Sunday, December 28, 2008

Branding as Commodity Finding Connection Through Leadership

Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab, wrote in the early part of this year on The Shrinking Advantage of Brands in Harvard Business Publishing. His definition is not universally accepted, as can be determined from the comments section of the piece, but it does give me some ideas regarding social media and collaboration.

His definition: What is a brand? It’s a promise: information from a firm promising you a set of costs and benefits from the consumption of a good or service. Brands shape your expected value.

As I posted in my other blog, I have been having an ongoing discussion of leveraging social media on behalf of the Millennium Development Goals in one of the End POVERTY / Fim POBREZA forums. What the discussion comes down to in my mind is, does one both lead and empower through social media in raising consciousness about a social cause and how? Branding a social cause can either be an empowering exercise or a form of propaganda.

What is different from Haque's definition of branding compared to others is that he seems to see it, at least orthodox branding, as an iconic devise used to synthesis the costs and benefits into one object, phrase or idea. The interaction costs are so inexpensive with Google or other online tools, it makes it easier for consumers to find the information that they seek, especially from each other. "The cheaper interaction gets, the more connected consumers can talk to each other – and the less time they have to spend listening to the often empty promises of firms." Haque's point is that information about expected costs and benefits doesn’t have to be compressed into orthodox branding logos, or slogans because your audience can debate and discuss their expected values in detail. The trouble is that for social causes most don't, they only connect passively.

Seth's Blog also had a post on the rapid growth (and destruction) and growth of marketing back in October of this year. Seth realizes something that Haque left out in his article which is that brands can also provide a vehicle for social emotion and connection, but it is a vehicle in to which the audience can imbue social emotion and connection rather than depending upon someone else to "feed" it to them.

Social media, it turns out, isn't about aggregating audiences so you can yell at them about the junk you want to sell. Social media, in fact, is a basic human need, revealed digitally online. We want to be connected, to make a difference, to matter, to be missed. We want to belong, and yes, we want to be led.

The next day Seth's Blog had a post on Leadership is now the strongest marketing strategy. He again "markets" his new book on leadership called Tribes from the post the day before. He thinks of his leadership book as actually being a marketing book and vice-a-versa. According to Seth, "The next frontier of marketing is in leading groups of people who are working together to get somewhere."

What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they'd like to go. Connecting them to one another. It's enough if the tribe you lead knows about you and cares about you and wants to follow you. It's enough if your leadership changes things, galvanizes the audience and puts the status quo under stress. And it's enough if the leadership you provide makes a difference.

It is easier to be merely broadcasters, putting together a list of iconic branding devises and hurtling it out at hoped for followers. Louder is easier not better. According to Seth, "People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting. Now we're leaders." It is not, however, the definition of leader in the orthodox sense. Claiming leadership regarding the branding of a cause can be a matter of hazardous hubris, both the branding and leadership require a high degree of authenticity.

It seems to be to be a matter of encouraging collaboration by first providing information, education and then following with avenues of action, but realizing that everybody else can and at least a small group should be doing the same thing. How to encourage them to do so around a specific branded cause may be the true role of leadership. How to specifically do that is still a matter to be further explored .

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I wrote before about being part of the Orkut group End POVERTY / Fim POBREZA and about accepting the small pages status of my blogs. Part of the reason is that there are greater opportunities for sojourns into serendipity. A friend Ju from Orkut by way of Brazil recently led me on such a sojourn and into some small insights into his culture.

Um dia a maioria de nós irá se separar. Sentiremos saudades de todas as conversas jogadas fora, as descobertas que fizemos, dos sonhos que tivemos, dos tantos risos e momentos que compartilhamos...

Saudades até dos momentos de lágrima, da angústia, das vésperas de finais de semana, de finais de ano, enfim... do companheirismo vivido... Sempre pensei que as amizades continuassem para sempre...

Hoje não tenho mais tanta certeza disso. Em breve cada um vai pra seu lado, seja pelo destino, ou por algum desentendimento, segue a sua vida, talvez continuemos a nos encontrar, quem sabe... nos e-mails trocados...

Podemos nos telefonar... conversar algumas bobagens. Aí os dias vão passar... meses... anos... até este contato tornar-se cada vez mais raro. Vamos nos perder no tempo...

Um dia nossos filhos verão aquelas fotografias e perguntarão: Quem são aquelas pessoas? Diremos que eram nossos amigos. E... isso vai doer tanto!!! Foram meus amigos, foi com eles que vivi os melhores anos de minha vida!

A saudade vai apertar bem dentro do peito. Vai dar uma vontade de ligar, ouvir aquelas vozes novamente... Quando o nosso grupo estiver incompleto... nos reuniremos para um último adeus de um amigo. E entre lágrima nos abraçaremos...

Faremos promessas de nos encontrar mais vezes daquele dia em diante. Por fim, cada um vai para o seu lado para continuar a viver a sua vidinha isolada do passado... E nos perderemos no tempo...

Por isso, fica aqui um pedido deste humilde amigo: não deixes que a vida passe em branco, e que pequenas adversidades sejam a causa de grandes tempestades...

Eu poderia suportar, embora não sem dor, que tivessem morrido todos os meus amores... mas enlouqueceria se morressem todos os meus amigos!!!

I used Google Translator to go from Portuguese to English and have now made it a permanent widget on this blog, translating the words is only part of it though.

I started by learning more about who was credited with having written the quote (English translation) he sent me. I learned for the first time about Vinicius de Moraes, but I also learned about Fernando Pessoa and found a number of good sites about him, Poetry International Web - Fernando Pessoa and Pessoa's Trunk. Seems that, at least on the web, both men are credited with penning the words.

I am not worried about who actually said it, but it demonstrated to me that those words are a deep part of the Brazilian/Portuguese culture, demonstrating the importance of Friends.

I continued my serendipitous search and found other connections to my Canadian birth and Irish ancestry through some very interesting sites from Germany Biographeme | vita nuova,, onClicknyc · New Media Design and Corporate Design... and most interesting of all Eccentric, which brought me to the Canadian pianist Glen Gould and Irish singer ROISIN MURPHY Fansite. Overpowered, Ruby Blue :: AbsentMinded.

Ju teaches a very important lesson why people take up causes such as the Millennium Development Goals. It is not always to make massive political paradigm shifts but finding personal ways to connect through countless small interactions for a better world. It is through the means of first defining ourselves as the path to redefining the world.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Inform, Engage, and Empower During Your Freetime

One new set of connections created through my Milestones for a New Millennium blog was through becoming one of the moderators for the Orkut group End POVERTY / Fim POBREZA.

I find that Orkut offers more of a conversation regarding relevant topics than does Facebook. It is an international conversation spanning the globe. Lately the direction of the discussions has been on the best means of directing the discussions. The basic format for the discussions is the web itself and more particularly Orkut, but we are open to numerous avenues of communication. The question is which avenues are best for both open dialogue and advancing the cause of the Millennium Development Goals?

A recently learned term is Slacktivists, basically well-meaning but all too often ineffectual (at least until a tipping point is reached) social activists hanging on and together through social media. At the other end of the continuum are professionals (as in "gets paid for it.") in the social media/Web 2.0 arena. Most of us hope to be somewhere in the middle trying to help when and where we can on a part-time and unpaid basis.

Slacktivists may be those who take no more effort than clicking a button to join a petition, but they are still a step above those that don't know and/or don't care. I try to put a good deal of information on my blog to make it easier for others to connect in the hope they will pursue their own pathways. The basic web connection is information through shared self-education. Then comes engagement which does sometimes mean signing online petitions. There is also the potential, as the Obama campaign has demonstrated, for empowerment.

It is not just the IT-intelligentsia's road, it is a journey for all of us. Ethan Zuckerman discusses Technologies and Emerging Democracies: Building a Better Gatekeeper in an MIT video. I agree with both Zuckerman and others in my Orkut conversations that Hi5, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Zuckermans's favorite Reddit among dozens of others offer their own unique impressions regarding their areas of interest, but it also means that the Web is balkanized. Are we "Gatekeepers" or are we attempting to break through the gates?

Is there a way to better leverage the collective wisdom of these international connections being created through these groups? Just trying to keep up with all the information and maintain my two blogs is an effort. Then there is that pesky real world day job. I try to rise above being a slacktivist or at least attempt at being a fairly prolific slactivist. Without the educational background and professional expertise in the Web 2.0 world, how does one best use these online resources to endeavor to connect and make a difference in the world?

I have a good deal of respect for experts in this field, but their professionalism is often related to the medium not the message. The question is how best to connect? One earlier post exploring this idea which I revisited and reedited was Being Human, Working, Writing Stories, Being Human.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Uniting "Small Pages" Discovered on the Journey

My new blog Milestones for a New Millennium continues to grow and find new connections. Depending on how you measure it has now surpassed this blog. has Millennium Milestones at a traffic ranking of 766,539, while this one is at 860,699. Those numbers still put me what has been aptly called "small pages" rank.

I got the idea of "small pages" from Aira of the blog It'll be alright. I had participated in Bloggers Unite For Refugees. Aira helped to organize the majority of the posts under one thread and tied the whole affair together rather nicely in her own post.

It seems a small thing, I know. But the net itself is made of small pages, like mine and like the web pages of the over 10 thousand bloggers part of the Bloggers Unite. Ten thousand stories and thoughts for giving voice to 40 million refugees, for making known an association that help people for real. And to put in practice an expression I read on the Refugees United’s page and – with its simplicity – seemed to me such fundamental: spread the world.

I am not trying for the big numbers any more. It takes me away from what I find enjoyable and educational about this experience. The journey is far more interesting traveling away from the masses, but there are still many who can share in the travel. At the same time, I still want to find ways of getting the ideas that I learn on those web-journeys to a larger audience.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kicking Butt: The New To Get Things Going After Building Your Organization

As a result of seeking paradigm shifts, I am becoming more open to the idea of creating and enhancing change-agent organizations beyond those found in the public sector. There are a variety of challenges though. Jessica Andors, one of the authors o, was part of a MIT panel DUSP 75 years diversifying cities. The article focuses on community development in cities. Paraphrasing what they said, rather than making a product or providing a service it is creating an organization that will build indigenous power and encourage engagement to energize a barren public landscape in our communities.

  • diigo tags: community-planning, networking, activism

    • Our response to this situation is a “network organizing” strategy that connects people to each other and to opportunities for people to step into public life – from the neighborhood group to the City Council – in a way that feels safe, fun and productive. Our approach is a hybrid of many of the established practices of community organizing. The principal twist is the application of network theory, a set of ideas that come from the technology and economics fields but that are proving useful for understanding and shaping our community environments. Applying this thinking to our work has helped us to challenge some of the common obstacles to genuine engagement, and shape a strong demand environment for change.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

It is not enough though just to build the organization regardless of how engaged and empowered everyone feels, it must also have an impact on its environment, political, social and economic to cause change.

Kicking Butt: The New Organizational Model? an article by Kristin Clarke was featured back on 10/30/08 in Acronym. It discussed how social movements start, stall, or succeed and used the success of the September 5, Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C;) telethon as a successful template. Here are the lessons that I took away from her article, it is a re-blogged summary. Acronym is a publication of ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) and the Center for Association Leadership. I am still having trouble with getting my head around who they are, while they seem to be an association of change-agents their scope seems to defy concise definition, still they consistently come up with great ideas.
  • First, take radical steps to overcome barriers among the interrelated sectors to build an entirely new space in which leading professionals collaborate and take risks. Kristin termed this as, blow up the "let's all get along and just work better together" niceties in favor of "Dream Teams" rallied around a kick-butt attitude of "We're not leaving this war room until we solve this sucker!
  • Second, create a heavy-hitting leadership team. Heavy-hitting means not only well-known but those who have a long term stake. With the SU2C's leadership team, Kristin points out, "Cancer has touched each of them personally in some manner, making them incredibly determined, knowledgeable, and impatient for progress (hence, the sparks for innovation)."
  • Third, be smart enough to know that you are not smart enough to solve all of the problems. Partner with others who have been doing it longer and better. SU2C unsurprisingly chose the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Fourth, leverage social networks in a big way. Hopefully you have considerable social networks or can get them allowing one , bringing in Kristin says, "the kind of major donors that cause envy among us all--AARP, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Alliance for Global Good, and the Milken Family Foundation, for instance—and then convinced an unprecedented number of media partners—from online powerhouses like WebMD, Facebook, and AOL to ye ole traditional Hearst Corporation and The New York Times Company—to help jumpstart "a new movement." It didn't hurt that more than 100 celebrities also leapt on board."

I am getting to appreciate her conclusion more now that the Obama campaign has succeeded. Unlike some, I see this as time to realize opportunities.

Maybe a wildly new bring-it-on attitude and fearlessness truly are the secret ingredients.

Belief and Ritual Finding Common Ground Through Difference

My objective in creating this blog was as a learning tool for myself through finding websites of interest and organizing them for further study to create my own personal paradigm shifts. One of the main sources of interesting material continues to be TED. Recently, I have had a desire to go back to the original motivations for this blog and broaden my explorations again. This is done with the belief that it will help my gaining more understanding of the Millennium Development Goals dealt with in my other blog. Below are a collection of TED talks I found inspiring on a personal level.

Wade Davis: The worldwide web of belief and ritual
Anthropologist Wade Davis muses on the worldwide web of belief and ritual that makes us human. He shares breathtaking photos and stories of the Elder Brothers, a group of Sierra Nevada Indians whose spiritual practice holds the world in balance. Watch this talk >>

Stefan Sagmeister: Things I have learned in my life so far

Rockstar designer Stefan Sagmeister delivers a short, witty talk on life lessons, expressed through surprising modes of design (including ... giant inflatable monkeys?). Watch this talk >>

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Money cannot make us happy, he says -- instead, he looks to people who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."

Watch this talk >>

Global Warming means bannas in Iceland is a good thing?

Achieving a sustainable environment is both a paradigm shift and a Millennium Development Goal. The issues raised here also involve economics and trade. This post deals with the broader basic research from sources complied through diigo.

  • MIT World » : Global and Regional Climate Change: Underlying Science and Emerging Riddles diigo tags: MIT, environment, greenhouse

    • The most recent UN report on climate change predicts that greenhouse gases already in circulation have committed the planet to a warming of 2.5 degrees. “No matter what we do today to reduce emissions, the planet will still heat up,” says Ramanathan. But, through a quirk that Ramanathan has spent 10 years uncovering, the planet actually manifests only ¼ of the warming it should based on these climate models. Air pollution, specifically brown clouds from burning biomass, Ramanathan has learned, act as a global warming mask, reducing sunlight on the ground. “On the one hand, it has protected us, but also prevented us from seeing the full blast of the greenhouse effect,” he says. “One of the dumbest things we can do is to reduce sunlight,” because it reduces ocean evaporation, which cuts down on rainfall, and shifts weather systems everywhere, shrinking harvests and glaciers.

    • We are left with “Faustian bargains,” says Ramanathan. If we cut airborne pollutants such as sulfur, the mask will drop, temperatures rise rapidly, and climate tipping elements come into play. Curing one ill causes another.
  • Energy Probe, raises questions regarding food miles. The issue is what is the net benefit of growing bananas in Iceland as opposed to growing them in Chile. Reason Magazine chooses Chile because its climate is naturally suited for doing so, the right choice in many instances but not sure it necessarily is here.

    diigo tags: environment, economics, sustainability, energy, green

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Against Intuition - Assumptions that block a path to a better way

Part of doing a blog based on looking for new paradigms is questioning assumptions of existing pathways as well as looking for new pathways. Chronicle Review recently looked at the assumption of intuition, in the formal, philosophical use of the word. My take on it was from the perspective of how it could relate to economics and creating a paradigm for a better world. This was bookmarked under the diigo group Psychology: the Science of Human Nature.

Quotes: Against Intuition -

Experimental Philosophy seems to have the same acceptance of the main stream discipline as Experimental Economics. Though there is the argument that MRI studies, frequently cited in both, claim more than they can actually deliver. This is related in my mind to an argument of negative and positive rights and responsibilities. If we as a society are more interested in improving the environment than the CEO is in making money then we can't simply leave it to the market to make the choice and hope that they circumstances produce the best outcome case. This does not necessarily mean punitive regulations. There is also a chicken and egg dilemma regarding the philosophical basis of morality and the empirical methodology used by the experimentalist. I do not believe the one cannot fully separate oneself from the moral assumptions of one's culture to attain pure empirical objectivity. It does give a good helping of food for thought. Below are a few relevant quotes from the article.

    • They think that by studying human minds, using empirical techniques, and drawing on the insights of modern psychological science, they can get a better sense of where intuitions come from, and whether or when they should be granted credence.
    • Experimental philosophers also draw on work by contemporary psychologists demonstrating just how malleable human cognition is, how easily redirected and reshaped it is by external cues, even as the conscious mind remains blissfully unaware. Opinions on crime and punishment, for instance, can be altered by placing people in a dirty room designed to trigger feelings of disgust: Subjects in such experiments respond more punitively when asked what should be done to certain hypothetical criminals.
    • Consider this scenario, used in numerous scholarly articles: A corporate chairman is presented by a vice president with a proposal for a new project. The VP explains that the project will increase profits but hurt the environment. The chairman replies, "I don't care at all about helping the environment. I just want to make as much profit as I can. Let's start the new program." They do, and predictably the environment is harmed.
    • Did the CEO intentionally damage the environment? In one of Knobe's most cited studies, some 82 percent of students said yes.
    • Then take this scenario: Same chairman, same VP, but this time the VP says the program will help the environment. The CEO, again, replies that he doesn't care; his only concern is money. He gives a thumbs-up and, again, as predicted, the environment is helped. This time only 23 percent of students say the CEO intentionally helped the earth, although the scenarios are logically identical. Continue the discussion on diigo »

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    Activist Bringing About Change Through Disruption (Social and Economic)

    I am posting on this subject here before dealing with it over at my other blog Milestones for a New Millennium. This blog allows me far more philosophical latitude, making it more of a learning tool for me, and I am still exploring these concepts.

    The question is whether it is possible to create economically sustainable enterprises that help the billion at the bottom of the economic ladder in a uber-consumer world? It seems obvious that efforts to break into a market will require innovation, but are the cards so stacked that such efforts are hopeless, especially in fields such as Healthcare? After watching this talk by Clayton Christensen, I am going to say no, that a sustainable social-entrepreneurial model is very viable.
    To my mind, this is closely tied with the the concept of creative-destruction. I don't, taking counsel from Robert Solow, see its founding proponent, Joseph Schumpeter as the savior of 21st century economics as some do, and especially not of activists seeking change through social enterprise,.

    Which brings us to the "democracy" in Schumpeter's title. He was not a democrat by instinct or by reflection. He had little confidence in the ability of the average citizen to vote intelligently...

    At the same time Solow saw that Schumpeter realized that:

    Anyone can invent a new product or a new technique of production. The entrepreneur is the one who first sees its economic viability, bucks the odds, fights or worms his way into the market, and eventually wins or loses. Each win means profit for the entrepreneur and his backers, and it also means a jog upward for the whole economy. In the course of this process, which cannot possibly run smoothly, many businesses, individuals, and institutions, themselves founded on earlier successful innovations, will be undermined and swept away. Schumpeter called this birth-and-death process "creative destruction," and realized before anyone else that it was the main source of economic growth.

    Creative-destruction is still a useful means, more descriptive than prescriptive, of looking at the world. The disagreement is with what actions we take with that knowledge. What disruptive innovations allow social-entrepreneurs is a means of striving in the world without having to beat the leading-edge of established corporations.

    Other posts on creative-destruction
    Creative-Destruction, Entrepreneurship And Innovation
    The Awards And Risks of Innovation: Embracing Destruction And Creation
    Consumerville USA Versus Creatorville USA

    We Are All Getting Digital - Old Rocker Shows the Way

    | New York Times August 10, 2008 An Old Rocker Gets Digital By FRED GOODMAN

    Peter Gabriel, the rock musician, has become a powerful player in the emerging online music industry by helping artists find new ways to market their music on the Web.

    This has been sitting in my draft bin for about a week. Going digital is not really breaking news, it is an on going transformation. I am pleased that it is an Old Rocker leading the transformation.

    This has been an off and on topic for this blog for sometime. What is of interest is the transforming of older paradigms defining mass media industries, such as music, into newer paradigms. The transformation has impact on individual artists and businesses, but it also has broader impact on how we define ourselves in terms of community. It also makes for an interesting model as to how endeavors that are more social in nature can survive in an environment which is more business, the combining of artistic freedom with the creation of an economically sustainable enterprise.

    Past posts on this subject
    The Power of Many! Music For All?

    Troubadour Troubles - Economic, Legal, Moral? You Pick
    Confusing Means and Ends and the Pathways Between Them
    The Musician As Businessperson The Entrepreneur as Artisan

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Challenging the next generation (and this one) to get serious - Tech guru Tim O'Reilly again points the way.

    Tim O'Reilly is one of the main pillars of this blog's beginning. I am, admittedly, still on the periphery of the techno-world. Before starting this blog, the Firefox browser's bookmark button was about as adventurous as I got in the Web 2.0 world. I was also far more aware of Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, as a former psychology major, than I was of any technological revolutions going on the Internet.

    However, when I decided to use the Internet to explore Paradigm Shifts, it was inevitable that Tim O'Reilly's - Open Source Paradigm Shift would be at the top of the pile. O'Reilly's ideas on processes and organizational relationships, though focused on computer technology, still appealed to my organizational psychology perspective. My interest in exploring what Web 2.0 offered in regards to tools for gathering, organizing, communicating and applying knowledge was enhanced. That started a process that led me to create Milestones for a New Millennium.

    Now my quest has discovered dozens of different ways to be make positive contributions to the world using the Internet, as well as discovering numerous sources of interesting and educational material. Yet, I am still encouraged when I read today in the Los Angeles Times a story by Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Jessica Guynn that Tech guru Tim O'Reilly challenges next generation to get serious.

    SAN FRANCISCO - ; Silicon Valley insiders call it the O'Reilly Radar: Tim O'Reilly's uncanny ability to spot a technology revolution before it happens. But lately the entrepreneur, investor and book publisher has been busier trying to incite the next one.

    The entrepreneur, investor and book publisher urges young entrepreneurs and engineers to stop making silly software and start making a real difference in the world.

    What I appreciated in the article was Tim O'Reilly's perspective ... that Silicon Valley has strayed from the passion and idealism that fuel innovation to instead follow what he calls the "mad pursuit of the buck with stupider and stupider ideas."

    Flush with money and opportunity following the post-dot-com resurgence, he says, some entrepreneurs have cocooned in a "reality bubble," insulated from poverty, disease, global warming and other problems that are gripping the planet. He argues that they should follow the model of some of the world's most successful technology companies, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which sprang from their founders' efforts to "work on stuff that matters."


    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Getting Your Say Getting Heard

    In my last post, I admitted that a limited number of readers and visitors were coming to either one of my blogs. I am though quite happy with the quality of visitors. While no longer chasing numbers, I still visit Feedburner and Sitemeter to see who has dropped by. According to Sitemeter, Milestones for a New Millennium was recently visited by the University of Bristol, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, University of Sussex and the United Nations. These were, to be fully truthful, a result of searches, but I still like the idea that something I write could be picked up by a highly regarded institution even for a glance.

    Other searches picked up by FeedBurner were, Search for “OBAMA MDGs”, Search for “millennium learning goal” and Search for “2008 millenium development goal obama

    If you blog, you get a chance to have your say, and you have a good chance that somebody is at least going to "hear" you. I don't believe one can expect more.

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    Getting Ideas Stick To Make Them Grow

    I consider the "economics" of my blogging on the Millennium Development Goals sound. Economics is in quotes because I am not talking about making money. Using the Lionel Robbins quote from the the Wikipedia article on "Economics" "the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.", it is based on putting in minimal investment, relatively speaking in influencing somebody else's behavior, for a maximum return, making the world a better place. Even if I only effect one or two people, there is the potential that with an aggregate number of people like me that at some point in time it could reach a tipping point.

    Truth is that I am only going to reach a limited number of people. It is also true that I don't understand what makes the World Wide Web tick. I may know a few tricks of the trade, but why at one point people are clicking, then they are not and then they are again is beyond my understanding.

    Still some insight might come from comparing this blog, ...New Paradigms, and my other blog Milestones For A New Millennium. This blog has been in existence for almost a year, ...New Millennium has been in existence since August 23rd of this year. Right now this blog has more subscribers than New Millennium, 10 compared to 8. Over the last month New Paradigms had 8 subscribers while New Millennium had 7 subscribers, so that fluctuates. For the life of the blog, New Paradigms had an average of 9 reaching a high of around 20. New Millennium has too short a life to worry about. So far New Paradigms is arguably has good of a blog as New Millennium.

    It is harder to measure click rate since both blogs are on Blogger, and New Paradigms gets credited with most of the click on items counted by Feedburner. New Paradigms got 547 clicks in a month on 54 items with 0 views. New Millennium only got 6 clicks on 2 items with 64 views on 42 items in the same time period. The "business" of delivering global health services was the last New Millennium post to be click (4 times). The best for New Paradigms is still “WHO | What are the key health dangers for children at 129 times.

    In regards to site visitors, New Paradigms has had 7 on average in the last month from all over the world Most stayed for a very short time, not really sure how that works. New Millennium only had 3 visitors on average.

    According to Lijit, New Pathways had 385 pages views within a month, many coming from Indio, CA. 118 of those views were a result of re-searches with the most common term being "Creative-Destrucion". The average number of page views per day 12.85. New Millennium had 412 page views within a month with only 12 being for researches, a good number of them coming again from Indio, Ca. The average number of page views per day 13.3. I thought that maybe Lijit was located in Indio, but it's in Boulder, Colorado.

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    Be The Best For Your Self

    Skellie at recently wrote about how to Be the Best, Be Discovered.
    The significance of this experience for me–and hopefully it seems significant to you as well–is that my motivation for working on the site was completely internal.
    My goal was only to please myself by creating the best site I could and my rewards came in being proud of what I’d done. Visitor feedback was nice, but it only served to tell me that ’some’ people were enjoying the site. I didn’t really care so much about the volume, only that at least a few other people thought the site was as cool as I did. But if I had only ever received a handful of emails each week to say I was doing a good job, I probably would have been happy, and I probably would have maintained the site for a long time.

    But I didn’t. Once stats came into the picture, my motivation was externalized. I wanted more visitors, and I started to only enjoy adding to the site when I felt it would see my stat counter climb. Whenever my visitor count dropped I felt deflated.

    I did not start off on this venture with the intention of creating a blog to speak to the world. It was created as a means of discovering and organizing new sources of knowledge and experimenting with some of the tools of Web 2.0, all of which were new a year ago. The blog itself became the focus of the experiments and I discovered that somebody was reading what I wrote or saved. The surprising thing for me was that it doesn't really matter whether its 10 or 10,000, it still has an impact. I also tried chasing statistics, though I was only trying to get to double digits. Then everything deflated for a while.

    So I decided to stop worrying about it and focus on what I liked best about doing this. I like having people click on items that I placed at and other places. It makes me believe that they possibly found something useful. While I do not have a large number of contacts, the contacts I do have are more like collaborators working for common . I appreciate the quality more than I yearn for the quantity. I am more impressed with the fact that somebody in Africa might read one of my posts than I am getting a thousand posts in Akron, Ohio (OK, I am lying, I would love to get a 1,000 posts in Akron, but if I don't still OK).

    Now I have two active blogs and for whatever reason, because it still seems like tea leaves to me, this blog is doing better. Not next Facebook better, but better enough to make it enjoyable again. I enjoy doing this. Now, with this blog, I am no longer worrying as much about where I stand in blogosphere, but simply participating in World Wide discussions. I am still watching the stats at my other blog, but since it reflects my own views and opinions there won't be any chasing numbers there either.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Learning To Be A Good Netizen - Not A Well known One Perhaps, But A Good One

    My new blog Milestones For A New Millennium is turning me into a netizen.

  • The word netizen seems to have two similar meanings. A citizen who uses the Internet as a way of participating in political society (for example, exchanging views, providing information, and voting). An Internet user who is trying to contribute to the Internets use and growth....

  • Source:

  • A Netizen (a portmanteau of Internet and citizen) or cybercitizen is a person actively involved in online communities. ...

  • Source:

    Starting this weblog gave me an online personality, now I am becoming engaged in World Wide Web citizenship. The new blog engages both the World Wide portion of that concept in the work with the Millennium Development Goals and the Web portion because I am making a concerted effort to get the word out to a greater degree than with this blog.

    I am trying a number of new things, more on that later. I am also attempting to avoid some of the faux pas of the Internet. The first was deleting two posts that I have on Newsvine that linked back to my posts. That turns out to be frowned upon, and I want to establish some trust with this endeavor. I honestly thought that since my post had additional links to other information that it was the best which to link plus it was easier since the Newsvine button is below every post. I am going to leave that to others since reputation is more important than forcing numbers.

    I still have limited impact as a netizen with my online persona. In some ways though, I have greater impact on the World Wide Web Stage as a netizen than as a voter in the "real" world. In the real world, my particulars can be fairly well known, fairly easily. It is my vote that is secret and only combines with others in aggregate. On the World Wide Web, my particulars are for the most part of no consequence and it is my publicly accessible vote through my blog posts that define me. My vote may not at this time reach more than 10 people, but it has a chance to cascade and there are millions of others making the same cascading votes on these issues (I get to do it on my own blog). This means that there is a force beyond the aggregate of people passively voting for whatever program is put in front of them to a level of actively engaging in the issues on an ever expanding platform.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Going Beyond Nature

    In the last couple of posts this blog raised the question on the role of architecture in overcoming the challenges facing the world, over-consumption by the developed world, need for development in the developing world, sustainability for both. On one end of the spectrum was the work of the Open Architecture Network and on the other discussions of Frank Gehry's work on the MIT Stata building. Not as a criticism of Gehry's work, but the issues such work brings up and the debate regarding those issues.

    The following is also from MIT and features Werner Sobek discussing architecture which is 100% recyclable and capable of incredible designs. It addresses the question of what can be done, not necessarily what should be done, but its interdisciplinary approach provides a good model for overcoming global challenges and it demonstrates the potential of what is possible.

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    view latest additions volume 7 | number 57 | August 18, 2008

    Play it now

    Video date:
    April 24, 2008
    6:30 PM

    "Complete know how in disciplines is one thing, but to work in terra incognita, this is something we more or less have devoted our lives to..."

    —Werner Sobek

    Building Avant la Garde

    There's more than a little magic in Werner Sobek's constructions, which balance aesthetics, architectural constraints and pathbreaking science to, in his words, "go beyond" nature's own limits.

    Werner Sobek
    Engineer and Architect, Werner Sobek Ingenieure

    Event Host:

    Department of Architecture

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Role of Architecture In Defining Ourselves

    One of those subjects that doesn't seem to fit the focus of Milestones For A New Millennium is the role of architecture in creating communities. With so many problems facing the world and efforts to house millions in need of shelter does architecture make any sense any more? Should architecture simply be a matter of pragmatic technology or is there still a place for the art of architecture? Can architecture as art be made sustainable?

    Frank Gehry asks the question in this TED talk, Nice building. Then what? Ironically, he mentions, mostly in passing, the MIT Stata building as a future example of ideal architecture. He uses the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao as the testing ground to ensure that the Stata doesn't leak.

    Of course, it did leak and MIT sued. Seems Gehry is allegedly famous/infamous for leaky buildings. The TED video has a view good lines by Frank Loyd Wright on leaks. John Maeda also references the quote in his defense of form being more important than function or at least being more forgivable. Others were less willing to take the more idealistic perspective.

    These ideas are further touched upon in this two part look at Frank Gehry's Stata building at MIT by MIT World » : The University as Patron of Cutting Edge Architecture.

    Part 1 of a 2 part series that discusses Frank Gerhy's Stata building at MIT.

    Part 2 of a 2 part series that discusses Frank Gerhy's Stata building at MIT

    These two videos occur after the TED talk but before the lawsuit. There is much more available on the web. This is just a current example of artistic vision wrestling with pragmatic necessity. Clicking on the various labels provided below will take you to other perspectives on architecture, cities and community-planning put forth by this blog.

    Change in Pathways But Not A Change in the Path

    The site is going back to its original intention of being a learning portal. The efforts toward blogging will be focused on the new blog Milestones For A New Millennium. I will still be making posts here but with less regularity. The difference being that this policy will now be followed on purpose rather than by happenstance as has been occurring.

    This site can provide two important avenues. It can be used to explore issues which relate to but don't deal directly with the subject matter of Milestones For A New Millennium and it can be used to work through some of the subjects prior to posting on Milestones For A New Millennium.

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    The Role Of Architecture In The Life Of Cities

    The role of architecture involves the creation of cities as much as the individual buildings that make up those cities. Below are two ostensibly different perspectives on the world's cities that demonstrate the challenges facing efforts to house and feed 6 billion people. The first, from TED involves the creation of mega-communities growing seemingly beyond their capacity to be viable.

    Robert Neuwirth on our "shadow cities" Video on
    Robert Neuwirth, author of Shadow Cities, finds the world’s squatter sites -- where a billion people now make their homes -- to be thriving centers of ingenuity and innovation. He takes us on a tour.
    diigo tags: TED, architecture, cities, community-planning

    The second involves Shrinkingcities

    which involves established urban cities disappearing.

    Whether in the USA, Britain, or Belgium, Finland, Italy, Russia, Kazakhstan, or China: everywhere, cities are shrinking. The dramatic development in eastern Germany since 1989, which has led to more than a million empty apartments and to the abandoning of countless industrial parks and social and cultural facilities, has proven to be no exception, but a general pattern of our civilization.

    diigo tags: shrinkingcities, community-planning, architecture, development

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Helping Myanmar (Burma) rebuild, Using Architecture to Rebuild Humanity

    A number of the stories that have been held in the draft bin deal with architecture. The concept of architecture, however, applies to more than the design of individual buildings. It also applies to other things such as the web and to entire cities.

    Does architecture give us a model as to how we can we use the Web to drive social change? The TED prize is one avenue created to bring about social change. Architecture for Humanity leveraged a 2006 TED Prize to build the Open Architecture Network, linking communities around the globe with architects and designers who can help them solve problems.

    In 2006, Cameron Sinclair asked TED to help him build an open-source platform to help architects connect with communities in need of designs. The result was the Open Architecture Network -- a successful website that acts as both a clearinghouse for building plans and a vibrant social network, allows its users to sample, remix and customize design work for their needs. To help Sinclair's wish come true, join the community at the Open Architecture Network's website.
    One of the latest examples of their work is their attempt to help Myanmar (Burma) rebuild, with Architecture for Humanity as told by the TED TEDBlog by on 5/6/08.


    Following the devastating Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (Burma), Architecture for Humanity asked for help in rebuilding the country over the long term. They wrote:

    While the media will focus its attention on the loss of life, there will be millions displaced in the coming weeks -- and like most natural disasters, there's no plan for long-term sustainable reconstruction. Large aid agencies like Oxfam and Care will be knee-deep in immediate delivery of aid. How will the country respond to the long-term strategic need to rebuild the country?

    In the first 6 hours of this drive, AfH raised $4,000 from over 120 donors. Learn more about this appeal >>

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Lessons Learned Lessons Applied

    The new blog is still undergoing construction. Actually construction is not right because it is still in the design phase and undergoing is not right because I haven't done anything with it for last few weeks. This post is partially to get back on track.

    While this current weblog has provided a number of lessons that can be applied to the new one, there is still the matter of deciding what the new weblog is supposed to accomplish and how to achieve that. One primary lesson being applied is that Milestones for the New Millennium is far more focused than this endeavor which tends to follow its own path of exploration.

    The new blog is focused on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the efforts of others to see those goals accomplished. The eight goals though still provide a wide range of topics to write about. Within each of those goals, is it to 1. End Hunger 2. provide Universal Education 3. ensure Gender Equity 4. ensure Child Health 5. ensure Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases 7. ensure Environmental Sustainability or 8. create Global Partnerships; there are both milestones to celebrate and millstones to rail against. The efforts of those supporting End Poverty 2015 will be prominently featured.

    The concept, though, of overcoming all the world's problems for the thousand years before us is daunting. The notion that we will be successful in pushing the world's governments into meeting their promises by having people stand up is almost naive. It is still, nonetheless, worth supporting.

    The Millennium Milestones blog is based on the premise that there has to be other avenues connecting the global perspective of the Millennium Development Goals with the individual activities of organizations and people working at the local level. There is also the "how" as well as the "what". This blog has explored social-entrepreneurship and the efforts of those trying to make the world a better place. There is the expectation that increased awareness will not command compliance from world governments but that their lack of commitment will inspire others to take matters in their own hands. It will be the day-to-day efforts of hundreds working through organizations utilizing new technologies that will lead us to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.

    Getting Back To The Writing Desk

    I stopped writing which is bad. It is not bad because the world has been denied my writing, but my not writing, my not partaking in the activity of writing is bad. It is bad because when I am not writing I am not doing anything else of particular value to anyone including myself. I also stopped learning when I stopped writing.

    It is not that I don't have anything to write about. There are a number of drafts waiting to be developed and finalized. There is also the creation of a new blog. It is getting over that initial writer's blockage that seems to have built up since returning from China. Writer's blockage seems to be a more precise term than writer's block because it isn't a matter of a blank wall but overcoming those factors that weigh one down at the end of the day and making the time for writing.

    The plans that I have made for my new blog require that I overcome my recent stupor. This post is the first step.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Back Home From China To New Adventures

    I am back home from China, after a month stay. The trip resulted in a couple of realizations.

    First realization is how much this weblog depends upon the Web 2.0 bells and whistles. In China, for whatever reason, I could not get to a good number of sites and did not have available my handy tool bars for, diigo, or Stumbleupon.

    Second realization, this blog, using the term loosely, is designed more for open exploration. One recurring topic has been the intention of creating a more focused blog on a particular subject. While in China, I annouced that I was creating a new blog. The new blog is another Web 2.0 experiment, but the subject is something that I have at least minimal knowledge about, am supportive of, and which I have blogged on before.

    The chosen subject is the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. This subject allows me to blog on social-entrepreneurship, global health, sustainability, the use of the web as a tool for development, and other topics. The connections made over the course of putting this blog together provide a great deal of useful information on the topics covered by the subject of the millennium goals. Currently I am experimenting with links to see if they work with what I am trying to achieve, also fine tuning what it is that I am trying to achieve. There are a number of excellent sites newly discovered through the creation of the new blog.

    The new blog is named Milestones and Millstones to A New Millennium. It is still under construction and testing, so I am not creating a permanent link in the left hand column yet. Most of the initial construction was during my stay in China. Why I decided to do it when my web resources were minimal is for future introspection. The inspiration came from a number of sources, those being some of the connections or comments received by the weblog over its existence.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Using Business Wisdom For Social Compassion

    This weblog has written posts on change-agent organizations or non-profits using fundamental business practices to increase their economic viability. When it does, it very often gets its ideas from The Entrepreneurial Mind, which wrote another article in this vein on 6/4/08, Business Turns Profits into Charity.

    MyBusiness magazine (from NFIB) has a feature written by Emily McMackin on a for profit social venture called Giving Tree ....
    ... which sells the GiveCard---a prepaid Visa or MasterCard that allows recipients to donate 10 percent of their gift to the charity of their choice---Nicholas and cofounder Jeff Jacobs discovered that consumers were eager to give back.
    McMackin interview me (Jeff Cornwall) for the story and was curious about the growing trend of more for profit social ventures.
    Young entrepreneurs today are taking this tradition a step further by forming businesses to tackle specific problems in society, says Jeff Cornwall, director of the Belmont University Center for Entrepreneurship in Nashville, Tenn.
    Without the IRS constraints that nonprofits have or the need to beg donors for money, these social entrepreneurs are finding more freedom to bring about change. Rather than trusting in these large institutions they don't think are effective, they're going out and solving problems at a grassroots level, Cornwall says. Given the interest we are seeing in students wanting to learn about social entrepreneurship, this is a trend that is likely to continue.

    The New York Times ran a story on the same subject, social-entrepreneurship. This time though the focus was on Internet technology. When Tech Innovation Has a Social Mission - New York Times April 13, 2008.

    diigo tags: innovation, web2.0, technology

    Now a new style of “hybrid” technology organization is emerging that is trying to define a path between the nonprofit world and traditional for-profit ventures.They're often referred to as “social enterprises” because they pursue social missions instead of profits. But unlike most nonprofit groups, these organizations generate a sustainable source of revenue and do not rely on philanthropy.

    Revenue is life blood for an economically viable entity, whether it is a corporate business, a entrepreneurial artisan or a social-entrepreneur. Revenue usually derives from some form of value added or productivity enhancement, though who provides the revenue and who benefits from the value-added may not always be the same.

    Brewster Kahle, who has founded a number of successful Internet companies, as well as the nonprofit Internet Archive, said: “If we do this right, I think there is momentum here. The next major operating systems company might be a nonprofit.”
    Mr. Kahle says he is developing a set of principles that he hopes will help formalize his idea that there is a middle ground between the technologists and the capitalists. He ticks off operating guidelines like transparency, staying out of debt, giving away information and refusing to hoard.
    TechSoup distributes products from 32 commercial companies, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Symantec, to roughly 50,000 organizations annually, for a small administrative fee.
    “We were just trying to meet the needs of nonprofits,” said Rebecca Masisak, co-chief executive of TechSoup.
    “Computer technology and the Internet are lowering the cost of doing business,” said John Lilly, the chief executive of Mozilla, the Web browser developer that is being subsidized by advertising revenue from the search engine business.

    Overcoming Copyright Concerns aka Making Sure You Get A Paycheck

    David Pogue of the New York Times has been mentioned in this weblog before under a similar subject, the The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality. Here Mr. Pogue asks Can e-Publishing Overcome Copyright Concerns? - New York Times on May 22, 2008. This time he seems to have been attempting to offer some business advice to artistic entrepreneurs. The question of copyrights has been linked with the question of fair use in a number of posts. It is a double-edged question. One wants to protect the concept of fair use, but the individual artist finds himself at risk. Mr. Pogue asks the unresolved question.

    "What is the writer or musician to do, though, if she can't earn money from her art? Simple, says the Slashdotter: earn your money playing live (if you're one of those musicians who plays live), or selling T-shirts or merchandise, or providing some other kind of 'value-added' service. Many such arguments seem to me to be simple greed disguised in high-falutin' idealism about how 'information wants to be free.'

    This weblog has passed on advice from both the artistic perspective and the business perspective. A week after his article (May 29, 2008) Mr. Pogue received advice from his readers, though he was reluctant to take it. From the Desk of David Pogue - Readers Have Their Say in the E-Publishing Debate -

    Last week in this space, I agonized over the issue of releasing the books in my Missing Manual series in electronic form.
    A number of passionate writers were confident that releasing free copies of my books would lead to more sales of the printed ones, not less. These people could not understand why I don't see that:

    Mr. Pogue has every right to provide his product or services to the public as he sees fit and if he doesn't want to make them available free online, so be it. Not everybody is comfortable with all aspects of e-commerce. How useful his advice is though to struggling artists in another question. I am not certain that he even addresses the question. I am summarizing the question here, partially because of copyright concerns. The questioner is not asking Mr. Pogue to provide the materials for free. He is asking him to consider alternative avenues of sales/revenue and challenges him to do a test.

    "All you have proven is that there is pent-up demand for an electronic version of your book. Your conclusion is only valid IF you had a legitimate electronic version to sell, and people chose to get the free one instead of the paid one.
    Even if your book was on a pirated site, people (like me) would buy a legitimate non-DRM'd electronic version if you sold it. Until you do, you cannot make any claims about digital piracy from personal experience, because you haven't done a valid test."
    Mr. Pogue's response: This is the crux of the matter, really: *nobody* can do a valid test. Some authors (like Cory Doctorow) point to anecdotal evidence that free e-versions boost the sales of printed books; other authors (like Stephen King and Steven Poole, whose blog I quoted last week) declared their e-book experiments failures. But a truly valid test will never be conducted because it would require parallel universes:

    Mr. Pogue's response would be valid entrepreneurial advice if the questioner was applying for a job at CERN, but artisans in a new economy won't be able to wait for such a perfect universe(s?). I suspect that Mr. Pogue's position is based more on his view of the "morality" of the issue. Morality is in quotes not to question Mr. Pogue's ethics, but in recognition that it is not as straight forward an issue as some may claim. Does the artist need to give away his creativity because Slashdot thinks 'information wants to be free'? - No, but if the artist finds that selling t-shirts and using the music for marketing is a better business model than selling music and using the t-shirts for marketing, they better give it some thought. The old paradigms are gone.

    diigo tags: web2.0, entrepreneurship copyright epublishing, pogue,

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Getting Started With Let It Begin With Me

    "Sometimes when I meditate, I don't use any particular method. I just allow my mind to rest, and find, especially when I am inspired, that I can bring my mind home and relax very quickly. I sit quietly and rest in the nature of mind; I don't question or doubt whether I am in the ‘correct’ state or not. There is no effort, only rich understanding, wakefulness, and unshakeable certainty. When I am in the nature of mind, the ordinary mind is no longer there. There is no need to sustain or confirm a sense of being: I simply am. A fundamental trust is present. There is nothing in particular to do.” Sogyal Rinpoche

    From Let it begin with me - mind training and meditation briefings A rough guide to mind training and meditation

    diigo tags: buddhism, meditation, mind, philosophy

    Creating and Re-creating A Blog Creating and Re-creating Yourself.

    One of the resources that this weblog uses is Daily Writing Tips, which is listed in the left hand column under Blogging Roads Less Traveled. An important question raised by Daily Writing Tips is, "why blog"? They assert that having a blog can help your writing.

    Do you have your own blog? If so, do you sometimes feel guilty about spending time writing for your blog rather than working on something which you consider more “worthwhile”? If you don't have a blog, have you ever thought of starting one? Perhaps you're not sure whether it would be worth the investment of your time and energy.

    Here are Daily Writing Tips 5 reasons why blogging improves your writing.

    There are five great ways that starting your own blog, or continuing writing the one you already have, can improve your writing.

    1. You’ll get into the habit of writing regularly. Blog posts tend to be short and can be online as soon as you've written them: Very true, though my posts can get longer if I am dealing with an involved subject. The instant publishing can be problem because it is too easy, but I give myself the option to re-write what I have posted if I find mistakes afterwards or think of a better way to say something. Overtime, my need to re-write has been becoming less, relatively speaking. There are some posts at which I will keep plugging away before publishing them to read up on additional sources of information or because it just isn't sounding quite right.

    2. Instant feedback lets you know how you're doing: As this is my personal learning web portal, feedback is not essential, but I have received some positive comments or obtained other forms of acknowledgement. Nobody has, however, given me either positive or negative feedback on my writing itself, which I would not expect for a blog as it is a different type of creature. Most times posts are judged on content and there have been posts claiming that blogs can ignore some of the writing rules.

    As far as none at all feedback, that would be vast majority of this effort. So there is still the potential for this work to be boring, trite or over-done.

    3. Having readers for your work is a big motivation: Even making a tiny ripple within the Internet was motivating and to some extent addicting. Having the opportunity to participate in the creation of a wave of change is also enticing. It also makes a difference who is reading this blog. In the early stages of this weblog I linked to anything having to do with paradigms that seemed to fit. One link was to the Paradigm Online Writing Assistant under PoetryExpress again under the left hand column. What was surprising was the number of visits from that site to this one. That was a big motivator in making the posts at least adequate in terms of writing.

    FeedBurner also tallys how many times a webpost you have created or a weblink you have saved on or elsewhere is clicked. Overall, this weblog has resulted in 6,467 clicks back to the original site on 301 items. That means that on average 21 people found something useful in what I did at least enough to click the item. While that won't let me quit my day job it is still gratifying. The highest was 128 clicks for WHO, What are the key health dangers for children? I found the idea of being able to provide a helpful link to others appealing, in some ways more appealing than having somebody read something that I wrote. The trouble is that has now dropped radically. The average number of clicks for the last month as dropped to 19 clicks back to the originating site on 11 items. Why the sudden upswing and then sudden downswing is not something for which I have found an explanation.

    This weblog according to Technorati's Dave Sifry has low authority, which is currently at 6, but it has some authority, which is more than I was originally expecting. The Low Authority Group is defined as 3-9 blogs linking in the last 6 months. Though admittedly some of the links are self-promotional for the blogs doing the linking. Again, my impact on FeedBurner has fluctuated. I began with zero, so anything would have been an improvement. My average number of subscribers has been 9, since I started this experiment in late 2007.

    4. Your writing will improve. The best way to get better at anything is to practice. Writing frequently for your blog means your writing will improve: I do believe that this is true. The posts are becoming better than earlier posts. Do they make you cringe, when compared to your writing now? Enough that, every now and then, I will still go back to make corrections or do re-writes.

    5. Blogs are an ideal medium for experimentation: Definitely agree with this one. It is part of the reason that this weblog has evolved into something more than was originally envisioned.

    One form of experimentation suggested is using Bullet pointed lists. Creating a blog, especially this blog, involves both combining and expanding concepts and then distilling and summarizing them into a more concise format. Most blogs, in my view, depend to a very large extent upon the work of others or stories within the news. This weblog is no exception. There needs to be enough of a change though to make the post truly yours rather than just a rehash of somebody else's work.

    What I found as fascinating as the fact that somebody was reading or clicking my stuff was where they were coming from - around the globe. According to Lijit, this weblog has had 227 page views in the last month, actually 393 minus the 166 orginating from Nanjing, China where I am staying. Most of these were within the United States but others have originated from South America, Europe and Asia. Feedburner indicated the same thing. The other aspect of this blog that has helped with international connections is learning different tagging and social bookmarking systems. Again, this weblog connects with others in South American, Africa, Europe and Asia.

    Daily Writing Tips helps me to understand that there is a difference between blogging and writing. Yes, they are very much interrelated, but they are still also have independent aspects. One can write without ever touching a computer and there are technical issues related specially to blogging. While there are those who argue that they are even more distinct, the skills of writing can only make blogging better to my mind. This question has been asked before, but it's good to be reminded and look at the issue from a different facet. Whether you think it is worth the investment depends upon what you want to get out of it. It also depends on what you define as being a blog.

    The Internet and Web 2.0 (presuming we see these as two different things) seems to keep re-inventing themselves, which often means re-inventing the terms to describe them. Web 2.0 seems to be in the midst of being re-invented as social media. Weblogs are now everything from personal journals to alternative news sources. At one time though, according to Jon Barger, who originated the term: "1. A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So is actually better for blogging than

    This weblog did not start off with the intention of becoming a blog in the current sense of the term. I also wanted it to be more than just an inert collection of weblinks. It was an experiment in collecting data and information from various sources within the Internet and organizing them for easy retrieval in such a manner that new connections could be made and a better understanding of various subjects could be obtained. The essential point was being able to generate new connections for deeper understanding. Its original intention was to be a learning tool.

    This endeavor was started with the understanding that I was a novice. The old adage was to write what you know about. This weblog at least starts with what I do not know about and though there is much I have discovered, I continue to learn more with the focus being on new learning. Even within those areas of professional experience the decision was made to start with an empty cup and begin with a beginners mind. Then I found out that somebody was reading what I wrote and that started changing things.

    So I definitely believe that this weblog has created some value for me, even if it might not be judged successful as a blog in the common use of the term.