Rob Cottingham's blog

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Goodbye, Omidyar.net

Online communities with causes at their core show promise for persisting

Usually, when an online community shuts down, it's an admission of failure: not enough time or staff to keep the trolls at bay; people drifting away after an initial surge of interest gives way to a lack of a compelling reason to participate; a divisive internal conflict or catastrophic technical collapse. (And sometimes the community's hosts - or their financial backers - just plain lose interest.)

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Now cartooning at One Degree

Exciting news: the wonderful Kate Trgovac has invited me to cartoon at One Degree, the premier gathering place for Canadian online marketing types. Their contributors are some of the smartest people I've met in this field, and I'm delighted to join their ranks.

So head on over, subscribe to their feed, and you can get a sneak peek at a selected Noise to Signal cartoon every week! (The first one's right here.)

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Is it a brainstorm, or just a mild low pressure area?

Facilitator addressing participant: We're just brainstorming here, so there are no dumb ideas. But if we weren't brainstorming, that would have been a really, really dumb idea.
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"Mission" statement

One person talking to another: "I think our mission statement has too many 'air quotes' in it."
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Wikipedinsomnia

(Man in bed, saying to sleeping companion) Sleep?! How can I sleep knowing someone could be editing my Wikipedia entry RIGHT NOW?!
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Where do the cool kids hang out?

Cartoon of three young people: cleancut (Facebook), menacing (MySpace) and an operator (LinkedIn)

If you follow this stuff, then chances are you've at least heard about danah boyd's blog essay looking at youth participation in online social networks through the prism of class. It's an excellent read with some valuable insights, but I don't think it's the best piece on her site.

Dig a little deeper, and you'll find a remarkable perspective on online participation by young people, one that cuts past the paranoia and panic that too often color public discussion on that topic. She starts from the radical premise that kids are people worthy of respect and dignity; her posts regularly take on political and commercial hucksterism with a rare combination of passion and rigour.

Her interests and insights range beyond youth as well. If you'd like to check out her blog, have a look at some of her greatest hits – and then let me know what you think.

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Skitch invites

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Skitch, the Mac-only screen-capture-and-annotation tool from Plasq, the people who brought you Comic Life.

Now I've been given a handful of invitations to their beta... and the first has already been spoken for. (Hello, Alex.) Whoever'd like theirs, just leave a comment below...

Update: And be sure to include your email address, either in the comment or via our contact page.

 

 

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Cartoon: Instant pariah

(Man on bench whispering to a schocked friend) "I don't really like Rocketboom."
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Cartoon: Primary colours

(One child pointing to her shoes) Do you like them? They’re Pantone 254.
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Cartoon: FOAF your way to the top

(TV election coverage) And in the seventh congressional district, it's Chen defeating Tavistock, 29,547 Facebook friends to 25,804.

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