Panel – Beyond the Poke: The Social Impact of Social Networking

I’m speaking on a panel tomorrow (Saturday) about how social causes can leverage social networking platforms (last week I spoke about the future of social networking — as if anyone knows). Premal was supposed to speak but now he can’t make it, so I’m speaking in his stead (sweet, huh?). Anyways, the organizer asked for a short blog post on the organization’s blog, which I figured I’d re-post here since I’m all about leverage.

Hey folks. Just wanted to write a quick post to encourage everyone attending >play this weekend to try and make the “Beyond the Poke” panel. No, it’s not about how to ask for a real date after poking someone (which is a weird thing to do, btw), but about “The Social Impact of Social Networking”. The panel description asks: “Does Web 2.0 provide the necessary platform for…causes to continue to develop and grow well into the future?”. Well, having spent time as a Product Manager at MySpace (a social-networking site still popular outside of the Valley), as Director of Marketing for (Bill Clinton’s favorite non-profit*), and as an advisor to / team member of a few other causes, I can tell you the answer is [omitted…sorry, you’ll have to attend the panel to find out]. In all seriousness, social networks are a powerful platform for causes to organize, involve and empower; beyond awareness lies action, and it’s my personal belief that social causes that can effectively leverage the social graph stand to accelerate their mission of changing the world (for the better!). See you tomorrow.

(*Okay, it’s probably not his favorite non-profit, but he’s definitely a big fan)


As in Japan. Last week I went to Tokyo and Kyoto (the better city, btw) for a little vacay with my buddy Prashanth, and loved it. Rich history, wickedly tasty cuisine, humble people, ridic nightlife (in my pictures I look like I was having a greeaat time), fascinating nuances…I can go on and on. All in the trip was amazing and I highly recommend visiting. Immediately. Below are a couple of random things that particularly struck me:

1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You know those masks you sometimes see Japanese folks wearing? Those people are not trying to avoid infection, they’re trying to avoid infecting others. || Every time you interface with someone they always greet you, and no matter what the interaction they thank you, bow, wish you a great day and bow again. || Before exiting a rail car, a ticketmaster will turn around and bow to passengers. || If you ask someone for help they’ll try really (really) hard to help (to the point where we felt guilty asking). Sometimes all you have to do is look lost and you’ll get offers of “can I help you” in broken English (look lost in some other countries and you’ll still hear broken English, but they’ll be asking you to help them…with all your money thankyouverymuch).

2) ALARMS. Alarms in Japan are loud. The ones at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto near the South Wall are imperially loud. Yeah. All I’m going to say is don’t lean up against the palace walls for a picture. (And if you do, walk away quickly, snapping pictures anything/everything while ignoring the squad car that pulls up…that worked for a, uh, friend of mine).

3) TRAINS. They’re everywhere. And despite the massive crowds, they’re *clean*. And, shockingly, on time (another word of advice…when the doors are closing, they’re not suggesting you step back…it’s more of an order). (Not that I was hit by closing doors). (Twice).

4) There’s so much more, but I’ll stop typing and instead just point you to some photos I snapped; hope you like (for anyone curious, most pics were taken with a Canon Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR).