Our Relationship to Technology is Changing; Don’t Get Left Behind

Shel Israel @shelisrael

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Shel Israel @shelisrael

Shel Israel, author

Shel Israel, co-author of the new book Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss his alternative routes to publishing, how software is becoming more important than hardware, and the potential packed within our many technology outlets whose progress is hurdling forward every day.

Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.

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Tweetable Moments

“People don’t care what platform they’re on; they just want to meet other people.”¬†-@shelisrael (tweet this)

“Our technology is going to know us better than anybody in our lives.” -@shelisrael (tweet this)

The Impacts of Context

Shel Israel and his co-author Robert Scoble funded their newest book outside of traditional publishing circumstances with a sponsorship model. They got the idea from photographer Rick Smolan, who created the Day in the Life series. Smolan’s most recent book, The Human Face of Big Data, was funded by sponsorship instead of a major publishing company, like many of his other works. Shel and Robert Scoble were able to use a similar model to raise over $100,000 in less than a month for the publication of Age of Context.

Age of Context - Shel Israel and Robert ScobleOne of the key ideas in the book is that the technology industry is thinking about the profound impacts of context, but that the business community so far is not. Shel and Robert managed to condense the global trends down to these five categories:

  1. Mobile
  2. Social Media
  3. Sensors
  4. Location-Based Technology
  5. Data

They are also not engaging in traditional advertising for the book, choosing to focus instead on sending copies to influencers and asking them to review it, doing as many interviews as possible, and including the thousand or so people who they interviewed while writing the book to also become champions of the book’s success. The challenge is to avoid, when they’re using social media, talking about the book all the time “because¬†that’s what’s on our mind these days.”

Technology Social Pros

Technology, as it always does, is continually changing and moving forward. With the advent of new technologies inevitably comes some squeamishness about many of the things Shel and Robert discuss in the book. But “freakiness ends, and as it does, one generation grows old and disappears, and another generation grows up used to this and attached to it.” The book takes an unblinking look at what that will look like across all five aspects they describe.

Holy Social!

We are starting to see a theme at conferences where brands are not only showing what’s working for them; they’re also starting to share what has failed in their social media efforts and why.

Last week, Erich Marx‘s keynote speech at Social Media Week Chicago did just that. The Director of Interactive and Social Media at Nissan, Marx shared Nissan’s test-and-learn approach, which, by definition, has included many failures. The key is the adoption of social media initiatives through small, frequent, and calculated risk and then carefully measuring what works and what doesn’t.

Client-side marketers are getting more comfortable talking about the tactics that didn’t work, and this benefits everyone in the industry.

Social Media Stat of the Week: 15% of Americans 18+ Don’t Use the Internet

In a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, difficult as it may be to believe for readers of this blog, 15% of Americans over the age of 18 do not use the internet at all. The answer to “Why?” for more than a third of them is that they just don’t think the internet has anything to offer them.

At this point, if you’re not online in this country, it’s for a reason. Accessibility is an issue, but so is disinterest or mistrust. But touching on the technology theme of this podcast, that might change not as the internet gets more accessible but as computers themselves become more accessible. Mobile phones, wearable devices, etc. will continue to shape this landscape.

Four Your Information

How did you get involved with social media?
Shel owned a PR agency for 17 years, but it didn’t satisfy the part of him that needed to write. When he found himself jobless, he decided to follow that writing bug but couldn’t get a job at newspapers, magazines, or any other print media. He began blogging so he could get a job as a reporter.

What do you like best about social media?

What do you like least about social media?
Noise. The increase of commercialism has had corruptive effect on the quality of social media. “Even in this age of context, we still crave that kind of familiarity” that was in social media when it was smaller.

If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be?
“I already talk to Robert Scoble all the time,” Shel says. “I guess I’d really like to chat with Barack Obama and tell him how much I had expected from him and how disappointed I am.”

See you next week!

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