hills

9 real ways I use social media to report that won’t bore you

Ten years into the modern social media era can leave even the most reluctant digital reporter bored by tactics for news gathering online. Still, though the source gathering, link sharing and network building are common acts, there are other ways I use these open platforms.

Here are some of those ways.

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philly-snow

Understand the difference between climate and weather

The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time, weather is in the short term and climate over the long term. It’s the same for your life in any form.

When traveling, when learning about a new community, knowing what is variable and what is constant is invaluable. That is, what is climate — the deep, long trend and narrative of a place — and what is weather — flighty, trivial and wildly variable?

It is challenging but absolutely imperative for understanding a new place or time. A late snow in May in Philadelphia would be a strange weather pattern, not indicative of its general climate. Likewise, when you are trying to learn something, you have to strive to now what is unusual and what is indicative of a trend.

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pandp-board

Pen and Pencil Club board of governors

The Pen and Pencil Club, the country’s oldest surviving private press association, welcomed me onto its board of governors as one of its youngest members last February. This month, I am proud to say I was voted on to remain there.

Here is some background on the famous private club and my own goals for being part of its board again.

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pennapps

Journalism DNA: Is Technical.ly a journalism outlet?

Acts of journalism are challenging and at times infrequent things for local news organizations. Pushing a community and seeking to find outcomes through difficult questions is the best of what media can do. Balancing that with the work tied to creating a sustainable news venture is a consuming one. Here’s where I am in my thinking about that process.

When we launched in 2009 what has since become Technical.ly, we always prepared for a content mixture that would include information and community journalism. We were trained in a newspaper worldview that put a type of ethical paradigm and professional standards that we embraced, even as we challenged its traditions.

Along the way, I found out that I want to build something that could have an impact. Pessimists are nothing but spectators and reporters are almost always pessimists.

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Photo of tourists in Scotland in 2010 by Flickr user Przemek Wajerowicz

Don’t take that next photo you plan to

Though the web is growing as an extension of our own memories, digital technology is making media creation so easy that we’re burdening ourselves with internet clutter.

As using social networks and making photos and video become a new form of applause to interact with what’s around you, it becomes more challenging and so more important to think about experiencing the moment.

When I am seeing a new place or having a fun experience I’ll want to revisit, I try to limit how often I use my mobile device to supplement my real life. I was so impressed Jeffrey Stockbridge, and other photographers, describe their work as “making a photo,” rather than “taking” one. That difference may extend the point.

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fels-students

How civic engagement is changing in Philadelphia

The ways that civic engagement is changing in Philadelphia was the focus of a short keynote I gave to help kickoff the Penn Public Policy Challenge at the Fels Institute of Government on Friday.

I focused on the public-private efforts that have been a defining part of the civic-minded technology community I’ve covered in Philadelphia for the last years. I spoke to about 40 mostly Penn graduate students who will be participating in the competition over the next few months. Find my notes below.

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Number of Views:1193
thailand coup d'etat

Would the coup d’etat of the future originate with an IT leader rather than a military one?

Governing is messy, so there has been no shortage of attempts by one party to overthrow the other through history. Among the most recent, high-profile coups came in Egypt where, as is almost always the case, the military led the overthrow — at some level.

This summer, as the Egyptian revolution has taken place, government leaders from China and the United States held their first talks on cybersecurity, spurred by reports that the second largest economy was snooping on the first.

It got me thinking: when will be the first coup led by a technology leader? There’s no doubt that military force will become increasingly controlled by technology. I wonder if that work will ever grow outside of a military or, if not, will there come a time when a military-based technology leader leverages control over systems, security and other digital processes using that power to take over control. It can’t be too far removed.

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