Casual Evangelist

A mission to learn a little about a lot…

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

3-9-2009-5-41-33-pm1

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Will the Next Generation of Muslims Reject Violent Extremism?

Posted by Andrew on May 28, 2008

Lately, I’ve been very intrigued with the theories put forth by William Strauss and Neil Howe regarding generational cycles that all societies and cultures experience. In short, the two assert that there are four “archetype” generations (Prophet, Nomad, Hero, and Artist). For example, the Millennial Generation (born starting in 1982) are “Heroes,” Generation X are “Nomads,” Boomers are “Prophets,” and the Silent Generation (think John McCain) are “Artists.” There are also corresponding “turnings,” or phases of society that enable each generation to make its mark. The cycle repeats, and the order is always the same. Each archetype has its own characteristics that distinguish it from the others.

While the focus of their work is on European and American generations starting with the Arthurian (b 1433-1460), the assumption is that this theory can be applied universally. Is it possible to apply these theories to the Muslim world and make forecasts regarding the future strength of violent fundamentalism? Might new generations of Muslims turn away from the extremism of their parents?

Generational marketing consultant Jessie Newburn recently posted on Twitter (I’ll link to her post when Twitter gets their act together) that the Millennial generation is at a turning point, and we should expect to see a general shift of priorities among that group. I thought about that post when yesterday I read Lawrence Wright’s piece in The New Yorker, “The Rebellion Within,” explores the current revisionist movement in radical Islam led by Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (AKA Dr. Fadl). Dr. Fadl has been engaged in a very public debate with Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Ladin‘s right hand man over whether many of Al Qeada’s terror tactics are in line with the Koran. Fadl’s movement to disavow many of the terror tactics of jihadism is gaining acceptance among many in the Muslim world. Might the next generation in much of the Muslim world be undergoing a similar “turning point?”

There may already be another example of Strauss and Howe’s theory in the Muslim world (I’ll link if there’s already information on this). In Iran, it was the young generation in the sixties and seventies that embraced religious fundamentalism, rebelled against the social and political structures of their parents and previous generations, and ousted the Shah and instituted a theocracy. Their children – Iran’s next generation – reject much of this fundamentalism and are in many ways sympathetic to the West and America.

It may be a stretch to connect the theories of Stauss and Howe with the current revisionist movement in Islam, but it sure is interesting to ponder. Notions that violent fundamentalism in Islam will continue to rise unabated are likely incorrect. But it won’t necessarily be because the West has “defeated it,” but that this cycle will run its course and the next generation will chart a new one.

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I’ll Be On Jonny’s Par-Tay Tonight

Posted by Andrew on May 28, 2008

Tune in to Jonny’s Par-Tay this evening at 9pm, where I’ll be on with host Jonny Goldstein as he interviews Sean Shadmand and Isaac Mosquera, the founders of familyoven.com. FamilyOven has hundreds of thousands of users trading recipes, including Breakfast Slop, which I will certainly be preparing shortly.

We’ll be exploring how they’ve achieved success in their space (a very crowded space, it should be noted). And I’ll be conducting a taste-test of arguably the most important food and recipe ingredient that exists today: Butter.

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