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Twitter and the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 November 23, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Twitter.
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While this week (and weekend) has been incredibly busy, I still managed to see Joe Solomon and Jonathon Narvey for a really quick coffee. Both Joe and Jonathon live fairly close to me, and we tend to hang out at JJ Beans. It’s such a cool coffee shop. They were there to play chess, and I just did a mega-ultra-quick visit to catch up with them in real life.

At some point in our conversation a couple of nights ago we discussed the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 and Twitter. I indicated that in fact I DO know many, many of my Twitter friends in real life, and that I’m actually friends with them.  Karen Parker and I mentioned it to Shane Gibson at the recent Tweetup: our usage of Twitter is much more social and less business-oriented. Arieanna and Ianiv mentioned this point to Ianiv’s family one night when we were having dinner: we have been able to develop our friendship through the use of Twitter, because it keeps us connected even though we are in remote places.

David Drucker actually suggested this theme as a potential topic for Northern Voice 2009: how to stay connected when you’re far away (if you remember, I was away from Canada this past summer for about 1.5 months to attend a funeral and be with my family). Even though I wasn’t really in Vancouver, I kept my connections with my friends through Web 2.0 tools – Twitter, my blog, GTalk, Flickr, etc.

One element that Jonathon, Joe and I were musing about is the need for bi-directionality in Web 2.0. In the case of many politicians, their use of Web 2.0 was dismal. Broadcasting your very next move is not what Web 2.0 is all about. It’s about bi-directionality. You speak, I answer. You drop a comment on my blog, I respond (or I monitor the discussion so that I can jump into the conversation at some point). You tweet at me. I tweet back. It’s a 2-way street. I just hope politicians and newcomers to Twitter and the rest of the Web 2.0 applications can understand that.


Steve Jagger’s talk about Twitter – Vancouver Real Estate Tech Meetup November 7, 2008

Posted by Raul in Twitter, Vancouver Real Estate Tech Meetup.
1 comment so far

I usually attend this meetup because I have a lot of friends (the organizers included, Shane Gibson and Steve Jagger) who are either realtors or do tech stuff for realtors. Steve gave a quick talk followed by a question answer period on our beloved micro-blogging platform, Twitter. These are my notes of Steve’s talk

Twitter is a microblogging platform, but has evolved into a communication device. Twitter allows you to communicate with people you find interesting. Steve uses the Favorites function to engage with new people and stories (Steve talks about how he got an interview with The Vancouver Sun on Twitter precisely through Twitter itself). You can make stories happen.

Search.Twitter.Com (formerly known as Summize) is a tool that allows you to search the conversations happening on Twitter. You can see other’s public conversations, and through that, you start creating conversations and new relationships (that may lead to potential business). Start following people and engaging with them, and the relationships will come.

The concept of Tweetup – a gathering (mostly impromptu) of people who use Twitter and may be geographically close to you. Shane explained how he got involved with the China Speakers Bureau (he started following them and writing blog entries, etc.) Tom also explains how he got appointments to the National Real Estate Association.

Shane also commented on the fact that realtors should be on Twitter to signal that they are early adopters. Also, Ubertor and Twitter can be integrated.

Another tool that Rodney and Steve showcased was Twitterlocal – that’s a tool that allows you to find people who tweet within the same geographical location that you are.

If you’re following noisy people (I am one of them, hehe) you can use TweetDeck. Also, I emphasize that part of Steve and Shane’s success (and many other real estate tech people) is that they engage with people as human beings, not only as realtors. [Raul’s note as well -A great example of this are my friends, like MJ Ankenman and Matt Collingem Yam de la Peña, Kye Grace, to mention but a few. I would have never met them either if it hadn’t been for Twitter. Same goes for Steve and Shane]

I really enjoyed Steve’s talk, and was particularly amused by the fact that, while many realtors were already on Twitter, many were on the fence. Hopefully Steve’s talk helped them decide to join!

Beyond national frontiers with Twitter October 12, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Politics 2.0, random thoughts, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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Credit: JMilles

Yes I know I tweet. A lot. With over 9,000 tweets since April 2008, I have no clue how I have managed to actually maintain my followers. You are too kind! At any rate, while I was in Mexico I started thinking about following some people there but then I unfollowed them as I figured that I wouldn’t be staying for long and thus it was kind of pointless.

Through my tweeting, I’ve discovered that I now have followers not only from Canada, but also from the US, United Kingdom, Mexico, and that’s kind of neat to me. Because I sincerely think that Twitter should trascend domestic frontiers.

I know that I shouldn’t care about my stats but since I was asked to provide some metrics of traffic, I did a quick Alexa search and found out that about 30% of my traffic comes from the US. Nice! To be quite frank, I didn’t even think anybody read my blog in the US (seeing as the vast majority of my writing is fairly hyper-local, e.g. Vancouver). But I’m glad people do, and I’m glad I am able to provide some content that can have wider appeal.


Credit: justj000lie

On a semi-related tangent, I also have to say that I’m glad that Elizabeth May (leader of the Green Party and candidate to Prime Minister of Canada) is interacting with her followers on Twitter (@elizabethmay). I was very impressed with the way she conducted herself during the debates, and I have several very close friends of mine who are friends with her (or at least know her very well).

Politics 2.0 – Data and research methods (and Twitter) October 3, 2008

Posted by Raul in politics, Politics 2.0.
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I briefly saw a little segment by Susan Ormiston on The National (the night news) where she explained what has been going on Twitter. She has teamed up with Dr. Greg Elmer from the Infoscape Research Lab at Ryerson University. I hadn’t heard about them (although I kind of think that Dr. Elmer was here for Cossette Convergence/VIDFEST — but then again remember that I am not really a tech/new media/social media researcher (like danah boyd or Frank Stutzman). So I should be cut some slack 🙂

However, as a researcher and a scholar, I kinda like to know the research methods when I examine a project. Given that I do social media as a hobby, but still look at it from the research perspective, I was kind of taken aback when Susan was explaining that Twitter was “sort of a micro-blogging platform” ( I know I’m being nitpicky, heh 🙂 ).

They (and by they I am meaning Greg and his team) implemented a tracking mashup “OrmistonOnline” and its corresponding website where they were tracking the Canadian politicians debate that happened tonight (with Stephen Harper, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, Elizabeth May, Gilles Duceppe – I hope I didn’t miss any candidate!).

I saw part of the debate, and I was kind of taken aback that at some points, the leaders weren’t really very polite to each other, interrupting each other. But I digress. My point of this brief post was that I’d be interested in seeing a global mashup (e.g. not only tracking with the hashtags #ormistononline but tracking for all and each one of the candidates).

I also saw some really neat graphs on television, and I’d be interested in knowing the methodology behind them. I must say that I like the approach of surveying new media on the part of mainstream media. As I have said before, bloggers and journalists both have a role.

And *geek alert* Greg Elmer’s website is powered by WordPress.

Politics 2.0? Are Canadian politicians using Web 2.0 the right way? September 12, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, geekifying myself, politics, Politics 2.0, public policy issues, random thoughts, Web 2.0.
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While I know that there is already buzz around the town on the use of Twitter (seen a couple of posts by Buzz Bishop and Kate Trgovac, as well as one on The Tyee’s The Hook, led by Monte Paulsen), Facebook and other Web 2.0 applications by Canadian politicians (like Elizabeth May, Stephane Dion and Stephen Harper), I am a bit surprised that almost nobody has (at least from what I’ve been reading on the sphere) touched on the very basic element of Web 2.0 – interactivity and bi-directionality.

Even if I don’t follow everyone who follows me on Twitter, I ALWAYS interact with the people who follow me. I have just briefly seen the Twitter account of Elizabeth May and she is not following anyone and has not interacted with anyone. The opposite attitude was that of the Twitter account of Barack Obama who basically followed everyone who was following, and then some more.

I don’t know Liz May, but some of my very closest friends do, and if any of those would like to relay this message to her and to the rest of the politicos in Canada, please feel free to do so – TALK TO YOUR FOLLOWERS. Yeah, you could argue with me that Obama never did talk to anyone on Twitter, but the point I’m trying to make is that Twitter should not be treated *just* as a news broadcast. If those of us who evangelize about all things Web 2.0 are really interested in harnessing social media for change, we need to explain to the “newbies” that the crux of social media is the bidirectional, interactive conversation that occurs within the realm of blogs, Twitter, vlogs, Facebook, etc.

And yeah, boo for fake Twitter accounts for political figures!

Witty tweets September 10, 2008

Posted by Raul in random thoughts, Twitter.
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I use Twitter both as a tool to interact with my friends as well as a tool to reach out to a broader public. I’ve programmed TwitterFeed to publish my posts (I can’t use WordTwit because I’m not self-hosted yet). Usually I make a concerted effort to write funny tweets, because honestly, I really appreciate reading one, but I’m not always as witty as some of my readers and follows.

some fave tweets

I uploaded some funny tweets (you can check my Favorites on Twitter) on my Flickr account, so this is only a sample. A recent really funny one that Lorraine (aka Raincoaster) published recently was this:

raincoaster Web 2.0 Shirley Manson says: Stupid Twhirl! about 7 hours ago from web

I figured that we could start a thread of witty tweets for singers and songs and Web 2.0 (like Lorraine did here), but I’m not witty enough. Any ideas?

New to Twitter? Use a Twitter client August 28, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Twitter.
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I know that Rebecca has compared Twitter clients at some point, and I recall a post by John Biehler (that I couldn’t find) and one from Gary Jones by BlueFur explaining Twhirl, so apologies if I’m missing another one. Feel free to ping me and say “hey Raul you missed my blog post about Twitter“. I’ve previously written about Twitter etiquette, about the relevance of Twitter, about why I use Twitter instead of Facebook, etc.

At any rate, I recently connected on Twitter with two bloggers whose blogs I read, Sexy In VanCity (by Emme Rogers) and From Sparkly to Single (by Laura Smart) and made a suggestion, that they download a Twitter client. I haven’t tested many, having only tried Twhirl and TwitterFox (given that I am PC-based).

I love the fact that Twhirl picks up tweets where the @ is in the middle of the sentence (e.g. “How was your weekend, @hummingbird604?”). My recollection of TwitterFox is that it doesn’t pick up those tweets where the @ is in the middle, but since I only have Twhirl here, I have no idea.

I love the fact that TwitterFox accumulates ALL the tweets and replies (thus giving me a chance to see what everyone has been doing instead of browsing through pages of the Twitter website). It also reminds me of direct messages much faster than Twhirl does.

I love Summize aka Search.Twitter. You can search for your own @ replies and make sure that you haven’t missed tweets. But I’ve tried it already a few times and it still DOES miss some tweets.


Right now (while in Mexico) I open Twhirl, and browse the website for the last few pages of tweets. I know, a bit of a waste of time, but I feel a tad uncomfortable downloading the TwitterFox extension on my Mom’s FireFox. But last night I discovered she does NOT use FireFox so I might end up downloading the extension anyways.

Anyhow, since this post is mostly for Emme, Laura, Jonathon Narvey (who just recently joined Twitter) and those Twitter newbies (or those who use the web more often), those of you who are Twitter and Twitter-client pros feel free to chime in and explain why you prefer one client over another. And STOP praising Twinkle and Twitterriffic! I *can’t* use them because I’m PC-based! 🙂 (ok, fine… you can talk about them, since I seem to be the only Vancouver blogger in addition to Dr. Beth Snow who uses PC – shame on us – that’s why you need to give us MacBook Pros!)

Welcome to Twitter, Monica! June 16, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, friends, personal life, random thoughts, Vancouver.
1 comment so far

There are a gazillion reasons why I adore Monica Hamburg. She is smart, she is witty, she is beautiful, she is incredibly knowledgeable, savvy, sweet, warm-hearted (ok enough with the gushing, hehe). We had joked FOREVER about how I knew she had a Twitter account and I had followed then unfollowed her because she never Twittered. Finally, she has caved in and is now part of our Twitter folks. This is her first tweet:

“@monicahamburg is giving up 🙂 I’m twittering now – thanks for your patience you wonderful peeps! 11:44 AM June 09, 2008 from web”

She is one of the local powerhouses in the realm of social media, and there is a lot to be learned from her. So, I am glad you’re now one of us, Mon. You’ve assimilated on to The Collective, Seven of Nine! 🙂 Much love to you and welcome to Twitter!.

Being a workaholic AND a blogaholic… June 8, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, personal life, random thoughts, Twitter.
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Hello, my name is Raul and I am both a workaholic AND a blogaholic. I don’t think I had admitted that I was a workaholic until fairly recently. I am trying to update my academic CV and I can’t even remember how many talks I have given in the past couple of years. I am trying to not miss anything, and list everything that should be listed under each heading (journal articles, books, book chapters, etc.)

Furthermore, I have done what my friend HZ says – I have delved deeply into the blogging world and now have become addicted to blogging. Jonathan has written the 50 signs that you blog too much. The sad thing is that breakfast for me is scrambled eggs, toast, coffee and Google Reader 🙂

I am also worried that I have an inherited gene for workaholism. My Mom and I were talking on Skype tonight at 11pm (1:00 am Mexico time). My brother and I are talking on MSN as I write this blog post (1:00am Mexico time). This is insane. I was even planning to stay up (I think I’ll have to. I have a revise-and-resubmit that NEEDS to be published in 2008 so I *better* stay up).

Not in the best mood this weekend despite having had a great time with my friends. I think I’m basically frustrated with my own being not very productive. By the way, Vancouver local bloggers Ianiv and Arieanna are THE blogaholics (note their site) 😉 I don’t think I know anyone who blogs on more blogs than Arieanna!

Self-deprecating post about Twitter and me June 7, 2008

Posted by Raul in personal life, random thoughts, Twitter.
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How fun would I be if I weren’t able to poke fun at myself? Yeah, i would be VERY boring. Since the image I am going to link to is probably copyrighted, I won’t lift it off of the site. Instead, I will kindly ask you that you go and read the card and then come back. Done? Cool 🙂

Mostly, I take Twitter as a conversation tool with my fellow blogging friends. But I frequently joke on Twitter that I am “Twitter spam” and that this may be the reason why some people ‘unfollow’ me (actually I’m pretty certain that’s not the reason, but it’s always fun to say it). The someecards are always fun, sarcastic and give me a chance to say things I would like to say but sometimes don’t know how to say.