Food for thought… Super Bowl, the power of connecting
Yesterday (or should I say last night) was an absolute first. Attending my first ever real American Super Bowl party and watching the game with a group of Americans and Australians. So did I fly over for a quick weekend break?!? Nop, I attended right from my own couch in my own living room.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when my twitter stream exploded on NFL tweets by @CuriousMitch and me reacting to that
Before I knew it I was involved in a whole conversation stretching out over multiple days about the merits of American Football and culminating in getting myself invited for a Super Bowl party to be hosted by Mitch. He was having some guests over to his house and invited a bunch of others to join in through a Google hangout so that we could all enjoy it together from our respective living room (and time zone!).
Now I did have to think about it for a minute as I realized I would have to take a day off (game started at midnight Sunday night and was going to last at least 3 hours according to those who knew). But I was more then willing to do that, seeing it as a great social & cultural experiment to see if Social Media really could make this possible. Plus anyone that knows me knows I’m always in for something crazy and this one certainly fell into that category!
There was only one problem, I had absolutely no clue about American Football!….And so I was drilled and grilled over the last two weeks through Twitter and Skype by several people about everything NFL and American Football. Waking up to tweets like this
And even getting a visual demonstration with diagrams and lots of arrows through a LotusLive meeting & Skype.
All leading up to the big event: The game.
A multi layered play in 4 acts played out on the field, in a Google Hangout, on Twitter and on Facebook.
Not just because I like being part of big parties (which the Super Bowl certainly is) but also because it shows the power of Social Media and the cultural shift it is bringing about.Who would have thought 10 years ago that something like this would even be possible and that I would be able to enjoy a ‘cold one and a game’ from my living room in The Netherlands with people in Australia and the USA? Allowing me a very personal and up close glimpse into their worlds, living rooms and passion for American Football.
So what have I learned from all this?
- Taco’s & Chili in at least 5 variations seems to be the favorite US Super Bowl party food
- American Football can be fun and exciting once you get a basic grip of the game rules. Even if they drag out a one hour game to 4 hours easily
- Australia really is sunny this time of year (Yes, I know mentally that it’s summer over there right now but seeing it just makes it real)
- Getting a social crash course on game rules through Twitter, Skype and LotusLive works and is much more fun then learning the old fashioned way!
- Google Hangouts actually lives up to what it says it does (really impressed after 5 hours of continuous and error-less ‘Hanging out’ with 6-8 others)
- I have friends here in NL that were watching the game as well (found out through Facebook halfway through the game). Setting up a date to do next year’s Super Bowl together
- I should never drink Redbull at 3:30AM if I want to have any chance of sleeping anytime soon (couldn’t fall asleep until 6:30)
So…. having a ‘virtual’ party like this doesn’t necessarily trump the real live experience and might, by some, be considered really geeky. But getting this group from 3 continents together otherwise would have simply been impossible. It just added a whole new layer to being social, showing how Social Media and online collaboration tools really do stimulate cultural learning and exchange. And in doing so making the world a smaller place.
Thanks guys for making this an experience to remember!
A storm has been raging on Twitter today after it announced on its corporate blog that it will implement an option to re-actively censor tweets or twitter accounts for readers in specific countries if a valid request to do so has been made by a legal entity. The example was given of France and Germany using this to block prohibited pro-Nazi statements.
It caused a host of blog posts and tweets from people strongly opposing this and calling it an infringement on the freedom of speech. Some better researched then others. Now Twitter certainly didn’t do itself any favors announcing it the way they did and corrected it by adding more info about the solution to be implemented after the storm erupted but what does it really mean??
A lot has already been said about this so I’m not going to repeat it all but in short it boils down to this.
- Legal entities will be able to report Twitter accounts and individual tweet messages to Twitter and ask them to censor those to readers in a specific country based on local law.
- After reviewing Twitter might decide to honor the request. The specified Tweets/Accounts will not be deleted or blocked from posting but readers in the specified country will get a replacement text stating the account or tweet was blocked for that country. The text will still be available to readers in other countries.
- Censoring is done on a per request base, meaning tweets will not be blocked automatically but after they’ve been placed (except when accounts are blocked) and reported to Twitter.
- Determination of the users country is made based on IP address but can apparently be overruled by the users own country preference settings in the Twitter settings (I predict this option will be restricted pretty soon by the way if it is a working work around).
- Twitter is doing this to comply with local law but at the same time more or less says this doesn’t mean it feels it has to agree with all regimes ideas of freedom of expression: “…we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there….“.
- Some call Twitters’ action a way of actually ensuring its existence as an activist platform in oppressive countries (link). Given the previous statement I doubt that. If regimes find that it is to much of an opposition platform they will block Twitter regardless of its policies.
- A large group of Twitter users is opposing this change by calling out for a #TwitterBlackOut on January 28th.
Ok, to be honest it really doesn’t set off any alarm bells to me right now. I actually think Twitter has found a pretty nifty way of working around something that would have inevitable come around anyway. What some seem to forget is that Twitter is not an idealistic or activist entity that transcends laws, it’s a company. With people working for it, offices, accountability and (uhoh… blasphemy) a goal of making money. That means it is required to obey the common law restrictions imposed on it by law makers as would any other company. And operating globally means being globally accountable.
The other thing that really intrigues me here is the fact that most people automatically associate this with the freedom of speech restrictions in oppressive countries while in fact most countries (including Europe and the United States) have certain restrictions on the absolute right to Freedom of Speech as well. Mostly when it comes to things like racial or religious hatred, discrimination and slander. So it isn’t just about protecting itself and its employees from prosecution in rogue states and dictatorships, it’s just as much a way of complying to the rules in open minded regions like Europe and the United States.
So do I think that what Twitter announced is a bad thing? Not necessarily. I regret it, but having to obey to law restrictions is an inevitable fact of live if you operate a company and at least they are making an effort to be open about it.
Am I opposed to the boycotting Twitter for a day (#TwitterBlackout)? No, but I think it should be about an awareness call to address the universal Freedom of Speech rights. Not to address a company trying to walk the tightrope between upholding the ideals of Freedom of Speech while obeying local law restrictions at the same time.
So I’m Dutch and I’m in no way a native English speaker. I do ok, blog in English, get myself understood and can even be relatively ‘witty’ in my Social Media responses. It has allowed me to interact and connect to numerous people around the world and it has even given me some new friends. Ok, yes, I know. How can you call them friends without ever meeting them?!? But with some of them they really do feel like friends.
I can’t wait! I look forward to really meeting these people but at the same time I’m a bit apprehensive too. Truth is that connecting over the internet really isn’t the same as connecting in real life. Apart from the obvious facts that Social Media allows you to filter out the less attractive and boring elements of your personality it also helps eliminate language borders.
Again, as a non-native English speaker I think I do pretty well, but I do mess up…. regularly…. This has lead to several funny (and embarrassing) instances and confusions where I tried to express something which actually came out as something totally different.
My Dutch colleagues would now argue I don’t just do that in English, bytheway…
Saving factor here though is that as Social Media is mostly a ‘written’ form of communication it has something of a grace period. Allowing you to at least think for two seconds and read back that post, tweet or chat message (as well as having a spelling control) before clicking the ‘send’ button. Believe me, I’ve become a regular speed-Googler over the last few months and have Urban Dictionary bookmarked as a favorite. Problem is though, these don’t yet come as build in options for my mind and so I will have to do without my regular safety nets next week…
….So that’s why, even with all my enthusiasm about going to Lotusphere I’m also still feeling a bit apprehensive about talking to all of you with whom I’ve been chatting, Tweeting and Facebooking. Not knowing, whether I will be able to actually have the same kind of spontaneous interaction without having Google & spell checker at my fingertips is daunting….It almost feels like sitting my high school exams again.
Luckily for me I’m also pretty sure most of you guys will forgive me for my little language-mishaps. And if I do ‘confumble’ my English big time and mess up I can only hope you guys will look through it and have a laugh with me about it. It’s all in good spirit!
To be Socially engaged on online Social Networks into the wee hours of the night.
The incessant staying up not to miss out on all the social fun. Often caused by having a very lively online Social Network that is mostly located on the other side of the pond and the abundant availability of devices that make accessing ones social tools (Skype, Twitter, Facebook, etc) possible everywhere and anytime (eg. in bed). Doing it long enough could have detrimental consequences for sleep patterns and cause the subject to dream in ‘tweets’. (Though that could be seen as a good pre-Lotusphere training where sleep is hard to come by anyway).
Derived from a combination of the word ‘Social‘ and the phrase “burning the Midnight Oil“: To work late into the night. Originally this was by the light of an oil lamp or candle but is nowadays replaced by the blueish shine of electronics and iShinies, hence the figurative terminology.
I stumbled upon Instagram a while back. A nifty little iPhone app (I don’t have an iPhone but use it on my iPad) that lets you quickly share photo’s that portray your mood of the moment to the world. Not whole series but snapshots that really give others a quick glimpse of what you’re up to. The simple interface and the nice filters let you enhance the pictures before posting them and make it a joy to work with.
I love it! It’s just another form of social Media but in some cases a picture says more then a 1000 words and as it allows you to post the pictures to Twitter and Facebook as well it’s a great alternative if words fall short (or inspiration is lacking).
Last Week, after posting an Instagram picture, Bruce Elgort DM’ed me a link with the text “Working on this….“.
On opening the link I got a collection of Instagram pictures for Lotusphere and IBM Connect….. Now I didn’t realize immediately what I was looking at and as the pictures were from previous Lotusphere’s it took me a while to realize what he and Serdar Besegmez had been working on. A site that collects all the Instagram pictures (regardless of who’s posting it) that contain the #ls12 tag and shows them in one big photo album overview. Of course the current selection is very limited but come Jan 15…..
So I love this initiative. We’re all going to follow what is going on around Lotusphere on Twitter, on Facebook, on the communities but what better way to portray the mood and excitement of the community coming together then pictures!
So if you’ve got an iPhone or iPad then download instagram and start posting. And while at Lotusphere take a picture of what Lotusphere is to you and post it to Instagram with the #LS12 tag. It’ll be a great way of looking back on the event of the year!
Serdar & Bruce thanks for coming up with this!
In 2009 I was on a IBM Redbook team, today I am again.
I love it. This is such a great opportunity to learn, to meet, to share and to get a glimpse into how other people topple topics like Social, Collaboration and connecting at the business level.
I’ve come a long way over the last few years. Back then I arrived in Cambridge, MA for a three week Residency not knowing anything about the people I was about to experience a very intensive three weeks with. Being hesitant and even feeling a bit awkward. Apart from their names I didn’t have a clue who they were and what they did. Getting to know them took several days.
This time things are different, totally different.
Right from the moment I got my acceptance letter I started connecting. Googling the names in the mail, finding, following and interacting with them on Twitter, trying to get an idea who they were from their Social profiles and reading up on blogs and published materials. Now not all of them had an online (public) presence but in general you can find a lot. And so it was that when I flew out to Raleigh, NC on Saturday I’d already arranged to meet up for dinner that night through twitter and spent the rest of the weekend exploring Raleigh together.
No, not people I had previously met but people I only knew from twitter and who’s only connection with me was that we were all going to be on the same Residency. By using social tools to connect we got a head start in talking about the things we were going to talk about in the Residency, getting an idea of each persons specialties, interests and areas of expertise and doing exactly what we where there for: Share & learn.
So when I tweeted about being in the ITSO Redbook facility with the Social Business Social Media team today and got this tweet reply:
LOL why does the “social team” need to get together in person…or even use email for that matter?
I couldn’t help but reflect on that. Because although I really love and ‘live‘ the Social ideal, I also believe that it is NOT a replacement for face-to-face meetings in doing business. It’s not there to take over or replace. Its simply a strategy to build stronger ties, be it active (by engaging with people) or inactive (by sharing so people can find you and learn about you). But more importantly it is about building trust. If you would have said three years ago that I would fly half across the world, arrive, meet up with this person I’d never seen or talked too before and had only exchanged about four 140 character messages with and go out for dinner 3 minutes later…..I think I would have declared you crazy.
Social has come a long way in making this possible and we’re only at the beginning. It is about being out there and being true to yourself and your environment. It’s about accountability that fosters trust and its about enjoying that human need for connection.
So call me an idealist but in a world torn apart by wars and mistrust the ‘Social’ revolution clearly proofs that that fundamental need for a human connection is as strong as ever. Especially in Business.
In October I wrote a blog on Ripples a Google+ feature that shows you how your public posts are being shared accross yours as well as others networks. I loved it (and still do) but somehow I never got to see the Ripples link when I was browsing my stream.
As I knew a workaround by getting the post id and copying it into a Ripples URL I could use it but that was far from easy and I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t get to see the Ripples option in the post menu’s. Today I finally figured it out.
But to make absolutely sure I tried setting my Google settings language from Dutch (my native language) to US English and bingo there was the “View Ripples” option.
Apparently Ripples is only there for the English speaking folks as its not showing up if you set your language to Dutch, French or German (didn’t try any other languages but pretty sure most wont work either). I’m reporting this to Google, let’s see why they aren’t showing this to us. If it’s simply a question of translations then surely 6 weeks should have been more than enough to translate that 1 paragraph of text on the Ripples page. But even without translation I really would have liked having this so please open it up!