NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2014) please see the main site for the most up to date information.
Last week I talked about the negative effects we might have when usinng onlinenetworks and losing real life networks… Read the post or comment what you think about the effects of Facebook.
This a quotes by Sean Parker, from the movie - The Social Network. The movie about Facebook. I believe that, that we can define this in the sense of the “me, we, network” frame. In farm (in the old days ofcourse), you were an individual and the success of the farm, relied mostly on the farmer. The we moved to the cities. Living in cities we interact with other people, it might not always be pleasent and in the best of forms, but we react with other humans and develop social skills. The farmer, in order to “survive”, becomes a part of the community, becomes a WE.
Now the Internet. We find that there are other individuals, or groups that share the same thoughts, act for the same cause, we unite and share feelings and ideas. Thus the we, becomes a network, a global web.
Charlie Chaplin said in his speech (one of the greatest speech ever!!!): The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all.
It is now up to us, as an individual to find ourselves in this web and to define the me, we, network part. To find how, where, why to use to use the new technologies. Facebook might be the best example of these connection platforms. As character Mark Zuckerberg said in the movie:
People want to go online and check out their friends, so why not build a website that offers that? Friends, pictures, profiles, whatever you can visit, browse around, maybe it’s someone you just met at a party. Eduardo, I’m not talking about a dating site, I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.
I think Facebook filled the purpose of building your profile and checking out other peoples doings. But did it actually connect people ? Does it bring us closer, or rather make us more distant, make us disappear in the digital world ? Of course it depends on the person, how do you use it. Do you share your ideas with your groups, benefit from it by having an access to a broader range of information sources. But if we look at it from a general perspective, does Facebook unite us, or is it a digital hiding place, to escape the ugly reality of the real world ? Is Facebook another form of reality ? Are you the same person in Facebook as you are in the real life ? What kind of a picture does your profile paint to a random viewer ? Do you like it ?
An Estonian author Mati Unt wrote a book called “The Autumn Ball”. He describes the life of 4 people living in a suburb near Tallinn. The area is a proud example of the former Soviet architecture - big, massive, grey, concrete 9-story building blocks, one after another. They were designed to create homes for the workers that arrived to Tallinn from different parts of the Soviet Union, to work in the great factories, which now stand empty, as waiting for a new owner or to be demolished. These houses were big at the time, the gave homes to tens of thousands of people. The apartments were small and primitive and all designed in the same line, same fashion - LITERALLY. Back then, the idea was to build a strong community, a big building of working class people that could work as team, help each other, connect to each other. But what actually happened, was the exact opposite - it disconnected people. Everybody lived in their apartment, not knowing, or not even caring what is happening next door. Who lives there, what does he do, like, what kind of a person is he/she. People felt the lonely, they stayed in their own zone…
I got a bit carried away here, so back to the subject of me/we.
As for myself, the “me”, is a young student, who love to read creative blogs, inspiring articles and do personal research. The last part I have used a lot, in the NGO project with PAGE. I have read the articles and opinions of people, about the Appalachian area, watched a documentary, to get understand the conditions and the community of the region. I read about the numerous problems, that people out there in the mountains face daily. The documentary showed the gaps in the education system, the culture. For me, as an European, it is hard to understand that such a place still exists in America. A “hillbilly” land was used often in the commentary section of the new articles. The people there are missing a lot of things and services, that I could not imagine living without here in Europe. For example the medical services are unreachable for some of the people, schools are within 2 hours drive… I could not say that my research came to me as a shock, but it definitely opened my eyes.
I talked about my connection with a few friends in Australia, who are involved in the YWAM project and fundraisings for the medical ships. This weekend, I tried to use the “we” part, to understand the work of NGOs better. I used Skype as a platform to connect to my friend Daryl in Australia, who then used his circles to get me in touch with the correct people. I was happy to meet the Reynolds family: Daryl - an open-minded real-estate developer, who own a very successful company in Melbourne. His sister Diane, who has a PhD in Social Psychology and has devoted her life to develop te education system in Papua New Guinea. Daryl’s brother Mike, who I introduced earlier, a former politic and the Queensland parliament speaker, now of course retired but working with YWAM to help raise money for their Medical Ships in PNG. I introduced them to PAGE and asked if they could assist me, get my ideas going. Diane who, has lots of experience with small NGOs in PNG, just fell in love with the whole idea. As a “we”, we bounced around ideas, had some good ones, some bad ones, but the progress of the whole event inspired me the most. I got advice on what the NGOs homepage should look like, what they are missing, what are the most important things, about their experience in raising money and awareness. We came to the conclusion that PAGE needs to establish themselves locally first, before taking on the world. Simple ideas and events, that could contribute to the NGO and for the community, like “cleaning day”, “cookie sale”. PAGE is quite similar to an organisation known all around the world as GIRL GUIDES. In the States, known as Girl Scouts. They are famous for their “cookie selling” projects and getting the attention of the community. They have become a brand name and are teaching practical skills to young girls. Their program has “scout levels”, which is great for the girls, so that they could have a goal, a rank to achieve. I think PAGE could really take Girl Scouts as a role model. This way you don’t lose your own identity on the way, but bring their doings and ideas into your own community. As for the funding part, it is important to have the support of local enterprises and the community.
As for the “network” part. For PAGE, that would be working with the ideas, to connect the local community and get more people involved. For me/we, we should use the ideas within the networks. Crowdfunding platforms are a great idea to get people from all over the world to contribute into the project. The best example, of how people can team up for the better environment, is perhaps Denmark. The Danish power companies, had an idea, that if people invested in Sustainable energy projects, they could (as a community, country), in time, lower their energy costs. People would buy shares in wind energy projects and by making a contribution, their community would become less dependent on fossil fuels, as a result their energy/electricity bills will drop in a long term progress. The idea has been so successful that in Denmark, 70 percent of wind turbines are owned by citizens, and public acceptance of wind energy projects is at over 90 percent! These projects are largely organized under energy cooperatives, such as the famous Middlegrunden project (pdf) off the coast of Copenhagen.
As for the PAGE subject, I have really found a good “network” I might say. My usual networks that I often use my former High-School Facebook group, that connects a lot of interesting people sharing their ideas and information, everybody comments and adds their value to the cause with their own idea. One of the most useful networks for me has been the group “Lets do it Estonia”. The group started in 2008 with the campaign, where 50 000 Estonians united to clean up their country. The result: More than 10,000 tons of garbage were removed from the country’s forest in about 5 hours for less than 500,000 euros. Under normal circumstances it would have taken the government 3 years and 22.5 million euros to accomplish a similar feat. In that group, people share thoughts and ideas, about what we could do better in our local cities, or as a country. I have found many interesting people in that group and I always love to take part in an interesting discussion.
In general, I think everybody as a simple “we” group, where you have people, friends who share your feelings, experience, ideas. As for the networking, I (read the Facebook)if we are going to live on the internet in the future we will be in conflict as people will have to learn how to behave in emotionless and faceless society. As an engineer I look at the internet as a tool rather than as a place to live. As there are,a lot of benefits to networking,it is a new subject, and there is a still a lot to learn about the benefits and gaps that exist.
So share your ideas on the thought about Facebook’s real face.
This week we have been talking a lot about using different communities, platforms etc. As I said last week, I feel a bit old fashioned, since I have not used any of the technological achievements offered to us by teachers or fellow students. I am 21 and I am just now learning to use Tumblr for sake… I feel a bit like eating sushi for the first time with chopsticks. I discovered sushi quite life. Everybody in my high-school was like: I had sushi here, I had it there, I had it for breakfast, dinner and lunch… and I was at the time just like: WHAT IS THAT. When I my first taste of it…mmmm…. IT WAS DELICIOUS. Now I can’t get enough of the staff. At the time felt like a middle aged man who discovers internet porn just now.
The thing with sushi is, that you have to eat it with chopsticks, it is a must. Took me a while to master this delicate skill, but I managed in the end. I think it is the same with different platforms, communities, programs and apps. I know they are out “there”, but I have not really had a look into them and I am glad we are being introduced to them now. I am not a tech geek but I adapt quickly. I introduced Basecamp to my friends in Finland and they are going to give a try to it. First impressions: they love it !!!
In general, I feel a bit like dining in the dark, when talking about Photoshopping or making videos. I can understand that the food is good, but I have no idea what it is… I don’t have a lot to offer my team in terms of technology, but I have other qualities that we can make use of. It is great that we have people in our group that are into the subject and I would love to learn more from them, to improve myself.
I think working with NGOs and understanding them is a bit new to us all. I had a talk with my friend in Australia, who is deeply involved in providing medical help for the Papua New Guineans over the sea. We talked about funding, charity and peoples reactions on the subject. Not a surprise, but it is not that easy to get funding for a project, even though the cause is for a better world. You need to find new ways, be active, creative, have a look at what others have done and try to improve and reflect their ideas. It also involves putting a bit of a pressure on people, working with the soft, delicate spots and “working yourself around the corner” as he said. I think everybody understands that volunteering, funding and getting awareness to an NGO is not easy. Or as a wise man once said: “You don’t have to go to Antarctica to it’s cold there”.
I hope look into the Appalachian culture, situation this weekend, to get a better understanding of their situation. It is quite hard to figure out why the money is not coming in, if I am here in Holland, and they are there, in the mountains, miles from big cities. I want to use my connections with the Australian project, because I see that they have really put an effort into it and are reaching their goals.
I lived in Finland, Lapland for 2 years. Lapland is a place far-far North. It is 300km north of the place where the original Santa Claus live. The local people of the region are Sami. They have fought to preserve the teachings and culture. And I can almost say they have won. They have their own school, they are well funded and their culture seems to preserve thanks to all to effort by the local leaders. I was somewhat involved in an Unesco project to built the Samiland.
I saw the effort it takes to get the funding, all the little tweaks, the emails and phonecalls needed to make it all happen. The project was realized on the grounds of the hotel I worked in. Today the Samiland is a successful Cultural center of the Sami people, and a local attractions among tourists. It visualizes the life of the Samis throughout the ages. Shows the life of a true rein-deer herder, their living conditions and to what it has developed today. I truly hope to bring my connections into use in this project with the Appalachian people. I hope I can bring examples of them into my research, to give my touch in the project.
Back to the prompt of “tech steward”. As I said, I am not a really technological person, if this is the right way to say it. I do manage myself well in the world of apps and programs, but I do not think there is much for me to offer, I see this more as a learning process for me, for everybody. Our group shares their ideas on Facebook and it was the easiest platform to use, since we are all “members”. I think social platforms like Twitter, Facebook are a must today. Well what if one the group members was not on Facebook and did not really like the idea. Well, I think that would be a loss for him/her. Using a social media can wider your range of contacts and information. It is all up to you, to make use of it, other than just scroll down the pictures and updates people make and post. In the lines of “useless” posts, there are people and info that might be an interest to you. Being active and sharing what interest you, is an important task in social communities. Getting new ideas, sharing your own. You never now when a post can be a vital source of information. In general, being active in a social platform has its benefits. It is great to find a community that fits you (in this case, also the group). And remember, sharing is caring.
A good example of the use of social networks happened half a year ago. Estonia, or as some say E-Estonia, uses its identity chip card for everything. You can manage all of you legal things, paperwork, doctor appointments, educational information in a single platform. But to sign into that platform, you need 2 things: and Estonian identity card, and and ID-card reader. An Estonian businessman in Dubai, needed to file in his corporate taxes in Estonia. He tweeted #estonia #dubia #eesti to borrow someones ID card reader, in DUBAI !!!!. The post got re-tweeted, by the president of Estonia and many others friendly citizen. Later that day, a guy named Simon contacted him and his tax papers were filed on time. Now many people might say that, the presidents PR person did that, but that is not true… the guy is actually really active on Twitter. This is why I love E-Estonia and all the benefits it has given me.
You can read the full story and all the cool things about E-Estonia here —https://medium.com/this-happened-to-me/why-i-love-estonia-73155a785cc2-
Wow, this was a long post…
Overcoming the impossible, the story of PNG.
I think all of us had a busy and interesting summer and as always, it is not easy to cope with the idea that school has started… For me, the first week: Introduction to IDE took off quite slow. Not in a bad way though, since it was nice to get to know the students, the teachers - the team. Then the second week, espescially PROCOM was a BOOOOOM !!!! Write a blog, get in touch with the NGO (???), organize yourself, make a plan with the group and etc.
Yesterday evening when trying to think about all of it, it felt like a cyclone was forming in my head… Well not that bad but I think you get the idea, right ?
I think that writing a blog and getting your thoughts on the “paper” will help all of us get our ideas going. Like many of us, I have thought about starting a blog for years, already had like a mind-map started in my head what to write about, but never made it to the actual typing. No it is time to turn mirrors into windows - go !
As a young person, student, designer, I have found communities, blogs, forums, apps - in general networks, very useful. I love the idea that we actually make use of Facebook, by having our course forum there. It feels like a public speaking place, where everyone can ask for help, post schedules and useful links and videos. I like to think that networks are like my friends. If you keep a cool relationship with them, share you thoughts and ideas, it is fun. For example I have a group of 7 friends, who all live abroad. Every week I write a group email to all of them, to keep them informed with what is happening with me. As we have done it for a while, it has become “a thing” and we all have made so much use out of it when travelling, looking for jobs or just gathering ideas, since we all have a different background. I like to think of it as the Olympic Circles. As Nancy said: “Working in communities means using contacts to gain knowledge”.
As a young person, I feel that I am a bit old fashioned, because I have not used Twitter, Tumblr or many other network introduced to us at school. I did some research about Basecamp, the app that Janneke introduced us and realized that this app would have been so useful to me when I was working. In my former team projects we use the basic pen, paper and a blackboard the get the ideas going, but the use of modern technology could have made some things a lot easier. So in conclusion I want to get to know more apps and take make use of the social networks more :P
Our team project is partnership for the Appalachian Girls Education. I hope to relate the subject to my former work. I lived in North Finland, Lapland, for 2 years and worked for a hotel. A partner of our hotel was the local Sami (local people of Lapland) community and so we were involved in their projects. The main one was building the Samiland - the cultural exhibition center for the Samis, which was funded by UNESCO. I hope I can make use the gained experience, contacts and managing in this project. I think this project will help us to get a better view of how NGOs work, about their funding and problems they face.
Also, I would like to share some other projects with you guys. My friend Mike Reynolds, from Australia, is trying to raise money for projects in Papua New Guinea. YWAM Medical Ships - Australia (YWAM MSA) is helping to reach some of the most remote communities in Papua New Guinea with healthcare and training; places where there are no roads, very few airstrips, and very limited infrastructure.
Check out his ideas —- http://ywamships.gofundraise.com.au/page/Mikefreynolds
Also, here is the introduction video for the fundraiser:
Comment, hit me with your ideas :)