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web 2.0 for development


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New twitter interface

Few weeks after the announcement, I had the chance to use the new interface twitter.com launched to increase its usability.The black top bar and the wider right column are the main new visual features. They came together with the possibility to immediately visualize photos and videos shared by others and other minor changes.

I found it a good step ahead, being the site more usable and the main page becoming a sort of intro to your profile. More than before, twitter is presenting itself not only as a place for geeks but mainly as a tool for knowledge sharing with a broad audience: latest stats say users are over 190 million (more than 1 million are from Italy: http://cot.ag/bzoKmS).

This is why I’m strongly suggesting to the networks I support to adopt it. Onda Rural is actually using it quite well, Carimac will be doing soon as well as the CSDI project and the FAO Rural radio website. Their public can be very wide, the tool is flexible and dynamic (mostly thanks to third party applications) and the use is very easy, adapt for every kind of editorial team.

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I have many doubts on this Buzz

Something “new” but not so new is online. Google Buzz is just arrived and as Mashable reports, they already put together 9 million posts in few days. Still I’m a bit confused.

After starting testing it, my questions are: What’s new? Do I abandon my twitter place? What happened to Wave that seemed to be the new panacea? Having it embedded into my Gmail account is good but enough to make me use it?

Well, to be honest, as usual time will give me the answers to these questions but still I have the doubt that something is going differently this time. Less innovation and more confusion… Have users’ needs being taken into account or pure competition logic drove the creation of a new feature?


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Earthquake in Haiti and ICTs

Haiti earthquake and the following tragedy is the topic everybody has been talking about during the last week. ICTs and new medias have been deeply used in the first aid activities for: mapping the situation, looking for displaced person and planning emergency activities were the main objectives.

Have a look at the long and interesting list of comments and contributions about #haiti on twitter to have an idea of how people are contributing from everywhere to manage information and knowledge that can be helpful in this moment. Just recently the UN Foundation published its report suggesting international organizations, and those involved in emergency activities in particular, to make a wider use of new technologies…

While reflecting on this point, have a look at the tool below:


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Session on microblogging

Luca explaining twitter at the boardLast week we had an introductory session about what micro-blogging is. Most of the attention was dedicated to twitter but there was also time to explain yammer and laconica.

Many different twitterers were in the room like @gaurisalokhe, @mongkolroek, @TheRoadTo and @mariagraziab, with also other friend connected.

Many questions came from the audience. The most representative of the doubts in the room was:  “twitter, like other tools, resembles in many aspects email, so why do we have to move away from email?”

Here are the points and the problems to bypass:

  • people are overloaded by communication flows, and
  • they do not immediately perceive implicit differences among tools.

Unless they have the chance to test these tools for some time, they won’t be able to familiarize with the differences and realize how their job could benefit. Testing needs willingness, time and desire and these issues are not always “available” in professionals. As a consequence, my feeling is that if we want people to modify their behavior, they must be in the position of  immediately identifying the benefits deriving from changing their habits. If we don’t look at the questions people have in mind everyday and we are just fascinated by technology, we loose the focus and our ideas risk to become sterile.

I think we have to go back to these “simple” questions and try to solve these very basic but fundamental problems if we really want to promote KM, innovation and communication in our job.


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Socialmedia and the Iranian Election

I found this very interesting article on how socialmedia are supporting the events and the information sharing process during the events which followed the Iran Elections.

I really think it’s worth reading it to have an idea of how information, people and Internet go together today.

UPDATE: more from the same source: a social media timeline on Iranian Elections.