November 30, 2012 - FILED UNDER Mindjet

Fun Friday Links: the Power of the Casual Tone, Visualizing Poems and Museum-Worthy Video Games

Welcome to Chelsi’s Number One Super Happy Fun Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.


I’ve been making the case for casual tones in formal situations for ages now. In this article, Joshua Green totally validates that line of thinking by diving into the science behind Obama’s campaign e-mails (side note: he also hyphenates e-mail. THANK YOU.)

“Anyone who shared an address with the campaign soon started receiving messages from Barack Obama with subject lines such as ‘Join me for dinner?’ ‘It’s officially over,’ ‘It doesn’t have to be this way,’ or just ‘Wow.’ Jon Stewart mocked them on the Daily Show. The women’s website the Hairpin likened them to notes from a stalker. But they worked. Most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails.”

Green goes on to note how it quickly became clear that a casual tone was usually most effective. “The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people,” said Toby Fallsgraff, the campaign’s e-mail director. “?‘Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.”

XOXO for Everyone!

I’ve talked before about how I think the tech conference is in for some big changes here. Though I didn’t attend XOXO, I would wager that its success is at least partially indicative of the new direction. Check out the videos linked in the header (they were just recently made public) and you’ll see what I mean.

Visualizing Poems

I love it when one process informs another. It’s just more proof of how creative and productive we can be when we make connections. In this Flickr set, German data artist Diana Lange creates visualizations of poems. Below, a video showing how it works:

The Rule of Reciprocation

This is an interesting talk/written piece from NPR about how the rule of reciprocation is more like a binding obligation. Example’s include the story of Phillip Kunz, who in 1974 sent out 600 Christmas cards to complete strangers. “It was just, you know, a shot in the dark,” he says. “I didn’t know what would happen.” Five days later, the responses started pouring in. In the end, Kunz got more than 200 replies. “I was really surprised by how many responses there were,” he says. “And I was surprised by the number of letters that were written, some of them three, four pages long.”

Hare Krishnas are another example. In the late 1960s, the religion was in the financial crapper. And then someone discovered a solution. They would simply give people passing by a gift (a flower, a book, a magazine). Then they would ask for a small donation. Rober Cialdini, an emeritus psychologist at Arizona State University, says he spent days in observing these transactions. ”You would see many of them with frowns on their faces reach into a pocket or a purse, come up with a dollar or two, and then walk away angry at what had just occurred,” he said.

Video Games at the MoMa

Cool! Video games at the MoMa! Reads the site:

“We are very proud to announce that MoMA has acquired a selection of 14 video games, the seedbed for an initial wish list of about 40 to be acquired in the near future, as well as for a new category of artworks in MoMA’s collection that we hope will grow in the future. This initial group, which we will install for your delight in the Museum’s Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013, features:

 Pac-Man (1980)
• Tetris (1984)
• Another World (1991)
• Myst (1993)
• SimCity 2000 (1994)
• vib-ribbon (1999)
• The Sims (2000)
• Katamari Damacy (2004)
• EVE Online (2003)
• Dwarf Fortress (2006)
• Portal (2007)
• flOw (2006)
• Passage (2008)
• Canabalt (2009)


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