Real Joe was a blog that I published from August, 2000 to December of 2005. Its tagline: Important stuff. Plain talk. Ordinary guys.
The word ‘Joe’ in our culture is associated with the common man, a typical ‘guy’ or ‘fellow,’ the ‘average Joe,’ an ‘ordinary Joe.’ It also has taken on this ‘common man’ association with some demographics, e.g., G.I. Joe, Holy Joe, Joe College, Joe Sixpack, Joe Lunchbucket. The phrase ‘real Joe’ as in “He’s the real Joe” has come to be associated with authenticity and a lack of pretentiousness in a male.
Travis is also an accomplished bass guitar player. From the bio page of one the bands he currently plays with, Rare Medium (Jazz/Funk):
Travis Freudenberg is an electric bassist with over 15 years of electric bass recording and performance experience. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Morris, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies and, oddly enough, Biology in 2001. While in attendance at UMM, Travis recorded, toured, and performed with a variety of different groups, including UMM Jazz Ensemble 1, No Smoking, The Black and Blue Note Jazz Quartet, and the Booty Police.
Travis was a featured soloist with UMM Jazz Ensemble 1 at the 2000 Montreaux Jazz Festiva in Montreaux, Switzerland and also at the 2000 Vienne Jazz Festival in Vienne, France. He was honored with the Keith Carlson Memorial Jazz Award as Outstanding Jazz Musician at UMM in 2000.
I’ve owned many Apple products since the early 1980s, including the Apple IIe and the original Macintosh. I currently have an iMac though I mainly use it as my Windows 7 desktop. My kids gave me an iPod years ago and Robbie and I both use it to manage our music collection. I didn’t like the proprietary nature of the iPhone’s operating system and app store so I’ve opted for Android-based smartphones ever since they were available. I didn’t like how the iPad required synchronization with a Mac platform ("Huh? I can’t dump my photos on it without using iPhoto? PHHHTTTTTT!") so I’ve waited for another tablet to catch my fancy. Last week, I placed my order for a Kindle Fire. So I’m an Apple agnostic.
Ten years ago, I heard a marketing guru state that she was a "Mac person." She was illustrating the extent to which people can become emotionally attached to products—and that this was a desirable thing for a company.
Ever since, I’ve tried to become more aware of and discourage my tendency to do likewise in my life as a consumer. I have enough trouble with my ego and mistaken ideas about who I really am. Over-identification with a product is a trap I’m better off avoiding.
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
We’re used to thinking of the Internet like an enormous library, with services like Google providing a universal map. But that’s no longer really the case. Sites from Google and Facebook to Yahoo News and the New York Times are now increasingly personalized – based on your web history, they filter information to show you the stuff they think you want to see. That can be very different from what everyone else sees – or from what we need to see. Your filter bubble is this unique, personal universe of information created just for you by this array of personalizing filters. It’s invisible and it’s becoming more and more difficult to escape.
This study suggests that Internet users are a bunch of ideological Jack Kerouacs. They’re not burrowing down into comforting nests. They’re cruising far and wide looking for adventure, information, combat and arousal. This does not mean they are not polarized. Looking at a site says nothing about how you process it or the character of attention you bring to it. It could be people spend a lot of time at their home sites and then go off on forays looking for things to hate. But it probably does mean they are not insecure and they are not sheltered.
If this study is correct, the Internet will not produce a cocooned public square, but a free-wheeling multilayered Mad Max public square. The study also suggests that if there is increased polarization (and there is), it’s probably not the Internet that’s causing it.
I’m not too worried about a filter bubble, as my ‘anchoring community’ seem to provide the antidote. Bilton wrote in his book:
I can tell you firsthand that thanks to my anchoring communities, I see a drastically wider range of viewpoints online than I’ve ever experienced reading a print newspaper, watching the nightly news, or reading select niche magazines.
What are anchoring communities? Bilton:
By offering their own digital links and connections, anchoring communities help us cope with the massive numbers of people and the incalculable amount of information online and give us neatly refined selections to sift through together. They help us contain information flow. These social networks provide cognitive road maps that help us navigate all the information and help relieve the mental taxation of trying to manage excessive information on one’s own.
Currently, Twitter is the online tool I use the most to connect me to my anchoring community, both for Northfield-related information as well as everything else. But the cool thing about living, working and being engaged in the Northfield community is that my daily face-to-face roaming about provides this, too.
I don’t answer my cell phone anymore (I don’t have a land line) unless it’s a good friend or family member. I figure if someone doesn’t want to take the time to email me or text me ahead of time to A) let me know why they want to talk; and B) arrange a time, then I’m not going to interrupt what I’m doing at their whim.
Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners, said by way of opening our phone conversation. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.” Though the beast has been somewhat tamed by voice mail and caller ID, the phone caller still insists, Ms. Martin explained, “that we should drop whatever we’re doing and listen to me.”
If you leave a voicemail, have the decency to explain why you want to talk so I can judge whether a return call is warranted and how soon. I hate it when people leave a "Hey Griff, call me" voicemail and then hang up.
Lastly, speak distinctly, as your voicemail automatically gets translated into text and then sent to me via email and text. 1) It’s very handy to have the text of a voicemail be searchable in my Gmail, with your phone number clickable. 2) If you drone on and on and on in your voicemail, I don’t have to listen to it. Text is fast. Audio is slow.
Since Northfield Patch is the new kid on the block here in town, its time to scrutinize their effort, both locally and nationally. What has been their impact on Northfield thus far? What do you like about what they’re doing? What’s disappointing or problematic?
Patch is a national chain of hyperlocal news sites owned by AOL. There have been many other high profile hyperlocal news projects launched, with many failures already. What’s being learned out there?
Journalism (local, state, national, international) continues to be in a state of extreme flux. What do you like and not like about what you’re seeing?
If you come across interesting resources related to these issues, be sure to post them in a comment with a link and, if you’re up for it, an excerpt.
So I wanted to look into how they work. I found out they are really easy, so I did this one for our capital campaign. Now, that I know how easy they are I am going to do a few more for other areas of the museum.
Hayes attached a camera phone photo of a Next Level campaign flyer (with QR code on it) in the window of the NHS. I aimed my smartphone at the image attachment on my PC and within 5 seconds (photo above right), a YouTube video started to play, Taking Northfield History to the Next Level, featuring Corrine and Elvin Heiberg.
About a year ago, Northfield Public Schools superintendent Chris Richardson accepted my offer to meet with him so I could explain why the District’s website sucked big time. He took copious notes, and his eyes did not seem to glaze over. But I seriously doubted anything would come of it.
Imagine my delighted surprise when two District staffers, Administrative Support Assistant Heather Kuchinka and Matt Hillman, Director of Human Resources and Technology, signed up for my online WordPress for Noobs course. They then revealed that they were about to unveil a new District website, based on WordPress, constructed by Daniel Edwins, WordPress guru at Neuger Communications Group.
Last week, gave Heather and Matt gave me a preview and during the meeting, Chris stopped by to toss around some lingo, something to the effect of "We’ve got a boatload of RSS feeds and our permalinks are the prettiest around." You rock, Chris!
Today, the District portion of the revamped site is up, and according to this news item (note that pretty permalink), "In the coming months, we will be rolling out new individual school sites in an effort to mirror the updates made at the district level."
They’ve set up a feedback page with a form on it, but I hate that. I can’t learn from the feedback from anyone else, nor can I read their reaction to the feedback. So if you’re a fan of public feedback and conversation-as-a-path-to-public engagement, post your feedback in a comment here and I’ll see if I can twist their arms to join us.
I was joined by St. Olaf grad Lynsey Struthers, Interactive Strategist with The Lawlor Group, and Michael Wells, Digital Communications Manager at St. Catherine University. It turned out to be quite a fun evening. We didn’t do presentations at all (no PowerPoint!) but rather just engaged in conversation with a very smart audience who had lots of great questions.
Some of themes I tried to address in my comments can be traced back to these posts from my Wigley and Associates blog in the past year:
matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
QR Codes marry the analog world, especially print, to the digital. (They do work online, too. Try it by pointing your smartphone’s code reader app at the code in this blog post.)
Of course, I am not suggesting e-readers are a fad. In fact, except for when confronted by another doomsayer, I scarcely think them anymore than I think about other gadgets for which I have yet to acquire a use. I only want them to keep publishing paperbacks. I don’t want to look at a screen, however cleverly rendered that screen, than I already do.
The deep pleasure that comes from words on paper in a quiet room cannot be mimicked. If enough people value that experience — and not just those of us who learned to “do the Google” seemingly last week but also even those tech-savvy college kids (look, ma, hands!) — books will endure. Does it have to be either/or?
Many websites and blogs in the Rice County area are running on the WordPress platform, the most popular content management system in the world. While WordPress is relatively easy to use, its flexibility and extensibility can be overwhelming. And some of its advanced features can challenge the technical ability of even savvy webmasters.
Sean and Tracy are experienced designers with considerable technical skills. I can’t design my way out of a paper bag but I have set up many dozen WordPress sites and I’m not half bad as a coach.
The 11 am Webinar will be primarily for intermediate to advanced users with Sean and Tracy featured; the 8 pm webinar will be for beginning to intermediate users with me as the beauty on duty.
If you’re using WordPress and live or work anywhere in Rice County, you’re eligible. But you must register ahead of time; the sooner the better, as we’re limiting each session to the first 25 registrants.
WordPress Q&A Level 2 (intermediate to advanced users, featuring Sean and Tracy): Tuesday, October 26th, 11 am-noonCDT
WordPress Q&A Level 1 (beginning to intermediate users, featuring Griff): Tuesday, October 26th, 8-9 pm CDT
Have questions about the webinars? Attach a comment below or contact me.
We’ve added two buttons to the bottom of every blog post here on LoGroNo:
If you have a Facebook profile, you can click the Recommend button and your recommendation will show up as a one-liner on your Facebook status with a link to the blog post. Many blogs and news organizations are doing this now. For example, see this week’s MPR story on the St. Olaf memorial chime tower which, as of this writing, has 56 recommendations.
If you use Twitter, you can more easily retweet a blog post. Clicking the retween button puts the blog post title in a Twitter text box, shortened with a Bit.ly URL link to the post.
And if you view the individual web page for a blog post (like for this one), you’ll see some additional options for ‘sharing’ the blog post via email and other social media services.
Doing this helps spread the word about a blog post. And we appreciate it.
KYMN Radio and the Northfield Historical Society announced today via their respective blogs (here and here) that a webcam would now be streaming live video from Bridge Square. KYMN’s Tim Freeland and NHS’s Hayes Scriven are the geniuses behind this.
You may remember that Tim Freeland and Adam Gurno did a proof of concept last year with the time-lapse video of the December snowstorm which was picked up by MPR. (Nice work, everyone. Have some Google juice.)
In the two years I’ve been using Twitter, I’ve primarily seen it as a micro-blogging service, another platform for publishing with some unique advantages that make it an important complementary tool to a blog.
But in past few months, I’ve discovered how valuable it also is for tuning into the voices of the people I’m most interested in.
David Carr wrote a Jan. 1, 2010 NY Times column titled Why Twitter Will Endure in which he describes this unique advantage of Twitter.
I’ve reread his column several times as I’ve come to experience what he’s described.
This Saturday, March 20, from 9a to noon, Carleton College is sponsoring a home electronics equipment recycling day. Items accepted include TVs, printers, fax machines, computer monitors, microwaves, stereo equipment, VCR’s, DVD players, electronic games, laptop computers, calculators, portable audio players, cordless phones, cell phones, keyboards, etc.
Depending upon the nature of the item, a variable small fee will be charged to defray the costs of recycling. (This opportunity is offered to individuals/households only, not businesses.)
For more information about what’s involved in manufacturing these items, why you should recycle them, and some heinous human rights abuses in this industry, see the Materials Processing Corporation blog:
E-waste sent overseas for processing to places like Guiyu has very detrimental effects on the health of the e-waste workers, and even the residents of the towns where this processing takes place: “According to reports from nearby Shantou University, Guiyu has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world and an elevated rate of miscarriages.”
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to recycle electronics with firms that have promised to process everything they take in here in the United States. A list of these recyclers, which includes Materials Processing Corporation, can be found here.
This sandwich board in the front of the Goodbye Blue Monday caught my eye, not only because it’s clever (“Look for us on Facebook & Twitter – but you won’t find us”) but because I’ve been trying to get smarter about how Twitter and Facebook can complement a blog.