Txtwin2's Blog

Novice blogger exploring the world of social media…with the occasional rant.

Mobilizing Supporters in 2012 December 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — txtwin2 @ 7:28 pm
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One of my favorite past times is talking with friends and former colleagues who are gearing up for 2012. Political operatives in the truest sense, these people LIVE for the next campaign, local, statewide or national, and are busy establishing their candidate’s relevancy.  They talk at dizzying speeds about social media tactics, engaging online activists, funding online ads vs. traditional (TV) ads, TV vs. YouTube, grassroots advocacy, meaningful volunteer engagement, use of mobile to fundraise and mobilize supporters, email lists.  While I listen with interest, what I’m eager to see is how campaigns will creatively use web 2.0 to facilitate more direct conversations between voters and presidential hopefuls.  It’s easy to get caught up in tactics, but guiding principles like: having authentic conversations with as many people as possible, can provide necessary focus in a fast-pace campaign environment.  Less focus on pre-screened town hall forums, filtered Q&A at universities, and televised debates with video recorded questions.  I’m talking about taking out the middle man and more direct engagement. That’s what I’m eager to see.  

That being said, surely mobile will be a central communication tool in the 2012 election; bringing information to people on the go so that they can quickly access it and act.  Mobile to: mobilize supporters, facilitate giving, capture and share candid moments, follow campaign news, tap into the power of social networks.  One 2010 senatorial candidate, Democrat Robin Carnahan, is already trying to stay ahead of the trend with mobile web applications for her campaign.

It seems that with each campaign cycle, the bar is reset for other industries and demonstrates new ways to reach the masses.  I wonder how campaign operatives will use improved technology to better understand peoples’ online habits to tailor when they deliver messages as much as how.


White Bread Should Be Used Sparingly (Response Blog) December 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — txtwin2 @ 1:57 am
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Nish’s blog about Tara Brabazon got me wanting to know more about the passionate professor from Perth and what motivated her to author The University of Google. So, off I went to Google, surely Brabazon would wince, to learn more.  And yes, what I was doing was learning.  To start, I read these news articles: Times.online and guardian.co.uk.

Brabazon clearly values education and literature.  She has three bachelor degrees, three masters degrees, a graduate diploma and a doctorate.  She is the author of ten books and over one hundred refereed articles and book chapters, alongside journalistic works. 

This quote from her interview with Chris Arnot says it all:

“When I was 17,” she says, “I read EP Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class. Well over 800 pages, as I recall – not the kind of work you could read today by scrolling down a screen.

Brabazon seems to suffer Google’s prowess and the ease of learning it affords.  She argues, “Google offers easy answers to difficult questions. But students do not know how to tell if they come from serious, refereed work or are merely composed of shallow ideas, superficial surfing and fleeting commitments.” 

I understand and appreciate Brabazon’s fierce focus on the written word and why she requires the twentysomethings in her class to dig through over 200 extracts of peer-reviewed printed texts, seeking knowledge, and interpreting meaning in a pure form.  This surely produces critical thinkers.  However, when looking back on exercises that most impacted my learning there are two clear and consistent ingredients: meaningful and fun.  These exercises encouraged critical thinking and required the input of experts while not constraining me or requiring tedious work.  Furthermore, the instruction allowed me to connect classroom learning to real-world application. 

I am not arguing here that Brabazon’s teaching methods don’t accomplish the same thing but am merely wondering aloud if her own love affair with the written word is lost on her students and if her own critique of google-based research is in fact credible?  I join Nish in saying I don’t plan on spending the $60 to find out.


Exploring Ghana’s Blogosphere December 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — txtwin2 @ 7:04 pm
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Exploring Ghana’s blogosphere through Global Voices Online, revealed 311 posts from May 2005 to present day. 

The aggregate number of blogs seems to be high when compared to other regions of similar size: Cote d’IVoire, Cameroon and Mozombique.  Another important consideration, Ghana has a higher percent of educated adults, male and female, compared to other areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.  A primary source of communication for Ghanaians is mobile devices.  Check out this report highlighting trends in information technology and communication in Africa over the past few years.

After reviewing posts over the four-year-period, the months of June 2006 and July 2009 stood out to me.  Both snapshots in time produced posts illuminating national pride and real emotion.  In June 2006, Ghanaians took to the streets, ecstatic over their World Cup victory beating the US 2-1.  Over three years later, Ghanaians expressed delight at President Barrack Obama’s visit to Accra July 11th.

Central to blog discussions of the President’s visit last July, was the use of social media. American blogger Warren Slocum of New Democracy Blog explores how the President returned to campaign-style watch parties, viewings in public spaces and live audio streams to broadcast his Ghana message.  SMS codes were established allowing Africans to send welcome messages and questions to the President prior to his arrival.  During the President’s remarks, live audio stream was pushed to local and national radio stations.  The speech was livestreamed on http://www.whitehouse.gov/live and was subject of a live web chat on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/whitehouselive.  A Twitter feed #obamaghana also encouraged world-wide discussion and comments.

I found this global blogosphere exercise very interesting.  It demonstrated that while world’s apart, Ghanaian bloggers talk about the same things we do like technology, politics, and sports.  Here are the top 10 blogs in Africa, based on data from Afrigator, an African blog aggregator.


Taxi Takes a Wrong Turn November 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — txtwin2 @ 2:57 am
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The more I learn about the ethos of social media, the more baffled I am when I read examples like this one that Emily recently blogged about.  I mean this is Johnson & Johnson making this mistake!?  I guess in fairness it’s important to mention that ad company Taxi  was the one responsible for the Motrin account, but still? 

What’s baffling is the tone of the ad not the fact that Twitter became a soapbox for offended moms.  I understand where the company was going with this ad.  I have “worn” two babies in a Bjorn, and yes, I often felt like I needed Motrin, and lots of it, after “wearing them” for long periods of time.  However, some think this is no laughing matter, check out Babywearing International, Inc.  This was so avoidable in my opinion.  Johnson & Johnson had established relationships with plenty of moms.  Not four months before this campaign was launched, they were courting mommy bloggers at a Johnson & Johnson Baby Camp event. Johnson & Johnson is known for being a family friendly employer and in 2008 was an eight-time honoree on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America. They, meaning Taxi, should have utilized these relationships and tested the ad with moms first.   

Also baffling is that Taxi wasn’t monitoring the mayhem.  According to blogger Joyce Schwartz, when she reached Taxi’s Director of Corporate Communications to get a comment on the over 2000 blog posts about the Motrin ad, she had to explain what Twitter was to the ad rep. In 2008, there was an estimated 4-5 million people on Twitter, and about 70% joined that year.  I still don’t find it reasonable that this person at the ad company didn’t know about Twitter and therefore wasn’t monitoring it on behalf of clients.  According to Taxi’s current client list, they are still managing the Motrin account. 

Go figure?


No Guts, No Glory November 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — txtwin2 @ 4:26 am
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I’m back to talking about Wikipedia.  This week I tried my hand at editing a page in the online encyclopedia.  Deciding what to edit was probably just as time-consuming as the actual editing process itself.  Currently, there are 3,105,852 content pages in English to choose from.  Two hours and approximately 50 search terms later, I landed on a woefully inadequate Wikipedia page about a book I read four years ago, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The page, as I discovered it, would likely have deterred someone who had not yet read the book from actually reading it.  The sparse content contained a section on controversy that was not well-balanced with other facts.  I found this book helpful when expecting my first child and set out to improve its existence on Wikipedia.

When going through the tutorial, practicing in the sandbox and on the talk page, the exercise seemed pretty straightforward.  However, once I viewed the guts of the page and started to add content it wasn’t so straightforward.  The text, formatting and citations began to run together and I found it difficult to go back and recognize errors.  Initially, I found the careful formatting tedious but eventually began to get the hang of it (I think).  Each time I hit save, and returned to find the page improved, even just a little, it was rewarding.  I totally get the editing junkies.


Republicans Need Not Apply November 20, 2009

I heard about this memo this morning from a friend who is talented lawyer currently applying for a career civil service position at the US Department of Homeland Security.  John Berry, Director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued a new directive in the hiring of all civil service employees.  In essence, the directive all but bars any person having served in government in the last five years from being employed with the federal government, without express permission from OPM. 

 This added layer of bureaucratic screening, will surely be the death-nail for otherwise qualified applicants who are former Republican appointees.  It lacks the “fair and streamlined” approach to hiring that Berry claims he and the president are pushing for.  Check out Mark Tapscott’s editorial on the subject.

 I take issue with this memo for a couple of reasons.  One, it is back-handed political discrimination.  Instituting new personnel policies that create disparate treatment amongst similarly qualified individuals hardly achieves “unprecedented transparent and inclusive government.” 

 Another glaring inconsistency, Mr. Berry presents himself as a strong proponent of equal and inclusive employment in the workplace.  He is a vocal and powerful advocate for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender rights and often argues that discrimination of any kind undermines American values.  When addressing a crowd at the Department of Justice’s Gay Pride Celebration John Berry said the following:

“All Americans should be free to work where their skills enable them; free to share equally in every right as well as every responsibility and burden of citizenship…” 

When addressing the 2009 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in October Mr. Berry closed his remarks by saying:

“Americans ask nothing more and nothing less than that they be treated as equals and judged on the merits of how well they do the job and not one damn thing else.” 

Here is the full video:

<object width=”560″ height=”340″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/M8HPzNP5deI&hl=en_US&fs=1&”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/M8HPzNP5deI&hl=en_US&fs=1&” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”560″ height=”340″></embed></object>

 So, Mr. Berry, I ask: How is it “equal in every right” to create additional hiring policies for those having served in federal government in the last 5 years?  That doesn’t seem like “cool” government to me.


Who Really is a Popsicle Expert? November 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — txtwin2 @ 6:24 am
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Trust Wikipedia….hmmm….I thought long and hard about this one.  To answer the question, I thought about who I do trust and why I trust them.  The who: family, other moms, teachers, doctor, best- friend….and now the why: I know them well, they have more experience and proven credentials, but then the common element …they all have my best interest at heart

Wikipedia, so easy a monkey could do it?

So, back to Garrett’s question.  Should we trust Wikipedia?  Answer with a question.  Do I think that most users of Wikipedia have my best interest at heart, well, yes!  I generally like to think that people enjoy helping other people, sharing knowledge, experiences, holding a door, you name it.  So I’m gonna give the Wikipedia junkies the benefit of the doubt.  They know stuff, they want to share it, they are human and don’t get it right all the time.  Well, maybe the junkies do and it’s the folks like me, currently trying to edit a page, that don’t.

And then there are those “other people”…the ones that lie awake at night thinking about how they can dupe the general public, how they can smear someone’s image, how they can spread misinformation to get an edge.  So, unfortunately they are welcome on Wikipedia too. 

I guess this gets at Garrett’s second question of whether or not Wikipedia should be open to everyone or just experts.  Again, I answer with a question.  Who’s a verified expert on popsicles:  the people that eat them the most, the people that make them, the people that sell them?  I would argue that I’d like to hear from all the groups and will probably learn more than just reading the one expert popsicle perspective, whoever that is.  I hear my mother’s voice:  You may not be the best at something but being well-rounded will often take you just as far (imagine thick, east-texas accent).

We’ve discussed similar concepts in class:  Metcalfe’s Law, crowdsourcing, wisdom of crowds, etc.

Who uses Encyclopedias?   Really?  Probably the Wikipedia junkies looking for new page ideas.