Archive for the 'Communication' Category

What are you doing?

Keith March 28th, 2008

Just been told about a really neat explanation of Twitter.  This is a short animated video by Lee Le Fever at Common Craft, and makes a lot of sense.

I have still not signed up for Twitter, but have been learning a bit about it.  Another description of it that I like is to see it as “group proprioception”.  Proprioception is a sense that we all have.  It is quite different to the five senses that we are more aware of.  In fact, as Oliver Sacks explains in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, there are a number of senses that we are normally unaware of. 

To understand this one, close your eyes, hold you arms out in front of you, then bring the tips of your two index fingers together.  How did you do that?  How did you know where your fingers were in relation to each other without being able to see them?  Your brain just “knows” where all the parts of your body are at any point in time – that’s proprioception.

So Twitter is like knowing where all your friends are at any point of time, and what they are doing. 

 Am I going to sign up?  I’ll have to think about that a bit more yet…

The Story of Sorry

Keith February 14th, 2008

Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generations yesterday was profound, and very moving.  I think it was also notable that the centrepiece of it was a story.  Just one story, of a single person’s experiences.  Yet this was a powerful way of making the speech something more than platitudes.  It showed a willingness to listen, and to attempt to understand, the experiences inflicted upon our indigenous people by authorities until as recently as the early 1970s.

The speech was attended by all but one of the five living former Australian Prime Ministers.


The Games was a satirical program shown on ABC TV in Australia in two series in 1998 and 2000.  It was written by John Clarke, Ross Stevenson and others.  Episode 3 of Series 2 (3 July 2000) was significant in that it included the following “Apology from John Howard”. 

While the program was satirical, this particular speech was in its own way moving, and almost as profound.  It was read by the Australian actor John Howard, and can currently be seen on YouTube here.  A full copy of the episode script is here

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Keith February 14th, 2008

I move:

That today we honour the indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

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Help solve world hunger – and learn!

Keith November 30th, 2007

Now here is a really interesting concept!  Have a look at FreeRice:


From the site:

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance…

Sound too good to be true?  Well, it does appear to be totally legitimate.  The Urban Legends Reference Pages (Snopes) supports it.  You can also read about it on the United Nations World Food Programme site – the agency that is distributing the donated rice.

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Keith November 20th, 2007

“A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.”
 - Caskie Stinnett

Connecting to stakeholders with new media

Keith November 19th, 2007

I have probably mentioned here that I am now a member of the International Association of Business Communicators. I wrote a brief article a while ago for their global magazine, Communication World.  The article was one of a small collection under the topic: How does your company use new media to connect with stakeholders? (Global perspectives.) It seems that this article is now available on the web at HighBeam Encyclopedia and Goliath. On that basis, I figure that I should be able to repeat here (and save you one whole mouse click):

Telstra operates a public web site (Nowwearetalking) promoting public comment and debate on the telecommunications industry. I authored a blog on this site for eight months. I wrote about human communication, technology and my work in knowledge management.

Nowwearetalking has been remarkable for the openness of its editorial policy. Critics of Telstra have been surprised to see their comments published unedited on the forum. Blog articles are checked by legal, but in the 8,000 words I posted, I didn’t have a single editorial change.

Openness is critical to social media, both publicly and inside organisations. It has been my experience that the easier you make it for people to share knowledge, the more likely it is that they will. The more you trust others, the more likely it is that your trust will be honoured.

Where is the context? (And another event)

Keith November 7th, 2007

A belated note from the Enterprise Change Management conference in KL at the end of August:

“The context for most structured data lies in unstructured data.  The IT industry has come a long way in managing structured data, but has a long way to go yet in managing unstructured data.  The two are handled totally separately.” 

 - Alan Pelz-Sharpe, CMS Watch


Next week, I will be in Sydney at two conferences for Ark Group: Driving Effective Intranet Delivery in the Public Sector and Promoting a Culture of Knowledge in the Public Sector.  I am talking about Maintaining the currency and accuracy of content at the first of these, and Using social media to engage stakeholders and the community at the second – a late inclusion in the program.

After realising that Matt Moore and I would be somewhat overlapping in our content, we are now planning a double act – should be a bit of fun!

If you are in Sydney, and would like to catch up, drop me a line!

Ad astra per alia porci

Keith October 4th, 2007

How’s your Latin?  I have just read that this was a favourite saying of John Steinbeck.  Apparently all of his books carry this insignia.  Although I have read a Steinbeck or two, I don’t remember noticing this.

A  clue – apparently a professor once told Steinbeck that he would “be an author when pigs flew”.


Keith September 8th, 2007

Just received an email from a colleague at KMLF, asking me to join a new social networking site, called Quechup (which I am not going to link to). I looked at it, and thought, “Do I need another social networking site?” 

I’m glad I stopped to think.  I was already linked to this colleague on LinkedIn (which I do trust), and replied directly that I wasn’t sure that I needed another site, and received an apology by reply with the following info:

“There is a warning making the rounds about a ‘new’ ’social network’ called Quechup. Once one signs up, it accesses your address book and sends invitations to all those parties under your name. And there is word that one can’t cancel membership.”

This has been commented on in a number of recent blogs – just checking quickly finds similar warnings – and some related discussion – at Dwight Silverman’s TechBlog, TwistImage and Insights into Christopher S Penn.

This is problematic.  Social networking – and knowledge sharing – relies heavily on trust. Sites like this violate trust.  Should we now stop trusting?

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A picture paints 1k words

Keith September 5th, 2007

Here’s the latest thing – Imagini.  Discover your “Visual DNA” and “communicate with others in a totally different way.”

Looks interesting.  It seems to be basically a social networking thing, but based on visual cues instead of language.  Find out who is your nearest match.  Turns out my nearest match is only a 53% match – what does that tell me?

See my profile.

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