18 June 2009

Social media & world events

A number of people keep telling me that social media cannot save the world. Maybe not, but what a pessimistic thing to say anyway? There has actually been a lot of media recently that points strongly to the ways people are actually using social media such as Facebook, blogs and now Twitter to make or influence significant social change. Last night on the ABC's 7.30 Report I heard that the US Government has asked Twitter to not take itself off the air for regular system maintenance in case the link to what is happening in Tehran is lost. All other forms of media from Tehran are now being suppressed.
I think librarians need to better understand these social media tools in order to make the best use of them and to understand how our clients are using some of them, in our world. It is therefore wise to spend 17 minutes either watching or just listening to Professor Clay Shirky explaining social media to the US State Department (this month) on ted.com:
Clay Shirky's recent video on ted.com
And if you are further interested in the Q&A that happened afterwards, specifically about Iran, you can read that transcript here:
Q&A Transcript - Clay Shirky on Twitter & Iran

01 June 2009

My Hottest 100 of all time

This will be a work in progress. It is my list for the JJJ Hottest 100 of All Time. Changed, refined and added to over time until I get it right. So here we go, mind the step:

1. The Cure - A Forest
I particularly like the Tree remix from Mixed Up. A hands-down winner.

2. Massive Attack - Teardrop
A close second and on some days it is a nose in front for sheer beauty and wonder.

3. ColdPlay - Fix You
Loved the video clip and that amazing light ball that Chris Martin spins around on stage. Makes me emotional (not just because I want to look like Chris!).

4. Filter - Take a Picture
Brilliant rock. Amazing composition. Fantastic CD album cover too.

5. Aimee Mann - Deathly
The song that inspired one of the best movies of all time: Magnolia. She is a brilliant song-writer and has a seductive voice and an uncanny ability to use guitar riffs.

6. The Beatles - Blackbird
Are you allowed to pick the whole White Album?

7. New Order - True Faith
I was living in England when this first came out and was mesmerized by the video clip. It is impossible to listen to and stay still.

8. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - She's Gone
With songs like this you don't need shopping.

9. MGMT - Kids
Not sure it will stand the test of time, but I LOVE it now. Reminds me of another age.

10. Other contenders:
Neil Young - Four Strong Winds (he has to be represented)
Van Morrison
- Wonderful Remark (one of the greatest entertainers)
Yes - I've Seen All Good People (I think even Mozart would approve of this)
The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony (a true classic)
Utah Saints - Something Good (this may not make it, but it is so much fun)
Badly Drawn Boy - The Shining (truly beautiful)
Falling Joys - Lock It (another that may not make the final 10, but it is a contender)
Snow Patrol - Run (the best that they've done)
Sting - Ghost Story (at his best)
Goldfrapp - Train (maybe, maybe not?)
Joni Mitchell - Coyote (she has to be mentioned)
Ella Fitzgerald
- Mack the Knife (live version)
Jeff Buckley
- Grace (because he has to fit in somewhere!) and
Peter Broderick
- Below It (very new, but instantly recognizable as stunning).

They are probably all of the real contenders. It would be nice to fit in some Moody Blues, Simon & Garfunkle and even some Nina Simone, but I'm already having to prune out heaps. More thinking and then some pruning back to maybe a 120% list tomorrow. (Last updated 9.50 pm on 1 June 2009.)

Google Wave

Over the weekend I was reminded by a Tweet from a colleague of the importance of Google's demo late last week of Wave: quite possibly the future of communications on the web. It has been developed right here in Sydney too.

A reliable report comes from Tim O'Reilly and you can read that here. I know that sometimes it is hard to stay up to date with information management technology as new web developments are happening so fast, but it is important and for those of us in libraries I believe it is part of our professional obligation.

Wave seems like a pretty interesting, maybe even exciting development but perhaps the thing I found most interesting in reading Tim's post was a not-so-related comment a long way down that came about because Tim made reference to a book (Practical Internet Groupware) that he had published online. Someone has a go at Tim for making the book available online behind a "paywall" (i.e. not for free). Tim elegantly and gently reminds us that not everything on the Web can and should be for free. He makes two very wise statements:

It's urgent for the future of publishing for there to be economic models for digital publishing, or you will find yourself poorer, not richer, as a result.


I'm all for free content when people can make it work, and all for paid content when that's the only way to make good things happen. You pick the hat to fit the head.

Our goal should be the creation of maximum value to society. Sometimes free creates more value, and sometimes paid creates more value. The smart person, and the smart company, knows how to use both.

Sometimes with blog posts the most interesting and sometimes even the most intellectual debate happens in the comments field and that is part of the real beauty of the social web. That kind of thing doesn't happen in traditional academic publications.