The story of Facebook vs The Internet

THIS IS A REBLOG.

Reading this post’s first paragraph flipped the switch of how I understood my mom’s perception of the internet. Just think: What are the implications of internet newcomers thinking that the Web = Facebook?

Even Better News

According to Leo Mirani of Quartz, millions of people on Facebook have no idea they’re using the internet:

This is more than a matter of semantics. The expectations and behaviors of the next billion people to come online will have profound effects on how the internet evolves. If the majority of the world’s online population spends time on Facebook, then policymakers, businesses, startups, developers, nonprofits, publishers, and anyone else interested in communicating with them will also, if they are to be effective, go to Facebook. That means they, too, must then play by the rules of one company. And that has implications for us all.

Read more…

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Process is never the goal

Process is a means to an end, the Yellow Brick Road on the journey to Oz.

Photo by Melissa Bent

I’ve been mistaken for a process person before — more times than I care to count.

And it’s true – I’m good at process. I can be pretty religious about it, actually. My mantra is simple: If your work requires recurring activity, for goodness’ sake, save yourself some gray hairs and make a process for it. It clears the way for creativity and innovation by providing margin to discover without the pressure of producing.

I’ve had to become good at process because for so much of my career, I’ve been faced with widget-making at scale. Translation: Lots of repetition. And, if there’s one thing I hate to waste time on, it’s repetition. There’s a reason for the saying, Work smarter, not harder.

So I put in the time upfront to smooth out a process and get that repetitive stuff out of the way – all to free me (and others) up to do the more strategic stuff – the fun stuff.

The way I look at it, process is the foundation for building something strong and enduring. It’s a means to an end, the Yellow Brick Road on the journey to Oz.

The road, however, shouldn’t be confused with the journey. The road is what we must travel to get from point A to point B. The journey – for all its struggle, getting lost and finding our way again – lies in how we face what we encounter along the way and, ultimately, the end result.

Hunting for story

I’m on a mission.

I have a very special friend, Kris, who is lovely and complicated and talented – all in the best possible ways. We met at work over 10 years ago and still share similar – not identical by any means – but similar interests and passions.

One is a love of things creative. I’m definitely more of an observer and Kris is more of a Maker – in the truest sense. Some people sew (I try), knit or crochet.

Well, she does all of the above (and way more), often using her own exotic fibers and textiles and tools she procures from all over the world. It’s not the exotic that makes her talented. It’s what she does with her God-given abilities, powered by the tools, that is so spectacular. And she is so open to sharing and teaching. (Check out this great project she’s involved with that is empowering women in Uganda to generate their own income and support their families.)

unyunga-journals

Just a few of my friend Kris’s handmade journal gifts. I usually have at least one journal with me, wherever I go. If the occasion is special enough, I use one of hers.

A few of my favorite things

While I don’t know what the heck she is talking about half the time, I simply LOVE hearing her dream about and brainstorm her projects. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she shares – pretty liberally, I might add – her incredible handiwork. Kris has gifted me with some of my favorite writing instruments, beautiful handmade scarves and so many gorgeous journals, I can hardly count them.

Lord knows, as a paper-and-pulp lover, I hate to violate these pieces of artwork, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Like many I know, I love to write by hand, but it is getting harder and harder to write as fast as I’m thinking these days. Such is the plight of a straddling generation – one foot in the analog, the other, digital.

Had paper, did travel

Anyway, Kris, who did much of her growing up in West Africa, challenged me sometime ago to blog about my own international experience and travels.

Thing is, many of those memories are locked up in my travel journals…somewhere. I’m getting warmer in my search, but so far, those little pocket-sized Moleskines are eluding me.

To be honest, I’m kind of nervous about finding and unbundling them and rediscovering what I first learned on my first trip to Haiti in 2003 and one of my last trips to Dominican Republic. So I pray again for courage as that wall of memory comes down.

I guess que será será.

Imagine the other side

other-side-2

Sometimes I look back through my social media posts to see what they tell me about where my heart and mind have been the last few months.

It looks like lately, I’ve mentioned – a lot – the longer days, starting with Dec. 22, the day after winter solstice. I used not to care a lot about winter (or summer) solstice – the shortest and longest days of the year, respectively.

These days, I care a whole lot about them. I guess it’s because they have everything to do with getting to the other side: the other side of winter, short days, cold. Or, the other side of tennis season – a break for my body and muscles, a time to slow down with the seasons.

I won’t lie – I love winter solstice most. Because on the other side of that is spring, summer, my garden, new life, fresh perspective for a new year.

Missing the other side

There was a time, for about five years, when I spent a lot of time on airplanes, trying to get to the other side of the world and back again.

Most of those trips lasted 10-15 days each. A few were longer. One thing I learned then was this mind-blowing fact about myself: I’m a home body. I love to be home.

Good thing my name comes from Latin “nido,” meaning “nest.” Because I took my nest with me wherever I went, settling into my aisle seats with music, pillow, book, travel wallet, journal and favorite writing pens.

I would set up for the long haul – literally – and miss home every minute I was away. Never mind the wonderful relationships on the outbound side. Nothing ever can replace those. I just like to be home, that’s all.

Envision the other side

So I had to devise a strategy for keeping myself “up” for the duration of each trip, whether I was there for training, story-gathering, meetings or whatever. I prayed for health and strength and presence for what I went there to do.

What I came up with was this very simple formula: Imagine myself on the other side of my trip. Imagine what I’d do when I first got home, besides eat a cheeseburger. That didn’t count. Enjoy friendships, spend time with my hubby, get groceries, talk to my mom every day. Simple things.

So on every trip, each day I would tell myself: In 9 days, I’ll be home in my own bed, or In 3 days, I head back on the midnight flight.

Knowing I was working in my strengths – bringing clarity to issues around children in poverty and equipping others for the same – gave me assurance I was in the right place at the right time. That helped a lot.

But when I missed home, I just imagined myself back with my family, and that peace carried me from that moment all the way through the rest of the trip.

That was how I got to the other side: by imagining it.

The forest or the trees?

Forest or the trees?

Good days are like that.

They can start out feeling like you can’t see the forest for the trees, and then – all of a sudden, the path is straight. Before long, you’re in a clearing and, while the destination is a long way off, with new clarity, you know exactly where you’re going.

Just keep your head down and keep paddling. You’ll get there.

Writing about what hurts

Writing about what hurtsI recently reloaded content from a very old, long-running blog and just finished scanning it to see the type of stuff I wrote about. This is what I learned:

  1. I wrote some pretty good headlines back then.
  2. My topics were all over the place, like a journal.
  3. I never, ever wrote about my work.

That last one kind of stings.

Considering that time in my life changed my life completely, I sure managed to suppress how much poverty had taught me – how much I’d learned, how much I had let go of.

Still, in the words of Heather B. Armstrong, one of the first professional bloggers to monetize her blog before monetizing was cool:

“BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET.”

So I journaled (privately) a lot about work. I’m sure many people do. Maybe it’s what keeps us from breaking the law.

Anyway, I also had long hauls of multi-hour flights, with plenty of time to write about everything from:

  • eating in-flight, off-hours meals with my arms practically crossed (thank you, United);
  • miraculously getting from Jakarta to Singapore with absolutely no itinerary (I later learned); and
  • my “lost,” luggage somehow following me from Entebbe, Uganda, to London Heathrow with absolutely no tags on it.

That was the light stuff.

In fact, what I’d never blogged about is what weighed (then and now) heavily on my heart. It’s also the third – and so far, missing – leg on this blog’s intended three-legged stool: culture, communications and cause.

I’m not sure exactly how the topic of cause – of poverty – will unfold, but it’s feeling more and more like it’s time to let it happen. I’m praying for the courage to go there next.