Archive | April, 2009

Response Post #12

21 Apr

How to win online in 2012?

This question brings to mind the theory that “computers will be twice as fast and half as cheap every two years.” If we are to live by that theory then what we’re doing today won’t matter in 2012. There will be something new and different happening just as Twitter, blogging and text messages dominated the 2008 election. In 2004 just having a website was considered forward thinking. This go round, just having a website would have been considered archaic.

So what will 2012 be like? I’m not sure, but I have no doubt that it will incorporate many things that don’t exist today as well as popular ones that worked in 2008, because if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Obama successfully used his Twitter and Facebook pages to recruit and activate constituents to his cause. Hundreds of thousands of people followed John McCain’s daughter on her blog, McCainBlogette. Never in the history of politicking had something like that been done before. And it was only 4 years after the last election – 4 years. A lifetime in technology, but only a fraction of a second compared to other Earthly events (dinosaurs anyone?!).

Edelman PR’s article on Barack Obama’s use of social media lists a very interesting “lessons learned” from the campaign that I think will be applicable long after Twitter has gone the way of the dodo bird.

    • Start early
    • Build to scale
    • Innovate where necessary; do everything else incrementally better
    • Make it easy to find, forward and act
    • Pick where you want to play
    • Channel online enthusiasm into specific, targeted activities that further the campaign’s goals
    • Integrate online advocacy into every element of the campaign

Every lesson listed here – save for perhaps the second to last and last one (not everything is online!) is applicable in everyday life, and everyday tasks. From searching for a new job, making a presentation at work, parenting your kids. Each bullet point helps you to be better and stronger at what you’re attempting to achieve.

I think that using Edelman’s lessons learned can only help the next round of elections. Because, if history is any indication, the internet is going to continue to play a bigger and bigger role in politics. Whether it’s twitter, text messaging, blogging or networking, the internet has become the space age wonder of our time.

     
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Extra Post #6

21 Apr

Dowdy Washington? Not in this issue!

Thank heavens for showing a little skin! Now, normally, I don’t really care what magazines post to their covers, but this month’s issue of The Washingtonian boldly depicts President Obama sans shirt – in a bathing suit no less – walking on the beach. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t care to see former President Bush sans shirt (sorry!) but the current commander-in-chief is not so bad on the eyes.  Being a rather adventurous person, the one thing I can’t stand about Washington, DC is how conservative people are here. Heaven forbid you wear a nice leather skirt to work – you’re branded a whore – or even wear tall boots with a knee length skirt. I mean you must be a K Street regular to do that!

New York City and Los Angeles are two cities where fashion trends are debuted, coveted, and fun. DC is a place where jokes are made and Brooks Brothers suits abound. How many fashion forward peeps do you see in DC? Ones who live here anyway? Not many. I love that Mrs. Obama’s official portrait is her wearing what she loves, looks good in, and is comfortable. Many a debate has been had about showing her arms, but you know what? She looks great, is wearing a very nice outfit, and the public be damned. So what if she showed her arms? She’s “got it” so she should “flaunt it.”

There’s a reason why the press were all over her fashion choices in her recent European debut. She looked great! She took center place on the world stage by being herself. She hasn’t changed just because she became first lady, and I hope President and Mrs. Obama continue to enjoy themselves – wear a beautiful one shoulder dress, go swimming, and enjoy the opportunity to showcase the Nation’s Capitol as fun and exciting for something other than Congress and the Smithsonian. Not that they aren’t great, but we could all use a little spice in our lives. 

So kudos to Washingtonian for taking a chance and debuting a “racy” cover. President Obama has a beautiful wife, cute kids, a new dog, and guess what – he likes to go to the beach! Oh my gosh – might our President be human? He likes to have a good time with family and friends, and DC is going to have to get used to it. Hopefully this signals the decline of hooty touty yankee conservatism and people begin to let their hair down and have a little fun. Life is all about having fun with our family and friends. Why not enjoy yourself, throw on a suit (of the bathing variety) and jump in!

Extra Post #5

14 Apr

Commentary on class Del.icio.us link

Its interesting to read that some people think traditional journalism may cease to exist. Now, while I don’t think that the media of the past is the media of the future, I don’t think traditional journalism will end anytime soon. Yes, The Seattle Post Intelligencerhas gone online, The New York Times is losing money, and many local newspapers are folding, regular plain old media has been on the radar screen since the beginning of time and its not going away. It is, however, adapting and changing just as the world has since G-d created the world – or Earth evolved from a primordial soup whichever is your cup of tea.

Because times are changing, why shouldn’t media – specifically journalism? Newspapers didn’t exist way back when, but town criers did – I’m sure the men and women of the middle ages didn’t think that “newspapers” would catch on to become the main stay of journalists. So why should we think that the internet or social media could become the norm for traditional media? I would say traditional media is more about who’s discussing what than the format in which its being discussed. A New York Timesreporter writing, blogging or vlogging is just as much a reporter as a blogger breaking news. But that doesn’t mean that blogger is always a reporter.

For example, the Del.icio.us article makes some interesting points — specifically in the quote below: 

“Unedited blogs are rapidly becoming news sources. Much of it is scary stuff, from nightmarish economic and financial meltdowns to chilling war attractions to come in the Middle East. The collapse of daily print journalism is a threat to democracy itself. How to distinguish between clutter and good stuff is a constant challenge as attention becomes a scarce resource.”

It’s a little dramatic (IMHO) to say the collapse of daily print media is a threat to democracy itself, but journalism in the future will be constant and ever-changing so how will we sort through the clutter? Good question. My guess is its going to be up to each person to decide his or her own definition of “traditional media.”

Response Post #11

14 Apr

Iraq War – See No Evil Hear No Evil?

I remember talking with a friend of mine in the fall of our senior year in college about the possibility of going to war. It was 2002, and he had joined the Army’s ROTC program earlier to help pay for college. War with Iraq was just a matter of time, and I couldn’t imagine someone I knew fighting – after all, I was in grade school during the first Gulf War, and I wasn’t even a twinkle in parent’s eyes during Vietnam.

Fast forward a few years, and this friend has done two tours of duty in Iraq and faces a third tour within the next year. Each time, he was deployed for more than a year. And he’s not he only one I know. My friend’s husband has been deployed to Qatar so many times I’ve lost count, another friend was on the raid that captured Sadaam Hussein, and unfortunately, my childhood best friend’s fiancee was killed in 2005 just days before he was supposed to come home, and two months before their wedding.  

The Iraq War has caused an unbelievable amount of animosity between the United States and the rest of the world. Many countries/peoples feel we have no business in the Middle East, much less Iraq, others feel that the US has done the world a favor by dismantling the regimeof Saddam Hussein. While I understand everyone’s point of view, and respect people’s opinions, there’s one idea I can’t get behind: all this access to the front lines. I’m sorry, but we are a country at war, and if our news coverage details troop movement, operations, personnel changes and other sensitive material, you can bet that the enemy – Al Qaeda or Iraqi insurgents – are paying attention. To me that just sets our troops up for failure. I’m all for covering the war and embedding journalists to profile and learn from our troops, but I just don’t agree with the in-depth vlogs, blogs, and stories about what’s going on on the front lines. It’s a recipe for disaster, and the last thing we need is to give our enemies more ammunition to hurt us.

Response Post #10

7 Apr

Hungary –  as seen from an outside blogger

While reading about Hungary and its blogosphere at Global Voices Online, I was struck by three things. 1. There were not that many posts; 2. The posts were more concerned with the world around Hungary; 3. The posts were in English.

Now, those aren’t earth shattering realizations, but they do showcase – to me at least – how different the online world can be outside of the US  or a major economy.  As I stated above, there weren’t that many posts – I find this rather strange considering how prevalent and easy blogging is in the US. It also made me think back to my time abroad when I first learned that people outside the US did not have the same feelings towards the internet. It was 2002, and I was spending a semester abroad in France. Computers and the World Wide Web were all the rage on college campuses, and very few students didn’t have a computer – or at least access to one. But in France, internet cafes were where most French people accessed the internet, and if a family did have a computer, dial-up was the chosen method of connection. So it really shouldn’t surprise me that a country with an economy, population and history such as Hungary does not have a lot of  bloggers in 2009. Perhaps they are behind the times a bit, but more likely it’s because the technology and financing needed to support such an online movement just doesn’t exist. And if it does exist, perhaps its not easily accessible by all Hungarians.

While the internet and blogging may not be “the norm” for Hungarians, I found it intriguing that those who were blogging were blogging about the many events, peoples and issues dealt with outside of Hungary that had a possible affect on those living in Hungary. One blogger was excited about President Obama’s EU visit, even though he (Obama) had been less than enthusiastic about the state of Hungary, and another blogger wrote about the economic situation in South Korea, Brunei, Egypt and the US and how it all related back to Hungary. Pretty heavy stuff.

Lastly, most of the posts were written in English. I found this interesting because it shows how universal blogging is, yet how uniquely American it can be.  I would never expect a blogger in Hungary to write in English, as most Hungarians speak Hungarian, but perhaps blogging in English gives their blog a better chance at becoming “famous.” I really don’t know the answer to it, but it is something to ponder as I delve into the world of blogging beyond the United States.

Extra Post #4

1 Apr

Wisdom of Crowds Not so Wise? Response to class Delicious Link

What an interesting article on James Surowiecki’s book Wisdom of Crowds. I thought at first that the author, Kevin Maney was a little crazy, but the farther I got into the article the more valid his points became. It’s interesting to read about other people’s opinions regarding all the books that are “must reads” each year. Maney reviews the WOC book by applying it to recent situations – as recently as last week even.

Take his example of Digg.com – while it started out working by the “wisdom of crowds” (WOC) it has ultimately failed to be a true WOC enterprise because too many of the same people had too much influence. Interesting. You would think that there would be enough people to counteract Nazi-like behavior on social websites but apparently not. Wikipedia anyone?!

 In fact, Digg has strayed so far from the WOC model that founder Kevin Rosehas replaced the traditional “Digg it” format with some computer algorithms to devalue bloc voting. It should be interesting to watch the progression of the site with the new system. Will it work? Or will Rose return to his original formula because his best “Diggers” don’t like the new way of doing things.

Many also raises an interesting point that I wish he had expanded upon.

“So if a company can use the Net to tap the collected intelligence of its employees, the employees will make better decisions than the CEO. IBM, Google and others have tried this.”

If others have tried this where are the results? Why did he not expand upon it? I would be very interested to know his thoughts on how IBM, Google and others fared in their WOC experiments. Working in a small office, I often think that a few of us know more than the bosses, and I know kids think they are always smarter than their parents, teachers and coaches! But how did the bosses feel about it? Hopefully, they took the advice for what it was worth and didn’t read too much or too little into it. More heads are definitely better than one, but there are times when I will take my own brain over everyone’s put together. That being said, there is something to be said for the Wisdom of Crowds. After all, if everyone else is thinking it, why shouldn’t you?

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