Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I wrote before about being part of the Orkut group End POVERTY / Fim POBREZA and about accepting the small pages status of my blogs. Part of the reason is that there are greater opportunities for sojourns into serendipity. A friend Ju from Orkut by way of Brazil recently led me on such a sojourn and into some small insights into his culture.

Um dia a maioria de nós irá se separar. Sentiremos saudades de todas as conversas jogadas fora, as descobertas que fizemos, dos sonhos que tivemos, dos tantos risos e momentos que compartilhamos...

Saudades até dos momentos de lágrima, da angústia, das vésperas de finais de semana, de finais de ano, enfim... do companheirismo vivido... Sempre pensei que as amizades continuassem para sempre...

Hoje não tenho mais tanta certeza disso. Em breve cada um vai pra seu lado, seja pelo destino, ou por algum desentendimento, segue a sua vida, talvez continuemos a nos encontrar, quem sabe... nos e-mails trocados...

Podemos nos telefonar... conversar algumas bobagens. Aí os dias vão passar... meses... anos... até este contato tornar-se cada vez mais raro. Vamos nos perder no tempo...

Um dia nossos filhos verão aquelas fotografias e perguntarão: Quem são aquelas pessoas? Diremos que eram nossos amigos. E... isso vai doer tanto!!! Foram meus amigos, foi com eles que vivi os melhores anos de minha vida!

A saudade vai apertar bem dentro do peito. Vai dar uma vontade de ligar, ouvir aquelas vozes novamente... Quando o nosso grupo estiver incompleto... nos reuniremos para um último adeus de um amigo. E entre lágrima nos abraçaremos...

Faremos promessas de nos encontrar mais vezes daquele dia em diante. Por fim, cada um vai para o seu lado para continuar a viver a sua vidinha isolada do passado... E nos perderemos no tempo...

Por isso, fica aqui um pedido deste humilde amigo: não deixes que a vida passe em branco, e que pequenas adversidades sejam a causa de grandes tempestades...

Eu poderia suportar, embora não sem dor, que tivessem morrido todos os meus amores... mas enlouqueceria se morressem todos os meus amigos!!!

I used Google Translator to go from Portuguese to English and have now made it a permanent widget on this blog, translating the words is only part of it though.

I started by learning more about who was credited with having written the quote (English translation) he sent me. I learned for the first time about Vinicius de Moraes, but I also learned about Fernando Pessoa and found a number of good sites about him, Poetry International Web - Fernando Pessoa and Pessoa's Trunk. Seems that, at least on the web, both men are credited with penning the words.

I am not worried about who actually said it, but it demonstrated to me that those words are a deep part of the Brazilian/Portuguese culture, demonstrating the importance of Friends.

I continued my serendipitous search and found other connections to my Canadian birth and Irish ancestry through some very interesting sites from Germany Biographeme | vita nuova,, onClicknyc · New Media Design and Corporate Design... and most interesting of all Eccentric, which brought me to the Canadian pianist Glen Gould and Irish singer ROISIN MURPHY Fansite. Overpowered, Ruby Blue :: AbsentMinded.

Ju teaches a very important lesson why people take up causes such as the Millennium Development Goals. It is not always to make massive political paradigm shifts but finding personal ways to connect through countless small interactions for a better world. It is through the means of first defining ourselves as the path to redefining the world.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Inform, Engage, and Empower During Your Freetime

One new set of connections created through my Milestones for a New Millennium blog was through becoming one of the moderators for the Orkut group End POVERTY / Fim POBREZA.

I find that Orkut offers more of a conversation regarding relevant topics than does Facebook. It is an international conversation spanning the globe. Lately the direction of the discussions has been on the best means of directing the discussions. The basic format for the discussions is the web itself and more particularly Orkut, but we are open to numerous avenues of communication. The question is which avenues are best for both open dialogue and advancing the cause of the Millennium Development Goals?

A recently learned term is Slacktivists, basically well-meaning but all too often ineffectual (at least until a tipping point is reached) social activists hanging on and together through social media. At the other end of the continuum are professionals (as in "gets paid for it.") in the social media/Web 2.0 arena. Most of us hope to be somewhere in the middle trying to help when and where we can on a part-time and unpaid basis.

Slacktivists may be those who take no more effort than clicking a button to join a petition, but they are still a step above those that don't know and/or don't care. I try to put a good deal of information on my blog to make it easier for others to connect in the hope they will pursue their own pathways. The basic web connection is information through shared self-education. Then comes engagement which does sometimes mean signing online petitions. There is also the potential, as the Obama campaign has demonstrated, for empowerment.

It is not just the IT-intelligentsia's road, it is a journey for all of us. Ethan Zuckerman discusses Technologies and Emerging Democracies: Building a Better Gatekeeper in an MIT video. I agree with both Zuckerman and others in my Orkut conversations that Hi5, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Zuckermans's favorite Reddit among dozens of others offer their own unique impressions regarding their areas of interest, but it also means that the Web is balkanized. Are we "Gatekeepers" or are we attempting to break through the gates?

Is there a way to better leverage the collective wisdom of these international connections being created through these groups? Just trying to keep up with all the information and maintain my two blogs is an effort. Then there is that pesky real world day job. I try to rise above being a slacktivist or at least attempt at being a fairly prolific slactivist. Without the educational background and professional expertise in the Web 2.0 world, how does one best use these online resources to endeavor to connect and make a difference in the world?

I have a good deal of respect for experts in this field, but their professionalism is often related to the medium not the message. The question is how best to connect? One earlier post exploring this idea which I revisited and reedited was Being Human, Working, Writing Stories, Being Human.