Web 2.0 Blog – Discovering Innovation Opportunities using Social Media

Archive for June 2009

Linked Data is now officially on its way to the commercial world.  Google is creating the market incentive to drive it, one element at a time.

Google’s recent unveiling of google snippets and search options means its time to change how you display your products online.  Your products and any reviews of your products by customers will soon be found if you have displayed in one of several formats. The technical name for these are RDFa or one of several microformats.  Also using google, people can more easily look for reviews. Soon also they will be able to compare different products and extract specific information from your website using Google Squared.

What does this mean?  It is the beginning of a change in how the underlying code of websites is written.  It will mean that facts, social remarks  or other categories of information which the consumer deems is important will be more than keywords.  Keywords are not dead but they are now going to one element of the search equation rather than the only one.  Google will likely determine if people find well formatted information more useful and if they do, it is likely those sites will start to appear at the top of searches.

Of course this will not happen overnight but this announcement and the fact that yahoo already is doing similar with Search Monkey means the race to a Linked Data web of meaning has now started and will proceed in a step by step fashion probably based on what meaning the consumers are searching for.

But yes its time to change how your products are displayed online and time to start to reconsider social content in your website.  That is certain.

Postscript:  Another example of government spoofing was a prank cell phone call from India to the Pakistani Defense Minstry the day after the Mumbai terrorist attack.  The called claimed to be an Indian Defense Ministry Official and was claiming that India was going to retaliate. Planes went up in the air on both sides and the US had to intervene to prevent further escalation.  The call was taken seriously because normal authentication procedures were not followed or did not exist.

Hot off the press: Another spoofing incident which alleges civil damages involving Twitter the St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa.

While in general I dont think western Democracies have a lot to learn from the North Korean Government, I think in the case of Gov 2.0 spoofing there might be an exception.  The North Korean Central News Agency was recently impersonated on Twitter in a way which might have fooled a lot of people.  The twitter feed was made to look realistic because it used actual articles released by the Central News Agency. The prank was pulled off by a parody website called Stupidedia and they didn’t seem to intend to create any harm with it.

But this points out how easy it is to pretend you are an official government agency on twitter.  Recently I advocated for a simple reciprocal link authentication policy which would place a link on any official government web 2.0 account (twitter, facebook fan page etc) to a .gov or .mil page which would then give a link or list of links to the official social media account for that agency.  Then anyone could with 2 clicks verify that a social media account is authentically coming from an official government source.   As government presence becomes more common on social media, we will likely see more attempts to grab attention through this type of impersonation.  While it doesn’t seem like much could come of this, all it takes is one person believing one source is the voice of a government and acting on it to cause at the least embarassement and at the worse some harm.