E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

Communities

Killer Buzz Flocks to New Browser

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

I have meant to create a weblog post back when I was first exposed to a Wired news article, but I thought I would delay it a little bit hoping that it would be in perfect timing with the release of a new web browser. But it looks like it is going to take some more time before that may happen so I thought I would go ahead, create the weblog post, give you a little taste of what is coming and then wait for an upcoming launch of, what some have already mentioned, the best web browsing experience there is out there on the Internet, specially for those power web browser end-users who are very much into Web 2.0.

The news article itself from Wired is titled Killer Buzz Flocks to New Browser and it basically comes to talk about Flock, an open source browser that supposingly will go live in early October. I am certainly looking forward to trying out this new web browser, more than anything else because of all the hype there is going on about it from the perspective where it has been flagged as a “social browser”, something that you obviously don’t get to see every day.

I will be looking forward for its integration features with other social computing offerings like Flickr, Technorati and del.icio.us since we may be actually witnessing a new much more creative and interactive way of browsing around the Internet, and, what is most important, we may end up using a browser that will help people connect with one another much easier in such a way that group collaboration on the Web will take another meaning. Lots of great things have been said about it, about how it will be helping out give web browsing a lot more collaborative power than what we are used to with the current offerings. But so far the only thing we can do is to head over to the Flock and sign up with your e-mail address and hope you will be one of the lucky winners who may have the opportunity to try it out first before everybody else does.

Either way, if it does bring together all of the different social computing features that have been mentioned all over the place I think we are off to some some really good fun on the Web by allowing us, end-users, to collaborate and share information with others in a much more powerful way than ever before, even than when working with traditional desktop software. If you want to go for a good read on what is behind Flock just check out this weblog post at Techcrunch: Flock – Social Browsing is Cool. I bet you can’t wait for it long enough, can you ? Neither can I.

0 votes
Read More »

Tagalag – Tagging Taken to the Extreme

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

For those people familiar with tagging and folksonomy, from where del.icio.us may be the most representative example, what I am about to post may no come as a surprise but for those folks who may not be familiar with those terms or who may not even have heard about TagCloud this is going to be something really interesting. Now, we all know that with offerings like del.icio.us and TagCloud, as an example, we get the opportunity to tag almost everything there is out there on the Internet. However, there was one single option for which we could not have the possibility of tagging.At least, till now. That option was e-mail. And that offering that changes everything is now called Tagalag.

Tagalag is a really impressive offering that allows you to tag people, yes, indeed, people, based on their e-mail addresses. So the way it works is that you can search for e-mail addresses or tags you are interested in and then add your own tags for your colleagues or friends. That way you get a chance to tag everyone of your e-mail contacts with whatever the keywords you may want to use and then after that if you are not happy with the results you can always revert back. The great thing about this kind of flexibility, and this is where the strong social networking component kicks in, is that you can change the tags that other people have used for you, if you are not happy with how they have described you. Yes, indeed, with this new offering you will be able to help build up your virtual network of e-mail addresses, i.e. people, based on your, and their own, input.

And this is an ideal option if you want to build some strong and lasting connections with your peers, because it allows you to stay close to them by being able to classify them but at the same time you can keep in constant contact with them by getting those tags updated back and forth. Pretty neat, I must say. So I had to try it out. And I did. And I love it! I logged in with my e-mail address and I got to tag already some of my colleagues. And after getting done with some of those tags I just didn’t notice how easy it is to actually work it out. But it gets better. Once you are logged in you get to enjoy a whole bunch of different features, such as a Tagalag box, which is what you can see now embedded in my weblog template, or you could use a Greasemonkey script that would allow you to integrate those tags with GMail or Yahoo! Mail. Indeed, that is right, you will always be in control, as long as your peers are ok with your tagging, but since they all seem to know you already for some time I doubt there would be any issues related to trust. There is already a certain level of trust in between all parties.

Tagalag is, indeed, a very useful offering and something that I am planning to continue using for quite some time since I do have plenty of e-mail addresses from colleagues and friends who I would love to keep and tag in a single place where they could also add their own input. That, folks, is tagging taken to the extreme and, even better, when you can search for people that meet a certain description based on those same tags. Have a look and search with the following example: IBMer blogger and you will see the options that will be coming through. Thus what are you waiting for now ? Go and tag me, so that I can then tag you back and / or update your already existing tag(s) about me.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that you can also log in with TypeKey. Yes, I know, great stuff !

0 votes
Read More »

Narrative Techniques for Leaders – October 7 2005 – UK

(Migrated weblog post from LSR) This is the first weblog post from a new category I created just a few minutes ago and which will try to capture something that I have always found very interesting at the same time that enlightening. And that is the attendance to different conference events. Call them conferences, workshops, seminars, webinars, online meetings / events, you name it. So in this category I will try to detail different conference events for which I have an additional interest in rather attending or knowing something more about them. Obviously, these conference events would have something to do with Learning & Knowledge, (Remote) Collaboration, Communities and Communitybuilding, Social Networking, etc. etc. There isn’t anything so unique as to be able to weblog live events that are taking place at the same time that you are participating in them so I am hoping that as I may get my chance to travel to different places I would be able to detail some of that. However, and since that travelling may not be taking place as often as I would like it to be I still have got an additional interest for different events. Which is also why I am going to be asking to my weblog readers to participate and chime in and share with me what their experience(s) have been to different common interest related events. Take, for example, Narrative techniques for leaders : Mastering transformational leadership through the use of narrative. Masterclass to be held in the UK on the 7th of October and event that I will not be able to make although I would be interested in getting to know some more about how it went. About a couple of years back I attended a similar masterclass provided by Dave Snowden and I thoroughly enjoyed the powerful messages on how important storytelling is for any Knowledge Management organisation in order to try to inspire a much more powerful and rewarding knowledge sharing culture. This year’s masterclass will be provided by Dave Snowden again and Steve Denning and after reading the agenda I think it would be as equally useful, if not, as in previous years. So from here I would ask anybody out there who may be reading of elsua and planning to attend this event to let us know how it all went and what new exciting things are happening around the world of storytelling and its different narrative techniques. Here you have got some further details from the event from Steve Denning’s web site. I look forward to reading some more from you all.

0 votes
Read More »

The Role of Instant Messaging in Communities

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

While I was writing the previous weblog post on Wanting to Manage Tacit Knowledge? I popped over to Shawn’s weblog to check out if the links would still be active or not and right there I bumped into the following weblog entry: The role of instant messaging in communities of practice and I just couldn’t help thinking about it while I was finishing writing the previous post.

In principle, I completely agree that presence awareness using Instant Messaging can certainly be a great enabler to keep the community activities going by allowing people to see who else is also online while they are interacting in the community space. It would certainly help increase and boost that sense of belonging to the group. However, and while thinking about that, why just restrict it to Instant Messaging alone and that so called presence awareness? Why not add on top of that some location awareness. I would think that it would also be very beneficial to not only know if the community members are online or not but also where they are.

This can certainly help people understand better why another community member may not be able to reply to IM messages, or why he / she may be temporarily away and unavailable, or while travelling where exactly they are so that they do not get interrupted in the middle of the night. This location awareness certainly will help the community building aspects of knowing where people are and in most cases it will certainly help improve the camaraderie with different community members since it would help them meet up physically if they would be located in the same location, wherever that may be, in order to talk face to face.

And lucky enough for us there are options and different tools out there that could contribute in providing to the community that location awareness aspect, as well as the presence awareness one through IM. Cases like Plazes and Meetro are good examples for that kind of functionality. I am personally using both and I find it quite important and enlightening to be able to see if my colleagues are online or not and if they are, where they are. After all, it is all down to make you feel as if you are talking to and interacting with them face to face, wherever that may be. And we all know how powerful that can be.

0 votes
Read More »

Plazes – Location Awareness Meets Social Software at Your Service

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

Through a work colleague of mine I have been checking out lately one interesting free offering that gives a true new meaning to the expression Location Awareness. It is called Plazes and if you are into social / groupware software then you must take a look into it because it puts together some really interesting concepts. First interesting option is that Plazes uses the local network you are connected to as your location reference. Then you can share that location with other folks you may know or get to know about some other people and expand on your virtual network, not only from locations next to yours but all over the place.

At the same time that it puts together that location awareness option it has got a lovely integration with already existing tools like Skype, Flickr, Google Maps and Multimap. So as you can see there are multiple layers you can use in order to stay connected with other folks.

It will even allow you to find out if there may be other folks closer to you based on your location, so you can find Plazes within 2, 5, 25 or 50 KMs., which is ideal if you are new to a particular place and would like to meet up some other people. And before you do that you may get a chance to find out some more about them with Plazes. I guess here in Spain it will still have to pick up a bit because if you perform a search over there it would only come up with a handful of people and not very close to my location, to say the least.

Finally, one other key interesting factor that could make Plazes pretty popular in a very short time is the fact that it allows you to discover Plazes on your own. This means that if you are a regular traveller you get to discover different places that you can add to your profile. Or, even better, you can perform searches looking for specific places based on the Kind of Plaze query. Say, for instance, you are travelling to the UK and would want to find out if there are any WiFi zones available free of charge, then you can get Plazes to fire up a search, look for the criteria and right away you find out that there are six different locations that match that criteria (Just checked).

Overall, I like it quite a lot. It is certainly a very innovative way of putting together all sorts of different social networking tools along with the location awareness feature, that not many offerings have got at the moment. And all that as a free offering. Really nice ! There are some more options and features to explore but you will get to see those in the elsua template over the next few days. For the time being go and get your Plaze and hope to see you there !

0 votes
Read More »

StumbleUpon – Meeting New People while You Are Surfing the Web

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

“StumbleUpon is a web discovery service which integrates peer-to-peer and social networking principles with one-click blogging. The Toolbar system automates the collection, distribution and review of web content within an intuitive social framework, providing users with a browsing experience which resembles “channel-surfing” the web”

That is the Wikipedia definition of StumbleUpon and while going through it I just cannot help agreeing with it all the way through. I have used it in the past a couple of years ago and way back then I loved the experience a great deal. However, just recently, the last couple of weeks I have rediscovered it again and I even like it more than ever before.

It has evolved so much over the last couple of years that what I used before and what has become nowadays are two completely different worlds. And I am glad I have found it again ! I shouldn’t have left it in the first place, I know, but I guess it is better to come back to it later than never, right? Anyway, the principle behind StumbleUpon is rather basic: a web browsing tool that allows you to share and discover other interesting web sites with other people according to your user profile and preferences that you may have previously defined.

Then with that common ground put in place the rest is just basically diving into the community of StumbleUpon members and get to meet some other folks who may have similar interests because they are sharing some of those web sites with you. So the social software component from this application is rather strong since through it you can meet and collaborate with other people in a seamless way. That is why you can join different interest groups and grow your relationship with other members from there. Indeed, very powerful.

You can also use the Add to friends feature that would allow you to add other people to your list of friends and therefore continue building your virtual network of contacts from there. Another great way to put to the test the social software component from StumbleUpon is the possibility of rating web sites you get to see, so you can rate them positively or negatively and therefore find some more on the same subject or not coming across with web sites on a similar subject, respectively. It will be up to you to rate those sites but here is a quick definition of what each of the ratings does:

I like it! – I’m interested in this site – show me more like this. Also pass this on to friends and peers with similar interests.

Not-for-me – I’m not interested in this site – I don’t want to see this site or others like it. If it looks like spam also click Not-for-me.”

So this way you always get constant feedback that you can use to tailor your web surfing experience and just bump into the web sites that meet your interests and your friends’ and forget about the rest.

There is a whole lot more to learn about StumbleUpon but I am just going to leave it up to you to check the About web link. However, one other good thing that I wanted to mention is that apart from working with IE, it also works like a charm with FireFox (Which is what I am currently using in my work machine along with Opera).

Caveats ? Well, up until now and as far as I am concerned the only caveat that I have found is that it does not seem to be working with Opera. It does not support it yet. But I am hoping that will change some day soon. We shall see. For the time being it is now time to go and StumbleUpon ! So have fun !


Oh, by the way, I nearly forgot. Lately, one of the many interesting uses that I have found about this particular application is the fact that I am consistently using it in order to find some more interesting Weblogs to follow upon, since this application has got the possibility of tailoring and improving the web sites sent out to you as I get to see more and more interesting weblogs the ones I am keeping an eye on are just coming through with just a simple click. Something that with other weblog offerings is much more troublesome. So if you are looking for worth while reading weblogs you may as well try StumbleUpon and start gathering some more !

0 votes
Read More »