Posts tagged with 'sharethischange'

Privileged voyeurism

Today over at Gizmodo, blogger Joel Johnson posted what was intended to be encouragement and a challenge for his cohorts of the world to start following people who are different than them on Twitter: “Why I Stalk a Sexy Black Woman on Twitter (And Why You Should, Too).

Conceptually, encouraging dominant cultures to divesify is fabulous –I subscribe to the DNA model of ecosystems and social spaces, so I support it wholeheartedly. As I’ve said in my book and recent talks:

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VIDEO: PdF 2010: Can the Internet Fix Politics? Sharing Is Daring

Read the text and see the slides at the full presentation page.

An overachiever’s guide to prepping for an Ignite talk

(note: You can look at the slides and text here; here’s the video.)

A week and a half ago, I received an email asking me if I’d be willing to do an Ignite talk for the March 4 NYC event, part of Global Ignite Week. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, here’s the deal: You have 5 minutes to give your talk; you create a PowerPoint presentation to go with the talk, but here’s the kicker: You must do 20 slides, and the slides will advance automatically every 15 seconds. Talk about creative restraint inspiration! Not only is it an amazing challenge and a great place to flex your speaker muscles, but the Ignite platform also reaches far and wide into multiple communities, and can be a huge opportunity to reach lots of audiences with your message. Was I up for it? Sure.

Then the panic set in. Oh my God, what I have I signed myself up for?

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Disaster + social networks = opportunities to help and need for thoughtfulness

The devastation that Haiti is facing after the earthquakes and aftershocks from yesterday is flooring. That a country already so hard hit by utter economic and political distress could be nailed with such a fierce disaster is emotionally wrenching for many of us. And lately, when we’re hard hit, we take to social networks to work out our pain and find a way to manage it.

There are several opportunities we have at hand, and before I run off to a morning meeting, I wanted to address some of the ups and downs of dealing with disasters via technologies. The biggest thing we need to be aware of right now is the role our own egos play in these situations. We have a desperate need to feel useful in situations that make us feel helpless, and the ease with which we can share our thoughts and stories amplifies ways we think we’re being helpful when we’re dealing with emotionally charged material. We need to be aware of our impulses and sort out what’s good and what’s not so good. Here’s my take:

  • Getting the word out, the good stuff. People have been passing along word from the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Yele and other organizations on easy and fast ways to donate money to relief efforts– especially via txt message. You can send a text message on your phone, for example, to 90999 with the word HAITI, and that will donate $10 to the RedCross’ fund. The charge will appear on your next phone bill.

    The abilitiy to read and see news coming from inside Haiti via everyday people, like many other situations recently, is also fascinating, and incredibly powerful. We aren’t reliant on potentially corrupt or broken information structures (like government news agencies, for example) to find out what’s happening in real time.

  • Getting the word out, the challenging stuff. The other side of the ability to share information quickly and easily is that the potential for the spread of misinformation is high. We aren’t physiologically equipped to deal with highly charged situations via new technologies, in many cases– our brains are built to rely on a variety of cues to filter and respond, and those cues are often missing when reading updates on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.

    Because we’ve established trust with the people that we communicate with online, we automatically assign that trust, or authority, over to situations that don’t necessarily warrant it. Because I generally trust my friends to post smart/thoughtful things, the urge to repost what seems like important information from them in times of crisis without verifying it first is high. We have to change this behavior, and look for ways to establish authority of sources (without falling back on old models of only giving institutions like news orgs and governments the authority) and to verify what we share before doing so.

I wrote about this a whole bunch in Share This!, and I’m going to post those sections this afternoon when I return. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: The relevant sections from the book are now up. Start with “Stop, Drop and … Think.

Talk: How Sharing and Storytelling Will Change the World

On Saturday, I gave a the closing keynote talk at Organizing 2.0 here in NYC, a one-day conference designed to bring together labor folks, community organizers and netroots people to work on strategies for integrating online and offline organizing. A fun time was had by all! Here’s the video (thank you, Sum of Change!), and below are my notes from the talk.

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The (thankfully) disappearing attention economy

Achtung, from fscklog on Flickr

More and more, people are talking about the “attention economy.” If you’re new to the term, here’s the basic idea: Attention is scarce, meaning it’s a finite commodity that can be gathered and exhausted. Using economics as a model, we have to choose where we “spend” our attention, and those seeking to gain our attention have to use market-based tactics — a.k.a., “marketing!” aha! — to win us over.

Models like this are very attractive to us as a culture because we’re so familiar with transaction-based economies. As I wrote in “Share This!,” it’s how we think of everything we do. If I pay you $5, you’ll give me a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. If I refinish your flooring, you’ll pay me for my labor. Even when we think of bartering, we still focus on the transactional moment: If I cook you dinner, you’ll show me how to set up a website.

When we apply transactions to how traditional media works (think: one-directional, few-to-many broadcast messages), it’s easy to see how we ended up with the dismal state of affairs that exist: reality TV, infotainment news, etc. If, as a producer of content, I need to get the most bang for my buck out of each “transaction,” I’m going to create something that will gain the most attention. I’ll have to yell the loudest, create the most spectacle. It’s not worth my time or money to create niche content that will draw in specific kinds of audiences; partly because this is one-directional, and I have all the control, I can blast people with content and hope for the best out of that transactional moment, when I print an article or air a show. The more outrageous that content is, the better chance I have of at least catching people’s eye for a moment — take advantage of humanity’s rubbernecking instinct.

As we enter a more social, and perhaps more holistic, way of interacting with the world around us, squeezing our attention span in this kind of transaction-based, market model is turning out to be fraught with problems. First, the transactional moment is more bi-directional (or even multi-directional) than ever. We’re having conversations with one another, so it’s not just about me producing content and you consuming it. It’s about how we interact with what gets put out there, and how that content changes once we start interacting with it.

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Picking a cover for “Share This!” and the hilarity of how friends know me

I’m running a poll to help me and my publisher choose a cover for Share This!go take it! Here are your choices…


BK wanted me to add a “how do you know the author” question to the survey, so of course, my friends decided to have a wee bit of fun. Here’s a roundup of my favorite response so far (with necessary comments from me in italics):

  • She’s a pal.
  • From the bar
  • The series of tubes
  • In college, we were making beds for the football team NY Giants. ask her. (true!)
  • We share an ex-boyfriend, ha ha.
  • It’s complicated, but I’ve been a fan for years! (See: “We share an ex-boyfriend.” No kidding, there’s more than one)
  • We went to psychic healer school together.
  • She designed my site, and saved my life. (check is in the mail, Alice)
  • I am her indentured servant (You are? Where’s my dinner, muppet?)
  • Schmoozing
  • I mistook her for Jill from Jack & Jill Politics (true story, Cheryl.)
  • We met in in jail. Or was it the Army?
  • Her very favorite Uncle out of all her uncles living in NC (there’s just one)
  • Hair bleach and naughty conversations
  • Osmosis (not far from the truth, on the Bowery)

UPDATE: More funny friends have chimed in…

  • From a movie set, it’s a long story (god help us, this one)
  • secret president of her fan club (that check is going in the mail now)
  • Sister; knew her before she got a sense of humor :) (thanks, bro!)
  • friend/dog scratcher/chef (need you FT, see “indentured servant” above)
  • great serendipity (the meaning of life, after “42″ of course)

Poll: What are some common fears and resistance to joining social networking and media?

For Share This!, I’m trying to cover and answer some of the most common hesitant feelings when it comes to people getting fully on board with the social networking movement. If you’re not active already, what are the questions you need answered, or the fears you have? For those that are in deep, what do you hear from the people around you who aren’t?

Also, I’m doing a series of “Yeah, But…” sidebars to help answer questions. What are your “yeah, buts”?

Here are the fears and yeah-buts I’ve heard most (in no particular order):

  • I don’t want people to know about my private life
  • I like using social networks to maintain my personal relationships, but I don’t like blending the professional stuff in with it
  • I feel like I have to get everything right/perfect before I join an online conversation (most often with blogging)
  • I don’t have time for any of this stuff.
  • Yeah but… the corporations/government are gathering so much info about us.
  • … everything moves too fast. I can’t keep up.
  • … media/journalism require money/investment. Social networks can’t replace that.
  • … these social networks are all closed/walled gardens. Why don’t we all do something open source?

Maybe one more question, for intermediate and advanced folks: If you could look back at your pre-social-networking self and offer one piece of insight or wisdom, what would it be? Is there anything you wish you’d known before you joined into social networks?

Leave everything in the comments below; I’ll let yous know which ones make it into the draft and the final versions of the book.