This Ain’t Your Daddys Folk Music, Part 1: Preparation


You hear a lot lately about the “good old days”. Maybe we’ve always heard about them. I love the good old days. I had a blast there. I love telling stories about them. What I hate is any thought that the old good old days are any better than today’s good old days. They aren’t, unless you think they are.  To me, anyone who thinks the old days are better are cheats themselves. The past is for reliving with your friends and family while having a good time right now! (While this is completely my sentiment, I have to confess to paraphrasing from Danny Michel at this years EFMF)

A few weeks ago I went to my 20th or so Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Each one has been better than the last. I anticipate my time with my friends, wife, and kids more every year. Because I go there expecting to have the…

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last thought of the day

This quote from Naomi Klein really resonates with me:

What I find exciting is the idea that the solutions to the ecological crisis can be the solutions to the economic crisis

I would like to say a whole lot more about it but I am just too tired and my brain hurts. Our last day of classes was today.  Tomorrow we present our research topics, next week we work on our 2 final assignments, and then we will have completed 2 more courses – a whole lotta work accomplished in 3 weeks of class.

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Feeling like a slacker

I have to admit that sometimes I feel a bit guilty about my use of social media.  I feel like I should be using it in a more compelling way, posting about world issues and politics.  I am sure this comes from discussions on Anonymous, Wikileaks and Julian Assange, Arab Springs, Idle No More.

What is it that I have to say or share that is of value to others? My Facebook posts are an extension of my personal life.  I like to share personal accomplishments that reflect a bit of who I am and what I believe in – nature, health, exercise, eating well, spending time with friends and family.  With Twitter, I am trying to use this platform to share information I find useful with my industry colleagues.  This blog was created for this class and I’ve found it a bit challenging to make daily posts. I am still unsure of how I will use it or what I will have to say once this course comes to an end.  I have been following a few blogs and some people and orgs on Twitter. I have gathered lots of useful information in a short period of time. I will continue following these feeds and do hope some of my classmates keep blogging as I have enjoyed reading their posts.

On Friday I present my research topic and look forward to sharing some feedback via my blog.

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I am relieved and at the same time sad that spring session is coming to an end. This Friday we will be saying our goodbyes and many of us may not see each other in person again.

This class has brought forward  many interesting and enlightening conversations both online and offline.  My friends outside of Comm 506 have entered some of our discussions through my blog – thank you!  I know I have also annoyed a few friends with my sudden increase in social media activity.  After this week comes to an end, I will keep it up but on a less frequent basis. Today we discussed Wikileaks and access to information.  What information should be withheld from the public? What action should we take when our governments withhold information?  Having access to information can give one the feeling of power and control.  Withholding it helps one maintain power and control.  What happens when we decide to share information freely? I am sure I am going to dream about this when I finally fall asleep tonight.

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Think before you speak or post

In today’s Comm 506 class, Natasha’s presentation and the discussion began with an article that appeared in Wired magazine.  The article was penned by Alice Marwick and opens with:

It was the tweet that launched a thousand trolls. When Adria Richards tweeted out a picture of two men she overheard making sexual jokes behind her during open-source conference PyCon, the internet erupted. (You can find the full article online here

This story serves as a reminder that we need to be mindful of what we say – in private, in public, online, offline.  I am not in any way suggesting that Adria Richards did the wrong thing.  I may have done it in a different way, but I do get why she did what she did.  It is important to speak up or things won’t change.  (I have to admit here that I am guilty of having made inappropriate comments).

When I read about stories like this, I am loudly reminded to think before I post, think before I speak. If you do something inappropriate, then own it and make amends.  Don’t forget to put yourself in the others shoes.  Learn from it.  I learned a lot from reading Marwick’s article.  Thanks, Natasha (and Kate) for bringing forth such a great discussion.

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security and the Internet

Today’s guest speaker via Skype was Christopher Parsons, UVic PhD candidate focusing on ubiquitous digital surveillance and its accompanying privacy issues.  Have you ever done any internet surveillance on your own?  Viewing each others posts online is a form of surveillance. 

How would you feel if the police had access to everything you posted online or every email you sent?  Chris spoke about the politics of surveillance and he gave us lots to think about.  Be mindful about how you communicate.  Be careful about what you say online. It could come back to haunt you in the future.

With regards to your own internet communication, Chris says you need to consider:   “If I do these practices, here’s the possible outcomes. Am I comfortable with them? “

Think about who may be watching you the next time you participate in a demonstration and someone takes pictures and tags you when they post online.

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Asking the Twitosphere for help

Last night I was working late and trying to figure out how to create a sociogram of my social networks.  I tweeted about it and within a minute I had several responses.  The first two were from my my classmates Om and Kirsten.   Then @barrywellman (whom I have never met) suggested I try NodeXL and when I couldn’t open it on my Mac he suggested I contact @marc_smith (whom I have also never met and who tweeted me back to let me know that it wasn’t mac compatible, boo hoo).  @gagow then responded to my tweet with another suggestion.  Thank you, Twitosphere.  This was a great example of how “the crowd” can come to your aid.

I ended up using Ftnetwork (see below) and since posted my sociogram on Facebook a few of my friends have also tried it.  Both were interesting and revealing exercises.  What does your network look like?

my Facebook network sociogram

my Facebook network sociogram

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