Using YouTube to recruit for jobs

October 24, 2007 at 7:38 am | In architecture, business, innovation, social_networking | Comments Off on Using YouTube to recruit for jobs

Here’s another way that new platforms — in this case YouTube — are affecting more traditional businesses (in this case personnel search firms) and the venues for information they relied on in the past:

YouTube – Seeking Project Architect (Midwestern U.S.)

It’s a relatively boring, straightforward read of a job description for an architect, the visual consisting of digitally-generated fly-overs (and fly-throughs) of a hospital project.

But it represents an innovative, even stealthy, way of getting the job posting out to millions of people, globally, practically for free. Headhunters, take note.

(found via

Social networking, version 2.0?

July 31, 2007 at 10:58 pm | In guerilla_politics, links, resources, social_networking, virtually | 2 Comments

Something to explore in greater depth over the coming days: via Cool Hunting, a post by Tim Yu about Social Networking for a Cause. Yu writes:

From corporate-sponsored “Cool Apps” to niche spin-offs like Bakespace, Virb and I’m In Like With You, online communities are still largely about socializing and/or wasting time. Their potential as powerful tools for the greater good—beyond finding out where the party’s at—has been largely untapped, but we managed to find a few. The following are some of the latest and best sites where social networking meets social change.

Yikes, I’ve never even heard of Bakespace, Virb, or I’m In Like With You. After these references to “communities” that are “still largely about socializing and/or wasting time” (um, that sounds familiar…), Yu goes on to list additional sites I’ve also never heard of, but which have a “networking for a cause” spin:

  • Friction TV, described as “a YouTube for social activists, it features largely uncensored content aiming to exercise freedom of speech and catalyze online debate in a social forum”…
  • Nabuur, which “connect(s) experts to people seeking advice from all over the world. From construction workers to math teachers and MBAs, online volunteers from different continents help individuals develop business ideas and finish projects. Projects like building schools and health clinics get a boost from direct assistance via the internet.”
  • HumaniNet: helps solve humanitarian & social problems by sharing GIS “to better map rural locations in need of relief. By sharing GIS developments online, experts and users can implement the latest technologies, which makes getting around uncharted territories to reach people in need a whole lot easier.”
  • Get Miro, an “open-source software for online video. Like Firefox, Miro is developed by a nonprofit organization and driven by the social mission to make it easy for anyone to subscribe and view free internet video on any topic.”
  • H.E.L.P., stands for “Humanitarian Emergency Logistics & Preparedness”; this is “a telemedicine-based online community of physicians and financial donors bringing advanced medical assistance to disaster zones and areas of humanitarian need around the world.”
  • Kiva, which builds on “Muhammad Yunus’ Nobel prize-winning efforts at pioneering a new category of banking known as micro-loans”; Kiva “connects the world’s poorer populations looking to develop unique business ideas to people with disposable incomes while providing a transparent lending platform. Donate as little as $25 dollars to help start a business or simply buy a goat and get repaid.”
  • MAPLight: “highlight(s) the connection between money and politics as a way to promote reform”; by linking campaign contributions and votes, it creates transparency “so that journalists and citizens can hold legislators accountable, customized widgets further enhance functions and research on any issue.”
  • and of course Freecycle (the last one — and only one I had actually heard of before): a “cyber curbside” where you can recycle your stuff and create an online gift economy.

Lots to explore here… My cynical/overly-critical side wonders whether the flip side of obsessive narcissism (exemplified by the old style “social networking” sites) might be the guilt trip (“Do good! Now!”).

Of course, at the end of the day does it matter, if something good did indeed come out of it all?

Social class on social networks: and style?

June 27, 2007 at 10:33 pm | In danah_boyd, facebook, health, ideas, MySpace, social_critique, social_networking, web | 7 Comments

danah boyd has a new article out called Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace, which everybody seems to be reading (and, looking at her blog, commenting on — two hundred comments and counting…) Basic thesis: facebook attracts more upwardly mobile college-bound types, while MySpace attracts non-college-bound, possibly declasse or lower-class or outcast-type kids.

I’m curious to know whether the design was the egg or the chicken here: I confess that MySpace pages look cluttered and messy to me, and I get weirded out by the fact that all sorts of applications (sound, video, music, whatever) start up when I click through to some pages. In other words, I have to let MySpace roll all over me, and that pisses me off (well, not really, but I’m like, Hey, can you let me decide when I want to hear your stupid music or see your movie?). I want my eyes to control everything first, and then I push the buttons (mouse & click the links), not lie there and think of England while some MySpaceling has its way with me.

So, does the style attract people who violate “nice” rules about tidy spaces and imaginary “protocol,” or is the style a result of people using MySpace in a really trashy way? Can the technology even have that sort of malleability? That sort of ability to respond? I don’t think so, which means that from where I’m sitting, MySpace design or style is “trashy” and non-eye-centered (non-controlling) first, and that therefore it attracts the more anarchic among us.

(I am exaggerating slightly when I describe myself as such a control freak in the above paragraph. Slightly. A bit.)

Tolerance for overflowing sensation, an ability to “live” with many people, in a tribe, vs in a more distilled fashion: I think that factors into things, too. Is it a class issue? Possibly, but there’re always exceptions to the rule. From boyd’s essay:

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school.

Right here there’s a snag: this passage describes me pretty much to a “t” (except for the Latina/Hispanic part, although I was an immigrant). My parents didn’t go to college, thought it would be a waste of time for me to go, were surprised I bothered finishing high school — which I barely did, a year and a bit “early,” too often too stoned to know what was going on, but desperate to get out so I could get a job — waitressing, incidentally — and make enough money to move away from home. I purposely skipped my high school graduation, because you wouldn’t have caught me dead trying to be pretty and stupid in a prom dress or sucking up to some old fart handing out diplomas. (I even skipped my B.A. graduation at UBC, and the M.A., and when I finally did go to one of my graduations — the Ph.D. ceremony at Harvard — I grinned at the Dean handing me my sheepskin, but I had the worst migraine in the world: I was smiling through pain, lots of it… Analyze that!)

Would I have gravitated to MySpace then, had it been around?

I don’t think so. I think one of my problems was stimuli overload (which explains the self-medication with drugs), and it was important for me to get enough control over my environment so that I could shut things out because it was difficult for me to handle the intensity of sensation I experienced. Experience. To this day, I find it crushing to be with people all day long: it’s too much. I vant to be alone is the rallying cry not just of Swedish actresses. Too much to observe, to pay attention to, to modulate, choreograph, perform, and respond to: after a day with lots of people, I’m exhausted. MySpace is an onslaught of entire rooms-full of people talking all at once, like a bad high school day times 10. In comparison, I guess Facebook is like meeting over coffee. Mocha vanilla latte, frapped. Maybe that’s our class structure today.

Yoo-hoo! Mark Zuckerberg, can you see my face(book)?

June 23, 2007 at 1:03 am | In facebook, mark_zuckerberg, media, social_networking, victoria, web | 2 Comments

I registered my Facebook account on September 8, 2006, admittedly spurred by the fact that it was developed by a smart young guy at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg. (Ok, so by September 2006 Mark had long dropped out of Harvard! Nonetheless, that old school loyalty worked its magic…)

I was part of the “Harvard network,” but I wanted to join my regional network, too. Well, guess what? It doesn’t exist, according to Facebook. Facebook — Mark?, Mark?, can you hear me?? — thinks that we in Victoria (the capital city of British Columbia) on Vancouver Island (a distinct, separate-from-the-continent geologic fact and entity — belong to a network called…”Vancouver, BC.” This is an insult, not to mention a grave, grievous error.

Mark, Mark, Mark: where did we go wrong with you at Harvard, my dear boy?? Sweetie, we realize you’re just a drop-out, but we can overcome this if we work together, ‘k? It’s not too late…

First thing you must do is GET AN ATLAS. Get a map. I believe there’s a nifty application called around. Type in V8V4J4. That’s my postal code (yes, postal code — we don’t zip in Canada, we go quietly postal…). Note the location! Please note that we are a capital city. (Well, not me personally, not even in the majestatis pluralis, but “we,” the city of Victoria.) We’re a distinct metropolitan centre, located on a large (very large) island. Our city actually lies below the 49th parallel. We’re practically breathing down your neck!

Mark, according to FastCompany, you took art history classes! Darling, that’s where you and I have a bond, don’t you see? I took my PhD in art history at Harvard, and you … well, you dropped out of Harvard’s art history classes — but not before having that key epiphany that only a high-pressure art history course can deliver. I quote from FastCompany:

…by the end of the first semester, with just two days to go before his art-history final, [Mark Zuckerberg] was in a serious jam: He needed to be able to discuss 500 images from the Augustan period. “This isn’t the kind of thing where you can just go in and figure out how to do it, like calculus or math,” he says, without a trace of irony. “You actually have to learn these things ahead of time.” So he pulled a Tom Sawyer: He built a Web site with one image per page and a place for comments. Then he emailed members of his class and invited them to share their notes, like a study group on cybersteroids. “Within two hours, all the images were populated with notes,” he says. “I did very well in that class. We all did.”

Ok, now that a bona fide WEB ENTREPRENEUR has admitted that art history can be more complex to deal with than math and calculus (which “you can just go in and figure out how to do”), I can die happy.


Maybe, that is, if Mark Zuckerberg relents and satisfies the demand of nearly 4,200 members who joined Petition for a Victoria BC network.

Mark! Mark Zuckerberg! Fellow Harvard art history student! How can you ignore this?

Why, even our dead-dog mainstream media has awoken and taken an interest (and believe me, bubbe, it takes a lot to get them to sit up and take notice): from today’s local paper, According to Facebook, the Island doesn’t exist. Mark!, Mark — these people normally don’t notice that their own backsides don’t exist, yet they have registered that you, my fellow Harvard art history colleague, have failed to register our existence. Mark!, Mark — can this go on???

As the art-history-bereft local media point out, “More than 11,000 Islanders have joined a petition group urging Facebook to create a Vancouver Island ‘network’ that would unite them with a specific online identity.”

Mark!, Mark — listen! That journalist is talking about 11,000 people on Vancouver Island who don’t have a Vancouver Island network! I refer you again to — I bet you’ve heard of it, now that you’re out of upstate New York and Massachusetts, and living in California. Hey, I bet you even get to hang out with Sergei and Larry! So look, Mark: Vancouver Island is pretty big — not too dense (sometimes stupid, maybe, but not dense in population terms) — but that makes 11,000 members even more remarkable. The other thing you gotta grok is that Victoria, the city that hangs on the south-eastern coast of said island, is the capital of British Columbia. Dude, I have a friend in the Olympia, WA network! It’s seriously crazy to give Olympia its own network (given its relation to Seattle), but deny Victoria its own in relation to Vancouver.

So Mark, listen up: we are not face-less and we want Facebook to recognize our network — because in terms of social capital, that’s networth.


October 1, 2006 at 11:11 pm | In social_networking, web | 2 Comments

I decided to renew my “paid” account at flickr again. Now all my old photos are back, and I uploaded some new ones. It was geotagging that snared me in again…! And flickr is really useful for some new projects I’m working on…

But I’m still “badge-challenged.” Hence just a little truncated version:

Yule's photos Yule’s photos

Remember “Epic”?

September 2, 2006 at 2:04 am | In media, social_networking | 2 Comments

Some years ago, Dean Landsman sent an email to Entropy Gradient Reversal subscribers (a list I was actually deleted from a while back — I’ll have you know this takes some doing…), the gist of which had been to point us to an amazing flash movie called Epic 2014 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson, with music by Aaron McLeran. (If you are one of the terminally unhip people who haven’t seen this masterpiece, hie thee to the above link and click on through to watch the movie!) (Note: there’s an updated Epic 2015 version available on the above page, too.)

Well, as I said, a couple of years have gone by the by since then, but in the past week, several MIT Technology Review articles refocussed the “googlezon” vision in real time. Consider, for example, this story, Googling Your TV (published 8/24/06):

Google probably already knows what search terms you use, what Web pages you’re viewing, and what you write about in your e-mail — after all, that’s how it serves up the text ads targeted to the Web content on your screen.

Pretty soon, Google may also know what TV programs you watch — and could use that information to send you more advertising, leavened with information pertinent to a show.

A system recently outlined by researchers at Google amounts to personalized TV without the fancy set-top equipment required by previous (and failed) attempts at interactive television. Their prototype software, detailed in a conference presentation in Europe last June, uses a computer’s built-in microphone to listen to the sounds in a room. It then filters each five-second snippet of sound to pick out audio from a TV, reduces the snippet to a digital “fingerprint,” searches an Internet server for a matching fingerprint from a pre-recorded show, and, if it finds a match, displays ads, chat rooms, or other information related to that snippet on the user’s computer.

Next we learn that google is partnering with eBay to “crack the services market,” as this article, Need a nanny? Local plumber? Google, eBay try to crack services market with new deal elaborates. What is so bizzare is that the involvement of giants such as google and eBay might actually “help” locally owned small businesses, which begs the question, What’s not to like? And that, dear friends, was exactly the sly point of Epic 2014‘s allusive Orwellianism…

The deal could make it easier for local merchants to compete against ”category killers” such as Home Depot Inc., Lowe’s Cos. and other dominant retailers. Eventually, eBay users could rank local merchants as part of its popular feedback system.

”It may turn out that the small companies are more responsive than the big companies. They get great reviews and rise to the top,” said Roger L. Kay, president of research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc. ”For consumers and merchants, it’s unmitigated good.”

Well, you just have to watch Epic 2014 to get a real and all-encompassing sense of what this sort of unreal yet all-encompassing technology could mean.

Meanwhile, “Kill your TV” takes on a whole added meaning…

“My” celebrity collage…

August 30, 2006 at 8:20 pm | In fashionable_life, social_networking | 4 Comments

Lately, in every photo, I look like …well, some sort of really tired person, which hasn’t done a heck of a lot to make me feel better (or less tired). It’s this blasted thing called middle age, I guess, and I’m beginning to gather that all the droning hype that you’re not getting older, you’re getting better is just that: hype, designed to effect a mass-hypnosis of us baby-boomers. Like this:

Repeat after me: you are sleepy, and your eyes are getting heavier, and you will believe every single bit of drivel I will tell you. You will not notice that your face is falling to the floor, having abandoned itself utterly and completely to gravity. You will be an airhead, so that the vacuum created in the space between your ears has the effect of sucking all that sagging flesh back onto what remains of your cheekbones, proboscis, and skull…

Gee, is that too harsh? Bwahaha, but there’s always Web 2.0 revenge, isn’t there? For example, check out My Heritage, a seemingly cool and useful site designed for genealogy buffs. They offer a fun option where you upload a photo, run it through a face recognition program, and have it come up with a “celebrity collage” of supposed matches. I say “supposed,” because I sure as heck can’t believe who I’m supposed to resemble. (See below.) My husband got Al Pacino and Ehud Olmert as matches. The program refused to recognise my daughter’s face, but my son’s photo matched with male pin-up types I’ve never heard of, and with Raquel Welch. Hey ho.

So here’s my collage… followed by one based on a different photo of yours truly. It just keeps getting better, don’t it? Ah, the hypnosis is kicking in, I feel all warm and fuzzy already… Oh, but wait: I have to add a third collage, undoubtedly the best of the lot. This time I get a 72% match with …Bing Crosby!! Wheee! Wheee? What am I thinking??

“Windy place(s)” in cyberspace(s)

August 25, 2006 at 5:42 pm | In social_networking, wiki_victoria | 8 Comments

I started a private blog recently, which doesn’t exactly account for my absence(s) here, but it means that I now have three virtual spaces that I can neglect: this blog, my new one, and my wiki. Sigh.

“Sigh” — sounds almost like wind, doesn’t it? Well, I did finally get around to putting a new item on my Victoria City Style Council wiki, although it’s an anomaly since it concerns a development outside the boundary of downtown, which circumscribes my usual area of interest. I included this project, however, because it’s in my neighbourhood, Rockland. My commentary (strictly my own opinion) is on the wiki page called Schuhuum — 1322 Rockland Avenue. (“Schuhuum” supposedly means “windy place.”) The piece was sparked after I attended yet another city council meeting during which the project came up, and I started to think about the problem (and the fabulous opportunity) of dealing with what is in my opinion a dreary piece of “heritage” or traditional architecture that desperately needs a modern complement to make it wake up to life again. But I also realise that my opinion is of the “if pigs could fly” variety: i.e., dream on, and …sigh.

Still to do on the wiki: add more “letters to the editor.” Add some photographs, too.

My camera and current computer set-up are speaking to each other again, so this should now be possible. But then again, it’s also the case that my camera just this moment died — I hope it’s only the battery, although the camera usually tells me if that’s running low. Instead, it simply shut itself off. It did this right after I took some shots of an old sheep, which I intended to post to my private blog’s “about” page. Perhaps the old beast (the sheep, not the camera) is so beat-up and destroyed that its sheer decrepitude broke the camera. It’s not every day, after all, that one shoots a nearly 50-year old lamb (no worries, it’s stuffed, but it’s nonetheless quite dilapidated…). It has led a distributed existence quite different from the kind one might now associate with that concept, although its life, too, has been entirely virtual. My anti-vivisectionist stance forbids that I dissect my virtually alive lamb to find out what its stuffing is made of, and (as that famous 19th century anatomist, Rudolf Virchow, already noted apropos of corpses), I might dissect its corpse, but will likely not find its soul. (Virchow is alleged to have said, “I have dissected many corpses, but never yet discovered a soul in any of them,” a comment considered unspeakably “philistine” and materialist by the “soulfully” geist-oriented abstractionist Vassily Kandinsky.)

Well, to each his own. But with my virtually alive sheep I can at least be fairly certain that its stuffing is animated by nothing but my memories, experiences, and emotions. With other distributed experiences (including perhaps myself), I certainly have lost that …certainty. It’s entirely possible that we’re the stuffies now, filled with the “souls” of all the virtual experiences we randomly encounter and even go out of our way deliberately to create ourselves… Technology is my virtual exoskeleton, and the soul of the new machine is us.

Helpful synchronicities

July 24, 2006 at 7:04 pm | In social_networking | 4 Comments

Yesterday I came across an MIT Technology Review article, The Internet Is Your Next Hard Drive by Wade Roush. Its subtitle is, “New Web-based services don’t just store your data online — they keep it synchronized across your laptop, desktop, and mobile phone.” Given how many bits of me are threatening to walk off my brain to take up permanent residency somewhere else, this naturally caught my attention.

Roush always does an excellent job pulling useful bits of information together, and so I found myself clicking through on his links. I signed up on SharpCast as a result, but haven’t yet done the download/install, nor even begun to think about how I might get my camera, which still thinks it’s married to my iBook, to “talk” to the old Windows laptop I currently use… Well, that light, too, will dawn.

But Roush’s blog actually pointed me to some other issues, which were quite rivetting. First, I read Roush’s link to Thomas Vander Wal, who wrote something about personal infoclouds, which in turn led me to read Edward Vielmetti’s blog entry, neighborhoods, networks, communities, online+offline. Both of these bloggers are talking about web-2.0 apps that probably don’t quite exist yet, but which would clearly be useful: social networking or “community” applications that combine the power of virtual contact with the specificity of local interests.

As Vielmetti puts it:

There’s a whole range of books and thinking about virtual communities, focusing on how you construct a system online to build community, strengthen ties between people, welcome newcomers and recognize leaders, etc. I’ve most recently been reading Amy Jo Kim’s book on the topic, but there’s a lot of others, and you can’t help but seeing the word “community” in any book about online conversation software.

In some parallel universe, there are books and thinking and writing about neighborhoods, new urbanism, the power of being local, and other ways to connect up with people who are within a few hundred feet or a few miles of you. I have Superbia! (on “new suburbanism”) on hold at the library now, for instance, which talks about tearing down fences in your neighborhood and holding potlucks.

In personal experience there is a lot more of a tie between these two topics than has been satisfactorily explored, and I’m casting about for someone who has done a good job. A lot of the older online community books never even acknowledge that people might see each other in person, let alone organize their days and years around periodic meetings. The local community stuff generally doesn’t get much farther than suggesting a mailing list and doesn’t tend to incorporate much in the way of nuance in mixed online/offline community.

What’s so fascinating (for me, right now) is that to an extent, a mixed online/offline community (as Vielmetti calls it) is already happening in Victoria, through a forum focussed on new development projects in the city. It has allowed people to get informed and keep informed virtually, bypassing the filter that lets parsed bits by the local media through. The internet has let people get involved in real life, in other words. Even my lowly wiki has generated some participation by local people (who I haven’t knowingly met, too).
But there’s so much to absorb, to read… The InfoCloud post includes a sidebar, with recommended reading. So I click through to Amazon to learn more about Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing, which is described thus:

Digital Ground is an architect’s response to the design challenge posed by pervasive computing. One century into the electronic age, people have become accustomed to interacting indirectly, mediated through networks. But now as digital technology becomes invisibly embedded in everyday things, even more activities become mediated, and networks extend rather than replace architecture. The young field of interaction design reflects not only how people deal with machine interfaces but also how people deal with each other in situations where interactivity has become ambient. It shifts previously utilitarian digital design concerns to a cultural level, adding notions of premise, appropriateness, and appreciation.

So much knowledge, so many insights to absorb… Naturally, Amazon in turn recommends other books of related interest, and so on and so forth.

Meanwhile, as per a comment on Vielmetti’s blog, you can check out the work of Toronto’s NetLab, or read their paper (a PDF), Neighboring in Netville, which asks “what is the internet doing to local community?” Their findings? “Survey and ethnographic data from a ‘wired suburb’ near Toronto shows that high-speed, always-on access to the Internet, coupled with a local online discussion group, transforms and enhances neighboring. The Internet especially supports increased contact with weaker ties. (…) Not only did the Internet support neighboring, it also facilitated discussion and mobilization around local issues.” Ok, I didn’t know that “neighboring” was now an acceptable verb (“Hi, wanna neighbour?” …hmmmm), but personal experience has certainly borne out UofT’s conclusions.

Clearly, though, the complexities of online life (everytime I think I can close one of my browser’s tabs, I find something else I want to follow, and so stay enwebbed, unable to clear the clutter from my screen) mandate that some savvy new tools come along to “manage” the added complexity of mixed online/offline life.

I know I can’t continue to leave this task to my dog, who, in deciding which route we take for our “walkies,” determines whether or not we may or may not run into someone, offline, from the online world. And if we don’t see anyone offline, there’s always the “dogs offleash” park, before the soft glow of the computer screen calls me back home, to the online neighbourhoods…

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