Tuesday, March 29, 2011
A month or so ago someone crossed my path who spoke very little English. Having had 3 years of Spanish in high school and having visited Mexico City over 30 years ago, I immediately rose to the challenge of trying to communicate with this person. I discovered very quickly that this person lived in Spain (yes, the country .... not another little town somewhere in Texas). So from that point, my interest piqued in trying to communicate with this person.
In the beginning, our conversation pretty much consisted of "hola, muy bien, gracias, and no lo se" (hello, very good, thank you, and I don't know). In an attempt to alleviate the frustration we both were feeling from our mutual inability to understand each other, I initially tried to find a Web 2.0 tool to allow us to communicate through the use of a translator. I discovered that Google has a translator application and helped my friend to learn to use this tool as well. The application allowed me to type in English and it would translate my words immediately into Spanish for my friend. Eureka! We are now understanding each other !
I learned that Javier had a strong desire to learn to speak English. Eugenia speaks a little English from her years in Mexico City, but Javier's English was minimal at best. Communicating in text only was not helping Javier improve his English skills. He needed to be able to hear and repeat the English words he was reading and studying in his English textbook. Now Google Translator will also enable you to hear the words in the new language, but what we discovered was that sometimes phrases do not translate into another language in a way that makes clear sense. Example: When I would say the word "blessings" to Jaiver, it would come out "benedictions", which of course does not have the same connotation in English at all. So it is better to have a person who speaks English who can deliever and facilitate the instruction.
These are the moments that excite me! Technology tools have the ability to change lives and benefit people in incredible ways. We take so many of the powerful tools we have at our disposal for granted. Seeing somone be able to broaden their horizons and achieve their goals inspires me to go out there and make more new friends and venture into the unexplored worlds around me.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The fact is what this person was doing has a name and it's called CYBERBULLYING. The anonymity factor that the Internet provides allows users to have instant access to their victims and a wide audience for their bullying behavior. Cyberbullies are more likely to be women than men, because they don't need to be physically superior to their victims, and they often act impulsively without thinking through the consequences of their actions.
Because alot of adults who are "digital immigrants" have not been educated regarding cyber ethics, we are seeing a great deal of misuses today of technology "power tools". Here are some guidelines that I share in my workshop entitled "Your Online Presence" about using social media responsibly.
1. Don't post anything you wouldn't want your mother to hear (includes content or images).
Social media is not private. Once you post you have no control over what happens to your message. Many are under the impression that their audience is limited to their friends but they are more often mistaken about who has access to their posts.
2. Don't be passive- agressive.
Even if you don't mention the person by name, there's a good chance someone will know who you are talking about. You not only do damage to your relationships but to your own reputation as well.
3. Don't have arguments on social media.
Praise publicly and critize privately. Having an argument using social media demonstrates you don't really care about finding a resolution.
5. Do be real.
People connect on social media because they want to get to know the real you. Don't shoot off stuff that sounds like it came from a Hallmark card.
6. Do connect with other people.
Use social media to connect with people you can learn from, who can learn from you and people you would like to know better. Don't be afraid to be selective, choose people you want to follow based on the value you will develop from the relationship.
Ok, I feel better now. In writing this article, I reminded myself that I can learn something even from the negative behavior I see in others. Plus, the fact that there are plenty of people out there that are in need of this message. We are all in process of learning and growing, me included. Hopefully, I have shared something here that is valuable enough to make you "think before you post".