Haiti: where is social media in disaster response?

Social media in disaster response

Yes, where were we?  Social media was in Iran .  .  .   but not Haiti.  Or did I miss something?

This week, I listened to a very good “post mortem” on our response to the earthquake in Haiti.  A surgeon had mobilized an entire team, got funding for a plane and then discovered the realities on the ground.  First, they were diverted to the Dominican Republic. Then they found conditions in Haiti very different to what they imagined.

These were my three takeaways.

#1  Western professionals are very accustomed to have a system around them that they forget that someone has to organize the lights, the water, the diesel, the cleaning.  In other word, the system in the west has become so taken for granted that it is invisible.

#2 The doctors lamented that no one seemed to take charge and coordinate.  There seemed not even to be a map (though there might have been) to help first responders see where different services were located.  It’s not enough for us to each take the initiative, even if our initiative is breathtaking in its brilliance.  We must have a way of coordinating ourselves.

#3  The doctors didn’t mention social media.  It is likely that cell phone towers were destroyed by the quake. But where was the social media response?  Don’t we have the capacity to move in with temporary towers?  What kind of dashboards are up-and-ready to go?  Do the Red Cross, UN and Medicins sans Frontiers, etc have social media packages ready to roll?

Does anyone know?  Who is working on social media in disaster response?

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4 big reasons why we initally find positive psychology puzzling

At first, I was suspicious about positive psychology

I came to positive psychology some 10 years ago and like many people, I was deeply suspicious. Life is not about happiness, I thought. Life is about effectiveness. Life is about dealing with reality.

I still think that is what life is all about but I have also changed my “mental model” of happiness

Many people encountering positive psychology and happiness for the first time feel the same suspicious. And they write columns in newspapers and the speak on radio and TV about why focusing on happiness is wrong-headed.

A straight-forward summary of the puzzle of positive psychology

Gaye Prior writing from Zimbabwe, commented the post I wrote yesterday on poiesis and auto-poiesis and has captured the debates very clearly.

I realise that you write often of happiness and I wonder how you define what happiness is? It seems to me that many people might describe happiness as pleasure, which to me is more of an ephemeral thing and not happiness in the least. Pleasure does not give life meaning and purpose and love. These are more important to me than passing enjoyment and survive even in the face of tragedy, horror, awfulness and loss.

All over the web people write about happiness and often it sees to me, living here, to be more about pleasure than purpose. I know your blog is more about work and how positive psychology pertains to that and that you may have already done this and I missed it before I found you blog. Perhaps you could just [give] me the reference?

4 puzzles of positive psychology

I’ll answer her query at four levels

#1 The contribution of pleasure, engagement and meaning to well-being.

#2  Happiness at difficult times and in difficult places.

#3  The ‘maths’ of happiness and why positive psychologists agree that much of enjoyment is “passing”.

#4  How conventional psychology is a ‘straw man’.

I’ll leave this here for today and summarize each of the issues in a separate post.

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“drawing out from two strings but one voice”

Love Song

How shall I hold on to my soul, so that

it does not touch yours? How shall I lift

it gently up over you on to other things?

I would so very much like to tuck it away

among long lost objects in the dark

in some quiet unknown place, somewhere

which remains motionless when your depths resound.

And yet everything which touches us, you and me,

takes us together like a single bow,

drawing out from two strings but one voice.

On which instrument are we strung?

And which violinist holds us in the hand?

O sweetest of songs.

Rainer Maria Rilke

New Poems: c. 1907

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BHAG for Britain!

Do you still dream?

What is your BHAG for the UK? What is the Big Hairy Audacious Goal for your industry?

What is the one thing that could take your industry from stagnation to contributing to the 2.5 million new jobs or the equivalent that we need here in the UK?

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

Last night, my heart soared when Roland Harwood welcomed the ‘Network of Networks’ at Amplified08 with this BHAG:

to be the most networked nation in the world.

Getting down and dirty

Toby Moores, founder of Sleepy Dog and Visiting Professor at De Montfort University brought this goal alive.archive-since-nz-0571

Leicester, cotton city of the English Midlands has been transformed from 5% design:95% manufacturing . . . to . . . 50% design:50% import/export.

Networking via Creative Coffee Club and other social media configurations, using technologies like blogs, Twitter and Facebook, provides designers with the hyper-competitive domestic environment, or space, that an industry needs to be competitive in the international world.

Breaking the British reserve?

One of the epiphany moments in my life was visiting Roman ruins at Coimbra in Portugal and imagining running water several centuries before Christ. Superimposed on the ruins I was looking at were mental images of the dams that Italians have built all around the world. Civil engineers, then; civil engineers now.

Leicester is also taking their core competencies and the best of their past into the future.

Something tells me the British may be very good at networking. Something verbal, something witty, . . . .?

A highly networked country also offers advantage that is not here now. Youngsters can find mentoring more easily. New ideas transfuse in that mysterious way they do between two people who have never met yet share a common acquaintance.

As a goal, to be the most networked country in the world, is sufficiently concrete for us to monitor it. It is sufficiently open for us all to agree. It is sufficiently enjoyable for us all to get started.

It is inclusive. It is generative.

Some of the new 2.5 million jobs will be directly in the networking industry.  Most will be because our knowledge workers are finding it easy to access to information, make decisions, and provide services that are valued throughout the world.

Good input NESTA.  Thankyou.  And thanks to @DT, @sleepdog, @loudmouthman and @joannejacobs who did much of the organizing.

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P.S.  2.5 million jobs are Obama’s target for America.  About 30m people work in the UK and 3-4 people may be unemployed before the economic downturn is done.  What is our target?

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Priest, Knight or Gentleman? And your character strengths . . .

Character Strengths & Virtues as Classical Roles

This is one of the times when I am blown away by the depth and elegance of something on the internet(hat-tip to dubhlainn)

Micheldaw has recast the character strengths & virtues of Peterson & Seligman into the three classical roles of

  • Priest/Scholar
  • Knight Errant and
  • Renaissance man.

(Girls, women, females, don’t worry, it works for us too!)

His document is on Googledocs.  I”ve also linked to it on my positive vocabulary wiki.  If you would like to contribute to that wiki, BTW, the password is “thankyou”.

Which are you?

And for the pundits:

  • What do you think of the expansion of his list?
  • Has he left anything out?
  • What do you feel about the ancient 3 way grouping?
    • I think it has overtones of McClellands three needs for achievement, power and affection?
  • Does this list flesh out Bijoy Goswami’s three types: Maven, Evangelist and Relator?
  • Which is linked to Malcolm Gladwell‘s Maven, Salesman and Connector?
  • And of course the three themes in the Bhagavad Gita: Intellect (jnana), Action (karma) and Emotion (bhakti) – have I got that right?

Does Micheldaw’s work add value to your personal sense?  And to your ability to help others?

PS Micheldaw, I didn’t comment on your post because you make us login!


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