People Shouldn’t Have to Live Like That

Last week I attended a “Hunger Banquet” sponsored by Oxfam America. In my role as a citizen of the world and occasional do-gooder, I’ve come to enjoy programs at the Action Center to End World Hunger, which hosted the event; as a wordsmith I was intrigued by the oxymoron of “hunger banquet.”

Rice – cc by vegeyum.wordpress.com

The first order of business was to pull a slip of paper from a bowl—my fictional persona for the evening. I was Enrique, a 40 year-old farmer in Guatemala, who recently bought a cow with money he received from Mercy Corps (which sponsors the Action Center). I don’t look or sound anything like an Enrique, but I was willing to play along. Almost immediately I learned that “playing along” included sitting on the floor for the event. My slip of paper was green, identifying me as one of the roughly 50% of humanity considered “low income,” meaning they earn less than $800 per person per year.

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Back to My Roots

Trinity College Library
Trinity College Library by Nic McPhee

I was a nerdy, bookish child–the kind who got As (if not always straight As; a B or two might slip in, but nothing less than a B), the kind who read under the bedcovers with a flashlight after I was supposed to be asleep. It felt like there was so much to know and I couldn’t seem to soak it up fast enough.

My parents are to blame, of course. They read to me at bedtime from before I can remember, probably before I understood the words. I knew the alphabet when I started kindergarten and then taught myself to read. (I’d memorized the picture books and matched the words to the pictures.)

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Needed: 21st Century Leaders for an Open World

Photo CC Al Jazeera 2011

On Thursday and Friday I attended some Social Media Week events in New York. It was an amazing experience—not just because of the great topics and smart speakers, but because we practiced what was being preached. A fair number of audience members used laptops, iPads or smart phones during the presentations, live tweeting what was being said on stage and their own responses. Some speakers addressed questions posed via Twitter while on stage, while others took more conventional routes such as hand-raising and comments written on index cards.

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What a Boomer Learned at #GenYChat

As you probably know if you’ve read my blog before, I love Twitter and I especially love chats on Twitter. In December I was participating in a #TweetDiner and happened to mention I’d recently read an article that said Generation Y doesn’t use Twitter much.

I should have known better.

It irks me when people turn generalizations about Baby Boomers (now known as Boomers, as we are way past being babies) into absolutes. I’ve nothing against generalizations as a guideline or a statistical observation; but even if 99% of a demographic group does something, there’s always that 1% who don’t. So I should have known better than to tweet a generalization about Gen Y into a mixed group of people. (It’s not like speaking in an auditorium. You can’t see who is in the audience.)

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