Crowd Accelerated Innovation and the War of Ideas

One of my posts from 2010 was about a TED video on “Crowd Accelerated Innovation.” The video is about how the Internet is connecting people all around the world, enabling people who otherwise would never meet to share ideas and fuel and perfect innovation. I recently connected with David Bailey of The Military Social Media Blog after writing my recent series of posts about the lack of sound communications strategy plaguing the U.S. military in the very places … [Read more...]

Visualizing the Disruptive Power of ICTs

Here's a graphic showing why information and communications technologies (ICTs) represent the power to influence behavior and affect large-scale change at a reasonable price for the first time. The graphic's four cells show how ICTs represent a disruptive technological shift to public communications: Cell 1: Until recently, most traditional advertising and public communications campaigns used the approach shown in Cell 1. Because stakeholder groups were … [Read more...]

Crowdsourcing USAID Monitoring and Evaluation

Crowdsourcing! Big Data! International Development! A recent Washington Post article on future U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities in Afghanistan piqued many of my interests. According to the article, after coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan next year, only 20 percent of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars will be in areas safe enough for U.S. officials to visit and … [Read more...]

Top 3 Disruptive Trends to Track in 2013

Rapidly changing technologies continue to keep the field of communications in flux. Communications practitioners are under pressure to keep pace with the changing ways people use technology and adapt their communications models to a world where information flows in real time. Besides social media (old news at this point), here are three of the biggest disruptive trends to track in 2013. Mobile Mobile Mobile This year mobile devices will pass PCs as the most … [Read more...]

The 10 Most Popular Blog Posts for 2012

eVentures in Cyberland: Through the Web 2.0 Looking Glass, and What Communicators Found There! turned 3 years old this fall, and 2012 was my blog's best year. Even though I post less often now that I've returned to semi-full-time work, the blog on average attracted some 2,000 unique visitors a month this year. That's up from a dismal low of 50 unique visitors a month when I first started out in 2009 and an average of 500 unique visitors a month in 2010 and 1,400 … [Read more...]

Using #SMEM Lessons Learned for Public Diplomacy

What do natural disasters and social media swarm-fueled diplomatic disasters, such as the recent anti-Islam film riots, have in common? One hundred percent certainty that they will occur regularly, albeit unpredictably. Now that one third of the world's population has Internet access and 79 percent of people in the developing world have a mobile phone (more than the percentage with access to electricity), anything anybody writes on social media, no matter how … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Unleash the ‘Crowd’ to Create Change

A Communications 301 rule of thumb is "information alone doesn't change behavior." You might have brilliant left-brained arguments about why people should do something, but if you don't touch them emotionally, they won't be swayed. O.K., maybe they'll give you a thumbs up, but they won't act. Raising awareness is only effective in changing behavior when you have the time and resources to reach the saturation point of "everybody knows that everybody knows that … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Leading Online Communities

How can you turn a leaderless communications swarm into a collaborative online community that achieves results? That's the zillion dollar question for 2012. As my runner up for January 2012 video clip of the month below shows (and anybody who has been following the news knows), self-directed communications swarms fueled many of the top news events of 2011. While my runner up for video clip of the month above is inspiring, especially on the New Year, my main … [Read more...]

Q&As on Using Social Media to Get Rid of Narco Gangs

What do public officials and narco gangs have in common? Usually nothing. But in Mexico, both have rallied against citizens' attempts to use social media to warn others about cartel checkpoints, shootouts, grenade attacks, and other public safety concerns. Narco gangs see social media as a threat to their hold on power, while public officials complain the new technologies spread rumors. In fact, several Mexican states are considering laws criminalizing the sowing … [Read more...]

Social Media-Fueled Swarms Don’t Need a Leader

Almost a year and a half ago I wrote that "we are on the verge of a massive shift in the way we communicate and inspire action." Last February, as I watched jubilant Egyptians celebrate the resignation of their 82-year-old former president, I asserted that paradigm shift had arrived. Today, as I read news articles mocking the Occupy Wall Street protests spreading from Lower Manhattan to hundreds of cities and towns, I realize how many still aren't visualizing the … [Read more...]

40 Tweet Gems from NEMA’s #SMEM Camp

After participating in the Emergency Social Data Summit remotely last summer (see my 30 Tweet Gems from Emergency Social Data Summit wrap-up post, I was thrilled to learn the public was invited to attend the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) Social Media in Emergency Management (SMEM) Camp yesterday in Alexandria, Va. I signed up as soon as I cleared the date. Why? Of all the ways social media can make a positive difference in the lives of ordinary … [Read more...]

Google Tests Crowdsourcing Search Result Quality

Did news of J.C. Penney successfully gaming Google to deliver its website No. 1 search results disgust you? How about news of the New York eyewear merchant who used cyberbullying to get top Google rankings and more business? Now you—and the wisdom of the crowd—can take matters into your own hands to stop content farms and websites using shady black-hat search engine optimization (SEO) methods from appearing high in Google search results. Thanks to an … [Read more...]

Using Social Media for Emergency Response

You've got to check out this fascinating video of Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), explaining why his agency plans to engage the public more in disaster response via mobile phones and social media. "A government-centric abroad to solving disaster problems will fail in a catastrophic disaster," he says. "It is a brittle system that does not have the resiliency that we have when we can incorporate the rest of the team: … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Creating a New Narrative

My February 2011 video clip of the month features the founders of the nonprofit Ushahidi (Swahili for "testimony" or "witness") discussing the revolutionary free and open source software they created for crowdsourcing and democratising information. If you haven't been following Ushahidi and crisis mapping, you've got to check the video out. The Ushahidi story is amazing. Ushahidi collects eyewitness reports sent in by e-mail and SMS/cellphone, allowing "everyone … [Read more...]

5 Reasons Why You Won’t Find Me Posting on Quora

The last few weeks I've been seeing all these articles about how Quora will be the next Twitter or Facebook and is the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years. Quora is a crowdsourced answer site that is a cross between LinkedIn's Q&A feature, Reddit, Yahoo Answers, and Wikipedia. With everyone so excited about it, I signed up and checked it out. After a week of use, however, I've concluded Quora is a lot of hype. I only see myself monitoring a few … [Read more...]