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The internet roadmap – IA Japan’s trends map for 2009 is coming soon

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 23, 2009 in Design, General, User experience

The internet may be amorphous machine , somewhat chaotic it breadth and depth but it also lends itself to very fast and quick generation of trends and directions in human communications and  where and what people do virtually is able to be mapped  as lines , hubs, converging rails and directional lines. 

Tokyo subway map

Tokyo subway map

With 882 stations on 14 lines, Tokyo’s subway system is one of the largest — and busiest — in all the world. The system map is a twisted mass of lines and stations. Consider this : Shinjuku  one of the largest — and busiest stations  in the world  is the main hub for 12 different lines that link central Tokyo and its western suburbs. Approximately 3.6 million people pass through the station each day. It has four concourses, eight department stores, three dozen tracks and more than 200 exits.

The images I  hold in my mind have of the Tokyo subway system are nothing short of mass commuting on a grand scale with little or no respect personal space and that my idea of crowded pales as comfy . The western concept  of the having an invisible barrier that creates an magic space or outer boundary  around your body  goes out of the window when you hear of  whited gloved station attendants, called oshiya – literally, “pusher” politely but firmly shoving people into the cars or  with special human” herding sticks”  to  squeeze commuters onto already seemingly full trains. Its a remarkably efficient mass transit mover  of wave of a humanity , impersonal , raw and sprawling.

internet trends map

 

The  Tokyo Subway analogy  of where internet traffic and trends converge is  wonderful metaphor upon which to begin to put order to the sheer number of cyber commuters , the convergence points of traffic and communications , the conjecture , the posturing , the speculative and the inherent generational morphing that occurs in pockets on the net and then spreads. Information Architects Japan produced a 3rd version of the the map in 2008   ( see above ) presented as an isometric landscape with two layers: one showing the brand evaluation of the main sites, and other layer their interface or usability. The map has changed from the original two maps that looked graphically  like the current Tokyo subway map. 

 What is interesting to note is that map evolves each year and and sites can move from station to station  based  upon a subjective or even and analytical prediction of their importance, business play, style , audience  and get placed on the map  relative  to the actual physical station it surrounding real estate and it core commuter. 

The telling things in 2008 map as noted by IA Japan  were : 

Google - The Center of the Center: 

“In terms of traffic, Tokyo station is the center of Tokyo. That’s why Google (which is slowly becoming a metaphor of the Internet itself) has moved from Shinjuku to Tokyo Station. Google continues to push new modules into the main lines in an attempt to occupy the center circle.” 

trendmap3-google

Dataportability : Unknown, But… : Dataportability.org in Uguisudani

” If things turn out as they seem like they’re going to, the newcomer of the year is Dataportability.org. It has become the center of online identity practically overnight. OpenID, Google, Facebook, Flickr, and Plaxo all opened-up and joined this incredible project. Microsoft probably won’t be happy as Passport (or is it “Passport Live?”) now has no significance.” 

Facebook : Just a Hub: Facebook in Nippori

” Facebook has moved to Nippori because, from a broader perspective, Nippori is boring. But it’s still an important station (Nippori is a hub for Narita, Tokyo’s international airport).”  Just as Youtube is an important hub. 

trendmap3-youtube

 

Yahoo : Ya… who? Yahoo in Tabata

” Along with our speculation that the Yahoo brand will move increasingly into the background as an umbrella for more exciting products and brands like Flickr, we gave Yahoo an insignificant station. Flickr, in Nishi-Nippori, is closer to Facebook (also a strong picture-sharing portal) than Yahoo (Yahoo-owned Flickr is a part of Dataportability.org).” 

trendmap3-yahoo 

 

MSN : Moving Towards a Central Node: MSN in Shinjuku

” MSN has moved to Shinjuku. Lately it has increased its network (see: deal with Newsvine and The New York Times). MSN—unlike Microsoft Live—is doing things right.” 

trendmap3-nyt

I wonder where the map will shift for this coming year ? For more information on IA Japan’s forth coming trend map  for 2009 .

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SoundCloud – A new realm in music and social media

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 13, 2009 in Design, General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

soundcloud

Music is at its very heart  a social media! 

Andy  Cato - “Sharing music has always gone on. It’s giving music away that’s the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it’s disposable. When you share it, it’s done with love.” 

There is an inherent need for music publishers to create buzz around tracks and artists but also to work in their spheres of fellow producers, musicians and their fans or audience.  So in the artist self publishing  and artist self promotional days , that have the music labels traditional A&R business scrambling, what could be more relevant than a social network of music “taste makers” , musicians, labels and publishers? The emergent answer is ; SoundCloud !!  

In the burgeoning world of social media applications  there is a  launch  of new business concept  everyday, redefining the working practices of many social and professional scenes across all types of businesses.  Music, while being at the forefront of consumer media consumption changes, is no different.  While in its nascent days SoundCloud offers a full social network for the  thriving  music scene based on the simple sharing and following concept. SoundCloud makes it easy for people to send & receive music. Simple as that. What it isn’t is one of those illegal peer to peer file sharing platform that have  all but hijacked the music industry and elevated music piracy to the epidemic level. The promise of music uploading and sharing in this community is that you cannot share music without the consent of the proper right holders and any user sharing music illegally runs the risk of having their account deleted and being reported to the relevant authorities.  You can make your music private or public and shareable. What could be more easy than uploading your latest mixed  track, to your known group of promoters and tastemakers or giving it a limited  public preview or limited public download that could be shared across the social media websites across the world?

 

What I also find appealing is easy to use interface, a simple but effective and non nonsense way of getting at what you are there for , listening to music . This is not a Rhapsody or Pandora like website either , but a more socially driven sharing platform minus any overbearing commercialism . 

The Angel 60 Channels

The Angel 60 Channels

But lets not kid ourselves , not every budding or aspirant  musician or DJ is bound to be a radio star or a pioneer in digital music business model such as The Angel , Radiohead, Prince or Groove Armada. What is clear in this application is that realm of music PR belongs in the hands of its fans and promoters.  ”Social Media”  places the audience at the forefront of PR or word of mouth promotion, playing into the hands of the real evangelists; the buzz creators.  SoundCloud will only grow and mature over time from its early underground days. What interesting to me is that the  age of mix tape or mix CD   is a fading long gone distant memory.

Music and its digital portability has placed it upon the crest  of  the wave of change in traditional medias,  creating an urgent need for the major Records Labels and Publishers to review there very model of business. The new wave of artists and their producers are clearly taking control of their own livelihoods and their media.  

http://soundcloud.comjohnhorniblow

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