Monday, December 1, 2008

Organizational Communication Infrastructure for Innovation and Progress





Organizational Communication Infrastructure for Innovation and Progress

by Max Macias

11/08

At large organizations, Web 2.0 is being used in internal blogs or social networks. These perform the very useful functions of keeping far-flung employees, teams, and divisions in touch, sharing best practices and other useful information, and serving as a way to train. Organizations are beginning to see the value of these arrangements for more formalized training, as well as informal companywide communications (HR Focus, 2007).



One of the requirements for an efficient (profitable?) organization is effective communication. With the influx of information today, new forms of communication are required for organizations. Most contemporary associations I have encountered have late 20th century forms of communication based on an hierarchical system (I will be kind) from the 19th century. Today one communicates in a variety of ways based on new tools for communication that aggregate, relay, analyze and contribute to learning and understanding new information.

Efficient communication requires an infrastructure. Using new tools to facilitate a new direction in organizational communication infrastructures, organizations can increase their progress toward meeting their missions. Many of these new tools require a new manner of thinking; vision and leadership are essential in leading the organization through this evolution of communication. Some of these new tools are available to be used internally, while others exist on public or semi-public networks.

This post seeks to identify and show how some of these new tools can be incorporated into organizations in order to facilitate greater communication and efficiency at meeting the organizational mission. Most importantly, the creation of a new infrastructure requires support of the administration. Gaining the support of the management is the ‘Holy Grail’ of instituting change and requires exceptional leadership. This leadership will incorporate solutions to problems stated and build on the historical organizational structure. I seek to convince administrative readers (and others of course), that by building new efficient infrastructures for communication within the organizational structure, the organization will carry out the mission of the business more efficiently, creatively, and collaboratively. At the same time, building morale and creating a stronger, healthier organization.

In present day, we are literally flooded with information; instituting these kinds of communication enhancements will help filter and refine information in the organization, thereby taking it one step closer to knowledge. The ability to make information available via a message board, blog, or other form of interactive communication will facilitate commentary by people including experts in any given field who may never have contributed to the organization before. There are some that are shy; other individuals like to express themselves via writing, while others, perhaps socially inept, have much to contribute. Accessing, documenting, and instituting the information from these people can provide a rich resource of new and gainful knowledge valuable to the organization.

I am using the word efficient here to signify communication that can take advantage of all the members of an organization in a manner which enhances and facilitates the organizational mission. In the 21st century, it has already been shown that when communication channels are opened to members of an organization under the correct conditions, these formerly non-participating members can contribute by thinking and offering solutions and improvements to organizational processes.

By infrastructure, I mean creating the conditions for a free flow of communication. The existent channels of communication and the rates and directions of communication are what I am describing. Does the communication only flow from top down, or does it also run in the opposite direction? One of my axioms is that information must flow both ways in order for maximum organizational efficiency. In some senses this may seem threatening to some administrative readers. Admittedly, it is relinquishing a certain amount of control. However, the benefits of creating this infrastructure in the organization will outweigh this loss of control, and will free up time for other projects.

A strong example one can ponder is the analogy of old so-called Web 1.0 websites and the new 2.0 social sites. The 1.0 sites relied strictly on the website producer to generate content for the site. The new social aspect of sites allows interaction and contributions by all users, freeing the producer to pursue other creative avenues. This is an example of the kind of efficiency that can happen when social technology is executed correctly in an organization. Incidentally, the content is ALWAYS much richer and interesting when others are contributing.

There is nothing wrong with maintaining ListServs, but there is something wrong with maintaining them as your only official avenue of organizational communication. Lists are generally NOT interactive (enough); information gets buried in the mass of responses, and are easy to forget. It is really difficult to carry on a good discussion of an issue via email—for a variety of issues, including lack of etiquette and time, filtration, emails get buried—it does not take place in real time, etc...

These new avenues of communication—knowledge networks, if you will--can enhance knowledge management. This is a knowledge management issue/concept. In knowledge management, one goal is to understand who knows what and how to help them use this knowledge in accomplishing organizational missions. These new social tools may build upon and expand traditional KM methods beyond our wildest dreams. Again, this requires skill in administration—the skills of networking, making connections (between people, ideas, and concepts).


Some new tools follow:

Podcasting

Organizations can maintain audio archive of presentations, trainings, etc…these can then be made available to Staff for DL so they can listen while working or commuting. This kind of media archiving can serve as documentation as well as archives of the organization’s progress and work. It can then be accessed by supporters, or potential supporters of an organization, increasing the effectiveness of organizational networking within and without the organization.

Universities such as Berkeley, Oxford, and MIT are making lectures, notes, and documents available to the general public to facilitate the expansion of information channels and knowledge creation. The ability to make available information immediately accessible is incredible. I heard of these free pod casts via Twitter, RSS, and email. Again, they are creating new information networks, increasing dissemination and also diffusion of information which facilitates the establishment of new knowledge.


Message Boards, Chatting and Wikis

When I say infrastructure I am talking about using older methods such as email, lists, etc.--and newer models like dynamic message boards, chat, Wikis--using content management systems so users could begin to tell the story of the organization through their own experiences. This empowers staff and gives them a voice. This voice can comment and instruct management and others via these new methods of communication and interaction.

These tools also make the organization more transparent as employees have greater access to the knowledge base of the organization. This increased transparency will allow stronger procedures, reasoned decisions, and a living knowledge base that increases sometimes daily. Keeping things out in the open and making information about projects, advances, and organizational news will help prevent workflow redundancy and will promote networking between individuals with the same areas of interest.

Social Sensemaking

In their article, People Sensemaking with Social Networking Sites, Joan Morris DiMicco and David R. Millen show how an employee can glean information from IBM’s social networking site, Beehive. This site incorporates profiles of users. Another user can scan these profiles looking for people with similar interests who may want to collaborate, or just to enhance the knowledge management database of the user.

[The] premise of this workshop position paper is that social networking websites are used today for people sensemaking, both as the information source and as the tool for interpreting and synthesizing information on individuals. People sensemaking, the process a person goes through to gain a general understanding, or gist, of who someone is. For example, by understanding what someone’s role is within an organization, what they are working on, how approachable they are, and how knowledgeable they are on different topics, you can create a mental model of this person that informs how or when you will communicate or interact with that person (DiMicco, Millen, 2008).

Social Networking sites

As noted by Terrence K. Huwe in his article in Computers in Libraries UC,

Berkeley’s bspace is highly effective and used by faculty and students.When asked how much email they receive via bSpace, 40% of respondents said that every time they made a post, they received mail in response. When asked how often they used bSpace to prepare

for finals, 34% replied, "a few times a week"--even more impressive, 24% said several times per day--and that was in bSpace's first year of service (Huwe, 2008).

Facebook: This tool is being used by many organizations, including the Obama 2008 campaign as a way to let people, both within and without their organization, know what is going on. Serena Software Inc. is an organization that uses Facebook as their primary social networking tool.

So as not to appear to be Big Brother, Serena does not track individual use of Facebook. But Waldo [the HR person] gets a tally of total usage, and she calculates that employees use the site for an average of less than 10 minutes per week--not exactly a time drain (Roberts, 2008).

IBM is ahead of the game with their incorporation of Beehive into their organizational communication infrastructure. Their groundbreaking Center for Social Software puts them on the cutting edge of organizational communication. Their social visualization project, Many Eyes facilitates interaction, brainstorming, critical thinking and organizational communication. This is a quote from the Many Eyes website: Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis.” IBM’s Visual Communication Lab puts it this way: “Visualization is traditionally viewed as an efficient way of transferring a large amount of information from a database into an individual's head. We believe that visualizations become even more powerful when multiple people access them for collaborative sensemaking.”

The Social Accessibility Project is a(n) (IBM) utility that enables volunteers to make Web pages accessible to the visually impaired. Using an innovative new system, it gathers information about accessibility problems directly from visually impaired users. To address these problems, The Social Accessibility Project provides a tool to members of the open community that allows them to externally modify Web pages, successfully making the pages accessible while leaving all original content untouched. Projects such as these seek to leverage collaborative processes to increase the speed of progress. This is exactly what all organizations seek to accomplish.

Many Eyes has incorporated message boards into their system that allow one to create visualizations of different subjects. This allows the creation of new information networks that didn’t exist before. Look at this visualization of a lesson plan by a member. Here the lesson plan has been changed into a sort of tag cloud of lesson plan words. This allows a visual learner to take advantage of this knowledge in a new, socially repackaged learning object. The other network that did not exist before was that of the Many Eyes project’s message board social visualization tool.

It is imperative that organizations incorporate, or facilitate the use of non-organizational social networks in their organization. Members will not wait for the organization to catch up—they will seek their own solutions via Facebook or other social platforms.

In our benchmark, we found that about 18 percent of enterprises were using blogs …and 23 percent had begun to deploy RSS as a way of managing information flows throughout the organization. These numbers are impressive for new technology, but they don't tell the whole story. When we dug deeper, we found adoption wasn't widespread throughout the organization; rather, in most cases individual workgroups were using these tools for both internal and external collaboration. In some cases, IT had little knowledge or control. Business units were taking it upon themselves to obtain the tools they needed to solve their communications and collaboration challenges, without waiting for IT to create a strategy (Lazar, 2007).

Irwin Lazar postulates some common obstacles to instituting Enterprise 2.0 in organizations (Lazar, 2007).


Fear

This can be fear of loss of control, fear of losing information to competitors, or fear of the new. Managers may be resistant to change, but also may be aware of workers’ resistance to change within their own departments. Tell people about the differences between the old 1.0 web concepts versus the 2.0 aspects which free up time for other investigations and pursuits.

Confusion

Just what is Web 2.0, social media, etc...? While some tools may be a good choice for some, others may not be. There is no cookie cutter approach to this and it takes talent, vision, communication, and leadership to be successful. The ability to see and relate one aspect to another in an organization will be an increasingly valuable skill. Hold a brownbag lunch, present at inservices, share your knowledge with the organization to educate.

Organizational Obstacles

The main organizational obstacle is resistance to change because of reliance on the old tried and true methods. These methods were sufficient in the days gone by, but today they just do not suffice. The amount of information today is staggering and organizations need tools to filter and make sense of this information. These tools can be presented as enhancements and many of them are fun to use and learn. Create a spirit of fun and learning in your organization.

Reliance on longtime vendors

In many cases IT departments are happy to maintain institutional communication networks just as they are. This requires little work, and can lead to reliance on longtime vendors. Again, this may have been adequate in the past, but today people need new tools that are not being offered by these same vendors. Educate people via videos on YouTube, and other forms of media. Show people the effective tools that are available at little or no cost, except labor.


Conclusion


“A key characteristic of Web 2.0 is leveraging social networks to aid in problem-solving and information management (Lazar, 2007).”


The surge of information and the speed of change require organizations to develop new forms of communication infrastructures which allow collaboration, information relay, and criticisms. These infrastructures can be created using both internal and external tools to the organization. Again, there is no cookie cutter solution, but creating a team of technologically skilled people who are familiar with the organization can facilitate the implementation of social technologies to your organization. By introducing these technologies piecemeal, and in ways that make them fun, management and administration can go a long way toward implementing effective use of these new tools. Today we can leverage information via efficient communication in ways we never imagined. Please take a moment to consider how you might incorporate social technologies in your organization to accomplish your organizational mission.



References

(2008, April). What You Should Know About Using Web 2.0. HR Focus, 85 (4), 10-11.

DiMicco, J, & Millen, D (2008). People Sensemaking with Social Networking Sites. Position paper presented at the Sensemaking Workshop.

Huwe, T. (2008, September). Smart Mob Makeover. Computers in Libraries, 28(8), 24-27.

Lazar, I (2007, August). Creating Enterprise 2.0 from Web 2.0 . Business Communication Review, 37 (8), 14-16.

Roberts, B (2008, March). Social Networking at the Office. HR Magazine, 53 (3), 81-83.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin Wins by Not Blowing it



Vice Presidential Debate 2008 HQ (Part 1) 10/02 Palin Biden Debate 2008 - Sarah Palin Joe Biden VP Debate Thursday October 2nd at Washington University in St Louis MO in HIGH QUALITY (Part 1)


Last night's vice presidential debate let me down.  Biden certainly came off looking weak to Reagan democrats and others.  I find it quite hilarious that these voters buy Palin's facetious verbiage last night.  Darn it! 

If Obama and Biden don't want to come off looking like weak people who will pander to terrorists "without preconditions," they will lose many votes.  Americans don't like weak leaders and this could very well be the Obama camp's weak spot.  Americans would rather have a tough idiot for a leader (yes--I'm talking about Palin here and McCain here) than a weak intellectual. 

Obama's middle of the road maneuvers don't set well with foreign policy in a country that is been scared witless by their leaders.  He can count on this strategy to work well domestically, but when it comes to war, or foreign policiy in general, people are pretty much either/or with not much middle ground.

 I really haven't heard anyone talk about this aspect yet.

What do you think?

Getting back to toughness--I think they are coming off weak, no matter how stupid Sarah looked last night when she said she was going to answer her own way she took the power--especially when NOT really challenged by her opponent, or the weak moderator.

I really hope they get the toughness factor going or they will blow it.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Facebook Hired this scum!

Check it yo,  write to facebook and tell them we don't want criminals like this involved with our private information! 

http://valleywag.com/5056365/facebook-hires-alberto-gonzaless-former

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Short Introduction to Social Searching on the Web

Please check out my short presentation. Feedback is MUCH appreciated!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Robots exclusion file

Did you know you can put a text file on your web page that will prevent robots/spiders from indexing your pages?

Check it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots.txt


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nope--Ain't Gonna happen

Edit
I
drive around alot--I'm a commuter. On my commute I see political signs
all the time. It is interesting that, in this election, arguably the
most important in a long long time, there are very few presidential
yard signs out in the country where I live. Oh--there are plenty of
local signs--for local elections, but the presidential endorsements are
glaringly lacking.



What this tells me is that most of these people are going to vote for
McCain and Palin, but they are too embarrassed to admit that kind of
idiocy. Its NOT idiocy though--its straight up prejudice. No surprise
there--I mean--we live in a country that enslaves people of color under
the guise of the prison industry.



I hope my observation is wrong, but growing up and living in a white-supremacist society tells me different...



In many ways I think that OBAMA needs to lose in order for things to
get better. Americans don't care about things until they are impacted
by something directly. If mass incarcerations, the nazification of the
united states, constitutional rights erosion, and unjust wars are not
enough to wake up the american people, perhaps they deserve Sarah and
John as their leaders...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PCC's new web site!

Hey, please take a look at PCC's new site and let me know what you think:

http://www.pcc.edu/library/






Thanks!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sorry for the delay...

I'm in school and took three classes this summer, and working on a huge project at work and working on personal stuff.

I will be back soon!

:-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Diversity and the Library Industry

Diversity and the Library Industry

Diversifying the library industry will bring new ideas into the homogeneous industry of library science. In my brief tenure in Library Science graduate school it has become apparent to me that there is a definite lack of diversity in thinking. I say this because I constantly encounter a lack of critical thinking and logic when it comes to dealing with non-Western, or different cultures and languages. This is a direct reflection of the lack of cultural diversity in the library field. With the challenges presented to the relevancy of libraries by the advent of the internet and the Web, libraries have to learn new methods of conducting business.

Libraries must be creative, innovative and dynamic. They must serve a diverse community that has varied information needs. Many of these communities have traditionally been underserved. These information needs are based on a mixture of outlooks, cultures, educational, political, and an endless variance of individual information needs. It is a primary duty of a community library to serve the information needs of that community.

The only way to increase the effectiveness of library services to these marginalized communities is to recruit library staff and librarians from these communities and work directly with them to realize their information needs. We must be culturally competent and bilingual in many cases. While there is some great work being done (Multnomah County Library system is a fine example), there is still much convincing and lobbying to do. We can learn strategies and techniques from programs like Multnomah co.’s and Seattle Public library’s outreach programs and community analysis studies. Deciding to serve a multi-lingual community shouldn’t be looked at as an attack against monolingual employees—it should be viewed as an opportunity for employees to learn a new language.

The lack of many libraries’ failure to meet the needs of areas of their communities is another reason for the lack of diversity in the industry. As Tony Greiner points out in his Backtalk in Library Journal (May, 2008), there is a lack of diversity in the library profession. Incidentally, I am the Hispanic student Tony mentors. Mr. Greiner believes that the primary reason for the lack of diversity in our field is the cost of acquiring the Master of Library Science degree. While this may be a factor (even a major factor), it cannot be isolated from other causes. Unlike Tony, I believe that most libraries focus on the dominant culture, sometimes becoming almost irrelevant to the other communities existing in American culture. This has a direct impact on how people in underserved communities see the library profession. The lack of role models, information irrelevance, economics, racism, and the general ethnocentrism of the library industry all contribute to this lack of diversity in Library Science.

While it’s true that the costs are high relating to an acquisition of an upper graduate degree in Library Science and while it may also be true that many minorities cannot afford to acquire the MLS, I believe this is greatly due to the racism that contributes to the lower economic standings in African American and Hispanic communities. This racism includes the lack of information (presented in usable formats) about their cultural history and importance, general low expectations from the educational system, harassment in school by authorities and other discriminatory practices. All of these factors contribute to the lack of librarians of color.

There are more minorities involved in library assistant jobs than have Masters degrees as stated by Mr. Greiner. This is true because library assistant jobs are usually low paying, command a low level of respect, and have a limited terminal level of development. These are all generic job opportunities available to minorities and poor white people already; these numbers do not really prove anything. And with the increase in competition, I wonder how long these numbers will remain the same. It used to be that the only qualification to obtain a job as a library assistant was a high school diploma; now it seems, while not a formal prerequisite, undergraduate degree holders are preferred.

I am currently in library school and have found it frustrating that the focus is so ethnocentric. In one of my classes, I was told there were NO libraries in the Americas before the Europeans. Perhaps there were no libraries in the sense of the way we use the word; however, there were institutions that collected astronomical, literary, and historical information—perhaps we might call them archives. These were destroyed by the Europeans in order to deny the indigenous people their history. The continuation of this denial of these libraries in graduate school is a prolongation of the destruction of indigenous history and culture. Experiences like this, and others—one fellow student told me she was, “sick of hearing that indigenous crap!”—combine to add up to the real cost of attending graduate school on minority students. Some of these individuals have a different perspective on history than the dominant culture and the curriculum used in our educational systems needs to reflect that we are understanding of that perspective, whether or not we agree with it. Weakly constructed attacks against minority communities by our peers (American Libraries, Nov. 2007, p. 42-44) do not help to foster this understanding either. I wonder how many students find their studies irrelevant or offensive and drop out…

I grew up in San Jose, California. San Jo, as we called it, is a city heavily populated by Hispanics. An avid library user, my mother took me to the library at a young age. I quickly became an heavy San Jose Public Library user myself. We didn’t have much money—with no membership fees, the library fit into our budget. I don’t remember ever encountering a Hispanic librarian or ever being referred to Hispanic literature as a child growing up in this diverse area of California. In fact, I don’t remember meeting a Latino librarian until I was in my 20’s. I’m not claiming there weren’t any employed at the public library—I just don’t remember ever seeing one.

Having a diverse workforce including librarians of color will show children that they too can be a librarian if they wish. Models available for children are important examples we can provide—especially during their formative years. When they don’t see professionals that look like them they tend to not see themselves in those positions. This, combined with the lack of information resources relevant to minority communities may make libraries irrelevant to these communities. As minority communities increase in number, libraries—for their own sake—will have to meet the information needs. If not, severe political ramifications may take place and libraries may not get the funding they depend upon for their very existence.

What philanthropists do you know who desire to fund an institution that is irrelevant, unwelcoming, and expensive? I am not appealing to an ad baculum fallacy—I am stating the truth according to the statistics. Minority communities, whether one chooses to admit it or not, will be the majority in the future; they’re already a reckoning force and have shown their political import. And I am not saying all minorities don’t speak English as a first language—I mean look at me—English is my first Language, but I see the importance and am not afraid of other languages and cultures.

The information minority communities require must be usable to them. This means that it must be presented in a variety of languages and formats. Even if you can speak a second language, you probably still love to read in your native language. Not all Americans speak English as a first language. Not all people learn via reading, so video and audio formats must be pursued as well. As American taxpayers—we must meet their information needs, and one of these is information in native languages. We must work with these communities, their leadership, and individuals. We must have surveys in other languages, focus groups and spend money on community analyses in order to serve these communities in ways that are relevant to them. Some people in these communities have no idea about library services—this is NOT good for libraries or the community in general.

We can also provide good resources for people to learn English. This is vitally important because English is an important world language. It is the primary language of communication by our government and educational system. We can and should consult varying communities to see what their information needs are in this respect as well. Many native English speakers could also benefit from basic grammar materials. English is an important aspect of education not only in the US, but all over the world.

Information in other languages is also great for Americans who only speak English, but are learning a new language. These Americans deserve good, diverse works in other languages for their own self-improvement. I grew up monolingual and I am telling you—I need as many resources as I can get to learn other languages. Americans need to break out of their English only ideology. It is limiting. We need more languages NOT less!

The premise that just because others speak different languages means that Americans will not be able to communicate with them is fallacious in that it takes for granted said Americans cannot or will not learn other languages. Some people (see American Libraries, Nov, 2007 p42-44) claim that including other languages in libraries creates division in American culture. These weak claims do NOT recognize that White-supremacy, ethnocentrism, and discrimination like NOT including minority community information needs create tremendous division. We really need to beware ill-thought out actions, implicit premises and fallacious decision-making. We are librarians—we are better than that!

People will say that money is a major factor in implementing changes to our library services. This is another reason we need a diverse workforce! With a diverse workforce we can see problems in ways we may not see in a homogeneous library system. With more new ideas, we will be able to innovate new plans of funding and implementation. We need innovation, collaboration, and creativity in Library Science and diversity will encourage all these necessities.

If we meet more needs of minority communities, then these communities will feel more a part of the library community and will begin to join our industry. This will lead to more innovation, creative thinking, synthetic conceptual reasoning, and a more culturally relevant library system for EVERYONE. The library needs these kinds of innovations. Making libraries more inclusive will increase the likelihood that libraries will remain relevant in the future, and therefore continue to be funded. The technological, social, and vocational challenges today and even more so in the future, demand that Libraries become more diverse places and serve those communities that have traditionally been under-served. We will make libraries more relevant to the communities they exist within by community analysis, meeting the information needs revealed in these studies, and by diversifying the library workforce.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Facebook, Social Networking, Fun and Information

The communication infrastructure is advancing quickly. I now have the ability to talk to people I admire, and to reach others through self-publishing and the web. I have a Facebook account that ties my blog, my Flickr account, my musical playlists, etc… it is a place where I can consolidate my web presences. It is also a place where I can communicate with others who have similar interests. It is place where I can get up to date (sometimes up to the minute) reports from conferences as well as notes by presenters and audience members, links to presentations and other presentation materials.

Facebook’s API allows developers to create applications which can be used by Facebook users. This leads to a proliferation of applications. Some of these applications are good, while others are not. The sheer number of applications assures that there will be some things you will like. Face book itself is doing a decent job of building itself and seems to listen to its users. It adds new features like the “you might know these people, or like to meet them” feature, and some that are totally lame--like using your friends to market services or products to you--this really sucks and is offensive. Hopefully Facebook will learn from the backlash that resulted from this advertising technique.

Facebook allows you to easily contact, message, and now even instant message your contacts. The messaging system was alright, but now that the chat feature is functional Facebook has become the killer networking application. I am friends with most of the presidents of my library associations. I have spoken with them and even bounced ideas off of them. This is a great thing—I have gotten constructive feedback from people who I admire and have learned much already in the short time the chat utility has been available.

I love being able to plug my Flickr, Blog, and other web presences into my Facebook account. Facebook can give my contacts a peek at what I am doing on my other sites and they can investigate further if the choose. The applications that I use are simple to set up and easy to manage. I am constantly finding interesting blogs, web sites, etc… via this aspect of Facebook. The Firefox browser Face book plug-in I use allows me to post interesting web sites I encounter while I’m surfing and to annotate them—I love this feature. I have an audio scrobbler application for my Facebook account which shows what I am listening to, and what tracks I have recently played.

Facebook also has good group pages. The pages have gotten better, but could still use more applications and functions added to them. Ideally I would think they should have many of the functions of personal pages. There are groups for most interests. There are also organizational pages where you can get a page for your organization. A library, or corporation, or other organization can create a page where people can then become fans and interact with each other and the organization.

Another great application of Facebook is the ability to access presenters’ notes, and audience members’ notes and comments during and after a conference. Readers of these notes can them comment back. This can sometimes lead to new insights and the creation of new knowledge. I followed the notes of many attendees and presenters from the last Computers in Libraries conference. This is pretty incredible to say the least, and puts the notion of gray literature to new levels. The creation, distribution, diffusion, and creation of new knowledge are very close together on this networking level.

There is much to Facebook and social networking. It is changing every day, and is becoming more and more a valued source of information for me. I am meeting new people daily, having interesting conversations, and am learning rapidly. If you make one venture into social networking you should check out Face book. I say this for the reasons above, which have only scratched the surface of the utility of this great platform. And remember, have fun!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Haiku to You!

Collaboration between
Facebook blog and chat
Evolution of networks



[Write back and lets collaborate!]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Facebook Chat and possibilities

Facebook Chat is what facebook has been missing. I mean the platform has always been a good networking tool, but now it is a KILLER networking tool. I've had a chance to speak to many library luminaries this week and I am thoroughly stoked on the possibilities. the ability to communicate with others immediately will increase the formation of new ideas, concepts and collaborations.

We all know its about collaboration and freedom. I can get feedback from people who are the top in their fields. This is the networking information seeking tool I've been looking for. Sure myspace has had chat--but their chat utility shut down my poor 56k machine. I never used it. Communication, collaboration, and the creation of new information structures and networking avenues is in its infancy.


Businesses need to learn from Facebook's API. Sure there are many ANNOYING applications, but there are also some really fun apps that let people play, get to know each other a bit, and learn. The ability to tinker, and create new modes of communication is incredibly liberating.

This is super exciting! I wonder what will happen next...


Imagine a file sharing capability!

Imagine, share, collaborate and create!!


Information is NOT boring!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

White-supremacist scum like this...

White-supremacist scum like this are the reason we are experiencing so many attacks right now. It is NOT just "illegal immigrants," Who happen to be indenenous peoples--who have a right to be ANYWHERE on this continent--its also a general attack on Mexicans and other people's from the south.


Video of the anti-American congressman.


http://tinyurl.com/3ksgb2



We have a racist bill attacking us in AZ, kids have been sodomized, there have been hate crimes committed at my place of employment, there is a full and sustained attack going on.

We won't put up with this.

What have we done? We are here to work, to improve our lives and to live. History has shown, no matter how "white (What I mean by this is trying to uphold the ideology of the Anglo-American--which is fundamentally white-supremacist as it is based on Western civilization)" we try to become--we will NEVER be accepted.

What to do?

Organize, get together with your people and educate them. Participate in the democratic process no matter how disgusting it is.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hate crime at PCC

[This is an email I received at school yesterday. I work in "progresssive" segregated Portland, Oregon. I routinely find racist messages in the library bathroom and in other areas of the school. PCC is a great place and is doing much to improve the quality of EVERYONES lives in the Portland area. This is so sad that this happens here]



FWD

The world won't change if people don't change it! RISE UP

Last week, a letter went out to our campus community about the theft and degradation of the Semana de la Raza banner. As a community, we need to RISE UP, PULL TOGETHER, SPEAK OUT, and SUPPORT THE VICTIMS of this hate crime.

Please show your support by gathering in the courtyard TOMORROW, April 22nd at 12:45 p.m. to SPEAK OUT against hate and bias on our campus. Also, it is important for all of us to SUPPORT the students and staff who have worked to put the event together. Let's show them and the rest of the community that we are not a campus that tolerates injustice, hate and bias.

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. "

Margaret Mead

Dear Campus Community;

This e-mail is to ask for your assistance in regards to a theft that occurred on April 16th, approximately around 12:30pm. The theft consisted of the Semana de la Raza banner (value of $500.00) Two weeks prior to the banner being stolen it was also tagged with KKK messaging.

It is extremely important you notify the RC campus security if you saw or heard anything about this theft. This is considered a Hate Crime. Please call: 503-614-7506

I would like to take a few minutes to define what a Hate Crime is:

At its most fundamental level, hate violence is an aggressive expression of prejudice against another person or group of people simply because of who and what they are.

FBI Hate Crime Statistics The FBI's annual jurisdiction-by-juridiction breakdown of state, local, and college hate crime reporting offers the most comprehensive national picture currently available of the magnitude of the hate crime problem in America

The hate crime phenomenon presents complex and agonizing problems to communities nationwide. The problem has become more visible as federal and state officials increasingly track hate violence.

American communities have learned the hard way that failure to address bias crimes can cause an isolated incident to fester and result in widespread tension. Hate crimes are unique because they have a special emotional and physical impact that extends beyond the original victim. They intimidate others in the victim's community, causing them to feel isolated, vulnerable, and unprotected by the law. By making members of a specific group fearful, angry and suspicious, these crimes polarize cities and damage the very fabric of our society.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions About Hate Crimes and Hate on the Internet
Federal Overview - What is the federal response to hate crimes?



Narce Rodriguez Bruno
Dean of Student Development

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Xenophobia in Arizona is Indicative of Climate All Over the Country

An attack from AZ

I received an email from a list I belong to this morning. It described a bill in Arizona (SB1108) that is sponsored by the White-supremacist Russell Pearce. I say he is a White-supremacist because his bill will ban the teaching of Mexican-American/Chicano/a studies! This bill would have a severe impact on what people will recognize as legitimate scholarly work, and what people will write off as opinion. Mecha, and Chicano/a studies has had a positive impact by teaching people about the history of what is called the US.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/114048



Classes in
Arizona which "denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization" could lose funding under this legislation. This bill actively targets dissent. Teachers and schools would have to surrender classic works such as Dr. Rodolfo Acuna's "Occupied America - A History of Chicanos."

Lets look at some American Values (Notice how weak that term is—how it can be interpreted by whoever reads it differently)this bill does NOT want kids to learn about. One is the value of Genocide, and the active and sustained denial of this horrific crime against humanity. The refusal to acknowledge this also prevents any real advances in race relations and communications. I mean if our culture can't accept that there was widespread genocide in the so-called Americas (oh oh--I said "so-called"--does this mean I'm a bad American, or is it as I believe--that I'm NOT regarded as FULLY American and am NOT allowed to criticize my government?), then how is it going to accept the fact that slavery built this country and our debt has never been paid, among many other atrocious acts? I'm not talking about giving anyone anything, but what about a little equality? Or what about the land theft--what happened to all the indigenous land? Acknowledgment of the past instead of attacks against minority groups in this country are what we need.

Sure, these are NOT the only American values, but the others like liberty, the right to vote, equality under the law--these are merely cruel jokes to many in the minority community. I'm fairly well educated--and I feel this way--I wonder how the majority of my less-privileged brothers and sisters feel...


Learning about these things don't make one a bad American--they empower people to make this country a better place, and maybe--just maybe, because I'm more cynical NOW than ever--this country could live up to its standards--at least a little.


Its all over the place



Last November the American Libraries published an offensively fallacious article against having Spanish language materials in our libraries. This article crushed me. I was really offended and hurt that the ALA would allow such a logically weak piece to be presented in its magazine. I am in library school right now and this taught me a lesson I didn't want to learn about libraries in the US. I mean I knew I just don't like seeing it presented by a respected organization.

http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/index.cfm


I am not against legitimate debate, but I am against such ill-conceived writing and ethnocentric opinions that were printed in this article. This is yet ANOTHER indication to me that there are not enough people of color in the library industry. Perhaps if there were more—then the weak premises this article was based on would have been caught. Those against Spanish in the library should represent their side better than that. There are many Americans who speak other languages than Spanish. These AMERICANS deserve to have quality materials in Spanish for them to be able to learn Spanish. This author states that “multi-cultural groups who seek to divide the country into a bilingual society…” that doesn’t even make any sense—a bilingual society will understand itself better because it will communicate much better with more people—DUH!



Scholarly frauds



Much of this weak article reminds me of Sam Huntington's (a so-called scholar--and they [bigoted idiots] think Chicano studies is offensive--at Harvard) crap called "Who are we?"

http://tinyurl.com/3vvgvg



The fact that Harvard has someone like this working for them says a lot about their school. Ha—it says much about our country.

Old Sam’s Book and this article, to put it in simpleton terms—which isn’t far from the original is that
America is Anglo-Protestant, and that it should not allow catholic, and other foreigners to taint it's purity (why does this sound vaguely like Hitlerian?). The invasion (notice the use of a vermin related, or enemy related word reminiscent of German propaganda during the Nazi era) will dilute our culture until—oh God—it won’t be an Anglo-protestant culture anymore with its fine ideals. I mean—Protestants work hard, but Mexicans—they are lazy—right—that’s the weak kind of reasoning both the writer of the American Libraries article and Huntington use. They feel that a multicultural society won’t be as strong as the former White-supremacist culturally ethnocentric society. They feel like contributions such as African rhythms, chocolate, wonderful science and artistic contributions damage American culture—again—WTF?

I’m not trying to be hard on the ALA, but I have to say something here.


It is greatly disturbing to me that people don't point out that this White-supremacist viewpoint is spreading day by day. It is spread by organizations like the minutemen who have been infiltrated by the White hate group Stormfront. It is readily seen in Racist comments made daily on television by people from factory workers to Politicians. Hilary Clinton used the immigration issue to try and cause division between the black and brown community. It is evidenced in Obama’s distancing himself from Reverend Wright--who merely has the guts to address his community on issues that matter to them. We are NOT allowed to talk about how the federal government destroyed, not just the panthers, but all kinds of other movements--I wouldn't be surprised if they killed MLK.

Are we going to let this go on?

WTF people????

We are NOT all Anglo Protestant. We are indigenous, Asian, Mixed of all races, we are Americans. We are atheists, pagans, New-agers, Universalists, we are whatever we want to be—we have religious freedom in this country—remember!?????????? We are Gay and Straight, we are a diverse, multicultural society—the first ever—the supposed greatest ever—well we need to get to it. We don’t ALL speak English—and some of US—like me only spoke English, but are struggling to learn other languages. We aren’t what your little world wants us to be—we are who we are.

There is always an underlying premise of these kinds of minds reasoning it is that Western civilization is Superior to that of other cultures. Western civilization is NOT the best thing EVER as some would have you believe. Western civilization has human sacrifice and slavery since early on. Check the Iliad for human sacrifice, and Aristotle (whose arguments for slavery are still being used in various guises to this day). Western civilization is not evil per se, but it does have certain inherent beliefs that must be criticized if Western civilization is to advance.

Attacks on people who are oppressed and limiting their informational resources must be judged harshly. This is a form of institutional racism. We cannot and should NOT allow this to be unchallenged in our industry and in our government. We have a duty to provide materials to our communities. If we can afford trillions of dollars to impose our empire on Iraq then we can certainly meet the informational needs of our communities. Perhaps it is time to look at new ways to fund libraries. We need creative minds, and lobbyists with plenty of bribe money if we are going to get these changes though (is that a joke?).

SB1108 and M.E.Ch.A.



SB1108 would also outlaw student groups such as M.E.Ch.A. M.E.Ch.A is a student organization. One of its stated goals that Xenophobes are scared of is it’s dedication to the liberation of Aztlán. This statement is open to interpretation and can most likely be interpreted as meaning gaining equality in our homeland (to use a word tossed around by this culture) M.E.Ch.A is not a Racist group as the bill claims. Here are M.E.Ch.A’s requirements for membership:

“General membership shall consist of any student who accepts, believes, and works for the goals and objectives of M.E.Ch.A. Including the liberation of Aztlán.”

http://www.nationalmecha.org/

Here is why they want to get rid of M.E.Ch.A.:

MEChA played an important role in the creation and implementation of Chicana/o Studies and support services programs on campus. Chicana/o Studies programs would be a relevant alternative to established curricula. Most important, the Chicana/o Studies program would be the foundation of MEChA's political power base. Today many Chicana/os Studies Programs would have difficulty operating if it were not for the enthusiasm and dedication of Mechistas to Chicana/o Studies.

They want to rob us of our indigenous heritage. Chicano studies, and books such as Professor Acuna’s do much to educate our people about who we are. When the Spanish came here they did their best to destroy the knowledge our people had of who we were and what we can accomplish. If we don’t learn about, for instance—the great mathematics and astronomy our people accomplished, then it is possible that some of us will really believe that all we can be are day laborers, field workers, and gangsters. Not that there is anything wrong with working any job, but we can do ANYTHING we set our minds to. We cannot and should not allow ourselves to be limited by imposed stereotypes.

Just as knowledge of the classics for western civilization is empowering, so is knowledge of our past for us. MEChA fulfills an information need for our community. The loss of M.E.Ch.A. would mean a loss of vital energy, new leadership, information and new knowledge creation. They fulfill an information need that otherwise would not be met.


There has been a sustained attack on our people since this war started. It is meant to create division and to project hate onto a particular group (sound familiar?). We need to counteract this abomination in strategic manners and use numbers to get our points across. People who myspace and facebook or other social networking—please feel free to link this and copy and paste into bulletins or notes.

I suggest we all write the AZ legislature and tell them what we think. I don’t think it will matter so much that you don’t live there. What will matter is that we tell them this kind of institutional racism will NOT be tolerated.

Arizona State Senate
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk
(602) 926-3559
Fax
(602) 926-3429
Toll Free:
1-800-352-8404
WEBSITE: http://www.arizonasenate.org/

Tucson Office
400 West Congress St.
Suite 201

Tucson, AZ 85701

Senate Info Desk
(520) 398-6000
House Info Desk
(520) 398-6000
Fax
(520) 398-6028
Toll Free:
1-800-352-8404

Arizona House of Representatives
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk (602) 926-4221
Toll Free: 1-800-352-8404
WEBSITE: http://www.azhousetv.org/

We should also contact our state representatives and congress persons and let them know how we feel about this ethnocentric law:

State legislatures (Wikipedia just kicks butt sometimes—don’t it?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_legislatures

US senate:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

US house:

http://www.house.gov/

You know I wrote this last night, but was so upset I had to wait until this morning for a reread because I was afraid I wasn’t thinking clearly. Thanks for reading!

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