The other day, I saw a bunch of headlines about the death of Boris Berezovsky. I guess he was some important Russian who fled to England, and I mourn his death the way I mourn the death of any person. To quote John Donne,
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
I looked through the local obituaries to see if there was a recent death around here with which I could compare Berezovsky's death; the death of an important person to those close to him, to those involved in mankind, but stripped of all the intrigue of a Russian Oligarch. Each obituary seemed both too close and too distant at the same time.
There is enough going on in my life right now, so I didn't write anything. Then, I found out that my boss' wife's grandfather died on Saturday. It was not unexpected. He had been in hospice. The family had gathered around him during his final hours, unlike Berezovsky who appears to have died alone. The wake is today and the funeral tomorrow, but I couldn't juggle the schedule to be there.
So now, it is evening. Kim is off at an event. Fiona is working on homework, and I am checking in on my connections on social media.
On Alan Jobe's Facebook timeline, I see a message,
Alan passed away 3/25/13 of a stroke at 7:50 PST.
I know he told me a lot how he loved having so many friends on here.
Alan and I have been friends for a long time. We were friends on Facebook, Twitter, Empire Avenue, EntreCard, and I suspect several other places. We had a lot of friends in common, mostly people who explored EntreCard and Empire Avenue. Yet, I never met Alan face to face, just as I haven't met many of our mutual friends face to face.
On the 21st, Alan put up a blog post, Gay As Hell or Where’d My Audience Go?. He reflected on how he has had more interaction at other times, and how things like 'mission inflation on Empire Avenue' may have affected his traffic. Several people stopped to write saying they were still there, still reading, but not interacting as much for one reason or another. Others stopped to write about what was going on with Empire Avenue.
So, I pause to say yet another goodbye. I'm too late for him to have read my comments while he was still alive, but I hope these words will mean something to the members of my online community that were friends with Alan.
I continue to keep my connections with Alan on all the social media sites where we were connected. It is the right thing to do.
On March 30th, PodCamp Western Mass will take place. Already, people are brainstorming session ideas. I've written about PodCamps several times in the past. What is the Difference Between a Good Podcamp and a Great Podcamp? is the blog post that perhaps best captures my thoughts about PodCamps.
A good podcamp does not have people coming in to do presentations. Presentations are done by self professed experts trying to tell other people something important that they’ve learned. There are places for presentations, but I don’t think podcamps are one of them. Presentations reflect a major problem in so much of online media today. Everyone wants to talk, and no one wants to listen. A good podcamp is one where everyone goes to listen and learn.
With this, I thought I'd share my latest favorite presentation tool, a tool that should work well for Podcamp. I've used it for a couple presentations and I know a few other people are thinking of using this idea.
On the screen where the presentation is being projected, instead of projecting PowerPoint, I project a Tweetchat using a predefined hashtag. I set the update speed to 5 seconds to try and minimize Then, I load up my talking points in Buffer. I set Buffer so that it won't do any automatic updates until after the presentation is scheduled to be over.
Then, when I do the presentation, I bring up Buffer on my Android phone. It should work the same way for iPhones. My tweets are their waiting for me, and I can click on the option to send each tweet immediately to twitter as I get the the tweet in my presentation. Within five seconds, it shows up on the screen.
What is also nice about this, is that gives everyone else a chance to add their thoughts to the discussion on the presentation screen.
For those who believe that presentations should follow a 10-20-30 rule, ten slides, twenty minutes and thirty point font, buffer helps with this, if you are using the free version of buffer, you are limited to ten tweets. When I do important larger presentations, I upgrade my buffer account to the paid version.
The problems I run into are trying to see what else has been added to the discussion, responding to it, and dealing with some of the delay. However, it is a great way of doing presentations and a skill I'm working on enhancing.
So, anyone up for some Buffer/Tweetchat enabled presentation/discussions at Podcamp Western Mass?
Today celebrates the tenth anniversary of the launching of Blog for America. Over the past ten years, I've followed a lot of different blogs and used various tools to do so. Back in 2005, I wrote about using Flock, del.icio.us and Bloglines. I used del.icio.us quite a bit, but over time started using Bloglines more. Both were shutdown and then resuscitated. Flock never really did much for me, but I did end up using Rockmelt quite a bit, including some limited RSS capabilities.
When Twitter came along, I started spending more time with Twitter, and my wife even made a shirt for me with the line, "I get my news on Twitter".
When Blogline shutdown, I moved most of my blog reading over to Google Reader. Now, it has been announced Google Reader is shutting down, and I need to figure out where I go next. A lot of people have been writing a lot of blog posts about the end of Google Reader and what to do next. These have varied from recommending Feedly, news blur, and The Old Reader. Others have spoken about using IFTTT and a 'read later' site. The option that seems like it comes closest for me is the revitalized Feedburner.
Things that are important to me are the ability to look at all unread blog posts, or unread blog posts on specific blogs. It is important to me to be able to have many feeds. Currently, I'm following around 500 different blogs. Bloglines does all of this fairly nicely. The one thing that I'll miss when I finally move off of Google Reader is the mobile abilities. I haven't been able to find a bloglines client for Android.
Another thing that I liked about Google Reader is that besides having a mobile client, you could also read your stories on Flipboard. Hopefully, there will be the ability to read feeds stored from Bloglines or other sites from Flipboard and other mobile apps as well.
Other sites have suggested using newer news services that select what they think I'll be interested in based on topics. So far, other than Google News, none of these have really been all that interesting to me.
All of that said, I have three months before I have to move off of Google Reader, and I wouldn't be surprised to see lot of new developments between now and then.
If any of you have recommendations for good RSS/Blog readers, let me know
The ‘Evolving Personalized Information Construct’ is the system by which our sprawling, chaotic mediascape is filtered, ordered and delivered. Everyone contributes now – from blog entries, to phone-cam images, to video reports, to full investigations.
It talked about the importance of things like eReaders and video, not quite getting the details right, but predicting a lot of what has happened over the past decade. For example, it suggested that Google would buy TiVo to corner the online video market. Instead, they bought YouTube. It suggested that Sony's ePaper would become the medium of choice, instead of mobile devices. And, it suggested that the challenge to Google would be from Microsoft having bought out Friendster, instead of Facebook becoming the 'social news network and participatory journalism platform [that] … ranks and sorts news, based on what each user’s friends and colleagues are reading and viewing and it allows everyone to comment on what they see.'
They also suggested that the evolving personalized information construct would be Google's and not Facebook's.
I thought of that video today as I listened to the announcement of the new Facebook newsfeed. In fact, during the presentation, Mark Zuckerberg even used the world evolving numerous times.
The creators of Epic challenged us, nearly a decade ago, to think about what happens to journalism in the age of social media. Perhaps, they merely scratched the surface.
For the CT Health Leadership Fellows Program this month, I've been reading Daniel Goleman's "What Makes a Leader?" In it, he asked, "Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned?"
Being the social media person that I am, I wondered if we could look at this from a different angle, "Can empathy be taught online?"
My mind went to a few different videos. One was Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. The lecture is about an hour and a half long and is very powerful.
In the lecture he tells the audience:
OK, and so one of the expressions I learned at Electronic Arts, which I love, which pertains to this, is experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And I think that’s absolutely lovely. And the other thing about football is we send our kids out to play football or soccer or swimming or whatever it is, and it’s the first example of what I’m going to call a head fake, or indirect learning. We actually don’t want our kids to learn football. I mean, yeah, it’s really nice that I have a wonderful three-point stance and that I know how to do a chop block and all this kind of stuff. But we send our kids out to learn much more important things. Teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance, etcetera, etcetera. And these kinds of head fake learning are absolutely important. And you should keep your eye out for them because they’re everywhere.
Perhaps the head fake, the indirect learning, or when it comes to learning emotional intelligence, some sort of 'heart fake' is part of how empathy is learned or how it can be taught. If we learn by doing, perhaps we lead by example. Perhaps what matters in social media is not the content of the post, but the feelings that surround it. Perhaps, to twist McLuhan, it isn't even the medium that's the message, but the emotions that surround the experience of the medium.
Two other videos come to mind, and I always link them together. They are by Jane McGonigal. The first is Gaming can make a better world. The second is The game that can give you 10 extra years of life.
In the first video she sets up the importance of gaming, and in the second, she makes it intensely personal. The second also ties nicely back to Goleman's article. McGonigal starts off the second video saying that she is a gamer and because of that, she likes to have goals.
In this, she comes close to capturing the five components of emotional intelligence at work, Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skill. She starts off by talking about the Top five regrets of the dying, all of which could me mitigated by playing more games.
She then explores the idea of post traumatic growth in contrast to post traumatic stress disorder. She notes that people experiencing post traumatic growth talk about how they end up doing things that make them happy, feeling closer to friends and family, better understanding who they really are, having a new sense of meaning and being more focused on goals and dreams. She notes that these are the opposite of the regrets of dying people, and I notice that they seem to mirror the five components of emotional intelligence at work.
So, what does it take to experience post traumatic growth? She talks about resiliency. As a side note, one of the Rabbis at the funeral I attended on Sunday made some comments about resiliency that sounded very similar. She described four types of resilience: physical resilience, mental resilience, emotional resilience, and social resilience. In the video, she suggests ways to build up these resiliencies.
Again, as a social media person, I'm wondering if there are ways to build up these resiliencies online. Are there things that can be shared via social media that will help others build up these resiliencies?
When I think about so much that is shared online, it is about the content itself; people praising or cursing the President or members of Congress. People advocating for various issues. Yet perhaps this is not making a difference, or, even worse, it is having a different effect than intended. Are people just becoming more polarized, more offensive by focusing on the content?
Where does indirect learning and emotions around the medium fit in? This is a thought I've been focusing a lot since the shooting in Sandy Hook. I've avoided, as much as possible, news reports going into the horror of the event. Instead, I've focused on sharing stories of people helping one another. I've especially been interested in posting pictures of cute animals, particularly when they are helping others. For example, Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses has many images and stories, that I believe can help build some of the resiliencies that McGonigal talks about.
Can empathy be taught online? Perhaps; perhaps by focusing on head fakes about resiliency. I'm trying to bring some of that into my social media footprint. Are you? What sort of impact are you having online?