drink the sweet feeling of the colour zero

On the relevance of Social Media.

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This post is in response to comments made on The Register regarding one of my recent articles.  I’ve had to post it here as the character limit on The Register is 2000.

While yes, the opinions expressed in my Sysadmin Blog on The Register are my own, I would be willing to make the statement that on the topic in question (the rise of Social Media) they are indeed quite informed.

First: let’s admit that there does not exist primary science that conclusively and definitively pegs the exact % of our population for whom $social_media_site has become “the lens through which they view all content on the internet.”  I would go so far as to say that this is A) an impossibility and B) functionally irrelevant.  The % will be under constant flux as the habits of individuals (and groups) change.

But there are a number of studies that have been conducted so far that hint at this, and the reality of it is considered “common knowledge” amongst a certain brand of IPM nerd. The proof will out when the science is done, but studies to really refine the error bars around the exact % of users for whom this is true are only now getting underway.

One person you could talk to about this is Scott Galloway, professor at NYU School of Business. He is considered one of the more notable “digital strategy” experts. Consider also the numerous studies being done showing how little email is being used by “da yoof,” with Facebook rapidly slotting into the role that email once filled. (Many argue that Twitter is slotting into the role that Google once filled.)

Dr. Michael Fenichel – amongst many, many others – has done a great deal of hard, primary research into Facebook/Social Media/Internet usage.  Indeed, their research has convinced them that Facebook/Internet Addiction Disorder is a very real phenomenon, and should be added to the DSM V.

Beyond that, there are numerous industry studies that have noted – and then explored in depth – the reality of “$social_media_site has become the internet for X segment of the population.”  These are studies performed not by organisations who would benefit from Facbook/Twitter/etc. becoming a vehicle for advertising, but rather by organisations who have a driving need to know exactly how people shop, how they do product research and what influences their decisions.

Starting in 2007 we have a report from private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson and PQ Media.  They note that for the first time in decades, 2007 saw people spend less time on traditional media and more time on the internet.  The study also noted a huge uptick in advertiser spending online as well as consumer online purchasing.  They predicted that by 2011, the Internet would be the largest advertising medium.

They were right.

In the intervening years, hundreds of studies have been run on the topic.  In 2009, we have a study from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (via BIGresearch).  They concluded – amongst other things – that moms (women with children younger than 18) spend way more time on social media than anyone else.  They also use social media for product research, trusting peer opinion above all other review methodologies.

Pew research in 2010 concluded that 58% of all Americans have done research for products online, numbers that start to get a lot larger as you adjust to look at the critical 18-32 age bracket.  While there was no social media component to this study, the thing that got everyone’s attention was the fact that internet users in higher-income brackets do significantly more online research than those in lower income brackets.

In September 2011, Nielsen released a report saying that social media (in which they include blogs) account for nearly 25% of all time spent online.  That’s more than double the amount of time spent in online games.  3/4 of all internet users participate in social media.

Critically, 60% of people with “three or more digital means of research for product purchases” discovered retailers or brands from a social networking site.  According to the same study, Americans spend significantly more time on Facebook – 53.5% – than any other site.

Again, these are merelly sample studies I am discussing.  There are hundreds of studies – and a lot of primary science – that cover this area of discussion.  These should give you some starting points.  An idea of how modern marketing folk got to the belief that social media is in fact an important outlet for brand recognition and advertising in today’s world.

Suffice it to say that the most critical demographic – 18 to 32 year olds – are strongly influenced by social media.  So much so that they skew the statistics for “all internet users” towards the realm of “depressing amounts of time spent on Facebook.”

That “the internet” is for some – indeed for an increasing number – Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or so forth is not merely “my opinion.” It is the considered opinion of several experts in the area; I have merely taken notice. More importantly; this trend is increasing.

These social media websites are now the lens through which an ever increasing % of our population absorb their daily dose of internets.

  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 23rd, 2010
  • Category: Rants
  • Comments: Comments Off on Automatic Provisioning

Automatic Provisioning

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There has been some chatter lately about automatic provisioning.  As an SME sysadmin, I work in an environment where there is no such thing as the concept of “chargeback.”  IT resources come out of the IT budget, and no other department ever has to pay for them or in any other way worry about the cost.  In this scenario, automatic provisioning is a terrifying concept to me.  The following is a rant I posted as a comment to an article on El Reg.  I apologise if the language or tone offends anyone:

Automatic Provisioning?

Over my rotting corpse.  Users (and especially managers) don’t give a flight-enabled euphemism about anything except that which directly affects them.  If you happen to work in a business where licensing costs are “IT’s problem” then the concept of automated provisioning is essentially like asking all members of IT to please go an slit their wrists with an HIV infected needle.  The very concept is ludicrous.
Users are the “people” (and I use the term loosely) who demand with raised voices, red faces and other tantrum-like symptoms a copy of the latest full Adobe CS suite so they can open a JPEG.  “Because the colour is rendered better in Photoshop.”  Not so they can EDIT a JPEG mind you, but so that they can VIEW it.  Why they need the whole rest of the suite is bloody beyond me.

Don’t forget that apparently saving a word document to PDF absolutely requires the latest Adobe CS Suite as well.  Apparently using PDF 995 would end the world.  Also; every single new task, render engine or what-have-you apparently requires a separate VM.  The capacity for which supposedly grows on trees.

Automatic Provisioning?  Like hell.  The day that the resources to provide the licenses and the storage/network/server capacity come out of someone else’s budget, they can automatically provision anything they want.  As it is, I have trouble just keeping critical business functions (such as e-mail, data storage, backups, web services, etc.) running under the existing budget.

I should add that training/”educating” users doesn’t help.  At all.  You can’t make someone actually care about something they don’t view as their problem.  There is no education platform, corporate policy or incentive package in existence that will ever cause the average Joe to grow two spoonfuls of give-a-shit.  If the cost of what they are “automatically provisioning” doesn’t hit them personally and directly, then they will simply look at it as “something the company/IT/my manager/someone-who-is-not-me” has to worry about and push the button to spawn another instance.

If you don’t restrain users, they will feast upon IT services long past the point where they have gorged themselves.

Automatic provisioning?  Over my rotting corpse.

El Reg Blog Article: “Exchange 2010”

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I just upgraded Exchange 2010.  This article is all about my first impressions.

My Exchange conversion

  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 9th, 2010
  • Category: My El Reg Articles
  • Comments: Comments Off on El Reg Blog Article: “Blackberry Security”

El Reg Blog Article: “Blackberry Security”

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This was a one-off article about how non-RIM handhelds are catching up to Blackberrys in the security department.

Lock up your Crackberries

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  • Published: Sep 9th, 2010
  • Category: My El Reg Articles
  • Comments: Comments Off on El Reg Blog Articles: “Office Communications Server”

El Reg Blog Articles: “Office Communications Server”


El Reg Blog Articles: “DNS, Malware and You”

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This group of articles is all about DNS and Malware.  (Thoguh SPAM hangs off of it too.)  Interesting for server admins.

Blackhole your malware
Malware protection for the rest of us
It’s time to presume the web is guilty

El Reg Blog Articles: “Browser Security”

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While No longer writing articles in fixed sets of three, I do still tend to write clumps of articles with a common theme.  It’s usually because I write articles based upon what I am working on at the time.  This set of articles is based on browser security.  Frankly, I think they are critical for everyone to read.  Practice good Internet hygiene!

Ditch the malware magnet
Private lessons
Nothing suceeds like XSS

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  • Published: Sep 9th, 2010
  • Category: My El Reg Articles
  • Comments: Comments Off on El Reg Blog Articles: “User Experience Management”

El Reg Blog Articles: “User Experience Management”

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It has been a while since I have updated my personal blog with links to my published El Reg articles. This is the set I set on user experience management. it is also my last attempt at writing articles in “sets” of three.

User Experience Management (Theory)
User Experience Management (Implementation)
User Experience Management (Lessons Learned)

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  • Published: Jul 5th, 2010
  • Category: My El Reg Articles
  • Comments: Comments Off on El Reg Blog Articles: Why Group Policy Matters

El Reg Blog Articles: Why Group Policy Matters

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This set, Why Group Policy Matters, produced quite a bit of discussion.  There was an absolutely unholy amount of research to pull this set off; not something I think I can duplicate on a regular basis while working a regular day job.

Why GroupPolicy Matters (Theory)
Why GroupPolicy Matters (Implmentation)
Why GroupPolicy Matters (Lessons Learned)

Why GroupPolicy Matters (Theor
Why GroupPolicy Matters (Theory))
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  • Published: Jul 5th, 2010
  • Category: My El Reg Articles
  • Comments: Comments Off on El Reg Blog Articles: “VDI Power Management”

El Reg Blog Articles: “VDI Power Management”

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It has been a while since I have updated my blog with my most recent sets of El Reg articles, and I am thusly a little behind. Here are the links to my set on VDI Power Management.

VDI Power Management (Theory)
VDI Power Management (Implementation)
VDI Power Management (Lessons Learned)

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