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Did you take the dare?

GenerosityLast year on this date I posted I Dare You  – click here to view the post, and I asked you and myself: What do you want to do?

The big picture answer.

I asked: If you were given the opportunity to do something that you have always wanted to do what would it be? 


The only requirement was that it could not be about you, that you had to look beyond yourself and your own goals to a bigger vision.

If you look back over the year of 2012, did you do it?

I have always thought that unless I was out there saving the world in some way that my life had no meaning. So I tried that and I took a few years off and I did a lot of volunteer work. Did I save the world? No, as you can see it is still as messed up as before. Perhaps as my days were concentrated on working for a cause I felt better about myself but is that not just my perception? Is there not a way to take that same idea of giving and bring it in to our everyday lives no matter what we do?

At first glance it may not seem that easy to do, but if I look back over this past year I can see how I started to look at things differently. I run my own business and I am not out there saving the world in any way. We sell skin care products and perfume. But we have a choice in how we do that and I have a choice in how I work with my team, as well as our vendors and anyone I come in to contact with each day.

What is Generosity?

Generosity is about not only giving but also about generating. It is a creative act rather than a handout, an attitude or ethos rather than an exchange between someone who has too much and someone who has too little. 
From Being Generous Lucinda Vardey & John Dalla Costa

I love this quote because it reminds me that each day I have an opportunity to be generous. That I can look beyond my needs and wants to those I live with, work with and interact with and decide what my attitude will be and how I will give to them in whatever I do. I find that very hard. I don’t seem to be programmed to give naturally, I have to work at it. It may not always seem that way to those that know me, but it is constant work. I have to think about what the goals and passions are for those I work with to see if I can help them reach those goals. It means not taking for granted my friends and family and pushing myself to see them as people. For it is often those closest to us we seem to forget are people too.

What will I choose?

It is automatic and easy for me to make each day about financial goals and profit, but I have a choice if I want to do that. I can look beyond the obvious to what I may do to give back to my team, our customers and the vendors that we work with and in turn to the community that surrounds us.

As another year comes to an end, I look back with gratitude for all that I have learned and the people that are in my life. Each one of them has taught me something. Some of them made me angry and resentful. Those people are the ones that often taught me the most, if I was willing to let them. The ones that gave me love and friendship helped buffer me from the others, allowed me to turn to them for help, and allowed me in the end to give and be generous.

I see now that my dare was not something to be done once a year as we turn from one year to the next. It is a dare to be taken each day upon rising. The possibilities seem endless if we were all to take that dare to do what we have always wanted to do each day, one day at a time.

What do you think?

I dare you.

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Have we remembered enough?

Depending on where you are at in the world, November 11th, 2011 could be already done and if it’s not, it must be getting close. There has been a lot of talk this year because of the whole 11-11-11 thing. Has it really made a difference to what this day is all about?
Today is a day that we remember those we have lost to war. I almost didn’t write a post today even though I have written one ever since I started blogging. Before that I used to send a mass email on this day. You see my father, who is 91, fought in the Second World War. Was that the war to end all wars? If it was, it didn’t. My father flew a Spitfire. I am proud of that as much because of what he was fighting for as because I cannot imagine doing what he did. I don’t really know what he did, he never spoke about it. Why would he?
I thankfully have never lived what he and so many others lived and still live today in wars that are going on throughout our world. I am far too naive in how I look at the world. I expect everyone to see things like I do. If we look around at all that is going on how could we think that more fighting, more killing, and more war could be the answer?
Everywhere in the social media channels today we are seeing poppies in profile photos, reading stories of war veterans, sharing of children’s takes on all of this and I want to say it is enough, but I will challenge you on if it is and ask that we all continue to talk and share about the possibility of peace and by doing that, just maybe, we will find our way to a true peace one day.
I want to think that maybe if we all would do that, then things would change. I have to hold on to that maybe, for in that maybe there is hope. And hope is why my father flew a Spitfire so many years ago and it is why we wear poppies today and why we must continue to remember.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What would you do?
Really?
Would you change your job?
Go back to school?
Go on a trip?
Do something that you have always wanted to do?
What?
Say it.
Better yet do it.
We all spend a lot of time here on the computer.
Surfing.
Reading.
Looking.
Watching.
For what?
Since I started The Social Effect I have done a lot of things I never thought I would do.
Things I thought I was too afraid to do is the real answer.
I have learned that there really is nothing to be afraid of.
Nothing.
It has also taught me that if I let go of my fears then I help others.
Givers gain. Always.
That’s all we have to do.
Is give.
Of ourselves.
Why be afraid of that?

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
OPENING REMARKS AND WELCOME FROM THE GUARDIAN

Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator
09.05 – 10.20
OPENING KEYNOTE PANEL DISCUSSION 
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
INTERACTIVE ENTERPRISE PANEL DEBATE 
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
MORNING BREAK
11.30 – 12.30
BREAK OUT SESSION – ACTIVATE LIGHTNING PRESENTATIONS 
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
KEYNOTE VIDEO INTERVIEW AND PANEL DEBATE
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
LUNCH
14.40 – 15.40
BREAK OUT SESSIONS
STREAM ONE: INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION – HALL ONE 
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
STREAM TWO: INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION – HALL TWO 
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
AFTERNOON BREAK
16.00 – 16.50
INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION 
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
(H)ACTIVATE AWARD, WINNING DEVELOPER PRESENTATION AND PANEL DISCUSSION 
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
CLOSING REMARKS

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

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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