July 15, 2008

Olive Riley, the world’s oldest blogger, passed away July 12th. She was 108 years old and lived in a nursing home in Australia. Olive started her blog at the young age of 106. Youngster, 95-year-old Maria Amelia of Spain, who is now the oldest blogger by default, helped to inspire the journal. Though Olive wasn’t able to type out her own blogs the stories were all hers. She was read the comments and dictated her stories to 70 year-old, Mike Rubbo, who documented her life in All About Olive.



Though Olive sometimes referred to her blog as a blob she enjoyed the technology and the many friends whose lives she was able to influence with it. I know that I could learn a thing or two about blogging from her. Olive actually had 350,000 visitors one day. The most that I’ve had was 34.


There are so many things that we can learn from Olive. She shared her life with her readers. Stories about what it used to be like a century ago. What a wonderful way to do it. In small increments updated a few times a month she shared her history. Pictures, movies and words were used in order for her readers to get to know the octogenarian. We can learn a lesson from this. Why not have older people share their stories through this medium? There is so much to learn from those that have come before us. This is a great way to unite young and old. New technology embracing wonderful older stories is a perfect fit.


Olive was able to inspire others with her stories. Because of her, others dipped their feet into the vast resource that is the internet. They learned that while the unknown, technology, can be scary it can also be very rewarding. Of course, the inevitable question must follow. If a woman of 106 can start using the internet, why can’t McCain? If Tracy Russo’s grandmother were Olive Riley she’d be showing him how.


Perhaps not, but is it your grandpa’s? Apparently it will be if McCain takes office according to Tracy Russo who was the deputy director if online communications for John Edwards. She asked Mark Soohoo about McCain’s sub par knowledge of the internet at the Personal Democracy Forum. Mark’s answer didn’t tell us anything new but it got the question out there. It went from cyberspace to real dialogue. Who knows, maybe Soohoo will take the chiding that he received back to the campaign and educate McCain? It could happen however unlikely.


Now, what makes Russo an expert? Her candidate didn’t win. Well, Edwards might not have won but he did make quit a splash at the forum with a spur of the moment Skype appearance.

His wife, Elizabeth, was giving an interview via the online video connection when John arrived home and took a seat. The Skype connection wasn’t planned but a canceled flight made it a necessity. The point of the whole story is that two people, who weren’t afraid of the internet, were able to embrace it and make a whole lot of people happy. McCain is missing out on a lot of opportunities because he shuns this tool.


Another group that needs to embrace the internet but has lagged behind would be the “mainstream media.” Jay Rosen discussed how there is no absolute anymore when it comes to journalism. We all need to start playing together nicely. As the “semi-pros”, bloggers and other citizen journalists have taken off on the internet someone has been left behind. That someone would be the traditional media. Why did this happen? Well, they seem to have held off for as long as possible and are now playing the catch up game. As Prof. Graff has taught us this isn’t a good position to be in. The innovators will always retain the lead unless a new comer creates something exponentially better. As this isn’t likely to happen anytime soon it’s time for the tradition to change or eat dust.


Pigs in Space

June 24, 2008

McCain must have spoken with his wife. He’s trying to change his image as a candidate who just doesn’t know how the tubes on the internets work. He’s revamped his website and even added an application on Facebook. Sounds pretty good huh? Hmmm.

Gaming is definitely web 2.0. Flying Atari type pigs are not. John forgot to consult his children when he came out with his new game Pork Invaders. It will not get him any cool points. The graphics are very innovative for the 1980’s. I mean, he wouldn’t walk around flaunting his sock garters for fear of his age being called into question. So, why would he add an application from the 20th century? This was a great chance to shine but instead he just fell flat.

Well, there’s still one more innovation that his “supporters” are handing to him. As I mentioned in my last blog, Techrepublican is touting a site called Graphic artists can donate their work to the Republican cause. I included one piece of artwork from the site in my blog. It was brought to my attention that embedded in the photo may be a symbol that McCain doesn’t want to be associated with him.

Does this look familiar? Is that a crescent and star? You be the judge.

But, it’s not all bad news for John McCain’s web presence. His redesigned website is turning heads. It’s got a blog, better color scheme, and it basically ushers his website into web 2.0. This means that his web team has it in them. They just need to expand it and keep his web presence growing. More importantly though someone needs to sit him down and give him a crash course on the internet. Maybe we’ll see him in Prof. Graff’s next Social Media class. He can borrow a laptop from the department and be ready to go.

First came the primaries and now the presidential elections are around the corner. With all of the excitement voters are stepping up and putting their best foot forward. Their favorite candidate not only inspires them to vote but also to create art. The candidates have inspired a band to reunite and entrepreneurs to make money.


The Grateful Dead reunited for a benefit concert and updated their “Steal Your Face” logo to incorporate Obama’s presidential campaign logo. Now this is a double doozy with both artwork and music inspired by a candidate. Obama got in on the fun by recording a message especially for the concert, which sold out in mere minutes.

If you check out Youtube you can find some musical tributes to Obama. There’s everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. Anyone with the time can hear the Oscar Meyer Weiner song sung with Obama lyrics. For those with a more discerning ear there’s a reggae salute to him by Coco Tea.

Musicians aren’t the only ones getting into the spirit. Entrepreneurs are using the election to make a quick buck on ebay. You can find true works of art and some homemade masterpieces. If you’ve got the money, a whole gallery of Obama art can be yours. You can also find some McCain art but it’s not as flattering.

So, where can you go to get some voter created content about McCain? Techrepublican came up with a solution. Since the graphics for John McCain and the rest of the republican party were just not up to snuff a website was created to solve the problem. Graphic artists are encouraged to share their designs to be used free of charge by those not as talented. The site is called after a phrase that McCain once used. Not only can you use what’s on the site but if you don’t find what you’re looking for just request it. The hope is that someone will hear your call and create the content that you’re looking for.


Long live donations and free enterprise!

Web Wars

June 12, 2008

It’s the battle of the websites, vs. Now, at first glance, it may seem that both are Democratic sites but that is the furthest thing from the truth. is actually a Republican site designed to chip away at Obama.

MeetBarackObama, according to Mark Ambinder, features a clock showing how long it’s been since Obama has been to Iraq. You can even download it as a widget. This is, of course, a major focus of the McCain campaign. The general message is that what McCain may lack in technology he makes up for in battle. It also features an album of Obama pictures showing no white hair on his head. This emphasizes Obama’s youth as opposed to McCain’s age. Obama is portrayed as an impetuous youth. McCain, therefore would be, a distinguished older gentleman. Obama’s resume is also mocked. Describing him as a “street organizer” plays down his time in Chicago as an activist. Considering what the Republican sites looked liked until their current revamp it looks pretty good. They seem to have lifted the graphics directly off of an Obama campaign page so this might have something to do with it., on the other hand, is a Democratic site. The Fix and Techpresident discussed it in their blogs. This site is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll explain it anyway. It is designed to confront rumors about Obama as well as smear campaigns. What rumors might you ask? Well, the tape of Michelle Obama saying not so nice things for one. Obama not being born in the United States for another. It seems that in every election there are emails that sneak into our mailboxes telling us to be wary of a candidate. I personally remember getting one during the Dean campaign saying that he didn’t like Jewish people so bewares. These can have a detrimental affect on the candidate so debunking them is always a good idea. As we discussed last semester if a company, or in this case a candidate, doesn’t address these issues they tend to grow out of control. The best thing to do is address it quickly and often so that voters know that there is nothing to hide.

Is McCain too old to run for president? Of course he isn’t. You’re only as old as you feel after all. How about his health? He may have had skin cancer but is monitoring it and doing fine. Just check out his medical report for yourself.


How about Obama? Well, he used to smoke but he’s quit numerous times. He’s currently using nicotine gum to dull the cravings. Aside from that he’s very fit. Don’t believe me? He’s got a doctor’s note to prove it.


Yes, it’s the battle of the medical reports and everyone is talking about it –Marc Ambinder, The Huffington Post, The Fix, and now Blogging it in. I guess I’m in pretty good company.


What about Hillary? How’s she doing? Sorry folks, she’s keeping it under wraps. I guess that means she’s out of the race. It’s interesting how trends start in politics. Candidates will do what they have to in order to win the nomination and then the race.


As many Americans have little or no medical insurance the candidates are flashing their records. Maybe they should instead work a little harder on getting medical records for all. If McCain didn’t have health insurance he wouldn’t be able to monitor his skin. A clean bill of health wouldn’t be available to potential voters to wade through.


In the end, the only thing that the battling medical records really does, is bring more attention to the health care problems in the U.S. I’m sure people with no insurance aren’t saying, “thank goodness a potential presidential candidate is feeling fit and fiddle.” I’m sure instead they are wondering if their family will be as lucky.


Who’s going to be a better president? Age, not so important. Policies, now that can make a difference. So keep your medical records and give us substance instead.