web 2.0

Sheet music album where it’s at for Beck

Remember Beck?

No? Not the Ted Danson show. That was Becker. And it sucked.

Beck. This guy.

The guy John Safran “exposed” as a scientologist (he was already well and truly known as a scientologist).

Anyway. Now that the short primer on Beck is over – he’s doing something a bit cool, he’s releasing an album. As sheet music. Through McSweeney’s – and they’ll be featuring notable user generated versions of the music.

(this is a mockup.)


This is ultra low fi. It’s lower fi than a 4 track tape release. It’s also a really nice way to tap into the music culture of the internet – in a fashion similar to Gotye’s remix of covers of his own song – harnessing user generated stuff is my favourite way to use the power of web 2.0.

Web 3.0: Why cloudsourcing is cool

Let me tell you what the latest cool thing I like to watch on the Internet is (you’re forgiven for thinking all I do is watch YouTube videos and look for dumb stuff). Crowdsourcing. Or, Cloudsourcing. The basic idea, for those who came in late, is that you have a good idea, you need funds, so you throw it out there and see if the internet will help. It works for everything from charity to book publishing, from inventing new products, to new science projects.

And it’s cool. It takes the power of social networking, and the nature of the internet, and actually applies it to something.

Here are some crowdsourcing sites that I’ve found. I’m sure there are others out there.

Kiva.org – Kiva is a microfinancing site where you can provide loans to needy entrepeneurs from around the globe. I love it. I’ve funded a few coffee farmers. You can start groups and stuff – and the Christians and Atheists are battling it out for generosity supremacy.

Santos here is a coffee farmer. He’s trying to raise $350.

Kickstarter.com – Kickstarter is a hub for funding inventors, artists, and people who are creating new products that don’t fall into those categories. Funding a project normally buys you some share in its success (ie a version of whatever it is you’re funding). Here’s an example – a project called Etchpop – which will buy a company a laser cutter to make wooden block type stamps for people. $25 will get you a wooden stamp if they get funding.

RocketHub.com – RocketHub is just like Kickstarter, only its currently running a campaign to fund science projects. This Sea Turtle conservation project looks pretty cool.

Loudsauce.com – Loudsauce is perhaps my favourite. If you’re into a cause you can chip in to having advertisements produced and aired. All their campaigns are currently funded – but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

This FairTrade soccer balls campaign looked fun.

Unbound.co.uk – Unbound is a book publisher. But not just any sort of book publisher – a classy one… at the moment you can support one of my favourite blogs, Letters of Note, as they head towards publishing a book.

Fiverr.com – Fiverr is a bit different, and I’ve linked to it before, but it is so much fun. And so cheap. You can get Mario to make you a video for $5 (here’s my version). Bargain.

Stellar Service

Link blogger Jason Kottke made a bookmarking service that feels a bit like Twitter but is better than the new Facebook (which seems to just consist of people sharing semi-lame web comics and pictures that used to belong on Tumblr – has anybody else noticed this?). Kottke’s service is called Stellar. And I’m on it. And it’s great. It’s like the web being curated by people who have taste. Or something. I’ve posted a fair bit of stuff here that I’ve found there. And you can follow my stream (the stuff I share there – by favouriting elsewhere). I think it’s at a Beta stage where you request an invite still – but my invite came about 2 hours after my request. So get on board. And let me know.

Sticky fun: Draw a Stick Man

This is the most fun I’ve had on the Internet since, well, since the last time I found a cool link. You draw a stick man. He comes to life. He fights a dragon. Good times. ‘Twould be cool to draw Trogdor and have a dragon fighting a dragon… Here’s my viking style stick man with an elongated chin.

You get prompted to give your stick figure a sword, so don’t feel like you need to include one in the beginning.

Handling 15 minutes of Internet fame

I’ve not yet become famous on the Internet. Most people become famous on the internet for either being in the right place at the right time (the Chk-Chk Boom girl, the guy who tweeted Osama’s demise), for something that is an honest mistake that grows its own legs (Jessica Dovey, the Martin Luther King quote creator), or for doing something incredibly stupid in the presence of a camera that later comes back to bite them (the Nu-Thang guy, Star Wars boy etc). Occasionally you become famous for doing something genuinely creative – and you keep that fame by continuing whatever it was you did until it starts to make you money (David Thorne (the spider drawing guy), the Autotune the News people, Justin Bieber).

Internet fame is a fickle thing. It doesn’t last long – it’s probably accelerated beyond Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes. Lets call it 15 seconds of fame. Those in the throes of such fame are behoven to make as much of the opportunity as they can – whatever category they fall into from the list above. It probably won’t ever happen again. The internet is vast. There has been an interesting, and vaguely consistent, realisation that this is the case in a few interviews I’ve read with people experiencing such fame (or infamy)…

Here’s what the Nu-Thang guy had to say about his newfound fame:

“All the Twitter followers, Facebook friend requests and YouTube friend requests have really exploded. You really have to guard your personal information and make sure that people can’t get a hold of it. I’m a little extra cautious being an attorney and all, but besides being safe, just enjoy the ride. I’m right in the middle of it and I’m excited to see where it goes!”

People are following him on Twitter. How long will that last? I’d say not long. If he’s not ridiculously entertaining.

Jessica Dovey, who launced the fake MLK quote, told the Atlantic all about the experience.

“I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner and I couldn’t even really talk about it. I couldn’t even say, “Something I said went viral on the Internet today.” You can’t really just talk about it. Then I was in a hostel in Tokyo and I heard people talking about it behind me. I couldn’t just turn around and say, “Hey guys, that’s me.” … It just doesn’t matter that it was me. I didn’t expect or invite this. I don’t mind it, I guess. It’s positive and good and if I had to have 15 minutes of fame by some means, then I couldn’t have picked anything better.”

There’s something nice, and a little non-mercenary about these guys and the way they’ve humbly dealt with the fame. Sohaib Athar is the man who tweeted the raid on Bin Laden’s compound, without realising it… He also seems a little circumspect about his fame.

“Athar downplayed his role in the event: “I am JUST a tweeter, awake at the time of the crash,” he wrote. “Not many twitter users in Abbottabad, these guys are more into facebook. That’s all.” Just another case of being in the right place at the right time — or the wrong place at the wrong time.”

There’s something refreshing about this when you draw a contrast between these guys and ever contestant on every “look-at-me” reality TV show in the world, being unprepared for, or not looking for, internet notoriety seems to be the key to getting through it unscathed or with your reputation enhanced.

Can you think of any famous internet people whose fame has lasted beyond 15 seconds? Judging by how much I sing the “Friday” song these days, Rebecca Black has left some sort of scar/impact on the international psyche.

A collection of web 2.0 bits and bobs…

Mikey posted a bunch of reflections on the web and ministry the other day in a stream of consciousness bullet point diatribe. They’re tips that are worth reading – and a good perspective from somebody who is in ministry and thinking about how technology can be used as a platform for the gospel and for building relationships.

Blogs are definitely different now Part 1

Blogs are definitely changing now Part 2

Blogs are definitely changing Part 3

Blogs are definitely changing Part 4

Blogs are definitely changing Part 5

Once you’ve finished reading those and you’re all depressed about the internet and stuff…

I’ve recently started using Twitter heaps more. It seemed all I needed was a better app on my iPhone and the new Mac app. You can follow me @nm_campbell if you like. Let me know if you’re a Twit too.

I’m also getting close to having 100 fans on Facebook. Which is cool. I’ve started using that Facebook page to share links that I maybe once upon a time would have posted here (and possibly eventually will). These links appear on the top right of the blog proper, so if you’re a feed reader I suggest you join the masses and “like” St. Eutychus.

If you are a feed reader you might have noticed a bunch of new links on the bottom of feed items – these come courtesy of feedburner – you can now click a few different links to share stuff you like where you like. Isn’t that exciting. I like it when people share the stuff I’ve found. It somehow legitimises the time I waste on the Internet. So please do it.

And, I’ve installed a theme that I paid for (called Standard Theme) on my coffee blog and Venn Theology. I’m trying to decide whether or not to install it here too. Check them out. Especially my coffee blog – thebeanstalker.com. I’m pretty happy with it.

That is all.

How to produce a social media strategy

Every social media strategy I’ve ever read has been filled with weaselly buzzwords trying to capture the essence of online culture. Most of them sound a little like they’re written by a forty year old, with a business degree, who never really grew up.

If you’re not a forty year old, with a business degree, who never really grew up but would like to sound like one you can use this social media strategy generator (that has a very rude name). I’m not endorsing the name. Or the language. But the content will help you shape your organisation’s online presence for years to come. If you hit the “I’ve already *^#$%^& used that one” link you’ll get a new suggestion.

Here’s my new strategy.

“Ignite the existing community and attract new members by amplifying the experience with relevant and engaging content “

I think that means I need to write good posts in order to get more readers. And I need to encourage my readers to tell other readers. Have you told other readers. Please do.

Mission accomplished.

How to not be bad at the Internet

Andrew posted this helpful list of tips for being a good citizen of the Web 2.0 world from Jaron Lanier. Read them. Follow them. Unless you’re just using Twitter purposefully as a vessel for self promotion.

The problem with Web 2.0 is that the signal to noise ratio is skewed because it’s so easy to take part. It’s too easy to take part. This goes a long way to explaining the problem with more than 90% of the status updates that clutter up Facebook. Here’s the list:

  • Don’t post anonymously unless you really might be in danger.
  • If you put effort into Wikipedia articles, put even more effort into using your personal voice and expression outside of the wiki to help attract people who don’t yet realise that they are interested in the topics you contributed to.
  • Create a website that expresses something about who you are that won’t fit into the template available to you on a social networking site.
  • Post a video once in a while that took you one hundred times more time to create than it takes to view.
  • Write a blog post that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that needed to come out.
  • If you are Twittering, innovate in order to find a way to describe your internal state instead of trivial external events, to avoid the creeping danger of believing that objectively described events define you, as they would define a machine.

How online content works

I’d love to be at the top of this pyramid. But generally sit somewhere between the second and 4th.

It’s ironic that in creating this diagram the author no doubt fell victim to those at the bottom of the pile. Read the original post for a description of the types of people operating online.

This is the author’s description of the “Aggregator” which aptly describes both himself and myself…

The third tier are people with an interest in a subject but with no real insight of their own. The kind of people who retweet the aggregators or make a list of “10 Great Resources” from stuff they’ve read in the papers that week. You’re looking at the kind of content that is read just by a small circle of people.

I class my own blog in that kind of sphere – I could probably give you the names of 50% of my daily visitors and I don’t really write anything of consequence there. But! The people who come there have a laugh and remember it. There are a lot of these blogs out there, and they touch each other in unexpected ways. You might not get relevant links from a site like this, but the ripples can spread quite widely. These people are probably also susceptible to a little flattery or cash

This is a similar idea, in many ways, to the “five types of blogger” I came up with last year.

My five favourite posts about living in web 2.0 land in 2009

Web 2.0 stuff occupies my thoughts both professionally and personally. Here are six posts (or series) from this year that I thought were vaguely useful for understanding the world of social media…

  1. My top five tips for blogging (all the posts in full)
  2. My “essay” on where you should put stuff online
  3. A list of “new rules” for the web
  4. Some posts about behaviour around the web – how to lose friends and alienate bloggers, how not to lose friends and alienate bloggers, an exploration of the nature of blogging
  5. A look at the “five types of bloggers“.
  6. A look at oversharing in your status updates – for Christians and for everybody

A place for everything

Lifehack.org had this great chart for communicating with people – and the best way to do it.

Sadly, it didn’t deal with social networks and what the appropriate vehicle is for meeting your communications goals.

One of the common themes pursued by parents in this whole debate is that they feel the need to vent, the need to celebrate their experiences and a forum for support.

Someone needs to do up a similar flow chart for how, when, and where, you should communicate this sort of stuff and meet these important needs.

So, in order to extracate myself from a sticky situation where I offended mothers and questioned their self worth, I will give you my following solutions to this problem that will hopefully offer a middle ground…

Here are my professional (possibly not expert) opinions of the appropriate contexts for discussions – and I’ll use parenting as an example because it’s timely. And if I don’t you’ll suspect I’m talking about it anyway.


Twitter is a microblogging service and has evolved as a source of "as it happens" information about major events. You may have heard of it. The mainstream media is flogging it hoping it’ll become a dead horse – because they’re worried about its potential to take the place of newspapers.

It’s strength is that it’s real time – and you can follow just about anybody. It’s much less private than Facebook. It’s also designed to be updated much more frequently than Facebook statuses appear to be. I suggest that parents wanting quick feedback on decisions, or wanting to brag about their offspring’s achievements should do so via Twitter.


If you want to share photos – and you want to control exactly who gets to them – the best way to do that is using a dedicated photography site. You’ve got more control and better default privacy settings. You can then invite specific people to have a look at your family photos rather than sharing them with your colleagues, school friends and the rest of the world who you might have "friended" elsewhere.

A lot of parents I know are protective of their childrens privacy – and I think this is a good thing. Heaven forbid your child grow up having some parental musing as their top search result on google.


YouTube has the same benefits as the photo sharing services – you can share your videos with close friends or the world – and spare acquaintences from the pain and suffering that comes from curious voyeurism. That’s what most people use Facebook for. To spy. I’ll watch your videos and look at your photos just because I want to know more than I should about you, advertisers will do it so they can figure out what best to sell you, other people will do it for more nefarious purposes.


There are heaps of bookmarking sites out there that let you share bookmarks with relevant keywords – you can also look up what other people have tagged using those words. And save interesting articles to share with your friends.

I’m sure there are plenty of great parenting resources out there and if you want to share tips and tricks, and expert opinions this is a good way to do it. That way I (a non parent) don’t have to be notified by you every time you find an article you’d like to share with half of your friends.


Communication works best when it’s "opt in" or permission driven. If you want people to listen to what you have to say, don’t do it to a captive audience, build an audience by being useful and informative.

I may be your friend on Facebook because I want to occasionally invite you to social functions – and lets face it, parents complain about being out of the social loop, I may be your friend because we are part of the same organisation… generally your Facebook friends aren’t only your closest friends. So don’t treat them like they are.

I might be biased – but I think the best forum for sharing your opinion in an opt in manner is on a blog. People have to make a decision to visit it, to come back, or to subscribe. It’s easier not to go back to an annoying blog than it is to unfriend someone you know but don’t want to hear from. And much less socially perilous.

Forums and user groups

If you’re looking for support with specific problems related to parenting why not join a forum. Forums are great. They’re the best way to get assistance from the "hive mind". They’re completely opt in. They’re a community. And there are forums for just about everything – and if you can’t find one they’re pretty easy to start.

You can also share all your milestones with people who will share your joy.


Most of the reasons people give for sharing stuff on Facebook (relatively public) could be done via a targeted group email (relatively private). If you’re friends with someone on Facebook you have their email address. Be polite. Email the people you want to share your information with.


I’ve left Facebook to last (and MySpace off the list entirely) because I think it dabbles too much in the areas better covered by tools specifically designed for specific purposes. Unless you want to set up privacy settings and sharing settings you’re broadcasting everything to either your entire friends list (or the world) and relying on them to filter it.

Facebook is widely abused. Some people should have lisences revoked for anti-social behaviour.

Having said that, Every one of these previously mentioned tools can be achieved using Facebook – it’s powerful. It’s a great platform for sharing photos, video, bookmarks, and opinions, and for conducting forums, advertising events and soliciting feedback and advice. It’s also a pretty functional email platform.

But with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re going to use it for all of these purposes – Be a good citizen of the online world. Use it appropriately.

  1. Protect your photos.
  2. Set up groups for discussions about parenting where you can overshare to your heart’s content.
  3. Set up events and invite only the people you’d like to attend.
  4. Don’t spam people with needless applications.
  5. Don’t have private conversations on people’s walls.
  6. Use the "email" capacity of Facebook to keep things private.
  7. Don’t send unsolicited promotional stuff to people about your courses and stuff.
  8. By all means use your status to invite people to peruse your blog, your business website, your business Facebook page, etc, but do so sparingly. Once every ten minutes is too much.

If you’re aiming to be a functional participant in the web 2.0 world you need to remember the golden rule of opt in. Don’t make everybody suffer through every piece of information you feel like sharing – if they like you enough they’ll do that. Give them the option – don’t force feed them. It’s just basic manners.

New Rules

Wired has a great little feature called New Rules for the Highly Evolved – it features contributions from Brad Pitt.

It’s a feature providing all sorts of tips for how to use social technology in a socially acceptable way. I’m sure there are some rules that I’m breaking. But here are my favourites.

There’s this graph on when it’s appropriate to reveal TV spoilers…

And these great little articles (there are more that I wasn’t really enamoured by…

  1. Don’t blog or tweet anything with more than half a million hits – I’m probably guilty as charged, though I see my blog as a repository of things I’ve found on the internet and while I care deeply about you, dear reader, I’m not worried if you’ve seen stuff before.

    “The things we forward, tweet, or post send a message about who we are,” Berger says. “And you don’t want the message to be that you’re behind the curve.”

  2. Delete stuff you don’t want on your wall from your online profiles – While I’m all for freedom of speech the thing that annoys me most (almost) is being misrepresented. I do enough damage to my personal branding on my own, without people sabotaging it.
    An example: people using my phone to send stupid SMS’s to girls I was interested in.
    You’re judged as much by your associations as by your actions so take heed of this advice:

    The only way out is to police your wall, even if that’s awkward. Don’t be shy about deleting untoward graffiti, eliminating your name from tagged photos, or even asking friends to remove incriminating pics that weren’t meant for public consumption. “You might damage a friendship,” Donath says, “but that’s one of the costs of the collapse of social circles.” Then again, you could migrate to MySpace. Nobody pays attention to anything written there.

  3. And lastly, the great social conundrum of our time – knowing which ringtone to choose – that won’t ever be a problem again thanks to this handy flow chart.

Feeding the masses

Wow. Today I have 43 feed subscribers. This number fluctuates pretty dramatically.

If you’re not a subscriber then maybe you should be if you don’t have a feed reader – try Google Reader on for size.

If you are a feed reader then maybe you should stop by the actual page sometime to see what’s happening in the comments.

Anyway, these are largely irrelevant observations tangential to the main purpose of this particular post.

I’m trying out FriendFeed today – it’s a social networking aggregator/platform/rival to Facebook or Twitter. It looks fun so far. It’s like Facebook without the bloat and Twitter with more content.

Is anyone else on it already? If you’re not and you want to see what FriendFeed looks like in action – here’s my page.

If you’re not it’s worth checking out – so far it’s got 57 sites that it appears to integrate with pretty seemlessly – and you can pull any custom RSS data into it too.

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