Sunday, October 30, 2005

The "Charity" Conversation Gap

Fundraising Technology blog points to an interesting piece by Steve Rubel (also here)and Niall Cook at H&K, then puts it to work with an example about the "The charity conversation gap.

Steve Rubel and Hill & Knowlton have created a neat little tool (and free), to quickly see what Steve calls 'The Conversation Gap'.

Basically, it allows you to see the gap between all the blog posts discussing a topic/sector/product category and those which have a company or brand's name in it.

For example, here's a graph that shows the difference between the number of blog posts mentioning 'earthquake' but not 'UN' (the blue line) and the number of those same posts that actually mention 'UN' (the orange line). The conclusion is that the UN is missing a big opportunity to join the online conversation taking place about the recent earthquake."

Check it out. Very interesting and lovely to see people playing with real world examples.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Another chocolate post....

When I'm reading my blog feeds, I save Vitriolica's for... well... for FUN. Her drawings always make me smile. Or giggle. Or guffaw. And there's usually an edge.

But I think the reason I read this fantastic woman's blog is she loves chocolate. Check out : "can it really be that there exist people who don't do/get/eat/like chocolate? "

Click to the post to see the big, real, picture. Mmmm....

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Using "Blog Communities" for Job Recruitment

Mobile Jones has launched a new effort to connect mobile engineers with jobs, and help the referrer pick up a commission along the way. "Mobile Job Day" hopes to springboard off of networks created by bloggers in the mobile sector. Theoretically, good folk hang out with good folk, creating a filter/recommender that allows recruiters to find good candidates, plus give a little love to the finder.

Not only will Mobile be posting openings, but mobile engineers seeking to be considered can put a little badge on their blogs as a small flag of availability. Mobile says this "allows those who wish to be considered for openings to declare their ability on their blogs without announcing it to the world in a post and possibly their current employer. " I'm not so sure about that. Once employers figure out what it means, I'm not sure it would be so secret. There may be an upside to this anyway. Employers will know they need to value their engineers and keep 'em happy!

Sounds practical and doable to me, and taps into the power of networks and communities. Better yet, it is great to see people just step up and offer new ideas and avenues. Go, Mobile!

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Video Clip: What is a blog? Certainly not a pretty face!

Robin Good shared a Rome evening with me this past June when I was in town and shot some video for his "The Weblog Project." Today he put up a clip with a start that gave me a good laugh. Video Clip: What is a blog? - Nancy White � TheWeblogProject Blog Archive:
"Nancy White shares one among the multiple great descriptions she delivered to my video camera of what a blog is; vividly painted and insightful her contribution makes me see more of what blogs really are"
The actual video link is here.

Lately I've been neither a candle nor a mirror. Time to get blogging back into the daily routine, now that I have a new computer. Ugh. Harddrives. Ugh. That's all I can say. But all is now well.


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Sunday, October 23, 2005

M. J. Thompson Network Solutions - About Us

When things go wrong, it's nice to have friends. I should have known I was headed towards a hard drive failure. The signs were there. I almost even backed up my files last night after 2 long days of finishing the data analysis on a client project.

But I didn't.

I think I aged about 5 years today. This morning it happened. After trying all sorts of things, calling my tech friend (who is in RENO!) I did a google search and talked to a few local data recovery services. Most were not helpful. But then I called MJ Thompson Network Solutions and talked to Robert.

Now it turns out Robert is in Lyndon Washington, about 2.5 hours from here. He said he would give it a try if we brought up the hard drive and if it worked, the fee would be $89. If he could not recover the data, there would be no charge.

The other people I talked to would not even begin to estimate time or cost. Not even a ballpark. So the second nice set of people kicked into gear: my husband and eldest son. They agreed to drive up to Lynden while I worked here in my office on reconstructing the last two days of work. Luckily I had printed out a great deal of the data because I had to look at it in a number of ways, and that's when I find paper helpful.

SO they drove up, stopping in Bellingham to pick up my youngest for a visit (he goes to school in Bellingham.) They took the machine to Robert, who spent nearly 3 hours trying. He identified the problem as being the mechanism that reads the harddrive, an IBM piece that is apparantly known for problems. But alas, he could not extract the data. And no charge. I tried to pay him something, but he refused. I said, "I'm going to blog about you" to let others know how kind and helpful you were, even if the harddrive would not cooperate. My husband and son just arrived back, ready for dinner.

Next I have to decide if I want to pay for expensive, clean room hard drive data recovery. I have 2 weeks of email files that are precious... and not so many documents that I can't recover. But the time. The heartache.

My next planned purchase was going to be a desktop with redundant drives. I had already started shopping. I only wish I had started earlier.. and had backed up last night.

We all know it... yet sometimes we don't heed.

Thanks anyway, Robert!

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Another way of defining online community...

Communities declare they are communities. Or better yet, members declare they are part of a community.Melissa Middleton wrote today:
"One day…I came across an extraordinary community called SHARE. It was created by the March of Dimes. This beautiful place where parents come together…talk to each other…support one another…A place where I was welcomed to visit *any time* I wanted to …Oh! I felt like I had just been given Dorothy’s ruby slippers. The sun peeked through my computer window a little bit that day…hope nipped at my keyboard riding fingers…And my heart started thudding along with my base filled speakers….

Over time….I realize that, as Denise experiences have helped me “love deeper” and as Kara said, I want to “wrap my arms around another parent” who is standing now….where I once stood… "


HARE and MOD has filled my heart with hope…and in turn…I’ve fueled this hope into a passion for understanding and loving other parents…while helping MOD discover a happier outcome for us ALL…


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Wiki "Communities"

Earlier this week I blogged about Ward Cunningham's speach on wikis and community. This idea of "did the community create the wiki, or did the wiki create the community" has been rolling around in my head and bouncing the corners a bit.

My values and past experience usually lead me to conclude that it is always people who form communities, but his statement asked me to check my assumptions. And it helped me reframe the question to "did the community create the wiki, or did the wiki CATALYZE community." This links to all the value AND hype of "web 2.0." Changes in technology have the possibility of influencing and catalyzing changes in people's (and particularly groups') behavior. But the don't create the behavior. We do that.

So anyway, that got me thinking about "wiki communities." As in "blog communities" - as in are there networks of wikis that form either loose networks or tighter, defined communities. Do you know of any?

I have found good examples of people who contribute to a wiki and thus, through the mutual act of contribution, become community. Ross Mayfield recently pointed to some of this in his posts at Many2Many (which seems to be nudging back to activity). He pointed to the StartupExchange and the Broadband Around the Planet Project. These join venerable old timers (funny to say that) Wikipedia and disaster response wikis for the SE Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Recovery 2.0

So the observation is emerging that tools like wikis and blogs offer us a catalyst to find each other and then move forward to action -- if we get our act together. This is what Rob and Alexandra talk about in their response to my skepticism about Web 2.0 making collaboration "almost efortless." I still say we are miles away from efortless for intentional collaboration. But that ease of getting connected in preparation for the commitment to action is happening. The catalyst to find our shared interes and, hopefully, intention.

Nuff said for a Friday night. Back to work!

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Blogs at UCT - Blog Community?

Blogs at UCT is a fun read. I stumbled in there via one of the blogs for the e/Merge2006 planning blog. The University of Cape Town seems to be a great nest for explorers, experimenters and people who think creatively. As I read through some of the blogs, that feeling persisted! :-)

Lilia Efimova and others have studied and written about blog communities. If you start searching on blog community, there is lots of chatter that goes back a few years. Most of it focuses on "community" in the sense of interelated conversations or shared domain.

The place I'm watching these days is where the blogs are "colocated" (and often aggregated) in one online home, such as the UCT blog and the blogs at ShareYourStory.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sara Ford: Blogging from Katrina Ground Zero: Waveland, MS – Day 5

Another reason I love blogs and the web - to be a small part of real stories of real people. Take a look at Blogging from Katrina Ground Zero: Waveland, MS – Day 5.

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Ward Cunningham on the Culture, Community and Moderation of Wikis

Ross Mayfield blogs over at Many-to-Many: an "Impressionistic transcript from Ward Cunningham’s opening keynote at wikisym…"

If you are interested in the human dynamics of online interaction, go read what Ross captured from Ward. Great stuff. Here are a few clips before my eyeballs roll back and fingers freeze up for the night. (I have been doing interviews that I transcribe live all day. Hands are TIRED!)
A wiki is a work sustained by a community. Often asked about difference between wiki and blog. Something tangible is ve The blogosphere is the magic that happens above blogs — the blogosphere is a community that might produce a work. Whereas a wikis a work that might produce a community. It’s all just people communicating.

One’s words are a gift to the community. For the wiki nature to take whole, you have to let go of your words. You have to be okay with that. This goes into the name, called refactoring. To collaborate on a work, one must trust.

Refactoring makes the work supple. Word borrowed from mathematics, not going to change the meaning of the work, but change it so I can understand it better. Continuous refactoring. Putting a new feature into a program is important, but refactoring so new features can be added in the future is equally important.
Go read it all... on the second page is a great bit about wiki moderation! And in related news, Ward has left Microsoft...

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The World Is Not Flat (TwinF) | Our Travels, Your Experiences

Lee gives us a peek behind the curtain of The World Is Not Flat (TwinF) | Our Travels, Your Experiences with his entry "Building The World Is Not Flat (TwinF)"

Great case study. Read it and learn. Nuff' said!

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Another Online Event: Impact of Web 2.0 on Nonprofits

Things are abuzz these days with online events coming out of communities and domains without a lot of history of online events! It makes me giddy. It is funny how you evangelize, tell people great things can happen -- for ages -- then all of a sudden when the conditions are ripe, things begin to pop. What is it our moms told us about timing???

Via Beth's Blog. "TechSoup Online Event: October 24-October 28, on The Impact of Web 2.0 on nonprofits

Their intro:
Join CompuMentor’s community engagement program director John Lorance and a host of leading Web technology advocates as they demystify Web 2.0 technologies and illustrate how using new socially oriented technological innovations can help the nonprofit community. Web 2.0 technologies such as tagging, social bookmarking and online social networks, blogging, content sharing through Wikis and RSS, and new Web widgets need not only be in the hands of well-funded developers; but also can be used by organizations to further their missions.

Save the dates: October 24-October 28
Join us the week of October 24, for a free, five-day online event, in the TechSoup Emerging Technology forum
as we discuss issues such as:

*What do we mean by Web 2.0?
*How can you use an RSS feed to get pushed information as well as to push your content to others?
*What on earth is a Wiki? How is it better than the old-fashioned Web site?
*What is tagging and how is it relevant? How can you learn from others’ Web searches?
*What are widgets and how can these new tools help you solve age-old problems?
*How can an online social network help your organization find volunteers?

Co-hosts include:
Marnie Webb of CompuMentor,
Ruby Sinreich two-time winner of “Best Blog” from The Independent Weekly;
Chris Messina of Flock and SpreadFireFox fame;
Marshall Kirkpatrick, trainer and educator on Web 2.0 technologies;
nonprofit technologist Phil Klein;
online community and social network professional Alexandra Samuel;
nonprofit technology blogger Michael Stein; and others.

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Cyberweek - the Future of the Practice of Law; The First Virtual Bar Association Meeting - October 23 - 28, 2005

Yowza!From Stephanie on the Online Facilitation list comes news of Cyberweek - the Future of the Practice of Law; The First Virtual Bar Association Meeting - October 23 - 28, 2005. This looks to be an amazing and diverse offering, with synchronous, asynchronous and blended online/offline events. Bravo! Take a look. Here are some of the components. It looks terrific!

Synchronous Events

Online Dispute Resolution at -Colin Rule, Director of Online Dispute Resolution presents a real time demo using collaborative tools (e.g. Webex and Skype)

Brainstorming ODR tools in government dispute resolution -Dan Rainey - Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services, The National Mediation Board presents a real time demo of prototype University of Massachusetts - National Mediation Board ODR tool.

Conflict Transformation and Mobile Technology - Sanjana Hattotuwa - Head, Research Unit, Info Share and Editor of the Peace Library will conduct a real time demonstration on the use of mobile technology in conflict transformation contexts among other ODR related subjects.

Can Democratic Dialog Work in Virtual Spaces? An Exploration Using Unchat Professor Bill Warters of Wayne State University presents a real time UNCHAT (virtual collaboration and meeting platform) session. To be held at 2:00 - 3.00 pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday October 25th.

Asyncrhonous Events

International Competition for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR) Professor Ben Davis, University of Toledo College of Law and co-founder of ICODR presents asynchronous ICODR content (i.e. access to old cases / competition rooms) and invitation to participate in ICODR 2006 and ODR Symposium.

SmartSettle Test Drive, Ernie Thiessen, Founder of is inviting Cyberweek attendees to take SmartSettle for a test drive by competing against an unknown opponent in the International eNegotiation Tournament. walk-through, Jon Kennedy, Founder of presents an asynchronous walk-through / demonstration.


Will Web-enabled Document Automation Disrupt the Legal Profession? An On-Line and Off-Line Discussion

Featuring Richard Granat and Marc Lauritsen, Co-chairs of the eLawyering Task Force of the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section and Daryl Mountain, a practitioner and consultant, who is also a member of the Task Force. The eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the ABA is sponsoring a roundtable discussion on this topic at their Quarterly Meeting at the Loew's Hotel in Philadelphia, Saturday. October 22, 11 am to 1 pm. This on-line discussion is designed to complement and supplement that real-time, in-person discussion in Philadelphia. This on-line discussion will last for 30 days, from October 17. 2005 and end on November 17, 2005.

Ethics and Trust in a Networked Society

Featuring Tamar Frankel, Professor of Law, Boston University and author of a new book, Trust and Honesty. America's Business Culture at a Crossroad (2005). Africa Committee Forum

Moderated by Ayo Kusamotu, Kusamotu & Kusamotu, Lagos State, Nigeria, and with moderators for the following topics: Tira Greene - E Commerce/Payments; Judith O'Neill - Internet telephony; Kunbi Braithwaite - Cybercrime; Femi Falana - E Voting; and Ayo Kusamotu - Creative Commons.-Ayo Kusamotu.

The State of the World, the Law and Lawyer in the 21st Century

Featuring Ramon Mullerat, a lawyer in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, Former President of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Union. Moderated by Joseph P. J. Vrabel, Esq. and featuring an expert panel of lawyers.

Online Best Practices Committee

Presentation by Hilary Rowen, Esq., chair of ABA TTIPS e-commerce committee with online interactive Best Practices table being developed by the Schidler Center for Law, Commerce and Technology of the University of Washington Law School.

International applications of ODR and/or Use of Mobile technology in conflict transformation Featuring Sanjana Hattotuwa, Head, Research Unit, Info Share ( and Editor of the Peace Library.

Watch for more details about the upcoming Cyberweek, but mark the dates on your calendar now. The programs will be available 24 hours a day during Cyberweek, so you can participate wherever you are. There is no fee to participate, so join us to help shape the future of law in a networked society. To register, go to"

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Audio as Online Conversation Experiment

Beth Kanter was part of my recent online facilitation workshop and initiated a fantastic interaction around experimenting with audio. She recaps her learning in Audio as Online Conversation for Online Communities Experiment. What is cool about this post is it contains a visual summary of the conversation which she shared in the workshop. It was so cool I said "BLOG IT!" She did! (Here's a link to the larger image.)

Here too, is her text overview:
I came to the workshop with an interest in learning more about facilitation of blogging communities as well as how some of the new tools - like audio and video may be deployed. One action learning experiment played with was titled 'Audio As Online Conversation.' Some inquiry questions:

* What is the best way to weave audio into online community conversations?
* What are the challenges and opportunities?
Now we need an audio summary! :-)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A beautiful example of visual thinking and communication...

bgblogging: Asking My Students To Write Stories Without Words As a Means to Consider the Elements of Writing ... and another very interesting blog that will suck yet more minutes out of the day. Lovely!

Oh, a commenter leaves this gift of storytelling through 5 frames on Flickr!

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Comparing Audio Creation Tools - Audio Blogging Part 2

This is a test to compare with the post I did a few weeks ago with the blogger phone-to-blog audioblogging service. ( Today I am using AudioAcrobat (

Below you can access my assessment - - audio style! Note there is a free 30 day trial available if you want to play around, but you can't have downloadable files with the free trial - you have to pay. So as you can see, I have started paying, as I've found the service useful, particularly for recording conference calls. If you are ever recording other folks, don't forget to advise them and allow them to withdraw if they don't want to be recorded.

For comparison, here is part one.
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Community Indicators: mash notes to our favorite communities

Read this and see why online community LIVES! David Gans' Stunning words from The WELL

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45 Draft Blog Posts in 10 days

See what happens when you drop out of your regular blogging routine for more than a week?? You get DRAFT POST CONSTIPATION!

45 drafts vs something like 6 posts. Pitiful. Pfft.


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Blogging in Portugal

My friend Bev, in recent posts on Em duas linguas, has been covering/translating some of the communications that have come out of the "Il Encontro de Weblogs" at the Universidade da Beira Interior. (See also the great notes from Monica and the conference blog - in Portuguese)

It has been great to have Bev's "take" on the proceedings (along with the translations) and it makes me wonder more and more about how culture shapes our use of technologies such as blogs. And gender! (see the session "Speaking of Blogs in the Feminine")

I have been following a number of women blogging in Portugal, each, as I understand it, from a different cultural background. I get the sense they are rebels. YES!

I'll confess a second motivation. At last summers Blogher, Bev and I dreamed of a women's blogging conference in Portugal in the fall, at a winery during the grape crush. Now THAT'S an unconference!

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Jenna Burrell - Internet research in Accra, Ghana

So I was strolling through the AOIR papers (triggered by a post from Lilia) and I came upon this one: "Telling Stories of Internet Fraud: how word-of-mouth shapes Internet use in Accra, Ghana." Having been in Accra last year to run a workshop on facilitation of online groups in Africa, my eyes took notice. Check out this great abstract (I wish the full paper was available online, but it looks only conference participants can access the full papers. :-( )
Jenna Burrell: "This paper will explore how the Internet is received by face to face communities of cybercaf�users in the West African capital city of Accra, Ghana. Previous research by focusing primarily on online spaces populated by citizens of developed countries who use computers in private spaces has overlooked the ways these proximate communities relate to the Internet. Internet users in Accra collectively produce a model of Internet use by telling stories about it, by providing advice and suggestions, and by using the Internet together in cybercafes. This paper will contribute to the body of knowledge on social aspects of the Internet by providing an alternative notion of how face to face communities relate to the Internet. Rather than asking how Internet use affects social relations in communities, we are asking how communities collectively shape Internet use.


In terms of the stories told about the Internet, cybercafe users in Accra described the Internet as an ambivalent technology, as both capable of effecting positive personal development through legitimate means, or alternatively as making new forms of criminal behavior possible including e-mail scams and credit card fraud. However, this ambivalence converges with the conviction held by many cybercafe users that the Internet is an extraordinarily powerful tool for effecting personal development whether by honest or dishonest means.

While Internet users frowned upon fraudulent practices, these stories bolstered their belief in the effectiveness of Internet use in realizing ones ambitions and they had a powerful effect on how they made use of the Internet. Many Ghanaian cybercafe users devote a great deal of time to collecting foreign chat partners in Yahoo chat rooms in an effort to build social capital. They believed that they could call upon these foreign contacts for help with financial problems, emigration plans, or for business partnerships. In practice most found this sort of partnership difficult to realize, although many continued to spend significant amounts of time and money on it despite evidence that this form of use wasn’t as effective as they had expected. Cybercafe users in Accra relied on models of sponsorship and patronage drawn from traditional notions of reciprocity and wealth distribution, the vestiges of colonial relations, and contemporary systems of development aid. This paper will demonstrate how forms of Internet use are socially influenced and deeply cultural.
Now I'm wondering if this study was done at BusyInternet, which I believe is the largest cybercafe in Africa!Looking closely, this might also be a story about Community Indicators!

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Presenters, Abstracts, and Papers from AOIR 2005

Want to distract yourself for hours? Check out the Presenters, Abstracts, and Papers from the Association of Internet Researchers (A.O.I.R) "Internet Research 6.0: Internet Generations" conference from October 5-9 in Chicago. Mamma mia! If only there were more hours in the day.

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Seattle Mind Camp Coming November 5-6

Are you a creative, imaginative geek? A person who works at the intersection of technology and any domain (art, science, food?) Then you might want to check out Seattl Mind Camp:
"Seattle Mind Camp is a self-organizing, digitally minded, entrepreneur-driven, overnight Seattle confab. What happens when you put 150 of Seattle’s smartest geeks in an empty office building for 24 hours? We’re not sure either, but we’d like to find out. It’s time to meet and connect with those involved in the interesting projects going on in Seattle in a relaxed environment.

What: A weekend, 24-hour, multi-track event. Think huge space with breakout rooms, broadband Wi-Fi, projectors, white boards - and you.

Who: 150 of Seattle’s forward thinkers: techies, entrepreneurs, executives, gamers, musicians, and anyone else with a great idea.

When: Mind Camp will take place on November 5-6

Why?: You know all those hallway conversations that never get to flourish during a “normal” conference? Now they will.

Seattle Mind Camp is completely free of charge, and registration will begin very soon. In the meantime, check out the About page for a little more information."
Don't put off making a decision. The event is limited to 150! I want to encourage women to come so the few of us signed up aren't the only ones!

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rip, Mix, Learn - Blog as classroom, playground, mind trip

Rip, Mix, Learn (with background here) is the type of application of blogs that gets me excited. Darren is using blogs as part scavengern hunt, part organizing of learning and of course, his focus is on the remixing processes. Another word for inventiveness?

I'm looking for people who are looking at what the software can do for them, rather than conform to the earlier use patterns.

In other words, how are people being inventive with blogs (or name your other tool here)? And what happens? What happens when you introduce a new use to a habituated group? To a group of new-bees?

It will be interesting to watch Darren's experiment unfold.

Here are some other uses of blogs that I've seen:

* group history/notetaking platform for phone calls
* personal memory (posting notes to self, irrespective of external audience)
* game platform (tracking geocaching, etc.)

What other inventive uses have you seen or done?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blackboard and WebCT Announce Plans to Merge!

Steven Downes just sent this around: Blackboard and WebCT Announce Plans to Merge
"Blackboard and WebCT, leading providers of enterprise software and services to the education industry have announced plans to merge. The announcement was made at October 12th at 4 pm EST in a news release posted on PR News wire."
Oh, dear gods and goddesses of learning, please tell me that this does not mean more gets locked behind large and (at least in the past) inflexible systems that lack the graceful bend of a willow in the wind???

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J. LeRoy: You Can't Spell Community without 'Nit'

Jim riffs on my post of last night about Web 2.0. Well said! J. LeRoy: You Can't Spell Community without 'Nit'
"The Web 2.0 world has seen a lot of press. No one knows where its boundaries are. Many push back because some people like to resist popular movements regardless of their intent. But the central definition of Web 2.0 is that it facilitates relationships, communication and collaboration. It can do this in so many ways that I'll just send you to wikipedia to read about it.

Community is love. Everyone wants it. Everyone likes it when community is focused on them. But not all are ready for the various levels of commitment necessary to stabilize and maintain it.

Web 2.0 is not going to remove the need for leaders, lovers, lurkers or losers. Human beings have fairly set ways of relating to each other. Social networks and tools produced by Web 2.0 efforts may extend, but will never replace, these social norms."
I love the line "Community is love. Everyone wants it...But not all are ready for the ...commitment necessary to stablize and maintain it."

I'm not sure it is stability, but there has to be a "there" there. It has to be more than electronic traces and the artifacts that come of our collaborative intersections.

Maybe the line moves from "all you need is love" to "all you need is love and web 2.0." Wink wink!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Challenging the myths of distributed collaboration

From Social Signal, Alexandra Samuel Rob Cottingham's new consulting effort (and fun, cool website), comes this interesting definition of "distributed collaboration networks." Now Alex, bear with me, but I'm gonna push back here a bit... I don't know if you offered this up more as a vision than as a definition, but I think there is an important piece missing to your equation.

What is a distributed collaboration network?

A distributed collaboration network is the next generation of online community, creating shared value through technology-supported collaboration. It leverages “Web 2.0” tools – tools like blogging, tagging, and RSS – that push the Internet beyond information portals and towards collaborative communities. It’s a decentralized, non-hierarchical way of working together that facilitates nimble, project-specific teamwork within a larger, ongoing community.

This community is supported by an ecosystem of web sites that share content and relationships using technologies that make group collaboration an almost effortless extension of individual workflow. A blog post written on one site might pop up in a topical web page on another part of the network. A collection of useful web resources created by one user could be syndicated and republished by half a dozen other sites. A breaking news story could be published on multiple sites, inspiring a blog-based discussion held across multiple sites that is then collected and mirrored on a single web page. There is no hub in a distributed network, just an ever-expanding network of sites that each offers a different point of entry, catering to particular interests and users.
OK, first I would make the distinction that a collaboration network is a container that might contain teams, communities or other group forms, but I think it is important to make a distinction between a network (loose ties) and a community (bounded membership).

Next, I'd like to know a bit more about how a network pushes the internet towards collaboration. People push, networks contain. Or how values are created through collaboration. Isn't it that values support collaboration?

OK, now, if this is a vision, a dream, I'm ok with the following line. If not, we're in trouble. "This community is supported by an ecosystem of web sites that share content and relationships using technologies that make group collaboration an almost effortless extension of individual workflow."

I have yet to experience effortless collaboration. Period. I have experienced enjoyable and fun collaboration. I have endured miserable collaboration. But it has never been effortless. This is because collaboration asks us to go beyond our selves and commit to others as well.

I worry about creating utopian dreams that collaboration becomes effortless because of tools and technology. Collaboration will become easier when people shift towards a cooperative value set. When they are willing to slow down for the group, rather than simply running on their own individual cycles. When they can find a connection of shared values or goals. Tools will help - YES. But they come second after people and their processes.

I challenge the notion that collaboration will increase simply because of the availability of a new set of interrelated tools, or Web 2.0. This is the same trap that allowed thousands to think of e-learning as a fast and cheap alternative to other options, when in fact it is a complex and viable approach, but not always fast, nor easy, especially when you want quality outcomes. Good elearning requires a shift in operating culture. Likewise, collaboration requires a cultural shift.

Finally, collaboration across boundaries and facilitated by Web 2.0 tools will increase when we make space for it in our lives. Did you ever have the experience when someone asked you to ADD something online to your existing job/life/patterns. Not replace something else. ADD. Do this e-learning course in addition to your work. Add this collaboration opportunity to your work load. Add it to an already over scheduled hour/day/week. I fear that with the provision of these cool web 2.0 tools on a worker's desk, the next pronouncement will be "collaborate!" but with no shift.

I believe there is a great deal of potential to distributed collaboration. I'd go so far as to say it will be a required competence and essential business/organization activity. It will be facilitated to some extent by tools. But it won't happen without us increasing our skills, practices and intentions for collaboration.


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Josh Hallett on Blogs as Event Tools for NPOs

Josh's recommendations in Event Blogs can go far beyond NPOs -- anyone can use blog software as their starting point for creating an active web presence. The only thing I'd add is a wiki for note taking (which I feel is quite different from live blogging - I should probably write up WHY! Here is a snippet::
"Blogs offer a cost-effective solution for non-profits to promote, cover, discuss and wrap-up events

Events often pose smaller non-profits a problem with their limited web site budgets. Some non-profits might have basic content management tools that allow them to add a news item or calendar event, while many others have standard flat HTML pages. Often a new event was not in the 'master web plan' when the site we designed a year or two ago. In these situations an event will receive very limited exposure, if any, on the web site and is often shoe horned into an existing site structure. If a non-profit has additional web funds they will sometimes create a micro-site for the event, but it is often a flat/static page with few updates and no life beyond the event. Blog software can help change this."

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Getting back in blog synch

I can't believe it, but it has been a week since I blogged. I took a few days off (3 to be precise) last week to go to a dear friend's wedding in Manitowoc Wisconsin, then work tumbled into every available slot.

I have a stack of cool things to blog, but not much time to shape them into anything other than a pointer, which isn't too satisfying from my perspective. Perhaps a selfish thing, but so it goes.

I hope to get back into blogging synch this week. But right now I should really make DINNER!

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lee and Sachi's new 'baby!'

My friends Lee and Sachi LeFever are about to embark on an amazing year long travel adventure. True to Lee's online community focus, they have created a site to be an integral part of their -- and our -- experience. Check out The World Is Not Flat (TwinF):
"When we started telling people about our plans for the trip, we found that people love to share their travel experiences. We would write what we could on a napkin or envelope and eventually lose those valuable tidbits.

So, we figured there must be a way to collect and organize similar travel experiences using a web site. We started looking for ways to have a travel blog that also enabled our friends to share their experiences with us on the Web. This was the original inspiration for TwinF."
What a life!

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Testing Audioblogger (can you hear me now?)

So what da heck, I'm giving AudioBlogger a test drive.

this is an audio post - click to play

What I notice so far (beside the funny voice on the phone number I call) is that I can't put a title on the post via phone, so I have to come in and edit. But this could be fun on the road!

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Another view of Recovery 2.0

The Specks Vol 1
Originally uploaded by Burningbird.
In case of emergency, never lose your sense of humor!

[Via Burningbird!]

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Welcome to Blogging Maryam

Maryam has joined the world of bloggers. Welcome, Maryam! You are off to a great start. I loved your musings on pillows, blankets and partners!

Maryam's partner is an uber-blogger. I think I should tell my husband about Maryam's blog. I'm no uber-blogger, but I sure blog a lot. There is something slightly asymetrical about a pair that blog/don't blog. In a way, it is very healthy. One balances the other.

In another way, it is as of one has a different universe available for conversation and connection, while the other one only looks on, and wonders, why is he/she laughing/crying/scowling at their computer monitor? What, or WHO is there?

Until you experience WHO is there, it is hard to really fathom.

So, Maryam, welcome to the blogging world. It is great to have you among us. Sending blogging beams across Lake Washington to ya!

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