Alexandra Samuel's blog

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Business tunes into grassroots community

SXSW Session: Going from customers to value creators

I'm just back from SXSW, where I was reminded that there are still a few people out there who are thinking about the Internet as a potential business opportunity rather than as a chance to reinvent democracy.

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Tag your way to domination

Social bookmarks 101

I wrote this almost a year ago, as a relative newbie. Now that I’m a little more experienced, I’ve revised it to include some new tips to choosing effective bookmarks.

Step 1: Lie awake at night, wondering whether there isn’t something that can organize your favourite web links that will work better than your browser’s favourites collection.

Step 2: Lie awake at night, wondering whether you should use Furl or Spurl or

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Choosing your e-mail tool

As we gear up to send out our very first Social Signal e-newsletter, I'm investigating some of the e-mail newsletter tools out there. There's a lot to be said for using a tool that's integrated with the rest of your web site -- like the NetSquared Newsletter, which is powered by Drupal -- but there are some additional bells and whistles that come with a dedicated e-mail tool. There's a really fabulous round-up of the options over at Idealware.

If you want to see which tool we choose, then sign up for our newsletter

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Web 2.0 glossary

Download a PDF version of this post

I'm looking forward to the upcoming Nten conference, where I'll be part of a panel on Blogging, tagging, flickring for the cause. As background info for Nten participants, I put together the following glossary of "Web 2.0" terminology.

What's Web 2.0? Well, it's really just a buzzword summing up the latest generation of Internet technology -- a generation that encompasses the tools and technologies described below.

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About this site

As you're poking around the Social Signal web site, you might notice the cluster of red words in the right-hand sidebar. This cluster is called a "tag cloud". It represents all the tags that we use on this site: the keywords that we've assigned to different pages or blog posts to indicate what each story is about.

Our tag cloud is a visual representation of the range of content on the site. The tags that appear in the biggest letters are the tags that we write about a lot (like "SocialSignal" or "SocialBookmarking"). The smaller tags (like "blogher" and "workshops") link to topics that we've only written about once or twice.

You can click on any tag to see all the stories we've written about that topic -- so the tag cloud is a handy way to navigate the site, as well as a quick picture of what we're thinking about.

We decided to use a tag cloud as one of the main ways to navigate our site because tags are so central to the kind of work we do. For many of the projects we work on -- especially web projects that build online communities by linking multiple web sites -- tags are central to how information is organized, circulated, and discovered.

We think tagging is one of the most exciting ways for people to work together online. We hope that our tag cloud will be a fun way for you to explore how tagging works as a way to organize and link information thematically. And we hope you'll use our tag cloud to learn more about tags and about tag-enabled services like social bookmarking and


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Can I quote you on that?

Using others' words in support of your message

“All he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.”
– H.L. Mencken, on William Shakespeare

What is this fascination we have with quotations? Mining everything from the latest sitcom catch phrase to centuries-old literature, we love to repeat the words of other people.

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10 ways to keep online dialogue on topic

I’ve spent the past two days at a Ohio State for a conference on Building Democracy Through Online Citizen Deliberation, which has been a terrifically productive gathering. One session consisted of an interesting conversation about how to structure online deliberation in a way that promotes civil dialogue. We agreed that one key challenge was simply keeping online conversation on topic, and got most of the way towards a list of 10 ways to keep online dialogue on topic.

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How to contact Alexandra Samuel

Download VCF cardE-mail: alex (at) socialsignal (dot) com

Telephone: 604.726.5445

Please download the attached VCF card to your personal information manager for additional contact details. 

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Make your nonprofit more effective with RSS aggregation

TechSoup invited me to be part of their online event on Web 2.0 this week. Since I was on call for a discussion about social bookmarking and aggregation, I put together a short overview of how aggregation can help nonprofits, and another on how social bookmarking can help nonprofits.

Here’s my quick take on three crucial ways that nonprofits can use RSS and aggregation to work more effectively:

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Introducing Social Signal: collaboration for communities

I'm delighted to announce the launch of Social Signal. Social Signal's goal is to support online communities and distributed collaboration networks -- networks of communities that share content and relationships by using the latest generation of web tools.

Social Signal on...

RSS feedTwitterFacebookGoogle+

Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

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