Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More publishing possibilities on the Interweb

The ways in which traditional forms of media find themselves on the web is always a fascinating topic. There's been lots in the news this week about Conde Nast and other publishers creating digital newstands with content offered in various digital formats, although the major publishers still seem to be struggling with the transition.

In the world of books, however, there have been a number of interesting approaches. (By the way, I wrote about other publishing possibilities on the Interweb here).

The example below shows the mix between the book and the iPhone. I sent this around the office here at WONGDOODY and received a number of responses, from folks who both loved and hated the idea. I understand the response. Unlike other forms of traditional media, books are extremely personal, and in some ways, sacred.

What personally resonated with me about this application is that it retains the child/parent connection. The child is still sitting on the lap, still physically connected with the parent, and both are connected with the experience of the story.

The second example is a bit different. It integrates augmented reality and 3-D models which complement the text in the book. The example shown here is from Templar Publishing, which just released Drake's Comprehensive Compendium of Dragonology, the U.K.'s first book using augmented reality.

Two very interesting examples of technology's integration with the written word. Love it? Hate it? I'd love to hear your opinion.

Update: TrendCentral listed additional ways that Twitter is being used for fiction. Here's the article.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Obama's super duper use of social media for health care reform

I've continually been impressed with President Obama's use of social media as an organization and advocacy tool--but he just keeps getting better.

Today, he posted a request on Facebook asking people to contact their representative regarding health reform legislation, which may go to vote as early as tomorrow. This tactic has been used in the past. The user simply enters their zip code or address and is given the name and phone number of their representative and a short script.

But this time, Obama goes a few steps further. First, the site enables users to report how their representative plans on voting and also allows the user to add remarks as they like. So it takes accountability back to the social media realm.

Second, the site publishes the latest calls to Congress, who made them, where they are from and how many calls have been made in total. As of publishing this blog, more than 412,000 call have been made.

Finally, once someone has completed the call, they can post a message back to Facebook and/or Twitter.

Nice job President Obama! Let's hope it helps.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My adventures with Google Wave

As I'm writing this sentence, I am uploading almost 30 megabytes of Halloween videos to flickr via a wireless router connected to my cable provider, two floors below. I have my Gmail, Facebook and Twitter accounts open, as well as a banana bread recipe on

The Web is a very different place than it was when I first discovered it, and so are we. Even during the past five years, as social media has come into its own, our behaviors and attitudes and ways of communicating have significantly changed. And the Web, in large part, is responsible.

So it's fascinating to me when a new application comes out that changes things once again. For me, right now, Google Wave is that application.

I've only played with it a bit, but already it has me thinking about presence. Google Wave has a feature much like instant messaging. What's different from the IM you are familiar with, is that you can see what someone is writing as they are writing it. Which means that they can write something, delete it, and rewrite it while others in the conversation are watching. In a very strange way it is like being inside of someone's head.

Talking is not like that, I think because talking is so extremely present. Even in following a conversation, we often don't remember the last words someone has said. Most of us are used to editing our thoughts before we say something (or at least we try). But writing for many folks is a way to process thought. It's also more permanent than talking, which means that we put a bit more thought into the words we choose.

So what happens when people can see what we are writing when we are writing it? Does it make IM conversations more like talking? Does it take away the intimacy of writing, exposing us in a new way?

I'm not sure, but I am intrigued, and I have to admit a bit uncomfortable with this feature of Google Wave. That's not to say I won't keep using it. I will because I am interested to see where it goes, how people will react and how it will affect the way we communicate.