The SMEG Police Brought to You by Adobe

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You’ve probably met the type – or had them pitch you. They’re the FUD masters, sewing fear, uncertainty and doubt, knowing that at the end of the conversation they have a lead to follow up or maybe even a project. They talk big numbers, after all, 40% of the Australian population use Facebook, 3 million on Twitter and well, everyone in the country on Google. Surely you can’t afford NOT to have a presence in these digital territories.

In the world of small business, we’ve been hearing these pitches for years. These “Social Media Expert Gurus” (SMEGs) would sweep in, dazzle business owners, soak up budgets and then disappear when it came time to report back on results and outcomes. More recently, we are seeing larger enterprises follow this same course. Sometimes the entree comes through the Board or senior executives. They are swayed by the “social media savvy” and “digital swagger” of the SMEG and quickly find themselves signing up for hefty retainers attached to uncertain outcomes.

But the immediacy and impact of social media can be addictive. And even the most cynical executive can find themselves enthralled.

Every time someone reads, clicks or shares a link or piece of content that we have created, it sends a small dose of dopamine into our brain. This release provides us with a sense or reward, pleasure – and encouragement. It’s why (for the marketer) digital marketing or social media can be addictive. It is also why those who don’t use social media fail to understand the way that participation can become contagious – or how content can go “viral”.

Adobe have taken aim at this phenomena with their Mean Streets video. It’s a fantastic take on the rollercoaster of social media vanity metrics – Likes and Fans. Will it help you spot a SMEG in the crowd? Perhaps not, but you know who to call when you need to be bailed out.

Twitter Kills More of Its Darlings-Tweet Analytics for All

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In writing, you must kill your darlings.
— William Faulkner

Ever since my first reading, I have loved William Faulkner. His genius leapt through the page to punch the reader in the throat. And while this quote about murdering your darlings – your favourites, your supporters, your most dearly treasured – can truly be attributed to him is doubtful. But when it comes to creativity, there is a certain dramatic logic to it. After all, it’s easy to learn to love something that you have struggled to bring to life. And for the reader, that struggle – in the reading – is also acknowledged. We read in struggle or defiance as much as we read in love. So when an author kills her darlings, the characters, situations etc that she created, the reader also shares in the loss. The drama. The agony. And the surprise.

And this is the great reward.

But when I see this approach applied to businesses – especially to startups – I baulk. In this always-connected world, it’s a struggle to create something new, useful and easy to adopt (unless it’s a puppy). It is hard to “cut through”. Hard to build an audience and generate traction with a cynical community. And it is hard to attract customers, scale through your technical challenge, attract funding and talent, and build a culture that empowers employees, attracts customers and satisfies stakeholders.

In short, the challenge is in creating a participatory ecosystem with enough value to go around.

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With this in mind, I greet the release of Twitter Analytics with a smile AND a shrug.It is great for Twitter users who have an interest in data, impact and so on, but it is yet another anti-ecosystem move. It’s like LinkedIn’s recent decision to close off API access to sites such as Nimble. On the one hand it makes sense. “Consolidate. Be all things to all people. Own the platform.” But on the other hand, it’s limited and limiting. It’s an attempt at monetising without an ecosystem vision. And it is an affront to the users who have invested not just in the platform (Twitter, LinkedIn and yes Facebook too), but in the ecosystem as well.

In some cases our investment has been made in dollars, but that usually pales into insignificance when we evaluate our time, effort and process commitments.

Now, there is no doubt that Twitter Analytics will be useful because it provides people like myself with access to powerful data analysis tools. I dare say, eventually, it will evolve into a suite of tools that I can pay for too (more ways to monetise).

But the release of Twitter Analytics will stop external growth and investment in the Twitter ecosystem. It means that the plethora of businesses (large and small) that have sprung up thanks to the goldmine of real-time data available through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and yes, even Google+ have one less reason to be. And thousands of less customers to attract. On that list will be everyone from Tweetreach to Hootsuite.

But the bigger challenge that comes with killing your darlings, is that they are not yours alone. And when you turn on something your customers love, you lose a little bit of that love that we had for you. And eventually, as with all disruptions, there will come a time when something or someone newer and shinier will come along. That’s when you – Twitter – will want every ounce of loyalty to play out. But by then you’ll have squandered it.

If I have learned anything from the world of software, it is that ECOSYSTEMS WIN in the long run. And if you really do want to change the world and be part of every person’s digital life, the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn would do well to think big – not just for themselves, but for all their stakeholders. Kill your darlings by all means, just make sure your aim is true.

Disruption from the Medieval to the Digital World

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vatican-libraryOne of the most exciting and interesting projects I came across during my time working with IBM was the digitisation of the Vatican Library. A great humanist project, the Vatican Library was created during the Renaissance when books were literally hand crafted. Scribes, illuminators, binders and printers would work together to create objects that were as beautiful as the content.

It was Nicholas V (1447-1455) who decided that the Latin, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, which had grown from 350 to around 1,200 from his accession to the time of his death (March 24 1455), should be made available for scholars to read and study.

On his death, Pope Nicholas V (1447-55) gifted his extensive personal library to the Vatican. Containing Latin and Greek codices as well as secret archives of the Popes, these three collections formed the basis of what would become the Palatine Library under Nicholas’ successor, Sixtus IV. A dark and damp space accommodating shelves, desks, benches and a growing collection, the knowledge contained in these spaces soon burst forth.

VaticanLibrary Under successive popes, the collection grew. Sixtus V rebuilt the library, adding frescos, large bright windows and benches. Of course, as was the custom of the time, each volume was held fast by a solid chain. There were strict rules about reading and copying but books were also loaned. The records of these loans are still in existence. They’d make fascinating reading in their own right.

But the flow and accumulation of knowledge could not be stemmed. This new, beautiful library was soon flooded, with books washing out of the main rooms and into hallways and adjoining rooms. The torrent could not be stopped. In fact, it was bolstered by the Pope himself. Pope Clement XI (1700-21), for example, actively acquired manuscripts and volumes from all parts of Asia, effectively establishing the Oriental Collection.

But not all these acquisitions were completely free of drama or controversy. One of Nicholas V’s first contributions to the library was the secret archives of the Vatican. Now covering over 1000 years of history, the Archivum Secretum Vaticanum separately houses  a treasure trove of precious documents on 85km of shelving. Furthermore, some of the acquisitions have raised eyebrows over the centuries:

For example, the first 6 books of the ‘Annals of Tacitus’ were known to have been stolen from the Monastery of Corvey. In the early 16th century Pope Leo was able to acquire them, and fully knew the circumstances. In 1515 he made printed copies of the manuscript, and ‘graciously’ sent a set of the ‘printed’ books, specially bound, to the Abbot of Corvey. [You can now see translations of these on Wikipedia.]

This, of course, raises questions around ownership, copyright and ethics. But it goes deeper – to the root of power, knowledge and human experience. It impacts identity and community and touches our foundational institutions no matter whether they are educational, political or cultural in nature. Understanding the flow of this far reaching impact is how we identify the fact that we are living in a state of disruption. Elizabeth Eisenstein, in her discussion of the impact of the invention of the printing press outlined five impacts of this “new media”:

  1. Experts coming under pressure from new voices who are early adopters of new technology
  2. New organisations emerge to deal with the social, cultural and political changes
  3. There is a struggle to revise the social and legal norms — especially in relation to intellectual property
  4. The concepts of identity and community are transformed and new forms of language come into being
  5. Educators are pressured to prepare their students for the newly emerging world

Today, we face this same torrent of disruption. This time, instead of hard, physical and space-consuming books, the disruption is driven by the accumulation of data. But we don’t have the hand-picked curatorial power of the Vatican Librarians. We don’t have a carefully crafted, focused collection. We have a vast sea of bits and bytes loosely connected by strings of relevance, some social cohesion and meaning and an electricity and data grid that spans the planet.

Eric Schmidt from Google famously stated that we now create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of civilisation up to 2003. A princely figure worthy of any Pope. The Vatican Library pales by comparison:

In September 2002 the new Periodicals Reading Room, where the most important material is available to readers on open shelves, was opened to the public. At present the Vatican Library preserves over 180,000 manuscripts (including 80,000 archival units), 1,600,000 printed books, over 8,600 incunabula, over 300,000 coins and medals, 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings and over 150,000 photographs.

The Vatican Library was conceived as a vast humanist initiative. And it is one that has stood the test of time. But in this push to digitise every aspect of our lives, I wonder whether we are missing something important. As Ben Kunz suggested, there is somethind deeply personal and decidely human about our relationship to books and knowledge.

After all, our memories are deeply tied up with these dusty old objects that haunt our lives. And no matter how many blog posts or videos we produce, they never have as much impact as a table thumping tome. Just think, for example, how many businesses have disappeared or merged over the last 20 years. How many of them will still be here in 1000? Amazon may rise and fall, but I’d lay money on the fact that the Vatican Library will still be there in 3014.

Disrupt Your Strategy – Planning for Audiences not Generations

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I have never been a fan of demographic profiling. Sure, this information, at scale, can reveal certain things about a population – and this can be useful to understand whether there might be a connection between our age and (for example) our propensity to over-eat. Or contract disease. Or buy new cars every four years.

But populations don’t interest me. They feel like a dead weight around my sense of, and interest in, humanity. Instead, I prefer audiences – which is perhaps why I studied theatre rather than statistics.

It’s also why I am continually fascinated by digital technology and transformation – and it is why social media continues to attract the attention of people, corporations and governments. For digital transformation is not just about bringing the non-digital world online – it’s challenging the very nature of what we consider “our selves” to be.

As marketers, we are constantly drawn to the idea of demographics – the cashed up profiling of the Baby Boomers, the anxious, try-harder Gen X-ers and the slacker Gen Ys. But like any generalisation, these labels are easily unpicked. There are plenty of Baby Boomers who are slackers and plenty of cashed up, power wielding Gen X-ers. And Gen Y are just starting to flex their creative, financial and intellectual powers – and there is more goodness to come. Rather than simply relying on this style of profiling, we should be working harder to understand these audiences. We need to map their behaviours, attitudes and interests, not just their age, sex and location.

This is why I quite like the work that marketing automation firm, Marketo, has done on Generation Z. And while, yes, they have started out with the age-focused label, the research carried out by agency, Sparks and Honey, reveals the patterns of behaviour, interests, attitudes and insights that can help build a deeper understanding of this audience. While the data reflects a US-based audience, there are cultural parallels that are useful indicators such as:

  • Do-Gooders – an interest in making a difference in the world
  • Shift FROM Facebook – Facebook lost its allure when the parents arrived. Gen Z are embracing newer platforms like snapchat, secret and whisper
  • Creation trumps sharing – Gen Z embrace the prosumer ethic of digital media creativity.

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But to really understand this “Gen Z” audience, I would go further. I wouldn’t stop at the age of 19. I would ask:

  • Why would my brand be relevant to audiences exhibiting these behaviours
  • Why would these audiences choose to purchase my product/service/thing
  • Which values embodied by my brand augments the life, behaviour, experience or purpose of this audience
  • How do these behavioural profiles help me understand my customers regardless of age / demographics

And when it comes to planning, insight and future proofing your brand, I’d look to opportunities to self-disrupt your strategy. Ditch the path of lazy profiling, put the work in to really understand your audiences, and then invite them into the process of creating a brand that has a purpose. Start by delving into the data behind the Sparks and Honey research (below) – and then work on your own business by starting with the audiences you rely upon.

Tell the Story of Your #BigData with QuillEngage

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Big data, small data, analytics. Blah blah blah.

It all sounds like a load of waffle, right? At least until we find a thread of narrative running through the information.

For many of us, the closest we are likely to get to a large amount of usable data is on our own websites. And believe it or not, even small amounts of web traffic, visits, comments on a blog etc can generate a substantial amount of information. If you get a chance, log in to your server and download the “log files”. You’ll soon see just how much information is generated by visitors to your website.

The thing is, raw log files are relatively useless. Sure they might help your webmaster pinpoint a problem or recurring error, but thousands of lines of information only make sense in aggregation. Or when they are decoded. Translated.

And that’s where Quill Engage comes in. You simply sign up, provide access to your Google Analytics information and then each week, QuillEngage will email a report explaining what’s going on with your website.

Now, I have been a fan of web analytics before there were web analytics. I have created my own reports, created simple tracking systems to collate conversion data and so on, but in a world where there is ever increasing pressure on our decision making capabilities, handing off the data processing tasks to an artificial intelligence engine may be the smartest thing you can do. Especially when it produces not just a report, but insight.

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My latest report highlighted a few important things to think about:

  • My mobile traffic was up 3% over last month and now accounts for 19% of total traffic
  • The most visits to Servantofchaos.com come from Sydney and NSW (which is big change over previous years)
  • Facebook replaced Twitter as my top social network referrer, up a massive 250% on the previous month

Why is this important?

Well, these days I hardly have time to write let alone check the performance of the site. But if I do check, I am unlikely to connect all the dots in this one email report in under 10 minutes. In fact, the email report from QuillEngage is so quick to read and easy to consume that you’ll be using those 10 minutes to think about what you might do differently next month.

And that’s really the point.

From what I can see, QuillEngage is a no-brainer for any business owner or marketer. Sure, you’re not going to get the detail that comes straight from Google Analytics, but the report should give you some quick thoughts on what to interrogate and act upon. And it’s free, at least for the time being. Get started here.

One Privacy Act to Rule them All

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Reform to Australia’s Privacy legislation began in 2004 – and as of tomorrow, 12 March 2014, there will be a raft of changes to the way in which our privacy is regulated. The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, provides a high level of overview of the changes in this video.

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The changes that come into effect tomorrow, include a set of 13 new harmonised privacy principles that regulate the handling of personal information by Australian and Norfolk Island Government agencies and some private sector organisations. These replace the national privacy principles and the information privacy principles that were previously in place. In particular, the following principles apply to marketers:

  • Direct marketing: Australian Privacy Principle 7 (APP7) relates to direct marketing. Where you hold personal information about an individual, this principle covers the manner in which that information can be used (or not) for direct marketing purposes
  • Cross-border disclosure of personal information: Australian Privacy Principle 8 (APP8) covers the sharing of personal information with an overseas entity. This will apply where you are capturing or sharing information with overseas providers.

Who do the APP apply to?

The short answer is government agencies and organisations with over $3 million in annual turnover – but be sure and check the details:

The APPs cover the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information. They allow individuals to access their personal information and have it corrected if it is incorrect. There are also separate APPs that deal with the use and disclosure of personal information for the purpose of direct marketing (APP 7), cross-border disclosure of personal information (APP 8) and the adoption, use and disclosure of government related identifiers (APP 9).

The APPs generally apply to Australian and Norfolk Island government agencies and also to private sector organisations with an annual turnover of $3 million or more. These entities are known as ‘APP entities’. In addition, the APPs will apply to some private sector organisations with an annual turnover of less than $3 million, such as health service providers. More information is available on the Who is covered by privacy and the Privacy Topics — Business pages.

The APP checklist

What has changed and what do you need to review?

Take a look at the Privacy Act Reform Checklists for organisations (yes, that’s you if you run a business with turnover > $3 million) and government agencies.

Get reviewing now

Remember, the changes come into effect tomorrow. So you’d best get started on that review ASAP!

Private Area Grant Hutchinson via Compfight

Coming Soon to a Google Ad -> You

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A couple of years back, Facebook changed their terms of service that allowed your images to start appearing in contextual advertisements offered across the social network. More recently, they announced plans to remove a feature that allows people to prevent their names being found in search results. This means that those using Facebook can now be found by strangers (or by past friends, lovers, enemies) simply by using Facebook’s internal search tool.

Facebook explained that this feature was only being used by a small percentage of people. However, it’s a part of what seems to be an ongoing test-and-learn experiment about how much private information its 1.1 billion users are willing to share. Earlier this year, Facebook’s Graph Search revealed just how big “big data” can be – with over 500 terabytes of new data being produced each day. And based on their recent earnings announcements, that big data/privacy play is paying off – with revenue up 53% over the previous year.

And now, Google are following a similar path, tapping into all your reviews, recommendations and endorsements in their search results and advertisements. You probably noticed that Google provided a top of screen notification about changes to their terms of service a couple of days ago. If you waved it away without investigating, here is the section most relevant to you:

We want to give you – and your friends and connections – the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting or following) – and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with.

This new policy that comes into effect on 11 November 2013 will show shared endorsements on Google sites and on more than two million sites that use the Google display advertising network. What will this look like? In the sample image below from the Google Support blog, your friend’s recommendations/ratings appear in Google places, search results and ads.

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You can, however, opt out of this system, but there is a catch – you need to have a Google+ account.

Simply follow THIS LINK to Google Endorsements and uncheck the box and click the Save button.

This may well give Google+ membership a much needed shot in the arm. Or it may just increase the cynicism of the internet using public. But if the lessons from Facebook’s privacy test-and-learn approach is anything to go by, it will slip by largely unheeded and little understood – with Google claiming the benefits of your personal recommendations.

Eye I. By Thomas TolkienCreative Commons License Thomas Tolkien via Compfight

Brandwatch Vizia Shakes Up Social Media Command Centers

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The concept of social media monitoring seems like a no-brainer. Marketers use keyword driven technology tools to tap into the vast oceans of social media data to reveal mentions of their brand, products and company and then determine how best to respond. It’s a model that replicates the traditional “media monitoring” approaches that have been in existence for decades.

But in the shift to digital, it’s not just advertising that is being overtaken by digital derivatives – news, commentary and analysis is challenging our ability to understand, collate, curate and respond to shifts in community, political and consumer sentiment. New forms of media engagement like social media has further complicated the situation, to the point where some form of digital or social media command center is not just useful but necessary.

Where once the news cycle evolved at a slower pace, this digital transformation has accelerated our need to understand and respond to these challenges. Our monitoring solutions must now be real time, contextual and their insights actionable. And we need to view them not as pretty visualizations to fill out our reports mid- and post-campaign, but as vital business intelligence systems that can inform our decision making. We need to think of these social intelligence systems as an MRI for brands allowing us to understand what resonates with customers, where the blockages are and what has velocity and vitality.

In short, the age of command centers is ending and the need for social intelligence is just beginning. It’s less about a room with big screens and funky graphs – and more about getting that vital information to the right people in your organisation at the right time.

This is where the new Vizia platform from Brandwatch comes into play. Announced today, Vizia combines a spectacular (yes, indeed) user interface with a business model that provides unrestricted access to users across your enterprise. This means that the same data source can be accessed and analysed by Marketing as well as HR, by Customer Service and the Executive Board. It puts data into the hands of the business decision makers at all levels of your organisation – in realtime.

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You can find out more about the features of Vizia here.

As a next generation command center – or social intelligence platform – Vizia is shaking up the market which has been relatively uneventful for the last couple of years. With market consolidations and jockeying for position there has been little innovation – even amongst the smaller players and new entrants, but Brandwatch’s Vizia with its multi-screen display and generous licensing model is set to reinvigorate the market.

It’s particularly worth investigating where you need:

  • Broad access to social intelligence data and reporting
  • To showcase social initiatives across your business
  • A way to manage online crisis communications
  • To capitalise on real time marketing opportunities

Take a few minutes to watch the explanation video on the Brandwatch blog – it’s worth it to see the software in action.

Why Social Media Has Failed the Federal Election

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In the last federal election, social media showed its potential to engage and influence the voting public. We saw some tentative steps into the world of social media – some tweets, Facebook updates and the occasional blog post. And the public – largely ignored in terms of digital citizenry – leapt at the opportunity to not just join the conversation – but enter the debate.

Over time the the #auspol hashtag has become a hot bed of debate, opinion and – in the best tradition of Twitter – trolling. Over the last month alone, the #auspol hashtag has averaged around 20,000 tweets per day from an Australian Twitter population of only 2.1 million. This would indicate a level of intensity worthy of attention – especially given that the next Australian government is likely to be determined not by a popular or even representative vote – but by voters in a handful of marginal electorates.

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In the USA, the Obama campaign set a new standard for the effective use of social media. But while the Obama campaign, with its massive successes, legions of data scientists and programmers, seemed to signal a new way forward for digital citizenry, local efforts have missed the mark, employing immature and simplistic strategies that have failed to either capture the imagination of the public nor engage them in public debate.

In many ways, the social media performance across the election has been almost as lacklustre as the campaigns for the top job itself. As with most failures, the failure of social media to ignite the election has many fathers. Here are a few:

  • Believing that social is like other media: We often say that social media is “conversational”, but this doesn’t stop even experienced marketers from using social media as a form of broadcast media. Take a look, for example, at the following to follower ratio of almost any politician. How many direct conversations take place on their timeline? How engaged are they in conversations that are started by their followers? And how often do they share content that doesn’t directly feature them or their cause? In believing that social is like other media, politicians and their strategists are leaving votes on the table and leaving undecided voters uncared for and unloved.
  • Prioritising celebrity over relevance: While Kevin Rudd has run a largely Presidential style campaign in the media, this is less effective on social media. By contrast, Tony Abbott has presided over a campaign that prioritises a team of stars. But neither of these approaches work online because they tell the story of the team or the leader while ignoring the story of the voter. When you prioritise the celebrity of your participants rather than lionising your constituents, then your digital campaign is bound to fail. (And to be honest, this is a double failure for politicians, because good politicians understand the power of a constituency better than anyone.)
  • Confusing reach with impact: Having a large number of followers does not necessarily translate to votes. Creating reach through social media is just buys you a seat at the table. It allows you to engage in one-on-one conversation at scale. But just as brands learned the hard way, there is very little value in a Like and limited value in an audience you choose not to engage. R “Ray” Wang’s Nine Cs of Engagement should be required reading for any digital strategist – but be warned – it’s an effective framework but it requires considerable creativity and effort to execute.
  • Creating content not context: Sharing links can be useful, but unlikely to generate action unless there’s an acknowledgement of WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Context, however, is vital to providing relevance. Without addressing the context in which politicians operate, they are ignored or deemed irrelevant. This accounts for the significant levels of voter disengagement across the electorate in this election and is reflected well beyond social media in the endless stream of polling and opinion.
  • Preaching to the converted over engaging the convertible: Take a quick look at the last few tweets of your favourite politician. Consider the tone of voice. What is the topic and the language used? Are they pitching to you like they want a job – or are they writing like you know what they are talking about? In short – do they engage you like you’ve made up your mind or not? Almost every social media update has a partisan undertone. There’s a hidden nod or wink that really, you are “one of us”. You are on the team. And all the polling currently indicates that most Australians are fed up with both teams. Social media represents a great opportunity for politicians to “get closer” to the public – yet its execution is pushing voters further away. They’re preaching to the converted rather than seizing the opportunity to engage those who may yet be converted.
  • Facts are boring, engagement is sexy: The emergence of “fact checking” sites and teams has drawn a great deal of attention from the mainstream media. But there has never really been a question around the importance of facts – the question has always revolved around “whose fact is correct” – or can be relied upon. And that comes down to TRUST. In social media, a key determinant of trust is not related to fact but to engagement. And given that the currency of social media is engagement (not the number of “facts” that can be spouted), a great opportunity has been squandered.
  • Data is just data without insight: Much has been made of the use of data science and analytics in the devising of strategy. But there is little evidence that the data is informing or driving the strategy or refining the tactics of the political campaigns. Now, I am a fan of data – but without insight and human analysis – what I call synthalitics – data is not only useless, it’s dangerous and can lead to wrong decisions and worse outcomes.

In many ways, social media had the potential to turn this election on its head. A deeper understanding of the nature of social could, dare I say it, swayed the outcome considerably.

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One only has to consider the massive impact that has been achieved through the newsjacking of the @ImVotingLiberal account and hashtag. For an account that has only a few followers, the conversation and engagement has been astounding. Now, imagine if some of the politicians of all persuasions came up with campaigns that engaged voters in this style of creative exchange. Imagine how much more vital, relevant and dare I say FUN would this election have been?

Followup: It seems that the @imvotingliberal account has been suspended.

A Minute is a Long Time–On the Internet

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They say that a week is a long time in politics.

That was certainly the case when there was a “daily” news cycle. Any announcements or revelations needed to be revealed in time for stories to be written, edited, photographs to be prepared, processed and newspapers to be printed. Breaking news was the domain of the more instantaneous broadcasters like radio and TV. And even then, only the most explosive news items would break programming.

But the web changed all that.

It has taken two decades at least, but the internet has now thoroughly transformed the way that we source, gather, verify and consume news. There has been a breakdown between those that produce the news, those who are the subject of the “news” and those who consume it. And the structures which once provided certainty, built trust and way points for navigation in a chaotic and busy world have, in the process of this disruption, been swept away.

These structures have been replaced by data.

Data about data.

In a way, it was ever thus.

And the new arbiters of this data – our navigation beacons are themselves built of data. Google. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Pandora and Amazon. They sound like the names of ancient gods straddling the primordial chaos – but they are massive enterprises designed not to serve, but to create value. Revenue. Share holder returns.

So think about what happens in an internet minute (see the infographic from Intel). Every minute of video. Every byte of uploaded photo data. And every tweet costs someone somewhere something. The question for you today is what does it cost YOU?

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