Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"The Long Tale"

I felt that Wikipedia could have given a more succinct definition of the Long Tail, or maybe the topic is too unclear as of yet for anyone to really define it. To me, and as I understood the entry, the Long Tail is the part of the distribution of a business that occurs infrequently and obscurely, leaving the business to be supported by other means of distribution. Wikipedia did give an excellent example of the Long Tail when it talks about text and how the word “is” is used much more frequently than the word “disintermediation.” Chris has a great definition in his entry, "Tail effect is that when enough “unpopular” products are marketed over the internet, they become more profitable than their “popular” counterparts."

The real question is, are both words equally important? Is it possible to exist without a long tail? I’m not really sure. Wikipedia goes on to say that most items sold by a business are part of the long tail. These are specialized, individualized items. Everyone buys one, but everyone buys a different one. So the longer your tail, the better the business? Not necessarily. Fads and trends push masses of products that are not part of the long tail.

To answer my question, Chris Anderson, the man responsible to coining the phrase, Long Tail, “observed that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough.” So essentially, it is possible. It seems that through the internet would be the best way to go about doing this, because, as we’ve learned in class, the market is so much more accessible with a lower overhead and more exposure to a wider range of customers.

I totally agree with Joy and how if business tap into their long tail they can really up their sales. The best way for organizations to get at the “tail” is through their employees. Everyone of them can be looked at as a element in that tail. Each has their own individual ideas and if the higher-ups can try to find one element from each of their employees then they can access the tail without having to pay the money to have research done with an outside population that also represents the tail.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I agree with Joy's definition that Folksonomy is a way to classify the internet. This is a combination of both taxonomy and a complete freefrall where everyone is just doing their own thing. In folksonomies everyone is doing their own thing, but they are doing using the same common language. A simple way of defining it is tagging as is defined in Wikipedia. Apparently social sciences and anthropologists have been studying this concept of folk classifications for a long time. Basically they are looking at “how average people (non-experts) classify the world around them.

Folksonomy on the internet works often times like this; let’s take a program called del.icio.us where the user bookmarks their favorite websites. Now, using the concept of folksonomy the user tags their websites with common words. Let’s say the website is their favorite clothing store. They might use words like; clothes, money, catalog, spring, shopping, etc. Then another internet browser using del.icio.us who might also be looking for a good place to shop might type in one of those key words and every website tagged with that word will come up. That is how a folksonomy works on the internet. I like how Elena talks about the human connection that happens with programs like these become more common.

In an organization a folksonomy would be a completely different way of looking at the way that information is organized. For one, the employees would be the ones organizing, not the “experts” or people in charge. There would still need to be a common language that the information is tagged with. Come to think of it, whether the managers want to admit it or not, folksonomies are how business are run. Without them business can’t function.

Let’s take retail for example. I used to work in a bakery and we would sell a lot of products, most of which are packaged. Now, the people who owned the company would send us information about the product; it’s ingredients, cost, etc. and how we should label is to be sold to the customer. All that would stay the same except for “the book.” This book was were we, as employees, would organize and tag information using a common language that we spoke. Because we were the ones dealing with the customers on a one-on-one basis, we new how we needed to organize our information about the products in order to best help them. What always made me laugh was when corporate would come see how their stores were doing and they would kind of flip through the book just to see what we were up to, you could tell on their face that they had no idea what it meant. And sometimes they would send us a “new and improved” book and would put in a pull in the back of the bakery and keep using our own.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

That's more like it...(Chp. 3)

Out of the three chapters that we have read so far, I definitely enjoyed this one the most. I feel as if the author had much more firsthand experience with his subject matter and much clearer overall understanding of the importance of organizational communication.

I found very interesting his correlation between technology and art. In the beginning couple of pages he talks about how in the corporate computer world this is art too and how everyone from programmers and accountants to their managers are creating art as they do their work. Jill also writes very eloquently about this, saying that "with the Web, there is always someone behind the digital curtain." This is a whole different take on the 9-5 world, I never thought about there being art in that too.

He then goes through and discusses all the different types of discourse that are happening on the web and after reading through them all I really feel that not only am I missing out on this communication, I feel like I am isolated from it and I don¹t know really how to get involved in all of this newsgroup stuff. I had no idea that all of this information trading was going on and I really want to get involved.

I totally agree that the email is quick look at a person's thought process. All internet communication is- IM, chatting, and email. We write the way we speak when we write on the web. Our sentence structures and word choice are even more tell-tale as to what we are saying than what we are actually saying. Does that make sense?

It has now become very obvious to me that the internet is the ultimate spot for entrepreneurial business. It has also become the best place for a protest/revolution. It's just too bad that because the web is so broad, there are so many people protesting about so many different things, it would be so hard to have just one revolution for one cause, led by one person.

The coolest part of the chapter was when the conversation between the customer service rep. and the customer and how quick easy a conversation was had an a question answered. I am totally looking forward to the day when I just have to jump online and have a ten second conversation with someone instead of having to make a phone call and having to go through all of that phone automated bullshit and having to be on hold for however long and transferred to at least three different people, etc., etc. It's no wonder that commerce sites have been experiencing and increase in sales when their customers feel like they are getting one on one attention. Jessica shares similar points with me on this and how all business should embrace this new communication.

The most important point that this author makes is that no matter how advanced our technology gets and no matter how computer and software driven we have become it now becoming even more increasingly important to have that human connection. Even if it is through a telephone line and now through digital connections. One would think that as a society we have become less emotional and accessible when in reality we are becoming more and more intimate and open with each other. And now, corporations are being forced to become vulnerable as well.

Huh???? (Chp. 2)

I found chapter two a little less provocative and enrapturing than chapter one. I agreed with the author on some points, but I feel as if he was writing from a very jaded, narrow minded view of life, where as Locke wrote with a more general, worldly view.

The author starts out by saying that we don't know what the web is for. Deb, in her blog, seems to agree with him on this, but I don't believe that is true. I think that we have a pretty good understanding about the nature of the web and even if we don't have a complete, clear understanding, we have no problems utilizing it to its fullest extent.

What I totally disagree with is that the author says that we have only started to try to manage our world in the 20th century and only in America. But what about the Catholic church so many hundreds of years ago trying to manage its people? Or how about every war and conquering that has occurred since the beginning of time? Is that another form of people trying to manage the world that they live in?

One thing that I do totally agree with is his list of advantages of being naive and believing that you can manage the world that you live in. That applies to everything, everyone, and every time and place. Another good point that he makes is that business cannot be managed. Just like life and the world cannot be managed. There are too many factors involved in business with other people having a string attached that anyone can make a small tug at anytime and everything gets thrown out of kilter. And half the time these other people/factors don¹t even know that they are affecting your business.

My favorite part was when he talks about how to hate your job and he writes the paragraph about professionalism. I have been fortunate enough to have never worked a 9-5 job, but I can just picture all of these little scenarios about "making idle chatter only about a narrow range of 'safe' topics." Maybe I watch too much television, but are must office environments really like this? No wonder American's are so obsessed with possessions in power. They work in an environment where they have neither. I would go crazy too.

What I don't understand is how he keeps trying to relate the web to our need to not be managed when I think that the web is probably our greatest attempt manage the world, conceptualize it, dualize it, put it on a computer screen and make it as accessible as possible. He really doesn't explain in great detail what he meant by that, and I wish he had.

Finally, I think he makes a good point as to how important the web has become to corporate culture. I really agree with Chris's point that "We mimic businesses in that we try to manage our day for maximum efficiency." As an artist, perhaps I am missing some of his points because I am not as reliant on the web for my everyday interaction with people. To me the web is more of a worldwide catalog/encyclopedia/phonebook whereas he refers to it as "the new corporate infrastructure that infects everything it touches." I think maybe he needs to walk away from the computer screen for a minute and go see a movie. Just kidding.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Okay so I read the chapter and I do agree with Joy with that fact that it is a little repetitive. But besides that, I totally agree with everything Locke said. Overall, I found this to be one of the more interesting and motivating articles I have read. First of all, I am sick of the idea of everyone trying to fit into this 9-5 image, this corporate concept as the ideal way to live. Locke understands, even though he doesn’t directly say it, the need for small business as the way for the future. Unless these corporations begin to think “small business” by working one-on-one with their employees and empowering them and allowing them to think for themselves, these big corporations are not going to last.

Locke mentions this need that most humans have to connect “between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care about,” and I feel very lucky, because as an artist, I feel like I am able to do that. I feel sorry for people who are “stuck” at their job.

I really feel now that I have a better understanding of the history of the “Net” and how it has and is socially affecting our culture. One of my favorite quotes was, “The net grew like a weed between the cracks in the monolithic steel-and-grass empire of traditional commerce.” I really like the fact that the creation and growth of the net, and still to this day, works as an underground revolution, just like the 60’s and no one even knew it was happening.

I didn’t even know that in the beginning of the internet, it was really just a trial and error situation with a bunch of networkers arguing and defending their thoughts. And on top of that, the corporation couldn’t even touch them. I wish I had been part of something like that growing up.

Locke makes very clear how essential intranets and internets are to our society right now. Companies need their employees to stay active online because these employees are the very consumers that companies are trying to sell to. They are the best source of ideas and feedback for the products that the companies are trying to sell. So why trap their creativity? Why punish these employees for playing?

There was an interesting point that Locke made that made me think of the many of the issues other cultures are having with violence. He was saying that people who don’t have play and knowledge in equal measure, get depressed and the guns come out. I do agree that people need an outlet and that the internet is our outlet. But would this situation really apply to other cultures? I wonder how something so sedentary and unemotional could really solve the cultural problems. Could the internet really serve as a release for all cultures?

Okay, so I am running out of word count and there is so much more, but I like what Locke says about the internet and markets in general being a conversation piece for everyone to communicate with each other. Jessica mentions this in her blog post and I didn't think about how now, in this class, how we have become a part of this internet revolution.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Outsourcing? Who are we outsmarting?

When factories outsource their production there is so much more at stake. How can you have a stronger control over something when it is much further away? Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep it close by so that you can actually see what is going on instead of relying on communication over the Internet? Lynn was right when he showed that all it takes is an earthquake to not only damage our economy but other country’s economy’s. We’re sitting here trying to screw the world over and yet we have only managed “to manufacture new forms of foreign dependence” for our country.
Lynn goes on to ask what happens if these countries that we so desperately depend on for manufacturing decide that they want some of the power? Like with Walmart telling the manufacturer what to send and how much. Who’s to stop these countries form doing this? And whose to say that they don’t have the right to? Lynn goes into the history of this outsourcing disaster and explains how when it started we made it look like we were trying to help the economies of these countries in South America and Asia. But what ended up happening is they ended having to pay more and they weren’t getting anything in return.
Many of our companies have relied on “back-door” consolidation where they use some of the same factories overseas to produce what they need. But at the same time, Lynn says, none of these companies here in the U.S. have a legitimate back up plan as to how they would deal with a situation should something happen to disrupt operations at an overseas plant. If one little thing goes wrong, the whole thing snowballs. When Henry Ford created his idea of manufacturing, he intended to have everything under one roof, therefore if something went wrong he could cover it quickly. It seems to me that small business really is the way of the future because this outsourcing is only going to end up self-destructing.

I definitely agree with Joy when she says, "If you are using outside resources there is more room for lying and less room for production." In her blog, Jennifer points out that with outsourcing " by ordering parts from various worldwide locations, most manufacturers of a single product receive stock of a part from the same company. If this company were to fail, then all production of those items would be halted."

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Originally uploaded by matina2.
Here is a really cool picture of ballet dancers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hahahahah. I just checked out this love/relationship website that Joy has listed. Chris said he did it too. You all have to check it out this is awesome!!!!
I really like Jennifer's blog. Her first entry is such a great quote. It is so true that we try to make so much noise just to make a point. We don't realize that a single voice can get the point across just as well.
Okay so my favorite named blog is Jessica's "Quitonious Bolognious." I checked out her link to the website about the filthy mouthed squirrel I was disappointed just to find ads for the videos. I was hoping that there were actual quotes from the filthy mouthed squirrel.