as adults, and could foster less coherent thoughts that would be delivered in a more impersonal manner.

via Why Social Media Tools Have a Place in the Classroom : Tech News and Analysis «.

Written by Kees Winkel

May 14, 2011 at 14:33

Little Big Planet

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At the Crossmedialab, we have asked two students to build a level in Little Big Planet. Personally I don’t really care about games and gaming but I must admit that Little Big Planet is somewhat different from the usual shooters or whatever they are called. The students, Khalid el Khouani and Sven  Koppens, are well on their way and that is why they thought it to be time to produce a trailer. You may have a look here at Youtube. If you are interested in following the process en what comes out of it, check out my blog or www.crossmedialab.nl. I’ll be reproting regularly.

Written by Kees Winkel

April 9, 2011 at 10:05

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Me, Myself and my eDentity

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Coming wednesday Emiel Kanters fron Qantel will come to the crossmedialab to have a labtalk about Me, Myself and my eDentity. It promises te be an interesting discussion. I’ll blog on it later this week.If you are intereseted in joining the discussion, feel free to contact me. There’s more at www.crossmedialab.nl

Written by Kees Winkel

April 2, 2011 at 11:29

Crossmedialab is hiring two student assistants

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Crossmedialab, that’s where I work, is currently hiring two student assistants for 8 to 10 hours per week. Starting date is April 1. We are looking for assistants who:
• Have a passion for crossmedia
• Want to design and develop the ‘Museumkompas’ website
• Will design and develop the ‘crossmedialab’ level in Little Big Planet
• Want to support the development, building and testing of (prototypes of mobile) applications
• Support and take care of our website http://www.crossmedialab.nl
• Work in the crossmedialab (FCJ 0s142)
• Fit in our team (open, critical, humor, team player, professional attitude)

Join the crew! Contact me at kees.winkel@hu.nl under reference ‘application Feb. 2011’.

Written by Kees Winkel

February 19, 2011 at 11:22

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Graduation day, a lot of social but hardly any mobile

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Originally published at www.crossmedialab.nl on 16 July 2010.

Yesterday, we experienced the graduation of Digital Communication students. I forgot how many there were but the organization had to split up the group into two. Otherwise the ceremony would have taken four hours or so. The mentors of the graduates were instructed to speak only two minutes at the most. Fortunately, most of them stuck to the rule.
I had only three graduates but due to the fact that Erik Hekman had left for Mexico the other week, my list extended to an odd ten in total (it didn’t take me twenty minutes, though).

What struck me was an overdose of the word ‘social media’. I recon that half of the graduates’ theses dealt with the assignors’ question: “gamma a social media”. Apparently, social media is hyping. Apparently? No! Social media is hyping. But still, this is what Web Prowler criticizes on 9 May, 2010: “Only about 1% of the online population uses Twitter weekly. One suspects it has been concentrated among the media elite, even as celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey have begun using and promoting it. It’s more of a media industry thing right now. Very few people between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are using it”. As Web Prowler continues: “Social media has reached critical mass, with 83% of the Internet population now using it – and more than half doing so on a regular basis – according to new research being released today by Knowledge Networks. But for all the media industry’s hype and buzz surrounding social networks, micro blogs, and other social networking platforms, the genre has failed to become much of a marketing medium, and in the opinion of the Knowledge Networks’ analysts, likely never will”.

But then again, that was early May of this year. We are a moth and a half further and I guess social media has not stopped evolving. Social media has evolved – or should I say revolutionized – into masses of people using an immense number of social network sites, platforms and what have we. Could it be that we are now fully interconnected?

Only now, as the theses of our graduates proved, organizations are gradually reshaping their thoughts on using social media either as a tool to interact with their internal and external stakeholders or as a tool to some how anticipate. We all know that Twitter is a major push tool for companies. It seems to be the same old story. If you want to reach critical mass in the usage of technology, sell porn (which reminds me what good’ol Steve Jobs once said about his walled-garden system: “if you want to buy porn, buy an android”.).
Much is being experimented when it comes down to extending social media to the communication strategies of organizations. And this year’s harvest of Digital Communication Bachelors of our faculty more or less proves this hypothesis.

Some key word examples. The Attorney General’s office in Utrecht wanted a (closed and secure) social media system to meet today’s advantage of information gathering of the press; the attorneys cannot keep up with the information pace of their cases. Real estate broking is searching for new ways of interacting with house buyers and sellers, augmenting the experience for buyers to have a look inside the estate they may want to buy. This may well change the collective conservatism of that branch in the Netherlands. And as a third example, two of my graduates developed and realized a tablet application for doctors to examine people how not speak English or Dutch. The doctors can service even illiterates without these languages.

One research group graduate (Masoud Banbersta) spent six months researching, analyzing, concluding and advising on the key success factors of social network sites with an emphasis on Twitter (thesis available here). Now, that’s serious stuff but very satisfying and readable.

Back to yesterday and also back to my field of interest: mobile. Only one student graduated on something mobile (only heard about it, not read the thesis yet). I hope this will change soon as we can see points all around us tipping it off. And then I have not spoken about the next new big thing; the melting pot of social media and mobile.

From all of us at Crossmedialab: dear graduates, enjoy your summer and we all hope you make a great career start (many of you already did that and that’s fantastic).

Written by Kees Winkel

July 28, 2010 at 12:39

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