Tag Archives: random

The 21st Century Bookclub

For the past six months I’ve been engaged in a fantastic experiment.  6 months ago my friend David Humphrey emailed three friends whose blogs he enjoyed. Each of us (Myself, Humphrey, Mike Hoye and Luke Hill really only knew Humphrey and were essentially strangers to one another. Humphrey proposed we each read each others blogs for 3-4 months and then meet for dinner in Toronto when I was next in town.

I immediately became a fan of the experiment because it highlighted how the internet is reshaping culture. Admittedly, people have been sharing and talking about their writing for decades and centuries, but this activity was often reserved for “writers” or, perhaps, aspiring writers. By greatly reducing the costs of sharing and giving anyone a potential audience blogging has changed everything. Suddenly a group of strangers who only a decade ago might have collectively read something that someone else had written (most likely a book) are instead reading each others creations. It is just a further step (or more of a leap) forward in the democratization of culture and creativity.

In addition however, it was also just purely rewarding. I got to know a couple of guys in a way that was surprisingly personal. Better still, I developed a blogging peer group. I don’t actually know that many people who regularly blog and so having a group who has read what I write and of whom I could ask questions, advice and critiques of my writing was invaluable. More interesting is the ways of I’ve come to admire (and envy) their different styles and approaches: Luke is so unconstrained by form willing to write pieces that are short or long; Humphrey’s blog is so personal that you really feel like you get to know him; and Mike’s blog is just plain fun – with rants that leave you laughing.

If you blog, or even if you write (at which point I think you should blog as well) I can’t encourage you enough to create a 21st century book club (or should we just call it a blog club). You’ll find you will become a better blogger, a better writer and, I think, will make a few new friends.

Here are some fun posts from the others blogs I’d recommend:

Dear Former Homeowners Redux Redux Redux Redux Redux – pure fun for anyone who has owned a home (or note)

A Note to Some Friends – an important rant on the state of community over at Firefox

Fun Facts about the Amazon Kindle – #Canada #Fail

New Media and the Public Sphere – yes. it is that simple.

A Room of One’s Own – no reason, I just liked it.

The Web vs. Canada – funny (and sad) cause it is true.

Defining Open Data – cause it’s important.

Three guys with three different styles. How I love free culture.

Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #1 (2009 Edition): Open Data Comes to Vancouver

Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #1 (2009 Edition): Open Data Comes to Vancouver

On May 14th I blogged about the tabling of Vancouver’s Open Data motion to city council. After thousands of tweets, dozens of international online articles and blog posts, some national press and eventually some local press, the City of Vancouver passes the motion.

This was a significant moment for myself and people like Tim Wilson, Andrea Reimer and several people in the Mayor’s Office who worked hard to craft the motion and make it reality. The first motion of its type in Canada I believe it helped put open data on the agenda in policy circles across the country. Still more importantly, the work of the city is providing advocates with models – around legal issues, licensing and community engagement – that will allow them to move up the learning curve faster.

All this is also a result of the amazing work by city staff on this project. The fact that the city followed up and launched an open data portal less than 3 months later – becoming the first major city in Canada to do so – speaks volumes. (Props also to smaller cities like Kamloops and Nanaimo that were already sharing data.)

Today, several cities are contemplating creating similar portals and passing similar motions (I spoke at the launch of Toronto’s open portal, Ottawa, Calgary, & Edmonton are in various stages of exploring the possibility of doing something, over the border the City of Seattle invited me to present on the subject to their city councilors.). We are still in early days but I have hopes that this initiative can help drive a new era of government transparency & citizen engagement.

Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #2 (2009 Edition): The Three Laws of Open Data go Global

Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #2 (2009 Edition): The Three Laws of Open Data go Global

In preparation for a panel presentation to parliamentarians hosted by the Office of the Information Commissioner, I wrote this piece titled “The Three Laws of Open Data.” The piece gets a lot of web traffic and interest.

Better still, the previously mentioned Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce includes the three laws in their final report.

Also nice: Tim O’Reilly – tech guru, publisher and open government champion – mentions it during his GTEC keynote in Ottawa.

Best yet, after putting out the request on twitter several volunteers from around the world translate the 3 laws into seven languages! (German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Spanish and Catalan)

    Hurray again for the internet!

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #3 (2009 Edition): Australia Likes eaves.ca

    Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #3 (2009 Edition): Australia Likes eaves.ca

    Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the year was an email from the chair of the Australian Government’s Government 2.0 Taskforce asking me if I would sit on their International Reference Group.

    Fascinating to see a government wrestle with how it can reinvent itself and to ask for thoughts and ideas. I hope my own country contemplates doing something along similar lines soon. Also exciting to be able to help review and edit the final report, offer advice and feedback and better understand the challenges and opportunities as their government sees them.

    You can download the report here. It is a great read.

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #4 (2009 Edition): App Wishes do Come True

    Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #4 (2009 Edition): App Wishes Do Come True

    In late June I blogged about how Open Data could make garbage collection sexier (or at least easier) and in September I shared a list of applications that could be created using open municipal data that I thought citizens might find useful.

    As a result:

    Steve T. created an app for firefox that allows people to use Amazon to search the Vancouver Public Library (this is quite cool).

    Also, Luke C and Kevin J, two amazing local coders, made the garbage notification idea a reality by creating Vantrash (and are generous enough to invite me to join in their fun and try to help in some small ways).

    Three things then happen:

    1. 100s of citizens download Vantrash’s calendars and/or sign up for email/twitter updates. Many lives made a little easier
    2. The media begins to take interest: Spark (on CBC) asks for an interview, as do some local newspapers, including most recently, the Vancouver Courier (which has a great interview with Luke)
    3. I gain two great new friends who are genuine good citizens.

    Hurray again for the internet. Good ideas can come to life if you share.

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #5 (2009 Edition): In the Main Stream Media

    Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #5 (2009 Edition): Eaves.ca in the Main Stream Media

    A bunch of exciting things happened as a result of blogging (and other work like public speaking and consulting). Some of them include

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #6 (2009 Edition): Fun Invites & Outcomes

    Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

    Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #6 (2009 Edition): Fun Invites & Outcomes

    A bunch of exciting things happened as a result of blogging (and other work like public speaking and consulting). Some of them include

    • In March, as the debate around the collapse of the newspaper model went into overdrive Jay Rosen cited my piece “The Death of Journalism?” as one of the top twelve pieces on the subject in his blog post Rosen’s Flying Seminar in the Future of News (traffic ensues). During a brief layover in NYC I share a beer with him and discover he’s as smart and engaging online as offline. Plus, he doesn’t let anyone get away with BS.
    • Someone at the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation reads my blog, likes my writing and work and so invites me to sit on one of their Loran Award selection committees. I spend a day meeting some of the most amazing young people in BC. A Saturday well spent and deeply fulfilling.
    • Google launches its first Local Experts page outside the United States and asks me to be one of nine celebrity local experts to share a map of my 10 important sites in Vancouver. (Not sure I qualify as a celebrity, but it was fun to be included among luminaries like Bif Naked and Gordon Campbell.) Pure fun and a chance to showcase what makes Vancouver special and important – from Moderne Burger to the Insite Injection Site.
    • Blogging about open source community management and especially about the need to reach out to and include more women gets me an invite to a SXSWi panel. First step: think about how I can apply the thinking from those posts to my work with Mozilla Drumbeat.
    • John Ibbitson made a nice reference to some of my thinking on public service sector renewal in his book “Open and Shut” (and I ended up helping edit the chapter – also lots of fun)