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Archive for March, 2011

Suggestions for Funding Requests

March 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Organizations seeking money are best served by framing their request as a means for advancement, not maintenance. When you ask for money, do not remind me how great you are. Rather, let me know about what you plan to do. I prefer to give money to causes aiming at greater challenges; I am less interested in helping you maintain how great you already are.

If success comes to an organization in the form of accolades it is best to use other items as sources of pride in the face of funding cuts. When your organization is being threatened with a reduction in cuts, please avoid bragging about the numerous awards you have won. Afterall, if you’re doing well maybe your success could increase with a small reduction in cuts. If the rest of the community is struggling to live more leanly than certainly your organization can struggle along with us.

Do not request funding when a major global disaster has occurred. When an earthquake and tsunami strike Japan my priorities will shift and so should your’s (especially as a news organization). I know you need money, but holding on to radio programming I like is less important when people are dying. Know where you stand in public priority and do not forget your role to the public.

Fund drives are ugly, unfortunate things. Any time an organization has to beg for funding is a time for an unseen reaming of shame. It’s a tough world, but frame your request correctly. Yes, its critical, yes you are under threat but so are we and we’d rather have you down in our hole than charged with the request to play ladder.

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The Hazards of Proxy

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Future megalomaniac leaders take note: you are only as good as your translator.

At its most basic level, communication is a process of moving information from one source to another. The purest form of this transfer comes in the form with the least amount of variable details: the written word. Unlike the spoken forms of communication, the written word is free from the subjective details that a listener considers when evaluating a speaker. Though still present, written communication benefits from a simplified system where a speaker has more control over potential incorrect interpretations. Select basic words, avoid complicated sentences, be as direct as possible- just a few suggestions one could offer to an individual needing to communicate delicately.

Spoken communication is fraught with additional details that distort speaker intention. If delivered poorly, a speaker’s message may be completely misunderstood. Verbal communication is a misnomer in that it includes details beyond the verbal delivery of information. Combined in this form are details of body language, environmental details (is it warm enough in this room?) and even the internal moods of a listener. These factors distort the listener’s interpretation and challenge the speaker who selects a verbal form of communication.

Contextual Benefits

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Context provides us with the ability to see relations between situations. Distinction comes in the form of “this versus that”, or the relations that exist between a situation in immediate relation and a different single or series of related events. Take for consideration the late-Winter snow storm which hit Northeastern Ohio last evening. Taken out of context this is a big story- news reports showcased power outages, car accidents and a collection of human misfortunes as a result of this event.This is out of context, removed from the other stories of the day that recalibrate our considerations of importance.

Place the Ohio snowstorm in context of the other news of the day. Upon hearing of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Ohio snowstorm quickly becomes minor. When we see a big event in relation to a bigger event a new distinction is created. Our brains have an uncanny ability to qualify experiences and react accordingly.

How will an expanded awareness of the world affect this ability to contextualize? Certainly an expanded knowledge of the world at large will create a situation where major events take hold of the global consciousness. With expanded awareness, reaching indeed to a global level, we will see an greater focus on the problems of the world. Technology again removes fragmented realities and clusters those with technology into an amalgamation of concern.

There are benefits here- unified responses and the pooling of resources can bring the entire planet to assistance. Beyond this immediate function there are benefits to an increase in awareness. Though more simple, just the ability to be aware and share information creates a community that can innovate and create systems of prevention.

Pitfalls exist as well- a reduction of fragmentation leads to a dismissal of certain smaller issues. The snow storm of Ohio was certainly a big story to those who were injured or hurt as a result. As we contextualize we filter and disregard big stories that should receive response. We are too limited to respond to the plethora of issues in our world.

Semantically Confused

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

“Democracy” holds membership in a collection of words whose definition has expanded exponentially beyond its initial sense of meaning. Beyond a core definition, created at its inception by the Greeks to represent the “common people” or “common power” held by people, democracy is a word whose application is far beyond this sense of power and commonality.

Twinged largely by politics, the term democracy is often misconstrued to mean “common benefit” as it equal enjoyment and opportunity. The idea that democracy is a system where everyone has an equal hand in the aspects of social management is a major error and cause of strife. Democracy is not a system where everyone has equal access; in reality, democracy is a system where everyone has a voice to express an opinion. There are no guarantees in democracy. One merely has the right to speak up and have his or her opinion heard. This is powerful, of course, a profound right bestowed upon citizens who too often disregard its application. Many waste the prime right of democracy (at its core a right to communicate) and seek instead a series of benefits never connected with the system of democracy.

A system that gives everyone an equal share is unsustainable. Only a system with stratified levels of existence can function efficiently. Ultimately, a society’s progress is largely connected to this system of stratification: those on the bottom long to climb a social ladder while those in top tiers assist those at the bottom or unwittingly falter and inspire the innovations from the bottom levels.

In losing sight of the semantics of democracy we have developed an unrealistic and unsustainable notion of democracy. Perhaps more dangerous, this false image has been glamorized by media and has taken on an attractive luster serving to inspire revolution overseas. Democracy is an ideal system of government but it is not a utopia. Those who delude the democratic system as utopian fail to recognize the great struggle that it demands. A dictator has it easy- simplify power and apply resources as needed. Democracy requires compromise and is the most difficult system of governance.

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