May 16, 2011
TEDx Silicon Valley: Anderson, Hogg, Meier and Stein: #tedxsv
Anderson asserts that a data feedback loop can improve behavior as you see real-time stats on the consequences of your actions, whether its from a device or a non-intrustive wearable monitor. Simply by being aware of how your body is affected by your actions, you can improve your performance and lead a healthier life - emotionally and physically.
Feedback loops was a popular theme of many of the speakers, who focused on the growth of sensors which track your patterns and behavior. Bpttom line: once we see value in the feedback we receive from sensors, which continue to come down in price, we can measure everything we do. "Measurement," says Anderson, "quantifies what matters most and through that feedback loop, we can make smarter decisions."
Gamification -- on and offline -- can also be effective and is growing in popularity. Whether its points or rewards we give a child who remembers to brush his or her teeth or badges and coupons to buy things online if we cut out that donut and coffee for five days in a row, the feedback we receive through gamification is validation that we're doing something right or wrong.
Imagine a future where you're measuring nearly everything you do? Tomorrow, your thermometer can let you know when is the most efficient time to run the dishwasher, shaving money off your bill month after month. Today, you can already do quite a bit with measuring devices, right down to measuring stress levels in real time based on who you're talking to. (be prepared bosses, mother-in-laws, accountants, dentists and lawyers - stress meter readings may not be all that pretty).
Chris Hogg reinforced Anderson's message about the importance of data and measurement, particularly as it relates to better health and well being.
He pointed to his 67 year old step father who regularly drinks foul tasting tea and can see a correlation between drinking it and improved health, all of which he tracks on his iPhone.
Patrick Meier gave us a demo of something he referred to as Check-Ins with Purpose.
Country after country, he showed us a mapped location of how check-ins and smart location mapping has helped humanitarian efforts.
Forward wind to the Japanese Tsunami. They created a "crisis map" to help locate missing people, which the Japanese government and other organizations who were providing relief, could access.
The other example he used was Libya, where they created a "social media map" to improve their humanitarian efforts on the ground. Take a look at Libya Crisis Map.net.
The Libya Crisis Map platform was activated by the request of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the Standby Task Force (SBTF). The platform continues to be supported by volunteers.
We can be more effective at helping people than we ever have been able to do in the past with rich geo-location based services and social media tools at our fingertips. We can use Facebook to schedule and post notices, Twitter to coordinate and get the word out and YouTube to share the story in more depth. "These live maps," he says, "are like having helicopters above you so you can see exactly where people are and therefore find them that much faster."
One of the things she has learned from going through the process is to keep your ear to the ground....in other words, listen to voices from the local community. She calls the phenomena they have created, a "global tribe."
Says Lara, "My goals have migrated from how do you create systems and back ends on the ground TO how to we paint the story of this massively global and passionate tribe? The latest stats are staggering: 1,783 past events, 1,002 future events, 101 cities and 46 countries.
A handful of guidelines she has learned include the following: plan for the predictable, be prepared to invent as you learn, don’t get in the way, pave the way of your real time feedback loop, ignore the chorus, be prepared to fail (another theme of speakers), don’t think of it as a part time job, listen to the community on the ground, and follow your moral compass. She adds, "our focus is inspiration and action, not education."
She quoted an attendee who attended a TEDx in a remote area: "I was sitting on the end of the world, huge oil fields surrounded by massive dunes and nothing else, I was surrounded by really smart kids and nothing else." Indeed. That feeling is most definitely is a TED-like moment.
May 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 21, 2011
It's Pretty Visually Interesting When Two Galaxies Collide
So, what does it look like when two galaxies collide? To celebrate its 21st anniversary, Nasa's orbiting Hubble telescope has snapped this stunning image of Arp 273: a photogenic group of interacting galaxies.
The largest spiral galaxy, UGC 1810, is skewed and distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tug of its nearby companion galaxy, UGC 1813.
The twisted spaghetti of cosmic arms suggests the two galaxies have collided, with 1813 diving deep into the center of 1810 and out the other side. There's also a tenuous tidal bridge of material between the two galaxies, like a phone-line, tens of thousands of light-years long.
The ocean of sapphire gems glittering on top of the pair is the clustered, ultraviolet flare of intensely bright and hot blue stars. The full story is over on Wired.
April 13, 2011
Do Chaps or Maps Drive History?
Do chaps or maps drive history? Human brilliance and folly, or geography? Or maybe its genes or culture? At the next SALT talk in San Francisco, archaeologist/historian Ian Morris goes a level deeper than Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel to determine why the standards of Europe and North America now prevail in the world when it was the East that dominated for the 1,200 years between 550 and 1750 CE. Why did that happen, and what will happen next? More information HERE.
May and June talks below:
May 3 - Tim Flannery, "Here on Earth"
June 7 - Carl Zimmer, "Viral Time"
April 07, 2011
The Moon Rush is On & Silicon Valley Enterpreneurs Are On Their Way
The Moon-Rush is on and Naveen Jainn, Barney Pell, and Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards have started a new company called Moon Express, announced this week. Moon Express is a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company created to establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit.
Their plan is to develop a space vehicle that will in turn allow the company to tap into mineral resources on the lunar surface. Selected last fall by NASA, Moon Express was awarded a lunar data services contract worth up to $10M, for the initial delivery order of the “Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD)” program.
In addition, the X PRIZE Foundation announced Moon Express as a competitor for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE, a competition to place a robot on the Moon’s surface that travels 500 meters and transmits high definition video, images and data back to Earth. And to top it off, Moon Express will be sending a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development.
The team believes in the boundless economic opportunities on the Moon and are passionate advocates for space exploration.
Here's some coverage from their launch:
VentureBeat: The Semantic Web Shoots the Moon
Techcrunch: From Search Engines to Lunar Landers.....
Inspired by new White House policies supporting increased government partnership with the commercial
March 23, 2011
Maker Faire 2011 in Bay Area
Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 mashes items possessing an On/Off switch with old-fashioned human curiosity, resulting in a round up of robots, musical Tesla coils, fresh-squeezed sunflower oil, futuristic chariot races, antique pinball machines, super-sized Lego projects, and more neon, flame, and brightly gaseous glows than are normally seen outside an MIT lab. Whoah Nelly. But yes, it's all that and more.
Maker Faire combines the best of Burning Man's sizzling creativity with the hottest creations of the DIY community and serves it all up in a dazzling two-day event guaranteed to engage every member of the family. Now in its sixth year, Maker Faire Bay Area runs May 21-22 at the San Mateo County Event Center and will host some 100,000 visitors as they learn from and play with over 600 crafters, makers, engineers, vendors, and artists who come from all over the country to exhibit their particular brand of genius.
Produced by MAKE Magazine and O'Reilly Media, Maker Faire's geek culture flourishes with droids, DIY kits by kids for kids, and mobile land sharks roaming in the dark. Longtime favorites the Flaming Lotus Girls return, this time bringing their fiery Mutopia pods. The SF Model Yacht Club has "Race and Shoot" games not to be missed; the Stanford Solar Car Project soaks up some attention; the Madagascar Institute whips things up with their zany chariot races; and robotics and animation engineer Dr. Mike Regalbuto showcases his Posables, lifelike forms that literally bend to your will. None of this would be complete without rockets, bikes, food, and a huge children's area for young dreamers and makers.
Focused on making education so fun as to be seamless, Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 embraces the universe, loosely titling the weekend "From Maker Space to Outer Space" in honor of a recent collaboration with MAKE, NASA, and Teachers in Space in which students conceive experiments to be conducted during suborbital flights. To purchase tickets, including weekend passes, go here: http://makerfaire-marketwire.eventbrite.com.
March 16, 2011
#140edu: Conference on the State of Education Comes to NYC in August
The 140 Conference (aka #140conf) is an event that Jeff Pulver started in June 2009 and now he has extended these events into other niche areas such as fashion and now education. His new event, just announced, is 140edu, a conference on the state of education. The event is taking place August 2-3 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and will explore the "State of Education - NOW," and the underlying effects the real-time web is having on Education. The event website is http://140edu.com.
Ever since the first #140conf event in New York City back in June 2009, I have been looking at the effects of the real-time web on Education. To date, the #140conf events have provided a platform for: students, parents, elementary and secondary school teachers, college professors and high school principals. At a recent #140conf it was said that "in 1920 being illiterate meant not being able to read or write. In 2010 being illiterate means not knowing how to surf the net."
In an attempt to provide more attention and more voices to the educators of the world, they are partnering with Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) - Principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.
Since the birth of the real-time Internet, many educational institutions around the world have found themselves establishing a presence on both Facebook and twitter and have been challenged with the task of having to having to have someone (or a team) represent their school and become their online and physical voice for their students. For many schools this is something both new and challenging.
The growing widespread popularity of cell phones have ushered in the era of both texting and sexting and other related disruptions. Some schools have restricted the use of cell phones in schools while other schools have eventually embraced it.
Some teachers are reachable by their students on their cell phones and remind students of their homework assignments and answer questions about work assignments. The evolution of the 7 AM to 3PM lifestyle to a 24/7 lifestyle is changing the students connect with both other students and their teachers.
Ever since the launch of Facebook, K-12 schools around the world have been dealing with the unintended consequences of "friending" in the classroom and the issues it raises. Facebook forces the issue of "friending," be it between students and students, students and teachers, parents and teachers and sometimes between students and Principals and Parents and Principals. Some schools have banned the use of Facebook and others have embraced it only to realize that students are smarter than school policies and in the end they will decide how they communicate and with whom.
And it isn't only Facebook. Twitter has become a popular platform for educators from around the world to discover and connect with each other. The #edchat chats continue to grow. In a world that has become flat, educators are just a tweet away from each other and each day they continue to discover and explore common ground and are sharing experiences and observations for how to best approach education in the era of the real-time web.
The changes in the way we live our lives must create change in the way we teach and learn. The real-time web should create profound changes in the way we think about what, how and why students and teachers can do, create and communicate. The very nature of what we consider "school" should be radically different given the powerful reach of the communicate tools our students have at their disposal. #140edu is dedicated to exploring and expanding that change.
February 19, 2011
TODAY, TEDxBerkeley Brings Leaders Together to Reveal World-Changing Projects that are Engaging the World
Fifteen ground-breaking thinkers and leaders in their fields will discuss issues such as: how to find personal meaning in the business world and how to scale social change in the developing world.
Within the theme of “Engaging the World”, the event will be broken down into three categories: Dream, Pioneer and Connect.
Below is a list of the 2011 TEDxBerkeley speakers. Visit the TEDxBerkeley speaker page for their detailed biographies.
- Bryan Alvarez – Doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, researching brain-based and cognitive mechanisms of a unique form of sensory-blending called synesthesia, which he also experiences.
- Jason Atwood – Ph.D. Candidate, Activist, and Director of Ethiopia ConnectED, an education initiative inspired by TEDster Sugata Mitra’s research on self-organized learning environments.
- Anat Baniel – Founder of the Anat Baniel Method and Director of the ABM Center in Marin County, California, where she and her colleagues teach professional training programs and workshops.
- Lopa Brunjes – Biochar pioneer, passionate sustainability advocate, and Executive VP of Biochar Engineering Corp, a small Colorado company defining the leading edge of the burgeoning biochar industry.
- Chip Conley – Founder and Executive Chairman of Joie de Vivre, California’s largest boutique hotel company, Author and Entrepreneur.
- Sonja Drakulich – Musician and Singer who performs Balkan and Medieval European music, as well as Persian, Turkish, Greek and Arabic; toured nationally with the Mevlevi Dervishes as singer and percussionist and in Indonesia with the Gamelan Theater Group.
- Robert Fuller – Former President of Oberlin College and Author of Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, coined the term “rankism” and is a leader in the worldwide quest for human dignity.
- Erin Ganju – Co-founder and chief executive officer of Room to Read, an organization that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
- Eoin Harrington – Singer, songwriter and guitarist, described as described as reminiscent of Maroon 5's Adam Levine, James Blunt or "a grittier Elton John."
- Walter Hood – Professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Department. His studio, Hood Design, has been engaged in architectural commissions, urban design, art installations, and research since 1992.
- Gopi Kallayil – Group Product Marketing Manager at Google supporting the marketing of the Company’s flagship advertising product, AdWords, in the Americas and Asia Pacific.
- Brad Kava – Award-winning journalist, writer, blues harmonica player and co-owner of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival.
- Noteworthy – UC Berkeley all-male a cappella group unique for writing the majority of their own pieces.
- David Rose – Product Designer, Technology Visionary, Serial Entrepreneur and current chief executive officer of Vitality, a company reinventing medication packaging with wireless technology.
- Moses Sedler – Cellist & Composer of music for dance, film and concert stage, with a background in classical, improvisatory music as well as European folk and Indian music.
- David Silverman – Animator and was involved with the animated TV series The Simpsons from the very beginning, where he animated all of the original Simpsons Tracy Ullman shorts and went on to serve as director of animation for several years.
- Shore Slocum – Co-Founder of SoulNeeds, a social networking platform for the soul, and Speaker/Trainer who conducts Speakers Boot Camps which has inspired tens of thousands annually around the world.
- Marti Spiegelman – Training Professional, Mentor, Speaker, and Founder and Host of Awakening Value: Shamanic Technologies of Consciousness and Success on the VoiceAmerica Web Radio Network.
- Peter Stanley - Record producer, songwriter and guitar player extraordinaire who fronts the blues band Doghouse Riley.
- Matt Venuti – Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and TED veteran who opened the 2004 conference in Monterey with a solo. He will perform on the Pan Art Hang on the TEDxBerkeley stage.
The TEDx Berkeley team includes: Curator Kevin Gong, a translator who has volunteered for the Global Lives Project; co-curator Renee Blodgett, founder of Magic Sauce Media and We Blog the World, co-curator Ross Evans, founder of Worldbike; Director of Marketing, Jennifer Barr, VP/Operations at Northern CA Wharton Business School Club; Director of Logistics Navi Ganancial, serial volunteer and social media marketing guru; Director of Sponsorships Brent Locks, founding COO of GreenLaces.org; Director of Web Strategies Massimo Paolini, founder of MPThree Consulting Inc.; Technical Director Rocky Mullin, production volunteer for EG and TEDMED, musician & producer and Volunteer Manager David Allen, Berkeley student studying Neural Theory of Language.
February 19, 2011 in America The Free, Events, On Being Green, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Science, On Spirituality, On Technology, On the Future, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 02, 2011
Learning About Water and VortexesHave a listen to a story about the complexity, simplicity and history behind the energy of vortexes.
TEDx Berkeley Coming to the Zellerbach Stage on February 19
On February 19, 2011, TEDxBerkeley will gather world-leading thinkers, makers, and doers at UC Berkeley to discuss the theme: “Engaging the World“. The audience will be a diverse yet curated mix of 1,400 students, professors, and thought leaders from Berkeley and beyond, gathering for a stimulating day of presentations, discussions, entertainment and art that will spark new ideas and opportunities for all.
If you're interested in attending, fill out the form and join us. The speaker line-up can be found here, with additional speakers and performers being added in the next few days. Below is just a glimpse - more updates coming next week.
- Jason Atwood - Cal PhD, Computer Lab in Uganda project.
- David Rose - Founder of Vitality.
- Chip Conley - CEO of Joie de Vivre.
- Marti Spiegelman on consciousness.
- Erin Ganju - CEO of Room to Read.
- David Silverman - Producer of The Simpsons.
- Bryan Alvarez - Cal PhD and the Human Atlas Project.
- Lopa Brunjes - co-founder of Biochar.
- Gopi Kallayil - Heads of Product Marketing for Search Advertising at Google.
- Shore Slocum - Author and Speaker on spirituality and the real world.
- Bob Fuller - Author on rankism.
- Walter Hood - Berkeley architecture professor.
December 31, 2010
2010: The Year of Multiple Digital Personas
This past year was one of my busiest years, largely because of 4 factors: I re-launched two sites, started shooting more (note: Canon 7D purchase), I seemed to be on the road non-stop and clients expected more than ever and yet they want to pay less for results.
Let's start by looking at some of the technology trends and mindshifts in 2010 which led to such a chaotic schedule.
Social media tools exploded. Living in Silicon Valley, you get hit with more beta trials than anywhere else in the world and testing new shit out is what I do among other things, so it's no surprise that I was hit with more than one person could possibly digest. Yet, some of those tools started to go mainstream, so suddenly things that were on my back burner couldn't go unnoticed anymore. For one, location-based services started to get a lot of attention.
Last January, I found myself in a hotel room in Munich desperate to connect and "check in" before heading out for a stroll in the fresh fallen snow.
How F-Ked up is that? Foursquare doesn't seem to want to acknowledge that I'm in another country when I am, regardless of how decent "connectivity" is, yet I can't seem to give in to technology controlling my environment even when it doesn't work. What's wrong with acknowledging that I'm not an engineer, don't try to fix this.....just let things/it be?"
Later in the year, I went through something similar in Paris. Refer to my blog post: When in Paris, BE in Paris, Disconnect.
That brings me to Part B of this story. Technology DID in fact control my environment more than any year in my life.
I relaunched We Blog the World this year because of its organic growth and growing interest from bloggers around the globe who wanted to contribute.
Launching a site isn't what it used to be because of the fact that a site isn't just a site anymore - it's connected to multiple digital personas on the web.
With the site had to be a Facebook "fan" page or whatever they now call it, a Twitter update to match the look-and-feel of the revamped site, as well as photo and video online personas to go with the rest of it.
Then there's maps, mobile optimization, geo-location, custom RSS feeds, online newsletters and editing to ensure the world sees what you want them to see rather than poorly curated clutter on the web. (see Linda Stone/continuous partial attention -- not new to 2010 but still highly relevant).
Enter the growing focus on curation. We're long overdue for attention on intellectual and relevant curation of content that matters to us most.
Since tools can't curate content automatically in a way that is useful to us yet, human curation needs to be part of the process and for anyone who has spent time curating and tagging content on the web knows, it's bloody time consuming. Pearltrees, a curation tool, was a big part of my life this year and I spent time alerting content creators in various vertical markets about the aspect and value of human curation as an integral part of their workflow.
I switched to Chrome this year as my main browser, suddenly I ended up with three phones, one of which was a Google phone that simplified my local calls and texting when in Europe, and I was nearly tempted to buy an iPad so I could carry around yet another device with me to ensure I was connected 24/7 just in case the three phones and two laptops were not enough.
What's important to note is how the 'always on' part of my life which used to largely happen in my office and to and from meetings during my work day migrated into every aspect of my life.
Not only were my digital personas growing in numbers, but so was my attention to them. Suddenly I had a flash page (see about.me, currently still in beta), 3 new sites, 3 new Facebook pages, 4 new Twitter personas, Foursquare and a growing number of international connections to "manage."
By summer, I was seriously feeling the effect of The Shallows (see Nicholas Carr's book: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains). In synthesizing recent cognitive research, he shares his own experiences, something that I could personally relate to. Carr writes "I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something has been tinkering iwth my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn't going -- so far as I can tell -- but it's changing."
By late July, I found that I couldn't sit still when I was out without a device and moreso, my attention span had shortened dramatically. The same thing was happening to others around me. We couldn't concentrate for long without new digital stimuli, even if that be a simple text message. My reading moved from reading whole books to skimming them, the rest left for online editorial only.
Reading and re-reading books have always brought a sense of calm to my otherwise chaotic world and yet, I had stopped reading novels for awhile. Instead, my reading time was filled with learning how social media was changing our lives and the impact it was having and will continue to have on business and the world. I read about new tools, solutions and trends. Of course, none of it had heart and soul but it was great insight for what to adopt early on.
Carr asserts that "every technology is an expression of human will. Through our tools, we seek to expand our power and control over our circumstances -- over nature, over time and distance, over one another."
And so, with this growing tension between feeling and fearing that my brain was actually changing chemically and the need to be "always" be connected to some device at any given time, I decided to leave the country in August without a device.
Off to South America I went with a friend who brought a Blackberry with her and I, a netbook, largely to be used for checking email once every couple of days, but moreso to offload photos from camera to hard drive. So, while technology wasn't off limits for me, having a device in my hands so I could be reachable and in turn reach out whenever and wherever, was not an option.
When you have close to ten online digital personas you are 'managing' at any given time, not being connected for a few weeks is highly uncomfortable. As I was boarding a plane from Miami to Guyaquil, I noticed how many people fidgeted when the pilot told them to turn their electronic devices off.
Some people stared down at their devices as if they would give them something stimulating even though the screen was blank. A few picked up magazines but flipped through as if bored without the energy of their device, their "adult" pacifier.
I found myself going through the same awkwardness, yet because the device was "home" and not an option when we landed, I was forced to find both my energy and my calm from a static page of a book or an old fashioned notebook which I brought to record thoughts using an actual physical pen.
Since I was with someone who had not made the same choice, I was somewhat forced into the digital world by watching her fiddle with her Blackberry, nose down into its addictive energy while we were driving past the Amazon jungle. It was astonishing that she could get a connection up there and because she 'could,' she did.
There was a moment where I felt like asking her for "it" to check into the Amazon on Foursquare for the world to see, as somewhat of a novelty. There was a moment where I felt like asking her for "it" to tweet out to the world that the Amazon was in trouble and attach a photo of chain saws on the side of the road with piles of timber lined up in rows a couple hundred miles away from the nearest big town.
I had to refocus my energy away from the device and her fingers upon it and onto the lush green wildness out my right window and as soon as I did, slowly but surely, my center found calm. It found presence. It found wonder. It found marvel. It found gratitude. It found wow. It found real physical life that was breathing its beauty into me as I decided to participate IN IT rather than watch or engage with it on a screen.
I didn't blog about my experience that week since we were camping in the middle of the jungle, but I also decided not to blog about it as soon as we were connected in another town. I waited until I returned to the states, and for multiple reasons, it was the right thing to do. Reflections followed - here, here and here. I also wrote about my detaching experience called Hey Digital Maven, How Okay Are You With Silence?
Being present and recalling that presence later on because I had time to reflect on gratitude was key. Being constantly connected doesn't give us the time or more importantly, the 'space' to reflect and go deeper. Our ability to go deeper is limited because of what this constant digital stimuli is doing to our brains, and in turn, our behavior.
As Carr reflects from the discovery he made through his research, "while we know that our brain is an exquisitely sensitive monitor of experience, we want to believe that it lies beyond the influence of experience.
We want to believe that the impressions our brain records as sensations and stores as memories leave no physical imprint on its own structure. To believe otherwise would, we feel, call into question the integrity of the self."
Having a break from managing digital personas for a few weeks reminded me of the essential need for balance -- not just life/play and work balance but digital balance.
While I found that others were going through the same thing, the addictive quality of the lifestyle shift is gradual, and people often find it hard to talk about or perhaps explain.
When I first picked up the iPad and browsed through my blog using Flipboard, a wave of excitement flew through me as the pictures I created in the real world came to life on the screen. A beautiful screen.
The display was magical and an actual device was re-sorting or curating if you like, the content....my content. It was telling my story in its own way and the stories of other bloggers I knew and respected. I thought about how "cool" it would be to have this experience with me at all times, so wherever I was, I could have that dynamic engaging experience rather than a much blander web page.
Yet, when all I sometimes need is the information on the web, having that extra visual pleasure brings me into the web experience more than it does my physical surroundings. When I choose "it" more often than the people around me in the physical world, I'm losing something valuable as well am I not?
Digital addicts will argue not of course since for them, the additional dimension of what these devices bring to their online life (where they spend 90% of their time) is so much greater that they would argue making another choice is 'halting a change' that is not only inevitable but critical.
Inevitable as it is, it doesn't mean we can't be more aware on the impact it is having on our daily lives and decide with our human brains during this explosive evolution and revolution, that human interaction without a digital pacifier at our side, does still hold tremendous value.
Being present without anything in our hands or a list of "online to dos" on our mind makes us so much more aware of a friend's breath across the table as they listen to our words and the intensity in their eyes as they dance with a story they're sharing.
As more and more moves online and away from physical paper and objects, we're reminded of privacy concerns and location-based services knowing our every move and offering products to us as soon as we walk into a store or cafe.
We're reminded that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was a runner-up for Time’s most important Person of the Year regardless of whether you see him as a hero or a villain.
We're reminded that the world has changed as we know it and there's no moving back in time.
While I'm certainly not proposing that we fight the inevitable, or stop technological progress and advancement, I'd like to offer some suggestions as a way to have more physical experiences in our lives amidst the growth of all things digital:
1. Pick a Day a Week to Disconnect from the Digital World: Remember we're talking about only one day a week. Use that day to engage with the physical world - trust me, it still exists. Choose something you're passionate about that is physical and doesn't have a digital extension to it, i.e., skiing down a mountain, cycling through a forest without your cell in your pocket, playing with a child on the beach, or discussing philosophy over dinner at the table with a friend without your iPad or iPhone in a bag by your feet.
2. Practice Using Your Brain Not Just Your Digital Pacifier: When you're tempted to rely on something digital to get you through an experience, choose a time when you don't need to rely on it and use your brain instead. A great example is your car navigation system.
The time to do this is obviously when you're not in a hurry to get from A to B. It's an interesting exercise for those who have relied on a nav system for awhile now. Male friends have commented that they have lost their acute directional sense since they put that part of their brain to rest for awhile. It's not unlike what happened with the introduction of calculators and over time, discovering how hard it was to do math on the fly.
3. Automate some of your Digital Life: While it's important to have a presence on the web if you run a company or work for one, and as part of it, engage, engage, engage, some of it can be automated. Focus on the voices and conversations that matter to you most and automate the rest.
The more scattered your presence, the less you can truly engage and prioritize on the people and passions you most identify with. It's not just about numbers. Quality matters and quality takes time, concerted time and effort.
4. Become the Artist you're Designed to be and Backburner the Rest: Create don't react. Remember that you don't have to respond to everything and everyone all the time. When we're constantly responding to things on our screen, the "lizard brain" is taking over, not the genius inside us. When we're reacting to online chatter, there's less time to "create our true art," which is our gift to the planet while we're alive to share it. In other words, our purpose.
As Seth Godin writes in Linchpins, one of my favorite books this year, "the Lizard Brain often sabotages the progress we have made and stops us from creating our best work." Refer to a great post Seth wrote on 'quieting the lizard brain.'
In my opinion, albeit one of the most useful things to hit this decade, social media has given us so many distractions, that it's difficult to take a step back and realize that we don't have to choose and use it all.
Make the time to create the art you're designed to create and the life you want to have.
Once we realize that we have a choice to pick and choose what's most useful for us and leave the rest, we'll create an opening to create our best art. Let's remember that our digital personas are not the whole picture of our lives, just a piece of it.
As a wise Nepalese elderly man once said to me on my way up a long Annapurna trail many years ago, Patience on your journey grasshopper, patience.
December 31, 2010 in America The Free, Books, Entertainment/Media, Europe, On Blogging, On Branding, On Geo-Location, On Mobile & Wireless, On People & Life, On RSS, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack