Creating Passionate Users: Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video…

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/16

God bless Kathy Sierra.

Over the last few months I’ve found myself trying to explain the deepening (and real community) aspects of meatspace interactions that my wife Jen and I have been drawn into as a result of participating in online community.

Ruthie's Shoes at Northern Voice 2007

Usually we are trying to explain to business colleagues or friends or family or members of our church that, yes, indeed — online community is a part of real community and not the equivalent of social cheese-whiz that some describe it to be.

But, yeah — as I’m working to explain it I often see eyes begin to glaze over — and I can tell that folks are either not buying it or I’m not communicating very well.

Which leaves me — searching for ways to compellingly relate how online community has become real community for us — looking for the stories and patterns that engage both the emotion and the intellect.

Enter Kathy Sierra.

This morning I read her post from yesterday describing her keynote at SXSW. The post is called Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video… and is full of great passages on how all this social web software drives a deeper desire for face-to-face community.

My favorite quote —

…all our globally-connecting-social-networking tools are making face-to-face more, not less desirable. Thanks to the tools y’all are building, we now have more far-flung friends–including people we’ve never met f2f–than ever before. We now have more people we want to connect with in the human world, often after years of electronic-only contact.

Nice insight — sticking that pattern in my bag of tricks — something tells me the “online community isn’t real community, is it?” questions aren’t gonna stop anytime soon — this stuff is continuing to disrupt everything.

Did I mention that my mom who just got her first computer for Christmas is now IM’ing all the time — the world really is getting flat.



Great Primer on Open Source Folkways

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/15

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that two good friends of mine here in Seattle were cross posting on their blogs about Flash/Flex momentum and how a healthy open source governance structure might be helpful in pushing momentum even further.

My natural question — have you guys met face to face? Wanna grab some food?

So last night I met Ted Leung and Ryan Stewart for dinner down at Ivar’s on the waterfront. Great time, great view, great conversation.

Though Ted and I both work in the tech industry and have been friends since Mind Camp 1.0, I had never heard him talk about his long history with open source communities and governance (Apache, et al).

All I can say is that I learned a ton about that and distributed project/team folkways in general.

Great, great evening.



‘Made to Stick’ Cover Design

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/02/17

IMAGE_078

My wife Jen and I were at Powell’s in Portland today and the first thing I saw when I walked in the door was this book ‘Made to Stick’ with a piece of duct tape on the cover.

Psych.

That’s cool cover design. And it got me to look at and buy the book. The six points of stickiness it covers —

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotion
  6. Stories

I was just having a ‘discussion’ the other day about stickiness with a colleague of mine — what are the things that get an idea or a presentation to stand out and stay with? What are the characteristics of ideas that, when released into the world around us, make them take flight and establish a life of their own?

Hard questions — especially amidst all of the ‘noise of the age’ that clutters our current generations, from MySpace to Baby Boomer to Seasoned Citizens.

Me? I come down with most of the things on this list — so it’s timely.

Him? Not so much — instead he called catering to such things entertainment — and, well, he’s in the education business, not the entertainment business.

I was surprised again at how some lies die such slow deaths.

If you are in any kind of educational endeaver please drop this from your language — we are not in the entertainment business — we are in the attention span business.

And if you are not working to make your material sticky, then you are just wasting a lot of people’s time.



Udell on ‘Video Knowledge’ and my riff on the death of the specialist

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/12/20

Father of screencasting, Jon Udell has great post on the move toward video as a knowledge/rapid-documentation repository. After a few technical points, he hits this gem that completely jives with my experience on getting into the flow of screencasting —

…you have to overcome the same natural reticence that makes dictation such an awkward process for those of us who haven’t formerly incorporated it into our work style. You also have to overcome the notion, which we unconsciously absorb from our entertainment-oriented culture, that video is a form of entertainment. It can be. Depending on the producer, a screencast documenting a disaster recovery scenario could be side-splittingly funny. And if the humor didn’t compromise the message, a funny version would be much more effective than a dry recitation. But even a dry recitation is way, way better than what’s typically available: nothing.

Just another step toward the seamlessness of media where real headway means that this will be less and less of a specialist skill — who is a ‘word processing’ specialist these days?

No one — every one.

There is a point in the future (near? mid? far?) Jon alludes to here where things like screencasting will be a natural repository for business/education/whatever knowledge — a time when this stuff will not be a specialized skillset.


Last night with the wife and kids, I brought YouTube up on the family TV and searched for my wife’s username and my daughter’s name. We all sat mesmerized for 30 minutes while we played the various clips Jen has uploaded over the past 6-8 months.

It’s content that I, as a professional multimedia producer, had little to do with — All video my wife produced on her own through mostly self developed knowledge and a digital camera (not a miniDV camcorder).

What does TV look like to my daughter and my wife? Something much less specialized than I could ever imagine — and I’ve got a good imagination.

On with the flattening of the universe…



Ignite Seattle videos now ablaze

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/12/14

Had another great opportunity to shoot some rapid turn around video last week. This time it was for Ignite Seattle. All I have to say is what a night.

Thanks to Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis for putting on a fantastic event — as Scott Beale said, it really gave you a sense of what’s going on in Seattle.

I’d call it a snapshot of this grand moment we are experiencing in the Seattle geek entrepreneurial community. Lots of fun from my end to help the momentum along.

Where to start? So many highlights — you can see all 25 of the five minute sessions over on the Ignite Seattle Blip.tv page. One’s that stood out were —

  • Scott Ruthfield (embedded above) from Amazon talked about doing re-design in a “Megacorp”. Scott was at our Mind Camp 3.0 Discovery Slam and is a great presence on stage — very funny and engaging. Blip.tv video is here.
  • Brian Aker was great as he told the story of ripping up his new house to install his own computer based phone system — it’s as much a tutorial as it is an essays on geek relationships with your wife. Very funny. Blip.tv video is here.
  • Scott Berkun did a session on ideas and innovation and, as always, did a great job. Very cool visuals. Blip.tv video is here.

So many others were great — go take a look at the other sessions when you get a chance.



I’ll Have a “Cappuccino U”

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/11/26

Via Harold Jarche this AM comes a link to a free pdf book called “Cappuccino U” (.pdf) by Jerome Martin and published by Spotted Cow Press.

It’s kind of a chronicle of diving into / developing “a new, personally-driven approach to learning”. From the Intro —

This e-book is about a new style of learning in which innovative people have combined new information technology with traditional ways of learning to develop a new, personally-driven approach to learning. It happens predominantly in “the third place,” a location that is neither home nor office. The third place is usually a coffee house, one which is designed to serve this particular audience.

People gather in their favourite third places to work, relax, visit and learn. They work independently and in groups. Some of them use computers which may or may not be linked to the web. Some are taking courses online; others are writing books like this one.

This is Cappuccino U.

Martin goes on to relate how he dove into a Faulkner class via Oprah’s Book Club —
I soon learned that Oprah has not only a book club but a classroom as well. By joining her book club (at no cost to me) I found that I had access to lectures about Faulkner and the books. I and thousands of other students were told that the lectures would be available over the summer. We were asked to read the books in the order I listed them and were informed by e-mail when a new lecture was available on the web.
He then does a nice summary on how education is no longer “acquired through vaccination” — that’s a nice phrase —
Some people feel that they have an education because when they were 22 they received a Bachelor’s degree, or they received a PhD when they were 28 (or, more likely these days, 38).

However, education is not acquired through vaccination or some sort of
anointment. We learn daily – or we have the opportunity to do so. Continuing education, be it formal or informal, is essential to our growth as individuals.

If our formal education has been successful we will have been vaccinated with a curiousity virus and will continue to look for new knowledge, not just because it is useful to us but because we have an insatiable desire to learn and become better at what we do.
Overall, it’s a nice short summary of where things are headed — both for our traditional teaching institutions and for career training.



Dove targets ‘beauty propoganda’ and blurs the lines of education, conversation, marketing, and provocation

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/10/31

Perusing the meme this AM, I came across this Advertising Age article on Dove generating more results/buzz from this viral YouTube video than through a Super Bowl ad.

With not a penny of paid media and in less than a month, “Dove Evolution,” a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, for the Unilever brand has reaped more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and has gotten significant play on TV talk shows “Ellen” and “The View” as well as on “Entertainment Tonight.” It’s also brought the biggest-ever traffic spike to CampaignForRealBeauty.com, three times more than Dove’s Super Bowl ad and resulting publicity last year, according to Alexa.com. By those measures, “Evolution” is the biggest online-buzz generator in the U.S. personal-care and beauty industries, topping this year’s effort from Omnicom Group’s Tribal DDB on behalf of the Philips Norelco Bodygroom shaver. And that’s before the campaign began rolling out to 10 additional countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America last week.

When you watch the video, it’s easy to see why this is so sticky — very compelling conversation going on there about ‘truth/beauty’ done in a very lowfi way (even though it is an ad).

As the father of a 3 year old girl, Dove just won me over with a combination of marketing, education, conversation and provocation on the issue of ‘beauty propoganda’.

Somehow I get the feeling that this is what education is going to look like in the future — lots of blurred lines — all requiring engaged citizens who will need to sort it all out.



Crittendon on ‘Why your kids should play more video games’

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/10/27

Very interesting post by Danielle Crittendon on “Why Your Kids Should Play More Video Games” over at the Huffington Post. Thanks to Ian on the Second Life Educators Distribution list (SLED) for the link.

Love the anecdotes about how real world learning (english lit, economics, team leadership) skillz are making it into the new Xbox sports games — very interesting.

“I thought you were up here killing space aliens.”

“No.” He sighs with the exasperation of the chronically misunderstood. “I’m building a new franchise.”

I sink into the sofa to watch, interested. The game is MLB Baseball and, as my son explains, very little of the fun comes from playing simulated major league games.

In “franchise mode, ” he explains (all the while pulling up menus and pressing buttons), you have to acquire a team and a stadium, “set parking lot prices, ticket prices, concession stands and how much it costs for a stuffed animal or jersey. You have give-aways which cost you money but brings up attendance. You can lose your franchise if you do badly. I lost my team because I drove it into bankruptcy.”

On a tech note, this is my first post from Flock — question — where are the categories? — Oh, they come up as an option after you hit publish — wierd.



Seattle Podcasting Meetup Links

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/05

I’m leading a discussion at the Seattle Podcasting Meetup tonight about podcasting inside the firewall. Will be remoting in via SightSpeed.

Here are some links I’ve jotted down for the session —

1) An introduction to informal learning by Marcia L. Conner

  • Informal learning accounts for over 75% of the learning taking place in organizations today.
  • In 1996, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that people learn 70% of what they know about their jobs informally.

2) Jay Cross’s Informal Learning Blog

From The business environment of informal learning

J.P. Rangaswami, former global CIO at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort in London, (says, …) as I’ve been pointing out, “The graduates of tomorrow are more used to the tools I was looking at than the enterprise was. So training cost, which used to be a huge barrier to entry for the people who were weaned on the mother’s milk of Microsoft, just wasn’t there.”

Harvard B-School prof Andrew McAfee chimes in, “The opposite of an imposed structure is not chaos. With these tools, the opposite of an imposed structure is an emergent structure, one that forms over time based on the interactions of a lot of people.”

– – – – –

From LMS, we hardly knew ye

LMS create a walled garden in an era when walls are falling down. Why not use the real internet and real internet technology rather than some hokey oversimplification? Furthermore, how can you manage serendipitous learning that is inherently unmanageable?

3) Elliot Masie webinar on ‘Is Instructional Design Relevant to RSS, Mobile Learning, Blogs, PodCasts, Wikis and New Tech?

  • Masie says podcasts under 10 minutes offer a more optimized learning experience
  • IIRC this references and example of McDonald’s documentation in Turkey done via a wiki.

4) Reflections on the difference of creators vs consumers Mythical Man Month by Frederick P. Brooks. An excerpt from From the anniversary edition, pages 7-8 —

Why is programming fun? What delights may its practitioner expect as his reward?

First is the sheer joy of making things. As the child delights in his mud pie, so the adult enjoys building things, especially things of his own design. I think this delight must be an image of God’s delight in making things, a delight shown in the distinctiveness of each leaf and each snowflake.

Second is the pleasure of making things that are useful to other people. Deep within, we want others to use our work and to find it helpful. In this respect the programming system is not essentially different from the child’s first clay pencil holder “for Daddy’s office.”

Third is the fascination of fashioning complex puzzle-like objects of interlocking moving parts and watching them work in subtle cycles, playing out the consequences of principles built in from the beginning. The programmed computer has all the fascination of the pinball machine or the jukebox mechanism, carried to the ultimate.

Fourth is the joy of always learning, which springs from the nonrepeating nature of the task. In one way or another the problem is ever new, and its solver learns something: sometimes practical, sometimes theoretical, and sometimes both.

Finally, there is the delight of working in such a tractable medium. The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. (As we shall see later, this tractability has its own problems.)

Yet the program construct, unlike the poet’s words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separately from the construct itself. It prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be.

Programming then is fun because it gratifies creative longings built deep within us and delights sensibilities we have in common with all men.

5) Screencasting Tools —



Blog or Project Log: Selling disruptive tools on the inside

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/24

Jay Cross has a great post this AM about the need to find compelling language that can drive experimentation and adoption of blog, podcast, and wiki types of tools inside of organizations ––

It’s time for us to come up with a vocabulary that’s not an obstacle to installing learning technology. Take the word blog. For some people, the word sets off alarm bells. They envision amateurs, threatening hackers, neo-nazis, the Drudge Report, people obsessed with kittens, semi-literates, unverifiable nonsense, spammers, porno freaks, political extremists, teen age confessionals, MySpace flirts, people who are out of control and lawsuits waiting to happen.

It’s enough to give disruptive technology a bad name.

So let’s not speak of blogs or slimeheads. Let’s talk about Project Logs. Or Collaborative Project Documentation. Or Knowledge Logs. Or professional journals.

<bagoftricks>Project log –– hmm, that could work.</bagoftricks>

 



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