How many dreams have you let slip through your fingers because you were waiting for the perfect moment? Or are still waiting to be ‘ready’ to start something you want? In my home I have many sketchpads full of ideas, brands, business ideas and things I wanted to do all sketched out. Once in particular I remember once having an entire corporation drawn out from top to bottom with about seven or eight different product lines and revenue streams. All I needed to do was start with one of them in some shape or form. But I didn’t.
Social media has the power to do many things. It helps in informing people about natural disasters, helps companies communicate directly with consumers, Helps people discuss, learn, educate and hear the latest news about topics they are passionate about. Social Media also helps people of all ages come together in ways we probably have never seen in the history of our race. It’s an exciting step, but with it comes a caution.
With everything in our world that is good there has to be the balance of bad that we need to understand before making judgments about whether something should be stopped or celebrated. It happened with comic books in the early part of their history, claiming to be creating a culture of negativity and violence. This is something we have also seen with movies, games and anything new, because new things make people nervous. Not everyone is able to embrace change so easily.
But we need to look at what we have and what social media has given people in all corners of our world. For some it is the only place to be themselves or even interact with people without judgment, prejudice or dependant on the physical attributes of who you are. In a world where the media has distorted our own image of what beauty really is, social media puts substance over appearance at the head of the class. In a world full of eating disorders, plastic surgery and self hate about how we look, Social Media is helping give people confidence in the person inside rather than an exterior image that is currently portrayed on the covers of magazines.
Social media has been taking a real battering all over the world during the past year. From Iran, Egypt, Bahrain and even places like London questioning whether social media should be allowed to maintains it’s place in our lives has shocked many people to their core. When Iran closed Twitter and facebook their was uproar around the world that it showed the oppressive state in action. Equally when Hosni Mubarak did the same in Egypt, every corner of the globe condemned the dictatorship and rallied with the protestors. So was London any different?
Well London was fueled by people who just wanted to cause trouble and steal. This had nothing to do with a person being shot, it had nothing to do with anything other than mindless fools trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. But surely the answer is not to turn off the power, especially in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech and respect for all. Surely Social Media, although a place where people can arrange things, is also a place where authorities can monitor the trouble makers and make arrests where necessary? So rather than being a problem for the police it actually, if they use it right, will be an added area of security.
To shut down social media anywhere will take away from people who have truly found a voice in a world where they have felt alienated, lonely and separated from a chance to connect with people on a daily basis. It is no exaggeration to say that for some people the social media ecosystem is the only place that they really feel happy, comfortable and part of a community. And surely, isn’t that something we should all fight for?
In life we often talk about good listeners. People who are always attentive and are the ear for you to bend when things are not going well. But listening is only half of the story as it takes a certain type of person to go from listening, to hearing. We all listen to what is happening around us yet very few people really, truly hear what is being said to us. I know that I have to make a concerted effort to stop myself thinking about what I am going to say or trying to solve the problem I heard in the first few words in order to hear, digest and truly understand what is being said.
This is one of the problems that companies are facing today when it comes to social media. Some are just opening a Facebook page and putting up their corporate mission, thinking that this is all they need to do when it comes to social media. Social media is about listening rather than communicating your messages. Listening and really hearing the conversations that are taking place in the world where your company, brand or product is being discussed. Ignore this, and face a backlash from a new generation of consumers who want to be heard.
There are few things that we can do in this world that are greater than to hear another’s tale or side of a story. We have to remember that not everyone wants you to solve their problems, not everyone is looking for an answer and most importantly people in the world are just looking for someone that will hear their voice in a world where individuals are often boxed away in some category or demographic. So today I will make the effort to try and hear the people I listen to, because we all deserve to be heard.
How fast is the world going to spin before we take stock of the important things in life? I am a huge passionate fan of technology, a real geek when it comes to new products and gadgets. From the very first day on social media I realized that it was something interesting, something different and something powerful.
Obviously current history is proof of one side of this power. From the Middle East revolutions to the outpouring of sympathy and support for both New Zealand and Japan has delivered a timely reminder of the good things we are capable of in this world.
No matter how fast our lives move in this day and age nothing is more awe inspiring, more endearing and powerful than seeing people reach out across the world and show they care. In a world that can sometimes appear cold and greedy, social media is becoming a platform that can, if you filter through it, really does bring wonderful people rising to the surface.
I find it incredible that of the nearly six thousand people I follow on Twitter there are around two hundred people that are just incredible people. So giving, so warm and they are so generous that it makes all the selling, shouting and ego’s that can appear simply fade away.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the other people are wonderful as well, but there are some serious stars that just sparkle in our world and I feel proud to have met them.
We have all witnessed the terrible destruction that has wreaked havoc on the beautiful island of Japan, first with a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and then the awful and powerful Tsunami that followed. The sheer power of mother nature tearing the island apart before an unstoppable wave washed across the country. All of our prayers today are for the people who are in Japan, or have loved ones in this area. But after the horrifying wave of the Tsunami struck, another wave began almost Instantaneously, online.
The social media channels leaped into action. From Facebook to Twitter, and so many more, people began sending messages, pictures and even videos from Japan asking for help and support. This is not CNN or BBC, but the people of the world broadcasting the real horrors of a tragedy, that is still unfolding as we speak.
Donation requests, calls for information about certain people, reports on surrounding areas as well as the information about Japan has been incredible. I have chosen this image today (Which came via Tumblr) to use in dedication of the people of the world in how they are an inspiration for the love they are showing right now for the people of Japan.
It’s why I love social media, not for the politics, not the business side but because it shows that when the world is rocked to it’s core, the people of the world can in one voice stand together and create a wave of love that will support Japan in it’s time of need. Today I am proud to be human and for those lost today, may god have mercy on their souls.
“It is not your past that defines you, only what you do next.”
I remember hearing Tony Robbins mention this at a TED seminar and just thought, ‘of course!’ We often talk and use excuses the happenings of our history both as individuals and as the human race. What happens just never seems to be our fault; it’s because of this or that. Well after hearing this I made a concerted effort to just be positive and look forward to the things I am going to do, rather than the things that had happened in the past. I feel a completely different person for it.
Saying that I have o fly to Bahrain today, which is something I am not particularly looking forward to due to the trouble recently happening there. But I am trying to be positive and focus on the aspect I am only due to be there for five hours! I hope the trouble in Bahrain does reside as it is a wonderful little country in the Middle East and the people are very friendly. Lets see, keep positive:)
The internet has been most of the most technological pivotal moments in our history. From the very first moment that Tim Berners-Lee laid down his ‘information management’ white paper, which most consider this to be the birth of the world wide web, we have been salivating every day at the constantly growing wealth of information at the touch of a button. The changes and other inventions like DSL, MP3, cell phones and so much more (that list is really endless!) have all added to the access and demand for more. We have become like millions of Oliver Twists with a browser every day saying in unison, “Can we have some more please!”
Then came Myspace and the explosion of the term social media became the hot topic on everyones lips. Facebooks legendary rise to god like status on the internet seems to know no bounds. The recent film ‘Social network’ simply underlining a billion dollar idea. regardless ‘whose’ idea I would just like to say, “bravo! Mark Zuckerburg!” good luck to you! But wait a minute, These and hundreds of others sites like them such as glue, ning, hi5, LinkedIn, XING and the endless list goes on and on!
But then there is Twitter.
Now for anyone who doesn’t understand Twitter imagine searching on google for something you are interested in, say design. Then every single search in that list that comes back is from a person, thousands if not millions of people all with different sites, tips, tricks, lessons, professionals, colleges, companies from every corner of the world! Still not impressed? Ok now imagine if you did have the chance to see the bountiful mix of things coming your way but there is something not quite the way you thought it should be, you can ask, discuss, learn and debate with every single person in the area that you love.
That is why Twitter is so incredible and also why it is growing at a phenomenal rate. Twitter is the internet no longer sat waiting for you to search through the billions of pages. It is coming into your home, knocking the door down and literally transforming your learning process about any kind of subject you can imagine. There is more information about one subject than any single human being can handle, but we do take a huge armful every single day. It is the internet on the strongest, most concentrated delivery system you could imagine. And yes, if you are like me and love to learn new things every day, it is addictive!
See you on Twitter @afirmin
There will be clouds ahead, but I will choose what kind.
The trials and tribulations we face have answers we sometimes do not wish to see.
Words cut deeper than any object and truths can deliver a deathly blow to hope and dreams.
But know clouds of anger and self defeat will not clear your spirits sky.
For dark clouds feed of anger, envy and defeat.
They fill and swell, hanging heavy over your shoulders, like the world weighing you down.
Do not feed these clouds.
Never allow the clouds to grow.
As each rain drop washes away the colourful spirit.
Leave behind a grey empty void.
No one else can feed your clouds as all those depressions come from within you.
We may argue that external influences cause our pain.
But know that no one can take away the spirit you are, but you.
You can remove external influences,
You can pas through all the doubters and neigh sayers.
Find a space in this world where the only clouds you create are ones where dreams flourish.
And you feel the rays of sunshine illuminating your soul.
Say goodbye to darkness, and walk with me in the light.
Have a creative day.
Advertising gets criticism sometimes for the way it acts. For me the industry is one I love and enjoy every day I go into the office. Every day is different and the challenge of competition that comes from within the agency but also against yourself is one that makes it extremely exciting for me. I work for Y&R in the Middle East, and have nothing personally to do with this idea, but feel passionate enough about it to do what I can to help. The idea is that they created a #hastag (# a hashtag is a way of creating a single topic, or trend as it’s called on Twitter, and allowing people to insert this # symbol to group all the comments about that topic) The # was called #warmupcamden. They have created a website where you see a few warm hearted folk knitting scarves.
These are not just ordinary scarves though. The scarves are created by selecting the best phrases on Twitter that are written with #warmupcamden. These scarves will be given away to the people on the streets who are facing the toughest winter in England for some time. A wonderful idea to help homeless people in a small way. The website where you can see the live cam of people making the scarves and a constant stream of twitter phrases is called Twitter Knitter. Please have a look and if you are on Twitter do all you can to help, who knows maybe your message will appear on a scarf.