Archive - 2014

Prejudice Doesn’t Change Just the Context
From Commodity to Customer
Using Humor for a Change

Prejudice Doesn’t Change Just the Context

Michael Sam, an All American football player from the University of Missouri and a prospective NFL draftee, announced this week that he is gay. This, of course, is a tipping point moment for the macho league where sissy’s have never been openly tolerated. Much of the reaction to his announcement was supportive (and certainly more supportive than it would have been just a year or two ago) but, of course, there are the reactionaries who can’t stomach any kind of change.

I thought it would be fun to post a quiz here to see if you can figure out which of these actual quotes come from NFL football players this week or from white racist baseball players in 1947.  Here goes (answers at the bottom):

  • “I don’t think we’re ready for this kind of player yet.”
  • “Guys are going to be uncomfortable sitting next to him on the bus.”
  • “Every Tom, Dick and Harry in the media is going to show up… A general manager is going to ask, ‘Why are we going to do that to ourselves?’”
  • “There are guys in locker rooms that maturity-wise cannot handle it or deal with the thought of that.”

Regardless of when these comments were made, it is unbelievable that we have to keep going through these cataclysms and firsts. Aren’t we ready for the blanket condition that any discrimination is just plain unacceptable?


[Answer: all of the quotes are from NFL players and execs this week.]


From Commodity to Customer

I have been struggling with Facebook for a while now. Once it became clear that Facebook was going public, then we, the actual public, not the Wall Street public Facebook was about to share a large cash-strewn bed with, became commodities rather of customers. When your company doesn’t produce anything but the data generated by your users to sell to other companies, the press to capture those data and the eyeballs of your users becomes paramount. And after the Facebook IPO, the cacophony of strategies to monetize us became louder and louder. With ads stuffed into our newsfeeds and a lack of transparency about what we’re seeing and why is beginning to make the Facebook pot boil.

I saw a post on Facebook this morning that included this graphic (thanks to Marjorie Fine for the link):

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 12.52.38 PM

There are two questions here: Can we go back to being customers who have a say in how this place is run? Or are we forever consigned to commodity status?

Facebook execs are facing several key calculations. First, the growth of the site has slowed down and the dreaded defection of teens has picked up speed. Therefore, with a maturing base, does Facebook double down with their prisoner mentality and milk the platform for everything they can get while assuming the rest of us have no place to go, aka AOL circa 2000? Or do they begin to remake their relationships with us as customers and not just data points and start a conversation about what we all want the future of Facebook to look and feel like. Zuckerberg and his team have been the smartest guys in the room for the last ten years, that is a very difficult dynamic to change, from leader to follower, but it is the only way to assure that we, the users, customers, prisoners of Facebook, have a voice in its future.


Using Humor for a Change

Late last year, Leanne Pittsford and Leah Neaderthal, the two co-founders of Start Somewhere, did start something, a fantastic Tumblr called, When You Work for a Nonprofit. The blog is the subject of this month’s Social Good Podcast.

It’s a series of GIFs with short captions. Here’s one of my favorites


Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 1.50.16 PM


Of course, this image and all the other images are a lot more fun as the moving GIFs. But, as you can hear from Leah on the podcast, the site is more than just good fun, it has a serious point. Leah and Leanne created a conversation starter about how hard it is for mid and junior level staff to get their jobs done in perpetually under resourced organizations with boards and volunteers who don’t always understand the work well. It’s an important conversation and one that we need to have more as a community. And thanks to Leah and Leanne, we are having it.


PS: I also appreciate this shout out on their blog:

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 1.40.25 PM




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