Sunday, April 29, 2012

TEDTalks: Renny Gleeson on antisocial phone tricks

Renny Gleeson's Ted Talk is based upon the rise of availability in today's culture. That "rise" is due to mobile devices gaining popularity amongst everyone, no matter their age. With that, comes the expectation of availability and an obligation to that availability. As a society, we are still trying to determine how to allow people to be available. Gleeson, then shows pictures of various types of "cover-ups" when it comes to availability and the cell phone. The pictures keep the audience focused on what he is trying to say while also keeping them entertained with the humor behind them. Some of the tactics include: "The Lean," "The Stretch," and the "Love you; Mean it." All of these suggest that people go out of their way to find communication with people other than the ones they are with at the time. This says "You are less important than anything that can come to me through this device." Renny Gleeson presents the idea that we have a fundamental human need to "create shared narratives," which makes us a culture. We need to share ideas with other people in order to create our identity, instead of "simply projecting it." Gleeson, then, challenges everyone to make technology that allow us to be more human, not less, since our generation will invent new ways to create the shared experience and even the new world.  
Below is a link to the video:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

TEDTalks: Laura Trice suggests we all say thank you

 In her TEDTalk, Laura Trice expresses her passion towards two simple words: thank you. She believes that these words alone, when said genuinely, can strengthen a friendship, repair a bond, and reinforce how much a person means to you. 
During her talk, she used the example of a boy in a rehabilitation facility. His sickness was rooted in the disappointment of never having heard praise from his father. "The father told everybody else that he was proud of him, but he never told the son. It’s because he didn’t know that his son needed to hear it. So my question is, why don’t we ask for the things that we need?”questioned Trice. The answer she presents is intriguing. Trice suggests that we fear giving people a personal connection with us through telling them our insecurities and asking for praise. There are only a few things people can do with that personal information: neglect us, abuse it, and meet our needs. 
To conclude, Laura Trice challenges us to go out and be honest about the praise we need, and help others by meeting their needs. Her following hypothetical question lingered long after she finished speaking, "why do we need this? How can we have world peace with different cultures?" First, we must change the way we treat the people in our own communities. Then, she ends by thanking her audience for all that they have achieved.
Trice engaged the audience by connecting with each of them. Surely, there was no one who has never felt neglected for not being praised. She spoke professionally, like she was prepared and passionate about her topic. I think that the technique she used most often and most effectively was the use of examples and stories from her life as well as outside sources. 
I agree with Laura Trice's opinion because everyone needs to feel like they are appreciated. In some ways, saying "thank you" may change, or even save, a life. In those two words are all the things you have never said to that person. It could make them feel wanted in your life. So, I think that we should all take note of Trice's talk, for it may shape our future as a civil society.
Below is a link to the video:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

TEDTalks: Clay Shirky and the Lasting Effects of Cognitive Surplus

Being an expert on the outlasting effects of the Internet on society, Clay Shirky believes that the world can be changed through online collaboration of different cultures and ideas. His TED Talk addresses the idea of “cognitive surplus,” or the ability of the world’s population to volunteer and communicate on a large scale to work together on both local and global projects.
Shirky begins his speech by giving an example of advantageous cognitive surplus, a website called Ushahidi. While telling the story of a woman from Kenya who wanted to share as much information as possible about the local outbreak of violence, Clay Shirky grabs the audience’s attention by outlining the main idea with an interesting, real-world situation. He states his belief that as humans, it is our instinct to yearn to share our abilities with other people in whatever way we can, even LOLcats. These are comical pictures of cats with amusing subtitles that Shirky believes are yet another, more useless, form of cognitive surplus. He then challenges the difference between communal vs. civic value. Communal value is a form of shared public data that benefits only the participants of the activity, like LOLcats. Civic value creates the feeling of making life better for society as a whole, like Ushahidi. Shirky gave other examples such as an Israeli day care program that placed a fine for parents who picked their children up late. This experiment showed that charging for late pick-up not only was effective, but was negatively effective. The results illustrated that parents felt that, with a fine, they no longer needed to feel guilt towards the teachers, causing them to be late even more than before. This example baffled me because I have always thought that an extra charge would motivate me to do something earlier or on time.
Clay Shirky’s use of realistic examples helped the audience to personally connect with his presentation. Along with his statistical evidence, this alone could have been enough to persuade the listeners to agree with him. But, he went even further and gave them a purpose to believe him. He challenged the audience to analyze their own use of their free time and question how they could use it to help each other. He encouraged everyone to apply their creativity to cognitive surplus online so that they could benefit society on a global scale.
I felt an emotional connection to Shirky’s message because I believe that if we all collaborate, we can create a chain reaction that will ultimately change the world. It made me feel comfortable sharing my ideas through the Internet, like our recently finished wikified research paper, and not be afraid of judgement. I could confidently experiment online and find other people’s opinions just as impactful on myself as my own. If we, as one, can contribute to each other our abilities and ideas, we can create a world like the one envisioned by Clay Shirky. Our overall sense of duty will be applied to make the world a better place. 
The link to this video is listed below:

Friday, April 20, 2012

TEDTalks: Daniel Pink's Intrinsic Motivation

    In his book Drive, Daniel Pink proposes the idea that motivation is not based solely on the hope of getting a big reward for your actions. In his TED Talk, redone with RSA animate, Pink addresses this notion with astounding factual evidence.
    His speech was highlighted with one main point: that through intrinsic motivation, humans would be effectively inspired to purposefully and independently master their own success. Daniel Pink began by giving specific examples of how this type of motivation has changed society in a positive way. I believe that this part of the speech was very important to include because it made the audience and myself feel that this could make a difference in the world. He then suggested that if companies allowed their employees creative freedom, they would be far more motivated to work successfully than if they were offered more money with less time to be creative.
    Daniel Pink comes across as a very educated person in the styles of speech. He speaks confidently, without wavering, and seems to be truly passionate about his topic. He chose to repeat points and individual words to help the audience retain the idea that he was trying to spread. He supplied the listeners with reliable samples of intrinsic motivation working auspiciously in the workplace. His sources were bold and illustrated his knowledge of the topic, which further helped solidify his argument. Pink also gave the audience confidence in his intelligence by challenging his own statements and giving solutions to the flaws in his ideology.
    As I was watching the presentation, I felt that Daniel Pink was emotionally connected to his chosen topic. It made me feel secure in his opinions and gave me confidence in my own beliefs, even if they contradicted his. Sometimes, I found myself internally debating whether or not I agreed with his stance on extra money and power being harmful to a business craving successful creative ideas. Also, I really enjoyed the animation connected to the Talk because it supplied me with a visual aid that assisted me in my understanding of the subject.
    Hopefully, everyone will take the idea of intrinsic motivation and apply it to their own lives, as well as their children’s and their friends’. Perhaps this single idea will ignite a revolution that can positively change the world.

The link to this video is listed below:

Monday, April 16, 2012

TEDTalks: Imogen Heap plays "Wait It Out"

“Wait It Out” played by Imogen Heap is a TEDTalk that really spoke to me personally because I am passionate about music and the message you can send through the music you play or sing. I really enjoyed this talk, although it wasn’t quite a “talk,” but more of a “sing.” The message from her song was made clear by the lyrics and majesty of the piano’s movement and deep resonance of the music. She was very professional in a laid back, yet serious way. Her presentation was to the point and entertaining.
Her difficult melodies, to me, meant that although some things may seem hard, there are little things that can be done to make them that much easier; that when you feel like you could not possibly get through it, you can. The song itself is about a girl who has lost someone close to her, perhaps not a physical loss but an emotional loss, and cannot find her way back. Sometimes, when you lose a friend or a family member, you are so lost and helpless to the conflicting and scary emotions you are experiencing that you cannot discover what will help bring you back to yourself. The song shared in this TEDTalk is solely about the solution known as “waiting it out.” Heap questions throughout the song the effectiveness of waiting for your problems to leave you. Most times, you are stuck facing the fact that even though time will heal you, you will never be the same person as you were before. There is still something missing. Instead of waiting for an opportunity to come along, you must find it yourself. In a world with unlimited possibilities, whether it involves art and music or technology and science, you CAN find something you are passionate about that will bring you back. You only have one life to live, so do not waste it on waiting. That, I believe, is the message that Imogen Heap was trying to share through her song. 

The video and lyrics are posted below:

Wait It Out- Imogen Heap

Where do we go from here?
How do we carry on?
I can't get beyond the questions.
Clambering for the scraps
in the shatter of us collapsed.
It cuts me with every could-have-been.
Pain on pain on play, repeating
With the backup makeshift life in waiting.
Everybody says time heals everything.
But what of the wretched hollow?
The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out?
There's nothing to see here now,
turning the sign around;
We're closed to the Earth 'til further notice.
A Stumbling cliche case,
crumbled and puffy faced.
Dead in the stare of a thousand miles.
All I want, only one street-level miracle.
I'll be a an out-and-out, born again from none more cynical.
Everybody says time heals everything.
But what of the wretched hollow?
The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out?
And sit here cold?
Well, We'll be long gone by then.
And lackluster in dust we lay
Around old magazines.
Fluorescent lighting sets the scene
for all we could and should be being
in the one life that we've got.
In the one life that we've got.
Everybody says that time heals everything.
But what of the wretched hollow?
The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out? sit Here?
Just going to Wait it out? Sit here cold?
Just going to sweat it out?
Wait it out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

TEDTalks: Sir Ken Robinson's "Schools Kill Creativity"

Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk was based solely on his passion for education and the freedom to be creative while learning. What I took away from his speech was that he was not just giving a speech. He was not reciting something he memorized from a piece of paper. He put his soul into his conversation with the audience. I believed that he was truly fired up about the topic he chose. He effectively engaged the audience by opening with a few jokes, then elaborated on something serious, then returned to a joke. By keeping the audience fascinated with his speech, he has guaranteed that they will listen to the last word. Also, his British accent helps keep people engaged because it’s interesting to listen to. Sir Ken Robinson’s presentation style was very maturely strategized so that he would come off as sophisticated while also being fun and entertaining. 
This video was a very moving interpretation of the importance of human  creativity and education through the arts. Robinson impacted me because I truly believe that education systems look down on the arts programs as opposed to math and science programs. “You cannot be an artist or musician” is not a message I would pass on to my kids if I had any. I would want them to be able to feel comfortable and not looked down upon for choosing to be a painter rather than a college professor. Society needs to learn that young kids have more passion than many adults and are more confident in themselves. So, if we start teaching children that creativity and uniqueness are accepted while they are young and not frightened of being wrong, the world may slowly change into a place that children would be able to safely grow up in, with no fear of judgement or prejudice.

The link to Sir Ken Robinson's TEDTalk is included below: