iJumpTV 74: Great Speeches

February 22nd, 2010
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I love speeches – well, great ones at least. And Great Speeches for Better Speaking takes you on the inside of some of America’s best speeches: JFK’s inaugural address, Ronald Reagan’s state of the nation address following the Challenger disaster, and other lesser-known but equally powerful examples.

In this review I explore (among other things) the connection between oratory and social media – particularly the ability to persuade. It touches on issues covered by Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody – the idea that whether we like it or not, everyone has the ability to influence, whether they’re right or wrong.

The answer? An informed public. It’s going to be a better world if we all understand how persuasion works – whether it’s through a speech, or through a blog.

The author of Great Speeches also runs a website called AmericanRhetoric.com, which is a remarkable education resource.

In this review I also look back at another oratory-related review, Say it Like Obama. Who knows, maybe January 2011 will bring yet another book review about speech-making.

Also worth watching/listening: JFK, MLK and Winston Churchill run through autotune. Sounds like a joke, but I found it surprisingly touching!

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Roots of the revolution

February 10th, 2010

Guillotine_(PSF)In May 2009 I talked to some Otago University students about why social media is important – not just because it’s new technology, but because it’s a symptom and enabler of a massive social shift that’s happening.

Over the next few weeks I’ll delve into the roots of this revolution, but first it would pay to explain what this revolution actually is.

In the book “Dawn to Decadence”, historian Jacques Barzun defines a revolution as “the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea”. He goes on:
We have got into the habit of calling too many things revolutions. Given a new device or practice that changes our homely habits, we exclaim: “revolutionary!” But revolutions change more than personal habits or a widespread practice. They give culture a new face

In the book “Dawn to Decadence“, historian Jacques Barzun defines a revolution as “the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea”. He goes on:

We have got into the habit of calling too many things revolutions. Given a new device or practice that changes our homely habits, we exclaim: “revolutionary!” But revolutions change more than personal habits or a widespread practice. They give culture a new face.

Is this a time of violent transfer of power and property? Are we in genuinely revolutionary times?

Just ask the newspaper industry. Or the movie industry. Or music, or TV. There’s violence (financially speaking), and there’s transfer of power and property. And not all the news is bad, either.

But is it just technology driving this? No. There are a whole bunch of factors that have brought us where we are today. Starting soon, we’ll examine them in-depth.

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iJumpTV 72: m-learning, the future of education?

February 8th, 2010
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Education’s not working, whether it’s under-resourced classrooms in developing countries, or right here in New Zealand.

Could mobile phones be an answer? John Eyles thinks so. He’s part of the EON Foundation, a group dedicated to helping people use technology to really understand each other.

In this interview John tells the story of the Seuang River Experience, a project that combines entrepreneurship, much-needed aid, indigenous people determining their own destiny, and high school students from around the world discovering their own potential. And Twitter is involved, too!

Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, John looks at the demand for technology in classrooms. We can’t afford computers, say the schools, not realising that some pretty sophisticated technology walks in and out of their classes every day – in the hands of cellphone-owning students.

John takes us on a journey and lays down a positive challenge for educators in New Zealand.

What do you think? How could mobile phones be used to improve education – in New Zealand and around the world?

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How social media is shaking up college sport in the US

February 4th, 2010

In the competitive world of US College Sport, something other than strength and speed is grabbing attention: goofiness.

My friend Dave Murphy from Michigan pointed to this article about Mark Titus, a reserve for the Ohio State basketball team. Titus doesn’t get on the court very often, but he’s grabbing the headlines for his blog, Club Trillion: Life views from the end of the bench.

Here’s more from Dave:

This guy is taking on a “sacred institution” – major amateur sports in America – and he’s poking fun at it in a way that’s making him more popular than his more talented and serious teammates.  There are hints of Sasha Cohen and his various crazy characters such as Ali G, Borat, etc.  Except what’s amazing is that this is happening in real time for a true team that’s competing around the country & it’s not just a staged event ala Cohen’s antics.

Americans walk this interesting fine line in which they dedicate way too much time to sports yet they’re aware of this crazy obsession and even resent the very people they follow.  So now there’s a guy who’s “penetrated” the inner circle and is goofing on the very institution he’s a part of.

Where is this headed for Titus? He’s created (or at least mastered) a new genre – real-time satirical commentary from the inside (I’m sure a better name will present itself). But will it be enough to become a career or a business?

Dave observes (with added emphasis from me):

“There have been plenty of benchwarmers in the past who might have tried something like this, but here’s the first to capitalize on his unique situation.  How’s he pulling it off?  It’s a combination of seeing a niche that others missed, as well as having the right self-deprecating touch to be given the forgiving latitude by school, staff & fans as he continues the mockery of a sacred institution from within.

This is absolutely only possible via the tech tools/media we have available today.  Perhaps before blogging and Youtube, he could have written a retrospective book…but who on earth would care about reading what a benchwarmer thinks after the fact when there are 300-400 major college teams, each with 3-4 benchwarmers per year?  It’s the immediacy provided by these current tools that makes it interesting…content is important, but immediacy and first-time-to-do-it are perhaps even more important.  People are enjoying the real time ride but won’t really care about this perspective after the fact.”

Some pretty good tips there for anyone wanting to get ahead in social media. (Although there will always be a huge need for valuable, relevant content that’s not real-time).

If you were Titus, how would you keep this good thing going? Where would you take it next?

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What are your social media ethical norms? (Be part of some research)

February 3rd, 2010

Ethics 2.0If you’re a blogger, social media consultant, social media trainer or community manager in New Zealand, you’ll want to be part of this.

I’ll let Margalit Toledano fill you in. She’s a senior lecturer at Waikato University, conducting PhD research into Ethics 2.0, and bringing a New Zealand perspective to this global issue.

Are you one of New Zealand’s advocates for online communication? Are you a blogger? A social media consultant? A social media trainer? An online communities manager?

Have you ever wondered about your online engagement standards? Ethical norms? Codes of conduct?

Have you ever asked yourself if what you do is the right thing to do?

Do you have experiences and / or opinions about the new online communication practices which you wish to share with, or to compare with, others?

If so – you now have an opportunity to make a contribution to research, emerging guidelines, and to the practice:

I’m a senior lecturer at the Management Communication Department of the University of Waikato, and I’m interested in your ideas about online communicators’ ethics as part of research into Ethics 2.0. My research is designed to gather insight into professional standards and suggest useful guides for practitioners.

I also seek to use the research to publish a New Zealand perspective in an international academic journal and will happily share my paper with you if you are interested.

I would really appreciate it if you could please contact me via the email address below and tell me about your engagement with social media.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would be grateful if you would consider participating.

Please send your email to me personally – toledano@waikato.ac.nz – or to Levarna lfw6@students.waikato.ac.nz.

Yours sincerely,

Margalit Toledano, PhD, APR, Fellow PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)

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iJumpTV 71: How to talk about books you haven’t read

February 2nd, 2010
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How do you handle information overload? One Austrian librarian had an interesting method – and an interesting explanation for it – in the book I review today, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

While talking about the book (which I partly read, admittedly) I was reminded of Howard Gardner’s 5 Minds for the Future. Gardner talks about the need for a depth of discipline, even as we need to get more cross-disciplinary.

Such talk of deep discipline then reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, which says you can master anything if you put in 10,000 hours. Although I haven’t read the book, that’s okay, because I followed the advice in How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read … nicely completing this circular, three-for-the-price-of-one book review.

How does this affect us in our daily life and work?

  1. Information overload is a fact of life. Do you remember the last time you wished there was more information in your life? Yet relevance is still a struggle. The first book has some surprising strategies.
  2. Our fast-moving times require innovative, cross-disciplinary thinking, yet we still need a depth of discipline or we truly will be jacks of all trades, masters of none.
  3. This means that to our initial discipline we must add the skill of collaboration. We must realise that we don’t hold all the answers, nor could we ever.

It’s summed up by a great quote I read today:

“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you recognize that your liberation and mine are bound up together, then let us walk together.” -Lila Watson

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