|Once the TedXAustin videos and photos are up, I will start adding photos and switching out the videos.
I love TED.com. I really do, and TedXAustin 2011 was my third TED experience. Each of my TED experiences have been uniquely different, and left me even more certain that I was deeply in love with TED. My first TED was TedXAustin 2010. I thought the energy in the room was tremendous, the speakers and attendees were equally amazing, and I was infatuated with connecting to the awesome people I had met. My second TED was TedXUT 2010, in which I was the live tweeter. Live-tweeting for a conference is extremely mentally draining. Not only must one pay full attention all the time at the conference, one much also quickly synthesize the content and post it into short 140 character messages. I also respond and join conversations when I’m live-tweeting, which makes it only about a million times for difficult.
My TedXAustin 2011 experience can be described with several words: reflection, sharing, compassion, and understanding. This experience had energy that was different from the others. Many of the speakers spoke about pain, confusion, heart ache, and triumph. I didn’t leave thinking that I was going to change the world, but I certainly did leave feeling a wider range of emotion than on a normal day. The day started with an engaging performance by Mother Falcon. Mother Falcon was like the liberal Austin version of classical music. Performance and style like that kind of make me wish I didn’t give up on the piano 10 years ago. I was in awe.
Another emotion expressed on stage was gratitude. Gilbert Tuhabonye was that man. Even though he came from Burundi with the scars of warfare, this man glowed of sunshine. As an adolescent, he watches as his friends turn into his enemies and his other friends turn into the victims of beheadings. Though his body was burned, he managed to escape by literally running away. Running thusly became many things to him. Gilbert also sang to the audience, a song he sang while running as a child. And we mostly tried to sing back in tune. I can’t wait for his video to be online so that you see this someone who runs with joy.
Joaquín Zihuatanejo expressed many other emotions. Emotions that my overactive mirror neurons picked up. Joaquin isn’t just a poet. He made poets. He was an English teacher who took def poetry by the scruff of its neck and shook some crazy passion in it. This embedded video isn’t of his performance at TedXAustin, and but I do hope that it will be soon. One of his poems hit close to home. It was about a deaf student named John. This deaf student name John reminded me of my own experiences teaching last semester. It was a striking reminder, and a reminder that though we live in the same physical space, our worlds are completely different.
Another interesting theme at TedXAustin was on being rich. No, I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about having a rich life. I think my life is richer than foie gras mousse served on pao de queso and covered with butter. My life is rich with experience – the experience of driving all over the 48 contiguous states, the experience of working in prisons, the experience of driving on an autocross track, the experience of training and handling the top most titled dog of my breed in the world, and the experience of launching a cupcake at a zombie. My life is rich with friends, family, and community. My life is also rich with opportunity, and lastly, my life is rich with food. And after another great TedXAustin experience, I’m the richest person in Austin (self-proclaimed of course).
Monthly Archives: February 2011
|You’re a business owner, and you’re wondering how other businesses get so many reviews. How did Uchi get 527 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars on Yelp (as of 1/1/11)? How did Sugar Mama’s get 314 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars on Yelp (as of 1/1/11)? How come no one is talking about your business? *I know that Uchi and Sugar Mama’s do NOT engage in the behavior described below. Thusly, I feel comfortable using their data.
The temptation sets in. You want more people to know about you. You think no one will find out. You’re antsy for people to click on your website link. You make a fake account on Yelp. You give yourself five stars. You wait a few minutes. That wasn’t too bad. So you make another fake account. You give yourself another five stars. That was easy. On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog right? So you do it again. And again. And again. Now you have seven positive reviews. Job well done! You ask your employees to log onto Yelp and to write reviews. You ask all your friends, suppliers, regulars, and family members to do it. It isn’t technically wrong, if you don’t get caught. What an easy way to increase your ratings and pump up those reviews.
WRONG. It isn’t long before you get sniffed out. You’re slammed on the Master Debater’s Threads, and Google Alerts show that you have been caught red-handed.
Moral of the story. Don’t write fake reviews. Social media and crowd sourced content sites already spark controversy and debate. Throw in examples of fake reviews written by business owners or their rivals, and everyone goes bananas. Transparency in social media has been the norm with demand for honesty ever growing. Users want to be able to put a face with a social media voice, and rest assured that conflicts of interests are revealed. No one wants to be tricked.
As a consumer, you do want to know which reviews are honest. Here’s some quick tips on sniffing them out.
Those are just some ways that fake reviewers are sniffed out. The best defense against them is the time it takes to create believable fake profiles/online presence.
*I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should write this. I thought that in writing this, shady businesses owners might find tricks to appear less fake. Honestly though, to create an online presence to does not escape the vigilant detection of savvy internet users and the likes of the Google machine would take hours upon hours. I would guess that it would take no less than 50-100 hours per fraudulent online presence. The likelihood of a business investing that many hours into a single fake review is extremely low. Those types of businesses wouldn’t even invest the time in reading this post. I don’t think this blog post will affect these behaviors at all.