No unifying theme for this week’s findings-
- I found Faris Yakob’s post on Spreadable Media via Noah Brier’s blog. Spreadable Media argues that the use of the term “viral” for content we wish to have spread via social media is “a complete inversion of the viral model.” Or as Faris puts it,
This metaphor is very seductive and very hard to get rid of… It implies all you need to do is create something that is ‘viral’ enough and it spreads through populations like, well, a virus – it self-propagates.
This is simply untrue.
What we mean when something goes ‘viral’ is that LOTS OF PEOPLE CHOOSE TO PROPAGATE IT. It requires people to do something. Voluntarily. For their own reasons.
I have struggled with this notion in discussing “making something viral”: putting something on youtube or allowing it to be easily shared will not guarantee it will be spread. If something is worthy of sharing, people will make the effort to do so: the challenge is not in facilitating sharing, it’s in making something worthy to share.
- WebUser, the UK’s best selling internet magazine, shares a story we’ve heard again and again – that social media is increasingly more effective in covering breaking news. The article “Mumbai attacks lead to web frenzy” outlines the speed with which information regarding the attacks was spread via twitter and blogs. I’ll admit twitter is how I heard of the attacks myself. Mibazaar pulled together this poignant mash-up of information from youtube, twitter ad google maps.
Technology also comes into play on the other side of this tragedy: it’s been stated that the terrorists used Google Earth to familiarize themselves with their target.
- On November 11th, I heard of Google Flu Trends, a system that used aggregated search queries to estimate flu activity. Two weeks later, Google was urged to disclose how the service worked, out of privacy concerns. Pssst, Google has been storing information related to our search queries for awhile now, this is just a instance where it was being applied for the good of the general public.
- I found my twitter type thanks to Chris Heilmann of wait-till-i.com. Chris pulled together some magic with PHP and google charts to make it perfectly clear:
- Another great find was the Liberated Accessibility presentation that Chris gave recently. My favorite slide is one that calls out the typical accessibility presentation at a conference, and why they’re rarely well attended: “the consultant, explaining that accessibility is the law and that you will get sued if you don’t follow the guidelines”. Although I’m no longer actively involved in pushing forward web accessibility initiatives at my work I still feel very strongly about it. I hope we can get beyond the misconceptions to a happy world where an accessible site is not considered a degraded experience.