Response Posting – Google Wave

For my final response posting, I was so tempted to write about how much I like the design of Yodit’s blog .  How sleek!  But then I stumbled across her post on Google Wave and got even more excited.  Even though we were introduced to this application earlier in the semester, I just received an invitation to Wave.  After playing around with it, I was so impressed that I included it in my Facebook status update and in my final report for class.  I must admit that I was a little apprehensive at first, but after watching the Google Wave Developer video, I felt confident enough to test it out.  This video is an hour and twenty minutes – which I learned equals 3 hours if you’re trying to take notes.  If you don’t have that type of time, check out this little clip:

One of the first things that I did was engage the conference call gadget, or should I say, Ribit Conference Gadget.  I must have missed this part on the training video, because I was in total shock when I typed in my number, clicked dial or call, and my phone rang.  I was so tickled that I had to experiment with a coworker in a different office who also uses Google Wave to see if I could get her on the phone.  Presto, it worked!  If this catches on, no more charge codes when making long distance calls from work!

As much as I like Google Wave, my enthusiasm for the application tapered off a bit on Monday.  I took my Wave love a bit too far in a meeting that could have benefited from the Wave.  Someone was typing notes and projecting them in the screen.  Of course, the remote staff expressed concern that they couldn’t see what was being typed, and I talked about how if we had Google Wave, we’d all be much happier. That’s when the IT person at the table told us all about the dangers of Google Wave (in terms of Google retaining documents).  Of course, it took me back to The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture.  Good reminder that I needed to hear, but I’m still having fun with the Wave.


Winning the 2012 Election – Post 12

What will be the key to winning the 2012 election online?  I turn to the Phil Madsen quote in the We 2.0 Meets Campaigning 3.0 chapter of The First Campaign.  “While it’s true that we could not have won the election without the internet, we did not win the election because of the internet.  We won because our candidates, campaign staff, and volunteers engaged the voters in a number of meaningful ways.  The internet is not about technology, it’s about relationships” (pg. 275).

So how do you establish relationships with millions of people?  Enough to get them to engage in a campaign through online contributions, favorable blog posting, actively reaching out to others online?  I think a lot of that is related to activities offline.  Sure, candidates must  have a solid platform.  But in an age of greater transparency thanks to social media, a solid image is a must.  As we saw with the 2008 election, anything questionable about one’s past, or one’s acquaintance’s past, will more than likely come to the forefront – and then go viral.  So in order to win an election online, candidates can forget about thinking how to respond if something negative surfaces, and need to develop plans for how to respond when this happens.

I think that another factor to winning the election is reaching out to various demographic groups.  By 2012, even more people will be relying on online information than in 2008 (not just digital natives and the digitally courageous).  If one candidate isn’t responsive to a particular demographic on this platform, it’s not the voter that will suffer, it’s the candidate (for example, check out this resource on Baby Boomer’s online presence). 

I also don’t think it would hurt to drive people online with offline tactics.  I was surprised to see televisions in cabs and on the hotel elevator the last time I was in New York.  Ads about the economy that led folks to more information online would be interesting there.  I even watched television at the gas station in Maryland once while pumping gas.  That may have been a good place to convey initial information about supporting state’s transportation initiatives and to encourage people to seek more information online. 

With technology innovation advancing, it’s hard to say what will win the 2012 election.  The only thing that I can say for certain is that a social media presence is a must.

Response Posting

I recently read my classmate’s blog posting about her experiences while taking the metro.  It made me think back to when I first moved to the area about 4 and a half years ago and took public transit.  I, too, ran into some interesting characters.  The fold who’d hand-out the papers, kids going to school, people who I’d later come to recognize in my neighborhood. As a lifelong driver, I thought metro was a pretty  interesting experience.  You got to meet a community of people of sorts, plus read, work, or just relax on the way to and from the job.  This is something that I never experienced growing up in Michigan.  My commute was not short, but it was pretty easy.  Red line to the orange – then the Georgetown Connector to the office.  And I  mean, right to the office.  I’d just walk off of the bus and a few steps and I was in the door.

But then one day, Georgetown Connector passengers received word that the folks who operate the Georgetown connector were going to “experiment” with discontinuing the route.  No further explanation was given.  And then one day, the bust stopped running.  And I started driving. 

As someone from  out-of-town, I started wondering, “Hey, why isn’t Georgetown metro accessible anyway?”  I asked around and have two different stories.  One is that  local residents wanted to keep out “undesirables.” The other is that it would have been too expensive to build a metro stop given costs associated with preservation. 

So whatever, the reason, with the discontinuation of the bus service, my job is no longer metro accessible to me.  Sure, I could take a bus up to M Street and then walk a third of a mile down an uneven pathway to my job. But risking the falls (which I have done before on the uneven pathway) and braving the bad weather just isn’t worth the hassle when I can drive into the garage in my building, pull up in my parking space right next to the door, and get to work.  I enjoyed the time to reflect, read, and work when metro was accessible to my job.  But my current transportation option isn’t half bad ether.

Costa Rica! – Posting 11

I have a friend who recently joined the Foreign Service and will be moving to Costa Rica after the new year.  Being the frugal traveller that I am, I invited myself to visit her once she gets settled-in.  So now that I have new country to visit with a place to stay, it’s probably a good idea to do a little investigative work on my next vacation spot. So, with my name beginning with C, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to select Costa Rica for this assignment.

Now I must say that the only thing that I really knew about Costa Rica before checking out Global Voices is that the weather will be nicer there in March than it will be here. Here’s a list of what I didn’t know:

  1. The ex-president Rafael Ángel Calderón was sentenced to 5 years in prison for corruption charges
  2. Oscar Arias is the current president
  3. I can take a train from downtown San Jose to Heredia (but that’s not likely)
  4. I can meet-up with social media gurus on a Sunday morning in a cafe or park and exchange tips
  5. People do a lot of blogging about art on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design
  6. I can get all of the latest info on H1N1 from blog postings
  7. I can use Twitter and the hashtag #qqsm to interact with local “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” enthusiasts
  8. Costa Rica has earthquakes, and I’ll probably have to rely on social media tools to communicate a need for help if one hits due to limited resources

I should have paid closer attention in high school Spanish class, but I’m hoping that Google translate will help me out when accessing online resources in Costa Rica. 

Although there were not very many 2009 posting on Costa Rica on Global Voices, I read enough to know that social media is alive and well there.  After reviewing the site, I couldn’t help  but going to YouTube to check-out video on Costa Rica.  Here’s the official promo:

I sort of regret cancelling my gym membership this past weekend after watching this video, but what’s done is done.

Wikipedia Experience – Posting 10

My Wikipedia experience was an interesting one.  I started the process totally lost.  I’m used to just figuring out online platforms by just fiddling around, but this required lots and lots and lots of reading, time, and patience (at least for me).  Needless to say, it was much harder than I expected. 

But then something happened, and I got the hang of things, and the process of creating a page became somewhat enjoyable.  I wrote a bio on someone who spoke at a conference that I attended recently (Richard H. Bernstein).  Once I figured out the technical aspect of Wikipedia, I think my biggest challenge was deciding what personal information to include that I found online.  The person that I selected could be regarded as a public figure and a lot of information was available about him online,  but where do you draw the line?  I made a decision not to include the city where he resides, but made  reference to him living in the Detroit metropolitan area. 

When I initially finished my Wikipedia posting, I felt really good about my work.  That was, until I tried to move my page and messed up with the middle initial.  I ended up saving the page as Richard H Bernstein (with no period after the H).  I tried to correct the error without success.  But I visited the page a few days later and viola!  Someone went in and made the change. 

So as for my feelings about Wikipedia now, I appreciate the project much more than I did before.  And I guess that in a sense, I feel empowered having contributed.  I have been seeing stories in the news recently about fewer and fewer people contributing to Wikipedia.  I guess it’s up to new-comers like me to step-up to the plate and help keep the project going.

Wikipedia vs. Expert-led Encyclopedias – Posting 9

Should we trust Wikipedia or an expert-led encyclopedia more? I was surprised to find the numbers of articles that speak to research demonstrating the accuracy of Wikipedia, like this one and this one.  Although I’m a regular user of the site, I’m on the fence about whether we should necessarily trust it more than a expert-led encyclopedia. I actually trust both types of sources fairly equally.  A few things make me confident about, and even a little partial to Wikipedia. 1.  It has a number of contributors, some of whom are experts on the areas in which they contribute.  2. Wikipedia entries are reviewed and corrected when necessary.  3.  Wikipedia can be easily updated, so  I’m likely to get the latest information on topic.  I really don’t know the process involved when posting articles in expert-led encyclopedias.  I’d imagine that articles are written by “experts,” and underwent some review process, but I really don’t know. Now that I think about it, its harder for me to trust things that I don’t understand. But there is something about the credibility associated with some encyclopedias such as Britannica that makes me inherently trust them. 

How could Wikipedia be better set-up to better provide accuracy?  Perhaps accuracy would increase if users were required to register in order to edit material (and not just to post original articles).  Contributors may be more inclined to check their fact and post accurate information if information could be tracked back to them.  Making the process for locking certain sites easier could also contribute to the accuracy. 

Should Wikipedia be open to everyone or just verified “experts”? Everyone, for sure!  After all, what would the process of verifying experts look-like?  How long would it take? Plus,  there are a number of articles, like those on people, hobbies, or small towns, that probably wouldn’t even be picked-up by an expert encyclopedia.

Crowdsourcing – Assigned Posting 8

The term “crowdsourcing” was not at all a part of my vocabulary before class last week. Now it seems as though I can’t visit a site without thinking if its a crowdsourcing site, or if its at least crowdsoursish.  Click here, here, and here for a sample of crowdsourcing sites that I visit on a fairly regular basis.  I also visit here and here, but consider these sites crowdsourish because I think they might require an explanation by some people of how they fall into the crowdsourcing category. 

Learning about crowdsourcing made me curious about the potential of crowdsourcing.  I don’t have a dog, but I’ve been thinking about getting one.  If it got lost, I’d probably be pretty sad.  Can crowdsourcing help?  Absolutely.  I’d just register my dog here, upload a photo and state my reward.   I started thinking about how young I feel, but my gray hairs that I try to keep covered tell a much different story.  Can other people tell my age?  If I had the courage, I’d submit my photo here to see what others thought. When I was little, I was really into stories.  I would have spent all of my free time on this website, reading and contributing to stories if the Internet were widely available back then.

Crowdsourcing is evident within my profession.  I’ve been meaning to provide feedback on the National Education Technology Plan, but haven’t gotten around to it.  I thought that soliciting feedback online was a great idea.  But it wasn’t until class that I realized this was crowdsourcing. 

So what are my thoughts on crowdsharing as a concept?  I think it’s ingenious.  Sure, the application can get hokey depending on the site.  But it provides a platform for real people to provide real input and expertise on various issues and experiences.  What’s really interesting about crowdsourcing is that it transfers power from hot-shots to common folks (many of whom have a lot to offer). Now, anytime I need something, the first thing that I’ll do is look online to find a crowdsourcing site for help.

What I’ve Learned So Far – Assigned Posting 7

The thing that has surprised me most this semester is that very small pieces of information have not just changed, but revolutionized the way that I’ve done my job.  I know this sounds dramatic, but really, they have.  I Tweet for my work with the National Center for Technology Innovation.  Learning how to use Google Reader has saved me hours a week (literally) that I used to spend searching for relevant stories on educational and assistive technology, along with social media applications in the classroom.  I’m finding myself relying less on re-tweets when sending out information to stakeholders and more on original content. I told my brother about Google Reader, and he turned me on to Google Alerts, which  has also been a big time-saver. 

I used Delicious before enrolling in the class, but only to keep track of information online that I identified.  During the search for the field report, I came across bookmarks for Vicki Davis and Tony Karrer.  Both of these Delicious users track online resources that are of interest to me and my project work.  Clicking through their tags provide more relevant results than any EBSCO search I’ve conducted (although the results are not as scholarly).  I  never really thought of one individual’s Delicious bookmarks  as having the potential to benefit a community of users before the field report.  It certainly has changed how I get my information. 

Although the field report and required readings have kept me away from my blog over the past three weeks, I never, ever thought that I’d get in to blogging.  I created my blog, separate from the blog for the assigned postings, shortly after class began and look forward to returning to it when time permits. 

I’ve learned a few things that have been a huge help to me at work.  I may be a bit more anxious to learn more about applied skills than most students because I enrolled in the program just to enhance my skill set for work (the credential won’t really buy me anything with my current position, plus a credential means the end of PD).  I’m hopeful that I’ll learn more strategies for using social media that will enhance my job performance before the end of the semester.

Gaming – Post 6

What surprises me about gaming?  Well, I must say that I learned some pretty interesting things in class about the subject last night.  First of all, with 40% of gamers being women, I had no idea that so many females are into gaming.  I just had to learn more about this I did a Google search on female gamers.  Come to find out (here  and here in fact) this market is so hot that some software companies target women in their development and marketing. I have to admit that I started thinking  about what type of women are involved in gaming.  Then I stumbled across a blog posting that quickly cleared-up my preconceived notions. 

I was also surprised by how much time people spend gaming.  I found the chart below at this site:


All I can say about this is Wow!

What surprised me most is that retailers experimented with marketing in games, but based on class discussion, I got the impression that this approach hasn’t worked out as well as some may have expected.  With all of the time that folks spend gaming, it seems as though this approach would be successful.  But now that I think about it, I guess that its hard to get the gamers away from their computers and in to the stores.  I wanted to learn more about messaging in gaming, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and found great article on in-game advertising.

As for playing MMOGs, I’ve never done it before.  I’m not an experienced gamer, but I began my gaming experience with Pong.   I eventually graduated to Pac-Man.  Pac-Man used to cost a quarter in the machines in the arcade.  Maybe I played it on my Atari 800.  I just can’t remember.  But I was surprised to find out that you can play Pac-Man online for free now.  The only game that I was ever really into was The Golden Axe.  I actually learned how to win it using the little old guy, but spent way too much time figuring out the process.  Now that I think about it, I guess I was sort of addicted to gaming at that phase in my life.  Not trying to go there again, so will definitely stay clear of the MMOGs.

Should We Be Afraid of Google? – Post 5

My initial response to the question, “Should we be afraid of Google?” was “I’ve got too many other things to worry about.”  But after reflecting on the readings and my daily use of Google, I got to thinking – Google does play a big role in my day-to-day activities.  After all,  I not only use, but depend on the Google Search Engine, Google Alerts, and Google Reader on a daily basis. Plus, I often use Google Maps to find out where I’m going. 

As helpful as these sites are, I’m just now coming to realize how Google’s algorithm for feeding me information can help shape my views.  Sure, it seems harmless now, but who knows how information could be used in the future. And with Google Maps, it looks like we’re already at the point of concern.  I was horrified to find my exact address and a map to my house based on campaign contributions that I’ve made over the last couple of years.  I mean, it’s bad enough that the world knows how I spend my money.  Do they really have to know where I sleep at night, too (links intentionally omitted from these last few sentence – Google doesn’t need any help from me to give-up my address). 

Then, there is the targeted advertising.  I have no idea how this has influenced my spending patterns.  But what’s troubling to me is that this was not even a consideration of mine before this week.  Now, I’m going to be overly cautious about the ads that I read and the links that I click (which will interfere with my online experience of engaging with information that Google deems appropriate for me).

Now I’m reconsidering my relationship with Google.  I quit eating meat and drinking alcohol when I became afraid of their effect on me.  No withdrawal and no regrets.  But in all honesty, I think that giving up Google would be much more of a struggle.  This probably isn’t going to happen.  So should we be afraid of Google?  If not afraid, then very cautious.  Even though Google has a code of conduct that prohibits evil, I can’t help but wonder about future acctivity.