You and Your Avatar

After two very real face to face events in the last month with completely contrasting groups, I am struck by the challenges and the opportunities they present.  My peers come from a highly technical world .  My clients and students come from two communities that are vastly different in their technical capacity and access to technology (for economic, education, cultural and infrastructure reasons). In one they are traditional senior leadership who are resistant to change.  In the other they are eager, often young, entrepreneurs and business students from both developing and developed markets.


  I am always seeking tools to bridge their issues. My last post, in which I experimented with a tool that creates avatar based movies from text script, got some very interesting responses.  Some liked the simplicity, others bored by seeing the same tool used for games thought it less helpful, and then there was the human factor.  That is what struck me the most.  Here I am trying to bring out the human element, the people behind the machines and the tools, and I was just as guilty of creating a tool that replaces the human factor with avatars.  Shame on me.  


So I will say, thank you again for the great commentary received both online and off.  It was fun playing with the text to video tool.  I agree it is not the best to complement the message.  As to the avatars, well I have never been very fond of them.  I prefer the real faces and bodies: blemishes, wrinkles, bulges and all.   I am sure I will experiment with more and I will make more mistakes, but I hope you will call me on them and continue to be real.  That is what it is all about.  If you have suggestions of tools that I should try, please do share.  I am experimenting with many others that are used more for my classroom and clients.  But I am happy to learn of new ones that make knowledge sharing and teaching more interactive.


Here are some fun pictures of the REAL people in the last month that inspire me:


Women for Sustainable Growth


South by SouthWest

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#SxSW 2011 Social Media Offline

Ted Rubin said it well, as we sat for a coffee in the Hilton with the buzz of South by Southwest (#SxSW) moving around us. “South-by is like Social Media face to face.” Everyone had a twitter handle @ and a hash tag # to find them and what they do. Celebrities and influencers have “followers”, “friends” and “connections” visible in their entourages and their VIP access. The refueling stations were gathering spaces for re-caffeinating bodies and charging multiple devices. Contacts shared by the Bump App and new friends were made by bumping as you found space to sit for panels. There was an App for everything, predominantly for iOS and Android (Apple iPhone and Google’s development platforms). Those who didn’t have one were quick to add “coming soon!” in their pitch. The few lucky/patient who braved the cues at the temporary Apple Store downtown picked up the new iPad2. Those of us willing to wait were mostly from overseas, knowing that it would be a while before they reach our markets.

 

After nearly a week of intensive panels, networking and checking out what is new and coming in interactive, I am excited about the future. As in any trade conference, it is easy to get myopic. Is everyone as uber-connected as this gathering of industry professionals often referred to as “geek fest”? Essential to remember that in order to rise above the 8% of “active” social media and smart phone users there will need to be continued expansion and development of infrastructure, accessibility, internationalization, aggregation and filtering. Cultural implications for organizations, leadership, and education systems will require greater outreach, training and better user-interfaces for the non-technical. Communications is changing, the tools are developing and I am very optimistic about their direction as long as we improve design for those who are already technically un-inclined. The more social the tools become, the simpler the interfaces, the greater access to tools that work in different environments for wider needs and people the possibilities are boundless.

 

Here are some of my tweets from during the last few days in Austin at SxSW:

 

Fellow #sxswi delegates, Don’t forget to listen /measure outside of the bubble too, 92 still not active in social media/ smart phones

 

Don’t calculate the ROI of relationships, not rich enough data, use dashboards -@jenvandermeer #mroi #sxswi

 

Wall street- customer lifetime value is not something the street cares about @janvandermeer#sxswi #mroi

 

Thanks @jenvandermeer from @dachis for a very entertaining presentation on the ROI of relationships #mroi #sxswi

 

Great conversation with @globewomen, looking forward to a great #GSW11. Thanks Irene

 

Confirmed speaking at #GSW11 in Istanbul. Looking forward to more inspiring conversations in May.

 

Just first did my Skype video meeting on my #iPad2, followed by call with kids, paid for itself already 🙂

 

iPad 2 Shortages Hit Web & Retail Stores http://t.co/3H9J5TM via @mashabletech @mashable

 

Achieving net-neutrality requires consumers raising their voice, speak up! @~BarryDiller#SXSW

 

The Internet is a miracle @~BarryDiller #SXSW

 

Make the truth your weapon and your strength @ch3ryl #pplpwr #SXSW

 

Overcome Fear of showing of your authentic self. What if it freaks out the white people @ch3ryl# #SXSW #pplpwr

 

Great talking to @michaelblonde of @commondeeds definitely an App to follow! #SXSW

 

Self-definition: own your space, name it and be proud of it @funkybrownchick #pplpwr #SXSW

 

CPM should die -@Jasonfalls #smaroi #SXSW

 

Unless you married your spouse 3 minutes after meeting them, understand relationships take time @Jasonfalls #smaroi

 

even data that is infinitely measurable isn’t infinitely perfect. Must measure over time@Jasonfalls #smaroi #SXSW

 

Better measurement tools are the next big thing to come @Jasonfalls #smaroi #SXSW #swesxsw

 

@Jasonfalls monitoring the conversation, consider not everyone is online having conversations, ask your customers #SXSW #smaroi #swesxsw

 

Getting ready for first panel on measuring social media #sxsw #swesxsw #smaroi

 

Balance between friend and general recommendation, why of results are key #bettersearch #SXSW #swesxsw

 

Are we losing serendipity? #bettersearch #SXSW #swesxsw

 

privacy in social search; consider value-add, but need consent, control @barneyp#bettersearch #sxsw #swesxsw

 

Mood-based search for things to do. understanding intent for search w/Moodfish #bettersearch #sxsw #swesxsw

 

Simon alpha recommends, allows customization @barneyp #bettersearch #swesxsw #sxsw

 

Web-> social -> interest -> inferred interest graph @barneyp (Bing) on #bettersearch #swesxsw #sxsw

 

Google Hotpot integrating social/location/recommendations #better search #swesxsw #SXSW

 

@charleneli KLM during volcano, FB direct response realtime

 

Evolution from information to relationship economy – @debs #behuman #SXSW

 

Congratulations @pblackshaw ! You are going to love Vevey! Welcome to my side of the pond.

 

Without new social contract, trust is fragile – @debs #behuman #SXSW

 

Technology changes, humans don’t @debs #behuman #SXSW

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Summer is Social

In the effort to maximise my social impact and effectiveness, I will be focusing on my off-line social networks and developing curriculum during the Summer. I will be interviewing a lot of interesting people on the impact of social media and social networks and their lives and their businesses/work. I hope to compile a few highlights for a weekly blog entry and will return to more frequent entries at the end of August. So please check back and read through previous entries for morsels of social optimisation for impact.

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