[Disclosure- I am one of the organizers and the MC for this year’s conference.]

Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. will present its 5th annual new media conference centered on the recovery and future of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on Saturday, August 28, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., at The Howlin’ Wolf, 907 South Peters St., in New Orleans.

The one-day conference features speakers and panel discussions on the status and future of the culture, politics, criminal justice system, environment, and flood protection of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Past speakers have included actor and outspoken champion of New Orleans Harry Shearer, and authors Dave Zirin, John Barry, Christopher Cooper and Robert Block.

Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed by New Orleans bloggers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federally-built levees. After the disaster, the internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, and friends of the city and of the Gulf Coast region. A surge of new blogs erupted and, combined with those that were already online, a community of bloggers with a shared interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast developed. In the summer of 2006, to mark the anniversary of the flood, the bloggers of New Orleans organized the first Rising Tide Conference, taking their shared interest in technology, the arts, the internet and social media and turning advocacy for the city into action.

Conference registration is open at www.risingtidenola.com and is only $20 until July 31.  Registration includes lunch. There will be pre-conference party hosted by the New Orleans bloggers on Friday evening August 27, also at the Howlin’ Wolf. More information is available at the Rising Tide5 Website: http://www.risingtidenola.com and at the Rising Tide blog: http://www.risingtideblog.blogspot.com

Rising Tide 5 is sponsored by The Canary Collective, a media publishing agency, and by Levees.org.

Rising Tide’s featured artwork, available as a poster and t-shirt, is once again produced by the award-wining editorial cartoonist and artist Greg Peters of Suspect Device.

The New Orleans bloggers will present the annual Ashley Award named for Ashley Morris—blogger and passionate advocate for New Orleans—who passed away in April, 2008. The Ashley Morris Award is given each year to an outstanding blogger writing about New Orleans and the challenges it faces.

Tables for booksellers and vendors are available at the Rising Tide 5 Conference by calling Tim Ruppert at 504-975-3591 or by e-mailing[email protected].

Those interested in sponsorship should e-mail [email protected].

Information about registration is available by emailing [email protected]. The telephone number to call for information about RisingTide 5 is 866-910-2055.

Connect with Rising Tide on your preferred platform:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RisingTideNOLA

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RisingTide

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This is a guest post by my friend Marrus, a New Orleans based artist who recently published her first book, Lightsurfing. I’ve watched her grow in her use of social media over the past several years and thought this piece of hers would be fantastic reading for our audience here on SocialGumbo.  So here you go, something to ponder about the state of the English language and communications. If you enjoy it go pay her a visit at marrusart.com! -Loki

Something whack has been happening when I speak. And a similar whackitude is happening when I write.

I’ve always had this thing about wanting to be absolutely, clearly understood. (And yes, I know it’s impossible). With the preponderance of written correspondence, I’ve found that I’m peppering my missives with more and more emoticons and acronyms. That “WTF” has become spoken, rather than just written. That my few remaining Luddite friends stare blankly when I interject LOL-speak into a conversation. “ROFLCOPTERED” has become a word. Gah.

And emoticons. I’m just as likely to end a typed sentence in “O_o” or “;)” as I am a period or exclamation point. I hate the chilliness of the black word on white screen, and I will sink to these minimalist cartoons to inject personality into my intent. I know I’m not alone in this, and I’m wondering if this is good or bad for the language.

I know that English is an malleable, morphing, inclusive, vibrant, twisty, sculptural, mercurial, absorptive whore. I think that’s a good thing. But I’m watching a dividing line growing between those who are tech-savvy and those who are not. An impatience with reading more than three paragraphs, or, jeebus forefend, 140 characters on one side. On the other, an insistent ignorance of how net language is changing the way we think, speak, act. Maybe all in keeping with the way English grows & changes anyway. Perhaps the flood of new words and punctuation adds to its structure, and makes us think & inter-relate in new ways.

But I know I’m guilty of dismissing someone who types in all caps as an idiot. (I’ve actively heard the imaginary yelling.) I suspect I’m not alone. If someone doesn’t know what a LOLcat is – are you done with her? Someone else isn’t good at checking email – is your friendship over? An old friend doesn’t bother with MyFaceJournal. Do you not bother with him anymore? Is the separation between net & not-net savvy the new cultural divide?

The way I have conversations has changed. I spoke to my mother a while back and she asked how I was doing. I barely began to respond when she cut me off: “I already read that on your blog.” I have strangers bring up things I wrote about five years before, launching into an unremembered conversation I forgot I started. I’m falling out of touch with beloved friends because they aren’t online. I’m getting frustrated with having to repeat in person what I got tired of typing about six months earlier.

It’s like living on multiple meta-levels. I can’t keep track of which conversations I have with whom, where. Don’t know if I know someone online or in person. Don’t know how to set my face when I’m working a show, cuz someone comes up to me grinning like we’re best friends, and I don’t know who they are til they give me their screen name. It’s insane.

(Yeah, I know I’m all over the place again. Time to spend more time on my bike & in the studio than at the computer.)


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katrinahouseMost of my posts over the next several days will be audio reports from Rising Tide IV, a conference founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the leveee failure that followed.  Here’s the short form:

After the flood that followed Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, the internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, friends of the city and of the Gulf Coast region. A surge of new blogs erupted and, combined with those that were already online, a community of bloggers with a shared interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast developed. In the summer of 2006, after the success of the first Geek Dinner, and to mark the anniversary of the flood, the newly formed NOLA Bloggers organized the first Rising Tide Conference, taking their shared interest in technology, the internet and social media and turning advocacy for the city into action.

Over the intervening years we have had guests ranging from the Wall Street Journal’s Chris Cooper and Robert Block, authors of Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security, to this year’s keynote Speaker, Harry Shearer.  I’m particularly happy that Mr. Shearer made the time to join us this year as his bloggin about the disparity between national news and the actual events in the disaster zone have been vitally important over the past four years. (I’m also a huge fan of The Simpsons…)

I’d like to invite anyone with questions about Katrina, New Orleans, or the conference to feel free to drop me a line or leave me a comment. I’ll answer as best I can and if I don’t know the answer I’ll find you someone who does.

Okay. Next stop, New Orleans!

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Keynote Speaker Harry Shearer

Keynote Speaker Harry Shearer

Rising Tide IV, the annual bloggers conference on the recovery and future of New Orleans, will be “Sinking to New Heights” on Aug. 22 at the Zeitgeist Multi Disciplinary Arts Center in New Orleans. Our featured speaker: the multi-talented Harry Shearer, a great champion of New Orleans on Huffington Post and elsewhere, along with panels on the status and future of New Orleans music, food and parading culture; the state of New Orleans health care, politics in the Last Year of the Reign of Nagin, and more.

Registration is open at www.risingtidenola.net and is only $25 until August 20th and includes lunch from Cafe Reconcile. There will be a social Friday evening Aug. 21 at The Avenue Pub upstairs..Additional details will be posted to the Rising Tide blog and the Rising Tide IV Facebook page.

Our annual featured artwork (seen in the right hand sidebar), available as a poster and t-shirt, is once again produced by the award-wining editorial cartoonist and artist Greg Peters of Suspect Device. Octavia Books will be on-site with books by featured panelists and other New Orleans interest books.

There will be four panel discussions along with the featured speaker and presentations will also be given by Jessica Rohloff of Net2NO and Ariella Cohen of the New Orleans Institute.

The New Orleans bloggers will also present the annual Ashley Award named for Ashley Morris—blogger and warrior for New Orleans—who passed away in April 2008. The Ashley Morris Award for Excellence in Blogging is given each year to an outstanding blogger writing about the New Orleans community and the challenges it faces.  The recipient of the award will receive a glass ingot sandblasted with a Greg Peters design on it that symbolizes our community rising from the waters and reminding us all why New Orleans matters.

There will be four panel discussions with audience questions. The first, on New Orleans Culture, will examine the “under the hood” state of critical aspects of NOLA culture four years after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. Panelists include Edward Buckner of The Porch Seventh Ward Culture Organization and the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club Our food panelist will be Susan Tucker, editor of New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories. Our music panelist will be Bruce Raeburn of the Hogan Jazz Archive and author of New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History

The Politics panel will feature  John Slade, cartoonist and WBOK radio talk show host, Clancy Dubos who has been the political voice of The Gambit fr many years now, Lamar White Jr. of CenLamar, and Ethan Brown. The panel will look at where we’ve been and  where we’re going in regard to local, state and national politics as we approach a pivotal 2010 election.

The Health Care panel will explore the current issues surrounding the care of our physical and mental needs in the greater New Orleans area four years after the storm, starting off from a recent study linking increased instances of heart attacks to the stresses encountered in the recovery process: Holly Scheib, moderator, working on PhD in public health (http://coldspaghetti.org/ blog); Cecile Tebo, crisis unit coordinator for the NOPD, featured in 10 Top Female Achievers issue of New Orleans magazine; Dr Elmore Rigamer, medical director of Catholic Charities;  Sean Fitzmorris, New Orleans EMT, administrator of New Orleans EMTs Sound Off!  (http://nolaemt.blogspot.com/)

The Sports panelists  Alejandro de los Rios (reporter/blogger for the Gambit), Leo McGovern (editor/publisher of ANTIGRAVITY Magazine) and Chris Wiseman ((http://worldclassneworleans.blogspot.com/ ) an enthusiastic member of the Black and Gold Patrol  talk about the Saints, the Hornets, sports and the state of sports fandom in New Orleans.

Yours truly will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Please share this, blog about it, or contact me with any further questions!

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RT4Next month marks the fourth anniversary of the failure of the New Orleans levees (a distinct and separate disaster from Katrina, although most outside the region do not know it).  It is also the fourth year of the Rising Tide Conference, a gathering spearheaded by the New Orleans blogger community to examine   and address the city’s ongoing concerns in the wake of what locals call “The Federal Flood.”

This year we will have noted comedian and longtime New Orleans proponent Harry Shearer as our keynote speaker. I can’t wait for that, especially as I have been invited to MC the event. There will be panels on New Orleans culture, the state of health care in the city, the political landscape and more.

Now I know a lot f my readers on this blog are from other parts of the country, which is why I encourage you to check out the event. Natural disasters and engineering failures can strike anywhere, and there is no better example of how poorly things can be handled at all levels than the Katrina response was. Living in Ohio now I have really had it illustrated to me how little people outside the disaster zone really know about the situation, mostly due to a simple lack of hard facts. This conference is a perfect vehicle for self education on the subject.

If you live near a levee or dam, if you live in an area where forest fires/tornadoes/earthquakes occur, or if you have a simple love of New Orleans and its history then this is important to you! Please check it out, attend, or donate to support the effort. As people across the Midwest discovered not long ago, you could be the next one lost in a morass of post disaster FEMA paperwork while you try to find a roof to put over your exiled family’s heads.

For more info please check out The Rising Tide Blog, Flickr Community, or follow us on Twitter. I will also happily answer any question posted to the comments here.


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jefffrench75I’d like to thank everyone that listened to the Small Plate Radio Network‘s  Northwest Nosh – Drink program earlier, especially those that chimed in on the chat! Kyle O’Brian and I had a great time taking about classic summer cocktails ranging from my own loves, the Pimms Cup and the Sazerac, to more exotic offerings that even included an Avacado Daquiri.

You can find the show on iTunes, or listen/download directly from their blog.

In addition I provided a guest post with some additional tidbits including my own approach to the Pimm’s Cup recipe. Kyle on the other hand followed up with a barrage of cocktail recipes that we covered in the show (why scribble them down when you can cut ‘n paste!).

As always it is great to collaborate with my colleagues in Portland. Here’s a toast to Kyle the Gourmand and Emily the Demure!

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Photo: Jeff from Arnaud’s French 75 Bar in New Orleans pours

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introtosocialmediaToday I’d like to provide a few resources as a follow up to my lecture yesterday. We had a small but engaged crowd at the Sophielab, and I promised I would put together a quick overview with some useful links. (For those who missed it and have an interest, Crystal at Sohpielab is ripping the lecture and Q&A down a podcast even now. I’ll throw up a link when I have one.)

Lets start, as I did that day, with the fantastic Common Craft video Social Media in Plain English. This is my favorite way to introduce the concept to people so that we can get onto other topics. Check out their website for a stupendous array of Plain English videos. If you want to explain Twitter to your elderly aunt? They’ve got a video that will do it (and they sell Hi Res versions for Professional use.)

Once we had the basics on the table I explained the most important aspect of social media: Its the conversation NOT the application. It does not matter if you are using Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media applications ut there, you are doing the same basic thing- having a conversation. This is an incredibly important fundamental axiom.

Now, here are some links to things that we discussed during the lecture and the Q&A:

A great example of consolidating your social media efforts is tying twitter to your Facebook account so that your tweets automatically update your status message. Your mileage may vary with this one depending on how frequently you update your twitter account. Personally I’ve seen a 500% increase in conversations on Facebook since implementing it. [ How to make Twitter update your Facebook Status ]

We also spoke about online profiles and ways to centralize them. I’ve become a fan of the Google Profile that any Google app or Gmail user can set up free and rapidly. This becomes especially useful once you tie in all of your other social media apps. [ Your Google Profile: Tart it Up ]

Another topic was “real time” with twitter being the primary example. As the Internet leaves the desktop an smart phones like the Blackberry and iPhone make it accessible anywhere the pace is accelerating. In the interest of providing illustration I advise checking out this piece from Mashable showing the amazing impact 140 characters and real time mobile access have brought us over the past two years or so. [ The Ten Most Extraordinary Twitter Updates]

If you attended the class please leave a comment with your Twitter, Facebook, etc so that we can can continue the discussion! If you did not, please come join us!

sophiedaisyicon2x2_webI’d like to extend my particular thanks to Crystal Kile at the social media collaboratory at Newcomb College Center for Research on Women for having me speak and for all of the amazing work she has done at NCCROW, especially since Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures.

The Group shot at the top of the post was taken by Ray Nichols, a man already leveraging social media for the common good! Thanks Ray!

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For those of you who were inquiring about my Intro to Social Media presentation at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women here are the details.

Please RSVP by email as space is limited. If you are unable to make it we will be editing down a podcast version which be be available through the NCCROW website. I’ll post a link when it goes live.

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