I broke (almost all) the Ted Commandments

I wasn’t going to write a post complaining about a conference, but then I clicked a link and read the post (from which I borrowed the image below) and realized it was a “sign”…I had to share my nasty experience.

On Mother’s Day, I was scheduled to present at the 29th annual conference of an American Italian association. As the process with all conferences, I submitted a proposal in late November, was notified in late January and the program was released in March. I was disappointed that I was presenting on a Sunday morning (session started at 9:30) because I realized that my tweeps on Twitter, the subject of my talk, would probably not be online on that day, at that hour. Then I realized it was not just any Sunday, but Mother’s Day, and that my parents were going to be in town visiting, so I was also annoyed. I opted, however, being the conscientious presenter that I am, to attend rather than pull a no-show.

  • Sunday morning arrives, I wish my mother a happy mother’s day and leave the house at approx 7:45.
  • I drive into the city, the traffic through the Holland Tunnel paralleling what I expected Twitter traffic to be that morning.
  • I arrive to the conference location at approx 8:15.
  • There was another presentation on Italian literature in the room in which I was to present. I waited in the corridor for that session to let out. It finally did, 15 minutes later than scheduled. So our session was late.
  • I was the 4th of 4 speakers.
  • It was a technology session.
  • None of the other speakers could figure out how to use the two trolleys of technological equipment.
  • There was no one to help out. I became the designated tech assistant.
  • At this point, we are approx 25 minutes late to start. Speaker one speaks. Nasty.
  • Speaker two presents. Interesting talk on podcasts but really nothing new.
  • Third speaker speaks…for 35 minutes!!! Chair of session does not monitor time nor stop #3.
  • Session ends at 10:45.
  • I am told to start my presentation at 10:50. Screw the PowerPoint, I don’t have time to load it up on the various trolleys. I am angry…visibly.
  • I log onto Twitter (need a hard connection, no wireless). Internet connection weak. Twitter community very quiet.
  • I tell them students enjoyed it, try to explain the benefits.
  • At 10: 55, first interruption from a speaker in the next session. Chair tells her we still have 5 minutes.
  • At 10:58, chair of next session comes in and says “we have people who need to catch flights and they want to know how much longer you will be?” Angrily, I bark, “Give me 1 and a half minutes!”
  • Check Twitter replies. Limited shoutouts.
  • I tell them if they are interested in my work to read chapter 4 of the Calico 2009 Monograph.

The end. Can you determine how many of the Ted Commandments were broken in this story? 😉


Thanks to Tim Longhurst (The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know) you can see the list in an easier to read format below.

  1. 1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick
  2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
  3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
  4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
  5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
  8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
  10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.

The inauguration

obama_inauguration_speechtoday’s inauguration left me speechless. So when I saw this graphic faciliation on Twitter I knew I had to share this image with everyone. There are many aspects of his address about which I could go on, but I will just highlight what I found memorable:

We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

thinking about twitter…

[updated: April 16] gapingvoid is back on Twitter! LOL

over a month ago, I had stumbled across the blog of hugh macleod and took a moment to laugh at myself. of course, one thing leads to another then we started following each other on twitter. This morning I noticed he was not tweeting about alpine TX or his book deal, actually he deleted his twitter account. From avid twitterer (‘cause it does get addictive) to deleted twitterer overnight? i was a bit surprised…

the reality of twitter is this: twitter is becoming the next big thing, the it girl, because it is the new communication tool for business (e.g., JetBlue), politics (e.g., Obama), news (e.g., NY times), academia (i.e., my work), and, of course, schmoozing (everyone else who uses it regularly). We use this social networking service to make connections, to collaborate, to discover, to learn in a way that wasn’t possible before this type of tool. A friend mentioned yesterday that news from silicone valley, for example, that previously would take a few days to break (via other forms of communication), is now instantaneous.

of late, twitter has been making some upgrades, simplifying its layout somewhat. it’s not perfect, could use some more improvements (e.g., it apparently loses some replies somewhere out there in the twittosphere) but it is readily accessible via web, OS applications (twhirl, twitterific, spaz), browser apps (firefox), desktop platforms (netvibes, pageflakes), widgets for blogs, facebook, etc., and, last but not least, mobile phones. This accessibility, the 11+ million users (ok, not all regular twitterers), makes twitter worth exploring.

All I have to do now is convince the 18,000 students who attend the university, and the majority of our faculty and staff … no small task. 😉

Is facebook public?

OK, next.

NY Times article of a few days ago has me extremely interested on how this will pan out from an ethics perspective. New technological tool, new forum for conducting academic research, right? So here we have Facebook, the ultimate in social networking and a new means for data collection from participants unknowingly.

At my institution, participants are required to be thoroughly notified if “an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information.” This, of course, is the case with Facebook. Any researcher who uses Facebook information fulfills both 1 and 2 above.

The article presents this “gray” area:

Although federal rules govern academic study of human subjects, universities, which approve professors’ research methods, have different interpretations of the guidelines. “The rules were made for a different world, a pre-Facebook world,” said Samuel D. Gosling, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, who uses Facebook to explore perception and identity. “There is a rule that you are allowed to observe public behavior, but it’s not clear if online behavior is public or not.”

Hmmm. is it or not? At least one institution has decided to make this black & white:

Indiana University appears to have one of the stricter policies. Its Web site states that the university will not approve academic research without permission from social networking sites or specific individuals.

As a researcher, yeah, it would be nice to skip the red tape and claim it’s gray, but on Facebook, I’m not convinced that it is public behavior…is it? What do you think?