Welcome! I have started this online journal in the hopes of satisfying 2 goals; One, an outlet for creative expression, whatever may come of it. And two, an online freelance writing portfolio. I have promised myself to put down as much as I can - and here it will be.

I might have a poem or story to share, I might need to vent away on a particular subject or I may have just discovered the meaning of life. Who knows? Some will be serious, some light, some pointless and silly. Some will be writing just to write. But, hopefully each day I can be inspired by something going on. Most entries will be a little of this, a little of that. And most likely, they will not be continuous from day to day, unless I am working on a longer story that I want to break up into daily snibbles.

Like I said, anything and everything in this mind of mine, for good or for bad. It will all end up on here sooner or later!

I would honor your opinions of my endeavor and the pieces that arrive here. Feedback is crucial to my success! If you have any constructive criticism, just want to say you like/don't like, or that it affected you in some way...that would be fine. Quite nice, in fact.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Repost: Changing the World Made Easy

An article I guest-posted on my cousin's blog project back in July... on social change via the Internet.

Reposted from Media Literacy and Social Action July 27, 2009

Looking for something easy to do today? How about changing the world?

Changing the world…easy? Enabled by the Web, shopping, chatting and researching, among other things, can now all be accomplished at the click of a button. Changing the world is joining the ranks as a mission made easier via the Internet. Agents for social change have always existed and now the web allows one with even the slightest inclination to help able to do so. Now, more than ever, the world needs a-changing, some positive influence, and young people - students in particular - account for a significant percentage of society mobilizing to do just that…. And that number is largely due to the presence of social media – Twitter, Facebook, MySpace – because, if used properly and effectively, it is now easier than ever to mobilize a community to affect said change – on, and through, the web.

Simply "google" the search string "Technology and Social Change" and one is presented with a myriad of empowering options in changing the world. In this new technologically-savvy century, truly anyone can influence the world they live in from the comfort of their own home, no matter your age, race, financial status or physical challenge: blind, deaf, wheelchair bound, heck - even just shy: the effective computer/Internet combo allows one to revolutionize almost anything if they so desire with much less effort than ever before. Cyberspace renders us all equal agents of change, and we can accomplish this action from practically anywhere in the world you can find an Internet connection.

These days, our own “communities” have expanded to include the entire world; no longer do we have to be “just Jenny from the block”, sparking the call to action in only a mere handful of people. Students from Russia can inspire others from the US, or Lichtenstein, Bolivia or even Africa; whole schools, communities, countries can now be inspired to help with the words of a single, average citizen. The world has gotten smaller as this connective reach has grown and the narrowing of the gap has made large scale change very possible for even one small child in the midst of “absolute nowhere.” Inspiring, isn’t it?

My Social Actions (http://my.socialactions.com/), a site devoted to inspiring people to act on their ideas, makes it simple. "You make a difference, we make it easy". Even their slogan points to the obvious lubrication the web has offered us little people in changing that big world – oh, what we could do!

It's interesting to note that even small personal blogs have reached out to affect others in ways most likely unimagined by the authors. I have my own home/self/life improvement blog and the feedback I have received from readers of the projects I have inspired in their own lives just by posting my progress is awe-inspiring. If I can do that from my little corner of the web, just by organizing my cabinets - just imagine what a heartfelt cause with the right mix of media and community mobilization could do?

Think back to Ashton Kutcher’s battle with CNN on Twitter in the race for a million followers: what they proved is that given the right motivation and access, people are easily willing to mobilize when technology makes it so darn easy and when the cause is worth the effort. Why not use the infinite connections for something great? The eventual lesson: that even normal people can have the same power to affect as much change as a celebrity when the playing field is so leveled as it is in social media.

In his blog, Social Entrepreneurship, Nathaniel Whittemore commented on Kutcher’s quest and the power of the little guy: "Then the coolest thing happened: Ashton started mobilizing his celebrity community. In the last hour alone, he's got his wife Demi Moore, Oprah, Ryan Seacrest, CNN to donate between 10,000 and 20,000 nets. It looks like P. Diddy might be next. If that's not community freakin' mobilization, I don't know what is.

It's easy to be cynical about this, but what if we thought about it different. Changing the world is damn hard, and the responsibility we owe this planet and the billions of people we share it with should never be taken lightly. But there are lots of incredibly easy ways that even normal folks can save lives, and we should never let the difficult of the big picture stop us from making incremental change along the way."

If joining Twitter, to help end malaria merely by your cyber-presence, is not your cup of tea, there are websites whose sole purpose is to index other social media change sites, categorizing and highlighting those that would help you get the word out about your cause or find one already started that is worthy to you. Easy to find, easy to join!

http://peopleinaction.com/socialchange/

A site helping children to help the world by naming causes and how they can help:

The Freechild Project

http://www.freechild.org/index.htm

Interviews of people who are making it easy for us and how they have done so:

Netsquared: “Remixing the Web for Social Change”

http://netsquared.libsyn.com/

As in the oceans of our planet, this new conduit of mobilizing community and altering mindsets is like a bevy of swells, carrying the messages and washing them over the world. Inspiring or following, you have the choice of which wave you want to ride, almost as easy as that. While it is not in fact as effortless as clicking a button, technology, specifically social media, has made it infinitely more possible to create a sweeping movement of affecting change in this New World. Create, choose, whatever – just hop on!