With Gary Mersham as the driving force and my AUT colleague Petra Theunissen, I recently authored my third book, Public relations and communication management: an Aotearoa/New Zealand perspective (2009).

My first book was written with Jim Macnamara who has just published his 12th book, The 21st century media (r)evolution (2010).

On paper, both books comment on social media.  In Jim’s case, he writes about changes wrought by electronic media, from “Web 3.0, the semantic web” to wireless-connected location-aware notebooks and GPS-equipped phones/computers.  

Our words are on paper, but our thoughts are on satellites.

Global Positioning Systems (via satellites) mean that people can decide if they want to be found through applications in the Web “cloud”, such as foursquare or Comob Net and Comob.  Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, and Comob offers a collaborative GPS mapping ap. which you can download onto your iPhone or Nokia.  

Comob began as a digital arts project to explore social relationships.  Foursquare is more blatantly commercial.  It allows you to check-in to places, meet up with friends and discover new places, many of which are retail social venues like bars and restaurants, which register on the site.

Does this mean that we will be forced to give up our privacy, or will it remain under our control?

Well, research suggests that it’s not just social life, but work-life that creates concerns about where you are and what you are doing.  For instance, in Fortune Magazine (June 14) Beth Kowitt reports that a study done for Microsoft earlier this year found 7% of employees felt that their co-workers were not supportive (up from 1% in 2008); and 16% of bosses were seen as not supportive (also up from 1% two years earlier): so “Face time ain’t dead yet”.

Maybe we will be more supportive if remote workers carry their GPS devices around like a home-detention bracelet.  That way, bosses and co-workers could be confident they are in their home office and not at the beach or in a café.  (It might even confirm the stat. in the same article that 9% surveyed said they worked in the loo.)

Could location sensitive software could be the new dot.com bubble, ask investors.  Well, Foursquare is just one of the new start-up companies reported same issue of Fortune under the headline “Web 2.0: the party’s over” (p. 14).  In that article, Jessi Hempel notes Facebook’s $US1.4 billion revenue this year makes its IPO (due 2012?) “…one of the most anticipated since Google’s”.

But the same article notes: AOL’s plans to sell or shutdown Bebo and Rupert Murdoch’s rueful comment about his Myspace purchase that “We made some big mistakes”.  Google is still bullish about Youtube, but “analysts predict that significant profits are still years away” (p.14).

So, where is all this heading?

One answer is provided by Nicholas Carr in his book, The shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains.  Carr suggests that web multitasking and “power browsing” are turning our neural pathways into drains full of trivia.  One interesting stat. is that most web pages are viewed for 10 seconds or less; and fewer than one in 10 page views last more than 2 minutes.  

Imagine what that does to our attention spans….

What was that?
Hello, I’m back. 

We bloggers have to imagine an audience to create one.  In my mind, you have visited this site every week and been disappointed to find that I haven’t written a new blog.

I’ve read and viewed heaps since I last wrote, but my job is driven by human imperatives.  They combine to make it impossible for me to complete one of my “slow blogs”, even at 1.00 a.m. when I am sometimes still replying to emails. 

A marvellous website that offers a blog that isn’t a blog is Geeksugar.  It’s not for me, but it has a great name.  It blends celebrity sugar with Geek technonews and offers constant updates that are a bit like a Yum Cha meal…. You keep coming back for just-one-more-thing until you find you have over-ordered and over-eaten. 

Consider one of its latest postings, time-logged 11.00 a.m. Sunday, which reads:
“I'm smitten over the latest site trend: bookmarking and displaying collections of your favorite things in a beautiful, visually stimulating way. Pinterest is one such site, allowing users to create a category and post photos of clothing, products, books, or anything else to create a visually stimulating virtual inspiration board” (Geeksugar). 

The site’s next posting was time-logged 2.00 a.m. Sunday.  Now that’s what I call Yum Cha! 

In my case, it’s more like the slow-food movement, except I am possibly the world’s slowest-blogger.  If I was as clever as the creators of Geeksugar, I could compress that into a great pseudonym, like “Slogger”.  (I’m not sure how well that would go.) 

So instead, I am inviting YOU to send me a blog about social media that I can post, under your name, as a contributor-blogger: No! I don’t want you to think of yourself as a “clogger”, although that is my topic for this piece.  So go ahead: If it is original, relevant and legal, I will publish it. 

However, let’s return to clogging.  The internet is in danger of becoming clogged.  Read on: 

There are recent reports about the limits to the number of domains left on the internet and suggestions that the Web may have to be reconfigured if it is not to run out of domains.  At the same time, New Zealand is vaunting “fibre to the door”, to increase the country’s broadband capacity and speed.  

To make it even harder to keep up with demand for capacity, Jon Fortt, senior technology writer in Fortune magazine declares 2010 to be “the year of the internet video”.  He says that Teleconferencing can cut business travel costs by $US3.5 billion a year by 2012.  Smartphones and camcorders that will fit in your pocket will increase the size of this video tsunami (Fortune, May 24, 2010). 

In the same issue, his colleague, Michael Copeland, argues that the seismic force pushing this wave is actually “folk who sell corporate networking gear”.   

Whatever the cause, the flood of “VJ”s could block organisational networks, just as iPhone is doing to AT&T’s network, says Fortte.  To which Copeland responds that IT knows how to block rogue services. 

What they agree is that some video usage will enhance organisational communication, but it will require investment on capacity and security.  They also agree that it should be well-managed and used in moderation. 

This looks like another job for “super-communicator” – sobriquet, “s’c’ater”, which has a slightly better ring to it than slogger.

 Joseph Peart   joseph.peart@aut.ac.nz