Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wings of the Butterfly

Aug 31, Phoenix: I stare desolate into the water of my pool today, safe water, set deep in a dry dry desert, while the people of New Orleans once again head for safety. My thoughts are with them and I'm hoping, this time, the energy and resources of our government are with them as well.

Too infrequently, I step away from the information overload of this news, of my work, of my little life and step into the quiet overload of my digital connections. First, Google Reader and my feeds. I am smarter for my connections and the smart people I follow. Then, I scan Twitter for things I should know about friends, colleagues, and again, people I admire. Where are they? What are they doing? What's new? Last, I look at what's happening with my peeps on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Epsilen. Only when I have the time (like a Labor Day weekend) and usually late at night if I can't sleep. I'm not a digital junkie, nor am I the quotidian type who builds hobby into the daily flow. Zen practice/being of the moment doesn't quite seem to align with surfing for random data that crosses my screen. So I make my moments there when longing for connection, news, new ideas, something...else.

This week, it brought me right back to my practice. Dave Pollard tweeted a just do it call for people to read "Life is a Verb" and the language was so passionate I thought "Why not?"
A bit Artist's Way, bit self-help, bit art, bit judgmental. And worth the effort, IF you make the effort. Patti Digh offers story and exercises that help us connect with living intentionally, joyously, loudly. You shouldn't just read it, you should do it. I'm going to try. To be more aware, more mindful, more in touch with life in the moment. And do the homework. For 37 days. Patti has inspired me to carry my camera and capture the moments fleeting by. I'll post one, every day, for 37 days. Funny that a Buddhist would need to find her practice out in a tweet, but wherever we go...there we are.
Life is a Verb.
Yes, it is. Buy it, and buy one for a friend that needs it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tag clouds

We talk often about the idea of a 'disruptive technology'. The fascinating part for me is the notion that we don't often see it coming when it happens. So often, the technology began with a different intention, focus or goal from the way it's used when it radically changes a process. I assure you, no one in higher education IT saw the CMS coming: enterprise-level support, hardware, online courses, resources flying out the door. Overnight.

I'm wondering if our understanding of qualitative research is about the experience the same transformational change. Social network analysis. Thread and trend software. And my favorite: tag clouds. I used them in my dissertation so that the participants could better SEE consensus as it emerged.
I used ManyEyes, but have recently discovered Wordle, which is easier, quicker and prettier for the narrow application of tag clouds of text. Here's my dissertation, summed up in one cloud. Is THAT what it was about? Who knew?

For the technology to be truly disruptive, we're going to need some early adopters demonstrating affordance. Hop in. Show us your tags.

Colleen's dissertation made visual

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Closing Pandora's Box

And they say it couldn't be done. But it can, when Draconian legislation aimed at curbing Internet access is allowed to succeed. Pandora Web radio is thinking about shutting its doors. Here's the story from ReadWriteWeb. Perhaps the music giants, clueless as to the value of Pandora in promoting music, wouldn't be able to manipulate our distinctly integrity-challenged men in Washington if we weren't a virtual community. Hard enough to get us out of our pajamas, let alone into the streets. If Iraq didn't do it, how can the loss of Pandora?

Sometimes I feel really alone here, hovering over the glow of a technology fire while politicians (and the people who buy politicians) are doing bad, bad things out there in the physical world. Internet petitions aren't working. Ironic that we might need physical bodies in action to save an Internet radio station...but what else would work? If I can save the world - starting with Pandora - from my couch, let me know how.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Feeling flu-ish

Fun experiment I'm passing on from Patti Anklam, tracing the diffusion of ideas. It's the Happy Flu app, and you too can watch distributed knowledge move around the grid. If you have a Blog, click 'spread it', copy the code, move the trace along. Here's Patti, me and maybe you. (Move scroll bar down to capture image if too distant)