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Life, In Digital

Digital Life IS Real Life

  • Attendees pay a significant amount of money to attend an event.
  • A speaker takes several hours to prepare for the event.
  • Attendees spend the entire event looking down at their phones and tablets.

Is there a disconnect here? Are attendees not paying attention, or worse, being disrespectful? Chances are that they are engaging in a new way – either Tweeting or following a Twitter stream for the event.

Attendees are already Tweeting. Make it easier for them.

Provide a hashtag for your event

If you offer an event hashtag from the beginning, users won’t have to go through the confusing and disjointed process of crowdsourcing their own hashtag. One common hashtag makes it easier for you to follow conversations about your event and for attendees to join the conversation.

Provide a unique hashtag for every panel/presentation

This is especially important if you have multiple presentations throughout your event. The hashtag is important for the same reasons mentioned above, but having a unique one for each presentation allows those conversations to stand out from the general event conversation.

Seed your crowd

People tweet more when there is more tweeting going on. Quote speakers, ask questions, and re-tweet attendees’ comments.


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These are the ten things I’m thinking about (in no particular order).

  1. SXSW
  2. First Impressions
  3. Lasting Impressions
  4. Digital Atlanta (Twitter and Facebook accounts)
  5. Archiving Social Media
  6. STS – 134
  7. Tagging
  8. Content Curation
  9. Online Privacy
  10. My New iPad

What’s on your mind? What are you trying to figure out?

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I wrote a book on Twitter. Well, to be more clear: I wrote a book using Twitter.

A year ago, using, I had all of my tweets printed into a book called, @lizzerb: a microbiography. It’s 160 pages of all of my tweets from the very first tweet:

“excited about birthday dinner! logan’s steakhouse…yummm” Thu Apr 02 22:29:26 2009

to one a year later:

“Birthday = family, Starbucks, pedicure, sushi, shopping, boyfriend, P.F. Changs, puppies & sleep. It was a great day!!” Sat Apr 03 03:39:22 2010

Now, why would I want to do this? For $18.99, why not? It’s pretty cool to have all of your tweets printed into a book. It’s definitely got that novelty factor and has sparked several conversations with friends and co-workers.

Recently, I’ve been looking for a Facebook equivalent. I wanted to be able to take all of my online conversations and preserve them in a tangible format. There’s something to be said for sitting down and flipping through a book. It’s like going back and reading your journal. It has all of your thoughts, frustrations, celebrations, and commentary on life. Especially when you tweet and update your Facebook status as often as I do about personal and professional experiences; this book would be my journal. It would show my life. If (Heaven forbid) Facebook were to close down overnight, all of my status would be lost. I’d have no record of those microjournaling updates.

At first all I found was this and this, but neither were really what I wanted. Then, I found Rachel Cunliffe at Social Archivist. She’s been working on the same concept and created the answer I’ve been searching for! Rachel, a blog and community site designer at cre8d design, created a “semi-automated service which creates a physical diary rich with photos, comments and memories” from Facebook. I still can’t believe how perfectly it matches what I’ve been wanting. Like This Book launched in January 2011 and can be professionally printed for $14.95. In the press release for Like This Book, here is what Rachel had to say was her inspiration:

Even if I have fool-proof back-ups of my status updates on my computer or online, that doesn’t leave me a user-friendly way to reminisce over my life or leave something for my kids to flip through one day. Life on the internet is geared for right now and often not for the distant future.

This is something I am definitely going to purchase. It is great for yourself or as a gift for those friends that are addicted to Facebook. Make your own book here and like it on Facebook here.

Like This Book, logo

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SXSW Trade ShowThe Trade Show was open the last couple of days during the Interactive track of SXSW. If you wanted to collect your due swag, this was the place to get it. Vendors were giving away almost anything you’d think: buttons, stickers, flyers, bags, and T-shirts (I walked out of SXSW with 9 free T-shirts).

Some of the booths were successful. Success = As an attendee, my impression of you was positively impacted as a result of your presence at SXSW.

Some of the booths were failures. Failure = As an attendee, my impression of you was negatively impacted as a result your presence at SXSW. Or, what is a bigger waste of money, I had no idea you were even at SXSW.

The Best

Twonky Home PageTwonky – This was the first booth I saw when I walked into the Trade Show. Kudos for being right by an entrance. They handed out free sunglasses and free cards with their website address. While I wasn’t quite sure what Twonky was when I walked away, my positive experience drove me to learn more. By the way, Twonky is “…not another piece of expensive equipment. Twonky is a line of software and applications for your PC, Mac or mobile phone that finds all of your digital media collections and shares them with PCs, TVs, stereos and other devices connected to your network.”

Moby – What is Moby? I have no idea. Seriously – not a single clue. During the week, Moby representatives were walking around wearing shirts designed with huge QR codes and the question “Do You Know What Moby Is?”, passing out flyers with the same QR code and question. I never actually scanned the QR code. With so many at SXSW, I couldn’t scan every code I saw. When I finally came across their booth in the Trade Show, I was relieved. I’d finally be able to figure out what this was. I didn’t really care…but I just had to find out. At the booth, I was handed a flyer, but not given an answer. I was told, however, that if I visited their website ( and got on the invite list, they would contribute $1 to Safe Pace: Ending Sexual & Domestic Violence. You can’t go wrong with that. I went to the website to (hopefully) learn more. No luck. I was greeted with an option to get on the invite list.

“There are the obvious answers, then there is our App!
Register now to be on our exclusive invite list!

If sheer curiosity isn’t a big enough incentive,
for every registration we will donate $1 to – a charity supporting victims of domestic violence.”

After I submitted my email address, I was told that I could invite my friends to do the same for a chance to win an iPad 2 (who wouldn’t love that) and to spread the word with Facebook Connect and Twitter widgets.

Now, I’m on an invite list (for something I don’t know what I’m being invited to) and I’ve invited my friends. I don’t need to know, but it’s bugging me. I want to find out. What is MOBY?!

Veer – I was already familiar with Veer (stock photos, illustrations, and fonts) and was happy to see their presence at SXSW. They just did everything right.

  • Gave away free buttons
  • Gave away free awesome T-shirts (highly coveted swag)
  • Nicely designed business cards and other promotional items – You’d be surprised by the number of promotional flyers that looked as though they were thrown together the night before.
  • Visually attractive booth layout – I wish I had taken a picture of it. It wasn’t over the top and didn’t look as though it was any more expensive to put together. It was just done with thought.
  • I learned something – Veer recently added a new section to their site where you can download free images weekly and a free font every month, plus wallpapers, screen savers, and their very fun and popular activity books. This gets me going to the website and coming back at least once a week.

The Worst

LifeProof – This is an example of how your entire branding can crumble with one bad first impression. Scary, right? LifeProof sells cases for iPhones and iPads and claim to stand up to water, dirt, snow, and shock. It was a very cool concept and it drew me in. I was ready to see this in action. The representative pulled an iPhone out of a water tank and just as I was expecting this product to prove itself, I heard him say, “uh-oh.” The iPhone wasn’t turning back on. It turns out the battery had died and he had to recharge it. I walked away without ever seeing if the product worked. What could have been a positive first impression was ruined because someone forgot to charge the battery.

Craiggers – They claim to have “craigslist data, better than craigslist!” Do they? I don’t know. I went to their website, entered in a simple search term, and waited 3 minutes with this “searching” screen before I left their site. I came back to see if the condition had improved, but I got the “searching” screen for every search. If you aren’t ready to launch your site, don’t launch your site.

OneWay Commerce – With the expansion of e-commerce on sites and several companies exploring e-commerce on Facebook, I was excited to learn more about this company. They claim to be “Your Storefront on Facebook” and tout benefits such as: social strategy, easy setup, low fees, QuickBooks integration, security, and easy order processing. However, when I at their social widgets (letting you ‘Like” them on Facebook and Tweet about them), I realized that they only had 25 people ‘Like’ them on Facebook. Now, Facebook numbers are not everything, but if you are a company guaranteeing results on Facebook, you should be doing better than 25 people.

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These are the ten things I’m thinking about (in no particular order).

  1. Gamestorming
  2. Printing Twitter and Facebook Posts
  3. SXSW
  4. WOM & WOMMA Ethics
  5. Tagging
  6. Content Curation
  7. Online Privacy
  8. Personalized Search Results vs. Serendipity
  9. Future of Education
  10. 9-5 Tweeting
  11. BONUS – My Birthday! (it’s tomorrow)

What’s on your mind? What are you trying to figure out?

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If you aren’t familiar with TED, check out the previous post: TED, Day 1.

I’ve been able to attend TED this year, with my colleagues at Newell Rubbermaid, via the TED Associates webcast. This year’s conference addresses The Rediscovery of Wonder.

Day Two featured a neuroscientist, cellist, director, designer, inventor, musician, deep-sea explorer, two C-level executives (Ford Motor Co. and PepsiCo) and several educators. It was another incredible day with many take-a-ways. Here’s my personal recap of the Best Of TED Day Two.

Deb Roy, Cognitive scientistDeb Roy
What if you signed on to record every movement within your house, all day, every day, for three years? Why might you want to do that? What would that look like? Deb Roy set up cameras throughout his home in preparation of his son’s birth and recorded over 200 terabytes in three years, resulting in the “world’s largest home video collection.” He, along with his team at MIT, wanted to analyze the birth of a word. He was able to take new words his son was learning and trace them back to how often he heard them, how they were said in conversation, and where in the house they were spoken. In his talk, he played an audio time-lapse of the transformation from “gah-gah” to “water”. It’s pretty amazing. Deb then discussed how his team at MIT is working to apply this technology and tagging of information to public media. He showed social graphs of co-viewing of certain television programs. There wasn’t any new concept discussed here. It was about the importance of influencers, as they affect the most number of other viewers, but he did add a significant amount of data to back this up.
TED Video

Julie Taymor, Director and designerJulie Taymor
This was an impressive walk through Julie Taymor’s portfolio. She showed examples of her stage work in The Tempest, The Lion King, and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark  and her film work in Across the Universe and The Tempest. One of my favorite quotes from her is about her belief in storytelling:

How you tell the story is equal to the story itself.

You can have an amazing story, but unless you tell it in an incredible way, no one will listen.

Morgan Spurlock, Filmmaker   @morganspurlockMorgan Spurlock
The guy who made Super Size Me is doing it again. He’s making a new documentary film on marketing and product placement that will be called, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. His goal was to finance the creation of this movie with product placements within the movie itself. He was able to get 17 brands who were interested in this opportunity, but it wasn’t easy. Apparently, most brands were unwilling to participate in this film about product placement and marketing. Why? Transparency. They were uncomfortable with letting a documentary filmmaker in on how their business operates. The film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival and was a great success. It will be released for general viewing in April 2011 and I can’t wait to see what Morgan has come up with in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

Terrence McArdie & Ben Newhouse, InventorsTerrence McArdle and Ben Newhouse
A new medium has been invented: Bubbles. No, this isn’t your soapy, sticky bubble. It’s Bubbles, powered by Bubbli, and it links unbounded images together to create a new experience. Terrence McArdie and Ben Newhouse demonstrated this new medium on their iPads (of course). They showed several examples of how this could be used, including a Bubble in a news article, that allows you to seemingly step into an entirely new world and see the news content. They also showed how it could be integrated with stories to allow users to step into scenes and view the characters’ world from all angles. Next up for Bubbles: audio and geodata.

Salman Kahn, Educator   @kahnacademySalman Kahn
What started as a personal project to tutor his cousins on YouTube, has now become a place where any one can go and “learn almost anything – for free.” Kahn Academy has over 2,100 videos that have been viewed over 43,000,000 times. While this is impressive, it is Salman Kahn’s perspective on education this is really fascinating. He believes that the success of his videos is due to people being able to pause and repeat lectures and set their learning at their own pace. This attribute could improve classroom settings if teachers could assign lectures for homework and do what was homework, as classroom exercises with the teacher. Doing this would use technology to humanize the classroom and arm teachers with data. Not only could the videos be assigned as homework, but the teachers would be able to access data that would tell them which videos were watched, how long it took to complete the videos, and where in the videos did most students pause. Of course, there is a lot that goes in to implementing a large change like this, but it is worth thinking about how the future of the classroom experience will look.
TED Video

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UPDATE: Videos of Cady Coleman, David Brooks, and Eric Whitacre have been added from

Before I start: Do you know what TED is? TED is self-defined as:

… a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

I’ve been able to attend TED this year, with my colleagues at Newell Rubbermaid, via the TED Associates webcast. This year’s conference addresses The Rediscovery of Wonder.

Day One featured a physicist, explorer, media players, artists, designers, musicians, composers, doodle expert and one astronaut. As I’m sure you can imagine, it was an incredible day with many take-a-ways. Here’s my personal recap of the Best Of TED Day One.

Cady Coleman, Astronaut   @Astro_CadyCady Coleman
TED started with a habitat of the International Space Station addressing attendees and described her experience in space. Since childhood, I’ve had a fascination with space and have always wondered what it would be like to be in space. It blew my mind when she said: “8 1/2 minutes after leaving Earth, all the rules as you’ve ever known them are different.”
TED Video

David Brooks, ColumnistDavid Brooks
New York Times columnist, David Brooks, had a lot to say in a short amount of time. He moved quickly from one point to another, almost scrambling to get everything all into one presentation. What I was able to take away from his talk was his perspective on emotions. “Emotions are at the center of our thinking. They are the foundation of reason,” he said, “because they tell us what we value.” This is no big surprise, but it was good to rethink our emotional connections and how they drive us. Brooks also claimed, “the strength of our conclusions should be based on the strength of our evidence, but it rarely is.” Why is that? Why do we make “strong” conclusions based on weak evidence?
TED Video

Eric Whitacre, Composer/conductor   @ericwhitacreEric Whitacre
Wow. This was incredible. Eric Whitacre was inspired by a single video from a fan to create a virtual choir. Last year he held auditions on YouTube for his composition, Lux Aurumque. It was such a success that he received requests for a second video. This new virtual choir brought together over 2,000 individuals from 58 countries to perform Eric Whitacre’s composition, Sleep. The video itself is amazing. It shows the thousands of people, all over the world, coming together to perform as a choir. The really impressive part, though, is that one fan started an entire project that would have been impossible six years ago.
TED Video

Sunni Brown, Visualizer and gamestorming   @sunnibrownSunni Brown
I was especially excited to hear what Sunni Brown had to say. For a while, she worked with Sharpie (Newell Rubbermaid brand) as a Doodleologist. She not only teaches adults how to doodle, but that doodling is acceptable. How many times have we been scolded by a teacher or looked down upon by colleagues for doodling when we were supposed to be paying attention? The first roadblock toward the acceptance of doodling is the definition of doodle. Let’s look at some synonyms associated with the verb “to doodle” from Merriam-Webster: fiddle (around, fool around, goof (around), hang about [British], kick around, mess around, monkey (around), play, potter (around), putter (around), and trifle. My goodness, even the sample sentences are insulting to the art: “She doodled in her notebook instead of taking notes.” “I plan to spend the entire vacation just doodling.” Sunni Brown offers an alternative definition to be considered. This is a definition that challenges a culture so focused on verbal communication to think of doodling as a preemptive measure to keep from loosing focus.

To Doodle: To make spontaneous marks to help you think.

She makes the argument, based on research of retention, that doodling can actually improve your ability to learn. Sunni Brown listed four ways of learning: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Any one of these methods improve your ability to learn. Doodling incorporates all four of these methods plus emotion.

Paul Nicklen, Polar photographerPaul Nicklen
Hired by National Geographic, Paul Nicklen set out to document the Spirit Bear, which had never before received the attention this photographic spread would give. He had to sit and wait for two months for this Spirit Bear to appear. At any point he could have second guessed himself and left, but he stayed and waited for this opportunity. He reminded himself that National Geographic “can’t publish excuses.” It was clear that his perseverance paid off as he shared some of his work with the TED audience.

Carlo Ratti, Architect and engineerCarlo Ratti
We have talked about our world for years, but Carlo Ratti proposes that we are at a point where our world can start speaking back to us. He covered several examples, but one was especially interesting. He worked on a project in Seattle where people volunteered to tag their trash. 3,000 common items like paper, banana peels, batteries, and light bulbs were tagged and tracked by Carlo and his team to see where this trash ended up and how long it took for it to travel there. The results were astounding. Trash from Seattle spread all over the United States, reaching as far as Florida and New York and was still traveling up to two months after the initial disposal. While this is interesting, the benefit of this project shows in the hope that if people see that their trash doesn’t magically disappear, we can start to change behavior.

Aaron Koblin, Data artist   @aaronkoblinAaron Koblin
Before Aaron started to speak, I knew that this would be an interesting presentation. I love the concept of classifying yourself as a data artist. I’ve always in intrigued by infographics, which is essentially what Aaron creates, adding an interactive factor. He makes data beautiful. What a concept! He walked the TED audience through flight patterns across the US and SMS messages on New Year’s Eve in New York City. He then used Amazon’s, which finds a way to complete tasks that are easy for people and difficult for computers, to tap into people’s minds on other projects. Some of these projects include The Sheep Market, Ten Thousand Cents, and Bicycle Built For Two Thousand. If these weren’t interesting enough, he also worked on The Johnny Cash Project: a music video for Johnny Cash’s last recording, “Ain’t No Grave,” with each frame of the video drawn by individual fans. All of these projects have one similar thread: bringing individual work to be represented as a whole.

Mike Matas, Co-founder of Push Pop Press   @mike_matasMike Matas
Push Pop Press demonstrated the first truly interactive book (Al Gore’s “Our Choice”) for the TED audience, showing the ability to scroll though pages, play video and audio, map data, zoom in and out, display interactive infographics, and even respond to “wind” by blowing on the device. Push Pop Press is a tool that has been built to be licensed out to publishers to make more books like this demonstration. This is so much more impressive than the digital readers we currently have on the market, which are little more than digital copies of books as we have always interacted with them. Alternatively, the Push Pop Press demonstration showed how new technology can be applied to books to rethink how we interact with our reading material.

Have you been one of the lucky few to watch TED 2011 live? Do you have anything to add to this Best Of TED Day One post? Were there other speakers that you specifically appreciated? Have you seen any TED videos from previous years? Do you have any questions about or additions to this post?

Note: Images taken from and

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