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Crowdfunding via Twitter – Startups win!

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

During these tough economic times, new imaginative and contagious ideas are born. In Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times, the students were taught to never wonder. They were never rewarded for using their imagination and it led to their downfall.

Today, the UK is allowing all kinds of imaginative endeavors to flourish. Ireland’s hard times are serving as the inspiration for a very unusual way to raise money for new startup companies.

It is called ‘Outvesting’ and defined like this: “The act of committing money to a business while expecting to get nothing in return, other than the satisfaction of giving a leg up to Irish entrepreneurs.”

So, who is crazy enough to let go of their precious savings? Well, enough to raise the total goal for two crowdfunded campaigns.

For instance, the recent iQ Prize, whereby Dublin internet consultancy iQ Content awarded EUR 10,000 (US$14,700) to a promising young Irish startup as a way to help kick-start the country’s recovery. Outvesting has now launched a similar effort; only this time it’s a grassroots one that’s using a crowdfunding approach via Twitter.

Outvesting aims to give EUR 5,000 (US$7,300) with no strings attached to an Irish startup. To make that possible, it has used Twitter to invite interested participants to contribute EUR 50 each towards the effort. And now, that they’ve reached their goal, Outvesting will announce how startups can apply to win the collected funds. Those who donated to the fund will get more than just good karma in return—they’ll also get the chance to vote on which startup wins the money. Pretty cool, eh?

So, even in these hard times, when you combine the power of crowds with the reach of Twitter, the possibilities are limitless.

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Can Twitter and YouTube make you stupid?

October 13, 2009 3 comments

Can watching YouTube make you stupid? Maybe. The latest research indicates that while watching YouTube clips and sharing them on Twitter might be fun, it makes no improvement at all to our working memory.

Working memory is our ability to store and manipulate information for a brief time. It is typically measured by dual-tasks, where the individual has to remember an item while simultaneously processing a sometimes unrelated piece of information. In other words, working memory helps us multi-task and learn new stuff. It’s our mental sticky-note and explains why it is easier to do two different tasks (one verbal and one visual) than two similar tasks (e.g., two visual)

Working memory predicts learning outcomes independently of IQ. It’s important because working memory measures our capacity to acquire knowledge rather than simply remember what we have already learned.

A British researcher, Dr Alloway states that short form communication such as Twitter is harming our ability to remember. She describes Twitter as an “endless stream” that doesn’t allow users to process or manipulate what they’re seeing. “It’s not a dialogue,” reports Dr Alloway who is the Director of the Center for Memory and Learning at the University of Stirling. She had the same judgement for YouTube. She claimed children who watch too much TV and videos are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. “A TV programme may be 30 minutes long. A YouTube clip is only a minute or so – your attention span is being reduced and you’re not really engaging your brain and developing your neural connections to engage on a longer basis,” she said. It’s not all bad news, however. Other forms of communication, such as Facebook, might be helping to train our brains.

“Social networking sites like Facebook might help working memory, because when we use them we feel more part of a larger community,” Alloway claims.

So, if you want to get smarter, don’t tweet. Try a little socializing on Facebook, play Sudoku, or blog.

Most Companies not aware of Groundswell

October 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Are most American businesses using Twitter and the new social media to add vitality to their focus and mission? No. Most are definitely not.

Almost unanimously, when asked if their company needed a “micro-blogging platform that connected them in real time to thousands of users around the planet” they answered, well– “Not really.” Of course, had Ma Bell taken a poll before launching the telephone, the answer would probably have been the same.

Forrester, the research consultancy that wrote the book on the ‘groundswell‘, has released the results of a new research report. The study shows that real-time collaboration has stalled in the business community due in most part to the lack of adoption in technologies such as web conferencing and instant messaging. That may be true with existing technologies but it is important to note the new generation of applications that extend real-time collaboration tools.

The State Of Workforce Technology Adoption by Forrester is definitely comprehensive in its examination of how people use technology in the workforce. It’s a mass-market report, meaning this is how people use technology today. They surveyed 2,001 “information workers” at organizations with 100 or more employees. It is Forrester’s first report in this realm. It covers devices, productivity, mobility, collaboration, and intranet portals

Forrester analyst Ted Schadler wrote the report. He makes the point that the purpose of the study is to walk a mile in the shoes of the information worker.

These are information workers who:

  • Predominantly use desktop computers: 76%
  • Have a pent up demand for smart phones: Just 11% use them at work
  • Rely on email for most everything
  • Do not really use traditional collaboration tools such as web conferencing and instant messaging

Just look at how dominating email has become and you see the challenges to real-time collaboration.

forrester.emailworkforce

This niche opportunity should be encouraging to i-Media students who understand the power of the groundswell. To know that most companies don’t even have current access to the latest social media tools opens up all kinds of job opportunities for the savvy new media specialist.

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