January 25, 2009

"Looking for Twitterers in All the Wrong Places" - One Bad Idea and a Half Dozen Good Ideas

A friend of mine just asked me on Facebook how to find people on Twitter. I flew over via Wall-to-Wall and discovered a thread called "looking for fellow Twitterers (in all the wrong places?)". The first reply said, "What is twittering and are you allowed to do it in public?"

I can't begin to talk about those two questions in the space allocated to either Twitter or Facebook posts, so thought I'd take it outside, over to the blog, and then will bring the blog URL back to the microblogging environments.

Twittering is a kind of chitter-chatter conversation, a bit like a party where it is crowded enough that everyone is involved in a couple overlapping conversations at a time, and you overhear fragments of other conversations around you, sometimes intriguing enough to turn around and start talking to them. I've heard a lot of other descriptions, though, including people who said it is like fishing, like sex, or it is an RSS tool, the social search engine we've all been waiting for, crisis and disaster response technology, and much more. I described some of these in this presentation.

Twitter and Microblogging for Public Health: http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/twitter-and-microblogging-for-public-health-presentation

Now, given that one of the questions included the phrase "are you allowed to do it in public?" I better clarify that when folks say that Twitter is like sex they didn't mean like having sex, but more that you can't explain it to someone who isn't doing it. Honest! At least for most folks, anyway. I am sure given how huge Twitter is there is probably someone doing something scandalous with it, I just don't know about it (and please don't tell me).

If you are going Twitter then, well, you do want to do it with folks you like. I could try to beat the analogy to death, saying it is like finding people to date, but frankly I don't think the analogy works there. It would be more like finding people you'd like to be with to study, or go to church, or go for coffee and chat.

Whenever you start a new job or move to a new town there is this time where you haven't met anyone yet or no one asks you to join them for coffee, and you feel really alone. Eventually that goes away, and there are ways to speed that along. Introducing yourself is one way, others include asking people questions, telling folks you like what they're wearing or saying or reading or something like that. A big part of it is listening, and getting the people you meet to introduce you to people they know. Another big part is putting yourself in the same places as people doing the things you like to do -- finding common ground. Here are some tips.

(0)
In Twitter there is a "Find People" button. Unfortunately, it does not go to any kind of useful search feature, but is a search users link, and doesn't allow any granularity and special search features. "Search for a username, first or last name," Twitter says. You used to be able to search by keyword, location or topic if they included the terms in their profile, but you can't even do that anymore. This is listed as Zero on my list because even though it is the first thing you should do, I haven't found it very useful.

(1)
Use Twitter Search (a.k.a. Summize) to find conversations on topics you love.

Twitter Search: http://search.twitter.com/ OR http://summize.com/

Search the words and ideas you love, look for great tweets, click through and read more by the same person. Was the great tweet a fluke, or do they say a lot of great stuff? If the latter, then follow them. Don't follow everybody, just people saying stuff you really enjoy.

(2)
When you find people who are saying a lot of great stuff, look at who they are talking to. In Twitter folks use a convention of the at-sign (@) in front of the account name of the person they are talking to. You can click on that to go to the other persons account, and see if they are saying great stuff also.

(3)
Along the lines of joining a club in a new town to meet people, and searching words and ideas you love, join a Twitter group.

Twitter Groups: http://twittgroups.com/index.php

Once you find a group on a topic you like, join it, and browse the tweets for the people who are members of that group to find like-minded souls.

(4)
No matter what topics you love, also be sure to include some folks who live near you. This is a good practice for a number of reasons. For one, if they are talking about something on sale, there is a good chance you can get to the same store before they run out. Even better, if there is a weather or health crisis, or traffic is backed up, these are the folks who can help you figure out what's going on. Crisis and disaster response is a HUGE application for Twitter, but you don't want to wait until things go bad to make the connections.

TwitterLocal: http://www.twitterlocal.net/

ArborWiki: List of Ann Arbor twitter users: http://arborwiki.org/index.php/List_of_Ann_Arbor_twitter_users

Michigan Twitter Network: http://www.mlive.com/twitter/

(5)
Sometimes you can find Twitter accounts that "collect" people with similar interests. When you find one like that on a topic of interest to you, look at the people who are following it to find people you might want to follow. Here are a couple of examples.

GovTwit (US national, state, and local governments and officials in Twitter): http://twitter.com/GovTwit

MedLibs (Medical Librarians): http://twitter.com/medlibs

BioTecher (biotechnology): http://twitter.com/biotecher

You might find more at Twitter Packs.

TwitterPacks: http://twitterpacks.pbwiki.com/

(6)
Chances are by this point you have probably found as many people as you are willing to follow. Just in case you haven't, there are also actual Twitter directories. You know - like phone directories?

TwitDir (currently on hiatus with the owner at a conference) is kind of like the white pages, and Twellow is (you guessed it!) more like the yellow pages as is JustTweetIt. These allow you to browse by category. At this moment in time, Twellow is the richest, but is dated and not always accurate. JustTweetIt has the advantage and disadvantage of being user built, with folks adding their own name and tagging themselves.

JustTweetIt: http://justtweetit.com

Twellow: http://www.twellow.com/

TwitDir: http://twitdir.com/

Enjoy! There is an enormous number of wonderful people on Twitter (as in the world, really). There is no shortage of amazing people with whom to share a few thoughts now and then.

Posted by pfa at 10:22 PM | Comments (3)

Inauguration Story, Part One - From Dawn to Oath-Taking in the Words of Real People

Like the earlier Election Story (still in progress), here I've captured a snapshot of real people and what they thought and said while waiting for and watching the inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20th. I'm working on slides and links for a range of the tech I found involved in the process, although bits of it will be reflected here. A sneak preview? Come back for more.

Posted by pfa at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2009

Mobile Healthcare Education

I just stumbled on an old message I had missed that mentioned this presentation. Entirely my fault that I hadn't seen this sooner!

This is a very intriguing approach to using Twitter, mobile technologies, cell phones and related tools to fill academic functions. This ranges from emergency callouts to managing class activities and assignments. Extremely interesting!

Posted by pfa at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2009

What I Did On My Winter "Break"

Obama, Obama, Obama ....

Did anyone else get involved with local community meetings for the Obama-Biden Healthcare Transition Team? Oh, you didn't hear about them? When I tell folks what I did for the past couple weeks, I hear from a lot of folks who weren't aware of Daschle reaching out to the American people for thoughts on how to improve healthcare in the United States.

Obama Transition Team - Daschle Healthcare Reform

Join the Discussion: Former Sen. Daschle responds on health care: http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/join_the_discussion_daschles_healthcare_response/

This initial discussion in early December was a provocative and interesting event itself. Daschle answered questions about many leading healthcare policy concern, the video was made widely available online, and public discussion ensued.

Obama: Daschle Healthcare Reform Discussion

After about 3500 comments, they started to analyze the discussion (after five thousand or so, they closed comments). One of the tools used was Wordle, which distilled out the 100 top words used in the conversation. Notice the biggest one? Insurance. I don't think that is a surprise to anyone, but I am surprised by some of the words I don't see present -- access, transportation, information, choice, rural, seniors or elderly, and much more. Some words are present, but a lot smaller than I expected -- children, change, available, service/services, free, etc. Oops - etc was present in the Wordle as a word, which sort of skews the results -- this would have been more useful with a filter to exclude generic words like etc, enough, done, going, getting, and such.

Obama Transition Team - Daschle Healthcare Reform

Top 100 Words in Healthcare Discussion (from Wordle): http://change.gov/page/-/images/wc_healthcare_full.PNG

Well, the upshot of all this was that on December 5th, Daschle put out a call for USA citizens to partake in the discussion through small group discussion events hosted in your local community. These were all to take place between December 15th and December 31st. Personally, this put a big hole in my so-called "break", but it was important to happen and important to partake when possible. I just wish the timing had been a little different.

Daschle asks Americans to help reform health care: http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/daschle_asks_americans_to_help_reform_health_care/

Most of these took place in people's homes. Most of the events I heard about happened through personal networks - sort of work of mouth from friend to friend. They were not necessarily open to the general public or to walk-in visitors. As a single parent of a special needs kid (you've heard this before if you read this blog often), getting out and about town is hard for me. Basically, not likely to happen. I don't think I was invited to any of the events in people's home. Some of my friends were, but they had so many obligations relative to the holiday season that they did not participate. I was thrilled to hear about first one, and then later two more events that were happening through social media.

The first event was for the autism community and was held via Twitter. This wasn't the only event for the autism community - there was another on Staten Island and in Virginia (see comments), and probably more I didn't find out about. The Twitter one was organized through Causecast, a sort of a social network for "registered 501(c)(3) non-profit" organizations. But I couldn't go to Virginia or New York, and wouldn't have even if the events have been open nationally. In theory, I could have sponsored an event locally in Southeastern Michigan, and probably could have gotten some folks to come. Still, there are a lot of people on the spectrum who are not very comfortable in social situations and who would either have felt excluded by the venue or found it stressful to participate in real life. Having an event online made it possible to include a broader range of participants, with some interesting discussions that happened specifically about the geography of access to care for autism treatment. This type of discussion would have been unlikely or impossible in a face-to-face event. You can read more about the Autism & Healthcare Reform Twitter Day in another blog post.

Autism & Healthcare Reform - The Twitter Event for the Obama-Biden Transition Team: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2009/01/autism_healthca.html

Because the organizer of the autism event (@TannersDad) describes himself as a "paper and pencil" kind of guy, and because after several nudges no one else volunteered, and because I believed it was important, I ended up being kind of behind the scenes tech support to try to archive the tweets for the event (with help from @ajturner). I finished up everything for them on January 2nd.

In between, there were two more events, both in Second Life. The first one was held on December 29th in Port Spinoza, coordinated by Siri Vita (one of my neighbors in SL), and was an open general meeting about healthcare reform without a specific target audience. The event was held primarily in voice (audio over the internet within Second Life) and was videotaped. There is actaully going to be a really wonderful video of the event for the Obama Transition Team, which I will share when it becomes available.

SL: Port Spinoza: Obama Transition TeamSL: Port Spinoza: Obama-Daschle HC Transition Team
SL: Port Spinoza: Obama Transition TeamSL: Port Spinoza: Obama-Daschle HC Transition Team

For that event, I helped out by offering voice-to-chat transcription in order to make the even more accessible to people with disabilities, and Cotton Thorne (another neighbor) did the reverse -- read chat comments into the voice record for the event. This made it possible for people with a blend of sensory abilities to be able to attend as full participants and still have a complete record of the event. To make it even more fun, there were a lot of Justice League members who attended. After all, they work hard to help keep life smooth for people, both in fiction and in Second Life, and like all good hearted people are well aware of the importance of health and healthcare in making a good life possible. (My son was really excited to see the Green Lantern there, who shared with us that he has heard there will be a live-action Green Lantern movie coming out in the next 3 years.) They were back in for the final closeup shots for the video on Sunday for a couple hours, just for color, with the original event having lasted well over two hours. I was glad the Sunday event was in the afternoon, since the first SL Obama event was timed for the West Coast crowd, making it after 1am before I was able to go to bed.

The final event in which I participated was specifically for the large community of people with disabilities in Second Life and occurred on December 31st in the evening. The structure of the event was very different - they had small groups at several different tables, with a group of coordinators and facilitators -- they had a greeter, a couple guides, a facilitator at each table, and a timekeeper who clocked the discussion questions and kept the various groups on task and on target. The facilitator at my table old us she was deaf, and that this was why we needed to converse in chat (typing). My arms were still sore from all the typing the other night, which maybe slowed me down a bit. This was the first time for me that I was able to participate as a participant instead of as organizational help and background support.

I can honestly say I learned a lot from participating in all three events, and cannot imagine how the information from a nationwide clustering of these types of events will pull together for the transition team. Talk about an embarrassment of riches! I will be reporting out in future blogposts about some of my thoughts and observations from being part of these events. One of the biggest take-home points for me is what I've said about both accessibility and healthcare for years -- there is NO one-size-fits-all.

Posted by pfa at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2009

Twitter Phishing Scam Fiasco

People are always asking me questions about security in online social media, and about how to manage passwords if you can only remember so many. Well, this is not an answer, but is instead an example of when it goes wrong and that problems do happen. Twitter seems to have been, well, compromised.

Posted by pfa at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2009

Monetizing Twitter - Karl Long's Proposal

Karl Long has posted a proposal to monetize Twitter (make it financially self-supporting) by asking for more money from people who follow lots of other people. You can read his blogpost here:

Experience Curve: Twitter Business Model To Improve Twitter: http://experiencecurve.com/archives/twitter-business-model-to-improve-twitter

He asked for comments, and I tried to comment, but his blog wouldn't allow me to post my comment, so I am going to put it here, and see if I can post a much shorter comment that links to this.

================

I have mixed feelings about this. I agree that monetizing Twitter would be a good thing. I agree that I am willing to pay, to a certain extent. I do not agree that paying by number of followers is necessarily the solution.

If my office paid for me to twitter, then I would have no problem with the idea, at least on my own behalf. As it is, I depend heavily on Twitter and similar tools to do my job, but with the understanding that my employer is struggling financially and that services such as Twitter are unlikely to be funded. Period. You may notice that virtually everything I talk about on my blog is free or points to someone else's information. I don't put money into the tech, and I don't have a budget to do so.

I follow a lot of people on Twitter because I have a lot of interests. I have a blend of folk I follow for personal interests & relationships and those people and organizations I follow because they tweet on one of the many topics that are professional areas of responsibility for me. I find if I try to divide Twitter into a professional and a personal account, I end up hating it. Ugh. I tried it -- didn't work for me. I needed the serendipity, synchronicity, spark and juice that comes from mixing it all up. One of the things I like to do is look for creative and innovative ways to use Twitter. Please, don't penalize people for being innovative.

I suspect that this proposed funding model is based on an assumption of how people are *supposed* to use Twitter. Ahem. Where is the fun in that? I (obviously) am not using Twitter the way most folk do. I do not make the slightest attempt to read every tweet by every person I follow. I know a lot of folks who assume that is what everyone does, and they feel guilty if they don't, if they miss something.

Well, I don't feel guilty about it. I graze Twitter. When I'm hungry or have time on my hands, I spend a lot of time on it; when I'm not, I don't. I try to check it a couple times a day, and reply to @replies and DMs. I use Ping usually to send my tweets, except in conversations. I trust that the really important bits will be picked up by more than one person and will float to the top of the stream, that I will see them even if I don't watch all the time. A friend of mine just figured this out and started to use Twitter more like I am. Check his blog post on this:

Ed Vielmetti: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Twitter: http://vielmetti.typepad.com/vacuum/2008/12/how-i-stopped-worrying-and-learned-to-love-twitter.html

We've all seen accounts from people who are paid to tweet. They have those really boring accounts that repeat marketing news for their company all day long. To keep it lively, you *need* to mix it up -- establish personal relationships, have quirky conversations. The sort of things that are hard to explain and justify to an administration watching the bottom line.

So I would have to pay for this myself, when it comes to it. I did that with Flickr. I use Flickr also about half and half job/personal. I pay ~$25 for two years. This was a personal indulgence and reward. So far Flickr is the only online tool that I have actually agreed to pay for. I am a single mom of a special needs kid. My house deserves a better keeper, if you get my drift. I am not going to pay if Twitter starts to penalize me for using it fully.

Actually, Twitter has already capped my following at 2K, and I find it really frustrating. I am thinking of how to find work arounds. I have this ever growing list of people I want to follow, but can't follow because of the cap. I spent a lot of time the past couple weeks digging through the folks I follow to unfollow some in order to add new ones. I am thinking of how to set up rss feeds for the folk I want to follow aggregated by area of interest. You know -- give up on using the following at all. I am also switching to using the search function a lot more, and switching to FriendFeed, just like Scoble does. Twitter locks us down, fine - we won't use it. Make it hard to use, I'll move. I was one of the victims last summer of Twitter mismanaging their spam blocker. (They deleted accounts for me, @conniecrosby, @davedelaney and a bunch of other folk: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/twitter_banning.html). I am not inclined at this point to depend on Twitter or trust them to manage things properly. I like Twitter a LOT, but if they started charging based on following, that would probably be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Not to mention that it is easy as anything to work around this. If you tell folks it is free under 1000 follows, the spammers will just make a gazillion accounts and push the same stuff to all of them. They aren't going to pay. Whatever limit you set, they will find a way around it. I don't see this model as a solution for twitter spammers, since it is so easy to work around.

OK, so I think that won't work. What would I like better? Well, actually, I like the Flickr model. Flat rate, modest accessible fees. Free for *minimal* use (number of pics posted or tweets sent). The heavy users are the ones that drive the community - don't penalize them, don't drive them away. Personally, I am less concerned about the spammers, because I ignore them. They follow me, I don't care. I don't look at them, I don't follow them back. There might be a few buried in my earlier follows when I followed everyone back, but if I notice them, they are gone. Who cares if someone follows thousands of people if no one follows them back? No one is listening to them, so where is the harm?

Posted by pfa at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

Autism & Healthcare Reform - The Twitter Event for the Obama-Biden Transition Team

Crowdsourcing at its most relevant, this is about the outcomes of the innovative community discussion held for the autism community via Twitter on December 23rd 2008 in support of the initiatives of the Obama-Biden Transition Team under the oversight of Tom Daschle. Links listed at the bottom are from the slides.

Part One includes introductions, challenges, wishes, and the importance of location in receiving care in the USA.
http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/autism-healthcare-twitter-day-part-1-for-the-obamabiden-transition-team-presentation/

Part Two includes discussions on service, insurance, and education.
http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/autism-healthcare-reform-twitter-day-part-2-for-the-obamabiden-transition-team-presentation/

Part Three includes research, resources discussed in the event, and suggestions for governmental involvement or oversight.
http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/autism-healthcare-reform-twitter-day-part-3-for-the-obamabiden-transition-team-presentation/

LINKS

Where It Started

Autism & Health Care Twitter Day, December 23, 2008Autism & Health Care Twitter Day, December 23, 2008

http://autism.about.com/b/2008/12/30/best-of-2008-for-the-autism-community-your-ideas-requested.htm

In-Home Services

This was a provocative topic to many of the people involved in the event, as that awareness of the possibility of assistance for provision of in-home services was minimal, and awareness that parents could be paid for providing in-home care to their disabled child in place of out of home employment was entirely new to most. The parent who was doing this, Bonnie Sayers, provided extensive information and resources about it. Further digging revealed that this is possible in only a few states in the country: California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (State-Based Initiatives to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of the Paraprofessional Long-Term Care Workforce).

California: Department of Developmental Services: Information About Regional Centers: http://www.dds.cahwnet.gov/RC/Home.cfm

California: Department of Social Services: In-Home Supportive Services: http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/cdssweb/PG139.htm

State-Based Initiatives to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of the Paraprofessional Long-Term Care Workforce (Institute for the Future of Aging Services, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute): http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/pltcwf.htm

US. DHHS. In-Home Supportive Services for the Elderly and Disabled: A Comparison of Client-Directed and Professional Management Models of Service Delivery (Doty et al): http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/ihss.htm

United Domestic Workers of America: Statewide Information on IHSS Wages, Contracts and Unions: http://www.udwa.org/statewid.htm

California Disability Community Action Network: IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (IHSS) ISSUES: http://www.cdcan.us/IHSS/index.htm

Protection & Advocacy, Inc: IHSS FAIR HEARING AND SELF-ASSESSMENT PACKET: http://www.pai-ca.org/pubs/501301.htm

Protection & Advocacy, Inc: IHSS ISSUES - PROTECTIVE SUPERVISION (Revised January 2000): http://www.pai-ca.org/pubs/527601.htm

Disability Rights, California: In-Home Supportive Services, Nuts & Bolts: http://disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/547001Index.htm

Research

Discussion about research made it clear that there is substantial lack of agreement about the causes and best practices for treatment for autism spectrum disorders. In addition, what information or medical consensus is available is largely unclear to the ASD community, especially parents making decisions for their children. The links below include information about proven, contested, unreliable, and emerging approaches that were discussed or mentioned during the event. There is no implied endorsement of any of the resources listed. There was a call from the ASD community at this event for coordination of research findings and dissemination of results in a coherent fashion to stakeholders.

Australian Government: Department of Health and Ageing: A review of the research to identify the most effective models of practice in early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-child-autrev-toc~mental-child-autrev-comp~mental-child-autrev-comp-che

Healing Threshholds: Autism: Novel Treatments for Autistic Spectrum Disorders: http://autism.healingthresholds.com/research/novel-treatments-for-autistic-sp

Chew, Kristina. Another Autism “Treatment”: Stem Cell Therapy. Autism Vox. July 12, 2007. http://www.autismvox.com/another-autism-treatment-stem-cell-therapy/

STEM CELLS: THE FINAL PIECE OF THE AUTISM PUZZLE? Age of Autism. July 11, 2008. http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/07/stem-cells-the.html

Stem Cells for Brain Injury Recovery? Age of Autism. January 2, 2009. http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/01/stem-cells-for-brain-injury-recovery.html

Ichim et al. Stem Cell Therapy for Autism. Journal of Translational Medicine 2007, 5:30. http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/5/1/30

2007 Fall Rimas Autism Dolphin Therpay (sic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMpunLzaccE

Hyson, Michael T. Dolphins, Therapy and Autism. Planet Puna, Sirius Institute: http://www.planetpuna.com/dolphin-paper-html/dolphin-paper.htm

Research Autism: Dolphin Therapy: Basic Level: http://www.researchautism.net/interventionitem.ikml?ra=64

Research Autism: Dolphin Therapy, Advanced Level: http://www.researchautism.net/interventionitem.ikml?ra=64&infolevel=4&info=researchstudiesincluded

Research Autism: http://www.researchautism.net/

Research Autism: Alphabetic List of Interventions: http://www.researchautism.net/alphabeticalInterventionList.ikml

Other Resources Shared

One of the blessings of the two Autism Twitter Day events has been the intense sharing of information and resources among the community members. While the resources were shared by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community members for each other, the ones listed below were mentioned during the event for the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and may potentially be useful for decisionmakers seeking to better understand the needs of the ASD community.

Autism Hangout: Podcasts: Adonya Wong - "Key Learnings of Autism Thought Leaders": http://www.autismhangout.com/news-reports/feature-programs.asp?id2=80

Age of Autism: http://www.ageofautism.com/

Toast on the Ceiling: Where Was This Book When I Needed It?: http://toastontheceiling.blogspot.com/2008/12/where-was-this-book-when-i-needed-it.html

Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book: http://www.amazon.com/Sensory-Processing-Disorder-Answer-Book/dp/1402211236/

Health Products for You: Posey Bed Canopy System: http://www.healthproductsforyou.com/catalog/products/4286/Posey-Bed-Canopy-System/

Causecast: Autism Health Twitter day Tuesday December 23rd ALL DAY Obama wants to know: http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad/videos/4994-autism-health-twitter-day-tuesday-december-23rd-all-day-obama-wants-to-know

Easter Seals: Guide to Living with Autism [PDF]: http://www.easterseals.com/site/DocServer/Study_FINAL_Harris_12.4.08_Compressed.pdf?docID=83143

Act for Autism: http://actforautism.org/

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital: http://www.devoschildrens.org/?start

BellaOnline: Autism Spectrum Disorders Site: Purposeful Communication Techniques: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art59220.asp

Voice of America: Temple Grandin Turned Disability Into Asset for Animals: http://www.voanews.com/english/AmericanLife/2008-12-22-voa35.cfm

Temple Grandin: http://www.templegrandin.com/

Autism Speaks: Support Groups: Michigan: http://www.autismspeaks.org/community/fsdb/category.php?sid=27&cid=76

Wrong Planet: Could autistics become the majority in the distant future?: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt86414.html

Wrong Planet: http://www.wrongplanet.net/

BellaOnline: Autism Spectrum Disorders Site: Book Review on puberty and hygiene for young people with autism: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art34042.asp

US Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights: http://ed.gov/ocr/ OR http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

Autism Risk & Safety Management: http://www.autismriskmanagement.com/

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Typical Speech and Language Development: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/

Autism Speaks: Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) nears completion of Strategic Plan for Autism Research: http://www.autismspeaks.org/inthenews/dec_12_2008_iacc_meeting_recap.php

CauseCast: Tanner's Dad: http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad

Final Thoughts

Twitter: Tweet: Autism & Healthcare Twitter Day

http://www.causecast.org/member/tanners-dad/blog_posts/505-for-one-day-in-december-there-was-peace-on-earth-and-goodwill-towards-families-dealing-with-autism-and-health-care?

Posted by pfa at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2008

Autism Twitter Day, A Digital Scrapbook

Yesterday I briefly blogged about an event that was going on right that moment -- Autism Twitter Day. What is Autism Twitter Day? Well, yesterday it was the first ever Twitter-based 24-hour international marathon discussion of autism, Asperger Syndrome, and autism spectrum disorders by the people who have it, their parents, family and loved ones, all talking about care, treatment, education, interventions, strategies, blessings, gifts, talents, grace, challenges, anger, insurance, and much much more.

Now, I had been informed beforehand that this was going to happen, but beforehand, it seemed like just one more social media do-right event. There are lots of them, and I attend or help with as many as I can, and they ALL seem to have wonderful things happening. This one was something magical. It far surpassed any of my expectations, which were admittedly vague. There was a synchronicity, a dynamism, an energy to the event that crested early and just kept going.

I came into the event pretty late -- it was already midafternoon. I had missed most of the early discussion. I quickly realized something special was going on, and wanted to capture the archive, but discovered that I was already too late - Twitter Search allows you to capture the archive for a topic going back 100 pages, with an average of 15 tweets per page (roughly 1500 tweets maximum in the archive). I'm not sure when the even actually started, but by 3pm the 100 page limit was only going back 6 hours -- about 10am. The first several hours of discussion are forever gone.

As soon as I realized the problem, I did what I could to capture the conversation and archive it, with the assistance of AJ Turner who wrote a script to harvest what was available then of the archive. I supplemented with a lot of cutting and pasting, and will be attempting to glue together pieces. Why I mentioned this is because knowing that I missed several hours worth of conversation, I still have around 5,000 tweets in my collection. If that collection represented the entire 24 hour period, it would average at about three and a half tweets per minute on autism throughout the day. Trying to not just keep up with the flow of conversation, but to also contribute to it!

For comparison with other trending topics, today the 100 page archive for Obama goes back 4 hours, for Santa 6 hours, Xmas 5 hours, and for iPhone 4 hours. The day of the Autism Twitter Day event, the stream of discussion about autism was so intense that twice during the day it outstripped every other topic on Twitter. For one December day on Twitter, autism was bigger than Obama, bigger than Xmas, bigger than Santa. WOW.

I tried to capture a bit of the flavor of the event, from how it was arranged and managed, to the significance for the participants. While autism as a condition is on the rise in America, it is still a topic about which most folk are pretty uninformed. Trust me on this. My son is on the spectrum, albeit on the high end of the spectrum, and I know just how little knowledge is typical from conversations with people at church, in the community, peers at work, and even more surprising educators and clinicians who are in the situation of working with my son professionally. I belong to a couple family groups, email groups, subscribe to a couple newsletters and magazines. I buy books that I skim and mean to read but never manage to finish. You know the drill -- what you do when you need to know and care but can't always cope beyond just getting through the day. On any given day, I might typically receive and notice from one to a half dozen communications about autism spectrum concerns. Comparing that to the thousands that streamed past during Autism Twitter Day is impossible.

The following slideshow is a very selective overview of highlights from the amazing people who highjacked Twitter for a day to function as an autism awareness and advocacy tool, and the amazing experience that was Autism Twitter Day.

Disclaimer: Autism Twitter Day was an amazing experience, but was almost too much to absorb. I suspect that each person to participate experienced the event quite differently. This collection represents only my personal experience and highlights from the event.

This is what the presentation looks like on my computer (since it didn't translate quite right into Slideshare).

Autism Twitter Day, A Digital Scrapbook

This is what it looks like in Slideshare. The important part is you still get the general idea about some of what happened in the event.

Posted by pfa at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008

Autism Twitter Day!

@autismfamily on Twitter has been working to bring off the most amazing social media event I've seen in a long time (aside from the recent American election) -- Autism Twitter Day.

Autism Twitter Day

I will do a full blogpost later about why exactly it is so incredible, but I wanted to give you a head's up to check it out while it is still going on. I feel a bit guilty because I knew it was coming, but did not have any idea it was going to be THIS amazing. Catch it while you can. For background information, please read this.

Autism Family Adventures: RSVP For Autism Twitter Day: http://autismfamiily.blogspot.com/2008/12/rsvp-for-autism-twitter-day.html

Autism Twitter Day

To watch it happen, go here.

Twitter: Search: ASD: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23ASD

Autism Twitter Day - Stream

Posted by pfa at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2008

Google Flu Trends

Announced today, Google is using individual's search term patterns to track and predict the spread of the flu.

Google: Flu Trends: http://www.google.org/flutrends/

Google Flu Tracker

Notice that even though the country at large has only barely started to climb, Michigan is showing more activity.

Google Flu Trends: Michigan

I am, on the one hand, excited to see Google applying appropriate data mining techniques to develop and test skills that could be used for disaster management and general health. On the other hand, I think this tool needs some work.

First, Google Flu Trends needs to be tested and validated by public health researchers. It is great that Google is putting it out, and I am very excited about this resources as an indicator or trend showing Google's commitment to the community at large. I would be more excited if I saw articles comparing and contrasting it with other similar tracking tools, and linking it to other informational tools beyond saying the CDC says you should get a flu shot.

Second, IMHO, the methodology. Of course, being that this is Google, we don't really have a clue how they arrived at this. They give us access to their data, but we don't know what they are tracking or how this is related to the outcomes. The methodology is missing, and I'm not sure how relevant the data is when you don't know the methodology that resulted in the data. We are lacking the opportunity to validate the data. This is a problem for me. If it is something more just of general interest, then fine, trust Google without knowing how they got there. With health information, I would feel safer if I knew more. Frankly, you have the same problem with Google Trends looking at the corporate and business information they make available. Fascinating, but would you put you money behind it in planning investments?

Which leads to my third thought. What little I've been able to tease out about this is that they are tracking the geographic use and incidence of phrases such as "flu diagnosis". I hope that they are using a rich collection of words related to the flu. Perhaps something like this:

(diagnosis OR symptoms OR "what's wrong" OR "do I have") (flu OR influenza OR vomit OR vomiting OR cough OR coughing OR chills OR aches OR aching OR headache): http://tinyurl.com/5ujuo7

Of if you want to get more technical, maybe something like this:

(diagnosis OR symptoms) (flu OR influenza OR ~vomit OR ~cough OR influenza virus OR influenza viridae OR H3N2 OR H1N1 OR H5N1 OR H9N2 OR "upper respiratory tract infection" OR URTI OR "severe acute respiratory syndrome" OR SARS OR pandemic OR Orthomyxoviridae OR "respiratory syncytial virus" OR RSV OR "West Nile virus"): http://tinyurl.com/5tjler

Now, what would make this all much more powerful, would be to bring together a collection of data sources that contain things people say about their health. Google searches is one. I would not be surprised if Google included phrases in people's email if they have GMail accounts. If you also included microblogging tools such as Twitter, Identi.ca, Plurk, Jaiku, Pownce, etc., social networks such as Facebook and Myspace, and other social media, then we'd have such a rich source of sources that I would hope the predictive validity would be very high. Here is a screenshot from someone else who is thinking about this - Morbus on Twitter.

Twitter: Morbus: http://twitter.com/morbus

Twitter: Morbus (Flu Tracking)

Now, I just wish Morbus would share their findings. :)

Posted by pfa at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2008

After the Twitter Blackout, part 2: What are "Best Practices" Now, Two Months Later?

Today is the 2 month anniversary of when Twitter accidentally deleted my account. Actually, my first post on this was shortly after midnight on August 2nd, so the account was deleted on the first. Here is the background for those who missed this.

Twitter Banned Who?: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/twitter_banned.html

Twitter "Banning", Day Two Report: Social Media Troubleshooting: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/twitter_banning.html

After the Twitter Blackout, part 1: Lessons Learned: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/lessons_learned.html

I find, even two months later, that this event had a large impact on my life and how I work. I grieve that even a month after the original event, there were people still suffering the same problems. One individual had to wait over three weeks to get Twitter to restore their account, if you can even believe that.

Get Satisfaction: Twitter: Account Deleted/banned with no reasoning: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/lessons_learned.html

At the time my account was deleted, there were several other accounts deleted. There was a fairly substantial community outcry and expression of concern. Many people offered suggestions and asked for Twitter to make visible changes in how it handles community support. Has Twitter addressed the concerns? Not as far as I know. Maybe they did, but it was done quietly? One of the most often repeated requests was for Twitter to post information about this problem and its solution to the blog. This certainly never happened.

As a result, my personal engagement with Twitter has changed. Frankly, I don't trust them anymore. I still Twitter, but I am not as enthusiastic about it, I'm not there as often. The relationship has been wounded, and the wound seems to be totally one-sided. So, what am I doing about it?

I have changed how I microblog — I have become diverse, and work aggressively to be present in a variety of microblogging platforms. I am pfanderson in Twitter, Plurk, identi.ca, Pownce, Jaiku and Friendfeed. I spend time in each of them, in roughly that order.

Web 2.0: Microblogging Web 2.0: Microblogging
Web 2.0: Microblogging Web 2.0: Microblogging
Web 2.0: Microblogging Web 2.0: Microblogging - FriendFeed

How am I maintaining a presence if I don't visit them equally often? I'm using Ping.fm.

Web 2.0: Microblogging

Ping allows me to post simultaneously to several locations, and allows me to customize groups or subsets of places I want to post at the same time, as well as allowing individual posts. Advantages are many:
- present in multiple spaces;
- posts are archived in many places as well as in Ping;
- time efficiencies;
- convenience.

Twitter, Plurk and Identi.ca I try to check daily or more often. Pownce and Jaiku I visit monthly or when I receive a notice that someone has commented or replied to something I've posted there. I wish I could be equally present in all, but I just don't have the time to manage it. If anyone else has worked out a good approach, let me know. I'd love some ideas on best practices for microblogging.

Some people really dislike the approach I've taken.

Web 2.0: Microblogging

It is a bit like being a tourist or summer resident in a beach property. You engage with the community, but only three months of the year. The relationships are not as rich, as intense, as deep.

Aside from microblogging itself, I am relocating my blog to a platform that will allow me to archive my tweets as blogposts. This blog is currently in a branded institutional Movable Type platform. It lacks a lot of functionality, which I have tolerated specifically to be associated with our institutional brand. No longer. It is costing me too much. I will be switching this blog to WordPress sometime over the next month, I hope.

The really big thing for me out of all this is FriendFeed. I am starting to love it kind of like I used to love Twitter, but ... I am reluctant to trust any one platform at this point.

I am sad about it, a bit. Excited to have learned these new tools and strategies. I miss being deeply engaged with Twitter, marinating in it the way I used to. I have found new communities in the other spaces. I wish all my Twitter friends were in FriendFeed or the other spaces, so I could really easily engage as richly and deeply as I used to. It is kind of like moving to a new town. You miss your friends, but you make new friends.

I welcome other thoughts and suggestions. Exploring widely ...

Posted by pfa at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2008

After the Twitter Blackout, part 1: Lessons Learned

A week ago today I was still reeling from having been banned on Twitter three days earlier (part 1, part 2). My account had been returned, in part, but still wasn't entirely functional. It would be Wednesday before everything worked again.

Blogpost number one about the Twitter blackout was mostly to show there was a mistake of some sort and more than a couple people were effected. The second post was to make an attempt at accurately describing what happened. The plan was that the third blogpost would describe the process of how the account got fixed, but to do that I really needed to wait for it to BE fixed! By the time it was working, it was the middle of a new work week and I had other things to do. During this time a lot of other folk had their say about the process of things getting fixed, and they did a very nice job of covering that angle well. You can find a collection of posts and more on this event here:

http://delicious.com/rosefirerising/twitter+banned

In particular, I'd like to highlight a five part series by Dave Delaney that culminated with "Why I Hate Twitter" (and included why he loves Twitter), a piece by Connie Crosby, and two thoughtful pieces about what Twitter could have done differently by Dave Fleet and EagleDawg (neither of whom were victims of the blockout!).

Dave Made That: Why I Hate Twitter: http://blog.davemadethat.com/2008/08/03/5-reasons-why-i-hate-twitter/

Connie Crosby's Day Off, or, How Twitter Decided We Needed a Break: http://conniecrosby.blogspot.com/2008/08/connie-crosbys-day-off-or-how-twitter.html

Dave Fleet: Four Lessons from Twitter’s Spam/Customer-Busting Episode: http://davefleet.com/2008/08/four-lessons-from-twitters-spamcustomer-busting-episode/

Eagle Dawg Blog: Blogger vs. Twitter account bans: Observations in communication clarity and confusion: http://eagledawg.blogspot.com/2008/08/blogger-vs-twitter-account-bans.html

There were also several voices making cogent recommendations at the original problem report page for this issue.

Get Satistifaction: Twitter: Account Deleted/banned with no reasoning: http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/account_deleted_banned_with_no_reasoning

So, since everyone else has done such a wonderful job, what I would like to do instead is to look at what I learned from the event, and suggest a few best practices for microblogging for consideration. You will notice, I said "microblogging" rather than "Twitter" although, last Friday morning, in my mind, they were virtually synonymous.

First, for lessons learned, this part could easily be modeled from today's post by Luis Suarez who was banned for a couple weeks from Google Search.

Suarez, Luis. 6 Things I Learned While Being Banned From Google Search: http://www.searchnewz.com/blog/talk/sn-6-200808116ThingsILearnedWhileBeingBannedfromGoogleSearch.html

To paraphrase Luis's list of six things:
1. I need a new provider
2. I need a new "look" (facelift)
3. It's all about the community
4. I have amazing friends
5. Don't procrastinate on adopting new tech
6. Twitter is still my friend.

I need a new provider

The real message here is don't put all your eggs in one basket. What was so devastating to me with the Twitter fiasco was that I depended on it so utterly. Twitter had, for me, replaced many of the functions of email and I had entirely quit using feed readers in favor of Twitter. I also used it to date-time stamp certain work functions for statistics and tracking. When my account was deleted I lost access to both the new information coming in and my archived data, as well as my primary communication device.
Take Home: Diversify where you stream

I need a new "look" (facelift)

Luis decided he needed to do some housekeeping on his site to make it credible to the 'oversight committee.' For me, it is second guessing what Twitter was looking for that made a human review my Twitter stream as spam. My best guess so far is that following so many news feeds instead of using my RSS feed reader contributed to my following/follower balance looking skewed. I was also following people who didn't post because once upon a time they said something of interest to me. I am now doing housekeeping, going back looking for people I can unfollow to bring the ratio toward a more equal balance.
Take Home: Who do you REALLY need to follow?

It's all about the community

The community is really what made me so dependent on Twitter in the first place. In the Twitter world, there are just too many amazing, brilliant, aware, creative, insightful, funny, human, compassionate, generous people. I wish I could follow them all. I wish I could meet them all. Meanwhile, they share so much that is valuable to me, both of practical utility for my job as well as bits of sparkle, humor and compassion that make day shine a little more. I try to reciprocate and do the same for them.
Take Home: It's all about the community. :)

I have amazing friends

No explanation needed here. Wow. I cried for help, and people answered. People I know, people I knew slightly, people I didn't know existed. And they helped. They tried, and they did. Wow.
Take Home: Take care of your friends, you don't know when you'll need them.

Don't procrastinate on adopting new tech

During the time my Twitter account was blocked, I found myself scrambling to learn and use a number of alternate tools that had been recommended widely on Twitter. I had already created accounts in many, but hadn't taken the time to figure them out and learn how to use them. I hadn't needed them, and was happy the way things were. Well, that changed, in a hurry. If I had already been actively using FriendFeed, Ping, Jaiku, Pownce, Identi.ca I might not have been so stressed. What initially actually got me help were the alternate tools I had taken the time to learn and use - Plurk, Summize, Delicious, etcetera.
Take Home: Don't wait until there is a crisis to learn the new tools.

Twitter is still my friend

Jake Goldman worked heroically in partnership with the Twitter tech team to find and fix the many problems created by the account deletions. It took long enough that I built new skills and habits, but I still find myself spending most of my microblogging time in conversations on Twitter.
Take Home: It's good to be back. :)

Posted by pfa at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2008

Twitter "Banning", Day Two Report: Social Media Troubleshooting

Friday August 1st, I had taken a day of vacation to clean house, and was working from home. Late in the day I started to experience funkiness with my account on Twitter. Now, two important points. First point, earlier this week I stated in this blog that Twitter is my #2 productivity tool. In other words, this is REALLY important for me! Second point, Twitter funkiness (like Second Life funkiness) is not unusual, so at first I did not realize this was anything beyond the typical.

After a few hours I started to get worried and was digging a little harder to figure out the problem. That was when I realized my account was gone - I tried to go to my profile page, and oops! no one home. Ahem. Lucky for me, at that shocking moment, I happened to be on the phone with a Twitter friend who was able to make enquiries on my behalf.

Twitter Banned Me! And More!

I tried to report the problem through official channels, discovering that at least one other person had the same problem.

Twitter Banned Me! And More!

Taking a closer look at the official complaint page started by @tibbon, it was very clear that this problem was not being taken seriously. @Tibbon had been told, basically, that it must be his fault. He had been trying rather frantically for several hours to get assistance, and had been told it would probably take a week for them to get to his problem.

Get Satisfaction: Twitter: Account deleted/banned with no reasoning: http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/account_deleted_banned_with_no_reasoning

All kinds of alarms went off. I had just been asked to demo Twitter (among other social techs) at an important upcoming meeting. Wait a week? For them to just look at the problem? Ummm, that could be a REAL problem! I still did the right thing, added my own comments to the page, and waited for a response.

Meanwhile, @ev had replied to my friend and said he was looking into it. We thought, oh, we'll hear more soon.

Twitter Banned Me! And More!

Now, consider that none of the normal paths for Twitter problems were open to me. There was no way to send a Tweet to the right folks for help. Their emails are secret (rightly so), so there was no way to send an email. Going to the help page put me in a loop I had already attempted, and which was not working for @tibbon. There was no information on the Twitter Blog, nor on the status page.

Idea: Use social media to troubleshoot a social media problem. I thought it would be interesting to report out on the social media that was used to try to get the attention of Twitter brought to the problem. My first plurk on the topic was around 9:30PM. I kept describing the problem, and after a few hours, was feeling quite concerned that there had been no further reply.

Plurk, 1:30am, pfanderson:
Twitter "Banned" - Day 2-3

Plurk, 3am, davedelaney:
Twitter Banned Me! And More!

As I was unsure whether plurking would reach the right people, I also tried to think of who I knew in other social networks that were also in Twitter and might be willing to send a message on my/our behalf. I started bookmarking relevent pages and discussions in Delicious, adding notes begging people to send Ev a message.

Twitter - "Banned"? - Day 2, Late morning

Before I actually went to bed, I saw this picked up by bloggers who were not victims, and both Dave and I had written our own first blogposts on the topic (Dave's / Mine). As the first victim, @Tibbon had blogged this earlier in the day.

Blogs: The Little One (Kristen):
More Twitter Banning Stuff

Someone on Plurk (I think it was LEMills) said she'd Digg this, and someone did.

Twitter "Banned"? - Day 2, Early PM, Making Progress

As the night went on, people discovered more and more folk who had been banned (suspended, deleted, blocked, what have you). I don't know if it was luck or not, but I found myself in really good company for the group of folks who had been banned. @Tibbon was friends with Jeff Pulver and Chris Brogan, which got him reinstated quickly. Chris Brogan posted discussion to FriendFeed about this.

Twitter - "Banned"? - Day 2, Late morning

By 2AM, we were seeing the story starting to make its way through the Plurk and Twitter communities. I went to bed seeing tweets show up in the Twitter Search (Summize) that folks missed us and were hoping our accounts would be back in the morning.

Unfortunately, that wasn't what happened. I awoke int the morning to more discussions, more victims of the problem, and still no response from anyone official at Twitter. We kept working at it, with the awareness of the problem and concerns of lack of communication from Twitter spreading across the social media. At that point, it was letting the community work at the problem, and continuing to keep information up to date - sharing responses, new strategies and tips for verifying the decency of the victims, and identities of new victims as they were discovered.

Late Saturday afternoon, Jason Goldman from Twitter officially came on the case and started actively working for a solution. At this point, things became hopeful, and seemed to move very quickly. Within and hour, they seemed to have figured out what happened. Portions of solutions came into place literally within a matter of a few hours. But that is another story. This was the story of how the story penetrated other social media.

Posted by pfa at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2008

Twitter Banned Who????

I am a not just a Twitter fan, but more like a Twitter fanatic. I liked to say I suffer from Twitterphilia. In fact in my blogpost yesterday I said that Twitter was my #2 productivity tool, with Delicious being #1.

Today I passed the nice round number of my 5,000th Tweet.

Twitter: 5,000 Tweets!

Well, Twitter is having some problems. I don't know if they know why, but they've inexplicably started to ban and delete accounts for some of their best supporters and apparently random other users. I could go into a lot of details, but suffice it to say I am one of the deleted and banned accounts. Me, and @tibbon, @conniecrosby, @davedelaney, and probably other folk who haven't even discovered it yet.

Several of these deleted and banned accounts are for social medial power users. Of course, since we couldn't get into Twitter to get help, and since Twitter support either did not reply (Friday night, after all) or said we'd have to wait a week for a fix, several of us squawked on other social media services asking our friends and followers to try to get us help. What else could we do? @Tibbon had been trying to get help for seven hours without any useful response. Then when more of us joined the problem page, what hope did we see?

Here is a slideshow of screenshots that illustrate part the tale.

If you want more detail, here is the slide set on Flickr.

Tech - Twitter - "Banned"?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/sets/72157606495884625/

Now, some folk are scared - many people are worried that they'll be next. You see that in some of the search engine screenshots. You will notice there are no screenshots of the blog or status pages for Twitter, because they hadn't said anything new for a few days. There was no evidence that Twitter knew this was happening, aside from @Ev's one reply to @Inertial_Voom, saying that he'd check into it.

Here is a discussion on Plurk (one of many!).

"davedelaney pfanderson and tibbon have both been suspended without reason from Twitter too.": http://www.plurk.com/p/21npg

Dave asked for help from Mashable and TechCrunch. Not sure if they saw his request. Meanwhile, Dave and Tibbon and I were all asking for help via GetSatisfaction. You can see the discussion and testimonials here:

GetSatisfaction: Twitter: Account Deleted/Banned With no reasoning: http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/account_deleted_banned_with_no_reasoning

Really, folk, we are not bad people! We are people who love (or loved) Twitter - Twitter evangelists! I teach about Twitter, I present about it at conferences, I have slideshows in Slideshare about it, I blog about. How can I honestly try to persuade administrators to make use of Twitter for marketing and community outreach when stuff like this happens, the response time is poor, and even if they are working on fixing the problem, they don't TELL US WHAT IS GOING ON?

Worst of all, I'd been complaining for weeks that I wanted to back up my twitterstream and archive my data, but they were limiting access and blocking the archive. I need my archive. I need a way to get at it. And now it has been deleted. Without warning, without discussion, without consent.

Posted by pfa at 12:09 AM | Comments (2)

June 15, 2008

Twitter Pros and Cons from A2B3

Twitter is, for me, the middle one of my top three personal and professional online productivity tools.

1. Twitter
3. Second Life

It is not uncommon that folks ask me why these, so it is on my mind a lot and something I tend to blog about. About a month ago I was at lunch with my favorite and most productive offline productivity social network - A2B3 (Ann Arbor Bi Bim Bop). There is a tradition that we pass a question around the table, which gave me the opportunity to push the question of Twitter out to other people.

I asked:
- Do you use Twitter?
- If Yes: what makes it useful to you?
- If No: what would it need to do to be useful to you?

I got a bunch of replies, divided roughly into pros and cons. My notes are pretty sketchy, but for what they're worth, here they are!

CONS

* I need to be able to write in free text. The 140-character limit puts me off.
* I use email.
* My cell phone is enough for me.
* I would need an iPhone before it would be useful to me.
* I dislike push media.
* Twitter is a love/hate thing.
* I record audio, I don't write.
* I'm already saturated.
* Don't want to censor myself.
* I use LiveJournal, and that takes all my time for this type of communication.

PROS

* microblogging
* ease of writing entries
* accessible via phone
* accessible via web, apps, email, or phone
* SYNCHRONICITY!!
* use it for my job
* I live-tweet, then blog
* I twitter for the love of twittering
* finding out if my bus is on time
* getting news feeds
* it's friendly and fun
* marketing
* real people & real stories; real connections, real emotions
* can integrate with GMail and GTalk
* has replaced my blogging

So, that was the quick ten-minute view. More on some of these someday. If you want to see what I'm twittering, you can find me at http://www.twitter.com/pfanderson

Posted by pfa at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2008

Twittering the Plenary of the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting

I've been gone this week at the Medical Library Association annual meeting. I gave a bunch of talks (more on that later), and only really attended one major event (because I was working too hard!). The big event was the Plenary Session on Web 2.0. It was a superb intro to the fundamental social technologies of primary interest to medical librarians. They had a panel of four speakers (David Rothman, Amanda Etches-Johnson, Melissa Rethlefsen & Bart Ragon) introduced by Mark Funk, MLA President.

One of the presentations I gave was about Twitter. As readers of this blog are already aware, I like to live-tweet presentations I attend. This was no exception. ;) There had also been a GroupTweet account set up for the conference, and several people were twittering about the presentation to the group account. At the same time, they were dialoging about the event in their regular Twitter streams.

The event was webcast, and there ended up being a fascinating dialog between folks twittering the event in person and those attending via the web. The broader twittersphere caught wind of some of this, so there was also an 'external' dialog with non-medical librarians. In capturing the twitterlog, there were also sidebar discussions, one of which I preserved. While twittering away, I had a reference question from a cancer patient in NY. During the short break in between speakers, I took her question to our local Cancer Center librarian, Ruti Volk. Ruti gave me some short answers and contacts for fuller information, which I twittered back. During the session! So I was actually reporting out on the event at the same time I was answering reference questions, and partaking of the real world conversations to do so.

I thought it would be fascinating and perhaps a useful illustration of the power of Twitter to assemble the complete set of tweets relating to this noteworthy Plenary session. This might be especially of interest to people who are NOT currently using Twitter, to get a sense of what it might be like.

What I've done is this. First I collected all the tweets from the open GroupTweet stream that related to the plenary event. I put all the tweets in chronological order. I then checked the streams of everyone who was following the GroupTweet account for tweets during that 3 hour span of time. I embedded those in the appropriate place of the main stream, indented. Where there appeared to be a conversation going on, I placed the entire conversation (indented again) at the point of the beginning comment. Tweets included from people who were not following the main account were included only if they directly connected to the conversation, and were italicized to show that they are from 'outside', so to speak. Permission was requested to incorporate those tweets that were from protected streams.

The result is a mock up of what you might have seen if you followed Twitter and just followed the primary players in this discussion. See the results below.

==========

Posted by pfa at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)