Using a Blog to Gain Mutual Understanding

Mutual Understanding. Conceptual Illustration Royalty Free Stock Photo - Image: 29836205

© Zibedik | Dreamstime.com

This semester, I created a blog, between ignorance and enlightenment. It’s a good opportunity for me to manage my life and thinking, and then condense everything into something that is manageable. Although it is a kind of social platform, I think the greatest benefactor is myself. Throughout our life we are always learning, however, the most important thing is to manage our knowledge and experience, and to give feedback to society. Consequently, this social platform is meaningful.

In the MDIV670 Spiritual Leadership course, many issues related to spiritual leadership and social issues were discussed. I am one talks less and just listens, because my English not quite good enough to express what I want. The other reason is Asian people are less likely to express themselves in public. MDIV670 is a kind of international classroom; there are some students from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and Taiwan. Of course, the majority are American. By the project proposal, we shared the same platform, DHARMA DIALOGUE: BUDDHISM IN THE U.S., and created our own platform. Although I have experience to create a blog, the wordpress.com based platform took me several days to understand it. Finally, I am satisfied with my first English version blog. My friend misunderstood that it is another blog I suggested. She told me there are too many words; she only looks at the pictures not the articles. My other classmate told me it had a good design but she did not have time to see it.

By such an opportunity, we uploaded our reflection on skid row visiting. Everyone has a different point of view based on their family environment, experience and nationality. From the other classmates’ article, I knew that although we are unique we have the same spirit. We are willing to see, learn, reflect and improve. The different points of view from different people, helped enlarge my world and encompass more opinions. There is another thing I quite appreciate; we shortened our distance between classmates. Although every time we just greeted by smiling, the article sharing let us understand each other’s philosophy of life and values.

There are a total of 130 viewers till now, May 14, according to the following viewing data. The highest number of views in one day was 30. I am happy that one viewer’s reply to my skid row article, reframing transformation, said, “Yes, the reality of social injustice is there in Skid Row. We can observe it clearly. But the reality of homeless people in Skid Row is not only drug, alcohol, bankruptcy, but also humanity, self-esteem, humor, love and compassion. If we take time to make some contact with them, our view of those people is changed. They have self-esteem. They have love and compassion.” He shared with me the homeless people still have lo2ve, self-esteem and compassion. The comments once again broadened my firm thinking.

I am thankful for having such an opportunity to create our own blog, it’s our baby. It’s just a good beginning to move forward to the road of spiritual leadership. How to keep running suitability our blog and intercommunicate with people is very important.

I also thank my instructor Danny Fisher for introducing many spiritual leader topics, such as Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Martin Luther King, for us to discuss. And, I thank my classmates for sharing their values and ideas. Thank you for enlightening my seed of spiritual leadership.

May everybody be a good spiritual leader in your field of life.

REFLECTION ON PROJECT “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE”

REFLECTION ON “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE”

One week ago, I proposed the social project on the Caste System in India.  I used Facebook as media platform under the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Touch-the-Untouchable/609528329076721 in addition to my posts on Dharma Dialogue.

The discrimination in Indian society has really bothered me for the last ten years.  Why has it lasted for centuries?   I witnessed the unfair treatment and unbelievable misery in that country.  In a country, in which the Buddha reached enlightenment and tried to void the caste system, nothing had changed.  I had hoped to use this project to help understand its endurance.  Even the after the Buddha brought the light of Buddha nature to teach the equality in all beings later generations could not do anything about it.  King Asoka had power.  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi with strong will and voice moved the whole British colony out of India.  So why could they not shake the destructive caste system strongly enough to free the poor?

I really want to dig in this matter.  However, my project only got “likes” from some professors, classmates, friends as supports without any comments that would help me understand this matter of the caste system.  They might agree what I am talking about, but they did not have time to research to help me understand why the caste system has such firm long-lasting history.

I wonder why it did not get much feedback.  Maybe it came in for a short time while the final week of semester coming up.  Maybe it was not good enough to attract other’s discussion because it is an obvious social matter in India due to its long history.  It seems normalized in people’s eyes while there are so many other corruptions occurring in daily lives around us that can danger the whole world.

Anyway, I hope people can assist me to fulfill my wish of helping innocent young generation to have a chance to change their destinies.  Together they might change their society.

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Reflection of the class project

What if one day all of your privacy was deprived 24/7? –Someone always monitors wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do, say, and even think. Moreover, what if one day you noticed this fact, but you were institutionalized at psychiatric hospital by the government just because what you insist sounds schizophrenic? Believe it or not, today’s cutting edge technologies have enabled to do it. Only the matter is who will use it, and who can regulate them.

In March, 2011, The Obama Administration held a public hearing to listen to the victims of allegedly non-consensual human experiments on these technologies. Despite the severity of the problem, the mainstream media did not report the incident. Thus, it is speculated that some people in power may be involved in this issue and sabotage revealing the facts. As one of the victims, I can infer some facts from observation. Unfortunately, however, some facts remain unknown – perhaps only the main perps know.
Nonetheless, we can still share the information which is barely revealed. In fact, I found that sharing the information does help the victims find a way to cope with this difficult problem if not finding a solution.

Therefore, I interviewed two renowned experts in this field, Cheryl Welsh, the representative of Mind Justice, and Derrick Robinson, President of Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS).
I learned from Ms. Welsh the importance of painstaking effort to let people know the imminent crisis through education. I also learned from Mr. Robinson that cooperation among us is more important and effective than confrontation in order to prevent innocent people from being covertly governed.

We know that we cannot change the world overnight. Thus, no one would blame for it. However, if we do not try our best to tackle the imminent issue, we will be blamed by the future generation of people. Therefore, I would like to continue this project until the last victim finds a way to alleviate his or her sufferings.

http://unprecedentedhumanrightsviolations.wordpress.com/

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CALM REFLECTION or OUR INNER PIPELINE, PART TWO

My  social media project involved a new Facebook page entitled Calm Reflection, https://www.facebook.com/calmreflection, and a blog, http://www.calmreflectionblog.com.

The most important thing I learned by completing this project was that I have a lot of stored up knowledge, and some wisdom, and that once I get out from under my own self-doubt, I become quite creative.  And the way I get out from under these feelings of self-doubt is what my project is all about.

All the time I was working on my blog, I kept reminding myself to go deeper than my thoughts like: “What should I write?” or “I’m no good at this.”  And when I did submerge into my true heart, bypassing these fear-based worries, I really began to flow.  I just flowed!

I also learned that social media is a viable way to connect to others, although my long-term goal will be developing a website and doing what I need to do to show up on page one of Google.

I received some good comments on my PART ONE blog post.  One comment was especially supportive, saying that my post beautifully expressed a wonderful intention.  And a close friend of mine, Paul Fetler, who is an Ananda Minister, really validated my ideas, and I had asked him to be honest so that I could learn from him.  Paul has been teaching Yoga and Meditation for quite some time.  So when he found my ideas and presentation positive, this was very encouraging.

Another friend who I worked with on my last job became excited saying Calm Reflection was something he needed to learn.  I hope he keeps checking in.

In conclusion, my first sojourn into cyber-space brought me home safely, so I think I’ll start planning my next trip.

A Reflection on Water, Health, and Compassion

Water pollution

Water pollution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

H2OcomesPassion is my Pinterest title. Before I started creating this page, I thought of using the name Water, Health, and Compassion. However, upon doing research for this project, I felt that I have been passionate on the issue of water. The more understand about water, the more passion I put into this project. My passion is not only to understanding water, its benefits, and its composition in the human body and in the whole universe, but also learning to appreciate the benefits that water brings and the advantages I have living in U.S., where I can access fresh, clean water everyday. My passion also turns into Compassion. I feel empathy for people who live in drought areas, for people who day by day use polluted and contaminated water for drinking and for cooking. Water has affected me to the point where I consciously feel empathy when reading news about polluted water, and where I share my joy when people have an opportunity to enjoy fresh, clean, water from a new well. I have joined a group of volunteers in Facebook  which volunteers to do fundraising for building wells in Africa. I have learned how this group connects people together to do this charity work and how they devote their lives for the benefits of others.

Counting from the time I posted my proposal, I have received 7 comments. Two comments, from Anonymous and Thaitriplegem, confirm my purpose by saying that water symbolizes compassion and harmony. If one makes oneself to be like water, then one is easy to be with people because water adapts to its environment.

One stated, “Without water we will die, without heath we will painful and without compassion this world would looks like hell.” This helps me understand the main function of water, is nurturing. Water nurtures life, and it is itself a source of compassion.

Thesilverbodhisattva gives me a wonderful source relating to water: water has memory. It helps me understand more about the other sources I have posted on my Pinterest, which is water in prayer and practice.

Mettadharma commented, “Water is symbol of the purity. It is clear, cool, and calm. If people can make their mind like water, it will be very useful.”

Dawn made her comment on my proposal and Pinterest page, and she suggested adding a “Call to Action” board. My thanks to her for a great idea, but I forgot to do that. I didn’t have a specific board to list practical things people can do to better the situation of water.

Minh Tu also suggested that I should have a “water recycling” board. I think his suggestion and Dawn’s are similar. I will create a board named Call to Action, which includes water cycling, and water conserving.

Both Dawn and Minh Tu like the experiments of Dr. Emoto. However, Dawn brought up the point that this work hasn’t been proven by scientists; whereas, Minh Tu emphasized water’s ability of being purified by spiritual practices.

Back to my project on Pinterest, my purpose is to raise people’s awareness of water’s benefits on body, mind, and spirit. I have created so far 12 boards and 173 pins. The titles of my boards are:

  1. Information
  2. H2O resources
  3. Water in Reality: Drought and Contamination
  4. Benefits of Water
  5. Tips in Using Water
  6. Prayer and Practice
  7. Charity Work
  8. Organizations in Action
  9. Video & Movie
  10. Books
  11. Call to Action
  12. Others

This page has been in existence about three weeks and I have 5 followers and 10 people following. With what I have gotten so far, I am not sure that using social media such as Pinterest can help me spread out the message of water to everyone. Based on my observation of my Facebook account, I believe that in order to influence more people of using water appropriately and of helping others, I should take an action by participating in a group consisted of individuals who have the same passion. Although my Pinterest has few followers, I believe that I myself have changed during this project, and at least some others also have changed to be more mindful of using water.

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Proposal – Between Ignorance and Enlightenment

Between Ignorance and Enlightenment

http://otherhalfoflife.wordpress.com/

I propose an educational social media project called “between ignorance and enlightenment”. A meaningful life is a journey from ignorance to enlightenment. Ignorance comes from delusion. Martin Luther King Jr. said that “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscious stupidity.” How we come to see our delusion and transfer it to self-awareness is an art. We suffer because we are bewildered by delusion. I find Buddhist wisdom helps me change from “ignorance” to “enlightenment”.

This term of topic comes from Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s book, “Between Ignorance and Enlightenment”. I found many inspirations when I read this book. There is a proverbial saying that lookers-on see most of the game; it means those who are not participating are able to take an overall view. The difference between ignorance and enlightenment are thought and concept. Most of us think that to lose one thing, such as money or sight, is a real lost. Andrea Angel Bocelli is an Italian tenor, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He lost his sight and became blind at the age of 12. His father encouraged him, “This world belongs to everyone. Although you cannot see the world, however you can let the world see you.” He went on to become both the most popular Italian and classical singer in the world. His feedback society is by participating in charity benefit concerts in different countries for different charities, such as in New York City for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Bocelli lost his sight but won a colorful life. He is an enlightening person who changed his inferiority to superiority, and transformed knowledge to wisdom.

Consequently, I will create different units as follows:

  • Buddhist Books on Ignorance and Enlightenment
  • Other Books, magazines, articles on Ignorance and Enlightenment
  • Wisdom Quotes, e.g. Venerable Master Hsing Yun
  • Graphic Quotes
  • Video on Ignorance and Enlightenment
  • Reflections on Ignorance and Enlightenment
  • Story sharing with Buddhism wisdom, e.g. Bird and Water Dance Ensemble
  • The everlasting light: Dharma thoughts of Master Hsing Yun
  • Music

I hope the “Between Ignorance and Enlightenment” sharing space will create opportunities by gathering resources for those people who try to find resources to help them transform and enlighten from the Buddhist wisdom and quotes.

A Reflection on my Social Media Project about AIDS and the Five Precepts

AIDs in Thailand

I created my Midterm Project this semester using social media. My project is called “Helping Those Living with AIDS.” I got eleven comments from people who participated. Some people  just agreed with my project and gave me advice on how to improve  the article such as the comment from thesilverbodhisattva who said,

“Another point to consider is that some people can acquire the disease through means unknown to them, in cases of unintentional contamination. Without proper medical precautions or sanitation in a variety of medical fields, an aid has the possibility to spread through transfusions, shared needles, and even instances of dental operations. There is also the possibility for those who are born HIV positive.”

This comment reminds me and other people to be careful when we use syringes because penetration and blood transfusion can put people at risk for contracting the AIDS virus.

However, I want those who have not been infected with the AIDS virus to be aware of this point as well. There are many other ways of being at risk of contracting the AIDS’s virus. The AIDS’s virus is a serious issue for the homeless and those on skid row. When society or families ignore people who have AIDS, they end up on the street, become homeless, and live on skid rows throughout the country. Therefore, the Thai monks of the Phrabatnumpu Temple are helping the people who have the AIDS’s virus in Thailand. The abbot organized the temple by himself and it is supported by donations. He provides food, clothing, shelter, and medicine for people with AIDS. The important thing is he has instructional media for people who do not have AIDS. He is teaching about Buddhism and offering counseling for individuals and groups concerned about AIDS. He teaches the way we use precept training to protect sangha from AIDS. He talks about the Five Precepts as a very good way of reducing one’s risk of contracting AIDS. A comment from SmartDC was,

“AIDS is one kind of serious diseases in the world. One of the solutions is to avoid from sexual misconduct and honestly observe Five Precepts (Sila). Taking the Buddha’s teachings into practice, we will be happy without any trouble.”

Therefore, the Five Precepts, especially, the third precept, are a very important way to reduce the prevalence of AIDS virus infections. Just like this comment from Humble Monk:

“There is reason to blame the people who’ve gotten infection, but there are many reasons to blame the people who knew AIDS and didn’t protect themselves. Sexual desire is one aspect of desires caused suffering. Being honest with one’s couple under sexual conduct isn’t enough to stop AIDS completely. The way how to completely stop AIDS is to stop one’s desires.”

This is a very good comment and I agree with his comment. If all of us practice the five precepts, especially the third one, I think we can live without fear and worry as well.

Finally, I would like to thank you very much for all of the comments from both people whom I know and I do not know. Your comments helped influence my work and my ideas. I hope my social media project will help our society in many ways. For instance, by helping people become aware of AIDS and understand the victims of AIDS too. More than that, I hope we can stay happily together. Without loving-kindness and compassion our society would be like Hell.

May all being be happy and peaceful in body and mind,

Dhammakaruna.

Please visit my Facebook Page and my original post here at Dharma Dialogue.

AIDs patient and Theravadin Monk.

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A REFLECTION ON MY EDUCATIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA PROJECT: Spiritual Leadership

Image

Spring 2013

Time flies! The semester has almost ended. I think that all students must be very busy with paperwork or final exams just like I am.  During the Spring Semester of 2013, I had a good chance to learn and a good opportunity to create a personal blog posts under the user name “thaitriplegem. These personal blog posts were something that I have never made before. I also contributed a couple posts here at “Dharma Dialogue” such as my “Skid Row Reflection,” in which I give a reflection based on my trip to Skid Row. My personal blog post was on the topic, “What Does the Theravāda Buddhist Religion Have to Say about the Poverty on Skid Row?”  This reflection considers the poverty of Skid Row from the perspective of Theravada Buddhism. In my previous blog post, I said the following:

If our religion means anything in today’s society, it must be able to address in a significant way the conditions of the poor in places like Skid Row.  What follows is divided into two parts.  First there is a consideration of the Theravāda Buddhist teaching of kamma.  Second, the divine abodes (brahma-vihāra) of loving-kindness and compassion are discussed.

These projects are for the Spiritual Leadership Class taught by Professor Danny Fisher.

The Midterm Proposal Project is my Educational Social Media Project, which I have posted on the same website and created a Facebook group for named “Healthcare Needs to Improve in Thailand.”  In this group I presented information about the healthcare system in Thailand, the problems that it has, and what you can do to help change it.  My media project can be found on my Facebook page.  I am very happy to see all your feedback.  And I would really like to see the healthcare system in Thailand be more like the Healthcare system in European countries.

My personal blog, “thaitriplegem,” has a post on the topic, “What Does the Theravāda Buddhist Religion Have to Say about the Poverty on Skid Row.” It has received seventeen comments as of May 15, 2013. I think this is a very important way to use social media or the Internet in the right way. We should employ right thought and right understanding when using social media in the modern world, a world without borders. At the same time, we can propagate Buddhism worldwide, too. All of your comments have been encouraging for me. Now I feel confident to share more on the Buddha’s teaching.  And all the comments were very helpful for me and my blog posts. They have even been of help to the people who read or who will read my blog posts, too. More than that, the comments also helped me to improve my way of thinking and writing for future blog posts. I would like to share what I have learned from the comments on the blog. These comments encouraged me to write and share more about the teachings of kamma, or in English what we call causes and effects, which the Buddha showed us more than 2,600 years ago.

First, on April 1, 2013 at 8:19 PM, I got the first comment from my classmate named 3ratna3kaya, who said, “Thank you for your teachings, Venerable. Your explanation of kamma was very clear and insightful.”

Second, on May 10, 2013 at 10:52 PM, Anonymous said, “What an interesting topic! I believe the readers must have some idea about the Theravada Buddhist religion on the skid row in order to easily clearly understand what it’s all about the article. However, I have to thank you for providing this useful knowledge in a friendly way.”

And third, on May 11, 2013 at 2:09 AM, there was a very interesting comment from

Du Wayne Engelhart, who stated, “Thank you for the discussion about kamma. What you say can be seen in a wider context. There is not only, roughly speaking, white kamma (with good effects for actions done), black kamma (with bad effects for actions done), and black and white kamma (with mixed effects for actions done). As the Buddha teaches us, there is also no kamma at all. No kamma at all is the state of Enlightenment. I think many times we worry too much about getting the effects of good kamma (in this lifetime or in future lifetimes) for the good actions we perform. We should, however, not worry too much about simply good kamma. We should try to reach the state where we are beyond kamma–where we are enlightened. We can reach this happy state by letting go of everything in the world, and that means everything–even letting go of trying to get the results of good kamma.”

Next, my project proposal titled, “Healthcare Needs to Improve in Thailand” has received fifteen comments as of May 15, 2013. I have gotten comments both in Thai and in English.   In the project proposal, many people agreed with my opinion on the subject.  For instance, on May 10, 2013 at 8:22 AM, Saranya Kim said, Yes, I agree with you. I had an experience about this ‘Only wealthy families can afford health insurance. If the average Thai becomes sick, unfortunately they have to pay their medical bills by cash. If they have to go to the hospital, they would have to wait in line for a long time before seeing the doctor. If a wealthy person needed to go to the hospital, on the other hand, they would just pay extra to see the doctor right away.’” This must be painful situation for the oppressed group because of privilege and poverty in Thai society. Also, Wattana Suriyawararak agreed with my project and said, Yes, I am sure that someday Healthcare in Thailand will be better! (Someday, I do not know not how long.) This comment comes with the hope that good healthcare will improve in Thailand someday.

I wish her dream will come true soon.

Also on May 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM, Daniel Terestenyi, my good Dhamma friend who just moved to Europe made a comment. His comment helped me get more understanding about the healthcare system in Europe. He said, “Andrew, you might consider being specific to one country in Europe, rather than the whole of Europe. Mainly, because healthcare does change some radically from country to country, and is not based upon EU law. France has an extremely good healthcare system, which I have used while living there.” Thank you very much, Daniel, for your information.

Lastly, Facebook’s group page still does not get many comments or much feedback. I am not sure if the members have enough time to read it all. Mostly, they just click on the “Like” button, but that made me happy enough. I got a nice comment from Anonymous that I would like to share. People should understand about the healthcare system in Thailand more, because many people like she or he just hear the news from friends who have enough money to go to get good treatment in Thailand. The comment from Anonymous on May 11, 2013 at 1:51 AM says: Thank you very much for the information in your Facebook group. I thought what you said was very informative. It is a good idea to make information available about the health care system in Thailand. I did not really have a good understanding of the situation. I thought the system was much better than what you describe. I didn’t really know: I based my ideas on what I heard from Thai friends waiting to go back to Thailand to have dental work done or to get glasses. I thought the health care was pretty good and the costs low. Now I understand that many Thais are not able to participate in the health care system. Now I understand the need for reform. Thanks for the information.”

Once again, thank you very much for all the comments that I have received on my Skid Row Reflection, my Project Proposal, and also on my Facebook page. All your comments were a very good source of encouragement for me. Thanks again for all the comments made by family members, my classmates, friends, professors, and also from people I do not know.  You can find my blog posts and my Facebook page at these URLs:

http://dharmadialogue.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/what-does-the-theravada-buddhist-religion-have-to-say-about-the-poverty-on-skid-row/#comments

http://dharmadialogue.wordpress.com/author/thaitriplegem/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/273506612786732/

With much Metta,

Palms together,

thaitriplegem

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What Do You Know? Reflection

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Media is a fascinating subject.   Do a quick web search for how to create a great social media project and you are inundated with “how-to’s” and “don’t do’s” all of them saying different things.  The commercial world has lept into social media.  In your search you will find that to many social media now means corporate advertisements using “social” media.  No longer is social media a way for people to connect.  It has quickly become just another, more subtle way, to sell mostly unneeded stuff to increasingly poor customers.   “Social Media” also has a dark, hidden, side.  Go to news or progressive action site that tells a story different than allowed in the mainstream (corporate) media and you will find the comments filled with rebuttals, all taking a very similar pro-corporate, pro-inequality, pro-oligarchy line.  Almost always the first few comments are in support of the economic and social policies that are creating and increasing income, wealth, and power inequality and slowing killing the middle-class society constructed after WWII.  A groundswell of opposition by “Real Americans” to the DFH’s (look it up)?  Or the comments of “astro turf” organizations and companies paid big money to counter small-d democratic thinking and organization?

That said, for those of us trying to address various problems around the world, social media and the internet is a great resource.  Since most of our mainstream media outlets no longer discuss or present any options other than those that support the status quo (and domination of society by a very small group of extraordinarily wealthy men), the internet and social media is one of the best ways we have to communicate with people who know something is seriously wrong with society but don’t know what to do about it.  It is the only game in town.

In my project I didn’t get much in the way of comments, likes or followers.  I’m not sure at this point that I can call it a success.  The most people that have taken one of my quizzes is three (and one of them was me).   I can think of several reasons for this:

  1. Any social media project has to hit a sweet spot.  In other words, a need in people to express themselves or solve a common problem.  The areas that I covered (inequality, the distortion of capitalism to maximize profit for banks, etc.) are covered in great depth by other social media actors.  Perhaps potential readers are overwhelmed with bad news since so much is going wrong.
  2. I think a good social media project allows people to interact and contribute.  It is not enough to just push ideas out into the “blogosphere” and hope people will read it.  How can the person reading your post, quiz, Pin, etc., join in helping solve the problem?  How can they express their own concerns?  How can they self-organize?  My project at this point is too much push and not enough interaction.
  3. I wonder if I am taking on too many subjects?  Do I need to concentrate on a more specific social issue?
  4. Consistency.  A general rule of thumb is that a content provider (me) needs to put out some sort of post (quiz) every week.  With the demands of school and my general sense of fatigue caused by nearly a year of school, I’ve not had the energy to generate quizzes and posts on a consistent basis and to keep new viewers coming back to my site.
  5. Time.  I think this just takes time to grow an audience.
  6. Perhaps quizzes aren’t the best way to present this type of information.

I plan to continue this effort over the summer and see if I can grow an audience.  I’m going to investigate how to use Pinterest as the core to my project rather than a blog.  That way I can post my quizzes, images and other media in a place where people can interact and respond to the issues I present with their own thoughts and media.  I can then respond to the interests of my audience based upon what they post.  I also want to use twitter to present my posts to those that are interested so they can keep track of my project without having to pay close attention.   I will look around to see what other, new, mechanisms are available, and there are a lot of them.   It will be very interesting to see how this project has evolved by the end of summer and the start of a new school year at University of the West.

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Cognitively Incongruent and Social Media

What started in April as a project directed toward collecting and sharing free educational resources, Cognitively Incongruent has now become an example of problems in mobilizing networks in collaborative social media projects. As per my Spiritual Leadership class, I created Cognitively Incongruent, a social media project that hoped to empower people looking for free educational resources through centralizing a database of such resources. Beyond its resource availability, it was my hope that this social media platform would also empower people by improving their social rank in removing the privilege of receiving education.

Rank and social privilege has become one of my major areas of concern, since my involvement in post secondary education. My prior experiences granted me insight as to how education had the power to both allow people to collect rank and allow people to suppress others attempting to achieve it. Motivated to use education as a means to alleviate the rank of others, this social media platform became a vehicle for me to extend my message beyond the in person tutoring network I provided in my community. Yet over the many posts that I set up and the attempts to reach out to families I met in person or students I referred to the site, the only engagement I saw was strictly the membership that developed. People became visitors and participants strictly in presence, which began to raise several questions in my mind.

What value was this social media in promoting the message?

How come my vast network in the community wasn’t participating?

And could there be other factors affecting its growth?

Realizing that my own networks were the primary result of face to face presentations at local schools, word of mouth references  and in person tutoring clients, I was well aware that maybe this social media platform was not congruent with my type of networking and even existing network. All of my networking interactions had been the direct result of in-person connections, not through internet based social media platforms. Moreover, those participants who bridged the gap and joined the Google based group had already had access to the Google based network and were social media savvy individuals. Yet most of my existing network and those who I strive to outreach with, contained individuals who were not as internet savvy, nor even engaged in social media projects to begin with.

Beyond participation from my own networking, in person, I too was resistant to engage in social media. My own lack of comfort and outlook on social media played on my reluctance to become involved in other social media platforms to promote my page. I have, for the part most, been an advocate for direct in person communication and I am openly opposed to the level of communication that social media has new created, stemmed from a lack of intimacy and sincerity I feel in social media networks. Outside of the project, my direct in-person network has steadily continued to grow absent of this projects influence.

In reflecting on these points, I feel that although my resources are all internet based, my networking strategies and skills are all in-person directed. I also feel that if I was someone who was more socially engaged within internet social media projects, Cognitively Incongruent could strive to have a more public presence and participation. Overall, Cognitively Incongruent’s lack of growth stands to exemplify the unique aspect of my spiritual leadership, as a direct person to person interaction based movement not an internet based social media movement.

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