April 2, 2009

Applied Linked Data

My thoughts have been spinning around KPIs and Social media the past few weeks. Today however, I saw this TED-talk which put the dot over the i when talking about the true importance and difference in the shift between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Social media, as a child to Web 2.0 is really all about LINKED DATA.

Applying Linked Data
When talking about applying linked data, Tim Berners-Lee says that you should make your data available. Corporations have done this for years, but they have done it in formats that are not very good. Usually it is the quarterly reports that are posted to the website in excel-format so that any analyst in the world can download them and do their funky stuff with the numbers to come up with their analysis. So this is nothing new for corporations. (or is it..?)

What you have to do is 1. make that same data available in a database, 2. open the database so that people can extract data from it, 3. tag your data, or even better, let your users tag your data so that it naturally relates to other data in other databases.

This way, you will not only get the good juicy visibility that you so much strive for. People will actually make use of your data and other people will like both you and those people making use of your data a little bit longer.

What kind of data?
For those of you without imagination think that I am still talking about the quarterly reports when I’m talking about the data. Your thoughts are now circling around why the fuck anyone who is not an analyst would like to look at your data. You might even be repelled or scared of these unknown interested people. Well, there are 9 billion people in the world, and a lot of them have way sicker interests than digging through data, so I believe that you will even have a normal crowd playing with your quarterly reports.

But no… there are other types of data that you should make available. Data that you keep in store such as phone numbers to employees, names of people in charge and people in customer service, your brand components (I am currently writing another post on exactly what I mean by that), your product names and numbers, your christmas party photos (well.. maybe not those). Anything that can be stored as data, that is either allready on Facebook or YouTube, or on its way to Facebook or YouTube.

I know you’re shitting your pants right now thinking… “isn’t that dangerous?”.. and my very best answer to that question is NO. If someone wants to hurt you, this data is allready available on your website. The only problem is that it is not data, it is pages. The problem with pages is that anyone pissed off enough to want to hurt you, will. But anyone eager to promote you, probably won’t take the time. So you better hurry and make this data available.

So what’s the business bottom line?
The business bottom line is that you DO NOT OWN YOUR BRAND anymore. I am sorry to all the copywrite lawyers out there, but since anyone can use the internet, everyone is a part in building the position of a brand on the web. (and I don’t give a crap about what’s said on TV or in newspapers (well I do, but I thought it would be cool to say that I didn’t))

My bottom line, which is also your business bottom line is that you need to make this data available to your audiences that like you. If a computer nerd likes you – even better. They will construct the fan pages, the open UIs and the widgets for your data. No need to do that yourself. Find them, promote them, and they will promote you. Since they love you, unlike most of your employees in customer service, they will defend you, they will ReTweet you and they will hack anyone who hates you into pieces. But more importantly, they will make your brand, and without them you do not have one.

How to do this – the ugly hack way – if you’re not rich?
If anyone of you reading this post are still reading, then here is the most simple ugly hack how to in order to do this. If you want to know how to really do it you shoul read this article.

Making your data available:

  • RSS – If you don’t make your website fully available on RSS, then you’re lost
  • Split your RSS-feed into different categories such as Business, Business Germany, Business Berlin, Business Left side of where the wall used to stand – ie. categorize your data so that it can be played with
  • Geo-tag your information – if applicable – can be done after som reading on Wikipedia

Once these three first steps are done – share it:

  • Create an account on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, or start a blog
  • If Twitter –> open search.twitter.com and search for your brand
  • If Facebook –> search for your brand name and see the flora of groups
  • If YouTube –> do what I told you to do with the Facebook thingy
  • If Blog –> use Twingly.com (spam free blog indexing spider – works wonders)
  • Amazingly enough people are talking about you (unless you are company providing electricity services)
  • Find the people who are talking about you the most and say “Hi, we are here now, let’s talk”
  • Then say – “Look, I have all this data, want to use it”

Well.. I know it is doesent ever seem as simple as I try to write it here in the blog, but seriously it really is once you try. Now I know you’re asking yourself the question – WHY THE HECK SHOULD I DO THIS?

Well, that I will start to explain in my next post about collaborative brand building through social media.

Best regards,

Jesper


3 Comments
  • Kingsley idehen, April 3, 2009 Reply

    Jesper,

    You do own your brand, even more so than before. The key point re. Linked Data is that the "medium of value exchange" has shrunk i.e., its is now a URI (of the URN variety).

    New York Times and the UK Guardian have started to realize that their Fact Oriented Databases are the crown jewels in the emerging Linked Data Web era.

    The BBC completely get it and are right on the vanguard of the whole thing re. maximum exploitation.

    Some links to posts about these matters:

    1. http://bit.ly/3jZTWP -- SDQ (Serendipitous Discovery Quotient Explained)
    2. http://bit.ly/I9zD -- How Linked Data will change Advertising
    3. http://www.slideshare.net/derivadow/www20-what-does-the-history-of-the-web-tell-us-about-its-future -- BBC presentation.
    Kingsley

  • Jesper Åström, April 3, 2009 Reply

    Hey, and thank you for you comment. Good references too.

    I would however like to see you elaborate some what on the topic of corporations owning their own brands. Especially since you say it is even more so today. It is important to note that the basic structure of brand building is the same. By keeping your promises, (ie. tratidion, values, quality etc.) you are able to gain trust amongst your brand ambassadors. They then build your brand by telling others. You can help them by promoting them through stories of your own.

    However, in social media, the power has changed. Nowadays the brands are being created by the crowds. If you are not talking to your crowd, not giving your supporters within the crowd enough tools to build themselves through your brand. Then you will be in the hands of good luck and fortune. It sounds all fuzzy and philosophic but I will be done with my brand post in a coupple of days. Just need to find some more good examples.

    Possibly we're saying the same thing only that we have different entry points. But I cannot agree when you say a corporation owns its own brand anymore. The brand is more than just the logo and the slogan. It is all that is associated with those artifacts.

    BR,
    Jesper

  • Jesper Åström, April 3, 2009 Reply

    Also, if and now that I've possibly have got you on the line :)

    Doesn't Linked data feel an awful lot like "The Matrix"? Ie. what ever I do, affects what happens next. Hmm.. that came out the wrong way... hmm.. but it is really just like creating a living web as it evolves depending on what we do.

    Also @Kingsley - What do you think? Will the linked data web control our behavior or will we control the behavior of that web :) - sry... I am just a bit tired here. :)

    (to other readers... as you can see from this dialogue... it is actually not at all about tagging.. :) it is A LOT more neat than that)


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