Alexandra Samuel is a whirlwind of social media activity. You can follow her on Twitter @awsamuel as well as read her blog posts on Harvard Business Review, among others. I worked with Alex on a project with my 3rd year students this past fall, re-imagining the ebook. Great project for both me and my students to take our brains out for a good run!
Who are you?
I’m a writer in the sea of social media: sometimes swimming, sometimes drowning. I’m lucky that my work lets me think about how to help other people (mostly) swim: I run the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, where I help BC’s creative and tech companies tap the incredibly skills and creativity of Emily Carr faculty and students. I come from the tech sector myself, as the co-founder of Social Signal, a social media agency.
What do you do?
I develop and lead research projects that advance the use of social and interactive media in a range of companies and industries. For example we’ve helped Paperny Films develop its vision for an online community to go with its upcoming TV series for the Food Network, Eat Street. My colleague Glen Lowry collaborated with Work at Play on classroom uses for their social media platform, DEQQ. And I’m really excited about the work that Jonathan Aitken and I have been doing around re-imagining electronic books in partnership with BookRiff and now with the Mozilla Foundation, too.
Why do you do it?
Well, I have a really good shtick I could insert here about how the Internet is changing just about every aspect of our world, which desperately needs changing given the incredible variety of crises we face, and which could be our very best hope for pulling ourselves out of this global nose — dive if we can take charge of our lives and society online and use it to fix our problems instead of making them worse. And that is definitely why I feel like the Internet — and our individual lives online — are so worth attending to. But the truth of why I do it is honestly that I just really, really love touching my computer. A lot.
Where do you do it?
Hmm, right now I am in bed. I would be embarrassed about how much of my blogging, tweeting and report-writing gets done in my bed, except that I have a wicked home media setup that would otherwise be totally wasted. So I try to mix up all the bed-based computing by spending lots of time working in cafés. And also, I do actually work in an office — but that is for human-to-human work as opposed to my human-to-computer work.
When do you do it?
I get pretty cranky if I don’t get at least 6 hours of sleep, preferably 7, so I try not to do it between about midnight and 7 am. Most weekends we have a scheduled family outing or two. And then Monday nights Gossip Girl is on from 9-10. Other than that, assume I’m doing it.