Musings from George


Scare-itocracy
March 20, 2007, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Newsweek had an article about how the FBI and Homeland Security issued a new alert, warning that unnamed scary people were going to buy school buses and create harm to our children. When pushed, no one at those two brain trusts could defend the warning — there is no specific intelligence indicating that a threat has been made, and no evidence anyone has been doing anything untoward. They hypothesize that their scaremongers (“red cells”) may have imagined this as a good terrorist threat.

Hence we have Bush’s administration, which should legitimately have included the year 1984 in tribute to Orwell. Create terrible threats, terrify the populace, and then steal their rights and expand government authority and intrusion. Justify torture, and spying on your citizenry. Bomb anyone who rattles a saber in a foreign land, even if their scabbard is empty. Belittle your poor partners (France, Russia), embrace your lapdogs (the coalition of the coerced).

Heck of a job, Brownie.

Rumsfeld is the right man for the job.

Harriet Miers is the right person, at the right time, for the Supreme Court (oops, what about those prosecutors she massacred for not being political enough…)

Alberto Gonzales, Supreme Court justice in waiting, with so much blood on his hands that even Bush can’t keep a straight face any more.

Cheney…what can you say? Does he actually make the same sound Darth Vader does when he breathes? Jon Stewart does Cheney better than Cheney does….

Welcome to the Brave New World — a Scare-itocracy, where we will frighten you into surrendering your rights and privileges.

 George

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Community2.0
March 14, 2007, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Community2.0

I spent the last two days in Las Vegas at the Community2.0 conference, another paradox of in-person discusion about virtual community. What is it like to meet your avatar?

John Hagel continues to impress me with his ability to synthesize a great many things into a digestable format (or framework). He was the keynote speaker, and his insights are as relevant today as they were in Net Gain ten years ago (yes, Virginia, online community has been morphing into something more and more relevant for much longer than ten years). Alexandra Samuel has captured the essence of his presentation here:

http://www.socialsignal.com/blog/alexandra-samuel/john-hagel-on-expanding-markets-through-virtual-communities

My takeaways from the conference:

  1. typical corporate measurements of return on investment fail to capture the real impact of online community, and the typical corporate approach to customers does not lend itself to real-time interaction at the grass roots level.
  2. a lot of people are getting involved in online communities. Reminds me a little bit of 1998, when everyone had to “get a website”. I hope that the false promises being made today do not stain the reputation of virtual community, and that we all continue to learn together.
  3. Technology has come a long way from threaded bulletin boards. Tools that are available for free (yes, sign up for WordPress!! I love it) or platforms that are available relatively cheap really deliver some great functionality
  4. Sylvia Marino talked about motivation (why people contribute to online communities), and I’ll credit her with the first time I have heard the term “digital credibility” — which is that online version of what I know as “street cred” in the open source world, or a reputation you earn by delivering cool s__t almost anonymously. Craig Newmark is one of those people (and yes, he was at the conference too).

I had a really good time at the conference, met some cool people, got a free (good) book from Lois Kelly (Beyond Buzz), and even won at the blackjack table. Maybe I really am lucky? or is it karma?

George