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Are you juicy?

I heard this a few years ago at a conference called The Power Within from a woman named Loretta Laroche. She is an acclaimed speaker, consultant, author & TV personality who gives talks and makes us laugh at ourselves. Or at least she made me laugh at myself. She spent the hour on stage talking about stress and what we do and don’t do to make it better and how humour can help in our lives. If any of you have seen or heard her I know that you laughed even if you did your best not to as I saw many of the men in the audience ‘trying’ to do. Us men are always the last to give in. “I am not going to laugh, she is not really funny…..” and then we finally let out a guffaw from holding in all the laughter.

There are three things that I took away from her talk:

1. Don’t take life or yourself so seriously. Get rid of that pinched up, not smiling, I know it all face and laugh a little.
2. This I do every morning. I come down the stairs, okay, sometimes I bound down the stairs when I am in an especially good mood and jump into the dining room, throw my arms into the air and say, “TA DA!” What that means is: “Here I am world, get ready for me. Watch out because I am right around the corner!”
 If you don’t think that starts my day on a positive note I can tell you!
3. BE JUICY. That’s right. Next time someone says, and someone will say this to you every day: “How are you?” Mind you half the time they are not really listening or seem to realize they are even asking. Look them straight in the eye and say, “I AM JUICY!”

Is life not filled with so much joy and laughter and possibility, is it not really JUICY!
“BUT…” you say, “I have problems, I have all kinds of things going on in my life, I I I……” You know what I am going to say to all of that: STOP IT!
So next time, someone says, “How are you?”
Answer, “I am JUICY!”
What is the worst that can happen?
1. They laugh.
2. You laugh.
3. They look at you funny and laugh.
4. They look at you funny and you laugh.
Get the picture? So far none of the above seems like a bad thing to me.

Have a JUICY day!


One to many becomes many to one

Activate Summit - King's Place London

My trip to London ends today and I head home tomorrow. To say that it has been an awesome trip would be an understatement.

adjective /ˈôsəm/

    1. Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear

▪       – the awesome power of the atomic bomb

    1. Extremely good; excellent

▪       – the band is truly awesome!

It has definitely been like an atomic bomb going off in my head because of everything that it has released in there. What I would like to do here is give you a short recap of what I learned at the Activate Summit. The idea being that in my sharing what I have learned, something may inspire or encourage you to do something with this information to affect change somewhere in your life, your family, your community, or on a larger scale.

Activate is all about examining the influence of technology on global society in areas as diverse as media, commerce and economics, the environment, energy and sustainability, citizenship, democracy, governance and accountability, the developing world, healthcare, education, science and humanity.

Not a very tall order is it? It succeeded as far as I was concerned because a seed was planted, many seeds, not only for the possibility of change, but also for the possibility of sharing of ideas, successes and failures. The underlying message was: we must do something with what we have learned; at the end of the day that is key.  It is wonderful to have all of this knowledge, but our responsibility is to make it actionable.

Talking and doing

We have all kinds of content out there now, but what is the service that is going to go with it? We have learned to make our physical world accessible to those around us, now we must make this informational world accessible as well. Content for content’s sake has no value.

Life is a story

With all the information that we have, we need to decide what to do with it if we are to affect change with it. This information must be searchable and accessible, but we need to be able to have storytelling around this data so that we may ask the right questions to be able to come up with the right answers. What am I talking about?
Jonathan Simmons from Public Zone explained it very clearly:
Information (data) is fuel.
The technology, apps and social media platforms are the vehicles.
The people (you and me) are the drivers.
This information that is out there is the new oil (the fuel) , and we need to be able to protect and look after it, as in the end, it will be this information that lets us save ourselves and our world.

Anyone can be a Think Tank

The underlying message in each and ever conference or break out session that I went to was that it all comes down to people, you and me, to make a difference. Did I have to come all the way to London to hear that? You are thinking, “I could have told you that!”
I wonder.
It seems to me that these days we are all so tied up with technology, myself included, that we forget that the real power comes from each and every one of us. What I saw here and what I am hoping to be part of is change on a global scale, but let’s step back a little to our own lives and our own small worlds. What if we looked at our individual actions and the power they have to affect change with those around us?  If we remembered to keep our principles and values true to ourselves; the rest will follow.

One to many becomes many to one

Agency is the capacity of an agent (you and me) to act in our world. How we act affects those around us. If we think small, we will live small, if we open ourselves to the possibilities that are out there, the realities become very different.
If technology, the Internet, Social Media, and apps are simply tools to bring us all together, only tools, they will not solve our problems. If we use these tools to connect, to remember we are global citizens, then the opportunities we may create are endless.

For more information on the Activate Summit and to watch the videos of the keynote speakers, here in the link: Activate Summit London 2011

Knowledge is responsibility

We usually hear that knowledge is power (Sir Francis Bacon). It is the idea that if you have knowledge, then you will have power; the acquisition of knowledge results in social power. The person who holds the knowledge, holds power over others. I would challenge you on that one.
I say: those with knowledge have a responsibility, a responsibility to share that knowledge to give all of us the power to do something with that knowledge.

Today I am heading off to the Activate Summit in London at the Guardian’s head office to hear leaders in their fields share their knowledge. I am one of hundreds who will be there who believe that through the use of technology and the Internet, we can make the world a better place. Sharing is what the Internet is all about, but it is becoming more and more important for us to do something with that knowledge besides just share it, we need to act on it.

The list of speakers at the conference is impressive. They are going to be there today to share what they know because they believe there knowledge only has power when it is shared. What happens with that information is going to be up to us who are attending, and then as we pass it on, what will each one of us do with it? Will we read the info in blogs, on Twitter and in Facebook posts and shake our heads with concern, or will we take action?

For any of you who want updates along the way, you may follow me on Twitter @thesocialeffect or if you join the social effect Facebook page I will be making updates there.

Here is the program for the day:

09.00 – 09.05

Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator
09.05 – 10.20
How do we employ the power and the principles of the web to tackle the world’s biggest challenges?

Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation, US State Department
Ricken Patel, co-founder and executive director, Avaaz 
Aleem Walji, practice manager for innovation, The World Bank Institute
Jeremy Heimans, co-founder and CEO, Purpose
Ory Okolloh, manager, policy and government relations, Africa, Google
Keynotes followed by interactive question and answer session facilitated by Activate chair Kate Bulkley
10.20 – 11.00
For profit, for good?: How do we create sustainable and effective models for tech-led social innovation?

Moderator: Zaw Thet, founder and chairman, Palindrome Advisors
Chris Smart, partner, Acacia Partners
Michael Birch, founder, Jolitics and chief monkey, Monkey Inferno 
Perry Chen, co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter
David Edelstein, director, The Grameen Technology Centre
11.00 – 11.30
11.30 – 12.30
Eclectic sound bites and visionary insights from some of the brightest names working with the web

Stream one – HALL TWO
Tom Thirlwall, founder, Bigballs Film
Sarah Dyer, director of new media, Beatbullying
Rakesh Rajani, founder, Twaweza
Gregory Titeca, creative director and head of research and ideas development, Happiness Brussels
Jonathan Simmons, managing director, Public Zone and Jon Alexander, project manager, National Trust’s MyFarm project
Stream two – HALL ONE
Perry Chen, co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter 
Christian Sarkar, co-founder, $300 House Project 
Salem Avan, chief information systems officer, UN Peacekeeping 
Dr Joel Selanikio, CEO and co-founder, DataDyne 
David Edelstein, director, The Grameen Technology Centre
Zaw Thet, founder and chairman, Palindrome Advisors
12.30 – 13.40
Global governance, statecraft and citizenship: The future of democracy in a networked world

Moderator: Stephen King, partner, Omidyar Network
Keynote video:
Pierre Omidyar, founder, eBay and Omidyar Network 

Panel line up: 
Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation, US State Department
Michael Birch, founder, Jolitics and chief monkey, Monkey Inferno 
Dr Vanessa Neumann, senior fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute 
Kulveer Ranger, director for Environment and Digital, London
13.30 – 14.40
14.40 – 15.40
Global development: Creating tech-led development solutions through collaborative innovation

Moderator: Jamie Drummond, executive director, One
Mariéme Jamme, president, Spot One Global Solutions
Salem Avan, chief information systems officer, UN Peacekeeping 
Christian Sarkar, co-founder, $300 House Project 
Andrew Lamb, chief executive, Engineers Without Boarders UK 
David Edelstein, director, The Grameen Technology Centre
Mobile first: How are innovations in mobile changing the world?
Moderator: Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator
Dr Joel Selanikio, CEO and co-founder, DataDyne 
Rakesh Rajani, founder, Twaweza
Herman Heunis, CEO and founder, MXit
Anna Kydd, director, SHM Foundation
15.40 – 16.00
16.00 – 16.50
Digital access: Why must we ensure everyone can use the Internet and how do we ensure equitable access?

Moderator: Caroline Dewing, group media relations, Vodafone Group
Eirini Zafeiratou, head of EU affairs group public policy, Vodafone 
Adele Waugaman, senior director, technology partnership, United Nations Foundation 
Martha Lane-Fox, digital champion, UK Government 
Jonathan Simmons, managing director, Public Zone 
Nadège Riche, policy officer, European Disability Forum
16.50 – 17.40
Can data save the world? How do we capture data and combine it with innovation to build applications and responses that provide a positive social impact?

Moderator: Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy, Guardian Media Group
Aleem Walji, practice manager for innovation, The World Bank Institute
Sobia Hamid, co-founder, DataGiving 
Daniela Torres, head of climate change office, Telefónica 
Matt Biddulph, head of data strategy, Ovi Product Development, Nokia
17.40 – 17.45

Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy, Guardian Media Group and Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator

Are you with me?

As I sit here at the airport waiting for my flight I wonder where I am really going. My boarding pass says London Heathrow, but I am not sure that will be the end of this journey.  I am heading to London to go to the Activate Summit put on by the Guardian Newspaper:
Activate is the Guardian newspaper’s platform for leaders working across all sectors who are proving that, through the use of technology and the internet, we can make the world a better place.
I am not sure that I fit into the category of leader in this sector but I am certainly a believer in the power of technology and the internet to affect change in our world, or take it smaller, in our communities, or even smaller to those we live and interact with on a day to day basis.

For those of you who know me, recently I disappeared from the social networks and the internet. Gone completely. Deleted everything. (Not that easy to do actually, but I will save that for another blog post.) I had a blog and was on every possible network that there was.  At one point I realized that either all of this social media was taking over my life, or I was letting it. I am not sure which. Instead of slowing down I just stopped it all. Pulled the plug. Done. I do tend to be a little all or nothing.

In those few months off I slowed my life down. I took a break and stopped figuring out what I wanted to do, what I was going to be when I grew up and just watched the world go by. I wasn’t very happy doing it because I was disconnecting from everything and everyone. I have since realized that we must have a connection to each other of some kind. It is our human nature. Even though I was off all of the social networks, through friends I was sent a video or a blog now and then and then one day, someone sent me this video.

I watched the video and when it was over I sat there and stared at the screen and asked myself, “Who are you to play so small? Who are you to hide out from the world? Who are you to be anything less than you are or are supposed to be?”
Have you ever felt like that? I know I am not the only one.
And so I started getting reconnected. Slowly. As I did, an idea that I have been playing with came to me more strongly and I decided that I could no longer ignore it. From this idea I have started the social effect.
What is the social effect? I don’t know for sure yet. I know what I wrote on the about  page on this blog, on the splash page and on the Facebook, Twitter page and my LinkedIn page. I would say I am connected again wouldn’t you?
And here it is again:

Born from an idea that we are all connected and we want to be connected, the social effect is a project to see how we may better share ideas from one person to another, one community to another, one country to another, and eventually make this world into a connected community that the Internet has made possible.
We want to help, through the Internet and Social Media platforms, to understand the ever-changing global community. We believe that through posting, tweeting, blogging, and sharing videos we will help connect to each other in a meaningful way in the ultimate hope of making change. We believe that by thinking outside the box we will create possibilities that this world has been waiting for.

Lofty intentions? Maybe. But I have learned too many times that it is much easier to give up and turn back, to give up on ideas and dreams and passions. Or is it?
I think it may in the end be much easier to take a chance and to go where our heart guides us.
I hope you will come along with me. That is how this whole thing will work. The only chance it has. The only chance we all have to make the change we all talk about. How do we do it? By telling two friends, who tell two friends who….That simple? I think it might be. I am going to find out, and as I do, I will learn and share what I learn with all of you. I hope to get a few of you to join the team. If you are interested, it’s easy to find me.

It only takes one person to affect the world, and that person is each one of us. Are you with me?

Here we go!

the social effect is an idea that we are all connected and more importantly, we want to be.
Through the different platforms of Social Media and the Internet we have the possibility to reach each other to affect change around us: in our communities, and in our world.

Here in this space you will learn what we learn as we explore the world, virtually and through travelling to conferences, summits, and events.

We will have our team writing here as well as guest bloggers. Everyone will share their experiences, suggest what we may do to affect change, and to give us hope that we make ultimately make a difference in our day to day lives to those around us.

We ask you to participate through following us on Twitter, Facebook, or here on our blog.
Make comments.
Ask questions.
Share what you know.
Challenge us along the way.
We will listen and we will learn.

We are excited to be starting this journey with you – the possibilities of where it will take us are endless!

the social effect team

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