January 2011

The agile approach to a one-page executive summary, part 1: Getting started (DRAFT)

Update, February 2: Final version posted on NWEN’s blog.

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How can we use #PrivChat to press for #privacy rights? (REVISED)

How can we utilize organizational capacity provided by forums like #PrivChat to press gov't/companies for #privacy rights?

Update, August 2: discussion of Google+ and HR1981 in a new comment

Originally written January 19.  Updated January 24, after discussions with Weaver2World and MissHealth.
I modified one of the recommendations and added a new one. See the pink highlights in the text.

Mark Stanley of the Center for Democracy and Technology wrapped up Tuesday’s #privchat with a heck of a good question.  And as is usually the case in the weekly Twitter privacy chat, there were good answers from a variety of perspectives. For example:

I see fora like #privchat as launchpads for further advocacy and to facilitate networking on these issuesPublic awarness + vocalization = attention from gov't/cos = action to diminish impact on bottom line (?)Use these fora to publicly badger the privacy villains and bless the privacy heroes like #ThankTwitter.i think it important to recognize this is a place for divergent views, including large orgs, to participate and discussFan of positive reinforcement when companies / orgs do something intelligent / right. Forums can aggregate / focus attn

All great ideas … so I put my process hat on and suggested that we encourage people to think and blog about it, and continue the discussion next week.  Here’s my contribution (with early assistance from @hellrazr of @PrivacyActivism and additional suggestions from @Weaver2World).

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Prisms, Kool-Aid, and an Opportunity (a response to Vivek Wadhwa on Quora)

a red balloon saying Quora and a pencil about to pop it

Silicon Valley is again drinking its own Kool-Aid; it is looking at the world through its own prism.

— Vivek Wadhwa on TechCrunch

Quora has that certain magic that only one or two startups a year have. When it first launched it seemed kinda dumb, a slightly better version of q&a sites from before, that all flailed into spam. But it became exceptionally clear very shortly that it wasn’t like those other sites. that the product, combined with the launch strategy of concentrating on a certain group of people (which is how facebook launched as well) made for a very nice product. Now the question is can they turn the corner. I think they will.

TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington, in a comment

Oooh, controversy!

In Life imitates art imitates life … I’ve been talking why I come to the same conclusion as Vivek, so I was looking forward to seeing what he had to say on.  And there’s some very good stuff, including an excellent point I hadn’t seen elsewhere, talking the important of topic-specific and community-oriented Q&A sites:

This is where people with common interests will gather and exchange ideas.  For example, for people seeking legal advice, there is LawPivot, and for businesses looking for experts, there is Focus.   For techies, there are sites like StackOverflow, Slashdot, Hacker News; for children, there is Togetherville; for business students, there is PoetsandQuants; for entrepreneurs in India, there is StartupQnA; for Indian accountants, there is CAClubIndia; and China has its own groups, and so do many other countries.

Indeed! So I added another bullet to my answer on How would Quora be different if it prioritized diversity.

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Blog for Choice Day: Yes, I’m concerned — and also encouraged

Today’s Blog for Choice Day. This year’s question is

Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?

To which my answer is a resounding “yes”.  The combination of well-financed political assaults on women’s right to choose, assassinations years of packing courts with conservatives, and lack of support from key Democrats have all severely restricted women’s right to choose.  In fact, “concerned” isn’t strong enough: alarmed, scared, and angry.

But as NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin said in their post, I’m not defeated.  In fact, I’m with Shark-Fu, who has a great post on Angry Black Bitch: Be Encouraged

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#mooreandme and #p2: learnings for progressives on Twitter (REVISED DRAFT)

Draft, work in progress. Feedback welcome!

Last updated February 5.

#p2 logo

Twitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”. Demographically and stylisticly, Twitter is far less male-dominated than the big blogs of the progressive blogosphere …

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter, February 2009

Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.

How #Mooreandme Worked, Lili Loofbourow, December 2010

Twitter was an instinctive choice for #MooreandMe, because it made the target of the protest accessible and ensured that he could hear us. But I liked it as a medium for #DearJohn too, because it was really equalizing, it wasn’t hierarchical, it ensured that voices and perspectives could influence the conversation regardless of how well-connected or well-known they were, and it was a very visible, trackable way to register dissent.

– Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, interviewed in where is your line?, January 2011

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Life imitates art imitates life?

Talk about “ripped from today’s headlines” … here’s an excerpt I was just editing last night from g0ddesses.net, my comic novel-in-progress. The scene’s set on a discussion forum that’s modeled after Hacker News:

startup founder: ladzzz.com is like Quora meets Foursquare with questions guys want to know about.  and game mechanics.
tech blogger: i know an unnamed startup doing Quora meets GameCrush with game mechanics like Zynga
angel investor: you’re thinking small.  why not Quora plus Badgeville’s game mechanics for the enterprise?

two question marksToday, I saw a link on HackerNews to a Read Write Web story Quora for the Enterprise: Two Contenders:

Last week we asked whether we needed a Yelp for the enterprise. Ed Borasky* suggested that Quora could fill the role of providing crowdsourced reviews of enterprise software vendors. Focus.com, a more business-centric questions and answer site, could possibly do this as well.

But what about Quora for the enterprise?

Indeed!   And reading further in the story, discovered that one of the contenders is “is applying gamification principles in an attempt to drive adoption”.

Nice to know I’m in sync with the Zeitgeist.

Life imitates art.

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Thoughts about a social media campaign for “The Stripping of Freedoms”

Work in progress! See discussion questions at the bottom

excerpt from The Stripping of Freedom logoEPIC’s The Stripping of Freedoms conference has an all-star cast: Kate Hanni of FlyersRights, pilot Michael Roberts of Fed Up Flyers, Jim Babb of We Won’t Fly, Prof. Jeffrey Rosen, Bruce Schneier, Nadhira Al-Khalili of CAIR, Chip Pitts of BORDC, Ginger McCall and Lillie Coney of EPIC, and many many more.  So it’s a great chance to mobilize the resistance to the TSA.

Social media* are an important way of getting the word out; letting people participate whether or not they can make it to Washington DC; putting pressure on Congress, the Obama administration, and the airlines; and trying to get the traditional media to cover our side of the story as well as the TSA’s.   Here’s some thoughts about how to approach it.

The first step is to let people know about the conference — and get them excited about it.  There are a lot of easy ways to do this: invite people to the Facebook event, share the links to EPIC’s page and blog posts on Facebook and Myspace, tweet it, mail it to your friends who are likely to be interested, tell any bloggers and journalists you know about it. A lot of people have never done anything like this before, so we’ll try to have some basic instructions available.  We’ll also set up threads in the FlyerTalk forums and the We Won’t Fly blog to ask for questions and strategy suggestions.

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