Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

Lazy trumps all – for the supporters of SOPA and PIPA

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

One of my favorite quotes from Hunter Ellinger is: “Necessity may be the mother of invention, but laziness is the father.”  (I don’t know if he said it first, but that’s where I heard it first.)

I find that quote to be accurate in so many ways.

I look for how to get the most leverage and the quickest win.  The normal arguments about doing the, “right thing”, unfortunately, don’t always apply. It doesn’t help that the industry itself isn’t really trusted or viewed as doing the “right thing.”

So in regards to SOPA and PIPA – we have to ask: “what are the real goals here?”

If the REAL goal is to sponsor the artists and make their lives sustainable, then we need to take advantage of people’s laziness.  Set up something like iTunes appstore for individual artists and give them a fair cut.

Or perhaps we should better pursue something like YouTube’s commodification for popular creators/posters.  If you have a popular enough channel, you can actually make a living off of it.  But then, YouTube actually understands the Long Tail in regards to content creation.

Another option would be something like a donation jar like the website which allows you to give micropayments to content creators and bloggers.

I also like the idea of microdonations for nonprofits.  But again, make it easy…  Appstore purchases are only a password away!

Also don’t force me to “steal” to enjoy something I have already purchased.

RIAA and MPAA need to start looking towards more convenient purchase models like iTunes and Paypal.  (Though Paypal could be a lot easier IMHO.)  It is so easy for me to do “the right thing” on iTunes.  Imagine instead that more artists saw direct profits like developers do on the appstore…  How would that change many peoples’ purchasing habits?

I also hope and dream that someday Facebook will realize the amazing monitization that could occur if they looked at things a little more like YouTube and realized that we are not the content to be sold to advertisers but instead are the artists that could be supported by our friends.


Expectations – they aren’t just your own ;-)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011


We all have them.

We try to capture and document them.  We all hope (or assume) that we have enough common starting ground that our documentation of these expectations makes sense.

We talk about concrete things like “I will give you X percentage of X profits.”  We try to manage the informational flow with things like “The consultant has a 2 week turnaround after the deliverable  is signed off on by the project manager.”

We list Requirements, Deliverables, Benchmarks, Resources, Allocations, Budget, Schedule, Dependencies, Roles, Responsibilities and hopefully even Goals 😉  But in regards to change and expectation management we rarely talk about the other expectations…

There are so many other types expectations projected on processes that are difficult to account for.  Things like cultural and behavioral and even emotional expectations.  I have watched these kill projects and partnerships esp international ones.

And while this seems too fuzzy or emotional to address, you would be surprised at how often it happens. We human beings enjoy working with people we like and trust.  If those emotional needs are not handled they can start to cause problems in communication over Resources, Schedules, etc…  If fundamental levels of trust cannot be supported this whole glass house of partnership can begin to fail on a basic communication level of shifting sand.  Perceptive filters are incredibly important. And a negative filter will kill a project or partnership.

So being the touchy feely girl that I am, I would add to the expectation management portion – an understanding of cultural, emotional and behavioral differences.  Trust is an essential cognitive filter in regards to understanding language and communication with others.  Once it is gone it is difficult to recover a level of positive communication that is needed to handle expectations properly… probably because those “expectations” can obtain a very tarnished filter.

Projects are always risky.  You can try to enumerate the risks at the beginning.  But the true interpretation of risks in that of perception which is often colored by the belief of intent.  The real risks are the unknown unknowns that you can’t enumerate at the beginning of the project that your partners have to believe you honestly did not see.

Also emotion affects perception, if communication is hurt then you can be perceived as underperforming even when technical expectations are met.

I think this is a substantial trap that women deal with often in the work place.  I can say the exact same thing as a man.  I don’t mean I say things that have the exact same meaning… I mean I say the exact same words.  And simply because I am in different packaging ( like a dress ) it will be heard differently.  This can be positive and negative.  I have had my looks and friendly approach guarantee I don’t set off Alpha Male paranoid in regards to position.  But it also means that I have to reframe myself at times in regards to leadership roles.  Awareness is key.

At no time forget that perceptive filters are in place.   Active listening i.e. repeating back your interpretation is crucial to creating accurate filters.  As I learned in India, Also have them also repeat back to you what they understood your requirements to be.  And never forget to check in with cultural experts and liaisons…



Friday, November 12th, 2010

Evidently the word “Gamification” is becoming a bit of a bad word. I suppose it is because too often it is being used in a Tom Chatfield sense and not in a Jane McGonigal sense.

Tom stresses much in regards to the game play rewards system. Having worked in the industry and watching games like Farmville and such arise. He is not wrong. Those are all crucial elements of addictive game play. What he says isn’t new. In the gaming industry, we talk often about the circle of addiction.  Things like the importance of immediate feedback w representative rewards, multiple goals of varying length, element of surprise, and interactions w peers.

Jane talks much of making the world a better place.  Of the importance of choosing important goals and of fostering motivation.

I love the concepts of Jane’s games.  I have signed up multiple times.  But I never end up playing them.  I think often her games are missing an important aspect – the addictive factor.  The feedback is rarely as immediate as I need.  And even though she talks about the freedom to fail – making those immediate posts… is actually asking for a rather large commitment.

I think both could learn much from each other.  What I would like to argue esp in regards to Tom’s presentation is that Real Metrics are motivational ONLY if people can see the correlation.  That is why money typically fails as a motivator. (Well that and fear – money makes a game real.)  And I believe this lack of correlation is why “Gamification” is becoming a dirty word – a word marketing people use. (duh duh duh DUM!)

Jane – you really have to control the fear aspect in regards to asking people to be creative.  Doing blog posts, posting videos etc are acts only a certain generation of extroverts can accomplish.  I, the gal that dances everywhere, have a truly hard time posting a video of myself dancing online.  I mean first I have to get someone to help me make the video.  Secondly I have to get over looking like a dork and realize – I am not as hot of a dancer as I thought I was…. So my need for perfectionism- means I internally don’t feel free to fail :-(

I guess I need those tiny steps complete w rewards to get there… And those haven’t worked for me in the design of your virtual games I have played so far.  I believe that is why only 8000 played superstruct.  I wanted to like it.  I really did.  But oof that first step was a doosy.  But I do have to say your peer pressure tactics work great in Real Life (as evidenced at my participation at foocamp :-)) Maybe if there was a better way to pressure Real life communities?

Honestly though, I do believe the world can learn much from good games…

Constant relevant feedback

Meaningful metrics

Valid reward systems

That certain element of surprise…

and yea people – remember the whole essential ingredient of the whole Web 2.0 explosion…


Are you my “Friend”?

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

I’m watching more and more people every day getting mad at twitter and facebook. These poor misguided folk unfortunately take it out too often on associates, acquaintance, people they know or “Friends.”

Defriending is such a sad word… it implies such drama. And in the end creates more drama than is necessary.

I rarely Unfollow on twitter anymore. I used to typically unfollow out of hurt feelings for those that weren’t following me back. But I realized that relationships are often inequitable.  And that I don’t care,  I’ll follow who I think is interesting.  And I’ll friend on facebook people I have met and want to continue to connect with.

Now it is mainly a spam issue – you direct message me with spam- I will definitely unfollow you. if you spam your feed enough that I notice. I will also unfollow.  If I don’t like you or don’t remember you- I defriend you.  It’s kinda rare.

but that is about it.

So much of this defriending and unfollowing has more to do with information overload.  The overload makes us feel a need to disconnected.  So ironically to connect, we cull our lists and disconnect.  We raise the status of those we feel more connected to.  We threaten just to see who is listening. (Guilty right here I bet I can find at least 3-5 LJ entries along those lines.) We close lines of communication to others based on random rules. (I have mine I just listed one in this post.)

But before you do that… realize the reason why you are doing it.  Typically bad communication interfaces or bad privacy implementations created by software.  Not the people.  Do you really dislike me because I tweet too much about stuff you don’t understand?  See at a party – you wouldn’t care.  You would walk away and check in later.  You would be ready to talk to me when I said something interesting esp if I called your name.

I have found that currently – my biggest vector of happiness is relationships.  So many of y’all are mainly virtual these days.  But that doesn’t diminish my feelings for you.  Distance and lack of time weakens the ties sometimes that is true.  But that is just lack of communication aspects that I understand and don’t take personally.  Doesn’t mean I don’t love you (or like you my dear casual acquaintances.)

But I leave you on the list… Because I do want to leave that channel of communication open.  I followed/friended you in the first place for a reason.  To open a door.  Just because I am not listening doesn’t mean you can’t contact me directly.  I will try to respond… even if you are in my inbox for a year (sorry dave karpf.)

Unfollow me sure but realize then I can’t DM you.  Unfriend me – but then realize might be harder to invite you to a party or find your contact info.  I’ll try to not take it personally – if you do the same…


Women and Twitter

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

@thenextwomen: New Article: Women on Twitter for Business Reasons Why

Made me think about my gaming days… And all the discussions we used to have about women in gaming and getting more women involved in gaming.  We noticed that games with low introduction barriers were the most popular with women and captured the casual gamer market.

Two major ones that stood out to me are Solitaire and Tetris.  (I actually had a 4am discussion about this w Alexey at Burningman this year too.  I was camped at Tetrion – a very loud camp esp once the two 40ft tetris screens were setup.  We were celebrating Tetris’s 25 yr anniversary.  Henk was the initiator of the idea and got Alexey out there in all the dust and noise.)

Alexey believes (if I heard him right – it was kinda loud ;-)) that women like Tetris because you are constantly building/creating/fixing something rather than destroying.  I’d like to say that was true but I think it is something deeper than that.  At Dave and Busters, all the girls play Day of the Dead.  I think it is because the interface is quickly accessible.  Also you are cooperating with your partner.

So adoption…It also wasn’t a time issue – I noticed many women getting lost in those games for hours.

To me it all come around to interfaces… women have less patience with overly complex interfaces.  I found that on average men would spend more time trying to figure out an interface than a woman would.  Women seem to adopt faster when the interface is simple.  We know how to create the necessary social structures/rules so we prefer interfaces that get out of our way and allow us to do so.

I think that is why women love twitter and have adopted faster.

***disclaimer all of this is said in recognition of “Sparkling Generalities.”  There are always exceptions to the rules.  I am just mulling over a pattern I have personally observed.  I am very open to opposing evidence esp scientifically gathered!


WDYDWYD part 2

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

So I ignored the signs about identity. I waffled back and forth trying to create privacy on important things like home addresses while trying to maintain my brand. In a way I was forced into it. Whenever anyone hears the name Silona and they know me – they assume it is me. It’s a reasonable assumption. But when some students of mine discovered, I realized I had more to do. was a porn site for a dominatrix in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately she never showed her face and hard dark hair and a similar build to mine. Everyone seemed to believe me that it wasn’t me but.. the seeds of doubt were there. I knew I had to work more on creating and preserving my own identity. And I was tired of addressing the issue – “no that isn’t me…”

So I gave up on privacy. For me it had become a lost cause. So many sites and agencies wanted my address and phone. It had accidentally been published. So many things depended on my SSN and name. I had already been stalked once and because of that Dad and I had done concealed handgun classes together. (Yes I own 4 guns. Yes I am a Texan and a military brat.) I realized privacy as secrecy was a thing of the past – it just took me awhile to completely accept it.

I know it’s hard. I mean I do large scale databases for a living.

So I went looking for a way to fix it… my first attempt was a royal failure.  I realized things don’t just need to be available.  They need to be equitable.

As individuals, the electronic medium was forcing us to be transparent to businesses and government but they did not have to report back to us.

I decided to strive to create more equitable relationships.  Step was get government transparent… step two was business.  But I didn’t tell many people.  See in 2004 in Texas – most people already thought I was a little “unrealistic.” (to put  it nicely.)

Recently though I refocused.  Now I am focused on citations for government documents, creating citable data, and openbanking.


Neural pathways and ruts

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

So there is this story I tell often to explain many of my perspectives on the world.  I realized it wasn’t posted here and I really should post it so that people have some contextualization.

So have you ever had to stop yourself midstory?  Do you find it painful?  Do you feel like you just stumbled?  Maybe even stumbled and fell?  Have you noticed that it is even worse when it is a favorite story or a frequently told story?  Have you noticed the elderly people often have a stuck set of stories?  I mean you know they are old – they most have more stories than that and yet… they keep applying the same ones to the same phrases?

Well your brain is not unlike a network of roadways.  Paths become easier to take the more often you take them.  I mean this is normal – it is called learning.  It is how we survive.  It costs us less energy (literally) to think the same way.  The problem with this is that our brains can get so used to things that it creates ruts – deep grooves.  Those ruts can become difficult even painful to deviate from.  They become so deep that they become tunnels so that we can’t see the other possible paths.

I know that I already have those ruts all over my brain.  And for the most part, I tried to make sure those are worthwhile journeys.  But I purposely try to make myself jump out of them from time to time to keep my brain nimble.

So when you tell a story… look around – anyone bored?  You might be in a rut where you can just barely see over it.  Stop engage that person – jump off the path and see what’s there and have a little conversation.

oh yea – and if you notice me getting in a rut … PLEASE ask me a question to gimme a little push out of it 😉


The Importance of Brave Monkeys

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

So I want to talk about a pattern I see in the world…

All of these numbers are completely pulled out of my head and there are no scientific studies that I know of… so buyer beware! just trying to attach and estimation…

It seem like 1 out of 10 people is what I call a “brave monkey.” I loosely define brave monkeys as the kind of monkey that would touch the obelisk in 2010. They are the novelty seekers in the world that are willing to try to things without knowing what will happen. Sometime many people in the world ask them “Why would you want to do that.” And the typical answer is pure curiosity…

So in the land of electronic media… there are few things that can kill us. Previously evolutionarily speaking we didn’t want too many brave monkeys because unfortunately brave monkey often die for their curiosity. So I believe we need a higher percentage of brave monkeys in our new safer world.

But how do we help people be more brave? esp in an online situation where risk is diminished?

I think the best things to do are:
1) make sure to always reward people very publicly
this sets up a system for scared monkeys to go and see what people have done correctly
2) Create very clear examples for scared monkeys to follow – I find with these best practices… you can convert 1/3 of the scared monkeys to be braver monkeys
3) There are brave monkeys out there that are good teachers – make them role models
They become living examples of best practices

and most importantly 4)
The more I do this life thing… the more I am on Dale Carnegie side – don’t criticize individuals.
All it does is force people to defend themselves (and puts the in lizard brain – and none of us are smart when we are being lizards…)
Only talk about things or actions that are wrong not people. If you can talk about it without calling out an individual – you have done a good thing!

We don’t want to hurt brave monkeys! even when sometimes they aren’t smart monkeys – we all make mistakes.


Facebook app – citizen badges

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I would like to do a facebook app somewhat similar to girlscout badges on facebook. Citizens could do tasks that prepare them to help other citizens in times of crisis and then orgs could validate that by posting badges to their profile.

For example, knows CPR, create earthquake prepareness kit, volunteer firefighter. So it encourages awareness of those skills and organizations.

And the supercool part of it is then individuals could give their contact information to those organizations just in case they need their help.

Kinda like how Citizens helped document the San Diego fires and such.

ah well – it’s a thought!


Long tail of social networking

Monday, July 6th, 2009

So currently most people don’t have enough time to join more than 1 or 2 social networking sites at a time.

Much of this is driven by the Dunbar Number.  Dividing up into Family (10-20), bands (50), groups (100-200) and tribes (500-2500). Social media is letting us supersede that 150 people by being a bit more efficient in interactions (though I will be the first to admit I often fail at it.)  And looking at things from the perspective of those different levels of intimacy illustrates the need for different permissions.

But the reality of it – is that we do not want to be limited to a single social networking tool like facebook or linkedin.  Instead we would like to create our own contextual groups with our own intimacy levels. I believe we can expand those numbers through contextualization. I think that is key to creating cohesive groups in a tribe.  Those groups need to be fluid as well since relationships change often.

One thing that can solve this is a decentralized social net.  One where you are allowed to create and reconnect shards of your identity (and relationships) on the net better controlling your persona and the different types of relationships those personas can have.

Humans were able to go beyond Bands with the introduction of language – a cheap form of grooming.  I believe that if we can enable technology to do similar things for us. After all that is what the printing press was all about!  Though printing not as conducive to conversation as the net is and can be!

So let’s design better tools that are focused on how people would like to interact.  So that we spend less time on the grooming of our toolset and instead spend it on our actual relationships. Esp social media tools that enable me to be more efficient about seeing people in Real Life.  not virtually…