Suw and Steph Q&A Session on Seesmic [en]

[fr] Sur seesmic, Suw et moi-même répondons à vos questions!

Seminar on Social Media Adoption in the Enterprise [en]

[fr] Dernier jour pour s'inscrire au séminaire sur les stratégies d'adoption des nouveaux médias dans l'entreprise organisé par mon amie (et néanmoins experte de renommée internationale) Suw Charman-Anderson. C'est à Londres, ce vendredi.

My friend [Suw Charman-Anderson](http://strange.corante.com/) is organising a seminar this Friday in London on the
adoption of social tools in the enterprise: [Making Social Tools Ubiquitous](http://fruitful-socialtoolsadoption.eventbrite.com/). There are still some
places left. The sign-up deadline is tomorrow — act fast.

You’ll find a description of this seminar below. This is a chance to
learn about social tools in the enterprise directly from a world-class
expert who has practical experience introducing social tools in
various businesses. Want a peek? here are [notes I took from her talk
last year](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/04/fowa-enterprise-adoption-of-social-software-suw-charman/) at the Future of Web Apps conference.

> **Overview**
> You may have heard that social tools – such as wikis, blogs, social bookmarking and social networking – can help you improve business communications, increase collaboration and nurture innovation. And with open source tools, you can pilot projects easily and cheaply. But what do you do if people won’t use them? And how do you grow from a pilot to company-wide use?

> Social media expert Suw Charman-Anderson will take a practical look at the adoption of social tools within your business. During the day you will create a scalable and practical social media adoption strategy and discuss your own specific issues with the group. By the end of the seminar you will have a clear set of next steps to take apply to your own collaborative tools project.

> **The setting**
> Fruitful Seminars take place in an intimate setting, with no more than 9 people attending, so you to get the very most out of the day. The are held at the luxurious One Alfred Place, and include tea & coffee, and lunch from the restaurant.

> **Who should come?**

>* CXO executives
* managers
* team leaders
* decision makers
* social media practitioners
* social media vendors

> Or anyone in situations similar to these:

> * You have already installed some social tools for internal communications and collaboration, but aren’t getting the take-up you had hoped for.
* You have successfully completed a pilot and want to roll-out to the rest of the company.
* You want to start using social tools and need a strategy for fostering adoption.
* You sell social software or services and want to understand how your clients can foster adoption of your tool.

For more information, check out these recent posts Suw wrote:

– [Fruitful Seminars: Making Social Tools Ubiquitous](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2008/05/29/fruitful_seminars_making_social_tools_ubiquitous.php)
– [Q: What does promoting an event have in common with the adoption of social tools in the enterprise?](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2008/06/17/q_what_does_promoting_an_event_have_in_common_with_the_adoption_of_social_tools_in_the_enterprise.php)
– [Why isn’t social software spreading like wildfire through business?](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2008/06/20/why_isnt_social_software_spreading_like_wildfire_through_business.php)

The second Fruitful Seminar, [held by Lloyd Davis](http://perfectpath.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/mastering-social-media/), will take place on July 16th: [Mastering Social Media](http://fruitful-masteringsocialmedia.eventbrite.com/).

Not for you? tell your friends about it. Not this time, but want to keep an eye on what Suw, Leisa and Lloyd are doing with Fruitful Seminars? [sign up for their newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/fruitful-seminars/subscribe). Otherwise… time to [sign up](http://fruitful-socialtoolsadoption.eventbrite.com/)!

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Ressources for Parents and Teachers (ISL Talks on Social Networking) [en]

[fr] Quelques liens, points de départ pour mes deux conférences plus tard dans la journée (parents et enseignants, au sujet des adolescents et des réseaux sociaux comme Facebook).

I’m giving two talks today at the [ISL](http://www.isl.ch/), one for teachers and another for parents, about teenagers and social networking (that the request was specifically for “social networking” makes me happy, because we’re finally moving away from the whole “blog” thing). I think we’re moving away further and further from the “internet as library” metaphor, and the “internet as city/village” image is the one that most people are starting to have.

I have already gathered many links with useful information all over the place, but I think it’s a good thing to collect some of them here for easier access. If you’re reading this not long after I posted it, you’ll find a whole series of quotes in [my Tumblr](http://steph.tumblr.com/), too.

**General starting-points**

– my bookmarks tagged [teens](http://del.icio.us/steph/teens), [youth](http://del.icio.us/steph/youth), [fear](http://del.icio.us/steph/fear), [digitalyouth](http://del.icio.us/steph/digitalyouth), [edublogging](http://del.icio.us/steph/edublogging) (click on “related tags” at the top right of each page to explore more)
– search Wikipedia for [Bebo](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bebo), [Facebook](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook), [MySpace](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MySpace), etc
– search [digital youth on Google](http://www.google.com/search?q=digital+youth) for educational resources and research
– visit [Facebook](http://facebook.com), [MySpace](http://myspace.com) or [skyrock](http://www.skyrock.com/) to explore or create a profile there

**Fear of sexual predators**

This is by large the most important fear linked to teenagers and the internet. Thankfully, it is much exaggerated and no more of concern than fear of predators *offline*. Three starting-points:

– [Predator Panic: Reality Check on Sex Offenders](http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/060516_predator_panic.html)
– [MySpace Banning Sex Offenders: Online Predator Paranoia](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/25/myspace-banning-sex-offenders-online-predator-paranoia/) (contains relevant quotes and figures from [a 2007 research presentation](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/05/11/just_the_facts.html) one can view/read in full online)
– [My Advice to Parents](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/25/parents-teenagers-internet-predators-fear/)

**The real issues**

You’ll see that these are much less “newsworthy” than sexual predators.

– privacy (in the sense of revealing too much about yourself or in an inappropriate context, which leads to embarrassement or social problems) — a look at Facebook privacy settings
– permanence of online media
– weakness of anonymity
– misunderstanding of how online interactions affect communication and relationships (“chat effect”, flame wars…)
– [slide-show of a presentation I gave](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/10/01/teenagers-and-skyblog-cartigny-powerpoint-presentation/) about the kind of mischief teenagers get upto on blogs (what I managed to lay my hands on, with screenshots — no fear, it’s pretty mild)
– intellectual property (copyright)
– necessary to move away from a model of “education through control” as everything is available at a click of a mouse (age-restricted content like porn, shopping, gambling)
– rumors, hoaxes and urban legends (use [snopes.com](http://snopes.com/) to debunk them)
– bullying and many other unpleasant online phenomenons are also offline phenomenons, but sometimes less visible to adults; the core issue does not change — if these problems are addressed properly offline, then they will also be online
– [cyberaddiction](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/06/technological-overload-or-internet-addiction/) is not common at all, despite what some articles might want to have you believe — unhealthy usage of the computer usually is not the problem in itself, but an element of a larger problem which needs to be addressed
– the jury is still out on [gaming](http://del.icio.us/steph/gaming) — though it’s clearly not healthy to be spending *too* much time immersed in interactive virtual worlds when you’re learning to get to grips with reality, it seems that participating in multi-player online games [can have a significant positive impact](http://spotlight.macfound.org/main/entry/gina_svarovsky_thinking_like_an_engineer/#When:19:52:00Z) on ability to work in teams and solve problems creatively

**Other links or comments**

– [Notes of round table discussion with 4 International School teenagers from the Geneva region](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/06/12/lift08-david-brown-workshop-teenagers-and-generation-y/)
– [blog of “web2.0-enabled” educator Ewan McIntosh](http://edu.blogs.com/)
– [blog of danah boyd, PhD researcher on youth and digital spaces](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/)
– tip for teachers present in social networks where students are: make “public” part of profile “school-compatible”, don’t send out friend requests to students, but accept incoming ones (people outside the teaching sphere have similar issues between “personal life” and “business)
– the computer is not the only device which gives access to the living web
– [should parents spy on their kids online? (Facebook)](http://www.viddler.com/steph/videos/3/)
– a good book for parents: [Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online](http://www.amazon.com/Totally-Wired-Tweens-Really-Online/dp/0312360126)
– beyond teenagers, into business (there are many, but two pointers): [How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/), and [The Cluetrain Manifesto](http://cluetrain.com/book.html), a book that gives you the bigger picture

I will probably add to this article later on, following the requests made during the talks. If you want to suggest a topic or ask a question, feel free to do so in the comments.

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5 Lessons in Promoting Events Using Social Media (Back to Basics) [en]

[fr] Leçons apprises lors de la promotion de Going Solo:

  • communiquer directement avec les gens (messagerie instantanée, conversation offline, téléphone) est le mode de communication le plus efficace
  • ne pas négliger l'e-mail, les dossiers de presse, le matériel imprimable: tout le monde ne lira pas le blog ou Twiter
  • rien ne devient automatiquement "viral" parce que c'est sur internet: aider les gens à vous aider à passer l'info, par exemple avec un e-mail "forwardable"
  • aller où sont les gens, les retrouver dans leur communauté (Facebook, MySpace, Rezonance, LinkedIn... partout)
  • ça prend du temps... beaucoup de temps

J'ai été surprise à quel point tout ceci a été difficile pour moi, alors qu'une partie de mon métier consiste à expliquer aux gens comment utiliser les nouveaux médias pour communiquer plus efficacement. Une leçon d'humilité, et aussi un retour à certaines choses basiques mais qui fonctionnent, comme l'e-mail ou le chat. En récompense, par contre, un événement qui a été un succès incontesté, et tout cela sans le soutien des médias traditionnels (pour cause de communiqué de presse un poil tardif) -- mis à part nouvo, qui a répercuté l'annonce, mais qui trouvait que c'était cher!

One of the big lessons I learnt while organising [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is that [promoting and communicating about an event through social media](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/) requires a huge amount of time and energy. In this post, I’d like to share a few of the very practical things I (re-)discovered.

Even though part of what I do for a living is explain social media and its uses in marketing to my clients, I found it quite a challenge when I actually had to jump in and do it. (Yes, I’m aware this may sound pretty lame. By concentrating on the big picture and the inspiring success stories, one tends to forget some very basic things. Sending managers back to the floor every now and then is a good thing.)

The **main lesson I learnt** is the following:

– **1. The absolute best channel to promote anything is one-on-one personal conversation** with somebody you already have some sort of relationship with.

Any other solution is a shortcut. And [all shortcuts have prices](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/06/11/about-not-reading/).

This means I ended up spending a lot of time:

– talking to people on IM, IRC, and offline at conferences
– sending out personal messages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Anytime you do something to spare you this time (like sending out a collective e-mail, writing a blog post, or even tweeting — situations where you’re not adressing one specific individual directly) you dilute what you’re communicating. You open the door to:

– imperfect understanding of what you’re trying to say
– people not feeling like it’s really addressed to them (lack of interest, or lack of awareness that their actions are important to you)
– people simply not seeing it.

I have many examples of this. I created a [page with material people could use to promote Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support), in particular, [blog sidebar badges](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/badges-for-your-sidebar/). But not many people put them up spontanously, even amongst my friends. But when I started pinging people on IM and asking them if they would please put up a badge to support my event, they did it. They just hadn’t got around to doing it, hadn’t realised that them doing it was important for me, or it had simply slipped their mind. It’s perfectly understandable: it’s “my” event, not theirs.

Another example is when I started sending out my “forwardable e-mails” (lesson #3 is about them), most people stopped at “well, I’m not a freelancer” or “I can’t come”. It took some explaining to make sure they understood that the **main** reason I was sending them the e-mail was that they *might know somebody* who would like to come to the event, or who could blog about it, or help with promoting it. If I spared myself the personal conversation and just sent the e-mail, people were much less likely to really understand what I expected from them, even through it was spelled out in the e-mail itself.

And that was a big secondary lesson I learnt while preparing Going Solo: it’s not because people don’t get back to you, or don’t act, that they aren’t interested or don’t want to. The burden is on you to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

Let’s continue on to the next lessons.

– **2. Blogs and Twitter are essential, but don’t neglect less sexy forms of communication: newsletter, press release, printable material.**

The first thing I did for Going Solo was to create [a blog](http://going-solo.net) and a [Twitter account](http://twitter.com/goingsolo). Getting a blog and Twitter account off the ground isn’t easy, and it took quite a lot of one-on-one communication (see lesson #1) (and [blogging here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/)) to get enough people to link to them so that they started taking off.

But the lesson here is that **not everybody is on Twitter, and not everbody reads blogs**. We highly-connected types tend to forget that. It didn’t take me that long to get the feeling that I had “exhausted” my immediate, social-media-enabled network — meaning that all the people who knew me directly had heard what I was talking about, linked to stuff if they were going to, or registered for the event if they were interested.

So, here are some less “social media cutting-edge” forms of communication I used, most of them very late in the process (earlier next time):

– [an e-mail newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/going-solo-news)
– [printable (and printed) posters](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/more-cutting-edge-promotion-tools-posters/)
– a [press release](http://going-solo.net/press/) and other “old media focused” material

Some comments.

Our press release came out so late that we got no coverage at all from traditional media, bar [one exception](http://nouvo.ch/n-1279), which focused on how expensive the event was. This means Going Solo Lausanne is a great case study of successful event promotion entirely through social media.

When I [created the newsletter](http://going-solo.net/2008/04/30/going-solo-has-a-newsletter/), I spent a lot of time following lesson #1 and inviting people personally to sign up, through IM most of the time. I sent out invitations through the Google Groups interface, of course (to the extent that I got [flagged as a potential spammer](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/05/01/google-groups-pain-in-the-neck/)). But I also went through the process of inviting people directly through IM.

A word of warning about newsletters: don’t *add* people to your newsletter unless you’ve checked beforehand that they were OK with it, or if you have a *very* good reason to do so (they are the speakers/attendees for your event) — but even then, it can be risky. I was recently added to a bunch of mailing-lists without having asked for it, rather than invited, and I find it really annoying. It’s way more impolite to unsubscribe from a newsletter than refuse an invitation to subscribe, so adding people can put them in an embarrassing situation (be impolite vs. be annoyed at getting newsletters one doesn’t want).

– **3. Don’t expect “viral” or “[organic](http://epeus.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-organic-not-viral.html)” spreading of your promotion to happen, but prepare the field so it can: the forwardable e-mail.**

There is so much talk about the fact that social media allows things to *spread* all by themselves (and indeed, there is an important potential for that, and when it happens, it’s very powerful) — that we tend to expect it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t. And let’s face it, it’s not something that we can control (sorry for stating the obvious again, I’m doing that a lot in this post) and it takes quite a bit of skill to create the right conditions so that it *may* happen.

So, now that we’ve set our expectations, what can be done to *help things spread*? I mentioned having exhausted my immediate network higher up, so I needed to come up with a solution which would help me reach beyond it. How could I get my friends to mention Going Solo to *their* friends?

Of course, our use of social media in general allows that. Blogs, Facebook Groups and Events, sidebar badges… all this is material which *can* spread. But again — what about the people who aren’t bathing in social media from morning to evening?

**Back to basics: e-mail.** E-mail, be it under the shape of a newsletter, a discussion list, or simple personal messages, has a huge advantage over other forms of online communication: you’re sure people know how to use it. It’s the basic, level 0 tool that anybody online has and understands.

So, I started sending out e-mail. A little bit of *push* is good, right? I composed a rather neutral e-mail explaining what Going Solo was about, who it was for, giving links to more information, and a call to action or two. I then sent this impersonal text to various people I knew, with a personal introduction asking them to see if they knew anybody who could be interested in information about this event, and inviting them to forward the message to these people. Nothing extraordinary in that, right?

I of course applied lesson #1 (you’re starting to know that one, right?) and tried as much as possible to check on IM, beforehand, if it was OK for me to send the “forwardable e-mail” to each person. So, basically, no mass-mailing, but an e-mail written in such a way that it was “forwardable” in a “here’s what my friend Steph is doing, could interest you” way, which I passed along as a follow-up to a direct chat with each person.

In a more “social media” spirit, of course, make sure that any videos you put online can easily be shared and linked to, etc. etc — but that will be pretty natural for anybody who’s familiar with blogging and “being online”.

– **4. Go where people are. Be everywhere.**

Unless your event is already very well known, you need to go to people, and not just wait for them to come to you. If you’ve set up a blog, Twitter account, newsletter, then you have a place where people can come to you. But that’s not enough. You need to [go where people are](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/):

– Facebook
– Upcoming
– LinkedIn
– Xing
– MySpace
– Pownce
– Seesmic
– Existing communities big and small… (blogs, forums, chatrooms)

Again, this is a very basic principle. But it’s not because it’s basic that it’s invalidated by the magic world of social media. Where you can create an event, create an event (Upcoming, Facebook, Pownce, Rezonance — a local networking thingy); where you can create a group, create a group — I waited a lot before creating a [Facebook group for Going Solo](http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12748128087), because I had a [fan page for it](http://www.facebook.com/pages/Going-Solo-being-a-freelancer-in-a-connected-world/13470503249) already, but as you can see the group worked much better.

– **5. It’s a full-time job.**

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d spend *weeks* doing nothing else but send e-mails, update Facebook pages, blog, send e-mails, talk to people, IM, tweet, e-mail again… to promote Going Solo. It’s a huge amount of work. It’s so much work that one could imagine having somebody full time just to do it. So when you’re (mainly) a one-person shop, it’s important to plan that a significant amount of your time might be spent on promotion. It’s easy to underestimate that (I did, and in a major way).

Working this way doesn’t scale. At some point, one-on-one communication takes up too much time and energy to compensate for the benefits it brings over more impersonal forms of communication. But that only happens once your event is popular enough. Before you’ve held your first event (which was the situation I was in with Going Solo Lausanne), you don’t have a community of advocates for your work, you don’t have fans (you might have personal fans, but not fans of your event) or passionate attendees ;-), you don’t have other people doing your work for you.

At the beginning, every person who hears about your event is the result of sweat and hard work. Hopefully, at some point it’ll take off and you’ll start seeing more and more people [blogging about the event you’re organising](http://del.icio.us/steph/goingsolo+coverage) — but even then, it might take a while before you can just sit back and watch things happen. But in case this moment comes earlier than planned, you’re all set: you have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a newsletter. Until then, though, you’re going to be stuck on IM and sending out e-mails.

**A few last words**

I hope that by sharing these lessons with you, I’ll have contributed to making things a little easier for somebody else in the same situation I was. You’ll have understood that I haven’t tried to be exhaustive about how to use social media for promotion — indeed, I’ve skipped most of the “advanced” stuff that is more often spoken about.

But I think it’s easy to get so taken up with the “latest and greatest” tools out there that we forget some of the basic stuff. I, for one, was guilty of that initially.

Also, one thing I haven’t spoken about is *how* to talk to people. Of course, some of what you’re doing is going to be impersonal. Own up to it, if you’re mass e-mailing. Don’t pretend to be personal when you aren’t — it’s hypocritical, doesn’t come across well, and can be smelled a mile away.

I haven’t quite finished reconciling my practical experience with how I believe things “should” work. I’ve learnt a lot, but I certainly haven’t figured everything out yet. I would have wanted to do a lot more, but time simply wasn’t available, so I tried to prioritize. I made choices, and some of them were maybe mistakes. But overall, I’m happy with how things went and what I learnt.

If you have had similar experiences, I’d be really happy to hear from you. Likewise, if you disagree with some of the things I’ve written, or think I’m wrong on certain counts, do use the comments. I’m open to debate, even though I’m a bit hard-headed ;-).

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Twitter Metrics: Let's Remain Scientific, Please! [en]

[fr] On ne peut pas prendre deux mesures au hasard, en faire un rapport, et espérer qu'il ait un sens. Un peu de rigueur scientifique, que diable!

10.02.2011: Seesmic recently took its video service down. I have the videos but need to put them back online. Thanks for your patience.

Video post prompted by [Louis Gray’s Twitter Noise Ratio](http://www.louisgray.com/live/2008/04/whats-your-twitter-noise-ratio.html). I’m still [somewhat handicapped](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/24/the-neighbours-cat-won/) and [used up my typing quota this morning](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/27/diigo-i-think-i-like-the-idea-bonus-content-conversation-fragmentation/). corrections: measure time, measure **distance** (not “speed”) My graphs: Louis Gray's Twitter Noise Updates/Followers Ratio Zoom in to the beginning of the graph: Twitter Noise, extremes removed Attempt to spot trends: Twitter Noise Updates per Followers, annotated Not conclusive. See also: [Stowe’s Twitterized Conversational Index](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2008/03/scoble-on-the-s.html) — interestingly, Stowe became much more “chatty” on Twitter lately 😉 **Update: The Problem With Metrics** — a few thoughts on what metrics do to the way we behave with our tools. Confusing ends and means.

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Diigo — I Think I Like the Idea (Bonus Content: Conversation Fragmentation) [en]

[fr] Diigo semble être un outil de commentaire et de bookmarking social intéressant. Regardez les images si le texte vous rebute. En prime, petite digression sur la fragmentation des conversations.

I’m a bit of a [referrer obsessive](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/2444646183/), and today that little habit of mine led me to discover [Diigo](http://diigo.com), a social bookmarking tool which does way more than that. It seems at first view to be a mix of [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us) and what [coComment](http://cocomment.com) could have been, with a pinch of [MyBlogLog](http://mybloglog.com) and maybe [StumbleUpon](http://stumbleupon.com) thrown in.

[This is the link](http://www.diigo.com/01zr1) that led me to it. It’s pretty well-designed, because it immediately gave me an idea of what the service might be able to do for me. Look for yourself:

Diigo non-user landing page

That’s the page that was bookmarked, with a “toolbar” (a fake one) on top. Close-up:

Close-up of "fake" Diigo toolbar

Oh-oh! I can bookmark, *highlight*, annotate, comment… sounds nice! If I scroll down [the page](http://www.diigo.com/01zr1), I get to see what “highlight” might look like:

Diigo highlighting

That’s actually pretty good, because it allows me to **see** what I could get out of the service without having to sign up. Good marketing, guys and gals. Well, I don’t know about you, but that was enough for me to sign up and see what it was really about (specially as I’m keeping an eye open for something that could [replace what I use coComment for](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/19/more-on-cocomment-advertising/) — but it doesn’t seem this will be it, I’m afraid).

So, here goes. Sign-up was pretty straightforward. Sadly, Diigo commits the [password anti-pattern](http://adactio.com/journal/1357) crime, which **no social tool is allowed to do anymore** now that [Google has a password-free API](http://googledataapis.blogspot.com/2008/03/3-2-1-contact-api-has-landed.html) to get around that (see [Flickr and Dopplr: the Right Way to Import GMail Contacts](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/09/flickr-and-dopplr-the-right-way-to-import-gmail-contacts/)). I’m from now on refusing to give my password to any “find your friends” interface, even if it makes my life more difficult. One has to take a stand, sometimes.

So, finding friends will be hard. Let’s have a look around, however. Diigo has a toolbar, which installed quite nicely. The FireFox add-on provides a side drawer for Diigo.

My Dashboard | Diigo

Amongst other things, this makes it easy to leave a comment on any page. A good point for Diigo: they make it possible to share annotations with non-users (which is how they got me interested, as I just explained). So for the comment in the screenshot above, I can get a “[share link](http://www.diigo.com/annotated/a0a33a0bc4ae67a60050cb5f8f05b7ba)”:

Diigo -- Sharing annotated link

Which means people I give this link to get to see this:

Diigo comment visible to non users

Oh, and they have [OpenID](http://openid.net/) too! Another good point for them. In case it wasn’t clear from what I’ve already said, I think that leaving the functionalities of the tool **visible to non-users** like that is a great thing. It makes it easier to use for me when I don’t already have friends, and it allows people who haven’t joined yet to see more clearly what they might get out of doing so.

Back to the tour.

Diigo does bookmarking. I’ve been faithful to del.icio.us from the start, but it doesn’t mean I’m closed to switching if I find something better. If I can bookmark and post [Skitch](http://skitch.com/)-like sticky notes and comments on the web pages I’m bookmarking, well, that could win me over. First thing I checked, though, was import/export capability. One of the things I feel burnt with about my coComment experience is that there seems to be now way to leave *with my data* — so export is one of the first things I check before I consider using a new service I’m going to be storing data in.

Import is important, because if I’m going to switch to Diigo, I want to bring my past data in. Well, in that department, good marks:

Social Annotation: Seamless Integration of Social Bookmarking, Web Highlighter, Sticky-Note & Clipping

And even better, the “save elsewhere” feature:

Save Elsewhere

This means I can start saving my bookmarks to Diigo right away, and get Diigo to post them to del.icio.us. That way, it doesn’t break anything in the way I work — it just changes the input method and allows me to test a new tool “without risk”. Great.

I tried importing my bookmarks through the API and it seemed to stall in the middle:

My Bookmarks -- import fail

I can’t say I’m wild about the amount of advertising on the site, but it seems in slighter good taste than [coComment](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/19/more-on-cocomment-advertising/) (I encountered a seizure-inducing vibrating banner ad on their site just minutes ago — but to say the good, I also discovered that they now support OpenID during that trip).

So, after the first import seemed to fail halfway, I followed Diigo’s advice and imported my bookmarks through the HTML export file del.icio.us provides. I got the following message:

Diigo File Import from del.icio.us

…which made me fear I would end up with duplicates — but no, everything worked fine. It’s now possible to see my “[goingsolo+coverage](http://www.diigo.com/user/sbooth/goingsolo%2Ccoverage)” bookmarks on Diigo.

The interface is sometimes a bit difficult — I’ve found how to do things, but it doesn’t “flow” as easily as I’d expect it too. I guess they still could use some work there, and it sometimes has a feeling of “rough around the edges” (ie, import message that says things are ok when they aren’t, extra space in URL when filtering two different tags in bookmarks, chopped usernames under avatars…). This, for example, looks like it could use a bit more work in the design/usability department:

Reader Community for twitter.com ,Twitter: What are you doing?

What would be really nice would be if Diigo could capture comments made in traditional commenting forms, in addition to letting me add “separate” comments:

Could Diigo do comment capture?

This is important because comments made through normal commenting forms appear on the page immediately — so site owners aren’t going to get rid of them right away. I need to dig into what [Disqus](http://disqus.com/) is doing, though, haven’t yet had a close look. A bunch of people ([Loïc Le Meur](http://www.loiclemeur.com/english/2008/03/my-social-map-i.html), [Louis Gray](http://www.louisgray.com/live/2008/04/should-fractured-feed-reader-comments.html), [Stowe Boyd](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2008/04/the-great-conve.html), amongst others) have been noting lately that conversation/commentary is moving away from blog comments.

**The conversation is now forked or fragmented**, something that [Ben Metcalfe noted as a problem with coComment, already at the time](http://benmetcalfe.com/blog/index.php/2006/02/05/cocomment-semantically-forked-conversation/). I remember that at one point in time, the direction coComment was taking (with groups, mainly) was to abandon the idea of one conversation” and the move towards “multiple conversations” per post/page. I guess I never really liked that idea, because as a blogger before anything else, it’s important to me that *commentary* about what I publish can easily be found using the original post/video/whatever as a starting point.

On the other hand, I don’t believe in forcing people to use this or that system to leave their comments. Lots of people comment on my posts through Twitter, and that’s fine — but I regret there isn’t a system to indicate that those tweets are part of the commentary on this or that post. So, comment through Twitter, the comment form, Facebook, Diigo, on [my FriendFeed](http://friendfeed.com/sbooth) or on your own blog, even with a [Seesmic video comment](http://wiki.seesmic.com/Wp-plugin) if you want — but as a content provider, I’d like a way to collect all that commentary with a big net and display it on my blog post page.

Comments have more value when they are displayed alongside the content they’re referencing, but the process of leaving a comment should be tool-agnostic.

So anyway, end of bonus digression, and back to the Diigo tour. This Diigo thing is social, so I need to find friends. As I refuse to do the password-thingy, I tried typing a few names of superconnectors I know (Robert Scoble, Stowe Boyd, Michael Arrington, Chris Brogan… for starters). Only Arrington had an account, but it had one test bookmark and zero friends… not too good for a start.

I’d noticed the Diigo side drawer had a “Readers” tab. So I loaded up my blog in the browser, and scanned the [list of my readers](http://www.diigo.com/community/reader/climbtothestars.org) for known names (I figured I might know some of my readers). Lo and behold!

Climb to the Stars (Stephanie Booth) » More than just a blog.

My friend [Thomas Vanderwal](http://vanderwal.net/random) was in the list. Here’s his bookmarks page:

Thomas Vander Wal - Bookmarks

(Note the “tasteful” German-language ad — because [I’m in Switzerland, I speak German, of course (not)](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/04/not-all-switzerland-speaks-german-dammit/).)

I had to poke around a bit for the “ad friend” button, but finally found it on Thomas’s profile page:

Thomas vander wal Profile

Unfortunately, it seems not many people from “our bloggy-twitter circle” have joined yet — Thomas only has two friends, and I don’t know them (I think). Or Diigo need to work hard on their “finding friends and adding them” processes.

Well, there we are. Looks interesting. Will try to use it. More to be said of course, but already spent way too long on this “quick post with a few screenshots”!

If you join Diigo, [here’s my profile page](http://www.diigo.com/profile/sbooth) if you want to add me. Tell them I sent you! (Who was saying I should get paid to write this kind of stuff, already? ;-))

**Update:** Diigo isn’t new, though I don’t recall having ever heard of it. Seems Techcrunch mentioned it in [2005](http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/12/27/diigo/), [2006](http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/08/02/diigo-is-a-research-tool-that-rocks/), and again [last month](http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/20/diigo-revamps-social-bookmarking-service-with-v30/). Maybe I should read Techcrunch more often 😉

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More on coComment Advertising [en]

[fr] Malheureusement, coComment et moi sommes partis pour une "Séparation 2.0: quand les 'social tools' que vous aimiez ne vous le rendent pas." Le choix de leur distributeur de publicité est vraiment malheureux (un cran au-dessus du spam, à mon sens), et clairement, il n'y a pas de dialogue entre coComment et ses utilisateurs, malgré les déclarations acharnées "d'ouverture au dialogue".

A la recherche d'une solution de remplacement pour la saisie des commentaires, donc. Le suivi des conversations m'intéresse beaucoup moins que la centralisation de tous mes commentaires en un endroit.

I was alerted to this a few days ago by [Nathalie](http://nathaliehmd.com/), and after witnessing it [with my own eyes](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/792519413) — well, I’m going to go to bed a little later to blog about it, after all.

After [preparing to slap ads in our comment RSS feeds](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/31/please-dont-be-rude-cocomment-i-loved-you/), [coComment](http://cocomment.com) is staying on the same ugly and obviously slippery slope by inserting ads in the cocobar:

coComment blog ads in cocobar

So, slightly more discreet than the [big banners placed in the RSS feed](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/2377623519/), but not in very good taste either. Here are some examples of scrolling ad text:

– “Want fast fitness results? Click for free info, revolutionary products.”
– “Walk on the well placed warmth of radiant heating. Click now!”
– “Free comparison of top car rental companies. Click here!”
– “Click to create your dream holiday trip now.”
– “Easy-to-use, advanced features, flexible phone systems. Click for more info.”
– “Visa, MasterCard, AMEX & Discover. Compare Offers & Apply Online. Click here!”

Reloading a cocobar-enabled page will provide you with hours of endless entertainment. (I’m kidding — but there are more out there, of course.)

Now, I understand that [coComment needs to “monetize”](http://blog.cocomment.com/2008/04/07/advertising-revenues-and-harsh-realities/), though one could question a business model which seems to be based on revenue from scrolling ads and blinking banners. (I can’t remember who said “if your business model is putting ads in your service, think again”.)

There are ads and ads, though. Here’s a sample of banners from the coComment site:

coComment blog » Blog Archive » Advertising, Revenues and harsh realities

Commenting is sexy. HotForWords is the talk of the party at Geek Goes Chic

Commenting is sexy. HotForWords is the talk of the party at Geek Goes Chic

coComment blog ads

The screen captures don’t render the blinking quality of most of these ads, but I guess your imagination can fill in. Now, does anybody else than me feel that this kind of advert is just about one step above spam? Based on a few of the comments I can read on [the post Matt wrote about the “harsh realities” of advertising](http://blog.cocomment.com/2008/04/07/advertising-revenues-and-harsh-realities/), it seems not:

> With all honesty, the banners displayed on the cocomment site are awful and are making the service look VERY unprofessional – totally agree with “disappointed” on this one. Few will argue that perception is 99% of reality, so with those banner ads making the site look like crap, the whole service becomes questionable. I felt like I was about to get a trojan into my computer when I first saw www.cocomment.com

> there are other advertising partners that don’t crap up your web site with ads that flash in your face. most opensource projects are using google ad sens now (just an example) that displays relevant ads that look very subtle.

stan

> I agree with some of the commenters here about the ad selection. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were unobtrusive AdWords or… something a little classier. It cheapens your brand. Think upscale! Or, at least, more upscale.

Allan White, in comment

Yes, there are ads and ads. These ones definitely make coComment look very cheap and dodgy, and I’m not sure it would encourage users to hand over credit card details to pay for an ad-free version. Also, what’s with the [Hot For Words](http://hotforwords.cocomment.com/) thing? I’m sorry, but this is not my world. coComment has obviously moved into a space which is very alien to my beloved blogosphere.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to [state](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/31/please-dont-be-rude-cocomment-i-loved-you/#comment-393176) that you [want](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/31/please-dont-be-rude-cocomment-i-loved-you/#comment-393260) to have a [conversation](http://blog.cocomment.com/2008/04/07/advertising-revenues-and-harsh-realities/) to actually be having one (I guess that for starters, that last post would have pointed to [the post of mine](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/31/please-dont-be-rude-cocomment-i-loved-you/) that [contributed to prompt](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/31/please-dont-be-rude-cocomment-i-loved-you/#comment-394334) it). A conversation starts with listening and caring, and obviously, despite their efforts to prove the contrary, the coComment team sadly don’t get this.

What could they have done? Well, I’m not going to launch into a session of full-blown strategic consulting for an ex-client of mine (who didn’t seem to value my advice much at the time), but simple things like taking up issues such as the arrival of advertising *with* the people who use the service **before** actually dumping ads in their feeds unannounced could be a way of showing you care a little bit about how they feel. Understanding that [apologies and justifications](http://blog.cocomment.com/2007/08/21/were-sorry/) when you mess up do not erase the past also seems like a good idea. As my friend [Brian Solis](http://www.briansolis.com/) put it:

> Making mistakes in social media is a lot like sticking daggers into a wooden fence. Just because you apologize and pull them out, they still leave the scars for others to see, and feel. Sometime apologies help people feel better, but they don’t fix perception. This is why thinking before engaging is critical to success in the world social media marketing. This is after all, about people.

Brian Solis

So, as I told Brian, coComment and I are headed for **[Breakup 2.0](http://twitter.com/briansolis/statuses/781536332): when the social media tools you loved don’t love you back** (yes, you can quote that one, it’s from me).

At the moment, I’m only using the service to “save” the comments I make, because I like keeping a trace of my writings (I used to collect stamps). Sadly, I’m not even sure coComment will allow me to walk out with all my data in an XML dump — I don’t see anything obvious in the interface for that, so if I am able to, it will probably be due to my relationships with the people who have access to the server. (I said “if”.)

The tracking feature is too confusing and overloaded for me to use — I can imagine using something like [co.mments](http://co.mments.com) to keep an eye on the small number of conversations where I’m on the lookout for an answer. But I don’t have an alternate solution for “capturing” the comments I make. Copy-paste is a bit of a bore, and del.icio.us doesn’t capture the comment content — just the fact that there is a comment.

I’ve been thinking up **an idea involving a Firefox add-on**. It would have a bunch of algorithms to detect comments fields (maybe would support some microformat allowing to identify comment feeds or forms), have a simple on/off toggle to “activate” the field for capture (some right-click thing, much more practical than a bookmarklet or a browser button, because it’s always there, handy, wherever you click), would colour the field in something really visible when capture is on (red! pink! green!) without disrupting readability (I need to see what I type). It would capture the comment, permalink, blog post name (it knows I’m the commenter, I could fill in that info in the add-on settings), and dump the info in an XML or RSS file, or in the database of my WordPress installation, with the help of a WordPress plugin.

It’s a half-baked idea, of course, and I don’t have the JS skills to actually code anything like this. It should probably be a week-end project for somebody with sufficient Javascript-fu — if you’re interested in bringing it to life, get in touch.

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Flickr and Dopplr: the Right Way to Import GMail Contacts [en]

[fr] Il est maintenant possible d'importer des contacts depuis GMail (ou Hotmail) sans devoir divulguer son mot de passe, aussi bien chez Flickr que chez Dopplr. Génial!

A few days ago, I saw this (http://twitter.com/mattb/statuses/780694528) soar by:

> Impressed by passwordless import at http://www.flickr.com/impor… – does anyone know if that’s a *public* yahoo API they use? want!

I immediately went to investigate. You see, I have an interest in [social network portability](http://microformats.org/wiki/social-network-portability) (also called [“make holes in my buckets”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/13/please-make-holes-in-my-buckets/)) — I gave a [talk on SPSNs from a user point of view at WebCamp SNP in Cork](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/videos/35/) recently — and I am also concerned that in many cases, implementations in that direction make generous use of the [password anti-pattern](http://adactio.com/journal/1357) (ie, asking people for the password to their e-mail). It’s high time for [design to encourage responsible behaviour](http://www.disambiguity.com/design-ethics-encouraging-responsible-behaviour/) instead. As the [discussion at WebCamp shows](http://willknott.ie/2008/03/11/why-teach-a-man-to-be-phished/), we all agree that solutions need to be found.

So, what [Matt](http://www.hackdiary.com/) said sounded sweet, but I had to check for myself. (Oh, and Matt builds [Dopplr](http://www.dopplr.com/), in case you weren’t sure who he was.) Let me share with you what I saw. It was nice.

Go to [the Flickr contact import page](http://www.flickr.com/import/people/) if you want to follow live. First, I clicked on the GMail icon and got this message.

Flickr: Find your friends

I clicked OK.

Flickr and Google

This is a GMail page (note the logged in information upper right), asking me if Flickr can access my Google Contacts, just this one time. I say “yes, sure”.

Flickr: Finding my friends

Flickr goes through my GMail contacts, and presents me with a list:

Flickr: Found your friends

There is of course an “add all” option (don’t use it unless you have very few contacts), and as you can see, next to each contact there is a little drop down which I can use to add them.

Flickr: Contacts

When I’m done adding them, Flickr asks me if I want to send e-mail invites — which I don’t.

Neat, isn’t it?

Well, the best news about this is that Flickr isn’t alone. Dopplr (remember Matt?) [does the same thing](http://www.dopplr.com/account/invitations_via/gmail) — and also [for Windows Live Hotmail](http://blog.dopplr.com/2008/04/07/import-your-contacts-from-windows-live-hotmail/) now.

DOPPLR: Passwordless GMail contact import

*Note and question mark: I just saw [Dopplr announced GMail password-free import back in March](http://blog.dopplr.com/2008/03/18/easier-gmail-contact-import-without-passwords/), before [Matt’s tweet](http://twitter.com/mattb/statuses/780694528). Did Dopplr do it before Flickr? Then, what was the tweet about? Thoroughly chronologically confused. Anyway, passwordless import of GMail contacts rocks. Thanks, guys.*

**Update:** Thanks for the chronology, Matt (see his comment below). So basically, Matt’s tweet was about the fact that though GMail and Hotmail allows services like Dopplr and Flickr to access contacts without requiring a password, Yahoo doesn’t. Flickr does it from your Yahoo account because they have special access. So, Yahoo, when do we get a public API for that?

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Reading the Ofcon Report on Social Networking: Stats, Stranger Danger, Perceived Risk [en]

[fr] Le Daily Mail remet ça aujourd'hui, abasourdi de découvrir que les adolescents rencontrent "offline" des étrangers d'internet. Il va donc falloir que j'écrive le fameux billet auquel j'ai fait allusion dernièrement, mais avant cela, je suis en train de lire le rapport sur lequel se basent ces articles alarmés et bien-pensants.

Ce billet contient quelques commentaires sur la situation en général, ainsi que mes notes de lecture -- citations et commentaires -- du début de ce rapport de l'Ofcon.

I don’t know if I’ll get around to writing about the [teen cleavage scare](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/02/daily-mail-shocked-by-teen-cleavage/) before the story goes completely cold, but in my endeavour to offer a balanced criticism of what’s going on here, I’m currently reading the [Ofcon Social Networking Report which was released on April 2](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_04_08_ofcom.pdf) and prompted this new wave of [“think of the children” media coverage](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2007/07/26/think_of_the_children_yes_but_also_think_about_the_journalism.php). The Daily Mail is at it today again, with the stunning and alarming news that [teenagers are meeting “strangers” from the internet offline](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=557349&in_page_id=1770) (big surprise). I find it heartening, though, that the five reader comments to this article as of writing are completely sensible in playing down the “dangers” regularly touted by the press and the authorities.

Here are the running notes of my reading of this report. I might as well publish them as I’m reading. Clearly, the report seems way more balanced than the Daily Mail coverage (are we surprised?) which contains lots of figures taken out of context. However, there is still stuff that bothers me — less the actual results of the research (which are facts, so they’re good) than the way some of them are presented and the interpretations a superficial look at them might lead one to make (like, sorry to say, much of the mainstream press).

Here we go.

> Social networking sites also have
some potential pitfalls to negotiate, such as the unintended consequences of publicly posting
sensitive personal information, confusion over privacy settings, and contact with people one
doesn’t know.

Ofcon SN Report, page 1

Good start, I think that the issues raise here make sense. However, I would put “contact with people one doesn’t know” in “potential pitfalls”. (More about this lower down.)

> Ofcom research shows that just over one fifth (22%) of adult internet users aged 16+ and
almost half (49%) of children aged 8-17 who use the internet have set up their own profile on
a social networking site. For adults, the likelihood of setting up a profile is highest among
16-24 year olds (54%) and decreases with age.

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

This is to show that SNs are more popular amongst younger age groups. It makes sense to say that half of 8-17 year olds have a profile on SN site to compare it with the 22% of 16+ internet users or the 54% of 16-24 year olds. Bear in mind that these are *percentages of internet users* — they do not include those who do not go online.

However, saying “OMG one out of two 8-17 year olds has a profile on a SN site” in the context of “being at risk from paedophiles” is really not very interesting. Behaviour of 8 year olds and 17 year olds online cannot be compared at all in that respect. You can imagine a 16 year old voluntarily meeting up to have sex with an older love interest met on the internet. Not an 8 year old. In most statistics, however, both fall into the category of “paedophilia” when the law gets involved.

> 27% of 8-11 year olds who are aware of social networking sites say that they have a profile on a site

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

I’d like to draw you attention on the fact that this is 27% of 8-11 year olds **who are aware of social networking sites**.

> Unless otherwise stated, this report uses the term ‘children’ to include all young people aged 8-17.

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

I don’t like this at all, because as stated above, particularly when it comes to concerns about safety one *cannot* simply lump that agegroup into a practical “children”, which plays well with “child abuse”. In the US, cases of “statutory rape” which might very well have been consensual end up inflating the statistics on “children falling victim to sexual predators online”.

> Although contact lists on sites talk about ’friends’, social networking sites stretch the
traditional meaning of ‘friends’ to mean anyone with whom a user has an online connection.
Therefore the term can include people who the user has never actually met or spoken to.
Unlike offline (or ‘real world’) friendship, online friendships and connections are also
displayed in a public and visible way via friend lists.
> The public display of friend lists means that users often share their personal details online
with people they may not know at all well. These details include religion, political views,
sexuality and date of birth that in the offline world a person might only share only with close
friends.
> While communication with known contacts was the most popular social
networking activity, 17 % of adults used their profile to communicate with
people they do not know. This increases among younger adults.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

Right. This is problematic too. And it’s not just the report’s fault. The use of “friend” to signify contact contributes to making the whole issue of “online friendship” totally inpenetrable to those who are not immersed in online culture. The use of “know” is also very problematic, as it tends to be understood that you can only “know” somebody offline. Let’s try to clarify.

First, it’s possible to build relationships and friendships (even loves!) online. Just like in pre-internet days you could develop a friendship with a pen-pal, or kindle a nascent romance through letters, you can get to know somebody through text messages, IM, blog postings, presence streams, Skype chats and calls, or even mailing-list and newsgroup postings. I hope that it will soon be obvious to everybody that it is possible to “know” somebody without actually having met them offline.

So, there is a difference between “friends” that “you know” and “SN friends aka contacts” which you might in truth not really know. But you can see how the vocabulary can be misleading here.

I’d like to take the occasion to point out one other thing that bothers me here: the idea that contact with “strangers” or “people one does not know” is a thing worth pointing out. So, OK, 17% of adults in the survey, communicated with people they “didn’t know”. I imagine that this is “didn’t know” in the “offline person”‘s worldview, meaning somebody that had never been met physically (maybe the study gives more details about that). But even if it is “didn’t know” as in “complete stranger” — still, why does it have to be pointed out? Do we have statistics on how many “strangers” we communicate with offline each week?

It seems to me that *because this is on the internet*, strangers are perceived as a potential threat, in comparison to people we already know. As far as abuse goes, in the huge, overwhelming, undisputed majority of cases, the abuser was known (and even well known) to the victim. Most child sexual abuse is commited by people in the family or very close social circle.

I had hoped that in support of what I’m writing just now, I would be able to state that “stranger danger” was behind us. Sadly, a quick [search on Google](http://www.google.com/search?q=%22stranger+danger%22) shows that I’m wrong — it’s still very much present. I did, however, find [this column which offers a very critical view of how much danger strangers actually do represent for kids](http://www.parentkidsright.com/pt-strangerdanger2.html) and the harmful effects of “stranger danger”. Another nice find was this [Families for Freedom Child Safety Bulletin](http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/families_for_freedom.htm), by a group who seems to share the same concerns I do over the general scaremongering around children.

> Among those who reported talking to people they didn’t know, there were significant
variations in age, but those who talked to people they didn’t know were significantly more
likely to be aged 16-24 (22% of those with a social networking page or profile) than 25-34
(7% of those with a profile). In our qualitative sample, several people reported using sites in
this way to look for romantic interests.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

Meeting “online people” offline is more common amongst the younger age group, which is honestly not a surprise. At 34, I sometimes feel kind of like a dinosaur when it comes to internet use, in the sense that many of my offline friends (younger than me) would never dream of meeting somebody from “The Internets”. 16-24s are clearly digital natives, and as such, I would expect them to be living in a world where “online” and “offline” are distinctions which do not mean much anymore (as they do not mean much to me and many of the other “online people” of my generation or older).

> The majority of comments in our qualitative sample were positive about social networking. A
few users did mention negative aspects to social networking, and these included annoyance
at others using sites for self-promotion, parties organised online getting out of hand, and
online bullying.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

This is interesting! Real life experience from real people with social networks. Spam, party-crashing and bullying (I’ll have much more to say about this last point later on, but in summary, address the bullying problem at the source and offline, and don’t blame the tool) are mentioned as problems. Unwanted sexual sollicitations or roaming sexual predators do not seem to be part of the online experience of the people interviewed in this study. Strangely, this fits with my experience of the internet, and that of almost everybody I know. (Just like major annoyances in life for most people, thankfully, are not sexual harrassment — though it might be for some, and that really sucks.)

> The people who use social networking sites see them as a fun and easy leisure activity.
Although the subject of much discussion in the media, in Ofcom’s qualitative research
privacy and safety issues on social networking sites did not emerge as ‘top of mind’ for most
users. In discussion, and after prompting, some users in the qualitative study did think of
some privacy and safety issues, although on the whole they were unconcerned about them.
> In addition, our qualitative study found that all users, even those who were confident with
ICT found the settings on most of the major social networking sites difficult to understand
and manipulate.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7-8

This is really interesting too. But how do you understand it? I read: “It’s not that dangerous, actually, if those people use SN sites regularly without being too concerned, and the media are making a lot of fuss for nothing.” (Ask people about what comes to mind about driving a car — one of our regular dangerous activities — and I bet you more people than in that study will come up with safety issues; chances are we’ve all been involved in a car crash at some point, or know somebody who has.) Another way of reading it could be “OMG, even with all the effort the media are putting into raising awareness about these problems, people are still as naive and ignorant! They are in danger!”. What will the media choose to understand?

The study points out the fact that privacy settings are hard to understand and manipulate, and I find this very true. In doubt or ignorance, most people will “not touch” the defaults, which are generally too open. I say “too open” with respect to privacy in the wide sense, not in the “keep us safe from creeps” sense.

This brings me to a comment I left earlier on [an article on ComMetrics about what makes campaigns against online pedophiles fail](http://commetrics.com/?p=29). It’s an interesting article, but as I explain in the comment, I think it misses an important point:

>There is a bigger issue here — which I try to explain each time I get a chance, to the point I’m starting to feel hoarse.

>Maybe the message is not the right one? The campaign, as well as your article, takes as a starting point that “adults posing as kids” are the threat that chatrooms pose to our children.

>Research shows that this is not a widespread risk. It also shows that there is no correlation between handing out personal information online and the risk of falling victim to a sexual predator. Yet our campaigns continue to be built on the false assumptions that not handing out personal information will keep a kid “safe”, and that there is danger in the shape of people lying about their identity, in the first place.

>There is a disconnect between the language the campaigns speak and what they advocate (you point that out well in your article, I think), and the experience kids and teenagers have of life online (“they talk to strangers all the time, and nothing bad happens; they meet people from online, and they are exactly who they said they were; hence, all this “safety” information is BS”). But there is also a larger disconnect, which is that the danger these campaigns claim to address is not well understood. Check out the 5th quote in the long article I wrote on the subject at the time of the MySpace PR stunt about deleting “sex offenders'” profiles.

>I will blog more about this, but wanted to point this out here first.

Yes, I will blog more about this. I think this post of notes and thoughts is long enough, and it’s time for me to think about sleeping or putting a new bandage on my scraped knee. Before I see you in a few days for the next bout of Ofcon Report reading and commentating, however, I’ll leave you with the quote I reference in the comment above (it can’t hurt to publish it again):

Now, on the case of internet sex crimes against kids, I’m concerned
that we’re already off to a bad start here. The public and the
professional impression about what’s going on in these kinds of
crimes is not in sync with the reality, at least so far as we can
ascertain it on the basis of research that we’ve done. And this
research has really been based on some large national studies of
cases coming to the attention of law enforcement as well as to large
national surveys of youth.

If you think about what the public impression is about this crime,
it’s really that we have these internet pedophiles who’ve moved
from the playground into your living room through the internet
connection, who are targeting young children by pretending to be
other children who are lying about their ages and their identities and
their motives, who are tricking kids into disclosing personal
information about themselves or harvesting that information from
blogs or websites or social networking sites. Then armed with this
information, these criminals stalk children. They abduct them.
They rape them, or even worse.

But actually, the research in the cases that we’ve gleaned from
actual law enforcement files, for example, suggests a different
reality for these crimes. So first fact is that the predominant online
sex crime victims are not young children. They are teenagers.
There’s almost no victims in the sample that we collected from – a
representative sample of law enforcement cases that involved the
child under the age of 13.

In the predominant sex crime scenario, doesn’t involve violence,
stranger molesters posing online as other children in order to set up
an abduction or assault. Only five percent of these cases actually
involved violence. Only three percent involved an abduction. It’s
also interesting that deception does not seem to be a major factor.
Only five percent of the offenders concealed the fact that they were
adults from their victims. Eighty percent were quite explicit about
their sexual intentions with the youth that they were communicating
with.

So these are not mostly violence sex crimes, but they are criminal
seductions that take advantage of teenage, common teenage
vulnerabilities. The offenders lure teens after weeks of
conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance,
adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to
encounters that the teams know are sexual in nature with people who
are considerably older than themselves.

So for example, Jenna – this is a pretty typical case – 13-year-old
girl from a divorced family, frequented sex-oriented chat rooms, had
the screen name “Evil Girl.” There she met a guy who, after a
number of conversations, admitted he was 45. He flattered her, gave
– sent her gifts, jewelry. They talked about intimate things. And
eventually, he drove across several states to meet her for sex on
several occasions in motel rooms. When he was arrested in her
company, she was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement
authorities.

David Finkelhor, in panel Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization: Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths, May 2007

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Daily Mail Shocked by Teen Cleavage [en]

[fr] Encore une panique au sujet des photos d'ados sur les réseaux sociaux. Gardez la tête froide. Vais bloguer si j'ai le temps ces prochains jours.

[Kevin Marks](http://epeus.blogspot.com) [tweets](http://twitter.com/kevinmarks/statuses/781473328):

> Daily Mail is shocked, shocked to find teenage cleavage on Bebo; reprints it in the paper, beside *their* bikini stories

The article in question, available online, is [Millions of girls using Facebook, Bebo and Myspace ‘at risk’ from paedophiles and bullies](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=553348&in_page_id=1770&ct=5).

No time to read it in full now, or blog about it as I should, but a couple of reminders:

– Keep your head cool and [check out the facts](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/05/11/just_the_facts.html)
– Don’t fall for the [online predator paranoia](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/25/myspace-banning-sex-offenders-online-predator-paranoia/)
– Here’s a link to the [source report](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_04_08_ofcom.pdf) — do your homework before reblogging the Daily Mail
– Link to [other news sources on the topic](http://news.google.co.uk/?ncl=1147768326&hl=en&topic=t) to explore
– [Some advice to parents](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/25/parents-teenagers-internet-predators-fear/)

And if you were wondering, yes, I [give talks on the subject](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking/) in schools (in French or English). List of [past talks](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking/past/). [More information on that in French](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/ecoles/).

I was interviewed a bit less than a year ago by the BBC around fear parents were feeling about Facebook:

If I have time, I’ll try to blog about this tomorrow, but the stack of *things to do right now* is quite high, and I’m not sure I’ll get around to doing it before this is cold.

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