Talking with Nokia About US Service/Repair Problems (Finally!)

Gdugardier, via YouTube
Charlie Schick, the guy from Nokia USA who just reached out to me about my N95 nightmare.

This morning, I was pleased and relieved to see that a representative of Nokia USA, Charlie Schick, left a constructive comment on my most recent post about my recent N95 fiasco. I’m glad to see that at least someone in that company is savvy about talking over problems and finding solutions through public conversation.

Actually, I’d heard of Charlie just yesterday, before he left that comment. According to Mobile Jones, he’s Nokia’s “social media expert” who ran the company’s blogger outreach program. Also, blogger and N95 user Jenifer Hanen mentioned him in her comments yesterday.

Coincidentally, sometime today Nokia is going to launch a new blog, Nokia Conversations (that link isn’t live just yet, keep trying). Mobile Jones reported that this blog will “highlight the developments inside the world’s largest device manufacturer, and new entrant into mobile content and services that the 60,000 employee company represents. Some of those 60K employees are also introduced along with their accomplishments and new products. Comments are welcomed.”

In this interview, Nokia’s head of social media, Mark Squires (I gather he’s Charlie’s boss), told Mobile Jones that “The idea is to give people who use our products a route straight in to us to talk to us. …A lot of the time we’re selling products to people via up to six [intermediaries], and this way if they don’t like the product, they can tell us. …For me, commenting is the main thing.”

I’m crafting a separate post to respond to Charlie/Nokia USA. It’ll be posted shortly. But I did want to acknowledge that I appreciate being engaged publicly and constructively. I’m skeptical about whether it’ll make any real difference, but it’s a better approach to communication and service than what I’ve experienced thus far from Nokia. Thanks.

…By the way, here’s Charlie’s blog.

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

Serious motivational music!

In need of some extra ooomph to get you going? This should do the trick: The Helian’ Man, sung by Matt McGinn, a ballad about Scottish raids about a thousand years ago that led Roman emperor Hadrian to build a 73-mile wall across Britain.

I heard this song on the radio about 15 years ago, when I still lived in Pennsylvania. Ever since then, when I’ve found myself in need of motivation or facing a serious challenge, I’ve sometimes found myself bellowing “Grigalie! Grigaloo! Come up and fight, you cowardly crew! I’ll have you for my pot of stew! You fear to fight with me!”

It works pretty well. Sometimes as well as a kickboxing workout 🙂

Here are the lyrics…

Continue reading

Twitter Up, Blogging Down

Yes, I’m Twittering more than I’m blogging here lately. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Just a few minutes ago, Jeremiah Owyang posted to Twitter:

“Is your blogging reducing due to Twitter usage? It has for Adam Stewart.”

…So I hopped over to see what Adam Stewart had to say. This part of his post rang true for me:

“Generally, one line of thought often turns into a blog post. With Twitter, that one line of thought becomes a small post that speaks for itself, and it feels like old content once I release it into the Twittersphere.”

So I commented:

“Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed this effect re: my personal blog Contentious.com. Hasn’t hurt the blogs I run for clients, but the cobbler’s children has no shoes. Honestly, I generally find Twitter more personally useful and satisfying than blogging. Can’t sum that one up in 140 characters, so I guess I’ll have to blog it. But at least now, while I’m wrangling with a heavy workload, Twitter gives me a way to vent some of my compulsion to converse and share with the people who seem to be the core audience of my blog anyway.”

…As I imbibe more green tea and think this through further, I remember that blogs have always been an awkward tool to satisfy my deepest desires for conversational media. Yeah, I love to write — but I tend to find quality conversation far morerewarding and satisfying than merely writing. Despite all Twitter’s limitations and weaknesses (which are many) I find it to be a superior conversational media tool. In many ways.

Of course, I’m sure that whatever conversational media tools crop up in the next few years will be even more versatile, robust, and usable. I’m looking forward to being part of that evolution. What about you?

Conversational Media Mindset 101

Gaetan Lee, via Flickr (CC license)
Is your wetware due for an upgrade?

On Monday I’ll be co-presenting a session on “Future Tools” at the Knight Digital Media Center seminar: Best Practices: Editorial/Commentary in Cyberspace. My fellow presenter Leslie Rule (who runs KQED‘s Digital Storytelling Initiative) and I will be explaining to a room full of news org editorial writers how they can use technology to do their jobs and serve their communities better. I’m going to focus on conversational and social media; Leslie will focus more on locative and location-based news and services.

When you’re updating your media toolkit, I think it’s important to upgrade the “wetware” first. So I’ve just written an introduction to the conversational media mindset — and why it matters to them and their communities.

Check it out over on the seminar blog.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You can leave comments on that post, too.

Why Blogging Your Problems is Good

If you get really creative about it, failure and frustration can be the most engaging part of your blog. Don’t be scared to be human.

On a discussion list, a colleague recently asked for opinions about whether it’s a good idea to sometimes blog about the sucky stuff: Obstacles, frustrations, disappointments, setbacks, etc. Several people on this list responded to say that they only preferred to write — and read — about “successes.”

I can understand the general reluctance to blog about problems: Fear of being vulnerable, or of looking dumb or unprofessional (which is just another kind of vulnerability). It can be difficult to realize that sometimes vulnerability can be your greatest strength — especially in blogging.

Here’s my reply to that thread where I explain why blogging your problems can and probably should be a key part of your blogging strategy…

Continue reading

The Perils of Political Romance

KoAn, via Flickr (CC license)
Questioning romance may not be popular, but it’s vital when stakes are high.

This morning I finally figured out why I’ve been feeling so utterly disengaged from the inescapable frenetic quest for Presidential candidates.

Well, actually Canadian blogger Rob Hyndman figured it out for me in his post this morning: We Won’t Get Fooled Again. He wrote:

“…I don’t want a political romance, and I’m not hungry for a return to the halcyon days of Camelot. I want someone who has a proven passion and ability to fix a broken system. And until I see that in a candidate, I’m more wary than credulous, and I’m suspending my belief.”

This was part of Hyndman’s explanation of why he’s uncomfortable with Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency. But Obama is his point, not mine.

My point is that we should take a close look at the myriad problems caused by pervasive deep-seated romantic myths in our culture…

Continue reading

Preview: Sex, Journalism & Trust

RabbleRadio, via Flickr (CC license)
Prudishness and journalism were never a good mix.

Today I started pulling together a bunch of stray threads that have been nagging at me for some time. Anyone who reads my work knows that I have longstanding admiration for quality journalism — and growing frustration with the culture and attitudes of professional journalism.

It occurred to me that a lot of the things that frustrate me about journalistic cynicism, idolatry, and sanctimony are remarkably similar to what frustrates me about sex negativity in American culture.

So I’m writing an essay to connect the dots. There are a lot of dots to connect, it’s going to take me a while. And I’m still thinking it all through.

One think I’ve learned is that my readers can always help me think tough things through. So in that spirit, here are some excerpts from what I’ve drafted so far. Bear in mind that this is JUST a draft, I WILL be refining it. I know it sounds more preachy and strident than I’d like. Also, I need to make it more fun and flow more. All that will be worked on

With that said, here’s the draft…

Continue reading

Matthew Murray and The Dark Side of Support Forums

Ex-Pentecostals.org forums
Colorado gunman Matthew Murray displayed a disturbing pattern of behavior in these forums. Could this community have acted earlier to prevent tragedy?

Make no mistake: Online support forums, whether grassroots community efforts or run by organizations, generally do a hell of a lot of good. You can find support forums dealing with just about any issue or community. Personally I’ve participated in some support forums, and have generally benefited from them.

But there can be a dark side that managers and members of online support forums shouldn’t overlook: reinforcing negative triggers in mentally unstable people.

In fact, it’s possible that this dynamic this could have played a role in my own state last weekend, when Matthew Murray shot and killed four people in Arvada and Colorado springs, CO — and then finally killed himself after being downed by a church security guard…

Continue reading

Live Microblogging: What I’m Learning

(NOTE: I’m cross-posting this from Poynter’s E-Media Tibits.)

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m currently using Twitter to provide live coverage of many of the sessions at a seminar from the Knight Digital Media Center called Total Community Coverage in Cyberspace. You can check in anytime today or tomorrow for my three most recent posts on the top of the TCC blog, or follow me directly via Twitter.

(Heads up: Obviously I won’t be Twittering during the 2-hour workshop I’m giving this afternoon: Connecting with “Communities of Difference.” Here are my online handouts for that, though.)

I’m doing this largely as an experiment to explore how journalists (professional or amateur) can use microblogging tools like Twitter.

One important thing I’ve learned from this so far is that, at least for me, post frequency dictates process and mindset…

Continue reading