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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.


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?

Brew 2.0 – The Burrard Molson Brewery social media event September 9, 2008

Posted by Raul in Beer 2.0, blogosphere, Brew 2.0, local events.
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Duane insists that if I am going to be a true Canadian and Vancouverite, I *have* to learn how to drink beer. Rebecca has definitely done her part in teaching me how to drink beer (usually when we go out for beers or have a pint with our meals, I ask her – “hey Rebecca, what kind of beer should I go for?“). And Ryan has started teaching me about beers as he knows his brews.

SnowRunner on Flickr

Credit: SnowRunner on Flickr

Well, lucky for me, all of us (Rebecca and John Bollwitt, Duane Storey, Ryan Cousineau and myself) have been invited by Molson to Brew 2.0, an evening of beers, bloggers AND a tour of the Burrard Street Brewery (I know that the lovely Monica Hamburg AND Dave Thorvald Olson are going too, which increases my happiness substantially!).

Liesa Billings

Credit: Liesa Billings

I have to say that not only do I appreciate the fact that I’m being invited to continue with my formal education on how to drink beer, but also, as a chemical engineer, I am *ecstatic* to FINALLY! tour the Burrard Street Brewery. You’ll see… when I was in undergraduate, my favorite class was Distillation (I took individual courses on each one of the separation processes). I could calculate the number of plates needed to distill X amount of alcohol from a mixture of Y and Z percentages. Now, I get to see brewing processes from the inside!

Furthermore, as a specialist in industrial and urban transformation, I am always delighted to see an industrial plant still within the confines of the urban core. I am VERY curious to know about the sustainability and water-saving measures implemented at Molson, so you can rest assured I’ll be asking questions throughout.

Matt Musselman

Credit: Matt Musselman

Finally, two particular elements worth highlighting. As Rebecca mentioned, it’s great that Molson is reaching out to us, social media folks. But it’s also very interesting how they are also embracing Web 2.0 from within the company! I found the Molson Community Blog, and one of the authors, Tonia Hammer, is on Twitter! So I am really looking forward to learning more about how Molson will reach out to the community. Maybe they should be a corporate sponsor to our Blogathon 2009 efforts! (*hint hint nudge nudge*)

My 1000th post – How Web 2.0 has changed my life August 5, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, personal life, random thoughts, Web 2.0.
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I was going to make a really big fuss of this, but under the circumstances (my Aunt is in critical condition as I write this) I just decided to skip with the fuss and just get over with it so that if/when I feel like blogging again, I won’t have to keep this stupid placeholder in my head (“oh, I *really* should keep this witty phrase/this important topic for when I write my 1000th“).

Rebecca asked if there would be a party to celebrate my 1000th post. Back then, I answered yes (we were in the midst of Blogathon and we were all cranking out posts like maniacs). Right now, I don’t feel like partying at all. I do, however, have some social and organizational commitments that I will definitely honor, so I am sure I will be seeing some of you there.

But I just wanted to quickly write a post about how Web 2.0 has changed my life and thank all the wonderful people I’ve met through blogging. You all have made a difference and from each and every one of you I have learned something.

Web 2.0 has changed my life in many ways. I’ve become aware of new trends in technology, innovative tools. I have devised ways in which I can apply my PhD training to understanding social media and viceversa – I have begun to harness the power of Web 2.0 in effecting social change in some small way.

From lunches at Salsa and Agave to the wonderful times playing Rock Band to the walks around Trout Lake to squeezing lots of bodies at the Blackwater Cafe to poker nights and lots of Margaritas to taking crazy wicked photos with PhotoBooth to SteakCamp to beer o’clock and BBQs on the roof, to coffee and tea dates and discovering new places, to parties at the homes of dear friends (and getting lost in Burnaby on the way there!), the list of wonderful times I’ve spent with people I have met through my blog is really, really long.

Web 2.0 has changed my life by making of the hummingbird, my own personal brand, a symbol of my personality that has transcended my offline circle of friends to my online sphere. More than anything, Web 2.0 has brought me new friends and I am deeply and truly grateful for that.

Thanks so much to the many people who have enabled me to get to this point. You rock (and you know who you are).

MostlyLisa’s viral video and the rights of online content providers June 19, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, food for thought, geekifying myself, public policy issues, question period, random thoughts, vlogging, Web 2.0.
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Being the case that I am the son of two lawyers, and one of them is a specialist in intellectual property law and copyright law, I *should* be able to post a really coherent response here. I am just not going to post it at 3:00am, when I am exhausted and haven’t had enough time to digest and reflect on the issue. I am actually going to have to ruminate about it for a while. But since I like to draft some content and then time-stamp it, I’ll just jot down my thoughts and if something better/nicer comes up, I’ll post it.

The gist of the matter can be found on Lisa’s post, as well as a rather lengthy discussion (28 comments by the time I checked). Lisa is a Vancouver blogger whom I know in person, we have hung out a few times, and I really like her sense of humor. So I was a bit baffled when she took flack for a video she did of a private party. However, I can see how things could be complicated.

Quick thoughts…

a). I think the anger of the party organizers came from the video going viral. With my readership, I am really not very worried about whether people are going to see my photos or videos. But when the readership is amplified to the Nth power, THAT’S when things get problematic. WHY? Because the perception of the organizers of the party feel they are no longer in control. When the readership is smaller, you still feel that you can post whatever and get away with it.

b) The other thing that may have upset them as well was the permission issue. I don’t get from Lisa’s post that permissions were clearly given (Lisa says that she didn’t ask, and in this case, the fact that nobody explicitly told her “please don’t film this” doesn’t preclude their right to privacy, in my opinion – it would be worthwhile checking if my Dad agrees with me, and whether Canadian intellectual property law specialists agree as well).

c) I also think that this is a transnational issue. Canada as Lisa was traveling there coming from Canada (from what I remember – and also, being a Canadian blogger), and therefore would have to comply with Canadian laws. And US because she was filming on American soil, and therefore, she would have to comply with US laws. We would need to examine it from the perspective of both countries’ intellectual property law. This is NOT an easy task.

d) My advice in general, and the way I tend to operate is, when in doubt, ask. (Sometimes I don’t, and I get in trouble as well!) There are now photos of me floating around on Flickr and on the internet. I used to have my photos set to “Only my friends” and now many of them are pretty public. Does that make me happy? Not really. But do I think that I’ll be going viral? Not really, either!

The problem with these topics is that Web 2.0 is still evolving, and therefore the public/private boundaries are getting blurred. There is an overload of information and people are not really prepared to deal with the legal implications of online activities simply because this medium is evolving at lightning speed. Heck, I am learning as I type this! The more I read, the more I learn.

Educating oneself is always a really, really good idea. I have thought about this issue for a long time and I have decided that I need to educate myself more about the platform, about Web 2.0, about the way in which social media works. But more than anything, I think we need to educate ourselves on the complexities of human behavior. What seemed to be a really harmless action on the part of Lisa became something she got flack for. Was this flack warranted?… I am not really sure. But one thing does exude from Lisa’s post – she didn’t intend for the silly video to have any negative consequences. Let’s not forget that!