- It accommodates commentary that falls, in length, between Twitter and even the briefest essay on the Blog.
- It isn’t constrained to the Dispatches categories—giving me, for example, a place to share news about disruptive events (which are, along with trends, significant drivers of change shaping the future)
- I hope it will be more interactive than CFM’s existing platforms. Even widely read posts on the Blog rarely generate comments. (And people pretty much ignore the Blogger “Reactions” check boxes. I’m thinking of just removing that widget.) On Facebook, people seem to be uninhibited about about “liking” posts, commenting and building on the comments of others. We will see!
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
|Photo by Vogel Alcove|
- Their kids made ornaments for one of the trees at our annual Candlelight event. Vogel Alcove staff and volunteers came to help us with activities, as well as share information about Vogel Alcove with our visitors.
- Two of our staff members are now regular volunteers at Vogel Alcove.
- If either of us have big events, we borrow parking from each other.
- They’ve taken some of our excess mulch for their raised garden beds.
- We’re in each other’s disaster plans.
|Photo by Vogel Alcove|
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I also recommend the Giving USA report that came out this spring, reporting the figures for 2013. The good news is that giving to Cultural, Arts and Humanities (which included museums), increased over 7% last year. That is twice the average increase for giving overall. So not only are museums rebounding, rebounding, we are rebounding faster than others in the nonprofit sector. Indeed, The Alliance’s annual “Conditions of Museums and the Economy” report confirms the continued improvement in the field's vital signs (attendance, financial stress) since 2008, and most museums reported an increase in philanthropic funding. However, more than one director noted “fundraising continues to be very difficult." As the 2013 report says “even those [museums] that experienced notable increases in donations last year argued that philanthropic support has become less predictable.” Museums need to understand and adapt to the new shape of giving, and/or place less reliance on philanthropy and more on other income streams.
Museums can also take an active role in shaping the expectations of donors. Last year GuideStar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance published an open letter to the "donors of America" combating what they dubbed "the Overhead Myth"--the undue importance granted to the ratio of administration and fundraising expenses to program delivery. As the Myth campaign pointed out, too much focus on this one ratio devalues other critical measures of performance. And in fact many nonprofits spend too little on overhead--underpaying staff and failing to invest in critical infrastructure. Obsessing on their overhead ratio is as counterproductive as asking someone with anorexia about their weight. Now the Overhead Myth coalition is preparing to launch a second letter, this time directed at nonprofit organizations, calling on them to be "more proactive about communicating the story of their programmatic work, their governance structures, and the real costs of achieving results...[and] to recruit nonprofits to help us retrain donors to pay attention to what matters: results." When this letter is released, I hope the director of your museum will share it with your board of trustees, and lending your support to the campaign.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
|Coming Soon to a Billboard near You?#Pop-Up #Blippar |
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
- A recent poll of experts by the Pew Research Internet Project showed that nearly half expect a future in which robots and digital agents (such as the artificial intelligence Watson created by IBM) displace significant numbers of blue- and white-collar workers.
- Ethicists and judicial scholars are speculating whether robots, like corporations, should have rights and obligations, while the United Nations debates what boundaries need to be placed on robotic warfare
- The past few months have seen articles on robot security guards; on the effect of increasingly sophisticated robots and AI on professions like lawyer, doctor and architects; and on robots that can assemble themselves.
- The debate rages about how to regulate and legalize commercial drone use in the US. (Here are some arguments for free and open access to this technology, as well as arguments against.) but meanwhile
- Police departments in Seattle and LA are using drones equipped with night vision video cameras for surveillance (maybe I should have saved that article for the Privacy update)
- Aloft Hotels just announced that their first "cyber associate" has reported fro training in Cupertino, California. The Botlr, as it is known, will deliver amenities to guest. rooms and port linens and towels around the hotel. (Cute detail: instead of tips, Botlr asks for tweets.)
- On the museum front, Robot Linda debuted at London’s Natural History Museum, demonstrating its ability to map its environment and operate autonomously. Last week the Tate Britain invited members of the public to queue up online and take turns controlling four video-equipped, flashlight-wielding robots that roamed the museum in the project After Dark
Thursday, August 14, 2014
First up, from TrendsWatch 2012, Crowdsourcing.
Every new technology has its potential dark side. As I mentioned in a recent post, peer-to-peer sharing services may be facilitating racial discrimination and eroding accessibility. Drones surveillance may help save elephants and rhinos, but it also nudges us towards an Orwellian future in which we are continually surveyed by a digital panopticon.
Turns out even crowdsourcing--soliciting content, solutions and suggestions from an undefined set of participants via the internet--can take a nasty turn under the right circumstances. Case in point: crowdsourcing initiatives that recruit the public to identify safety issues and concerns in their neighborhoods. When New York City introduced a interactive map of traffic hazards this year, inviting citizens to map pedestrian hazards and traffic violations, it was designed to be very civil and civic minded. Even if you ratted out a red light runner, it was the cumulative implication of such reports that mattered ("people tend to run red lights here")--your report didn't result in a ticket to the violator.
But can such efforts reflect and amplify people's fears, whether or not they are justified? An article in the Washington post yesterday aired concerns that SketchFactor, a crowdsourced safety mapping app that launched this month, promotes racism and profiling. App users file geo-tagged reports on anything from the presence of homeless people to police incidents to noisy construction, categorizing each report (e.g. "weird," "dangerous") and assigning a "sketchy" rating of 1-5. Karen McGuire, the sociologist who co-founded SketchFactor, says she did so because she believed an app could "pool everyone’s street smarts, for everyone’s good."
But the app only runs on iPhones, so critics point out that right there, the "digital divide" means that relatively more affluent people are being invited to critique city streets. Now people are worrying that the app could be used to "blacklist" communities, with some describing it as a tool for yuppies to air biases and stigmatize people and places that make them uncomfortable. Also, some people are pranking the app, entering fake incidents or humorous reports. The Washington Post article also points out that the apps mapping doesn't accurately reflect police reports of crime.
I can see the potential for this app as a instrument of empowerment, though. The fact the app doesn't reflect police stats, for example, means it can let users express concern about safety issues the police largely do not address. For example, the WP story says that McGuire intended the app to empower women to report things like cat-calling and street harassment, "invisible" crimes that don't show up on police blotters. Conceivably, users could report incidents of police harassment or other "sketchy" behavior by authorities, converting it into a tool for the oppressed. (At least, that segment of the oppressed who own iPhones).
So, food for thought--as you devise ways to harness the power of the crowd, be aware of the potential dark side of our collective human nature.
An ironic postscript: while a DC television news crew was doing a story on SketchFactor, their van was broken into and thieves took phones, computers, cameras. This story doesn't report whether the crew logged the incident on SketchFactor...