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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Presentations, Project R, and Social Media

Morgen, ladies and gentlemen.  Most of today is devoted to working on a presentation that we’re giving next month, and I’m in the process of building a useful but simple strategic context around the core topic, as well as trying to impart a deeper sense of how the audience should be more regularly employing such contexts in their own decision making.  In the process, I’ve had to delve a little deeper into understanding our current financial and economic crisis than most of us normally want to.  Everyone, including senior decision makers, work off of mental models of the outside world, and oftentimes our job is to challenge and expand that model in various ways.  It’s easy enough to just find some provocative data or graph and throw it at people, but people need answers in a context, something that gives the answer its meaning and importance, and something that allows people to start to construct other answers as well.  Thus, developing the framework for such presentations can often take up more time than finding the neat graphs and cute pictures.

We’re also slowly working on a new project, Project R, which we will be unveiling in pieces this summer at various meetings and presentations.  In its full form, we will using it this fall at the 2009 Summit, where it will fit in nicely with our emerging theme (more on that later).  Suffice it to say that we are pulling in thoughts, images, and strategies from a number of sources and topics to create (surprise, surprise) a new framework and context for people.

And speaking of the Summit, we’re planning a Summit pau hana for next month where members of SummitNet will jam on ideas for this year’s Summit, and where they’ll get a preview of the program and theme.  Check out our Ning site to find out more details and RSVP.

As for the Social Media in today’s title, it’s obvious to anyone who is really into social media sites that while the overall economy may be hurting, the field of niche social media sites is exploding.  Not unlike the 90s when rags like Industry Standard and Business2.0 made a living off of weekly tracking the internet start-ups and mergers, today keeping track of new sites, new applications, and interesting new experiments is a daily effort.   Each day brings news of new ways to network, find things, share things, store things, and get things done.  Out of the plethora of sites that go up, millions are experimenting, signing up, and inviting their friends to try them out too.

But we’ve started to wonder about a sort of consumer-like product drift and fatigue.  While the power laws still seem to apply, with a few sites dominating attention and usage (think Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious), what’s been most interesting is to watch people’s attention caught by the latest site or service, sign up and get others to join, then drift away from using the service as they quickly move onto the next sites to go up.  Again, a few sites remain social media anchors in the larger field, sort of keystone species in the larger ecosystem, perhaps.  But, because of the currently high rate of experimentation and evolution in social media applications, we wonder about a kind of “social media attention distraction,” referring not to a person’s moment-to-moment attention itself, but to their constantly shifting from one social media service to the next.  One can imagine the detritus of personal information and usage data that users are leaving across the Web as they continually migrate from one service to the next.  If nothing else, because of the intense attention and energy currently in using the web as a platform for daily living, the ‘social media’ space is a fascinating phenomenon to watch.

Think about tomorrow.

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