My excitement this week is not about iCloud launching or that the iPhone 4S is already showing impressive sales but rather that the UK newspaper The Guardian, has opened its newsdesk to the public. The Guardian posted a blog earlier this week with the full details, which is just a BRILLIANT idea!
Anyone can see what stories are being written in realtime by The Guardian news staff and engage in discussion with the editors. While the stories are being written (excluding exclusives and embargoed info, of course), the editors are tweeting with the Twitter hashtag #opennews and encouraging anyone to tweet comments. As an editor in my past life and now on the PR side, this is amazing. To be able to have front-line exposure to the breaking news topics as well as the ability to contact the reporter while he/she writes the story is huge.
Everyone wants the story first and there is plenty of news to be captured. A lot has to do with making the news capturing process as efficient as possible as well as being able to seek resources and share ideas across several media: enter social media. This is another example of the news world integrating with social media and the lines continuing to blur.
A few months ago I did a post on how social media, specifically in the Twittersphere, is making our world smaller. Many of this year’s world news events were closely followed and opinions shared on Twitter in 140 characters or less. So it makes lots of sense that as breaking news stories unfold that the forum be open to anyone for ideas and feedback.
I hope this experiment goes well and there will be more to follow. As with all new experiences, there will be lessons learned but it’s such a great example as social media takes over a good part of our daily lives and how we gather and disseminate information. I know social media is a part of my daily activity and The Guardian experiment shows its potential capabilities applied to the newsdesk. I know quite a few bloggers and freelancers that leverage social media for ideas and sharing of information but for an entire newsdesk – it is a giant leap forward.
What do you think about The Guardian’s decision to open its newsdesk? Will it catch on to other news sources?
I came across a recent article on libraries versus e-readers and tablets. I’ve long thought that with the evolving social space, libraries might soon be forced to close their doors due to lack of patrons. Think about it. When was the last time you went to the library to check out a book, DVD or even a CD? The chances are high that you are more likely to utilize Netflix for your DVD’s, download a CD from iTunes and are reading that new book you purchased on a tablet or eReader. This leaves libraries down and out, right?
Think again. A recent article by Nate Anderson entitled “Hands-on: Checking out library books with Kindle clunky, but awesome” details a new type of library. One that is more social and more technologically advanced. These libraries offer eBooks to download straight to your Kindle. So how exactly does it work? Like traditional libraries, there will be a certain number of copies available for each book and there are a select number of days the book will be available to “borrow”. Even better, according to Anderson, “over 11,000 US libraries can now lend books to Kindle through OverDrive.”
From my perspective this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for libraries when thinking of the social aspects. Libraries can now reach beyond its brick and mortar walls and drive new innovations, because let’s be honest, when you think library you don’t think technologically advanced. My vision for the next-generation library is really one that is a social hub for a community. The next-generation of libraries will offer increased engagement in social media forums – from Twitter to Facebook to blogs – to people in the community on a larger-scale. Individuals will be able to check out events, happenings around town through the library social forums or take part in an eReader Reading program that will later be discussed via Twitter. Or perhaps it is finding out about a new book through the library blog, downloading it to your eReader, sharing it on your social network and then tagging the library you got it from in your post.
The article by Anderson presented lot of great information but I think one of the most important points for me is that the library is not dead. It is simply finding its place in today’s social world.
After pondering for some time, I decided that I was going to write about the only thing that can be written about this week – Steve Jobs. His quotes, image, and overall vision has been broadcasted nearly everywhere I looked since Wednesday evening.
After reading and watching some of the gems that kept repeating in my social media feeds, I took a step back. On Facebook, I’m friends with people from all walks of life: childhood friends that have gone all sorts of directions – the good, the bad, and the ugly; college friends that were really only acquaintances back then so what are they now; and my colleagues, who are fellow technology buffs and know all about Steve’s magnificent imprint on the industry. But the sentiment was consistently the same. Sadness and reflection at a great loss. Yet after seeing this from so many different types of people, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily about losing a visionary leader.
It was about how his creations were one of the first to unite us all as people advancing into a new era. An era where technology could play an exciting, pivotal role in our everyday lives. We have all wanted an iPod at one point – it changed how we bought and listened to music. And naysayers included, we all know how revolutionary the iPhone was and still is. At the root of these products is technology at its best: simple, valuable tools that make your life better. Watching Steve Jobs passionately launch these products to improve our lives made people feel connected and excited about what was coming next.
I know I am.
As those of you in the green building business know, fall isn’t just about the start of football season and cooler weather (at least we always hope for cooler weather down in Florida). But it also means it’s time for Greenbuild, the go-to event for all things green building. This year the show was also held outside of the United States for the first time. The U.S. Green Building Council partnered with the Canadian Green Building Council to bring Greenbuild to Toronto, Canada. There was a lot of speculation leading up to the show about how location might play a role in the show’s success, and I have to say overall there have been mixed reviews.
The one thing everyone has agreed upon is that Toronto is a fabulous city. The people are friendly and welcoming. The architecture is interesting – a mix of modern and traditional – and the weather, clear and cool. Not to mention the city’s many glass buildings make it an ideal market for many companies at the show.
Because the show was held in two exhibit halls that were a good 10-minute walk from each other, opinions about attendance varied quite a bit based on which hall exhibitors were located in. While I think the overall feeling was that show traffic was down a bit from last year, people were excited to have a more international audience than in the past, and to learn from each other’s experiences.
This year’s theme was “What’s Next?” and it certainly seems to have fallen in line with what has been going on at the show. It has been all about energy savings and the progression toward the net zero energy building. What enabling technologies are going to get us there – whether it’s software or building materials – and how?
Today the show will officially come to a close. Despite the changes to Greenbuild this year, it has been inspiring to see so many people in one place, hoping to make a small difference in the world through the same mission – bettering the built environment.
With updates seemingly every few months, it’s hard to keep up with the new layouts and features on Facebook. And then there are the rumors, which then spur lots of chatter during the times in-between. Changes and speculation came head-to-head with the recent f8 Developer Conference where CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed some of the rumors to be true—so, yes, more updates are to come.
Although I’ve tended to just sigh and go with the flow rather than make a big bruhaha either for or against them, one rumor I actually paid attention to was about Facebook’s music streaming service.
Like a lot of other folks, I thought Facebook would actually have their own dashboard or feature that would be added to our homepages, enabling us to stream music. What they debuted was close, but not exactly that. Tom Cheredar from VentureBeat explained it well: “Facebook’s Open Graph [platform] lets outside services create apps that integrate into Facebook’s news feed. Services like Netflix can be used within Facebook and allow users to watch shows at the same time. The same is true for music services.”
One company that Facebook has already partnered with is Spotify. Taking a look at the video of how it’ll work on Facebook, the Spotify app seems pretty straight forward. Basically what you listen to will be automatically noted into your news feeds. What’s even better is that if your friends want to hear what you’re listening to, they can stream it in real time. It’ll be a great way to discover new music. My main source of discovering new songs is still through the radio (and sometimes through YouTube), so this will hopefully broaden my repertoire significantly considering radio stations really only replay the same top 20 songs or so every hour.
For those who are worried about privacy issues, according to Bob Brown of Network World there’s no need to for concern with Spotify at least because it now has a Private Listening feature, which “let’s you switch into super-secret mode with a couple of mouse clicks. So if you want to mask your penchant for, I mean research into, Justin Bieber or Barbra Streisand, you can now do that rather than having your latest listenings automatically shared with your Facebook friends and beyond.” Hopefully, the ability to share only what you want to share will be a feature that all music streaming apps will have.
Now I’m off to download the app. If you’ve already tried it out, drop a comment and let me know what you think.
I’ve written about Lady Gaga in the past. I enjoy her outrageous fashion choices, and I can always count on The Fame to get me through a Saturday afternoon of household chores.
What does this have to do with business? I’m glad you asked.
While flipping through Smart Money last night, I came across an article entitled Lady Gaga, Small-Business Icon?
Turns out, a business school professor recently took a look at Gaga’s life story to find some lessons for the business community. It’s interesting to see what we can learn about business in the most unexpected places…
I thought about it for a bit, and here are a few more lessons that I think we can learn from Mother Monster.
1. Focus on your strengths – Lady Gaga knows what works for her – it’s the shock value. (And she has a pretty killer voice. But for the most part, it’s the shock factor.) In business, if your widget is perfect for a computer application but maybe doesn’t work for a tablet, know when to stop. Just because everyone is jumping into the app market doesn’t mean you should. So take a look at what your company’s strengths are, and work to make those the best for your customers.
2. Know your audience – Lady Gaga doesn’t try to win over everyone. She knows there are people that will never be her fans. And that’s ok. What’s important is to know who your audience/customers are, and to speak to them. There will always be haters. Don’t let them affect you.
3. Be just a little crazy – Like Lady Gaga, we can all use a little crazy in our lives. So plan an outlandish event to launch your next product. We hear it time and time again in business, but think outside the box. Be bold. Just a little crazy.
So, what have you learned from Lady Gaga?
The legendary Kermit, the Frog sings about the trials and tribulations of being green and in the end realizes that he is happy with his hue. For companies, organizations and other entities, “being green” has many meanings and it can often be confusing to understand what it means to be a “green company.” While every community has its own jargon and lexicon, these terms can easily lose meaning when used incorrectly or turned into marketing hype. In this piece, I’m going to go through some green terminology so that it is clear what it means to be green and like Kermit we can understand that green is something beautiful and is not just “greenwashing” when false claims of being green mask the real nature of the product.
Green generally means “eco-friendly” and can range from using reusable grocery bags and cutting down on driving to electric cars and LEED certification for buildings.
Sustainability while often seen as synonymous with “green” is really a larger topic. Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is about regeneration and continuity. Think leave your world in the same if not better condition than you found it. A product can be green without being sustainable
There are many “green products”, but I’ll just focus on a few categories relating to technology and green buildings:
According to cleantech.org, cleantech, also referred to as clean technology, and often used interchangeably with the term greentech, has emerged as an umbrella term encompassing the investment asset class, technology, and business sectors which include clean energy, environmental, and sustainable or green, products and services.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Green building” is the “practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.” Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
It is important that buildings be designed to consume significantly less energy and incorporate low-carbon and renewable technologies. This will reduce the building’s carbon footprint or the amount of greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation, etc.
I know I have thrown a lot of definitions at you and my purpose is so that we’re all on the same page. It is easy for a company to say “we’re green or our products are green,” but unless we all know the definitions we cannot judge if the companies are truly walking the walk. It may not be easy being green, but it’s important to protect the Earth’s future.