Tag Archive for 'Buffalo'

BarcampBuffalo: How it went… a narrated slideshow (voicethread)

Thanks to the WNYmedia folks, I totally enjoyed Barcamp Buffalo. You’ll see and hear why from my voicethread above.

I decided to use Voicethread to show Buffalo News journalist, Michelle Kearns, how she could take her trans-media story DVD project a step further. Voicethread makes multimedia storyboards accessible (embed anywhere) and collaborative (allow viewers to add audio/visual comments).

BarcampBuffalo #1 panorama
Barcamp Buffalo panorama captured using the iPhone

If you prefer, higher resolution photos are available in my BarcampBuffalo flickr set. Also, WNYmedia has produced a promotional video with clips from this Barcamp.

BarcampBuffalo: @jhsu’s LiveStreamMonitoring + @MikeCanz’s Codeswarm (Visualization)

As a sneak peek at BarcampBuffalo, UB undergrad and web developer Joseph Hsu of josephhsu.com demos his prototype Live Stream Monitoring webapp written with Ruby on Rails. Yes, he says it’s an untitled work.

It’s very alpha right now, merely aggregating information streams (kinda like RSSfeed.me). His next phase would be to process these streams in order to abstract our personal social web behavior / trends. Ultimately, it’s to become a form of social intelligence dashboard.

As you can tell by now, there’s a small visualization trend going at this Barcamp. Kicking things off was @MikeCanz’s Codeswarm demo as shown above (it’s open source). Since the crowd consisted of business folks as well, much of the conversations highlighted concerns about these tools being more frivolous than functional. Often heard was “what’s the point of this?”.

I argue that if we frame ideas in terms of monetization, we’d be extremely short-sighted. By the time an idea becomes obviously millable, it would be way too late. Instead, I believe that visualization tools provide a crucial way for to us humanly graze from the increasingly denser information environment we live in today.

Historically speaking, lots of popular web services we use today came by accident, including blogger, twitter, Youtube, flickr, just to name a few! Just look up their origins on Wikipedia.

BarcampBuffalo: Lifehacker.com’s Kevin Purdy on “How to write smarter & faster for the web” (Texter)

Nice to see Senior Editor of Lifehacker.com, Kevin Purdy, make a trip back to Buffalo to join in our first ever Barcamp Buffalo.

Kevin tells us how he transitioned from a newspaper journalist to a Lifehacker editor. Waking up 5am every morning, I overheard that he reads about 1,000 feeds a day. As part of his transition to the online realm, he shows us the way he writes smarter and faster for the web by using Texter.

Watch carefully… Texter’s ability to correct your “fuck you boss” statement is god-sent! [skip frame to 03:30]

You can download texter here.

Update: This video is now featured on Lifehacker.com!

SOLsummit2009: Mindmelding with fellow edu-digeratis…


I’ll probably share the audio or video after I’ve actually presented this…

Thanks to Alexandra Pickett, Associate Director at SUNY Learning Network, I’ve been sponsored to speak at SLN SOLsummit 2009 held in Syracuse, NY (a good 2hr 21mins drive).

What’s SOLsummit about?
The SLN SOLSummit, sponsored by the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), is an annual SUNY-wide conference specifically for online instructional designers, directors of online learning, and those interested in online learning environment support, services, and best practices.

What will I be doing?
Besides listening to edu-digeratis including Alex Reid, Shannon Ritter, and George Siemens, I’ll be giving a visual journey through “Leveling Up Students with Blogs: Engineering Active Learning through Game Mechanics”, which I’ve previously only written about. Here’s my talk’s abstract:

Feb 26th, 2:30 – 3:30 SUNY Campus Showcase III:
Kevin Lim, Cyberculturalist, doctoral student in Communication at the University at Buffalo

Leveling Up Students With Blogs: Motivating Active Learning Through Game Mechanics
One challenge of using blogs as educational tools is encouraging students to engage in these public forms of active participation. For students to receive the full benefits of the class blogging experience, they must internalize the goal of intellectual interaction.

To encourage these social interactions, an innovative pedagogical approach in the form of Amy Jo Kim’s game mechanics (2006) can be applied as a viable framework to student blogging communities. This framework also allows educators to achieve both specific and emergent learning outcomes.

This presentation presents the authors’ implementation of gaming mechanics with blogging pedagogy, and will allow educators to observe how learning outcomes were met.

As both authors (Derek Lackaff and I) were each instructors of similar introductory Communication courses (COM125) held on different continents within the same semester, this experience provided for a unique opportunity to compare the adoption of blogs and game mechanics under different cultural contexts.

But wait, there’s something for you…
It’s obvious that not everyone who’s interested in online learning design can be here, so Alexandra has made it a point to be very visible with our pedagogical exchanges.

First, there’s the agenda online, then there’s the @SLNSOLsummit on twitter, photos on flickr tagged summit2009, and best of all… our presentations will all be shared online via this public SOLsummit2009 Slideshare group. Enjoy!

Update: Alexandra is also streaming live video from SOLsummit 2009 via Mogulus.

Bar-Bar-Barcamp, have you any tools? (Singapore + Buffalo)

Goku discovers his new bar-bar-barcamping powers...

There seems to be undying affection for the upcoming Dragonball movie, which might explain the whooshing stars and Buffalos I’ve been seeing of late (j/k).

BarCamp Singapore III
Date: Sat, February 28, 2009
Time: 9:15am to 6.30pm
Location: Ngee Ann Polytechnic Blk 27, Level 2, 535 Clementi Road, Singapore 599489

I’ll be joining my fellow Singaporean netizens in diffusing (not so) life-changing knowledge on life online and off. Through the satanic magic of Skype, I’ll give you “Aiyoh… if only you listened!”.

In this tragically funny and environmentally low-cost presentation intended for small businesses and non-profits, I talk about the importance of listening in an increasing louder social web. I’ll chat about the philosophy behind why sharing online seems essential to us as humans being.

Not unlike the recent PRSA panel I participated in (See Part 1 + Part 2), I’ll use the recent Michael Phelps vs. Kelloggs meme to demonstrate the basics of using social media search tools to give users the ability to be omnipresent online.

Be sure to check out the full line-up of presentations in this day-long multi-track mental floss. If you’re new to the social web scene, see if you recognize anyone from this long attendance list.

BarCamp Buffalo I
Date: Tues, March 3, 2009
Time: 7:30pm to 10:30pm (3hrs)
Location: Pearl Street Brewery (See Google map)

Glad to see Buffalonians organizing their first ever Barcamp! On Tuesday evening, Pearl Street Grill will play host to three hours of tech and social media sharing. Given that are already 18 folks presenting, each presentation has been planned go between 5 to 15mins. Think of it as speed braindroppings!

The Who’s Who of Buffalo’s tech activism scene will be there, and I’m particularly interested in the hyperlocal services which might help propel Buffalo out of its economic death march.

By hyperlocal, I mean news coverage of community-level events that’s beyond the lens of mainstream media, yet afforded by the web’s low-cost distribution of geographically niche information. Granted, this hyperlocal idea could be nothing more than hype, but it is worth drinking in a mental desert. If I were a local philanthropist or even a venture capitalist, this event could be a great opportunity to find great tech ideas worth investing in.

Online Video Sharing for UB Educators


This is a 30min narrated version of the workshop

This morning at UB’s Teaching & Learning Center (TLC), I gave a 2 hour workshop introducing faculty and staff to online video sharing resources offered officially by various UB tech services, as well as unofficially by online video services such as Youtube and Viddler.

Here’s the workshop description:
Video is a visceral media for sharing knowledge and experience. While it can be exciting to produce and share videos with your class and fellow researchers, the process tends to be more time consuming compared to other media.

This introductory workshop takes you through the techniques of video sharing for UB instructors. Various forms of video formats and delivery systems will be discussed. Learn about shooting, editing and video output and sharing, be it on the web, in a presentation or on a DVD.

UPDATE: Joe Hsu pointed out a truly comprehensive article entitled “6 Things To Know About Video For The Web” by Viget Labs. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Despite the Internet, geography still rules…


Click image to enlarge

As seen in my Facebook social graph, my online relationships tend to be clustered more by geography than shared interests.

To clarify, these shared interests would include events or communities, since all of this can take place in either virtual (e.g. hobbyist forum) or physical (e.g. community center) locations.

In the 90s, Barry Wellman did a related study on one of the world’s first “always-on” Internet suburbs called “Netville“. During his early visit to UB, I recalled him relating an irony of how we communicate predominantly with our physical neighbors, despite us being afforded the ability to base our communication on mutual interests with anyone in the world.

I would surmise that physical proximity still has a higher significance on our communication due to the increased potential impact (threat) it could have on our well being (survival).

See if this is true for you. Try generating your own social graph, then label your clusters. The denser cluster should be ones that are geographically centered. If you can, upload your screenshot to Flickr, then tag it: facebookclusters

UPDATE 1:
Okay so this might not be the most valid test, but it gets us thinking. Chris Lott pointed out how…

  1. The choice of Facebook for experiment skews the results, making them narrowly applicable to FB not one’s actual social network
  2. not to mention the obviousness of geographical proximity as a major force in friendships which reflect on SNs…

I would half-agree.
For the first point on the disassociation of online vs. real-life networks, I believe that given sufficient friend connections on Facebook, it would still serve as a decent sample/proxy of our real-life relationships. I did consider factors such as the digital divide, but with an increasingly broader demographic of Facebook participants, this might not impact the test as much as we might imagine. Having chatted/interviewed with a small number of new and senior Facebook users, most are amazed at how many of their friends are already there.

On the second point of obviousness of geography as cause for friendship, I relate back to the idea of the test: To see if the Internet truly encourages us to communicate (including relationship formation) on shared interests regardless of proximity. In essence, the online space would allow for geographic friendships to compete with shared interest friendships, yet geographic ones still appear as denser clusters.

A caveat for using Facebook to test how we center our communication online, would be that friending on social networking services are single-action triggers, and are unrepresentative of longer-term communication. For a more accurate test, I’d need to be able to measure who we tend to talk to (nodes), how often we do (frequency), and where that person resides (location).

I’m still trying to find a better way to conduct this Facebook test, so lets consider this a pilot. Now if we take that the average no. of Facebook friendships to be about 164, then a friendship corpus of about 200 or more should suffice for this test.

Do note that I find friendship counting irrelevant, because our current architecture of social networking services naturally grows our connections. That is, it’s easier to make connections, yet more work to break them. We’re never going to stop meeting new people throughout our lives. Interestingly, while I consider myself an active friender online (currently 620 FB friends) , my geocentric network clusters still hold true!

Here are submissions from my friends…

Joe Hsu / @jhsu / 491 Facebook friends

Denice Szafra / @denidzo / 123 Facebook friends

@denidzo said “yes, but while problematic, it does indicate that I don’t randomly friend people- that I mostly talk to people I already know.”

November Tan / @micamonkey / 836 Facebook friends / 4yrs of Facebook use

Among her thoughts, November said “I find it interesting that my family network runs in parallel clusters. One for each side of the family!”

Jeremy Foo / @echoz / 308 Facebook friends / 2yrs of Facebook use

Jeremy said “I would think that my clusters are based upon events in life rather than location. Its more often than not a classification system that is familiar to you.”

I did consider whether the classification of shared interest and location was arbitrary, since both could be mutually inclusive. An event would be an example of a situation where both coincide. However, since shared interest could exist in physical and virtual place, it’s still fair game.

As iffy as this sounds, I’ll need to compare more social graphs out there, so do contribute your annotated screenshots:
1. Generate your own social graph.
2. Label your clusters by shared interest and location.
3. Upload your screenshot to Flickr, then tag it: facebookclusters.
4. Include your friend count and how long you’ve been using Facebook.

Finally, let me know how you’d improve the test. Also let me know if you’ve found any network tool that lets me get at the data points I’ve mentioned. Thanks!

Speaking @ PRSA Buffalo: Getting started with social media for PR practitioners (Pt.2)

PRSA Buffalo - Social Media Panel
Kara Kane, Anthony Dicembre of BuffaloMe.com and me after our PRSA panel

A nice turnout of about 80 public relations professionals showed up for our PRSA panel on social media today (see Part 1)! While we were each given 15min to infuse our knowledge and experience into the thirsty crowd, we ultimately took up 30min each. That left a mere 10min for Q&A. What can I say… Oops! ;D

Sorry no one took videos, but I did an audio recording of our presentations. To top it off, I’ve synchronized the audio with the Slideshare presentation below so you can now laugh along with the audience. Yes, apparently they found us funny. Only catch, syncing audio with the Shareshare presentation takes up a lot of my time (thus I only did mine), so I’ll only be linking to Kara’s and Anthony’s audio recording.

The diligent citizen journalists at WNYmedia have written up about our talk, with some pointed insights on the state of our local PR industry. Do read the comments for their article entitled “PR Professionals Have a Lot to Learn“.

Finally, to keep the conversation going, we’ve created a PR + Social Media learning group on BuffaloMe.com. Join Buffalo’s very own social networking service while finding peers from the PR industry.

While Anthony has made his slides downloadable, here are audio recordings of our three presentations shared via my favorite Soundcloud widget. You get to jump and comment on the parts you like:

Speaking @ PRSA Buffalo: Getting started with social media for PR practitioners (Pt.1)

Humans = Emotion Machine
I’ll attempt to explain the addictive qualities of twitter, blog, facebook, etc…

Early tomorrow from 8am to 10.30am, Kara Kane, Anthony Dicembre of BuffaloMe.com and I will be giving a panel presentation to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) entitled “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & More: A Guide to Social Media & How It Applies to PR Practitioners (Insert TV slogan: Long Name, Amazing Results!)

With 15 minutes each, Kara will kick it off with an overview of popular social media platforms and provide tips on how PR practitioners can use these platforms to their advantage.

I’ll follow up by focusing on the importance of listening in an ever-louder social media environment. By telling the Michael Phelps vs. Kelloggs meme, I’ll demonstrate the basics of using social media search tools to give practitioners the ability to be omnipresent online as a brand, and gain leverage by responding to community issues in a timely and personal manner.

Anthony will provide step-by-step instructions to take control of brands online using social media. Go from having little to no social media presence to a sustainable long-term strategy.

Kelloggs vs Phelps meme-quake (Feb 2009).028
Trend tracking the Kelloggs vs. Phelps meme-quake (Feb 2009)

We’ll share our presentations after the show.
The presentation slides are now up on Part 2 of this article.

Overheard at Buffalo Tweetup (Feb 7th @ Brennans)

In Your Face viewbase as iPhone tripod

On this wet Saturday evening, I brought @ChrisVanPatten to the Buffalo Tweetup and Sweetup where we caught up with @JMilles and @KristinaLively (just engaged!), @KeithBurtis (now also the @BestBuyRemix guy), @JohnCPiercy from Canada, @denidzo the anthropologist, @ScruffytheCat Lee and his wife Barb, and finally a 67 year old musician, @gerrygeetoday08.

From the chatter, we exchanged tips on new apps we’ve come across. John Piercy showed me some of the iPhone photo apps he’s been playing with, like the amazing Animoto for the iPhone. It’s not as good as the online version, but it’s getting there.

Keith mentioned how he was trying out BatchBook which is touted as an easy customer relationship manager (CRM) designed for small business owners. It helps you manage contacts from social networks, as well as to-dos and calendaring. I mentioned the upcoming Buffalo BarCamp and Keith noted how he would like to present something he discussed at Podcamp Toronto, namely his Social Media Funnel concept.

In Your Face viewbase as iPhone tripodInYourFace viewbase in the mail

I also did a bit of sharing myself, where I demo-ed the InYourFace viewbase which I use as a “tripod” for my iPhone. Since I enjoy shooting Qik videos from the iPhone, this way i can stream longer sessions such as interviews and presentations. If you’d like one, you can get $10 off the list price of $29 by entering this Macworld 2009 coupon code 5115.

socialcorp Oh I also gave Keith Burtis a copy of SocialCorp as a belated Christmas present. Since he once mentioned to me how he was helping to transition BestBuy into the social media realm, I thought this book might be useful. The book might be basic for geeks like us, but good for the uninitiated to buy-into the idea of online community engagement.