Rob Cottingham's blog

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Northern Voice: Get to know identity (because identity's getting to know you)

If you've ever wondered how that online store is going to use all the information you enter when you register (not to mention when you buy stuff)...

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George Stroumboulopoulos has a new hangout in Second Life

I think it was Tod Maffin who mentioned it today at Northern Voice: CBC host George Stroumboulopoulos now has an official crib in Second Life, built by Montomery Nordwind. Click here to visit.

(Y'know, I think that's the most links I've ever put in a single sentence.) 

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Social Signal (hearts) the Web

2007 Valentine

Web 2.0 Valentine card

Valentine's Day 2007 may be over, but the love endures... especially the link love. We've had a ton of bloggers talking about our Web 2.0 Valentine, and thousands of people coming by to look.

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Podcast episode #2: Should you test your site for usability?

Episode #2 of the Social Signal podcast features an interview with design ethnographer Kelly Goto, who explains why testing for usability is a must in the era of the social web. We also list some of the events coming up on the Social Signal calendar.

Some of the links mentioned in the podcast:

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We're looking for a bigger office

Social Signal has been expanding quickly enough that our current digs are starting to feel a little... cramped. (Helpful business hint #73: when you have to start stacking staff to hold an all-hands meeting, it's time to crack open the classifieds.)

With Vancouver office space jumping from the midway point of our nice-to-have list to the peak of our do-it-yesterday list, we're on the market for something with...

  • about 800 square feet
  • lots of natural light
  • transit, bike lockers and parking nearby
  • modern wiring and the obligatory peppy pipeline to the Internet

We'd love to land in Gastown or Yaletown but we're open to anything west of Main and north of 16th or so.  If you have some sweet space on your hands – or want to share your current space with a charming group of people who can do cool things to your web page – let us know. Give us a ring at 778-371-5445, or email Pravin at pravin-at-socialsignal-dot-com.

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Vancouver types: want to be The Tyee's next webmaster?

One of the nicest, most talented folks in Vancouver’s independent media scene is leaving town. Dawn Buie is off to Toronto… which means there’s a dream job opening up at The Tyee:

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Lights out in 15 minutes

We'll be switching off the site for five minutes at 10:55 Pacific Time today. Here's why:

There's this French initiative that has caught on well beyond the country's borders: turning off our lights for five minutes in the evening on Thursday, February 1st. (That's 10:55 am to 11:00 am our time here in B.C.)

It's meant to draw attention for the need for action on climate change:

Why February 1st? Because the next day, in Paris, the latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be released. This event will take place in France; we can't pass up this opportunity to focus attention on the urgency of the global climate situation. (my translation)

The idea has taken hold, passed along on blogs and email lists around the world. The idea isn't to save the world by reducing energy consumption by a tiny amount (although, hey, every bit helps) – it's to raise awareness and signal just how broad support is for urgent, coordinated action.

At a time when even the Harper Conservatives are realizing they need to make some changes, this is an opportunity to push the powers that be all the harder. So vote with your fingers: switch off the lights, shut down your laptops, turn off the radio... and let's find out just how much power there can be in powering down.

 Update at 11:01 am: And we're back!

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Reflected glory marketing versus the heavy hand of the brand

Over at the Jackson Fish Market blog, Hillel Cooperman makes a strong case that "software is an untapped and exponentially powerful medium in which to convey messages and values for brand advertisers." He points to Burger King's videogaming endeavours, but says his argument extends to the web as well.

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Matters of taste: When Second Life gets too explicit

A few days ago, we received a terrific question from Jenny Edwards (ED of England's Homeless Link, a national organization of frontline agencies dealing with homelessness). She's intrigued by Second Life's potential, but...

Having joined SL mid December and spending much of the holiday season there I have been thinking about how useful and creative it would be to network those of us round the world who are working to end homelessness and to share ideas and experience. The dilemma for me in thinking of using it for work the amount of adult material and behaviour. It's fine for people privately but inviting others into the world, particularly those from faith based communities, is too problematic for me at the moment. Have you found a way of overcoming this?

It's an issue, all right - and not just for people in faith-based communities. Ask any enthusiast, employee or consultant who finally convinced a friend, parent, boss or client to check out Second Life... only to have them run into X-rated territory.

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Get started blogging, keep your New Year's resolutions... and win $500

ChangeEverything.ca launches contest to help community with their 2007 goals

Our good friends (and clients) at Vancity are running a contest on Chang

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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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