Simon Julian


Thoughts, caffeine and other bits

Advisor: My husband has a virtual girlfriend

Okay so I started reading this because I loved the slightly creepy flavor that it left in my mouth…people tend to do some weird shit when confronted with things like dating sims and this was an interesting look into that world.

Plus I always did like Boing Boing. But I digress.

The thing that really got me thinking was one of the comments at the end of the story;

“I have a box of dead Tamagochi from my kids I feel weird throwing them away the kids loved them so much but being kids moved on to other things and you you can bring them back to life I guess but its weird”

I loved the whole feeling of this post – in the end the kids went beyond the bounds of the virtual, got bored and moved on to something else – and yet the slightly weird feeling of harbouring the dead remains (even if you CAN bring them back to life!).

Virtualisation of both pets and relationships doesn’t change our basic frameworks for dealing with existence, and as such we still place the same mores and values around the virtual relationships (and lives) as we do around the ‘real’. So we can end up in some very strange situations (but the Tamagotchi is DEAD daddy!).

I wonder at how this is going to affect us as virtualisation becomes more entrenched in many aspects of society and we get more ‘virtual’ relationships…

Open Text Conversations

Areeba put together an Aggregated blog for Open Text a few weeks ago that is now up and live, really worth a look as if you are interested in what is going on in the Enterprise 2.0 space there is some great thinking going on here.

And it is a pretty awesome site too, if I don’t say so myself!

Yes, I am proud of it too :)

The Open Text Conversations aggregated blog

What is a Browser?

I thought that I’d post a link to this – What is a browser? was the question that Google asked over 50 people of different ages and backgrounds in Times Square.

The responses on this were really interesting from my perspective – gives you a real view into the actual understanding that people have of the fundamental infrastructure that they use to view and utilise the internet on a daily basis (not much apparently!).


The Content Architect

Have been doing some more reading and thinking about the content architecture role tonight as I sit here and read discussions around ECM and some of the commentary on Bloom and social marketplaces.

I really like the idea of the Content Architect, it makes sense and it is a concept that I can easily understand. Kyle McNabb’s post from Feb this year “The Emerging Content Architect role” is a good read on the topic. But I have an issue on this that I need to get past, and that is the firm view that the idea of a Content Architect (and the Content Resource department, which is another concommittant concept) are great from a theoretical perspective (and an aspirational one!) but maybe not so good from an implementation perspective.

Some similar themes in this one as well that are worth a read.

Let me explain through background…

Many years ago there was the webmaster. Invaariably noone knew where to put this strange individual who knew many interesting things about websites (Marketing, IT, the car park, who knew?). But they knew they needed one. Now there is the content architect, and as with many a wonderful corporate website the CA will be shuttled back and forth between Marketing, Corporate, IT etc (maybe even the car park) without anyone really knowing where they should sit.

And that is why Organisational strategy is important. Unless you can actually look at real change in the organisation and restructure around the organisation’s core knowledge (read content), the Content Architect (and the Content Resource department) will live out on the edges like the webmaster did, without the proper ability or authority to effect change and without the corporate mandate.

Selling the value proposition is always going to be the most difficult thing here, and without all levels of the organisation seeing the value for themselves in this role and in the effective centralised/distributed management of organisational knowledge it is very hard to accept that this type of role will be quick in coming…

A Great White Hope?

“Publishers Seize on iPhone as Great White Digital Hope for Print” says the headline on Advertising Age…

Okay, I’m ready to bite on that one, let’s have a read and see what we have to say on this somewhat overdone topic – I’ve read so many articles on the “Great White hope for print” (hi Kindle) now that another one can’t hurt!

“Several players, from ambitious software developers to arcane auditing bodies, are suddenly converging this spring to hasten the arrival of a long-awaited “iPod for print.” It might just be the iPhone.”

Er, iPod for Print? Seriously – what the hell does anyone need an iPod for print for? And what is it anyway? Ah okay, Apps, we’re talking apps here – I’m okay with that, there are a hell of a lot of good content-based apps out there for the iPhone – not the least of which is one that is mentioned in this article, Conde Nast’s app, which I’ve played with myself in the past and which is a great content app with some nice advertising integration.

Okay, I’m with you there, but once again as I read through this we start to fall into the same old tired business model that the big publisher’s have always fallen back on – “But many publishers would also like to turn iTunes into a virtual newsstand and subscription hub. It’s immensely popular, and people like buying things there. What better place to try to give paid circulation a foothold in digital?”

And here I reach my point.

Time and again big publishing has missed the point as far as the change in their audiences and their reading/listening/viewing habits and have missed opportunities to market products that really speak to those audiences. Conde Nast’s app works because it provides content in bite-sized chunks that fit the profile for the device and for the user-base…not because they decided to try to drop the entire magazine into a subscription model on the iPhone.

I’ve seen the Subscription model discussed time and again over the past ten years or so (a lot while I was at Lonely Planet, where there were many debates on the subject and where happily I was one of the people pushing the argument ‘against’). It has never worked and I just don’t feel that it ever will for lengthy, text-based content that sits better (surprise) in an offline context.


Good quote

Really liked this as a quote – all my experience in the web and marketing industries has led me to believe that this is the absolute truth!

“As a rule you can recognize genuinely smart people by their ability to say things like “I don’t know,” “Maybe you’re right,” and “I don’t understand x well enough.”


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