A thousand points of light

My hometown newspaper, The South China Morning Post (SCMP), recently went live with a reader driven mashup site dedicated to reporting environmental damage. The SCMP calls the site Citizen Map. It looks like it’s gaining traction. The public responded with more than 20 tip-offs in the first few days.

Mashups are nothing new. Typical examples include real estate listing databases married to neighborhood maps and school district information, sites that track epidemic outbreaks around the world and geo-location restaurant guides.

But most mashups are meant to broadcast a single author’s voice, or at least a single group’s message. What the SCMP has done looks a little different. The paper has put together a number of services, some commercial, some open source, that let other people generate the content around a theme. Arguably, user generated content is nothing new either. Think Twitter or Facebook.  But Twitter and Facebook cater to everyone, or at least try to.

I would guess that the SCMP has no idea where this is going to go but the framework is clear: the SCMP has created a point solution (in contrast to an enterprise or utility solution) to aggregate community generated information on environmental damage. Individual postings might lead to follow-up investigations, government responses (one hopes), name and shame reporting or public debate.

Synergy 2011

We just finished our start-of-the-year meetings in Hong Kong, Synergy 2011. Our resellers, who showed up in force, came from all over the world (you can find a list of NetDimensions resellers here).

Our resellers are a powerful, variegated group with clients large and small and up to the minute insights. They had a lot to say. I’ll share a couple of points that impressed me and give you a heads up on what our community is doing today and planning to do for the rest of the year.

In no particular order of importance: