3 Powerful Social Media Leaders of the Past

On the Internet we continue an old tradition of social media, pioneered in the Roman Republic. I look at the social media leaders in the past who were good at doing things. They really paved the way for what’s happening today with technology. The Internet and social media have been a way to give a real voice to the voiceless and real power to the powerless. It’s created a space for citizen journalism.

If we look back, we’ll realize that there were many powerful social media leaders of the past, for example:luther

1. Julius Caesar was an early blogger, even though it was very low tech.

Looks to me that Julius Caesar was not only a blogger re: the conquest of Gaul, but he kinda invented journalism in its most literal sense.

2. It got a little better with Martin Luther, who decided to use an evolved form of the same network. He got pretty good, blogging on a church blog. Luther blogged his way to major religious and social change.

Of course Luther was assisted by this printing press thing – and this evolved in the Twitter revolution of 1688. He used the efforts of a nerd, a guy Johannes Gutenberg, to great effect. (Gutenberg got great stuff done, but it was Luther who got big stuff done.)

3. John Locke, the one who lived in 1688, not the John Locke in Lost. Good show, but you could only understand it if you knew a lot about quantum physics. I know a lot of you want to hear it more about quantum physics, but more later… Just be glad I’m not going on a Game of Thrones rant.

(I’d like to credit two books for much of this: Tom Standage’s The Writing on the Wall and Jeff Jarvis’ Gutenberg the Geek.)

You can’t make change from the top down. The president’s the most powerful person in the world, but not that powerful. What’s powerful is when people in the trenches work together to get things done, and that’s what makes a difference.

My deal is to try to get folks to work together. It’s important to give a voice to people who never had one, and then to share their work. My stuff to date gives me a bit of a bully pulpit that I don’t need for myself. However, I use it on a daily basis to get the word out on behalf other others.

My joke, occasionally tweeted, is that I retweet a lot because 1) it’s good to share, and 2) it spares me the burden of original thought. Well, #2 has some truth to it, but #1 is the big deal for me.

Women doing STEM right

Hey, it’s important to me to recognize folks doing really good work, especially those who don’t usually get the recognition they deserve. My team and I have generated quite a few lists of women doing good work:

Recently, I asked my networks to contribute the women who impressed them, the folks in the STEM field who really have their boots on the ground. We got great responses, verified the women suggested, and have compiled a list (in no particular order) here:

1. Natasha Mohanty, Co-Founder, CTO, & VP of Technology at FEM inc.
Natasha joined FEM inc. from Google, where she was a lead engineer working on content recommendations and personalization for Google+ and Google News with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of women. Their efforts increased female engagement with Google+ by over 30%.

She has extensive experience in large-scale data mining to build user profiles through data. She received her A.B. from Mount Holyoke and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. When not hacking for FEM inc., she works on projects to get more women and girls interested in tech.

2. Limor Fried, Founder of Adafruit Industries
Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Adafruit has grown to over 50 employees in the heart of NYC with a 15,000+ sq ft. factory.

Adafruit has expanded offerings to include tools, equipment and electronics that Limor personally selects, tests and approves before going in to the Adafruit store. Limor was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine and was awarded Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the year.

3. Marianne Marck, Senior Vice President of Consumer Facing Technology at Starbucks
At Starbucks, Marianne leads the global retail and digital technology teams, the solution architecture and enterprise integration functions, and the technology teams for the China-Asia-Pacific region.

She joined Starbucks in 2011 as Vice President of Software Engineering, and led the enterprise software and application engineering function, including efforts for ERP, HRIS, web, mobile, enterprise QA, enterprise integration, and solution architecture. Prior to joining Starbucks, Marianne earned 22 years of tech experience developing solutions and platforms and building teams. Most recently at Blue Nile, she held the role of Senior Vice President of technology.

4. Bindu Reddy, CEO and Co-Founder of MyLikes
Before starting MyLikes, Bindu was at Google and oversaw product management for several products including Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Video and Blogger. When she first started at Google, Bindu was a Product Manager for AdWords, where she improved the AdWords bidding model by introducing Quality Based Bidding and Quality Score for keywords. She was also in charge of Google’s shopping engine – Google Product Search and designed and launched Google Base.

Before Google, Bindu founded AiYo – a shopping recommendations service. Earlier in her career, Bindu was the Director of Product Management at eLance and a Computational Biologist at Exelixis.

5. Edie Stern, a distinguished Engineer and Inventor at IBM
Edie has more than 100 patents to her name, and has been awarded the Kate Gleason Award for lifetime achievement. She received the award for the development of novel applications of new technologies. The 100 patents to her name represent her work in the worlds of telephony and the Internet, remote health monitoring, and digital media.

 6. Ellen Spertus, Research Scientist at Google & Computer Science Professor at Mills University

Ellen’s areas of focus are in structured information retrieval, online communities, gender in computer science, and social effects of computing. She was a core engineer of App Inventor for Android, which enables computing novices to create mobile apps. and she co-authored a book on App Inventor.

Ellen has been working to bring more women into computing for decades now. In 1991, while studying computer science at MIT, she published a paper titled, “Why are there so few Female Computer Scientists.” And Ellen tells girls: “I’m sorry to tell you that Hogwarts isn’t real — but MIT is.”

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Thanks to everyone who contributed, and please, keep ’em coming!

“Saving the World” DIY Style

People ask me how I go about figuring out what causes I really believe in and what’s the most effective way to support those efforts. You can find a list of what I support specifically here. My general philosophy is to do some real good in the short run, while learning how to scale that up in the long run – to the entire planet in maybe twenty years. I’m also very committed to helping people from the bottom up, to give people a break that rarely get one, and to help give a voice to the voiceless.

When it comes to business success and money, know when enough is enough, which translates to a business model of doing well by doing good. I guess I’ve been real successful at that, and I’ve been told by a lot of startup people that this approach has influenced them.

So, in the short run, I’ve been doing what I can to help US veterans and military families, figuring that if someone will risk a bullet protecting me, I need to give back. Recently, people helped me understand that the family of an active service member serves the country while that service member is deployed, particularly in a war zone.

I’ve chosen groups to support, in government and in the nonprofit world, guided by considerations including:

  • Do they impact something I believe in?
  • Are they good at it?
  • Can I help them via serious social media consulting and engagement?
  • Can I learn from the experience how to use social media on a very large scale?
  • Just in case, does the nonprofit tell a really slick, heart-wrenching story? Have they been seriously vetted? (If not, substantial chance it’s a scam.)

So, the themes here have to do with “social impact,” probably mediated by social media, while watching out for compelling scams. (Sorry, but this is currently a huge problem in the nonprofit world.) For that reason, I engage with Charity Navigator,GuideStar, and GreatNonProfits.org. In particular, Charity Nav is making real progress measuring social impact, which is about how good an org is at serving its clients. Social media provides the tools that effective people use to work together to get stuff done. We’re talking not only Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, but also tools like spreadsheets used to rank “employee innovation” efforts.

Human history suggests that change begins from the networks of individuals who work together through the social media of their times, from Caesar and Cicero, to St Paul and Martin Luther, and John Locke and Tom Paine. Consider the UK Glorious Revolution which resulted in modern representative democracy, which I frequently call the Twitter Revolution of 1688. (A great history of pre-Internet social media isThe Writing on the Wall, by Tom Standage, who reminds us that “history retweets itself.”) That history tells us that social media provides a set of tools which can effect real change. That history is one of democratization; the costs of those tools restricted them to the wealthy at first, but now the cost of entry is close to zero.

In the short term, my focus is normally on small orgs, since they can be more effective. However, I’m now working with a huge org, the Department of Veterans Affairs, around 360,000 people, and from that, I’m learning how to run large organizations – and large governments – effectively.

For the long term, I’m supporting efforts in the here and now that are fundamental to universal fairness; the intent is to give everyone a break, to treat everyone how you’d like to be treated.

One such effort involves figuring out how to get news that I can trust. I’m a news consumer, but for the past decade I’ve been getting training in media ethics and trust issues, as well as being shown how the news sausage is made. (It ain’t pretty, particularly with all the disinfo being flung around.) The theme is that “the press is the immune system of democracy” and that a good ethical framework might lead some part of the press back to trustworthy behavior.

Another effort involves voting rights in the US. While the Declaration of Independence reminds us that we’re all equal under the law, bad actors in politics can only survive if they stop certain groups of people from voting, and that ain’t right.

It might occur to you that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” and that is another articulation of what my stuff’s all about. You’d be right.

Photo: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by USDAgov

How to Use Social Media Better, For Equality

Hey, I have a commitment to fairness, based on a (naive) nerd desire to make life less unfair.

I’ve created a video asking you to help create a more fair world, please indulge me and watch, and share it. It’s for a good cause, and is a brief discussion of social media for the Women in Public Service Project.

The thing is, social media can be harnessed for policy-making, and remember that real change doesn’t happen from the top down. That is, the act of discussing policy in social media helps participants buy into it, and later, the discussion record helps other join the effort.

So, my challenge for you to is work with each other, within your networks, then between networks, to commit to the mutual acquisition of power, on a near daily basis, from now to 2050.

The gist of the challenge is to use social networking such that your discussions can extend beyond tens or hundreds of people into millions of people. This can span countries, time, and cultures.

Caveat: trolls, sometimes professional ones, will seek profit at your expense. Watch out for trolls who tell a good, heart-wrenching story.troll meme

I’ll help however I can, and I have confidence in you. So, what I’m asking of you is commitment to collaborate with people in your immediate network.

My challenge to you is to work together, with each other, in your networks, then transcend networks. I’m making a big ask of you…Can I have your commitment?

A Lizard In The Security Shed

Hey, here’s a short audio clip, recorded by the EK-FM Radio Presenter, Nancy Sungu, in Kenya. For the past 8 weeks, EK-FM has been off-air due to maintenance issues (in fact, a lizard got into their security shed and fried their transmitter!). The silent air-waves caused much upset in the community.

In the interview, Diana Akinyi, a small-scale farmer on Mfangano Island, explains the impact of EK-FM. Each week she listens to the farmer’s voice radio hour to get up-to-date information on local farming practices. While the radio was off-air getting repaired she missed out!

Diana on the Impact of EK Radio:

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The good news? The transmitter was just returned to the Island last week. And because EK-FM won a 1st place prize award in the Big Ideas at Berkeley competition, they were granted $8K to do a solar upgrade to increase broadcast hours from 5 hours a day to 12 hours a day. This is the real deal.

kr

Is There Such a Thing As Online Privacy?

Folks, do you think that online privacy really exists?

This is what we tried to find out when we surveyed 1,007 Americans. Rad Campaign, Lincoln Parks Strategy, and infographicI teamed up to uncover experiences and views about online privacy. We took the results and created an infographic to share with you.

This is the second portion of data from the poll to be released. Last month, we released an infographic showing that about half of Americans under 35 have been bullied, harassed, or threatened online, or know someone who has.

Here’s a snapshot of what the Online Privacy survey revealed:

  • 74 % of Americans are either very or somewhat concerned about having too much personal information about them online.
  • On average, those surveyed believe that 64% of Americans have too much personal information about themselves online.
  •  People under 35 have more trust in social media sites than any other age demographic.
  • 70% are certain or think it’s very likely that social networks collect personal data such as interests, political affiliation, purchase habits, and what content is clicked, and then sell that data to advertisers to target ads and/or content at them.

privacy laws

If Internet users are so concerned about their privacy, do they read the terms of service (TOS)?

  • 66% either just click the agree box without reading any of the TOS, or skim through the TOS then click agree.
  • Only 17% carefully read the TOS before agreeing.
  • More college grads (27%) than non-college grads (18%) just click agree without reading.

The way I see it, more people need to read the TOS before signing up for these sites so they understand what kinds of data they’re giving to these platforms.  Stronger privacy laws could be useful too.

Folks, are you concerned about your online privacy? And if so, what are you doing about it?

Check out the full infographic and data here.

 

Respect for the Federal worker

The NextGen Public Service Awards will be awarded soon, and I was asked to do a little video thanking people for their service.

Here’s the video, couple minutes, maybe indulge me by taking a look:

The gist is the Fed workers don’t get no respect, and that’s way unfair.

In the video I extend my respect, and suggest that Feds can get the respect they’ve already earned by posting good news regarding their work in social media.

Then, they can ask friends, including me, to further Share and retweet those posts.  (I’m already doing so for multiple agencies.)

Please bring your Public Affairs Officers into the loop; remember that their jobs are already really tough.

If anyone gives you crap, Blame Craig.

(and yes, the “don’t get no respect” thing is a Rodney Dangerfield reference.)

Your Ideas to End Online Harassment

Hey, I’ve been reaching out to my networks to crowdsource ways to end online harassment after the release of the Online Harassment Infographic that revealed that 25% of harassmentAmerican adults have been bullied, threatened, or harassed online, or know someone who has.

The first step toward dealing with unacceptable behavior is to understand the problem, then we can get rid of it. To that end, I’ve been asking people on the ground what we can do to get rid of this problem.

We got lots of good responses, and I’m including some of them here:

“Trolls generally shut down their online accounts because they don’t like being trolled themselves. Internet anonymity should not give people the right to attack others in a way they never would do in real life, so outing them seems like the best option!” – JeriAnn Graves

“Unplug, walk away, use a pseudonym, increase your privacy controls… All of these are perfectly viable solutions to online harassment. Control what information is available online, and you control the harassers. That said, I really think Facebook needs to tighten up on its privacy settings. I don’t want to appear on search results, I don’t want pictures of me showing up anywhere, and I certainly don’t want jerks I knew from high school to be able to contact me.” – Cameron Barker: Mild-Mannered Salesman by Day, Happily Cynical Writer by Night

In response to Cameron,

Kelly Diels Rostant, Online Marketing Manager at Goldbeck Recruiting Inc, said:
“Telling the people who receive this kind of treatment to unplug or walk away allows the people doing the harassing to win. They’ve effectively silenced their targets.”

“I think we all need to stop thinking of this as someone else’s problem. If you see someone being harassed, lend your voice in censure. If you don’t like the way someone speaks to you, tell them so and assert your right to be respected. Bullies’ power comes from fear and avoidance and from people looking the other way, or being glad it’s not them. Let’s take away their power by being clear that the way they behave is not acceptable, and teach our children to do the same.” – Claire Weatherston, Communication and Events Coordinator at Western State College of Law

“Treat others the way you wish to be treated yourself.” – Anthony Simonetti, Marketing Communications at New Horizons, Six Sigma Green Belt

“Trustcloud (crowd sourcing) is a solution to end harrasment from the web. It is as easy as being prompting upon accepting/making a connection, making friends/accepting friend request or being followed/following a person the user gets a trust score of the requesting person/relevant person.” – Zorays Khalid

“DO use decoy selections in report abuse forms, but keep it simple: ‘This is annoying’ vs ‘this is dangerous’ can be differentiated.” – Aria Stewart

no-harassment“Opening a police file when there is harassment can also signal that their actions will be met head-on, and hiding behind technology is no longer going to work for them but against them.”
– Darlene Rudolph, PMP

“LinkedIn should remove the anonymous views option which, in my view, provides cover for those who may be into sleuthing, creeping, and other cowardly bully-like behaviors.”
– Susan Howes, CTDP, Senior Business Analyst, Workplace Learning Specialist

“Surely there’s a startup in the valley somewhere working on a way to monetize kindness?”
– Jubal Ince, Talent Community Advisor at Workday

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. Works every time.” – Christine Wilinsky, Legal Document Preparation and Writing Services

“I think we need to stop looking upon the internet as being somehow at fault for all the bad things that can happen on it. It’s the people on the internet that are the problem, not the tool itself. So my answer to the original headline question is – first stop harassment in the offline world and the problem will be solved.” – Patrick Moran

“Too often intent is only ‘proven’ after the harasser has already harmed/ killed the harassed. I think harassment should be called out and dealt with, otherwise all of us are just consenting to that kind of behavior with silence – not cool.” – Ida Wepener, Technical writer at Laragh Courseware

“I would recommend the following: Ignore inappropriate messages- avoid receiving anonymous or unrecognized calls –report the in-person harassment to the authorities if the harasser leaves you no choice – have the communication terminated by the network to save time, self respect and appreciation-turn to your friends or your companion for support and understanding – remember it’s not your fault –try not to blame yourself-get out of the vicious cycle a.s.a.p.” – Dimitra Tatuli, counseling and psychotherapy

 

Which of these suggestions resonates with you? I want to continue working on these efforts, so please let me know other ideas you have to end online harassment. More to  come…

7 Brilliant Women in Tech

Hey, there are some women in the tech sector who really get stuff done. My team and I really wanted to highlight some disruptors who we haven’t featured before. They’re the real deal.

WWT

  1. Susan Buck, Co-Founder of The Women’s Coding Collective

    A programmer, designer, and educator with over 15 years of web development experience, Susan began her education in digital media at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program and UNC Asheville’s Multimedia Arts and Sciences program.Susan co-founded The Women’s Coding Collective (WCC), an educational initiative aimed at helping more women excel in programming and web development.While working on the WCC, Susan also teaches web development at the Harvard Extension School. From 2007-2012, Susan was the senior developer with San Francisco-based Photojojo where she built and maintained an ecommerce platform.
  2. Brigitte Daniel, Executive Vice President of Wilco Electronics Systems, Inc.

    // For over 30 years, Wilco has provided affordable cable and technology services to low-income communities as well as commercial, governmental, and educational institutions, in Philadelphia. As edIQ’s new CEO, Brigitte will address the challenges in urban education and specific underserved student educational needs through the offering of an “educational technology kit” that includes an affordable mobile devices and specialized educational content from established and unique content providers.Brigitte received a 2011 Eisenhower Fellowship where she traveled to India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia to explore and cultivate global relationships in developing emerging technologies that benefit Wilco’s unique low-income marketplace in Philadelphia.In addition, these initiatives led to Brigitte being re-appointed to the Federal Communications Commission Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age.
  3. Lis Pardi, Founder of LadyNegotiator.com

    // Lis founded LadyNegotiator.com as an online resource for women preparing for negotiations. She also works on interfaces for healthcare, games, retailers, and libraries, and is the Treasurer for PhillyCHI, an interdisciplinary academic and professional group interested in human-computer interaction, user experience, usability, and other related disciplines.
  4. Rebecca Miller-Webster, Founder and co-organizer of Write/Speak/Code

    // Write/Speak/Code’s a conference teaching women developers the skills to become thought leaders, conference speakers, and open source contributors. Rebecca’s active in the Ruby community as a speaker, open source contributor, and co-organizer of the Gotham Ruby Conference.
    Rebecca is currently a teacher at Dev Bootcamp, and spent the last 10 years building software in a variety of languages for large corporations, non-profits, and start-ups, including as VP of Engineering for an early-stage start up in NYC. Rebecca also co-organizes GORUCO and makes Patterned.
  5. Zakiya Harris, Co-founder of Hack The Hood, Impact Hub Oakland, Grind for the Green, and Earthseed Consulting

    //
    Zakiya is a social change strategist, artist and educator. She works at the intersection of entrepreneurship, environmental education & creative transformation.Hack the Hood provides training in multimedia and tech skills to youth who then work on real-world consulting projects with locally-owned businesses and non-profits.The organization recently won a $500,000 grant through the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge.
  6. Rebecca Braglio, Founder of ThePhillyDog.com

    //
    When it came to dog owners and the dog service provider community, Rebecca saw that there was a huge disconnect. It occurred to her one day that Philadelphia needed a website that people could visit to find out where they could take their dog, what to do with their dog on the weekend, where the dog parks were, what fundraising events were going on…just a “one-stop-shop” kind of place to get information, and ThePhillyDog was born.ThePhillyDog.com has been recognized as a “Top 20 Dog Sites” in 2009 and 2012, and is a Top 100 Winner of the Start-Up Nation “Savvy in Social Media” award for building rapport and relationships in the community.
  7. Rashmi Sinha, CEO & Co-Founder of SlideShare

    // Rashmi focuses on product strategy and design. She has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Brown University, and conducted research on search engines and recommender systems at U.C. Berkeley.Before SlideShare, Rashmi co-founded user experience consulting company Uzanto, and built MindCanvas, a game-like software.

Be sure and also check out 10 Women Run Startups You Should Know

Who would you add to this list?

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