Updating Blog Cosmetics and Enjoying A White Christmas

I’ve decided to continue to blog even though my Social Media class is over.  It became very cathartic and healing.

But I want to re-brand with a new theme and reorganize content, so bear with me a bit.

Check back soon…     Who knows what the unchained MitchJ: My Life After Death will look like?  I sure don’t!

In the meantime – Enjoy the picture of Banks on Christmas Day with a few of his gifts he unwrapped himself  (and then ran off with to play)

CHRISTMAS 2012-Dec25-WHITE 018CHRISTMAS 2012-Dec25-WHITE 023CHRISTMAS 2012-Dec25-WHITE 027

Changes + Rules = Sucks x 2

Web 2.0, collaborative writing, and my learnings from probably one of the most powerful classes I’ve ever taken (ENGL3372) is my task to write about today. But I can’t. I need to write about “The Changing Rules”.

Everything is changing so fast today. Social Media, electronic communications, collaborative electronic endeavors, and a whole planet of people, nations, societies, communities and individuals are contributing today, right now, a redefining of humanity. Rules on the whole are changing and it is a trickle down to the individual. I say trickle down because I know no better illustrative phrase, but right now the trickle feels like Niagara Falls. As I’m thinking this through, I think I’m going to need to break this into two thought processes: Change and Rules. I think. But we will see how it goes.

Change

I was born in 1960, remember the first “pong” electronic game. Played a little on a CB radio Daddy built from Heathkit. I’ve known life through a series of innovation/invention lenses, remembering our first microwave oven, cassette tapes from the 8-tracks, from the 45’s & 78’s (that’s the vinyl records). Radio to stereo to hi-fi, now to digital. In a nut shell, I guess I’ve seen it, heard it, experienced it all. That’s me and my generation. We may have to be renamed the Guinea Pig generation me thinks! Oh My Lord: I’m going to be one of those old people who will spout to the young whippersnappers about MY day. ugh – dear young generation, I am so sorry.

As I reflect, and this may be from the knowledge being collected in this class, my generation is the generation that, when made available for consumers, also saw the new “stuff” being very expensive at the onset. That sadly allowed the well off access and the less fortunate to go without. In my opinion, and remember I’m a big nobody in the world here, that actually divided my generation into the technically challenged and the technically savvy – a gap we still see vividly today in the 50 year plus generations. Love it, hate it. Embrace it, disregard it. Believe it, disavow it. There are very few middle of the roaders with “my people”.

Change is almost the “norm” for me and my generation, but as everyone knows change is exciting, engaging, scary, frightening and just down right hard to navigate – especially when you have no choice in the matter. Fight tooth and nail today and you simply cannot have AT&T install a rotary dial phone in your home. Go to the department store and you will not find a leisure suite in powder blue with brown pockets! Go to the record store…aah…never mind. That REALLY changed, to extinction. Wow. Lots of change.

Rules

;

Change happens and as a byproduct so comes new rules. This is the painful reality. Let me go google “change” – stand by… Uh-oh! This isn’t pretty people! From dictionary.reference.com:

change  [cheynj] verb (used with object)

  1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of(something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion;to change the course of history.
  2. to transform or convert (usually followed by into ): The witch changed the prince into a toad.
  3. to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind: She changed her shoes when she got home from the office.
  4. to give and take reciprocally; interchange: to change places with someone.
  5. to transfer from one (conveyance) to another: You’ll have to change planes in Chicago.
  6. to remove and replace the covering or coverings of: to change a bed; to change a baby.

Every single example above involves rule modification. What was now is. Old rules don’t seem to work any longer. This is painful for people on a number of levels, yet for me I try to stay calm today about it. Rules of behavior, etiquette, understanding, action, application, procurement, consumption, education, employment, rights, liberties, loving, contracts, jurisprudence, society – it is all different today. Living today has a whole new set of rules thank you Web 2.0. The invasive virility of Web 2.0 has and is cutting much harder and deeper than just a screen and a keyboard. It’s actually frightening when I stop and think about it, so I won’t be doing much of that right now.

I clearly sense from all the topics we have covered in class that how we navigate the change and how we reestablish the new rules is either going to kill us, or make us thrive. I’m not sensing much middle here. Culturally, it may take the die off of the generations born prior to the 1980’s to purge the system of old-timers, as I just learned that our digital natives are those born and raised on the technology. They trust it explicitly and without question. My generation is the one that is saying watch out! Question what you read. Critically think about this or that and weight the pro’s and the con’s. It’s just a lot of work – all this change, all this thinking, all these new rules.

It’s All A Cycle (Fingers Crossed Hopefully)

Change, rules, meaning, existence…. it is all cyclic I am praying and hoping. Today I’m on the uphill side of it all. I’m tired, sad, disheartened with it all the influence it’s having on me, or maybe it’s my influence on it?!??  Today is one of those days I want to exit quietly without note or notice, one paper bag of essential clothes and basic toiletries – NO TECHNOLOGY, get in the car, hit the highway and simply drive till I stop. GOING OFF THE GRID SOUNDS REALLY GOOD RIGHT NOW!  North, south, east, west – makes no difference to me.

Starting over. What a thought. But that isn’t really going to happen because that calls for too much change. For starters, where do I begin to find a real paper bag?  (I always liked the name Adam. Good name. Hey! Wasn’t that the first man’s name? Why change a good thing?)

YOUR TURN TO SOUND OFF!

What change is happening to you that freaks you out or lights your fire?

How have YOU changed as technology has changed?

What do you know today you wish you knew yesterday?

How tough is change for you, and what is the real pain point that will force you to make a change?

Where would you go if you wanted to start over?

To: My Global Electronic Community Re: A Little Help Here Please!

Attention Global Community!  Mitch Needs Help!

It’s very possible I’m just chewing on this nervously,  but much like our pets chew on  their paw, arm, or tail when they have stress, my real live thumb nail, on the end of my thumb, is almost nonexistent.  Science teaches me that organisms have stress, and apparently today I am organismic! (WHAT a great word!)

The Background

In my Social Media & Technology ENGL3372 class at the University of Texas at Arlington, we’ve devoted weeks presenting Tapscott & Williams book  Macrowikinomics,  chapter by chapter AND in Pecha Kucha style.  (Dr. H apparently believes in giving us value for our education dollars! Luv Ya Dr. H!!)  The book speaks to and highlights example after example, in practically every avenue of our society, solving the problems of yesterday and today that have gone unsolved, by leveraging our new global community of experts – our vast wealth of people with their diverse talents – all via electronic means and fashions. Outside the box thinking challenging and intriguing traditional methodologies, probably peeving off the old-time, old school, conformists who only know pre internet ways.  Tremendous book to read, share, consult and act upon.  I give it 17 thumbs up, as I now understand how to do that via technology and a few Photoshop point and clicks!

But let’s bring it back to me!

I’m going to see how and if I can leverage my global community of everyday people “just like me” to add to this blog with comments and suggestions.  I’m going to Tweet out my blog link, and follow process on my Facebook wall.  I am simply going to request everyone share with as many people as possible so I can get feedback.

I want to see for myself just how far globally I can get suggestions, experiences, strengths and hope…

…and just because I can today in our Web 2.0 world.

SPOILER ALERT:

OK. First off, I get to use this GREAT IMAGE for my spoiler alert disclaimer!  

My need is probably not anything of anything to anyone else but me.  I’m not attempting to cure cancer or solve the mysteries of the  common cold. I’m not powerful enough to end the socially shameful and embarrassing  posturing of our divided political parties – BUT DON”T MAKE ME TWEET OPRAH, ELLEN or CHELSEA!  I’ll do it people if you can’t straighten up and act like ladies and gentlemen working toward one common goal – our citizens.  

Here’s Me!      Right??!!      I know! 

mitchjgray@yahoo.com

Anyone that knows or meets me today will probably attest to my eager, enthusiastic, honest, open, contributive, loving nature. A very different me than the old me**.  I take relatively good care of my health and will freely admit to two vices – coffee and cigarettes. One yet undetermined choice will be taking 12 steps back soon.  Voting is happening as we speak. I don’t drink or drug, and I don’t eat much junk food.  Love my water, maintain my weight, and stay close to a high protein, low carb eating plan.

**Oh, yea, by the way I died on May 18, 2011 – metaphorically. I had a pretty deep and dark drug and alcohol dependency that my addiction didn’t want me to know about.  Funny how everyone knew but me.  Anywhoo,  a power greater than me intervened and has somehow firmly established that my time here is not over. And What Luck!  I’m sent back with “bigger than me” plans to give of and give back and help others.  I never won a damn thing in my life, and check this out:  Me!?!  I was granted a life do-over.  I’m listening this time, learning, doing. My life today has never been richer, more scary, and more rewarding.

Who’d a thunk after a 30 year absence from academia, I would spend the last 11 months finalizing my Bachelors, taking 13 college classes totaling 40 semester his of credits (yep – 2-3 yrs of collegiate education in less than a year… thank you…thank you very much). As of today I have logged in 12, 997 hours of sobriety. That’s 542 days, equating to 17.71 months.

January starts another new portion of my life after death journey. GRAD SCHOOL for my Masters Degree! Just found out some news about that and…

  …I have a little stress and I need your help!

OK, I know you’re thinking “he looks damn good for 51”, but let’s face it my global friends, I’M FIFTY FRIGGIN ONE almost FIFTY FRIGGIN TWO on December 13th if you want to send a gift!!

STRESSOR:  Graduate School is night classes! N.I.G.H.T.   C.L.A.S.S.E.S!!  HOLY MADRE de JIMMY CHOO SHOES!

I totally get it.  Majority of people are working full-time and need availability to do Master’s after work. But HOLY CRAP!  I’ve gotten up and gotten started every day for the last 30+ yrs at 5 a.m.  I prided myself on the early bird catching the worm.  I may have single-handedly started the need for Starbucks back in the 80’s!?! My partner of 29 yrs is a 6a-10p guy.  Our dog is on the sleep 2/play 1 cycle 24/7.  I need to be of Olympic mind and body for my Master’s Program. I’m a FULL TIME STUDENT. I’m not tied to any employment needs right now.

How do I retrain my body to be a night person again?   Extensive googling has provided no real assistance.  Please reach back to me and share with me your experience strength and hope.  How do you suggest it be done?  How did you do it?  What tips and tricks made you successfull?  What red flags did you run across? How did you balance time?

Be bold, not bashful.  LET’S Macrowikinomics this night school mutha!                    Send me your comments and feedback!  

PS:  Did I say I’M FIFTY FRIGGIN ONE?  That’s exactly why the end of day reference in the early part of this blig to call my Mama gives a great visual.    She has other priorities at age 79! 

“Why Not” Clarifies Perspective (aka: Junior College Students Go Berzerk!)

What a GREAT PICTURE!

This graphic internally evokes thoughts and feelings for me that strikes keys deep in my soul of all that is possibly wrong, therefore helping me clarify and better understand what is possibly right. But why?

Opposites DO attract – even in my head, often times a very dangerous and scary place to be. But I am learning to be brave, be bold, be open and willing to explore. Today, learning why is no longer good enough. Learning why not is just as important! ENGL 3372 is continuing to fuel my fires and guide my journey of exploration.

I have a plaque on my desk at home that has a powerful quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” What great words to live by today after my death, and psychologists agree that there is health in stepping outside my box! Don’t Try Harder, Try Different is a great quick read in Psychology Today.

Veering To The Left

We’ve been exposed in ENGL 3372 to the journey mankind is taking with technology. It’s intriguing, intoxicating, and very real. Where we came from, where we are, and where we should, could, will, may and/or may not be going with technology is our continued focus. But my focus of blog content this week is not to intentionally veer left, but rather to draw illustrative parallels from an experience I had. So bear with me, and maybe even buckle up! I promise to do my best to tie it all up with a nice bow in my conclusion.

Critical Thinking About Fred

My Spring 2011 semester I encountered a powerfully authentic and engaging Philosophy Adjunct who is passionate about her field. She brought questions to the table intentionally meant to provoke. Simple yet powerful scenarios meant to force us outside our boxes. I’ve gone back to my notes (yea laptops!!) and pulled out the following from a day in that class:

Process of CRITICAL THINKING:

  1. State your point of view.
  2. Define your point of view more clearly.
  3. Give an example of your point of view.
  4. Explore the origin of your point of view.
  5. Identify your assumptions.

One day in class we were offered up the following: Billy and Sally’s parents didn’t have much, but what they lacked in finances, they made up for ten-fold in love. As young children do, Billy and Sally wanted a pet. Their friends had these little warm fuzzy bundles of joy when they would visit their houses, and Billy and Sally just knew that a pet was just the answer to fill their childhood needs!One day, when they came home from school, Mom and Dad presented them with a box. This box moved! It startled little Billy, but Sally, 1 1/2 years his senior shuddered with excitement. The box was gently opened and out popped a small head with big ears, beautiful big blue eyes, the cutest little nose and a bright pink tongue. “A KITTEN” they both shrieked! As children do, they named her Fred!One morning many months later, Mom and Dad were having a terribly difficult time getting Billy and Sally up and ready for school. As children do, they were sluggish, sleepy-eyed, and slow at the start. “Hustle it” was called out from the kitchen several times by Mom and Dad, as the scheduled school bus time came and went. It was obvious that this morning, a stop to drop kids at school was suddenly on the agenda. Breakfast, books, back-packs, lunch boxes, all were ultimately gathered and the hustling continued into the family station wagon and it was time to go.

Backing out of the driveway, a muffled noise and a subtle bump was quickly discovered to be the end of Fred. Sally and Billy were crying, but Mom and Dad knew that life goes on, kids need to get to school, and each parent needed not to be late for their jobs. While Mom calmed the children, Dad gathered up Fred and took him into the garage and placed him in the freezer. It was honestly time to go and everyone had a place they had to be.

Later in the week, Fred was prepared for dinner.

Intriguing, intoxicating, and very real!

Women shrieked! Mens eyes darted to other men in the room for the appropriate reaction. Laugher, disgust, anxiety, excitement – it was all there simultaneously in the air. A confetti drop of emotions! For me it was intriguing, intoxicating, and very real. I’m the … ah-hem…older student. I’ve been around for a couple of minutes, and was raised in the country, but the room full of Junior College students were all lit up with some kind of tangible emotion, attitude, or opinion! Hands went UP all around the room, some even before the Adjunct ask for feelings, thoughts, or comments.

A young gentleman was busting to contribute, and was called on first. He had a definite opinion. He knew what he knew and he knew he was right. The skillful Adjunct ask one simple, yet powerful question at each argument he offered up, at each explanation he shared, at each personal validation or metaphorical analogy he summoned and freely brought fourth. Hands began going DOWN in the room.

Why? Why was it wrong? Why do you believe that? Why is that right? Why do you know that? Why do you accept that? Why?

This social experiment (hmm-apparently a popular classroom antic – not to mention any names ENGL 3372) was becoming evident to me. There wasn’t going to be any other contributor to the discussion, but rather a sole, strong-minded, opinion filled contributor that was going to be allowed to spew, then repeatedly challenged in a drill down game of why! Intriguing, intoxicating, and very real.

The outcome was conclusive. Definite opinions but no understanding for the basis of the opinions. The young man didn’t know why. To be clear, he had an opinion, he had thoughts, but the drill down bamboozled him. The inability to provide evidential reasoning of why eating a cat was bad, wrong, good or bad was non-existent. Evidential reasoning of why he was taught that was missing. Evidential reasoning for why the children would be impacted if they were fully disclosed of dinner origins was nill. It was a WONDEROUS AND AMAZING DAY FOR ME!

I was not without fault myself! I suddently realized I needed to “get right” with myself on some things so I too could know WHY I felt and thought the way I did about stuff. I am chalking this up to a probable key life moment of clarity and understanding for me as I emerge from my darkness of death.

Here’s The Pretty Bow!

ENGL 3372 is giving me depth and breadth of questioning using real-time, real life, real applications of technology we’re using today to communicate ourselves to each other. “Whys” are continually being challenged with “Why Nots?”. Old ways of thinking, doing, building, sharing are challenged with new ways – sometimes ways that are so far outside our box we have a definite opinion – yet we don’t know why just yet.

“Why Not” thinking is a polar opposite to “Why” thinking for me today. It is scaring old-timers of long-established ways and means, energizing fresh thinkers tired of the confines of the box, and challenging every single institution within mankind, minus probably the Indigenous Peoples of the world that haven’t moved into industrialized societies, from the family unit, to the community, to society at large. I strongly suspect that the age-old parental advice “Don’t rock the boat” is fading away. That intrigues and intoxicates me all over the place and I need to continue figuring out why!

Your Turn!

Do you know why?

And why do you know why?

And is that working for you?

P.S. I love cats! They taste like chicken!!

Where Did I Put MY Rape Whistle?

So as it turns out, our classroom discussion on the article  A Rape in Cyberspace; or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society, was ALSO clothed in a classroom social experiment conducted by Dr. H!    My previous blog was out of the passions this day of discussion evoked.  And now I have a clearer picture of my passionate perspective and why I needed to blog what I wanted to say!

I like being a guinea pig! (If I’m honest about guinea pig – I like ’em! Tastes like chicken! Their called Cuy in Peru and are a food staple – but that’s a whole nuther story…)

So to get right to the deployment of the social experiment, the article was re-introduced by Dr. H saying we hadn’t quite yet finished talking about it.  A quick overview of the article and wham – it’s thrown out to our class for discussion. Dr. H consistently does a great job queuing up folks to share, because we are not a quiet group, and…well,

…THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN:

Hmmmm – how come Dr. H isn’t looking at me? My hand is up? I always like to think I can add value? Crumb – they just said something that made me think! Hand up here people! CRAP! Too many thoughts! I need paper!  Here is everything I rapidly jotted down fearing I’d lose my points to make. 

  • Historically: Male is aggressor
  • Hmm – Rape of female: Much more psychologically impacted than rape of male  – WRONG – GENDER BIAS – UNDER REPORTING
  • Rape is emotional

Hehehe. That Mr. R! He’s about to explode! He keeps getting cut off.  This could be fun – I’m in for the ride now!

  • Innocent until proven guilty – yet rape turns that around
  • Female – innocence – mechanically the submissive // Male mechanically aggressor //  Mechanical=Biological Process

Ohhh Yikes – Mr. A just got told to shut down his computer and pay attention. Whazzup with that?

  • Politically – Hot word – Inflames – Makes people perk up and pay attention
  • Never jump to conclusions, need to read the context of how the politician used it – media hype ever-present.

WHAM! BLURT!  There goes Mr. R – he didn’t wait to be called on.  Boiling point must a just hit – something about his kids and what they’ve raised them to believe.  I want to listen – but I have to finish this thought on paper before I myself bust wide open.

  • Some politicians comments last week – Some overtly ignorant / some actually misunderstood
  • Potential covert politics in the asking of the question – media generated knowing it will make a great sound bite.

So by now I had lost a lot time genuinely listening and frantically getting my two cents written down. I knew my turn was coming. Dr. H always gives me a fair shake.

Glance at my watch – time coming to a close.  AARRRGGGG!  I look across the table – I can’t even get eye contact with Ms.D. What up with that?  Oh well – let it go. I’ll get my turn another day, another topic…

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Well that’s how it all went down – then Dr. H let’s us in on the social experiment.  Ladies were pulled aside and instructed to ignore the men, and Dr. H was intentionally not letting men into the contribution queue. 

So here’s my impressions based on some debrief questions:

Men, how did you react to being ignored?  What does this mean to you, your growth as a critical thinker / learner / leader?

See above play-by-play!  It was aggravating!  My many years in Corporate America has taught me that no matter what the contribution, the opportunity to voice one’s self is critical in establishing engagement and garnering commitment.  (I tweeted later that evening with classmates the quote from Dirty Dancing, “YOU DON’T PUT BABY IN THE CORNER!”)

How did you react to me ignoring half of your class?

This honestly didn’t faze me much.  Big class, always lots of comments, not always enough time – so that’s probably why.

Explain what you think it means to control or to be controlled in a closed situation like a classroom.  Then, how does this control translate to the larger culture?

Ah – well here my age and experience gets to have the upper hand.  I’m uniquely aware of boardrooms, corporate classrooms, corporate events and affairs that are glaringly controlled – in content, message, and implied meaning. It’s how business runs.  Using control for good looks like motivated groups, engaged conversations, innovative thinking all leading to increased profits.  Using control for evil looks like disgruntled employees, whispers-glances-maniacal texting, creativity and innovation is stifled, and the business never becomes resilient to the demands of the consumer.  And of course for me, this all translates well to society as a whole.

How would we all have reacted to this experiment had the cyber-rape been committed against a man?

As a gay man, I was aware of the publication vehicle of the article – The Village Voice – and that the chat room, I believe was a Lambda room.  So how weird is this:  I was more disturbed that the rape was heterosexual in nature in a gay chat room.  To me, that translated to a straight man coming into the room and beating up a lesbian for being a lesbian.

A colleague of mine mentioned that he thought the “social experiment” was unnecessary, that it was like hitting you all over the head with a bully club, that maybe I could have been more subtle.  Do you think a more subtle approach would have been (1) more effective? (2) taught you as much? (3) or some other perspectives?  Thoughts?

The feminist view of “why are men trying to control women’s issues” was lost on me as I’m beginning to believe that women themselves are authorizing/relenquishing their ability to have the power to powerful men.  Just my two cents.

The experiment itself? Nah – we’re all adults and this is a progressive college.  Experimentation is just that.  I don’t share the view of your collegue as it sounds as if the judgment message here is walk gently, stay close to the lines.

BE BOLD:  Events of this nature are relevant and important as they step outside the traditional curriculum role and make people think.  Odd thing – some will think long and hard about it – others just chalk it up to another day of class with another crappy blog assignment and power through it to the next assignment.  But that’s the nature of the people.  Those that get it – GET IT – and will apply their personal learnings, those that don’t, don’t.

That’s a great wrap for a close:  Those that get it – GET IT – and will apply their personal learnings. Those that don’t, don’t. We have several real things happening today in our country:  women’s issues, economic issues, safety/security issues, humanity issues, etc. There’s lots on our collective table today as a nation.  We have 2 presidential candidates and thousands of others of lesser offices that genuinely want to help.  We have a nation of people with the freedome and ability to VOTE, and those that get it – GET IT . Those that don’t, don’t.

FYI: I WILL BE TRAVELING TO THE VOTING POLL WITH MY RAPE WHISTLE!

NO ONE PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER!

HOT TOPIC 101: Rape

R-A-P-E Is A Powerfully Emotional Word

Initially, the word rape conjures up violation. Historically, or better yet “traditionally”, the word rape conjures up male violating female, yet here in the United States, we have a more diverse view, a more diverse application, and a more diverse perspective about the term. I say United States because, as a classmate correctly pointed out, we (US citizens) seem to have a very different view of the word than do the majority of our global population members. To clarify, in other lands and cultures of our world, the word rape is not mixed or confused with any notion other than what it is, a brutal act of sexual violation.  It is a powerfully emotional word yet we seem to be over exposing the usage to a degree that makes me think about the dilution of the power the word evokes.

This Week’s Reading:

  • A provocative reading this week was a 1993 article published in the Village Voice based on a factual event that took place in a MOO (a very early virtual chatroom). The name of the article is  A Rape in Cyberspace; or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society.
  • It’s a kind of Lord of the Flies story of people virtually coming together, creating a community, and fighting evils being established.
  • It’s a good read that is well written.  What was illustratively written back in 1993 with its genuine passion and emotion of the time, when read today, is potentially a message lost on a topical level.  Today’s point of view, after 18+yrs. of chatroom existence, is illustrative of my point of this week’s blog – diversification of the term rape leading to its desensitization within our own culture.

And yet we chuckle

Here in America we seem to be diversifying the word rape into more common, mundane uses. In doing so I suspect we are also creating ambiguity within our society, especially our youth – the new generations of us that are being raised in the electronic environment.  I am calling this “diversification desensitization”. Yep – I’m trying to coin a phrase!

We hear it in the local gathering spots, ” The (fill in the blank sport team name here) just raped their opponent (won with an overwhelming high score)”, or “Dave just got raped by the tax office (had to pay an exorbitant amount of money for unpaid taxes we already disagree with)”, or even here on campus, “I just got test raped (an unprepared student or overly difficult midterm assessment)”. In today’s corporate board room post pitch water cooler conversations, “Did you hear how the VP raped the marketing departments expense line items?” It is happening all around us, and we seem OK with it.  Pictures amuse with online images that are abundant. Band names, music titles, explicit song lyrics – it’s out there, and unfortunately it is all over the places we frequent often – online and off.

For example, when a person Google Images the word rape, they are met with an overwhelming scary number of pics of amusement, funny redefinitions, or puns, and cultural interpretations. Fast Fact:  The rape of men is highly underreported, extremely psychologically damaging, and yet we chuckle.

Another example of the desensitization I’m referring to and this time it’s occuring using the truest definition of word. Let me warn you that politics are involved here, so the “issue” of rape may be both overtly and covertly in play, but let’s put that aside for the moment. In the past few weeks we’ve had a number of male politician using the R-word with its traditional sexual connotation in relation to the abortion perspectives. Highly explosive word in politics, emotionally charged and everyone suddenly has an opinion.  Some of these guys just flat-out have it wrong, some were obviously misunderstood and believe it or not, some may have just voiced the word to garner pre-election media attention.

Overall, I get it. It is the election season.  But I’m a little wierded out about the all the chatter. All the meaty juicy news media sound bites followed by the horrible statistics of rape incidents followed by more people speaking to why who said what, when, where and why. Men of all parties sounding off. Women sounding off to proclaim that men need to stop trying to legislate women’s issues. Ooops – OK now here is the Homeless Left Handed Redhaired Association for Dignity on the news talking about the “real” story of rape, followed by a commercial break where a political attack ads telling me “her” story of rape and how Politician X would have made her do this or that. It is a lot.  It is overwhelming.  And in my humble opinion it’s all contributing to the desensitization, but we, yes WE – our society – seems to be OK with it.  It is almost as if we are culturally authorizing the continued desensitization.

Shame on us.

Only way to wrap up this blog post is to utter “UGGHHH!” The news is getting ready to come on, and let’s face it – we’re all about to be raped in some form or fashion.                                                            …Maybe I’ll shower first.

What do you think of the clown picture?  How often have you heard the word in casual conversations?  What would you do if you heard your child talking about being raped in the internet gaming room they just lost their match in?

What are the solutions?

Don’t be ignorant: We are all being watched and I’m OK with it!

This week we’ve discussed a lot about “being watched”, a great topic in Social Media. We watch and we are watched, and decision and judgements are made as a result of this.  It’s interesting, but as I reflect on my time on this planet, I’ve never NOT known of world of NOT being watched!  Excellent short articles on this covered.  I highly recommend the quick reads of both:

Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’ by Siva Vaidhyanathank gives a nice sense of how we are often left exposed without our knowing it, and if it’s right that it happens,

Whereas, Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance by Anders Albrechtslund really moves us from watchers to watchees, and what this kinda means today.

But this week’s blog is not about the articles, it’s about the concepts of being watched.  Biologically, this is the evolutionary advantage of having keenly developed sense organs – to sense that that is around us, so we can fulfil our biological destiny of seeking and obtaining the 3 basics needs of all living organisms: Sustenance, Security, Sex. The absence of any of these 3 things is scientifically known to successfully eliminate,  100% of the time,  that particular organisms’ genes out of the gene pool – real simple.

How does this correlate to watching and being watched?  Again, not real complicated here, so let me break it down:

  • Sustenance: Food, Water:  We have to perform activities to secure food and water. Behaviors of sustenance gathering include $$ for food and water.

How we get $$ can follow a couple of paths:  Ethically Right &/or Morally Good methods orEthically Wrong &/or Morally Evil methods.     Hello Internet and Social Media! Hello Watchers and Watchees!

 

  • Security: Safety, Shelter, avoiding harm.  Our society provides resources to help us be safe, in forms of laws, rules, regulations, and we ourselves have a governing set of laws rules and regulations to defend our security.
    • How we get seek our security can follow a couple of paths:  Ethically Right &/or Morally Good methods orEthically Wrong &/or Morally Evil methods. Hello Internet and Social Media! Hello Watchers and Watchees!

 

  • Sex: set aside the pleasure, biologically it has to be so the species can continue. Put the pleasure-seeking behavior back into play and, well, we’re all adults here (maybe) so let’s be frank:

How we seek out our sexual requirement of being living organisms can follow a couple of paths:  Ethically Right &/or Morally Good methods orEthically Wrong &/or Morally Evil methods.  Hello Internet and Social Media! Hello Watchers and Watchees!

 

Understanding the biology behind this all tells us that it will never be a question of “if” this happens, but rather WHEN.  We are hard-coded, hard-wired biologically to seek out sustenance, safety and sex.

So now come the question of if it’s OK to watch and be watched. Quite honestly, if we were to take the entertainment value out of it, it would not be in question.  Harsh statement huh!

So let me ask you this.  Let’s take a few steps down the evolutionary ladder and become Meercats for a second.  When your neighbor stole food from you, do you shun him?  When your elder kicked your butt outta the nest you built, do you talk behind his back?  When your son is caught sleeping with his neighbors daughters step cousin from 3 dens down the street, does it go viral and your entire family’s’ reputation is ruined, and your community shuns you relentlessly?  Hmm…  food for thought.

So let’s move back up to Homo Sapien level.  Is there profit in watching?  Is there profit in being watched? Are those profits strictly monetary? Is power an issue or influence?   I think you see where I’m going here.

Here is the biggie:  Do YOU Watch?  If you say no, I’m just going to call you a liar right this red-hot second.  So this begs the question: What makes your watching of others different from others watching you?

For me, I don’t have a painful problem here.  Sure I do things covertly, and sure I don’t always have high comfort levels knowing I am being watched. But for me, it is what it is, and I am not ignorant that I am NOT being watched, so to reiterate – I’m good here.

How about you? The real simple question is what do you fear the most about being watched?

The Ripple Effect

I’ve come to appreciate the power of the ripple effect since my death.  I’ve been researching it, looking at it, sharing about it, painting about it, and even delivered a speech about its power last week.   What is really sci-fi bizarre about MY ripples, well anyone’s, are that they started at the sheer thought of me.  I can’t use the phrase “at my conception” because from a biological sense, I started influencing others with my ripple long before that.  As a gleam of the possibilities of a young girl growing up in Pecos, TX., when my mom thought of what she wanted in life, the meer thought of children started the impact of my ripple.  Likewise with my Dad’s thought, as a young man, having conversations with his Dad of what life is all about, the notion of raising his own children started my ripple.  When my mom and dad met, and conversations were had about kids, my ripple strengthened, and upon conception – biologically this time – I had already been exerting my influence on others years before my being.  Wild, wacky, powerful stuff!

We read a number of things this week, that when taken individually, speak to different things.  When taken together, and as we step back and look at the electronic forest in its entirety, I see the ripple begin, I appreciate the ripple as it travels outward, and I see that there are lots of future events that will be influenced by this ripple as it passes by me today, October 2012, and moves in time and space into the future.

The Ripple Begins

My blog post last week, It Really Is His Fault, was, for me, the drop that started this internet ripple.  For me I take this perspective because even though the unlimited possibilities of what this electronic forum was “gleams in the eyes’ of hundreds of people before  Tim Berners-Lee  , the biologic metaphor of conception appears to have actually occurred on December 25, 1990 when he and his team implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet.

The Ripple Hits Literature (1993 Yawn Alert!) 

You Say You Want a Revolution? by Stuart Moulthrop was a painful read for me today – October 2012. In 1993 when this penned prolific prose pontification was created, the potentials and possibilities of how literature was going to survive the translation into the realm of HTTP-dom was in its infancy?  This is a ripple IMPACT to an existing institution of literature.  Something started by Tim Berners-Lee has now hit this revered pillar of mankind’s’ written history, and things were about to change.  Written to speak to peers, colleagues, and academicians, I was quickly bored with them 25cent words that feller was a using, and after getting through his 24 page laundry list of 52 compare/contrast discussion items – yep, no typo here – I was ready for a bullet.

Looking today at that ripple that hit the literature academicians back in 1993, we see clearly that we don’t play that anymore.  If I want a book, a scientific journal, and mouthful of big words and deep thoughts, we all travel electronically to the warehouse databases of our choosing, reach in and grab our needs, quote it, cite it, and delete the file.  Our storage space concerns will override the need to file cabinet the document.  Literaturians (IZZAT A WORD?), writers, bloggers TODAY know that to be relevant, you must be brief, compelling, and interesting to grab attention. If what you say sparks interest, you give them links to where your blood sweat and tears of your years of emoting on paper is housed, and be done with it, and the ripple moves on…

The Ripple Hits Big Business

Priced To Sell by Malcolm Gladwell takes on the big business of Newspapers. A staff writer for the New Yorker since 1996, how the heck are the media giants of yesterday supposed to stay in business today?  Well, from my perspective its real simple, A-D-A-P-T. But this is tough when the infrastructure we created years and years ago is what is really at the root of the situation.  It’s the infrastructure of a lot of stuff today, that is holding us back technologically.  When a University builds a new building, and equips it with the latest and greatest technology, it’s not fiscally sound to retrofit the entire campus with all the same bings and whistles.  This my friends is the ripple hitting big business.  It’s not so much about not being able, it’s a matter of how do we afford it, and not wreck lives in the process.  Institutions of banking, retail, education, society if I may be so bold, that has generations after generations employed, now have significant efficiencies at their disposal because of the ripple.  Reminds me of my favorite quote in the world, and the story that goes along with it.  Nelson Jackson said, I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow”.     Invest a moment in this link and read about his journey – you’ll be glad you did.    …and the ripple moves on!

The Ripple Hits Our Youth

We now have a generation hitting college that was born and raised with the ripple.  They have played, laughed, cried, pained and triumphed via technology. The ripple is hitting the higher education classrooms, and how students learn is having to be discussed as a very real issue.  Howard Rheingold is a writer and a teacher, and brings to the table in his article Attention Literacy some not so surprising findings in a social experiment he does in class.  Yep, attention is different today in our youth.  This is the thrust of this reading.

Where so many “old timers” keep falling short (in my opinion) is making the youth conform to old methods.  NEWSFLASH: Our old methods of paying attention in a classroom, and handwriting class notes on loose leaf paper, carting around a textbook – this is foreign to this generation, and especially frightening if they had the good fortune to attend K-12 grades in a progressive technologically advanced environment.  Reminds me of the time I spent in the Philippines teaching USA Domestic Air Fare Pricing.  Guess what – I was sitting in Manila, teaching the local population about domestic air tarifr principles.  Ah – that means I was teaching them INTERNATIONAL TARIFFING from their perspective. All their travel and tourism training they had gotten in their Universities, and I was telling them it was all backwards.  Me-stupid american.

Yes – all three of these readings are linked.  And in the words of Sonny and Cher, “and the beat moves on”, or in this case, the ripple.

How do you see the ripple of technology?  You scared? Hopeful?  Can the Old Timers swallow their generational teachings and experiences without the world of technology long enough to entertain the complete renovation of how things are done?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Have a great week everyone!

Mitch

It Really IS His Fault!

 Tim Berners-Lee 1994

Tim Berners-Lee today –>

It’s all his fault!!  Tim Berners-Lee is the original gate-keeper of the journey we are on today. On December 25, 1990 he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet.   I’m not even going to give much letter space to the launch date relevance. It definitely conjures images of Christianity’s greatest day of celebration, and retailers greatest season of profits, but it is way too much for me to take a stab at analysis on. Call me old school as I was immediately struck with the notion of how many people’s family time got messed up because an innovative visionary was about to domino. Nuff Said!

Oh,and by the way, that is Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee to us peons.  Yup! He was knighted in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work.  (Hmm… I wonder if THAT paperwork was filed electronically, or if the process required plume and parchment?)

We read a Berners-Lee, et al. piece written in 1994 titled The World-Wide Web.   A nice composite tutorial of the time to try to “dumb it up” for the commoner.  I engaged from the initial suggestion of this knowledge to be learned and how and when I can do that, “for hard copy to read on the plane” all the way through to the kind offer in the Getting Started Appendix, “If you have a vt100 terminal, you can try out a full screen interface by telnet to ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu and logging in as http://www.”

…But I had a hard stop reality check!  I’m in 2012, and I’ve got a buttload of irons in the fire and it’s all Sir Tim’s fault.

Here is what his “gift” gave me this week:

TWELVE hours of full time classes that necessitate the use of every form of technology in existence today,

ELEVEN cords in my life to keep my technology up and running,

TEN people texting and driving and scaring the hell out of me,

NINE pounds of donuts to offset the stress of the week,

EIGHT papers in progress simultaneously on my laptop,

SEVEN files lost in space because I’m not completely comfortable with Dropbox yet,

SIX hours of total real sleep this week,

FIVE allergy pills   (OK – Not Tim’s fault completely – but I did google “Best Over The Counter Allergy Medicine”),

FOUR gallons of Starbucks,

THREE recorded episodes of Judge Judy,

TWO Presidential candidates leveraging the power of the internet and social media to garner votes,

AND A Big Bird That’s Gonna Lose His Job!

Thank You Sir Tim!  I’m holding you responsible now that I know!

How has your week been? 

Is there any part of you life this week that could have gone better or worse without Tim’s gift that keeps on giving?