Knowing and being known

(FYI - For those of you looking for the presentations from Saturdays Conference - read the post and scroll down!) James Poulter - Recommendation EconomyA big thank you to all of you who attended my sessions at the Christian New Media Conference on Saturday at City University, and a massive thank you to all who have contributed thoughts, ideas, comments and criticisms to the blog in the past 12 months as we have sought to explore together how we act out our faith in this changing time of communication, community and media. I am very proud to have picked up the 'Best Newcomer' gong at "The Bloggies" - the awards section of #CNMAC10 (Christian New Media Awards and Conference 2010) - but I really have you guys to thank for it.

At the conference on Saturday I explored how the Recommendation Economy is changing the way we create public persona's for ourselves, by sharing our likes, dislikes and recommendations  with one another online and how this will not only effect the way we spread the message of Jesus, of our churches and organisations and our own opinions through the web.

One of the keys to understanding the impact of the recommendation economy for the Church is understanding how it is affecting the way people come to "know and be known" - how we understand our place in the world through the exchange of information with one another. I think this is an interesting way to look at what community (that often overused word) really is. Community should always be a place where we are coming to know others and be known by them.

The recommendation economy is having real implications for the way we live our lives, with so many of us spending increasing amounts of time online as we migrate other communications and media consumption to the web, we inevitably begin to seek out community in this changing world. We have an innate need to search out others who share our likes, values and beliefs, for it is only in a context of community that we understand our place in the world - and I would argue that this is our default state of being, because it's God's default also.

We clearly see in scripture that God in three persons lives out his own existence in community, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit loving one another in the purest of senses, and that when God put Adam in the garden, his primary purpose was to share that state of knowing and being known with us, his people.

So is it any wonder that this evolving world of social media is so appealing to us at a human level? Do we not see in this place of technology, communication and ideas a reflection of the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Do we not see ourselves seeking out other to know and be known?

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Understanding Recommendation Markets - Part 1

In the past couple of weeks I have been exploring the concept of the Recommendation Economy here on the blog, and for those of you who have been following the conversation you will be well aware that everyone seems to have an opinion on this! (For the uninitiated check out the previous posts by clicking on the "Recommendation Economy" Tab above! Last week we explored the currency of the recommendation economy - the recommendation itself. This week we look at the second  element of the recommendation economy - recommendation markets.

What is a Recommendation Market?

A recommendation market is more difficult to define, as they take many forms, but like traditional economic markets they have similar hallmarks. Each market has it's own native traders, is effected by market forces (more on those next week) and has it's own exchange rate - all of which effect the value of a recommendation when it is traded in, out and between different recommendation markets.

We can examine recommendation markets through the lens of two categories:

Let's take each in turn. (Explanations below graphic!)

Network and Collective Recommendation Markets

Network Recommendation Markets:

Network recommendation markets are pretty easy to spot. You probably participate in them on a daily basis, they are our online workplaces, for some of us our homes, where we spend our time and also where we share our likes, dislikes, suggestions and recommendations.

In these markets recommendations can take many forms, from the humble (and entirely inadequate) "Like" to the most considered form of professional flattery and hob-nobbing - the Linkedin Recommendation. However the value of a recommendation, even for the same product, brand or service can change depending on which market you trade it in. - More on that in a moment.

Collective Recommendation Markets:

The c0llective recommendation market is a little harder to spot. Mainly because, unlike the networks market, it doesn't tend to live in just on place, under one URL or behind one login and password. Here we are thinking more of blogs, online new sites or podcasts, which on their own may not constitute a market as they tend to be more outlets of an individual (or editorial team) as opposed to a network of people linked by a predefined eco-system (such as Facebook or Linkedin).

However we know that no blogger exists in a vacuum (despite a few carrying on like they are) - and with many bloggers coming together to form club, groups and networks there is a growth in different Collective Markets growing... you may think of the likes of Gawker Media, British Mummy Bloggers, TechCrunch or Mashable here.

These collective markets, due to their respective mediums of communication arguably exchange richer value recommendations, as blog posts (at the least the well written ones), podcasts or online news sites often have more consideration taken over their content than the click happy tweeter or Facebook addict.

Part 2 - Next week... Trading in Recommendation Markets

Next week we will look at how the value of a recommendation changes when exchanged in a recommendation market, and begin to examine what market forces impact a recommendation market...

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