Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TED Tuesday's - Jonathan Zittrain

Good ideas are worth spreading. That is why I would like to start TED Tuesday's, a weekly blog discussion of videos from TED. TED is a conference that that was started in 1984 that brought people together from three different worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. The various videos posted on the site of different lectures have been so inspiring that I thought it would be great for us to discuss and learn from them and from one another.

About this talk: Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to difffer. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_zittrain_the_web_is_a_random_act_of_kindness.html

Video Length: 19:52

My thoughts: What a remarkably optimistic look at the internet where people work in unison. I know there are points that can be shown to disprove this statement. Hell, I have encountered this directly...sort of. I have heard about groups of people who, for instance, are not fans of the show and so choose to act out, not in kindness, but through malevolence. Creating photos, writing articles, lying about who my group, and me as a person really are. Personally I don't care. Because I know one thing; they can spend as much time as they want on spreading filth. But at the end of the day, when we look back at our lives, I know I will be happy with mine.
I know that if I choose to retaliate to every little comment made about me, I would be taking away from doing what makes me happy.

I have always been a fan with Random Acts of Kindness. Its kind of where the idea for "Do Something Positive" came about. Even the movie, Pay it Forward, although had a cheesy romance to it, had a great concept. Because when we choose to work together, the world can be a better place, and the internet can be a great tool to create that world.

So, we have a week. A week to talk, discuss and share this concept with one another. What can we do? Today I will take some time to think about something that I can do that can go along with the theme of this video. Be the bee.


Hannah said...

I do Acts of Kindness a lot actually. Caring about the schools studentbody and whatnot. You'll generally see me around asking if people are ok, defending (or protecting) them, or just giving somebody a smile or a wave hello. I like to brighten peoples day. I love it. And the blood donation thing you did. I wanna do that too but I don't know if I'm too young or not at right requirements. I'll find out and let you know. -Peace, Love and Smiles,

WatchingStars said...

I watched the video, I like what he had to say. Just as the world, outside the internet, is full of hatred and violence, the internet can be as well. However, the internet network, seems to be growing in a very positive way as well. With all these social networks, helping people to connect more and be updated on how we are doing, is one of those brilliant ideas. Like when "Suzy" says that her cat died, but she really didn't feel like calling anybody because she was so sad and heartbroken, but at least now I can do something to help cheer her up. By sending an email, an e-card, or text her on her cell phone. I know it brightens my day, when a friend that lives hundreds of miles away, saw something that I posted, and responded with care and concern, and I had no idea that she would feel that way. Random Act of Kindness-goes a long way! I think we do it more than we are aware of even! My mind is spinning now of ideas..gotta think about this some more. Will get back to you!

frogie014 said...

Celebrate What is Right With the World by Dewitt Jones(a National Geographic phototgrapher)was shown at one of my hospitals annual "Excell in the Spirit of Caring"class.His views of life and his photos leaves you feeling good for a long time.

Lyn said...

It was wonderful to hear about the optomism on the Internet. Since it allows you to take on any identity you want, it can really bring out the best or worst in people. It's also nice to hear your stance on the negative comments about the show. I've seen many rude people attacking you guys for doing genuinely good things. They're not very nice. :O You seem to be the type of of person who'd enjoy givesmehope.com, a story-sharing site for optomists. :)

belle said...

interesting lecture. gave me a lot of new and different views about the internet; how people connect through trust and acts of kindness. i am a very cautious person so when my friend told me about "couch surfing" and how safe it is, i admit i was a bit worried. but he came to school the next day perfectly fine with a full night's worth of sleep. and on hitchhiking, i guess its the approach that people take on it. "carpooling", "ridesharing" garners a more trustworthy and "legit" group of people as opposed to random "hitchhiking." kinda off subject, but here's a link to a commercial you might have seen. i just love beer commercials.


on random acts of kindness, i believe that if you do good and channel positive energy it will come back to you. same goes for negative energy. i've dealt with dramas from a sister-in-law who hates me (and apparently a lot of people) for no reason. we don't know each other at all, but she likes to pin assumptions on me. i just laugh things off and choose to keep on rockin' while she wallows around in her filth. is she a sad person? yes, i believe so.

here's a commercial that i love and shows how much one single random act of kindness can affect many and how it comes back to you.


and on the work you do with prs i can understand the backlash you all must be receiving. but i believe your groups' work is positive. you're helping people in this present world and those in the other world go their separate ways respectively or coincide in peace. so about those haters? forget them. are they a sad bunch of people? i believe so.

keep your head up, serge.
belle ^_^

Miss cloveR said...

After reading your blog and watching the video, I was reminded of something that happened to me a while back and I thought I might share it. It’s pretty personal, but it's something that really struck a cord with me because it changed my whole perspective that day and made me realize how important it is to slow down... to live more consciously and more aware of yourself and others around you. To take the time to stop and listen to others... really LISTEN to someone else (instead of just waiting for your turn to speak).

(Continued below...)

Miss cloveR said...

(From an old blog post of mine...)

The strangest thing just happened to me.

I was out of food and had to go to the grocery store. I felt rather inconvenienced and irritated and I really was in no mood to walk around a grocery store. The moment I walked in the door, I was in a big hurry and just felt generally annoyed. They didn't have what I was looking for, so again, this made me irritated. I made a comment to a man in my aisle who was sitting in a motorized wheel chair "I guess they don't have the kind of ____ I'm looking for", and continued on my way. A little bit later, I came across him again and he handed me a pad of paper with something written on it. It said "Hello, my name is... (see? I'm such a sh*t head I can't even remember his name. It started with a G and it was a rather odd name.) Anyway, on the pad of paper, he asked if we had ever met before. I started to say something, but he pointed to his ear, signaling that he was deaf and then I realized why he handed me the pad of paper. So I took the pen that he handed me and wrote back to him as I stood there in one of the aisles.

I wrote "nice to meet you", and that we hadn't ever met before. I also said that I was a little stressed. He took the pad back and wrote some more. As he was writing, I observed that he had a brace on his right hand and was probably in his late 30's or 40's (kind of scruffy looking) and I wondered if anyone ever paid attention to this guy or would give him the time of day. He also had this little toy turtle on the bottom of the chair... I don't know what it was, but it was just a little thing I noticed. When he handed the paper back to me, I saw that he had circled my comment about being stressed and he asked, "WHY?".

I stood for a few moments and couldn't think of a damn good reason as to why I should be stressed.

Anything I could have said only would have appeared petty and trivial. I told him my name and said that I really didn't know why and I guess there was no reason to be stressed. I said that I needed to get going, though, because I had to feed my animals at home. He circled my name and said nice to meet you. He said "Okay" about me needing to go, and he said "God bless".

I shook his hand and I went on about my business. But I wasn't irritated anymore. I was actually affected in a big way because of this little event. I realized just how silly it was to be walking around all irritated, and it was as if a higher power was telling me to SLOW DOWN. I could have very easily not paid any attention to this man and gone on being in a big rush like a bitch to get home to my pathetic life. It made me realize that I have nothing to be stressed about, especially when there are people like him who don't really have anyone to talk to and are in a wheelchair and brace. Who the hell am I to walk around irritated in Publix?

When I got home and pulled into my driveway, I started crying. I really don't know why, but I just started bawling. It was so weird. I thought of my attitude before I went to the store and then how it changed by the time I got home. "What a bitch", I thought. And you know what? Maybe I needed someone to talk to me, too. Maybe it wasn't just him who needed someone to talk to. As I was walking around blindly, this stranger took notice of me. Maybe I just needed to take my blinders off and take notice of myself. I think God speaks to us in little ways, and this really hit me hard for some reason. It made me realize a lot of things about myself, too: the attitude I project to others, how I act, and how none of the things that were seemingly irritating me really mattered.

Most of all, I think I learned the importance of "slowing down" and taking the time to listen to others.

White Russian said...

Thank you everyone for posting your comments.

Belle, the commercials were great. I recall seeing the insurance commercial. I thought it was interesting concept to show. Of course, with the ongoing bullsh-t going on with the public option vs health insurance companies, I am not a fan of them. But that's a discussion for another week.

Clover, your story really stuck out. Live carries with it, sets of characters. One, who makes an appearance and with a blink of an eye, disappears: the mysterious stranger.

Life paths intersect one another, criss-crossing in a mixture of chaotic patterns. The mysterious stranger enters our lives to educate and enlighten.

The thing is...can you reverse the role? Can you play the stranger, and enter a life? Intervene and leave that moment better then you found it?

WatchingStars said...

Sometimes just a simple smile and a hug, can change someone's day. However I know how hard it can be when you yourself are having a really shitty day, and you don't pay much attention to those around you. We tend to think that our problems are so huge. However, I read a quote earlier this week, "If everyone threw their problems in a huge pile, and we had to work through that pile, wouldn't we want to grab ours back and be glad we don't have someone else's?" Hm the concept is so true to our way of thinking. BUT, what good does that do, if we only pay attention to our own problems? A lot of times, helping someone else, also helps us back in return. Karma always comes back around ;) I've been brainstorming, and I've come up with an idea to help spread that good Karma, only problem is, I don't have the expertise, money, and skills to set up this network :( *sighs* maybe someday.

Miss cloveR said...

I can’t really plan ahead and say what it is that I will do, because opportunities to intervene and show kindness and compassion present themselves all the time as you interact with other people. Most people seem to think compassion is equated with pity or feeling sorry for someone. But really, compassion is understanding and giving someone what they need when they need it. Sometimes it’s simply offering an ear, but sometimes it’s giving someone a swift kick in the arse (so to speak). Sometimes people need a little push to get them out of inertia or out of stuck states of thinking.

Life paths definitely do intersect. If we are to define a soul as a pattern of our life experiences, much like the bottom of a river creates a pattern from the water flowing by, then the people whom we are closest to must share a similar pattern, and therefore are part of our own soul, and we are a part of theirs.

Time is always moving forward, just as the river is always flowing. Who we are consists of the silt and pebbles that make up where we are in the river. If a wave makes a pattern on me and the people closest to me, they will all have that same pattern from the wave...

And even if the waves change, and you are no longer close together, you will always have that pattern in common, which can never be erased.

One of my dearest friends once admitted to me that if she hadn’t met me when we were in middle school, she probably wouldn’t be alive today.

Even if you think sometimes that what you say or do to another person doesn’t matter, it really might make the difference between life and death to someone. You never know what’s going on in a stranger’s life.

For some reason, people are drawn to me. Maybe they feel I can help them open up undiscovered parts of themselves...maybe they just find me approachable or they sense they can open up to me and I will listen. Wherever I go, I try to look beyond the shell of what they project themselves to be and I try to see the soul of the person who is hurting or struggling inside, trying to maintain a faƧade to function in society. Everyone has *something* deep down that pains them. I guess I just like to help people face their fears and emotions head-on, bringing them to a new level of understanding about themselves.

Sabrina said...

It is so funny that you posted this, this week. On mon, I was at the grocery store and they had Roses on for $1 each. I bought a huge bunch of them. All week I have been giving them out to women I know. Just because. I honestly can't wipe the smile off my face. I've had so many of them tell me, it's just what they needed. Recently I was on the receiving end of kindness. This was one way I felt I could give back.

Megan said...

I've been looking over your sight, and guh people are so just terribly mean! I like the Acts of Kindness bit. Your an awesome photographer and I love your work on the show. I've always held a found believe in Thumper's saying 'If you can't say nothing good, don't say nothing at all'. I only comment when I feel the credit is really do and only leave negative comments when someone really needs to know[as far as being a book critic and all]. But as far as being mean just to be mean, it's useless. What does anyone gain from it?

With love and admiration,

White Russian said...

Once again, thank you everyone for the comments. I am sure we will return to the RAoK theme. For now, live each day as it is. Do what you can when the time comes.

Just be careful, some people aren't ready for RAoK. There is a line between the helpful stranger and that creepy person.

Now, it is time for me to get ready for our next investigation. Chat with you guys tomorrow.


HeckYeahGirl said...

This is such an awesome website! I think the topics covered on this site are amazing and will open my mind up even more :) I agree with Jonathan that the internet is made up of many Random Acts of Kindness. The internet has been a major positive influence in my life. Without it, I do not think I would be where I am today in terms of my health. I suffer from Celiac Disease and other food intolerances and have learned and benefited so much from other peoples' information on the web whether it be bloggers, message boards, or specific companies. I am very grateful and am now trying to pay it forward by sharing what has helped me in any way I can. Thanks for sharing such an awesome website, Sergey!!!

Heather Max said...

Sorry for the lateness, I just had to comment because you made me remember the last time I did a RAoK. I try to do them when I can, but I'll admit that life has thrown me for a loop and made me a little distracted.

When I worked at a grocery store, I was cashiering one day and this woman on one of those motorized carts comes through the line with a load of groceries and 5 children trailing behind her. As the total came up, she realized she couldn't pay for all of it, so she kept asking me to take things out.

10 minutes later, she's in tears and still trying to decide what else to sacrifice. It was then that I started to tear up because I was in that same situation not too long before that.

So while she was going through the food, I swiped my card and paid for the remaining $25. She just looked at me and cried more, I think (I hope) out of joy. As soon as she left, I asked my supervisor to take over for a minute, walked into an empty office and balled my eyes out.

It wasn't out of a need to hurry and it wasn't out of pity. I just knew how she felt.

Now, I'm not saying this to burst my own bubble; it's not a "Hey, look how awesome I am" ploy. Just want to share how much RAoK can affect both sides of these acts.

Not only will you get to be a part of an experience that directly and deeply connects you to another person, but you have forever changed their circumstances for the better, no matter how large or small the change may be. It's an amazing feeling.

Wow, that was long. I'm sorry.