February 25, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Consumer
, Social media
| Tags: birthdays
, mobile numbers
, web 2.0
Marisa made some really interesting points recently about “young people today” and the way they think. It got me thinking and I wonder if anyone can identify with what I’ve noticed. Remember the days when you could remember phone numbers? You knew all the important people by heart.
Remember the day when you could remember addresses? They were logged in your memory. What about birthdays? You could recall all the most important ones easily…you just knew which day they were on. Well it’s either my age (I’m 34 – nearly) or it’s my younger days catching up with me, but I just don’t seem to have the buttons any more to remember this kind of stuff.
My theory is that because of my mobile, because of my social networks, because of Outlook – I have a mind muscle which I’ve allowed to wither away to nothing. I’m not sure I care, but it’s interesting to note all the same. What on earth might I prioritise and deprioritise in terms of memory in ten years time? Will I need virtual prompts for the names of loved ones too?
This came to light when a friend of mine asked when a mutual friend’s birthday was. We knew it was in March, we just didn’t know when; yet I’ve known this mutual friend for twelve years. We have decided it’s the mutual friend’s fault as she’s not on Facebook, and therefore we don’t get the automatic reminder. She’s not playing the game. I need those automatic reminders of when the most important events are happening that I have completely forgotten about.
Am I alone in this? Is it age? Is it a general trend? Or am I just a bad person? Or are we all beginning to rely on the Mind of the Machine? This looped me back to the rather lovely classic by N-Trance, which I’d like to reference as my closing point. N-Joy.
February 22, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Consumer
, Social media
| Tags: digital immigrant
, digital native
, harry potter
A recent study directed by David Nicholas at the University College of London showed that young people are losing their ability to concentrate because of the internet – as if, on hitting adolescence they don’t already have enough to deal with?
The study showed that adolescents are losing the ability to read and write long text because the internet is changing the way they think compared to older volunteers. Over a three year period researchers asked hundreds of 12 to 18 year olds to answer a series of questions by surfing the internet.
The results were interesting if not predictable. The majority of adolescents viewed half the number of web pages as the older volunteers. According to Professor Nicholas, 40% of those who participated in the study did not consult more than three web pages from the thousands available and rarely viewed a site more than twice.
However, people who were educated before the age of the internet tended to relate back to previously viewed pages more often and go deeper into the details instead of jumping from one page to another.
It seems that there is evidence that the internet is changing the way the youth think because it encourages users to view multiple sources of information instead of from one traditional source such as a book. Based on the study, this new “associative” thinking has left the young with the inability to read and write at length because their minds are being rewired by the web. This sits alongside the long suggested divide between ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’.
I recently went back to school and got my MBA. While researching for various projects I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to now have the internet. Whoever remembers the dewy decimal system and reading book after book to source materials for that 20 page term paper understands my excitement. I can imagine that the internet is increasing the potential for our youth to have lower attention spans, but novels such as the Harry Potter or Twilight series have had phenomenal success. They are long texts and teenagers have no problem flying through them. How does this sit in relation to the above study which suggests attention spans are reducing?
What do you think? Is the internet changing the way we think?
February 18, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Art
| Tags: Trust Barometer; cosmetics; celebrity; brand; advertising; trust; health and beauty
With all the talk around the importance of trust and credibility, especially in relation to brands and celebrities, why is it that the advertisers responsible for creating campaigns for leading cosmetic brands choose to ignore these lessons and continue to use post-production techniques to enhance products, giving the illusion of unachievable results?
The main culprit usually getting into hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as well as regularly receiving public condemnation is L’Oréal. Opting to use disclaimers that are vaguely legible on most of its promotional materials, lines such as “enhanced during post production” or “styled with natural inserts” are all too familiar to the cosmetics giant. This is now standard practise in product advertising for many cosmetic brands and L’Oréal is by no means an exception.
A couple of the most recent cases include the L’Oréal Elvive Full Restore 5 advert which features Cheryl Cole, along with her false hair extensions. During the advert, a message flashes on screen for fewer than two seconds out of the 30 second advert to alert viewers that Cheryl’s hair is ‘styled with some natural extensions’. The ASA rejected viewer complaints about the inability of achieving the same results as the disclaimer was apparently clear and legible, and did not break any rules. Procter & Gamble brand, Olay, also recently received viewer complaints for airbrushing Twiggy in the Olay Definity Eye Illuminator advert. As the product claimed it could help women achieve ‘younger looking eyes’, the ASA ruled that it could be deemed as misleading.
So what effect does what can arguably be described as misleading advertising have on consumer perceptions of such brands? Edelman’s 2010 Trust Barometer suggested that in the UK especially ‘a company I can trust’ (72 per cent) is the top driver for corporate reputation in the UK, followed also by ‘high quality products and services’ (62 per cent). This being the case, one would assume that public opinion and trust in cosmetics brands would have diminished – but surprisingly not according to sales figures. L’Oréal in particular reported that its profits beat market predictions in H1 FY09, and global demand for products continues to increase. It seems consumers are not ready to stand-up to these brands and continue to strive for perfection, no matter how deceptive adverts continue to be.
The ASA published a health and beauty survey towards the end of last year which reported that 95 per cent of cosmetics adverts comply with regulations. Ironically the five per cent of adverts that breached the code were identified to contain a lack of sufficient scientific evidence to back up claims, exaggerated claims about the efficacy of products, or contained misleading claims. Surely more than five per cent of adverts could be included in these categories?
These brands should take more responsibility for the messages they develop and align them correctly with product capabilities instead of making unachievable claims. Or is it up to the ASA to tighten regulations and critique adverts before they go on air? Or maybe it’s up to consumers to stop buying in on ridiculous claims?
February 16, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Technology
I’m glad to say that my predictions for the key themes at this year’s Mobile World Congress (2010) – smartphones, operating systems and applications – were spot on the money.
Truth to be told, you hardly had to be Nostradamus to predict the headlines for this year’s Congress. Device vendors are desperate to retain brand and consumer loyalty (especially in the face of operating systems becoming a bigger draw than handsets themselves), mobile operators want to ensure they get a slice of the application action and don’t get relegated to dumb pipe status while software vendors including Google & Microsoft see an opportunity for land grab in a global mobile market buoyed by an application obsession.
Underpinning this gold rush for customers and content is the need to move quickly and painlessly to LTE/4G networks. Data and download revenues are what will drive the next 10 years of the mobile market, and for that to happen quickly Joe Public needs to have a compelling user experience to convince him to keep buying applications, watch streamed video and download music. Of course, faster networks also give all parties license to develop new services and business models that rely on a lightning fast data connection.
To all of the above, GSMA head honcho Rob Conway has declared 2010 the ‘year of the developer’ while Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone has compared where the mobile industry is now to the start of the last decade when a lot of the heavy lifting on GSM was being carried out. Indeed, the headline coming out of this morning’s keynote session was “Dawn of a new era.”
I rarely get carried away with hyperbole but this time I think the industry luminaries have got it spot on. The mobile industry is witnessing an unbridled consumer desire for data services driven by devices that are turning on the non-techies as much as the real mobile geeks. And it’s here, where all parties co-operate and clash in a battle for awareness, loyalty and lucre, is where the real interest lies for me.
About two years ago I was working with a mobile phone OS vendor and a leading handset manufacturer. Both co-operated (i.e. devices ran the software) yet in briefings with separate senior execs it was clear that both companies were at odds in terms of what the overall purpose of the phones were, who they were aimed at and how they would be marketed.
I suspect this scenario has been replicated right across the mobile sector. Carriers and handset makers coming to blows over their own application stores, OS vendors and software developers quarrelling over what competing services are allowed ‘on deck’. The realisation that customers no longer buy phones based purely on brand/tariff and carrier has sent everyone scrambling for loyalty, mindshare and the “killer app”. I think the next 12 months are going to be fascinating.
For me, the power now lies in the platform. That’s not to say the device vendors or operators aren’t going to play an important part in how the market shapes up – they will, massively. However, I feel the impact of the iPhone has thrust platforms into the limelight and they will drive the market, certainly in the short term. The industry seems to agree judging by the amount of companies from all sides of the industry that have signed up to the GSMA’s Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), an alliance designed to allow developers to easily create and port applications to ALL mobile operating systems…apart from Apple of course.
I’m also expecting a “platform” that currently isn’t in the mobile space to make a play for market share. Facebook could easily smash a hole in the handset market by launching a proprietary phone (likely based around Android or a Linux shell) that appeals to the social media obsessed generation. In fact, if you consider that in the UK alone nearly half of all mobile data sessions are Facebook generated I’d be surprised if conversations with one of the smaller handset guys aren’t already underway. After all, Facebook doesn’t charge for its mobile applications and while its advertising revenues are handsome, they’re still modest in comparison to most larger media companies. When you consider that over 70% of its ad revenue comes from local advertising, the power of having a platform that is always ‘local’ (the mobile phone) starts to look very compelling indeed.
And we can’t discount Microsoft in all of this. In the mobile wilderness over the past few years, it staged a Lazarus-like comeback with the announcement of its new Windows Mobile 7 OS yesterday. While handsets won’t be available until around Q4 this year, you can’t rule it out making inroads back into the smartphone market. Consumers will certainly be keen to find out more about its Zune and Xbox Live integration.
So where does this leave the handset guys and carriers? In a word, innovation. It’s going to force them to look at all aspects of their business to see where they can innovate – from the seemingly mundane like pricing to sexy next-gen services like Mobile TV. My own client Orange [client] is certainly forging ahead with this approach, embracing the platform-focused consumer mindset. I’m sure its competitors are too.
And I’ve definitely seen the handset guys step their game up this year. 2009 was all about big bright screens – with not much thinking about the user experience if we’re honest – but 2010 seems to have been about the whole package. Samsung’s Wave finally seems to have gotten the right balance between stunning hardware and a UI and OS that consumers will want to use (again, based on its own Bada platform) while SonyEricsson has revisited the mini mobile concept with usability and software front of mind. Motorola [client], HTC and LG have also demoed some really nice kit, but kit where the platform gets almost as equal billing at the technical specifications.
And that’s a trend that will continue – marketing that focuses on the platform as much as it does the hardware. The example of miscommunication between software and hardware companies that I cited earlier could still occur but I believe there has been a realisation, albeit one that is acknowledged mostly in private, that consumers are being turned on by the software first and foremost.
I’m confident this platform-led approach will lead to a golden era of innovation in the mobile market. Do you agree?
February 12, 2010
Posted by Jonny Bentwood under TweetLevel
Operators dominate the list of most ‘engaged’ tweeters across the globe, accounting for over one-third of the top twenty slots in Edelman’s Telecoms TweetLevel index rating 1,000 of the world’s most active Twitter users. Using a specially developed algorithm, Edelman tracked tweeters against a range of criteria including the interest that their posts generated amongst their readership and their involvement with the Twitter community.
In terms of Twitter ‘engagement’ (how actively the tweeter participates within the Twitter community) T-Mobile USA takes first spot, with Vodafone in second, followed by Vodafone UK (3rd), 02 (5th), Optus (6th), Voafone New Zealand (9th) and Telstra (10th) in the global index.
Jonathan Hargreaves, Managing Director of Edelman’s Technology Practice, Europe, Middle East & Africa, describes the ‘engagement’ ranking as particularly significant as it reflects the level of two-way interaction, involvement and relationship generated through Twitter.
Operators are not primarily using Twitter to simply broadcast messages or promotions – as would be revealed through TweetLevel’s ‘influence’ rating, where operators are not actually significantly represented – but to engage and interact with their communities, in many cases on a purely one to one basis.
In a particularly tough economic environment, Twitter has come to represent a strategic weapon to build and reinforce customer loyalty and – importantly – consolidate ARPU (average revenue per user) volumes.”
Edelman has also developed a Telecoms TweetLevel focusing specifically on telecoms-related content which revealed the internationalisation and language-independence of the platform as a communications medium, with commentators from Brazil, Indonesia, France, as well as English-speaking countries such as UK and the US represented in the top ten tweeters in terms of ‘influence’.
Jonny Bentwood, Edelman’s Head of Strategic Analysis, created the algorithm at the heart of the TweetLevel.
We used over 30 metrics to create the algorithm behind the index. Unlike most rankings that look merely at the number of followers someone has, TweetLevel gives you a really clear picture of who is important within this increasingly influential forum
There are four result metrics:
- Influence – what you say is interesting and many people listen to it. This is the primary ranking metric.
- Popularity – how many people follow the commentator
- Engagement – how actively the tweeter participates within the Twitter community
- Trust – whether people actually believe in the content
Each score is rated out of 100 – the higher the score, the more important the commentator is in Twitter terms. The rankings and scores were taken on 4 February ’10 and are subject to change over time.
The top ten Tweeters identified in terms of overall influence in telecoms were (in descending rank): @chrisbrogan; @jeffpulver; @techcrunch; @om; @jeanlucr; @jowyang; @Scobleizer; @ndorokakung; @abduzeedo; and@9swords
Edelman’s Telecoms TweetLevel index is being published on the eve of the telecom’s sector’s largest conference, Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, 15-18, February ’10), where the agency will be supporting a number of clients including Samsung, Motorola, Microsoft and HP.
Edelman’s TweetLevel can be accessed at http://tweetlevel.edelman.com/. To view the top telecom influencers identified by the report, go to http://twitter.com/Edel_Telecom/top-telecom-commentators. You can also view the list on below.
About Edelman Telecommunications
Edelman is known for its global telecommunications and wireless expertise, working with companies in every realm of the telecom sector from established wireless companies to emerging VoIP providers and infrastructure pioneers. To learn more and engage, please follow our team at www.twitter.com/edel_telecom.
February 11, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Brand
, Social media
| Tags: Communication
, Mobile Phones
, mobile world congress
, Valentines Day
Last week, an all too familiar story: Marisa, from the Barcelona office, had her husband come home from work with lousy news. Due to an out of town workshop (on a Saturday!!) she would have to reschedule a well-planned dinner at St. Pau located seaside near Barcelona. Normally Marisa is pretty flexible with these things but this was special – in 2008 St. Pau was awarded three Michelin Stars!
So, as Valentine´s Day approaches we wondered how many people are facing similar situations and how they plan to compensate their loved ones for their absence, especially those attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from the 14-18 of February. Over 50,000 delegates and visitors are anticipated to attend this year’s conference and exhibition, which means many postponed celebrations and cancelled dinners – although hopefully not at three Michelin Star restaurants.
To keep with the technology themed Mobile World Congress we sent out a survey to find out just how people would use technology to compensate their loved ones in the event of their absence on Valentine´s Day.
It turns out that women more often turn to one-to-one communications and men prefer to ‘broadcast’ their affections. According to the survey, 59% more women than men would use Skype with video service or equivalent to call their partner and 67% more women than men would send a personal video message via email while out of town. Male respondents to the survey invariably preferred the one-to-many approach with 70% more men than women proposing to dedicate a Twitter post to their other half.
The survey also produced some interesting country differences, with Spanish respondents demonstrating the highest levels of ingenuity with the use of newer technology; 50% of Spanish respondents would probably or certainly use Skype with video or equivalent to communicate their sentiments if absent on Saint Valentine’s Day compared to a global average of 29%, while over a third of Spaniards would send a personalised video from their mobile phone (compared to a global average of just 13%).
The least romantic nation in technology terms is Ireland! According to the survey, 67% of Irish respondents wouldn’t even send a text message to their partner if absent during Saint Valentine’s Day, against a global average of 42%.
It is clear that technology is embedded in our lives and according to our survey can play a key role in keeping your significant other satisfied in the event of an absence. So, do you think that texting isn’t very romantic, but it is the thought that counts? Have you or your significant other ever used technology in a creative way to show how much you care? How would you use technology to communicate your absence on Valentine’s Day?
February 10, 2010
Posted by Jonny Bentwood under Uncategorized
| Tags: a
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Josh Bernoff makes the pertinent point about Forrester, in the same bracket as other IP focussed companies like the New York Times and CBS:
the opinions of our analysts are our product
This is the basis of the sole argument that has made the Forrester ban all personal blogs covering topics related to their coverage area in favour of Forrester.com branded ones.
This post has two purposes, firstly I’d like to share my own opinion of this and secondly review the way that Forrester have handled it.
Forrester POV (taken and summarised from Josh Bernoff and Augie Ray)
- Analyst opinions are are part of the content they create for their employers, who are in the content business.
- It serves Forrester’s clients better to be able to get to all their blogs from one place
- Clients will know the opinions of analysts that they see are part of the other opinions they read in our reports, in press quotes, and in everywhere else we talk.
- Forrester analysts will all have their own blogs within the new platform, and this will continue to furnish a platform for sharing their insights and building individual reputations.
- No truth in the opinion that Forrester might want to restrict individual brand building
Those in favour (largely taken SageCircle analysis)
- For analyst relations teams with Forrester analysts ranked high on their lists, this new Forrester policy could be a benefit by decreasing the number of blogs that AR has to monitor.
- Unlikely that analysts with personally-branded research blogs will quit especially in this economic environment where job opportunities are still at a premium.
Those against (largely taken from ZDNet bloggers Dennis Howlett and Michael Krigsman)
- It represents an epic E2.0 fail.
- Previous blogging stars (such as Jeremiah Owyang and Ray Wang) brought in revenue to Forrester but were not rewarded for their efforts. This move reinforces the problem.
- Forrester will lose star analysts over restrictive social media policy, but they already factored that into the plan
- The Redmonk model of personal brand promotion combined with rock solid analysis/support for developers is proven as a business model. Can that be transmuted to the likes of Forrester or Gartner?
Those on twitter
- Sometimes it is the analyst’s rep that is the draw. – David Rossiter
- Quality of individuals underpins quality of expected firm – Veselina Buie
- Should IP-based companies stop personal blogs?” No; should encourage cross-posting though. – Larry Hawes
- Keeping all the IP in-house makes the most sense from a brand PoV. – IDC EMEA
- Banning blogging dehumanises a company. I don’t only want to hear from the CEO/the ads. – Will Humphrey
- Every company is IP-based – Joe Baguley
Forrester are known to punch above their weight in social media. I am often delighted to observe that in a world where Gartner’s 800lb gorilla is the lead in most spaces, Forrester has proven itself a worthwhile competitor. Their hires have been both groundbreaking and successful. What Forrester did successfully is get the best in the industry to join them and contribute their IP to the brand.
What went wrong though was when the ‘individual brand’ left the ‘Forrester brand’. Suddenly Forrester lost its revenue stream from their celebrity cash cows. To solve this, Forrester changed its policy to a pragmatic – ‘lets bring everything under one roof approach’.
Shame on Forrester. They are known for being experts in social media and then get it so fundamentally wrong. In my opinion they made three fundamental mistakes:
- Sometimes the individual is more important than the firm. Blogging and social media is all about authenticity, transparency and engagement. What this policy has done has removed a degree of trust from these core values as it can appear that Forrester does not trust its authors. If Forrester doesn’t trust them, then why should the readership.
- They discounted the views and opinions of their readers. I didn’t really believe they expected it to receive the feedback and attention it did. Even though they responded with blogs, tweets and comments – there was no proactive announcement leaving them in fire fighting mode.
- I disagree with their view “If you’re creating content for a content company, that company ought to host your blog”. Edelman are an IP company but give me the flexibility to have this personal blog. I do not believe for a minute that it is confusion for Forrester clients (nor mine) to understand the link between my views and my companies nor find it difficult to find the way round all of Edelman’s blogs.
Balanced with this is the fact that Forrester gives consistently the best social media advice from any of the analyst houses and kudos to them.
When I first started blogging a colleague of mine gave me some advice:
Learn your voice
What Forrester have done is removed the personal voice and instead created a corporate personality-less series of blogs (or so I fear). Forrester needs to ensure that this voice remains and I am worried that the best social media analysts will not be recruited to Forrester in fear that they will lose their brand. It’s all well and good saying that they can do it behind a Forrester.com address but it shows they don’t trust their analysts.
I understand that for analysts their IP is their product but I strongly disagree that this reason is sufficient to stop personal blogs that talk about the same content. Trust your analysts to let their blog act your PR.
Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0
February 7, 2010
Two weeks ago I crowd sourced the question about the changing nature of influence within the technology sector and how this was impacting on analyst firms specifically. There was tremendous response from which three key themes emerged that are illustrated below with some of the most relevant comments.
1. A New World of Influence
Clearly from your comments there is a new dynamic of influence within the IT sector. James Boike highlighted the fratured nature of influence away from the traditional sources specifically analysts. He said, “Just based my experience in enterprise tech, influence on IT adoption has become highly polarized. If you think of Chris Anderson’s “long tail” concept, the most effective analysts and influencers have scattered to the far left and far right of the axis – influence is being polarized.
“That means top influencers increasingly work at extremities: either at “A Big Firm” or as vocal, prolific specialists in their trades.” The vast middle is no longer a fruitful position for analyst shops in enterprise tech. Tier-2 firms and independent freelancers who are not in the top decile of self-promotion are glossed over – they are more easily disregarded. More specifically, on the left pole I see Gartner, influential venture capitalists like Tim Draper/DFJ and Fred Wilson/Union Square Ventures, and key executives like Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon (and until recently, Jonathan Schwartz at Sun). On the right pole I see folks like Anil Dash, Ray Wang, Dan Gillmor and Dave Winer, who seem to speak less for their organizations, instead voicing their own perspectives which are heard by thousands of IT decision-makers globally. Big caveat: much of the above influence does not fall into traditional industry analyst role, but that’s the point – the role of tech influence has scattered from the space formerly occupied by industry analysts.”
2. New Influence is Driven by Engagement
The nature of influence in this new world is driven by engagement Fred Broullard explained. “So, to our influencers. There are 2 things to be considered here :
A : Exemplarity: the opinion is driven by the status or relevance of the influencer. For instance, a designer will clearly influence for a technology product on style, design, good taste, but not really on technology. His influence varies by the topic and level of his engagement with the product.
B: Usage, or proven track of record: increasingly, as we have less time and far too much information, the picture says it all, so to speak. If the demo or the usage of a product / a solution has been successful, it will clearly influence. It might therefore be a shift from documentation to demonstration or engagement
Who they are ? … hard to tell, and increasingly so. I think that in each industry / organization / association, often the geekiest and most engaged person will definitely be the one who will be known and given credit.”
3. Engagement and Influence Originates In Micro-Communities
A major trend has been the growth and development of micros communities. These communities by their nature are formed from those engaged and it seems this is the source of great credibility and the source of influence.
Andrew Howard highlighted this fact: “I engage with global privacy stakeholders very closely—everyone from advocates to academics to policymakers. I’ve managed engagement with this community on behalf of a number of Edelman clients. These individuals are playing an increasingly prominent role in technology adoption as they influence consumers via the media and policymakers via lobbying efforts. Privacy is complex, highly subjective and poorly understood; as a result, privacy stakeholders can seed fear, uncertainty and doubt in the market. I believe there’s a new privacy engagement imperative for tech companies introducing products and services that push data boundaries (think location-based services, social networking, health IT, etc.).”
These micro-communities are important because the key idea starters on specific conversations and topics as Andrew highlights for privacy issues. It also highlights another question I was asked on a global training session this week what is the difference between and engagement strategy and a traditional communications approach. I came across a quote from Andrea Di Maio Gartner’s leading analyst on e-Government issues earlier this week that explains it well. “Using social media to communicate means to expand a multichannel communication strategy to encompass new channels. It used to be the counter, the telephone and the web site: now you have the Twitter hashtag or the Facebook page, but these are just channels. Of course people can engage, retweet your information, post on your Facebook page, and so forth. So it would appear that simply setting some ground rules about what people can and cannot do and how the moderation policy works would go a long way toward moving from simple communication to engagement. But “real” engagement is something else. It is about figuring out where people are already having conversations that your organisation needs to be aware of. It is about bringing information and dialogue to places where people want that dialogue to happen: their blogs, their Facebook groups, their Twitter streams. In essence, an effective communication strategy is likely to be almost the exact opposite of an effective engagement strategy. The former chooses and controls channels, while the latter joins somebody else’s channels. The former determines rules of engagement, the latter follows somebody else’s rules. The former assumes that people reach out to your organisation, the latter is based on your organisation reaching out to communities and groups.”
As James Boike pointed out Gartner analysts still dominate at one end of the axis but I would love to hear thoughts from all points of influence.
February 3, 2010
Posted by thenakedpheasant under Content
, Social media
| Tags: BBC
, internet revolution
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There’s an interesting story on the BBC website today about cheating in school exams, specifically the use of technology in both aiding and catching cheaters.
For me, the companies selling the products, the schools buying them and the exam watchdog Ofqual have got this all wrong.
Technology presents us with an opportunity to change our antiquated, almost draconian exam system which puts a premium on a person’s memory and wrist stamina as opposed to their ability to find, process and place into context information relevant to a subject.
For one thing, a clampdown on ‘technology cheaters’ smacks of hypocrisy and sheer bloody-mindedness. In an age of rampant digital piracy, how can you expect kids to take a moral stand on not secretly using the Internet in an exam, when everyone is ripping music, films and software from the Internet? The music and film industries have accepted this and adapted their business models. Education resolutely refuses to budge.
Secondly, technology has changed irreversibly the way in which we all communicate and interact. To try and remove from an exam situation a reference tool such as the Internet is so counter intuitive it actually offends even an 11 year olds intelligence.
And thirdly, unless you’re sitting a technical or scientifc exam where defined answers can be copied without going through a necessary process – therefore demanding a certain amount of isolation – the written exam is just about the worst form of test imaginable.
Course work has already been scaled back due to issues around quality, so surely we should be embracing new technology as a way to find a new way of testing pupils and pushing them to the limits of their mental ability? Instead we seem to be demonising children for doing what now comes naturally when they’re tasked with answering questions.
All of the main political parties in the UK are banging on about information superhighways and the importance of getting families on-line, so why are schools getting all Stasi on our children at a time when, arguably, the Internet could be of the most benefit too them? It makes no sense.
What’s needed is a root and brand reassessment of the written exam with the express intention of putting the Internet and other technologies into the examination hall as a tool, not threatening pupils with expulsion if they try and Google Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemists Ltd  for their law GCSE.
Of course there is a great temptation to cheat and copy verbatim answers that are already on the Web, but we have developed sophisticated methods of authenticating and filtering information on the Internet. It’s hardly a technological stretch to checks papers against text already on the Net.
And besides, we should be setting exam questions that can only be answered by original research and thought. We should play to the strengths of controlled, time-limited exam conditions not view them as strict rules of governance within which careers can be decided depending on how individual pupils perform.
The bottom line for me is that unless you’re planning a career as a magician or a card shark, memory tests are no measure of intelligence. It’s about time our education authorities realised that, rather than coming down hard on the Internet generation.
February 2, 2010
Posted by Jonny Bentwood under Analyst relations
Late last week I resurrected a common meme around Hitler’s downfall video but this time applied it to analyst relations.
In the original post, I simply let the parody of the video speak for itself but after reviewing the many comments on the blog and on twitter, I have noticed that quite a few people are commenting about what they can learn from this.
Needless to say, when AR is done well the scenario that this video portrays should never happen. Here are some of the key points:
There is some argument as to whether we need to do any EMEA outreach or or whether it is sufficient to just speak to those in the US
Being an EMEA AR pro, this one really irks me. Even though the US analysts may sometimes be the lead for a specific topic area, this is not always the case. What’s more when end users wish to buy a solution they often ask the local analysts in their region for guidance. If you haven’t spoken to them, how can you hope for positive commentary. Finally the EMEA analysts can often give valuable advice regarding how to refine the messaging to make it more relevant for their geography as well as give advice on local issues that may not be important in other regions.
We are only positioned as a challenger. They scored us down because we didn’t provide enough customer evidence
There should never be any surprises when it comes to the MQ being published. Make sure you run plenty of inquiries and SAS days to fully understand where the analysts are positioning you and why and what you need to do to change their perception. Do the process and document everything and obviously you should make sure that your executive team are prepared for the eventual placement and understand why you are positioned where you are.
We were positioned well in the Forrester Wave… a well respected alternative
Always investigate alternatives. Despite many execs and sales people often being incapably of looking beyond the MQ, there are many tools and analysts out there. It all depends on your objectives and defining which solution is right for you.
There are many more things you can take from this video as I have tried to include as many clichés as possible. Most importantly remember that this is created in jest as a parody for our wonderful AR industry. I hope you like it.
Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0