Watching the Election: The Conventions

September 6, 2008 § Leave a comment

Back in June I blogged about watching coverage of Clinton’s and Obama’s speeches as they vied for the top spot on the Democratic ticket. I had recently discovered Twitter, and I was finding that I was getting better information and insight than I was watching any analysis on CNN, CSPAN, or even PBS or NPR. Folks I follow on Twitter (including some news outlets) were posting links leading to further information, and I was getting better information on FriendFeed, Twitter, and FaceBook.

While watching the coverage of the DNC and the RNC, I again found myself infront of the TV with my laptop simultaneously following my friends on the social networks, and again, I found I was getting more insight and information from the Internet. It have to say that it was a lot more fun, too. The night that Sarah Palin spoke, FriendFeed, Twitter, and even my friends’ FaceBook updates lit up in response. The following night when McCain delievered his acceptance speech, my friend Stacy in Ohio and I were IMing eachother our observations.

There were people Twittering during both conventions. There were alternative news sources tweeting about all of the protests and the police activity around the RNC. I heard nothing about the police raids from CNN or PBS about Amy Goodman’s arrest or the raids on private homes in St. Paul. I learned this from the UpTake’s webcast and Twitter feed.

I am continually inspired by citizen journalism and the movement to reform media. The Chicago New Media Summit is coming up next week, and though I won’t be there, I am eager to learn about the outcome of that event. I’m hoping to learn about more alternative news services as the election approaches. Meanwhile, I’m planning on watching the election returns on The Daily Show’s Indecision 2008, as well as continuing to get information from my Twitter feed.

While I am discouraged by the political discourse that is reflected on mainstream television, I look to my social networks to be reminded that there is a majority of people in this world who, like me, want to get information out there about what is really going on in American politics, and raise the level of political discourse above the drivel that the conservative media is feeding us.

FriendFeed NPTech Room

June 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

I am remiss for not posting this earlier (not that anyone is reading this blog yet). Johnathon Coleman created a room in FriendFeed for nonprofit technology professionals. He and Barb Kantor have been working together to get people talking to each other and sharing resources.

It’s working!

I, of course, haven’t had the time to participate much yet, but I am finally starting to get FriendFeed. I have already stated here that I have been seriously underutilizing it. No more! I thought it was just a simple aggregator, collecting stuff that I’m putting out in the world in my various social networking platforms in one place. Okay, that’s cool, but you can also use it as a forum to talk to people. There is talk of it possibly replacing email listserves because it makes it so easy. I’m not quite convinced on that front, but its still cool.

I’m so excited that I figured out what Imaginary Friends are for! You can still follow people who don’t use FriendFeed. What a fantastic idea.

However, if you want to join the conversation, you have to join FriendFeed. I highly recommend it.

Twitter and The Like

June 2, 2008 § Leave a comment

There was lots of interesting chatter going on last night over Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed about a new Twitter competitor called Plurk. Haven’t tried it myself, but I was following a bit of the chat into to the wee hours (yes, I stayed up too late again).

What I have found through experimentation and following these tweets and conversations is that Twitter and FriendFeed work great in combination, that you can have more robust conversations via FriendFeed, and that Twhirl adds some really nice functionality to both Twitter and FriendFeed. I know now that I haven’t been using FriendFeed to its fullest potential. I haven’t been using tools like FriendFeed for their intended purpose: social networking. Duh! Again, its one of those tools that becomes more useful when you connect with more people.

I also learned that there are a number of companies out there that look like they’re going to give Twitter a run for their money. Twitterers are complaining that Twitter crashes all the time, and sometimes eats the tweets that they are putting out there. So you visit a site like When Twitter is Down to give you some advice about what to do: “Cry like a tiny little baby.”

Companies that are on the horizon: Plurk, ZobZee, and possibly Jaiku. There are probably others, but these are the ones I know about. Seems that people were going in droves over the Plurk last night, so much so that the system went down. Ha! One critic said aptly something like “if you’re going to position yourself as a competitor to Twitter, one thing you should make sure never happens are system outages.”

I couldn’t agree more. After the weekend I’ve had, that is especially true. Nothing was working for me all weekend. The RCN “customer service” representative actually said to me (and I quote) “I have no reason to speak with you further.” This after I thought we had been having such a nice conversation. Yes, my problem wasn’t solved, but we were chatting and laughing and he was asking me questions about Second Life. Very friendly, I thought, but then he totally dissed me! I was hurt. He left me high and dry with my problem unsolved. So I do not have the patience for another “cool” Internet tool that’s not going to function properly.

I’ll keep tabs on the Twitter and FriendFeed chatter and see what others say when these tools come online (most are still in beta) and see if any of them are truly viable.

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