Six Types of Social Media Tools

Six types of social media tools:

  1. Blogging
  2. Podcasting
  3. Creating Online videos (including sketch casting and Screen casting)
  4. Social networking (participating in popular ones like LinkedIn and Facebook as well as creating your own using Ning)
  5. Message boards and comment forums (like Disqus)
  6. Using Wikis (both public as well as private) to share knowledge externally and internally

Source:A Study of Inc.500 Companies‘ use of Social Media

For the third consecutive year, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has conducted a study that looks at the usage of social media among Inc. 500 companies. The 2009 results confirm that America‘s fastest growing private companies adopt social media marketing initiatives at much higher rates than other companies, and that interest in social media has grown since the first study was conducted in 2007.

LinkLog: Cognitive Surplus?

This post triggers a whole bunch of thoughts and ideas. Clay Shirky talks about Social Surplus and Cognitive Surplus. Some nuggets:

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought.

The way you explore complex ecosystems is you just try lots and lots and lots of things, and you hope that everybody who fails fails informatively…

The normal case of social software is still failure; most of these experiments don’t pan out. But the ones that do are quite incredible…

People like to consume, but they also like to produce, and they like to share.

It’s [cognitive surplus] so large that even a small change could have huge ramifications. Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that is 10,000 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation.

I think that’s going to be a big deal. Don’t you?

There are all kinds of interesting and useful projects cropping up all over the web. They promote the architecture of participation. Some of them are physical meets, some of them are shared col laboratories mostly powered by wikis and many of them promote sharing. I have my own experiments in this space – one on teaching and learning and another in setting up an incremental innovation lab. I will report my progress in a few months.

It is a River…

“It is a river, not a reservoir” from A guide to the overwhelmed: Part-II.  Rob articulates what most of us feel, so well.

One of the greatest and most depressing moments of enlightenment that ever dropped itself on me was the realization that I was not going to learn everything I wanted to learn in my lifetime. I was not going to do all the things I wanted to do.

I stopped worrying about it now.  I read a bit, blog a bit, talk about it a lot and think about it.  I feel happy when I get a few ideas and dream about a day where I can implement them.

via Stephen’s OLDaily.

Why, How and Why Not?

As children, we are always questioning people. As we grow older, we question less and less and accept more.  Corinne Miller, suggests that this may be because of the perception that asking questions is a sign weakness and describes how we can change this.

“What’s your favorite question? Over the years we’ve found that the most popular answers to this question are ‘why,’ ‘how,’ and ‘why not’ in that order. A trend we’ve also observed is that those who ask ‘why’ are typically more holistic or whole-brained thinkers, those who ask ‘how’ are typically more box thinkers, and those who ask ‘why not’ are typically the challenging thinkers. All types, of course, are equally valuable and equally required for innovation!”

Questions stimulate the brain! Questions use verbs and words that activate key areas of the brain that, in turn, increase the volume and variety of questions. The more questions, the more creativity and innovation. We like to say that questions open the innovation pipeline.

This article questions why people do not question and suggest ways of changing this.

  • Why as you become older, we question less and less?
  • How do we build questioning into a part of  business culture?
  • Four steps in developing question banks – identifying, collecting, organizing and refining

One of the habits I am trying to develop among our interns and students is to keep a log of the following activities.

  1. A question log
  2. A learning log (things that they learn on a daily basis)
  3. An idea log

I personally use a personally wiki for this. After reading this article, we may want to extend the wiki to act as a question bank for each project.

Web Data Mining

One of my articles on Web Data Mining appeared in i.t.magazine. They were kind enough to permit me to make it available from my blog.

Almost all of us need information. A lot of information is freely available on the Web. Learning a few techniques on how to mine information on the Web is a useful skill. Here are some sample usage scenarios:

  • You are an entrepreneur who is planning to start a new software business. You hear that Web 2.0 and social applications are hot. You want to do some research to understand the marketplace, and want to prototype a few product ideas.
  • You are part of the CTO office of a software company, and are interested in short-, medium-, and long-term technology and business trends in your industry. You need this information to build skills in your organization, and to build a few concept prototypes.
  • You are part of the CIO office of an organization. You need to balance early adoption of technologies with providing a stable environment for your business; you don’t want to jump at every new technology. In addition to finding new tools an techniques, you also want to understand the risks and the maturity level of these technologies, which ones are being used for building applications, and you also want to track many non-technical factors.
  • You are an outsourcing company and want to find customers for your business and track trends in outsourcing. Being a jump ahead of your competition and carving a niche are important differentiators.
  • You are part of HR, or a Learning Officer, and need to plan for the skill development of your employees. You want to keep your software team happy and so need to know the latest technologies, tools and resources to plan training and skill development.
  • You are a development lead, and need to provide the team with the latest information on product releases, and access to product/technology knowledge bases. You need to know of any problems, including security issues, in the tools or software that you are currently using for your projects.

Broadly, there are several components to finding, using and sharing information.

  • Identifying and discovering information sources
  • Tracking information from various sources and filtering them for their relevance to your needs
  • Organizing collected information and sharing it with others

Information sources can be many. A few listed below are typical.

Information sources can be categorized as:

  • News sources
  • Company websites
  • Blogs
  • Search engines
  • Wikis
  • Discussion groups
  • Social bookmarking sites
  • Social networks


This article ( webdata-mining.pdf) describes these sources and their significance in more detail (the article uses British spelling which is common in India).

Web Information Sources

Here is the mind map of various web information sources. This is not an exhaustive list. I will have a few posts following that describe each one of these in more detail.


Look at this entry for some contextual information.

Update Jul 1, 2009

There are a whole host of new sources. So I will add them to comments and try to update this mind map once in a while.

Here are some:

Freebase is a social database of open data
Twine is a smart way to keep track of information and share it with others. It goes beyond simple bookmarking. is a fabulous source of  US government information. Will try to find and add other similar resources for other governments.