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August 16, 2008

Social media and the emerging technology hype curve

I've noticed two behavioural changes in myself over the last while...

Firstly, I'm trying to do less work at home outside of normal office hours.  Yes, this blog post indicates I'm not being totally successful at this - written on a Saturday morning as it is - but I'm not intending to be totally dogmatic about it, it's just a general trend.  Me, I quite like spreading my working day over a large proportion of the available 24 hours and I tend to find early mornings and late evenings both very constructive times to work, but my family don't like it much and I have to take that into consideration.

Secondly, I find I'm reading much more based on links that turn up in my Twitter feed than I do based on explicitly seeking stuff out using Bloglines (my preferred RSS reader).  This isn't necessarily a good thing, in fact I'm pretty sure it isn't a good thing - I'm just reporting what I find myself to be doing on the ground, so to speak.  It isn't a good thing because although I like my Twitter environment, I don't think it is particularly representative of the whole working social environment in which I want to be positioned.

Anyway... via @DIHarrison I discovered Study: Fastest Growing US Companies Rapidly Adopting Social Media on ReadWriteWeb which gives yet more evidence of our changing attitudes and habits around social media and the Web.

What does this mean? It means that when you tell people you write, read or listen to blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks and online video - if they give you a funny look, it is now officially them that's a freak, not you. Are these tools really as useful as so many people appear to believe they are? That's another question, but at least we're getting a healthy number of people and businesses trying them out.

It ends with Gartner's hype curve for emerging technology (July 2008) on which I was surprised to see that they'd positioned 'Public Virtual Worlds' and 'Web 2.0' at more or less the same point on the curve whereas I would have expected to see the former well behind the latter?  They also position 'SOA' as climbing out of the trough of disillusionment, which is not a view that I happen to share.

While I'm (just about) on the subject of virtual worlds, there seems to have been a recent surge in the breadth and depth in available virtual worlds - or, more likely, that breadth and depth seems to have been made much more visible of late - particularly as evidenced by this diagram and this video (both via Stephen Downes).  In my spare time I've vaguely started work on a project called MUVEable.com, which is intended to bring together material from various virtual world offerings, but I strongly suspect that I don't have the engery to do it justice, particularly in light of the breadth noted here and the first point above.


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Yes, virtual worlds are cropping up all the time. Perhaps slightly surprising, considering the expense of development and hosting (tho' compared to the cost and risk of producing a AAA video game, maybe not)?

The age rings on the diagram you linked to are amusing. It's obvious that Bunnytown and Club Ponypals are for kids (at least hope they are), and hope they have the obviously needed safety controls in place. But your average undergrad is, what, 18 to 22? So, too old for Hello Kitty, too young for Second Life?

On the age thing, it's also interesting to note that 20 of those virtual worlds are aimed at youngsters, which aren't the cash-rich demographic (though product promotion is a key thing).

(Also, as someone who hits 40 in a few days, it's pleasing that they left it at just 30+ and didn't create further circles of increasing decrepidness :-)

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