social media

Are they worth it?

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Publicité pour Twitter et Facebook sur la vers...
Publicité pour Twitter et Facebook sur la version hébreu de Wikipédia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Youth (yoof) culture in the UK to a large extent is informed in attitudes by Hip-Hop Culture, or certainly the gift-wrapped version we see on MTV, Virgin Music… Critics may be easily prompted to dismiss this version of ‘yoof culture’ as the ramblings of uneducated and lazy youth. But I point to the growing levels of violence practiced against the youth by older and wiser (?) generations and by youth on youth or gang violence mostly in our urban centres.

The State terror that drove Aaron Schwartz to commit suicide; the domestic violence that killed Kasandra Perkins; the communal violence that killed Trayvon Martin and fatally wounded Malala Yousufzai; have all become commonplace. Not UK violence but for sure the violence that we meet every evening on the 6 pm news broadcast. The message is clear, people of youth are violent! Its a crisis!

Education can and often does address the underlying causes of violence but is not the sole key to addressing this crisis.Teachers must help reclaim the public by affirming with youth that life is worth living. Pedagogy must wrestle with the fact that the worth of youth largely swings between being targeted as (new) consumers and being seen as a disposable population fit only for the prison.

Renewed societal values are absolutely central to the improvement in youth experience; by showing how racism, sexism, and economical exploitation shape the outcomes and therefore the values of the youth, teachers have an opportunity to use the past experience of youth to improve the possible future experience of youth. Some Feminists building on critical views of the traditional nuclear family have illuminated the complex ways that power and violence function in the nuclear family and heterosexual relationships. Yet the buck stops there – the family is to blame?

I think not, well not entirely anyway. We lack the language and values necessary to address the states of terror that have escalated into youth-on-youth violence.

As we move into a more technologically-integrated society (Facebook, Twitter, Google+…), the pressing question is how to elevate the experience and contribution of the youth through these social networking platforms. The first task in answering this question is to challenge the notion that the youth are aloof and normalized to the violence in their midst. If we look closely at these social media hangouts, we find that youth are driven by two goals: the need to share information, and the need to be content creators.

Our next task, then, is to engage them in transforming their ingenuity and passion to share and create content that revises the modern world. Obvious blueprints have been offered. The revolutionary maneuvers of youth in North Africa have been realized through Twitter as a cabal for strategy. The Occupy movement illustrated how we can create webs of inclusion in a leaderless movement, and introduced the public speaking platform known as mic check. These ideas engender a generational attitude encapsulating a way of being. Of social awareness on a grander scale.

This isn’t however, the Marxist dream of a classless society. The economic, social and educational carnage youth face in the streets makes us culpable for failing to create effective institutions that integrate youth into society. If the future belongs to the youth, we must engage them by transforming the ideas of identity management on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram into community management by asking them to help share and create ideals we can live by.

“Look at the weak and cry, pray one day you’ll be strong
Fighting for your rights, even when you’re wrong
And hope that at least one of you sing about me when I’m gone
I am worth it?”
— Kenderick Lamar

Transparency in Business

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Green tinged avatars appeared on Twitter, Face...
Green tinged avatars appeared on Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up was a shocking experience on the whole when compared to the modern era; over-cooked veg, no 24-hour TV and the curtains remained shut to keep the prying eyes of the neighbors out! As my mother would say “you only need to open the curtains of the room you’re happy letting the neighbors see in”. The rest of the house as it happens was a mess she wasn’t prepared to let anybody see.

So when you (or much more likely that new-hire who remains glued to their computer screen bemoaning the internet connection and that they cant access their Facebook account) decide that you want some business transparency as a policy you better watch out. Once you let it out of the bag that actually your business isn’t that squeaky clean on the corporate responsibility front or that you have a supply-chain that your customer could save a packet by going direct, well then you have a problem as well!

The thing is that most businesses should have stapled to the inside of the eye-lids of any would-be transparency champion a note that says “some (a lot) of what we do is commercially sensitive”. Once the cats out you can tick the transparency box and then go directly to a PR company so that you can heal the damage done. The basic commercial functions of your business are just that and not really the stuff of public knowledge because when they are you no longer have a business.

What you really have to remember is just how your company actually makes money. It charges people more than it cost you to either make the thing or provide the service. Profit is a dirty word often confused with Rip-Off in a lot of peoples minds.

Social Media, is not the preserve of the young, tho it may seem so sometimes. Its just that the speed of post often is soooooo much quicker than the speed of the brain thinking through the practical effects of the post made. When you see the very excited face of the (young) person you’ve told to go ahead and implement your new transparency policy through the use of social media you should at that point be warned!

The very first point of call for the would-be transparency champion will be Twitter. Now this might be my age (although I do have a Twitter account that I do use daily) but to be honest it really doesn’t do it for me. Its a way of sending our a message that I’ve posted a new blog post, just like this one. The main reason for Twitter so far as I can see is telling anybody remotely interested about celebrity naughtiness and getting a bunch of Arabs into the local town square. Never mind that its a completely free way of telling the world just what you’re up to, a way of broadcasting to the world in that spirit of transparency that which you don’t actually want the public to know. And its fast, very fast!

Reducing what you have to say to no more than 140 characters would just about give you enough words to explain that you suck the blood of your customers to make money! You could follow a couple of feeds first to see how its done perhaps, but the question you’ll have to ask yourself is “if the feed you’re reading is that good does the company responsible really have that much integrity?”

My advice then is keep a very close eye on what gets posted about your business on social media, its important to be current but not foolish, being foolish is never going to be a trend worth following I think. Keep your corporate responsibility in-line with your business activities and then stamp with ‘Do Not Disturb’ allowing no further access to those interested in transparency.

Transparency therefore is okay when you’re happy with whats on show, the rest however really should stay behind closed curtains.