News, views and commentary from the telecoms sector across emerging markets and developing countries worldwide

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Connecting DTW to rivers of related content

I am always pleased when a reader of this blog takes the time to indicate that some of what is shared here has been useful. From time to time, I receive such feedback by email or in the comments box for a given blog entry. It's even more gratifying when somone points me towards a news item that had escaped my notice or suggests a topic which might be explored.

Part of what is pleasing about such communication is that it serves as confirmation of something that I only sensed when I decided to make DevelopingTelecomsWatch a part of my working week. I had come to believe that far too much of what is presented on telecoms industry news portals is focused on what's happening in the world's most developed economies and most mature markets for communications services. Too much for my purposes, that is - because for several years, I had made a living out of developing some knowledge and a network of telecoms sector contacts specifically in emerging markets and developing countries.

I am not alone, of course. It is in emerging markets that we see new licenses, new operations and robust subscriber growth. It is in emerging markets that we see innovative new business models deployed, as service providers and technology vendor realise that industry practices from the entirely different markets of Europe and North America, for example, cannot be easily re-purposed. Further - and this is an especially satisfying part of working in the higher growth markets - it is from developing countries that we so often hear stories of telecoms services making a real impact in the areas of economic development and the alleviation of poverty.

I won't claim that this blog is unique in its remit of discussing telecoms news and views specifically from emerging markets - but I don't know of many other blogs or news portals which share this particular purpose. So, while my list of 'noteworthy blogs' in the right-hand sidebar of this site consists entirely of links to useful sites, none of those links are to places where telecoms sector issues across all emerging markets regions are discussed. That this blog has a loyal readership, however, proves that the theme around which it's built is one which arouses interest around the world.

A challenge for me, then, is identifying new blogs, portals and articles whose interests overlap with my own. I would therefore welcome anything which makes it easier to interconnect with widely distributed communities of fellow digital citizens interested in the telecoms sector in emerging markets. It would be wonderful if this blog could be linked easily with extracts of related content in any format - text, video etc. - without asking readers to navigate away from the site. To do so would be to enrich readers' experience around the theme this blog and other sources of content might have in common. I am excited, therefore, by the potential of a new service named SmallRivers, which is designed to do exactly that.

This new service enables bloggers to attach a portable network to any chunk of content - to an entire blog or to a particular article. Bloggers grab a 'sticker' from and paste the code onto the relevant part of their own site. This enables others to contribute to your content and/or copy your sticker, pasting it into their own related content. Clicking on a SmallRivers sticker will open a sidebar showing everywhere else this same sticker can be found, what content can be found on those pages and what discussions are taking place on these blogs and websites.

SmallRivers is currently a 100% free service and it is my understanding that the developers only propose to charge (possibly) for more advanced functionality. I would like to see this initiative succeed, not least because it offers hope of connecting with like-minded souls and new opportunities for myself. I daresay many other readers would welcome the possibility too.

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