Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Snowsuit Effort - Sammi

Eloquent, visual, compelling. Check out The Snowsuit Effort , the work of photographer Ryan (last name?). Daily photographs of people from the streets of Detroit. Who needs words?

The power of the visual is something that is just now seeping into the corners of our online tribes.

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Mobile Phones and SMS for Addressing Development Needs

Via iConnect Online Welcome SMS technology for TB treatment there is another story which reinforces some experiences I have had in education in Africa. This time it is a health behavior approach. This is terrific. A doc in Cape Town was having problems because his mother kept forgetting to take her TB medicine. He started sending her SMS messages to remind her.
"It did not take him (Dr. Green) long to make the connection between the effectiveness that his SMS messages had on alerting his mother, the high incidence of TB in Cape Town, and the possibilities that bulk SMS messages could present. However, when he wanted to pilot his innovative idea with TB patients at a local clinic in Cape Town, he met with resistance. Healthcare professionals were skeptical about the number of patients who would have access to cell phones. Not deterred, Dr. Green went back, did research and persuaded them with statistics which indicated that over 50% of Cape Town residents have cell phones. In addition, he found that 71% of patients at the clinic he earmarked for the pilot had access to cell phones. The local health authority eventually agreed and paid R11.80 per patient per month to run the SMS reminder service. The results of the pilot have been outstanding: of the 138 patients involved in the pilot, there was only one treatment failure."
I find it interesting that he met resistance. It seems like a no brainer, but ya never know!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Grassroots Use of Technology - Conference April 15-16, 2005

From Jock Gill word of an interesting conference for those of you on the East Coast mid-April: Grassroots Use of Technology - Conference April 15-16, 2005. The conference lists these themes: a) Making technology relevant to communities b) Online politics post-2004 c) Uniting movements for social justice - Building coalitions, progressive infrastructure.
Here are the 12 workshops confirmed at this time:

  • Adopting Open Source Software in a Nonprofit Environment (Al Essa, Sloan School of Management, Carolyn Meeks, Aristoi)
  • CMSes are like Chocolate Bars (Alison Stanton, student, Miami University, formerly of Democracy for America)
  • Web Applications for Human Services Organizations (Scott Smith, Community TechKnowledge and Kevin Harris, Social Solutions)
  • Moving your website to the next level with Plone - an open source CMS (Nate Aune, Jazkarta Consulting -
  • Affordable Tools for Activist Outreach & Civic Engagement (Gregory Heller, Emily Thorsen/EchoDitto, Raj Singh, and Bob Lelievre)
  • Using a blog to get your group's message out (Aldon Hynes, blogger involved in the Dean for President effort)
  • Online Tools to Engage your Members and Donors: an Introduction (Deborah Elizabeth Finn, CyberYenta)
  • Technology for Labor Unions and Labor Organizers (Tanya Renne, Orchid Suites, Claire McDonough, SEIU Headquarters, and Wayne Langley, SEIU Local 615)
  • From zero to sixty: how your group can adopt online advocacy techniques (Josh Friedes, Freedom to Marry Coalition of MA)
  • Grassroots Technology and the Emerging Progressive Infrastructure (panel with Jo Lee, Zack Rosen, others TBA)
  • Adapting 'Alinsky-style' theories for online organizing (panel convened by Brian Reich, Mindshare Internet Consulting)
  • Ask The Experts: small group assistance for your organization (with Marty Kearns, Green Media Toolshed, Robert DeBenedictis, Sue Dorfman, and three others)
I have to say, I loved the title, "CMSes are like Chocolate Bars!"

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Community Creativity

Another reason to love Flikr - and Kastner.

CHMetallic Sch\CO_02Hollywood BOWLMetallic ATE

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Where the Internet Goes Bust, Radio Steps In

Another example of the power of conversation and bridging technologies from scidev-africa-oct04.pdf
A Cameroonian woman pulls a small, battered micro-cassette recorder from her bag and disappears into a cornfield, heading for a group of women working there. Beckoning an agricultural support worker to join the group, she begins to record the conversation. Martha Motoko Biongo is a local journalist specialising in gender and agriculture who works on a project entitled ‘Linking Agricultural Research and Rural Radio’. It seeks to use rural radio to communicate information about science and technologybased innovations emerging from agricultural research. The project was set up in 2000 as part of a wider regional initiative backed by the University of Guelph, Canada; the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network; Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

”The project empowers women and increases their access to agricultural technologies,’” she says. “It gives them better access to innovations, and challenges the subsistence agricultural roles they often have had to play.” It is based on the idea that strengthening partnerships between farmers, researchers and radio broadcasters allows women to become involved in dialogue about issues that can improve their lives.

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BetterBadNews on Sexism

Set aside your beverage so you don't spew on your keyboard while laughing and check out BetterBadNews
"The BetterBadNews panel examines rank sexism in the technorati priesthood skewering gender norms overdue for an upgrade.
This short video blogcast (same as a podcast but without the misleading brand name) remixes Shelley Powers, Jeff Jarvis, Maureen Dowd, Valerie Solanas and the blogherconrati. "
Now on to the Gender Genie to see how my writing parses: male or female. Who needs TV? (My snippet parsed as male, by the way. I'll post that later when Blogger is not acting so F***** up.

, , ,

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Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More

Via Giulio Quaggiotto on the KM for Development group --- Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More from a January 25th, 2005 presentation by Nick Finck, Mary Hodder, and Biz Stone. This presentation is available online at:

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Technology For Communities

Sean Callahan points out the new blog Etienne Wenger, John Smith, Kim Rowe and I are working on. I love it when my friends blog my work before I do. Shows you how far behind I am!Anecdote: complexity - narrative - knowledge: Technology For Communities
The guys (and gal) at CPsquare have created a new blog which will feature discussions about how technology can support communities of practice. Etienne’s original paper is available with a new, totally revised, version published this year (in both French and English). Highly recommended reading for those involved in community of practice development.
Just to clarify, the new report is not, alas, yet done. The CEFRIO chapter is available on the site with links to Etienne's original work. Now, if we could just carve out enough time to finish this baby! (Unpaid) labors of love often get on the lower end of the to-do list! I have two case study edits on my to do list this week!

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

J.B. Walther - Some interesting publications

Rosanna Tarsiero pointed me to this interesting set of papers by Joseph B. Walther. (Update. Dr. Walther moved institutions, so the above link is updated as of October 2007. I added a few more since this blog post was offered in 2005! He also has another list of things to read about CMC.)

Walther, J. B. (2007). Selective self-presentation in computer-mediated communication: Hyperpersonal dimensions of technology, language, and cognition. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 2538-2557.

Pena, J., Walther, J. B., & Hancock, J. T. (2007). Effects of geographic distribution on dominance perceptions in computer-mediated groups. Communication Research, 34, 313-331.

{PDF**}Walther, J. B., & Bazarova, N. (2007). Misattribution in virtual groups. Human Communication Research, 33, 1-26.

Wickham, K., & Walther, J. B. (2007). Perceived behaviors of emergent and assigned leaders in virtual groups. International Journal of E-Collaboration (Special Issue on Virtual Team Leadership), 3, 1-17.

Walther, J. B. (2006). Nonverbal dynamics in computer-mediated communication, or : ( and the net : ( ‘s with you, : ) and you : ) alone. In V. Manusov & M. L. Patterson (Eds.), Handbook of nonverbal communication (pp. 461-479). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Walther, J. B., & Bunz, U. (2005). The rules of virtual groups: Trust, liking, and performance in computer-mediated communication. Journal of Communication, 55, 828-846.

Walther, J. B., Gay, G., & Hancock, J. T. (2005). How do communication and technology researchers study the Internet? Journal of Communication, 55, 632-657.

{WWW} Walther, J. B., Pingree, S., Hawkins, R., & Buller, D. (2005). Attributes of interactive online health information systems. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 7 (3).

{WWW} Nowak, K., Watt, J. H., & Walther, J. (2005). The influence of synchrony and sensory modality on the person perception process in computer mediated groups. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10 (3).

Walther, J. B., Loh, T., & Granka, L. (2005). Let me count the ways: The interchange of verbal and nonverbal cues in computer-mediated and face-to-face affinity. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 24, 36-65.

Walther, J. B., Bunz, U., & Bazarova, N. (2005). The rules of virtual groups. Proceedings of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Walther. J. B. (2004). Language and communication technology: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 23, 384-396.

{WWW} Walther, J. B., Wang, Z., & Loh, T. (2004). The effect of top-level domains and advertisements on health web-site credibility. Journal of Medical Internet Research.

{PDF} Nowak, K. L., Watt, J., & Walther, J. B. (2004). Contrasting time mode and sensory modality in the performance of computer-mediated groups using asynchronous videoconferencing. Proceedings of the 2004 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Walther, J. B., & Parks, M. R. (2002). Cues filtered out, cues filtered in: Computer-mediated communication and relationships. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), Handbook of interpersonal communication (3rd ed., pp. 529-563). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rabby, M., & Walther, J. B. (2002). Computer-mediated communication impacts on relationship formation and maintenance. In D. Canary & M. Dainton (Eds.), Maintaining relationships through communication: Relational, contextual, and cultural variations (pp. 141-162). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Walther, J. B. (2002). Time effects in computer-mediated groups: Past, present, and future. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler (Eds.), Distributed work (pp. 235-257). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

{WWW}Walther, J. B., & Boyd, S. (2002). Attraction to computer-mediated social support. In C. A. Lin & D. Atkin (Eds.), Communication technology and society: Audience adoption and uses (pp 153-188). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

{WWW}Walther, J. B. (2002). Research ethics in Internet-enabled research: Human subjects issues and methodological myopia. Ethics and Information Technology, 4, 205-216.

Tidwell, L. C., & Walther, J. B. (2002). Computer-mediated communication effects on disclosure, impressions, and interpersonal evaluations: Getting to know one another a bit at a time. Human Communication Research, 28, 317-348.

Ramirez, Jr., A., Walther, J. B., Burgoon, J. K., & Sunnafrank, M. (2002). Information seeking strategies, uncertainty, and computer-mediated communication: Toward a conceptual model. Human Communication Research, 28, 213-228.

{PDF}Walther, J. B., Boos, M., & Jonas, K. (2002). Misattribution and attributional redirection in distributed virtual groups. Proceedings of the 35th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

{PDF}Watt, J. H., Walther, J. B., & Nowak, K. L. (2002). Asynchronous videoconferencing: A hybrid communication prototype. Proceedings of the 35th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Walther, J. B., & D'Addario, K. P. (2001). The impacts of emoticons on message interpretation in computer-mediated communication. Social Science Computer Review, 19, 323-345.

{WWW} Burton, M. C., & Walther, J. B. (2001). The value of web log data in use-based web design and testing. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 6 (3).

Walther, J. B., Slovacek, C., & Tidwell, L. C. (2001). Is a picture worth a thousand words? Photographic images in long term and short term virtual teams. Communication Research, 28, 105-134.

{PDF} Burton, M. C., & Walther, J. B. (2001). A survey of web log data and their application to use-based design. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Walther, J. B. (2001). Virtual audiences. In T. O. Sloane (Ed.), Encyclopedia of rhetoric (pp. 72-75). New York: Oxford University Press.

Walther, J. B., & Reid, Larry D. (February 4, 2000). Understanding the allure of the Internet. Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. B4-B5.

Walther, J. B. (1999). Die Beziehungsdynamik in virtuellen Teams (The relational dynamics in virtual teams). In M. Boos, K. J. Jonas, & K. Sassenberg (Eds.), Computervermittelte Kommunikation in Organisationen (Virtual communication in organizations), pp. 11-25. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.

Jonas, K. J., Boos, M., & Walther, J. (1999). Motivation und Medienkompetenz als zentrale Erfolgsfaktoren für virtuelle Seminare. In U.-D. Reips, B. Batinic, W. Bandilla, M. Bosnjak, L. Gräf, K. Moser, & A. Werner (Eds.), Current Internet science: Trends, techniques, results (Aktuelle Online Forschung: Trends, Techniken, Ergebnisse). Zürich: Online Press.

Walther, J. B. (1997). Group and interpersonal effects in international computer-mediated collaboration. Human Communication Research, 23, 342-369.

Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23, 3-43.

Walther, J. B., & Tidwell, L. C. (1996). When is mediated communication not interpersonal? In K. M. Galvin & P. J. Cooper (Eds.), Making connections: Readings in relational communication (pp. 300-307). Los Angeles: Roxbury.

Walther, J. B., & Tidwell, L. C. (1995). Nonverbal cues in computer-mediated communication, and the effect of chronemics on relational communication. Journal of Organizational Computing, 5, 355-378.

Burgoon, J. K., Buller, D. B., Dillman, L., & Walther, J. B. (1995). Interpersonal deception: IV. Effects of suspicion on perceived communication and nonverbal behavior dynamics. Human Communication Research, 22, 163-196.

Walther, J. B. (1995). Relational aspects of computer-mediated communication: Experimental observations over time. Organization Science, 6, 186-203.

Walther, J. B., Anderson, J. F., & Park, D. (1994). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A meta-analysis of social and anti-social communication. Communication Research, 21, 460-487.

Walther, J. B. (1994). Anticipated ongoing interaction versus channel effects on relational communication in computer mediated interaction. Human Communication Research, 20, 473-501.

Walther, J. B. (1993). Impression development in computer-mediated interaction. Western Journal of Communication, 57, 381-398.

Walther, J. B. (1993). Construction and validation of a quantitative measure of impression development. Southern Communication Journal, 59, 27-33.

Albrecht, T. L., Johnson, G., & Walther, J. B. (1993). Understanding communication processes in focus groups. In D. Morgan (Ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art (pp. 51-64). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Walther, J. B., & Burgoon, J. K. (1992). Relational communication in computer-mediated interaction. Human Communication Research, 19, 50-88.

Burgoon, J. K., Walther, J. B., & Baesler, E. J. (1992). Interpretations, evaluations, and consequences of interpersonal touch. Human Communication Research, 19, 237-263.

Walther, J. B. (1992). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A relational perspective. Communication Research, 19, 52-90.

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The Well Turns 20

On April 1st, the Well will begin it's 20th year. As part of the community celebration, Howard Rheingold, Cliff Figallo and friends are looking back in the Well's public view conference, Inkwell.view. For those who love a good community story, click into Engaged: Conference: inkwell.vue. Here is a snippet to whet your appetite for this conversation which will continue for the next two weeks.

Howard writes:
"The ghosts have been awakened. Just starting to write about this has conjured spirits in my mind. Thoughts of dhawk, casey, mandel, and rab are entering my mind, seemingly unbidden, as I go about my other tasks. As so many people testified at his memorial, dhawk had this quiet way of taking newcomers under his wing and showing us the ropes. I know that Cliff has written about this before -- the geekiness of PicoSpan and Unix made it necessary for old-timers to teach newcomers the ropes. And that turned out to be important. Casey used to smack me around so much about the 'community' business. Over the years, I've come to agree with much of what she was saying -- and yet, she was also one of the secret sharers who took so many newcomers under her wing. And toward the end, she was certainly a beneficiary of quiet community outreach."

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Flickr: Transparent Screens

What an amazing expression of creativity. Check out Flickr: Transparent Screens
About Transparent Screens

Optical illusions created by photographing what's behind your screen and using it as a wallpaper.

Rules are simple :
You CAN'T use a blue background and chromakey the photo into your screen. It has to be a real photo of your screen (I know it's hard with the glare and stuff, but with the right lighting it'll work).

[Via Christian Crumlish]

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Bill Harris - The power of "and"

Bill Harris is kicking into gear with his blog. Here is a snippet of a piece from this week.
"...we do ourselves and our colleagues a disservice when we act as if there are only two alternatives and they are mutually exclusive: hard-nosed or touchy-feely, profit or people, the environment or the economy, Left or Right. Often when we do that, we follow up by saying that one of the alternatives is good and the other bad. Life is much richer than that, even business life.

I'm beginning to suspect that categorizing everything as mutually exclusive extremes, as in the preceding list, is but one example of the human failing that led to 'the map is not the territory.' Maps are handy, but only when we realize they are aids, not reality. They help us find our way quickly, but they're less often helpful in puzzling situations. When faced with a puzzle, we're more likely to understand how to proceed when we ignore the map and investigate the reality or, lacking that, when we try multiple maps to see if one (or a combination) can help us make sense of the puzzle we face...I've found we can save ourselves a lot of work and make much useful progress if we stay open to the idea that the best answer to a question might also be found somewhere in the middle, perhaps using bits of one extreme and the other, or perhaps using yet another idea not part of either extreme."
And is your friend. The map is not the territory. The listserv is not the community. Little dictums to remind ourselves that the representations we use to communicate can trip us up in their simplification. And...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Creating Passionate Users: Interaction vs. one-way communication

Kathy Sierra has a wonderful post on Interaction vs. one-way communication, sharing a story about reactions to her interactive tutorial at E-Tech. A MUST READ for those who design online or F2F interactions! (And another blog on my list... wow!)

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Ben Brown and Connections

Ben Brown posted a great story a few days ago, Virtual Community Boards, Missed Connections Not Missed, and Ambient Noise
He recounts two incidents of people who did not intentionally set out to connect and help each other do just that via a spontaneous, in-room chat.
While I was sitting in Ana Marie Cox's keynote at SXSW the other day, I popped open the 'Rendezvous' window in iChat. Rendezvous allows you to see people who are using iChat nearby, even if you don't have them on your chat friend's list. I've never seen more than one person on my list, even at popular net cafes here in Austin. At the keynote, there were easily 80 people on my list.

I was suprised to see that most of the people on the list had used the little status message feature to indicate that they were at SXSW. Some said they were in the keynote. And some said exactly what seat they were in...I was trying to write a post about the keynote for Austinist, and wanted a picture of Ms. Cox speaking. Unfortunately, I was stuck way in the back behind Tantek's giant head, so I couldn't get a photo. So, I set my status message to a call for help.

Can you take a photo?

Just seconds later, Joshua Greenberg, a guy I had met the night before in a drunken stupor, IM-ed to offer a photo. He took it, synced it to his computer, resized it, and sent it over IM. It took about 2 minutes.

I got the photo, logged in to Austinist's MovableType system, and uploaded it for my post. That took another minute. The photo was up on the web, and people in the room and also people all over the world.

So, what happened? Why is this interesting to me?

Joshua and I posted a virtual message on a message board that did not exist physically, but was tied to a specific location. He responded, and was able to take advantage of his slightly better vantage point to record a notable experience. He transmitted a digital photo, first over a wire, then over the airwaves to me, where I transferred it over airwaves then wires to a server somewhere in New York. While the notable event was still occuring, two strangers collaborated to share the event with the world, and record it for posterity. It all took about three minutes.

Later in the piece, Ben writes:
Both of these things made me think about how interesting this temporary, location-based virtual community board was, and how it had arisen, not from a software package specifically designed for this purpose, but from the convergence of few random existing technologies. And the designers of these technologies doubtfully had this sort of thing in mind. It was simply people realizing they could use familiar technologies in new and social ways to enhance a shared physical experience. It was as if the net was an added layer upon the real physical world -- something you simply need peer through a lense to see.
It is exactly this last bit that has me excited too. When I think of the work we are trying to do at
TechnologyforCommunities, it is exactly this kind of appropriation and use driven by the people USING the technology that excites us. It is great when designers can figure out and design cool stuff, but it is magical when people can apply tools in the moment in ways that are OF that moment. That's magic.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Welcome Bill Harris to the Blogosphere

My colleague and friend, Bill Harris of Facilitated Systems has joined the blogosphere. I'm thrilled to hear this because he writes some great stuff. A blog and RSS will make his voice more accesssible. Check out Making Sense With Facilitated Systems

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ed and Social Software for the New Parent

Edward Vielmetti had a thought provoking piece on "Social software for the new parent." He wrote:
The notion of social software is that you can use computer systems to talk to other people, not just to deal with databases of information. There's a human touch to social systems, and they are the sorts of online artifacts that draw a community around them."
. Then Ed went on to describe social software for new parents including photo sharing, baby blogs, etc.

This is a good example of how the context drives the tools and the types of desired interactions. It is quite delightful to see the online space get more diverse reflecting how people are seeing the potential in many more ways. Like life, eh?

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And now for something purely chocolate

Ed Vielmetti pointed me to this blogged recipe for Soft Centered Chocolate Pudding Cakes
"What is not to like about a recipe that starts with 14 oz of chocolate and 14 tablespoons of butter? Bring on the Lipitor!"
Kate, it looks fantastic. Love the picture of the butter and chocolate. And this one...

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Yahoo buys Flickr

Kris Krug was right. Yahoo aquired Ludicorp/Flickr.
Holy smokes, SOMEBODY out there is bad at keeping secrets!! Yes! We can finally confirm that Yahoo has made a definitive agreement to acquire Flickr and us, Ludicorp. Smack the tattlers and pop the champagne corks!
I've been watching/playing with Flickr because I'm intrigued about the role pictures (and other visuals) play in connecting us online. Looks like there is more to keep watching!


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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Mama JunkYard's- Not Just Junk!

Mama JunkYard's- Not Just Junk! was a treat for me this morning, as I feel too sick to work on a writing project, but felt the pull of my blog reader. I found it via a comment she posted to my post on Blogging While Black panel at SXSW Interactive. (Which reminds me, I really want to follow up on comments and I haven't. I wonder why?)

MJY blogs from Kenya and this entry led me to a circle of amazing women bloggers.

Having been to Kenya just once, my experience was small and fleeting. But what impressed me were the women who were organizing in Nairobi to create change. The same as my experience in visiting Cape Town, South Africa.

To be able to connect with this circle of women is a gift that exemplifies the value of online networks and communities. I am taken outside of my experience, given another perspective and then can weave it back into my reality. I, in turn, can offer things out to the world.

Thank you, Mamma Junk Yard, for a beautiful and tangible reminder.

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Bioteaming: A Manifesto For Networked Business Teams

I'm so far behind on links it makes my flu feel even worse. Sigh. Here is a piece from February by Ken Thompson and Robin Good. I have just skimmed and it seems to contain a lot of the current wisdom on virtual teams. Take a peek. Bioteaming: A Manifesto For Networked Business Teams - Online Collaboration and Web Conferencing Breaking News -
"As enterprises gradually decentralize their operations and new networked business ecosystems start to find their way into profitable niche marketplaces, virtual, networked business teams gradually emerge as the wave of the future."
Robin has also pinged me on a new documentary project and again, I' have fallen behind. Maybe next week.... ;-)

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Why Craigslist Works, by Craig

ChangeThis :: Why Craigslist Works, by CraigCraig Newmark's "Change This" manifesto on his online community, craigslist. He gets down to the core.
"Unless we listen to our community very carefully, theyʼll find another site that works better for them. We have many public discussion boards on our site including a feedback forum. We really listen to suggestions and complaints on the boards, and we donʼt make any big changes on the site without first discussing it with the community. Everyone has a voice on the site, and we listen to them all equally, which seems to be the most democratic approach."

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Teaching Writing, Collaboration, and Engagement in Global Contexts: The Drupal Alternative to Proprietary Courseware | cyberdash

The slide show (from Feb 16), available through Teaching Writing, Collaboration, and Engagement in Global Contexts: The Drupal Alternative to Proprietary Courseware (cyberdash) is a nice overview of alternatives to propriatary LMS. Having worked globally, I have witnessed the failures of big systems and the power of open systems. The main challenge that remains with the open source solutions is the skill it takes to set up and configure them. From what I hear from my tech friends, this is the territory many of them are working in. I also hear that funding is an issue.
"This afternoon, Samantha Blackmon, David Blakesley, and I will be giving a presentation at Purdue University's 2005 Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference. View the Shockwave version or download the original OpenOffice presentation format. This presentation is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license."

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Tild ~: Return of She-blogger

This is too good to resist:

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SXSW Session Notes - Lawver Wiki

If you are looking for more session notes from SXSW, or have some to contribute, check out SXSW Session Notes - Lawver Wiki:
Hey! If you're going to take notes on a session, just wrap the title in two square brackets, and then edit away. If you see a red link, that means I've created the link already, but there's no content there. If it's blue, that means someone's edited it. If you have something to add, and it's after the session, go right ahead. If it's during the session, it's probably being edited at that very moment, and anything you write will be overwritten - so try to be nice."

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Five Lenses: Towards a Toolkit for Interaction Design, by Tom Erickson

Tom Erickson is a joy to read. Via Elearningpost I was led to a new piece, Five Lenses: Towards a Toolkit for Interaction Design. Here is a fairly hefty snippet. Go read the whole thing! GOOD STUFF!
"The Roving Tribes of Interaction Design

This volume is concerned with establishing foundations for interaction design. 'Foundations' strikes me as an ambitious metaphor, suggesting, as it does, a solid base upon which a single, unified edifice will be erected. And, following the metaphor a step further, it assumes the existence of a stable, well organized community with a shared set of values that is ready to embark upon a such construction project.

I don't believe these assumptions hold up. To me, the state of interaction design feels more primitive. Rather than being an organized community, interaction design feels closer to being composed of a number of roving tribes who occasionally enounter one another, warily engage, and, finding the engagements stimulating, remain open to other encounters.

If this is the case, how do we make progress? I suggest that rather than trying to construct a unified, coherent account of interaction design, we would do better to take a more syncretic approach, gathering appropriate concepts and exploring their interplay without, however, insisting on resolving their tensions and contradictions.

In this essay I explore these issues. I begin with a definition, and illustrate my approach to partitioning the terrain of interaction design using five conceptual 'lenses.' In so doing, I cover most of what I see as the theoretical roots of interaction design. I then turn to the role of theory in interaction design, and suggest that a good way to begin is to assemble a toolkit of concepts for interaction design that consists of appropriately sized theoretical constructs.
Interaction Design

I define interaction design quite broadly:

Interaction design has to do with the design of any artifact, be it an object, system, or environment, whose primary aim is to support either an interaction of a person with the artifact, or an interaction among people that is mediated by the artifact.

Although some see interaction design as particularly concerned with digital systems--either computer systems or artifacts with embedded computational capabilities--I see no reason to exclude humbler artifacts. The forces that shape our interactions, from perceptual and motor processes such as seeing and touching, to social and cultural phenomena such as imitation and fashion, are agnostic with respect to whether an artifact contains digital components. Indeed, much of what we understand about the design of non-digital artifacts--whether it be how to make a switch with a satisfying 'click,' or how clothing functions as a means of expressing identity--are applicable, as well, to digital systems. Finally, as computer systems become increasingly embedded in our artifacts and environments, and even the most mundane objects are tagged and tracked by digital systems, our ability to discriminate between the digital and the non-digital will fade, even should we wish to maintain it."

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Setting up a High-Tech Language School? - Heike Philp

Heike posts a great article on using online tools for language learning. She has been doing some amazing work with the European Union.Setting up a High-Tech Language School?
Do you wish to upgrade your language school and do not know how to go about it? What kind of technology is worth the investment? These were the questions posted on slashdot in a forum at the end of last year. The forum post received a staggering 322 commentsin a matter of 2 days and includes a host of technical gems and at the same time criticism, not to use any kind of technology at all in language learning...

What kind of technology is suitable for language learning? Why criticise the use of technology in class? What is missing in the overall picture?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Ribs and brisket... now you see it... Posted by Hello

All gone! The meat-a-thon ends! Posted by Hello

More pictures from Jon Lebkowsky

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Post SWSW Texas BBQ Dinner

About a dozen of us from the various democracy/advocacy panels at SXSW headed out for dinner at Ironworks for ribs and brisket. Umm, yummy, greasy meat-a-thon.

Now I need some time to process and wrap up my experiment of looking at the conference through the lens of women's presence and participation.The percentages were not surprising at all. It would be good to find out the registration estimates from SXSW (I recognize they don't ask for gender when you register, but I wonder if they keep track.) What was useful was to keep one frame, one lens in mind as I participated and experienced the event. What if I had taken the lens of a man, or a black person? Could I take a lens that was of an identity not my own? I don't think so. What if I had planned this in tandem with others who took on different lenses? What would our experiences look like stacked up side to side?

I have not looked at the speaker breakdown for gender or any other defining character. Worth looking at.

For me, there seems no reason from a content perspective why SXSW would not attract fairly equal proportions of men and women. So the question is, why is it still 2/3rds to 3/4rs men?

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SXSW: Democracy and Technology

10 of 55 in the room are women

Jery Michalski (

    Little list of the obstacles (presumptions, fallacies, etc.)
  • People don’t know what they want
  • Focus groups fail at innovation
  • People don’t know what’s good for them, so we need benign representative democracy
  • People are easy to spin – sock puppets (Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion)
  • BJ Fogg, Persuasive Technologies
  • The Madness of Crowds, the old book
  • The Wisdom of Crowds, the new book
  • Denial of Discourse attacks
  • Consumer politics
  • The failure of media to figure out what’s going on and to report on it, fair and balanced
  • Push polling
  • Money talks
  • People have bad judgement (behavioral economics) – fallacies, enumeracy, we don’t understand statistics
  • Our memory plays tricks on us
  • We make hasty judgements better than our more considered judgement – why deliberate (if you just glance at the Blink issue)
  • Overwhelming or scary – they Tyranny of Choice
  • People can’t actually communicate with each other so why bother. Dialog is too hard
  • What causes any individual to soften up enough to consider the possibility of changing some strongly held belief. Jed Miller, WebLab, people more likely to change their mind about another person than change their mind about the issue they are discussing together.

With this all too pessimistic start off Jerry passes to Jon Lebkowsky

Jon Lebkowsky – long time activist, publisher, technologist and then got involved in online activism, now evolving a guide for activists called Virtual Bonfire. It was going to be a book. As part of the book research, Nodal Politics (missed a bunch due to battery issues… oops) This is a pretty big undertaking, you have to have some kind of skilled facilitation to make it work. People have difficulty communicating and it requires some level of support. So I came to this point of Democracy and Technology. There is a promise in the technologies we have begun to develop for the internet, more highly interactive social software. The hope is to facilitate more widely meaningful participation and discussion.

Ethan Zuckerman – Based out of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. For the last decade technology and entrepreneurship in the developing world. We all throw modifiers on top of democracy because no one wants to deal with the entire span. I’m going to talk about semiotic democracy through a story. What happens before the deliberative process. How do we get information out of the media. New World Information Communication Order NWICO, debate in UNESCO. As satellite TV came into play starting in 1964 there were a lot of questions from developing nations why there has not been news from the developing nations. We can do it now, why is it not making it into European and American media. Shawn McBride put together an amazing report, so controversial that it caused the US, UK and >>>> to drop out of UNESCO. The fundamental idea was that underrepresented nations had a right to appear in the media of the developed world. Three reasons: if you are looking for economic development someone needs to know what you export. 2) if you are having a famine they could send you food. 3) if you are hosting a genocide, the UN can come and intervene. Debate about this right. Northern media took one look at this and said you aren’t going to tell us what to do, speech issue and our audiences don’t want it. Great story. If you did into the story what you realize is a lot of this had to do with the media, broadcast television. Now we have a secondary media revolution with an infinite number of channels and anyone with a computer or even a cell phone has access. Now constrained to attention. What ends up happening is we largely pay attention to each other. I pay attention to the people on this panel.

Same attention problem 25 years later. At the first instance we had a limited table. Now are we really ready to transform our social universe and open this debate to a much larger group. These tools have an amazing potential to let people deliberate. But the only work with those who use the tools. The direction we are in extreme danger in going, while these tools are being picked up as a leading bridger of the digital divide, but people going into their own echo chambers by language or other forms and losing the ability to relate to each other. We have the opportunity for a global conversation, but we talk to our like kinds. My hope for the future of semiotic democracy in that we see people standing up as bridge figures. Even more importantly, people bridging language and culture.

Rebecca MacKinnon – Recovering TV correspondent turned blogger. Worked for CNN in China and Japan for many years. How blogs might help us compensate for the mainstream media, working with Ethan at the Berkman Center and figure out where it is going and how we can create a more democratic conversation. Better democracy requires a better media, better news, better information. Theorists have talked… citizens cannot make informed decisions without the proper information. How journalism defined, provide citizens the information they need to be free and self governing. Democracy that we think can be improved. How do we improve the way we get and discuss information so we can have a better Democracy. As a journalist frustrated, most journalists want to inform the public, but news executives are seeking to maximize profits. The primary goal of news companies. How do we bring media back to a place where it services a democratic citizenry, equipped to make intelligent voting choices, to run, to lobby. This is only going to happen from the public. Media is not going to change. Blogs are a great way to highlight the inadequacies of the mainstream media and demand more responsibility. The mainstream media is trying to incorporate the audience more than in the past. Seeing their declining ratings. Greensboro S.C. trying to integrate citizen journalism.

Where do we go from here. How do we create a system of information and deliberation. There is some fear, the cyber mob, the tyranny of the majority of white geeks, how do you bring other socio economic groups online who are not blogging into the conversation so it is more representative of the population at large. How do you convince a person on welfare they should be blogging so their POV and interests can be heard if they can barely read/write and have 6 kids. Maybe you should not be getting them to blog, but get their voices included in other ways. As we think of a more democratized system of media. Where do we watch out where we tell people what we think they should do. Watch more news and less Lacy Peterson. Here is why it matters to you as a citizen. Without forcing them, how do you get them to pay more attention and be more participatory. To what extent are we trying to get people to adapt their behavior. What do they want to do, how, and how do we create new tools to the realities of how most human beings are inclined to spend their time and direct their attention.

Mitch Ratcliff – Editor of the other newsletter, Digital Media. Reporter. Built first online streaming news service. First web journalist to go on Air force one. Now launching a new company that maps social networks at a blink to surface information about relationships. Been tasked with trying to summarize the book, “Extreme Democracy” which Jon and I are co-editing. Taking principles of extreme programming, small groups working fast iterations for improvement, not assuming you are finished but you have more changes to make. Can be used to develop tools, policies and political strategies to respond to the changing competition. It is a form of politics that requires creating a string of small successes. Volunteers don’t burn out when there is some success. We gained a point in the polls, raised money. Small results build up into movements over time. Howard Dean – once this thing started it was unstoppable. WE became impatient. Dean had strengths and weaknesses. When the weaknesses turned up we turned away. He was not a good coalition builder, but good pot stirrer. IN terms of technology and democracy, there is this assumption that if you online connect good things will happen. I think if you only connect you get the same range of human behavior we see in society. Fascism, democracy, generosity, greed. Technology amplifies but does not solve. As we looked at technology over the last couple of days have heard some people trying to prove how technology supports democracy. We should instead be looking at what is broken. The small things will matter. It may make something of progressivism which it does not need to be. Analysis of power. When you start organizing politically, you have to adjust your strategies as you go. American politics is painted as a struggle between two poles. I don’t think it is. Book, “Creating a Learning Culture” and wrote about invisible dogmas we create in systems. For instance a VP of marketing says measure success like this. He moves on but measure stays and atrophies the system over time. We need a practice of historiography for our political tools and systems. A literary study of the previous writings about history. History of histories. We look at the 1950s books about communism are different than books about communism in 2000. There are prejudices in our historians. Have to look back to our prejudices. Not to look to have a revolution, one answer, but a constant evolution which constantly tests, in a Darwinistic way, and kills off what the people no longer need.

Over last couple of days struck by the juxtaposition of views on the panels. Yesterday Amalia was talking about the fact just to sustain a culture, they needed to collect stories to maintain their culture. The guy from EFF said legislators were surprised about copyright. Why is he talking about copyright when people are losing their culture. This is why politics is totally F++ up today. We need to bridge. … We create echo chambers, people talk to themselves about their issues. One issue constituencies. They are both the easiest to fool in an election and the easiest to dismiss because they won’t support you on a broad range of policies. This is why the Dean thing fell apart. In a time when we have post media, we should design systems to bring people into conflict where they can resolve that conflict and then build coalitions. (missed a bit here. He talks fast)> That is what the Democratic party was years ago. Local and national. People overlooked individual differences for a greater good. How do we think about who we are and what we want to be exposed to and what risks we want to take when we design systems. I think we have played it awfully safe up to this point.

Aldon Hynes.
I usually introduce myself as an old guard, hard core geek. Perhaps I should qualify as an old guard, hard core, white male geek. I’m a perfect example of the guy who pays attention to the latest tools. For those of you who are feeling geeky, go to swxw free democracy. I’ll comment that during one of the previous panels, I was on the IRC from my cell phone. There’s a lot of very geeky stuff happening here. Three of us, John, Mitch and Myself, we all write for a blog called greater democracy. Send us some essays. Extreme semiotic deliberative direct democracy. I want to try and tie together some of this. The opening question was do pervasive Internet connectivity make the concept of pure democracy more viable. Well, yeah maybe. I spent a lot of time in lots of different online social communities. How is this medium different than any other medium. I think we are hitting a little bit of that. All that’s happening that we are amplifying things. Important differences. First, the difference between the dominant medium of the past 40 years – broadcast. New media more multilogue, dialogue. Something important. The traditional media has been presented as fair, balanced, trustworthy. As we get into dialogues we get to make up our own mind about what we want to know. I have a 15 year old daughter. I ASKED her where she got her news about the Tsunami. I thought maybe Jon Stewart or Blogs. Her favorite source was Nation States – a site where you create your own nation and they set up scenarios. It has a forum associated with it. She gets news that is important to her. What do people pay attention to? My personal blog is all my political and technology and personal stuff. A few hours ago I just got some bad news, and I put up a virtual hug. 5 minutes later via IM via cell phone – people respond to that. Rebecca was on the Nightline show on blogging. One of the other people on the show wrote up about a proposed legislation about reporting of early pregnancy terminations. She blogged on the liberal blogs. The fertility bloggers picked up on it. 1:3 pregnancies end up in miscarriages and heard about this legislation. Hard core, Christian conservatives writing to the legislator telling him he was an abomination. When this sort of connectivity happens you can get things happening. Another thing is click exchanges. Being the geek I tried that. Got a little more traffic to my blog, but what was more important was finding those fertility blogs, and knitting blogs, one that I love, , a Xanga website, a 25 year old Hispanic woman living in Honolulu and she writes the blog for her husband who is stationed in Iraq. A military wife perspective about what is going on in Iraq. There is a community of military wife weblogs. You read and you get new perspectives. One of the things about deliberative democracy, the big thing we hit is that we have so much black and white thinking. When we hit these authentic, passionate blogs. It has the appeal of Lacy Peterson but real and touching and people pay attention to. This movement is important. Here in Texas there is talk about economic development as it relates to wireless. Some legislators think of econ development of large monopolies. I’m thinking more about moving away from the monopoly, from the monolithic, monopolistic, mono cultures to a more diverse environment. Think about mono-cultures. The mono culture of potatoes in Ireland in 1850. Grapes in California in 1980. Monocultures are effective and productive but can be wiped out with a little virus. Dan Gilmore in his keynote the other day he concluded his readers know more about his material than he does. We need to get politicians to realize their constituents know more than they do. Then we can have a deliberative democracy.

Q: David Eisenberg. We naturally associate with those like us. At ATT I used to walk by another group on my way in and out, it would up resulting in a couple of projects, one of which was a patent and another important thing where research and product marketing got together. All I did was change my route just a little bit. 90% of success is just showing up. That’s all I did.

Q: Jim Fishkin’s work and deliberative polling?
Mitch: The national polling process is interesting. He proposes we have a deliberative process that happens two weeks before an election to educate on issues. My feeling that was a little too much compressed in time. Prefer to see it over the primary period. It would be great if there was a deliberative process in every state, all the candidates appear in each state and poll/talk/poll. Then an election, rather than a horserace with a series of elections (primaries) and instead following what the candidates are telling their constituencies. Like the concept, not the prescription. I think George Lakoff, one of the most profoundly …. , concerned he has turned things too much into framing, arbitrary and closed minded way. When Marx said kill all the rich people, he went off the track. Lakoff did the same one.

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SXSW: Are Political Parties Obsolete?

(12 Of 53 people in the room I think are women)

Dan Robinson, E-volve Foundation
Christian Crumlish –, editor, writer, The Power of Many and blogger,,
Andy Rappaport – Silicon valley VC, August Capital, Skyline Public Works, Civic Space Labs
Glenn Smith – Drive Democracy, managed Anne Richard’s campaign, Texans for Truth
Mike Weiksner ( – Founded e-the people, a non partisan non profit since 1999 to improve civic engagement through information technologies, issues PA, clearinghouse for political issues, voter guide tool kit

Quick room poll. No Republicans. Do they not care about if political parties are obsolete? Mike says there is concern in both parties about corporate dominance in politics, and special interest.

Andy: I thought about the question, are political parties are obsolete. WE learned in the last election that the Republican party isn’t and the Democratic party is. There are a lot of subtle issues making it unlikely that we’ll have mjore than two major parties, different at local level. Then thinking about it, what is the most successful third party movement is the modern Republican party. What happened was a clear thinking, infective motivated group of people did not like the direction their party and country was heading and they changed it. We are not necessarily stuck with the particular Republicans or Democrats, or the lack of Democratic effectiveness. How do we want to engineer change and redefinition of these parties.

Glenn : The current Republican party as a third party. Political parties are like a dying tree, hollow inside and still standing. Formerly they were membership organizations, voices were heard, participatory clubs. They are no longer like that. Television is one culprit. They were participatory magnets for people. They are alienating people rather than bring them into the decision making process. Worse on Dem side – dominated by the gentry. A small group of consultants who make a lot of money and they drive the message. We lost 2004 in 2002 by letting Bush run away with the national security, “I’m going to protect you.” We put him in a general’s uniform in 2002 and we could not get him out of it and it was caused by the centralized Democratic party. A lot of work to change but we can.

Christian: I thought about the topic. My personal story, movement is towards the two party system, not away from it. Generation W, older than X, cynical, end of the baby boom. You get these little troughs, none of them got to be candidates. My parents are that age. I’m in another in between generation and we will probably never be empowered due to lack of numbers. Was comfortable sitting on the sidelines holier than thou no party is good enough for me. I learned critiques of the parties. I stood on the sidelines and a pox on both your houses, and voted for the most liberal candidate but did not support a party. The polarizing effect of George Bush, the refreshing voice of Dean, I decided there were two teams in this game and imaginary referee is a powerless place to be. Get in there and mix it up, make it better, that you have to learn things like compromise. My own personal political identification to say I’m a Democrat. I worked for Dean, tried to become a delegate, credentialed at the convention as a blogger. It was a trade show. The computer convention;. People who work in the same industry meet, hand business cards, but there was no politics. Now I’m a Democrat. Back to my family roots – grandparents were new deal Democrats, cousins working on campaigns. Reconnected. Back in the family business. We’re stuck with this Duopoly. My utopian side says lets vote green, robust left, but my realistic side says the name of the game is a two party system. I want one party to win and the other to loose. Believe in reform and openness. Believe the Republicans can be more responsive to their members and not screw them. I’m liberal but believe there are legitimate conservative interests. Shared impulses for wanting things to be ok. Wish there was more integrity on the right to legitimately support Republican interests. Want reform on both parties and I’m working on reforming the Democrats. I think the Democratic party is the only hope for third parties, but they probably won’t do it either. Gorbachov tried to reform Communism and in the end that brought it down. America never had it’s glasnost moment to explore our own flaws. IF the Democrats could have enough of a reform effort, to accept that Greens take votes away, the short term consequences might destroy the party but something good could come out of it.

Q: Henry Poole: Imagine it is 2012. Your dreams have come true. Things have worked out well the last 7 years From that place I’d like you describe what measurable things have happened that made that work out and how did you personally contribute to that?

Andy: I’m reveling in the wonderful feeling of 2012! I think that it’s a broad question. One of the things that has to have happened by then that we transformed our thinking that believing that politics and life happens in 4 year, presidential cycles, but happens every minute of every day in every community. When Democrats lost in 2004 they started planning on how to loose in 2008. It is about building a local sense of community and belonging. Strength does not come from a TV dictation, but from a sense of belonging. Tip O’Neill was right, all politics are local. What do we do to recreate power from things like labor unions. Single most important thing, strengthen community organizing, local politics, state parties connection with people and a bottoms up, not just grass roots, reformulation of who we are, what we believe and how that informs our leaders.

Tom: IN a commercial world we think hierarchical, top down and you are talking about something coming from bottom up. What’s your thing. What made that happen?

Andy: In business you are right, we think about hierarchy. Successful large organizations will tell you that from the top is goals, objectives and philosophy. Build an organization that understand what it means to pursue those then you operate from the bottom up. Second, we think about this notion of the long tail, Chris Anderson. Technology has allowed us to create and mine more value from a collection of otherwise disparate things. The same thing is going to happen and has to happen in politics. 1. Express our objectives clearly and as objectives. One problem now everyone is trying to come up with a unified field of politics. What’s the single strategy. If we define a set of objectives, then we can communicate that. Then get a million things resonant in the things they need to be resonate. What I’m doing is preaching this and helping create organizations and tools that empower this, like Civic space, and organizations operating on those principles and building on that strength.

Tom: There are a bunch of other questions and we are going to run out of time, so going to let this question go to one other person.

Mike: I’m non partisan, Christian’s original point that people feel disempowered because the system itself needs to be transformed. I care about deliberation. What I mean by that is people’s voices can be heard. In a pluralistic not everyone’s ideas can be adopted, but the entire system is broken and it doesn’t have to be. How do we get there. I think a lot of the structural changes needed to be made, both parties, like campaign finance response is like stopping water flowing down hill. We need to ID and pursue an alternative. We have to have campaign advertising, but we need alternative public spaces where candidates and citizens can interact, scaling particular at the national level. Red and Blue not talking to each other can be potentially solved through internet applications. Transformation by creating an alternatives.

Q: I do think the US has had a number of Perstroika moments led by people who led a movement. The Civil War, when Lincoln said now that we’ve beaten slavery, lets bring back in the South. The labor movement, Civil Rights. (Christian – no post Cold War). What small things might catalyze that moment now?

Christian: What has withered in the grassroots. I like the hollow log analogy. For all the back room deals of before, they were locally based. Deep roots to the local level. Now campaigning is national broadcast media. The parties are holding companies raising money. Shell corporations. Nothing there there. What we were trying to do on the Dean campaign getting locals to have conversations at local levels and decide what they care about. Every four years trying to overturn the system is never going to work, you have to build up from the local level. A lot of my attention will be at Oakland. Would like to offer at the national level, but I don’t have that kind of influence. But city council, who is being groomed for leadership, then we can take it up.

Q: I’d like to suggest there is only one party, the money party. We need to walk away from the money party and become the party of the people. We need to restore the true two party system. Other wise it is the politics of money and the weak.

Tom: There are a few things I’d like to note is we are on the panel all steeped in technology and we have not talked about technology;. We are firmly focused on the reality of politics. What is driving this is money. Glenn, does technology counterbalance that? Take a look at the Dean thing. It was all about money and it was not about money at all. Glenn, what’s the role of the strategic role of technology in creating this change for 2012. How does a it change the rules?

Glenn: The single best determinant of political participation is self esteem via expressing their view on something. My child doesn’t have a crossing guard. The internet gave a lot more of us to express and impact the political scene and more of us got involved. Simple way that internet activism has already added vigor to American Political life. WE need to treat technology what it is – a tool, a mechanism for talking to one another, it is interactive, not top down, and you can communicate back. The magic is you express your view in a meaningful way and you stay involved. One of the reasons has driven to faith leaders. Need to get out to the streets to plant new seeds of community organizing with people who don’t and won’t see themselves as internet activist. It won’t get the entire job done.

Q: Some have referred to the Democratic party as dead, but want to bring it back to life. Can you explain that necrophilia or life support?

Tom: It’s about civic engagement. IN your day ato day world, you ‘re not talking directly about political parties. Are they a problem? Do they have to be swept away or use tools, technologies, new ideas to create those things.

Mike: I think that I believe we’re in a non-deterministic state right now. Good and bad paths. Some cautionary things that have happened. MoveOn has corrupted a lot of message for the potential of the internet by being a top down group that chooses its issues in a hierarchical way. Parties are part of the problem, but the commercial example is publishers clearing house – manipulating, you have the choice of choosing which prize you are choosing, you choose, you don’t win, but they get your marketing info. Manipulation under the guise of empowerment. Parties have often been on the wrong side. Empowerment for their own control, not citizen engagement.

Tom: Richard Vagary started using this thing called a computer to do things like take your name, address, and I would get a piece of mail that said “Dear Dan Robinson.’ Personalized. The way I found out what was going on with the election was the from the Sierra Club, top down. The internet has changed the economics of this, allow it to be more interactive and personalized. Red dress/blue dress - -is that interactivity. The other problem is the fire hydrant problem. Dean campaign. Every month new people come in the door. I live in Berkeley, we have talented, smart people come in the door and want to come in and want to talk to the campaign, can you put me in touch. No, I can’t there is nothing I can do and I was involved early on. It’s actually talking to these guys is like standing in front of a fire hydrant with a squirt gun.

Andy: How do y0ou get to the dead tree to life support. No more like night of the living dead. No the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Someone with a chainsaw saying I must be stopped and then cutting his own legs off. Two points. It’s not about money. It really is about power. People see, because campaigns are expensive, that money is a tool to achieve poor. Hard to envisage where you don’t need money. What are the roots of power. How do we uproot the existing and plant new seeds. What are the levers of power. Why was and is Howard Dean threatened by Dean? The gentry don’t like the grassroots, you raise a lot of money, but you threaten them. Where does power come from and create it in other places. Local organizations define where votes come from, where leaders come from. Look who voted Dean in as chairman – state leaders. Build new leaders and strengths. Technology – we have to be very careful as people who are thinking about and creating new technologies, committed to a philosophical notion of participatory democracy. We cannot assume people will adopt and that everyone wants a flat participatory structure. Republicans give people comfort of being part of a movement with people they can trust and follow and can take action. One of the greatest lesson I learned through Music for America. We saw tech can be effective and efficient in reaching youth. We had this idea of a portal for youth, creating community, content, fun. What we found the greatest online contribution was that the online community was used by the activists, trained and connected them and carried that to the offline community. Reached 100 times the number of people that hit the website. We cannot expect everyone to join the discussion, but for leaders to emerge and take it to the ground.

Tom: A lot of times we talk about the tools going all the way out to the leaf ends. We saw this as well. The internet as tool for enabling the activists.

Andy: We’ll get to the leaves but we have to be realistic about it

Q: How do people who are innovating the technology determine the direction of the application of these technologies. How is this innovative exploration of technology live up to what it is about.

Christian: I’m hoping some stay outside the party and put pressure on it. What this technology does enable people to organize around issues that matter most to them. The thing that goes to their heart/core. Technology can enable you to find other people who share those same concerns and propose an agenda together (even if not co-located). There can be all kinds of modular organizations, self organized around issues of common interest, lobby and infiltrate the parties and put their issues on the table. Never going to get an elite tech group to decide what other people want.

Somewhat happening is that the tech developers are trying to drive that

WE are early, interfaces suck. We want people to talk back to the software. Instead of saying the users are stupid, using and taking that feedback. Not about mapping it out once, getting it right, putting it in place and assume others use it, but to put it out there, adjust it as people use it. Customer service. Listen to the human beings trying to use your technology. Not disparage them but move it closer to what they want. I hope the kinds of tech that enable communities to self organize become easier to use, to get connected to, more persistent, flexible. I don’t have a map to get there. I am not smart enough, no one person is. Go more toward humaneness and less about plugging people into machines. You an listen to what people are really saying.

Tom: How many of you know what a power law is? (not very many). Long tail market? I just kind of got this recently. A power law is the thing that creates what we see in real life in terms of networks. You have lots of players, a few very big players, lots of small players. On a network map, on an airline route map, some cities have a lot of lines, some have few. The big places get a lot of attention. If you live in a smaller place it is harder to get to . The long tail market ideas is about using technology to aggregate the little players and make them into bigger players. Important concept to get. Underpinning what the tech folks are trying to get to. One of my aha moments.

Q Isn’t there a conundrum here. The ideal way to use technology is to encourage more connectivity, grassroots, representative democracy. The Democratic view. The Republicans view technology more as establishment of a brand, a message, superficial involvement, Kerry flipper/flopper poll. Reinforcing their message. In today’s world people work long. In the end they tend to view each party as a brand. One is branding, the other is doing the difficult and in theory ideal.

Glenn: The brand we recognize as the Republican brand came from outside of the party after 1964. Conservative intellectuals. If I had to choose right now, have written a lot of ads, message works. If I had to choose between developing a brand or organizing 5million people I’ll choose the latter. That is the Democratic strength. The New Deal – the democrats brand was as the local party. The people on the ground helping you. I’d like to reestablish us as the brand of the people next door.

(A few broken links fixed March 18)

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SXSW: Deliberative Democracy Panel

15 of 51 people in the room female (more people came in – about 30, but I did not count gender, etc.)
I’m live blogging a panel I’m on – a new experiment and hope I don’t look disconnected – too much damn looking down at keyboard. Luckily I touch type. It will NOT include my comments because I can’t blog and talk at the same time. Thank goodness. I create enough noise in one at a time!)

Jerry introduces the panel. I missed a few bits as I was futzing with my computer. We are here to talk about.....

  • Our relationship to power
  • Our relationship to each other
  • Our relationship to our “communities”
  • Deliberation is weighing the options, the pros and cons of a decision, options for handling an issue, the trade offs and choices you are willing to take

  • Jed - NYC, ACLU, new position, director of internet programs, let you know what that means in another few months. Before working at WebLab, Small Group Dialog software, small group discussions in citizen governance, head of discussions for NYTimes
  • Tom Atlee – co-intelligence institute, how people in groups can be more intelligent than individuals, activist to wholistic view to include all the information and perspective into things larger than from a partisan perspective. The Tao of Democracy.
  • Nancy – From the upper left hand corner, help people do things online – interested in the social practice level and chocolate
    Jerry – itinerant trouble maker, consultant, worked with Esther Dysons 2.0. Interested in participative democracy, move away from consumer capitalism to something more human
  • Lars Torres, America speaks, large scale F2F technology mediated community meetings to reach group decisions. Budgetary processes, land use planning and agenda setting. Part of the Deliberative Democracy consortium. Looking at online deliberation systems particularly within government.
  • Kaliya – got into computers to build social movements in Spiritual Activism, bringing spirituality in to social activism. IN role as bridge builder has been working in the digital identity space in the past few months, and working with Tom in the link between F2F deliberative processes and the range of participatory online tools.

    In your opinion, about the relationship between online and F2f DISCOURSE, what would you say about the relationship between the two

    In Roman Holiday they asked Audrey Hepburn which European city she liked best. She said I like whichever one I’m in, but eventually would declare a favorite. … in many ways we are safer in online dialog, safer to be who we actually are, the internet is not the place people want to spoof and troll as someone else. I think that F2F engagement has inhibition on parts of our selves we ought to bring to deliberation. In online dialog there are things you can do over time that are not possible F2F. F2f you can accomplish more in a short time. A place to care more faster. The incentives of gathering locally, sharing what you care about, like house parties, events arranged online, outcomes that you could not have online. Online offers the way to care more longer. A short time commitment you can spread over years. Persistent community to create change that F2F don’t always do

    Tom: Bias towards F2F which I’m trying to outgrow. Most of my experience is F2F> there is a particular kind of F1F that I like particularly. Randomly selected citizen chosen to represent community, study all sides of an issue than pas on their findings to the community. Large one just finished in Canada. Had very little online dimensions, in BC. Controversy over past elections, so convened a panel to make recommendations for election reform. Would be the basis for a referendum. 160 people chosen at random, studied intensively, then designed a new way to do elections in Canada. IN May they will be voting on this. I’m enraptured with this model. Extremely powerful and expensive. Interested in maintaining the benefits of F2F interactions, but hardly any of them use the internet as an information resource How can we develop adequate info sources and feed them into these deliberation groups. How do you choose the issue, chose the people – computer assisted way. The recommendations are seldom as empowered as the BC example. Sometimes the impact is on each individual. I’m interested in figuring out how advocacy systems like Moveone and Blogger linked into, instead of partisan interests, linked into interest for the whole. For We the People. Looking at all the different ways that interactive and intelligent technology and grass roots deliberation; Maybe online deliberation elements. Interested in pros and cons of both.

    Nancy: I can’t blog what I say. Ain’t that talented. Told story of women and the coffee tree

    Lars; One of the pieces I’m really excited about are the stories people tell about their lives and the impact of policy on their lives. Online media is not quite there in terms of capturing and telling stories so there is a lasting collective memory. Excited to hear about ways those te3chnolgocies can be built in to really help document create a rich and public archive of deliberations happening across the country

    Jerry: The businesses don’t want us to have a memory. They want to control that. Implicit in the business model. When you stand up and talk about important issues, face the explosion of issues, we have no memory. This is what I thought, this is the data. So we have conversations over and over again

    Kaliya – an early second way adopter. A person who almost never engaged in online conversations with people I have never met in person. I did almost no posting to our joint email list because I had not met the people on this list. Within the spiritual activist community, my focus has been on linking people after they met, a comfort with online, but not random groups of people. That being said I spend most of my time working at home, using the internet to work with my colleagues in a network fashion. I have this thing about meeting people first and this may be similar in other second wave adopters.

    Bob Carlitz – I wanted to mention several things that everyone on the panel has in the back of their minds for setting the framework. With regards to doing things online rather than F2F. It scales to talk to vast numbers, and many conversation. We all probably prefer F2F, but it doesn’t scale. Second is online interactions can be completely symmetrical. It’s the possibility that your involved in a discussion, even though it is very large, it can be authoritative, part of the official record. It can also be complete, access to background information. Things impractical in a F2F meeting. Online you can. These three overarching features which really make it exciting and unique. I also realize it leads to problems, we are just beginning to grapple with. If it is complete, authoritative and inclusive, how do you pull out what you want. Sort out info. Get alerted when you get something you want to know. RSS starts to move us in that direction. If you are part of this official proceeding, very large, playing a potentially important role. How do you identify yourself and verified. Issue of privacy? How much do you want part of the record. Underlying technical questions. When we start talking about political interactions, there are three distinct areas. The people, the public participation, there’s the technology, lurking around us, the third is the whole issue of governments structures, bureaucracies, stable, function in a particularly way. They are going to have to change to accommodate this. How do we help people within them, there are humans, trying to do a decent job, how do we help them accommodate the changes.

    How can online and offline communities tap their power? Stories, or abstract models. What does that trigger for you.

    Jed: A combination is almost always going to be better. Deliberation at the local level in communities with most need and least access to the tools. Rural. Students. Seniors, On a larger scale I believe that context is critical to bring deliberation to community .Something people already care about, something going on, people have a personal context that gets them to the table. Purpose in a sense of narrative. Vincent Price and Paul Resnick around incentives for participation. Purpose narrative. And a sense of outcomes. Not just “I went to my deliberation and look, we did it.” America speaks does this wonderful thing so when you leave a team of writers create a report, an instant preliminary document and you walk out with a piece of paper. After the Listening to the City event, a great document distilling themes was put together. In the online, emails were sent, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild New York, to participants from leaders to participants. Mirror wear. What are the tools we are using them to show themselves. The need for your constituent for them to see a role for themselves in your work. Even in what I’ve just done. A plug for the web. When you post, you see it.

    Jerry: It is also momentum wear – connecting before and after F2F events, keeping it actively and livey.

    Jed; A sense of self efficacy accrues. As much as civic change

    Tom: It’s a funny way in which that is more an inquiry than answer for me. I’m’ interested in ways that online and mostly online could create comprehensive multiple view point information bases which, what’s after blogdom, the creation of multiple view point systems information. All the partisans contribute. How do we build an issue oriented wiki. That information base would be a powerful resource for deliberators, self organized networks, F2f and Online. One of the challenges, I feel there is a resource in the online and computer tech world and interested in hearing from those how to help choose a cross section of the population. How do you create the body of people to deliberate for whom people would say, that really represents us, rather than who shows up. How do you create something legitimate so people say that’s a voice for us. IN that question, the selection process is dependent on technology. Then there is the linking to people power. Would like to see a breakthrough to when the inclusive We the People comes up with something it wants, how does it take action on it’s behalf. Mix between synergy and F2F, such as move on and meetup. So I have mostly questions and intuitive sense of powerful breakthroughs in putting that together.

    Jerry: Weaving a whole new fabric. 5-10 years ago it was the phone system. Now being ripped up

    Nancy: talked again. Armenia story. Harp story. Imagination

    Jerry: The Lenzs simple pop up to remind you to become centered. Tiny, subtle things.

    Lars: IN terms of finding a common purpose, there’s two outcomes. Problem solving on their own how they can tap their resources. Groups like study circles. The other side to that is how can they identify a common purpose and press those to their government and hold their governments accountable. How deliberation has spill over effects in social capital formation. Trust building for moving forward, implementation, new problems. The flip side, how can communities loose power, a town divided. If the poor town is heavily mobilized, they stand to lose in a deliberative process. When deliberation is appropriate and when it creates loss.

    Kaliya: I think what I’m going to do, one of the things, I’m going to leap into the technical tools to help. Figuring out the digital identity thing is key. How do I authenticate who I am in an online context. How do I take my identity, the handle I sign in, and move it from place to place. Local dialog, online, I’m the same person. We need to think about if we expand the use of these tools. I only have one body. It’s not to say we want people to have one digital identity. WE are schizophrenic. Identity commons. Create more opportunities for geeks and normal people, enormous language barriers, this discussion is happening on the IRC as we speak. There are language barrier. I have to learn to have an effective dialog with geeks, and vica versa.

    Jock Gill: We ran a 4000 deliberative process for Al Gore in 1994, the open meeting. I would suggest you google open meeting at MIT. In 1993 we used a taxonomy to allow citizens to subscribe to an information flow. The point I want to make, we played with text and politics long and hard. There are severe limits. I’m dyslexic. There is a literacy issue around text that we are not addressing. If we had 40 gigabit connectivity, then the blending gets really interesting. Thinking about Open Spectrum to carry more bits, we need to rethink how we communicate and regulate our communications. We also need to think about platforms, these are dumb, stupid platforms. To think this is the base for Tech for Democracy is terribly handicapping. If we think about cognitive platforms, each computer knew which others were in the room. Let us try to imagine a much higher, reference set of tools to the primitive, limiting, pathetic text base tools that create literacy barriers. The literacy of the people in India are different than the people in this room. How do we respect each others literacy.

    (Nancy throws chocolate into the crowd)

    Jerry: Quaker business process. This guy asked us a question, then asked us to sit with it for a couple of minutes in silence, then the answers were calmer and more directed. We’ll go into silence, then we’ll ask questions,

    ::: silence :: :::munching of chocolate :::

    Questions from the audience:
     Multi view point systems. 20+ years ago there was worked done on … IBIS the methodology. Jeff Conklin. The IBIS methodology for structuring issues. They had a product called GIBBIS, Corporate Memory systems. It may be an interesting methodology on how we could organize around multiple viewpoints.
     Carrie Parker – I’m wondering about, as we start to have thread with multiple view points, it seems like that opens more and more that people go down the thread they agree with instead of looking at multiple view pints. WE see that in the media. How do we keep people open and not getting more bipolar.
     Kent Bye – How to link F2F with online. My idea is you have a meeting, you break and do an online poll, you have a digital identity, ask a number of questions and see what people are interested in. Overcome the literacy barrier with tagging. Get people grouped into interest groups in what they are talking about more. Taking breaks to do blog entries, gather more info.
     Randy Moss, ACS – As everything moves to the individual and more niche and niche, are we diluting efforts, does the mass become a thin spread where it is impossible to get anything done because everyone has their own personal criteria and we can’t agree because everything is wrapped up in everything else. How do we id the top issues to build a critical mass to move a front. We say in the last election it was about something… missed.. can’t here. Does extreme individualistic democracy get us in vapor lock
     Aldon Hynes – I’m wondering what communities of practice can inform us about how deliberative democracy can take place?
     SXSW page
     IN addition to looking forward to 4 gig landscape, more immediately look at cellular technology and integrate the two to be more inclusive. IN places without a strong tradition of technology, can we imagine a way to leapfrog the process of democratization, or do we need a strong democratic foundation before bringing in the technology.
     Colin, Active free media – how can we facilitate a process, have valuable conversations that move from discussion, to agreement to policy recommendations. So much corporate lobbying is effective is because they write policy. What if people could write policy that goes forward.
     LBJ School. As you go online, the difference between adversarial vs. discourse. Right wrong or consensus. As computers get better are we going to have bots who can represent our ideology and go out and play together.
     David Isenberg – How do we, going back to Malcolm Gladwell’s talk, how do we take the correct information away so our fundamental ideas emerge more clearly.

    Lars: How can we have discussions that move towards policy discussions? One of the things make that critical is when the government is convenor because they have vested interest in outcomes. Finding spaces to have deliberation within government. It does fail, but we are learning more and more to build it in.

    Tom: Come up if you are interested especially with technical capacity.

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    Monday, March 14, 2005

    SXSW: Activist Technology Panel

    (25 women in room of 69)

    Note to all conference presenters and panelists. Please design your slides so they can be seen by more than the first third of the room.

    Too tired to live blog, but here are some snippets. Kathy Mitchell is facilitating the panel

    Shabbir Safdar, Mindshare Interactive
    Things to avoid.

    • Don’t mistake domain name registration for campaign strategy. Focus on message and audience.
    • It is easier to talk about technology than your position. You need to talk about your position.
    • If a client takes more than half the meeting talking about technology
    • Best nearly free deals
    • for t-shirts. No set up fee, not inventory. Books, CDs, t-shirts, hats, jackets, etc.
    • Constant Contact – turn key email database, $15/mo for 500 people. The service is whitelisted for all the major ISPs. That is the key value
    • Typepad, the hosted version of Moveable type. $15/month –unlimited blogs, authors
    • Budget expectations for mature products - $500-$2500 year in IT for basic communications with not a lot of targeting.
    • $2500-$7500 – media and legislative targeting
    • $7,500-20K – Convio, etc. User segmentation, fundraising slice and dice

    Erin Rogers – Grassroots environmental activist for 12 years, now with the Union of Concerned Scientists

    • Use a sophisticated email program
    • She is not very tech savvy
    • Her three main ways to win political battles
    • Action Alert system – use extensively – there used to be some thought that legislators didn’t take these seriously, but she thinks this is shifting. Politicians are taking emails a lot more seriously than before, perhaps post-Dean effect. It lays a foundation.
    • Using action alert system as a weeding tool, weeding out those who aren’t going to take action and hone in on those who are interested and who will take action – online or offline.
    • Blend online and offline

    Henri Poole – Civic Actions – Metrics

    • How do we measure the results of online activism? Number of people signing up for meetups?
    • Airplane oxygen mask. Put on your own before you meet others. Discovering others’ needs. What do they care about? Really need? If you can describe what people want and you can measure it, you have a metric.
    • Look into edge posts. David Reed, Reed’s law,
    • I must be tired, but I’m not following Henry’s comments

    Amalia Anderson – community organizer and cultural activist (Note: SHE ROCKED!)

    • Not a technologist
    • What are the values associated with technology and activism. They are a system. Be cautious of the dynamics because they can further disenfranchise people. What power dynamics are at play in the system. When technology enters in the community and you can’t communicate with those who make the technology or the people can’t control the technology it further adds to the divide and oppression.
    • Everyone does not speak English as a first language
    • Power dynamics limit people’s access to technology
    • The technology is rooted in Western traditional values and for those not familiar with these, they can marginalize and make people feel even more invisible
    • What would it look like if technology and activism came together in a way that it is dictated by the communities
    • Look at timelines – technology can allow us to communicate quickly but that may not be important to all communities. For some it is the length of the conversation
    • Look at communicating in a linear way – we organize often around idea action which is a linear perspective. For communities that don’t place exclusive premium on forward, linear motion with a premium on how far you move.
    • Translation is not issue, but translating values and world views. You can translate your website. But you have to capture the spirit of the language and the value in which communication takes place in order to be valuable.
    • As we work to increase access to and application of technology in activism it is about challenging power dynamics. Make sure we make the community central to that process. What we are doing is bringing them into a mysterious, foreign process that as seen as something white, English, and money dominated. We need to invite people into the process, not impose it upon them.

    Ren Bucholz – EFF - a law firm that works on civil liberties issues
    • Great story of file sharing law suit (I got distracted and did not write the details). Copyright policy issue.
    • Offer a positive solution so advocates don’t feel like “click monkeys”
    • Shared action builds a sense of community and creates results – pay attention to your goals

    Q: Behemoth tools – what do you think about the currently available technology? Are they open enough and flexible?

    A: Ren: We used a behemoth that merged with a behemoth. There is nothing out there that is going to meet all of our needs. Sometimes you need a paring knife when you only have a chef’s knife. You need both. Accept or build into your budget that is it not one set fee/tool.

    A: Kathy: I require a lot of support (I had a good laugh because that is so right on.) Our organization has two separate CMS and an online email system. We bring in different people. It is confusing for me. They are incredible tools, but not a universal tool.

    A: Shabbir: There is no Swiss Army knife. There will always be a niche market.

    Henry: Civic space labs is developing tools, out of Deanspace, originally content management for blogs, adding modules, 19 languages, been around several years, tool of choice of geeks, difficult to use but work going on to make it easier. Clark’s Event finder – something like meetup, Get Local from Dean campaign. House party local organizing tool. Advocate/Get Out the Vote module. You have to be an engineer to integrate it. He named more modules being built in.

    Kathy: We have to learn how to use these tools. And sometimes the simplest solutions are best. We put up a plain ole form where people could copy and paste legislator’s responses to their emails – at some levels the legislators respond to their own emails and want to know more. This gives key intelligence to the campaign. Allow a very sophisticated interaction with their legislators that helped pass legislation with a very simple tool.

    Q: Two wishes and a question. Would like more panels on how programmatic and strategic decisions would work. How you develop not just tools but organizations. The gender mix of this conference was the same as the gender mix of this panel ((3:3). Are there (missed some while I counted the room)

    Other issues:
  • How to use volunteers - longevity, trust, communication
  • Shift our perception about how technology can play a role. On Pine Ridge, little connectivity, little cell phone coverage, but a real desire to use technology where useful -- in this case a digital storytelling project, putting camera's in people's hands to help preserve the culture.
  • Central Valley asthma project - bridging

    (Note: some name spellings fixed March 18)

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    Paul Andrews on Tagging

    Seattle Times' Paul Andrews has a great closing paragraph in today's story on tagging. The New game of tagging may be "it"
    "Print media forced literate culture to think in terms of centralized information management. Tagging and RSS are by nature decentralized. Somewhere in between may lie the magic bullet, but for now tagging represents an intriguing step forward for the Web"

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    Examining an Experience Through a Particular Lens

    Why am I writing so much about gender issues at SXSW? I realized it might be helpful to add some context. I've had a few friends look askance at me and wonder what is up, because they feel this event is one of the more diverse. It is. I'm not trying to ding anyone here nor the event.

    I'm trying to offer a particular lens on the experience. There will be hundreds of blog posts reporting content. So I decided this was my lens. Why? There have been a number of conversations buzzing around about women in blogging and BlogHerCon. What better laboratory to test some of my assumptions, seek others' opinions and engage in conversations than here at SXSW. It is more divese.

    Risky? Maybe. To examine an issue, to understand an issue, you have to expose it. You have to expose yourself and risk conversations or actions that may alienate. Some of the moves may not have the grace of Tai Chi. My intention is not to diss men. My intention is to gain more perspectives about women in technologically affilliated areas as we are still underrepresented. So we can have fruitful conversations about what we might do in response.

    I realize now it would have been helpful to say this earlier. So transparency, but a bit late in the game. I'll seek to do better.

    links to this post  

    SXSW: Where are the women of web design?

    (Women:total participants 52:76)

    I had intended to blog this one, but got sucked into email. This is a downside of having wifi in the room. But I thought it was important to note the gender ratio in this session.

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    SXSW: Blogging While Black Panel

    Blogging While Black
    (I'm trying to live blog this one for a friend)
    (Ratio of women: total participants [corrected] 28:80)

    Lynne D. Johnson is kicking off the panel. She started out journaling online which turns out to be a blog. Also on the panel is Tiffany B. Brown, from Georgia Tech (corrected). She has a personal blog at, a wine blog and manages a community blog George Kelly edits, has Tony Pierce works by day at E and writes with writing and photos. Jason Toney is a web developer with blog at

    What's in a name and why does it matter?
    Tiffany Brown: - it is what it is and that's why I picked it!
    Tony started the blog at work out of boredom and rides the bus to work.
    Jason found other black folks talking about what he was interested in. When he left blogspot for his own domain, he wanted them to know what they are getting. Negroplease tells you. It is more for his minority community, so people can easily find him and a black voice.

    George Kelly: was so he could focus on everything. pictures, stories. Started in May 2000. Was not in the loop with other people starting things up. He did not meet them till his firs SXSW conference in 2003. About three years after starting the blog he met Jason and Eric from I saw their names and got jealous. I wanted to be a Negro to. So Negrophile - it is in the dictionary.

    Jason Toney: People asked me about Negro Please. I like to say Negro out loud.

    Does race matter?
    Tiffany because I blog about technology, feminism and wine. "I do think race matters online. 1. There is a kind of a role model aspect. Make those connections. Know you are not the only one. If you are a progressive voice it is nice to know there are other people who don't think you are crazy and you can create

    Tony Pierce: "I might be a little different that what people think a black blogger might be. (Pierce) It is important for me to be honest about who I am. When I talk about OJ I'm talking about it from a black man's perspective. If I'm going to enter into the discussion on my blog, it is important to be transparent. This is a black man talking about this. A kid who grew up with OJ as a hero. Interestingly though, most people who see me don’t' see a black man and read me don't think that. So it is important to remind them.

    Jason Toney - I was telling someone about this panel and I said Tony was going to be on the panel and they said, why, he's not black. My personal sight, you see my picture. Negro is the first word. If you google Negro I'm the fourth or fifth page. Everyone who comes on my site knows what they are getting. But as editor for )____ my picture is not there. How does my race affect what I write on The Devon Brown case in LA, our two local papers, wrote about his funeral. I find the Daily News coverage to be culturally insensitive, retarded. I mentioned that and someone commented that you had probably not been to a black funeral. That would not happen on my site because people know who I am. Not on LAist. In the blog world it is easy to assume it is a white man. How does my race affect what I write on a site that is not about race?

    George Kelly - I’m a black blogger. I wanted to write about everything and affirm that I have an affiliation with people who look like me, an obligation, not just to represent them but to just try to be wholly myself and true to the people I'm friends with online, read and link to regularly. IT has been full of lessons. The idea that why does it matter, what does it matter if a person is black or white. All that matters should be the words they write. But what they write does not come out of a vacuum, but out of a person from the real world, where real world rules, customs, traditions, expectations apply. Noe of this comes tabula rasa. ON the Daily News Coverage - as a copy editor, one of my jobs is to weigh in on issues of sensitivity if I think someone has come up with a headline that isn't going to work. I'm in a place I'm pretty happy with my staffers, I'd try to put up a link of percentages of folks in the newsroom.

    Tony - when I was in college we capitalized Black, as another term for African American. How do you feel about that?

    George - I lower case black. My focus is clarity and readability. Johnson publishing, Ebony, Jet are all upper case.

    Jason - there are some limitations and challenges with being known as a black blogger. Someone wrote wrote that people have assumptions about whether or not to respect his opinions based on that. If I don't cover an issue that's germane to the Black community I get emails asking why I don't talk about Michael Jackson... that I should have an opinion on them because I am a Black blogger. Being voices in the larger community, not putting our business out on Front Street. As black people posting on the web, talking about Cosby, should we talk about this within our community before more broadly. Should we talk about negative things in the community and have others use them as a weapon. Two years ago I wrote about the Joe Boxer commercial. I hated that commercial and wrote a really angry piece about it. Not racism, but was uncomfortabel with the imagry. A week later Slate picked it up, how it was a successful spot. For a week regular readers of my site discussed the ad. The day that Slate hit I had 50,000 hits and the conversation changed. The post had not been about race, but it became about race.

    Identity blogging - Johnson - Something nominated about a bloggie in 2004,, now she can't use the name formica because the company name out of it. Now she is (Not Formica). Black bloggers, my posse's gone virtual. She put up this post about computer networks as social networks. What does it mean to be a black blogger. IN some ways we've touched on that. What is the responsibility? Does it mean everything you discuss is black.

    Tiffany - it means you write who you are. At first I was reluctant to reveal my identity beyond being a women. When you write with an authentic voice it becomes hard to shield your identity. If I start speaking in black vernacular, that is what I want to express. It is letting who you are inform what you write and how you write.

    Jason - I know that I have a lot more white readers than non white readers so I need to educate, throw a different perspective out there. With Michael Jackson all they are talking about is the pajamas, why aren't we talking about the trial. Some people might call that racism. What about the boy who lied? I feel responsibility to let my uncles and aunts of the past have a voice. Instapundit is not going to write about that. Maybe they will have a different perspective when it comes from a site called NegroPlease. There is also the fact that Los Angeles is so multicultural/multiethnic. There is a lot of black stuff going on. I was dating a Korean girl. Black and Korean aren't supposed to get along. We're fixing things right now. I think most of the blogs out there don't have our perspective so it is important to tell our stories.

    George: There is something to be said for the role model aspect. Black people in Technology, in copy editing, in running sites. For knowing there is more than one voice in political discussions. One of the reasons identity blogging is so important. Isntapundit isn't going to write about it and they are setting the agenda. If you don't have others writing from other perspectives, will they make it to the agenda? Black, Asian, Gay, Women bloggers.

    Jason - IN the larger conversation there is a dearth of alternative voices. We do where are all the women bloggers once a month and where are all the minority bloggers once a month. We are out there talking to each other and wanting to be heard. I did not start out wanting to be heard beyond my 8 friends, but as I've grown as a blogger, what I want more is where there are a million bloggers all I see are the same ten white guys on CNN. There was a guy on CNN who made a game called
    how to be a black man." He had a gap tooth and a 1977 hair cut and was being brought on TV as a legitimate black voice. There are a ton of intelligent black voices, but the people that make it to me are doing the ___ routine. It's killing me. My hope that us doing a panel here, people having an awareness.

    Jeanne Sessum who writes and asked "How white is your blog roll" and bloggers where shocked because they had either not considered it or that the blog roll is all white. Your blog roll is a reflection of what you see day to day in your life. People link to the people they see and the voices they reflect as valid voices. If you are a white man who only respects white voices. Your blogroll will look like you. Same for black bloggers. Of the 260 black blogs we are aware of they link to each other. Encourage people to seek out and hear new voices. The identity blogging matters to get those alternative perspectives. We talked about authenticity and transparency yesterday -- how it matters for people thinking of your voice as valid. Important to wear our culture on our sleeve so other minority knows we are valid.

    George - to be present, link to other people, insert ourselves into germane conversations (and for the fun of it), we have an internal obligation to talk about things amongst us, IM, IRC, mailing list. We have to talk about the things with people we don't necessarily agree with. The top ranked black bloggers on Truthlaidbare's ecosystem tend to be conservative in voice. One blogger I've met and respect, Michael Bowen (cop). He took it upon himself... he's been around forever.. I first read him in 1997 posting on USENET. I was impressed by the voice. We became aware of each other again in late 2004 - he makes clear his beliefs of being black, republican, etc . He's taking it upon himself to gather in other conservative voices and created theconvervativebrotherhood I'm not sure there needs to be a liberal counterpoint, needing to be organized. He tends to speak to black people's conservative mores or customs. But black people don't necessarily. vote in conservative ways.

    Tiffany – blog role varies between blogs. Thinks she is the only black wine blogger. For technology blog color doesn’t matter, audience is everybody. Disparate. I don’t have a core audience. Each blog has a distinct feel. With black feminism I know it is not just black women, black men, the larger (mostly white) feminist community.

    Tony – I’ve been linked by a lot of pot smokers lately and I think that’s awesome. I really wish I had a different name for my blog. If someone came over with a big bag of weed I’d take a picture of it and put in on my blog. But there is no way you are going to see that on my blog.

    Jason – I think a wide variety of people. More women than men, a lot of black gay men who are hopeful that I am also, what I found with my blog, a lot of black people who grew up in multicultural communities, meaning they were the only black person. Amazed that there is a black person who likes Jayzee and Bjork. Who went to a college that is different than what they think Is stereotypical. Upwardly mobile black families that are the only family in the community. They see black culture through the media, not through a black neighborhood. I talk about those kind of issues. I like to a lot of women and a lot of black gay guys, hip hop blogs, people I find interesting. Being around all you crazy blog people I’ve been changing my design. I used to have my entire bloglines list. Now just those I consider friends, those I know really well and regular reads, instead of all the tech and pop culture blogs I read.

    George – I link to my friends and the people I know on AllAboutGeorge. The friends I make when I got to SXSW or travel to a different city. On Negrophile I link to everybody. Anarchists people of color, soul brothers, true southern bells, Black informants, BlackPundit, and the idea is to find everybody who I think should be in there and have them listed together. If you are going to put a bar, fellow sympathizers and box checkers. Because the point of this is because you are black that is not all you are. You are curious about and engage with other communities. That helps you become more YOU. That’s the whole point.

    Tony to Jason – how come all black people on the Real World are bad guys.

    (I stopped blogging for a few minutes to do my head count)
    Authentic voice – Missed that too. OK it is hard to restart the fast transcription once you stop. We have segued into q&a.

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    SXSW: Now, on the Right Brain

    After ranting, I think it is important to say I think the concepts Dan Pink is talking about are essential. His application is aimed towards business. In the non-profit, NGO world and especially the online interaction world, his comments about the six right brain skills are critically important. I'm going to harvest them and get them up here so we can toss them around a bit more. And after being tough on Dan, I'll also say, go buy the book. Read the excerpt on Wired and don't let yourself get too wrapped up in the outsourcing focus and think much more broadly.

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    Inadvertent sexism? Bridge or meaningless political correctness?

    I'm continuing my totally unscientific poll of female participation and reactions at SXSW Interactive. I popped into two sessions in the 10am round. The first on "Story Structure and Mobile Media" has about 15 women in a room of about 74. The second, Dan Pink's presentation on "A Whole New Brain" (about right brain and the new economy) has about 28 out of 125.

    Now I need to put a disclaimer here on my methodology, which could be interpreted as sexist. I'm guessing from the back or back/side of the room based mostly on hair. So there is probably an undercounting error as there are more men with long hair than bald women. So it is not scientific. Nuff said.

    So I settled into Dan Pink's presentation on his new book, "A Whole New Brain." I had the chance to interview Dan yesterday in the conferences' odd plexiglass booth (it will be on the web sometime later this week on the SXSW site) and really enjoyed our conversation. Dan is smart and witty and, when I was able to dig beneath the book sell, there is a passionate guy with some great insights. (No dissing book selling. That's the gig.)

    Dan has a great patter. Which is good because my old eyes can't see the slides at the back of the room. But he put up a cartoon about the evolution of work ... you know, the monkey on the left, then the agrarian (oddly in overalls with a pitchfork and straw hat -- I think few of the agrarian societies dressed that way!), factory, brief case guy and finally an artist looking guy. Guy. All guys. Standing in the back I hollered out, "all men?" Dan went on to talk about the choices they made in the cartoon design and his rationale, and that finally the type of right brain qualities he is talking about are androngenous. OK, that was fine. And Dan, I'm not picking on you here, I'm making a point about how permeated assumptions are in our language. All of us. Me included.

    Then Dan pulled out a plastic brain and asked who multitasks better, men or women. Most in the room said women. He said something to the effect that his wife can mow the lawn, breast feed and make dinner all at once and he has problems with the TV remote.[correction: Dan tells me he said mow the lawn, breast feed, answer email and make dinner an only one was in his mind gender specific.]

    Did I just feel the thunk of a stereotype? I was standing at the back and then sunk to the floor to start blogging. A woman sitting next to me (also on the floor) exchanged glances with each other. We leaned in to whisper. First, we think the the multitasking issue may be significantly different in the younger, digital generation. Second, we were shocked at the task choices Dan used. Then I told her about my informal survey of male/female participant ratio. She said at an engineering conference she expects more men, but was surprised about it here.

    Why are we surprised? What are our expectations? Is it important to open our views wider or do we let things go as they are? What is the line between meaningful inclusiveness and vapid political correctness?

    [Later Reflection: I realize when I heard the tasks mentioned by Dan that I percieved them as "caretaking tasks" and I drew a gender assumption. I want to take FULL ownership of that. That is my filter at work. Not a judgement on Dan's choice of words. ]

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    Women, Men and Linking Patterns

    Burningbird has me thinking...Guys Don't Link. Don't miss the comments.

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    Sunday, March 13, 2005

    SXSW: How many women in the room? Bald men?

    How many women are in this room? How many bald men. When talking to Aldon Haynes about the participant demographics, the one thing that WAS easy to spot from the back of the room are bold folks! Posted by Hello

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    Jonas Luster and jon Lebkowsky "on the air" at SXSW Posted by Hello

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    SXSW: Malcom Gladwell

    We grabbed some seats early for Malcolm Gladwell's keynote on Blink. Ten minutes before the start the room is pretty full. I'm going to try and liveblog this session, but I won't be doing too much liveblogging. I've been attached to a keyboard too many hours a day lately. I am trying to take more pictures to scan for the gender ratio. It seems slightly higher than the last session.

    Malcom Gladwell

    I’m happy to be here. There is a bridal show at the other end of the convention center. I walked into that and went into the room and said huh, the blogosphere is different. Only goes to how first impressions can be misleading

    First book was about social power. People’s position in social networks can matter as much or more than political hierarchies. I’m addressing a room rich in social power, so blog my new book. It is called Blink and is about rapid cognition.

    It is a whole series of stories about this asking us to take it more seriously. Today I’ll talk about one of the stories. The story is about a woman named Abbie Conant who played the trombone. She was just starting her career in Europe. Applied to the Munich Philharmonic, one of the oldest in Europe, ruled by the oldest of the old school, crusty of the crustiness with ideas about how and who should play classical music – white, German men. Any thing else was a deviation. There may be one or two women playing the harp. She applies and gets a letter back started, Dear Herr Conant, we’d like you to audition. She things of the error and thinks nothing of it. She packs her bags to attend the audition. It is in a room like this, but grander, being Munich. 33 people selected to audition with a war horse audition piece. That day they put up a screen so the auditioners can’t see those auditioning. Very rare, but one of the 33 was a relative of someone on the committee, so they put up a screen to take the issue of the table. Abbie is 16. She thinks she blows it. Despondent. Cracked a G. Once in a lifetime opportunity blown. She packs up her trobone and heads downstairs to leave.

    What she doesn’t know is the maestro is blown a way. Classic snap judgement. He was like, wow, this is who I want, what a player. He is so ecstatic he sends the remaining 17 people away. He turns to his assistant and tells him to go bring him back so he can meet the new first trombone. The maestro wants to meet you? Why? Because you blew him away. She steps out into the audition room and dead silence. All she hears is Mein Gott. They were expecting Herr Conant. They got Frau Conant.

    The very similar thing happened years after year in the US. Maestros would say men are inherently superior musicians. How do you know? Auditions. The men are always better. What more objective way? IF the men are already selected, what else would we conclude. Articles written pondering why men were inherently better musicians. Natural affinity between white males who play and those who wrote? The hands? Power and brio? Hypothesis, but no one ever questions the fundamental premise.

    In the early 1980s a strange thing happened in the US> They formed a union. One of their demands, way down the list, is we’d like to have the screen up all the time for auditions. We think this problem of favoritism is lingering. Lets just get rid of it.

    The moment they put the screen up they start hiring women all the time. Now the percentage rises from 5% to 50% which suggests that women have won the majority of auditions which suggests women are inherently superior. The evidence of the maestro’s eyes were corrupting the evidence of their eyes. Interfering with their ability to make fair judgement

    When we think about snap judgements we think of them being transparent and simple. Occupying the margins of our thinking. When you peel away, there is an enormous amount of complexity beneath the surface.

    What can we learn from classical music and screens?

    The first and most obvious is that snap judgements are the way we make sense of the world. My assumption was that when you had auditions, you listened, you took notes, recorded, think and over some long deliberative process you made a decision. Conscious, deliberate decision making. Audition belong to this kind of thinking (snap). Some make up their mind when the musician is warming up. Even as something as extraordinarily complicated as auditioning belong to the category of snap judgement.

    Suppose I divide this room down the middle. Over here I’d like you to take a course with Professor smith. At the end of the course you will fill out an evaluation of Prof Smith. On the other side I’ll just show you a one hour video. The evaluations were the same. Over the course of the course, constantly readjusting, and having a nuance understanding of Prof smith. But in fact you made up your mind in the first hour and stuck with it.

    Let’s play with this. I show you a half hour. Same evaluation. 5 minutes… same evaluation. Now its getting a little bit creepy, particularly if you are smith. IN 5 minutes you reached your conclusion.

    Lets show you 5 seconds with the sound off? Still largely. You think this is a long drawn out decision was false. IT belonged to the snap judgement and that conclusion stuck. Good example at how striking this is and how good we are at thinking what we are doing is deliberate and conscious.

    Lesson #2. The Maestro was a bad decision maker. He thought he was doing good, but he was terrible. His feelings about women impaired the way he made decision in ways that he was unaware of. If you had gone to him and noted that he had never hired a woman and say he is sexist, the Maestro would have said “How dare you impugn my expertise, dare to suggest that I am making a decision upon something as irrelevant as gender.” But the maestro is wrong. Thinking he is right doesn’t change the fact that in some profound way his judgement has been compromised. We are really bad at knowing the forces that influence our snap judgements and keeping bias out. These are fundamentally fragile decisions impacted by bias. Racial prejudice is an example

    I got very interested in male height. So I called up 300 of the Fortune 500 and asked them how tall their CEOs are. Now we know they are white, male and really tall. The percentage of CEOs over 6.2 was over 60%. In the population it is 3.9%. If you gather all the CEOs in a room it looks like an NBA reunion. Why are they getting appointed to the corner office? The arguments people will give: unconscious association with height and leaders, people who are tall have self confidence which serves them well. Don’t find that compelling, but there is something to it. There were times in human history when it was important for our leaders to be tall and male. 500,000 years ago in a clan, we’re 4.9, but Thor is 6.6. Clearly he has a better trajectory with the club and can see over the grass.

    Let’s focus on a second, more pertinent point. Do you think that boards of directors are conscious of their decision bias in form of the tall white guy? If this was the annual meeting of the boards of the American Association of Boards of Directors. If I said I had done an analysis that in 71% OF THE CASES YOU gave the job to a white tall male, is there some conscious policy? An affirmative action for this stigmatized group? You would turn red and say how dare you come here to our meeting and impute our search decisions. Coincidentally that they are tall. Height is not the most important thing, but it is foolish to suggest that it has not biased the selection process in favor of the tall in a way that the decision makers are unaware of. We are not good at knowing when our snap decisions have been hijacked.

    Lesson #3:
    The maestro was a bad decision maker but we made him into a better decision maker by taking information away from him. What percentage of an audition is visible? Most of what you are picking up is with your eyes. Dress, posture, body language, nervous… things coming in through the eyes. Let’s say for argument 80% is visual. We take away 80% and he becomes a profoundly better decision maker. We have a powerful cultural of saying more data makes better decisions. That the quality of outcome is directly related to the quantity of information. When making instinctive decisions, frugality matters, that we can do more with less and there are dangers of giving people too much information.

    Diagnosing chest pain is really hard. Accuracy diagnostic rates is low. At a certain point they are just guessing. There has been a movement to make ER doctors better decision makers regarding chest pain. You don’t have all day. The more you linger, the worse their case gets and this is the ER. So how do you help the doctor make a better decision? You take information away. If you limit a educator to just four pieces of info and take every other piece of data off the table. When we are faced with less we can see the distinctive pattern in a second.

    Lesson #4:
    The most interesting, to mind mind, is we fix the problem. It is not obvious we could have fixed the problem. None of us buy the idea that women can’t play classical music. We say the problem is the maestros, from Europe, sexist, fiefdoms. How are we going to fix this> Sit down with them and say they are sexist? Wait for them to retire and be replaced by pure clean liberal hearts? That is not a strategy for fixing the problem. That is a profoundly depressing solution. Who has time to wait 30 years. But suppose we think about the issue a different way. Instead of changing their hearts and minds, think about changing the way they perceive the problem. The problem in the musical world was changed the day they put up the screen. The Metropolitan had no women. They used the screen and they hired 4 out of 4 violinist. Can you imagine the strain on the hearts of the audition committee. That problem was solved right away, a profoundly important. We don’t have to be held hostage. Thinking creatively about the environment in which decisions are made.

    Amadou Diallo story. Cops jumped to conclusion that Black young man in the Bronx was up to no good, he doesn’t run, not good, he goes for his pocket (wallet), he has a gun and they shoot him 41 times. Hugely bad snap decisions made in 7 seconds. All wrong. One thought is we need cops who aren’t racist. Fine, I agree. That is not a solution. How long would it take to eliminate everyone who makes an unconscious association between young black men late at night. Don’t know how to do it and don’t have the time. Some kid could be shot tomorrow? How do we attack that problem? In addition to changing hearts and minds we have to change the environment in which decisions are made. We have to give them a little help.

    IN last chapter go through some of those strategies. Here is one. Police officers in group make poorer decision in groups than alone. Groups of young cops, young men in general, do stupid things. They feel emboldeded by their buddies. A cop by himself slows things down, is more cautions and is less of a risk to himself and his community. One cop in a car does not jump out of his car and race after a guy and have to make that quick judgement of friend or foe. No, one copy stays in the car, calls for backup, describes the situation ‘ what do you got? A guy standing in front of his apartment. What is the problem, well he looks like a rapist form lsat year? What does the rapist look like? A young blank man. Where are you?

    Slow down and you remove the situation that created that bad judgement. That is the kind of thinking I’d like to encourage. Examine the environment we make decisions. To recognize cases where our snap judgements are compromised. IN those moments, step back and restructure the environment in which we are making decision. In doing that I think we can end up with a better and fairer world


    Q: How do you decide which information to take away?

    A: Two answers. IN the heart attack, we used rational deliberate analysis to retrain snap judgement. There is another line of thinking that says it doesn’t matter what you take away, but that you take it away. Open Source intelligence gathering. People with less information, regardless of quality, tended to make better decisions than those who had access to more information from Pearl Harbor. The US failed to see the Japanese attack. If you just read the papers you would have a profoundly stronger sense of the attack, but with less information, they were able to see the critical papers. I think about that when I think about bloggers. Not having 6 months of analysis gives you insight you would not otherwise has.

    Q: Email with Suroweiki, political elections are man dances, watching behavior rather than policy. How do you prevent the populace from making stupid snap decisions (elections.)

    A: I’m a Canadian and I have limited understanding of American politics. Political decision making is weird. My arguments are mostly about cases where we are making ambiguous, time limited, high stake decisions. Political decisions are not ambiguous or time limited. So it is hard to make remarks, with the exception of my discussion about Warren Harding. I found that, on my book tour, to the extent that I’m speaking groups more reddish or blueish, any comment I make on politics gets me in trouble. Warren Harding got elected because he was good looking. I said he was one of our dumbest presidents but there was some competition. I was thinking about someone else. Who was thinking about our current president? Aren’t you a little defensive?

    Q: How much is great information that is useful and how much just sits on the table. How many of these ideas in the book get adopted?

    A: Cook County hospital was one of the first in the country to adopt the heart attack approach and was backed up with lots of data. But it is incredibly difficult because doctors have built their profession around the idea that if something is critical it must be complicated. What we are saying about chest pain is that it is not complicated. You are challenging the fundamentals of a profession, sot it is not easy. But having data to support the method then it is only a matter of time until the legal or medical community forces a change.

    Q: What about college admissions. Some are easy, others are complex (UT/Harvard)

    A: The notion that places like Harvard have that they can make a distinction between the top 20% of the applicants, who are they fooling? That test score difference is a useful prediction rate? Those predictions are so bad. They have no clue who is going to do well. The whole system is intellectually bankrupt. IN Canada I got a sheet from the province and ranked the schools I wanted to go in, and then I get a letter back in 2 weeks that tell me where I was accepted. Beyond a look beyond grades we don’t have clue so we aren’t going to try and make that prediction.

    Q: Connection between Tipping Point and Blink. In the book why isn’t Kenna making the tipping point. How are the arguments linked?

    A: I wrote this book to escape the burden of the first book. Escaping Gladwell, comma, 87, comma, wrote the Tipping Point. I am returning to certain theme that as a society we greatly overestimate our personalities and underestimate the ability we can change ourselves and our society by changing our environment. I do hope Kenna tips very much.

    Q: You have great anecdotes. How do you find them?

    A: I don’t know. I believe that writing is a fundamentally social process. You find out great stories when you have an idea you want to pursue then you tell everyone about that idea. That scary guy at the party. There is a lot of that. I could go through the books and tell you the name of the person that gave me the story. I have enormous faith in the kind, in how much gold there is to be found in random social encounters.

    Q: I find that 100% of my snap judgements about people are wrong and they change over time.

    A: It’s probably not true that 100% are wrong. When you meet somebody, there are certain things that all of us are really good at knowing, and things that we think we are good at knowing and are profoundly not. Everyone can make a judgement about extroversion and that would be really good. Judging open mindedness is much more difficult. Once you look at it that way. Sexual attractiveness you can do it like that. If you are making bad judgements there, I can’t help you. Help us distinguish between when we are good and where we need a lot of help.

    Q: Now I’m second guessing. Do you see anything positive in trying to make snap decisions more of a conscious than subconscious decision.

    A: If we concealed the defendant in trials we’d reduce the racial imbalance in judgement. A change in the environment profoundly change how justice is served.

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    South by Southwest - First Impression - White. Male.

    After a great breakfast of conversation with interesting people, (Aldon Hynes, Jon Lebkowsky, Sandy Stone, Adina Levin, Emily Gertz, David Nunez, Ed Ward, Gerfried Stockard (Ars Electronica)southwestern food (eggs with mole) I finally made it over to the Sunday sessions of SXSW. I first went into the community panel but no hook, so I went to the Solipsism panel which was essentially about tagging. The first thing I noticed in the full room (130 plus) that there were not many women. So I got up with my camera and then did a quick count. 24 women. From the back I am doing some guessing. Much harder to guess ethnic composition, but can you say "white male?"

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    Friday, March 11, 2005

    Tag it: Bloghercon...

    Worker Bees Blog: Reactions to Bloghercon... - I tried to leave a comment, but blogger said no. :-( What I was going to say was start tagging blogs with bloghercon and see what sort of network emerges.

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    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    More on the MS/Groove Aquisition

    Collaborative Strategies blogged the aquisition today and this bit caught my eye:
    What’s Left?

    Microsoft has rounded out its offerings in RTC and the virtual team space, but there are still some areas of the CS Collaboration taxonomy where Microsoft is not yet strong. Could these be potential areas for future acquisition? The areas in our taxonomy that Microsoft is not strong in are: online communities, knowledge management, expertise location, and distributed portfolio/program management capabilities. Right now MS project is the predominant player in the project space, but MS project was built for the project manager or project professional to plan a project, and is not a tool for distributed teams to use for interactions and work within the project. Combined with either of the SharePoint servers, Project can be used as a DPM (distributed project management) tool, but it is a weak and kind of kluged solution at best. So will Microsoft be hunting for one of the current DPM vendors as its next acquisition?

    Knowledge management and expertise location are the next target for the Borg, and there are some fertile fields here also. Most of the KM area has focused on search, and certainly Microsoft has been working on better search tools, but there are some new tools and approaches to this problem available in this space that might be interesting acquisitions for Microsoft. The same is true in the expertise location area. The ability to find and access experts within and outside the enterprise is becoming more and more critical. The ability to incorporate those content experts into critical collaborative business processes like proposal development, R and D, etc. is an area that Microsoft does not yet have a solution in.
    Read the rest. It is spot on except that I think they are a bit more optimistic than I am!

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    Surfette: Bloghercon 2005

    I'm running too fast (entrepreneur, mom, etc. etc.) to do this justice, but the meme must be spread. Surfette: Bloghercon 2005
    "Shall we up the ante and build a global gathering place, online and off, virtual and real, for women bloggers: Bloghercon 2005?"
    From here, even stretched thin, the answer is YES YES YES. Start blogging your ideas. Tag your posts with Bloghercon so we can find each other.

    Here are some early ideas on how we'd know if we had a measurable success:

    • We each hatch plans to support/mentor other women who want to blog (but not guilt them into it. We have enough guilt, eh?) We have a way to share what we learn/do in the process.
    • We tell the stories of women bloggers in all their diversity, richness, and messiness - and hopefully we unearth stories that fall on the long tail, not just the spike
    • We identify and point to blogging resources that are useful to us - no matter our technological savvy. We celebrate what we know and learn what we don't.
    • We identify strategies for second wave adoption (which follows on that last point.)

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    Microsoft buys Groove... do you think they will get colaboration now?

    Microsoft Buys Groove. No surprise there. The increased integration with MS Office was the writing on the wall. Tap in to the established user base is a business no brainer. But is it any service to distributed collaboration as an essential business practice? I worry.

    Here is the corporate word:
    Microsoft said Groove would complement SharePoint, its own collaboration program and Web portal that is designed to run over internal corporate networks and the Internet.

    Microsoft said Groove would also complement Office Live Meeting, which was formerly PlaceWare's Web conferencing software.

    Jeff Raikes, Microsoft's group vice president in charge of the division that includes office and other business programs, said that the "addition of Groove has us hitting the 'trifecta' of collaboration."
    If those three products are the "trifecta of collaboration," I'm worried. The each fill a niche, but hardly support the kind of network centric collaboration required today.

    When will Microsoft finally start "getting collaboration?" Owning the big tools does not make that happen. SharePoint, for goodness sake, is a HORRIBLE collaboration tool. It is a file sharing tool. In terms of human to human interaction it pays no attention to human social interaction issues. It is vertically designed. It is not network centric. Live Meeting is fine as a synch tool, but it has no hooks to blend asych/synch, and it is again, vertically designed. Groove is a fantastic team tool for those with the bandwidth and CPU power, and has many more network like hooks, but wil that be diminished when it becomes MicroGroove?

    Why don't we see some of the innovation found in Channel 9 in Microsoft's products? Why none of the cool stuff coming out of their Social Computing Group?

    There are some brilliant, talented people who know collaboration within Microsoft. Ward Cunningham comes to mind - this is the WIKI guy, who understands the power of community. Microsoft, listen to these people! Build the network view into your collaboration tools. Don't imprison us in Office metaphors. Allow us to appropriate and shape our tools to work horizontally and vertically. Make your applications breathe, not imprison.

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    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    The Simplicity of the Semantic Web

    Here is another image of this place we "live" in called the web from Dan Cooney . Thanks to Ed for the pointer.

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    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    David Warlick on Blogging and Community Building

    Tacking on to my recent post on Community, it seemed worthwhile to dredge this on out of my aging blog post drafts: Blog Together -- David Warlick
    t any rate, we're here to talk about community building. "Te He!" We're teachers. We're professionals. We have a critical task, to shape futures through the skills and knowledge that we help our students to learn. Our job is perhaps the most information-intensive occupation there is, and a large part of what makes us successful are the skills and experiences that we gain on the job. A perfect setting for a networked community.


    Why is establishing valuable, interactive, and information-rich communities among front-line teachers so difficult? Just ask any teacher you know. "When am I going to have time to participate in an online community?" I have to grade papers, write lesson plans, conduct research, attend committee meetings, attend staff development -- and these are the things I do after the school day is over.

    I do not have an easy answer. There is no easy answer. The hard answer is to redefine what it means to be educated in an information-driven, technology-rich world, and rewrite the curriculum, restructure the school day, reinvent what it is to be a teacher and a student, and retool classrooms for 21st century teaching and learning. Our current track only helps us to do a better job of preparing kids for the 1950s.

    Alright! I'm supposed to be talking about community-building. It occurs to me, that the bottom line for the success of any community, live or online, is that it helps its members solve a problem, or problems. In the case of teachers, it must help them do their jobs. Teachers will adopt a technology or technique if it helps them do their job. However, do I really want to help teachers to assure that every child can the expense of social studies, science, higher order thinking... OK! Off subject again.

    Read the rest!

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    Common Craft-Casting

    Yeah, I'm catching up on draft posts. This is what comes when you are eyeball deep in projects. What can I say. Last week Lee LeFever wrote riff'Casting. Podcasting. Beercasting. I commented that I want to do foodcasting or dinnercasting, creating a live collaborative celebration of potluck cooking. Mmmmm... would you like a byte with your bite?

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    Seb Blogs from IA Summit

    "Information Architecture Summit in Montreal,". Lots of gems from Seb. Here are a few:

    Peter Merholz on Genres:
    Orlikowski and Yates: genre is "a distinctive type of communicative action, characterized by a socially recognized communicative purpose and common aspects of form". Genres emerge as a response to purpose. At one point there weren't guidebooks. Then tourism got big, and the tourist guide genre eventually emerged.

    Genre is a tricky word. When we hear it we usually think of music or movies. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is drama sci-fi romance comedy. This sets expectations. A horror story has disquieting music and creaking doors. If you feel like laughing you'll go see a comedy.

    Here's a sample list of document genres. "analyst report", "executive biography", "site map", "event calendar"... these all have a suggestion of what's to come and why you would use it.

    Panel Definition of Tagging ( Peter Merholz, Peter Morville, Thomas Vander Wal, Gene Smith):
    What is it?

    - User-added metadata (e.g. for recall)
    - Shared resource (photo, url)
    - Social feedback loop

    Wikipedia definition: "a neologism for a practice of collaborative categorization using simple tags"

    Where is folksonomy found?
    - Social Bookmarking (, furl, CiteULike, wists)
    - Weblogs (Technorati, Livejournal interests)
    - Media Sharing (flickr, vimeo)
    - Other (Gmail, 43things)

    Explains how and flickr work. Tags the IA summit site in, to show us. You can see other things tagged with "ia", and related tags: design, usability, folksonomy,...

    Flickr was also out of the gate quickly with tagging. Here's a picture I tagged. You can see a list of all of your tags. The larger ones are the ones you use most often.

    Two kinds of folksonomies. Broad: many users tag one resource; Narrow: few users (mostly the creator) tag one resource.

    Two dimensions: is it my stuff or others' stuff; is it private tags or public tags. Folksonomy is where the tags are public. [SP: the chart suggests that furl tags are private, is it so?]

    This is a new concept that bubbled up last year. It created a discussion in the IA community and among pundits of the Web world.

    David Weinberger: "The old way creates a tree, the new way rakes leaves together".

    Lou Rosenfeld: "Folksonomies ... don't support searching and other types of browsing nearly as well as tags from controlled vocabularies"

    Clay Shirky: "Building, maintaining, and enforcing a controlled volcabulary is horrendously expensive."

    Liz Lawley: "It's just as problematic to ignore the compelling social, cultural, and academic arguments against lowest-common-denominator classification."

    Clay: "The mass amateurization of cataloging is a forced move."

    Go read the rest of Seb's notes. They're great.

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    What is community?

    I think this question will come up again and again and again. It's a useful exercise because "community" is such a squishy word in the ways we use it. In 1999 I posted a collection of definitions. In conversation at Northern Voice I realized it was time to update that essay. Then Lee LeFever points out this blog/comment thread: What is community?: Corante > BrandShift >"What is community?". The comments are a good example of how we see the concept differently.

    For me, the bottom line of community is how each community defines that for itself.

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    Monday, March 07, 2005

    craigslist in Deep Space

    I've had this in draft since March 1. I just loved the PR on this. Gotta love Craigslist: craigslist in Deep Space
    San Francisco, CA (USA) : Today craigslist, global leader in local classifieds and online community, announced plans to offer its users the opportunity to have their postings transmitted trillions of miles beyond the confines of the Solar System. craigslist currently handles 5 million earthly postings each month, from 8 million humans, in 99 cities and 19 countries on the planetary surface.

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    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Practical Advice:Technorati tags: an introduction

    Want to figure out how to do Technorati tages? Check this out: A Consuming Experience: Technorati tags: an introduction.
    This is a introductory guide to 'tags' on Technorati, the blogosphere search engine, which started using them in mid-January 2005. It's a practical introduction rather than a tutorial (ending with some personal thoughts about tags), but I'll summarise the basics about Technorati tags and how to use them in your own blog posts - stuff I've learned from digging around, playing around and, as you'll see later, much tearing out of hair. I do assume knowledge of basic HTML (for which see e.g. this or this), but if anything needs to be made clearer or expanded upon, please post a comment and I'll try to help."

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    Friday, March 04, 2005

    Dawn Meson - What does the quantum world look like?

    Teddy Zmrhal pointed me to the work of Dawn Meson. She has been working with the scientists at the Stanford Linear Accelerator to envisage what the phenomenon that occurs in the accelerator looks like. So she interacted with the scientists and then created astonishing images. Plus look at her other series. WOW. Art is lifeblood. Dawn writes:
    My work is an attempt to paint the invisible. This series addresses the margins of our scientific understanding: the interactions I depict are theoretically understood but cannot be seen directly. These paintings explore the tiny Quantum phenomena that pervade our everyday world. Using color, translucency, textures and shape as symbols, I hint at the rich complexity and mystery in the subatomic realm. Many pieces also exist as animations of a sort: the introduction and evolution of each element in these works echoes the order of events described in quantum theory. A stop-action rendering of these paintings is captured on digital video.

    Though my process attempts to mimic quantum models, this body of work is as much about belief structures as it is about science. For many who are not educated in higher level math, such systems of belief are taken on faith. The use of color and line in some of my paintings hint at this by evoking the look of stained-glass windows. These paintings, inspired by my decidedly non-mathematic interpretations of both quantum observations and theory, celebrate the role of visualization and imagination in scientific progress.
    The attempt to paint the invisible. Again, I have this reverberating zing going through my mind. When I faciltiate online, I am attempting to render the invisible of human processes -- just enough to be useful, and not so much as to squash the seeds of imagination and possibility.

    Did I say WOW?

    (edited to finish my post. Blogger or my connection went flaky mid edit.)

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    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    A Learning Blogosphere

    This bit of data caught my eye: The Community Engine Blog: A Learning Blogosphere (1): Into the Deep:
    "In Fall 2004, I developed a distributed learning blogosphere for non-technical students at the University of Michigan. Ninety-five percent of participants felt blogging improved their learning. Here I provide the hard, pragmatic lessons we learned in getting community interaction to work. In follow-on posts, I will provide quantitative analysis of how blogging shaped the class."

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    Watching the NVHAInnovations Event Live Blog

    NVHAInnovations - NVHAInnovations Blog

    I have many ties to the health community, so it has been fun to keep an eye on the feed from this conference on Social Software in the Healthcare Sector.

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    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    Robert Paterson's Weblog: Going Home - Our Reformation

    I have been heads down this week running a global online consultation that leaves me no time for thoughtful blogging. It's a darn good thing there are great thoughtful people I can point to!Robert Paterson's Weblog: Going Home - Our Reformation

    Robert Patterson has set out a lovely and believable vision of a collaborative, networked life. Take 10 minutes and read this.
    We are going home again to the place where humans fit.

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