M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-08 13:12:09
My Google+ Timeline
I've loved timeline visualizations since I was a child. +Jari Huomo has created a timeline for your public Google+ posts. His Google+ timeline lets us sort our posts by oldest, newest, or most popular. Paste your Google+ ID into the URL and see yours. (It takes some time to load).

I find it a bit depressing to see that my most popular post is on how to use a Google+ feature that has been removed: the Incoming Stream.

I'm also depressed to see that a trend I remarked on in November is holding true: the more people I follow and the more people who follow me, the less real engagement there is. Gone are the long impassioned discussions and the sense that I was meeting new people over a particularly interesting dinner party. Now it's more like being at SXSWi. There's tons of interesting stuff being shared but little time to actually stop and talk (comment) about it.
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-08 14:02:19
    Social Media: Generation C: The Connected Customer
    +Brian Solis writes, "Nowadays, age ain’t nothing but a number. It is how people embrace technology, from social networks to smartphones to intelligent appliances, that contributes to the digital lifestyle now synonymous with Gen-C."

    If I understand his summary point, however, Generation C maps to the Millennials...so perhaps age is a factor. The article has many statistics even to those of us not particularly interested in marketing or consumerism.

    The digital divide seems to be ever-widening. The gender gap, too. In 2009 (before Google+), women ruled social media sites. However, in tablet adoption, men rule. When Google+ started, there was a lot of hand-wringing over the apparent lack of women in the space. Maybe Google+ was actually providing a safe space for men...giving them a chance to make a place for themselves in the social networking arena dominated by women.

    Reshared text:
    Boomers > Gen X > Gen Y...now meet Generation C
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-08 20:14:34
    SXSW: Leslie Cochran RIP
    All the techies flying in for SXSWi probably won't notice that Austin is just a little less weird and a little more somber today. One of our most famous residents died this morning.

    Via the Austin American Statesman "An Austin icon is dead, and Austin just got a lot less weird. Leslie Cochran — the city’s flesh-flashing, cross-dressing, attention-loving, frequently homeless mascot, unofficial ambassador and sometimes mayoral candidate — died at 1 a.m. at Christopher House, an inpatient hospice, his sister Alice Masterson said. He was 60."

    #atx #keepaustinweird
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 02:44:22
    Google+ Tips: You're the Conduit
    I agree with +Eileen O'Duffy. Stop worrying about numbers. Google+ is about relationships. However, I realized as I began to comment, that I had a little more to add. So here's my reply.

    It's a bit about both. Not because it's about counting numbers and trying to outshout the guy next to you but because your followers represent your audience. And when you write, your audience should be first in your mind as you consider what to say and how to say it. How do you bring value to the people who take time to read what you write?

    I see the people I follow as my sources and the people who follow me as my readers.. I'm the conduit that directs information, ideas, and inspiration from one to the other.

    Reshared text:
    It’s about who you follow, not your followers

    I’d a great conversation with two of the original Twitter adopters yesterday evening. They put it so well : it’s not about gathering numbers, it’s about who you follow, it’s about finding the best out there and sharing their expertise and brilliance.
    I’m following lots of brilliant people here on G+ and loving it, …Thanks
    Forget about counting sheep…..
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 13:20:00
    SXSWi Live Streaming

    Reshared text:
    South by Southwest Streaming 2012
    de nada
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 13:23:54
    SXSWi: UX Interaction Design Sessions
    This looks like a great list. I'm going to try to follow some of the talks via hashtags.

    Reshared text:
    Recommended UX / Interaction Design talks at SXSW 2012 - handpicked by +uxrave


    Friday, March 9

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    Teaching Touch: Tapworthy Touchscreen Design
    Josh Clark (@globalmoxie)
    #sxsw #tapworthy
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    Design from the Gut: Dangerous or Differentiator?
    Panel: Jane Leibrock, Laurel Hechanova, Naz Hamid, Phil Coffman, William Couch
    #sxsw #fromthegut
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Applying Behavior Design
    Chris Risdon, Adaptive Path (Lead Experience Designer)
    #sxsw #behavior
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

    5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Software Alchemy and the Arc of Technology
    Panel: Alan Cooper, Christie Dames, Robert Scoble
    #sxsw #AlchemyArc
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    Saturday, March 10

    9:30AM -10:30AM
    Designing Experiences for Women
    Brad Nunnally (Perficient), Jessica Ivins (Happy Cog)
    #sxsw #designwmn
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    11:00AM -12:00PM
    The Complexity Curve: How to Design for Simplicity
    David Hogue, Fluid Inc - VP of Experience Design
    #sxsw #simplerUX
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    12:30PM - 1:30PM
    HTML5 and CSS3: Does Now Really Mean Now?
    Chris Mills, Web Evangelist, Opera
    #sxsw #dnrmn
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    The Secret Lives of Links
    Jared Spool, UIE
    #sxsw #LinkLives
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    Making the Real World Easier to Use
    Dennis Crowley (Foursquare), MG Siegler (Techcrunch)
    #sxsw #EasyWorld
    Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    CSS for Grown Ups: Maturing Best Practices
    Andy Hume, Clearleft
    #sxsw #growncss
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

    5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Physical Architecture Meets Interaction Design
    Leonard Souza (UniversalMind/SpatialKey), Sean Coulter (Pugsley Simpson Coulter Architects)
    #sxsw #archIXD
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    Sunday, March 11

    9:30AM -10:30AM
    The Mind & Consciousness As an Interface
    Julian Bleecker, Nicolas Nova (Near Future Laboratory)
    #sxsw #BrainUI
    Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon FG

    9:30AM -10:30AM
    Make a Kinection: The Future of Interactive Design
    Amish Patel, Design Producer, Xbox/Microsoft
    #sxsw #kinect
    Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon J

    11:00AM -12:00PM
    Designing Tomorrow’s Digital/Physical Interfaces
    David Merrill, Fabian Hemmert, Leah Buechley
    #sxsw #Interfaces
    Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon FG

    12:30PM - 1:30PM
    High On Line: Applying Psychology to Web Design
    Jason Hreha (Behavior Designer+UX Advisor)
    #sxsw #brain
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    12:30PM - 1:30PM
    Creating Responsive HTML5 Touch Interfaces
    Stephen Woods, Flickr - Frontend engineer
    #sxsw #htmltouch
    Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon FG

    12:30PM - 1:30PM
    Mixel: Art, Tablets and the Creator Economy
    Khoi Vinh (formerly NY Times, Mixel)
    #sxsw #mixelsxsw
    Hyatt Regency Austin, Texas Ballroom 1-3

    2:00PM - 3:00PM
    Ambient Location and the Future of the Interface
    Amber Case, Co-Founder, Geoloqi.com
    #sxsw #AmberCase
    Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    White Space: Shaping Nothing for Clean Design
    David Kadavy (Kadavy Inc)
    #sxsw #white
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Go Forth & Make Awesomeness: Core Values & Action
    Jeffrey Zeldman (Happy Cog Founder, A List Apart Co-Founder), Leslie Jensen-Inman (The University of Tennessee)
    #sxsw #GoForth
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

    Monday, March 12

    9:30AM - 10:30AM
    Bootcamp for a UX Team of None
    Brynn Evans, Fred Beecher, Krista Sanders, Russ Unger, Todd Zaki Warfel
    #sxsw #nouxteam
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    12:30PM - 1:30PM
    Avoiding Bullshit Personas: A Case Study
    Jill Christ, Stephanie Carter (UX designers / researchers)
    #sxsw #BSpersonas
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    12:30PM - 1:30PM
    The Psychology and Interfaces of Social Design
    Eric Fisher, Social Design Evangelist
    #sxsw #socialux
    Omni Downtown, Longhorn

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    Prototype vs. Sim: Validating Software & UX Design
    Gregg Wygonik, Jared Ficklin, Robert Tuttle (Frog Design)
    #sxsw #frogsxswi
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Don’t Shoot the Player While They’re Learning
    Katie Salen, Institute Of Play/Depaul University
    #sxsw #gdtruisms
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

    5:00PM - 6:00PM
    Don’t Build a Power Glove: Talk to Your Users
    RJ Owen, Sr Developer, EffectiveUI
    #sxsw #NoPwrGlv
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom BC

    Tuesday, March 13

    9:30AM -10:30AM
    The Right Tool for the Job: Native or Mobile Web?
    Buzz Andersen and Jacob Bijani (Tumblr), Majd Taby (Facebook), Matthew Delaney (Webkit), Tom Dale (Ember.js)
    #sxsw #righttool
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

    9:30AM -10:30AM
    Busting the Myth: Natural Input Requires Learning
    Daniel Wigdor, University of Toronto
    #sxsw #learnnui
    Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H

    11:00AM -12:00PM
    Using Psychology to Increase e-Commerce Conversion
    Joe Rawlinson, National Instruments
    #sxsw #BrainConv
    Hilton Garden Inn, Sabine

    3:30PM - 4:30PM
    DIY Mobile Usability Testing
    Belen Barros Pena, Bernard Tyers
    #sxsw #diymut
    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom A

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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 16:04:16
    SXSW Eats: Elizabeth Street Cafe
    Elizabeth Street Cafe is my new favorite place to breakfast in Austin. The cuisine: French/Vietnamese. Ambience: charming. Food: OMG delicious. Parking: A bit difficult.

    Pictured is the roasted pork and wood ear mushroom omelette which comes with a side of mango, cucumber, basil, and shallot salad. My companions had the steamed pork buns and the sticky rice with ginger sausage and poached eggs. All excellent.

    We finished off with a espresso cream puff each. Not too large and not too sweet -- just the perfect touch. Elizabeth Street Cafe can get quite crowded for lunch and dinner. But they still seem to be undiscovered for breakfast. We were the first ones there at 8AM and it never got crowded.

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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 17:48:52
    SXSW: Rain
    Yes, Austin is still in a drought. But when it rains, it pours!

    For those of you unused to Austin weather, heavy rains often cause flash flooding. If you see water across the road, don't drive into it. As we say down here, "Turn around; don't drown."
  • 1 plusses - 1 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 19:58:04
    Film: Brave (Japanese language version)
    Suddenly this looks like an interesting movie. This may be the only time I've ever wanted to see a film dubbed. Brave sounds so much more appealing in Japanese.

    Reshared text:
    Much better trailer than the American version.
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 20:35:15
    SXSW: Design Heat Maps -- Austin
    Even this longtime Austin resident found some interesting new places to explore on this list.

    Note: The Zach is spelled "Zachary" not "Zachery"

    Reshared text:
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-09 22:39:01
    Books: What the Plus!
    +Guy Kawasaki 's book on Google+ now available as a free download (pdf). Limited time offer.
  • 6 plusses - 2 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-10 05:22:46
    SXSW: It's A Party

    Reshared text:
    #intellectual #walk #SXSW #parties
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-10 23:33:41
    Maxwell Smart, "Missed it by that much."
    Dan Ariely, "when it’s a close call, you can think of a dozen little things that would have changed the situation, and each one brings a pang of regret"
    I heard +Dan Ariely speak at SXSWi 2010 and 2011. Discovering him has brought me very little regret and much joy. The concepts he writes about always get me thinking and his books and talks are filled with interesting anecdotes.

    Reshared text:
    I love the description of an airport food customer experience - "you’re stuck at the airport until the next flight, eating the same bad, overpriced food, missing whatever you were supposed to do after your planned arrival".
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-11 01:45:41
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-11 01:45:48
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-11 02:08:21
    Austin Photo Walk: SXSW 2012
    Drought Austin style.

    Posting this album has been the most frustrating experience I've ever had on Google+. I couldn't tag the people I wanted to tag. I couldn't add the story to each photograph. It posted the album, or pieces of it multiple times. I couldn't change the order that the photos appeared. What a complete mess.

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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-11 02:49:43
    When it rains, it pours.

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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-11 15:18:01
    Japan 311: Thinking of You
    Jason Kelly responded to the disaster in Japan (where he lives) by starting a worldwide sock drive. Small acts but great love. His photographs and blog posts of his many trips to the area to distribute socks are some of the most personal and devastating.

    Thank you, Jason.
  • 4 plusses - 1 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-11 19:19:56
    How to Find Your Purpose: A Body of Work and Affection
    My life is fairly purposeless now. I did not think I would succumb to the American habit of defining myself by my job until I lost it. I have not changed--but the world sees me differently. More precisely, it doesn't see me. I still do the same things. In fact, I probably write more and engage more and help more people than I ever did when I wrote for a living. The only difference now is that I don't get paid. The currency of my life has been devalued.

    +Maria Popova has summarized seven pieces of advice on how to find your calling and love what you do. They all boil down to living your life for yourself rather than to impress someone else. What would you be if you could be free? Free from preconceptions. Free from a desire for prestige. The assumptions seem to be that we are already free from duty, obligation, and the need to eat and a place to sleep.

    I don't disagree with anything that is said. It's a well-done, thoughtful, inspiring article (not one of those thoughtless, teasing lists). This is one of the quotes that I really liked, "You will build a body of work, but you will also build a body of affection, with the people you’ve helped who’ve helped you back. This is the era of Friends in Low Places." -- Robert Kulrich

    I feel that my experience on Google+ is just that...a body of work and a body of affection.
    HT +Mark Traphagen
  • 12 plusses - 6 comments - 6 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-12 03:01:23
    Wondering While Wandering: Peregrinations on Flaneurs and Other Pilgrim Thoughts
    I think I got all my puns out of the way in the title.

    I was sitting here in the middle of SXSWi thinking about +nomad dimitri who introduced me to the word flaneur My dictionary describes them as "idlers or loungers" but he sees them as so much more, those who "wander without a map" open to serendipitous discoveries. From a description of the book he recommended, The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris

    "A flâneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through city streets in search of adventure and fulfillment. Edmund White, who lived in Paris for sixteen years, wanders through the streets and avenues and along the quays, into parts of Paris virtually unknown to visitors and indeed to many Parisians. In the hands of the learned White, a walk through Paris is both a tour of its lush, sometimes prurient history and an evocation of the city’s spirit. The Flâneur leads us to bookshops and boutiques, monuments and palaces, giving us a glimpse into the inner human drama. Along the way we learn everything from the latest debates among French lawmakers to the juicy details of Colette’s life." -- http://astore.amazon.com/httpsites0443-20/detail/1582342121
    My problem is that I can never both observe and capture the moment. To capture something, I must first reflect upon it, and my mind's eye turns inward. So I'm often in a cafe or a museum hunched over my writing lost in thought. Nowadays, however, I'm not alone in this habit. Everyone is looking down at their screens as they shuffle along. Everyone is here but no one is present.

    I don't think I'm cut out for the life of a flaneur though. I prefer to wander alone, in silence. The press of the crowd doesn't carry me along with it. I feel apart from it even in the center of things. I cannot interpret the language of the human drama. I'm left in awe of all those novelists who can bring scores of characters to life and capture the flow of humanity: Fielding, Thackeray, Dickens, Tolstoy.
  • 4 plusses - 6 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-12 13:53:17
    UX: Highlight
    Highlight, the next new thing, isn't the next new thing for me. The biggest issue I have with it is that it's not discerning. Highlight hooks into your Facebook account and looks for people near you who are you friends or who have shared interests.

    Works for the social graph
    +Robert Scoble describes how fun he thinks it is because it tells him if someone he's met is nearby and reminds him of their name and where he met them. So, if you are connected to hundreds of people in Facebook, some of them you don't know very well, then you might also find Highlight useful.

    Not for the interest graph
    In Facebook, I'm only connected to about a score of people. I use it primarily to connect to and promote a lot of small, locally-owned businesses here in Austin and to follow news and a couple of TV shows. Wandering the halls at SXSWi, Highlight is constantly showing me people nearby who have also "Liked" NPR -- but I don't know these people and have no other connection with them. Walking up to them and starting a conversation with, "Hey, I see you like NPR..." doesn't strike me as a good ice-breaker. At this point, I'm doing better with "Hey, I see you're on Highlight. What do you think of it?"

    This will become even stranger post-SXSW. People are here to network and so are open to talking to complete strangers. Back in normal life, I'd find this interaction disruptive and, yes, creepy.

    A Need for Noise Controls
    If you work in an office or live with someone who also uses Highlight, then you are constantly alerted that they are nearby. "Honey. I'm home." "Yeah. I know." That would get old fast. Highlight needs a way to mute certain connections, both people and "Likes" (like NPR).

    Conversely my spousal unit crawled into bed late after a SXSW party and was in bed next to me for ten hours with nary a peep from Highlight. Why? SU had disabled Highlight because it sucks iPhone battery life like crazy. (I can envision the horror movie parody now: "There's someone in your house. There's someone in your room. There's someone in your bed. Boo!"

    Vampire App
    As Highlight founder Paul Davison says. Highlight is always on, always working, always searching quietly for other Fringe fanatics nearby (or whatever thing you once Liked on Facebook -- not knowing whether it was a casual like or a passion). And it just sucks the life out of your phone without you being aware of it.

    It does have a pause mode. I use this religiously. That is, I keep Highlight paused until I change locations and then I check it. Then I pause it again. It's a lot of work. I have to always be mindful of it.

    Creepiness Factor
    Even though I'm not a big fan of apps which reveal my location, I can deal with the creepiness factor for three reasons. Highlight has the pause mode which lets me control when I want it to broadcast where I am. Highlight has an option which allows me to display my location publicly or only to Facebook friends. And finally, Highlight only indicates that I'm nearby. People can't search for me and follow me. We have to have some Facebook connection and we have to be in close proximity before we receive alerts from Highlight.

    Will I continue to use Highlight? No. I get absolutely zero value out of it. As an INTJ, I like to stick to my plan. But if you are an extroverted person with hundreds of Facebook contacts and love to impulsively hang out with people who you run across in a restaurant, then it may be just right for you.

    Two other people in my household who tried it deleted it after the first day. So that really reduces Highlight's usefulness in my life. It can't help me find the people I'm most interested in finding because they won't use it. Typically, I already know where they are anyway so even if they did use it, so the Highlight information would be redundant.

    +Robert Scoble article on Highlight and Glancee and interviews with founders: http://scobleizer.com/2012/03/05/have-arrington-and-conway-screwed-up-big-time-with-their-investment-in-highlight/

    #ux #userexperience
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-12 23:09:14
    Garden Tools for Schools Giveaway
    "The future of marketing is philanthropy," said +Biz Stone in his talk today at SXSW. Whether a company is big or small we feel better about giving them our business when we think of them as doing their part to help our community or the larger world.

    Giveaways are common in certain blogging circles. So it makes sense to up the stakes a bit. Don't just do giveaways that benefit the customer. Do giveaways that benefit something the customer cares about. Let the customer share a sense of virtue.


    Reshared text:
    Please share...were giving away garden tools to three lucky school garden programs. Most schools don't have any budget for supplies, so if you know of a school that could benefit, please pass this on. http://www.gardentoolcompany.com/giveaway/
  • 3 plusses - 1 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-13 00:09:58
    UX: Windows 8
    I was always taught that successful interfaces built upon the familiar. So I'm unimpressed when people get excited by tablet/swipe interfaces that are supposedly so intuitive that even babies and cats can figure them out. Small children have no preconceptions. When everything is new it's easy to fit it into your worldview.

    Adults have already built a complicated set of habits. We form habits so that we don't have to waste time and energy relearning the world every day. Microsoft seems to have forgotten that its core customers are accountants, teachers, homemakers, business people, and retirees. The baby/cat market is comparatively small. Don't design for them.
    HT +Mike Elgan

    Reshared text:
    This video of Chris Pirillo's dad trying to use Windows 8 could also function as the best commercial ever filmed for Apple. The final unscripted line is classic. Now granted, Microsoft can fix this, but what does the fact that this wasn't immediately recognized as a huge issue long before being released say about the current state of their user interface development, and their connection to "real" users?
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-13 03:15:59
    Japan 311: Taking Care of the Dead in the Midst of Disaster

    From the article...“I thought that if the bodies were left this way, the families who came to claim them wouldn’t be able to bear it,” Mr. Chiba said Thursday in an interview. “Yes, they are dead. But in Japan, we treat the dead with respect, as if they are still alive. It’s a way to comfort the living.”

    Mr. Chiba set to work. He became a fixture at the morgue, speaking to the bodies as he prepared them for viewing and then cremation. “You must be so cold and lonely, but your family is going to come for you soon so you’d better think of what you’re going to say to them when they arrive,” he recalled saying.
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-13 16:49:30
    Writers: A Screenwriter's Job-Hunt Letter
    I thought I liked words but this guy revels in them.

    HT +Alex Moffat
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  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-13 22:51:30
    SXSW: Homeless Hotspots
    From the article. "Many of the criticisms that the program was taking advantage of homeless people — or dehumanizing them – came from people who didn’t stop and talk with participants, he adds."

    Well, I know someone who did. You can listen to +katie moffat talk to Clarence Jones here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/708575-a-chat-with-clarence-about-homeless-hotspots

    If you don't have time to listen, this is a summary of what he said:
    1. Sure it's a small step, but something is better than nothing.
    2. Standing on the street providing a service and getting paid is better than standing on the street begging for a handout.
    3. If you think I'm being exploited are you saying I'm not smart enough to decide whether I want a job or not.

    Walking around SXSW last night, I saw someone working for another company with a similar setup for charging your cell phones (I think). This young guy (student or 20-something) was walking around as a human battery. But people didn't seem to think he was being dehumanized or exploited. What's the difference? That he isn't homeless?

    In both cases, the customers laughed and interacted with the person providing the service. For the homeless people, this was one of the benefits -- to be seen by people and not ignored. Can you imagine how lonely it is to be on the streets of Austin with tens of thousands of people flowing around you carefully not seeing you?
  • 9 plusses - 3 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-13 23:56:40
    Google+ Updates: Rearrange Photos
    Finally! I was pulling my hair out over the weekend trying to put together my Austin Photo Walk album. I swore never to try again. Now I'll have to go try again.

    Reshared text:
    #googleplusupdate #googleplusphotos

    Rearrange photos and move photos between albums

    Hi, I’m +Isaac Sparrow an Engineer on the Google+ Photos team.

    Rearranging photos and moving them between albums are two of our top feature requests. Today, we’re excited to launch an album organizer so you can better tell the story of your photos.

    To get started, open one of your albums and select Organize album from the Options menu. With the album organizer you can:

    Sort photos by time: Click Order by date to sort all photos in the album by the photo date, from earliest to latest. Click it again to sort them from latest to earliest.

    Reorder your photos: Select the photos you want to reorder and drag them to their new position in the album. You can also move selected photos to the start or end of the album by clicking Move to top or Move to bottom.

    Move or copy photos to another album: Clicking Move lets you move or copy selected photos to one of your other albums or to a new album.

    Delete a bunch of photos: Click Delete to delete the selected photos.

    Once you are done, click Done organizing to return to your album view. Happy story-telling and keep the feedback coming!
  • 9 plusses - 8 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-14 22:25:07
    Film: Between the Folds
    Available on Netflix Streaming...I know what I'll be doing tonight.

    Reshared text:
    To day is the birthday of Akira Yoshizawa (吉澤 章 Yoshizawa Akira; 14 March 1911 – 14 March 2005) The Grandmaster of Origami.

    If you like Origami, I would recommend you to watch Between The Folds, the beautiful documentary about Origami artists.
  • 3 plusses - 3 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-15 00:49:16
    UX: Highlight Updates
    In the interest of giving Highlight a fair shake, I continue to play around with it. SXSWi is over and instead of scores of people crossing my paths I had only three yesterday and two today -- even though I walked downtown through SXSW music.

    In last couple of days, Highlight has been highlighting people with no shared interests or shared Facebook friends based solely on proximity. I assume this is a glitch because they don't remain in my history. I've taken a few screenshots to make sure I wasn't imagining it.

    I do like that Highlight hooks nicely into Twitter. If you don't feel like walking up and talking to a stranger (and no one who has given me feedback does) you can at least follow them on Twitter and build a relationship. Once again, I wish the login was not solely via Facebook. I'd prefer it to be connected solely to my Twitter account.

    Highlight is another app that accesses the address book on your iPhone. I wish Apple would give us a Settings option to toggle an app's access to our address books the way they do for location. What address book information Highlight uses and whether it uploads and stores it anywhere is unknown. That's one of those unknowns I really hate.

    Anyone out there actually using Highlight? Likes? Dislikes?

    Reshared text:
    UX: Highlight
    Highlight, the next new thing, isn't the next new thing for me. The biggest issue I have with it is that it's not discerning. Highlight hooks into your Facebook account and looks for people near you who are you friends or who have shared interests.

    Works for the social graph
    +Robert Scoble describes how fun he thinks it is because it tells him if someone he's met is nearby and reminds him of their name and where he met them. So, if you are connected to hundreds of people in Facebook, some of them you don't know very well, then you might also find Highlight useful.

    Not for the interest graph
    In Facebook, I'm only connected to about a score of people. I use it primarily to connect to and promote a lot of small, locally-owned businesses here in Austin and to follow news and a couple of TV shows. Wandering the halls at SXSWi, Highlight is constantly showing me people nearby who have also "Liked" NPR -- but I don't know these people and have no other connection with them. Walking up to them and starting a conversation with, "Hey, I see you like NPR..." doesn't strike me as a good ice-breaker. At this point, I'm doing better with "Hey, I see you're on Highlight. What do you think of it?"

    This will become even stranger post-SXSW. People are here to network and so are open to talking to complete strangers. Back in normal life, I'd find this interaction disruptive and, yes, creepy.

    A Need for Noise Controls
    If you work in an office or live with someone who also uses Highlight, then you are constantly alerted that they are nearby. "Honey. I'm home." "Yeah. I know." That would get old fast. Highlight needs a way to mute certain connections, both people and "Likes" (like NPR).

    Conversely my spousal unit crawled into bed late after a SXSW party and was in bed next to me for ten hours with nary a peep from Highlight. Why? SU had disabled Highlight because it sucks iPhone battery life like crazy. (I can envision the horror movie parody now: "There's someone in your house. There's someone in your room. There's someone in your bed. Boo!"

    Vampire App
    As Highlight founder Paul Davison says. Highlight is always on, always working, always searching quietly for other Fringe fanatics nearby (or whatever thing you once Liked on Facebook -- not knowing whether it was a casual like or a passion). And it just sucks the life out of your phone without you being aware of it.

    It does have a pause mode. I use this religiously. That is, I keep Highlight paused until I change locations and then I check it. Then I pause it again. It's a lot of work. I have to always be mindful of it.

    Creepiness Factor
    Even though I'm not a big fan of apps which reveal my location, I can deal with the creepiness factor for three reasons. Highlight has the pause mode which lets me control when I want it to broadcast where I am. Highlight has an option which allows me to display my location publicly or only to Facebook friends. And finally, Highlight only indicates that I'm nearby. People can't search for me and follow me. We have to have some Facebook connection and we have to be in close proximity before we receive alerts from Highlight.

    Will I continue to use Highlight? No. I get absolutely zero value out of it. As an INTJ, I like to stick to my plan. But if you are an extroverted person with hundreds of Facebook contacts and love to impulsively hang out with people who you run across in a restaurant, then it may be just right for you.

    Two other people in my household who tried it deleted it after the first day. So that really reduces Highlight's usefulness in my life. It can't help me find the people I'm most interested in finding because they won't use it. Typically, I already know where they are anyway so even if they did use it, so the Highlight information would be redundant.

    +Robert Scoble article on Highlight and Glancee and interviews with founders: http://scobleizer.com/2012/03/05/have-arrington-and-conway-screwed-up-big-time-with-their-investment-in-highlight/

    #ux #userexperience
  • 2 plusses - 2 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-15 13:11:16
    Small is Beautiful Dept: SmartSpaces
    This reminds me very much of a friend's apartment in Japan. Mine (at about 400 square feet) was quite a bit larger but two of us lived in it and it was actually designed as a dorm room for four students.
    HT +Alex Schleber

    Christian Shallert's fold out Barcelona Apartment (258 sq ft)

    Gary Chang's Hong Kong Apartment (344 sq ft)

    Reshared text:
    Small Smart Apartments: SmartSpaces Is this the future?

    Patrick Kennedy is a housing developer who likes to build small. His vision is to build the housing equivalent of the Smart Car. His SmartSpaces will be small- just a couple hundred square feet- and prefabricated. Kennedy envisions this type of development as "a larger and hipper version of LEGO blocks".

    Building prefab allows him to construct faster and more efficiently (avoiding a lot of construction waste) and everything down to the lighting and type of furniture has been studied carefully so that space is maximized in the tiny units.

    To create a smarter space, Kennedy constructed a 160-square-foot test home (the smallest legal-sized apartment for California) inside a Berkeley wherehouse. SmartSpace 1.0 is filled with innovations like the SmartBench, an adjustable banquette that converts from a dining table to a guest bed.

    Kennedy gives us an exclusive tour of the tiny SmartSpace 1.0 studio, as well as of his 78-square-foot Airstream travel trailer parked outside (his vacations onboard with wife and child inspired his latest development).
  • 5 plusses - 7 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-15 14:00:55
    Education: Best ROI
    From the article: In sum, says Schleicher, “knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.” Sure, it’s great to have oil, gas and diamonds; they can buy jobs. But they’ll weaken your society in the long run unless they’re used to build schools and a culture of lifelong learning. “The thing that will keep you moving forward,” says Schleicher, is always “what you bring to the table yourself.”

    Reshared text:
    From natural resources to talent as the source of comparative advantage in the global economy - Tom Friedman nails it
  • 6 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-15 16:55:12
    Cloud Computing: A Step Backwards?
    HT +Max Huijgen who introduced this link with this question, on which I cannot improve. "The seventies revolutionized the computer and made people independent. Are we going back to corporate culture and walled gardens?"

    Reshared text:
    Why Cloud Computing is a Step Backwards – for You!

    Everybody wants to put your data inside their cloud these days, but it is a step backwards to mainframe computing. All the power and data resided in a giant computer – the mainframe – and you could only “peek” into it – as opposed to owning it – by using a dumb terminal.

    A terminal without a mainframe was useless.

    Yesterday’s terminals are today’s “cloud-enabled devices” – small underpowered machines only meant to “connect” you to your data.

    Google, Apple and many other companies want to suck you into their clouds – because once they have your data, they won’t give it back – at least not so easily. Once they have a certain amount of “your life” on their servers, it’s too much of a hassle for you to switch services or even delete your data. There is also the “social inconvenience”, because all your friends and colleagues are linked to the cloud and have their “cloud lives” linked to yours.

    A backup or transfer of your “cloud life” to your machine or another provider is often cumbersome or even impossible. (So much for open standards...)

    The so called “vendor lock-in” was IBM’s cash cow until personal computing arrived.

    The Advent of Personal Computing

    Desktop computing often gave us less than perfect software, but at least we had everything on our computers and on our hard drives. The personal computer literally put “information and processing power at our fingertips”. Your data, software and your CPU belonged to you – no stinking net connection required to “reach it”.

    The Convenience Factor

    But we, the consumer demand simplicity instead of control over our own data, that is why so many people complacently welcome the switch to “dumb web 2.0 terminals”. Less hassle and less knowledge required...

    It’s so much nicer to have Google (or any another data centre) take care of “your” cloud. You just use the cloud, you don’t need to keep it up and running, update anything or even do a backup.

    But dear consumer: Be careful what you wish for!

    Do you really think that even bigger computer companies will play nice, once they got you by the balls? Do you really want to base your digital life – let alone your business around the freemium model?

    Don't “chain” yourself to the cloud providers.

    If we are ever denied access, we are locked out of our own data, e-mail, tweets, profiles and our whole online identity. In the upcoming future, with a cloud based operating system we might even be locked out of our own computers.

    Always try to own your own data! Especially considering the worst case scenario: Trying to get your data back from your crashed computer is one thing, getting your data back from a server somewhere on this planet is a totally different game.

    You don’t own the cloud – the cloud owns you!

    Column by +Dieter Mueller
    This is a guest column: for more information or if you consider writing one yourself read our previous post: https://plus.google.com/118292867302583509179/posts/RaqapbnC5qG

    >Want to receive more #EuroTech news? Subscribe to this page!<
    Show your support by plussing the page and sharing it with friends.

    image from Flickr by Fiona Henderson
  • 11 plusses - 1 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-16 12:00:34
    Google+ Tips: Secret Circles
    Have you considered a more intimate Shared circle? Think of hosting a quiet dinner party of your most interesting colleagues to introduce them to each other.

    How to make a limited shared circle
    1. Create a circle.
    2. Add people to the circle that you think would enjoy each other's posts based on the conversations you had with them on Google+. Keep it personal. Perhaps under a dozen people. This is not a convention; it's a dinner party. You should know each person in the group well enough that you can provide a introduction to at least one other person in the group.
    3. Open the circle to write your post.
    4. From within the circle, select "Share this circle."
    5. In your post, introduce the members of the circle to each other. Identify your common interest or just say something like, "You're my favorite group of people on Google+ and I've invited you to this shared circle to introduce you to each other."
    6. Share the circle with itself. Don't add any other circles to share box and don't make the post Public.
    7. Notify the people in the circle. Your post should make it clear why you are notifying them. Speak to them directly as if you were writing an email.

    Better Curation Starts With You
    Since the introduction of Shared circles, the noise level on Google+ has gone up and the real interaction has declined. The problem isn't with the tool but how it's being used. Shared circles just provide a mechanism for adding a group of people in one easy step. If the people who do the sharing don't bother to vet the circle before sharing it and explain why the people they've included in the circle are interesting to you (the person they've shared it with), it's not a very worthwhile circle. A circle with the introduction of "Here's some cool people on Google+" provides no value. It's just hype. Especially if the circle contains hundreds of people.

    Be discerning. Help people connect. Be the bridge.
  • 22 plusses - 8 comments - 26 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-17 03:18:26
    The Lifeless Series
    Because sometimes we need to be still.

    Reshared text:
    The Story Behind "The Lifeless Series"

    'Lifeless' does not represent death or a morbid desire for it. It was an examination for my own desire to be less lively.

    Our lives are so busy. Mine is especially so at the moment. There are many days when we just need to zone out and what of the huge things to do when zoning out is to be disconnected from social media.

    Why be 'less' lively? Because I engage in Life. I gobble it. My apetite for creative inspiration can only be described as insatiable. But there is only one single brain that I possess to fit it all in. There is a reason for my self-imposed state of 'lifelessness'.

    Here is my short story: (congratulations if you got this far!)

    7 years ago, my brain, my hard drive shut down ... completely. I had the cognitive abilities of a 3 year-old in the body of an adult. I could not read, could not process information and lost a lot of long-term memory. I do not need to go into detail, because the field of neurological science is one that contains so many mysteries. But that is the foundation for my constant intrest in the field - our brain is something we take for granted until something happens to it. Without it, we are as good as dead. We tax it every single day with technology now. The sensory overload happens every second. We think we can handle it, but in effect, by doing so, we are not using our brains efficiently and effectively. I am a self proclaimed "mono-tasker" because in effect, when your brain processes more than one million pieces of information a second, to actually do two things at one time not only doubles the load, but triples it.

    So as you can imagine, after taking months and years to build from scratch a brain that was as good as a toddler's, I am so grateful for every single thing in my life. The fact that I am studying for my second law degree in a country that I am so proud to call my home is above and beyond. The fact that I can read again is in itself amazing. For that reason, I am not as interactive as people think I am; I am selective in who I circle - I have to ... only because I know and understand my limitations. I cannot play Sudoku as I solve the whole board or attempt to in one glance, and the same with word games. If you can understand feeling your brain expanding and contracting with electrical pulses zapping through it, you will understand 10% of the sensation. It's like having a heart attack - but in your brain.

    So, I will disappear again some time next week. Not because I want to, but because I have to.

    My eternal gratefulness for the ability to share and for the people who take the time to stop, comment and get to know me through my images. Most of all, thank you to the people who are creative ...

    Thank you.
  • 0 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-17 13:59:23
    Wandering Without a Map
    As usual +nomad dimitri gets me wondering, mulling over one of those delightful contradictions in personality. How is it that I'm such a proponent of serendipity, of being open to things we are not in search of, and yet so unable to do as he does and wander without a map?

    So many conflicting stories. Which should I tell? Perhaps it all comes down to my answer when asked why I wanted to move to Japan. The questioner was asking, "Why Japan?" I answered a different question. "Why move?"

    I don't want to experience a place as a tourist. I need to live in it; I need to learn the feel and rhythms of a place by walking the same streets in different times and seasons. This is one of the reasons I miss mountains on my horizons. Mountains could not be more steadfast and unmoving and yet in the changing light and shadows they are constantly transformed.

    Chance Favors Only the Prepared Mind
    Part of my nature as an INTJ is to need a plan, even if I don't follow it. The odd thing is that I don't really get much by reading about a place before I see it. I have to see it, then read about it, and then go look again with informed eyes.

    One of my greatest disappointments was to learn (many years later) that I had visited a place (Bungo Taketa) and missed its most interesting feature: Oka Castle: http://www.jcastle.info/photos/view/479-Oka-Castle.

    We could have spent the afternoon feasting on a forested panorama (which is what we needed). Instead we ambled off in the other direction, grew tired, and went home. What a missed chance! Rather than wallow in regret, I am more intent on being prepared remembering incidents like this.

    Also it's easier for me to form my own responses when I (contrarian that I am) have something to push against, arguing against someone else's impressions. When I look at something for the first time without any background information, I look without seeing. Or perhaps, I look and see only the surface. The more I learn about it and the more often I look at it, the more it comes into three-dimensional focus -- or even four-dimensional focus, if you include time fossilized in history.

    I guess the answer to my apparent contradiction is this: I enjoy wandering aimlessly but only when I'm prepared.

    Wondering While Wandering
    Search Versus Serendipity
    Bungo Taketa
  • 5 plusses - 3 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-17 22:31:48
    Google+ Tips: Quit Your Quid Pro Quo Mindset
    +Matt Holmes sums up the best strategies for getting the most out of Google+ in a pithy, no-nonsense style. Pay attention. He's right on target.

    I'm going to reiterate the one that is the most important to me: remember that your readers are not your sources. If you're following the same people who are following you, you're living in a bubble.
    HT +Meirav Berale


    Reshared text:
    How to be really popular on G+ and get loads of followers NOW!…
    ...here’s a cynical Brit take on this.

    There have been many posts recently attempting to give methods to get a big following, fast. Some are helpful, but some astonishingly cynical. How to reach engagers, how to gain traction, how to do it faster, more more.

    Despite the Google+ graphic below, it is most definitely NOT about You! So, enough selling of snake oil, let's look at some reality!

    Why are you here?...
    Are you here to promote yourself, your business, or merely have an enjoyable time?
    Regardless of what may have been said about numbers, the way to get the best is effectively the same, regardless of purpose. Sorry to disappoint, but there's no magic bullet, or easy fast track to G+ stardom (I'm never going to be an Internet Marketer am I?). Getting G+ to be a vibrant, fascinating and useful place is actually quite easy. Getting visibility is easy. You just have to go about it the right way.

    Despite what you may be seeing it's nothing to do with getting big numbers fast, and mostly not about you. If you think it is, do us all a favour, and get off the internet and go back to selling timeshare.

    Two Important Things to Know...

    Connections are asymmetric. First this is not Facebook. No really, it isn't! I choose who I want to read daily, and a different group of people choose to read what I post. (The question of why is an entirely different matter!) There's no offence if someone doesn't circle you back. Get used to this - it's the way it's meant to work! Asking someone to circle back will usually get you nowhere - unless you're posting something they'd like to see daily.

    For anyone with more than 5000 followers it is impossible to circle everyone anyway. If someone removes you after a week or two, that just means they don't want to see your posts daily, not that they have fallen out with you. They're almost certainly still going to welcome and respond to comments you make on their posts, which of course you are still seeing! It's not Facebook, it pays to remember that! :)

    You have to give a little first. Interaction is basically all that matters. Now if you're here posting your blog like entry daily, or worse, a daily link to your blog post, you're going to get nowhere. Then quit because G+ is dead.

    Add some people - ideally people who actually interest you. 200-300, at most, is a good number to start with. Don't go mad! Add more if your stream is slow. Follow their posts in the stream, and join in - make comments and +1s when you can. Have conversations, and people will start adding you. Add people you find interesting after looking at their posts.

    Yeah yeah, I know this is all very slow and tedious, and why bother when you can play some cynical game of circling, forwarding and uncircling to get numbers fast. And once you have, not one of them will give a toss. In fact they probably have you in a "silenced" circle of unknowns they might look more carefully at when they get chance. Which of course they never do.

    Ever wonder why advertising and radio trailers are repeated so often? Simply because it takes a number of hearings of the message for you to remember it. There's tons of research on this. Same applies to social connections. It takes a number of interactions and conversations for you to be recognised, and remembered. Once I "know" you, I might, just might care about your message. 'til then I don't give a monkey's. How to do that on a social network? Talk to people, about their posts and interests. It's not bloody difficult.

    What's this +1 about?...

    Well first it's not a "like" button. It's feedback! It's far more an acknowledgement - it can be like, sympathy, I've no time to make a comment, sometimes even I'm too shy to write etc. Now that I get regular comments on many posts, I take it as validation or otherwise for the post. If my jokes regularly get no +1s and my pictures often get many, then I can assume the folks following me are liking the pictures far more and my sense of humour needs work, or possibly to be abandoned! Do you adjust the message? Well that's down to you, and why you're here. Learn to notice what's getting a reaction and what isn't - is it the subject, the way you're presenting it, too busy broadcasting, too promotional? Take that feedback and use it as you will, but it's easy to discover what is working for you, and make it work better.

    But, very simply, you can use it to gauge what your followers are finding interesting. How you choose to use that is up to you.

    Uncircle Uncirclers Addon

    Oh really? Talk about missing the point! This is for cynical numbers chasers only.
    Don't expect any who are going to interact, comment, or buy your product. Maybe a couple of +1s per thousand added. But someone you found interesting enough to read this morning suddenly stopped being worth a look because they uncircled you? Really? Wow, aren't you a ball of shallow!

    Want to know how to stop folks uncircling you? It's easy. Interact, and post interesting stuff! Are you seeing a pattern here yet?

    If you're still not seeing it, do us all a favour, and just get off the bloody internet.

    Or as +Rod Dunne put it last night...

    Give & Take
  • 15 plusses - 37 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-19 19:52:15
    Film: Brave
    Pixar nails the physics of archery. I really admire this kind of attention to detail.
    HT +Alex Moffat
  • 5 plusses - 3 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-20 07:25:52
    ATX: Massive Storm System Moves Through Austin
    ...and the entire midwest United States. The noise got me out of bed scanning Twitter and radar for tornado sightings. They always say tornados sound like a freight train. I live a block from the railroad tracks so sometimes I hear false alarms.
  • 6 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-20 13:51:53
    Social Networks and Mental Health
    The title below is misleading. It's not a "How to". It describes the relationship between mental and physical health and your relationships. And introverts, we're doomed. Well unless, perhaps, we can use the Internet to form relationships that we wouldn't otherwise have.

    This is a timely introduction to a post I'm working on at the moment. What kind of tools would help us discover and interact with the right set of people. And how can these tools cover all the different personality types and different purposes people have without favoring one group over another?

    Reshared text:
    Flow leads to health and happiness
  • 4 plusses - 0 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-20 17:02:35
    Google+ Tips: Profile Pic
    I thought cool. Then I realized, I'm already in a circle. I just never thought of it as a tip.

    Reshared text:
    Tired of Feeling Square? Make Your Profile Pic Circular.

    Google+ was made for Circles, so why trap yourself in a square profile picture? A circular profile pic can help you stand out from a crowd, stand out from users of other social networks, stand out in +1's and Search Results, and feel like you just gave yourself a sexy makeover.

    Many of the most followed and influential Plussers have circular profile pics. If you don't know how to make one, I may be able to help you with that, or you can seek out any number of talented people in the Google+ community who may be willing to help. You've Circled other people... maybe it's time to Circle yourself?
  • 4 plusses - 12 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-20 21:28:36
    UX: Google+
    Now it's time to get back to earth and offer some practical suggestions. On a couple of streams that I've linked to below, we've been discussing Google+, why we love it, why we're frustrated that more people don't share our passion, and what could be improved so that people don't dismiss Google+ simply as a competitor to Facebook but as new and entirely better way of interacting. Google+ can't beat Facebook at its game; it's got to create a new and more compelling game.

    +nomad dimitri has the knack for bringing out the lyrical idealist in me but it is not enough to dream. Today my T-type side wants some solutions.

    Ten People, Ten Colors (十人十色)
    The Japanese have a proverb that translates roughly to "Ask ten people a question and you'll get ten different answers." So it is when you ask people what they want out of Google+.

    Are you here to follow celebrities or are you here to find community? Are you here to keep up with people you know or to discover new people? Do you want to constrain your world view or expand it? Do you want to broadcast your ideas or have intimate conversations? Are you looking for content to read or are you looking for readers for your content? Do you take pleasure in tweaking and customizing your experience or do you just want it to work out of the box?

    All answers are valid. But how do you build a tool that supports so many different uses--different types of personality types all with different purposes? And, if users are not actually the customer but the product, is that even your goal? I will assume that regardless of who the actual customer is that Google's goal is to get as many people using Google+ as possible.

    So what kind of tools do people need to socialize? I've broken them down into three sets: discovery tools, engagement tools, and management tools. If you think of more, please chime in.

    Discovery Tools
    How do I find the people who interest me?

    * Discovery: Existing Contacts
    If you have a large Facebook network, you don't want to have start from scratch and add them by hand. I love that we can take our data out of Google+ but how can we bring our data in?

    Suggestion for Improvement:
    Google+ needs better migration tools or people aren't going to migrate.

    * Discovery: Shared Interests/Communities
    The implementation of Pages (they're not just for brands), Google+ search and shared circles are all an improvement. But it's hard to build or maintain a community page either by topic (Triumph Spitfire Enthusiasts), by semi-permanent group (Becker Elementary School PTA), or by ad hoc group or event (Our Wedding).

    Changes to the defaults of the Notification feature make it almost impossible to get a group together for a project or an event unless you get everyone on board beforehand via some other tool (like email or talking to them).

    The idea of being able to find interesting people by seeing who someone you found interesting is following has been pretty much nullified with the advent of shared circles. Most of us follow hundreds of people we really don't know on a trial basis -- so that we've followed them isn't really a recommendation. We're feeling blindly too.

    Suggestions for Improvement:
    1. We need community pages for interests, groups, and events.
    2. We need some sort of directory, index, hierarchy. Some place to browse not search. You know, Usenet. Search is great when I know what I'm looing for (a business location and operating hours). But I also need to be able to find something when I have only a vague notion of what I want. I'm suddenly nostalgic for old record stores, library stacks, card catalogs, even the Yellow Pages.
    3. Trending topics. Hot topics are not the same as trending topics. A hot topic is a post that's gone viral. A trending topic means a lot of people are talking about the same topic across multiple posts. Even when I tried to follow something that I knew a lot of people would be writing about (SXSW), Google+ was not as effective as Twitter for following the conversation.

    * Discovery: Celebrities and Brands
    I think Google+ has this covered with their Suggested User List. And if you already know who you want to follow, search has got you covered.

    Engagement/Interaction Tools
    How well does the interface help me engage with the people I've discovered?

    Google+ scores some big points in this category. A post can be anything. Commenting is easy. Resharing is easy (and we can finally get to the original post from a reshare. Yay!) Both posts and comments can be edited. We can see who +1 or Reshared. Feedback is easy via the +1 button. Viewing Ripples gives us a window into our most engaged readers. We can make our posts viewable to the public sphere or to a limited audience. We can notify people of important posts (this doesn't work as well as it used to because most people don't know how to customize the defaults).

    Suggestions for Improvement:
    1. Option to read by person, not just timestamp (RSS feed).
    Sometimes I want to catch up on a specific person's posts...not just hope I see one of them flow by in the timeline of a circle. Also there are some people (tech gurus) who I don't want to see in my stream but I want to check in on from time to time. I go to their Posts tab on their profile to read them all in one go. I'd like to be able to have a list (like a blog's linklist), or a bookmark, or an RSS feed so that I can remember who these people are.

    2. Ability to control noise by viewing stream by content type or language.
    You can add a link, photo, or video to a post. Why can't you constrain your view of the Home stream by those same content types? The Notification stream has something like this...you can view all your notifications or just notifications by type.

    3. Ability to see what my readers are saying in order to evaluate whether I want to follow them back.
    We had this. It was called the Incoming stream.

    4. Ability to share with my readers. (Separate your sources from your audience.)
    My circles are the people I read. Someone like +Robert Scoble or +Guy Kawasaki is not interested in what I write. Why should they be? The people who have expressed and interest in what I have to say are the ones who are following me--not the people I follow. But I have no way to share posts with just my readers except to share publicly. This cuts down my reshares to about one-tenth of what they would be. I prefer my public content to be mostly my original content. I want to be able to connect to my readers. Currently I can only connect to my sources.

    Management Tools
    How easy is it to keep up with people? How easy is it to turn down the noise? Does the interface work both for people who don't want to tinker and people who love to tinker? for the novice and the expert?

    Suggestions for Improvement:
    1. Make it easier to find old discussions you've been in or comments you've made.
    2. Save posts in draft mode.
    3. Queue to publish.
    4. Ability to star or bookmark a post.
    A +1 gives feedback to the author. A star or bookmark identifies something that I want to keep track of -- to read later, to do more research on.
    5. Ability to make notes about people I'm following.
    I saw this as an add-on -- sticky notes on profiles. I really need something like this to remind me where I met someone or why I decided to follow them. I follow people primarily because of the content of their comments. It's not always obvious to me later why I followed them or what circle I want them in.

    I'm sure the moment I post this I'll think of things to add. So let me sum up. My purpose in writing this post was to try to think of concrete things that would improve the social aspects of Google+ by providing tools for discovery, interaction, and management of relationships. I tried to stay away from focusing on the specific implementation. Let's not be tied to old solutions. Let's think of better ways to do some of these things by focusing on what we want to accomplish.
    +nomad dimitri : Networks and Frontiers
    +Matt Holmes : How to Be Really Popular

    Note: If I've notified you personally about this post, it's because we've been in discussion about building communities or helping newbies out on Google+ in the past.

    #googleplusfeedback #googleplusfeaturerequest #ux
  • 12 plusses - 41 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-21 15:42:21
    Relationships: Soulmate
    My first reaction is always "Yes!" And then the contrarian in me takes over and I began to pick at things.

    "..we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be." While I agree that this is important in a soulmate there are times when such behavior makes us lazy. I prefer to surround myself with people who challenge me to be the best I can be. It's great when they understand that we can't always live up to the challenge but if they let us off the hook too often, we just stop trying. Isn't that what happens in many marriages?

    Reshared text:
    “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.” - Richard Bach
  • 2 plusses - 3 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-21 20:09:07
    SXSW: Top Five Talking Points
    Number 4. Curation: This article really makes me wish I'd seen the panel with +Maria Popova . I've already started getting annoyed with "curation" as a buzz word. My old worldview is to see curators as something akin to the merchant class who gets fat off the work of others. The truth is that without curators/merchants we farmers, artisans and content produces can't get our wares to the consumers. So I need to reevaluate my position.

    Reshared text:
    My piece for .net about social media news from sxsw.
  • 1 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-21 20:46:51
    Google+ Tips: Creating a Shared Interest Group
    +Brian Titus combines circles, hashtags, and search in order to extract the specific content he wants from his sources. It's a good tip but requires buy-in from your favorite shared interest community.

    As +Alex Schleber remarks, the hoops we have to jump through to have communities is an indication that we need better tools.
    Turning comments off here. Give your feedback on Brian's post.

    Reshared text:
    Managing Conversations with Curated Circles and Hashtags
    Part of the standard advice and guidance for G+ newbies is to learn to use Circles to manage how you share information with other people. Indeed, within Google's overview of Plus, we are told:

    You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles make it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.

    On the surface then, it seems like Google+ is set up perfectly to allow people to create circles of interest -- places where like-minded individuals can converse about arcane topics without bothering (or alerting) the general public. However, this is not really the case, for several reasons which I'll discuss here.

    First, what many people may not realize initially is that creating a pathway for "sharing the right stuff with the right people" requires each person on that path to do something with their circles.

    For example, say I want to start a circle of plussers called DonutLovers, with the purpose of chatting about all things donut-related. Great, I'll just create my circle, add the 50 people I've noticed that seem to be interested in donuts, and then start posting and targeting my posts to that named circle. Perfect, right? Well, no. Because unless the people in my circle have also added me, my posts to them will almost certainly never reach them.

    So simply creating a circle on your own is a likely dead-end -- because you need to get people connected at both ends. How then to proceed? Well, a strategy that seems to have taken hold on G+ is to publicly curate your circle. This is done by first publicly announcing the creation/curation of a shared circle: Hey everyone, I'm going to be making a circle called DonutLovers, please respond here if you want in, and share this out to your circles! It's usually helpful to reshare your call-for-joiners at high-traffic times for a couple of days in a row.

    At some point when you feel you've got enough folks to make a circle, you need to share the circle back out to the public (adding yourself of course), and also target the circle itself. If your circle has less than 100 members, you can also notify, which will help ensure that everyone in the circle sees the circle and then adds it. Presumably they'll be looking for it, you never know for sure.

    So now you've got a group of people in a circle, and hopefully most of them have also added that circle -- time to start the conversation, right? Well, no. Why not? Because there is currently no mechanism in Google+ to segregate topical content from your circles into your circles. What does that mean? It means that if you've got me in your DonutLovers circle, then anything I post that you can see, whether on-topic or not, will show up in your DonutLovers stream. Remember, "what you can see" includes my targeted posts and my public posts.

    Since most people seem to be posting publicly right now, your beautifully curated circle will likely end up as a stream that looks like all your other streams. Full of interesting stuff perhaps, but only a fraction of it related to DonutLovers. This is where the hashtag comes into play!

    Once you've got your connected circle up and running, you need to establish a common hashtag for everyone to use when posting. It doesn't even have to be descriptive (although that helps people outside the circle), it just needs to be consistently applied. For example, for our DonutLovers circle, we can use #Donuts or #DonutLovers or whatever is easiest. It's not necessary to be unique within Google+, but it doesn't hurt.

    Now, with a circle of interest and a common hashtag, we’re finally able to separate the conversations about Donuts into a manageable stream. How? First, run a Google+ search on the hashtag. Then, from the middle dropdown, select From your circles. Finally, click SAVE THIS SEARCH to add this setup to your list of searches on the left. Now, whenever you click on that saved search, you'll pull up all the tagged conversations about Donuts from people in your circles. In other words, it's your DonutLovers stream, served up fresh and ready for consumption. Best of all, you can create new posts right from this view, and Google+ will automatically add the hashtag for you. Delicious!

    Happy plussing!

    cc/ +Alex Schleber +Jesse Wojdylo +Gideon Rosenblatt +Keith Bloemendaal +M Sinclair Stevens +Jeff Jockisch +Jaana Nyström +Denis Labelle +Lee Smallwood +William Reichard +Thomas Morffew
  • 6 plusses - 0 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-22 13:27:18
    Google+: Reputation Engine or Social Network
    Professional or personal? What kind of networking do you do on Google+? One of the coolest things about Google+ is that it gives us the ability to do both. You can write public posts which are searchable by anyone Internet and build your reputation in whatever field your passion leads you. And you can write limited-share posts to share status updates with your friends and grand-kid photos with your parents.

    Public Comments Are Public
    But what happens when someone in your "People with Embarrassing Green Spots Support Group" circle posts publicly and you respond with encouragement? Well, your comments on a public post are also viewable by anyone on the Internet. While some of us have no problem with bringing the issue of embarrassing green spots out in the open, others of us cringe at the idea that our colleagues will assume that we, too, have embarrassing green spots. Once you're stuck with a label, it's hard for people to look past the spots and see you as a whole person anymore.

    Most of us have gotten into a personal discussion on a public post, the same way we do in a restaurant. We focus on the two or three people at the table and shut out the public around us. As long as discussions with your vegan friends flowed in separate streams from your BBQ-enthusiasts friends, Google+ did a pretty good job of modeling real life.

    Topsy's Chilling Effect
    Now Topsy brings comment search to Google+. While most of us will find this a useful tool for revisiting conversations we've lost track of, it has some serious repercussions.

    1. Anyone can track your public comments.
    Any careless remark, even to encourage a friend, can be taken out of context or blown out of proportion. And the Internet's memory is forever. Your social life has just leaked into your professional reputation.

    And, yes, I know the old adage about my mom and my boss. But the sands shift. A topic that wasn't controversial yesterday is controversial today. And suddenly employers who couldn't discriminate against you for your religious (or irreligious) beliefs are given an opt out licence to do so in the name of their faith.

    Or your formerly loving spouse hires a divorce lawyer. The thoughts you shared are now twisted and used against you.

    Or the person thinking to hire you has a personal horror of little green spots. You might not have little green spots yourself but you're sympathetic to those dirty creeps that do.

    2. A tool for stalkers.
    We've already had a problem on Google+ of people following people to whatever discussion they engage in and leaving abusive comments. We've hidden our "following" lists and gotten our friends to block them. Now Topsy makes it easy for them to find you wherever you enter the public space for open discourse.

    +Max Huijgen Search Tool for Comments
    +Mark Traphagen Search for Your Own Comments on Google+
    +Matt Holmes Stalkers Will Love This

    #Topsy #commenthistory #privacy
  • 11 plusses - 46 comments - 9 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-23 03:41:10
    Education: How Differential Steering Works
    If we forget how things work, how long will it take to figure them out again? I admire how the video explains it. I'm amazed at how it works.
    +Liz Krane I think this is something you might enjoy. If it seems too long, skip past the motorcycles at the beginning. That's just to get you thinking about the problem and why it needs solving.

    Reshared text:
    Great (old) video of explaining a complicated concept in a simple way. Speakers should apply this in their speeches, and teachers too

    Around The Corner (1937) How Differential Steering Works
  • 19 plusses - 4 comments - 11 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-23 22:17:46
    Google+ Curation: 2012-03-23
    +Rahul Roy sums up the best of the week on Google+ so that you can catch up on your reading this weekend.

    Reshared text:
    Top 50 posts of the week about Google+

    (In no particular order)
    1. Grow a Google+ Following and Get Users to Your Brand’s Page By +Kristoffer Howes > http://goo.gl/WFfgN
    2. Google+ and Search Results Testing By +Mark Traphagen > http://goo.gl/Ponao
    3. New Google, Google+ and Google+ Page Users +Denis Labelle > http://goo.gl/ZPasy
    4. Interaction: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly! By +Bud Hoffman > http://goo.gl/QlDBp
    5. How positively engaging are you in Google+? By +Jaana Nyström > http://goo.gl/X14E3
    6. How to Get Circled by a TON of People on Google+ By +Anthony Fox > http://goo.gl/AQtCk
    7. How to be really popular on G+ and get loads of followers NOW! By Matt Holmes > http://goo.gl/Adzsc
    8. The G+ User Feedback Mechanism: a modest suggestion By +nomad dimitri > http://goo.gl/mbqpI
    9. my point of view on the G+ ghost town stories … By +Jens Graikowski > http://goo.gl/Kn7sk
    10. Newbie on G+? With less than 2000 circlers? By +martin shervington > http://goo.gl/WmslI


    11. +1-button on website also counts shares on +Google+! By +Arvid Bux > http://goo.gl/VbdZq
    12. Trouble with Notifications? By +Shannon Adelson > http://goo.gl/qJ34C
    13. *What Does Google+ Need to Do to Counteract the Press Negativity? By +Mark Traphagen http://goo.gl/wpHPe
    14. How do you explain +Google+ to people? By +Chase Mann > http://goo.gl/sqxWu
    15. 10 New Reasons You Should Quit Facebook By +Michelle Marie > http://goo.gl/qqm8R
    16. Why Google+ is not a social network By +Lucas Johnson http://goo.gl/yfwC1
    17. A Tip on How NOT to Get Blocked By +Anthony Fox > http://goo.gl/fE8z5
    18. Announcing: Google Plus SEO Testing Network By +Mark Traphagen > http://goo.gl/WEWvo
    19. GET CIRCLED By +Rehan Ahmad http://goo.gl/YWWp7
    20. Let's Talk About Circles... By +Matt Holmes > http://goo.gl/wQf34


    21. Make your own Google+ ID card By +Jaana Nyström > http://goo.gl/mwvmY
    22. Why is +1 Like Casanova Gifting? By +Johan Horak http://goo.gl/YRC5N
    23. Google+ Photo Book is now online By +Mohammad Eshbeata http://goo.gl/jaN1n
    24. 5 Ways to Save Google Plus Posts for Later Reading By +Leah Davies http://goo.gl/kK2VP
    25. Unanticipated Consequences of Joining G+ By +Ted Ewen http://goo.gl/DgeHY
    26. Google+ doing its part in spreading Thanks! - News Search Results get Social By +Ronnie Bincer > http://goo.gl/ryvnH
    27. Google+ - Google's Collaborative Engagement Engine By +Brian Gundersen > http://goo.gl/XJSNQ
    28. How to set your location By +Mike Downes > http://goo.gl/LSweF
    29. 7 Google+ Infographics by +circled.us / +Michael Delgado via Denis Labelle > http://goo.gl/ryk98
    30. Graphics By +Michael Stuart > http://goo.gl/nShsJ


    31. What If Google+ Ended Tomorrow? By +Peter G McDermott > http://goo.gl/vE8pw
    32. The Importance of Timing By +Daniel Treadwell > http://goo.gl/SHwcb
    33. Mistakes Branding and Marketing Google+ By +Damien R. von Dahlem > http://goo.gl/hT758
    34. The power of Google+ By +David Kingham > http://goo.gl/4Mdfj
    35. Welcome to all of you new Plussers!!! By +Glenn Rogers > http://goo.gl/nSHJo
    36. Basic Etiquette & Some Tips for Google+ users By +Ronnie Bincer > http://goo.gl/E1Pm7
    37. If you are having engagement problems I feel bad for you son. You got 99 followers but get feedback from none. By +Silver Suurvarik > http://goo.gl/pIBi1
    38. CIRCLE MANAGEMENT By +Emilie Eggleston > http://goo.gl/Ao2mv
    39. Google+ Tips: Secret Circles By +Mark Traphagen > http://goo.gl/4L7Z2
    40. Search tool for comments: what Google can´t offer you is now available! By +Max Huijgen > http://goo.gl/hLeIE


    41. Google+ Is All That (And a Bag of Chips) By +Eli Fennell > http://goo.gl/KAJyj
    42. Do you know About Google+ Ripples? > http://goo.gl/KapIl
    43. Google+: Reputation Engine or Social Network By +M Sinclair Stevens > http://goo.gl/UeBmY
    44. Managing Conversations with Curated Circles and Hashtags By +Brian Titus > http://goo.gl/s5S8R
    45. Tired of Feeling Square? Make Your Profile Pic Circular. By +Eli Fennell > http://goo.gl/aZDF6
    46. Google+ Guide for New Google+ Users > http://goo.gl/0QUt8
    47. Google+ tip: Watch Ripples around the Web By +JR Raphael > http://goo.gl/pmelv
    48. What is the Best Time to Post to Reach Majority of your Followers? By +Shamil Weerakoon > http://goo.gl/amwIZ
    49. Google+ is all about helping others.. > http://goo.gl/VMdAl
    50. New G+ User: How You can use Google Insights for Search By +Denis Labelle > http://goo.gl/OYkbE

    Bonus: Don't be a #bluehead ! By +Lars Fosdal http://goo.gl/397CF

    >> Facebook clones another Google+ feature, keeps Google+ from gaining mass adoption By +Robert Scoble > http://goo.gl/gcscw --> : added by +Jacob Moen

    >> How To Research Other G+ Users Posts, Comments and Replies By +Cod Codliness > http://goo.gl/qlLfY

    >> Google+ is not a "social network", it is a Salon By +Anita Law > http://goo.gl/VxRNv


    External posts:

    1. Customize Your Google+ Hovercard to Gain More Followers
    2. 6 cool activities taking place on Google+ right now
    3. How Google+ Ripples Provides Social Sharing Insights
    4. Why Major Marketers Are Moving to Google+
    5. 8 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Site With Google+

    #googleplustips #gplustips #weeklytopposts #googleplus #gplus #G + #newbieshelp #newbiesguide

    Image By +Michael Stuart
  • 4 plusses - 2 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-24 00:21:53
    Google+ Tips: Giving of Yourself
    I just read a slew of really awful Google+ posts -- the hot topic is how to get, get, get. How to get circled. How to get followers. How to circle loads of people to guilt them into following you back. And if they don't, drop them and move on.

    Well, here's something you can get. Over. Yourself. The operative word on Google+ is share. The goal is to find people who fascinate, amuse, and inform us and then connect them with the people we think will also like them. You are the bridge between the people you follow and the people who follow you. You are the conduit of information.

    If you're only giving to get, then that's just gaming. Don't be a player.
    Now for a refreshing fable from +Johan Horak : Lessons from Casanova.
    HT to +Rahul Roy for tipping me to this post.

    Reshared text:
    Why is +1 Like Casanova Gifting? What I learned when I wanted to kiss a girl a 13 or 15.

    Let me tell you the story. It's a little embarrassing but I got through it. It was my first lesson in social engagement.

    And it's very applicable to my social engagement philosophy here on Google+.

    As a 13 year old schoolboy my family sent me to an all boys school, 8 hours away from home by train. Sunday nights we got on at six and got off at 3 am.

    It was boring. But there were older boys and they shared how they kissed girls and what-not. I was intrigued and never slept. But I was so excited by the idea. I could just imagine the closeness and the soft lips. Goodness! I could not wait.

    But it took me a few more years to be invited to a disco. Yes. That's what we called a dance at that time.

    I saw this good looking girl and asked the unsuspecting soft-lips for a dance. At least I got this bit sorted. But I could not move. My legs were stuck to my hips. I, never before danced and had other plans as well. I was frightened.

    I asked her to walk outside and she obliged. What now? I tried the kiss. I got a smack. And I never saw soft lips again.

    I was sad. My friends made fun out of me. But I am a learner. One day I met the local casanova. And he said to me:

    1) It takes time.
    2) You have to ask her about herself. She will talk. Some more than others.
    3) Hold her hand.
    4) Speak to her regularly.
    5) Be honest. Always. (This was a real casanova).
    6) Buy her flowers.
    7) Take her to the movies.
    8) Tell her how beautiful she looks in the purple dress.
    9) Buy her a small ring.
    10) And then give her a kiss.

    Well. This helped a lot and I got a lot more kisses than smacks.

    This is the same here at Google+.

    Circling someone thinking you'll get the kiss is like me at 14; you won't get anything.

    I believe you have do the following (and I am not saying this has not been said. I just packed it in a kissing story):

    1) +1's are the gifts. Give them out. Like +Jaana Nyström (http://goo.gl/HXKyJ) sharing +40 000 +1's (She has nearly 40000 followers. I am not saying there's a relationship between +1's and followers. And I am not saying she's chasing no-of-followers. The above post by Jaana shares how you can tally your number of +1's.

    2) Comment on a post is like taking her for dinner.

    3) Sharing a post is like buying her a nice ring.

    4) Doing all of these regularly are like sharing kisses. You'll get it back. You'll be added to public Circles. (My less than 500 followers jumped to more than a 1000 in one week when I changed my engage strategy. I wrote it here http://goo.gl/oh7VS (Warning: Selfless promotion because my engagers like it and shared it)).

    5) You'll have to find Casanovas to teach you how to get the kiss and when you do they will return it. Here are some of my Casanovas; +rahul roy, +Jaana Nyström, +Denis Labelle, +Mark Traphagen, +Prabat parmal, +Eli Fennell, +John Hardy, +Al Remetch, +Rehan Ahmad, +Valentin Dobroia, +stephanie wanamaker

    6) +Bud Hoffman shared a very simple circle management idea. http://goo.gl/6I4S8 I find it very effective.

    May you get all the kisses you deserve. Start with +1's and share them in all honesty.
    Have fun.
  • 24 plusses - 29 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-24 03:35:32
    Film: Love and Honor
    Earlier this week I watched the final film in Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy.
    * The Twilight Samurai (2002) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0351817/
    * The Hidden Blade (2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0442286/
    * Love and Honor (2006) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0483578/

    They are only a trilogy in theme -- all about low-ranking samurai who really want to be doing something else with their lives.

    From the first time I saw it The Twilight Samurai became one of my favorite films. I love the details of the bureaucratic and home life of a low-ranking samurai in the late 19th century who really wants to be a farmer. His wife has died and he takes care of his two young daughters and senile mother. He is in love with his best friend's sister, but he doesn't make enough money to feel worthy of her. Eventually he is called to bring in a rogue clansman who is on the wrong side of a rebellion.

    The Hidden Blade is my least favorite of the three. The story is almost identical except this time our protagonist is in love with a woman of lesser rank. There are a lot more scenes played for farce and the story is too close to The Twilight Samurai with our hero having to do the dirty work for the clan and kill a fellow samurai gone wrong.

    In Love and Honor our hero begins very happily married and a little better off (with a better class of servant) than in the previous two films. He hates his job as a poison taster and dreams of starting his own school for boys. The formula has become pretty predictable by now, so you know the road to that dream is going to be rocky. But the acting in all three films and the attention to period detail make me care about the characters.

    All three films are sentimental tear-jerkers. All three have some excellent sword-play as well. The Twilight Samurai has the longest and goriest sword fight of the bunch with the cleverest conclusion. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film in the 2004 American Academy Awards and swept the 2003 Japanese Academy awards.

    Has anyone else seen any of these films? Care to discuss?
  • 5 plusses - 6 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-26 00:52:39
    Science: Face Recognition

    Reshared text:
    Generations: Face Recognition Across the Ages

    Artist +Frauke Thielking does a lot of really interesting work, but as a face perception researcher, her works that focus on faces (Generationen and Doppelgänger) are among the most interesting to me.

    The image below shows a photograph from the Generationen series, in which Thielking photographs fathers/sons or mothers/daughters to highlight the similarities and differences in facial structure across the generations. No matter how much you try to be your own person, some part of you comes from your parents....

    This series made me wonder whether people who suffer from prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces, which we talked about last week on #ScienceSunday : http://goo.gl/uMHWC) would have an easier or more difficult time detecting familial relationships based on the sort of images Thielking portrays. On the one hand, as someone who has face recognition difficulties myself, I often see resemblances where others don't (I'm a whiz at finding new "separated at birth" pairs), because I can't see the differences between individual faces as clearly as others can. On the other hand, because people with prosopagnosia seem to use a sort of piece-meal, puzzle solving process to recognize faces, they might be more thrown off by "irrelevant" featural changes, like the difference in hair colour and the presence of a moustache in the pairing below.

    +Michael O'Reilly might have some insights. A brief Pubmed search turned up nothing, but maybe there's something out there I don't know about ( +Lisa DeBruine might know if there is something out there on this topic). If not, this would be a great collaboration between artists and scientists :)

    #ScienceSunday (co-curated by me and +Robby Bowles)
  • 3 plusses - 2 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-26 01:13:06
    Solar Energy: Advances in Solar Panel Manufacturing
    From the article, "When all’s said and done, if you buy Twin Creeks’ equipment, it is promising a cost of around 40 cents per watt, about half the cost of panels currently coming out of China (where the vast majority of solar panels are made). At that price, solar power begins to encroach on standard, mostly-hydrocarbon-derived grid power — but, of course, we still need to create batteries that can store solar power over night."

    Reshared text:
    How cool is this!

    They figured out a way to make solar panels cheaper, but they needed a particle accelerator to do it... so they built one. No only that, it's much more powerful than the ones they could buy.

    They named this ion cannon Hyperion, and it allows them to precisely sheer silicon wafers MUCH thinner than other methods, AND with less waste. AND the wafers are more flexible due to this method.
  • 7 plusses - 0 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-26 01:32:17
    INTJ: Reality, the Crucible for Refining Ideas
    We've been having a really fun discussion over +Youssef Hachhouch's place on the MBTI (link below). If you're an INTx, you'll find it interesting. Youssef is experiencing the same sense of revelation I did when I first started reading about my type: INTJ.

    This is the quote that really spoke to me back then. "[INTJs] are the supreme pragmatists, who see reality as something which is quite arbitrary and made up. Thus it can be used as a tool -- or ignored. Reality is quite malleable and can be changed, conquered, or brought to heel. Reality is a crucible for the refining of ideas, and in this sense, INTJs are the most theoretical of all the types. Where an ESTP sees ideas as the pawn of reality, an INTJ sees reality as the pawn of ideas: No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained." -- INTJ Profile by David Keirsey
    I think this quote goes a long way in explaining my excitement about Google+, too. I meet so many people here who love to play with ideas, experiment, toy, and have fun thinking. There is a camaraderie that comes from a shared sense of adventure as we explore uncharted territories in the theoretical landscape.
  • 10 plusses - 21 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-26 17:39:06
    Newbie Tips: Circle Management
    From time to time I update and republish tips for all the people new to Google+. If you want to add to the discussion, click the link to the original post.

    Reshared text:
    Google+Tips: Simplifying Circles -- Start with Two
    Circles are one of Google+'s most distinctive features. We create circles for one of two reasons, sharing and subscribing:
    1. We want to limit something we share only to the people in that circle.
    2. We want to read posts by the people in that circle at the same time.

    So when you first start using Google+, you need only two circles, Read and Write. All that other stuff about Friends, Family, Coworkers. Forget it. Don't waste your time coming up with complicated sorting schemes. Your circles will evolve with use.

    Public Only Sharers Don't Need Circles
    How It Begins. If you share all your posts publicly (to anyone on the Internet), you don't need circles for sharing. Indiscriminate sharers edit themselves by choosing what to share or choosing who their friends are.

    At this time, Google+ doesn't let you hide public posts from selected circles. So if you share boob pics publicly with you frat buddies, you can't hide them from your mom, your girlfriend, your minister, or your boss. To steal a phrase, "There's a circle for that."

    How It Evolves. Gauging the effect of certain topics (humor, politics, religion) on a roomful of strangers can be tricky. Google+ is a reputation management system and you don't want to blow your credibility by looking like an ass in front of a potential business associate, customer, or the head of your kid's PTA.

    One of the first circles I created was Humor. No one was in it. I created it to bookmark stuff that I thought was funny -- a way to save it for myself. As I saved certain things to it, I'd get an impulse to share it with someone I knew would appreciate it. Sometimes, I'd add them to the share by name. If I did that often enough, I'd add them to the circle.

    Lesson Learned. Start with the topic and add the people.

    Mainstream Readers Don't Need Circles
    How It Begins. Currently Google+ shows you posts from all your circles at the same time in the Home Stream. Although you can (and should) read by circle, Google+ does not let you set a default of just one or more circles when you go your main page. You have to take that extra step and click on a circle to read the posts in it. If this is too much of an effort, do not trouble yourself to set up "reading" circles.

    Although topic-based circles are excellent for sharing posts, they are useless for reading posts. That's because people post on a wide variety of topics and you will get all the content they post publicly plus anything they share with you specifically.

    How It Evolves. So what good are reading circles? Frequency. I have two reading circles: Important and Daily Reads. I check Important several times a day and Daily Reads with my morning coffee.

    Lesson Learned. Set up you reading circles by how often you want to check in on someone.

    Lesson Learned (update). Don't mix noisy people and quiet people in the same circle. If the noisy people post several times a day and have active comment threads, their posts will alway bubble to the top of the stream (this keeps active conversations going). You'll read down until you see one you've already seen. Meanwhile a whole bunch of posts who haven't seen by people who post less often are below that.

    The "As Needed" Approach
    Over time, you will discover other ways of organizing the flow of information in Google+ based on what you like to read and share. I have a circle for Tech Journos because they tend to focus their posts on tech and they write a lot. I like to read them all at the same time.

    What you don't need to do when you start on Google+ is waste a lot of time sorting contacts from your Gmail account (who probably aren't even using Google+) into circles. You don't need to set up elaborate hierarchies of circles.

    Just start with two: Read and Write. The rest will evolve naturally.
  • 5 plusses - 0 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-26 19:20:21
    Google+ Tips: Circle Management
    In the interest of completeness, an alternate approach to the suggestion in my previous post (https://plus.google.com/u/0/118011560178264222649/posts/Lg3Xp4acFcy).

    +Pierre Johnson's is more top-down and structured; mine, more fluid and evolving. The fact that we can have two such different approaches and make them both work once again demonstrates the marvelous plasticity of Google+.

    Reshared text:

    Circling. It can be maddening because of the need for exclusiveness (either-or Boolean logic) and inclusiveness (this-and-also-this Fuzzy logic).

    Having been using G+ since July 11, 2011, and having tried many ways of circle management, I discovered what seems to be a most useful method. In short, you need two kinds of circles, status circles and interest circles.

    The Dartboard of G+

    Easily, you can look at G+ circles much like a dartboard where the bull's eye should be your inner circle of most trusted, most liked, most wanted G+ friends. The bull should be your next group of almost great friends. Depending on how find gradation that you want, the triple ring could be your fairly good friends. The double ring might represent those you consider as so-so and the single ring might represent those you care least about.

    Fixing Your G+: Boolean Style

    None of this can be done if you rely on the default settings. Yet, we can do something about that. We can custom define Your Circles to act as a bull's eye and bull ring.

    First, go to this page: https://www.google.com/settings/plus
    Once there, scroll down to where you see Your circles and click on the page button labeled Customize.

    Uncheck all of the circles that fail to make the cut as a bull's eye and bullring circle. The unchecked circles effectively become circles you're following. Once done, only those circles included into your custom defined Your Circles can see your G+ shares when you share to Your Circles.

    That said, those in all of the other circles you have defined can see your shares only if you specifically choose those circles, share to extended circles or share to public.

    The next step is to set the slider bar at the top of circle stream of your bull's eye and bull circles to max show and set the lesser circles to none so that only the best content stays in your stream. This forces you to curate those in the lesser circles, in hopes of elevating their status rather than uncircling them or worse, blocking them.

    A good circle to have is to have a probationary circle where you put all your new circles who have circled you first. From this circle, you can move these circlers to either a higher status ring or a lower one.

    Handling the Rings Outside Your Bull

    So, after you have your bull's eye and bull circle set up (aka Your Circles), next, set up your remaining status circles. What I mean here is your triple ring and your double ring.

    Who is Interested in What? Fuzzy Style

    So after you have set up your status circles, the next step is to set up topic circles. This way, you can catch all of content in a topic stream by interest. I have a circle of those who share photos, another circle of those who share gags, and yet another one of those who talk politics from a liberty perspective.

    Once done, for each topic circle, set the slider bar at the top of circle stream to none and this way, topics stay out of your stream.

    Why the Least Cared About?

    Why would you want to keep those around who you care least about? Well, you might want to push content through to these people who, in turn, spread your content upon your behalf and thus lend importance to your content. You might hope they improve their own content and thus giving you cause to promote them into a higher status ring.

    What G+ Product Engineers Ought to Do

    G+ Product Engineers ought to create an include directive so that you can build circles concentrically, that is, each bigger circle could include those of several smaller circles. Shown linearly:

    Besties → Besties & Pretty Goods→ Besties, Pretty Goods, & So-Sos → Besties, Pretty Goods, So-Sos, & Maybes → Besties, Pretty Goods, So-Sos, Maybes & Losers → Extended Circles → Public

    Though this extension doesn't work, see:
  • 6 plusses - 3 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 00:36:03
    Relationships: Looking Beyond the Surface
    "Tell me again how that hour and a half of his day makes him a saint, and six or seven of mine makes me a burden, a broken thing that he holds up and keeps whole with his sheer saintly strength of will?"

    Reshared text:
    You know something? My partner, Colin, is a truly good man. He gets up at 5:30 every morning so that he can spend an hour taking care of my physical needs, and then again for a half an hour before bed. This impresses people so much that they can’t stop talking about it. After all, it’s such a burden that most people can’t imagine doing the same. He must be a saint! He must be a doll! He must be... human.

    At least since I’m bed-bound, I have to hear about this much less often than when I was in a wheelchair and The Boy was accompanying me. I no longer have to put up with any shop clerk/waiter/nurse talking to him instead of me. My doctors, physical therapists, and neurologists know me well enough to not address questions to Colin instead of me, because the first time they did they learned that no matter how frail and brain damaged I might be, no one speaks for me except me.

    But we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about Colin. The Saint. Because he spends an hour and a half a day taking care of me, he must be dealing with unimaginable pressure, yet he’s always smiling. Never grumpy. Able to empty bedpans in a single bound. He’s fantastic, right? How could I ever make it up to him?

    I’ll tell you how.

    By spending three to five hours every day (after school hours) taking care of his children, our children. Our special needs children, who must be tracked and checked on every few minutes to ensure their safety.

    By handling the finances, which were in such bad shape before I arrived that he was spending two thousand dollars a month more than he had, and had no idea how to fix it. Enter one grumpy Jewish accountant’s daughter. We now have a budget and weekly check-ins. It’s not much fun, but it works.

    By watching over the house, seeing that it is kept clean and sanitary, and the kids have clothes that fit, foods that are healthy, and someone who is always available to check homework (whether they want me to or not).

    Sometimes (not often, not nearly often enough), if there’s time, money, and energy after the day is done, we get time to be lovers and friends. Tell me again how that hour and a half of his day makes him a saint, and six or seven of mine makes me a burden, a broken thing that he holds up and keeps whole with his sheer saintly strength of will?

    Colin is a good man, and I love him. But the way people look up to him and shower him with admiration and shocked surprise (because he devotes 90 minutes of his day to being a caretaker) makes me laugh on a good day. On a bad day... it dehumanizes us both -- me into a thing that needs to be maintained and him into a superman who has been not allowed to cry or swear or be angry at the world because he’s trapped inside a situation that no matter how willingly he chose to be in it, it is not always fun, not pleasant.

    We’d like our humanity back, please. We’d like to be Corey and Colin, not Corey the Cripple and Colin the Caretaker.

    I like that my friends adore Colin. Colin likes my friends in turn. But it would be nice if I could complain about my life or even complain about Colin without risking shattering their world. Isn’t he the perfect, loving man? Aren’t I the strong but resilient fisher queen?

    No. We’re human, the both of us. Colin pisses me off with his forgetfulness and his reluctance to handle bureaucracy. In turn, I rub him the wrong way on a regular basis. We disagree, sometimes we even fight. But at the end of the day we take a moment, or three, or ten, to talk, to make sure we aren’t falling asleep angry or upset, and that our day will begin far too early and with far too many chores to be done, but in the knowledge that we are two people, loud and confused, and sometimes angry, who love the hell out of each other.

    What would help, my dear friends, is that if we could wake up without having to face your expectations. If Colin could have a day where he’s grumpy and just not want to have to deal with this crap. If I could have a day where I crossed a line from grace under pressure to brittle, even irrational anger. It happens.

    We get over it, or sometimes we don’t. But if you could do one thing for us, let us be human. Let us be irrational. Let us cry. Then and only then can we also be strong, sometimes even saintly, from time to time. And for god’s sakes -- let us be human.
  • 4 plusses - 2 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 00:57:01
    Film: The Hunger Games
    Reflecting ourselves. And what happens when some people's projections conflict with reality. #racism

    Reshared text:
  • 3 plusses - 3 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 01:50:21
    Film: Kirschblüten (Hanami/Cherry Blossoms)
    Caveat. Usually when I discuss movies I assume the other people in the discussion have seen it. Thus I sometimes include spoilers. However, in this case I'm going to try to avoid spoilers and ask that you do too. In fact, if you haven't seen the movie, don't even read the Netflix or IMDB descriptions. Let it unfold for you.
    At the beginning of Hanami, the story seems to echo Ozu's Tokyo Story. Aging parents go to visit their busy adult children who consider the visit a nuisance. They're nice kids, but. They don't have time to spare. The parents understand. The children feel guilty. There's a lot of uncomfortable awkwardness.

    Moments into the movie I fell in love with it. In the German section especially, every scene is like a photograph: the composition, the colors, the textures -- all striking. And the subject matter! Studies of aging faces, weathered buildings, and lots and lots of mountains. There is a shot of the Baltic Sea that reminded me of one of +C.J. Shane's paintings. Hanami is the first movie to make me fall in love with Germany.

    The second half of the movie takes place in Japan during cherry blossom season. We are reminded that the "cherry blossom is the most beautiful symbol of impermanence". But let us not forget the lowly fly.

    I think that Hanami manages to avoid most of the usual gaijin-in-Japan cliches. It does so because the focus is so much on character development, on reflections of loss and loneliness, on memory, desire, and time.

    Hanami is not a movie for everyone. I think you will understand it best if you are old enough to have some regrets over chances not taken.

    If I were to recommend it by type, I'd recommend it to INFJs -- for any intuitive feeler. If you are an ESTP, avoid it. It will be too "artsy" for you. Some reviewers have criticized it for being manipulatively sentimental. It must have worked because I spent the last half hour stifling sobs.

    If you liked these movies, you will probably like Hanami.
    * Tokyo Story
    * Afterlife
    * Der Himmel über Berlin
    * The Beaches of Agnès
  • 6 plusses - 1 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 11:16:00
    Science: A Universe of Self-replicating Code
    A long, deep article that I have to think about more before discussing. Using this as a bookmark.
    via +John Blossom

    Reshared text:
    Astounding George Dyson interview on the hybridizing of digital code and genetic code

    “It's a very symbiotic relationship: the same way life found a way to use the self-replicating qualities of these polynucleotide molecules to the great benefit of life as a whole, there's no reason life won't use the self-replicating abilities of digital code, and that's what's happening. If you look at what people like Craig Venter and the thousand less-known companies are doing, we're doing exactly that, from the bottom up.“
  • 5 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 16:21:36
    Science: Emmy Noether, Mathematician
    From the article. “I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her,” Hilbert said indignantly to the administration at Göttingen, where he sought to have Noether appointed as the equivalent of an associate professor. “After all, we are a university, not a bathhouse.” Hilbert failed to make his case, so instead brought her on staff as a more or less permanent “guest lecturer”; and Noether, fittingly enough, later took up swimming at a men-only pool.
    via +Melissa Walker

    Reshared text:
  • 9 plusses - 2 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 16:45:55
    Music of the Spheres
    Via +Kathy Talley-Jones who said, "The solar system as music: this is what the planets have been singing to us over the last weeks."
  • 5 plusses - 4 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 21:38:58
    Google+ Tips: Powerpoint to the Rescue
    Seriously. I'm going to try this for some of my Google+ tips, for those of you who have no patience with text.

    Don't worry. I'm not advocating abandoning Google+ discussions for bullet points and lists.
    via +Eli Fennell

    Reshared text:
    How to Setup PowerPoint for Awesome Google+ Album Slideshows
  • 7 plusses - 2 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-27 22:08:14
    Writers: How to Write a Resignation Letter
    via Sherwood Anderson
  • 11 plusses - 3 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-28 02:48:47
    Music: Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick 2
    Apparently Facebook got a 24-hour streaming preview. Where's ours, Google+?

    #progrock #taab2
  • 6 plusses - 9 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-29 21:15:48
    Social: Power of Crowds
    +Amy Sundberg's experience seems related to the posts +Mark Traphagen and +PJ Rosenberg had today on "social proof". We believe the crowd is onto something.

    Reshared text:
    This article summarizes a bunch of Stanley Milgram's research findings, which I found very interesting.

    For instance, #7 The Drawing Power of Crowds: when I got off a flight recently, all the passengers will milling around outside of the plane waiting for their checked-at-the-door luggage (it was a small plane). It felt like the entire plane was waiting out there, even though obviously not everyone had checked something. So I paused and milled as well, wondering if I had missed something and my for-real checked luggage would be delivered here as well, just because of the large crowd. (Happily it only took me a minute to come to my senses.)
  • 4 plusses - 4 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-30 01:51:24
    Happiness: A Clear Road Ahead

    We've been talking on other threads about developing a manual for life. Alfred Hitchcock writes the chapter on happiness.
    HT +Reanna Nygaard

    Reshared text:
    Hitchcock's Definition of Happiness

    "A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive… I can’t bear quarreling, I can’t bear feelings between people — I think hatred is wasted energy, and it’s all non-productive. I’m very sensitive — a sharp word, said by say a person, who has a temper, if they’re close to me, hurts me for days. I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions, but when all these are removed and you can look forward and the road is clear ahead, and now you’re going to create something — I think that’s as happy as I would ever want to be”.
  • 9 plusses - 5 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-30 17:30:52
    Art: Desert Town
    As a word person, I love that +C.J. Shane describes what she is trying to capture in her painting. This helps me see it better. The words make me stop to look -- to see if I can see what she has seen.

    And, yes. I think she succeeds in capturing the moment.

    Reshared text:
    Friday's +G+ with Brushes's artwork is from C.J. Shane of Tucson.

    There is a brief time late in the day when the sun has set below the horizon, but the sky is still full of light. The mountains are turning dark, but light still reflects from stones, and roads, and the windows of buildings in the city. This painting Desert Town is an attempt to capture those moments just before dusk sets in on the Sonoran Desert.

    Desert Town is an oil on canvas, 12"x12". I'm doing a series of small-scale desert landscapes focusing on color and light. This is the latest.~Shane
  • 4 plusses - 3 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-30 18:27:35
    Google+ UX: View Posts By Type
    Would Google+ be better off without Resharing? That's the debate of the morning (see links below). As usual I feel the need to step between the combatants (in this case, content originators versus content curators) and say, the world needs you both.

    One-size-fit-all solutions are always a form of tyranny against the minority. Let's talk customization. How can we improve Google+ so that people who want to read both types of content (original and shared) are happy?

    What Google+ Could Do: Filter Posts By Type
    In the Notification stream, Google+ provides the option to view notifications by type. The default is All but a pulldown menu lets you choose just: Added to circles, Posts by you, Posts by others, Mentions, Photo tags, and Games.

    Wouldn't it be great if we also had the option to filter the Home stream by type of post. Is it a Reshare or an original post? Does it contain a picture? a video? a link? a location? Google+ has this information about each post. Why not give us some options to access it.

    Going even further, rather than just filtering the stream, what if had a toggle for each type. Then, when for example there is integration with third-party apps and people start checking in on Foursquare, I could ban all those location-based posts from my view.

    What We Could Do: Add Value
    I believe that we are the conduits of the Information stream. We direct the flow of information to the places it's desired. Each of us has their own interests, reasons for sharing, and special audience. So there is no one right way to share on Google+.

    My guiding principle is to share with those who care. When I see something interesting, I think, "Who was talking about this the other day?" "Who would get a laugh out of this?"

    If all you do is pass information along like its a hot potato without adding any value of your own, then I won't follow you. I can see the same stuff in the "What's hot" stream.

    So how do you add value?
    1. Make it personal.
    Introduce the reshare by telling me why you thought it was interesting or why you thought I'd think it was interesting. This is social sharing.

    2. Tell me something I don't know.
    Check the reshare list. Or look at the Ripples. If all the people you know have already reshared a post, you are not telling them anything new. You're creating noise.

    3. Reshare to a limited audience when appropriate.
    Don't bombard your vegan friends by publicly resharing a list of the top BBQ restaurants. Don't bore your fellow carnivores with public reshares of hummus recipes. If something exists in the public spheres, you don't need to reshare it as a Public post. It is already "searchable".

    Am I saying never reshare publicly? Of course not. Some people live and die by their circle stats and Ripples -- and an idea won't go viral unless it's publicly reshared. I frequently publicly reshare posts of merit. I want to help people find a larger audience.

    The Links That Inspired This Post
    +Michael van der Galien My Dream A Google+ Without Reshared Posts

    +Mark Traphagen Original Good | Resharing Bad?
  • 12 plusses - 11 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-31 02:17:47
    Humor: Literalist
    What was the old joke about traffic signs? the woman who felt uncomfortable whenever she saw "Yield"?

    Reshared text:
    Sometimes it's hard to be a pedant :)

    I just tend to read stuff so literally, and the internet is full of things that should not be read literally.

    You're viewing your friend Olga's profile and you see what looks like an order:
    Block Olga
    Report this profile

    but but but... she hasn't done anything wrong, she's my friend, why should I...

    oh, wait, they don't mean "block Olga", they mean: click here if you want to block Olga.

    I just feel like I'm disobeying orders all over the place. The one that says "share", the one that says "search Google+", the one that says "add a comment"... it's endless.


    (no, I don't have a friend called Olga.)
  • 4 plusses - 1 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-31 12:41:44
    Lifehacks: What's Right With You?
    A good question to start your day...or to end it.
    via +Paulissa Kipp

    Reshared text:
    What's right with you?

    Often times, I hear parents ask their children, "What's wrong with you?" I hear people ask each other this, also. All the time. If something's amiss, the question comes out, "What's wrong?"

    What's wrong what's wrong what's wrong. All the time. I have always wondered about the deeper thought pattern when this question comes out and tried to trace it to see where it goes. I figure when we ask each other what's wrong, we're unintentionally forcing each other to focus on what's wrong, not the other way around.

    What if we asked, "What's right with you?" instead?

    When my daughter comes home from school, it's the first thing I ask her. Even if she's having a bad day, it forces her to examine the day to find something that went right. If she has a problem with something, I don't mind her discussing it with me, but asking her what's right steers the focus on how she could possibly use that bad day for something good. I don't want to just focus on what's wrong, I want the focus to be more positive. I do this with people I speak with daily. If someone's upset, asking, "What's right with you?" makes them stop and re-asses the issue... or look at me like I have socks on my ears! And if they won't, at least, look at the positive aspects of a problem as well, then a question like this will assure that they won't bug me with their problems any more!

    It's a great way to turn our way of thinking around and make this world a little bit brighter. Blessings to you and have a great up coming week!

    +Zen Sunday, curated by
    +Charlotte Therese Björnström
    +Simon Kitcher
    +Nathan Wirth

    +The Good Stuff Project, curated by

    +Jake Easley
    +Jennifer Eden
    +Lynne Goodwin
    +Anna Lowry
    +Ricardo Williams
    +Robin Griggs Wood
  • 5 plusses - 3 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-03-31 22:03:52
    Google+ Tips: Curated-Topic Pages
    While all of us theoreticians are pondering tools that Google+ could provide in order to help us build communities of interests, the photographers didn't wait around. They just took the tools at hand and did it.

    They use hashtags for people to contribute content, saved searches for the curator to find the content, and curator-owned Pages to publish the "best of" content.

    How To
    Instructions from +Eric Leslie from the link below. Participation is simple, post a themed picture on the appropriate day and be sure to include the theme's title or tag (ie #fallfriday ) in your post so it can be found in search. Please mention the curator for each theme when you participate. I just put the list together, so I'm not responsible for every theme, just the ones I'm curating. I assembled the list for the community's benefit, not my own. On the search page, there is a handy "Save this Search" button where you can have quick access to it on the sidebar whenever you need it.

    HT to +Paulissa Kipp who clued me in with #floralfriday . After I participated in that, I discovered the Google+ Daily Photography Themes, list. See the post for a list of topic pages.

  • 17 plusses - 11 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-01 01:19:12
    Google+ Tips: Circle Management
    "Not yet using Google+". The yet is a optimistic. As if they'd come to play if only you'd invite them. The truth is the reverse. If they were strangers that you circled, then at one time they were using Google+ and have since closed their accounts (or had them shut down).

    So another 20 people in my circles have bit the dust. This group was quite diverse: tech, gardening, Japan, photography, science... Unlike people who were "disappeared" six months ago, they do not seem to be victims of the nym wars.

    This 20 is in addition to the 20 people who still have accounts but I dropped because they haven't posted since July 31, 2011. And then there are about 40 people from my personal Gmail contacts who signed up but never used Google+. They are in my "Friends Inactive" circle.

    On the bright side (for me not Google), my experience the last couple of weeks has been better than ever. I've found new niche groups to hang out with and I'm enjoying some intense discussions.

    Reshared text:
    Under Circles go to Your circles and change the sorting from Relevance to Not yet using Google+. These are actually people you've circled who have left G+. If you need to free up space because you are close to your 5,000-person limit, select them and remove them.
  • 11 plusses - 36 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-01 19:27:23
    Lost Creek
    I wanted to take a break from Google+, step back, and clear my head. So I went for a walk this morning. However, I find the quickly flowing stream irresistible.
  • 9 plusses - 5 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-02 10:57:54
    Brainstorming: How is Good Conversation Like Dance?
    * awareness and focus on one's partner
    * joy in precision
    * balance
    * fluidity
    * harmonious tension
    * passionate attention
    * respect for each other's personal space

  • 18 plusses - 38 comments - 10 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-02 16:01:33
    Climate: Confronting the Texas Drought
    We've had a wonderfully warm and rainy winter, so too many people have already forgotten the serious nature of our ongoing drought.

    Some great data visualizations in this article.

  • 4 plusses - 4 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-02 23:10:49
    Google+ Tips: Followers or Following?
    What are you looking for? Most of the people I follow concern themselves with finding interesting people to follow: people who share their interests, concerns, politics, hobbies, or even personality type.

    The difficulty of building, maintaining, and finding communities on Google+ is not trivial.

    In the other camp are the people trying to help you get more followers, more attention on Google+. Is that what most people here are looking for? If so, why? Well, if you are a professional artist, you want to find your audience.

    I'm sharing +Max Huijgen post because it is a departure from the usual "best ways to attract a following" posts. I think the gist of what he is saying is that success cannot be measured simply by raw numbers.
    I serve up light fare compared with +Max Huijgen. His posts are always something you can sink your teeth into. If you prefer spun sugar fluff, look elsewhere.
    (Re: +Eileen O'Duffy The G+ Menu: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113873289443253295484/posts/h1btUv5m88y)

    Reshared text:
    My take on G+ photography and the importance of follower counts
    originally written as two comments in a thread from +Alexander Safonov who wants to leave G+ as he is disappointed with the photo community.

    Alexander, so far I have left the photography circles too its own, as I never believed that the kind of photography I like will be mainstream or fashionable. I remember sharing one of your underwater photos and I have posted some B&W from others, but I mostly ignore the discussions. You are extremely dissatisfied with the abundance of HDR on G+ and I understand that feeling.

    HDR is a trick I use myself on a regular basis but only a real photog will ever notice it, as I just use it to bridge the contrasts the human eye can perceive by quickly adjusting, which in a still is impossible.

    There is however a limit to the amount of saturation I can handle and there is very low tolerance for failing compositions where HDR is added to make stuff you wouldn´t even print in your studio for contact proofs look ´interesting´

    So, it´s not my taste and I don´t subscribe to posters who publish them in abundance. I have seen +Tom Anderson who I highly value as a poster and thinker about social media, getting his first camera and going on the socialite tour while shooting everything in extremely dramatic color tones. Nothing wrong with Tom doing that, but that he ended up on the suggested user list as a photographer is clearly wrong.

    Having said that I don´t feel any need to go on a crusade against it. It´s a fact of life that the taste of the masses is not mine. Look at picture post cards. It´s a century old medium and it used to be hugely popular before we got flickr and picasa. Every photographer knows that the only way to sell them is to crank up your color saturation to the max and use the most basic of composition rules. We will all have had that devastating moment when we showed our photos of that popular holiday resort just to hear that they bought an even better one.

    HDR unfortunately became a tool to get pretty pictures but there is no denying people love them just like they love picture post cards. The reality is that all photo techniques can be used for art purposes (remember the experimental solipsism?), but will often get popular in the general audience through what we would call an abuse of the technique.

    Is that bad? Not at all, welcome to the real world. When I visit friends I immediately grab their tv remote and get it off the factory setting ´oversaturate, 9000 degree kelvin color temperature´ to a normal 6500 or lower one with all sharpening filters turned off. They usually complain loudly and I need to use my authority in digital imaging to convince them to let it stay on for 24 hours just to humor them. Next visit I revert it to the factory ´shop mode´ and they complain loudly and tell me it´s horrible. I have a hard time convincing them that this is what they had for a year on their expensive large screen.

    So why would we bother about picture post cards being popular on G+? It´s not related to photography as an art form, but where does it say G+ is an art platform? It´s a picture sharing medium and people like ´pretty pictures´.

    Try to share great B&W: it´s hardly possible as the community at large doesn´t have the color calibrated monitors so the subtle play with contrast will be lost on the everyday consumer monitors. I know Apple shows designers at work on glossy 32" monitors in which you can design your new hair-cut, but serious photographers use real monitors. However the general audience will go for glossy, oversaturated and ´real´ HDR clouds.

    This all is not new. This is called the popular vote. If you don´t want to show off your work on a photo sharing site used by the masses there is nothing stopping you. But, if you followed me so far read on …

    There is a reason I don´t post my own photos. I photograph for about 40 years, grew up in a dark room before that got a new meaning, and didn´t buy expensive Agfacontour Professional Film to experiment with solipsism as I knew how to do it myself. I know how to ´dodge´ and ´burn´ by blocking the light and heating local spots by brushing them.

    My hands have been in chemicals for so long that I´m pretty sure I´ll either die early or they were not as hazardous as the signs on the bottles suggested. I have caught up with digital photography albeit late and I still do some experimental stuff, do stereo photography since the nineties, play around with HDR to give me the interior photography I want and capture real high dynamic range environments with a dome as I am active in the professional CG world as well.

    However I don´t share the results as I don´t need nor want the feedback of people who wouldn´t appreciate what I am doing. I like constructive criticism but I don´t want to waste my time defending my bleak, boring skies and the flat colors, or, horror, my B&W stuff.

    What however is preventing you from showcasing your work? It´s not a hobby like mine became, but a profession and a business for you. Why don´t you work on building your audience here? No, you are right, you won´t get a million followers like +Trey Ratcliff who you seem to despise.

    Strange as I like him a lot as a person and I know him as someone who is willing to listen and talk with others although you suggest he is not. He really is a nice guy who just happens to be big in a style which we both don´t appreciate. Art is and will always be a difficult subject and my opposition against over-saturation has nothing to do with good photography in itself.

    Do you really need a million followers to use G+? I have my own pecularities: I write tl;dr posts as you can see :) but I fail in doing in so as they do get read. A staggering 19.000 people are willing to read them! I don´t force them, I didn´t lure them by posting stupid email jokes from the nineties or stealing other peoples stuff to get ´famous´ on G+.
    I just post. I post about my views, my interests, I show what drives me, the things I oppose, the things I love, the viewpoints others don´t want to hear. But even that isn´t true as apparently a rather large number of people do want to hear them.

    Only 19K people. Do you realize how many people that are? Imagine a conference hall with 19.000 people in it, showing up for hear what you have to say. It´s a staggering amount of people and it shows there is an audience for everything on G+

    No, I didn´t get to that number in a month. It took me nine months and the first four months brought me to a total of ´just´ 2000, but I persisted. I got unsolicited advice to make short, tweet like posts. To tone down and be humble instead of the typical arrogant bastard style which is mine ;)

    I ignored it. I am by nature an arrogant bastard :) and kept posting in the same style, with the same length and with the same critical view. I have been warned that I will never make it to the SUL as I can be very criticical about G+, but I counter it by the very simple argument that it's better to be hated for who you are, than loved for who you are not.

    Why would you want to be on the SUL +Alexander Safonov? Is it not much more satisfying to have the appreciation of people you value than to have the votes of the masses? When I had about 6000 followers I already noticed that more than ten people on the SUL were following me.

    That number went up later, but is it not much more satisfying to realize that you have a real audience? That you´re are being noticed and listened to by the people who matter to you? For you it will be different people than for me, but the principle doesn’t change.

    Turn your negative attitude in a positive one. Don´t start cheering G+ as there is no reason to do so and sucking up will bring you nowhere (correct +Louis Gray ;) Take a good look at the people who got the tens of thousands or even millions when they reach the SUL.

    Only a proportion of them are genuine people who use G+ to share really interesting stuff, but they exist. I can assure you that when I mention them in a relevant context they are happy to come over and comment. I am a content guy, I use words, but you can have a similar experience on G+ if you do your thing.

    Forget the millions, but appreciate the thousands. You will have a hard time getting these elsewhere and reactions like in this thread are the one thing G+ is excellent for. Stand your grounds, keep posting your work and dwell on the idea that the people who matter like it.

    cc: +P E Sharpe who wrote an excellent comment on the original thread which I hope she will repeat here.

    edit: as this became a discussion about who should be on the suggested user list:
    This is the complete current Suggested User List of Photography&Art by the way.
    "+Tom Anderson","+Dave Powell","+Victor Bezrukov","+Elena Kalis","+Olaf Bathke","+Colby Brown","+Trey Ratcliff","+Daniel Ibanez","+Mike Shaw","+Thomas Hawk","+Jim Goldstein","+Klaus Herrmann","+Lotus Carroll","+Patrick Di Fruscia","+Chaz Bojorquez","+Jennifer Bailey","+Leodor Selenier","+Alfie Goodrich","+Jay Patel","+Leanne Staples","+Dave Cox","+Mihailo Radičević","+Vivienne Gucwa","+Ryan Estrada","+Patrick Smith","+Star Rush","+Shepard Fairey","+Kyle Marquardt","+Dave Beckerman","+JR Artist","+Scott Kelby","+Karen Hutton","+Alex Koloskov","+Alan Shapiro","+Christopher Michel","+Michael Cuddyer","+Jeremy Cowart","+Gary Baseman","+Lisa Bettany","+MOCA"

    Notice there are many amateurs on that list, but that´s not a bad thing at all. For one, many professional, pricewinning photographers don´t want to share their work on G+ as you effectively sign away your rights (read the T&C of Google people). The other reason it´s not only bad news is that showing amateurs getting out such extremely good work encourages others.

    I´m a big fan of a number of these people on this list and I can only hope that through G+ exposure they will be able to do this full time
  • 15 plusses - 27 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-03 01:08:03
    Google+ Suggestions: Medley from Thoughtful Users
    Lots of great ideas in the linked article. I have a somewhat different solution to +Brian Gundersen's problem. I would like to be able to share posts with my followers. Then, if I were a business having a sale, I could do special "loyalty" offers for people who followed me.

    I have been discussing this issue since I got on Google+. My followers are my readers. They "subscribe" to my stream. However, I'm unable to direct content to them. I have to share it with Public for my followers to have access to it.

    Sharing with the people I follow only makes sense in those cases where we have a reciprocal relationships. For the most part I follow who I want to read, not who I want to share with.

    Reshared text:
    A new collaborative effort on how to improve Google +
    A group of Google+ users got together and we put our ideas in writing on how we see the platform can be improved.

    +Jaana Nyström believes Google can use its current language detection algorithms to categorize posts. +Lars Fosdal suggests having autocomplete for categories. +pio dal cin looks forward to a time based system for notifications. +Jack C Crawford suggest logical operations with circles and +Susanne Ramharter proposes defining categories for communities. +Brian Gundersen wants to be able to share to followers and +Miguel Rodriguez suggests exposing thematic streams to followers. +paul stickland packs several suggestions to improve readability, while +jUKKA Kansanaho wants a client for Windows mobile phones. And the cherry on the top comes from +Giselle Minoli musings on the art of sort

    A special mention to +Denis Labelle who brought us all together and our editor at Mediatapper +Grace O'Malley.

    Read the details in the Mediatapper article:

  • 3 plusses - 12 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-03 15:22:40
    Google+ Tips: Quieter Waters
    All the clamoring for attention on Google+ (and the advice on how to get it) sometimes make it difficult for me to convince people to try it at all. They get the impression that the place is overrun with marketing types all eager to sell you something. For many of us, this attitude is really off-putting.

    +Amy Knepper expresses my feelings exactly. Beautifully. Perfectly.
    Turning off comments here. Please leave comments on Amy's original post.

    Reshared text:
    If you're new to Google+, and all you see are articles telling you "how to get ahead" and "how to gain influence," I want you to know there is another, more friendly side to this place. In response to one of the many articles on how to be a "good" plusser, I wrote this comment:

    "I'm not trying to get ahead on Google. I'm looking for people with interesting content who are worth engaging with. I've added a lot of people based on engagement levels. I can't say I have any sort of agenda here - no ego to stroke, no goods to sell, no message to get out. I just like being around smart people. I guess that's okay... I just don't want people collecting me like a baseball card or something."

    So if you circled me because you think I'm an "influencer" or one of the people who follows popular people around because I want to be popular someday, I hope you can hear my maniacal laughter through the intertubez right now.

    For +M Sinclair Stevens. Originally posted on a thread by +Marc Jansen. Both of whom are in my "Favorite People" circle as some of the most interesting and friendly folks to chat with on G+.
  • 12 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-03 21:46:45
    News: Forney Tornado
    Texas. April 3, 2012. About 4PM.
    Update: Aftermath

    Reshared text:
  • 5 plusses - 5 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-04 01:12:33
    Tech: Focusing Innovation on Solving Real World Problems
    From the article "I believe this current crop of entrepreneurs might actually be hurting America - and perverting the very idea of innovation in the same way Beyonce’s Run The World is like kicking Aretha Franklin in the ribs…repeatedly"
    On the optimistic side, one of the themes I heard repeated at SXSWi the last two years was how the new vision of success combined work, fun, and community -- as in "giving back to the community".

    Tom's shoes was one example. I'll have to dig out my notes for the other.

    Reshared text:
    #statups food for thought from +Steve Faktor... "half in jest, fully in earnest" as they say...
  • 5 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-04 22:39:45
    Google+: Designed for Introverts?
    Recently I discovered my niche -- my group of INTx-types here on Google+. Boy, have we given lie to the myth that introverts are shy. The stories we've shared! These last couple of weeks have been exhilarating but exhausting. No matter how much introverts enjoy people, we need time alone to recharge.

    Emotional Investment
    We agreed that Google+ is a great platform for introverts. Why? As +Alex Schleber explained it, for introverts to participate they have to believe "that the other people constitute an actual cause/energy worthy of investing more energy into." So how does Google+ encourage introverts to make that emotional investment?

    If someone is a stranger to me (emotional currency bank balance at zero), then the effort to interact, the mechanism for expression has to be simple and yet flexible. On this point, I think Google+ scores big.
    * Commenting is quick and easy. I don't have to sign in to each different person's thread like on blogs.
    * Once I'm in a discussion the back-and-forth can be as quick as chat -- but allows for long remarks. Introverts like in-depth discussion.
    * Because I'm writing, I have time to think before I speak.
    * I can edit my remarks; so I'm less self-conscious about making mistakes.
    * I can @ mention someone and spin off a private conversation.

    Yes there are many improvements that can be made (especially in making it easier to find each other in the first place) but in this post, I'm focusing on the positives -- especially on the mechanism that make it possible for us to write quickly and encourages us to follow through and leave a comment. I can't even remember the last time I left a comment on a blog.

    Slow Intimacy
    Introverts are not big fans of "instant intimacy". We want to get to know you slowly, over time. And if things don't work out, we'd like to be able to slip out gracefully.

    I think that Google+ provides a very nurturing environment for introverts. We can stop to answer someone's question or comment on a post and we are not required to reveal too much about ourself initially(1). We can just pat them on the back with a +1 and disappear into the crowd.

    As we become more brazen, we leave comments. Eventually we're in passionate discussions.

    If someone turns out to be a dick, we can disappear without fanfare. (No public "unfriending". No drama.) Because we have an easy escape hatch, we feel freer to explore intimacy over a long time -- and step back when we feel uncomfortable without hurting anyone's feelings.

    I guess the next question is how can we make the extroverts on Google+ equally happy?
    Footnote: (1) Except our names. Google+ lost a lot of introverts in the nym wars.

    HT +Alex Schleber , +Marianne Tamminen and +Youssef Hachhouch for encouraging me to take this post public.
    link via +M Monica
  • 29 plusses - 55 comments - 24 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-05 17:16:46
    Google+ Tips: Consider Your Audience
    I mentioned elsewhere that a post should be formatted to attract the appropriate audience.

    +Jaana Nyström then asked me, "What is the appropriate audience on Google+?"

    So to clarify. I didn't meant that there any "wrong" audiences. I meant that you want to attract the audience to whom your content is targeted. The appropriate audience is the audience you are addressing.

    A Post Can Be Anything
    On Google+ post can be anything from a letter, to a chat, to a status update to friends, to a personal philosophical post, to a "how to" tutorial...and so on. Anything.

    That's the plus in Google+. It is not just another blogging platform. It is not just another Facebook. It is a mechanism for sharing. You can share with no one or everyone and anyone in between.

    Google+'s power comes from its simplicity and plasticity. The complaints that Google+ doesn't provide bloggers with enough tools points to one of its underlying strengths; that is, posts can contain content beyond the constraints of a blog post.

    When you share something on Google+, you should have your audience in mind. Is it yourself (bookmarks), your mother, your mates, your work colleagues, people who share a common hobby? Google+ lets you narrow your focus to the audience who most cares about that particular message.

    And if you are standing on a soap box, addressing the world at large, whose attention do you want to attract? And isn't the answer to that different depending on the topic?

    The person whose attention you are trying to attract is the appropriate audience. And we should be aware of the various ways of attracting different types of people. One solution does not fit all.
  • 12 plusses - 5 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-06 03:33:34
    UX: Testing
    A system like this would be interesting for testing user experience. I wonder how my reactions maps when I'm in an exciting Google+ discussion -- or the frustation I experience trying to use the "Organize Album" feature on the pictures on my profile page.
    via +Mike Elgan
  • 3 plusses - 4 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-06 12:21:32
    Google+ Addiction: Head in the Cloud
    I really never understood why +Robert Scoble was asking why Google+ wasn't more addicting. If it were any more addicting, I'd be in a coma. As it is, I might need some serious rehab.

    Like +Giselle Minoli I often find that its many voices drown out the thoughts in my own head. I am overwhelmed by the deluge of ideas. I can't write quickly enough. However, I don't yet long for silence.

    As someone who inhabits the theoretical landscape, I've never considered my Google+ friends lesser beings. That is, my physical world friends are no more special to me by reason of their proximity. In many ways, they are less important. Our physical world is bounded by surfaces and so is our conversation. Our interactions are often thought less.

    In contrast, I know my Google+ friends only by their words. We dance a tango of words. We unravel a tangle of ideas. In the realm of words, we soar boundless.

    And yet, I cannot live only with my head in the clouds. I need to plunge my roots back into earth.

    So, I'm working on strategies to regain my grounding in the physical world. I've revived the art of correspondence with a couple of friends. Handwritten via snail mail. I also do all my personal writing by hand before I open up my laptop. Once the red notification button starts rolling, I'm hooked.

    What about you?
    Thanks +Brian Titus for pointing me to Giselle's conversation.
  • 8 plusses - 5 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-07 22:53:27
    Social Networking: The Need for Cross-Cultural Communication
    Why do we say a giraffe has a long neck? What is our criteria? To another giraffe, a giraffe's neck is just the right length. It is only in contrast to the proportions of the human body that a giraffe's neck is long.

    This is a kind of anthropocentrism: using ourselves as the measure of all things. Like ethnocentrism and egocentrism, its another way we put ourselves at the center of every circle.

    Marks of Distinction
    I've been in several discussion lately about the MBTI. One problem in identifying personality traits and grouping people with like characteristics together is that people tend to form tribes. Such is their relief and joy to find others like them, that they want to set themselves apart and above other groups. Suddenly what was merely a difference becomes a mark of distinction.

    Our first impulse is to use ourselves as the yardstick for "normal". For some reason it is not enough for us to view someone different as simply "other". If they are different and we are normal, we conclude that they must be abnormal. We break the world down into groups of us and them.

    Just as the human neck is a poor measure for judging a giraffe's neck, so are we each a poor measure for judging others.

    Underlying Meanings
    One of these MBTI discussions reminded me of a book I read recently on the differences in communication styles between the Americans and the Japanese. I lived in Japan for two years and experienced many of the misunderstandings that resulted from people (on both sides) not realizing that there is more than one way to interact with others. It's all a matter of understanding each other's style -- and seeing through to their intentions. I saw people with the best of intentions become frustrated, hurt, and angry.

    Here's a quote from that book that applies to all the different tribes I've worked with If you notice a difference, realize that the difference in itself may not be so important…look for the underlying meanings.

    Gaining Perspective
    Last night I realized that I had been trying to bring opposing tribes together my entire life. I'm a translator. A bridge. A mediator. An interdisciplinarian. I believe in cross-pollination of ideas. I'm a busy bee. I never thought I had a calling but maybe I've discovered it.

    I try to get people to focus on the bigger picture, on the property (eye color) not the value (blue, gray, green, brown). I try to get people to notice our similarities and to celebrate and learn from our differences.

    Whenever a question is framed as an either/or choice I want to pull the conversation back and show people that they're arguing about the same coin. Both sides are necessary. They complement each other.

    Perspective requires two points of view.
    Book Review: With Respect to the Japanese
  • 20 plusses - 31 comments - 10 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-10 12:25:10
    Social Networking: Stand Up Against Bullying
    Whether you are online or off, bullying is just another name for intimidation and coercion. If you see someone being a bully, call them out. Bullying behavior only becomes acceptable when we avert our eyes and walk away resigned to it.
    HT +Paulissa Kipp

    Reshared text:
    Let's talk about something:


    When you first hear that word, most people think of kids on the playground. But its so much more than that. It happens every day at every age, in every walk of life. It might be happening to someone you know. It might be happening to you.

    But as adults we tend not to talk about it. We tend to keep it quiet and let's face it - no one wants to admit that it happens to them.

    But it does happen.

    Someone extremely close to me is dealing with this situation in the work place right now. This person decided to speak out about it. This made the situation go from bad to really bad.

    You see.. there are people in life who just aren't happy unless they feel bigger or better or more powerful than other people. They aren't happy unless someone else is miserable. And they are often leaders. They have a way of making people go along with them. They are master manipulators. They turn people into sheep who become mindless and they forget how to think for themselves And even if they do, they are afraid to show that they can, lest they become the odd man out. So they just go along. They wear the spots so they can blend in. Just another face in the crowd. Nothing is their fault.. they are just going with the flow.

    But what about that one guy with the guts to stand up and say "NOT ME!"? It takes guts to be that person. What if one of the other people were to shed their spots and stand beside them? And what if one more did it, and then one more and soon there would be people in all different outfits... but without any spots. Then the bullying would stop.

    The next time you are in a situation like this.. look down and see what you are wearing. Are you wearing spots, or are you an individual with a mind of your own?

    Bullying is never ok.
  • 14 plusses - 1 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-10 13:47:23
    Google+ Tips: Following is not Friending
    What is your expectation when someone follows you? Do you think that they read your every post? hang on your every word? want to get into a discussion over everything you say? Is that what you do when you follow someone?

    Google+ is not a social network in the sense that Facebook is. Facebook traditionally has been a network of symmetrical relationships, about keeping up with people you used to know. Google+ is about discovering people you would like to know; it celebrates asymmetrical relationships.

    Google+ is a sharing network: "Real-life sharing rethought for the web". Google+ differs from blogs because it also enables directed sharing -- the ability to funnel information to specific people who are most interested in having it.

    Sure sharing is social. But it does not require starting with a personal relationship. On Google+ you have the opportunity to start with ideas and then develop a relationship based on common interests. Following someone is closer to subscribing to their blog with RSS or taking a trial subscription to a magazine.

    Measuring Engagement
    I know some interesting people (+Max Huijgen, +Brian Titus, +Alex Schleber, +Marc Jansen, +Jeff Jockisch, +Mark Traphagen ) who spend a lot of time analyzing engagement on Google+. They are especially interested in the SUL (Suggested User List) and how the number of followers is not an indication of real engagement.

    I'm no fan of the SUL; I think it is a slap in the face of meritocracy. I understand that brands need metrics on engagement. But we're not all brands. And I can't help feel that we're measuring the wrong behaviors; that chasing follower counts is like chasing our tail. We're running in circles. Sometimes when you follow someone you just want to be passively entertained. Google+ makes a great discussion forum but not all posts are worth a discussion.

    Nor do I engage with all the people I follow the same way. The reasons for following someone are varied and vary even by the type of person we follow. Following a celebrity is different than following my brother. Both are different than following the people in my company or a newsfeed or someone who is a stranger to me that said something interesting on someone else's post. And now that there is no Incoming Stream, I am forced to follow people on "trial subscription" -- just to evaluate their content.

    Also, I engage with people I don't follow quite a bit. How are we measuring that? I don't follow certain power users because they put too much noise in my stream and I prefer to read all their posts together. So technically, I'm not counted as their follower, but I am an engager on their posts.

    Google+ is not just a social network of existing friends (Facebook); nor is it just a publishing platform where what you say can be seen by everyone (blogs); nor is it just a discussion forum on steroids. It's all these things and more.

    Google+ is a sharing network where you decide what you want to share and who has permission to see it. Not everyone we meet in "real-life sharing" is a friend. Nor do we need to be. We can be strangers at a concert, colleagues at work, students in the same course, people thrown together by a cause or admiration for a celebrity. We can be ardent fans or simply curious bystanders. Following is not friending.

    Passivity is the norm. Readers outnumber writers. How many students in that class actually raise their hands and get into a discussion? Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?
  • 94 plusses - 39 comments - 68 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-11 01:33:25
    Curation: Posts on Education
    If you are writing about education or interested in reading posts related to education, +Eileen O'Duffy wants to hear from you.

    Reshared text:
    Calling all Educators worldwide
    This is my updated Educators circle. Most of us educators post and have an interest in a very wide variety of subjects such as philosophy, psychology, sociology. media, art, photography science, technology etc. For this reason I’m trying to curate and collate the best of education posts on +24-7tutorials.com ,my education news page. I’d like a wide cosmopolitan mix rather than a focus on Ireland/UK/US only.
    +Radu Jugureanu +Olimpius Istrate Romanian education system? +Juan-Pablo Ferrero Spanish? +chowdary kodali Indian? +John Macasio Philippines? If you’re posting great education stories of general interest, can you post public and tag +24-7tutorials.com ? (you’ll need to add the page to circles so I can share)
  • 6 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-11 13:08:47
    Ten Myths About Introverts
    1. Introverts don't like to talk.
    "Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days."

    INTJ Circle: Not a lot of new information here but it sums it together nicely. I have heard of the Laney's book The Introvert Advantage but I haven't read it. The part about the physical differences between extroverts and introverts sounds interesting. I know that I'm extremely sensitive to physical stimuli and too much for too long forces me to put my shields up.

    Reshared text:

  • 24 plusses - 26 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-11 13:46:49
    Google+ New Layout
    I've been having troubling accessing Google+ all morning and now I know why.

    Aaaaargh! Everything's in boxes and when you read a post you get a huge face staring at you. I'm out the door with no time to explore but the boxy clutter is disturbing.
  • 5 plusses - 19 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-11 20:25:17
    Google+ Redesign: Making Comments Legible
    And +Tzafrir Rehan has a solution. Welcome back black text on white light gray background!
    Designing for Inclusion: Web Accessibility Initiative.

    Reshared text:
    Another amazing fix!
    From my brother +Tzafrir Rehan

    Makes comment text clear in Google+'s new design

    Somebody in Google decided that grey text over a grey background is something users are able to read. I disagree.

    This extension will make comments' text black and clear.
  • 9 plusses - 3 comments - 5 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 00:44:52
    Google+ War on Words
    Strategy One: Gray out words to show that we don't value them.

    Reshared text:
    Plz Google check this short presentation and make comments readable
    Here is a gentle reminder that it´s not just a pet peeve of mine, but a scientific fact and a major worry of users that design comes at the expense of readability. Give us some control at least. Just click on the link for the tl;dr.

    I have posted earlier that comments and hence discussions are the real victim of the G+ makeover. https://plus.google.com/u/0/112352920206354603958/posts/78YNcFZG4Mt

    W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines set the minimum contrast between text and its background so that it can be read by people with moderately low vision (which is quite common).
    To quote from guideline 1.4.3: The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1,

    A readability experiment conducted on web pages shows the importance of sufficient contrast between the text and the background.

    Another experiment confirms that reading time is lower when there's high contrast between the text and the background. What's more, contrast sensitivity declines with age

    Just give us a few settings to determine contrast in the comments. If possible add font choice and size, give us an option to determine how wide the stream flows and maybe, just maybe the option to actually look at the center of our screen.

    But even if all of this is impossible: please fix the contrast and restore the functionality to read and write comments for people who lack 20/20 eyesight
  • 10 plusses - 8 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 00:54:28
  • 1 plusses - 6 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 01:49:27
    Google+ Tips: Scrapbooks and Hovercards
    Many people took the advice to spice up their profile pages and create a scrapbook of photos as a banner. While some people used favorite (but unrelated) snapshots, others seized the opportunity to create a clever, integrated design. Does Google+'s redesign affect your layout? It might.

    Now that the scrapbook photo is used as a background for your profile photo on your hovercard, your banner design may need to be rethought. Most of us didn't get the memo that the new thing in banners is a panoramic photo.

    You can still use the old style multiple-photo banner. Just remember that on your hovercard the fifth photo will be covered up. So leave it blank or don't put important images or information there. +Marc Jansen provides a great example.
  • 6 plusses - 29 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 02:51:20

    Reshared text:
    I'm starting a new project; I plan to do portraits of patients that I have met in long term health care centers. Some have Alzheimer's disease. The goal is to show their humanity and pay tribute to them! Of course, I have the permission of the patients and their families to publish these portraits.
    I am sharing this one for #portraittuesday curated by +Laura Balc !
    If you like my work, you could help me reach more people by sharing this post!
    Thank you!
  • 6 plusses - 1 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 11:11:41
    Google+ War on Words
    Has Google responded to criticisms that they can't "get" social by playing the dumb blonde?

    +Peter Strempel provides the best analysis I've read yet of the underlying meanings of the Google+ redesign.

    +Colin Lucas-Mudd G Minus -- The Lowest Common Denominator
    HT +Alexander Becker #WarOnWords

    Reshared text:
    G+ displays early signs of anti-intellectual culture

    Google Plus is not an altruistic venture, nor does it owe me a damned thing, but as a ‘member’ I nevertheless not only use the platform for my own purposes, but also form opinions about it. What I saw last night was a dismaying deference to anti-intellectual pop culture that does not value fresh ideas, articulate exchanges, or genuine debates. In other words, a tilt towards an anti-intellectual, slavishly populist pap culture.

    Demotion of literate exchanges
    The diminution of the text-based features of G+ must be seen as deliberate, and therefore as a trend that may well continue rather than be addressed at a certain but unknown point.

    The problem I foresee is that this emphasis removes from G+the possibility of promoting a vehicle for empowering, re-enforcing and strengthening the one feature of Western civilization that has made it arguably pre-eminent in the world: the free speech and widely disseminated written discourse about all aspects of life from which have sprung democracy, liberty, social advances, challenges to tyranny, and the most educated people in the history of the known universe.

    There is a trend in civil society for education and erudition to be under-valued, and mass market products to be lionised unduly just because of profitability and numbers. This trend has already led to massive social and economic dislocation in the US, the UK,and continental Europe. Should we not attempt to halt that disturbing phenomenon? And if so, how can we do that without discourse that is unashamedly intellectual and informed? Do we really need to be shoved aside for a quick buck, or because some people feel threatened by what they see as elitist snobbery?

    I think at Google the answer is YES! And that’s a disturbing, personally disappointing observation to make, but I can’t really reach an alternate conclusion. Here’s why.

    The interface re-design: what it says
    My first few months on G+ were a roller-coaster ride of making discoveries about features and connections with people all over the world. It was a refreshing departure from the focus on juvenile trivia that appears to characterise other networks, social and professional.

    Yesterday’s unannounced and unexplained interface re-design speaks for itself, screaming at me that G+ is changing direction to become a picture-sharing and YouTube distribution platform.

    I say unannounced because I’m not in any Google in-crowd,and unexplained because the +Vic Gundotra blog is marketing puffery, not an explanation of purpose or intent. In the absence of knowledge in these two opaque areas, I must use the only evidence available to me, which is predominantly a massive re-sizing of picture and video content, and a displacement of text by those placeholders, as well as an inexplicable greying-out of posts, making them harder to read, and therefore less appealing to follow.

    My assumption is that the interface designers at Google are among the best in the world because the company is an employer of choice. Therefore they didn’t make amateur mistakes, and their choices reflect deliberate strategies to encourage certain ways of using G+, while discouraging others.

    So, beyond the grotesquely brash promotion of visual posts,and the deliberate demotion of text-based interaction, what else does there-design tell me?

    The disappearing navigation bar for moving between circles,and the need to use multiple menu levels to get to my own circles, suggests G+ wants me to focus mainly on an indiscriminate stream. That stream also compulsorily promotes the rather asinine trending feature, which is invariably linked to lowest common denominator content with appeal primarily to a mass audience that does not discern. No problem with the feature, just the fact that I can’t disable it or swap it out with something more useful.

    It is understandable that hangouts should be given increasing focus on G+, and I understand the technology is rather good, to a point. But hangouts are synchronous and limited in number of participants. The asynchronous feature of text posts is a key ingredient to attracting an international audience or communities of interest.

    I’ve already vented about the poor text formatting features elsewhere (cf https://plus.google.com/u/0/110168665701189567035/posts/K1btJ2Ex3eW), but I must conclude from the relative neglect of the text-based features that they are not seen as important to Google. That, in itself, says to me that the asynchronous interactions on G+ are regarded as relatively unimportant, a corollary of which is that international interactions are not seen as important to Google.

    Is Google business model ghettoised?
    Does this mean that Google’s business model is ghettoised by region? By lack of concern about markets other than the US and Europe? I wouldn’t know, and I suspect that there is a disconnect at senior executive levels in Google itself between the technical aspects of G+ and an overall business strategy (not the short-term tactics). But as I said, I’m not an insider, and my guess is only as good or bad as yours.

    My own response to all of this is to actively look at alternative platforms to continue to connect with people who want to do more than share pictures and watch videos. It’s the first time I’ve been tempted to do that since I started using G+.

    My outlook is a bit glum. If the trend apparent in the interface re-design continues, people with literary and intellectual tastes will increasingly abandon G+ as a platform for connecting with likeminded people all over the world. So, if and when Google starts to find an intellectual demographic appealing, I suspect it will have destroyed that consumer base in G+.
  • 15 plusses - 44 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 16:27:50
    Google+ Tips: Profile Page: Places Lived
    Did the redesign to Google+ kill you off yesterday? I was surprised to see that I lived in Austin. Past tense. What happened to me? Had I moved? Did I die?

    The redesign made many changes to the Profile page. So if you haven't looked at yours lately, check it out. As for indicating your current whereabouts (should you choose to do so), blue is the new "checkbox" to convey "currently".
    #uxdesign Note: I tested this with more than one person. It was not immediately apparent to anyone that the pin drop was a clickable element nor that changing the color would change the value from "lived" to "lives".
  • 13 plusses - 14 comments - 7 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-12 20:42:32
    Google+ Not Upworthy
    A friend on Twitter tipped me to a link that I wanted to share with you. When I opened the link on Upworthy, these were my options for sharing. Oddly, Upworthy's goals seemed most aligned with the sharing network not listed.
  • 3 plusses - 10 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-13 01:44:07
    Social Networking: Life-Changing Communities on G+
    I also like this quote from one of Ted's comments on this thread, "It's not an armed society which is the polite society it is the interconnected society. When you are known as you to a potential audience of millions of people you don't want to be known as an ass - at least I don't. The corollary to that is you can not pretend to be something you are not for long. The truth always outs. "

    Reshared text:
    G+ Has Changed My LIfe (For the Better)
    +Rainer Rohde reasonably asked: How?

    Here is my reply:

    I have had some of my faith in humanity restored. The number of kindnesses I see displayed here daily is truly astounding. I'm giving and helping more too.

    I am a hermit, and have been for over 13 years. I can count the number of people I interacted with regularly on the fingers of one hand, and have a couple to spare. I thought I preferred it that way, but the people I have met here have shown me that it isn't so - and that I can interact with them and still be a hermit ;)

    Other social networks provided none of the interesting, intelligent, engaging topics I find and enjoy here - or the interesting, intelligent, and engaging people either for that matter.

    G+ showed me that I am not alone in my world view or oddness. That there are people out there interested in what I have to say and how I say it. I've started writing again after decades away from it.

    G+ has not only shown me things about the things I want to learn about, but has introduced me to topics and ideas I didn't know I wanted to learn about but do.

    I'm taking photographs again. Once more, something I'd put aside decades ago.

    I take strength, and inspiration, and hope from many of the people and things I read in my stream. Others inspire me to resist: to resist inhumanity, cynicism, sarcasm, doubt, and fear of my fellow man.

    I am inspired, once more, to be more rather than simply maintaining. It's reminded me that I really do want a better world and to help to build it, one silly reshare after another.

    There is so much more, but words are failing me.
    Hope that gives you a sense of why and how.

    (Image credit: http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvsymkZ9Rt1qd82q3o1_500.jpg)
  • 29 plusses - 3 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-13 13:20:28
    Books to Read List: Thinking, Fast and Slow
    Learning to tap into the benefits of slow thinking. I wonder if someone will someday design a sharing network that will help us do the same.
    From the publisher's blurb, "Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical."

    "Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions."

    "....Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble."

    Reshared text:
    Masterwork. I defy you to read this and not change something about your world view.
  • 9 plusses - 11 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2012-04-13 16:31:36
    Words: Squash vs Quash
    You squash bugs.
    You quash rumors.
    Change: "The about-to-launch campaign was also squashed by Mayor Boris Johnson."
    Technically squash can be used in place of quash (to put an end to; suppress). But isn't it nicer to make the distinction?

    Aside: I might mix these up sometimes myself because my mind is reaching for squelch.
  • 6 plusses - 8 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+