The other night I was having a discussion over the value of a ‘thank you’. There have been a few funny commercials for some product that exalt the value of thank you, but I am talking about the monetary value of a thank you.
Here at the office we are in the middle of setting up a ‘volunteer classified’ system where people post help wanted / help available ads on one of the databases. Funny enough the big sticking point is how do we reward / should we reward volunteerism? If you get gold stars and points, or cookies is it really volunteerism? Well what if you chose your own reward? In creating a flexible value exchange can we compare ‘thank you’ to gold stars and tokens in an attempt to determine their value?
Well it is something we will investigate in the future. I hope we can find a dollar value because ‘thank you’ may become the next big commodity … cheap to produce, not labor intensive, but some how it seems that it would require sincere and skilled workers.
We had a fantastic meeting here with some of the largest Voluntary Health Associations in the US. We are discussing the value of a collaborative effort to examine Social Software and Social Networking and how it impacts what we do in each of our agencies.
One of the best parts of the meeting was Eileen Clegg's visual journalism. You must go and read up about her and how she is able to capture the story of a meeting and incorporate all of the most interesting and important points.
There is no denying that I work in corporate America. Yes I work for a nonprofit but we are the largest voluntary health agency in the USA employing upwards of 6,000 people. With this comes red tape. I admit that the concept of virtual networks layered over CRM systems is probably a little foreign to some of my co-workers, but that is no reason to shelve it or slow down development.
I have a man on the inside who knows the scoop, and he says it has to do with a lot of requests and limited staff. That I can understand but I don’t think that is what is holding us up. Follow these and future exploits as we try to implement our virtual community through corporate America.
RFID for the individual is on its way. I referenced a club in Spain that was offering VIP status to those who would opt to have rice sized RFIDs imbedded in their arm for identification. MITs June Technology Review reports that the beef industry is following suit by tagging cattle, primarily to track beef in the instance of disease outbreaks such as ‘Mad Cow’.
The kernel to grab here is the need for information. The consumer public is eager to intimately know the history of the product they are buying; from its diet to the way it was prepared. The reality is that cows do not really mind the invasion of privacy, but humans may. Privacy is all the rage now with RFID especially if consumers think that the tags in their new shirts or bags of chips are allowing companies to find out where they live and where they go.
Accountability may be the wave of the future. Communities may be able to track every one of their own. I see this may become and RFID détente. If you don’t track me, then I won’t track you. Is this a prelude to a nation of spymasters, or simply annoying eavesdroppers?
Eventually we all sell out … and I if was unsure before, I am now certain that the social networking arena is now officially for sale. Friendster is now hosting profiles of the movie characters from Anchorman. The profiles are loaded with inside jokes from the movie, I see how it is an amazing marketing move, and the target audience is just right in age and interest. Word has it that this was done by the movie studio in cooperation with Friendster.
Funny though … Friendster has a descent reputation of purging user accounts of Fakesters (fake accounts) to keep the system more realistic. So the message I am getting is that if you pay Friendster a bunch of money, you can put up a fakester and everyone will love you for it? Considering the movie and the audience I am not surprised … but I will be really peeved if I get an invite from a cartoon shark this fall to join his personal network as an activity partner.
I got an e-mail from the ACS National Government Relations Department today urging me to call me Senator and tell him to vote for a tobacco related bill. I am luck that I am at work, and got the e-mail in time before the 1:30 pm vote. So what about the soccer moms running around town, and the people who do not have internet access at work? It was just another reminds to me that using technology like SMS that sends a message to a phone, with a number direct to the US Senate Switchboard. How effective would that be as a community mobilization tool? You could get hundreds of simultaneous calls all about a single issue. Effective and efficient!
The July August MIT Technology Review features a neat article about DoCoMo, a company trying to build every element of life into your phone. ATM cards, electronic keys to your house and car, even your driver’s license. An exciting proposition, one that would make the phone company the biggest kid on the block.
Japanese society is very in tune with the use of mobile devices beyond the telephone capability. They use SMS, and the web far more than Americans. With the advent of this new phone technology I wonder if Americans will ‘catch up’ and begin to treat the mobile similarly. Moreover can the mobile become an extension of self, and can we begin to award philanthropic graces upon the individual and the mobile? Will the devices become points of pride and showcases for virtual recognition? Will there be a time when we look to the mobile device to validate not only our identity but our credentials and sense of self?
Where is the value of community? I believe that community has become a commodity. It has become so easy to enter in and out of niche communal groups that the sense of belonging is reduced to a commodity that can be had anywhere on the internet. There seems to be no prerequisites to be a member … just complete the application form with a valid e-mail and you are in.
I cringed that people were selling their Orkut invitation and almost lost mind when people were paying to get the invites (I asked a friend). I take a step back and realize that the web is imitating reality, and that there are plenty of country clubs and service clubs that require invitations for new members. But I see that the convenience of the web has allowed people to engage in multiple communities, which are sometimes mutually exclusive. So again I ask if this is the case what is the true value of a virtual community?
One may wonder what John Cage, the late musical composer who composed 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence and called it music, and community development have in common. The answer is very little.
However I was a fan of Cage music in school, where I paid my college tuition in part with a music scholarship where we performed Cage’s music. It is anything but classical, and that was everything I hoped it would be. Like anything in life as unconventional as Cage’s music, it has fans and detractors. I’m so happy that Boing Boing posted this. It reminded me to go dust of some very old CDs and relive the power of his ‘Eelgy’.