On 22nd July 2009 my job as web 2.0 research fellow at the University of Wolverhampton finishes. As the only other webometrics research post currently available is in South Korea, and I’m not really a 9-5 office type person, I will [probably] be going into business for myself: Commercialising webometrics. Unfortunately, as there are only a handful of people who know what webometrics is and what a webometrician would do, the hunt is on for a new job title.
The most obvious job title is ‘web analyst’, although the slightly wordier ‘web analytics consultant’ would probably give a better indication of the services I can offer. Neither, however, sound particularly cutting edge, exciting, or (like webometrician) rhyme with magician! Even after I have decided on a job title I will have to select names for the services I offer. Is ‘web impact analysis’ catchy enough? Naming children seems like a piece of cake in comparison.
One thing I am sure about: I will not be a search engine optimizer offering search engine optimization! Any other suggestions welcomed.
Back in January 2008, Ashley Highfield claimed that:
…the number of homes that currently have no television licence, but that do have broadband subscription is currently estimated to be infinitesimally small.
It didn’t take a genius to recognize that this group would increase; in fact I said as much in December when I no longer needed a TV licence myself (although I still buy one). Unsurprisingly, as the ‘infinitesimally small’ group shows signs of increasing suggestions are being made about needing a licence for iPlayer content. According to the Daily Mail:
BBC technology chief Erik Huggers said: ‘My view is that if you are using the iPlayer you have to be a television licence fee payer.
‘I don’t believe in a free ride. If you are consuming BBC services then you have to be a licence holder.’
A fairly reasonable position in my view. In the changing world of television and news production and consumption we rely increasingly on services like the BBC to produce high-quality content; the commercial models are increasingly failing. In fact I would personally go further, arguing for an increase in the licence fee.
However, such a position puts me in opposition to the always-irrational Daily Mail. Until the BBC replace the ONE show with ‘Asylum Criminals: The truth about illegal immigrants’, the Daily Mail will always hate the Beeb. Huggers suggestion that iPlayer viewers pay a licence fee quickly gets expanded upon:
If he were to have his way, possible changes to the fee could include:
* Viewers having to buy an extra licence just for the iPlayer
* Increasing the cost of the current TV licence to include the iPlayer
* Forcing viewers to pay a subscription to use the iPlayer service
If Huggers was suggesting any of these changes the Daily Mail failed to include the appropriate quotes. It would be equally meaningful to say possible changes could include “Hanging for watching iPlayer without TV licence”; possible, but highly unlikely. The second suggestion “Increasing the cost of the current TV licence to include the iPlayer” is particularly stupid as the current TV licence already includes the cost of the iPlayer!
Obviously the Daily Mail readers read the article rationally and take the Daily Mail bias into consideration:
[Disclaimer: As a licence fee payer interested in quality TV and news I have a vested interested in the BBC. As a human being I have a vested interest in pointing out that the Daily Mail is a piece of crap written for idiots.]
After a lot of deliberation, a little help from the wiki, and two hours searching the shelves of Waitrose (under the careful watch of the security guard who was convinced we were up to no good), we finally came up with this year’s menu.
Particularly impressed with finding a Moldovan red wine; Waitrose are severely lacking in East European wines!
The only difficulty now is making sure we get the moussaka out the oven at just the right moment!
For last year’s Eurovision song contest I decided to create a list of food and drink, one for each country, to be eaten/drunk as the band played. It resulted in a strange mix of foods.
Some look ‘surprising’ in retrospect (walnuts for Georgia?), some were excessive (there is still vodka left), some were stretching a connection (Danish pastries!), and some were just bad (NEVER eat smoked-salmon after chocolate torte!).
It is actually very difficult to create such a list on your own, so this year I am attempting to ‘crowdsource’ my menu. Please head over to my Eurovision Menu Wiki Page and give me a hand by making a few suggestions.
I was too busy to make it to Birmingham’s Digital Britain Unconference yesterday, but one comment about the benefits of piracy in terms of information retrieval got me wondering: What ever happened to the virtue of deferred gratification?
The digital world (both legal and illegal) strives to feed our desire for instant gratification, but it will never satisfy us. Am I grateful that I can search for millions of different books on sites like amazon? Increasingly I am frustrated at having to wait a couple of days for delivery. The faster we are satisfied the faster we want to be satisfied. In twenty years time people will probably be complaining that they had to think of an object before it instantly appeared on their 3D printer; objects should appear before we think of them!
The move towards instant gratification is not a new thing, but as we defer gratification less and less you can’t help but wonder about the effect it will have on society. Criminals lacking the ability to defer gratification is not the same as saying that people who can’t defer gratification are criminals…instead we say the law is an ass.
When the post of Director of Digital Engagement was announced back in February I commented that “I hope the government don’t just appoint some generic boardroom type.” Maybe it would have been more appropriate to say “I hope the government don’t just appoint some generic civil servant type”…which is what Andrew Stott seems to be on first impressions. Five hours after Andrew Stott and his Twitter account are announced on Twitter he posts:
Within those five hours the new Director of Digital Engagement (or one of his minions) failed to follow anyone except his boss, failed to include a photo, and then included a hash tag that few people would have recognised.
Obviously the post is more than just being able to use Twitter, but his first comment nicely illustrates the fact that they were more interested in having a good civil servant than a good social media person.