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September 18, 2006


Paul Morriss

...only book at the moment. Are you following Shel Israel as he does his book on communities? I think he referred me to your site originally.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Paul

Thanks for the comment. Yes, Naked Conversations is a brilliant book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel about the power of communities, in particular approaching it from a blogging point of view. Alan and I are both fans of both Shel and Robert, we quote them often and we mention Scoble a couple of times in our book. Naked Conversations is a great read and I urge all who visit our website to pick up a copy and read it.

That book is like many books on digital communities, however, limited in not covering the full scope of digital communities, for which right now our book is the only one. What do I mean? That book focuses on blogging. Definitely a very powerful and rapidly evolving part of digital communities - yet bloggers are only 5% of all web users, and only some 25% of web visitors read blogsites regularly. Yes, very important, but not a comprehensive look into communities. Online, meaning on the web and based on PCs, we have for example online dating, user-generated content, multiplayer videogaming, and virtual worlds - all which obviously have millions of users but which pose different issues than blogging alone. We do devote a whole chapter to blogging, but we go beyond that. Like we have a whole chapter on multiplayer gaming and we have Habbo Hotel the childrens virtual world as one of our case studies. So you'd need to add a book like Mark Curtis's Distractions to get that virtual worlds view to add to Naked Conversations.

But very importantly, the online (PC based) digital communities are only one of three major "platforms" where digital communities thrive today. That book really does not discuss mobile phones at all. Mobile phones outnumber PCs 2.5 to one, and while 19% of American youth maintain blogsites, in South Korea already 90% of their youth maintain ...MOBILE blogsites. You really cannot cover all of digital communities if you ignore its largest user base. So you'd need to add something like Howard Rheingold's book Smart Mobs, or Timo Kopomaa's City in your Pocket to get the mobile "dimension" if you will, to the digital community understanding.

And even with that you only have two of the three major platforms. How about interactive TV communities? SMS-to-TV chat like we cover in our book, the voting in Big Brother, Pop Idol, Survivor Island and Eurovision Song Contest etc. SMS-to-TV Rap? and so forth. Notice that if 250 million people read blog sites in the world, on Pop Idol formats alone (American Idol, Australian Idol, Neuvelle Star etc), across the 31 countries they have had 1.9 BILLION votes, which by conservative estimate has been counted to mean 350 million unique participants. This by Pop Idol viewers alone, not counting all the other reality TV shows and the night time SMS-to-TV chat etc. This is radical community behaviour by fans of a TV show, that was not possbile before. And for TV-interactivity, I do believe that still today, ours is the only book to cover these parts. And yes, we do have SMS-to-TV chat as one of our case studies.

That is what I meant by saying that if you want to understand digital communities, as of today, ours is the only book that covers all of it, from multiplayer gaming to blogging to online dating to user-generated content to mobile phone smart mobs to viral marketing to TV interactivity.

But yes, I STRONGLY recommend reading Naked Conversations, it is one of the best books about this topic, definitely, and in my view the best book about blogging today.

Does it make sense? I think you've read both haven't you Paul? What do you think?

Thanks for writing!

Tomi :-)

alan moore

Hi there Paul,

Shel and I met up at a conference and had a great conversation as part of a presentation. Like Tomi I would strongly urge anyone interested in theis space to read Robert and Shel's book.

I also agree with Tomi's sentiment so need to repeat.

You might also want to read the Wealth of Networks by Yale Law professor Yochai Benkler, and Convergence Culture by MIT professor Henry Jenkins and also The Support Economy by Soshana Zuboff

All are excellent

Thanks for posting



Online Community

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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