Technology grows smart, we turn out…dummies

Firstly, just a quick note on why I chose this title. My inspiration was the For Dummies series which is the main learning source for individuals who seek to take the easy way to understanding a specific topic or domain. Information is presented in a systematic way and works great for readers who are new to a specific topic, so I embrace this initiative, don`t get me wrong. Therefore, I merely chose this term for emphasizing the theme below.
On a more “niched” note, there`s been a lot hype lately referring mostly to the benefits of social media and cloud technology, and in general, to the potential of web 2.0 platforms to store, share and distribute information. Whereas UGC (User Generated Content) is essentially a “blessing” for freedom of expression and collective intelligence stimulation, there are nonetheless some drawbacks we need to address:
1. Social Impotence – In an era when staying sane means staying connected to the Internet (n.r. and Yes, I have recently seen a stream of conversations where the idea of the Internet being “turned off” for one day drove people crazy), curing such a dependency can turn out to be quite difficult. Apparently, social media usage actually affects our brain, studies showing that 5% of internet users are unable to control how much time they spend online. They crave for more of the excitement produced by using the Internet after each interaction. No wonder I am seeing everyone spending their time online when they`re out with their friends. Why restrain yourself to an audience of 2 or 4 people, when you could be “out” there for your entire network of 5,000 “friends”?
2. Multitasking Shortcomings – it might seem that those working with social media or constantly switching between more websites in the same time might have the ability to multitask, but studies have found that when comparing heavy new media users with others they perform much worse during task switching tests. It`s not about being fast, it`s about paying attention.
3. Silly Syndromes – You`ve probably never heard of the Phantom Vibration Syndrome, but you can imagine what it`s all about. Basically, you`re brain messes with you giving the sensation that the phone vibrated when it actually didn`t. Played by your own device. Not too bad, smartphones!
4. More Egocentric than ever – social media triggers dopamine release, which is a happiness hormone. When people are active online talking about themselves gives a sudden burst in the reward centers from their brains. What ever happened to listening to others?
5. Using External memory rather than our own – we would rather use forms of transactive memory, storing information outside ourselves, than use our own brains for storing it. We remember less because we are not required to do so – it`s enough that we know where information can be found. So, let`s hope our external hardware doesn`t crash when we`re in a meeting, right?
I may have approached just the tip of the iceberg, acting like the Grinch who stole the High-Tech Hype, but I will return with another post with some of the mainstream`s advantages. Stay tuned! Or is it tubed? 

What Does SEO Really Look Like?

The priority of understanding SEO has become an unbearable truth for all companies. Either we`re referring to online reputation, keyword competition and incoming revenues from online activities, it`s all being built around SEO objectives and metrics. SEO analysis has started becoming more and more complicated along with the constant growth in keyword volume that organizations are managing.

Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird – all if these Google updates do nothing more than increase the ambiguity of the long lasting question which revolves around SEO: How do I get MY public to see MY website, MY social channel, MY sponsored reviews when they search for MY organization? Digital opportunities are mostly leveraged through either Search Engine Marketing or Email Marketing – the most effective tools for building up revenue. But how sophisticated does the SEO strategy need to be with all the competitors out there developing content strategies, where the guiding principle is velocity and volume? How can organizations internalize into their integrated communications programs all the potential keywords, mismatches and relevant key phrases to add up to the final SEO objectives?

While search engines are taking advantage of USG (User Generated Content), staggering up content from social media in order to propel them to impressive Page Ranks, organizations are turning their focus on gathering as much social space as possible. It`s true that the rising tide of interest is directed to social content which is shared and distributed through social channels, but the question still remains – is it enough to start building a social media presence for SEO purposes and leave out the true opportunities and endorsements this sort of strategy would imply? Is it relevant to start becoming obsessed by traffic, impressions, clicks and large volumes of back-links when they truly mean nothing when compared to a long-lasting relationship with publics? In my view, the painstaking question of today`s digital media should be: What are the true measures for efficiency and success when it comes to online visibility?

The Big Era. Or, simply, Big Data.

We live in BIG times. Big moments, Big results, Big problems, Big Macs, Big shots, Big fish, Big foot, Big fan, Big mentors, The next Big thing, Big data. Big deal! Or that`s how ignorance could play it. In fact, many scholars, sociologists, economists, computer scientists, CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and so on are arguing about the advantages of leveraging big data for a variety of purposes. But is this overwhelming wave really improve our existence and the way we process information? In particular, are organizations effectively and efficiently using the overflow of data for building intelligence in order to meet future socio-economical demands?

The large sets of data are too much for standard software to analyze and, as such, new, optimized systems developed for data integration, manipulation and processing are now starting to become mandatory. Data aggregation is particularly difficult especially in terms of acquiring significant connections between important pieces of information. Easily accessible information does not necessarily mean we can easily identify patterns leading to a specific useful direction, for example, in building competitive intelligence.

This is why companies must invest in new systems to effectively manage big data. And no, I am not referring to big companies like Google, eBay, LinkedIn, Facebook built around this concept from the very beginning. I am talking about traditional companies, which are now dealing with the merge of traditional information and communication systems with the new infrastructures that haven`t existed before.

Conclusion? Go BIG or Go Home!