A little book club of non-profit emerging leaders I’m involved with picked Clay Shirky’sHere Comes Everybody as our latest book. The subtitle is very intriguing – The Power of Organizing without Organizations. With this intriguing title and Shirky’s well-respected background in social media, it was odd that most of us were disappointed (with one exception!)
I won’t try to summarize the other’s positions at all, however, I think the exception to being disappointed with the book is this: A person who truly geeks out regarding social media, social theory, and information will probably enjoy this book.
In fact that summarizes the book. Shirky takes well-known social theories such as the power distribution law and applies them to social media outlets like Flickr, Wikipedia, and Meetup. If you are looking for concrete steps on how to create social change without creating a new organization – this is NOT the book for you. If you want to think and be academic about the idea in vague terms this IS for you.
Much of what was discussed throughout the book was either common knowledge or intuitive. Another large portion is highly unlikely to happen due to the special circumstances surrounding the event.
One problem with books about social media is that they quickly become outdated. This book published in 2008, barely mentions Twitter (at the end he confesses that it just started becoming big while writing the book). I’m sure he would have written about the power of Twitter in the Mumbai bombings and more recently the Iranian election. In his defense on this section, Shirky created a blog to continue the discussion.
Finally, I found it a little dull overall. I enjoyed the stories, but some of the social theory stuff was hard to get through. I would not rush out and purchase this book, if you’d like my copy let me know!
Note: I didn’t realize until I was at the book club (only 2 people had read the book cover to cover) that my copy was an unedited manuscript. It was clearly marked “not for distribution” but somebody dropped it off at Goodwill where someone found it for $3.99 and turned around and sold it to me for $8.99 plus shipping. I felt a lot better after discovering that it was unedited because there were a lot of grammatical errors and random double words or words omitted!
I’ve been trying to use as much of the Palm Pre as I can to see how things react and work. I am still very pleased with the phone (it would probably take quite a bit for me to be upset with it since I dropped some cash on it!).
One of the most exciting things, at least for me was that I helped Christy setup a Twitter account using the Pre. I also got my Facebook vanity URL via the browser on my Pre. It was fairly easy to do all of this. I am still a HUGE fan of the slideout keyboard, however, to get the best view in the browser you need to flip it sideways, so you are going back and forth (horizontal and vertical) to use the keyboard. We setup her Tweed account and she was off a twittering. I like Tweed - it allows me to track both my personal account @crossn81 and @sewardchurch which has helped make the latter more interactive. One problem I have with Tweed is that it will post a notification that @crossn81 has been mentioned, but when you tap the alert nothing happens. A simple update should fix this.
I was able to easily livetweet this week’s message at the @sewardchurch account. The Pre/Tweed interface made it slightly easier to do so.
We used our laptops to finish getting her Facebook and Twitpic accounts fully mobile and she’s off and running! We discovered a small problem at this point. Twitpic uses an e-mail based system to post pictures via your Twitter account. Evidently Facebook only uses an MMS system but has an e-mail looking address (email@example.com). On my Centro I was able to send a picture to both Facebook and Twitpic from the same screen. It now appears this isn’t possible. Christy tried and got an error message. The Pre offers three sharing options for pictures – e-mail, MMS, and upload (to Facebook or Photobucket) currently. So if you wanted to add the same picture to Twitter and Facebook you have to send it twice. Hopefully they can work this out, because that is fairly annoying.
The keyboard is one of the bigger selling points of the Pre. It is nice to have a slide-out keyboard instead of the touchscreen on the iPhone. For me the keyboard adjustment has been pretty easy. It is basically the same keyboard that was on my Centro – only a little bigger and with one significant change. On the Centro the “0″ key is the primary button on the bottom – so whenever you hit it you get the 0 but if you use the shift key then you get the “@” symbol. On the Pre it is reversed. So I’m still getting used to that change. It is a standard QWERTY and I can type fairly well on it. I do occasionally hit the “enter” key on accident and send a text or chat message a little early! Sometime the top row of keys feels a little too close to the bottom of the phone, but I think it just takes some getting used to.
iPhone vs Pre
I’m sure this debate will continue to rage on and I’m not the best person to do a comparison, but a friend and I went back and forth through all the features we thought made our phone better. They seem almost exactly alike except for screen size and keyboard. The iPhone has a slightly larger screen until you try and use the keyboard. With the iPhone’s keyboard up, the screen is basically half the size of my Pre screen. We discovered that the Pre makes viewing a YouTube video clearer, although the iPhone may have slightly better sound quality.
This is getting fairly long, so I will stop for now and keep updating randomly about the Pre. But one quick comment on the battery. I’ve had to charge mine every night and sometimes in the evening when I get back from work. Christy’s holds the charge slightly better, but I think that is because her sits in her purse most of the day while I’m using mine off and on throughout the day. I also have AIM and GTalk running in the background constantly which would slowly drain the battery of any phone. Oddly enough Christy’s old phone a Sanyo 2300 is still showing a full charge after sitting in standby since Tuesday! I forgot to mention in the initial post that they transferred all of Christy’s contact information to the Pre for her – mine was all in cyberspace already so it was a piece of cake.
Facebook has gotten plenty of negative feedback for their redesign. That isn’t the purpose of this post, but Facebook should make it easier to figure out how to do things. They touted the live news feed and how organization that use Fan Pages are really going to have to step it up in this new revamped site.
After some investigation and thanks to a Twitter comment I have figured out why not everyone sees Fan Page status updates in their news feeds.
It appears that unless you became a Fan after the redesign then you need to manually change some settings to “unhide” the status updates in your live feed. You can always hide it again later if they constantly update their status. My source for this information is Julie Bailey.
If you don’t see the fan page status updates in your news feed then here is what you do.
1) Click on the “home” tab.
2) Scroll to the bottom
3) Click on “Edit Options”
4) Next to all of the Pages is a button that says “Add to News Feed”
I finally gave in to the idea of Twittering. We’ll see what happens!
You can follow my tweets here or signup for the RSS here.
Not sure why you should get Twitter, this article convinced me.
My tweets are also available on the sidebar of both blogs and in my Facebook account. This is just one more social networking piece so we’ll see how long it lasts or if I get addicted!
Update: I’m addicted. After signing up for my account I went to a non-profit technology meeting and about a 1/4 of the people there had accounts and we are now all following each other and there is a small running community on Twitter.
It has a lot of uses and can get pretty technical, but I really like what Common Craft had to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o