more real people on twitter #followfriday

Here’s some more real people that I follow on Twitter:

@jeffsonstein
– teaches IT, supports causes, knows his geekery & I often enjoy interesting chats with him on Twitter

@neerav – blogger, geek, librarian, chocolate lover who’s always got an interesting perspective on things

@mkrigsman – writes about IT project failures, knows lots of stuff about making projects successful & shares ideas readily

@dekrazee1 – car & tech geek, always good for late night chats while she’s catching up on F1

@hollingsworth – lovely chap who’s always up on good food & geekery (indefatigable patron of #nscm)

Community, caring and cupcakes

It was so touching to see a bunch of people who linked up via Twitter join in and participate in a community event like Cupcake Camp Sydney last Friday night.

To explain: CupcakeCamp (which was invented by Ariel Waldman) is:

… an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment.

There is some debate about the actual number of people who attended, but the consensus now rests on more than 70 & less than 100. The most amazing thing is the wonderful people who invested time and care in creating the cupcakes (see some pictures on the Flickr group).

We raised some money for the RSPCA to help animals, if you’d like to help too then here’s an online donation form. Please type CUPCAKECAMP in the Position field so we can track donation numbers.

It was cool that even people who were at another event raised some money for the RSPCA too (we did send some cupcakes over to them though 😉

I love how there is something about homemade cupcakes that brings out a sense of community that we do not often see nowadays.

A huge thank-you to CBS Interactive for hosting, to our kind prize sponsors, conscientious judges, and most of all to the people who cared enough to create cupcakes and share them with other people. Thanks also to those who came along to support and eat cupcakes (that was me, couldn’t cook a cupcake to save my life).

Think it might be fun to do this again next year? Please let me know via comments.

Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 15.34.47 Source: https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=cupcake%20camp%20sydney&structured=yes&view_all=1

Pointless banter and the building of bonds

There’s been some ‘research‘ about Twitter by Pear Analytics claiming that “Pointless Babble” represented “40.55% of the total tweets captured”.

What’s interesting is that these folks completely miss the importance of banter in the building of social bonds between human beings.

On Twitter it is a bit hard for us to sit together & check out our buddies for fleas.  So the banter & seemingly frivolous chatter helps to bridge the gap that would be bridged by other means in real life.

The many ambient contacts that we have every day are the cement that binds our social connections.  The casual conversations at the coffee cart or water cooler create a level of comfort between us.  And this level of comfort makes it easier to work, play or socialise together.

Twitter is a great way to have that kind of ambient social contact between people who are not physically proximate.

It’s a pity some people don’t understand how important these seemingly trivial and non-threatening social communications are in building relationships and community.

Don’t forget to check out some critiques of the Pear perspective on Twitter:

Pear Analytics Twitter Report: Criticisms of the coding methods … by Stephen Dann – BTW the comments on this post are especially amusing & worth the effort

Twitter babble twaddle – by Stilgherrian

Stephen Fry

Graham Linehan

Note: This post is reproduced from my Posterous blog

Why not give peace a chance?

rainbow_peace_symbolDuring our busy lives it seems to me that we often let the chances for peace pass us by. And how does this happen?

It happens with our reactions to things, to events, to words and actions by other people. For example, the snappy response to a question asked when we’re busy, or the angry outburst when things don’t go as expected. The responses we make to these things can often lead to friction or bad feelings.

One of my old bosses used to tell me that I needed to act not react. His idea was that reaction was an instinctive, visceral and almost unthinking response. While he believed that action was a considered response to a particular person or situation.

Just think about this for a moment:

  • What would happen if we decided not to react instinctively to people or situations?
  • What would happen if we decided not to protect ourselves before it was necessary?
  • What would happen if we took a few breaths before acting instead of simply reacting?

Would this give peace more of a chance to grow in our lives? I’m going to give it a try, it’s a simple change that will cost nothing and it might just make the world a slightly better place.

Racism, Sexism and Privilege

Just came across two fairly old articles that are really worth reading:

The Male Privilege Checklist by B. Deutsch
This is a summary of the unconscious privilege to which able bodied white men are generally subject. This is not a criticism of white men – really it is just how they experience the world unless something intervenes to reveal their own privileged situation.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
This is the 1990 article that sparked the Male Privilege Checklist – it looked at the unconscious privilege to which white people are generally subject. Peggy McIntosh says, “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group”.

This is all very interesting because the other day I was listening to Jackie Huggins talk about her life and her family. It was a long drive so there was nothing to distract me. As I listened it became clear to me how hard it must be to become a successful aboriginal woman. So many unconscious freedoms that I take for granted were and remain blocked to non-whites in Australia.

I’ve studied sociology, philosophy and anthropology so I’ve known intellectually about these phenomena. But it was listening the Jackie talk on the radio that humanised the whole thing.

It behoves us as a nation to bring to an end this unconscious privilege and the associated unconscious discrimination. And it behoves me as an individual to think about what I can do. This post is the first step.

Hard work beats talent

I have seen many young, fit, intelligent people with a fine education, sound values and good family behind them. But they do not realise that what they make of them every day from now is up to them.

Many people with those advantages do nothing with their lives. It is up to each of us to choose every day to do something with our life. You do not need a grand plan – very few people actually have these.

Whatever it is you do, you need to work hard at it and be enthusiastic. Find some things in your life that you have a passion for, and don’t forget, that on your deathbed, you will never wish to have spent more time at work.

“Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933)

International Aid = False Hope for Africa?

Another interesting snippet re international aid and Africa:

Tech Central Station – False Hope
“Thus, the international aid system has essentially served to reward policies that slow down development, whatever the initial intentions of its advocates. Under such circumstances, the implementation of the rule of law in Africa, necessary to wealth production, has been postponed indefinitely. Aid actually received by the poor is a very small compensation. If the cancelation of debt — which they could have paid off thanks to taxation — gives them a bit of breathing space, it won’t be through increasing subsidies to their governments that their living conditions will be improved.
Xavier Mera is associate researcher at the Molinari Economic Institute.”

Interview: For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!

“The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem.”
Source: SPIEGEL Interview with African Economics Expert: News: July 4, 2005

This interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel Kenyan economist James Shikwati explains clearly why continued monetary aid to Africa is not the answer. He also demonstrates the differences between Germany after World War 2 (and the success of the Marshall Plan) and Africa today.