Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We’ve Got Your Number: Mobile Campaign Strategy

These days, everyone has a shortcode and some type of bandwagon-style promotion, (Text PORK to 234O2 and get a free HAM!) But the question isn't availability, it's viability. Why should your company or your campaign go through the trouble of a mobile campaign? The short answer, because there are 4.6 billion mobile phones worldwide which means a potential for 4.6 billion impressions, donations or contacts.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mind Is Blown, Then Content-Aware Filled

Adobe Photoshop CS5 was recently made available to the public. After watching this video...

I downloaded the CS5 free trial and played with the new content-aware deletion and spot-brush features. Needless to say, I was absolutely excited and amazed.

I spent about 10 minutes playing with various photos and then downloaded a random Facebook photo from a friends feed and began to see what I could delete. 20 minutes later I had deleted 10 or 11 things from the photo below. Can you spot them all?!

Click on the image to zoom

The mind-blowing thing here is, I am not a Photoshop Expert. I've never taken a PS class. I've played with it for many years, but always considered myself at an Intermediate level. If a mid-level untrained photo editor can remove items from a low-quality Facebook photo, what kind of creations could a professional make?

Now thinking about the future... *KABLOOIE!* Mind. Is. Blown.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bai Bai Birdie

Reading The Argument by Matt Bai this week reminded me of reading another verbose publication. Then I realized Bai worked for the other, the New York Times. I enjoyed Bai's book, it was an interesting topic and is a relevant book for those interested in working with politics. It's important (and fun) to learn the behind-the-scenes of a political sphere, but when looking at the old democrats we can always find lots of interesting characters. Speaking of characters, I enjoyed how Bai often used literary designs usually relegated to the fictional writer to describe non-fiction characters; some of whom are still quite prominent in media and politics.

Bai's book was far from an eye opener, and closer to a narrative, but the book itself described many considerations sometimes readily apparent to the casual political observer. For example, people are more important that constituency. When asked who influences politicians, its not just the people of the district, state or country who elected the officials, but often other officials, lobbyists, friends and colleagues.

This comes as no surprise to many of us, but the reasoning behind it (while not surprising) is not often put forth. Insecurity. Doubt. Confusion. Not to say politicians are stupid, but they are people. In our society of strong media personalities, public relations, media relations and highly sensationalized and celebritized figures, it's strange to think that famous Americans are just another odd kid in a suit.

My favorite part of the book was the exposure of these celebrity leaders as not just politicians with talking points, but people who can be influenced by direct and purposeful information. People who can be spoken to like any other, befriended like any other, and argued with like any other.

As I like to tell my friends, "Even Obama has sit on the toilet to take a poop."

I’ll Be Creative In A Minute

"I jumped, the sound hit ting me like a ton of bricks, drop ping my hot cof fee on the cat’s tail who ceased curl ing on the floor by my desk. I stood up from my office chair think ing I was lucky to be work ing from home, and went to investigate…" is a recent discovery. My co-worker was using the StumbleUpon tool and literally stumbled upon this website. The site presents the user with a simple creative task. When you click the "Go" button, you’ll see one word at the top of the follow ing screen. A timer starts and you have only sixty seconds to write about it. The idea is not to think about what you're writing, but to just flow onto the page (er... screen?).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Facebook & Twitter Activism

Activism is an interesting monster. I once dated a girl who joined protest lines because she thought herself an activist. She believed in the protester's message, but was also looking to join in! Does joining up as you're walking make you an activist or something else?

Today we read about the activism using Facebook, Twitter and messaging for a specific group on USENET. From the readings (Facebook here and Twitter here) we discovered that activism using social networks is complex, but can e successful if done properly. The lessons focus on activism using social networking, specifically those launched via a social network.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Photo, Made Creepy

By now many of us have heard of DailyBooth, but for those that haven't... DailyBooth is a social networking/media site that allows users to upload a photo (similar to a visual status message).

With this in mind, were a Clark Kent impersonator to step into DailyBooth he would emerge not as superman, but as a strange/creepy version of DailyBooth.'s website self-describes it as gathering "the latest about you into a tiny, easy to update, video-enabled calling card." These calling cards can then be embedded and used in place of some photos you see around the blogosphere.

Verdict? Creepy? Cool? Or a bit of both? To view my go to:

Here Comes Shirky & Friends

My friend Becca recently moved to Australia to study. Before she left I asked a question that may have been ludicrous ten years ago, but no longer, "What is your blog?" What young-person moves to a new place without keeping a blog of their adventures? Becca updates her blog occasionally with short stories and insight about her experiences down under, but there was a catch. Becca asked me never to share her blog address, even with other co-workers. Becca was limiting her audience to only those she was interested in reaching - i.e. she filtered. Using one of Shirky's points, Becca is doing exactly what he said, writing for her friends, but posting in public view.

The fascinating thing is, Becca doesn't think of her blog as a public space. The question is, why? She grew up during not just the Internet age, but the Google age, where everything is searchable, and even posted her blog on Google's Blogger platform, instantly searchable via Google. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning here. Becca is using the same principle a spy in the movies would use... Speak freely in crowds. Perhaps Becca feels private, because there is so much else going around the Internet, who cares about one girl studying in Australia? She's lost in the murmur of the collective. Then again, perhaps she just doesn't care.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

No One Likes a Qwitter

While using the 'ol Twitter this week, I realized I've lost a follower. Now, I know it's no big deal to lose a follower... but when you only have 190, a single follower is 0.5% of my overall user base!

During my Internet Advocacy class this semester, Rosenblatt has promised we will learn how to gain in followers, but in order to understand how you gain (easy looking at the Stats of # of clicks – I use Hootsuite) it's not as obvious when people leave. For that, my social discovery of the week is Qwitter, an unfollow tracker for those who tie their self worth to their number of followers.

Qwitter is a free tool which sends you an email digest regarding your weekly unfollows you. It even gives you the exact tweet which might have possibly caused your fan-loss.

Simple and easy, my favorite kind of geekyness. I'll check it out, maybe you should too, but don't worry, it's not what you know its who you follow... or maybe it's who follows you? We need to update these old sayings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So, You Want to be a Successful Campaign?

Engaging the public in an Internet age is not necessarily more difficult than engaging the public previously. If anything according to Rosenblatt, Delany and Rigby, it would seem to be easier to reach, offer influence and recruit individuals. The problem is not access, but organization and strategy.

The days of driving the megaphone through the center of town are not gone, but the megaphone has evolved into a series of electronic pages. Instead of driving it through town you create the data on a server and shout your message into people's email inboxes and social networks. Additionally, the campaign cannot use the hypodermic needle theory, they need to engage and respect their audience (who are often NOT the general public, but subsets of that public known as publics). In the age of engaged publics who can communicate and search for your campaign, you need to respect and value their input from the ground level. If you don't care, then why are you even soliciting it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

DC's American Indian Museum is Not What You Expect

Today, I visited the Museum of the American Indian here in DC. I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the physical museum itself, as well as the thought put into the exhibits.

While the museum is not perfect, it was not at all what I'd expected. It has an interesting slant, but so do all museums. There was an exhibit on the top floor (where you are supposed to start) discussing how visitors are supposed to question the museum, discuss it, disagree with it, etc. They want you to engage in the museum, very cool stuff.

There was another bit about the lives of native peoples today and parts they play in modern society versus the continued connection with their ancient roots, a bit about the US Government regulating who "is" native and who "isn't," bits about native cultures, crafts, lifestyles, and many sorts of interesting things.

Regardless, the museum asking me to question it was something we never really are asked.

Most museums press their expertise upon their publics, asking them to listen and learn. We are supposed to accept them as the "Sage on the Stage" as one of my professors used to say. The MotAI was more of a "Guide on the Side" showing native culture from one view point or another and asking you to think critically.

We know history is based on primary sources, multiple secondary sources, oral traditions and whatnot, but really history is also based on the conjecture regarding that which is left behind. Conjecture, educated guesswork and theory conducts many things in the realm of history (as with other studies).

A Recent Personal Example: 150 years from now, if a historian were studying universities and halls of learning in Washington DC before the world changing insert event here and they dug up a primary source regarding my graduation ceremony yesterday: the Official American University 125th Commencement Program they would discover lists of names, majors, awards, honors, speakers and scholars. In it, were they looking for the famous Trace Dominguez, who supposedly attended American University around this year, they would never find me. My name is misspelled. History may forever be altered!

My point is, I think the museum is purposefully countering some points of American Indian history and emphasizing others, just like any museum, but it does so with transparency, unlike other museums.

Check it out!

The Museum of the American Indian's website is located here and is run by the Smithsonian Institute.
Open 10 AM–5:30 PM daily; closed December 25.