30 04 2010

The final day of the FutureWeb conference at WWW2010 in Raleigh features the following schedule: JOIN US

Marc Rotenberg

Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center is a moderator and key speaker at Day Three of FutureWeb.



FutureWeb attendees invited to attend the WWW2010 KEYNOTE BY CARL MALAMUD, president and founder of

10-10:30 – Coffee break

10:30-12 – Concurrent sessions run in two rooms:

ROOM 304 – A SPECIAL SESSION with a keynote by BOB YOUNG of on the FUTURE OF PRINT PUBLISHING (including a follow-up Future of the Web interview session with Young led by Rainie).


12-1:30 – Lunch on your own

1:30-3 – Concurrent sessions in two rooms:



3-3:30 – Coffee Break

3:30-5 – Concurrent sessions in two rooms:

ROOM 402 – A SPECIAL SESSION in which LEE RAINIE interviews MARC ROTENBERG about the future of the Web,

ROOM 304 – THE FUTURE OF LEARNING IS THE FUTURE OF THE WEB (organized by CATHY DAVIDSON of Duke University, HASTAC and the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition; including LAURENT DUBOISMARK ANTHONY NEALNEGAR MOTTAHEDEH and TONY O’DRISCOLL).


Rainie, Searls interview: The future of open source, innovation, and value

30 04 2010

In the last session of the second day, Lee Rainie sat down with Doc Searls, the Linux Journal senior editor, and fellow at Harvard’s Berkman center. Searls is part of the Pew’s closest network, and has praised the Pew Research Center from early on.

Lee Rainie, left, interviews Doc Searls in a special session of FutureWeb. (Photo: Dan Anderson, Elon University)

Searls briefly discussed how he got into the Linux community, and said the appeal came from his observation that the Internet empowered individuals as much as it empowered larger organizations. He also talked of the connection between the Internet and construction, saying he had the inkling that “the language of writing code was the language of construction.”

Throughout the interview, Searls continued to relate the Net to construction and geology. He sees the Internet as the foundation for web ‘construction’ sites. “Buildings come and go, but the geology doesn’t, and the geology is the Net,” Searls said.

As a “correctly-labeled ‘Techno-uptopian,’” Searls maintained his optimism for the future of the Internet throughout the majority of the talk. When Rainie asked what he believes threatens innovation, Searls responded by saying that the originality of human beings could be endless. He elaborated by discussing some of his exciting initiatives, such as the Listen Log, which allows users to log what the listen to. In terms of public radio and other radio, Searls loves the idea of “giving people a way to see what it is they value.”

Rainie then moved to a question about the notion of property, and what the current world has wrong with its very definition.

“Intellectual property is an oxymoron,” Searls said. “We would not have the Internet now if people had asserted intellectual property control.”

Searls explained value beyond the physical realm, and how morality can play a role in the creation of this value. He contrasted two morality principles: the exchange, where one item is traded for another; and the relationship, where there is no transaction taking place, and there is no price put on love.

According to Searls, the Internet falls in the second category, where it is something so inherently generous, yet no transaction is taking place.

Rainie challenged this generosity concept, and asked the normally optimistic Searls what worries him for the future. He discussed global warming prospects and the notion of running out of Earth’s vital elements.

He compared our long-term state to the condition of ants with a hill on the sidewalk, metaphorically implying that eventually someone will step on (us).

“I hope the Internet will help us see that,” he said.

– By Katie Roberts

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Journalism facing tough times panel says

30 04 2010

The FutureWeb Future of Media panel.

Journalism is in the most tumultuous time in history according to the panelists from the FutureWeb session on the future of the media.

The panel was led by ibiblio creator Paul Jones and included Penny Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at University of North Carolina, Michael Clemente, senior VP of news for FOX News, Sam Matheny, general manager of News Over Wireless at CBC New Media Group,  Dan Conover and Doc Searls, Berkman Center Fellow at Harvard.

One of the hot topics discussed by the panel was the role the mobile phones and the mobile Web play in how consumers receive and disseminate information.

“Mobile will be for the next five to ten years the place where the majority of the innovation is coming from,” Maheny said.

One of the biggest examples of this idea is the iPhone, he said.

“People buy the iPhone with the phone being the afterthought.”

He also noted this stems from the need to obtain information on a rapid pace.

“People will always want access to info faster and easier than they can get it,” he said.

What this is doing to journalism, is lessening it, Clemente said.

“There’s more information out there than ever, ever been before but there’s less journalism,” he said. Clemente attributed this to a rush for journalists to be the first to get their story out and use the Internet as the platform to do so.

Print newspapers are part of the dwindling aspect of journalism as well, the panelists agreed.

Abernathy said this problem stems from the revenue side and the attempt at paywalls and their affects. In addition, there is a conflict with newspapers trying to preserve the traditional print model, she said.

Education for student journalists is another obstacle an audience member noted.

According to moderator Paul Jones, student journalists are now being required to learn and understand concepts such as data mining, data visualization, citizen journalism and storytelling.

“The key challenge will be for (student) journalists to provide the time to do that work,” Matheny said in reference to the programs such as Flash that take a more extensive amount of time to learn.

In terms of citizen journalism, Abernathy said it won’t save journalism.

Searls said there is not a rift between bloggers and journalism. “I think bloggers are journalists,” he said.

Conover said the major question is what is good.

“Today I don’t know what’s good anymore,” he said. “I don’t know if we’re making the world better, sometimes I think we’re making society sicker…We have people who are horrendously misinformed.”

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David Burney leads panel discussion on interactivity, changing business models of the Web

30 04 2010

According to David Burney, the Web has made a mess of business.  In a panel discussion Wednesday, Burney and four other speakers from various backgrounds explored the likely directions business is headed.

David Burney moderates a panel discussion on the future of interactivity and the Web. (Photo: Dan Anderson, Elon University)

The Web has changed business models.  In the 20th century, business was implemented top-down.  Everything was very linear, about control.  Now, the world is networked.  Businesses are non-linear, concerned with freedom and transparency in their operations.  While the 20th century model was about structure, this model is about culture.

The new take on business because of the Web begins with culture.  “This culture is build around satisfying customers’ needs, wants and values,” Burney said.  Groups of people who are customers interconnect and engage the company and tell them how to innovate, which then drives the creation of the brand.

“When groups of people interconnect and see how its going, they see that the business value increases and begins the circle that begins again as culture becomes richer and deeper,” Burney said.

Customer services is the new marketing

In the past, customer services killed conversation between companies and clients, said Keith Messick of Get Satisfaction.  People crave conversation and the opportunity to get involved.

In the past couple of years there has been a shift where service is moved to the front end of the business model.  Customers have massive influence businesses should engage as advocates because their stories are more credible than anything the business can say.

Becky Minervino of McKinney said that business is about finding insight, but the tools have changed and social media is the new way for companies to communicate with their customers.

“We should pay attention to this and start behaving differently.  It sounded intimidating nine times out of ten. Often there was a hesitancy to give up some control and participate,” Minervino said.  Giving up control, however, is part of the new business model and allows more open conversations.

Strategists deal in an interactive space

According to Steven Keith, an independent designer, there are three things that have, and will continue to have, the greatest impact on interactivity: technology, budget and speed.

“(Technology) has an impact on design and what you build with your strategies,” Keith said.  Budget sets the tempo for the type of project, and speed “has everything to do with how we’re designing things,” he said.

Additionally, this interactive space means more communication between the company and the customer.

In the past, the company communicated its message to its customers who simply listened.  Today, because of the Web, the customers listen to the company message coming from multiple employees within the company.

“And then all of the sudden customer got a mouth and the web enabled that,” Chris Grams of New Kind said.

The Web is closely linked with the ability to customers to communicate with companies, and vice versa.  The future of the Web will determine just how much stronger this communication grows as more and more companies allow their customers to have a bigger say in innovating and the brand.

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danah boyd talks social networking, data interpretation with Lee Rainie

30 04 2010

Lee Rainie interviewed social networks researcher danah boyd on the future of the Web for a special session at this afternoon’s FutureWeb conference. They discussed the way in which institutions are handling data, bad actors in marketing, socioeconomic factors in

Social networks researcher danah boyd speaks with Lee Rainie in a special interview session at FutureWeb. (Photo: Dan Anderson, Elon University)

technology and how teens are navigating the social networking environment.

Rainie introduced boyd as “the number one reference for social networks- she’s been our teacher for a long time on this stuff.”

danah first addressed an issue she touched on in her keynote speech earlier this morning: the way in which institutions are handling data. She cited as a reminder of how much data is available on the Internet.

“Many people take this site seriously, but it’s really just trying to make a delightful point about privacy,” boyd said. “It’s kind of an experiment that really gets to the heart of that.”

When asked about instances of data misuse in the marketing community, boyd said most of the misuses are unintentional. Still, she said it is this level of naïveté that gets us into trouble the most. The challenge is that each company and each researcher means well, but they aren’t necessarily considering the consequences of how they are using data. Instead, the public has to start thinking like hackers in order to anticipate unintended costs.

A conference attendee posed the question of whether one can ever take full account of the data’s context and fully understand it. boyd’s responded with her number one principle in analyzing data: “Know the data you’re working with, and don’t make claims that go beyond that.”

boyd says this is a prime opportunity to work with social scientists.

“We should be doing multi-prong questioning instead of waiting for people to come out with reports,” boyd said.

She acknowledged that a downside to easily accessible data is the potential for misinterpretation. The defense, she said, is to consider how data you are about to distribute could get misinterpreted, and how you will be accountable for it.

Ethical questions arise when considering data misinterpretation. We need to find a way to actively engage ethical practices, which become ways to think through a process, she said.

boyd also addressed the question of ways in which teenagers are navigating the online environment, and how their behaviors differ from older generations.

“Teenagers are looking to understand the world around them, “boyd said. “They come to social media with the understanding that friendship is driven through publicly accessible information. It’s important to them that friends can see them, but those who hold power over them cannot.”

This is nothing new, she said. Previous generations of teenagers valued the same principles, but instead of trying to keep parents out of their rooms, teens are now trying to keep them out of their online environments.

Click here to watch boyd explain why some teens opt out of participating in social networks.

Relating this example back to her ethics discussion, boyd questioned whether parents have the right to look at their children’s information online, just because it is accessible. She said instead, parents should think about how to help their teenagers by simply asking them questions and guiding them accordingly.

boyd’s research on teenagers has also provided insight into socioeconomic factors that effect the way they engage in technology.

“I’ve learned the hard way that talking about socioeconomic factors is the best way to really put the bulls eye on you,” she said.

Her research has revealed divisions between the use of MySpace and Facebook and they way the sites are talked about in terms of class. She found discrepancies in the language that is used on the sites in accordance with the socioeconomic status of the users.

“My role as an ethnographer is to start with the people and then go up from there,” she said. “I have to actually observe what’s happening so you can see the diversity in what’s going on.”

When asked about her insights into how people navigate social networks, successfully and unsuccessfully, she referred to the philosophic discussion on “publics.” We live in multiple publics, each with a certain logic, and we engage in each differently, she said.

Networked publics challenge people in the ways that we deal with it every day, all day. The blurring between public and private, and the challenges of the “invisible public” are altering the way that people navigate online forums.

“(Publics navigation of social networks) will be unstable for a really long time,” boyd said. “It really becomes a big challenge.”

By Ashley Dischinger

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Web analytics need to be better understood, panel says

29 04 2010

Panelists discuss the future of web analytics

The panelists in the FutureWeb session on web analytics may have given the audience quite a surprise when most agreed that analytics is somewhat failing in today’s society.

Panelists included Nathaniel Lin, president for advanced analytics at Aspen Marketing Services, John Lovett, senior partner at strategy firm Web Analytics Demystified, Phil Mui, senior product manager for Google Analytics and Bob Page, VP, analytics platform at eBay. Michael Rappa, founder and director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics, moderated the panel.

“With the advent of much cheaper of storing data…everyone wants to keep everything because it’s possible,” Page said. “Not because it’s useful but because it’s possible.”

Page said businesses need to understand how to use analytics better.

“Most people think data itself is a byproduct of what we do,” he said… “There’s a disconnect between the data and the business value of the data.”

In turn, Mui said analytics need to be easier to use for businesses.

“When people hear the word analytics, they think of tools and technologies,” he said. “If you focus on the technologies, you’re looking at it from the wrong end…If only an IT person can use a tool (and marketers can’t)…then we are not putting the tool at the easiest access level where it can be used for influencing business outcome.”

The panelists agreed the rise of social media has also played a role in how web analytics is used.

“In many ways social media is new lipstick,” Page said…”It’s a new vehicle for having a two way conversation with customers.”

But the ways businesses utilize social media can be dangerous, Lovett said.

“Many organizations don’t have a strategy for social media.” he said. He described how business create Facebook and Twitter pages but don’t understand how to use the data they receive from those platforms.

“I think that web analytics, to a certain extent, needs to get easier for the masses,” Lovett said.

Lovett also said there is a problem with web analytics and standardization.

“To a large extent, I think web analytics has failed,” he said. “All the measures don’t mean a lot, there’s not standardization…You can’t get insight out of it.”

Page said a lot of it has to do with the dismissal of collaboration among people.

“I don’t think this is a technology problem,” Page said. “People don’t want to think, they want the answer.. For all the sharing that goes on in the analytics community, there’s not a lot of sharing.”

Lovett also said there is a lack of confidence when it comes to web analytics.

“If we want analytics to rise up to the sea level of an organization…there has to be a huge amount of confidence behind that data,” he said.

Web analytics is making progress though, Lin said.

“You can now slice and dice data,” he said… “If you can apply this data…and be creative…over time you can make it simpler.”

He said consumers need to start realizing the importance of data and it should not just be used to observe market trends. Otherwise, he said, the demand for data will grow in the coming years.

Page’s reaction?

“The world’s going to get worse,” he said. “Analytics is going to get worse before it gets better.”

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Values Panel discusses end-to-end principle, safety, governance

29 04 2010

Core Values of the Web Chair Alejandro Pisanty and Danny Weitzner of the NTIA discuss the ways to identify and promote Web values.

The Core Values of the Web Panel, chaired by Alejandro Pisanty, was comprised of five experts from a spectrum of positions.

Scott Bradner, a Jon Postel Service Award winner at the Internet Society, spoke about the history of the Internet and the origin of the Internet’s core values. He explained that the end-to-end principles originated from the Internetadministrators’ decision to split TCP and IP into two separate protocols. The concept was to keep issues best handled by the end systems out of the Internet itself, allowing the ends to make their own decisions.

He also discussed the tendency of application developers to see their own creation as the most important, insisting that the Internet should be changed to make it more suited for a particular purpose. But Bradner explained that the Internet was not created for any one particular purpose.

“My biggest surprise [is that] it’s not just geeks talking to other geeks,” he said. “Mom surfs.”

He said the Internet’s value of end decision-making should be protected.

Bill St. Arnaud, an information technology consultant and futurist who was formerly the chief research officer at CANARIE Inc., spoke about how the Internet should be further used to reduce its users’ carbon footprints. He said many processes can be moved online and reduce emissions through eliminating shipping and transportation costs.

At the same time, the servers that keep the Internet running currently use fossil fuels. He promoted initiatives to move all of the servers to renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydropower.

Parry Aftab is a consultant on cybercrime, Internet privacy, kids’ safety online and cyber-abuse issues who spoke about the importance of protecting people on the Internet without restricting their freedoms.

“Sometimes when people interview me, they seem to think there is a tension between being creative with technology and being safe,” she said. But she also said the answer is not “turning it off.”

“[The Internet] gives them the chance to use creativity so a little child in rural Alabama can write poetry that Maya Angelou can see,” she said.

She likened the Internet to driving a car, saying there should be precautions but those precautions should be limited. She said values should not be determined for the user; the user should be able to determine his or her own values from the Internet.

Nathaniel James, who currently works with the Mozilla Foundation and was a former leader of OneWebDay, talked about an effective way to determine and promote values of the Web. He is working with Mozilla to launch, which he describes as a sort of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or Sierra Club for the Web.

The principal behind it was democratic, to “get outside of geek-friendly communities.” The experience is intended to combine values, the experience of building something and fun, a model that has been used all over the world.

Danny Weitzner, an associate administrator for policy at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, spoke about the viability of a governing body or a code of conduct for the Internet. He said that it will need to be a multi-stakeholder initiative open to governments, NGOs, corporations and individuals.

Although some people say it a code of conduct could not possibly predict all the issues the Internet will face, Weitzner said there should be some stability and a channel for the problems to be addressed quickly.

-by Rachel Cieri

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