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Don Tapscott

White House 2.0 – the efforts so far

On Thursday of this week I’ll be hosting the book launch for Yes We DidRahaf Harfoush’s story of the role of the new media in the Barack Obama campaign and its implications for business.

The deft use of digital technologies by Obama’s team during the primaries and the election itself is already the stuff of political legend.  Obama strategists promised that a President Obama would continue to use the Internet and social media to open up the government to greater scrutiny and give Americans a stronger voice in how the government is managed.

Recently, Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media at the White House, released a video [see above] on the White House blog that highlights the new media channels that the Administration has created to help fulfill its campaign pledge of more open government.

As the…

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14 Comments | Tags: Engaging the Net Gen in Civil Society, Government, World

Don Tapscott

Post your Ypulse Youth Marketing success stories here

The 2009 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup, being held today and tomorrow in San Francisco, is where top brand, corporate and social marketers, media professionals, educators and non-profit organizations gather to share best practices, research and latest strategies on marketing to youth with technology. Attendees find out what leading-edge technologies youth are using today and will be using tomorrow. Attendess also get an insider’s view into youth-focused tech and media startups and learn how to leverage social media, gaming, virtual worlds, mobile and more to authentically reach youth.

I am the keynote speaker today at 5:10 pm PDT.  I will ask audience members to come to and post their success stories about marketing to the Net Generation.   If you have a story to share, please submit your story as a response to this post.  The first twenty responders will…

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11 Comments | Tags: Brand

Don Tapscott

Washington opens doors to meaningful public participation

The overarching theme of President Barack Obama’s election campaign was that he couldn’t bring reform to Washington on his own.  It would have to be a group effort, and Obama promised to use digital technologies to meaningfully involve the public in the process of change. Today he began to deliver on that promise.

The first step of the public participation is an online brainstorming session, beginning today and running to May 28th. The National Academy of Public Administration, a Congressionally chartered, non-profit, non-partisan institution, is hosting this brainstorming session on behalf of the White House.  The site allows a person to submit ideas, discuss and refine others’ ideas, and vote the best ones to the top.  ”We are seeking innovative approaches to policy, specific project suggestions, government-wide or agency-specific instructions, and any relevant examples and stories relating to law, policy, technology, culture, or practice.” The most important themes and…

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2 Comments | Tags: Government

Don Tapscott

The Evolving Economy series in the Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail and Microsoft are collaborating on a series of articles and videos looking at The Evolving Economy, and they asked me to contribute.  My article and interview focused on the Net Generation:

Want to know what the most effective corporations of tomorrow will look like? Look at those that are most successful at attracting young workers today.

Even with the current economic downturn, we’re on the brink of a major war for talent, as many companies that rely on knowledge workers already know. The tables have turned. Today, there may be a surplus of labor, but not of talent.

Twenty years ago, when college grads poured into the work force, companies had their pick of the best and the brightest. Employers had the power to choose; employees were grateful to get a job and did what they could to keep it, and the last thing on their mind would be…

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No Comments | Tags: Work

Don Tapscott

Selling books via N-Fluence networks

Undiscovered Gyrl is a novel written in the form of blog by a 17-year-old girl. It will be released this August. Publisher Vintage Books thinks it could be a best-seller, so the company is launching a “multi-tiered social networking approach” to reach the book’s target audience of young women.

“The days of just sending out books and getting reviews and selling them are just pretty over,” Vintage publicist Lisa Weinert told the New York Observer.

Weinert has already posted a video trailer for Undiscovered Gyrl, set up a Facebook account for its narrator, and started a Twitter feed.  Nevertheless, she thought much more could be done, and reached out to her friends in “Ladies Lotto,” a network of about 1,000 women from across the country who correspond and trade career tips and references with each other over a massive email list.  It’s a good example of an…

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14 Comments | Tags: Brand

Don Tapscott

Us Now Documentary

I’m proud to say is helping Mercury Media gain as big an audience as possible for the ground-breaking documentary Us Now.  At the top of this page you can watch the trailer for the documentary. Hopefully that will spark your interest and entice you to visit, to download a free version of the film in its entirety.

The documentary is about the power of mass collaboration, the internet and its potential impact on society. Directed by Ivo Gormley, the film explores how the web is changing the many ways in which we can organize ourselves. From a democratic football club where the fans pick the team to a lending service where everyone can be a bank manager, Us Now brings together the leading thinkers in the field of participation and web culture to describe how mass collaboration could change society. As the co-author of Wikinomics:  How Mass Collaboration…

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51 Comments | Tags: The Buzz

Don Tapscott

Net Gen Education Challenge winners

As you know, the NetGen Education Challenge has come to a close. I would like to thank everyone who submitted videos. Tackling a topic like education is quite challenging and I have to say that I was delighted by the quality, talent and insight portrayed in the video entries. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the Net Gen Education Project and to have had the opportunity to engage in a global dialogue on education and the Net Gen. I hope that you have found this experience to be as rewarding as I have.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Flat Classroom teachers Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay for allowing me to be a part of this exciting initiative and to the Discovery Educator Network and the CBC for their support with the Challenge and the Project. Finally I would like to thank…

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3 Comments | Tags: School/College

Don Tapscott

More election insights from Pew

Here are more excerpts from the Pew election study I discussed yesterday.

Compared to the 2004 election, Web surfers were increasingly attracted to sites that were partisan and shared their point of view.   Fully 44% of Democratic online political users (up from 34% in 2004) and 35% of Republican online political users (up from 26% in 2006) now say that they mostly visit sites that share their political point of view. However, the biggest change between elections occurred among the young. In 2004, 22% of online political users ages 18-24 said most of the sites they visit shared  their views. That doubled to 43% of online political users in that age range in 2008.

Voters under the age of 30 took the most advantage of the ability to customize their news and get the latest updates on the campaign. Among online…

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6 Comments | Tags: Government

Don Tapscott

N-Geners most likely to upload their own political content during campaign

The Pew Internet and American Life Project today released more analysis on the use of the Internet in the 2008 election.  As usual, the Pew report provides a feast of data and insight, and a .pdf of the report can be found here.  Not surprisingly, the most aggressive users of the Internet for political purposes were young adults 18-30.  More on that in a moment.

Three-quarters (74%) of internet users went online during the 2008 election to take part in, or get news and information about the 2008 campaign.  Pew calls this group online political users. They represent 55% of the entire adult population, and this is the first time Pew has found that more than half the voting-age population used the internet to connect to the political process during an election cycle.

Pew employed three separate metrics to identify online political users:

* Going online for news about politics or the…

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7 Comments | Tags: Government, World

Don Tapscott

Are Facebook use and university grades linked?

A new study to be presented this week at an education conference finds a statistical relationship between the time university students spend on Facebook and how good their grades are.  Students who said they used Facebook reported grade-point averages between 3.0 and 3.5; those who don’t use it said they average 3.5 to 4.0. Also, Facebook users said they studied one to five hours a week, vs. non-users’ 11 hours or more.

The study surveyed a very small sampling of 219 students at Ohio State – 102 undergraduates and 117 graduates – in the summer and fall quarters of 2008. Of that total, 148 said they had Facebook accounts. Facebook users were typically younger, full-time students majoring in statistics, technology, math, engineering and medicine.

So what does this tell us?  Not a great deal, I would argue, particularly giving the sampling size.  And even the study’s authors caution against drawing any…

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15 Comments | Tags: World

Don Tapscott

Best Buy and Web 2.0 tools to empower employees

Just watched a great 4 minute video on YouTube highlighting Best Buy’s use of Web 2.0 tools to help retail employees to brainstorm ideas and deliver better service to customers. I have a lot of respect for Best Buy and have worked with them in the past.

Best Buy management understand that the nature of work is changing. It has become more cognitively complex, more team-based and collaborative, more dependent on social skills, more time-pressured, more reliant on technological competence, more mobile and less dependent on geography. A growing number of firms are decentralizing decision-making functions, communicating in a peer-to-peer fashion, and embracing new technologies which empower employees to communicate easily and openly with people inside and outside the firm. In doing so, they are creating new corporate meritocracy that is sweeping away the hierarchical silos in its path and connecting internal teams to…

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5 Comments | Tags: Work

Don Tapscott

Increase in young voters key to Obama victory

New figures released by the Census Bureau confirm that the 18-29 age group was the only age group that increased voter turnout in the 2008 election compared to 2004.  The new numbers are posted on the United States Elections Project website, which is operated by Dr. Michael McDonald of George Mason University.

The turnout rate for citizens age 18-29 increased 2.1 percentage points between 2004 and 2008 while all other age categories experienced a decline. The 30-44 age group dropped by 0.6 percent, the 45-59 group dropped 1.5 percent, and the 60+ group declined by 0.7 percent.

This increased turnout by young people helped ensure President Barack Obama’s victory. Voting day exit polls showed that twice as many young people voted for Obama than voted for Sen. John McCain. The 2008 increased turnout by youth comes on top of…

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19 Comments | Tags: Government

Don Tapscott

RIP Encarta, long live Wikipedia

Even though Microsoft claimed Encarta was the world’s best-selling encyclopaedia software, the company announced this week that it would discontinue sales of the CD-ROM shrink-wrapped product in June and shut down the Encarta website in October.

Why abandon the world’s best-selling encyclopaedia software?  Because, as we all know, in the world of encyclopaedias, best-selling is meaningless.  Most popular is what counts, and by that definition Wikipedia crushes all competitors. The Wikopedia entry in Wikopedia tells us that the site offers 12 million articles in 262 languages, with 2.8 million English entries.  Wikipedia receives between 25,000 and 60,000 page requests per second, depending on time of day, with the English version accounting for slightly more than half.

The site was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, and has since become the most popular general reference work on the Internet.

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17 Comments | Tags: Brand, The Buzz, World

Don Tapscott

We should stop buying (or stealing) music and instead rent it

Internet traffic dropped more than 40 percent in Sweden this week after a new law made it much easier for copyright owners to track down file-swappers. Associated Press reported that Henrik Ponten of the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau said the reduced traffic means that people have stopped swapping MP3 files for fear of getting caught. “There’s no other explanation for it.”

I shake my head when I read stories such as this. I have long advocated that the solution is not to haul file-swappers into court for stealing music.  Instead, the recording companies should restructure their industry so that music is made available for renting rather than buying.

In an Internet-friendly music industry, consumers wouldn’t download songs at a fixed price per tune, but would instead listen to music streamed to them over the Internet. Music fans would happily pay a few dollars per month to get access anytime, on any…

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19 Comments | Tags: Brand

Don Tapscott

Surfing the Net for relaxation boosts office productivity

Taking a short break at the office to surf the Internet for relaxation increases our concentration levels and helps make a more productive workforce, according to a new University of Melbourne study.

Dr Brent Coker, from the Department of Management and Marketing, says that workers who engage in ‘Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing’ (WILB) are more productive than those who don’t. “People who do surf the Internet for fun at work – within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office – are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t,” he says.

“Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online under the pretense that it costs millions in lost productivity, however that’s not always the case.”

Kudos to Coker. Companies that ban sites such as Facebook undermine the morale of…

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14 Comments | Tags: Work


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