Monthly Archives: February 2007

Wiki move

I’ve moved the LGNM Wiki to Wikispaces, having had a look round the Social Media wiki that David Wilcox runs. All the existing information has been copied across.

The system I had been using, MediaWiki, is excellent,a nd I haven’t had any problems with it. The only issue is one of resources: I’m trying to cut down on my web expenditure and the wiki used a whole database and a big wodge of filespace. By hosting the wiki elsewhere I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Also, wikispaces is a really good system, with a nice wysiwyg editor, so I think it’ll be better too for anyone who fancies helping out too. I know a few people registered on the old wiki, so apologies for any inconvenience.

David Wilcox

I’m a regular reader of David Wilcox‘s blog, and if you aren’t at the moment, you should be. His posts are full of great stuff.

He’s also the editor of a wiki which is chock-full of useful social media information. A recommended bookmark for future reference for sure.

The wiki system David is using looks good: wikispaces. I hadn’t come across it before but it looks like a good competitor to the likes of Wetpaint, pbWiki, Stikipad and others…

Announcing LGSearch.Gov.uk

I’ve been playing around a little more with Google Coop, and discovered that you can use wildcards when defining the sites you want to search.

The way the standard LGSearch works is that I provide Google with a list of the sites I want it to search. Every single one of them. It’s not fun. But it does mean I can tag them with the category of site it falls into, making the filtering possible.

But with LGSearch.Gov.uk I just submitted one ‘site’ – *.gov.uk. In other words, every site that ends with .gov.uk! This means that as new sites are added, or taken away, the search engine will update automatically.

I don’t think this will be as useful as the standard LGSearch, but it might be a useful second option if you can’t find what you want first time round.

Defining Social Media

This is nice, via Neville Hobson:

‘Social media’ is the term commonly given to websites and online tools which allow users to interact with each other in some way – by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. As the name implies, social media involves the building of communities or networks, encouraging participation and engagement.

Defining Social Media

This is nice, via Neville Hobson:

‘Social media’ is the term commonly given to websites and online tools which allow users to interact with each other in some way – by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. As the name implies, social media involves the building of communities or networks, encouraging participation and engagement.

Cost cutting, and welcome home!

Welcome to my wordpress.com blog!

I’ve basically decided to cut right down on my web expenditure. Having the vebrig.gs domain was fun, but the renewal was going to cost £35, and the bill for my hosting is due next month too. So, I’ve cut right down by:

  • Moving all the da.vebrig.gs content to this blog and letting that domain die
  • Moving all the content I produced at hyprtext into this blog too, and that domain will also soon disappear

I’m also planning on moving some other things around to save time and money. For example, is there any need for the separate LGNewMedia and LGSearch domains?

This sort of rationing is sad, as it means a lot of links and things won’t work any more. But building it all up again will be fun, and after all, the best things in life are supposed to be free…

Valleywag on Second Life

I’m a Second Life sceptic. Plenty of other people are too, like the author of this Valleywag piece. Interesting stuff in the comments, too.

So what accounts for the current press interest in Second Life? I have a few ideas, though none is concrete enough to call an answer yet.

First, the tech beat is an intake valve for the young. Most reporters don’t remember that anyone has ever wrongly predicted a bright future for immersive worlds or flythrough 3D spaces in the past, so they have no skepticism triggered by the historical failure of things like LambdaMOO or VRML. Instead, they hear of a marvelous thing — A virtual world! Where you have an avatar that travels around! And talks to other avatars! — which they then see with their very own eyes. How cool is that? You’d have to be a pretty crotchety old skeptic not to want to believe. I bet few of those reporters ever go back, but I’m sure they’re sure that other people do (something we know to be false, to a first approximation, from the aforementioned churn.) Second Life is a story that’s too good to check.

Second, virtual reality is conceptually simple. Unlike ordinary network communications tools, which require a degree of subtlety in thinking about them — as danah notes, there is no perfect metaphor for a weblog, or indeed most social software — Second Life’s metaphor is simplicity itself: you are a person, in a space. It’s like real life. (Only, you know, more second.) As Philip Rosedale explained it to Business Week “[I]nstead of using your mouse to move an arrow or cursor, you could walk your avatar up to an Amazon.com (AMZN) shop, browse the shelves, buy books, and chat with any of the thousands of other people visiting the site at any given time about your favorite author over a virtual cuppa joe.”

Never mind that the cursor is a terrific way to navigate information; never mind that Amazon works precisely because it dispenses with rather than embraces the cyberspace metaphor; never mind that all the “Now you can shop in 3D efforts” like the San Francisco Yellow Pages tanked because 3D is a crappy way to search. The invitation here is to reason about Second Life by analogy, which is simpler than reasoning about it from experience. (Indeed, most of the reporters writing about Second Life seem to have approached it as tourists getting stories about it from natives.)

Third, the press has a congenital weakness for the Content Is King story. Second Life has made it acceptable to root for the DRM provider, because of their enlightened user agreements concerning ownership. This obscures the fact that an enlightened attempt to make digital objects behave like real world objects suffers from exactly the same problems as an unenlightened attempt, a la the RIAA and MPAA. All the good intentions in the world won’t confer atomicity on binary data. Second Life is pushing against the ability to create zero-cost perfect copies, whereas Copybot relied on that most salient of digital capabilities, which is how Copybot was able to cause so much agida with so little effort — it was working with the actual, as opposed to metaphorical, substrate of Second Life.

Finally, the current mania is largely push-driven. Many of the articles concern “The first person/group/organization in Second Life to do X”, where X is something like have a meeting or open a store — it’s the kind of stuff you could read off a press release. Unlike Warcraft, where the story is user adoption, here most of the stories are about provider adoption, as with the Reuters office or the IBM meeting or the resident creative agencies. These are things that can be created unilaterally and top-down, catnip to the press, who are generally in the business of covering the world’s deciders.

[tags]second life, valleywag[/tags]

Manchester to be rebuilt…

…in Second Life. The Manchester Evening News reports:

MANCHESTER is set to open a virtual version of itself in the internet simulation game Second Life…

The aim is to promote the Manchester `brand’ and raise awareness of the city in the real world.

The move to create a cyber-Manchester is a collaboration between the Urbis museum, Manchester’s Digital Development Agency (DDA) and consultants Clicks and Links.

Subscribers to the Second Life community will be able to meet and chat with real-life Mancunians online and visit exhibitions and events.

Dave Carter, head of DDA, said: “Second Life has succeeded in creating a virtual community of more than two million people.

“By creating a Manchester presence, we will be opening doors to this vast community – and having conversations with a huge range of people that will help shape and advance the city’s digital development.”

Apparently four islands have been bought in Second Life. That’s quite a significant investment, if the guidance is anything to go by:

Islands are priced at US$1,675 for 65,536 square meters (about 16 acres). Monthly land fees for maintenance are US$295.

Interesting…

I’m still a Second Life sceptic, I have to say. Once you are past the initial ‘wow’ factor, that any of this stuff is possible at all, I’m not sure what you’re left with.

[tags]manchester, second life[/tags]

LGNM Podcast #1 – WordPress

Here’s the first LGNewMedia podcast. It’s the first in a short series about some of the great social media and Web2.0 tools that are available. This first one is about WordPress. I hope you enjoy it – please leave a comment with any feedback or queries.

[audio:http://web.omnidrive.com/APIServer/public/4tXioJzOFMDKlmdLeEuQBC6c/LGNMP1.mp3%5D

Download the podcast here.

Show notes, including transcript of the podcast and all relevant links, have been posted to the wiki.