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I touched on this a little bit back in May, 2005. Back then, I had recently taken a job as BlogMaster for John DeStefano’s Gubernatorial bid in Connecticut. So, part of my answer was then, I get paid for it. I do not currently have any paid blogging gigs, but I don’t rule out other paid gigs in the future.
Related to that, there is political expression. I have political viewpoints that I want to communicate. This ties into the old discussion about whether bloggers are journalists, advocates, Group psychotherapists, diarists, or something else.
For me, I take on all these roles from one point to another, except maybe that of group psychotherapists. Depending on the role being taken on, different codes of ethics apply, but I’ve been thinking more and more about a proactive code of ethics based on ideas from psychological first aid.
I guess this gets to an underlying theme, the desire to help people around me, to bring healing and comfort, whether it be through better journalism, advocacy, or just taking about stuff, sort of like bringing donuts to a person that grieves.
As I dig through my emails, I’m finding interesting parts of conversations that don’t really warrant a full blog entry, but I don’t want to lose.
One friend pointed me to an article in Salon about how Korean-American people are processing their reactions to the Virginia Tech shootings: Killer reflection
Over on PartyBuilder, I was invited to an evening of phonebanking for the May Municipal elections. Sheila has written more about this over on My Left Nutmeg. Hopefully we will get a bunch of Democrats out in municipal elections around the state.
Laura wrote an great comment on my blog entry about the participatory nature of online experiences. I followed up with a comment to her, via MyBlogLog thanking her for her visit and comment, and asking her what she, as a composer, thinks of Mashups. She wrote a great blog post about Mashing it up
Ned Lamont was a volunteer teacher at Harding High School in Bridgeport, teaching a class on entrepreneurship. So, when he ran for U.S. Senate, many people with many different thoughts about education got involved and offered ideas.
One these people was Steve Wilmarth. Steve is very focused on the role that new media should play in education. He was very interested in the role it should play in Ned’s campaign as well, so we ended up spending a lot of time talking.
Steve runs The Center for 21st Century Skills. There mission statement states:
The mission of the Center for 21st Century Skills is dedicated to:
Creating innovative learning resources and programs that address education and industry needs for 21st century global competitiveness; business, economic, and technological literacy...
New media is an important component, including online digital video. When I helped organize a session on citizen filmmaking at the Media Giraffe conference last year, Steve came with a bunch of his students. Another educator that showed up was Julie Dobrow from the Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts. We watched some of the amazing videos that her students had created.
This summer, the Center for 21st Century Skills and the Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts are collaborating to create The Tufts Summer Media Literacy Institute. It looks like a great program, and I highly recommend it.
In our first show, young adults from differing parts of the state and with differing backgrounds, share their experiences on the road to becoming model employees and students. It is our belief that we can learn much from these young people, each taking their own path to achieving the American dream, making it a reality.
It provides a great glimpse into the work that the Center for 21st Century Skills has been doing, and hopefully, motivation to people to get more involved education that meets the needs of a new generation, and perhaps even encouragement to attend the Tufts Summer Media Literacy Institute.
The other day, I received an email with the comment:
I would like to see more people spend LESS time on computers and mix more f2f and develop better human interaction skills and become more conscious and concerned about his/her fellow man.
Often, these sort of comments rub me the wrong way. They often promote an image of bloggers and others that spend a lot of time online as a pasty white thirty year old overweight male living in his parents basement and eating nothing but Doritos, or an angst ridden teenage girl who hates everything. Such a stereotypes are inaccurate and don’t really help the discussion of the role of technology in our lives.
Yet I don’t think this is what my friend had in mind and stepping away from a knee jerk reaction to her comment, I think it actually points to an important strength of online media that we need to encourage more of.
Traditional media does not encourage participation. Yes, newspapers allow letters to the editors, but often have very strict limits on how long the letter can be and the number of letters from an individual that they will print over a period of time. Other forms of media are even more restrictive.
Yet with blogs, anyone can easily set one up. The better blogs allow for people to add their own comments. As media changes, we will hopefully see even more participation.
This morning, I received an email inviting me to attend an evening of phonebanking for the municipal elections in Woodbridge which happen on May 7th.
I went and checked on the Connecticut Elections Wiki and found that there are around 15 municipalities in Connecticut that have their elections on May 7th. There isn’t a lot of information about what is going on with these elections, so it might be great if we could get people from any of these towns to let us know who the candidates are, what the issues are, and why we should go to one town or another to help get out the vote.
Then, based on this, it would be great if we could get a bunch of people out to help with local elections.
(Cross posted at MyLeftNutmeg)