Strained my eyeballs reading stuff this week. Let’s dig in:

6 Reasons Why Social Games Are the Next Advertising Frontier

Image via Mashable

One of my clients develops episodic social games, and their data confirms how effective engaging, in-game ads can be. A lot of people pooh-pooh advertising in the social age on general principle, but given a certain degree of innovation, I think there’s still a place for them.

5 Predictions for 2011 From IDC

None of these are particularly eye-opening, but IDC’s expectation of 25 billion mobile apps sold via various app stores is something to think about. We’re moving to an app ecosystem where simple web tools that enhance users’ lifestyles are becoming a ubiquitous part of life. Imagine where that could take us in 20 years where we’ll be downloading apps directly to implants attached to our five senses. I’m not seeing much in app futures right now, but the premise is sound.

When Futures Thinking Meets Design Thinking

So one of my favorite reads is Venessa Miemis‘s blog emergent by design. Venessa is the first futurist-in-training I’ve met who sought a formal education in futurism. I got to meet her at Stowe Boyd‘s Social Business Edge earlier this year in New York, and I was blown away by her innate creativity and motivation to discover what’s next. It’s people like Venessa that we should be listening to as they punch through the bubble of the present mundanity and shape positive visions of the future.¬†In this post, Venessa describes Jamais Cascio‘s (another AWESOME futurist you should be paying attention to) process for Futures Thinking. It’s a process I’m going to put to work on some of my client projects. For more, Venessa posted a follow-up called 3 Tools for Futures Thinking and Foresight Development that examines some things that can help you put Futures Thinking into practical application.

Always Be Thinking About These Things

Some excellent advice for creatives, independents and misifts from Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity. AONC is actually one of the coolest looking blogs I’ve seen in a while, and I’m having fun navigating Chris’s community and discovering old works of his. His commentary is soul food for creatives and wanderers.

Friday Five: Leading Digital Ethnographers

Every time I get ready to delete my content feed for Edelman Digital, they put out something like this. This post is a really great roundup of researchers conducting studies into the emerging field of digital anthropology. Each one has taken a slightly different approach to the task of segmenting internet users for study, and there are some fascinating links to their stories and work contained within. As an aside, last year I worked with a social networking research team at a company called Detica. My teammates were young, talented analysts with digital research aptitudes, culturally relevant skills in other languages, and a whole lot of code-monkeying savvy. Our work was very similar to what Edelman describes as digital anthropology but my teammates – ever the AWESOME crowd – coined the term “netnography” for the type of work we were doing. One of these days, I’m gonna get that to stick somewhere…

Why Wikileaks Is Good for America

4channers Go After PayPal, Swiss Bank in Defense of Wikileaks

I could go on and on with links to commentary about Wikileaks’ recent diplomatic cable dump and the subsequent storm of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against it and in defense of it. This issue is probably one of the most fascinating communications events I have ever experiences. I’ve been on both sides of this debate. Having worked in the Pentagon and understanding the necessities of operational security, I’m on one hand appalled by Wikileaks’ behavior. (Moreso, I’m appalled by the inflammatory anti-American statements Julian Assange has made, but that’s a separate issue.) On the other hand, I’m loving the debate this is creating about what government transparency really is and can be. In this world where some podunk, know-nothing ass-clown NCO can lift the entire SIPRNET via CD-ROM and get it published to the Internet, can the federal government truly afford to continue adhering to default security classification just because they don’t want to deal with information getting out to the public? I’ve certainly been in situations where documents were classified for political reasons and not actual security, so the motivation to break down barriers to transparency is understandable. I just don’t think the way to do it is the Wikileaks way.

Even more fascinating in this situation has been 4chan and the Anonymous community of hacktivists basically declaring war against the internet outposts of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Amazon, and any other online service provider that cut off its services to Wikileaks. This constitutes a citizen-galvanized retaliatory strike against perceived injustice, and most of the U.S. govvies I know who are monitoring this issue are literally left scratching their heads. I’m also astounded that the U.S. military, its component commands, and even its contractors have virtually stuck their heads in the sand to avoid dealing with the implications of Wikileaks: some defense outfits I know of are scared to death of mentioning Wikileaks in public conversations because they think they’re going to get hacked and lose their security clearances.

All this begs for more thought, so I may develop a separate post about in the near future. I definitely think Wikileaks is forcing us to redefine what we consider “free press,” “mainstream media,” and notions of transparency. It’s just going to be a long, ugly debate getting to any kind of common ground.

Anonymous's OPERATION PAYBACK call to arms (Image via Gawker)

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