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December 2004

November 2004

Frontchannels, Backchannels and Sidechannels at CSCW 2004

Cscw2004_logoCSCW 2004 was an engaging experience along numerous dimensions. In addition to an interesting collection of papers, panels and keynotes presented in the frontchannel(s), we had WiFi coverage and designated IRC channels throughout all the sessions. In one session, we projected the IRC window onto the main presentation screen, moving the backchannel toward the frontchannel, creating what might be described as a sidechannel that everyone could see.

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Representations of Identity: Digital and Physical

CSCW 2004 was a great conference on multiple dimensions (for me); personal highlights include participating in a great workshop, exploring Chicago, co-presenting a paper, co-organizing a panel and being inspired by the closing plenary.  I'm going to post separate entries for each of these, starting with the workshop.

The workshop was on "Representations of Digital Identity", in which we explored a range of issues relating to how people represent themselves in the digital world and the physical world.  The organizers -- danah boyd, Michele Chang and Liz Goodman -- used a number of innovative approaches to facilitate the discussion at the workshop that I think made it a particularly engaging experience, and were rather well-suited to the topic(s) we addressed.

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The Politics of the Apology

Liz Lawley recently posted an interesting piece on the art of the apology, highlighting how apologizing can be a simple and effective strategy for maintaining good relations among people and organizations.  She showed great restraint by not going into the politics of the apology, or mentioning U.S. President George W. Bush, whose unwillingness to even acknowledge mistakes -- aside from vague allusions to unspecified appointments -- much less apologizing for them, is legendary.  I recently read that some appear quite willing to apologize for Bush's re-election, although his supporters are, unsurprisingly, unapologetic.  Some of those who opposed Bush's re-election have gone quite a bit further, expressing some, er, resentment about those who voted for Bush.  I don't expect to see an increase in the political apology rate over the next four years, but I sure hope we see better relations among people, organizations and countries.


It's been a busy week -- so much to blog about, yet so little time to blog ... leaving me feeling rather backblogged (which I'll define as "[n] an accumulation of insights or experiences not yet recorded or posted electronically").

I enjoyed a great visit with my friends and former colleagues at Accenture Technology Labs on Friday, a fabulous experience at CSCW 2004 Saturday thru Wednesday, and an inspiring talk by Rick Steves today -- "Never Underestimate the Power of Passion" -- at the NWEN Venture Breakfast. Yet, due to persistent sleep deprivation throughout this period, I haven't taken the time to compose and post (compost?) my thoughts.  I hope to catch up on some sleep tonight and start recording some of these recent experiences over the weekend.

[Update: I now see that several others have been using the term "backblogged" already ... note to self: Google before you post.]

Digital Backchannels in Shared Physical Spaces

danah boyd and I are organizing a panel on "Digital Backchannels in Shared Physical Spaces" at CSCW 2004.  If anyone wants to "join" us on the IRC chat channel, we'll be at #cscwC (on from 11:00am-12:30pm Central Time today (Wednesday, November 10).  More info on how to use IRC can be found on the Computing lnfo page for the conference.  More info on the panel can be found in the abstract (below) or in our position paper.  Comments about the panel are welcome.

There are a variety of digital tools for enabling people who are separated by time and space to communicate and collaborate on shared interests and tasks. The widespread use of some of these tools, such as instant messaging and group chat, coupled with the increasingly widespread availability of wireless access to the Internet (WiFi), have created new opportunities for using these collaboration tools by people sharing physical spaces in real time. The use of these tools to augment face-to-face meetings has created benefits for some participants and distractions —- and detractions -— for others. Our panelists will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of these emerging uses of collaborative tools.

A New Habit: Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs

A USA Today article today -- in their Money Section (?!) -- announced the publication of Stephen Covey's new book, "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness", a sequel to "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".  The new habit is to "find your voice, and inspire others to find theirs".  I find this particularly relevant to blogging, one of my newest habits.  I increasingly find my voice through this blog, and while I have no idea whether anyone is inspired by this blog, I find inspiration in the blogs of others.

Entrepreneur University 2004

I attended Entrepreneur University 2004 today, a daylong workshop at the University of Washington sponsored by the Northwest Entrepreneurial Network (NWEN).  Lots of interesting and inspiring presentations and discussion, much of it emphasizing the importance and value of passion and emotion in the success of a venture. 

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