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My annual MLK Internet tradition: Spiritual Death and Twitter

Two years ago, YouTube's News & Politics channel sponsored a program encouraging people to read passages from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. I chose a passage from his "Beyond Vietnam" speech on budget/defense priorities and "spiritual death" and recorded the video at a parking lot in Pittsburgh, PA.

In the same year, Vanity Fair commissioned me to write this piece. It ranks high among the work I'm most proud of across my entire life: What Would MLK Make Of Twitter? 

At this time every year, commentators across the United States engage in an exercise I’ll call Hypothetical King, in which we try to imagine what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say about the war in Afghanistan, the bank bailouts, or Mo’Nique winning best supporting actress for Precious at the Golden Globes. We extrapolate from his words and deeds and hope we’re right but can never be sure.

I’d like to engage in an exercise that’s almost the reverse of that. Instead of imagining Hypothetical King in 2010, I’m imagining a world in which today’s tools exist in King’s day. Specifically, I want to know what Dr. King would make of Twitter, the insistent social-media service that asks its users to describe “What’s happening?” in 140 characters or less.

 

Make the time to watch this 12 minute video about depression and suicide. Do it

It's from an ESPN documentary about Jordan Burnham, a star high school student and athlete who suffered from depression and tried to take his own life.

In 2010 my friend Dr. Greg Feldman took his own life. It was an absolute shock to most of us. Greg was high achieving, high functioning, loving, personable and awesome. He also worked in the high performance, high pressure world of surgery. We missed the signs. He hid the signs. Now he's gone, and we've lost a friend, brother, son. You who've never met him have lost the potential for his goodness to enter your life. But it doesn't have to be an absolute loss. Take the time to watch this video. You may not suffer from depression or suicidal tendencies, but you may know and love someone who has, is or will. Increase your awareness

Thank you.

Foursquare Thoughts from #MayorTunde: escort service, deals and whiskey

I love Foursquare. I'm the reigning Mayor Of The Year, after all, so I've got a lot invested in the system. I've been really impressed with how useful the service has gotten since this summer, so I recorded a few thoughts on the matter which you will now enjoy. 

Here's the deals/tip promotion I refer to in the video. Love the integration. Confused by the language. "50% off for free??" Just cut the last two words. You're saying "You don't have to spend money to get 50% off?" Guess what: if I don't spend money, that's actually 100% off for free!

This video makes me want to become a world class surfer and buy 100 GoPro cameras #surfatunde

Last spring, I went surfing for the first time in my life, and it was under ideal circumstances. I was speaking at Surf Summit 14 in Cabo, Mexico and got my first lessons with Roxy, the female line from Quiksilver also dedicated to getting more girls and women into surfing. So yeah, my first surfing lesson was me and a bunch of beautiful women. Except for the urchins it was ideal circumstances.

I found the video above from Robert Scoble on my Google+, and he's all excited about the GoPro camera. I am too after seeing this South African antelope engage in an entirely different definition of "mountain biking" (for antelope, mountain biking means taking out mountain bikers). 

But this snippet of surfing footage makes me most excited about returning to a sport I love after just one shot. Plus, it will be great when I can catch air like that and pause time like the Matrix and all. 

The UK Defence Ministry thinks terrorists will dance with you, have tea with your mum and babysit all thanks to social media

This is pretty amazing. The Telegraph has the story of the MoD warning servicemen and women (and their families) about the potential dangers of posting information to social networks. The videos are well done and do actually lead you to think before you post. However, they have conclusions which lead to far more important lessons.

Take the video above. Toward the end, as the tension builds, I'm expecting the sailors to get attacked, kidnapped, beheaded or something. Instead, the closing shot is of the servicewomen dancing with a fully-masked, fully-armed, presumed-terrorist. This begs much larger questions than "Did these ladies overshare on Foursquare?" Questions such as:

  1. What sort of security is the nightclub operating under? Maybe the MoD should do a public campaign about the dangers of shit bouncers?
  2. What sort of British sailor spots an armed terrorist and chooses to dance with him? Granted, a lot might have happened off-screen. Maybe the terrorist threated to murder every single club-goer if these sailors didn't dance with him. Maybe that's what he really wants in life, not money, not the release of a political prisoner. Maybe he just wants to feel sexy for once in his life.

There are a total of four full scenario videos in the series. Here's my absolute favorite.

I mean, that's just brilliant. If terrorists are providing free child care, we need to rethink this entire War on Terrorism thing from the ground up!

"I made a Facebook ad telling women the things I wish somebody had told me!" - @TeteSagehen

Have you ever felt confused, annoyed, offended or angered by a Facebook ad? If so, you're going to love this story.

Teresa Valdez Klein is one of my favorite people. I first met at a conference she organized in December 2007 in Seattle. It was all about Facebook, and I spoke on a Facebook Curmudgeons panel. Since then, Teresa and I have remained friends and shared conversation on topics big and small. I just checked out her Ignite presentation about subverting Facebook ads, and with the strongest endorsement, I urge you to do the same.

The Problem:

Teresa was feeling pressured by the hyper-targeted, often sexist Facebook ads rubbing her nose in the fact that she wasn't engaged or married, that she needed to lose weight and that she was doomed. Here's a sample

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Solution:

With the democratization of marketing made possible by Facebook's self-service ad model, Teresa made her own ads targeting women. She describes them as ads "telling women the things I wish somebody had told me." Here's a sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Presentation.

It's five minutes. Watch it. 

 

Conclusion:

As someone who has done a fair amount of media hacking myself (Twitter Swine Flu, Foursquare mayoral campaign, etc), I'm already a fan of the method, but the message itself is so worthwhile I can only express my utmost pride and respect for Teresa's work. Well done!

You can see Teresa's post on Feministing Community as well