Community vs. Cancer

Posted by Connie Reece on December 20, 2020 at 9:00 am

Frozen Pea Friday pea-vatarsPeople who do not invest time in social networking often wonder about the quality of online friendships. They doubt the depth or strength of connections made with people you’ve never met face to face. My thoughts match those of Shel Israel: “My virtual friends are all real.” (I’m paraphrasing something you said in an interview, Shel. Hope I got close to your actual words.)

For you Doubting Thomases, here’s a story to demonstrate the depth and breadth-and the power-of online community.

Susan ReynoldsA friend I’ve never met in person is scared. Very scared. Susan Reynolds is having a mastectomy tomorrow. She found the lump on December 5, went to the doctor the next day, and was immediately sent to a diagnostic radiologist. Big words, big fear: Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.

You can read about Susan’s journey through the cancer experience in her new blog, Boobs on Ice. The story I want to share is how a community of so-called invisible friends rallied around Susan to support, comfort and cheer her up-and somewhere along the way turned it into a fight-and a fund-against cancer.

It started on Twitter, where Susan is the self-proclaimed nana; she’s also a power networker with hundreds of followers. When she posted a new avatar-a photo of a package of frozen peas tucked inside her camisole to relieve the pain from multiple biopsies-she joked about putting her boob on ice. Her friends continued the joke.

Then a few days later, Cathleen Rittereiser (@cathleenritt) tweeted that we should all donate the cost of a package of frozen peas to a fund for cancer research. Before you could say “bring back that beat,” Susan’s friends picked up on the idea, and what started as an off-the-cuff remark has become a full-fledged fund-raising campaign named, in honor of Susan, the Frozen Pea Fund.

Frozen Pea Fund logo

The site will officially launch tomorrow-that’s when we’ll have the “click to donate” button ready. Money raised will go to Making Strides, the breast cancer campaign of the American Cancer Society.

In the interest of full disclosure, my company is doing a social media campaign for a new ACS initiative that will launch early next year. When David Neff, Director of Online Communications for the corporate office, located here in Austin, first emailed to ask us to do some pro bono work for the Society, my reaction was to sigh and wonder how I could gracefully decline. David has been part of our local Social Media Club since the very beginning, and it would be hard to turn him down. But I was frazzled from a year of starting a new business and juggling client work with personal responsibilities. How could I possibly squeeze one more item onto my already overflowing to-do list?

Before I could decline, however, Susan got her diagnosis. And everything changed.

Now I had a personal stake in this battle against cancer. While I still haven’t met Susan in person, we’ve e-mailed and talked on the phone-and were about to launch a cooperative venture that is now on hold until she recovers from surgery.

The photos you see to the left are what we are calling pea-vatars. I can’t even remember how it started-probably it was Ann Miller (@annohio) who first posted a package of peas as her avatar on Twitter. Before you know it, dozens of people had added peas to their photos and the Frozen Pea Friday Flickr group was born.

Within the first 24 hours, I noted at least 40 people sporting pea-vatars, and that was only among the 600+ people I follow on Twitter. Much to my delight, Robert Scoble picked up the peas theme and tied it into the world economic forum at Davos. And even Loic Lemeur, founder of Seesmic, is sporting a pea-vatar on Twitter. (Bless you, one and all!)

So many people are working behind the scenes to help launch the Frozen Pea Fund that I’ll probably miss naming someone here, but I at least have to acknowledge Michelle Wolverton (@chelpixie), who is building the WordPress site, and Ryan Karpeles (@ryankarpeles), who designed the FPF logo. Cathleen came up with the tagline: We will not appease cancer. And Laura Fitton (@pistachio) is cooking up something with a new Twitter account: @peaple.

In the days to come, Susan’s family will be by her bedside, caring for her and assisting her recovery. But an entire socialmediasphere will be rallying around her cause, lifting her spirits and doing our small part to help find a cure. Join us, won’t you?

Connie Reece

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Category: Connections, Social Networking, Fund-raising, Twitter

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Key online etiquette concept: spirit and intent

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on December 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm

At one point in my Navy career, I had a crusty but wise boss who was big on the phrase “spirit and intent.”

He and I often had thoughtful conversations examining various difficult situations that would arise at our seagoing command.  When it came time to do the right thing at the end of the decision-making process, he would often say, “Let’s think about the true spirit and intent of this instruction (or directive or thorny concept….”)

At that point, we’d take off our more linear, more lawyer-y, more follow-the-rules hats and we’d don our philosopher’s hats.  We’d think about the gut instinct, the spirit and intent, behind whatever rules had been broken or that we were considering breaking.

The correct answer to our question was usually right there, sitting next to our better angels.  The trick was learning to listen to our heads and guts, then following through on the decision.

Let’s apply “spirit and intent” of what I’d call common courtesy to behavior and cultural expectations in online communities.

When in doubt about how to behave, what to blog about, how to respond to insult, when to market oneself and when to avoid marketing, think about the spirit and intent of social networking.  In a word, it is trust.

  • We often don’t meet face-to-face, so we must trust that people are who they say they are online, and that we aren’t seeing astroturfing.  Honesty and transparency is perhaps a bigger deal online than anywhere else.  Most famously egregious example of not being upfront: Wal-Mart’s happy bloggers, who were actually an Edelman PR campaign.
  • We trust that people understand that it’s OK to occasionally market oneself (we all loft links back to our blogs over the Twitter transom) but only when that’s not all that one brings to the conversation.  As long as Guy Kawasaki and others post (or especially auto-post) a lot of stuff from their personal sites/projects, they will be resentfully perceived as just doing marketing, not conversing. Kawasaki’s answer is that he gets a ton of traffic to his site from these Twitter announcements,  but that’s not the spirit and intent of online communities.
  • We trust that our personal email address books will not be given out willy-nilly in the effort to increase someone’s social network.
  • And, duh, we trust that we won’t find ourselves part of a Facebook ad program without knowing about it or being able to get out of it.

It’s a constant process to figure all of this out.  For example, I’ve always fully credited the photographer by name when I use flickr pics with a Creative Commons license, but I’ve never included a link back to the photographer’s particular photostream page.  Just in the last day or so, I’ve decided that this was an oversight on my part, so I’m going to go back and add a link to each photo on each of my travel blogs.  It’ll take me awhile, but it’s within the spirit and intent of what I consider “fair use,” even though no one has told me to do it to fulfill the attribution requirement of a CC license.

Spirit and intent.  Not just the black & white written rules, or pronouncements from the “experts,” but spirit and intent.  Sure, it’s often fuzzy and may not come with ROI stats or bar graphs, but that’s why you have two sides to your brain.

Thanks very much for a life lesson, Captain Ted Hill, Jr. (US Navy, retired)

Technorati tags:  online etiquette, social media, spirit and intent, online culture, manners, Netiquette

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Category: Conversation

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Keeping a civil tongue in our head

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on December 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Greetings, Every Dot Connects readers; I’m Sheila and I’m going to be working with Connie Reece, Mike Chapman and all the Reece & Company folks, doing advocacy and training with organizations and individuals who want to connect using social media/networking tools.

I’m a writer, so Connie very kindly handed me some keys to this blog and invited me to write about social media topics.

Here’s the first item at bat: keeping a civil tongue in our head, even when it’s difficult.

Do you have a civil tongue in your head? (courtesy LittleGoldWoman at flickr’s Creative Commons.)

Now, I do have two kids and I’ve been a teacher, so it’s easy for me to fall into my schoolmarm tone and wag fingers.  I try to resist, I assure you!

Today, however, I’ve been following a little bloggy/Twittery dust-up that illustrates why we really must think before we write or tweet or shoot video online, or we may undercut the power of our argument.

Quick summary:  A tech columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, Mathew Ingram, writes about photographer Lane Hartwell, who was angry about one of her images being used in a YouTube video without credit back to her.

Hartwell blogs that she tried to go low-key, was ignored, and then got lawyers involved.

Ingram blogs that she’s wrongly interpreting copyright and fair use law.

OK, pretty civil so far.

Then we go to Ingram’s post and start reading the comments, including many from a person named Shelley, who strongly supports Lane Hartwell.  Lots of back and forth, but the bloggy bunker-buster was this comment exchange between TechCrunch co-editor Michael Arrington and Ingram:

Arrington:  “Shelley, Lane’s attorney is abusing the DMCA for his/her own goals. And copyright has nothing to do with ‘giving credit.’ It has to do with being forced to license work unless it falls under fair use, which this clearly does. Mathew is right, you are wrong. But since Lane is a woman, it really doesn’t matter what she did as far as you are concerned. She’s a woman, so she’s right.”

(two comments from Shelley and Ingram, and then….)

Ingram back to Arrington:  “Thanks for the support, Mike — but let’s not bring Lane being a woman into the discussion because a) I don’t think it’s relevant, and b)
Shelley hasn’t brought it up. I’d like to keep this focused on the copyright issue.”

Arrington:  “actually, Mathew, I’ll do whatever the fuck I feel like, and you can decide to censor comments or not. Shelley is and always has been a fascist around these issues. If you’re on her team (poliically) (sic) she’ll support you to the death. Not on her team and she’ll find a way to take you out at the knees. People ignore her rather than call her on it.”

Ingram:  “So if you have a beef with Shelley, why use my comments — on a completely unrelated topic — to take it up with her? I don’t see why my blog and anyone reading it has to be dragged into whatever past issues you and Shelley have. I’m not going to censor your comment, but I fail to see why you felt it necessary to bring sexism into it when Shelley never even mentioned anything about that aspect of it.”

Arrington: “oh please. sucking up to Shelley will get you nowhere.”


For the rest of the day, I watched assorted hullabaloo about this on blogs and Twitter.  Eric Rice did a Seesmic video about community response to sexism and such online behavior by Arrington, then Arrington responded with a frustrated tweet and a blog post, then Dave Winer complained about Eric Rice and it was all very interesting.

Except it was pathetic.  Time for some Grown-Up Pills.  Take two and call me when you’re over yourself.

Hey, newsflash, you don’t drop the F-bomb and call someone a fascist, then a few hours later (when the community is all good and riled up) act like everyone is out to get you and it’s so unfair.

You think before you speak or write.  You enter into civil discourse and reasonably measured disagreement, both online and off.  You do not allow the marvelous screen-lit anonymity of the computer to turn you into a passive-aggressive pop-off.  If you do lose your temper and screw up, you step up and apologize, then we all move on.

There’s no question that fair use and copyright issues are indeed difficult, with valid points on either side….so let’s hear them, please, intelligently and reasonably stated.

Update 18 Dec 07:  The LawGeek blog has a well-written, cogent discussion of copyright and fair use, with interesting questions in the comments.  (Hat tip to Dwight Silverman at TechBlog.)

Technorati tags: social media, blogging, photo copyright, Lane Hartwell, Michael Arrington, Mathew Ingram

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Category: Conversation

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Social Media: Where Introverts Can Shine

Posted by Connie Reece on December 10, 2020 at 8:33 am

Last month I posed the question: Is social media for extroverts only? The ensuing discussion was lively and even gave impetus to a new blog, The Mighty Introvert by Mark Dykeman, who says that “social media and the Web can level the playing field for introverts.”

As several pointed out in the comments to my original post, introversion is not the same as shyness, although they sometimes go hand in hand. The key difference between extroverts and introverts has to do with the source of their creativity and energy. Quite simply, extroverts draw energy from being with people; introverts need lots of alone-time to recharge. (Don’t know where you fall on the spectrum? Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.)

The consensus from commenters is that social networking can be a venue where introverts shine-people like Laura Thomas of Dell, for example, who said this about being an introvert: “It’s always struck people as strange to hear that when they look at my chosen profession of communications, but even us quiet types do like to converse with the world around us.”

Jennifer Navarrette noted that blogs or written communication tools are not the only avenue where introverts can shine. “I’ve always been somewhat of an extrovert so it surprised me to hear several of our SA Podcasters describe themselves as introverts. These are folks who are consistently producing content over several different shows. They may not be comfortable on stage, but they are extremely comfortable utilizing the Social and New Media tools available.”

“I would expect many introverts to be extreme evangelists in social media,” Hjortur Smarason wrote. “The reason is that many of them finally have a medium where they can blossom and fulfill a need for social interaction that has been neglected out in the ‘real world’. It’s not fast thinking, body language or tone of voice that counts in social media. It’s thought, content and context.”

Brazen Careerist Penelope Trunk recently interviewed Bryan Person (you may know him on Twitter or his blog as bryper) for The Boston Globe. (Dec. 9, 2007-Social networking tools give introverts opportunities to connect, lift careers) She wrote:

Person echoes what many people have said about online communication, which is that it’s the grease that oils the gears of in-person communication. And this is why young workers today are better at connecting and interacting face-to-face than many of their older counterparts. “Social media would not be nearly as satisfying if people could not be face-to-face as well,” Person says. In fact, Person used Twitter to get a gathering of friends. This would only work because such a wide range of people are using these tools to find real connections that come face-to-face.

I’ve heard from several introverts who have said that being active in social networks online has helped them be more confident in face-to-face interactions. Is that your experience as well? Tell me about it in the comments.

While most people peg me as an extrovert (is it the pink boa? I wonder), I actually have a high degree of introversion and need to balance time interacting with people at events with at least equal amounts of quiet time. So I really identified with Kara Soluri’s comment that “after a long social media conference, the introverts are the ones running away from all the extroverts heading to the bar.”

Connie Reece

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Category: Social Media, Social Networking

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Connie’s Mother’s Blog

Posted by Connie Reece on December 5, 2020 at 11:57 am

twoconnies.jpgThis morning, as I’m scrolling through my Google Reader, drinking coffee, and checking on the news of the day, I’m certain I must have broken into a huge grin when I came across the headline, Connie’s Mother’s Blog, posted by Shel Israel on his Global Neighbourhoods site.

It reminded me of a time earlier this year, when Kelley Burrus, Connie Reece and I were discussing how social media allows people to connect, who might not ordinarily do so. We had no idea then just how possible that really is. We came up with the name Every Dot Connects during that conversation.

I can’t say for sure, but that same conversation probably included talk about the book Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. I’m almost certain it did because Connie evangelizes regularly about the book and both of its authors.

We wouldn’t have believed, at the beginning of the year, that we would have met Shel, much less become friends and have a real human connection with him. We have. He is a great guy with a real sense of how we humans are going to be communicating as technology continues to rapidly advance. He also, as is evidenced by today’s post, remembers that this really is all about humans connecting.

Connie’s Mom, also named Connie, is a heck of a woman, to be sure. And she is well past the point of needing to use online social networking tools to make new friends. She would be probably be just fine knowing the thousands of people she already has met from a full life of social interaction done the pre-internet way. She knows, however, that her daughter is fascinated by social media and so she jumped right into blogging in order to remain very involved in her daughter’s life. As a benefit, she has entered, unafraid it seems, into this whole new world of communications technology.

Shel Israel didn’t have to notice, but he did. He points out how his own mother is also involved in social media. What all of this means to me is that Shel continues to be someone that I should read, on a regular basis, and learn from. He truly does understand the human side to this amazing technology story. His post also tells me that Connie’s mom also gets it, and that social media is available to everyone.

Given enough time, the right technologies, and the natural human instinct to develop relationships, we can all connect in positive, beneficial ways with social media as a key component. Connie’s Mother and Shel’s Mother are proof. I’m still grinning!

~Mike Chapman

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Category: Connections

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New events from Every Dot Connects:
Jan. 29 Up to Speed with Sheila
Feb. 17 Consulting with Connie
Feb. 19 High Tech, High Touch with Jennifer