Category Archives: participatory technology

Social Bookmarking Evolution

Years ago, maybe five, I realized that trying to keep up with folders of bookmarks in Firefox (or nay browser) was just annoying and a time suck.  I would bookmark unimportant things and not what I actually needed.  As ridiculously simple a so many tasks are with computers, it just seemed too “hard” sometimes due to number of click-throughs.  I found delicious.com, a great social bookmarking service.  I loved how it was in the cloud so I could access it from any machine.  That was useful for teaching.  I loved the tags and the overall approach of folksonomies.  Such bubbling up from the ground taxonomic systems just suited my brain better.  I tried recommending it to a few folks, but my techno-evangelism did not go very far, so I did not use it very much on its “social” side.  Still, I plugged away with my storing and tagging and happily accumulated 1772 bookmarked pages with tags ranging from “academia” to “zotero.”

Delicious was acquired by yahoo.  Then dumped.    I paid little mind as it kept working for me, and, when possible, I stick to if it ain’t broke approach.  But now delicious is not supported firefox 4.0.  Crap.

I tried exporting from delicious and then importing to Firefox.  But I did not get my notes or tags.  Ouch!  Fortunately, I found this experimental add-on, Slurp.  Thanks Web Wanderings blog!  It worked.  So, now the bookmarks are in Firefox bookmarks.  Will that be a good replacement?  I don’t know.  We shall see.

Here are six possibilities.

I have seen Diigo and it has some nice features.

I have also done more with pearltrees.  I personally love the visualization and ability to zoom in a and out.  It is also a nice example of a two-mode network if you want to get your nethead geek on.  In other words, you can see people linked by common bookmarks (pearls in their jargon).

However, I am not sure I want to import 1772 bookmarks into its hub and spoke geometry.  Could get very, very bushy.  Some people also object to using Flash on principle.  I am not sure what the downside of flash is. Guess I am not enough of a gearhead. It’s collaboration tools are good. You can join teams. It informs you when one of your “unique” pearls is copied by someone else. I like the visualization and the ability to see who else is “close” by tag or keyword similarity. However, I am not sure what it would be like with all 1700 comments. I’ve been thinking of it more as “showcase” bookmarks while the tagging of delicious or firefox now allows for more brute force storage and searching.

Any comments on social book marking, apps, or pearltrees welcome!

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Filed under participatory technology, social bookmarking, technology

Primordial Ooze of Civil Society?

I always liked the phrase “primordial ooze.”  It is fun to say and the ten year old in me sees a bubbling, steaming goo that seems to defy order and good manners.  I also like it because it captures the idea of how the new emerges from the old, how complexity emerges from sets of interactions that are not supposed to add up to the emergent.

Two items from today made me wonder if we are looking at the primordial ooze of civil society.  Let me say here that by civil society I am not entering into some long-standing debate about what is or isn’t civil society.  I am looking for a term that covers the idea of collective or coordinated action of varying degrees of formality that is centered on common ground of like-minded actors.  Also, this common ground must unite people around some sense of a common good or higher purpose.  In short, human organizing motivated by “ruled” by practices that are not of formal state power nor purely economic rationality.  I am not sure if that holds up, but I’ll leave it there for now.

So, item #1.  Egypt, of course.  Like countless others, I am fascinated, hopeful, fearful, and awe struck by the events unfolding first in Tunisia and now more spectacularly in Egypt.  Through the media I have followed (Democracy Now, KCRW’s To The Point, NY time, Huffingtonpost, BBC, Guardian), there are several elements at work.  In no particular order.

* Youthful, technology-enabled activists.

* The Muslim Brotherhood

* Dissident elites (like El Baradei)

* Neighborhood watch patrols

Some of these groups seem loosely organized or rapidly scaling up and out as they absorb the tens or hundreds of thousands of newly mobilized citizens.  I imagine new organizing, new durable networks of trust and cooperation, and new alliances among the other two are a major part of the fluidity and flux.  This (to me) palpable sense of what could be captures the imagery of the primordial ooze of civil society.

Item #2: The Really Free School.  A random facebook message put me on to this (originating in theory.org.uk, home of theory trading cards).  I have not been able to explore it much, but what struck me is the basic ethos: let’s use a common space, the (Shirky-ean) low cost of coordinating, the ability of people to self-organize, and the cultural scripts of sharing knowledge and delighting in serious play.  Though not as fluid or important as Egypt, it also seems to me to get at the origins,at the primordial ooze,  of civil society in its simplicity and open-endedness.

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Filed under activism, Creativity, Hacker ethic, Information and Communication Technology, Networks, participatory technology, Protest, social innovation, sociology, technology

Social Entrepreneurs, Networks, and Technology

I am revising a draft of a paper about social entrepreneurs to give at EGOS.

Here is the core idea:

Broadly, I am trying to connect what is known about the research into new forms of organizing with internet with innovation and networks studies

Some baseline assumptions:

1) Innovators and entrepreneurs of any flavor are in a brokerage position and they engage in brokering behavior.   (Research by Burt, Obstfeld, Gargiulo, Hargadon comes to mind… I need to find others).

2) New ICT changes make #1 different.  Easier in some ways, harder in others.

3) Social entrepreneurs face special circumstances due to value orientation they use.  Social entrepreneurs solve social problems or market failures.  They move towards a new equilibrium.  The “social” of what they do emerges from social change processes unfolding in networks organizations, and institutions of contested agendas (or, formerly contested and now newly legitimate.  These include poverty reduction, public health, green design, education access, rural development, climate change, and so on.  Looks like usual suspects of civil society concerns.  But of course, it should.)

4) The process is usually gradual (uniform)- incremental innovations and experiments accumulate into profound change.  The initial recognition can then lead to rapid scaling and diffusion.

5)  To fully conceptualize the problem, we need to draw on four research streams: 1) entrepreneurship, 2) networks and innovation, 3) social movements, and 4) technology and socity.

6) A research agenda based on the assumptions and findings includes three questions:

  • 1) Do new technologies, by lowering search and coordination costs for actors, spawn more emerging or possible social entrepreneurs (as in, that is their intention)?
  • 2) Do technologies, through their ability to foster relations and community, create new value propositions?  Transparency, memory, search, and interactivity mean that thick webs of relations, which people value, can create new opportunities for social innovation or entrepreneurship.
  • 3) The same properties that create more potential social entrepreneurs and opportunities will also pose new start-up challenges because soc entrepreneurswill be more tied to the necessary networks and institutions that create legitimacy for the social of social entrepreneurs.

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Filed under activism, innovation, organization studies, organization theory, participatory technology, social innovation, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe], technology

On-line reputation(another media inquiry)

I got _another_ media inquiry.

Summary: How does on-line reputation matter?  What can you do if your reputation is being trashed?

Hmmm. It is interesting how many of these queries seem to be “how-to.”  There is the famous case of the Facebook suicide, but such stories do more to illustrate our fears than capture the reality of most people most of the time.  My first thought to protect your reputation is to have a reputation worth protecting.

You might ask Greta Polites and Eric Santanen also.  (In my department.)

I have this book and have not read it but it seems relevant.

http://www.wordofmouthbook.com/

It must be possible to spend a lot of time surveilling   one’s on-line profile.  “Google myself” is a verb and a state of mind.  How is the “me” I know being seen in cyberspace?  But I think if you obsess about it, it says more about you than the world.  Judging by the generally low level of negative feedback on eBay transactions, or in Amazon ratings, or in other open reputation systems (by open, I mean where any user can comment on an identifiable user).  As opposed to the Hobbesian dog eat dog world we often imagine, when we look at most interactions, even on-line, it is kind of boring in the sense that most people are OK and not trying to cheat others for gain or trash them for a sick kind of fun.  There are of course a few exceptions.

For those times when you are worried about how you are being presented, I would think about the audience before reacting.  If an employer or consulting prospect is concerned or I think they can see negative comments, offer up your own list of recommenders for them to contact directly.  Offer several.  This would mean more than written letters.  If the negativity comes from anonymous systems, you can delicately point out that such attacks are not very reputable and cowardly.  On systems like LinkedIn, have people who will speak on your behalf noted so that a prospective contact can link to them easily.  Include contacts form multiple jobs over your career.  If those people are not on, take this moment to be a technology maven and encourage them to sign up.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Network Society, participatory technology, Social Networks, technology, writing

Climate Change Song- “Get Down Into It”

YouTube – Get Down Into It

Local musicians and citizens raising awareness fueled by digital and living web technologies.  Look for me and Thea in early part.

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Filed under activism, climate change, lewisburg, life, Media, participatory technology, technology

My first Guardian column

I suppose for my first column (anywhere) some sort of inaugural words are called for.  Let’s start.

With the arrival of the Internet as a major form of interactive communication, we have seen an avalanche of new types of communication.  From websites, blogs (an online journal- web+ log=blog), video sharing (YouTube), social networks (Facebook.com), to the newest virtual worlds (Second Life), the breadth and depth of these forms of communication is, for me, exciting, over whelming, disturbing, and, ultimately, unavoidable.  As much as you can not imagine going without a telephone, or the postal service, or written language, these newer forms of digital communication are here to say and will have all kinds of impacts on how we collect, share, and distribute information.  Information is the backbone of all relationships, and, so, also of communities, societies, and culture.

One of the benefits of all these digital goodies is that you, the consumer, have a wide degree of what you choose to see, to watch, to ingest.  Sweeping generalizations aside, lets zoom in on the details.  Let me be a tour guide for you through this teeming landscape of media and information.  That is a mouthful.  Is there a better term?  President Bush offers up “the Internets.”  Or his sidekick, Senator Stevens (AK) famously lectured his colleagues about how the Internet is a “series of tubes.”[JC2] The internet doesn’t really do the job o describing what is out there.  Its like describing the auto industry as roads or the economy as money.   The internet, roads, and money are all simply ways to get from A to B.  The exciting stuff, the pulse of culture, politics, discovery, and life are all the As and Bs.  So, the world of information is the digital jungle, the metaverse, the infoscape, or where-we-are-headed (albeit at different speeds).  Cyberspace has emerged as an alternate term ad I’ll stick with it for now because it implies a destination, not a mode of transport.

We have a good sense of how people move around in cyberpsace.  For the record, that is about 73% of us.  The US still has the greatest degree of Internet use, even if the foreigners are kicking our butts in everything from manufacturing to mathematics.  No one out gadgets the average American.  Yet.

Anyway, the Pew Internet and American Life Project (http://www.pewinternet.org) has been doing some insightful research into what we are up to with all of our on-line hours (32/month, according to Nielsen Online; that’s nothing compared to world-leading Israel, at 58 hours per month according to comScore.)  The good Pew folks look at how assets (your computer, your connection), attitudes (do you want to take a sledge hammer to your machine?), and actions (what do you do?) jointly can define the various types, species, of denizens of the infoscape.  They have this nifty quiz (online, of course) you can take to identify yourself (http://www.pewinternet.org/quiz/quiz.asp).  It takes about 10 minutes. Continue reading

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Filed under digital culture, participatory technology, sociology, technology, writing

Conference leads for Ted

Possible conference venues for SL paper… Some may be for next year assuming they repeat.

Social Aaspects of Web

Computer Human Interaction fro Managing IT:

Economics and Finance modeling– see mostly the idea of emergence in complex systems.  Thats our emergent layer.

Tools for participation. This one is more about VW as place for collaboration or new forms of community.

ACM Hypertext… They may be only about links now but by next year interworld links will be an issue?

Intntl Conf on Computer Mediated Social Networking

Weblogs and Social Media– isn’t a VW the ultimate social media???

You gotta love any conference with Hawai’i in the title. this is about VW specifically.

Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems

Any leads?

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Filed under conferences, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Living Web, New Projects, participatory technology, Research, Social Network Sites, technology, virtual worlds

Obama Everywhere in PA (song)

Lewisburg, thanks to Earl Pickens, punches above its weight…

And, yes, they are all real towns in PA.

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Filed under activism, participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism

My first try at a wiki…

The need to better sort and aggregate a raft of free writing between me and a collaborator (Ted over in Singapore) led us to try wikis.  This is after collating 19 pages in a word file of emails back and forth.

On the surface, I see the big advantage being the ability for each wikipage to be a persistent text that can be more easily edited and modified than email threads.  The hyperlinking also seems like a nice feature.

As I have been fretting over how many different areas of research and schoalrly literature I draw on, and finding myself stymied by the lurking sense that I know less than I have forgotten or let go rusty, I thought it might be an effective way to organize my own core knowledge for use in classes and research writing.  I had been day dreaming about my own private encyclopedia.  Maybe a wiki would function similarly.

Wikispaces, which we used because OSWC had used it, has blog integration (cool).

I wonder if select pages can be made public?

Mine is private for now, but maybe I will go public if it seems valuable or worthwhile (and not crap).

For a title, I played with networks-movements- organizations.  So its called netmoveorg for now.  Lame probably, but oh well.

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Filed under participatory technology, Research, writing

Still a great ad- Bush in 30 seconds

This was the last winner of the Moveon.org participatory ad contest.

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Filed under participatory technology, Politics, Power, Activism