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Life: Version 2.0

happiness is a simple life

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Internet

Check out my new semi-serious blog

http://virtualanything.wordpress.com

I am still working on a better domain, and better categories. All suggestions are welcome.

Election Results with Cool Google Mashup

Check this out – folks are twittering about primary results on a Google map

Big Think

One of my new favorite bloggers  (Shaping Youth) recently posted a story about “Big Think”, a YouTube-ish site that aims to facilitate conversation about thought provoking topics and ideas. Topics range from religion to philosphophy to history and the media or anything else you can think of. Site users (anyone can join) can respond to existing ‘Big Think’ ideas and topics, either through written response, video or audio. More importantly, users can create their own ideas in any medium, and open it up for discussion.

Here is a video on Love & Happiness – Leaving your mark

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.bigthink.com posted with vodpod

Big Think is a great concept, what will be interesting is if it will be used and if this will inspire users by giving them an place specifically to discuss creative, thought-provoking ideas. A lot will depend on how the folks behind Big Think approach this. I can see it potentially being used as part of a curriculum for school projects and the like, or being connected to facebook and similar community sites.

What I don’t like is their concept of  ‘experts’. How are ‘experts’ defined? While I understand the need to ‘seed’ content to get the ball rolling, this may come off as a bit pretentious and turn some folks off….

Check it out and let me know what you think!

http://www.bigthink.com

Online Strategies: Learning from the experts

As an avid (some would say obsessed) Harry Potter fan, I felt compelled to write a post on this topic. Although I am incredibly sad that there will be no more midnight book release parties to dress up for, I am encouraged by the fact that Harry’s magic lives on by making a positive impact on the world in ways previously unimaginable. All of this made possible by a community of compassionate, creative, and innovative individuals – and the Internet.

Amidst the flurry of Harry Potter madness — including anti-Christian controversies and debates on whether or not the series is appropriate for children — it seems that a clear, positive global impact has been made on our youth. Check out Amy Jussel’s blog post “Harry Potter Alliance Tackles the Darkness of Darfur” on her Shaping Youth Blog where she discusses this topic in the context of how media and marketing influences kids.

Here are just a few examples of how the Harry Potter fandom uses the Internet to make a difference:

Wizard Rock — musical fan-fiction with a cause — raises more than $10,000 for First Book in 2007

Harry potter fans are extremely creative – so much so that they started an entire genre of music all their own called Wizard Rock. This genre of music has grown on me over the past few months – as some of it is really great and some is simply entertaining! Out of the Wizard Rock movement came the Wizard Rock Club – where fans subscribe online to receive monthly cds, and artists have a way to easily distribute their music. Fans can visit the Wizard Rock websiteto get a sampling of upcoming releases and discuss related topics. Subscription fees are used to cover all costs associated with producing and distributing the CDs to members. After that, all remaining proceeds are donated to First Book, a non-profit organization that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. I am, of course, a proud subscriber.

The Harry Potter Alliance: The politics of Harry Potter & grassroots advocacy at its best

Couching themselves as the real ‘Dumbledores Army’ (only true Harry Potter fans know what this means), the Harry Potter alliance leverages the power of the Harry Potter community to make real change happen in our world through using online community outlets such as Myspace and Facebook, as well as producing events, podcasts and other multimedia messages with a cause. My favorite effort is the HP Alliance House Parties with a Cause, where there is an online toolkit you can download to help you plan a socially concious house party. You gotta love it!

Other HP Alliance efforts include:

The HP Alliance is growing in numbers and has created an energized movement that raises funds, awareness, and engagement by youth around the globe. They have implemented incredibly sophisticated and effective grassroots advocacy efforts through using community outlets, websites, videos, podcasts, events and more – all made possible by the power of community.

What strikes me most about all of this is that they did not need to hire ‘high-dollar’ Internet strategy experts to strategize and figure this all out. They had no boundaries, just conviction, compassion, creativity – and the Internet. Most of them started out using free tools to get the job done. All of us could stand to learn from this – it is genius.

There are other great examples of how this fandom uses the Internet to make change, but I will leave those for another post. I think you get the point.

Thankful for Thirty: Day 15: Courage

After 20 successful years of working for non-profit organizations, I have decided to leave the Association world and try my hand at consulting. I have joined a very small, women-owned company to head up their Internet and new media strategy efforts.
 
I am scared and excited at the same time – this is a huge change for me, both professionally and personally. I am climbing off the corporate ladder, giving up my CIO title and all that goes with it in the name of creativity, flexibility, and the ability to innovate.

Today I am thankful for having the courage to make such a significant change in my life – and I hope this leads to many more.

Favorite Commercials part 2: But Life IS fair

AT&T Cingular – Life IS Fair

Tagged – now I’m it!

Neil Payne recently tagged me in this post after he was tagged by a good friend. I usually do not play along with this type of thing, but given that I have mad crazy respect for Neil – I will do it.

Rules: Having been tagged, I have to blog 5 things about myself that mostly no-one knows and then tag three more blogger friends.

Here goes:

1. I once worked in a fish poisoning laboratory. While in college at the University of the Virgin Islands, I had a job that paid 8$ per hour to analyse the level of toxins from red tides in the local fish. I had to pressure cook the fish and through a series of processes which involved very toxic (base) chemicals, end up with tiny vials of extract at various potencies. I then had to inject it into cute little white mice who were happy enough playing in their man-made playgrounds. Needless to say, I quit after a few short months because I got depressed about the mice and smelled like stinky fish all the time.

2. My mother was raped when I was a teenager. I was a junior in high school in the Virgin Islands and came home one night after a party to find that my mother had been raped. We ended up having to move out of our house for several months until the rapist was put behind bars. I had to testify and everything – much of this I have blocked from memory but I vaguely remember sitting in the courthouse memorizing the guys face. I lived alone with my mother and being that she was so fragile all the time, I had to be the strong one.

3. I saw Led Zeppelin in concert at Madison Square Garden when I was 13 years old. I would NEVER let my 13 year old do something like that without an adult. It was a crazy time and probably very dangerous. I remember coming home without any shoes. But the music was great.

4. I started working when I was in ninth grade and haven’t stopped since. Sometimes I have had several jobs at one time. I have worked in retail, as a waitress, for a stock broker, a tv station, newspaper, and several non-profit organizations. I have always had a job, only taking time off to have 2 babies. I think I might be ready for a new adventure.

 5. I have trouble fitting in. I never really fit in anywhere. Not really sure that I want to. I live in super-suburbia and often times feel out-of-place, I dislike sororities and organized social groups as such. The only groups I feel like I fit in are those related to ultra-geeky stuff like Lord of the Rings, etc., even then I have trouble fitting in. I refuse to give in to corporate america (and I think this may cause some issues with my career success) and will not become the uber-bitch executress wearing a business suit. I don’t long for a big McMansion,  or a big house at all,  but rather a humble, cozy bungalow-style home in a small and beautiful place. This perception of myself is probably the reason I have trouble making new friends.

Tagging 3 plus two blogging friends:

Jen because she is one hardcore, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is, biotch (and I say that with much love)

Rebecca because even though we don’t connect with each other that often, she is one of the coolest individuals I have ever met

My cousin Michael because I have such fond memories of us as kids growing up together

Debbie because i know that secretly she is really my other sister

Modified Mummy because she is from the UK and commented on my blog recently…

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