Tag Archive for social media

2013 Think Tank Presentation on Socio-Technical System Design

I’m about to leave for Washington D.C. for a Think Tank on Citizen Engagement in Biomedical Research. I have only five minutes to talk during the introductory speed geeking event, where all of us get to know about each other and each other’s projects. I’m going there to talk about our lessons learned from designing complex socio-technical systems that required intense participation from their users. I’ve been working on designing such systems for many years now. Some projects were/are very successful, some not so much. I’m not sure I will be able to give a full account of what we’ve learned, so I’m putting up a long(ish) version of my presentation here — if I had 15 minutes, this is what I would say to our very interesting group of participants. I chose these four complex socio-technical systems because all of them were in some measure educational ventures and all required outside users to contribute large amounts of data. I will start with Ushahidi. Ushahidi was born during the 2007 Kenyan election. That election was bloody and the violence, in many cases perpetrated by the government, was not being reported. Ushahidi was a grass-roots effort to tell their countrymen and…

Cultural Differences or Child Abuse

Russian parents Aleksander and Anna prepare to bathe their 2-month-old Viktor in icy water in St. Petersburg, where the air temperature was 27 degrees. Viktor obviously prefers hot baths. Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky, Associated Press

We view the world through our own personal and cultural filter. We can’t help but do that. But put us in another cultural frame or time period, and we might be horrified at what we might witness. Consider this image: This baby is only two months old. And the people about to dip him into the freezing waters of St. Petersburg’s lake are his parents. I’ve been to this lake. I saw my own dad do the dip. He was a grown man at the time, and I still thought it was crazy. In Russia, the folksy wisdom is that such dips are good for you. But here, in U.S., the parents would be arrested, their son taken away by child protective services… It’s all relative! And here’s a few examples: /blog/2011/01/cultural-differences-or-child-abuse/

Social Media Election


The creative folks at Open-Site.org invited me to share the following informational graphic with the readers of this blog. Anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account has probably noticed an increase in the number of political postings over the past few years. This is due, in part, to the explosive rise in social media outlets and users. But voters are not the only people who use social media; among politicians, 9 out of 10 Senators and Representatives have Twitter accounts. However, many are starting to wonder if social media is becoming less a reporter of political races and more of a predictor of the results. In Senate races, the candidate with more Facebook friends than his or her opponent has won 81% of the time. And one email sent to 60 million Facebook users prompted an additional 340,000 people to vote in the 2010 election. This infographic illustrates just how politics and social media are affecting each other.

Video on the Importance of Social Media

The following video and article has been brought to by the folks at open-site.org. Enjoy! When Gil-Scott Heron wrote that “The revolution will not be televised” he was right. Instead, it will be youtubed, it will be statused, and it will be retweeted. Social networking sites reach more than 82% of the global population: 1.2 billion people. And governments are afraid. Today, a handful of users on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube can launch a movement that can topple a regime. Just look at Tunisia. Just look at Egypt. It can organize the frustration of middle class Americans from the impotent complaints of individuals into a spontaneous, passionate and primal force. A wave doesn’t demand concessions, but you have no choice but to acknowledge it when it crashes down on you. We are the 99 percent. And what are the results? New governments, an informed and politically active people, and validation. A little over a year ago, The United Nations declared internet access a basic human right. You are a change agent whether you know it or not. Whether you want to be or not. Everyday you blithely browse your virtual network you participate in an engine of social transformation. Welcome…

Social Media Prayer Wheels

I run several groups on LinkedIn, some for my clients, some to support the work I do, and one for my students. After several years of managing these communities and observing others that I belong to, I have some insights. First, it takes effort! A lot of effort. A group is a community that tries to generate a sense of membership by creating topics of conversations, sharing of information and news, and supporting each others professional efforts. A real community requires participation. It requires a nucleus of idea about which people can come together. It needs some passion as well as intellectual involvement. And members need to feel like they belong and have a say in the movement and evolution of their groups. In short, LinkedIn groups are no different from other communities, it’s just that they mainly focus on professional topics. That said, there are a lot of differences from one community to the next, and one LinkedIn group to the next. Some communities form to support a real world activity like a conference. One of my groups, ICT & Human Rights, was formed for such a purpose. The original core of the group were people who were attending…

Information in the Age of ICT: the Guardian Newspaper 3 Little Pigs Ad

The 2012 Guardian newspaper ad really captures the flow of information in the age of ICT (Information Communication Technologies). The ad retells the story of the 3 little pigs, their houses, and the big bad wolf. It shows how stories change with spin and through propagation through social media: twitter, Facebook, email, etc. Well done!

US Rio+2.0 Speed Geeking Session

FrontLine SMS Screen Shot

So I’ve learned a new word: Speed Geeking. It’s like speed dating but for geeks to quickly present their ideas to a small group. You have five minutes strict, and then move on to the next presenting geek. It was a very interesting format, but it clearly had accessibility issue: I walk with a cane and I found it very hard. It would have been impossible in a wheelchair. And others with disabilities clearly had issues with this format. But that said, I’ve learned a lot. Below are my notes on the Speed Geeking event at US Rio +2.0. Noel Dickover — Senior New Media Advisor, Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State — introduced Speed Geeking and ran the event with an iron fist! FrontlineSMS Demoed by Sean Martin McDonald, Director of Operations http://www.frontlinesms.com Main Point: SMS is cheap data that is easy to structure and moves over cell networks (without Internet) Yahoo Demoed by Gil Yehuda, Director of Open Source Product Management at Yahoo! Gil talk about the use of Flickr for journalism, human rights, and keeping people safe. He raised the issue of copyright. KIVA Demoed by Beth Kuenstler, VP of Marketing & Communications If you haven’t…