Category Archives: the social web

Meeting Santana

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I just connected with Santana on LinkedIn

I couldn’t believe he reached out to me like that — so totally amazing, right?

I mean, its not Carlos Santana, of course — its Henderson Santana

I don’t really actually know Henderson Santana IRL { that’s ‘in real life‘ for those not familiar with internet slangology ;] } — like, we’ve never actually met face-to-face or anything, or even virtually now that I think of it

This makes me pause and wonder a bit …

Am I too friendly on social media? Is it wrong or strange to connect randomly like this in an online and public forum like this ( and other ) social web experience prior to actually knowing a person and how they might influence my personal brand, among other potential ripple effects to my online identity? Do I take my social presence across multiple SM properties too lightly? Do I come across as I too playful and too casual online? Do others perceive me as unprofessional or inappropriate by my accepting a request like this to connect upon a cold and seemingly random invitation sent by a virtual ( and also real ) stranger that lives somewhere in the world on the other side of my computer monitor?

All I know is it frikkin’ Friday y’alL — enough with The Spanish Inquisition here, right? — who cares? — I’m here to have fun, get some rawkin’ creative work done, and to just play and discover the rules through experimental, semi-naïve doing — if Henderson or Carlos or any other of the mere instant acquaintances start to even feel toxic via Social, there’s an amazing click or tap I can access to cut ’em away — or better yet, I could interact a bit and find out what the strange behavior’s all about, when and if it even happens at all

but, up front — I give people the benefit of the doubt for a bit up-front and figure it all out as I go along — why over-stress about this shit, right? — i mean its just Social ;]

Chewbacca comes out

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[: just kidding :]

seemed like an appropriate title for this low-key semi-Warholization of our favourite wookie as he walks the desolate, snowy-white landscape of the ice planet Hoth

i really just pink-tinted Chewbacca to add to the June 17th stream of pink requested by IK on the Facebook Event ‘Gimme Some Sugar’check it out ;]

other than that, back to the trap

coming to theatre near you — The Nigerian Frequency

‘in a world where people and machines live in perfect harmony side by side, and where virtual ‘friendles’ help guide us through our experiences in the world to help optimize the quality of our human life … one man faces an extraordinary challenge … ‘

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but seriously folks — just dropping you this friendly blogPost about a movie made by some dear friends of mine out in the remote nether regions of Chelmsford, Massachusetts

over the last year Matt and Zachary Scott, Pat Snow, and Christopher Borden diligently squeezed in bursts of productive writing and fieldwork filming with an extensive and complicated cast of virtual and real actors to bring you a tale filled with dark humor commentary about our dystopian near-future humanity as effected by cryptically-dysfunctional and subversive social media technologies 

written and directed by Matt ScottThe Nigerian Frequency explores the psychoSocial tension that could actually foretell the unfortunate post-humanic fate for our future-state humanity

read this official press release to get the official low down on The Nigerian Frequency

see the official Nigerian Frequency film trailer up on Vimeo

The Nigerian Frequency will premier at 7pm out at The Somerville Theatre as the official kick-off feature-length film for The 39th Boston Sci-Fi Film Festivalgo to this Eventbrite link to get tickets to The Nigerian Frequency or head on over to this Eventbrite page to get more info and ticket packages for more lengthy fun at The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival

after the premier of The Nigerian Frequency, the writer and director Matt Scott and a small, select portion of the production team and crew will linger for an official question and answer panel to reflect on the themes of the film and the processes of making The Nigerian Frequency, so please come on out and join in on the intellectually absurdist science fiction fun on February 7th

we hope to see you there

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you mean, there’s another blog?

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a new direction for mobile design

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for the most part when we think about design for our mobile devices we have an image like the one above in mind — its a bit of a personal relationship we’ve developed with our smartphones, and the interactions are considered ‘micro-interactions,’ quick, task-based little spurts of use to check a little buzz or beep that went off in our pocket — we’ve got a little friend on us at all times now, and that little friend brings us the magic of real-time updates of information and some simulated sense of ‘being social’ through experiences like Twitter, Facebook and the like

a lot of the graphics you’ll find pertaining to using smartphones in particular show the one-to-one — person to machine — sort of relationship — and the person engaged with looking down at the little magic screen in the palm of their hands is either smiling and content, as if staring into a good friend’s or lover’s face directly or somewhat serious if the visual story being told is more about critical business communications

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we get the picture though — we all know the experience, the interaction, that’s going on between the facial expression, the position of the hands and fingers and the general body language and position of the neck and gaze

its a rather solitary experience, though, right?

even with the advent and common, everyday use of the supposed social web, the interaction is really between you and the data being displayed on a tiny shiny screen

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in her book Alone Together — Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, MIT Psychologist Sherry Turkle takes a deep look at the worlds of sociable robotics and social media in their current state and the general effect these technological advances are having at a societal level — and as amazing as our inventions may be, the overall experience we end up having as human beings engaged with our technologies is unfortunately one largely steeped in isolation, loneliness and a sort of transactional behavior between people as mediated through the interactions we’re afforded to interact through

of course, we can also still participate and interact with each other in the moment, face to face, the old fashioned way, right? the analog means are always there for us to fall back upon, thank goodness — being in the same place at the same time can actually foster a certain vibrant energy and more efficient and active way to communicate, collaborate and get things done — but we can’t always meet face to face, in the current moment in today’s fast-paced society, unless, of course, we make the time and travel happen — at the end of the day, the feeling our device-driven world often leaves us with is a strange jumbled aftertaste of miscommunication, misunderstanding and an awkward, near-real-time, off-kilter distance between the actual people interacting through the devicery invented to facilitate better communication that can happen ‘anytime, anywhere’ according to the hypertechnophilic marketingSpeak we swim through on a daily basis

i would love to take the expertise i’ve built up over the last 20 sum odd years to try and steer the course in an entirely different direction

if our smartphones and other mobile paraphernalia are instruments of communication, might we then compare our iPhones and Androids to something more akin to a musical instrument? like a banjo, for instance?

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or maybe the comparison we try to draw is to something more like an orchestral instrument like the french horn

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whatever the metaphor might be — i would like to change how our interactions through these technologies feel and hopefully even change the actual way we use them

i’d like to take ’em and shake up the paradigm in a big way, ya know? and why not? i’m a fucking rather accomplished experience design architect and designer after all — i want to change the story of these technologies before we become more isolated and distant from each other

if we think of our smartphones and mobile devices more along the lines of music-making machines, as tools for thinking and collaborating together in real-time and space, we just be able to retell the story a bit and design for more orchestral synergistic ways to use these truly phenomenal technologies

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i don’t know what the actual experience or interface for these new interactive paradigms might be quite yet, but shouldn’t our devices and our interactions through them feel more like this beautiful photograph of this string trio as opposed to this business dude getting some off-sync email back in the city office?

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i actually think we need to start designing ways to allow our experiences through mobile and other new or evolving technologies actually better work in a together-like fashion, right? so instead of all the clutter and drowning information over-saturation of email and other truly horrendous collaborative cloud environments that only offer up a sandbox of confusion and uncoordinated, often disjointed collaborative team efforts — our new experiences should feel a lot more like what happens within the context of a real team — agility, muscle memory, easy means to pass the ball back and forth

or maybe better yet — maybe, just maybe — we might be able to think even bigger than that and design for interactions as graceful and wonderful-feeling as the coordinated, collaborative music-making of an orchestral ensemble

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i know its entirely possible — we just need to aim for that level of collaborative platform design — i don’t know that there’ll even be a Microsoft or Apple to take on this high task, as i’m sure its an enormous effort, but a truly wonderful one at that — i know that i would personally like my interactions and collaborations with all the people i work with to feel that powerful, fun and harmonious — and this is what i’ll be dreaming up through a storyFirst, iterative, human-centered process in my ample free time

i think this is gonna be a fun project to take on — i think its one of many projects that we need to design for in the world, one of many, too, that i personally want to dream up, brainstorm, workshop and design for — i can’t wait to share the progress as my efforts bear even little grapes and cumquats along the way as i’m sure its going to be an interesting journey

won’t you come and join me? 

 

things i like about blogging

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its cool to blog, right?

take about 15 minutes to Google up some imagery that’s inspired by some current thoughtFlow you might’ve been having lately that might { or might not } relate to what you’re inspired to write about — i mean, that’s the way it typically starts up, these blogPosts — you gotta get in the image

blogging is part writing — or some activity that’s associated with writing, like typing — and part visual storytelling

a quick note about the whole writing versus typing observation — there’s a famous quote about Jack Kerouac’s famous Beat novel ‘On the Road’ — after reading ‘On the Road,’ Truman Capote reflected on the book by saying, ‘That’s not writing, that’s typing’ — and as much as i personally don’t agree with Capote’s opinion on Kerouac, i do believe that now, more than ever, we see the results of this tendency, this trend we see over and over and over again in this Age of Instant Information Transmission — the act of writing, and the processes surrounding writing, editing, thinking, reflecting, editing, re-writing, editing some more, re-writing some more, re-re-writing and eventual publishing and distribution can now feel much more like the act of typing than ever before

i guess it all depends on which blog you’re reading and the approach that blogger takes to their writing or typing

no matter what kind of blogger you might be, and regardless of your opinion surrounding the writer versus typer debate, right about here is an excellent second spot to insert a random or semi-related image to continue with the visual portions of the storytelling procedures associated with blogging

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many blogPosts might stop at around the second image

some might end at about another paragraph or 2 after the second image insertion

but that’s kind of beside the point as the post might continue on with the main thoughts brought up earlier in the blogPost, much as this post does

getting back to the main topic of things i like about blogging

so, you might take pride in the thoughts and ideas you’re trying to communicate and there is a slight chance you might type and write and edit and really thoughtfully consider your target reading audience or audiences as you put your posts together — or you might be far more excited by the concept of being able to instantly push out into the interwebbish cyberStreams those hawt and immediate thoughts that are passionately scratching and scraping around at the tips of your bloggish lobes and the actual grammatical aspects or even the clarity or general lack thereof might suddenly win second place to the contest of these blogPost energies, these internal conflicts that often get most clearly straightened out as the blogger pushes or taps on the big, blue Publish button in WordPress

but it almost doesn’t really matter

after all, unless you’re really doing something to market your blog or somehow draw attention to it with links pushed out to Twitter or via email or put into a Facebook status update you’re really not going to have any readership anyways, right?

in fact, this blog { if you’re reading it at all } is the metaphoric equivalent to screaming into the silent and vast endless vacuum of deep outer space through a bendyStraw

there’s not even an affiliated echo as far as i know

i don’t even check up on it, its almost doesn’t matter to me

i’m sure there are different types of people blogging though, each with their own particular intentions, aims, goals, motivations and devotion to the art of blogging

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as you add further imagery to your blog, definitely feel and take advantage of the raw power of near-Dada-level randomness that can be leveraged during the textuavisual storytelling process

its quite liberating

just put anything in there, experiment all you want

you can actually sometimes benefit by putting totally disparate visual information into a blogPost you’re writing because then you’ll most likely consider building a Surrealist juxtaposition that might actually be extremely important to building good Search Engine Marketing phrases to exploit in putting your blog and your ideas up on the searchable webz we weave

i mean, i don’t know why i put that last image up there, but the chick is kinda hawt in her own way and i love that the scarfish-looking black area around her neck almost seems to push forward — looking nearly crow-like even — reaching beyond the obvious reflective phenomena of the glass that the female window-shopper looks through with desire for delightful pastry consumption

she wants it

and we want to see desire and to see attractive pastries that are the obsessive target of raw feminine desire and the collective subconscious desire espoused by all web-driven marketing, writing and expression

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and then there’s something liberating, too, in the kind of political power — or at least the power of potentially immediately readable thought that we feel when we put it out there on the webz through blogging

i promise to write more about that soon, too

as another advantage to blogging is that its a serial activity — you don’t need to complete cohesive and comprehensible thought on the web, its just non-essential to what its all about out here — in fact, the cliffhanger might be a tastier morsel to put in the mouths and minds of your readers as you put them posts up on the webz almighty

we’ll be back, after these menses

..:: teaching IxD ::..

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this Spring semester at Massachusetts College of Art and Design — which is, like, almost over, sadly enough — i got the distinct pleasure of taking the materials, sequencing and my approach to teaching Interaction Design { by night for MassArt’s Continuing Education Department } and filtering the entire course down into an independent study with Aliyah Domash

i didn’t realize it until we met up to work on the fine details of how Interaction Design might work at this independent study scale — but, that whole ‘small world’ kind of aspect of the design community in Boston was working its crazy magic from the onset, and strangely enough, i already met Aliyah and got to see her work from a semester or 2 back by sitting as a guest critic in one of the final presentations of Alison Kotin’s Foundations of Graphic Design course — anyhow, flashback to that class and i got to see a lot of hand-drawn, amazing depictions of an artichoke, all in black and white, cropped and composed and mounted very professionally and pinned to the wall — it was a fantastic and dynamic final critique that i’m sure involved a smörgåsbord of hummus and cookies and water and other potluck snackage as a part of this wonderful celebratory discussion of all the fine work and progress each student made over the course of the semester

so, as you can probably tell, i have a certain obsession with foodly comestibles AND a little bit of an issue with portion control, right? ;]

but, back to our regularly scheduled topic — meeting Aliyah in Alison’s design class

anyhow, that night and these sorts of conversations with students and faculty and different nuance of design potentialities always makes me happy and excited about the kind of design community we have at MassArt and in the Greater Boston Area in general — and what? with AIGA Boston, BostonCHI, Boston Cyberarts, Dorkbots, IxDA, Pecha Kucha Night Boston, Refresh Boston, Upgrade Boston, UXPA and the myriad university-driven lectures, hackathons and networking opportunities steeped in designery, you almost can find it difficult to keep up with just the community, forget about the most current trends, buzz and general discourse that accompanies the fine world of design in the general locality

who would’ve known that a year out i’d be working to teach and mentor Aliyah at MassArt in this wonderful independent study setup, right? small world, crazy small, in fact — and then, its just utterly phenomenal to see how quickly a student like Aliyah comes in on day one, starts up with the first 3 more analytic exercises in experience design deconstruction and all — and then through reading, dissection, personal and professional reflection and our near-weekly conversational sessions at MassArt and the project work that puts the focus on active exploration of interaction and user-centered design as a theory and a practice and an empathic journey to guiding this bizarre, almost otherwoldly force we call Design in a way that keeps real, live people at the center of our approach and goals as design professionals — well, its just amazing to see Aliyah’s progress over the semester and to see the full spectral journey of her final project work for final critique and completion of the course

its been a really wonderful semester — really interesting to see how i’ve had to flex and bend the materials and approach, only slightly in all actuality, to keep the design of the course itself ultimately very interactive, human and fun

i’m really looking forward to the final critique, although i know we’ll miss meeting up on a semi-regular basis with the good excuse of putting some credits on the roster while hopefully also digging into what design can really mean for all of us as both professionals and people exploring the world through the filter of human-centered experience design

 

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Social Media Breakfast 15 | CommuniSpace | Watertown MA

Here we go … just a few of the many photos I took while at the SMB15 with Bryan Person, Rachel Happe and Diane Hessan all talking about ‘The Power and Peril of Online Communities’

Semantics Killed Social Media – Advertising and Marketing Blog – AdPulp.com

Semantics Killed Social Media

PORTLAND — Inside Nemo’s cavernous warehouse space on Southeast Belmont an after work crowd is gathered drinking Mirror Pond, noshing on cheese and talking shop.

Amber Case is here. Uncle Nate is here. Rick Turoczy is here. Everyone’s gathered to learn the answer to this rhetorical question: Who Killed Social Media?

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image courtesy of Rick Turoczy

Nemo’s Dave Allen has an answer. Sort of. Allen makes a semantic distinction between “Social Media” and “the Social Web.” He sees Social Media as just another push mechanism for marketers, whereas the Social Web is about life, peoples’ interests and what they’re busy doing day to day. In other words, the Social Web is about us, not them.

Marshall Kirkpatrick, Vice President of Read Write Web is moderating tonight’s panel, which also includes Tony Welch from Hewlett Packard; James Todd of Twine; Matt Savarino of K2 Sports; and action sports industry veteran Lee Crane.

Welch says, “SEO and SEM will be dead in six months,” which provokes several audible guffaws from the audience, for some in the room no doubt make a living by feeding The Google what it wants. But according to Welch, The Google is changing its diet and is increasingly returning results generated from the Social Web. “It’s about reputation management now, so distribute your assets,” warns Welch. In other words, what people say about a brand or a company is equal, if not superior, to what the brand or company says about itself.

Speaking of what people say, Dave Allen is fired up about what people are saying this week in response to radical changes at eMusic. eMusic unilaterally decided to add Sony’s back catalog to its offerings and concurrently altered their pricing structure for the worse. Allen, who helped build eMusic into the indie music source it has become for its 400,000 subscribers, believes the mess eMusic is in could have been avoided entirely if the company had simply taken out an insurance policy in the form of a $55,000/year Community Manager.

Allen mentions that he blogged about the eMusic issue on his Pampelmoose site and also on Social Cache, Nemo’s blog. eMusic’s PR dept. has been in touch as a result. This tidbit raises Kirkpatrick’s eyebrow. Kirkpatrick asks Allen how one can get away with being so outspoken in a business context.

“You must have an opinion,” declares Allen. “Why would I be asked to be on a panel or why would I blog, if I didn’t have anything to say?” Allen adds that generally people don’t take offense because the Social Web gives them a chance and a place to respond.

An audience member steps to the mic and asks,” If Social Media is dead, what’s next?”

Saravino says geolocating is next. He believes that geolocation will be built in to various services and apps and become a common place offering. If he’s correct, we won’t just know what our “friends” are thinking, we’ll know where they’re thinking it.

Saravino adds that while it’s not new, many brands have no mobile Web site. He doesn’t understand why, especially for brands going after a youth market. He says kids aren’t on smart phones, they’re using free flip phones and brands need to be there, where the kids are.

..:: datamummification + madness ::..

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Judith Donath stopped in at Media Tech Tonic sponsored at MassArt’s The Dynamic Media Insitute to discuss The Sociable Media Group’s latest exhibit ‘Connections’ at The MIT Museum. A lot of amazing work … I checked out some of the people involved in the project work earlier in the day … specifically looking deeper into some of the previous work in visualization and interface design. I particularly enjoyed Alex Dragulescu’s ‘Spam Architecture’ as I had previously attempted to approach the topic of troublesome eMeddlings in my own ‘Operation Enduring Email’ …

but seriously folks … the jist of the discourse tonight centered around a new ‘new media’ twist on the concept of portraiture … excellent lecture, fantastic work all around … i especially loved the participatory installation ‘metropath(ologies)’ … such a dream project for me … the overflow of information projected on a cityscape model, a veritable maze of data + architecture to get lost in … amazing work + the best of the collection shown at the talk … i gotta get down there + check it out

i’ve digressed once again … so, back to portraiture … a quick whirlwind history of the portrait as an artform … a golden bust of royalty from greco-roman times, renaissance-painted realism complete with symbolic items and less idealized facial features, 20th century cubistic renditions capturing a more abstract essence of Picasso’s art dealer, and for the 21st century …

the portrait of the micromoment involved feeds from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Seesmic and other multivariate social networking sites the your modernday eCitizen gladly pours information into with feverish up-to-the-minute details about the minutae of our daily lives … ‘Data Portraits’ took the unsuspecting tweets of the twitterverse to create a portrait visualization of each user … words { the smallest common denominator allowing some balance between private and public exposure } from the user | participant’s tweetstream make up the outline of head, neck and shoulders … words on the left are from recent tweets, words along the right of the datahead silhouette are the most-used throughout your tweetstream history … the words of each portrait pop forth from the black backdrop muchlike a smooth data-persona tagcloud, quite literally outlining your wordstream of the moment for you

what strikes me the most about these linear-textual gestural snapshots is the cocoonlike and ghostly bodily presence of each figure … there’s also a wonderful sense of swirling … the words seem to envelope or mummify a preset human form … besides certain key words that pop out { i am guessing the word size follows the same sort of rules of frequent use that most tagcloud methodologies implement }, there is little differentiation from portrait to portrait … the shape of the head, neck and shoulders remains the same … and the words simply outline or ‘contain’ the previously human form

at first i thought that the datamummification might be a purposeful artisitic and aesthetic choice … i don’t think i get the sense that my portrait would look that much different than anyone else as far as physical attributes are concerned … same height, same weight, same shape, same lack of eyes, mouth, ears and hair … you are your words in these portraits … you are the ghostly echo-trace of your micro-bloggings … a bit sobering … a little scary … and unless you are lucky enough to have micro-entered some emotionally-laden and unique words over the last year or so, you are just as unique as everyone else on Twitter …

part of me wants to think these implications are an intentional affect of the visualization as portraiture … and if nothing else, perhaps we can see this as a subconscious expression of the artists involved … maybe there is no true participatory auto-magical means to create this sort of portrait … or perhaps the effect is completely intentional … a statement about machine-produced { app-influenced } human behavioral modificationthe media we use shapes our behavior, and now we quite literally all itch to tell it all right now … a sort of electronic OCD …

another memorable concept that came up tonight was the notion of ‘pure knowledge’ … an amazing question from the crowd mentioned Elie Weisel’s Zalmen, Or the Madness of God … in the book a person comes to know God, but not as the bearded, old white guy in the clouds oft-depicted by Michelangelo … but instead as the concept of ‘pure knowledge’ … the question specifically asked tonight had to do with the current proliferation of information ‘out there’ for all of us to access and whether or not we, as humanity, are reaching a moment of ‘pure knowledge’ … my own answer to this concept delves into questioning ‘knowledge’ … information is not knowledge … accumulation of datapoints provides no higher wisdom to the individual or to society at large … consuming data alone, collecting data does not translate into knowledge or a deeper understanding … in fact, my personal belief is that knowledge and wisdom are not even closely related … and neither can ever be thought of as ‘pure’ …