Monday, December 27, 2010

Technology at the Margins: also the place I tend to scribble

I recently was part of this three day intense, mind numbing, exhausting, thought provoking, (I'm running out adjectives ) Innovative Engineering session provided by Eureka Ranch very own Doug Hall. If you ever caught the series of American Inventor Doug was one of the judges, he put Simon Cowel to shame if you want a picture of this dude.

I mention this because several times during Doug's presentation he would site how several of the "death treats" to various projects which would have caused derailment of the project was IT. The observation was vague and the venue didn't provide for a chance to drill down on the details of why as I'm sure every IT obstacle has it's roots that could be explored. But what scared me from his statements was how he insinuated that it was OK to proceed without IT. That the big bad wolf for innovation were the block heads running IT - grrrrrr.

For any successful venture to compete in today's market you need tech - it's that simple. And in some organizations the tech NEEDS to be as integrated with the strategies of the organization more now than ever before, not less and no doing an end run of IT, as Doug had suggested in the training, is ever going to help organizations especially NPO's run successful programs. Communications is key, sharing success and failures keeps us moving forward and thinking, dialoging and collaboration happens via tech solutions all the time.

I've always been a believer of breaking down the barriers between tech and non tech - bending the rules is key, being flexible in solutions is key, meeting the needs and partnering on the mission . . . . key. Yes we have to have standards, but built into those standards has to be a means to listen and adapt. IT is not The Borg - assimilation was never the plan.

What drew me to this title and several of the concepts the authors are promoting is how IT doesn't have to be the driver but instead is the glue that holds the book together. IT driven projects have a tendency to fail more often than program sponsored projects - I know this, I have lived this. Partnering with the opps programs is key to a successful tech program, I get that - always have but something has to be sure the programs are in sync with each other . . . could that something be IT?

So Doug Hall - next time you mention IT as being a "Death Threat" to innovative thinking all I have to say is . . . hey nice pad stylus attached to your Mac which was connected to the WiFi along with3 very different projectors - guess all that tech was just laying around. Anybody want fries with their tech?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Does Twitter Retweets and Replies Infographic Support Gladwell's Argument?


My colleagues recently passed around the infographic below from Gizmodo, In Twitter No One Can Hear You Scream, that questions whether people are really paying attention to what you say on Twitter. It shows that 71% of tweets get no reaction (retweets or replies) at all, while 23% get an @reply, and a tiny 6% actually get retweeted. Of that 6% sliver, 92% of the retweets happen in the first hour, suggesting that the window for you to be heard via your tweet is quite short.

This made me think about the article that Malcolm Gladwell wrote for the New Yorker, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted, published a few weeks ago, that elicited a firestorm of debate online. In short, he asserts that Twitter and Facebook activism doesn't have the power to create real social change due to the "weak ties" between "friends" and "followers" on these social networking sites. As you can imagine, this set bloggers, social media gurus, and especially the social media for social good-ers, a-blaze. The Dragonfly Effect blog, based on the book, which discusses how to use social media to drive social change, has a roundup of just some of the many reactions to Gladwell's article.

As I summarized the slactivism argument in my post, Has Do-Gooding Gone Mainstream, the internet and social media has made it so much easier for people to raise their virtual hands online to support a cause, but as the information depicted in the chart below questions, are those virtual hands really being noticed? Could Gladwell be right?



I found this very interesting . . . or perhaps the coffee hadn't kicked in so my brain wasn't able to form it's own thoughts, but it does seem there's a LOT of noise on Twitter - trying to filter it all is becoming a time challenge for me.

Am I imagining this or has the latest trend on Twitter reporting and blocking spammers? I have seen some of the most hateful and idiotic items tagged to my account recently and I have no idea why or how. I just know I seem to be hitting "block and report as spam" a lot more than ever before.

Bottom line for me is that I find Twitter useful for various functions: conferences, sharing what I am learning at an event, following entertainment - you can always find me tweeting during Top Chef for instance - it's at these moments you further the experience and make connections. Twitter does have it's purpose and can be a useful tool but perhaps the questions we all have to remember to ask is: "Are people really paying attention to what you say on Twitter?" and "Has our ability to share been drowned out by all the noise?"

Gladwell is wrong, there is good if not GREAT stuff happening out in the cloud - we just have to have the patience and tools to find it.

Michael Sola heads up the IT program at NWF. he's a blogger, invited presenter and speaker - he also rarely has to show ID to walk into a pub. Follow him at : his views and comments are his own

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Social Networking Action - Qik Video Droid Apps feeds to Livestream to Facebook

Qik Video Camera

Posted by droidapps
May 6, 2010

Qik is an online live video streaming service that draws live video from thousands of smartphones equipped with the Qik app. It lets you take live video from your Droid and have the video be visible on the Qik website for the world to see. You can also enable privacy controls that enable to confine the viewers to just friends and family. The app is very simple, launch Qik and start shooting live video.

Droid Apps - Qik

The app has been updated since its early release to support high-resolution video. Qik works best over Wi-Fi, and until 4G hits the airways this is probably going to remain the case. Over 3G, the service works pretty well, but can throw up unexpected disconnects and skipping frames every now and then. The app makes it very easy to share live videos, and you can send out links to Twitter and Facebook from within the app itself. If you enjoy broadcasting live video, you’ll love this Droid app.

I started playing with the Qik app last year when I still had my Berry - I got back into the app when I was looking at something unique for the Droid, streaming a mobile video back to a Facebook page.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to sit in on a planning meeting that would have some of our outreach folks engage various government officials to address higher education groups anxious to interact with their representatives. NWF has a plethora of Facebook fan pages such as the Choose Clean Water that helps connect many to our programs, I thought this may be an opportunity to drive some traffic back to the pages, engage and use the social media tools for something really fun especially as the DC Clean Water conference is fast approaching.

Last week I had placed the Livestream connector to the Clean Water page in Facebook, it's a cool interface that will feed your Livestream account and when you broadcast feed that content to the Facebook page under a unique tab.

The tools on Qik allow me to register my mobile to the Qik account which I created. Qik allows me to set up feeds to multiple services, which I used to link with Twitter and announce the available media I have collected from the tool. AND the feed I really like . . . . say it with me: Livestream!

So Qik extends the method in which Livestream collects video, Livestream allows an interactive component to Facebook, Facebook becomes the portal with which to engage an already active community of fans and potential new constituents on a different level. Did I mention this was all free?

This could be fun: lights, camera . . . . social networking action!

Michael Sola heads up the IT program at NWF. he's a blogger, invited presenter and speaker - he also rarely has to show ID to walk into a pub. Follow him at : his views and comments are his own