Send As SMS

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Example of a Post Event Gift

Heike Phillips, who hosted an online event on Global Work teams a couple of weeks ago then created a post event space that gathered our event "artifacts". What a gift! You can find it as a nice example of this practice here: Panel Discussion LEARNTEC 2006.

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Werdmuller :: Web 2.0 is Marxism? Think again

Very useful response to the CBS article comparing Web 2.0 with Marxism. Thanks, Ben! (I'm not linking to the CBS article. Why give it more juice?)
Web 2.0 is Marxism? Think again
What Keen fails to see is that it's exactly through these explorations, these connections with similar people, that we learn new things. We only learn more about ourselves if we only consume our own content; in fact, we're connecting to other people and sharing with them. Etienne Wenger commented on this while defining communities of practice:
Being alive as human beings means that we are constantly engaged in the pursuit of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world and we tune our relations with each other and with the world accordingly. In other words we learn.

Tags: , ,

links to this post  

oops, I forgot to tag people for Paul's Meme!

I rose to Paul's challenge, Paul's First Meme - Why Me(me)?, but I forgot to tag three more people.

So friends (will you still call me friend?) I'm tagging





Lets hear from women in NGO work!

links to this post  

Einstein on Online Facilitation

Via : Dynamic images I did a little Tuesday morning work avoidance. I was inspired by some challenges I'm having working with a network of people in Africa. When the electricity goes out, the server has 8 hours of back up power. The outages usually last 24 hours. So all the list email messages start bouncing, the system resets the bouncers to no mail and we get to start all over again. So in the spirit of fun, here is Einstein, with a thought on online facilitation.

links to this post  

Monday, February 27, 2006

Paul's First Meme - Why Me(me)?

I could not resist playing with words. I was tagged with the Four Things meme a couple of weeks ago and my draft is still sitting in the, well, draft mode! So Paul tagged me today with an NGO/NPO meme. My inner good girl responds. (Oh, that could be a very bad thing! Uh oh!)

Paul wrote:
NGO Manager recently asked me to write something on information management for NGOs for their newsletter, which forced me to think a bit. As everybody knows, I hate thinking. Specifically, I had to think about the five resources that I would recommend to anybody working in an NGO who wanted to know about information management and technology but didn’t know where to start.

So here’s my meme: what five resources - online or otherwise - would you point people to, if you wanted to give them an entry into your field of expertise?"
Paul's pointers were some of the basic NGO resources so I thought I'd go a bit more specific to those looking to use distributed group processes and technology in their work.

I'd start first with KM for Development, a community of diverse folks who care about knowledge sharing and learning in development. There is a DGroups list, a resource rich website and an emerging, collaborative FAQ process. The community is hosted by Canadian NGO, Bellanet.

Second, I'd look to the Digital Divide Network - it brings together news, tools, discussions and blogs. Or maybe Meatball Wiki (tools for collaboration) or the Community Wiki. Mm. Hard to decide, eh? Can you tell I like alive, collaborative resources?

Third, I'd suggest finding 3-4 great NPO blogs to follow as they inevitably lead you to more resources vetted by that person. So pick blogs that relate to your niche in the NPO world. Some of the one's I'm following these days are Beth's Blog (particularly her work in Cambodia), Marshall Kirkpatrick's from a tech perspective, Joitske Hulseboch's from a communities of practice perspective and the Net2 blogs because they give juicy interviews and case studies -- stories -- that are great to pass on to clients.

The last one is a sort of "down the rabbit" hole resource. One of those things that once you start exploring, keeps opening up to new things. It is for looking at the edges of what is emerging right now. It is for tapping into the "wisdom of the crowd." This would be subscribing to some key tags on technorati and NPTech, NGO, and Community_indicators --> three very different and emergent set of links. This is the sort of resource that you can explore and explore and... EXPLORE!

Tags: , , ,

links to this post  

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Guilty Pleasures: The Grey Matter Blog

OK, I hate to admit my television guilty pleasures online. I feel week and brain dead. But hey, I watch television. But what I really like is how people interact with television online. I'm loving the Grey Matter blog from the series' writers. Wow. So fricken much fun to hear what goes on in their heads. To read the comments. But what a TIME SUCK. Yet this is truly a community indicator. The power of crossing over the lines of broadcast to conversation.


Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Blog Mentoring Keeps Growing Around the World

Via Joitske I found the The African Mentoring Project , run by Ore Somolu from Nigeria. From their project coordination wiki they say
The African Mentoring Project was created as a way of encouraging and supporting Africans who want to start blogging. Initially there will be a pilot project limited to Nigerian women. The idea for the project came from Nigerian blogger Ore Somolu who is presently working with a group of young women from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia on the Young Caucacus Women Project.
If you are interested in setting up a blogging mentoring project, wander around their wiki for lots of ideas!

Technorati Tags: ,

links to this post  

danah boyd on MySpace

danah boyd gave a talk recently on Myspace and has shared her presentation notes online, Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace. (And my I just say, I LOVE how people are sharing F2F notes online. Thanks!)

These note are important to me for two reasons.

First, as a parent of teens who use MySpace danah gives a calm response to why such spaces and activities are important. I don't share my family details in the blog, but I will say my experience resonates with danah's observations -- and some of those experiences are painful, but useful as a real life experience.

Second, as a student of online life, danah pegs three things: the importance of identity, the act of "hanging out" as an important social activity (offline and online - anyway you can get it!), and finally, the necessary experience of being part of a digital public. This is, like it or not, a necessary life skill for many of us today. Learn it well, learn it young enough.

"Youth are not creating digital publics to scare parents - they are doing so because they need youth space, a place to gather and see and be seen by peers. Publics are critical to the coming-of-age narrative because they provide the framework for building cultural knowledge. Restricting youth to controlled spaces typically results in rebellion and the destruction of trust. Of course, for a parent, letting go and allowing youth to navigate risks is terrifying. Unfortunately, it's necessary for youth to mature.

What we're seeing right now is a cultural shift due to the introduction of a new medium and the emergence of greater restrictions on youth mobility and access. The long-term implications of this are unclear. Regardless of what will come, youth are doing what they've always done - repurposing new mediums in order to learn about social culture.

Technology will have an effect because the underlying architecture and the opportunities afforded are fundamentally different. But youth will continue to work out identity issues, hang out and create spaces that are their own, regardless of what technologies are available."
Tags: , , ,

links to this post  

You know you are an obsessed blogger....

Elise Bauer had me laughing at my computer this morning with her You know you are an obsessed food blogger when ... post. Frequently people ask me if I'm obsessed or addicted to my blogging and my online life. I suppose the answer is....


links to this post  

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Size DOES Matter: The Magic Number is Six

Marnie Webb had a post this week that resonated like a bell about how we support change. We do it through people and stories.

But size DOES matter.
We don’t make communities for 1M, 100K, 10K or even 1K. The communities we make are for 6 people. Make that—share it, write it, meet with it—and let each of those spawn more communities of 6. Keep it small enough to really care about and relate to.

That’s one of the things that Mena Trott said the acquisition of LiveJournal taught her. The average number of people in a community is six. And that is a comfortable number. And one we can imagine.
As humans, we can relate to smaller groups of people, stories of a size that we can internalize. As we seek to create change in our families, towns, non profits, states, countries, the world, think about who the first six you want to reach.

Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Friday, February 24, 2006

woolfcamp 2006 - Wish I had Been There

For a tantalizing read of a collaborative reflection of a face to face experience, check out woolfcamp 2006. (Was that a long sentence or WHAT?)

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Em duas línguas: Interesting bilingual sites

I have been part of an informal, casual string of communications between a number of folks about multilingual online interactions. Bev has been recapping a lot of it as in this post, Em duas línguas: Interesting bilingual sites. Anyone who is working online and not paying attention to our online language skills should wake up. Our English language assumptions here in the US are going to be challenged! Join the conversation now!

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Social Software Plus Community in Action

Alan Levine tells a story (what a great form!) about Social Software In Action (no real software required). It is worth reading the whole thing so no snippets! Go read it.

I'll add a coda to the title. Social Software + Community in action. Alan, did you know you stumbled into a community? That Bev and Nick and I all know each other? You provided the spark that set us collectively to action. Actually, more than that, because you and your community of edubloggers have influenced us. So it was the intersection of a couple of communities.

Pretty damn cool. And POWERFUL!

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Beyond the Edge: Distilling the Depths

Some friends of mine have been making magic at a gathering they convene, Beyond the Edge. Dan just blogged about it and if you are interested in leadership, I suggest you start with this blog post, then wander to the BTE site.
"There is a famous image, sourced in Zen Buddhism, that says we all need time to let the silt settle out from the pure water of the spring. That's what Beyond the Edge is, a chance to let the water clear, to distill the depths, and then look through rather than look at. People have come for so many reasons: to find their vision, to cure a fear of failure, to rediscover the person who can operate from equanimity, joy, patience or hope. So many reasons and just one really, having to do with releasing an essential, deeply personal possibility. Beyond the Edge is a kind of portal to a better world through the growth of people who in whatever ways, large or small, with corporations or non-profits, in their lives with their families or only with themselves, are intentional. They lead."

Tags: , , ,

links to this post  

Friday, February 17, 2006

Open (finds, minds, conversations)...: Managing your personal online reputation will be a core life skill

I'm going to circle back on this, but wanted to tag it/blog it as something to consider as part of my online competencies thinking... Open (finds, minds, conversations)...: Managing your personal online reputation will be a core life skill:
"...managing your personal reputation will become a basic life/career skill as the way the world communicates becomes increasing oriented to the web."

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Development Blogs

Elizabeth, over at Dans le meilleur des mondes possibles, left me a comment noting she had a mondo blogroll of blogs in international development. Oi, what a candy shop. I can see hours disappearing as I explore them. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Update: Rebuilding a community of practice

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about some KM groups losing their Yahoogroups. Shawn Callahan has blogged about how they rebuilt, how Yahoo responded, and the power of community. Worth a read: Anecdote: Rebuilding a community of practice

Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Interactive Johari Window - How do you see me?

Via Denise (and sorry Denise, I'm already married! ;-) but thank you anyway!) comes this fun little tool to see how others reading your blog perceive you. Here is mine --Choconancy's Interactive Johari Window - Mapping Personality Visibility. Click in and tell me what you see...

When I look at our internal competencies to exist in this online world, self awareness is always #1. But we can't really be self aware by ourselves. We need the mirror of others to help us see ourselves in ways we most often can't. So this little game offers a fun way to reflect on the issue.

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Blogher: 163 days out and already 200+ say they're attending

I was clicking through the 11 pages of People planning to attend BlogHer Conference 2006 this morning, joyfully noting that many of my friends and people I want to meet are coming. Then it dawned on me, JEEZE, this is an amazing community indicator. Over 200 women have already said "I'm coming" to an event that is at the END OF JULY!

How many other conferences do you know of that engender this kind of commitment?

Tags: , ,


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Web 2.0 and the Voluntary Sector in the UK

I just want to throw out a pointer to my NGO/NPO pals in the UK about an event they might be interested in... This reminds me of the recent month long online event at CPSquare about how communities of practice can use new technologies. (See the tag CoP20).
Open Invitation to Give Voluntary Sector Organisations a Taste for Collaboration
Workshops and a website are now available to Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations who wish to try out some online tools for collaboration. This support is provided through the I-See-T project. See website. I-See-T is a project exploring Information Communications Technology for collaboration in the voluntary and community sector. It is run by ruralnet|uk and is open to rural and non-rural organisations. Free places on two taster workshops in Warwickshire (1st March) and London (6th March) are available to book now. The taster workshops will give attendees a chance to find out how technology can help with collaborative working. Novices are especially welcome - the tools being showcased - including shared calendars, 'weblogs' and news feeds are there to help, not hinder!

The workshops will include a technology 'jargon-busting' session and demonstration zone where some of the tools will be in action. During the project, the participants will be able to share their experience, and advantages and potential pitfalls of using ICT for collaboration. The website, will support the project, providing jargon-free information about the ICT tools on hand for collaboration. For those taking part in the project, there will be an online 'sandpit' where they can have a go at using the tools beyond the face-to-face activities and share their experiences of using them. There are also a limited number of places available on follow-up workshops focusing on practical ways technology can improve work efficiency and productiveness. Planned workshops include how online tools can help when organising an event, tricks and tools to help with finding and getting funding, and how technology can help to keep track of projects, people and resources.

Country/Regional Focus: UK
[Via David Wilcox]

Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Blogging for International Agriculture Development

Currently I'm helping run a workshop on facilitating distributed networks in agricultural work for development. One of the things we'll be looking at is the role of blogging in the field. Here is one example, AgInfo News from IAALD. Do you know of any other examples of blogging for agricultural development? Or other international development blogs? Pointers appreciated!

Tags: ,

links to this post  

Video Bomb - Love this Site

In work avoidance mode? Doubt the power of video online? Stop into Video Bomb - World On Fire. You can get a wide range of videos, from heart/serious to gut busting funny (irreverance alert!). Take a break. Do yourself a favor and catch a Video Bomb!

Online competencies in this world should include the ability to create videos. I've got that on my to do list.

[via Beth]

Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Monday, February 13, 2006

Resource: The Inclusive Workplace

I do a lot of global work and in international development. One of my dear clients, Vicki Wilde of the CGIAR Gender and Diversity Program, has facilitated the creation of on online resource on how to support an Inclusive Workplace. Check it out! The Inclusive Workplace.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

links to this post  

The Seven Competencies of Online Interaction Remix

My friend and colleague, Nick Noakes of Hong Kong grabbed Alan Levine's recording of my Northern Voice presentation, my slides on flickr and remixed them into a presentation. Now THAT'S Community. Thanks Nick and Alan. The Seven Competencies of Online Interaction.

Edited Feb 14 to put up new link for video.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

links to this post  

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Seven Competencies of Online Interaction - a photoset on Flickr

As promised, here are the slides from my Northern Voice presentation on The Seven Competencies of Online Interaction - a photoset on Flickr. I started to put notes in, but I have to cook dinner!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

links to this post  

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wired Fool Captures Me

Originally uploaded by wiredfool.
... times three!

Technorati Tags: ,

links to this post  

Alan Levine Captures Me at Northern Voice

CogDogBlog � Blog Archive � Nancy “Snow” White: Seven Competencies of Online Interaction

I'll get my slides up tonight. (How best to share PPT slides?) Thanks, Alan. It is fun to meet you and your amazing circle of edubloggers. You guys rock!

Categories: ,

links to this post  

Dave Sifry and Tim Bray at Northern Voice

Dave Sifry and Tim Bray

Prepare for a drastic decline in the spirituality quotient and interest quotient as well. (Applause)

Would like questions from you so we know what you care about. I’m Tim Bray, I was here last year, this is Dave Sifrey from Technorati. If you are a blogger and don’t have a Technorati ego feed you need one.

T: Dave, why does It exist? Why do we need to do this?

D: Explain why I built Tehcnorati in the first place. Jan 2002, just left a company, Linux Care. I had this mailing list, CTOalerts. My prerogative to sign everyone up to it and they had to read it. I would pontificate. What was terrific was the feedback , comments, arguments, perspectives from readers. When I left, people asked if I’d keep doing the alerts. I enjoy writing it, but a) I’m not the CTO any more and b) mailing lists suck. Anybody here who has had to manage a mailing list it is a huge pain. Subscriptions, moderation, spam, vacation messages, sucks. I started looking around at what else was out there. Gotta be another way. Kind of a geek. Know how to set up software, think in Perl. Here’s some free software, sourcecode out there, can set it up on my server, create a dynamic web publishing. Blog. Whatever. The feedback was soenourmous. I immediately became a stats whore. What people were saying about me. Enough about all of you. Who’s linking to me. I want to know more about peoplewho are commenting about me. A social thing. As human beings. That is what was wonderful about what Julie was saying. We tell stoires. When I spend four hours writing a long blog post to hear from someone inJapan or Brazil who it touches. Throwing bottles into the ocean. Even if they think you are wrong. If they write back they have something in common . You would be surprised how many write about knitting. I’d go to google and yahoo. Problem was, it comes down to worldview. IN the way search engines were built. How many know how SE work? 50% raise hands. IN essense it is built on the model of web as worlds biggest library. Info retrieval. Where web came from… digitized documents from libraries. Yahoo built a directory. Even the language we use when we talk about the web, it is the language of the library. Web pages. Documents. Indexes, Directories. Language of the library. What I realized was happening… so google and yahoo were all too slow. Could not pick up the immediacy of the conversation, thinking about the web in a different way. People interacting with each other. Noneof these SE were taking this into account. Fundamentally has to do with how they are built. Don’t understand the concept of time. You go to google and ask what happened on 10/15/205 it can’t tell you. Google news/Yahoo news – periodical section of the library. Instead of 400 papers, it is 4000 updated every 15 minutes, but still the same idea.

What if you could shift the metaphor, the web as library (which is powerful – stil use google and yahoo every single day. Fantastic search engines. Virtuoso operation.) When you shift towards where this comes from. Docs are created by people. People create these things at a given time. What if you build something that understood not just keywords and hyperlinks. Before google, we just though about indexing just keywords. Google really capitalized on the understanding that hyperlinks are votes of attention. Actually we don’t have to use AI, we can use links. Hundreds and thousands of people, when they link,that shows relevance. But still based on library. PAGE rank. Web in terms of pages. What I realized pages are created by people. Think about blog in a new way. As not a reverse chrono website with comments trackbacks andpermalinks, but instead built something that understood a blog as exhause of a person’s attention over time. Their attention stream. We’re leaving our little droppings along the way.

We’re not actually asking people to do anything different. I read their blog. I understand a lot about them. Tim, I read your blog I understand more about you, what you think who you respect or disagree with via links. What you spend your time on – what has importance. You can step and do the Ebay thing. The people who link to you actually help you understand. Links to others helps understand. Relevance à popularity. What if you took that idea to people rather than pages. Number of people linking ot you as measure of reputation and authority. Does not equal veracity. Lot link to Drudge. If you follow politics and don’t look at Drudge you are missing out on a lot. I built it because I wanted to know who was talking about me.

The funny thing was that a whole lot of other people wanted to know who was talking about them. Who linked, who cared. If you know something about people and time, there is a new set of apps we can build looking at the web not as a static thing, but as a living thing. What Doc Searles call the World Live Web rather than the World Wide Web.

T: Rather than speaking of stats whore you are in the midst of the “state of the blogosphere” report. Crunch numbers and tells us how many of us there are, how many are coming, how many left. A whole lot and growing fast.

D: It’s pretty interesting. Technorati is tracking 27.6 million blogs today. Wedon’t pretend to say we are tracking all of them. We work hard to get all of the public blogs into the index. Obviously I can’t extrapolate to the untracked, in particular Korea – lot of blogging going on, but structure, three big companies, we’re not tracking Korea as well. We have found of 27.6 millsion, the blogosphere gowing 75,000 new blogs every day. 86,400 seconds in a day. About one a second of every single day in the world.

The interesting thing to note, how many are still actively blogging after 3 monhts. Post tire kicking or service experimemtation. Just over 50% are still blogging after 3 months. That’s about 13.7 million people blogging at least once every thee months. 11% once a week or more. 2.8 million. Daily or more – something nice – just under a million. Clearly the posting volume is a much more interesting indicator than number of blogs. Tracking 1.2 million posts/articles created every single day. 50,000 posts per hour. Used to talk about a 24 hour news cycle. Moves fast. If you werne’t in. We have changed the way we look at they cycle. Measure in mh not in hours. 15 posts a second.

How do I make sense out of all of this? Some people might be daunted by the numbers. How can I get noticed. So interesting and exciting. As a type of media as opposed to radio, TV, papers – incredibly many to many. We talk a lot about this at conferences. I was charting this authority curve. People like to talk about the long tail. We took a listing of the top bloggers and started carving out this tail and printing it out. There’s this, the people at the top, instapundits, in effect from a media perspective they have become very similar to MSM in the habits. One to many. Can’t respond to all the posts. Boing Boing turned off comments. They look like CNN. The amount of links they get is enormous. We know about the long tail. People posting personal thoughts, local school board. There’s about a 115,000 people who are in the magic mil. Between 30-1000 people linking to them. Exciting part. Haven’t talked about. A lot of the people in the room. Influential, authoritative in niched areas. Tech and gadgets, fashion, gardening or people writing about local communities. Lots posting about school boards. They become local authorities. Interesting. Becomes very 2 way. The amount of traffic they see is manageable to conduct a strong conversation. Authoritative enough. How can we help to expose these people more, to get found better. If you decide I want to start writing about Vancouver, how do I do that?

Sept 2005 launched a blog directory service called a blog finder. Not to hire librarians with a taxonomy, to hand it back to the bloggers. Let you tag yourself. At the same time, not just take your word, I could say I’m a fashion blogger, but right. What if we could look too see ifyou wriate about what you said you write, and also compare to those who also write about fashion and how to they link to you. Many links, high topical authority. We open this up to the world. What was remarkable was how many people joined in. 870,000 self tagged blogs. From that, there are over 2500 really interesting tag with a critical mass of bloggers writing. Politics and technology are easy. Gardening, fashion, nano tech, erotica, you name it.

T: 2500 interseting subjects in the world. This threshold is close, how many people read you, how busy you are, easy to get over the edge. We become one way.

D: I regret how little time I have to blog. Inverse relationship between employment and blogging. Laughter. I don’t know how Scoble does it.

Q: In terms of building indexs and how to translate tags from multiple languages. TO see who is blogging about things intelligently when tagged in other languages. Anyone working on that?

D: Tagging is relatively sloppy. People use different words. But talking about the same thing. How can I get Rosetta stone in multiple languages. That’s an excellent question.

T: TO a larger extent, tagging as human activity is a sloppy thing.

D: Clay Shirkey has written about this. Here is my direct experience. Question is good in theory. I say rebel you say revolutionary. We talk about the same thing from different view points. What wefound in experience, as long as you make it really easy for people to tag and create accountability in the taggingprocess. Rel tag creates a hyperlink in your post. Not just meta key word hiddenonly for search engines. Make it an accountable thing. If you falsely tag it shows up.
When you set up this system to be easy and accountable, people do reasonably good tags. When you look at the tag system at the whole an emergent system starts to occur. Something greater than the sum of its parts. Automobile for example. I may tag my post auto/car. You may tag bus/vehilcle/auto. Anotehr bus/car/motor vehicle. When you look at those things there is some transitive relationships. Can start to do some stat. Analysis to show word relationship. The same thing happens with languages. All it takes is a couple of people who bridge the gap by tagging in muiltiple languages and the relationship is formed. The Daimler Chrysler guys – in Germany and US. All had different names for car parts. Big problem. There was a small group who spoke both. Whey they tagged in both languages, quickly the system became more intelligent (TELL THIS TO BEV) The English and German word for dohicky were related from this tagging. A beautiful piece of emergent thinking that came out of this sytem. No one had to create a formalized dictionary.

Tim: That is the only hope. What are you worried about this day. What could go wrong?

D: I keep knockingon wood. IT’s remarkable how much blogging has grown. SO far w’eve been tracking since 11/2002. The number of blogs doubles every 5.5 months. (Time: By Aug 2009 everone in the world will have one) Which is why this can’t go on. Everytime I roll this up, they ask will this continue, I say it can’t, and yet it keeps happening. Still at the beginning of this. Enormous challenges. One of them is spam. Comment and track back spam. Splogs. This new thing called SPINGs, flows from the fundamental realization, Cory Doctorow said, all healthy ecosystems have parasites. He’s right. The only question is it going to be like the bacteria in your intestines or red tide. Email spam. The good news. The cool think about blogging, in the end it resolves back to a web page somewhere. Verything you do, write, say is accountability. This idea of accountabilyut is stil why there is a high signal to noise ration in blogosphere. If I say “I think such and such is an idiot.” I can do that. Hit and run on someone else’s blog. On my blog it is on my permanent record. I have to stand up for that tomorrow. That is a powerful force. A very good thing. That doesn’t’ mean we can’t have anonymous or pseudoanon blogging (safety), but I can temper what I know about you with what you have said over time.

Concerns if it goes the other way, a proliferation of spam in our in boxes. A big nefarious one comeingdown the pike. All about network neutrality. Few in room have heard in room. Potentially one of the most dangerous threat to the net.

In the US there’s been a collapse of number of telecon providers carrying the backbone of the net. What you are starting ot see these companies, and we have given them local monopolies to invest in fibre infrastructures and pay monthly, now coming and saying we think we deserve to do preferential pricing so that if you are not on our network you get slower service or pay more. Imagine getting on net, go to Google, you get a pop up that says you are gong off network andyou have to pay more. Or more nefariously go to Google and say hey, you are doing video> You have to pay us to be preferred. Or Bell south decides Barnes andNoble is their prefereed book provider. You type Amazon and a B&N pop up happens. This sort of breakage of the traditional layering of net infrastructure is bad. It protects the winers who can afford to pay the protection money. For those of us building small, young companies can’t pay predatory pricing. We’re stuck at a disadavantage. Hasn’t been talked about a lot. The CEOs of BellSouth, Comcast, they are going up in front of congress saying “of course we need to do this for ROI for fibre investemtns. The only people who can stop it are you. The big companies getting extorted wont’ jump up and down. They aren’t going to come to us to pay, they will go around the back roads to big companies.

Q: (I think Ted Leung);. How many spam blogs?

D: We started tracking spam blogs in July 2004. BaSICALLY two types. People doing key word stuffing, SEO stuff. People scraping other people’s content and trying to make money off adsense. Grown significantly. The only way we can get aroundit is not tech means, but getting down to the economics of doing it. We set up a spam squashing summit (2x) it takes an ecosystem approach. We have a hotline with all of the major hosting companies. We work with other indexing companies. No one company can solve all these problems. Blogger has all of a sudden a huge spam problem with scraping blogs. We get in touch with them and give them the list and they kill them. Talking to the MSN spaces guys. It’s got to be an ecosystem approach. Sometimes competing, but in the end if spam proliferates, its bad for everyonel If it turns into usenet that is bad. The affiliate program guys are the best to work this. They don’t want people violating TOS by posting copywrited material. They can kill that entire adsense ID. You will know their name, SS #, where check is sent to. Stronger motivation to stop. The ones that are harder are the guys doing adult sites, viagra, offshore pharmacies. Combo of technology and the ecosystem working together. Have people participate in that system. To recommend that.

(I’m getting tired typing… may not make it to the end)

T: Those of us with popular blogs see more spam. (Nancy says it happens to small blogs too)

T: I want to know how many people are reading my RSS feeds and want to know. If we are going to build businesses around them, it would help to know. See any hope?

D: Hard problem. There are some companies workingon it but no one has solved. Dick Costello at Feedburnner, Pheedo guys, adserverfs thatunderstand RSS. Interesting when you dig another layer deeper. Not just about RSS. The fact that your RSS readers, when we talk about push, they aren’t really push. RSS reader goes to my site and pulls the latest feed down. If I looked at those RSS stats they may be20 times more than actual because of the frequent checking. There are people who subscribe anddon’t read. Bloglines…

The real question: who is reading, how often and what are they reading. They put little graphics into the RSS feed, like Feedburner. When yo u actulaly open up the item and view it, it goes back and pings feedburner and gets info of reader. But you don’t really know. You could be just scrollingdown. Newsgator pulls in all different posts at once even if you read just one. Certain large application sets that everyone has to code for. Bloglines, Newsgator, NetNewsWire. This is also one of the big concerns about advertising in RSS feeds. How do you understyand these metrics. 2006 will be a good year for this. Like internet advertising beauro, these can be solved at a cross company level.

Q: What about federated blog publishers. People who get bloggers, pay them miserably to blog then pay ads.

D: A number of variants. I won’t name names. Some are more coop oriented. All pitch in, split ad revenues. Different types of networks. Natural outgrowth in shift of publishing economics. Seeing more authors andpublishiners gaining power from people formerly known as the press with high overhead, the question about hiring ad salesperson, getting ad server running. A lot of people don’t have the expertise. So a guild system is starting to form. Natural businessevolution.

I have to stop here. Hands dying. These guys talk really fast.

Categories: , , ,

links to this post  

Julie Leung - Starting With Fire - Northern Voice

(Live blogging disclaimers apply - at

(I missed the first few moments of Julie Leung's talk)

30 years later three images remain in my mind from that time. I remember looking out of waiting room window and being frightened of size of cars. See my baby brother white and limp with bandages. And I remember stories

Tales whispered. Fear, Fun
Stories are essential
Helped me survive sadness and stress
Tradition as old as humanity
Gathering around fires, carving on rocks
Naming of constellations
Surrounded by stories
Nature reveals why stories are important – we study, stare, astonished
As babies we explain and explore new sensations
On a journey from birth, path, quest
Longing to make sense of what we see
“A Scientist in the Crib” – an explanatory drive like drive for food or sex
In our nature to explain nature, to seek stories
We are wired for stories in our anatomy
As parents tell children talks, they affect both sides of the brain
Integration between two halves of the brain and between parent and child
On a molecular level has shown we can remember stories better than facts
We are our stories
Cedar poles of the NW Natives tell stories
We make our own myths of how we are born, those we love and those who love us
Recipes, celebrations, knitted scarves and birthday cakes
Stories are our destination and destiny
Disnarrativa – unable to tell and understand stories, loose sense of self
Multiple layers, discovered over time
Indirect yet powerful
Stories are perfect for complexity
A way to say something that can’t be said any other way
They break through fences and fears
Turn a resistant audience into a receptive one
Story is like mental software so your listener can run it again (Annette Simmons)
They program us
Essential for education
Examining our place in time
Spiritual stories provide values, vision and direction
Reflect who we are and hold a mirror to humanity
Stories are hygienic, they heal us, help us stay healthy. Early Greek plays, Arabian manuscripts
Medicine recognizes the power of stories. Department of narrative medicine. Developing, expressing and believing helps in recovery
Stories heal us emotionally. See our hurt compared to the whole
Walk in others shoes. Make us merciful
We make sense out of chaos
They enchant us
Nourish us. In contrast to fast food culture, they are substantial
In time of stress, stories restore human connection. Narrative invites us out of isolation. The currency of human context.
Stories reach into us, move us to reach out to others
Are essential as the foundation for community and connection
Can build relationships around them. Build familiarity, form family
We come together around stories, create the culture we share, continue and change culture
They allow us to go to the beach on rainy days, encourage us to go beyond where we can see
Entertain us
Allow us to escape into another world, identity
Refresh us, fun, inspire us, to dive deeper, to fly
Allow us to dream, live our dreams with other
They are essential because they are essentially human
They call us back to the heart, the beginning of our lives and humanity
We all tell stories, we are all story tellers
Blogging allows us to continue and expand this
A few principles and ideas for posting stories.

1. What is a story. A wide perspective of story telling practices. Story structure. Simplest, a beginning, a middle and an end. We can put these together like a train and have a story. Often we have a conflict, a scapegoat or two, the main character takes a turn or transformation.
2. All effective pieces, button way is traffic signs. Rogerr McKee – Story. It is fine to tell a complex story, but following a methodology is not required. It may inhibt us. Drama doesn’t happen every day. Sometimes things are slow and subtle but worthy to be told. I believe in metamorphosis, in change. If you can see the first blossom of spring, put that ina post. That is a story.
3. Change the familiar.
4. Can use audio, video, pictures and texts of a story. Choose the best fit for you and your story.
5. Before blogging, ask questions. Is this the way I want topos? Time? Place? Perspective? Consequences? (As most blogging is public and permanent). Use a mask or an allegory. Change the perspective. Share a painful story with humor and hope, it can change you. I’m cautions of how I represent my children.
6. Listen and link to others. Let others start your story. Start where I can and let it flow. Later I might move pieces around, but the start can be a strong beginning.
7. It may take time and energy, internal energy before it emerges
8. Take notes. Getting ideas online and offline. Studies of creativity show fine ideas emerge at any time. Capture.
9. Include sensory details and descriptions.
10. Use the power of pause. Of blank space. Silence. Pacing of sentences, pictures. Listen to the rhythm. Empathy is the ultimate virtual reality. Pink. Walk into it and feel it is theirs.
11. Length – freedom in blogs. I tend to write longer pieces, but a story can be any shape or size, a line, a collection of links or an entire blog.
12. “Writing a story can be overwhelming…” Anne Lamott. It can overwhelm a blog post. What can be done is to put it into smaller pieces. Bird by bird, each piece can become a blog post. Particularly true for text. If I put more than one bird in a post, I separate them with pictures, subtitles or headings.
13. Hiding – make it suspenseful. I hide some of the story at the beginning. Suspenseful.
14. Keep it entertaining. “What will happen next?”
15. Experiment to what works for you. I tried many styles. Now starting to use video.
16. Fingerprints and footprints. Each unique style. Admire and mentors, but you don’t have to be like them. Developing a voice. Voice comes naturally, something inside you. Find it. Experiment.
17. Have fun, play, be creative. Be content with the imperfect. Post rather than polish. Kris Krug posts a lot without editing. I need to work on that. It’s the raw and imperfect that can speak to us.
18. Have a sense of humor. Try to look foolish once in a while.
19. Connect and commenting makes stories living. Blogging allows interactive, asynch tales. Others can add details, contrasts. Story is given life. This can become collaboration and conversation, created by teller and listener. Can become complex. Grow like a living creature. Steve Song – by blogging and linking we are transforming. Can become a community. I listen to those who link and comment, visit their blogs, send private email to build a relationship. Use tech, pubsub and others to continue.
20. Be generous and creative with links. Add dimension, detail, illustration history.

Examples of living through blogging
· Truggy is not living. He has a battery. A robot horse. A representation of conversation we’ve had with hackers and bloggers who want their children to be interested in technology. Guide in practical ways.
· Lee and Satchi LeFever, they say hi, out exploring how the world is not flat. Blogging their adventures and inviting others to share their travel adventures and share their adventure.
· - birdy’s love letter to Star Trek sustained family through sickness and sorrow. Other fans contributed and Will Wheaton linked to her
· a fathers stories to a son with Downs Syndrome. Everyone is invited to share my joy and pride with me.
· You can share someone elses story. Susan Kitchens – historical reconstruction
· returning a year later to the Tsunami region. Telling others’ stories and helping them tell theirs.
· – combining real and fictional characters. Pictures, experiences of Katrina’s damage into the blog story. Solicited reader stories and final chapter.
· – stories without pictures.
These bloggers illustrate what It means to start with fire. With heat, emotion, inner desire, passion, truth. Jeanne Sessum: go to the place where you know who you are and write from that place. Lamott – truth is always subversive. Blog is the place you have to share your story. It makes it’s own metamorphosis. Fire grows. In this time of “truthiness” I long for what is real. I think we all do. I put myself into my stories. Memories, emotions, time energy, journey. I put the truth I know. Something within me. A truth I need to say. A story. I start with fire.

Start with fire. With the heart.

As we gather around the heart, we realize we are not alone. We cannot make our myths in isolation. We find humility. I’m in awe of the power of fire and the others who are there. I know I am not alone. I see that I am me, but also we. As Nancy said, we need humility to go with our passion and ego, to listen, to be like children. Stories survive us and allow us to survive. Only when we listen can we allow stories to live inside us and become our own

Blogging allows stories to live and grow. A tool for transformation. Stories began before us. The truth of our tales will last to those who come after.

It is our time for stories. For heat, heart, humility our time to start with fire.

Categories: , ,

links to this post  

Moosecamp - W. M. Gibbens - Creating Classroom as Open as Sky

Normal liveblogging disclaimer - I don't catch it all, I don't get it all right, but if I don't post it as is, it won't get posted! From Northern Voice Day 1 Moosecamp.

W. M. Gibbens of Influency
18 month project with a school, an experiment. In the web see a historical body of work. I’ve had a number of careers. My artistic and other work is embodied in photographic records. Websites as historic records. There are constraints. 2003 – 2004. The camera, Casio with articulating body, 2.1 megapixel. Captures images, video, 320 mb of storage. Open source, open standards. 3 months in Wells, BC. Everyday rechargeable batteries, go for a walk, take picture. Early digital residency. My body of work moves forward with me. I decided to go digital many years ago. 9-10 Gigs of imagery. Work in open source, do scripting, have ways to capture value of work, including editing work. One plan is to go more into artistic residencies.

This site, first php site, It’s not really a typical site, not based on SEO.

"The software developed for the project was designed to ensure both public (external web) and private (internal school) publication of imagery - fully respected the personal privacy of teachers, students and parents.

Dynamic site. Every time you load it you see the body, the story of the website. Series of publications, photography of people and moments in the garden and a species garden, plus student artwork. There used to be budget and time to do evocative things in school. Now lots of stress. Kids and teachers caught in an evaluation-heavy system, things that don’t mean a lot to education. Role is to expand mind, use the senses and sensibilities we have to create something for ourselves.

First choice was to work inductively. I could not go in and say “be creative” or “look at nature.” I had voice, writing, imagery, photography and a sense of composition. There is an admin interface for the imagery which stores every step of the editing. If site would go down, I could reconstruct them from the source images and reproduce every editing step.

Inductively provide curriculum materials, a way to use the garden as place to learn about nature and think about environment. I was standing in the garden. I looked up and said “a classroom is as open as they sky.” Took me back to my student activism days of school as free, environmentalism. A moment. Wow. I’m actually there in this place and what can I do with us. Discovering our world is home for every living things. The World Urban Forum here in June. You come to Vancouver and you see concrete and asphalt. Wilderness regions are being devastated and natural systems mechanized. If we don’t have diversity around us, sensitivity, ability to pull back, to walk softly, to let diversity around us, we are lost. I wanted to stimulate the children to write and create.

There wasn’t a huge amount of take up by the teachers. Some student work. I had to take the names off. I had the ability to tag photos with people’s name and use just internally in the school (rather than public). Some kids followed teacher format. Some did wonderful things. Grade 1-3, children are not jaded, they can think in hypertext. As they get older they have other stuff going on. Anyone can kick in with a question.

I mapped the garden. Using PHP, Mysql, image package (didn’t get name), Firefox, code and mark up from standards based. SVG map. The inventory did not get a lot of take up. SVG is not highly implemented. Color coded classroom collections. Students nutured plants in classroom, then 400+ kids did a planting day all together. So with the mapping they can find their plant. Something they remember. You see this in the artwork.

There is body of maps, class collections, artwork, curricula. I viewed what the kids were doing as the curricula. I didn’t teach per se. I was testing using all levels of software components to produce things. Artistically responding to the garden as an artist. The web is not necc the best way to express that, so did some PDF publishing. Composed images.

Can now go and do this sort of residency anywhere. Can add song and performance. Very simple, talking about environment. But also very sophisticated. As an artist, the language can be simple, bt the ideas have to give people something they can work with. Not telling people. Get beyond the brochure. Still working on what’s meaningful and important.

Threads of discussion where “the weeds are talking.” A weed can symbolize a country. The kids can relate. The weeds are saying we are important too.

What were the kids interested in? Technology? No, not at all.

Categories: , ,

links to this post  

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dav Sifry on Leadership Hacks - Live blogging (with typos)

Dave Sifry – Leadership Hacks
Background: founder, CEO Technorati, serial entrepreneur, started at age 16. Lot of scars on my back. Made as many stupid mistakes as I can find, have a few left in me. There’s a couple of things that seem, as I talk to others, to mentors, that building a business and being an entrepreneur is not about making money. It really isn’t. It is the single biggest fallacy when we talk about capitalism and capitalism theory. The more I talk to E’s, the less I hear about making money. It’s about building something, finding your passion and expressing it to the world. It’s the kind of thing that builds in all of the things that gonna hit you when you start your business, leading any kind of organization. Where you are asked to be a leader. Distinguish between leadership and management. People go to B School and learn management. Leadership and management have little to do with each other. Management is a function of leadership. I don’t know anyone who grew up saying they want to be a manager. I’m a terrible manager. You don’t need to be a great manager to be a great leader. One of the things I always find that great leaders have passion. They intrinsically know from deep down in their heart there is something they want to express, bring to the world. We all sitting here have that feeling.

Does gut instinct fit in
It certainly helps a lot. If you are doing it just to make money, the first time you have a major setback you are done. Insanity is up there on the list (referring to his slide). We’re all a little bit insane. When you think about it, going out there trying to start a business is an egotistical act. It is saying I know better than all of you what is right for the world. That takes balls. Instinct backed up with facts. Passion is one of those important thing. If you are thinking about building a biz, don’t think about money, glory and fame. That is all external crap. I get up each day because I absolutely friggig love what I do. If you are not feeling that you should check twice. Shit will happen, things will go wrong and you will be the guy who screwed it up. I have screwed up so many things so badly, going to sleep slapping self. You can’t get up and do it unless you love it.

Second thing is team. Cannot emphasize it more. One of the commitments I made at Technorati, I said to my VCs, investors, team members. Listen, I don’t care if we actually don’t get big enough, miss markets, our competitors beat us to something. The one rule is “only a great team.” I will never fill a position because I need to fill a position. A players A players and B players hire C players.

Third, lead, don’t manage. We could do an entire hour, day on leadership vs management. Talk more about that later.

These are meant to be discussion points.

Develop Leaders – 80% on your top 20%. After watching other successful companies learned a lot. You can’t do it by yourself. You can only take a team up to 8-10 people with you as leader and you micromanage everything. The best thing you can do is focusing on developing other leaders. Giving them the power. For those of you who don’t have kids, this is like having kids. You allow people to screw up badly and it is your fault. It is good. I want to encourage my guys to take risks, to screw up, fall on our faces, to mess up. That’s how we learn.

Prepare for the scalability traps…

Back of the napkin it – lately I’ve had a bunch of people, the valley has woken up again, Vancouver woken up. People back to building business. There is a game I play call product/feature/company. Someone comes with an idea. The great question is to ask is it a feature of a product, a producxt itself or actually a company. One of the best ways to figure it ou – can you write your biz model on the back of a napkin. For grad school points on the back of a cocktail napkin. Real time search paid by adverts. Wow, this is something with a biz model, write it on napkin. See if you can’t do that for yourself. Distill it down. Back of an envelope, but goal of cocktail napkin.

Remember, it is a business. I was co founder of a company called Linux care. 1998, huge open source community, worldwide. We hired a whole bunch of them and created a services company. Big personal mistake was treating it as a clubhouse with friends. One of those things that as an entrepreneur I have to keep thinking about. In the end you are building a business. Not just hiring your friends. The hardest part is sitting down and having the conversation, lets be clear about the expectations. This is a business, not a club house. I’ll tell you to do things and you will do it. Difficult to do. Interesting is when companies grow – 2-20 to 70 to 500. Clear distinct organizational changes.

On Outside Investment – all I have to say is “don’t do it.” Remember that Rodney Dangerfield line, Stay in School. Nothing like getting a check from a customer . When a business model calls you on the phone, take the call. Customers are the smartest people and tell us what we should and should not be doing. As smart as we think they are, the customers are smarter and they have the checks. If that doesn’t work, there’s a couple of rules on taking outside investors. Remember you are giving away your firstborn child. The amount of time and energy you spend on that business. Be careful, do your homework, know what you want to do.

Some further reading: Seth Godin on marketing… (missed rest)

Now, let’s get the discussion started.
Building teams is the single most important thing. Technology is bullshit, it means nothing. It’s all about the team. They will figure out the technology.

How many here are entrepreneurs? Most of people raised their hands. How many want to be entrepreneurs? Some duplicate hands…

Go round and under 30 seconds, what are you building today.

Dave Olson, used ot havea web design company in 1.0. Rolled in with ISP, sold to an evil phone company, learned all the lessons at a young age. No one hire me, moved back into old office after phone company went bankrupt

Jon Hus and, Qumana, former consultant, social critic on hyper linked world. Became an entrepreneur because could not face the corporate world. Underline the frugal and time.

Argin Singh, interested in this million pixel guy. How to find ideas that have that kind of resonance.

Boris Mann, CEO of Brygth, building open source one click web ap for every vertical. Working in a highly distributed manner we learn things every time. This isn’t working and switch. Use whatever method possible, duct tape, work on your ESP.

Tell us a leadership hack so we all can learn and share.

Nancy _ give it away, it will come back ten times.

Omar Bikel – co found a non profit in Montreal providing IT services around OS. Goal to help bring independent IT workers out of isolation to work together, sustainable cooperative. Creating employment rather than dividends. Allow people to work how much they want and give them to some time to work on what they want. Makes them happy.

Reg Shirami, web 2.0 central – passion sells – investors, employees. You can’t bootstrap without passion. Can’t buy it.

Jay Fienberg, small info architecture consultancy – tell the truth and be willing to cut losses when something going bad.

Fred Fabro, Quamana – build a better blog authoring environment, make it easier, more profitable. I know those scars. Never underestimate how difficult it is to get things off the ground. Pay attention to people inside and outside. Communicate and listen

Mark Mayo – Now working in a research facility Working to eliminate private sector market to make sure the data stays in the public domain. Never underestimate the motivation of a noble cause. (Genetics research )

Matt of WordPress and Automatic – it’s I thought leading an OS project would be more coding. Morea bout managing egos. People working for no money, thousands of hours. Find out what drives them. One guy is 10% of our posts. Say thank you. My mom taught me that.

Kaliya – a hack is waiting for the market to be ready for your idea. Being patient. All these spiritual groups need to get with social networking three years ago. Maybe ready this year. Patience.

Audrey – build AJAX components. Reinventing ourselves over the years. Figure out how to get customers from day one. (Someone shouted Open Source It). Stayed together for 7 years through determination, tenacity, having customers. Finding something of value you can provide. Then listen to them.

Evan – just starting emptymind technology, bringing context to personal info … Still fresh to recognize screw ups. Document all of your assumptions so others working with you know what’s going on.

Dixon – Make it as rich and easy for podcasters as bloggers. Hire someone as passionate about the company as you.

Matt, same company. You have to make it real. Taking it out of the basement, getting an office. Until there is something on the line it is not the same.

Always build the bare minimum product necessary to ship. You always have other features. The second thing, when you have an office you have to pay for, you have to get customers.

Jean – Bryght. Never worked for a company with more than 25 people. I like new, pushing myself. Always try to keep perspective. At the end of the day, it’s just a job.

Jean – GM small credit union – competitive environment. Indecision is decision. The team thing – as a leader you have to create the culture that makes meaning for employers and customers. When you can create an environment where they are making meaning, you are there.

Dave - Sending chills down my back. You could not say it better. Scott McNealy used to say I’d rather make a wrong decision than no decisions. You can always fix it. One of the things I learned, whether you know, like or conscious of it or not, your corporate culture gets built by the people. Founder is like smearing DNA. The first 20 people define the DNA of your company, the values it is going to have, trying to do. At Tecnorati I want to be conscious about building a culture. We put the fun back into dysfunctional at Linuxcare. Here’s the values: Open, honest, integrity, frugal. Nothing to do with how we make money. What’s our mantra going to be, the guiding principle. The core inside and outside, the way we act and who we are. It’s be of service. We all want to be of service to something greater than ourselves. How can you be of service to everyone who reports to me. Get shit out of their way. If you are conscious and inform people, it gives a shot up in terms of hiring people that believe in that culture.

That credit union is a sponsor and did a marketing hack.

Want to business rock star (missed name) – Music, 2.0 creative commons. If you re gonna hire a good team, then trust them.

Dethe – creating animation tools for kids of all ages, super simple. Use my kids and friends kid for QA

Sweet, child labor

Dustin – sillysoft games, downloadable games. Do the bare minimum, but try new things, iterate, listen to customers, scrap it, find what works.

Wendy – Open space facilitation – around serendipity. Be open to it. Invite it. When you’ve got your finger on that thread follow it. Even if you don’t understand it.

Avi – dabble DB – don’t be afraid to do things differently.

Andrew – look for reasons why you are wrong. Don’t be satisfied with lower goal.

Mike – aim high, the worse you could do is aim low and miss.

Categories: , , , ,

links to this post  

Live Blogging from Moosecamp at Northern Voice - Blogs and Community

Dethe Elza and I facilitated a session here at MooseCamp at Northern Voice on Community and Blogging. We opened up the floor to stories for a fast flying half hour. Tons of stories. Below are my rough notes. Please excuse typos. I'll post my morning sesions at the NetSquared North event when I can.

What does community mean to you…
How does blogging support it…

Robert: Community is linking. Any time I link to them I feel I ‘am joining them into the community I help feed. That pays off in spades. Any town a geek dinner. I write I’m going to London, who wants to get together. Community that crosses lots of sub communities. Most is geek. Look at who reads or writes me. Technology. Sometimes political. Self defined community via links

What’s fun is making connections with people. I’m shy, lousy with small talk. If I meet people who’s blogs I’ve read I know something, have had some prior online conversation. So I can walk up and continue a conversation starting on blogs. Almost hate to talk about conversations between people as networking. Not business card networking. What I found at blogger events, it’s a filter for people interested in having conversations about rather more stuff. If it is someone I’ve been reading, know their interests, what they like. Blog, writing yourself into existence (Weinberger). Things you are interested in talking about, selves or other. I know having read Roberts blog. I’ll talk about tech. Jeanne Sessum about family, art or other things. Depends on their conversational topics.

Always on salon.

Debbie – writing an undergrad thesis on blogging communities. One interesting thing I found about blogging as a format for the net is that a lot of people tend, despite the net is able to cross boundaries of space and time, interesting tendency for people who blog they tend to build networks in their own geographic region. Urban. Builds into it’s own mini city online. People who have commonalities in profession or interests hobbies get together – F2F and online.

Metaphor – Annie Hall , scene on first date, things going well, Allen says to Keaton, do you mind if I kiss you because later on it will be awkward and we can’t digest our meal. I think of that in terms of we have these personal barriers, tends to devolve into small talk. Blogging manages to expose part of yourself so you can get to the meal with out small talk.

Alex – people tend to keep their circle small in some respects. Natural. The core cannot be too big as people can’t manage it. I find I can extend that core group through RSS. Where I start to see – that’s linking – your community is much larger. Your experiences are much richer. So you might have a small community, but the extended community is bigger..

Allen – I have the opposite geographic – I have less local connections and more distributed. Meaningful colleagues that match my interest, challenge me that I don’t get locally. I love it.

Local I build closer ties with as I see them, but I can go to London and I’m with people I read, I’ve heard of.

Anita Rowland – thinking about the lack of physical community in some, plenty in others. IT takes someone to instigate. Because I enjoy the Seattle meetups I keep them going, bug people into coming, invite. Has worked out, people enjoy it. Not a user group, just people talking. A real community in terms of friendships, personal and biz connections, feuds.

Dennis – I have an anti pattern for the formation of community. I watch 200 RSS feeds and I don’t know who they are. The RSS feed, bloggers who only talk shop, the connection is the topic, not the person. Know name of person and not the blog. And probably don’t know me. So I go to geek dinners, I found that first the invitation thing is a big deal. I know bloggers because of Anita and Robert. Robert had a BBQ and I met Winer. I met Anita at a geek dinner. So the connections work great. Then I’ve gone back to my high school, take pictures, who is this person, what is their blog. Matters to know something about them as people. Really different when you get the F2F connection. It was missing.

Reg – The bridging from an online to a live community. I was in silicon valley, went to an event and met my first real reader. You read my blog! I was at the event. Of 40 there 5-6 read my blogs. A guy from Edmonton and they are reading. That bridge. You become a thought leader. First thing I meet the guys from Dabbble and I’ve written about them and they recognize me. Bridging between online and live is exciting for me. I don’t get conversation on my blog. Posting about companies. So I know I have RSS subs, but don’t know the people reading it. Then go and meet them. That’s the neat value for me. Becoming a thought leader. Recognize.

People who don’t blog can’t relate to that at all. Been to events with girlfriend and she doesn’t blog. She doesn’t have the same experience.

We need support groups for our partners.

To me what makes a community different from interlinking blogs is people making an active effort to get to know each other. Seek to understand the person on the other side. Why in person thing is so important. To see and understand.

John – One of the things I do is tools. There are lots of tools to make networking and socializing, FOAF and other implementations of tools to help make this community and network better. You run into people at events, sit next to someone who is closer to you than you might know, linked into your crowd, and not know it. Not the direct line. There are tools/synergy in that area to get these dispersed groups together.

Kevin – I was picking up on Annie Hall thing. Read a blog comment. Said he was at a conf, guy in front going on and on about XML in a no nothing way. “Allen says I have Marshall McLuan right here.” We do. The experts are right there. Tim Bray can weigh in. Access to those people. Because it is non geographic.

The other thing I wanted to say was a slightly more subtle point. When you are looking for information, you go to Google and search. If you find a blog, then you read some of it, you think this person is interesting, you have a thread of their thought you can connect to plus access to their future thoughts (RSS, reg reading round). Then you will get that too even though you didn’t search. Using people rather than search.

Is it a connection to what that person writes or to that person. I’ll read a book by an author and I become engrossed, but not nec. interested in that person, but the topic. Bit of both.

Authors like Neil Gaiman use the blog to avoid answering fan mail. He is using it as a conversation amplifier. It will vary. I don’t blog about my family, while other people write that way.

Lloyd with Flock. Find it interesting to talk about the accessibility. How to make it more accessible. Find it intensive, but I like to read. A lot of people can’t get the richness without being part of a community. For flock not something we’re going to be doing. Looking to see services or tools to expose more of what people.


Nancy talked about Share

Alan – there is something magical about people you will never meet. People from Netherlands comment on my blog and I can’t read it. Then there is someone who comments on my flickr feed when I post about my dog and we have quick, ephemeral conversation. Micro-ephemeral

Robert S – Antithesis of what we are talking about. On the corporate side –the reason Biz are turned off of blogging and RSS is because of the community, the personal ness of it. Talking about cats. We are here to talk about it. The point is that is what changed in the last year. Started to be seen as a tool that can be used. Podcasting and vodcasting. Before community was turn off, now what is great.

Kevin - If they come to it with the mindset of pure ROI it will fail. They need to become part of the community. Companies say “we need a blog” not we need a community.

Dennis – wanted to point back to surprise value. When we learn something about somebody we didn’t know already. No definite audience and people reveal themselves in fascinating ways. You can find the surprising connection that humanize your association with them. There was a google blog, pictures of dog, very cool. Then they got corporate. I will give you credit of being human if I know something personal about you even if we disagree.

It’s kind of interesting how we talk about friends and community in online world, people we’ve never met, intense relationships. She calls them e-quaiintances. You feel like you know but never met. Divorced experience of going to meet them or coming to meet you, launch into a conversation that has been half going on in your mind.

Categories: ,

links to this post  

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Mentions of the New Blogher Site

It is fun to read the reactions on the new BlogHer site (disclosure, I'm a contributing editor, totally volunteered so I was not whipped into conciousness with an organic carrot to say this!)
"Where the women bloggers are" The new BlogHer site is up. Looks impressive. It's hard to imagine how this won't end up being a force online." [Clicked, by Will Femia at MSNBC]

"The shiny new is Drupaltastic ! BlogHer’s like a fairy godmother mafia; everyone is just so darned supportive (and smart)! Check out the bajillion blogs written by women and organized by topic." [Spontaneous Order]

"I am in love with the Research and Academia section of BlogHer. Leslie Madsen Brooks (aka the lovely and amazing Trillwing, who sometimes stops over here, scaring me with her former carpet mushrooms) heads up the R discussion, and she's doing a good job of it. Check it out, along with the rest of BlogHer!" [Queen of West Procrastination]

Technorati Tags:

links to this post  

Reposting from Andy Roberts Blog - 'Cause its good stuff!

Years ago I partially took Bob Dick's terrific Action Research online FREE course. Now a group of us are going to do it together. This is good for me - helps my participation. Want to join us? Here is Andy Robert's post on it!

From out of my Action Research ad hoc discussion at CPsquared’s Web2.0 workshop came strong recommendations for Bob Dick’s AREOL course.

Areol, action research and evaluation on line, is a 14-week public course offered each semester as a public service by Southern Cross University and the Southern Cross Institute of Action Research

The course begins sometime this month so the timing is just right to continue the conversations and further develop the ideas of communities of practice and action research, which coincides closely with the central idea of DAR - Distributed Action Research.

Let me try and explain a bit better so that you can evaluate whether you might be interested in taking part.

* Action Research is a methodology (or possibly a group of methodologies) which combines action for improvement with systematic research methods, and has proved to be a useful way for practitioners to develop and share best practices. Some AR is practiced in developing countries, in rural environments, some in educational institutions and more recently - some entirely on the internet.
* Bob Dick is a leading exponent of Action Research and he runs a regular email course on the subject, which runs out of a University in Australia but is open to anybody.
* Myself, some members of CPsquare and others have decided to register for the course which starts in February, and we will form a small learning group within the wider course.
* This particular group will focus on Action Research in the context of Communities of Practice.
* Communities of practice are groups of people who share a domain, a practice and a community and the term is used these days to refer to online communities when they also meet those criteria. Online COPS are sometimes called distributed COPS or VCOPS ( for “virtual”)

So there are people who have been thinking about and developing strategies for working with COPS for ages, but have perhaps not consciously deployed the methodology of action research. And there are people who have been studying and practising action research, maybe including online learning communities, but have perhaps not encountered the living theory nor had the pragmatic experience of working with real communities of practice. It may be mutually beneficial to bring these together.

If you’d like to join us then please register as soon as possible by following the simple intructions here:

It might help when you send the email to Bob to mention that you’d like to part of the COP/DAR group.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

links to this post  

New Books on Nonprofit Technology

"Cyberyenta" Deborah Elizabeth Finn posted a note about of the new book by Jonathan Peizer, The Dynamics of Technology for Social Change. Finn observes that the non profit world is finally getting developing its own literature around technology and points to other books by Ted Hart, (Nonprofit Internet Strategies: Best Practices for Marketing, Communications, and Fundraising Success), Steven Hick and John McNutt (Advocacy, Activism, and the Internet),
and Joni Podolsky (Wired for Good: Strategic Technology Planning for Nonprofits.)

links to this post  

DemoBlog at Demologue

Mary Joyce, editor of DemoBlog wrote me to let me know of her work aggregating bloggers concerned about democracy across the world. It is part of her larger project, Demologue. . There is also a related Google Group.

The site's goals are to inform, empower and connect. The mission statement:
Demologue is a web-based international network for democracy activists. It aims to increase communication and skills transfer between democracy activists in different nations in order to speed the process of citizen-led democratization around the world.  The network is a non-hierarchical organization,  and the content of the site is determined by the needs and interests of its members.  Demologue is independent.  It is not funded by any government or government agency.
It is great to see these resources emerge. What I wonder about is how the related efforts find each other and connect. I'm thinking of  Stephen Clift, Alexandra Samuels, Jon Lebkowsky and countless others.

How do we help networks connect to networks?

links to this post  

WorldsTouch Blog - The Internet in Moorea

WorldsTouch's Patricia Perkins services up an interesting interview with Pascal at Arts Polynesians - the man who runs the only wireless internet cafe on Moorea, French Polynesia. First a bit about Patricia. She works at the intersection of technology and social justice. How can tech tools change the world? I think she's exploring that fronteir. I love Patricia's tagline at the top of her blog "Social justice and poverty work is alive and well and living in a computer." She also has a travel blog at TravelerTrish.

As I read her interview, my first instinct was to grimmace at this guy. It reminded me of the blindness caused by my own assumptions. I didn't like what I saw in the mirror. That said, Tish's interview goes far beyond the technical, and observes the cultural layers of both the French and local populations. The kicker quote comes at the end:
As it stands, the internet in Tahiti and Moorea is a toy for the foreigners, something tourists do, and are willing to pay good money for.

Technorati Tags:

links to this post  

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Worth another link - Online Archetypes

On the Com-Prac list, Patrick Lambe reminded me of a great piece he did on the archetypes in an online community.Mapping the Culture of an Online Community (application/pdf Object): Archetypes and their attributed derrived by ACT-KM participants at the ACT-KM Conference 13-14 October 2004. It offers some thoughts on the types of people that inhabit online communities, particularly ones that self identify as communities of practice. It is a bit less inflamatory than Mike Reed's Flame Warriors and Amy Gahran's "online vermin" archetypes.

Patrick's archetypes are:

  • The mediator
  • The energy vampire
  • The lurker
  • The angry little man
  • The beginner
  • The hostage
  • The backstabber
  • The professor
  • The sophist
  • The visionary
  • The guru

On the list Rob Peterson suggested another archetype to add to Patrick's list, the intermediate / general participant. Rob described this as:
- knows a little but by no means an expert
- can reply intelligently to communication though not at the level of the guru
- often shares information at a less theoretical level
- asks questions and responds to others in near equal ratio
- a stepping stone to other archetypes, prof, guru, visionary, or even the more negative ones
As I continue to think about our SXSW panel, "US/THEM: A blogging conversation survival guide" I'm wondering if archetypes will help us. If so, how are they different in blogs vs other online interaction media?

The thing that is missing here for me is the gap between our perceptions of the people embodying the archetypes and their own self perception. This may be one of the places where our "conversations" go sideways. We forget our own perception gap about each other, let alone about the content.

Technorati Tags: ,

links to this post  

Weblogsky: Blog Conversational Index: say what?

Jon Lebkowsky commented on Stowe Boyd's recent post on a "Conversational Index" to judge the vitality of a blog. Stowe proposes an index that is the ratio between posts and comments+trackbacks. The lower the number, theoretically the better. (Stowe's post got a lot of comments and trackbacks. He must be happy :-) )

Jon wondered if it would lead to supporting spam (tongue in cheek) or if it simply would encourage attention to vocal aggregations of people and blogs. He asked how we would measure lurkers or quality or cluefulness? Ed Vielmetti chimed into Jon's comments with a good observation:
Some online conversations happen through blog comments, others through IM and email and in-person sideband and voice and ... and ...

No one index covers any meaningful part of it.

Stats lie. Using stats to measure utility just encourages people to game the stats. Not a game I want to play...
I added my agreement, noting that we've seen this metric come up in the "old days" of forum based online communities. Quantity did not equate to quality. It's like confusing signal and noise. Unless you are going for pageviews for advertising models. And I thought we were "talking" about "conversations!" wink wink

The quality of a conversation is entirely contextual. Reducing it to a number does not give an indication of quality.

This goes to another assumption. Are all blogs about conversation? Are all conversations bloggy? Naw... we know they aren't. But it is chic to glorify conversation the way we used to glorify "community." (Yes, I'm getting snarky. IT must be all the SuperBowl testosterone floating around my house. I can't help it!)

I'm not totally dissing the idea here. I find it very interesting to look at ways to discern patterns in blogs. There is value in looking at the ratio of post to responses. But it cannot stand alone as a measure of value. Conversation is still, thank goodness, a quirky human act that cannot be reduced to a metric.

(And Stowe, this trackback's for you!)

Technorati Tags:

links to this post  

coComment - tracking your comments

I've been waiting for this. Via a Scoble post, I followed the track to (and managed to find an invite to the beta) coComment - clear conversation in the blogosphere. This web based tool uses a little bookmarklet to track the comments you leave on blogs and responses that come in afterwards. The beta product only supports certain blog platforms, but I'm likin' what I see. The instructions were easy. The practice will take a while to get into my head and fingers.

One side note. Clearly I'm not the only one waiting for something like this. Scoble's post nabbed over 130 comments in less than a day about the new app. Great viral PR!

Technorati Tags: ,

links to this post  

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Saturday visual treat. I love visually oriented blogs! Check out woolgathering.... I found this blog using the Jambo service offered for participants of SXSW.

Technorati Tags:

links to this post  

Yahoo Community Summit - Lets start imagining it!

I posted yesterday about the Yahoogroups/ACT-KM issue and flippantly suggested a summit. Well, lets talk about it. Yahoo Community Summit - QuickTopic free message board hosting. Drop into this QuickTopic space and add your thouhts. You might also want to read the comments that are emerging from my original post.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

links to this post  

Getting Itchy About the Trendiness of Knowledge Sharing

So just after I blog about Kahan and Blair's use of storytelling to identify CoPs, I wander over to Jack Vinson's blog and see Sharing Knowledge by Design. I then pop over to the article he references and find my temperature rising. I'm uncomfortable. My intutive antennae are saying WAIT, WAIT, it's a TRAP.

I'm worried that in our passionate evangelism for knowledge sharing, we are missing something. Here is how I commented on Jack's blog:
I got itchy when I read the Chrysalis piece for a few reasons. There are some very practical pieces of advice, but it rarely gets to the point of reality. It is high level and easy to say yes to, but hard to internalize and do. Here are a few examples.

1. It suggests you set up a community of practice by starting a mailing list. Uh, a mailing list is not a CoP and you don't just set up a CoP... it is a living breathing human group formation, not just a list of emails and some articles. (I know, overreacting here.)

2. It suggests that KM needs to be driven by leadership when we know in practice, that this is not that common and when really great knowledge sharing is happening, it often comes from the mid level down where people NEED the knowledge, not at the level where someone is collecting it for the organization. (I think I'm getting rebellious and starting to suggest that people should have KM initiatives and CoPs that are ground up acts of rebellion and spirit in an organization, not a task imposed from above!)

I'm getting worried that we are missing the point with our evangelism of knowledge sharing, creating lists and formulas. I'm not sure what I'm grasping at, but I FEEL it. I figured you could relate to that Jack!
When we gloss past the emergent, chaotic, messy nature of human knowledge sharing by reducing it to a set of checklists, I think we miss the point. KS is about our empowerment of each other to do what we want/need to do. We can talk all we want about tools and protocols, mandates and rewards. But what we are really asking ourselves to do is start to behave like a network brain, a hive mind. Not a bunch of individuals who are required to dump their knowledge into the pot. It is living. Negotiated. Messy. But very powerful.

I don't really know what the heck I'm talking about at an intellectual level. But I feel it in my gut and in my heart. Help me figure out how to talk about it. Help me find the intellectual roots of my discomfort.

Technorati Tags: , ,

links to this post  

Joho the Blog: Fact-based ethics for bloggers

Check out David's "rules of thumbs" here...Joho the Blog: Fact-based ethics for bloggers.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

links to this post  

Kahan and Blair identifying communities of practice knowledge management World Bank

On Thursday I had drinks with three people who work in the international development sector. We sat down to talk about communities of practice. Since that conversation I have been thinking about useful "trigger" resources I might point out to them. Today while browsing Joitske blog, she pointed to Seth Kahan and Madelyn Blair's work on storytelling in the World Bank. You can read the full article here, Identifying Communities of Practice Through Storytelling, but I want to focus on the material at the end of the article. That is because one of the questions I hear most is "we want to start a community of practice, how do we do that?" And to me, the logical first answer is, do you know if any exist already? Then they want to know how. Kahan and Blair's suggestion of doing it through storytelling rings true to my experience. Here are their steps (which I've trimmed a bit - go read the whole article!):
1. Bring together 'inspired veterans;' i.e., those who have a history in the community and are interested and passionate about their work.

2. Ask them to reflect and choose a story that typifies what they love about their work.

3. As they begin to share their stories, one at a time, ask provocative questions designed to get to the 'heart' of the story; i.e., what is it that really turned the teller on about the situation. Open ended questions work best in this regard: 'Can you tell me more about that? ...

4. During the storytelling note what is important about both the process the teller describes and the content...

5. Following the storytelling event compare and contrast, identifying common themes that fit these two requirements:

a. A common issue or problem that a significant number of storytellers are dealing with as part of their work

b. Areas that rouse interest, passion and curiosity from a significant number of the tellers

6. Contact participants to discuss your findings and validate your ideas for potential Communities of Practice.

7. Rather than announcing the results of your work and mandating the new communities, have a participatory session in which you share what you have learned and work together with the participants to choose the new communities."
It is usually natural that we seek out those who share an interest or passion, leading to many informal and vibrant CoPs. Don't go and try and "create" one - support the ones that exist!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

links to this post  

Friday, February 03, 2006


I just heard tonight that the great ACT-KM group which lost it's Yahoogroups archives and membership lists in mid- January has gotten them back. The issues are getting clear. You can read about it on the following Yahoogroups: Com-prac and Onlinefacilitation.

The community is sharing the story, but the bottom line is after hearing from many people, Yahoogroups stepped up and restored the group. The work to restore it, both on the part of the ACT-KM leaders and Yahoogroups, is a testament to networks and to some people who believe in both communications and communities. These individuals connected around the issue, activated their networks, and took action, outside and inside of Yahoo. Blogs helped spread the word. What none of us could do alone, we were able to do collectively.

I have said for quite some times that the Yahoogroups millions of list "owners" and community leaders are an important group of people - not just to their groups and communities, but to Yahoo.

I had a little brain fart tonight thinking, gee, wouldn't it be fun to convene a summit of group leaders to brainstorm ways to improve Yahoogroups? Wouldn't Yahoo gain a lot? Hint hint!

Wouldn't it be wild if WE, the leaders, convened it and invited Yahoo? I think I will dream of online community summits tonight...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

links to this post  

How do I admit when I LIKE a commercial?

Michael Dowd, the great evolutionary storyteller, passed along this link. Evolution in 30 seconds... with a twist. Take a peekEvolution (video/quicktime Object).

What would be the 30 second story showing the evolution of online communications?

links to this post  

I'm Blogging on NPO/NGO Issues on Blogher

As if I need more blogs to blog too... grin. Here is my Blogher Blog. I'm a content editor for NGO/NPO issues with the great Beth Kanter and Britt Bravo - lovely to be in such wonderful company.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

links to this post  

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Do Tank and the Democracy Design Workshop

Some fascinating experimental efforts for civic society/participation via Do Tank and the Democracy Design Workshop

About the Do Tank and the Democracy Design Workshop The Do Tank strives to strengthen the ability of groups to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves by designing software and legal code to promote collaboration. Tools alone cannot create a culture of strong groups. Hence Do Tank projects address the role of legal and political institutions, social and business practices and the visual and graphical technologies -- what we term the "social code" -- that may allow groups, not only to foster community, but to take action.

Our innovation laboratory centers around three fundamental design principles:

  • Design for the group not the individual. In groups people can accomplish what they cannot do alone.
  • Make the group graphical. Use the graphical, networked screen to help the group see its own values, rules and practices, thereby giving rise to social institutions.
  • Embed structures through technology. Improve collaboration through the design of social and legal structures and replicate those structures through the interface.

The Do Tank targets the "capability gap" in practicing collaboration and forming groups among people who realize the opportunity for more collaborative decision-making in their governments, communities, businesses, or other organizations but do not have the experience, skills, models or tools to fulfill the potential.

I'm fascinated by their intent to design for the group, not the individual. I want to dive into this deeper to understand what this really means. What some of you have heard me say/seen me write is that most of the tools we use ARE designed for groups, but are experienced by the individual behind a computer. How do we bridge this?

links to this post  

"Thinking Out Loud" - Our

Our panel group for "Us/Them: A blog conversation survival guide," at South By Southwest Interactive has been tagging sources and inspiration. It is amazing to see our resources pile up at Tagging as a simple sharing/collaboration tool is working out well. Next step we have is making SENSE of them!

If you have any great pointers around blog conversations, particularly how we deal with diverse folks trying to participate, go ahead and tag em!

links to this post