Casual Evangelist

A mission to learn a little about a lot…

Grasshopr is Live!

Posted by Andrew on July 8, 2009

Grasshopr is live. A few of us have been working hard to develop this platform, which we hope will transform the way individuals and groups of all stripes and sizes interact with their government… specifically the legislative branch at the federal, state, and local level.

We created Grasshopr because the system (or lack thereof) of how constituents and their elected officials connect and communicate is badly broken. It’s broken because of issues concerning trust, unmanageability, and access. The status quo benefits a few, but for the most part, individuals, organizations, and elected officials lose.

Organizations can use Grasshopr to collaborate with their members and get them engaged in grassroots advocacy campaings. Individuals are matched to their elected officials and can communicate with them on current issues they’re following. And elected officials can connect with real constituents in a sustainable, authentic way.

There’s more on why we created Grasshopr here.

Let me know what you think, and how we can make it better!

logo_final

Posted in Politics, The Social Web | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

My Pet Peeve with Music Marketing

Posted by Andrew on March 11, 2009

I got all fired up when I saw this.

3-10-2009-8-00-58-pm

No, it’s not the typo, but how I feel about how music is often marketed these days.

The Tone is Too “Corporate”

I know, it’s called the “Music Business” for a reason. But which word comes first? Good music is art, and art doesn’t often mix well with business. But PR and marketing types can do us all a favor and lose some of the tone that would be perfectly appropriate for a corporate earnings press release, but strips away any sense of the art that should be the focus of their efforts. It’s not just press releases, but site content, media kits, bios, etc.

Top offenders:

…opened for the likes of…

…exploded on the scene…

…combined 20 years of music experience…

And my new fav:

…song was featured bumper music on MTV’s Tool Academy.

If it’s a professional wedding band, go ahead. If your focus is on placing music in TV, that’s great too. For talented artists that aim to reach new audiences with original recordings and performances, this kind of publicity content simply sucks. Not to mention it can strip the artist of artistic dignity and credibility.

At the very least, keep content designed for industry audiences separate from content designed for public consumption.

One last thing: I know it’s tempting – and often required by business types like booking agents and label reps – but not every artist is a mashup of two or more other artists. Sure, we all have influences, but does your client really sound like John Lennon tripping over Liberace’s piano stool?

Isn’t it time for Rock ‘n Roll to be destroyed once again?

Posted in Music | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Get Clogging with Amplify

Posted by Andrew on March 9, 2009

If you’re like me, the combination of Twitter use and time constraints have taken it’s toll on your blog. I’ve been pretty busy (a good thing), and when I’m online, I’m either devouring content or engaging with others on Twitter and Facebook rather than spending time blogging here. Clogging may be the perfect middle ground for individuals as well as a powerful information-sharing tool within the enterprise.

WTF is a Clog?

A clog is a “Clip Blog,” and clogging is how Amplify aims to transform how we share what we’re reading with others.  Increasingly, many blog posts consist of little more than a few quotes from another article or blog, with a short commentary. In a sense, these are proto-clogs. The folks at Amplify (who are also the folks behind clipmarks) have created a platform for quick and easy clogging – with tools to make sharing this content very easy.

How it Works

When you find interesting content online that you think others (friends, colleagues, etc.), you use the “Amplify” plugin (currently for Firefox and IE) to highlight a portion of the content that will post on your clog, along with tags, categories, and a short commentary or introduction. Simple enough.

Tools are available that enable you to post each clog to your twitter or facebook account (think: “What I’m reading…”), and visitors can subscribe via RSS, leave comments, bookmark to delicious or stumbleupon, or post to facebook or twitter.

Amplify for Business

The economic downturn is putting pressure on businesses of all kinds, and the ones that do a better job of capturing and disseminating knowledge internally can have a leg up on the competition. I like things that have silo-destroying potential within organizations, and Amplify can be a great silo-smasher. Sales can read up on what Marketing is reading. Product Development can learn about market trends. Executives get up-to-date insight into competitive activities. And they can all converse around what they’ve found.

An Amplify clog can be open to the public (the likely setting for a personal clog) or private (ideal for an internal organization clog). Organizations using amplify can enable any or all of their employees to post to the main clog. While many employees may be hesitant to blog on an internal company site for fear of saying something stupid, a clog doesn’t have the same hurdles to adoption. It’s easier and quicker to do, and it’ s really as much about what you’re reading than what you have to say about it.

Amplify is currently in beta, but follow @amplifytheweb on twitter to get an invite.

My Amplify clog

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Ubiquitopia IV: Oct 3-4

Posted by Andrew on September 13, 2008

The fourth annual Ubiquitopia campout/cookout/music thing is around the corner.  On October 3rd, we’ll converge on the Cove Campground in Gore, VA. Camping. Music. Food. Drink. Good Peeps. Noff Noff BBQ will be throwing down serious production as they always do. Email me at andrewwrightdc @ gmail dot com if you have any questions. Here’s the poster by  Regan Kireilis.

Posted in Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tropical Storm Gustav

Posted by Andrew on August 28, 2008

Sure, it’s a long-term track, but this bodes poorly for the opening day of the RNC Convention on Monday (in addition to the populations of the Gulf coast).

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Zen of Kettle Corn

Posted by Andrew on August 10, 2008

A few people have inquired about my kettle corn recipe, so I thought I’d share it here. As some of you may be aware, I take popcorn seriously and don’t take lightly such abominations as microwave popcorn and that stuff that comes in a foil skillet.

Note: I don’t measure anything out, and getting this right often require some failures. It did for me🙂

  1. Start with a large stainless steel pot w/ a glass lid (something quality).
  2. Light the burner under the pot (hopefully you have a gas stove…works better). Just a hair under the hottest flame.
  3. Pour in oil so once you move the pot around, the oil covers the entire surface. You don’t want waves, but you need more than a thin coating.
  4. Get the oil shimmering hot. Viewing the oil while moving the pot around will reveal the right shimmery-ness.
  5. Pour in the Orville Redenbachers (c) Gourmet Popping Corn. (Casual Evangelist Alert: The branding emphasis may be a joke, the quality isn’t. Don’t mess w/ anything less). Immediately bubbling should commence.
  6. Wait about 10-15 seconds, and slowly pour a little of the sugar into the pot using wavy back and forth movements.
  7. Shake pot around a few times to distribute sugar and avoid clumping.
  8. Add salt as if you were adding salt to any good-sized recipe (chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.). A good amount is needed, but beware about over-doing it. (You can always add salt after serving if needed. With sugar, this post-cooking option isn’t available to you).
  9. Shake again.
  10. Add more sugar. You should see the sheen reduced to a dull sugary appearance.
  11. Shake vigorously and don’t stop until completion. It’s important to keep contents in motion or clumping and scorching can occur.
  12. When there is still popping, but has approached the top of the pot, remove the lid (this will also will help prevent scorching by releasing heat).
  13. If you have bowls that are large enough, pour into bowls when you sense any significant popping is in the past.
  14. If you don’t have large bowls, pour into a paper grocery bag and shake up. Then distribute to smaller distribution mechanisms.
  15. Enjoy…

You’re ultimately looking for something that has a light texture and delivers a pleasant balance between sugar and salt. It’s not caramel corn, and it shouldn’t leave your guest reaching for water.

Posted in Food | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

DC Live Music Radar for August 2008

Posted by Andrew on July 31, 2008

I won’t be making all of these. Let me know if you’re hitting any of these shows or have any other shows to suggest.

Sunday 8/3: Wolf Trap
The Black Crowes
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Thursday 8/7-8: Wolf Trap
The Gypsy Kings

Monday 8/11: 9:30 Club
Rancid

Tuesday 8/12: The State Theatre
Mike Gordon (from Phish)
The Bridge

Thursday 8/14: The State Theatre
New Riders of the Purple Sage

Friday 8/15: Wolf Trap
G-Love & Special Sauce
John Butler Trio

Saturday 8/16: The State Theatre
Garage A Trois

Saturday 8/16: Wolf Trap
Stanley Clarke
Marcus Miller
Victor Wooten

Beyond August…penciling these in…

Wednesday 9/3: Constitution Hall
My Morning Jacket

Friday 9/5: The State Theatre
The Gourds

Tuesday 9/30: Merriweather Post Pavilion
Allman Brothers Band
Phil Lesh and Friends

Posted in Music | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

What Matters in a Veep?

Posted by Andrew on July 31, 2008

Over at DecisionWorld, I have created a decision model designed to help Obama and McCain determine what really matters when considering who to name as their running mates.

Everyone can take part in the excercise…it takes about five minutes. Make it happen!

Go here!

Posted in Decision-Making, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

House Leadership Moves to Silence Twittering Members

Posted by Andrew on July 8, 2008

I’ve been following and interacting with two members of the US House of Representatives, John Culberson, Republican from Texas, and Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio. It has been great and refreshing to have this direct line of communication with these two Members of Congress and gain insights into what’s happening on Capitol Hill, often a black hole of mystery unless it’s your full time job to know what’s going on.

Rep. Culberson just sent a series of messages on Twitter indicating that the Democratic House Leadership is requiring that he submit each message for approval prior to posting. This move apparently invokes a little-known broader regulation that all Member communications posted on any public social networking site receive prior approval.

While I’m not even in a position to shed light on the Constitutionality of such a regulation, it surely flies in the face of government openness and transparency? What is the Democratic leadership trying to hide or keep from the public? The beauty of Twitter and similar platforms is that they are open communications for public consumption. I’ll spare any conjecture regarding potential motives behind such a move, political or not.

The Sunlight Foundation should explore this and weigh in to see if this is an attempt to silence public communication from our elected representatives in government.

UPDATE: Rep. Culberson got some clarity. Time to end centralized control and censorship of communications from government and elected officials. Thoughts?

Here’s Rep Capuano’s letter proposing changes. I’m a dolt…I can’t make heads or tails of which way this letter is going.

UPDATE #2: George Donnelly has a great list of articles and posts about this issue. Aaron Brazell has some comprehensive coverage of the issue.

Update #4: A site has been launched: LetOurCongressTweet.org – produced by The Sunlight Foundation. Way to go!

UPDATE #3: Boehner Gets Involved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2008

CONTACTS: Michael Steel, Kevin Smith, Steve Forde – (202) 225-4000

Boehner Urges Speaker Pelosi to Shut Down Democrats’ Proposed Censorship
of the Internet

House GOP Leader Warns: New “YouTube” Rule Proposed by
Democratic-Controlled House Administration Committee “Would Amount to
New Government Censorship of the Internet”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today
wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), urging her to join him in opposing
a new rule proposed by the Democratic leadership of the House
Administration Committee that would require outside websites such as
YouTube to comply with House regulations before Members of Congress
could post videos on them. Under the proposal, the House Administration
Committee would develop a list of “approved” websites, and Members of
Congress would be restricted to only publishing content using these
sites. Calling it “new government censorship of the Internet,” Boehner
asked Speaker Pelosi to join him in opposing the proposed rule.

“The Internet is a powerful tool for promoting openness and transparency
in government,” Boehner wrote. “It has given individual Americans an
unprecedented window into the daily actions and policy debates of their
Congress. The result has increasingly been a better informed electorate
– better equipped with real-time information about what is happening in
their government, and more empowered to hold their leaders accountable.”

Highlighting the Democratic-controlled House Administration Committee’s
attempts to effectively shut down the free flow of information on the
Internet between Members of Congress and the American people, Boehner
assailed the proposed rule.

“If this proposed rule were to be implemented, Americans who currently
use free websites such as YouTube to obtain uncensored daily information
on congressional policy debates would suddenly be forced to visit
websites ‘approved’ by the House Administration Committee in order to
continue getting such information,” explained Boehner. “This would
amount to new government censorship of the Internet, by a panel of
federal officials that is neither neutral nor independent.”

Urging Speaker Pelosi to join him in opposing the Democratic-controlled
House Administration Committee’s planned actions, Boehner concluded,
“Millions of Americans get information about what is happening in their
government through the Internet and free websites like YouTube. I am
writing to seek your assurance that the Democratic majority does not
intend to deprive them of this right, and to request that you join me in
opposing the proposed new rules.”

Boehner’s full letter to Pelosi follows and is available by clicking
here
.

July 9, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

The Internet is a powerful tool for promoting openness and transparency
in government. It has given individual Americans an unprecedented
window into the daily actions and policy debates of their Congress. The
result has increasingly been a better informed electorate – better
equipped with real-time information about what is happening in their
government, and more empowered to hold their leaders accountable.

It has come to my attention that the Democratic-controlled Committee on
House Administration, at the recommendation of the Democratic chairman
of the Commission on Mailing Standards (Franking Commission), is
considering the adoption of new congressional rules that would
effectively shut down what has emerged as a free and helpfully
uncensored pipeline of real-time information between the American people
and their elected leaders. Specifically, the Committee is considering
the adoption of new rules that would require outside websites such as
YouTube to comply with House regulations before Members of Congress
could post videos on them. Under the proposal, the House Administration
Committee would develop a list of “approved” websites, and Members of
Congress would be restricted to only publishing content using these
sites.

If this proposed rule were to be implemented, Americans who currently
use free websites such as YouTube to obtain uncensored daily information
on congressional policy debates would suddenly be forced to visit
websites “approved” by the House Administration Committee in order to
continue getting such information. This would amount to new government
censorship of the Internet, by a panel of federal officials that is
neither neutral nor independent.

I believe Members of Congress should have the ability to choose
whichever service they believe will best assist in communicating with
their constituents, and not be limited to only services “approved” by
the House Administration Committee or any other government entity. We
must encourage, not restrict, the free and open flow of uncensored
information between the American people and their elected leaders over
the Internet.

Members should be allowed to use technologies, websites, and services
(paid or unpaid) to communicate with their constituents via text, video,
or audio, so long as the content posted by the Member complies with
House rules and Franking content regulations. Members should be allowed
to use free communications and networking services so long as those
services are available on the same terms and conditions available to
others. This view has been expressed formally to the Democratic
Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Robert Brady, by
the Committee’s senior Republican member, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), and
by Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Tom Price (R-GA).

Millions of Americans get information about what is happening in their
government through the Internet and free websites like YouTube. I am
writing to seek your assurance that the Democratic majority does not
intend to deprive them of this right, and to request that you join me in
opposing the proposed new rules.

Sincerely,

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)
House Republican Leader

#####

Posted in Politics, The Social Web | Tagged: , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Get a Customized Twitterwhore T-Shirt!

Posted by Andrew on June 24, 2008

Scott Stead has started offering Twitterwhore T-Shirts, customized with your Twitter handle and “Follow me” on the back. Very cool. Coming from someone who always puts their Twitter name on their name tag at conferences to easily link up with and meet people I converse with on Twitter, I imagine this shirt will become a mainstay of Social Media and Tech events in the near future. Mine’s on the way!

Order your Twitterwhore T-Shirt Here!

I’ll post a pic when this WordPress bug is fixed.

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

 
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