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My Step-Dad-In-Law, the Baller

My Tokyo step-dad-in-law (pictured cooling his heels in the Upper Tamagawa) is cool as hell.

The guy has kept his 20-year relationship with my mother-in-law after her divorce quiet from his parents because they'd want him to marry a younger woman in line with more traditional Japanese mores (okasan is several years older than he). He is semi-retired from a career as a grocery store manager, and owns three big American cars.Ā 

He was visiting his dad one day in my sister-in-law's tiny city car, which was the only one of his vehicles the parents have seen. His dad gave him a big chunk of money and he bought a black Mustang GT 5.0 to go with his Chrysler 300c and Ford Escape. He would have gone red, but my wife convinced him that he'd just end up getting pulled over more often.

We pull up at the full service gas stations and he says, "The one behind me, too."

Straight baller.

Creativity is the Killer App

I just finished spending an hour in a couple Google+ Hangouts doing a tour of one of Tokyo's busiest districts, Shinjuku. The folks up late stateside seemed to love it, and it was nice to have some company as I got chased out of a stage show rehearsal, chatted with street hustlers and wandered around the nightlife district in the middle of the day.

Whatever the tool, creativity is the killer app.

(MacBook Air, BIC Pocket WiMAX via Rentafone Japan, generic headset)

Constructive Torture - 33 in Tokyo

First, the best thing about celebrating a birthday 16 hours ahead of your normal time zone and being an Internet freak is that the well-wishes seem to go on forever. Second, Facebook is the place for birthdays. I think I just spent an hour thanking and liking the birthday wishes, and they just keep coming. I quit Facebook for a few months last year, and pretty sure I missed this phenomenon entirely. It is quite uplifting (thank you!).Ā 

So, what did I do in Tokyo for my 33rd birthday? Well, basically I paid to be tortured in order to feel great hours later. Near my in-laws home in suburban Tokyo is a sports massage clinic run by a former Olympic trainer. I went there three years ago after injuring my knee on an epic trail run in the mountains near the city, and they put me back in working order right quick. They do muscle-kneading massage, chiropractic and acupuncture - complete with electricity and burning herbs. Suffering from some rather severe repetitive stress pain in my arms and wrists, I figured this was the ticket. And since my last visit, they'd added a hyperbaric chamber.

So, they racked me out, they stuck pins in me and electrified them. They burnt my skin. And then they stuck me in a capsule and turned up the pressure until my ears popped. Due to that whole time zone thing, I actually fell asleep inside the chamber. I went home and took a nap, and when I woke up, I went out for sushi, karaoke and ice cream with my wife. I felt a full half centimeter taller and like I had brand new lungs.Ā 

This morning I woke up with a stiff back. I'm getting old.


Acupuncture dummy photo by Megan Mallen.

Firefighting Page Is Back!

Back in October, I had made a Facebook page supporting my local Fire Department in Scotland, Since the start it only took 3 months to reach 156,000 views on the page with over 500 fans. We provided the latest safety information, news stories, road closures, weather reports, We delivered what we thought our local community needed, We use technology to get through to our community from Facebook Page, To Emails, Magazine, We think information is important to our local community.Ā The page actually got closed due to reasons and has now risen through the problems and restarted the page! We hope we can make more fans than we have ever before! We support all Fire Departments including the new Fire Department Application for Iphone and Supporting the SFFire Application!!/pages/Firefighting-In-GrampianUnofficial/174563425943431

Growing Gov 2.0 in Russia -

Back in May, I had the chance to meet up in Palo Alto with Russian entrepreneur and Gov 2.0 advocate Alena Popova along with Sarah Granger, Tatyana Kanzaveli, Katie Stanton and other international e-gov advocates. Popova (below right, with Granger) had just wrapped up her Startup Women Forum in Moscow.

Recently, Alena shared her thoughts on eGov and Gov 2.0 in Russia, along with a new report on the sector.

"There is a persistence prejudice in the world that e-government development here in Russia has stalled, that Russia has no e-Government at all.

I have been actively involved in eGov development in Russia and let me break that constant myth.Ā Russia has great possibilities ā€“ a large number of developers. Our IT could greatly improve the situation in the eGov sector.Ā 

We have now launched a united platform/incubator for e-government startups in Russia ā€“Ā

As of today there is no perfect eGov model applied anywhere in the world, soĀ we decided to collect all the social important projects that could be commercially successful and place them at one platform.

We collected andĀ added to our listĀ all of the existing projects to date in the history of Russia. Some of these projects require lobbying at the government level and it is necessary to create the system and strategic communications for such projects. Placing thsee project on the site includes not only involvement in the all-Russian Gov 2.0 movement, but also lobbying its interests at the state level and the inclusion in the folder of Russian examples which can be presented at the international level.

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Code for America Leaderboards on NationBuilder

One of the cooler parts of NationBuilder that doesn't get enough attention is the political capital system, a highly customizable means of tracking and highlighting top supporters of a given nation. Political capital is by default rewarded for actions like tweeting about a nation's broadcasters, getting people to sign up, or volunteering. Code for America has its NationBuilder home page displaying the PC leaderboard, where as of today fellow Ryan Resella has the most points by far.

Comments Disabled Due to Racism

I watched this video a few minutes ago when I was in a google+ hangout, and when I went to reload the page (in Chrome on a Mac), it said comments had been disabled "due to racism."Ā

Using NationBuilder to Organize Hybrid House Parties

Among its many cool engagement-centric features, NationBuilder allows you to easily create events and organize them across several platforms. Our VP of design, Jesse Haff, and I have been brainstorming with a client who wants to do virtual house parties as part of a nationwide social action campaign. Anyone who follows my stuff knows I am a social media junkie, and I have been experimenting personally with how to use NationBuilder's toolset to increase engagement and run exciting hybrid on- and offline events.

NationBuilder supports unlimited calendar and events pages, with the ability for anyone to set up their events on your calendar if you allow that access. Events can be linked to existing Facebook and Meetup events, or you can simply post your event to Facebook right through NationBuilder. NationBuilder then tracks RSVPs - including from Facebook and Meetup -Ā and lets you easily update your list of attendees. People can sign up online, or, for NationBuilder admin-hosted events, by texting in a keyword.

To spur house party planning around a social campaign, you could create an event-type specific calendars withĀ a campaignĀ and event-style introductionĀ and let people host their own physical and virtual events. Comments on the pages as well as tweets including its URL would become part of the discussion.

I have used NationBuilder to encourage more than 130 to people sign up to participate in an online challenge, including volunteer shifts, and also to put together a virtual pizza party using Google+ Hangout. I have found that the texting features really help, because people see an event on Twitter and just text in to attend, and you can customize the text autoresponses to collect the right level of info. For some campaigns, you might just want zip codes, or you may want full addresses. For the "Pizza Plus" event I did, I collected full addresses and used Papa John's online ordering to send pizzas to friends in several different states while we chatted live in the Google hangout, which supports up to 10 people at once (you can of course break into multiple hangouts).

For Twitter, if you had RSVPs and guidelines, you could structure a timed event where people would mention your campaign Twitter ID with their tweets and all that acitivty would be tracked by NationBuilder. You could also have a host for the event and track responses into the NB dashboard through replies from a broadcaster account, or by retweeting messages that didn't include the campaign ID to add it.

For hybrid events like this, the key isĀ putting in the resources to host and facilitate; if you do something clever, it can get a lot of traction, like when people posted pictures of their pizzas to Facebook and Twitter unasked and mentioned the event on Plus. The overall reach can be much greater than the physical attendance.

Google+ and Social Media Elitism

So, one of the memes I'm seeing floating around in response to Google+ is how you don't need to reciprocate when people add you to their circles. Some are saying this is a great thing. Really, social media experts?

I'm going to throw down and say that the only reason you wouldn't reciprocate in Google+ is because you are a social media elitist.

Sure, people will rebut with all kinds of reasons they are on Google+ and don't need to reciprocate circles. Ridiculous. No one is on Google+ because they couldn't find friends or sort content on another platform. Some may be there just to experiment. But anyone who plans to stay and is not adding back people to circles is exhibiting an "I'm so big I don't need to pay attention to the people who add me" attitude. We've seen it on Twitter forevers.

The great thing about Google+ is that you don't automatically know what circles people are putting you in. Someone you don't know adds you? Put them in a "New People" circle. My most interesting circle right now is "People I Don't Know." Folks quickly move from that to other circles as I get to know them, and new people join it. Sure, play around with Plus, but if you're not going to add people to your circles, the network doesn't really need you.


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