Am I a “Visionary?” Typealyzer thinks so…

Just checked out the blog analysis tool Typealyzer that my colleague Michele McLellan recommended. It classified me as an “ENTP: Visionary” type of blogger. And here’s what they say is going on in my head when I’m writing this blog:

Amy Gahran's brain, according to Typealyzer

Amy Gahran's brain, according to Typealyzer

Here’s what else they said about me…

Continue reading

Beat journalists: Best online tools?

Today, Milwaukee Sentinel art & architecture critic Mary Louise Schumacher put out this video call on Seesmic asking beat reporters to recommend their favorite online tools:

Beat Bloggers: Lend us your tips!

Please respond to her post!

Here’s my response, where just off the top of my head I recommend geotagging & geodata (especially for environmental reporters), Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, and social media in general:

Re: Beat Bloggers: Lend us your tips!I recommend geotagging, twitter, soc. media in gen., delicious, Flickr. And that’s just what I could think of quickly! Here’s my post on Twitter basics for journos: http://snurl.com/57ufw.

And here’s David Cohn’s

Re: Beat Bloggers: Lend us your tips!

The Stereogram Approach to Finding the Meaning of Life

Gary W. Priester (Click image to enlarge.)
Often, the first challenge in life is simply to see the target.

I really used to hate stereograms.

When they became popular in the early 1990s, they often reduced me to serious frustration and headaches. I would stare at them — glare at them, really — trying to will their embedded 3D images to leap out. Everyone else seemed to enjoy these hidden illusions with ease. But my eyes and brain stubbornly refused to do the trick.

Then one day, I realized that I was looking at a dolphin. I just glanced at the cover of a book of stereogram art, and there it was. I was delighted to discover that the image wasn’t “leaping out” at me — rather, I was “seeing into” it. I wasn’t even sure how I’d started to see the hidden picture. All of the sudden, and quietly, it just worked.

Years later, I’ve come to realize that whenever I’ve identified a key mission or purpose I should pursue, it’s emerged (very much like that dolphin) from the background of the world around me. I get a sense that some vision is waiting to be seen, and I prepare my mind to be open to it. Then eventually I see it, and it feels like I always should have seen it.

In contrast, whenever I’ve tried the top-down, primarily rational (rather than intuitive) approach to choosing a course in life, I usually end up not really wanting what I’ve been working for, or liking what I’ve done — which is frustrating and demoralizing on many levels.

I’ve been quiet on this blog lately, mostly because I’ve been spending more time conversing, research, reading, and journaling. To be honest, I’ve been searching for purpose. For a couple of years now — although I’ve been doing a lot of interesting work, meeting a lot of interesting people, and learning a lot of interesting things — privately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been flailing around, seeking direction and purpose.

Finally, I feel like the picture is starting to emerge. Here is the outline so far…
Continue reading

Rupert Howe mourns his dead Nokia N93

A post by Beth Kanter today introduced me to the work of videoblogger Rupert Howe, who recently emigrated from the UK to Canada. I checked out his videoblog, Twittervlog.tv, and saw that I’m not the only one who’s been having a passionate, torrid, heartbreaking affair with Nokia’s N-Series high-end phones.

Here’s Rupert’s moving tale of the sudden death of his N93:

Since Rupert just moved to North America (where Nokia’s service and support for its N Series phones may be slightly, um, more limited than what he’s been accustomed to in the UK), I left a comment to warn him about the situation here.

Good luck, Rupert. I hope you have better luck than I did.

Breaking Out of the Echo Chamber

OpenDemocracy, via Flickr (CC license)
What might this Malian girl and I have in common, and what might we learn from each other? How could we know if we can’t really connect?

This morning I listened to an excellent Radio Open Source interview. Host Christopher Lydon was talking to Global Voices Online founder Ethan Zuckerman and GVO managing editor Solana Larsen. I’m a huge fan of GVO and read it regularly — mainly since I enjoy hearing from people in parts of the world I generally don’t hear much about (or from) otherwise.

One of the most interesting parts of the discussion concerned how homophily shapes our individual and collective view of the world. Homophily is a fancy word for the human equivalent of “birds of a feather flock together.” That is, our tendency to associate and bond with people we have stuff in common with — language, culture, race, class, work, interests, life circumstances, etc.

Zuckerman made a profound point: Homophily makes you stupid. Which is another way of saying something my dad told me a long, long time ago:

“You’ll never learn anything if you only talk to people who already think just like you.”

Here’s what Zuckerman actually told Lydon about how homophily makes it hard for people from around the world to relate constructively…
Continue reading

Overhauling J-School Completely

Sscornelius, via Flickr (CC license)
Maybe what journalism education really needs is to start over from a new foundation.

Well, there’s been a ton of great discussion lately on the theme of what kind of education and preparation today’s journalists really need, given the changing landscape of opportunities they’re facing. (Thanks to Mindy McAdams, James Ball, Paul Canning, Andy Dickinson, eGrommet, the Ethical Martini, Innovate This, Monitorando, and José Renato Salatiel for their contributions, to the many commenters on all these posts, and to Elana Centor who started it all. Here are my recent posts on this theme.)

I’ve heard from some journalism educators that the kind of preparation I’ve proposed is far beyond what most existing j-schools could offer. I understand that.

Really, I think what may be needed is to completely re-envision and rebuild j-school with today’s realities and tomorrow’s likelihoods in mind.

Here’s what that might look like…

Continue reading

Twittercasting on AIR: Snitter & Spaz

Snitter (top) and Spaz (bottom): Two AIR-based apps for using Twitter that I’m trying out.

While I was “Twittercasting” (part of my ever-expanding online media vocabulary) the Total Community Coverage in Cyberspace seminar in Los Angeles a few days ago, I found myself repeatedly tripped up and annoyed by the Twitter.com posting interface.

As I mentioned earlier, I set up a second Twitter account (amyliveblogging) to use for live event coverage via Twitter — so as not to overwhelm my regular Twitter followers at agahran.

I learned during my most recent Twittercasting foray that when you have two Twitter accounts, the regular Twitter.com interface tends to log you out of one account and into another at random times. I’d be Twittering away on amyliveblogging, and then all of the sudden my Tweets would be posting to agahran. So I’d have to log out of Twitter and then log back in again under the correct account. Meanwhile, people following my main (agahran) account were probably puzzled by seminar-related tweets.

So this morning I finally installed Adobe AIR, a cool platform for web-enabled applications (kind of like Mac desktop widgets, but more powerful.) Then I installed two popular AIR apps for posting to Twitter: Snitter (which I’m using to post to my agahran account) and Spaz (which I’ll use for posting to amyliveblogging). I’ll post more about how I like/dislike these apps as time goes on.

However, what I’d really like would be a single application (AIR-based or otherwise) that would allow me to manage posting to multiple Twitter accounts without getting randomly logged out.

Have you seen something like that? Please comment below.