Have You Climbed the Twitter Life Cycle Curve?

21 03 2008

Hey Aussie! I’m still here! Well, not literally– but if you got turned out to twitter this year, share your story…

It was with a smile I just saw the title in my RSS reader that I knew that another initial skeptic, George Siemens, had followed the path I charted in April 2007 as the Twitter Life Cycle.

Twitter Life Cycle

I have seen so many people, myself at front of the list, first see twitter and remark, “That i the stupidest thing I have ever seen on the web (well maybe after the hamsters)… who in their right mind would waste time doing this?”. If they stay at it long enough, they climb the curve above, perhaps on a different slope and maybe not alway at a plateau. But I lost track of how many colleagues I have seen who have done this.

So George’s post today inspired by to create a wiki where others can join the honorary list of People Who Climbed the Twitter Curve. So add your name today at:


Hmmm, I bet I will tweet this blog post..

Medical Odyssey

21 10 2007

escher-like stairs

Some bits here on my odyssey of getting help here in Australia while trying to battle a cold as I travel around…

  • I felt a sore throat coming on the day after I arrived, at the Melbourne Airport, on my way to Tasmania. I know my signs, and its not suprising my immune system had its force fields down
  • In Tassie, hosts Jo and Nick provided lots of vitamin C, aspirin, tea. I got some good rest. Running 6 miles Saturday was likely not a good idea, though I felt better. It got worst as the weekend rolled by, and my first presentation was Mr Husky Voice.
  • On to Melbourne, not much better. I had to stay up a bit late doing my prep work. The presentation went okay, but voice was pretty raspy. Trying over the counter betadine, Difflam Spray, strepcils
  • Was optimistic for a days rest, passed on the evening festivities with colleagues in Melbourne, hopeful for a days rest on travel to Sydney. More cough medicine, lozenges. Leaving Melbourne airport, the woman in the chemists hinted I really needed a doctor; there was actually one there at the airport, but no time to stop.
  • Get to Sydney, do venue set up, meet with CLI group *yum they got me a hot toddy). I decided to have the hotel arrange a doctor visit to my room. The doc listens to my chest, takes a few notes, says it is likely viral and my body needs rest to fight it off. He gives a antibiotic, a small jug of codeine cough syrup to help sleep. I am coughing so much at night, even with this, that I am getting little sleep. Somehow the presentation in Sydney goes great. This doc was not cheap ($430 for the visit plus meds!)
  • On the road to Canberra, more strepcils, etc. Fortunately its not cold there. Another raspy voice presentation, and barely manage to get through nice dinner with hosts.
  • Next, maybe some recovery in Adelaide? Its really warm when I land Saturday. But wow, is that cough bad. Maybe 3 solid hours of sleep the night before. Am able to drag myself out for hike with Mike C and dinner with Mike and Graham W. A terrible nights sleep.
  • Now it is time to track down the Sydney doc and see if he can send a new scrip. The hotel did not provide a contact, so I called them back. I explained the whol thing and the woman finally said, “I need to transfer you to Reception.” The phone rang and rang. Failing that, I had a number when I checked out for the doctor’s answering service. Called them. They said the doc would call back. I explain that things are still bad; he agrees to fax a prescription to my hotel, a stronger cough medicine and an inhaler to help with the cough. Great! I get the fax, and get walking directions to the nearest open “chemist” (equivalent to pharmacy)


  • Now it gets fun. I thought I was home free. I handed my scrip to the lady behind the counter and she gives it to a middle aged man (the chemist! the chemist!). My starts shaking his head. He comes froward quickly and seems pissed off, “I cannot do this! I need an original receipt! The state refuses me to dispense this kind of medicine with an out of state prescription.” Why is this guy yelling at me? “I am sick I explained, I traveled a long way to visit Australia, and I need some help. I have to speak tomorrow to a group of 100 educators? What can you do?” He scowls and says, “You need to see a local doctor.” I am confused, “So I have to pay another $200 to see a doctor to rewrite a prescriptions? I am sorry, I do not understand the system, but do not appreciate being treated rudely.” I begin to leave. The woman in the store, with perhaps a bit more sensitivity, writes down the name an address of a nearby walk in clinic.
  • So now I am outside walking down North Terrace trying to wave down a cab. Not much luck until about 10 minutes later. This nice young guy drives me to the spot, and even offers to wait (off meter). Now at the clinic, I feel lucky as no one is waiting. The woman behind the counter explains I will have to pay $70 (that’s a bargain!). In about 15 minutes, this new doc is seeing me. He writes a new cough medicine script and suggests a stronger antibiotic. Then he says, “I want you to take these pills, once a day next 2 days, then half a pill after that” he puts in a little plastic jar. There is no identification at all on the Magic Pills. I like this! I believe in magic pills. A few years ago echineaca had this placebo effect on ridding colds.
    • So my cab was still waiting, and he drove me back to the Grumpy Chemist. On the way, the driver told me his girlfriend wished he had a cold every day because she found his rough voice “sexy.”
    • So back at the chemist, I had Mr Smiley the new scrips and say, “Can you fill these ones, please?” No sense pissing him off. He is after all bottling things I will put in my mouth. I have read stories about those disgruntled fast food workers blowing their noses on the cops’ hamburgers.
    • So now I have the new cadre of drugs, and am back in my hotel room.
  • Magic Pills

    Hope this is the road to recovery. Now about that presentation tomorrow… where did I leave those slides?

Net Bans, News by Inneundo, Mommies

20 10 2007

I’m eating some breakfast in Adealide, reading the local “news” paper (in the context of this blog entry, any reference to news is going to be open to question, hence the quotes) coming across this piece of “reporting”:


I have already made it clear in my Horizons presentations about my dim view of walls as a strategy, and more so, that it seriously dents and stated desire to be an “innovative” society. Walled strategies are ones based on continued maintenance of the walls themselves leaving what is behind the walls to whither.

What hit me as I read this “news” was how shallow and worthless this representation of “reporting” really was. There are facts stated without reference, and a complete lack of counter view points. This is not news at all, and fits in its layout where it is adjacent to a photo about some fashion girls jewels and gown. So let’s read through the news.

WORKERS and school students are being banned from using internet networking sites Facebook and MySpace because of concerns about time-wasting.

A sudden explosion in the popular sites – with more than 100 people an hour signing up to Facebook in Australia – has forced workplaces to act to stop lost productivity.

A recent study found the time vacuum could be costing employers up to $5 billion a year.

A statement is made that productivity is lost. Where are the measures? Oh, there is a reference to “A recent study” (uncited). This technique of referring to such reports worked very successfully.. by folks like US Senator Joseph McCarthy in his efforts to witch hunt communists “I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . .” (the paper in is hand was mostl likely a receipt from his dry cleaner).

So what is this report? Who knows? This “news”paper is modeling a terrible model for students by reporting w/o citing sources. So I might was well say I am referring to the same report, where one also learns that other time wasting activities include:

  • $8 billion a year in time spent shopping on ebay
  • $12 billion a year time spent on cigarette breaks
  • $16 billion a year time spent talking about rugby
  • $45 billion a year spent reading pointless emails from bosses that could have been communicated more efficiently via wikis, IM collaborative document editors
  • $32 billion a year spent filling out repetitive paper forms that could be done online

Okay, I admit- I made those up. But so just as well might be decisions based upon an unreferenced report claiming this $billion “fact”. I readily dispute even such claims of “productivity losses” as if you really delve into them, they are based on wild extrapolations.

The Education Department’s internet administrators have also cut off access to staff in district and corporate offices.

School students are also banned from accessing YouTube.

Adelaide Crows football club staff are banned from Facebook, while Channel 10 employees can only log on to social networking sites as well as YouTube and internet auction site eBay with permission for work purposes.

“Ten permits staff who require, in the course of their jobs, access to social networking sites,” a spokeswoman said. “Such sites are bandwidth intensive, and the priority for internet use must obviously be for business needs.”

The Seven network has also imposed a blanket ban on MySpace and Facebook to prevent cyber time-wasting.

So in essence, access to social network resources are arbitrarily yanked by the cloaked mysterious “IT Guys”. Can you image the amount of organizational good will this inspires? I have never worked for an organization that took pervasive sweeping steps without doing so in an announced, public forum. You always had a recourse to address such moves. I have never worked for “The Man”.

Launched by then 19-year-old Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, the site allows people to “poke” each other, send virtual gifts, email, join networks, post photos and videos, and graffiti friends’ “walls”.

It is regarded as a more mature version of MySpace, which is popular with teens.

These sites are large, organic, systems, and one could easily describe in terms of all the inane, silly activities that people do, or one can describe the positive ways people use them to make, sustain their connections, create connections, do good, be creative:

  • Beth Kanter has organized a successful fund raising campaign in Facebook to raise money to sponsor college students in Cambodia
  • Web Worker Daily lists 12 ways to use facebook professionally.
  • Angela Thomas cites a new form of storytelling in citing the use of Facebook for a Choose Your Own Adventure Game
  • A published, referred article on a study at Michigran state University cites benefits of Facebook, including “Facebook usage was found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction.

The Read/Write Web has an article Facebook at Work -Slacking or Networking which is an article that can school the author of the AdelaideNow article I am bashing because it not only provides balance, it mentions the mysterious report:

Earlier this week a Sydney Morning Herald article claimed that Facebook “may be costing Australian businesses $5 billion a year.” The quote is from an analytics firm called SurfControl, in a report which calculated “that if an employee spends an hour each day on Facebook, it costs the company more than $6200 a year. There are about 800,000 workplaces in Australia.”

So this “$5 billion lost in productivity” FACT is based on a game of extrapolation of employees spending 30 minutes a day on Facebook, multiplying it through the wringer. If your business is basing decisions based on this kind of logic, I have some ocean front property I can sell you in Arizona.

Pointless meetings alone likely account for $15 billion loss. But more so, if your employees are that bored, un-inspired on the job to be friending and poking, it is more of an issue of the design of your workplace than blaming the internet.

The rest of the fluff “news” article runs:

The Transport, Energy and Infrastructure Department regularly reviews activity logs looking for inappropriate internet use.

While staff can access sites like MySpace and YouTube for work purposes, they can face disciplinary action if caught breaching its internet and email policy.

“The use of departmental internet and computer resources to develop or support personal web pages is prohibited,” a spokeswoman said.

“The department encourages use of technologies to improve departmental outcomes and efficiency of processes. This includes accessing a wide range of internet content.”

SA Water staff who try to log on to Facebook and MySpace are greeted with a message saying “access denied”.

Facebook boasts more than 48 million active users, with Australians the fourth biggest users. But its soaring popularity has raised security concerns, with users being warned about identity theft.

The 2007 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report said hackers were now homing in on networking sites to glean people’s personal details.

The last one there is a classic technique one may credit to the current US government- motivate people by fear. There is no direct information to document this. Sure hackers are out there. Sure they are hacking. But might not a better societal approach to be a positive broad based campaign to help people understand how to be “safely” online and best practices for personal disclosure?

So lastly, I am left with this image that Australia has this mixed personalty metaphor of the rugged individualist (the footie playing, pub hanging, outback crossing, wave surfing mate) yet it lives under systems of organizations acting as Mommie.


Mommie says Facebook is dangerous. Mommie says MySpace is scary. Mommie decides what Baby can do.

A society wishing to launch full speed into the future is going to have a lot of challenges pulling along all of the purse strings.