Creating Passionate Users



Death Threats Against Bloggers Are NOT "Protected Speech" (Why I Cancelled My ETech Presentations)
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

Kathy Sierra reports (language and image warning) on some abusive emails and commentary she has been receiving, some of which has been posted anonymously on public websites such as (which has now been pulled off the web). She writes, "I now fully understand the impact of death threats. It really doesn't make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat... it's the threat itself that inflicts the damage." Right - and that's why it's not "protected speech". The utterance (ie., the saying or writing) of a death threat isn't an expression of an opinion, it's an act, and an offensive, dangerous, destabilizing and illegal act. It is one example of a class of utterances, known as 'speech acts', which are intended to do things (usually, things that hurt) rather than say things. The publication of offensive cartoons, which I discussed last year, falls into that category. The behaviour we tolerate in society is the behavior we should come to expect, and I fear the assault on Kathy Sierra is the result of a general indifference to such behaviour, a lapse we, as a society, will come to regret. Today: Total:39 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video...
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

I used to lead large demonstrations when I was younger - my favourite was a March 5 demonstration against tuition fee increases in Edmonton. Though the temperature was -30, we convinced more than 5,000 people to march more than a kilometer through the cold, over the High Level Bridge, to the legislature. Someone once asked me, "Why do you do this? Demonstrations never hange the minds of government." I responded, "That's true. But it's not for them. It's for us. Remember how good we all felt after showing our strength and conviction like that? That's why we had a demonstration." Kathy Sierra makes the same point about conferences. "The most underrated benefit of the face-to-face effect of conferences is inspiration... Everyone comes out re-energized... Simply attending any live event--from the three-person lunch meetup to the 100-person local user group can give you the most positive effect..." Today: Total:32 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Dumbness of Crowds
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

kathy Sierra makes the distinction I have been trying to get at with the recent discussion on groups and networks. "Art isn't made by committee. Great design isn't made by consensus. True wisdom isn't captured from a crowd. At least not when the crowd is acting as a single entity. Clearly there IS wisdom in the many as long as you don't 'poison' the crowd by forcing them to agree (voting doesn't mean agreeing)." See also Jay Cross, who reads into this some sort of competitive mantra. "I hereby give you permission to challenge other people's ways of thinking. Learning will emerge... Some people avoid conflict. They are called slow learners. " No, Jay, it's not about challenging - it's about sharing (challenging is 'push', sharing is 'pull'). As described by Graham Attwell. Not collaboration, but not competition either. Cooperation. Like the internet. See also Ewan McIntosh. Today: Total:51 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Asymptotic Twitter Curve
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

I liked this article, but I liked it better near the beginning when I thought Kathy Sierra was making a different point. She begins by looking at Twitter - "A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?" - and draws the 'Twitter Curve', mapping the adoption of various technologies with the frequency of interruption. So far so good, but this then wanders into a hackneyed discussion of how interruptions make it hard to get into the flow of things, which we've read a million times before. Where I thought she might go, and where it would get interesting, would have been a mapping of 'frequency of message' versus 'density of connection'.

The two variables are, of course, related. But as messages get less and less useful (and because we pay less and less attention to them) as the frequency increases, there is therefore - at a certain point - an inverse relationship between density of connection and usefulness of communications technology. This graph is much more interesting - it looks like a bell curve. Being completely disconnected is, of course, useless. But so is being (directly) connected with every other person on earth. What is the midpoint? What does the graph look like when you map not direct connections byt rather two-hop connections? At how many hopes is complete connectivity maximally useful? This tells you what your network should look like (hint: it's not a hub and spoke model, it's much more decentralized than that). Today: Total:48 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Why Does Engineering/Math/Science Education in the US Suck?
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

Kathy Sierra pretty much sums it up with this diagram:

Don't miss the dozens and dozens of comments (oh, how people respond to a good graphic!). Today: Total:80 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Success Should Not Mean Management
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

catching up on Kathy Sierra (the posts are beginning to all sound the same - it's hard to keep up a themed weblog) this post stood out: "Isn't it about time we quit measuring professional success in one dimension, vertically, and start considering how much your actual work matches your desired work?" I know what I want out of my career - and it isn't a promotion, believe me. Related: presenting ideas, round vs flat. Today: Total:53 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Mosh Pit as Innovation Model
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

Nothing that hasn't been said before (except maybe including 'bravery' as an essential web 2.0 trait - an astute and courageous observation), but you have to admire the way Kathy Sierra is taking some of the essential ideas of new media and making them accessible. Via Leigh Blackall. Today: Total:54 [Comment] [Direct Link]

What Makes a Popular Blog?
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

With the entry of Creating Passionate Users into the Technorati Top 100 the authors ask, relevantly, what made the blog popular. They offer one theory: "this blog tries to practice what it preaches in making it far more about you than about us." But what makes this post fun is the long list of comments that follows as readers point to the blog's images and graphics, writing style, point of view and broad appeal, among other factors, to explain its success. Today: Total:41 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Myth of Keeping Up
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

Catching up a bit with Will Richardson, who in addition to disappearing to Sweden for a couple of weeks is preparing for a new career. He is asking why he is not reading as much as he used to. I found, while I was gone, that it took me much less time to read my email and blogs. Most of what was out there just didn't interest me. Will writes, "Blog enlightenment. And I don't think it's in writing more or trying harder. I think, as with all enlightenment, it's about letting go. But of what?" Why write posts? Why blog at all? If the content of what you are reading or writing isn't absorbing in and of itself, to you, then the blog just becomes a vehicle for some sort of external reward. Let go of the reward; leave that for the self-promoters and the shysters and the advertisers. And eschew these in your reading. Invest in your passions and follow those of others; the rest will follow. Today: Total:34 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Brain Death by Dull Cubicle
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

Several people have linked to this item. In a sentence, the point is that if you spend most of your time in a dull environment, your brain will not grow new neural connections, making it harder to learn. I think this is basically right. And yes, I think this is a good reason to get students out of the classroom. But even more importantly, it's a good reason to get yourself out of wherever you are and to go experience new things. Today: Total:49 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

I think this item will be popular, but I'm uncomfortable with it. Enough of the advice is good but it seems to me that some of it is misleading. Like, say, this: "Emotions provide the metadata for a memory. They're the tags that determine how important this memory is." Well, no. Or this: "Our brains are tuned for it (listening to stories). Our brains are not tuned for sitting in a classroom listening passively to a lecture..." Arguable, our brains aren't 'tuned' for anything, and even if so, distinguishing between 'lecture' and 'story' doesn't inform us of any difference. I could go on - but my main advice is, read this with a sceptical ear. Today: Total:40 [Comment] [Direct Link]

One Of Us Is Smarter Than All Of Us
Kathy SierraKathy Sierra, Creating Passionate UsersCreating Passionate Users,

Why I talk so frequently about autonomy and diversity: "The wisdom of crowds comes not from the consensus decision of the group, but from the aggregation of the ideas/thoughts/decisions of each individual in the group." In other words, "Paradoxically, the best way for a group to be smart is for each person in it to think and act as independently as possible." Via elearnspace. Today: Total:29 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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