Its about Conversation

Great blog post here about the ever changing read/write web aka web2.0, social graph, social media, etc. Jus READ THIS –> Ladies and Gentlemen, The Conversation Has Left The Building Here’s a good quote:

As Social Media evolves, the value of online conversations is becoming distributed and decentralized. As the host of any given conversation, it is almost impossible to expect your community to discover or congregate around your content in any one given place, especially the point of origin. It’s both the challenge and the promise of micromedia and social networks. The comments section of your blog, for example may not truly represent the community response or reaction because it may thrive across other disparate networks and communities, whether you’re aware of it or not.

Also another gem ..

The reward for participating and adding value to these conversations is Social Capital. The penalty for self-promotion, one-sided conversations, or lack of genuine participation is evident in the lack of apparent ROI as well as the lack of respect you’re granted.

I’m not sure how the web will change. But one thing is for sure… it will happen and quickly. Thinking about the tempo of change is good for staying nimble. HUGELY important for business, NGO, government, activists, and heck just about everyone.

Our mantra must be: Learn to listen and talk WITH others

Local Conversations WNCN – NBC 17 Interview

Community Building with Brian Russell from waynesutton12 on Vimeo

Wayne Sutton the Community Content Manager over at WNCN NBC 17‘s Local Conversations blog met me at the Open Eye Café in Carrboro for a quick video interview. He asked me about blogging and other social media. I shared my thoughts on how to start blogging and how this new social media would effect the 2008 presidential campaign.

We met at 12:30pm. Its now 4pm and the video is already up. (Thanks to the Town of Carrboro WiFi) Fun to watch Wayne work with the small HD video camera and a laptop. I’m really impressed with what Wayne is doing. Its a cool blend of Main Stream and Citizen Media.

Social Carolina: Tech Events Calendar

Wayne Sutton is on top of local tech events in our area. So a couple of us asked him to create something to keep track of these events. He set up a blog at and I created a google calendar. Plus we have the Twitter user RDCH to follow and stay up-to-date.

Know about a cool event that involves technology of some kind? Is it happening in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area? Then contact us with the blog form. We’ll put it up on the calendar and promote it. We already have a few cool events up there. Check it out.

Best Biz Blog

Last Wednesday I went to a Social Media Club event at Ignite’s offices in Cary. We talked about a ton of things. But the one part I’ve can’t stop thinking about is what businesses blog well.

My favorite example of business blogging is the Twitter blog. They promote good uses of their service, new applications built upon their service, and important customer info about their business. All with humor and fun. This is a great example I wish all folks who are thinking about blogging at their company would emulate. Don’t look at business blogging as customer relations chore. Look at it as fun.

Thanks to Wayne for telling me about this event. Big thanks Jim, Lisa, and Gene for hosting and the PIZZA!

Social Networks Amplify Serendipity

Ok… today I said something during a Converge South session that I want to remember, Social Networks Amplify Serendipity.

I love listening to creative people. The inspiration is extremely valuable. Thanks Converge South!

Context from Twitter:

waynesutton @BrianR I’m with you, online social networking has allowed me to meet more people with like interest than if I wasn’t online

arsepoetica @BrianR, amplifying serendipity. Nice! Phrase of the day. (And I agree. I’m not remotely social in meatspace.)

coreyr @BrianR u mean the internet +’s serendipity because info flow is higher than offline. (SocNets are just reifying people, further +’ing flow)

Update:Social Networks ONLINE Amplify Serendipity (thanks for helping me clarify Corey!)

Bora at A Blog Around The Clock:

The quote of the year, I think, goes to Brian Russell who, during a session on social networks (e.g., what are we “creepies” doing on Facebook pooping on the kids’ party), said that “Online Social Networks Amplify Serendipity”. What a great phrase, explaining exactly what social networks do.

Five Aspects of Effective Networks

Check out these Five Aspects of Effective Networks from Marty Kearns.

  • Social Ties
  • Common Story
  • Dense Communication Grid
  • Shared Resources
  • Clarity of Purpose

Marty fleshes out the 5 here.

How do I learn about this stuff? Fortunately I’m married to one of the foremost experts in this field, Ruby Sinreich. She’s a network centric advocacy innovator. I owe her a lot. Ruby has a great slide show about this here. Also check out Ruby’s Network-centric reading list.

Now what I’m going to do is translate these ideas, and others, to fit within unique business environments. Some of it is semantics and other parts are cultural. I’m still WAY interested in how positive social change can be brought about with network centric advocacy. But I’m also interested in how we can raise the social responsibility of businesses by developing social networking evironments. I think a big part of this is how people interact with each other online and offline. When people are highly connected they SEE each other as real humans instead of abstract numbers. I believe this can really effect the financial bottom line of any organization.

Social Network Software for Enterprise

Ed Cone has a great article on CIO Insight called Social Networks at Work Promise Bottom-Line Results. Its really got me thinking about the adoption of social network software by companies of all sizes.

Interesting synergy that I found this. I’m consulting companies about social software right now plus I’m checking out Microsoft’s Sharepoint. Wachovia is deploying it for all its employees. Its a Windows Server addon that creates a social network for business Intranets. Its got calendars, file sharing, blogs, etc. Nothing new to the web but rather new to the insides of corporations.

This has me wondering, what enterprise level social software is out there? I’m especially interested in stuff built to run with LAMP. (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) I think Drupal + CiviCRM could be one. But I’m not sure that combo has the interface that a big business wants. It would be great for small businesses, non-profits, and other organizations. I wonder what the largest user base of any Drupal install is?

I must mention activeCollab and Basecamp. Two very useable pieces of social software that are mainly hosted solutions. While I’m at it I gota mention Salesforce. TONS of businesses are using that now. Plus it appears to have a strong API and dev community. But these have a more CRM functionality. But they could act as online social hangouts. Ruby reminds me that there is a lot of software that can be used in social ways even though it wasn’t intended to.

Right now I’m checking out a bunch of other apps like Dolphin, Grabgrass, Drupal, etc. These aren’t necessarily right for big businesses but who knows… Have any other suggestions? Big or small?

When I was a AVID editor’s assistant in LA I went to a event where the famous film editor Gabriella Cristiani was speaking. She won an Oscar in 1988 for editing the Bertolucci film The Last Emperor. She spoke about the art of editing film. Not once did she mention software. But mentioned she gave lessons in editing. At the end I asked her which editing software she used. She told me it didn’t really matter which application I used. Good editing was good editing no matter which tool you used. That advice has stuck with me. At the time I was convinced I had to be a master AVID editor to make a living.

I think this good advice about tools can be applied to social software. We can build communities and leverage the advantages of the strong connections built no matter what software tools we use. True some practical considerations come into play and effect our choices. But I plan on remembering what Ms. Cristiani said when I advise people about what to choose. Each group has unique needs. I plan on serving them in unique ways each time. We’ll build what is best for the group at that time.

7 Principles of Community Building

The social media for business blog Now is Gone has a damn cool post by Geoff Livingston called The Seven Principles of Community Building. Nice to see this codified. Bloggers live much of this by instinct. This is GREAT advice.

1) Do not try to control the message

2) Honesty, ethics and transparencies are musts

3) Participation within the community is marketing (Heuer)

4) Communication to audiences is an out-dated 20th century concept (Rosen)

5) Build value for the community

6) Inspire your community with real, exciting information, not corporate propaganda

7) Intelligently manage your media forms (RSS, frequency, etc.) to build a stronger, loyal community

Thanks to Jim Tobin at Ignite Social Media for sharing this URL.

Social Software and Multimedia Consultant for Hire

I am now available for hire to consult on the creation, care, and feeding of online communities. Plus I can create audio and video for the web. To get an idea of my professional experience you can check out my resume here and my portfolio here.

I’ve been contributing to and creating blogs for many years. I’ve also active on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr,, and Ning. I am very interested in how people can use these online tools to connect with each other. I can show you how to use social software and how to build your own.

My experience with social networks extends to physical events too. I’ve helped organize several blogging events and was the lead organizer of PodcasterCon. An unconference about many aspects of Podasting and Video blogging. It was a 300 person one day event at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Its success is due to the people who participated but also the fact we organized ourselves. This was done using social networking tools like blogs, wikis, and podcasts.

I have been shooting and editing video and film since 1989. During the early ’90s I began preparing video for the web. Much of this work is very similar in style to what is now all the rage on YouTube. You can find examples of my video on my portfolio.

In 1997 I earned a certificate in AVID Media Composer. Its the non-linear editing software and hardware used to edit feature films. This experience taught me a lot about telling stories with film and video. I have professional audio and video equipment ready to be put to work for high end web productions.

Plus I produced a podcast show called Audio Activism. This helped me hone my skills in recording and editing audio. Check out my audio archive over at Great video depends on clear audio to communicate successfully.

I’m interested in working for non-profits, businesses, and progressive political campaigns. I can help you make your own media and demonstrate how it will strengthen your mission and benefit your organization financially. But most important is communicating with customers, members, and constituents. Please contact me and I’ll help you accomplish your goals.