chrishaller's blog

Tool Tip: aMap - Diagrams of any argument in an interactive mindmap

aMap is short for 'argument map'. The idea's very simple - to get more people arguing by mapping out complex debates in a simple visual format.

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Techcrunch's first impression: "UK-startup Team Rubber has come out with a nifty embeddable widget called aMap that lets you make a diagram of any argument with supporting logic in an interactive mindmap. The widget lets you flit from one point to another.

For instance, in the aMap below an argument is made that Apple will flourish without Steve Jobs (because he “turned his personality traits into business processes” and Pixar does fine without him). You can argue anything. Blog or Twitter? Cat or Dog? (see below).

You can also reply to make a counterargument (”Apple Will Be Set Adrift Without A Strong Leader”). But here is where aMap breaks down. Instead of incorporating the reply into the original mindmap, it creates a new one at a new URL, with a link below the original one in the list of replies. That will just encourage forking arguments. It would also be better if you could vote the best aMaps up.

Right now, aMap only lets users map out their own arguments rather than see the relationships between arguments, although that is a direction the company may go in the future. It is also planning to add geo-data to map out arguments around the world."

Top 10 Websites to Connect With the Obama Administration

usa_serviceWhat websites exist for interacting with our new President? Shaun Dakin takes a look at tools that the Obama administration will control and those that they will not over on Mashable >> 

The Participatory Inaugural

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The Washington Post calls it the Participatory Inaugural... it provides an early example of how the techniques of an unusually interactive campaign may be marshaled not only on behalf of a political agenda but on be­half of changing American civic culture in the years ahead.

"You don't have to brave the crowds and commotion in order to participate in this celebration, because we've made this Inauguration open and accessible to communities across our nation," Obama says in the video. "Just text the word 'open' to 56333 for news, transportation updates, and ways you can participate."

Happy inauguration day!

Things are happening fast, and I'm gonna leave covering the celebrations up to others. 

Two quick things to note:

  • Change.gov is now http://Whitehouse.gov. The switch happened right at 12.01pm, just as Obama officially became President. Even though it doesn't offer as many opportunities to get engaged as change.gov yet, it's off to a great start including a blog, weekly videos etc. Can't wait to see how this is going to change the perception of online engagement.
  • Thanks CNN for pushing a neat tool to present images - Photosynth, even though created by Microsoft..., is actually a really great application to use crowd sourcing to capture significant events like this and create a vast 3D landscape from it. This takes collaborative photo sharing efforts to a whole new level, check it out over at CNN, http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/44.president/inauguration/themoment/.

Blogs vs. Wikis - Oldschool but funny

Found this funny video on Nancy White's Fullcirc website. The discussion blogs vs. wikis is a little 2003ish - I'm glad to see online engagement mature beyond this question and new tools evolve. 

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Webinar: The State of Online Community

The State of Online Community
A webinar sponsored by the Online Community Research Network
December 11, 2008, 11:00 am PST

Register at http://ocstate.eventbrite.com >>

Join online community expert, Bill Johnston of Forum One Networks for highlights from the Online Community Research Network 2008 research series and a discussion of trends on the horizon for 2009. Session highlights will include:

  • Online community strategy and ownership
  • Community as an ecosystem
  • Budget, headcount and compensation
  • The evolving role of management and moderation


Please note: Attendance is FREE but limited to 200 people. Register early to reserve your spot!

Change.gov - Early signs of a new political style?

President-elect Barack Obama has launched the website change.gov, where you can find news about the transition and inauguration and information about his agenda. Interestingly, the site also has a place for people to share their ideas for government and their stories about the campaign. This might be an early answer to the question I raised in my last post...

Economy___Change.gov_1226087700907 

How will Barack Obama employ social media as president?

What a wonderful day! And plenty of observers have already noted the key role that the Internet and social media played in the successful campaign of Barack Obama. But the question that strikes me is: when he’s President, how will he utilize the hundreds of thousands of MySpace friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, My.BarackObama.com members, and SMS opt-ins, just to name a few, to advance his policies and­ ­­politics­? Are we on the verge of a new era of eParticipation in politics?

Twitter VoteReport - Live election tracking

­­Just a quick note for folks interested in following the election today. If you want a fun way to track what's going on across the country in real time, check out Twitter VoteReport (that link is a graphical map view, to view the text updates, click here) - which unfortunately seems to be down at the moment, guess web traffic is taking it's toll. You can check incoming messages from voters on Twitter itself, if the service remains unavailable. These are reports sent in live from people all over the place.

And if you have a Twitter account yourself, just include #votereport in your tweet to get it published to the VoteReport page.

You May Soon Know if You’re Hogging the Discussion

Interesting, wonder what this could mean for facilitators:

People who want to improve their communication skills may one day have an unusual helper: software programs that analyze the tone, turn-taking behavior and other qualities of a conversation. The programs would then tell the speakers whether they tend to interrupt others, for example, or whether they dominate meetings with monologues, or appear inattentive when others are talking.

The inventor of this technology is Alex Pentland of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has developed cellphone-like gadgets to listen to people as they chat, and computer programs that sift through these conversational cadences, studying communication signals that lie beneath the words.

If commercialized, such tools could help users better handle many subtleties of face-to-face and group interactions — or at least stop hogging the show at committee meetings.

in NYTimes, read full article >>

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