Wordless Wednesday

Miranda at bat, originally uploaded by Aldon.

Interaction and interactivity

On a mailing list about media education, I got into a discussion about my post, Videoblogging as an antidote to too much TV. I spoke about the interaction that our time in front of computers engenders.

Some people spoke about the interaction that television engenders, whether it be kids yelling out answers to Blue’s Clues, or adults cursing pundits on the Sunday morning political talk shows. One person drew an interesting discussion between interaction and interactivity. He included the examples above as examples of interaction, and also mentioned the intellectual engagement. Yet he reserved the word interactive for iterative exchanges.

This morning, I read through the emails that piled up since last night. So far today, I’ve gone through 87 emails. Two of them I responded to, and three of them resulted in me visiting a website and taking action. Some of the other emails caused me to stop and think and may feed into some sort of action in the future, but weren’t all that interactive.

I think this ties nicely into my blog post yesterday about Keeping Personal Democracy Personal. It seems as if so much of the online political actions is focused on either fundraising, where the only interaction is writing a check, list building, where the only interaction is signing up on a website, or at best, getting people to contact there elected officials to express the view supported by the email blaster. There is almost no interactivity.

To a certain extent, this makes sense. It is a lot of work to develop and maintain a truly interactive online presence. There are many emails to be responded to. Many comments on webpages to process. Yet without this, we are missing the power that online communications can bring. Instead we end up with responses like I received to my blog post:

I am sick and tired of being treated as an internet cash cow. So annoyed that I have absolutely given up giving or responding. Their total lack of interest in anything but money or their own egos leaves me stone cold.

What can we do to promote interactivity?

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(Cross posted at Greater Democracy)

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Mother’s day, interrupted

Kim tells me that she had an enjoyable Mother’s day. For me, it was mostly a good day. I took Fiona to Church and let Kim sleep in. Afterwards, Fiona and I helped prepare the food for the day. Pictures can be found here.

For appetizers, Fiona and I prepared some shrimp. I love shrimp, I have all my life. I ate my share of them. Then, I got up to put the potatoes in the oven. I noticed my hands were itchy. I took out the trash and my hands continued to get worse. Looking at them, they looked like they had gotten covered with bug bites. I mentioned it to Kim. She looked at my hands and said that it looks like I’ve developed an allergy to shrimp. I took a Benadryl, and the redness, swelling and itching went away fairly soon afterwards.

Other times that I’ve eaten seafood, I’ve found my hands getting itchy, and wondered if I was developing an allergy to seafood. Yesterday leads Kim and I to believe that I’ve developed an allergy to shrimp. It really sucks. I ended up going to bed early, but not sleeping well. My stomach is still a bit uneasy.

Yet, other than the reaction to the shrimp, I think everyone had a great Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Thoughts

It is eight o’clock on a beautiful sunny Mother’s Day morning. Kim is sleeping. She’s been fighting this little bug that has been going around, and the Lyme disease seems to be causing her more problems again. I guess that is one of the things that kids often bring home to their mothers, the latest bug going around. I’ve also learned that letting her sleep in can be one of the most appreciated gifts she receives.

Fiona is working on a card for Kim and I’m helping Fiona spell the words she wants to write. Happy Mother’s day, Kim.

My own mother is unlikely to read this. She is staying with my sister. Her hands shake a bit too to be able to really use the computer well herself. She had used computers quite a bit in her work, but never really as a communications tool. My eldest brother has just started using computers to communicate and has started putting pictures up on Flickr. He has mentioned various pictures he’s seen of us to my mother.

There are other mothers that may read this post. I surf the blogs and often read various mommy blogs. There are the Stay At Home Mommies (SAHM) and the Work At Home Mommies (WAHM). They right wonderful stories about caring for their children and their dear husbands. These are the real reality shows. This is the new Americana.

Beyond that, are the particularly moving blogs, the military wives, taking care of their children while their husbands serve overseas. There are the cancer blogs with mothers fighting breast cancer while at the same time fighting to be a positive influence on their children.

Then, there are all the blogs that aren’t being written. Yesterday, Miranda went back to a local nursing home where she is volunteering. She took Mairead with her and they spent the afternoon playing piano, playing trivia and talking with the residents. When I stopped by to pick them up, I brought Fiona and she spent a bit of time talking with some of the folks there. One woman spoke about how her grandchildren were all grown up and how much she enjoyed seeing Fiona. Others told stories about growing up in Stamford or in Ireland.

When I stopped to fill out the volunteer form for Mairead, the director of volunteers pointed out recent improvements around the nursing home. One improvement was a new computer for the residents to use. Could someone help some of these folks blog, or find blogs written by their children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren?

So, this Mother’s day, stop by and thank a mother, on a blog, at a nursing home, or wherever else your travels take you, and think for a moment about how you can help other mothers share their stories.

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Hedge Funds, Lending, and Basic Finance

I’ve spent most of my professional life working on Wall Street, and a fair amount of that time working with hedge funds. Over the past few years, I’ve moved over to spend more of my time working with politics and non-profits. Now, the mainstream media is starting to look at hedge funds and lending and how this relates to the political process.

John Edwards worked for a hedge fund. Barack Obama is having a major fundraising event in Greenwich CT at the house of one of the top names in hedge funds. Chris Dodd received over $380,000 in donations from a single hedge that has become a big player in funding campaigns.

A lot of people are attacking these candidates, yet these attacks seem to reflect a basic lack of understanding about hedge funds, lending or finance. More details below the fold.

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