On Red Pills and Anarchists in the Boardroom #morelikepeople #commscamp13 #ukgc13

I’m going to ask you to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign, but this time it’s not one of mine.

Having spent some time at a couple of unconferences this week, both of which focused in on the experiences of professionals working in public service (Commscamp for Communications folk, LibCampLdn for library peeps) and preparing (mentally) for next weekend’s mammoth, all-encompassing, UKGovCamp, I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern emerging.

Sessions held at both events this week contained a theme that can be boiled down to: “How do we as professionals who’ve seen the light of digital revolution, survive and thrive in corporate bureaucracies that refuse to change?”

I think it’s allied to what Emer Coleman has written about this week in her valediction to government saying “When you take the red pill everything looks like The Matrix”

I often say that my own “red pill” moment was in the board room of the Audit Commission, with Euan in 2002 but I’d seen others before that who seemed to be able to fly, do things incredibly quickly or smash through walls at will without hurting themselves – there was something going on here, but I didn’t know what it was, did I, Mr Jones?

But what is it really?

Isn’t it “just” that hyperlinks subvert hierarchy? By which I mean, isn’t it that connection through the network is destroying the control and decision-making structures and putting tremendous pressure on organisations to stop pretending that they’re machines and start being more like people?

About a year ago Liam Barrington-Bush, (a regular at #tuttle who started out as Steve Lawson‘s mate whose employers might buy coffee one week, but quickly emerged as a red-pill man through and through) interviewed me about the early days and what I’d been trying to do.  He was going to go off to Mexico to write up a book on how social media and social movements can help your organisation to be more like people.

Well he went and he wrote it and he sent me the draft of his chapter that talks about me and #tuttle.

One of the things he wrote that had me cheering was this:

“When we don’t have specific aims, we are freer to be ourselves. When we are freer to be ourselves, we can let our minds wander. Tuttle – like so many naturally occurring conversations in our lives – demonstrates what can emerge when we make the effort to release ourselves from the responsibility of aims, goals, and targets.”

Now, the rest of the book is about other folk much more exciting and interesting than me.  Liam is fundraising to publish the book himself – I’m right behind his decision to do this and to keep as much control over the content as possible.  It’s really important that truly independent voices like Liam’s are heard without going through the filter of a publishing house, no matter how well-meaning.

So I encourage you to pop some cash in the pot.  You know that every little helps, but especially if you can contribute on behalf of an organisation, some of the higher-priced perks that involve conversation with Liam himself would be top-value.

When domain names expire

This has been annoying me for a little while, but just below the level of making me do something about it.

Sometime in 2010 I subscribed to e-mail notifications from the Transmedia Artists Guild blog – it looked interesting, it probably helped me to hook up with Transmedia-interested people at SXSWi 2011 while I was #plate11-ing.

I remember at some point seeing a notification that said something like “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”  So it was over, forget about it.

And then.

Then notifications started popping back up in my e-mail, but with titles like “Limiting sofa time adds years to your life”.  Hmmm…. it turns out transmediaguild.com has now home to a poorly-written blog about how fabulous exercise is with links out mostly to a certain startup gym company – I’m assuming that they’re doing this to generate some “natural” search engine optimisation, by um… writing about themselves on a domain name that has nothing to do with the parent company.   Which is why I’m deliberately not linking to any of this stuff.

Thankfully, I’m only aware of it because I left a feedburner e-mail subscription running, so I can turn it off.

But with a little searching, I can see though that at least serve2011.org, nationalnano.org, bluedogdemocrats.com and tellmeaboutyourselfanswer.com are being used in the same way by the same people…

Can someone who knows more about SEO shenanigans explain what’s going on?

UPDATE: A little bird suggests that googling “Dropped domains SEO” might be useful.  Yes it is, it points me to this – it’s a thing, a ridiculous (to me) thing, but using expired domains for SEO is a well-known thing.  Still don’t know whether this is a well-executed example or not.

You go yoga, I no go

On emerging from our meditation this morning…

She: “I think you should come with me to yoga now”

I: “For the sake of the group’s serenity, I don’t think I should attend until I am able to bend more than 30 degrees at the waist without shrieking “I’m going to die! I’m going to die”

She: “Perhaps the natural inhibition of being in a room with 30 others (mostly fit young women) would  prevent you from shrieking.”

I: “That’s not ‘natural inhibition’, that’s FASCISM!”