April 24, 2009

Oh Twitter, how I do not like thee

Here I go not making friends - especially not on Twitter.

I know many people are enamored with Twitter. For that reason, I do not want to burst bubbles, but consider the following:

If you Twitter while someone is speaking, are you actively listening? Seriously, are you giving due respect to the speaker?

"Multi-tasking" really is not the same as efficiency. You're paying for getting more things done at the cost of quality. Your attention is spread too thin. Are you being "efficient" when you "multi-task" with Twitter? Or, are you just getting more things done poorly?

Start tracking what percent of time the Twitter matters to you. Did what you read give you anything of value? If I asked you to pay a nickel for that information, would you pay it? I am asking you, "Did they respect your time and did you respect your own time?"

Surely, saying something and communicating meaning are not always the same. When you received your last Twitter, did you hear what the person truly intended to convey? We are quick to assume that all comments are properly conveyed. Between showing you words and speaking to you in person, don't you think meaning can be lost? Telling me can have more value than letting me figure it out, right? Is respect being given to others when you glance over their comments?

On that next time when you send out a Tweet, what percent of your audience will care? What is the percentage who will be wasting their time reading your message? If very few of them care, isn't that what we classify as "spam" for email? How much of their time is your message worth? You appreciated the value of spam filters, right? Why doesn't anyone seem care in this case? Is respect being paid for their time?

We pay for the advantages of Twitter by adding "noise". Are you just creating more noise in society? Think back to all the Tweets you have done. So, with all those actions, are you respecting the time of other people in the world?

Yes, it’s a neat tool, but are you are you using Twitter because it provides a function that you have long needed? Or - own up, now - are you using it just because it is a neat tool? That type of reason can be dangerous.

I, of course, am not for Twitter if it will be used to disrespect people's time. The rewards of showing respect outweigh the value I would gleam from Tweeting. I thank you for considering respect for others the next time you Tweet.

If you have comments, feel free to email me at suggestions@yellowkayak.org.

April 9, 2009

Let me count the why's

[This is the final installment to my recent "Pond-Kayaking Trilogy" - you knew it would eventually end. ]

I had a discussion with a long-lost friend about picking up trash in public places. I mentioned my tendency for gathering and tossing other people's rubbish. He respected me for doing it, but debated whether it made a difference. After all, there was so much X*$!! x%!@@ junk everywhere that what I affected was an insignificant exercise.

Eventually, I dumped a ton of answers on him. I started with this one: The next time I visit that place, there will be that much less garbage to spoil my view. Here is a sample of the other answers:

• Like the story of the man throwing marooned starfish back into the sea, every little bit helps even when it does not necessarily solve the entire problem.
• Doing so created an apt opportunity to discuss the subject with my friend. Awareness is always the first step to any topic. It elicits events to change behavior.
• While I am out there, other people will see that "Krazy Kayaker cleaning up". It might bring awareness to others.
• If my friend (or those people who see me) actively attempts throwing garbage out the window, he may think of me; (certainly, if he did not like me, this could work in the wrong direction…)
• The next time my observers see garbage , they might make attempts to pick up the junk themselves - or at least think about it.

I can be a leader by example. I can be a leader even whilst I paddle around in my yellow kayak.

April 1, 2009

In need of organization

I was recently kayaking on a small pond. I was dismayed at the volume of trash I saw. I was so frustrated that I began asking myself, "Why would they do this? How can people let this happen?"

Then, after a few minutes of asking about the nature of people, the course of my thoughts changed. I began to ask, "Why doesn't anyone clean this up? Someone should organize a clean-up event. Perhaps I should organize a clean up event. Why not make a difference?"

Given this new inspiration, I began the arduous process of thinking through the steps I would take for organizing the cleanup. There was finding a right day, getting boats for people, getting the word out, soliciting volunteers, having recognition for the volunteers…. Whoa. It was getting complicated. Oh, dear!

It hit me as my kayak rocked on the edge of that pond.

The thing was, it was not complicated. I already had a large plastic bag in my truck. I paddled back to my truck to retrieve it; then, I set off on my own personal, individual, one-man clean up event. I found the right day - that day! I got the word out to the volunteer. I had an impromptu clean up day. In about an hour, I had made significant progress. At some point during my self-made clean-up day, I began to ponder a new question, "why do we feel the need to have an organized event to do the right thing? Why not do them ourselves, today?"