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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Our split identities

January 14, 2011 4 comments

Today, I had a chance to meet Judge Robert Watt, an appointed Citizenship Judge for Vancouver, BC. Yes, you guessed it, I got the honor to sing “O Canada, our home and native land” together with him, my family and 77 other immigrants to Canada — who like us, have come to this country about 4-5 years ago, leaving their home land, extended families, even parents, brothers and sisters, seeking a better life!

As Judge Robert was using his charming baritone and inspiring words to warm our hearts giving us one of the best motivational speeches I have ever listened to and congratulating us on our wise choice to pick Canada as our new home, I started thinking — Why is it that we care so much which piece of land we are going to call home country? Is there an intrinsic value that one could claim when choosing to “belong” to this and not another part of the world?

“Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, …, Macedonia, Myanmar, … United Stated of America, Vietnam” — Judge Robert’s voice still echoes in my head, as he was reading the 24 countries we, the 77 immigrants, called our home land before coming to Canada … 24 countries!! … What a diversity! … I still can’t grasp the grandeur of this number … it means that there were very few countries represented with more than one family in  that room today … For real, the diversity is striking! … It made me appreciate the total number of countries in the world! 😉
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Attention please! I just stopped paying attention – to you!

December 7, 2010 38 comments

Image credit: Gary Olsen (Dubuque Community Schools)

No, you’re not annoying, just boring! Attention is the new currency in our world and you need to offer something in exchange if you want me to listen to you. Telling me what to do, how to do it, when to do it doesn’t cut it anymore. Teaching me old solutions for old problems doesn’t inspire me anymore. I get what I need to learn to cope in this world from other places!

Yes, I learn from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, blogs… I learn from my neighbor who is obsessed with vintage cars and spends all his free time with oil on his hands. I learn from William half across the world who harnessed the wind to save his family from starving. I learn from Mark up in Maine pondering the question of mind while wondering if his bees have lessons for human communities.

I learn by exploring, digging, experimenting, opening, tinkering, building, hacking and playing with toys, plants, animals, rocks, wood, and all kinds of stuff — yes, even power tools!
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Going back to color in our social lives

November 26, 2010 6 comments

Photo credit: Rinasaur! (Flickr)

Once upon a time, there was no Facebook. There were no Twitter and MySpace, there were no emails … stop! … scratch that! I don’t want to write a romantic story about the past times when we all happily enjoyed our fulfilling social lives, visited regularly our relatives, had fun going out with our friends and took the time to give a call or even write a letter to those far to our eyes, but still close to our heart — because we didn’t! No offense to those few who tried hard in doing so, but you made the rest of us feel bad!

Fortunately, for those of us too lazy to give a call to our grandma — who couldn’t visit us any more because she had a gangrene and couldn’t even get our of her house let alone endure the two hours bus ride to our town — or scribble a letter to our best friend from elementary school — who moved away across the world leaving his old parents behind to send his regards every time we meet them on the street — someone invented Facebook!

Now we can simply “like” the photos showing our best friend’s kids playing with their dog or upload a video of our baby saying the first “googoo” so our grandma could watch it when the neighbor kid volunteering to help senior citizens visits and helps her turn on the computer and log her on to the world of social networks.
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How I became an addict!

November 12, 2010 11 comments

Image Credit: Seed Publishers

It’s midnight on a Holiday and everyone in the home is asleep! I’ve been going back and forth between the computer and the fridge 3, maybe 4 times now. Nothing inside seems satisfying to my disturbed mind. I finally reach out to the cupboard and grab the Nutella chocolate spread. The feeling is greater than me — I greedily shove 3 big spoonfuls into my mouth!

As the sensation moves down my throat and reaches my pleasure centre in the brain, I check my email, Twitter and Facebook for the hundredth time. I’ve been doing that for the past two hours, sitting helplessly in front of the screen in a wonder what happened to the world — why there’s no one out there sending a new message for me to read?

Maybe if I tuned into one of those chatty Twitter accounts that send a barrage of messages streaming down their channel I could find something useful?! No, I needed a person to send me something interesting, not some software scheduling a large queue of tweets that mean nothing to me. I needed to be able to reply back with a witty comment or enter into a discussion over a thought-provoking question.

This is when it struck me! A shiver ran through my spine and I felt I can’t move. I don’t know if the weight of the realization caused the shaking. Or maybe the high cocoa dose in my brain activated too many senses. Whatever it was, it certainly felt gravely cold in the room! I could think only about one thing — I am an addict!
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Helping kids live their dream, and wear their passion!

November 3, 2010 15 comments

Image credit: Holstee manifesto

I have been having prolonged brainstorming sessions with myself around the idea of World4Children lately! 😉 Some of the things that happened to me in the past month or so (Schooling the World, TEDxUBC) have largely influenced many of those thoughts. I have also been getting inspiration from some of the amazing kids and organizations supporting youth I started connecting with using social media.

It was not all happening during those one-to-one meetings with myself, though. I have engaged with various people both online and offline, and they gave me different perspectives on topics concerning kids, in particular education. I even got further inspiration through my favorite ideas sharing platform, TED — which is to be blamed for inspiring me originally to step out of my comfort zone and start acting on my dreams. 😉

Importantly, I have faced many questions I have been struggling to answer ever since:  “What is going on with World4Children? How do you plan to implement the vision? It is a great idea, but what kind of value can World4Children bring to kids? Or adults interacting with them? How is World4Children different from the many organizations, charities and similar groups already supporting kids?”

I now think I have answers — or at least first drafts. 😉 Let me start from the bottom up!
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The social train

October 29, 2010 5 comments

This essay was inspired by an article titled A soft key radio and the Melting pot, written recently by a dear friend and fellow blogger. I hope to develop it further and use it as a backdrop story for discussing a topic that has been on my mind for some time — the impact of technology on morality. Stay tuned! 😉

“Welcome aboard”, said the tall girl as she greeted me in front of a funny-looking train — instead of tracks and wheels, this one seemed to be just sitting there idly as a dead metal shell on the floor of a fairly big room that looked nothing like a train station!

As I was trying to meet the eyes of my hostess, I was captivated by her long streaks of dazzling red hair falling down her shoulders. They were protruding from underneath what looked like one of those traditional conductor caps my grandfather — who worked for the old railroad long time ago — used to let me play with as a kid. Instead of the railroad logo, though, this one had Tranzt Wrld embroidered at the front with big golden letters.

Tranzt Wrld was one of a new breed of companies trying to add tactile interface to an aging platform — the ubiquitous Soccet — the global social network that long ago replaced the Internet. Soccet allowed virtually anyone on the planet to access any information in the public domain. More importantly, it let anyone connect and interact with anyone else in any other location on the planet — including the newly formed Moon base that by now hosted about 100 astronauts, scientists and other staff.

“We in Tranzt Wrld care a lot about providing realistic experience to our customers”, continued the girl as she was leading me inside what looked like an empty train car. As I started looking around I realized that despite the external appearance, inside it looked very similar to the train cars being used in the public transportation systems of the big cities like London — though now almost no trains were running as more and more people were tele-commuting in a bid to save the planet from energy overconsumption and greenhouse gas pollution.
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