Save the words

In December of 2007 I linked to the Connecting Dotz site with a post about love and giving.  I heard from the site’s creator, Susan  Fassberg today. She has another brilliant idea about saving words. 

Connecting Dotz … Linking people with ideas with people with ideas…
Half the languages spoken on our planet will be extinct by 2100. When a language dies, we lose more that a point of view; we lose traditions that connect people to place— and to each other. We lose deep cultural wisdom: myths and fairy tales, knowledge of plants and animals, humor, prayers, and recipes…

Susan’s new line of cards celebrate these deeply important words and the proceeds again go to non profit causes. I love this one. Confianza, “Confianza.” The description reads:


I believe in you with all my heart!

This word expresses limitless support and enthusiasm for someone.

Much stronger than confidence, confianza is like unconditional love, expressed as trust.

Susan writes:

Every card purchase supports nonprofit organizations who strive to the preserve and protect the links between language, landscape and life.

Mmmm, landscape and life. That gives me a lot to think about. What life and landscape am I preserving? What are you preserving? 

Do you need some beautiful cards? Looking for a word that resonates! Check with Susan!

Northern Voice Visual Recap

Northervoice 09 is now history – thousands of tweets, images and blog posts. It is time to reflect a bit. I enjoyed every minute of NV again – there is something warm and welcoming about it. I don’t mind the bits of chaos. I love the diversity – especially for a tech oriented gathering. And there are plenty of women! It was another visually oriented gathering for me. Continuing on from my “writing on the walls” from ’08, I again did a lot of visual work in this digitally focused gathering.

On Friday, as already noted, I ran a lightening fast Graphic Recording 101 session which was pure joy. There is a video here. And lots of pictures on Flickr. It was great to hear people say they not only enjoyed it, but were able to move their own practice forward. Yay! More hands on pen and chalk! We started by drawing circles using our full bodies, then horizontal lines, then text (with the tips about headlines the width of your palm, text the width of 2 fingers), then the terror zone – human figures. We practiced start people and squiggle people. The the final burst of color with the application of chalk. It was glorious how color brought even simple practice sketches to life. It was a think of beauty to watch. The artifacts we left behind were then a backdrop for the Photocamp session. Fitting, eh?

A first for Northern Voice, I graphically recorded a keynote – and what a performance it was to try and capture! The seriously funny Rob Cottingham had the capacity crowd in stitches talking about the funny side of social media. I had to draw as fast as the wind. It ended up being two panels, even though the keynote was just under 45 minutes. Thanks to Roland Tanglao for helping get up a second sheet.

It was interesting to think about the process. Prior to the talk all I knew was the title and©Tris Hussey, 2009. Non-commerical use permitted with attribution that it was mostly stream of consciousness stand up comedy with some “serious stuff at the end.” I got this information from 5 tweets from Rob, so you know the information was under 700 characters. 😉 I’m glad I just went with the flow. It was risky, but fun. I had thought about some sort of timeline image in advance, but that would not have worked. And because they ended up having me draw from the front of the room right behind Rob and under his slides, this felt a bit more like preformance art than just graphic recording.  (Some coverage of the keynote here, here and here.)

Photo by Tris Hussey on Flickr cc some rights reservedAfter it was over, I needed to go outside and lay on the grass and have a quieter conversation with a friend. I felt like I had just run a race, or taken a really hard yoga class. I was physically tired.

Later I noticed something as I skimmed the Flickr pictures tagged “northernvoice09” — the vivid social media chart was behind all the subsequent speakers. It provided a different sort of backdrop and I found great pleasure in that. (Photo by Tris Hussey)

I had the great pleasure of being on a “trio offering” with  Barbara Ganley and  Laura Blankenship. Our topic was “Doing the Limbo: Navigating the space in between – Create relationships, not distance.” How is that for a long title? Sheesh, what WERE we thinking?

We wanted to give an experience of boundary crossing, so we startePhoto by choconancyd the session with a paired drawing exercise (for details, see  here and here) for the technique I learned from Johnnie Moore.) The basic premise is without talking, people take turns drawing facial features until they have created a shared face and named it, one letter at a time.  As always, this great exercise gets people interacting with each other and then people are amazed at how they let go of their preconceived notions about drawing something and how beautiful their images are.

Then we moved into videos from Barbara and Laura which again set a very multisensory tone – images, poetry, music. As we moved into conversation, I then captured the conversation visually. We wrapped our session with an invitation for everyone to come down front and dance!

After the session the three of us sat down, along with my friends Dave Pollard and Sue Wolff, and did a debrief of the session. We all really enjoyed it and realized we opened a huge pandora’s box that we could not even begin to explore in a 40 minute session. There was so much everyone wanted to say. How about a whole day? Sue twittered out our comments. Later, Laura blogged about it here. I’m waiting for Barbara’s blogged reflections.

The Livescribe notes The last experiment of Saturday was with Alan Levine using his Livescribe pen/paper to visually annotate his presentation, which itself was on the role of visuals in blogging! For the details, see Nancy LiveScribed Me on Flickr – Photo Sharing

By the end of the day, my chalk was down to the nubbins! It was visual, collaborative, somewhat chaotic and fun.

Just in — Laura made a “Thank you NVoice” video!

just to be in the presence of others who understand

image by 2-dog-farm on Flickr ccA few weeks ago I had the great pleasure to jam in an impromptu telecon with Jessica Lipnak, Luis Suarez, Jenny Ambrozek, Lilly Evans, and June Holley about all things online. It was a sort of a net-worker’s jam. Thursday Feb. 26th, at 10am PST we are doing it again. Leave a comment if you want to join us.

Today at 3pm PST, we are doing something similar with a handful of visual practitioners and those interested in the role of visuals in our work.  You can find the details here

These ad hoc gatherings came out of connections on Twitter. Wondering out loud, finding each other and then moving to action. Pretty cool. 

More importantly, they fill a hole that Jessica articulated beautifully with this comment “just to be in the presence of others who understand.” This may mean with people who know us deeply. Or with people who care about something we care about – deeply. These are two kinds of “knowing” – one relational and one domain related. But there is a deep pleasure in basking in conversation with people you “know.”  A joy. A happy dance. 😉

So if you want to join us, let me know. Find your way and connect!


Photo credit: 

view photostream
by 2-Dog-Farm

Crowdsourcing Conference Note-Taking

I’m still working on my NorthernVoice09 conference recap, but I had been meaning to check out the amazing Raul/Hummingbird604’s live blogging of the conference. I had not realized Raul was using Coveritlive WITH Twitter. So he was tweeting his live coverage and pulling in any other tweets with the #northernvoice09 hashtag at the same time. VERY clever.
photo by Tris Hussey, cc on Flickr
Take a peek at one of them:  Rob Cottingham on Teh Funny. The mashup of Raul’s intentional notes and the audience’s reaction, while not always coherent, is very cool. However, I can’t judget since I was there. It would be interesting to hear from one of you who was not there how coherent this crowdsourced live blogging is. This is another example of using the network. One person can’t do it all, even the amazing Raul. Having done a lot of liveblogging in the past, I know how much energy it takes!

I wonder what would happen if a smaller, defined group did this with a specific session tag. Does a group create a more coherent record, or the network? (EDITED IN LATER: Check out Beth Kanter’s great blog post on working with conference backchannel which could be considered unto itself conference capture or note taking.)

Just to recover, the peripatetic Raul is committing to one day a week of slow blogging. Raul, you MUST read Barbara Ganley’s blog!

Photo of Raul – ©Tris Hussey, 2009. Non-commerical use permitted with attribution

Network Effects: Advice for TJ’s and Any Organization

You know the routine. Get up. Walk and feed the dog. Make tea. Check email. And there is a note that David Armano is following me on Twitter. Being the half brain for names that I am, I say, “hm, I know that name” and click in to follow back. Then I click into some of the links in his tweets and find my  way to his blog and this great post. Logic+Emotion: The Best Little Ad Trader Joe’s Never Made

First, the embedded YouTube video – a customers video of “if I made an ad for Trader Joe’s” is amazing. (Dear readers outside of some parts of the US, Trader Joe’s – or TJ’s as we know it – is a very successful grocer that plays by its own rules. Intentionally quirky? ) I’m embedding the video because first, it is a fabulous piece of work by the creator, and second, David’s point about the video carry weight for any organization – even my colleagues and clients in international development.  Over 257,000 views of this video in just three weeks. 

Here’s the video:

Here are some snippets from David – click in to read his specific advice:

There are close to 100 comments on the video and over 33,000 views of the video. Track all mentions and embeds of the video and listen to how people are responding to it…

The video is mostly complimentary but shows Trader Joe’s warts and all… Remember, a brand isn’t what you say it is—it’s what they say it is. What can Trader Joe’s Learn if anything?

Use the video as fodder to figure out how your orginzation will respond to these types of inevitable situations…

Engage your customers in the comments…. Then go back to listening—lather, rinse and repeat.

I heart Trader Joe’s. And this video. It’s catchy as hell and one of the best advertisements they never made.

I am getting ready to co-facilitate a short online workshop on social media for communications managers of a large international network of research centers. I am going to link to the TJ’s video and David’s blog. This idea of listening may not seem as relevant to a research center whose most numerous constituents are poor people who are very much NOT online. But a smaller, strategic constituency is more and more online: funders and policy makers. And future brilliant researchers they want to attract. And influentials they want in their court as they undergo their own evolution forward in a changing world. These centers  can listen, tell their own story, ask their constituents to tell their stories. It’s not the same as TJ’s, but the potential of the network effect is the same. And it matters.

We know not every non profit is going to make a clever video. But one of their constituents just might share something that gets to the heart of the matter, especially if they inspire the kind of love Carl feels for TJs, even with his criticisms. After all, we take advice better from our friends we know love us. They tell us if we have brocolli in their teeth!

Two more things. Read more of David’s blog. He gets the visual thing, the network thing and the friend thing. And I remembered now, how I know of David. Of course – through my network – via Beth Kanter. Small world, eh? That old network effect. It is real. Powerful. Ignore it at your own risk.


P.S. Also check out David’s visual graphic on Twitter.