Saturday, April 21, 2007

Circle Trip on Multitasking Media

At the beginning of this year I decided just to give a few presentations, five at the maximum. For the last two week I have been lecturing in Helsinki, Espoo, Hämeenlinna and Joensuu. Yes, that's four already not to mention those few others I have given in Helsinki and Keuruu. It is just so easy to say 'yes' but a lot of work to come up with a good presentation. Thanks to Mikko Honkakorpi I have adopted Mr. Kawasaki's guidelines. He is talking about pitching but his points are also useful when preparing a general or academic presentation on e.g. gaming or trends of digital media.

I though of sharing some of the things I found interesting on the way.

Online entertainment is without a doubt the right place to look for new ideas when searching for digital innovations and signals of the future of digital media. Kaisa Coogan & I coined a term Communication Acrobatics in 1999 when we studied how Finnish youth utilized their mobile phones and the Internet. With communication acrobatics we described the supreme and agile skills the youngsters had on using digital media and channels at need. Multitasking describes a way of handling several communication, information and entertainment channels at once. Many teens have different circle of friends on mobile, Messenger, Habbo, online games, MySpace, e-mail (for those few who still use spam-mail), IRC etc. etc.

Three issues defining the utilization of social media are 1) radical trust, 2) 3 R's: Reputation, Ranking and Rating and 3) collective intelligence (compare with Eric von Hippel's users as innovators -theories). We also had a good discussion on multimodality (thanks to Charalampia Sidiropoulou!) and visions / ideas media theorists and futurists such as Raymond Williams, Marshall McLuhan, Walter Benjamin and Alvin Toffler have coined already in 1930's - 1970's. For example the basic precept of McLuhan is that the rapidity of communication through electric media echoes the speed of the senses. McLuhan also argued that it is the speed of electronic media that allow us to act and react to global issues at the same speed as normal face to face verbal communication. That might not sound that extraordinary but remember that McLuhan was visioning these things at the end of 1960s when radio and television were the state of the art of consumer electronics and window of the world "networking".

In Joensuu we were invited to visit NetWork Oasis. It is a novel type of collaboration and working environment. Innovation is currently one of the most frequently used bullshit bingo words. Thus it was really inspiring to see some fresh ideas in real life. One interesting factor related to Oasis is that it is located in Joensuu. Joensuu is at the fringe -- 440 kilometers (273 miles) from the capital (Helsinki) and the industry has been more focused on electronics or metal industry. NetWork Oasis is still under development but things seem to go smoothly. They will also have their own software products on the market. One nice solution was an integrated "who's in" and "skills-wills" solutions. With a glance you can see who is currently working in which part of the Oasis (because there are no office rooms, one can work anywhere - anytime). Also the solution helps you to find just the skills you are looking for. NetWork Oasis is a brave, interesting and admirable attempt to create something new - thumbs up! Those looking for new ways to spur people to innovate in the office -- check out NetWork Oasis's ideology and solutions.

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