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Archive for January, 2010

2010-02-02 We Are The Network: How in the World do you Explain a Virtual World?

January 31st, 2010 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300How in the World do you Explain a Virtual World?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Feb 2nd, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

How in the World do you Explain a Virtual World?

If you have spent a while working, building, creating or socializing in virtual worlds, you’ve no doubt ended up trying to answer the questions “what is a virtual world?” or “what is Second Life?” Most of us who have virtual world experience are used to the blank stares, incredulity, interesting assumptions, and inability to fully communicate what in the world a virtual world “is” to those who have no context for the discussion.

How do you explain a virtual world to someone who has no idea what you are talking about? Which ways of explaining what a virtual world “is” work, and which don’t? Do you need to tailor the explanation to the person, or are there generic explanations that seem to reliably connect with your listener? Are the press-induced brand identities of places like Second Life too overpowering to overcome, except on a one by one basis? Can a virtual world grow sufficiently to have more than hyper-niche acceptance if each new user must be courted individually.

These and other questions arose near the end of our last discussion “How Would you Measure the Health of a Virtual World,” so we are continuing the discussion into a related new area this week.

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

How do you explain virtual worlds to people who don’t know anything about them?
http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2007/07/how-do-you-expl.html

Learn to explain virtual ventures to relatives
http://svensworld.de/learn-to-explain-virtual-ventures-to-relatives.html

VWR: What is a Virtual World?
http://www.virtualworldsreview.com/info/whatis.shtml

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Six Reasons Twitter Group Chats Create Social Virality

January 27th, 2010 20 comments

What is a Twitter Group Chat?

When you first start out with Twitter, you find that you can post status updates, and your followers will (may?) see them. Then you learn that putting an “@” sign before someone’s Twitter name creates a reply. Conversations with more than a couple of people get pretty awkward with only these tools.

Luckily, some folks figured out that by adding a “hashtag” (#), you create a unique phrase that is easy for Twitter Search to find. This is what enables Twitter Group Chats to work. For instance, searching for #hockey will find an on-going stream of Tweets about hockey.

It didn’t take long for people to realize that you could organize a group chats with hashtags. Twitter Group Chats are highly socially viral. They encourage lots of social interaction, and spread quickly, assuming the topic is interesting.

Twitter Group Chats are socially viral in a big way, and here are the six reasons they spread so quickly!

1) Starting a Twitter Group Chat is “Too Easy” Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,

2010-01-26 We Are The Network “How Would You Measure the Health of a Virtual World?”

January 25th, 2010 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300How Would You Measure the Health of a Virtual World?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 26th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

How Would You Measure the Health of a Virtual World?

Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life, have issued a post titled 2009 End of Year Second Life Economy Wrap-up. While economic measures are clearly relevant, are they the only, or even core way to judge the vibrancy and health of a virtual world? Are the economic measures complete and consistent as presented, or is there more to learn based on what is and is not included, and what the numbers say to us? How would you measure “health” of a society or world? What are the key indicators other than economic? How does our approach for measuring the health and well-being of a virtual world connect to the physical world, or does it?

It seems that we are faced with similar questions outside of virtual worlds. Some economic indicators suggest that we are in economic recovery. Does that evaluation connect to the health of our society (not just in economic, but medical, community, educational and other terms), both in the U.S. and globally? How would we decide that we are doing well, or not doing well, overall?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!
2009 End of Year Second Life Economy Wrap-up (including Q4 Economy in Detail)
http://blogs.secondlife.com/community/features/blog/2010/01/19/2009-end-of-year-second-life-economy-wrap-up-including-q4-economy-in-detail

The Radical Libertarian: The Measure of a Society
http://radicallibertarians.blogspot.com/2005/12/measure-of-society.html

Should society measure “progress” not just by increases in GDP, but rather through a set of more precise quality of life indicators?
http://www.helium.com/debates/111694-society-measure-progress-increases-gdp-through-set-precise-quality-life

Green Economy: Taking the Measure of a Society
http://blogs.worldwatch.org/greeneconomy/taking-the-measure-of-a-society/

A Better Measure of Society’s Well-Being
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/a-better-measure-of-societys-wellbeing-20091002-gghw.html

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How to Get Reminders for Online Chats

January 24th, 2010 No comments

A question appeared in tonight’s #blogchat discussion asking how to get automatic reminders of the start times of Twitter chats. I shared my way of doing this, and got many positive comments about it, so I figured I’d blog it to help out a broader audience.

Warning – this is a really easy solution, and it doesn’t involve any bright, shiny new tools!

Whenever I hear about an on-going chat on Twitter, or a chat-enabled blog site, or in a virtual world (I am involved with several projects in Second Life™ and other virtual worlds) I just add it as a recurring appointment to my calendar, and set a reminder in the calendar! In my case, this is Google Calendar, so it is available everywhere and syncs to my phone, but this trick should work just as well for most calendaring applications.

For a Twitter hashtag-style chat, I start the calendar entry with a #, for example #blogchat, and then follow that up with a space and the full URL, so that a click will open a brower tab pointed at the chat in progress. I tend to use TweetChat for Twitter chat discussions, so the calendar entry for this example looks like this:

#blogchat http://tweetchat.com/room/blogchat, with a reminder set for 15 minutes ahead.

A few clicks, and it’s done. I hope this is useful for someone else as well. It’s been pretty valuable for me to keep track of how various chats relate to other appointments, and to remember to get online when chats of interest are about to start.

Categories: Misc Tags:

2010-01-19 We Are The Network “How do Social Media and Virtual Worlds Affect Cultural Translation?”

January 17th, 2010 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300How do Social Media and Virtual Worlds Affect Cultural Translation?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 19th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

How do Social Media and Virtual Worlds Affect Cultural Translation?

Cultural translation happens whenever we try to communicate across cultural differences. These differences might be triggered by language, ethnicity, geography, time or other conceptual variations that create communication hurdles. This week we’ll explore how social media and virtual worlds affect cultural translation, in both positive and negative ways.

What are the possible triggers for cultural translation hurdles? Where do they originate? Have new hurdles appeared with the rise of the always on, globally networked society, or are they just exposed in new ways? Do social media and virtual worlds assist in reducing or removing these differences, or do they exacerbate the problems?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon! Read more…

The Mobile Invisibility Cloak Of Today’s Internet-Enabled Kids

January 12th, 2010 3 comments

It is getting harder and harder, as a parent, to even pretend that I have visibility into the Internet use of my children. Back in “the good old days of the Internet”, computers were computers. Only things that were obviously computers could browse the Internet. Parents got comfortable with guidance such as “make sure that the only way to get on the Internet is in a common space in the house.” This popular strategy was designed to discourage children from visiting places on the ‘net that were inappropriate, since at any point someone (a parent type in particular) could wander in and see what is happening. Today’s personal communications tools obliterate the utility of that advice, making the computer protection approach ineffective. Pervasive txt messaging and smartphones like the iPhone, Blackberry and now Android OS based mobile communicators radically change the landscape for kids and parents. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

2010-01-12 We Are The Network: Is “Professional Rewriting” And Blog Plagiarism The New Normal?

January 10th, 2010 2 comments

We Are The Network logo 300Is “Professional Rewriting” And Blog Plagiarism The New Normal?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 12th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Is “Professional Rewriting” And Blog Plagiarism The New Normal?

I recently heard the term “Professional Rewriting” for the first time. At first I thought “this is a bad joke.” My stomach started to feel queasy after searching a bit for the phrase on the web. While some services focus on what you would expect of a true writing and editing service, a surprising number go past that position. In some cases they suggest that it is ethical and “not cheating” (in as many words!) to have them take your basic ideas and write a paper from scratch using your concepts – even if the goal is to hand that paper in to a teacher, professor or academic journal with you named as the author.

For the next stop on the “you must be kidding” tour I looked more carefully at Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

The Networked Audience Is Here. Now. Are You Ready?

January 9th, 2010 4 comments

We thought we knew the world of public presentations. We developed material, practiced the craft and delivered an experience to our audiences. Our craft was to entertain, to inform, to provide an experience. The audience’s role was to sit, absorb the experience, be quiet, and wait until some lucky few have had their chance to stand and ask a question or make a comment.

Then things started to change rapidly. Technology-enabled societal shifts started moving the ground under our feet.

Kids with laptops in a flower fieldThe Rise of the Networked Audience

Through global communication technologies, people of all types now have access to each other and access to information at any point in time or space. They’ve gotten used to the idea that they can and should be able to discuss, rate, rank, prioritize, link and create conversations in text with anyone, at any time. They comment on and rate everything—movies, web sites, blog posts, music, videos, books, vendors, manufacturers… and you… and me. Social media everywhere has made this hyper-connectedness a part of everyday life.

They expect to do these things with the premise that everybody gains. That it’s their right. That sharing information and opinions is a duty, a core ethos of society. It gives us all the ability to help mold the world by collectively indicating what we think is good, and what isn’t so good. It’s a way to help other people make choices. It’s a new way of looking at the world. It is a new sort of collaboration.

This kind of communication can be terrifying because everybody in the room and around the globe can now Read more…

2010-01-05 We Are The Network: BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)!

January 4th, 2010 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)!

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Jan 5th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic(s)

This week’s topics are… whatever we all bring in! Due to a number of external constraints, I have not been able to craft a structured topic for this week, so maybe it is time for us to “just get together and chat about whatever comes up.”  Here’s the rationalization part – hey we haven’t done this open forum style discussion for quite a while, so it’s time, right?

See you soon!

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

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How Tweeting About “My Stupid Breakfast” Creates A Lifestyle Of Continuous Learning

January 3rd, 2010 15 comments

“I don’t want to hear about your stupid breakfast!” is loudly proclaimed as a-priori proof that status updates, using Twitter, and in some cases blogging in general are a waste of time. Could it be that this apparent nonsense, including Tweets that explain why you woke up late, status updates that shout that a movie is stupid, and comments that some person is a dork, are actually a sign of something good?

Much of the content on the web is far from trivial. It is published in blog, status update and long form, and continues to grow in depth and breadth. I believe these apparently trivial and self-focused uses of social media are side effect of the fast and constant influx of new users of these technologies, and not a sign of a problem of any sort. Large numbers of new people continue to start along a developmental path that leads from triviality to personal learning, synthesis, creativity and personal development.

Lots of people publish status updates and blog posts to share personal “what’s happening to me this minute” thoughts. Over time, people start publishing different kinds of material, and end up in a very different place than the one in which they started.

Based on study of the public output of others, many discussions and personal experience, I believe that there are consistent phases of personal development that mark growth through levels of personal publishing facility, capability and goals. It would be interesting to see statistically significant study results in this area – but lacking that, here’s my shot in the dark. What do you think? Does this match your experience? Does it match what you see in the experience of other people?

The 7 Developmental Phases Of Personal Publishing (continued below the fold…) Read more…