Thanks to Greg Wise of Arizona State University for my new favorite word to describe communication technologies: assemblages.  Greg shared his concept during a panel on the convergence of television and the computer at Western States Communication Association annual conference this morning.  He defined an assemblage as technology that has physical pieces, plus functions, plus a human element that is pulled together with a social investment.  In this way, the computer and the television are overlapping assemblages as they have many of the same qualities and share several functions.

My mind went straight to my iPhone when I heard the word assemblage.  The physical piece of technology — a phone — fails to describe the device, while the word assemblage does it justice.  Microsoft Word Dictionary defines assemblage as “Artistic arrangement of miscellaneous items.”  Artistic is right.
To me this circles back to Dr. Wise’s idea that an assemblage is pulled together with a social investment.

In an assemblage, the sum is greater than the technological parts because of the artistic element and the social investment.  That is a good reminder of the role we play in technologies of our time.  Be it the computer or the television or the iPhone.  We make the social investment that brings forth the assemblage and then morphs our social fabric.

Mass Communication: Change is afoot

Just being an average consumer in the year 2009, we are all aware that mass communication is changing.  Most of us are just as likely to find news on the Internet as we are to find it on the television.

AlwaysOn and KPMG have some numbers to back up the trend.  KPMG surveyed 200 media folks in conjunction with the OnMedia Conference in NYC.
Full article here http://alwayson.goingon.com/permalink/post/31140.

The survey found the most disruptive force in media today to be the pullback of ad dollars do to the recession and mobile devices becoming personal computers.  When asked what is the greatest opportunity in mobile and how will it be monetized, 48% of respondents said location-based advertise was the best opportunity and 45% said mobile applications will monetize through advertising.

Of course, media spend is moving away from traditional channels to new media — survey respondents indicated that 26-50% will be shifted in the next five years.

None of these trends are new to anyone following mass communication, but the survey results are a nice barometer of just how fast this change is occurring.

“Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant”

“Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis succinctly captured the power of openness and transparency when he wrote that Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant.”  This quote is from a story on AlwaysOn from Irving Wladawsky-Berger.  Irving is a member of the TIGR (Technology, Innovation & Government Reform) transition policy group focusing on innovation and government.  Today he lauds President Obama’s memo on government transparency.  http://alwayson.goingon.com/permalink/post/31032

“The TIGR group that I was part of was charged with developing “a range of proposals to create a 21st century government that is more open and effective; leverages technology to grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country’s most pressing problems; respects the integrity of and renews our commitment to science; and catalyzes active citizenship and partnerships in shared governance with civil society institutions.” ” commented Wladawsky-Berger in the article.

Sounds fantastic to me.  Leveraging the technology at hand and making a commitment to open communication is pretty much nirvana for this communication coach.

Brittany Spears and Guy Kawasaki

Brittany Spears and Guy Kawasaki — now there is a pair for you.  What do they have in common?  They both top the list of Twitter users.  Brittany is the Top Celebrity user of Twitter and Guy is the Most Influential Twitterer — sending over 30 tweets a day.  This news comes from a Forbes article by Andy Greenberg (http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/29/top-twitters-celebrities-technology-webceleb09_0129_top_twitters.html).  Other Celebrities on the list include Lance Armstrong, Barrack Obama, Stephen Colbert, and Shaquille O’Neal.  All of these star are frequently posting the less-than-140-character microblogs on Twitter.  Others Influentials include Robert Scoble (scobleizer.com), Jason Clalacanis (Weblogs), Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), and Kevin Rose (diggs.com).

Why are they using this leading-edge form of online communication?  Well the celebrities are busy becoming more famous, letting more people know what they are doing when.  The influencers, on the other hand, are using it to support thier business — online business.  Stated in the Forbes article, according to traffic counting firm ComScore, Twitter attracts about 1.9 million unique visitors a month.

Many technology companies build success based on web-eye-balls.  The more people looking at their sites, the more they succeed.  Guy Kawasaki is quoted the artcle, “Around 99.9% of Twitter users see it as something fun to do in your spare time, as some kind of nicety,” Kawasaki adds.  “I see it as a weapon.”

That weapon drives traffic to his alltop.com website and increases his credibility as a technology guru.  Twitter communication is instantaneous and simultaneous — definitely pushing limits.