Searching for m dot

If you are PDA or smart phone user who goes online wirelessly, have you noticed that some sites are now offering alternative URLs that are mobile friendly? They all start with http://m. (for “mobile”) and some popular sites I’ve found include:

I’m sure there are more out there, and plenty yet to appear. Unfortunately I have yet to find a way of locating or searching for the sites. Even googling “site: http://m.” is a bit hit and miss.

However, I did discover this mobile content proxy from Google (not sure how official it is?) – mobile Google uses this automatically when you browse frm search results. I suppose the question is, do we need alternative sites for small screen users or just better standards- and XML-based web design that will work anywhere?

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Are you taking the Miki?

Earlier in the month corporate social software company, Social Text, launched it’s mobile wiki or “Miki“. Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the bank that served as a case study for McAfee‘s Enterprise 2.0 article, has apparently been beta testing it.

With my own interest in social software and mobile knowledge management I thought that this would be something worth taking a closer look at…

Well, basically it appears the Miki is a stripped down version of Social Text‘s core wiki product. I’m not entirely sure the name will take off, but that’s the least of my criticism because I’m not really sure how much of a breakthrough this it…

I don’t know about you, but my PDA has a full colour screen and a rich user-interface – so why do I want a stripped down tool on my PDA?

Well, lets look at Google’s Gmail for inspiration as they offer a PDA and mobile phone Web-browser optimised version. I want to see this level of functionality and integration in my mobile wiki before I get too excited!

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Enterprise D’oh

While McAfee might be excited about the potiential for social software in the enterprise, Jason has embarked on listing the 10 things he hates about wikis. But don’t worry, it all constructive criticism. Also check Rami‘s requirements for the perfect wiki (from 2004!).

From my point of view its about the difference between social software form and function. We should aim to improve the form without changing the function so it stops being social software.

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More comments on Enterprise 2.0

Over the weekend I finally had a chance to look over a copy of the Enterprise 2.0 article. At the same time I was also re-reading The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage. A odd combination you might think, but a good way of ensuring I don’t get myself caught up too much in the hype – one of the messages in Standage‘s book is that technologies never quite have the “utopian” impact we think they will, but they still have an impact.

Ok. Very briefly this is what I like and don’t like about McAfee‘s Enterprise 2.0 vision:

  • His framework for enterprise social software is defined as SLATES – Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions and Signals. We could probably debate his terms and definitions, but I think he has caught enough of the essence of what makes an enterprise social software architecture different.
  • He identifies the critical role of managers in facilitating the adoption of social software inside the firewall but also recognises that this may also create conflict because “These tools reduce management’s ability to exert unilateral control and will be used to express some level of negativity.
  • Further he also concludes that there will “significant difference in companies’ abilities to exploit them. Because of the opportunities the technologies bring, these difference will matter a great deal.” Or in other words, its not the technology but knowing what to do with it and how to do it that counts.

On the other hand I was disappointed not to see some mention about the consumer driven innovation seen in the Internet social software space and the impact this pressure will put on organisations to change their approaches to IT. Similarly, while McAfee notes that centralised intranets hinder effective search because such intranets lack the dense links that we find on the World Wide Web, he does not link this to his point about management control that he raises later. I’ve discussed some of these things in the Intranet Imperative last year.

Finally – and perhaps this is a little out of scope – a mention of the issues that the ideology of self-service within organisations has also created in terms of information and knowledge sharing might have added some further context to the discussion around the challenges of getting knowledge workers to use this stuff. Why would we expect everyone to contribute in the same way as their peers? Think about The Tipping Point and the different roles of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.

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Podcasting – evolutionary or revolutionary?

I have to admit that I don’t really listen to Podcasts, primarily they don’t really fit my way of working but also I don’t find them very interactive. The fact that Podcasts aren’t really hyper-linkable yet by the masses makes them an interesting but still just a one-way content distribution system. Taking this a bit further, Steve Rubel, in his Micro Persuasion blog, asks if Podcasting is evolutionary or revolutionary?

Podcasting is an important medium, no doubt. It changed how people listen to audio and where that content comes from. On the other hand, podcasting is not very social. It’s largely unidirectional. It’s about democratized distribution. In five years time podcasting will be seen as evolutionary while Wikipedia, social networking and blogging will be viewed as revolutionary because they are dialogue driven, scannable and searchable in mainstream Web search engines.

However, perhaps its just a question of time as we see tools like Podzinger emerge that let us search Podcasts and zero in on what interests us. Podzinger is google for audio data that converts speech to text so it can be indexed.

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Update on tech-etiquette challenges

Care of Lifehacker and Micro Persuasion, Christian Science Monitor discusses the latest etiquette challenges of our always on, always connected world including ipods and wireless headsets (“The first question when you greet someone in our office is, ‘Are you on the phone?’ They don’t know, with wireless headsets.“).

This article talks about a room full of publicists at a lunch forum, all tapping away at their PDAs and Blackberries rather than listening to the speaker. I remember when this used to be a common occurrence at internal meetings in organisations, but now it looks like this bad tech-behaviour is leaking outside as wireless connectivity becomes even more wide spread.

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