Thursday, August 31, 2006

First Time Visitor Guide

Not much blogging so far this week because I have been heads down working on the Technologies for Communities report with Etienne Wenger and John Smith. We had hoped to finish our draft today before they went home, but now we have set the date to September 22nd. In the mean time, just starting to catch up.

Stephen Downes pointed out this cool practice from blogger Tony Karrer to help orient new readers to his blog. Check out: eLearning Technology: First Time Visitor Guide.

I like learning about people's practices, including blog practices. What is your favorite blog practice?

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Amazing Flickr Stream from World Cafe Gathering

I have been an offsite weaver for the amazing World Cafe gathering in northern California this week. I took a moment to tune into the Flickr feed, Flickr: Photos from theworldcafe and LOVED the pictures of each of the participants holding a picture of a word that has meaning for them in context of the gathering. This is a terrific example of sharing of artifacts and learning from a F2F event out to a larger community, especially in tandem with the live blogging.

Now, I need to pay some attention to that weaving. I have been tugged by the beautiful weather and the urge to attend to domestic things! (Like making a peach cobbler).


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Seattle Mind Camp 3.0 Date and Venue Revealed | Mind Camp

Seattle Mind Camp 3.0 Date and Venue Revealed - it will be November 11-12 at theYoungstown Cultural Arts Center, the same place we camped at 2.0 this Spring. Alas, I've got client committments that weekend, so I'll be there in spirit only!


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Friday, August 25, 2006

Join the World Cafe Stewardship Dialogue Online

This weekend 60 people will be gathering near the stunning ecosystem of Tomales Bay in Northern California to consider how to steward the community of practitioners of the World Cafe, a way of bringing people together for meaningful dialog and work.

I won't be there. But I will be part of the dialog as I and colleagues such as Beth Kanter weave in conversation from those not able to be present in Tomales. (A little echo from the last blog post, eh?)

Are you a World Cafe Practioner? Interested? If so, take a peek at Tom Hurley's post about The World Cafe Stewardship Dialogue on the Dialog Blog (which will be sending out from the gathering to the world.)

" .... a gathering of World Cafe pioneers, long-time hosts, and others who have expressed their commitment to serving as “stewards” of the World Café – are gathering from August 25-29 in Marshall, California (a small town on Tomales Bay in northern California, a couple hours north of San Francisco). The purpose of the Dialogue is to nurture and deepen the field of collective intelligence through which the World Cafe community can guide the development and evolution of its work, on an ongoing basis. More than 80 individuals representing 16 countries on five continents will be present. You can be, too."

You can learn more about the details at the online discussion area here or comment on the blog here. Why not join the conversation?

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Learning, Capturing and Sharing Conference Artifacts

Beth has a great synthesis post on Collaborative Models for Capturing and Sharing Conference Notes at Nonprofit Gatherings:
"I wonder what collaborative thinking through our fingers might look like when it comes to capturing and sharing notes from conferences, dialogs, meetings or informal gatherings. I often see many people taking notes at conference, either with pen in a moleskin or typing into a laptop. How can those notes best be aggregated in one place to be shared with all participants and perhaps with those who didn't attend the event?"
Beth goes on to talk about event blogs, wikis, shared photo streams, and shared tags as tools to help a group both capture and make meaning of what is going on at a F2F event, and sharing it out to the wider world. For me, this is not just a practice and tech issue, but a fundamental issue on how we learn together and share our learnings. More on that at the end. First, let me bounce off of Beth's good thinking.

I'd probably add a few more to it both from the "sending out" perspective and to the weaving in of the voices of people NOT at the F2F event.

Chat Rooms and IRC Channels
For groups that are used to being online at F2F gatherings, having a chat room or IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel open so that both in room participants and those not present have a way to interact, pass resource information and weave the onsite and distributed group together. I have found IRC to be a bit geeky for second wave adopters, so using a web based chat appliation may be a useful alternative. Some examples of this that I've appreciated have been the IRC back channel this year at the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium. The event limited physical space, but organizer Liz Lawley allowed the rest of us full access, not just with IRC, but with real time video streaming of the sessions. Oh, I should add that as a category.

Real time streaming of session video, or captured for later, time shifted distribution. This adds cost, but with today's amazing video cameras, even an dabbler can help make this happen. A key is a good microphone for the speaker. Don't skimp there. Don't trust the audio pickup from the camera at the back of the room.

With the availability of free and low cost voice over IP (VOIP) conference calling, you can open a line from "the room to the world." An example of that is Skypecasts. Key practices here include the use of the MUTE button by the listeners until they are ready to speak. Otherwise you have a messy sound soup. Or glop! These can also be recorded and sent out as podcasts. The informal learning gang has been using them this year.

Speaking of podcasts, recordings are great artifacts. Earlier this year, Alan Levine recorded a talk of mine, others took notes from afar, I added jpgs of my slides and we collaboratively created a post conference artifact that appears to have been really useful to others.

Graphic Facilitation/Graphic Listening
Finally, I have been exploring the value of visual facilitation at F2F events and have been finding that sharing digital scans or pictures of these meeting artifacts, especially images which capture not only information, but emotion and the "warm human parts" of the communications and interactions can enrich the remote experience of F2F information capture. I used to see this as "facilitation" when I did it, but I am learning from the master, Nancy Margulies, that this is really about listening. From a very personal perspective, when I'm doing this drawing, it REALLY deepens my own listening. When I can successfully invite others into co-creation of the drawing, it creates new meaning for the group.

It is about the Learning!
In the end, the key around these practices is that when we engage all or part of the group in the production of our "learning artifacts" -- we all learn more AND we make some of that learning available to others. The act of production is an act of meaning making.

We also think beyond our individual selves. We resume responsibility not only for our participation, but for sharing back to the communities we come in to the room representing. F2F is a precious resource, not to be squandered. It is a privilege.

That's the bottom line.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Doodle Worthy for a Cause

You have heard me brag on Share Your Story - one of the most amazing online communities I know of. Now they are mobilizing to try and get Google to give them a Doodle for Prematurity Awareness Day in November. Want to help them? Click to ARE WE DOODLE-WORTHY? and add your endorsement. They promise never to sell or rent your email address!

Don't know what a Google Doodle is? It is when they take their logo and make it unique to celebrate a particular day or occaision.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thinking about tools and techniques for travel journals

I've been encouraged to keep a journal of the speaking tour I'll be doing in October, so I started a new blog, Australian October Adventure . Crazy? Probably. I have also been encouraged to cross post to my main blog, so I'm trying out Performancing again as an easy way to post to multiple blogs. I used it a while back, then had some problems so had uninstalled it.

I figured I might want to add some tools and techniques to my repertoire. The first is mapping, mostly so my relatives can track me! Today I played with the trip mapper at Wayfaring. I'm not sure the new Blogger beta (which I'm using for the Australian Adventure Blog) allows iFrames, but I'm about to try and find out! I put the first leg into the map to experiment - we'll fly out of Seattle and to Melbourne via Los Angeles.

I am thinking about what else I might use besides a blog. Pictures.. flickr, etc. Audio? Video? It has to be easy. My focus will be on interacting with people, not with my laptop and gizmos.

What would you suggest?

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Writely is Back Open!

I really like Writely, a collaborative sort-of-wiki web based tool. So it was great to hear today that they have reopened it to new registrants. Since the purchase by Google, they have not been "open"> Check it out: Writely Blog

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IBM's Open InnovationJam

I have followed IBM's massive online distributed events, a.k.a. "Jams" since they launched. The second phase of their newest one, Welcome to InnovationJam, starts September 12th. And this time we're ALL invited. WOW.

This site deserves some more exploration.

(And yes, lots of blog posts because I'm researching something and I find all sorts of cool things along the way!)

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Welcome to Edufilter

edufilter from David Tosh already looks promising. I found it via Stephen Downes today. He identifies cool stuff going on in the edusphere and then interviews the people associated with that cool stuff. How's that for a fancy description!

So far David has written about people and things I'm familiar with - yet I still learned something new about them. I like that.

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Jim on the Washington Post's New Blogroll Effort

J. LeRoy's Evolving Web: Somebody's Thinking Out There
"One of the greatest things about community is that intent and good will are primary commodities. Yet, as Paul Simon says, 'Proof is the bottom line for everyone.' Today, the Washington Post shows intent and good will with a strong hinting of proof. "
Jim goes on to reflect on the value of the WaPo's initiative and the outward facing, experimental nature of the endeavor.

This could be both a community indicator and an emergent example of a blog community.

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I'm Going to Australia

Australian Flexible Learning Framework - National Speaking Tour.

One word: EXCITED!

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Adding to the Online Interaction Glossary

Last week I posted an update to my Online Interaction Glossary. I realized there were a few terms I was missing. Here is what I'll add when I get a moment:

* ASP (application service provider)
* hosted application
* open source
* live events
* social network analysis
* Desktop sharing

And yet more from Luis

* Trackback
* Pingback
* Screencast
* Atom (As in the web syndication protocol)
* Social Media
* Widgets
* File Sharing (I still have got to explain every now and then what online, real-time file sharing is and how it can be done)
* Informal Learning (Through social software, specially)
* Expertise Location / Locators

What else needs adding or changing? Please, chip in. That makes it a richer resource. If you share a definition from your site, please leave the link so I can reference the source.

(Edited later in the day to add a few more terms)

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I don't like Plaxo either

It is always good to see one is not alone. I did not like Plaxo from the getgo and I still get Plaxo spam and you can't get RID of it unless you join. Bah. Bit this is more than about annoyance.
apophenia: AIM and Plaxo: "Why why why can't Plaxo go away? I don't want it to connect the dots between who i AIM and who i email and who has me in their addressbook. I don't want a universal addressbook controlled by some external organization that i don't trust that spams my friends and keeps data hostage. I don't like the lack of transparency and the massive amounts of data that they have. I do not trust them, Sam I am."

And here.

I like to sign up and try things. Experimentation is part of my work practice. But each time I do, I wonder what I'm really getting myself into. Sigh.

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On the BBC Tonight??

This is one of those moments. Listen? Or ignore... :-) my nancy white interview on bbc radio: "Last month I had the pleasure of a spending a few hours with online community guru Nancy White who visited the BBC, and gave a presentation at e-mint, whilst in London. As I mentioned here previously, BBC Radio 5 Live's Pods and Blogs gave me a mini disc and microphone and asked me to do an interview - photos and full details here.

Pods and Blogs co-presenter Chris Vallance has posted the running order for tonight's broadcast and it looks like that audio is going to air tonight."
Heavens help me, but guru? Robin, come on...

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Blogger Update and Second Hole in Head

I woke up too early today, worrying about all the things on my to do list. So I got up at 4:30 am, did a bit of work, then started looking at my feed reader.

Bad mistake.

90 minutes later I've read some cool blog posts and got sucked into starting yet another blog - using Bloggers new Blogger Buzz: Blogger in beta. I knew I wanted to start a project based blog for some work and fun later this year, so I did it. Oi. I'm crazy.

Now I can do a little comparing, as I've been seriously thinking about moving my blog OFF of Blogger - mostly because of the lack of support for categories.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

More Incomplete Thinking About Blog Based Communities

First, thanks to everyone who has offered resources for my work in blog based communities. What an embarassment of riches. Now not only is there a great del.icio.tag for blog_communities, but also on CiteU. I wish I could study it all. As I open this can of worms, I'm reminded that blogs and communities converge to a very interesting topic. Wow. Thank you all AGAIN!

What I realize as I continue to write about the three main forms I'm seeing is that the really interesting stuff is in the hybrids, but that is going to have to wait for the next writing opportunity.

Today I'm trying to organize my thoughts around the tech, social and content architectures of blog communities. I've rendered the ideas into a few charts, but every time I look at them, I am not satisfied. So again, feedback time? The text that goes with these pics - the so called analysis - isn't done yet. :-)

(Click on the images for a larger, more readable version.)

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Friday, August 11, 2006

George Siemens is collecting some good quotes

Via elearnspace...

No one knows what they're doing

No one knows what they're doing: "You can stop pretending you know what you're doing. I know you're making everything up as you go (hoping nobody notices). It's OK though - that's not where your problems are coming from. Rather, your problems are coming from the fact that you think other people know what they're doing...Relax into your ignorance. Open up. Experiment." - Doug Sundheim

Knowledge and knowing

Knowledge and knowing: "Knowledge as possession and knowledge as being, is one of those fundamental polarities in KM" - Denham Gray

Lovaglia’s Law

Lovaglia’s Law: "The more important the outcome of a decision, the more people will resist using evidence to make it." - Michael Lovaglia


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Like I Need a Hole in the Head

I'm playing with Six Apart's new Vox, a blogging community which is in beta. Yes, another blog. Yes, about chocolate. I had to because there was this luscious brown template. A nice dark chocolate color.

Chocoblog Strikes Again

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Help me research?

I have been a bad person and have procrastinated on a writing assignment. I'm excited about the topic, the implications of forms of blog based communities, but dang, there aren't enough hours in the day. I am maddly searching, reading and tagging interesting articles about blog based communities here --> If you have any favorites, please leave them in the comments, or better yet, tag them blog_communities.


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WikiSpaces Improvements

I was happy to see WikiSpaces has some new changes and improvements such as site wide email alerts, improvements on RSS and other such goodies. Way to go, Wikispaces!


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Welcome to Blogging, Tree Fitzpatrick!

The Culture of Love heralds the arrival of Tree Fitzpatrick to blogging. Welcome, Tree!

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jack on Blogging Communities

I'm trying to weave together what I read/find that others are writing on blog based communities. I think I linked to this a while back, but I want to keep it fresh with the recent posts on blog communities.

Knowledge Jolt with Jack: Blogging and communities:
"How can communities, which are purpose-driven and group-driven, be supported by blogs, which are solo-user-driven? Is there a connection between blogging and communities?"


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Two from Jim on Community

I have not had an IM with my friend Jim in too many weeks. When I'm online, he's not. So as a simulacrum of connection, I want to point to two recent posts that relate to my favorite topic, community. (Well, second favorite topic. Chocolate still rules!)

First - J. LeRoy's Evolving Web: Is It Community or a Buncha People Doing The Same Stuff at the Same Time? - Jim makes a point I agree with. "Communities need some permanence to have value." My take on that is that a community is a group of people with a shared interest who interact with each other over time.

I link to this because as community "gets hot" again, I get crazy when the word is tossed around with little real sense of what we are talking about. (When I say hot, here's an example. Three people contacted me in the last week looking for a full time community manager. Need I say more?)

Most of the things we are seeing are networks which have nodes of relationships within them. MySpace is not a single community. You Tube is not a single community. OK, enough of that rant.

The second post from Jim gets closer to the heart of community. In Creating Community to Survive Jim points to a story about performance artist Quique Aviles. Jim writes, "The message here is that community is key to healthy living. A community is where we store our social norms."

Go read the post.

That is what community is about!

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Christian Aid PodCasting

Steven Buckley of Christian Aid – London recently posted to the KM4Dev mailing list about some work they are doing with podcasting in development. I have been hankering to stimulate some conversation, learning and action about this in the group, but haven't had time, so I was happy to see Steven's post. He gave me permission to reproduce it here for my NGO/NPO friends who are wondering, "why podcast?"

Podcast from Haiti (audio/mpeg Object)

Other Christian Aid Podcasts

Following on from my posting earlier this year on blogging, we’ve now started some serious work at Christian Aid on podcasting. Given the (fairly) recent threads on his subject, I thought I’d share our experiences.

Christian Aid podcasts are made available to staff through the intranet and to the public through iTunes and feedburner. Staff are alerted to new podcasts through a dynamic HTML listing of podcast feeds, though the file is hosted internally. We also take a lot of effort to promote the podcasts internally (screenshot of Intranet home page for this week is attached).

As with the blogs, we’ve found staff and supporters have engaged with the format very quickly. We now get emails asking if an event will have an associated podcast.

For the first couple of months, we focussed on using podcasts to get internal information to staff based outside the UK. This week we’re trying a daily podcast from Haiti in the Carribean to look at the issues our partners and beneficiaries face. It’s taking a fair amount of time to produce but the feedback has been tremendous – from supporters who are hearing stories from trips as they take place and for our field office staff who are able to get their perspectives out to the rest of the organisation.

You can listen to episode 3 – due on iTunes tomorrow - here on the web: (Nancy's note: CA has also been using blogging to share their message.)

If you use iTunes, you can subscribe to the podcast here:

Or with any other podcatcher here:

If you’re interested in the technical aspects of the project:

  • Field recording are made using a Maycom HandHeld field recorder
  • Edit recordings are made on the editing PC (yes, a better mic is needed)
  • The WAV files are edited using open source software from Audacity
  • The MP3 file is created using Audacity and LAME
  • The file is hosted on a blogging site – we use Typepad – and on our internal intranet
  • The feed is sent to Feedburner, which also submits the iTunes feed for us.

    Hope this is of interest. As ever, drop me a line with any questions / comments.

    All the best,

    Steven Buckley
    Christian Aid – London

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    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Blog Community Building Practices

    Last month I started thinking/writing about blog community. Looking at structures is one way in. Looking at practices is another. I often tell of how Seb Paquent welcomed me to blogging in 2004 and what it meant to me to jumpstart my practice, and connected me with people I did not even know were in my network.

    Here is another one from our friends at Anecdote in Australia. - Thanks for participating. Shawn picked it up from David Maister. It is another form of Linky Love. In a nutshell, you regularly thank the people who comment on your blog.

    Pretty neat and I'd count it as a community indicator!

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    David Wilcox is Rethinking Toolkits

    In Designing for Civil Society: Involving resources ... hopefully Not Another Toolkit, David Wilcox asks some good questions for those of us who work in the NGO/NPO world and are always running around like chickens with our heads cut off when talking about "capacity building," "training," and madly assembling yet another "toolkit."

    With the crazy around Web 2.0, I can't tell you how many Web 2.0 trainings, toolkits and resouce gathering activities have been happening. It is mind boggling. And a lot of repetition. Ironically, with some of these tools, we could be working smarter. From David, commenting on a new initiative of Involve:
    "...I do hope that this doesn't end up as just another toolkit ... a publication and pdf that isn't updated, can't be copied into re-usable bits, or easily referred to except as a whole. There are already scores - probably hundreds - of such publications around, and indeed Involve listed quite a few in their earlier publication People and Participation. All good stuff - but it seems to me that the new audit offers an opportunity to drag the management of engagement resources into the digital age, particularly since Involve says it will be advising Government on what to do in future. My immediate thoughts:

    • Is the idea of "gathering the information in one place" any longer appropriate? It is of course useful to have a place offering resources and signposting others through links. But don't we need a host of places on the net cross-linking to each other, with authors taking responsibility for updating on their sites? Think networked resources, not old-style library.
    • Would it be possible to negotiate with key resource providers the terms on which they are prepared to make materials available, under a Creative Commons licence? For example, a non-commercial share-alike licence would enable people to build on other people's work and put the results back into the pot.
    • Could the resources be chunked up as far as possible, so that items can be tagged with keywords for easier searching?
    • Overall, wouldn't it make more sense to think about developing a community of practice of researchers and practitioners prepared to share their resources, and ensure these grow dynamically?
    Some of my colleagues have been initiating tagging experiments. Good stuff. How do we spread the word? How do we make it easy for others to play?

    From some other friend's experiments, we probably need to get better at the aggregation part. Tag clouds are useful in some ways. Aggregated feeds is another bit of it. The collective conversations and annotations around resources are harder to capture. Search is a piece of it. Will some smart person please raise this flag and help us think about practices and solutions?

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    Amazing Senegalese Piece and Helping

    My KM4Dev colleague, Pete Cranston, pointed me to this amazing Senegalese piece, SUNUGAAL - AWADI / KIRIKOU. (Note, it may be my Firefox is crazed, but again, I could not get the audio and video to load in FF, but could in IE. Sounds like I have to do some troubleshooting tonight. ) The English text is:
    All your beautiful words
    All your beautiful promises
    We always wait for them

    AWADI :
    You had promised me that I would have of the job
    You had promised me that I would never be hungry
    You had promised me of true activities and a future
    Really up to here I still see nothing
    That's why I decided to flee, that's why I break myself in dugout
    I swear it ! I can't stay here one more second.
    It is better to die that to live in such conditions, in this hell
    Come what may
    I again prefer to die
    The political journalists are in prison or in the DIC (Criminals Investigations Department)
    The political opponents are in prison or in the DIC
    Too many companies are bankrupt
    ICS, SONACOS all sink into the bankruptcy.
    Every day your scandals flood our radios
    The Old man, his spiritual son, the son of the Old man
    It became grave what takes place in Senegal
    The thieves and the criminals are free or loosened and we find that legal.

    All your beautiful words
    All your beautiful promises
    We always wait for them

    What became the work which you had promised us
    We still see nothing!
    We wait since!
    It is not you who had promised to take out us of the misery?
    Really every day it gets worse.
    All this noise,
    It is in no way for what we hoped
    If everything worked well, we would not embark on these dugouts
    All this noise,
    It is not what we hoped for.
    Our dugouts flow and it is our kids who leave it their life.

    All your beautiful words
    All your beautiful promises
    We always wait for them

    You do propose us your University of future
    But we worry about the current one
    The young people are living in the anxiety
    Excessive power cuts in the SENELEC
    Result? Nobody can work!
    For the water, it's similar, they spend time cutting it to us
    And in spite of all these inconveniences they cut you the service if you do not pay your invoice.
    It is not because we made some politics or because we want to force you
    But this is only the sad narrative of the reality.
    We certainly accept your realizations and big projects: roads, electrifications and bridges
    But regrettably the man does not feed himself on tar
    It is not a glory for a carpenter to make a table, he was paid for, He makes his job, it's all
    One leader should not claim victory in every constructed road.
    The people voted and gave him a mandate and a budget for
    God does not go to urns, it is the people who votes!
    When we are elected, or we work or we cross the hand

    All your beautiful words
    All your beautiful promises
    We always wait for them

    The song give me food for thought about our assumptions of "helping" and how people outside think they have answers, how leaders think they have answers. But we don't. We have to listen and look with fresh eyes and ears.

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    SXSW 2007 Panel Picker Goes Live

    Are you planning to go to SXSW Interactive in 2007 (March 9-13) Then get your voice heard about what you want to see. Check out the south by southwest festivals conference picker (EDITED warning, did not work with FireFox for me but worked for others!) information: "

    Traditionally, some of the best ideas for panel programming have come from the extensive SXSW Interactive community. For 2007, we are accelerating this process by enabling users to choose which of these panel ideas they feel are most relevant to the event. For more information, click to the Panel Proposal Picker. Hurry, voting deadline for Round One of this process is September 8.

    Also, do you want to have your panel idea be part of Round Two of the SXSW Interactive Panel Proposal Picker? If so, e-mail Hugh for details on the submission process. Hurry, the final deadline for submitting panel ideas for next year's event is August 21.

    It was REALLY hard to pick just 10.

    I was too slow to get any panel suggestions in for this round, but I have submitted for round 2 -- some things that are outside my usual domain.


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    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    More Phone Conferencing Insights from Learning Alliances

    Last week I posted a bit on facilitating telephone conferene calls. One of the comments (from Joitske) suggested adding info about Skype. Well, here are some resoures...

    John Smith has a couple of posts that add more insight from the tool/tech perspective. Design of phone bridges and phone conferences, People talking in another language, and Where skype and regular phone users meet.

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    When Someone Threatens Your Online Community

    Robin Hamman has been covering a very interesting online community story brewing in the UK.
    Mumsnet is a site offering advice to expectant parents, support for those suffering bereavement following miscarriage, answers to obscure pregnancy questions, pushchair reviews and much much more.

    Sadly, it's also a site that could find itself closed following legal threats made by solicitors acting for Gina Ford, a leading British baby and child-care expert.

    In a letter to the ISP that hosts Mumsnet, Ford's solicitors give several examples of what they feel are defamatory statements about their client. Unfortunately, mumsnet has, following Ford's legal threats, had to take the dramatic step of asking it's users not to discuss or even mention Gina Ford, even though "banning all mention of her on a website for parents is a bit like barring discussion of Manchester United from a football phone-in".

    What is interesting, particularly in Robin's second posting, is the huge groundswell of support for the community. Yup, this is a community indicator. People take their online communities seriously. They have meaning. And when threatened, like a bear with her cubs, members won't sit still and let threats derail them lightly.

    Now, down to the details. The lawsuit from Gina Ford is around libel. For anyone who has hosted, managed or set up an online community that exists within a particular software platform, you know this headache. How responsible are you for what members say? How do you work with the issues? Read Mumsnets statement and think, what would you do in your community?

    Then I think about Gina Ford. Why does she feel she has to do this? This past week the Seattle Times has run a series on glass artist Dale Chihuly around his current lawsuits and business dynasty. Why is he suing other artists? What are the reasons? I have a sense it is more than about money.

    This ties in to a much larger issue that anyone who has a public identity has to ask today: if I put myself out there, what is the line for me when I won't sit and "take it." What are the techniques I can have to not let public criticism of me derail me? How can I listen to my critics in a generative way that makes me and what I do better?

    All VERY difficult questions. As more of our lives have manifestations online, in communities, in our public faces and professional lives, the questions get more interesting and much harder to answer.

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    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Welcome to Blogging, Sarah Granger!

    segmented is Sarah Granger's new blog. I first met Sarah when she was doing some for for Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. I lost track of her for a while, but now she is blogging! Yay!

    Check out this post, Lamenting the Loss of BBS, if you come from the dinosaur land of online forums and BBS like some of us!

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    flightless in cape town - AMAZING images

    Via Jeneane Sessum, flightless in cape town. (And catch the tagline... "The penguin is mightier than the swordfish!" Brilliant!)

    As I think about blog community forms, I realized I had not given a lot of thought to the impact of visuals. Now, more food for thought and a whole other avenue for exploration (and sucking time out of the day.)


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    Happy Birthday, World Wide Web! (Well, I'm a day late!)

    Google Groups: alt.hypertext

    Tim Berners-Lee
    Tues, Aug 6 1991 9:00 am
    timbl@info (Tim Berners-Lee)

    In article <> I promised to post a short summary of the WorldWideWeb project. Mail me with any queries.

    WorldWideWeb - Executive Summary

    The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system.

    The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone. It aims to allow information sharing within internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by support groups.

    Reader view

    The WWW world consists of documents, and links. Indexes are special documents which, rather than being read, may be searched. The result of such a search is another ("virtual") document containing links to the documents found. A simple protocol ("HTTP") is used to allow a browser program to request a keyword search by a remote information server.

    The web contains documents in many formats. Those documents which are hypertext, (real or virtual) contain links to other documents, or places within documents. All documents, whether real, virtual or indexes, look similar to the reader and are contained within the same addressing scheme.

    To follow a link, a reader clicks with a mouse (or types in a number if he or she has no mouse). To search and index, a reader gives keywords (or other search criteria). These are the only operations necessary to access the entire world of data.

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    Friday, August 04, 2006

    More on Telephone Faciltiation

    On the Onlinefacilitation list, a question came up about good resources for telephone facilitation. A number of articles were found, but nothing really complete. So we thought, why not build a wiki book? This is our first attempt. If you would like to join it, let me know. (We are working on Writely , which is currently not accepting new users, but I can add a few more people to work on a document. So leave me an email - nancyw at fullcirc dot com or comment. Or offer any suggestions in comments if you are reading this in Nancy's Blog - I decided it might be useful to blog this when Beth pinged me today asking for the URL.)

    What would we want to write about facilitating groups on the telephone? Let's brainstorm some general categories first. We can decide later.

    Here's our starting point. Feel free to suggest new pages if you want to dig into any one bit.

    Telephone calls for groups in:

    • meetings
    • project management teams
    • learning events
    • guest speaker presentations
    • orientation or closure for online activity/event
    • networks
    • presentations/pitches

    Teleconferences support processes of:

    • decision making (convergence)
    • problem solving/conflict resolution
    • fun/play
    • relationship building
    • brainstorming
    • teamwork
    • knowledge sharing
    • information delivery


    • Planning calls
      • Integrating with other media and modes of communication
        (online, face-to-face, presentation media and print resources).
        • How to integrate visuals
        • Collecting topics from asynchronous discussions (email lists or web boards)
        • Posting audio recordings or notes so that they support asynchronous interaction

      • Identifying roles in advance
        • Facilitator or master of cermonies
          • When to speak, frequency, but not necessarily amount of speaking
        • Having a "greeter" who arrives early and welcomes people as they arrive helps them orient socially
        • Designated presenters or speakers who are experts in the topic
    • Time zones - how to pick a time that works for people around the globe
    • Building sociability and relationship on group telephone calls
      • Ways to help visualize people and ideas in an aural environment
      • EEKim - Shared Visual Display
      • Going beyond introductions - what can help build relationship, sense of individuals and of the group?
        • Vary intro topics to fit the actual topic of the call
        • Don't have to do everything on one call
      • Intercultural and language issues

    Potential FAQ's
    • How to use silence in phone calls (silence, bells, sounds, etc.)
    • What to do with distracting noises, on-hold music and other PITAs (process and technology based solutions)
    • Issues around size of group (what size is the max for full participation of all? When do you move to a different model? tool?)
    Resources - Other useful articles on the net about telephone faciltiation
    Contributors to this Resource:
    • Nancy White
    • Bronwyn Stuckey
    • Beth Kanter
    • John Smith

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    All You Need Is Blog (LOVE!)

    It speaks for itself.

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    The Wales-Wide Web | e-Learning in Small and Medium Enterprises: the issues (condensed)

    Via Stephen Downs comes this lovely overview of (e) Learning in Small and Medium Enterprises: the issues (condensed). I'm the one who put the ( ) around the e, because I think this applies to LEARNING, not just e-learning. I'lll post just a teaser. Go look at the rest!
    350 SMEs, focus groups, 90 case studies in seven countries (2002-2005).

    Is interactive with communities of practice
    Builds on personal knowledge bases
    Takes place in communities of practice
    Controlled by the learner in terms of pace and time
    Is episodic
    Is sequenced by the learner
    Response to problems or interests

    ICT for Learning and Work Organisation
    Main way of learning was through search engines (Google in particular).
    ICT for learning is more likely to be used with flatter hierarchies and employees having greater autonomy in organising their work. –mainly smaller companies (Also, such firms has tended to have a more experienced workforce and low employee turnover).
    Hierarchical work organisations tended to have least use of ICT for learning (largely manufacturing/production line enterprises).
    Especially in micro firms, SME employees tend to be isolated from wider communities of practice.
    Search engines are used to seek out potential forums and contexts for learning.

    Knowledge of e-Learning
    Few SMES aware of potential or possibilities of ICT for formal learning. Not received information from Public Sector providers – if advertising material sent, seen as junk mail.

    Formal Training and Learning
    Very little formal training other than regulatory, either face to face or using ICT.
    Where seen as necessary: buy in initially from public sector providers, and if unavailable use private training based on word of mouth reputation.
    Attitudes and involvement in training varies by size and sector

    Accreditation of Learning
    No employees had attempted to claim recognition or accreditation

    Education and Training Policies.
    Many managers are unconvinced of the benefits of initiating or continuing training:.
    Few enterprises had a formal policy for education and training.
    No budget for training
    Nobody with formal responsibility.
    Gained required skills through experience or buying in staff already trained
    Few managers had formal management qualifications
    Most networked with other managers
    Variety of management style
    There is little correlation between employees previous qualifications and their present employment.

    Informal Learning
    In contrast to formal learning, much informal learning was taking place.
    It was learner driven rather than planned, and problem motivated or linked to personal interests.
    There were differences between enterprises in use of ICT for informal learning.
    Where ICT for informal learning is common, employees have developed their own occupational profiles, based on needs of the enterprise and their own specialities and interests. There may be a relationship.
    This echoes what I see in the field, with interesting practice and organizational development implications.

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    Parking Lot :: Dealing with anger and aggression

    Chris Corrigan (one of the deepest facilitators I know) posted on Dealing with anger and aggression earlier this week. It was what I needed to read today as I reflect on how to bring the generative side of disagreement to our communities. He quotes Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher. The quote is so wonderful, I'm copying it here. But do read all of Chris' post if you are interested in facilitating with anger and agression, rather than fighting against it. Chris writes:

    In this article, “The Answer to Anger and Agression is Patience” she writes about her own struggle to cultivate a practice of patience as the antidote to anger and aggression:

    Patience has a quality of enormous honesty in it, but it also has a quality of not escalating things, allowing a lot of space for the other person to speak, for the other person to express themselves, while you don’t react, even though inside you are reacting. You let the words go and just be there.

    This suggests the fearlessness that goes with patience. If you practice the kind of patience that leads to the de-escalation of aggression and the cessation of suffering, you will be cultivating enormous courage. You will really get to know anger and how it breeds violent words and actions. You will see the whole thing without acting it out. When you practice patience, you’re not repressing anger, you’re just sitting there with it—going cold turkey with the aggression. As a result, you really get to know the energy of anger and you also get to know where it leads, even without going there. You’ve expressed your anger so many times, you know where it will lead. The desire to say something mean, to gossip or slander, to complain—to just somehow get rid of that aggression—is like a tidal wave. But you realize that such actions don’t get rid of the aggression; they escalate it. So instead you’re patient, patient with yourself.

    This echoes some of the comments the speakers make last Saturday during the Blogher closing round. Not overreacting is a fiercely brave thing to do and it opens the possibility of deeper understanding. I need to practice this.

    As usual, stepping into Chris' blog is never about reading just one post, but getting lost in a lovely sea of facilitation possibility. I was also drawn to this link Flowering Awareness, which reminded me that our practices of blogging ABOUT things must always be taken in context of the THINGS we blog about. Also, a link to Consensus Polling, which is a really great resource for facilitators. I have always been uneasy about the ease of electronic polling as a decision making process, rather than as a tool towards decision making. This page gives some great, practical ideas.

    As always, thanks, Chris.

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    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Dan Writes Something That Helps Me Center My Thoughts

    I have been struggling to examine the issues of us/them for a year now. I have been thinking about the whirlwind of love and invective that comes on the heels of Blogher. First, from Dan.Unfolding Leadership:
    "It behooves us in this world of Desire — for accomplishment and self-realization, for possessions and love — to know which parts of ourselves are driven by self, and which are expressed from Self. We are so good at fooling ourselves in this hall of mirrors, failing to notice the self-interests in our altruism, the ommissions to our truths, the embarrassing contradictions in our values and inconsistencies of our actions. The point is that we are driven too often and by too much, driven by inner needs that are actually still stronger than we would like to believe — and this, of course, is what makes the hall of mirrors so powerful. We can’t really tell the differences between self and Self, particularly on some of the most important things."
    Go and read the rest of Dan's piece. Lots of good thought there to help us look in the mirror first before we analyze everyone else.

    I need help articulating what is percolating in my head. What I think, what I sense coming out of Blogher is about identity. Blogher in some ways asked us to define ourselves in a certain way. As women who blog. As mommy bloggers. As edubloggers. As feminists bloggers. As bloggers. So we try on these identities as individuals. We sense how we want to name ourselves, and react to how others try to name us. We react to our desires.

    Then we start noticing others, and we form groups and we compare how we are different, separate, "the other." And it surfaces all sorts of things - including a lot of criticism.

    So what's next? I think as we more clearly try on and adopt identities as individuals, then as groups, the next step is to see them in the context of an ecosystem. Of all the roles we play, the ones we claim as "labels" (in a postive sense), the ones we simply and quietly wear. We see how our roles interplay with others. How they would not even exist without the others. The "others."

    Events like Blogher raise these issues, in their glory and their pain. They provoke and prod. They may even speed up the evolution of these individual and collective identities. So it is going to be messy. Most creative things are.

    I don't really know what I'm trying to say, but it keeps trying to come out. So if you have any thoughts to help me, I'd be greatful.

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    To Dave Winer - Post Blogher

    I was reading some more post Blogher posts and came upon this one. Uh oh, I know who Dave is talking about! Scripting News: 8/2/2006:
    "I did speak once, and afterward a woman (one of the discussion leaders) said that I was expressing my female passion. I said 'that sounds like a compliment.' She said it was. But inside I wondered why she thought that, does she think men don't have passion? Does she understand that, while she was expressing a compliment, she was also putting down my gender? Would she have understood if I had said something negative about her gender, for example, if a woman was being analytic or solving a problem, that it was her maleness that was speaking? Hard to imagine that conversation taking place in 2006. This may be what makes Frank Paynter tremble."

    Dave, that was me. I wasn't the discussion leader in the room, just one of the crowd. I want to apologize for coming across like I was putting you down. Or better put, I did not realize you felt put down by my comment.

    I think this is a classic case of two off hand remarks that should have progressed into a conversation, but it didn't happen. I wish you had expressed the thoughts you had "inside" right then and there, but in your blog works too, because I happened to find the post! (A bit of luck, actually).

    My recall of the exchange was that after you spoke to the group, you made an offhand comment about your intention not to speak, but you felt moved to speak (it was the panel on relief blogging and I think most of the room was moved!) My sense of your comment was that you were apologizing for speaking so I wanted to affirm that you DID speak. You added to the conversation. What I thought I said (that old being clear and listening well thang) was that your passion showed your feminine side. Not your FEMALE side! :-) I believe we all have masculine and feminine parts of ourselves, but because of our roles as males and females, we may use or not use these attributes. Being analytical has been described as masculine - and so it may be. That does not mean it is confined to males. Being passionate and speaking from the heart is not and should not be the exclusive domain of women.

    I do think men have passion. Hell, I know it. I know men who express that passion (and I'm talking more than sex here!) and men that hold it back, thinking it does not reflect well on their perceived role as a MAN in our society.

    Dave, it was a compliment. Heartfelt and said quite seriously - no wisecracking at all. I'm sorry we did not continue so we had better understood each other.

    I'm glad you spoke/wrote about what you felt about Blogher. I'm sorry a bunch of people ranted back instead of asked more questions to understand your perspective, which is, after all, informed by who you are and the life you have lived.

    If we cannot feel safe to speak our individual truths, even if they are not the truths of others, we won't get anywhere. I know I still have a long way to go down this road. But if I continue to react hatefully and in the culture of fear (fear of men, fear of women, fear of making a fool of myself) I won't get anywhere. So I'll keep trying to move more towards the culture of love. That includes apologizing for inadvertently hurting you or anyone else. And trying to be more thoughtful in how I express myself.

    It just struck me that I was writing about similar stuff a year ago after the first Blogher. Heh. Last year after Blogher I posted about "looking in the mirror" as I reacted to a very negative blog post about a friend I met at Blogher. It spawned a conversation on "Us/Them" that lasted through this spring and stimulated a panel some of us offered at SXSW.

    I've been reluctant to post about the other Blogher bashing sort of posts which also raise this issue of how we treat each other. I think part of it is attention grabbing - you get more attention by being negative in some circles. But I also think it is something more -- about how the blogosphere develops and how we establish our individual and collective identities. But I'm not far enough along in my thinking to articulate the ideas. Maybe later, taters!

    (Edited at 5:19pm for a few really bad typos)

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    Blackboard, DOPA, and Control: Why do we go overboard?

    I wonder if we care about innovation in the USA anymore. We seem to spend a lot of time trying to block others, control iffy intellectual property and generally shut down the power of remixing and mashups. Wassup?

    Brian Zug wrote about the latest - LMS provider Blackboard getting a patent that makes no sense from a variety of perspectives. Brian lays it out here. It is a hot topic on many edublogs. Some edubloggers are organizing responses to the patent and passage of the US DOPA act.

    Is the culture of control a sub part of the culture of fear? (We fear the loss of our market if we don't create patent barriers? We are not smart enough to make an offering to the market that stands on its own merits?) What would be the culture of love response to overreaching patents and uninforceable and uninformed laws?

    What if we started getting creative and thinking about REAL alternatives to the over-control?

    Yeah, time for the culture of love.

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    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    DOPA "We'd never stop farming because we had bugs"

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog: What's Wrong with DOPA.

    Cool Cat Teacher has one of the best, clearest and even handed analysis of the DOPA act. It is a poorly conceived piece of legislative PR. It is not good legislation nor will it help delete online predators. In fact, how DO you delete a person? Come on!

    DOPA is part of the culture of fear. BEWARE BEWARE BEWARE. It totally misses the generative part of our online interactions, particularly for our youth. It says "no matter what, we don't trust you to have any judgement." How will they learn if we don't help them, work as parents and teachers to develop discernment and appropriate forms of trust?

    How could we reimagine this piece of legislation not from the perspective of a culture of fear, but from a culture of love? How do we spend time with the youth in our lives, role model healthy relationships and listen and observe what is going on in their lives? What about an increase in the minimum wage so low income parents don't have to work 2 jobs to make ends meet and can spend time with their children? What about community centers that are open longer hours with mentors to cobrowse the internet to develop healthy habits? What about preventing child abuse, which is probably the single most important thing we can do to prevent adults sexually molesting children: most of them were probably abused as children.

    If we change the frame about how we think of online safety, I bet we can invent better solutions than DOPA, which to me is just plain DOPEY!

    • Send a letter to your legislators. For an easy to use applet that loads in your rep's emails, check here.
    • Myspace petition.
    • Blog your thoughts and tag it

    • More actions on this wiki

    (Updated post)

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    Welcome to Blogging, John Smith!

    My friend and colleague, John Smith, has been one of those people a bunch of us have been BUGGING to blog for quite some time. Well the good news is here - Learning Alliances, John's blog, is now live.

    John is a great source of insight and often humor about the stewardship of communities of practice. Take a look and subscribe!

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    High Speed Conferencing by Vapps

    Some of my friends have started using this free conference call service, High Speed Conferencing by Vapps. The benefit that I see is that people can Skype in for free. Bravo! I look forward to trying it.

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    Looking for the right RSS mixer

    Em duas linguas: Looking for the right RSS mixer explores tools to aggregate the blogs of members of a community. Lots of good information from Bev and she is soliciting other feedback. So if this is your area of knowledge, chime in!

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    The Culture of Love is Spreading | 08/02/2006 | Hutchison: Blog world finally gets it: Sisterhood is powerful:
    "If you wanted to get a sense of the sort of community that has sprouted in the female Web log crowd over the past few years, you only had to drop by the Saturday morning session at last weekend's BlogHer conference in San Jose. During a screen presentation when the music-audio portion failed, hundreds of women who were gathered in a meeting room at the San Jose Hyatt burst into a spontaneous rendition of the Beatles' ``All You Need is Love.''"
    I sure was singing loud and clear!

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